Seeking Alpha


Send Message
View as an RSS Feed
View jhooper's Comments BY TICKER:
Latest  |  Highest rated
  • QuickChat #277, January 7, 2015 [View instapost]
    Sound familiar? Whose political party does this resemble?

    1.Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

    2.A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

    3.Abolition of all right of inheritance.

    4.Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

    5.Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.

    6.Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.

    7.Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

    8.Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

    9.Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of the population over the country.

    10.Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labour in its present form and combination of education with industrial production
    Jan 29, 2015. 12:44 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Swiss Franc And Credibility [View article]
    "uncompetitive labor restrictions",

    Well its relative. Granted the Swiss seem to have their heads screwed on better than most of the rest of Europe, and in fact, they are even ranked higher on the scale by the EFW database than the US, but their soft spots are "transfers and subsidies", "capital controls", and "hiring and firing".

    Again, though, granted, they are not France, but what this does say, they would need to adjust to increase their productivity to justify the additional francs the SNB has issued trying to maintain the peg.

    There is something about mountain folk that do a better job at this sort of thing. The term Hillbilly came from Scottish highlanders that named their children after William Wallace. Thus Hill (mountain) and Bill (William). It was an insult to shame them into complying with taxes and regulations instead of heading up into the mountains where they could escape.

    This tale goes way back, all the way to Cain and Abel. Cain was a farmer and Abel was a herder of animals. Nomadic people in the mountains are harder to tax, as opposed to farmers, who are tied to their lands and can't escape. This stripe of freedom seems to result in part from geography. Liechtenstein, the Swiss, and the Bavarians seem to share this trait.

    However, this still doesn't mean there isn't room to improve. Its like saying the iphone is a great phone, thus it never needs to be altered, even though the rest of the industry environment has changed that would dictate such a change.

    Another such fiscal change would be to run up deficits by lowering tax collections, and let the demand for Swiss fancs pay for the deficits (keeping rates and inflation low) but at the same time making Switzerland an even more attractive place for capital investment. For instance, get rid of all corporate taxation.

    Granted this runs up debts, but Switzerland is trying to chase money off right now. If they issued more debt they wouldn't have to do this, and they would get the benefit of making Switzerland an even more attractive place to operate a business. Presto, you just dealt with the job worries we mentioned ealier.

    The rules for productivity is the same for a country just as it is for a company or an individual, since a country is just a collection of individuals and companies. They always have to find the lowest cost and best methods of production. You can never go stagnant.

    I wish the Swiss all the best. Relatively speaking, they are an island of sanity in a land of insanity.
    Jan 29, 2015. 12:37 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Interesting Times For All Commodities And Investments!! Chapter 105... [View instapost]
    And the positioning for negotiations begin.

    The oligarchs in Europe won't let their politician and regulator puppets allow Greece to exit thus causing a default that hurts their asset prices, but they can't let Greece continue to bleed them slowly with bailout after bailout.

    Greece can't afford to leave the Euro, because their only hope of bailouts is by staying in the Euro, so their threat of leaving is really just a bluff.

    Probably what will happen is both sides bluster, the both make more concessions, it all quites down by summer, until we get to the next round of deadlines and it all starts again.

    Its time to get that battered can out again. You know, the one that keeps getting kicked down the road.
    Jan 29, 2015. 12:20 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • QuickChat #277, January 7, 2015 [View instapost]
    They're a little late.
    Jan 29, 2015. 12:07 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Best Ways To Invest -- What's Your Opinion? A Place To Share Ideas! #61 [View instapost]
    Tax policy can also create the same results that less accommodative CB policy can, ie a drop in asset prices.

