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Leftfield

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  • Are Managers Really Rational About Pay Incentives and Risk Taking? [View article]
    It's only necessary to be rational within one's own limited vision for the theory to be valid. Even then, wrong choices are constantly made by errant humans. The big picture is not much in the daily calculus. That's even more subject to error. The founders hoped a balance could be struck amongst competing interests that would rein any one or several that threatened the wellbeing of the rest on any issue. Balance of powers.
    Our country is at a breaking point where too many self-interested parties without functional principle have driven us towards the culmination of too many wrong decisions. Outside of Constitutional bounds, using the force of government power, many interests have metastasized far beyond what a rational market would allow. People with power in boardrooms have grabbed anything and everything possible, wrecking the world economy in the process.
    Founders like Jefferson knew that a democratic republic needed principled, educated and engaged citizens to last and prosper. Seems to be a shortage at present.
    Jun 24 08:28 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Post Office, FedEx and UPS Model for Health Insurance [View article]
    The government has already built this crappy healthcare system. It's full of proceduritis, unneeded tests, arms races with the most expensive equipment, prescription abuse by the providers, all of which is to cater to the shrinking slice of people with gold-plated benefits.
    It needs to be fixed. I favor incentives of good private decisionmaking. Looks like healthcare is a prime example of the many segments of this country's misallocated economy that are fighting over turf in an unsustainable Alice in Wonderland system that is impossible to sustain without completely disfiguring this once-great country, instead of adding constructive input.
    Jun 24 07:53 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Budget Busting Pensions Must Be Reined In [View article]
    I won't mention more horror stories of insane promised benefits to union employees, especially public. This article shows good examples of why my taxes are so high and constantly threatening to my solvency and any quality of life for myself and my kids.
    Adults in unions were promised fairyland benefits as far as the eye could see and Detroit is only the first shoe to drop. I've gotten the idea that Obama is only interested in "not letting a good crisis go to waste" (his boss, Ron Emanuel) so the idea is to not fight against the banksters and to bubble up a phony recovery with false promises and bailouts until the government owns so much and the real private economy is so crippled we end up with a complete fascist/socialist state.
    Jun 24 07:33 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Structural Shift in the U.S. Economy Is Really in Supply [View article]
    Remember "cost-push" inflation that was in the news in the 70's? That plus the Fed "pushing on a string" and "stagflation" are coming back in a far more horrible reprise. With the US as the all-time world basketcase debtor rather than largest creditor.
    Jun 22 11:51 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • More Option ARM Falsehoods: Interest Rates Are Not the Issue [View article]
    Oh, and do the reduced values of homes now translate into lower property taxes?
    Jun 22 10:04 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More Option ARM Falsehoods: Interest Rates Are Not the Issue [View article]
    D_Virginia is just one of countless stories that negates the green shooters. The only bigger jerks I see besides the financial kamikazis who have left us holding the bag is the politicians. They're the only green shoot here as Iconoclast421 points out. We've had middle-class income decline, masked it with government spending, bubbles and now the last one, putting it all on the taxpayer tab. The smart ones on Wall St. and DC are quietly leaving the Titanic for the Caymen Islands. The dumb ones continue to run things, with a total time horizen of, next election.
    Jun 22 10:02 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Macroeconomists Are Particularly Obtuse [View article]
    Looks like the demise of the middle class to me has gone on for decades and accelerated sharply. if you eliminate government work you really show a tiny group and they have no security like government or private workers in the past.
    All along I thought a government safety net was a given if we crashed like the 30's or in 08. This time there was TARP handed to Wall St. fast enough to make a street punk blush. And more pork and bailouts of cronies. This is not the safety net for average people we may not be able to afford when it's really needed (probably now) as our national balance sheet gets looted.
    It's all about grabbing the taxpayer by the unmentionables and expecting their hearts and minds to follow. The guilty include academics who follow fads and government grants to the point of complete uselessness (macroeconomists).
    We were founded upon enlightened principles by enlightened leaders. The citizenry had recently fled tyranny and were sufficiently willing to sacrifice to fight it here. I don't know if we can get it together again in America. The remains of the middle class are too often government workers including educators, professionals and academics. All appear willing to justify themselves at everyone else's expense. The rich are all about being rich by any means necessary. The poor are generally dysfunctional. Leadership has been appalling to date. I see only serial casting out of incumbents and praying for a miracle or we descend to feudalism.
    Jun 21 03:54 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Judgment Against Scrushy: A Hint of Wall Street's Future? [View article]
    Just got back from my son's high school graduation. It's, what, $22,000 additional for each of those graduates and each of us added to our collective debt in just the last year. To serve Wall St. and DC.
    Our bailout trillions are giving cover so the perpetrators have time to disburse and protect wealth amongst friends and families. We'll soon see how much the Madoffs of Wall St. and DC have left that can be attached.
