December 23, 2008
If you have been watching the news these past few months, you hear a lot of terms being thrown around while discussing the cause of our current financial mess. Things like hedge funds, credit default swaps and mortgage backed securities. I, like most people, have heard these terms for a while but don’t fully understand what they mean. Wiki helps a bit but sometimes reading what something means and understanding are two completely different things. That’s why I was so happy to find this guy (thanks to Greg Mankiw’s Blog (and I don’t understand half of what he says either but I still recommend reading it.))
Not only does he do an excellent job of explaining the murky and sometimes boring world of financial markets and big business, he also happens to be really cute and has a great Irish accent (this shit is important).
Hedge funds made simple:
Leverage and balloons. That’s the stuff.
More understanding (and cuteness) can be found here. Thanks, Paddy!
Sorry, Dan Mitchell. You are now officially considered back door trade.
August 22, 2008
August 8, 2008
This is an excellent piece about the state of our economy and America in general. And smack the next person who compares today’s economy to the Great Depression.
Here are the opening paragraphs:
When a presidential election year collides with iffy economic times, the public’s view of the U.S. economy turns gloomy. Perspective shrinks in favor of short-term assessments that focus on such unpleasant realities as falling job counts, sluggish GDP growth, uncertain incomes, rising oil and food prices, subprime mortgage woes, and wobbly financial markets.
Taken together, it’s enough to shake our faith in American progress. The best path to reviving that faith lies in gaining some perspective— getting out of the short-term rut, casting off the blinders that focus us on what will turn out to be mere footnotes in a longer-term march of progress. Once we do that, we see the U.S. economy, a $14 trillion behemoth, is doing quite well, thank you very much.
I promise you that you’ll feel better after reading the whole thing.
(h/t Cafe Hayek)
June 2, 2008
That ugly looking pregnant roller skate of a car is making a comeback. I’m talking about the Chevette of the 90s, the Geo Metro. With its 50 mpg fuel efficiency rating, an extremely frugal friend (read cheap bitch) of mine bought one in 1992 and I made fun of her for it (I don’t know why I felt so superior. At the time, I was driving an ’84 Accord with a bungee cord holding up the bumper). If she had only hung on to it (instead of trading up to that big assed Jeep Cherokee after she traded up to that cute(r) husband) she would be in Fat City now (or at least Serious Coin City).
Who says Detroit can’t build an inexpensive fuel efficient car? Oh yeah, the government does. The Metro (as built in 1991) doesn’t meet current safety standards. Anyway, you rock little ugly car. And in your honor:
May 28, 2008
I love getting my National Geographic Magazine every month but sometimes I wonder. The latest issue is devoted entirely to China. In this story, Gilded Age, Gilded Cage, I almost vomited when I read this:
Freedom is not always liberating for people who grew up in a stable socialist society; sometimes it feels more like a never ending struggle not to fall behind. A study has shown that 45 percent of Chinese urban residents are at health risk due to stress, with the highest rates among high school students
“Stable socialist society”? Really. Millions of people dying from famine and political violence can be compared to the “health risk due to stress”. Nice.
NatGeo is not alone in longing for the good ol’ days. This college professor, in his letter to the editor, also has a hard-on for Mao:
Today more and more Chinese working-class people look back at the Cultural Revolution years with fond memories. Despite some shortcomings of the Cultural Revolution, China was a socialist society that was overcoming inequality with full employment, free medical care and free education for its citizens.
Yeah. If only they had worked out those shortcomings…
April 1, 2008
Should you really be handing out the Workers Vanguard at an anti-war rally in this outfit? This is what I got when I typed “CCCP zip up” into Google. The first fucking link. The track jacket at the discount site costs $45.00 (without shipping) and (surprise) is not made in America. Wow! For that kind of money, the average Cuban might consider staying in a Cuban hotel for one night. Add to that, Kevin Federline was their company’s spokesman.
And the turd under the nose look isn’t helping.
(h/t the non-Federline Kevin )
March 18, 2008
There’s a lot in this clip that I think is either stupid or political pandering (or both):
This takes it:
Steve Croft: Does this country need manufacturing?
HRC: Yes. You know, that’s one of my, you know, that’s one of my biggest arguments with some of the people on Wall Street and elsewhere who have given up on manufacturing. I think the Bush Administration couldn’t care less. I think that’s a grave mistake. We’ve got to keep making things.
That’s a sentiment you hear a lot. America doesn’t make anything anymore. Our manufacturing base is being outsourced to Mexico and China. What are we to do?
Well, it turns out that America is doing fine in the making stuff department:
The chart in its original format can be found here (pdf).
December 28, 2007
The bad news: Home-Price Declines Biggest on Record*:
Single-family home prices in the top U.S. markets declined in October at a record pace from year-ago levels, signaling that the gloom in the housing market may be far from over.
The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed an annual decline of 6.7% in the 10-city composite, according to data released yesterday. The previous largest decline on record was 6.3%, recorded in April 1991.
That is scary. Home prices fell 6.7% from October 2006 to October 2007. One thing they don’t mention: home prices rose 175% from October 1997 to October 2006. Shouldn’t that be taken into consideration? That, in turn, brings me to the good news. Homes are now more affordable:
The silver lining behind the latest home-price data is that they signal the market is making what most economists see as a necessary adjustment, dragging home prices back into closer alignment with Americans’ ability to pay. The market is working its way “back to reality,” says David Seiders, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders.
For those that bought at the peak, it sucks (if you have to move anytime soon). For those looking to buy a house, start looking for some deals.
*As the article states, this is a measure of twenty major metropolitan areas . Here in podunk, we never saw the incredible price appreciation that they did and are still enjoying modest YoY gains. Your mileage may vary.