    "while increasing corporate taxes, capital gains taxes, and miscellaneous excises.[1] The act raised overall revenue by $54.9 billion in the first fiscal year after enactment "

    Increased taxes are risk-off just like a hike in the DR, that means a drop in equity prices. In other words, it is a buy the dip opportunity.
    Jan 29, 2015. 11:35 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Best Ways To Invest -- What's Your Opinion? A Place To Share Ideas! #61 [View instapost]
    "I forget how many times the Fed had raised rates in 1986/1987, but it's at least 6 times before the crash"

    If you are interested, you can track the discount rate here.
    Jan 29, 2015. 11:26 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Interesting Times For All Commodities And Investments!! Chapter 105... [View instapost]
    OK, I see a little better what EA was talking about. There seems to be this idea that the Fed is going to hike in June, but they also seem to think the Fed is wrong about the economy (which means they shouldn't hike).

    I was just watching the yield action, which to me was a signal people thought rates were going down.

    As such, logically it wouldn't make sense for a rate hike in June, but we are talking gov regulators here, so you have to worry hard about them making mistakes (its what they are best at). The Fed will hike if somehow they paint themselves into a corner. What to look out for is Yellen mistakenly making such a commitment, and then because of ego having to stick with that decision even though it is the wrong one.

    At this point, I think "patient" gives them an out, so the rate hike expectations could fade.

    As far as the economy goes, the data is good enough to keep equities from falling out of bed, but not good enough to get us raging quickly to 2100 on the S&P.

    The 2000ish range on the S&P seems to be range for now (1990s to 2020s) and 1.70 still seems to be holding based on the fear trade we have now.

    GDP is expected to be 3%ish, but there are those who are thinking it might be negative. If so, then we could drop back into the hight 1900s (pending home sales were down today), and maybe pierce 1.70 on the 10 yr.

    Still though, we are looking towards ECB QE in March, so really, our conversations right now, are really about where is the bottom to buy (equites) or sell (bonds) as the case maybe.
    Jan 29, 2015. 10:17 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Q4 2014 US GDP Estimate: +3.6% [View article]
    "The PDs have been given the wherewithal to outbid their rivals."

    Well, now that's itneresting. I thought that the clients of PDs, not just the PDs themselves could participate in the auctions. Are you saying you have data that shows what the PDs are picking up and what the clients are picking up?
    Jan 29, 2015. 09:07 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Interesting Times For All Commodities And Investments!! Chapter 105... [View instapost]

    At any rate, the economic data is still mixed, durable goods down, home sales and prices up (though that's not as good as we have been conditioned to think). So, given all that, the real, meaningful juncture will be ECB QE. I believe it starts in March. If it does what LTRO did, we should expect equities up, and only a slight boost for bond yields.

    February may be quiet. It seems 2000 and 1.70 are the floor being provided by the size of the Fed's balance sheet. By the way it has grown $15 billion in month of January. So we may just see some range bound activity in February without much more of a move down. What may push it down is doom and gloom talk out of Europe. Probably engineered by the Greeks to convince people of the need to bail them out even though they don't reform. Eventually though they will probably make some concessions, and then everyone will realize the doom and gloom talk was just a negotiating tactic.

    At $60 billion a month, the effects won't be dramatic, but slow and steady, once all the Greek positioning and negotiating is done.
    Jan 28, 2015. 05:30 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • QuickChat #277, January 7, 2015 [View instapost]
    Swiss surprise

    Well, that one's not really easing. It was more a contractionary stance.
    Jan 28, 2015. 05:13 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Q4 2014 US GDP Estimate: +3.6% [View article]
    "Reference your calculus."

    If this is me, then I regret I gave the wrong impression.

    I was merely noticing that when the ECB began to charge banks for keeping reserves at the ECB, that sovereign debt yields fell. That signaled to me that the lower yields and greater IRR were deemed to be cheaper than what the ECB was going to charge for keeping reserves there.

    It was my impression that the ECB thought this would induce banks to lend, and thus create the inflation they wanted (or at least fight the deflation they fear).

    Also, I am not advocating for anything they are doing, I'm just trying to work through the results of what their actions should logically create, and then see if that is relatable to what might similarily happen in the US if the Fed followed a similar course.

