Friday, May 25, 2018
Thursday, May 24, 2018
Hey, so Bitcoin's only $7500 now, eh?
BBC - Trump lawyer paid by Ukraine to arrange White House talks. God, Republicans must like doing the bidding of Russia for this clown to stay in office.
New Deal Democrat - RIP bond market. I doubt it. You need for people to suddenly not have any money to invest, or for worldwide debt to suddenly explode higher at a faster rate than worldwide savings. Interest rates are a demographic phenomenon.
CCN - US government opens probe into Bitcoin price manipulation. And just like that, it's the end.
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Tim Taylor - on US teachers quitting for other fields. This shows you how desperate they are to leave an utterly fucking dismal field:
"Teachers are leaving their jobs for other careers at a rate that has grown steadily every year in the past three years. ... The majority of educators leaving Educational Services (NAICS Sector 61) are starting careers in the Healthcare and Social Assistance sector. ... For starters, some jobs in Healthcare and Social Assistance, which includes nurses, child care and family assistance services, often require some of the same skills. “Administrative Services,” which includes office workers, is another category that attracts many educators leaving the workforce."
Seriously, healthcare and social assistance? Nursing and child care? Those are fucking horrible jobs that everyone with a choice will avoid. For teachers to go into those fields means their own jobs are dismal. They'd rather compete with Mexican illegal immigrants to change diapers or babysit toddlers for $12/hr jobs than continue teaching.
You've wrecked the teaching profession.
And now, some fuckstick in Texas is saying he wants teachers to carry guns, so that when the next nutcase with an automatic starts shooting up a school, they can heroically protect the lives of our children.
Problem 1: teachers are paid less than police. Police get paid extra cos they can get shot at. Right now, teachers are leaving the profession because they're not even getting paid enough to teach. Do you want to pay teachers more?
Problem 2: Police have the legal power to shoot to kill. Teachers don't. Are you going to rewrite the law to give teachers the right to kill?
Problem 3: Police are blanket indemnified against tortious claims for anything they do while lawfully performing their job. Are you going to indemnify teachers in law?
Problem 4: Police are trained in firearm use. Fuck, movie prop guys are trained in firearm use. Are you going to pay teachers for firearm training and certification?
Problem 5: Police have health coverage so that when they get shot, the health care and rehabilitation cost doesn't bankrupt their family. Do you want to extend that health coverage to evil, socialist, gay-agenda-promoting teachers?
Problem 6: Some American teachers, probably most, have been selected on the basis of teaching ability, not on the basis of the ability to make an instant life-or-death decision in a firefight. What are you going to do? Fire them all and replace them with ex-Marines? Ex-Marines cost more.
New Deal Demoncrat - interest rate and gas price watch.
NDD identifies interest rates and gas prices as the two things that will be early indicators for the next economic slowdown.
Bell rung, watchlist identified, his first watch call since the 2009 crisis ended.
Which is better than some clown bloggers out there, who make up a new cutesy slogan and watchlist and looming apocalypse every six months for their goddamn incomprehensible investment newsletter where they describe the decisions that make them significantly less money than if they'd just bought a passive S&P 500 index ETF.
WSJ RTE - prescription rates driving the opioid crisis, not unemployment.
Textbook statistical study here.
If joblessness was a cause of drug abuse, then the differential impacts of the 2008 crisis on different states would show a differential effect on drug abuse.
But the data don't show that.
Thus, it's really just a case of Republican states (where addiction is more common) being full of doctors who love prescribing drugs. And Republican voters loving taking drugs, instead of trusting in Christ to lead them through times of difficulty.
As an aside, Jordan Peterson (yeah, I've been watching him, wanted to see what the fuss was about) makes the point that "people who are depressed feel physical pain more, it's statistically proven. And people who feel pain more get prescribed more opioids." Thus, Republican states must be more psychologically depressing states.
If that's the case, then the above study must show that Republican depression has nothing to do with economic hardship.
Maybe Peterson can explain whether more hateful people feel depression more.
Or maybe whether the cognitive dissonance required to profess love of Christ and patriotism, while simultaneously hating the 50% of Americans who don't vote for your party, correlates with increased depression and physical pain.
New Deal Demoncrat - dear professor Krugman....
You never admit that you read my blog. Why would you expect that K-dog will admit to reading your blog?
Seriously, though, the Krugginator tends to stay away from social media because it's full of dickless fucksticks constantly trying to make their mark by taking on Teh Ebil Krugman Sociamalist, kinda like an army of WWF fans demanding a title shot with the heavyweight champion without ever having contested a match. He even ignores taunts from the St. Louis Fed's resident clown Stephen Williamson, leaving it to DeLong to respond to Williamson's idiotic jawboning.
Put succinctly, K-dog always has a choice of how to apportion scarce resources. He can
1) chat with a large pool of distinguished economist friends like Mo Obstfeld, Larry Summers or Barry Eichengreen on economics topics that extend his knowledge and understanding, or
2) read a blog by some guy.
If K-dog is a rational maximizer of utility facing a time constraint, he will always choose 1 over 2.
Just accept that we all can't be the blog that Obama relied on to provide him with critical national security insights in the midst of an international crisis.
Monday, May 21, 2018
Friday, May 18, 2018
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Bespoke - S&P 500 trailing 12-month PE. Wherein they give you pictures like this:
And if you look real close you'll see that while yes, it would have been bad to buy at the 30 peak in 2000, it was a fucking amazing time for a long-termer to buy in early 1992.
