Saturday, March 20, 2010

SAR #10079/Weekender

Who's behind this curtain?

This Is Your Life:  The EU, Germany, and Greece seem to be reading from an old Max Sennett script; the euro ended down again, at $1.3529. CDS gamblers traders are making heavy bets against the euro as a significant plunge is anticipated.

Marginal Margin:  A WSJ story quoted Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Zhong Shan to the effect that the profit margin on Chinese export goods is less than 2%.  Seems implausible.   China must be doing something wrong to fritter away its huge wage advantage.  It also means that Chinese goods would not be competitive if the price of oil – and thus transport – were to climb above $110 or so.  At a 2% margin, any appreciation in the yuan would cause them to operate at a loss.  None of this seems realistic.

Asked & Answered:  Is ethical capitalism possible?  No, not without gelding.

Down The Drain:  Romney says not to worry about your health care costs getting lower under the Dem's plan because as soon as the GOP gets in power again they'll simply refuse to fund government healthcare and let the insurance companies have another go at your wallets directly, rather than through taxes.

Bonanza:   Shell announced it has made “a significant oil discovery” 25,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico in the same area where previous large deposits have been found.  “Significant” was not further defined . Pemex said it had found “up to 2 billion barrels of proven, probable and potential reserves” of oil in shallow Gulf of Mexico waters. Hoss and Little Joe?

Recovery Underway!  Nation-wide, the average price of gasoline is the highest it has been since October 2008.  You remember Fall 2008, don't you?

Reality Check:  Health insurance companies do not like having HIV positive clients and will try to avoid them if possible.  Ditto with the chronically ill, those predisposed to genetic diseases, those with pre-existing conditions and so on. Insurance is a business.  If you do not like it, support a not-for-profit system such as universal single-payer.  But if you are against “government meddling” in health care, don't criticize insurance companies for trying to maximize profits. That's called capitalism.

Quoted:  “Currency unions don't survive.”  Investor Jim Rogers on the approaching death of the Euro.  He also thinks the Pound will go the way of the North Sea's oil production.

Inactivity:  According to Great Britain's Office of National Statistics, 28% of British adults are – voluntarily or involuntarily – not working. Yet "Unemployment is sharply down...” because most of the unemployed have given up looking for a job.  Sound familiar?

Picture This:  Last week Kuwaiti researchers forecast a peak in oil production would occur in/by 2014.  If you haven't got time to read the article, look at the chart to fuel your dreams.

Do Unto Some Others:  Many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians determinedly ignore two of the pillars of Christian teaching: peacemaking and serving the poor.  It is theorized that this may because these believers mistake the USA for the Kingdom of God, confuse the Bible with the Constitution, morality with capitalism, and suspect the US Marines are the Army of God.

How Many Differences Can You Spot? On March 10, Fedex's CEO said the fourth quarter was far below what it ought to be in a cyclical recovery On March 18th, he says the global economic recovery is broadening.

FinallyLess than 60% of freshmen manage to graduate from 4-year colleges. Only 1 in 3 community college students finish.  Yes, many are unprepared – and many are un-preparable.  It is not as bad as it seems, for most of them will not need a college education for their roles in our economy, especially the dumbed down education common in the US these days, which is more or less equivalent to European high school.  If we taught them to think and set them free in a library they'd probably be better off.

Porn O'Graph:  May the Force be with you.


TulsaTime said...

Yes mr ckm, I too saw, and was amused with the Kuwaiti prediction. DANG! That is just around the corner, I need to get me one o them hummer trucks so I can use my share.

That was quite the turnaround for mr fedex, you don't suppose he has had a bug put in his ear do you? Noooo, our government would NEVER stoop so low.

And as far as margins go, there is a lot of room for definition in there. Gotta calculate red guard payoff and customs kickback, central planning fees and administrative overhead. To say nothing of the great china merchant tradition of factual embellishment.

time to go watch the cats watch it snow, chow man..


Anonymous said...

Romney: ....

Much of the "science" underpinning so-called "healthcare" may be wrong, wrong, DEAD wrong:,_Its_Wrong

So, that expensive "healthcare" may KILL you.

