Tuesday, June 9, 2009

SAR #9160

America's hypocricy has not gone unnoticed.

Say Ahh: The Congressional Progressive Caucus has set forth its health insurance plan, open to all, designed to provide a higher standard of care while keeping administrative costs low and permitting choice of health care providers. The problem is, according to critics, the plan will have an unfair pricing advantage and would quickly drive health insurers out of business for lack of profits. This is a shortcoming of the plan?.

One Trick Pony: "Shiller: Expect More Home Price Declines"

Definitions: What does 'jump' mean in the following quote : "Credit card delinquency rates jumped 11% in the first quarter." If you knew the incidence of delinquent borrowers increased from 1.19% to 1.32% would that change your definition?

Yes, We Can: The president wants to create a (US dominated) international agency to control the supply of nuclear fuel to nations for their reactors, while limiting the ability to make bombs to the United States. After all, the world trusts...

Model Behavior: When US health organizations began pounding the drum over swine flu, it seemed rather precipitous to start using the word 'pandemic' when so few were getting sick and far fewer dying. Computer models - run to show the public health people were overstating the case - estimated that by the end of May there would be fewer than 2500 cases. There were about 100,000. Oops. Well, computer models of investment strategies work better.

Mirror, Mirror: "Unemployment will continue to grow after the recesson ends." Why are recessions measured in the boss' terms - GDP - instead of the workers' term - unemployment?

Overpopulation: Pollution, overfishing and the warming of the oceans are leading to frequent and severe blooms of jellyfish around the world. Evidence suggests that ocean ecosystems can reach a point where they become dominated by jellyfish instead of fish. And not cuddly little fellows, but some are 6 feet in diameter and weigh 400 pounds.

Status Report : Investment is plunging, industrial output is down, world trade is stalling... "todays crisis is at least as bad as the Great Depression." You want to go read it, don't you? It's like slowing down to look at the traffic accident.

Yuan for the Books: The head of China's 2nd larges bank suggests the US should issue T-bills denominated in yuan. This would make them more useful to the Chinese.

Boredom: The real problem with global warming as a threat is that it isn't dramatic from day to day. Yes, the future's not what it used to be, but it's still the future. The Texas state climatologist led a form on climate change, outlining the dangers in the decades ahead. His appearance "drew a crowd of about 25 people". Crowd?

Plain Truth: In good times airlines break even, in bad times they lose money like automakers. This year the estimate is a $9 billion loss - without a run-up in the price of fuel. Maybe the whole concept of air travel needs reassessment.

Good Question: "Why is so much effort being put into propping up those at the top of the economic pyramid — the money-center banks, the insurance companies, the hedge funds and so forth — when during a period of deflation like the one we are in, any recovery will come only by restoring the confidence of the people down at the bottom of the pyramid?" There are several more; go read. As Michael Lewis observed, Wall Street is making a fortune cleaning up its own mess.

Porn O'Graph: Me? All my money was invested in the house.


Anonymous said...

RE: Model Behavior

That's right! Only climate warming computer models are correct.


tulsatime said...

Overpop- I saw the Nova episode about jellyfish, those big ones are really disgusting. The tiny ones are the most deadly though, so go figure.

Keith Hazelton Anecdotal Economist said...

Re: Definitions - What does 'jump' mean?

1.32% credit card 90-days delinquent is a meaningless number, as most banks already will have charged off a credit card account after 90 days past due, then pursue aggressive collections. Which is why Citi, and AmEx and Cap One now are posting 10%+ credit card charge-off rates, and why Advanta, with a 20%+ charge-off rate, simply stopped new credit card charges and advances completely last week for a million cardholders. (But they are supposed to keep paying the balances, as agreed, usually at 36% interest rates.)

Now where were those green shoots? I just saw them around here somewhere...

Anonymous said...

Re: Overpopulation - Jellyfish...

But are they good on toast?

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

On your point about the ecology of airlines - one has to ask things like "cui bono" or "who is the money coming from and going to" -

of course the pilots get off on flying planes, and the flight attendants like going all over the world and having wild sex with lots of different people, and the passengers want to go from point A to point B -

but what's floating the boat of the people who are paying for it?

To quote Bob Dylan, "something's going on, but you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?" [Ballad of a Thin Man - as he himself was in those days]

And speaking of not knowing what's going on, earlier today I saw a blogger pointing to a particular paragraph from Michael Lewis's article "The End", dated Nov. 11, 2008, in Portfolio:

>>[Steve] Eisman had long subscribed to Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, a newsletter famous in Wall Street circles and obscure outside them. Jim Grant, its editor, had been prophesying doom ever since the great debt cycle began, in the mid-1980s. In late 2006, he decided to investigate these things called C.D.O.’s. Or rather, he had asked his young assistant, Dan Gertner, a chemical engineer with an M.B.A., to see if he could understand them. Gertner went off with the documents that purported to explain C.D.O.’s to potential investors and for several days sweated and groaned and heaved and suffered. “Then he came back,” says Grant, “and said, ‘I can’t figure this thing out.’ And I said, ‘I think we have our story.’ ”<<