Saturday, November 30, 2013

SAR #13334

"The riskiest thing in the investment world is the belief that there’s no risk." Howard Marks

3 – 30 – 300: There are, conveniently, about 333 million Americans. 1% own everything. 10% manage the 1%'s businesses. The remainder, some 300 million of us, are serfs. The 1% (and really it's the 0.1%) get panicky whenever discussion of the essential unfairness and immorality of this economic division gets mentioned, so they hire politicians to start screaming and blubbering and so on. The sad fact is the the serfs are now so poor they have nothing left for the rich to steal from them. Wonder what would happen if the serfs were given a bit more money...

Don't Adjust Your Set: The message is sinking in - economies of the rich world face super-easy money far into the future, and central banks are now convinced it's the least of all policy evils. The question is, does it end in tears? And the answer is, nobody knows.

Starting Point: The wealthiest 400 Americans are sitting on $2 trillion. $400 billion of that is held by just 10 individuals. And just 2 families – the Waltons and the Kochs – are six of those ten people. And not a single one of them ever personally contributed anything to the country except for money they've given crackpot groups and their favorite politicians as they seek to return the country to the 1890's. I say we should take about 90% of their wealth and fund a single payer health system.

Hide The Silverware: Alan 'The Blind' Greenspan sees no bubble in the Dow's reaching 16,000. Not even a little irrational exuberance.

Third Time's The Charm: For a third straight year, Portugal's budget faces even more austerity punishment in the form of wage cuts for those making more than 675 euros a month ($900) and retirement cuts (10% on top of previous cuts) and health and social services cuts, as required by the Bundesbank and ECB – but not the IMF, not any longer. 16.3% of Portuguese are unemployed – and half the under-25 crowd. It is hard to find a non-politician who thinks any of this is doing any good.

Petty Cash: The Cuban diplomatic mission to the US is being forced to terminate nearly all its consular activities because no bank in the United States will handle its accounts due to "restrictions ... derived from the U.S. policy of economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba" dating from the Kennedy years.

Hunger Games: Greece still leads in the race to the bottom, with an 58% unemployment rate among its youth. Spain is closing fast (despite being pronounced 'cured' by the Bundesbank and ECB) with a 57.4% rate. Italy, at 41.2%, and Portugal at 36.5% are still in the race. In Europe as a whole (which it wishes it was, but isn't) 24.4% of the under-25's are unemployed. 
Austerity Explained: The IMF/EU/EB bailouts begun in 2010 were undertaken becaue a Greek "default would have resulted in huge losses for German, French, Swiss and other European as well as American banks." 
Lagniappe: An unmentioned but significant benefit to shopping on line is avoiding all the psychological pressures designed into stores to boost sales by triggering impulse purchases. We've know for years that the best way to save at the store is to make a list, go buy the stuff on the list and then leave – before they can trick you into stuff you don't need and don't really want. At the computer you have a better chance to avoid the traps. It's like tying yourself to the mast.

Porn O'Graph: Cycles are cyclical.


Matte Gray said...

The people have been missing your photos and are getting restless for more.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

An explanation (ie. excuse) The surgeries and recovery sort of ate up all of the fall season and now that I'm back to walking a few miles - okay, two - the woods have taken on their wintry bleakness (compounded by buldozer driven 'improvements' they are making...) and thus no new fodder.

What I propose is to use some of my accumulated backlog from some of my faded-empires trips of the last few years, starting with Portugal.

Starting next week.

Anonymous said...

sorry to hear about the surgeries---had no idea---your comments however havent lost a thing-today was as good as ever---stay well


TulsaTime said...

It's too damn bad we will never be able to convince ANYONE in government that bigger is not better. They think 700K on the List is just great, no problem, just like NSA thinks getting all the traffic on the phones and the internet is grrreat! We may as well write off air travel for the politically active in the next 5 years at this rate.

I'm already bracing myself for the court to decide that corps are people for having religious convictions. They seem quite happy with their new role of reactionary tools, and I forsee lots of chaos from the court in the next few years.