Now you have a reason to ignore forever any fuckstick who whines about the S&P trailing 12-month PE.
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Branko Milanovic - a geographical hypothesis for why the Balkans are underdeveloped. He brings up 20th century communism and earlier Turk exploitation as explanations, then includes high mountains (as barriers to land travel) and contiguity with the Ukrainian steppe (as enabling constant invasions) as new explanations.
Unfortunately, Branko forgets that trade never happened over land in this era. It was always by sea, where transportation costs are a tiny fraction of the land transportation costs.
There are a few counterexamples, like the land silk route thru Asia (which required a single massive empire to enable it) and the later land gold route through Africa (ditto). But boring trade of boring average commodities happened by sea and river.
And the interior of the Balkans was inaccessible from the sea due to the Iron Gates. There was no way to get from the Black Sea to Hungary and beyond, except by trails. There was I guess a road from Venice through Carinthia to the Austrian interior, but there again you have the problem of roads being too expensive for travel. Thus there could be no external trade connections with the Balkans, thus no wealth.
So there's an alternate theory for you.
You could counter that the massive Hungarian silver and gold deposits exploited starting in the 13th century became a good replacement for wealth by trade... but then you'd have to do the work to figure out if the Balkan-Western wealth gap narrowed during that time. It may have: they built a fuckton of new castles and saw massive immigration from Germany.
As for invasions, why not look at the economy of Hungary before and after their slaughter at the hands of the Mongols in 1241-2? Hungary in fact bounced back rather quickly from a very thorough genocide: ten years later they were healthy enough to go back to constant war with Bohemia, with a few hundred new stone castles having been built in their territory. I think the effect of invasions and slaughters is a lot different in the middle ages, where no economies were operating anywhere near capacity in the first place.
at 2:19 AM
Monday, May 14, 2018
Nouriel Roubini - cryptocurrency scams. Crypto is beginning to sound even stupider and stupider:
Initial coin offerings have become the most common way to finance cryptocurrency ventures, of which there are now nearly 1,600 and rising. In exchange for your dollars, pounds, euros, or other currency, an ICO issues digital “tokens,” or “coins,” that may or may not be used to purchase some specified good or service in the future.
Huh... that kinda sounds like massive hyperinflation through money printing, doesn't it?
Thus it is little wonder that, according to the ICO advisory firm Satis Group, 81% of ICOs are scams created by con artists, charlatans, and swindlers looking to take your money and run. It is also little wonder that only 8% of cryptocurrencies end up being traded on an exchange, meaning that 92% of them fail.
Wow. Well, thankfully, from my own experience here at university, most of these scams are only fleecing corrupt Chinese communist party officials.
If you invest in a conventional (non-crypto) business, you are afforded a variety of legal rights – to dividends if you are a shareholder, to interest if you are a lender, and to a share of the enterprise’s assets should it default or become insolvent. Such rights are enforceable because securities and their issuers must be registered with the state.
Moreover, in legitimate investment transactions, issuers are required to disclose accurate financial information, business plans, and potential risks. There are restrictions limiting the sale of certain kinds of high-risk securities to qualified investors only. And there are anti-money-laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) regulations to prevent tax evasion, concealment of ill-gotten gains, and other criminal activities such as the financing of terrorism.
In the Wild West of ICOs, most cryptocurrencies are issued in breach of these laws and regulations, under the pretense that they are not securities at all. Hence, most ICOs deny investors any legal rights whatsoever. They are generally accompanied by vaporous “white papers” instead of concrete business plans. Their issuers are often anonymous and untraceable. And they skirt all AML and KYC regulations, leaving the door open to any criminal investor.
Wow. Again, I guess, easy come easy go.
In fact, the only reason to restrict a purchase to token-holders is to create an illegal cartel of service providers who are safe from price competition and in a position to gouge their customers. Consider Dentacoin, a ridiculous cryptocurrency that can be spent only on dental services (and which almost no dentist actually accepts). It would be hard to come up with a better illustration of why business cartels are illegal in all civilized countries.
Of course, the crypto-cartels would counter that customers who incur the cost of buying a token will benefit if that token appreciates in value. But this makes no sense. If the price of the token rises above the market value of the good or service being provided, then no one would buy the token. The only plausible reason for forcing the use of a token, then, is to hike prices or bilk investors.
Wow^2. Seems like the people buying this garbage don't even know basic economics... which I guess is understandable if their only education has been the Mises Institute or some Ron Paul videos.
Friday, May 11, 2018
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
CCN - Charlie Munger says trading bitcoin nearly as bad as trading in harvested baby brains. This guy's great:
The 94-year-old Munger then proceeded to compare cryptocurrency trading to dealing in “freshly harvested baby brains,” arguing that both would be immoral even if profitable.
“Suppose you could make a lot of money trading freshly harvested baby brains. Would you do it?” he asked. “To me bitcoin is almost as bad.”
Munger then took aim at bitcoin proponents, alleging that it is disgraceful to promote cryptoassets and chastising them that it is “beneath you.”
“I regard the whole thing as a combination of dementia and immorality. I think the people pushing it are a disgrace,” he concluded. “There ought to be some things that are beneath you, that you just don’t do, and this is one.”
To be fair, harvested baby brains won't make McAfee eat his own dick on national TV.