Friday, April 29, 2011

Reprise: World Reserve Currency. V.

World Reserve Currency. V.

Today I elaborate on the prospects for the future of the World Reserve Currencies [sic].

Since World War II the United States of America has been the engine of growth for world trade and economic development. What evidence is there for this ? The US decadal trade deficit proves that conclusion. The people of the US have been willing, and the government has permitted them to, buy everything they wished to buy from the other nations of the world. Those nations received dollars that they used to buy the goods of other nations or to invest in US government debt to provide a base of value for their own local currencies. Or they could buy US real estate, stocks, or even whole companies. The high relative freedom in, to and from America gave confidence to all those dollars were worth something. The stable US republic and its military might gave confidence to all that the US was going to be there - period, full stop.

Now due to demographics and barring a new boom in immigration, the US population will level off and slowly age in future decades. From Marketing 101, the prime spending years of households is in the 25 to 49 age bracket. Some might say 54 is the upper limit to relatively high spending. In either case, growth in numbers in that age cohort will stop. The US over time will certainly stop importing more goods and services from other nations. The recent US trade deficit numbers show this fact and the trend rather clearly to anyone who wishes to look with an open mind.

That means fewer dollars flowing overseas to other nations' central banks. That means lower growth in their monetary bases. That means overall, lower growth in the world's money supply. And from simple monetary economics, that means lower world economic growth. Money supply growth is a necessary condition to economic growth - read Milton Friedman's work. Yes, lower ... unless other nations step up and start buying with their currencies.

What will that do ? That will provide a start to multiple world reserve currencies. This is a good thing, but will take decades to occur as the confidence in those currencies like the Euro or yen will take a long time to build. [Forget about the Chinese yuan until China becomes a stable democracy - maybe in 100 years. Ditto the Russia and the ruble.]

What about the IMF's "special drawing rights? Laughable. Does anyone have "confidence" in the UN ? Hahahahahaha.

For all the talk about other world reserve currencies, the simple truth is that the ball is in the court of other nations. If a nation (or nations) wants its (their) currency to be a reserve currency, prove it. Hello Europe, China ? Make yourself into a stable republic. Build up your own military ... for defensive purposes. Encourage your citizens to expand there horizons and BUY ! That goes to Japan, too. Prove you have staying power and are trustworthy. And economically expansive and free. Stop bloviating. You can do it in ... in 50 years, perhaps.


Why does receipt of a Nobel Prize for some sophisticated work in economics make these guys experts on banking ? I guess that alternate name for that prize might be the "Great Badge of Ego".

Word of the Day

"Tenebrous" - adjective [$10] literary; many adjective, verb and noun $1000 variations with the root, tenebr- exist, such as "tenebrity".

Tenebrous means dark, gloomy.

Sentence: Bunkerman is sick and tired of hearing endless tenebrous bloviations about the world economy, that all just seem to say, it's bad out there so it will stay bad. If that was true, the world would still be in the Great Depression of 1893 [sic !!!].

Le Mot Du Jour

"Homard" - noun, masculine.
Homard means lobster.
La Phrase: Selon l'homme du bunker, le homard est simplement un véhicle pour mettre de buerre dans la bouche.
Sentence: According to Bunkerman, lobster is simply a vehicle for putting butter into the mouth.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Reprise: World Reserve Currency. IV.

World Reserve Currency. IV.

Today I elaborate on criterion III, viz., "the currency must have a widely accepted value (even if such value fluctuates moderately). "

What destroys a nation's currency ? I mean actually destroys it, not the hyperventilation of the pundits about a bit of inflation.

1. Loss of a major war.
2. Revolution.
3. Close calls with either of the above.

Over the past 100 years, China, Germany, Japan, France, Italy, Spain, Russia and Great Britain have all suffered one or two or all of the above. The US has not.

What nation NOW has the military power to forestall ANY concern about loss of a major war?

The United States of America.

What nation has had a stable, democratically elected republic for over 200 years ?