This is the "healthcare" Bookend to Nassim Taleb's claim that the math/science underpinning Finance is also wrong. (Engineering next?)

This confirms claims by Dr. Nortin Hadler (Professor of Medicine, UNC) made in THE LAST WELL PERSON wherein he also states that medicine is "ethically bankrupt".

Does anyone see a pattern here?

Ignore all this at your cost and peril. Watch MARCH MADNESS and stay uninformed.

Anonymous said...

Riddle me this, genius: Why do conservatives donate more to charities than you lefties? Biden's your poster boy.

You love confiscating and spending other people's money.

And when folks object, the ad hominem attacks commence.

Blissex said...

«Health insurance companies do not like having HIV positive clients and will try to avoid them if possible. Ditto with the chronically ill, those predisposed to genetic diseases, those with pre-existing conditions and so on. Insurance is a business.»

The problem with this ridiculous statement is that there are essentially no health insurance companies in business in the USA.

If there were, they would not have problems with the above, as they would just be running a book on an insurance pool, and losses on a few customers would be balanced by payments by the majority.

What actually happens, and if you don't understand this very little can be understood of USA healthcare, is that in the USA there are providers of healthcare credit lines, not insurance.

The accounts they sell are not insurance accounts, because they have a goal that each account be profitable, and thus there is no pooling of risk.

Each account is profitable only if any payments to the account holder are eventually recovered, that is they are loans, not insurance payouts.
Also what customers pay is not insurance premiums, but account fees and advance payments.

Since in the USA one can only get health *credit facility* accounts, the major worry of their sellers is to ensure that their customers be creditworthy, that is able to repay the whole amount loaned to them, thus caps on maximum payments and closing the account if the borrower suffers illness that is too costly with respect to their income and thus ability to repay.

The reasons why the industry is selling credit accounts rather than insurance accounts are to avoid adverse selection and to avoid insurance risk, as financial wizards think they can deal with credit risk more easily.

kwark said...

Anonymous 606 said: "Riddle me this, genius: Why do conservatives donate more to charities than you lefties? Biden's your poster boy. You love confiscating and spending other people's money." Care to provide any evidence? I've heard that claim before but have yet to see anything other than comparisons between rich folks. In any case, the Dems and Repubs in political office seem to be about the same when it comes to wealth transfer to the rich. I mean . . . it what they do, so is that what you mean by spending other peoples money? You can pretend that Republicans have some sort of moral high-ground on the "tax and spend" game but please keep your irrational dreams to yourself.

CKMichaelson said...

kwark & A606 - Maybe my antenna are damaged, but other than A6060's claim about conservatives "donate more to charities" I don't recall ever hearing such before. Sure would be good to see the research.

Are we talking dollars or percent of income? Pre- or after-tax consequences?

I have many times read that the poor are more generous - in relative terms - than the wealthy or middle classes. But, no, I've not the data to hand and don't actually care.

Also can't figure out where this thread came from....


Anonymous said...

To CKM and kwark: Here's a December 2008 NY Times op-ed by Nicholas Kristof, entitled Bleeding Heart Tightwads:

It's sourced.

My broader point is that the left's knee-jerk reaction to smart, principled conservatives like Paul Ryan is that they are heartless for pointing out the unsustainable entitlement trajectory we're on.

The ad hominem attacks simply prove that they don't have a clue.

Here's a perfect example from yesterday. Louise Slaughter appears to be clueless other than her memorized talking points, as do her two colleagues.

CKMichaelson said...

Funny thing, A606 - Brooks' sources show the single largest predictior of generosity is religion – not liberal or conservative political orientation. And while the religious give more, they mostly give to church and church sponsored propaganda/charity operations. Among the stingiest of the stingy are secular conservatives. Gays, interestingly, are among the most generous.

Overtime ends in a tie.


Anonymous said...

So, a tie means that this left wing propaganda that conservatives are heartless is nothing more than a fairytale.

Thanks for agreeing.

Anonymous said...

Left wing or right wing, it's all government wing.