    For now, I need to see how effective their QE plan is going to be. Based on today's announcement from the Fed, it look like they are just going to keep treading water.
    Jan 28, 2015. 04:52 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Interesting Times For All Commodities And Investments!! Chapter 105... [View instapost]
    "I agree rates are going lower"

    Well, I'm not so sure of that. What I am seeing today is similar to other periods where the Fed has signaled additional accommodation. Rates fall because the markets believe Fed buying actually lowers rates. So, all that expectation actually winds up lowering rates. Also, Fed announcements that they are going to be accommodative, also send the signal that the Fed is worried about the economy, so that engenders a fear trade.

    The result is a dip in rates on the flight to quality, but then after that, the Fed continues to support or grow its balance sheet, and that action, ceteris paribis, leads to the risk-on, and then equities and rates start to go up. As such, the buying opportunity is right now based on the Fed announcement.

    However, let me reiterate, however, we have a wrinkle - Greece and the continued Europe/Russia turmoil.

    Now, we do have impending ECB QE, but the ECB guys worry me. They are more disjointed than the Fed, so they may not deliver with their consumption subsidy the way the Fed can, so we may not get the boost they delivered like they did when they did LTRO.

    However, in general theory, the Fed signaled a bias towards accommodation, and that's risk-on. The ECB has officially announced QE, and that's risk-on. So, the question now is if the ECB QE will be enough to send a signal that Greece will be bailed out. If so, that will stem or lure the tide of capital that is currently flowing into US Treas back, in part, to Europe, and thus, Treas yields go up, and so to equities.

    Its just hard to say right now.
    Jan 28, 2015. 04:45 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Q4 2014 US GDP Estimate: +3.6% [View article]
    Why are you asking that. Did you get the impression somewhere that someone thinks the ECB is special?
    Jan 28, 2015. 03:37 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Interesting Times For All Commodities And Investments!! Chapter 105... [View instapost]
    "The Muppets think interest rates are going up"

    Why do you say that. The action today strikes me as if people think rates are going down?
    Jan 28, 2015. 03:34 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • QuickChat #277, January 7, 2015 [View instapost]
    "what evidence do you have to support these claims?"

    All of life. Here you are on an investing website lookng for ways to improve your investing. Why are you doing this? Is it your goal to make your life worse by this? Why do people want welfare payments? Do they think such payments will make them worse off?

    In fact you can look at the World Economic Freedom Index, and the nations that have freer economies are also the wealthier nations.

    A better question in all of this is why have your promises of gov coercion of associations not produced the stability that we were promised?

    Here is an example from today that just showed up in my email...

    "Fed upgrades economic assessment, acknowledges international turmoil"

    International turmoil? How can this be. There are no free markets anywhere on the globe. They all have some sort of gov regulation of associations. The more stable and richer ones are the least regulated, and the more volatile ones (like Greece and Europe and Russia) are the ones having the most turmoil, but they all have a central bank, bank regulators, price controls, or some other gov control of voluntary associations. A free market, or at least an economy heading to a free market, would be one where gov is only regulating with regards to force (property and harm), and not what one person should say or charge for a product or wage.

    So, clearly, the onus is on you to show where your coercion has brought the absolute stability that was promised. (and saying it was designed to just make things better, that's a cop out because there is no way to prove such a claim)

    Remember, Owen himself promised the Fed would end all economic panics (let me know if you don't know who that is).

    "who is saying this?"

    You and LT made a version of this argument above with , but I hear it explicitly all over SA all the time. It has been a fad of late.

    This was LT's comment, which is basically what I said above.

    "Unfortunately We will never have the "perfect world" that you envision. So we adjust and live with what we have. "

    "how does this reconcile with utilitarianism"

    Why would I care about reconciling it. Bentham was wrong. Just because he had himself stuffed and put on display doesn't mean the rest of us should listen to what he had to say. His ideas morphed into concentration camps, and we all know how that worked out. I have no interest in living in a Panopticon.

    "and how would this morality apply to the nonhuman?"

    It doesn't. It only applies to those that can understand the value of contracting via the principals of nonagression.
    Jan 28, 2015. 03:15 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment