Tuesday, July 14, 2009

SAR #9195

The rich fear we'll find out how little they contribute.

Big Rock Candy Mountain: The US plans to borrow $3 trillion this year, the governments of the rest of the wold are looking for $2 trillion. Where's all the money going to come from? Better yet, with everyone wanting more and more, won't the price go up? As in interest rates?

Oxymorons: Sustainable Development. Perpetual Growth. War for Peace.

Sisyphus: The GOP - bereft of any particular relevance in the confirmation of Judge Sotomayor - will use the hearings to promote the idea that their discredited conservative philosophy is actually the view of mainstream America. Which is is not.

Up, She Said: "It's a trading call," Meridith Whitnety said. Banks, in her view, could see a 15% short term gain. And the market went up, up, up. She also said, "then you flatline, then I think you have another leg down." Selective hearing. They didn't heara the part about unemployment reaching 15% either.

Doomsday: Doesn't Goldman's computerized micro-timing automatic trade system destroy any notion of investing based on values other than greed and exploitation? Long term investing is holding a position more than 12 seconds.

Energy = Economy: As Japan's factories slow, electricity consumption falls. Down 5.6% so far this year, much like their GDP. Cuts down on CO2 emissions.

Restoration: Can you imagine someone 50 years from now bragging about restoring his McMansion to its original particle board floors and sheetrock walls? Maybe less than 50 years if Lennar built it.

Tin Foil Hats: Maybe it won't stop the aliens from reading your mind, but a couple of wraps of tin foil will keep NSA from finding you through your ID card. And don't worry about them using power sockets to read what you type on your computer: (1) they can read it on line and (2) all the snooping has turned out to be useless anyway.

Technical Terms: Shiller say that house prices are coming down very slowly (!), there is nearly a year's inventory on the market, and both banks and private sellers are holding houses off the market hoping for better days. Housing is "still in an abysmal situation" and will languish for many years. That's what he said, "abysmal" and "languish".

Science for the Thinking Imparired: Researchers have discovered that swine flu kills the obese more than the skinny. Wow! If you are so fat you get out of breath getting up from the recliner, chances are any illness that burdens the lungs is going to be hard on you.

Haul Duty: Detroit's public schools are headed for bankruptcy. Not only will vendors go unpaid, and bondholders, but teachers will have to take draconian pay cuts. After the schools close and the kids are set free, parents and the community will begin to appreciate how underpaid the teachers were.

Coda: The terrible future predicted for the earth if we continue to pump CO2 into the atmosphere is unavoidable as long as stories end with "the bill died in the Senate under intense opposition from the manufacturing, coal and transportation industries."

Measure for Measure: We watch the GDP as though it told us something worth knowing. It doesn't. GDP is a measure of economic activity. If you get cancer, spend $165,000 in a losing battle and die, it is good for the GDP. Rebuilding after Katrina, had Bush done so, would have been simply replacing something that got destroyed, not improving anything. But it would have helped the GDP. If we legalized the drug trade, wow, what a boost to GDP. GDP measures activity, it doesn't make value judgments.

Dry Me a River: Lima used to get its water from glacier-fed rivers. But global warming has melted the glaciers to the point where Lima now has water shortages for many months of the year. No workable solutions have been proposed other than mass migration.
Porn O'Graph: Option-ARM, worse than sub-prime & more of 'em.


TulsaTime said...

And a splendid day to you and yourn.

I hear the Chinese have an interesting way of figuring auto sales. It seems that if it leaves the factory, it counts as a sale. Pay no attention to the massive lots of parked cars over there.

Steve said...

@Measure for Measure: I agree that there are GDP-raising activities that do not add true value to society. As you state, rebuilding New Orleans after Katrina only replaces the value that was lost. GDP is up, true, but that economic gain should be seen as offsetting a massive catastrophic loss.

However, how does this point apply to the legalization of the drugs trade? Are you saying that legalization would add to GDP but that it has some negative 'morality' and therefore is false value? That the legalization is a valueless activity?

I think the point is better made in reverse: that the illegality of of the drugs trade is the 'valueless activity' that raises GDP but has no net benefit (or has an actual cost). Pointless activity for activities sake.

Anonymous said...

Tin Foil Hats: ...And don't worry about them using power sockets to read what you type on your computer: (1) they can read it on line and (2) all the snooping has turned out to be useless anyway.

If they reed what I tipe on mi puuter thay may fiind that it is cowde. So, unles thay can snupe bettr it wyll awl be yousless.

And since most Americans are ignorant and illiterate anyway all their typing is gibberish anyway. There, another problem solved.

The Anecdotal Economist said...

Re: Oxymorons...

And the best one of all:

Jobless Recovery

Where Goldman, Morgan, Chase, B of A, etc. all Recover, but we are left Jobless.

CKMichaelson said...

AE - Ah, yes. But I didn't want to cheat off Krugman...


Anonymous said...

Pith for the pith-meister:

Option-ARM, like we had a choice?

-- aitrader

Anonymous said...

Regarding climate change, see http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090714124956.htm

CKMichaelson said...

Anony - Yes, very interesting - at least in the press reports.

I came across the item last night and have (1) sent it to my science adviser for comment,(2) trying to get a copy of the original paper in Nature Geoscience via the university library server and (3) taking the stuff with me on my vacation...

But remember the brief excitement last year with the article (Nov 25, 08) that suggested computer models overstated warming only to disolve under further study. Note to that Nature (June 11, 09) has an article identifying a simple linear relationship between CO2 emissions and global warming - which is directly contradictory to the article you cited.

More on this later - although I'd prefer the science to be elsewhere and the snarkiness here.


Anonymous said...

I am very concerned about the government taking advantage of the climate change issue.

Even if CO2 were as dangerous as the climate changers allege, the Cap and Trade bill is a disastrous piece of legislation that does more for Goldman Sachs, at the expense of the poor and middle class, than it does for the climate.

Personally, I think that "peak oil" is far more important than climate change, yet the government apparently isn't concerned. Why aren't we building nuclear power plants, which address both issues?

Even Pickens is rethinking wind. http://tinyurl.com/TBoone-Wind

Although I disagree with many of your opinions, I respect them and your knowledge.

CKMichaelson said...

Anony - I'm constantly concerned about the government... and those who run it.

If we must stop our CO2 emissions (and being of the scientific bend, I accept that we must) then we must stop our CO2 emissions - not pay others so we can keep pumping out profits.

Cap & Trade is a three card monte game, at best, with the goal of making GS & friends richer and the rest of us marginally poorer. At least a revenue neutral carbon tax would do away with the profit potential.

And of the things facing us, peak oil is - I agree - more important for a couple of reasons. A) it's effectively already here and B) PO will destroy our economic basis to take any meaningful steps to reconfigure our civilization and economy to deal with global climate change.

& thanks for the toleration of differences -


Anonymous said...

If everyone saw things the same way, the human race would probably have gone off a cliff long ago be extinct; civil discourse and different opinions are fundamental to our survival.

What are your thoughts on nuclear power?

CKMichaelson said...

If we'd started 30 years ago converting from coal to nukes, back before proliferation to terrorists was a major concern, it would have been a good thing. Now it is too late - we cannot build enough, fast enough. We will not have the money. Soon we will not have the energy resources required to build the reactors.

Big hope is they can find the extra neutrons to make thorium reactors viable.

Now I think the path forward is though far more rational use of the energy we have to build systems that generate sustainable energy.

Long/short: We missed the boat on nuclear energy.