    Jun 20 12:37 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Ford: Defying the Odds [View article]
    Ford has a huge opportunity to become THE American car company and reap huge rewards. Management seems to be on the upswing from the Bill Ford snooze era and perhaps the family put into place smart management when he left.
    Like all Detroit companies, they have yet to make full use of their remaining global reach. It is absolutely typical that Europe has had a much better Focus since 2000 and they got a new model in 05 that will come to the US in '10. I think the talk of their having a great lineup now is revisionist. But I guess it's okay by Detroit standards.
    I'm sure there is energy in Dearborn not seen in decades to take advantage of the opportunity against Government Motors and, according to this article, everybody. I'm hoping really inspired people are rising to the occasion (hasn't really been true in there since the Model A) and that the politicians and UAW can at least get out of the way.
    Jun 20 07:33 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Financial Well-Being and Regulation: The Obama Effort [View article]
    Looks like we're doing the opposite of your recommendations of enhancing and enforcing bankruptcy. And, the Obama plan is worse than ineffective; constantly adding more layers to law and bureaucracy is toxic, expensive and allows insiders to game the system even more.
    I'm not sure offshoring financial innovation is the loss you assert. I see how years of false paper gains are wiped out instantaneously.
    Nonetheless, an intelligent system to incubate and foster progress is the ideal. Our system now is incentivized for vested interests and cronies. We have been damaged by stupid policies for at least decades. Look at Detroit, from the top of the industrial world to supplicant. That could have been averted countless times with intelligent leadership. Can anyone believe we have that?
    Jun 19 12:35 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Five Points to Eliminate Confusion About the U.S. Macroeconomy [View article]
    The idea that our "let them eat cake" leaders are close to the reality check many of us in the real world have long known is false. Any otherworldly healthcare "fix" they would produce may create a short window of false optimism based on the headlines "problem solved" but won't pass a reality check from anyone not wedded to the system or to false optimism.
    No mention of our monstrous, unique legal system in any article on SA I can recall. It has destroyed our competitiveness and skyrocketed medical costs more than anything.
    We get the government we deserve, so I can only hope that can change. Without mass-unemployed incumbents, we will go the way of Detroit.
    Jun 19 12:14 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A New Productivity Revolution [View article]
    I'm always puzzled at the use of statistics whose makeup has changed. Productivity is one. How is it necessary to have two worker families who live less well than one worker families 40 years ago in the face of all this progress? And, productivity statistics are hugely affected by ridiculous inflation calculation methods used now and their change from the past. Constant inflation calculations wipe it out. With so many in government and Wall St. wasting resources, how can the shrinking private sector make up the difference?
    As interesting commentary and information from a site like SA is a step forward, OR books is a natural extension of existing technology for good. I suppose Amazon won't be interested for now as their traditional sources would be apoplectic.
    Jun 19 11:44 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solution to Our Economic Mess? Limit Leverage! [View article]
    The suggestion that "underwriters hold 5% of equity offerings or corporate bond offerings" is a piece of a solution, but management compensation and the lapdog corporate board "oversight" is central, not a diversion.
    You mention that the Wall St. products that have hit the fan involve trusting middlemen that due diligence was done in, say, mortgage packages. No, the system and people still in place make all the money and do none of the heavy lifting. The "reform" just proposed by Obama is another employment bill for empty suits who extract wealth by any means necessary, Wall St. and DC, and go round and round with self-important charades adding layers to their games followed by impotent, expensive "fixes." As the example of LTCM illustrates, there have been no shortages of warnings and the payscales on Wall St. and Washington actually encourages more of the same.
    Yes, the fix is on. Wall St. is a middleman to a long term shakedown of America along with enabler DC. When you have a Steve Jobs with an inspired product and business that is actually, really his creation, you can trust far more. We've handed so much to empty suits who are middlemen and what have we got to show for it?
    Jun 19 07:24 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Obama's Financial Proposal: Why It's Too Soon for Reforms [View article]
    It's all about politics right now. All major decisions invoke unclear new layers of law and bureaucracies. The idea is to mush things up even further to allow those in power even more advantages. We're left with the spectacle of the former icon of industrial might and success, GM, a bankrupt vehicle for political patronage and favoritism run by a 31-year-old campaign worker. But, no SUV travel for Wall St. bank executives who are the most contemptibly guilty reverse Robin Hoods of all time, just trillions for failure.
    Our overpaid leaders think their mandate is more of the same. We need some serious game-changing elections if the middle class is to survive in America.
    Jun 18 11:50 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 3 Thoughts on America's Regulatory Overhaul [View article]
    Executive compensation not included? There needs to be a long-term focus so bonuses aren't upfront and risk later. That's central, not peripheral. But, the whole mess of the proposal, with it's turgidity and incoherence is a thing of beauty to the revolving-door lobbyists.
    Jun 18 09:27 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
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