The United States of America.
What nation's currency has over 100 years of continuous value for the purchase of goods or services ?

The United States of America. I recently received a quarter minted in 1910 as change at a drug store. That quarter was still accepted as true money. This is NOT true for even the British pound. Old currency is NOT accepted, but must be turned in at the Bank of England with great inconvenience.

I have a few hundred Deutche Marks in my safe that are now effectively worthless, as the Euro has replaced them. But old US currency even the 19th century is still acceptable as money. It's actually worth a lot more than its face value to collectors. But that money is still money.

What nation has a large enough economy to permit other nation's to be assured of being able to actually spend the money they hold as reserves for their own currency?

The United States of America.

Recent news reports show that nation of big mouth leaders, Red China, refusing to let Coca-Cola purchase even a simple juice company. So much for any value for the Chinese yuan in size. Government permission is needed to spend it. And that means risk of confiscation.


Krypto wants me to makes sales of stocks across the board, in all but emerging markets.  All proceeds to cash, until bond & TIPs prices improve.

Word of the Day

"Wain" - noun [$10] archaic.
"Wainwright" - noun [$10]
Wain means a wagon. Wainwright means a wagon maker.
Sentence: LBJ's "anti-poverty" programs created poverty by providing incentives to climb onto the wain to ride while others pulled it. The Reagan years of supply side provided incentives to become a wainwright (metaphorically), not a mere rider. And the Clinton welfare reforms pushed many of the lazy riders off the wain.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Reprise: World Reserve Currency. III.

World Reserve Currency. III.

Today I elaborate on criteria II, viz. "the currency must be widely used in international trade."

Why ?

To state the obvious, a world reserve currency must be USEFUL in the world, viz., useful in world trade as that's what money is used for: trade in goods and services.

Hmmm ... can anyone think of commodities that are priced in something other than dollars ?

Cocoa is priced principally in British pounds, as 40% of the world's supplies come from Ivory Coast, a former British colony. I suppose there are others, but I can't think of them now.

Nothing is priced in Chinese yuan. So much for the bloviation of the Red Chinese leader. Nothing is priced in rubles. Ditto for Putin's blather. How about the Euro ? Uh ... zippo. The Euros only been around for about ten years. Eventually perhaps. The Swiss franc ? I suppose cuckoo clocks are priced in Swiss francs. The Japanese yen ? Nope. The Canadian $ ? Nope. The Aussie dollar ? Nope. Gold ? nope. Silver ? Nope.

The US dollar ? Hmm, that list would fill the page.

What about the SDR, the International Monetary Fund's currency blend ? Nope. Nothing is priced in it, not even economists' salaries.

How can something be a "reserve" if it's not very, very useful for trade ?

Lots of pundits and polemics in the US and Arabia and other nations talk about pricing goods and services in other currencies, but they all seem to run into the problems discussed in criteria number I. Not enough of those other currencies are held around the world to make that practical. The cause of that fact was written about Monday, so I won't repeat it.

The US dollar is the only currency widely accepted in international trade and is the pricing currency for nearly every widely traded commodity in the world. No other currency is even a glimmer in the eye of the dreamer.

Word of the Day

"Eldritch" - adjective (Scottish) [$10]
Eldritch means 1. wierd; 2. hideous.
Sentence: The eldritch SDR of the IMF is a joke, being a mere computer conflation of the currencies of the IMF's major contributors of capital.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Reprise: World Reserve Currency. II.

A continuation in my repetition of past writings on current topics of interest.  If all pundits read my blogs and learned, this would not be necessary.  Sigh ... they are lazy, though, and prefer to bloviate, blab & blather instead of thinking.

World Reserve Currency. II.

In response to a question, the reason for these posts about a "World Reserve Currency" is the recent public suggestions by Red China and others that a new reserve currency replace the US dollar. In my thinking about the matter, the realization that those proposing such and the pundits discussing same had no understanding about what they were bloviating quickly become evident.

Yesterday the general criterion for a currency to be a "World Reserve Currency" were listed and the defects of gold and silver for such role were explained.

Today I elaborate on criterion I, viz. "The currency is held by central banks of many nations to provide a base of value for their local currencies."

The currency is, or will be, held by the central banks of many nations to provide a base of value for their local currencies. That's what being a "reserve currency" means, The Reserve Currency is the core monetary base of those nations, in addition to whatever small amounts of gold or silver they own. Let's call the Reserve Currency "RC" for neutrality of the discussion, and the various local currencies "LC". The money supply of those nations becomes inextricably tied to the amount of RC their central banks hold. If the nation expands LC too much compared to its RC, it will likely experience inflation and the perception by its people that the value of their LC is being diminished.

The nation will need RC for this international trade. If too much LC exists and creates more and more demand for imports (that must be paid in RC), that demand for RC to purchase those will slowly drive down the value of LC. Temporarily this demand for RC can be filled by loans. But the amount of loans is limited or default risk grows too large. Thus one can see that the nation must have some net inflows of RC - Reserve Currency - broadly over the long term to have an LC - local currency - that maintains its value.

One can see how and why the local currencies of nations like Argentina and Ukraine can collapse: they simply run out of dollars for international trade and debt service as too much local currency is printed compared to the amounts of reserve currencies they hold. And one can see that without the RC, the population of the nation will be unable to operate in international trade or to purchase anything not produced internally. That people will lose confidence of the local currency's value quite rapidly in any crisis or stress. Such a government can maintain the value of the LC internally only be restricting the freedom of the people at act in international trade, which means foregoing the enormous benefits of having a free economy with free people.

Tomorrow I address Criterion II. Over this week I plan to explore all the dimensions of this fascinating subject.

Word of the Day

"Inspissate" - verb, transitive [$10] literary; "Inspissation" - noun; "Inspissator" - noun.
Inspissate means thicken, condense.
Inspissator means an apparatus for thickening serum, etc. by heat.
Sentence: [T. S. Eliot, Selected Prose, Dante, pg. 207] "... undoubtedly there is an opacity, or inspissation of poetic style throughout Europe after the Renaissance."

Monday, April 25, 2011

Reprise: World Reserve Currency. I.

So much discussion - mostly blather - has bubbled about in the past few weeks by the usual mindless pundits that a reprise of my 2009 series on the nature and purpose of a world reserve currency, and an examination of candidates therefor, must be posted.  This series first appeared the week of April 13, 2009 in five parts.

World Reserve Currency. I

This is the first in a short series about the necessary and sufficient conditions for a currency to be a reserve currency for the world.

First, what is a world reserve currency ?

A world reserve currency is a currency that has three characteristics. The currency is (I) held by central banks of many nations to provide a base of value for their local currencies; (II) the currency must be widely used in international trade; and (III) the currency must have a widely accepted value (even if such value fluctuates moderately). The second condition relates to the practical aspects of money. Money is used to trade goods and services. The third condition is required for nations and people to be willing to hold it for long periods of time - they must be satisfied they can buy something with it eventually.

This second characteristic is where gold and silver fail. There is simply not enough gold & silver in the world and it is bulky and heavy. I know that first hand. The gold bugs say the value of gold & silver should rise to the level needed to supply enough money to be useful. Unfortunately, that level is so far above their intrinsic value as jewelry or for industrial purposes that the third condition is violated. [By the way, I include silver as it was widely used before paper currencies to provide small change - viz., ready money.]

Now, let's deal with condition I. What is obvious about that condition ? tick ... tick ... tick ... the music is running out.

A world reserve currency MUST ... and I mean that MUST ... be exported to those other central banks. How else can it be their reserves ? Any nation that proposes to have its currency become a world reserve currency MUST run a large current account deficit. That eliminates the euro for now. Major European nations like Germany want to have export driven economies. Euros just won't flow overseas until European behavior changes. And the same applies to the yen. And the same applies to the Swiss franc. And even the Chinese yuan. The British pound could once have qualified - it once was a world reserve currency before the two world wars.

Only the dollar is left standing ... for now. Other nations' behavior may change in the future, however. I'll write more on this subject this week.



Word of the Day

"Facticity" - noun [$100]
Facticity means the condition or quality of being a fact; factuality.
Sentence:  Pundits blathering about the dollar as the world reserve currency simply don't think at all about the nature of its facticity.  But I suppose the assumption that pundits think at all is wrong:  they just blather or blab or bloviate.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I Survived the Beast

Spring has hit the Beast, aka Manhattan, NYC.  Flowers were in bloom everywhere, and even men's fashions were a wee bit better.  Your writer was the best dressed fellow in the Grill Room at the Harvard Club, again, though.  Sartorial excellence of the typical lawyer/banker/investment manager was lacking for the most part.  Most men men wear the same boring solid dark grey suits, a plain white shirt and a simple tie of dull colors.  Worse, they wear a blue shirt with that combination.  Ugh.  Dullsville.

Your writer, of course, wears pinstripes, sports a babe-magnet tie, a colorful pocket square, and an ivory shirt with gold cufflinks.  I collected more compliments from beautiful women.  Guys:  don't be so drab and boring.  Wear some color and gold.  Learn from the birds: the male should try to look better.

Business seems very good, at least from the action at the club lunch rooms and bars.  The Ruling Class is doing rather well now.

Will any crumbs fall to the common man and woman?  So far, the answer is no.  Big business shifts jobs overseas.  The Ruling Class in the Dark City wants to cut benefits for the common man and tax them more.  Will the people rise up ... or at least speak up?  They have the technology now to organize better.  The people need to get more active and press their own needs.


None yet.  More selling looms by Krypto.

Word of the Day

"Plenitude" - noun [$10] literary
Plenitude means 1. fullness, completeness; 2. abundance.
Sentence:  Central Park showed a plentifude of blossoms and color yesterday.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Word of the Day

"Epicure" - noun [$10]
Epicure means a person with refined tastes, esp. in food and drink.
Sentence:  No one on Earth could mistake Bunkerman for an epicure as he eats a cheeseburger made with Velveeta cheese & ketchup.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Taxes. IV.

Today I reprise ideas of prior posts regarding how the corporate income tax should be reformed, and expand on those ideas.

Corporate tax reforms

(I) eliminate the deduction for all interest expense (must be phased in over time) except for (a) banks and finance companies (as interest for them is an ordinary cost of business), (b) working capital loans secured by inventory, and (c) other loans secured by equipment or real estate.  All unsecured corporate debt (in the past called debentures) is simply capital fungible with equity, hence should not be subsidized by the taxpayer.  In olden times, it was called "water" in the capital structure.

This reform will eliminate many abuses:  overleveraged, private equity scams, etc.

(II) tax US corporations on worldwide income - no more free ride on income in foreign lands;

(III) eliminate deductions for ANY compensation above a fixed number such as the salary of the US President;

(IV) permit expensing of all costs for machinery and equipment as paid;

(V) lower the corporate rate to equal the income tax rate for individuals (as reformed by Bunkerman);

(VI) include a big, one time small business exemption of something like $1 million that can be carried forward until used;

(VII) move all other deductions for business expenses to a cash basis - this will simplify everything and eliminate most of the games that corporations play now to reduce taxes;

(VIII) eliminate all tax preferences and tax credits for everything except foreign taxes actually paid.

That's about it.  Simple and fair.

Word of the Day

"Despite" - noun usage [$10] T. S. Eliot. Archaic or literary.
Despite means (preposition) in spite of; (noun - archaic or literary) 1. outrage, injury; 2. malice, hatred (died of mere despite).
Sentence: [T. S. Eliot, Selected Prose, "Tennyson", p. 247] "... he has been rewarded with the despite of an age that succeeds his own in shallowness."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Taxes. III

Today the estate tax, tomorrow the corporate tax.

The proper tax on estates is easy:  ALL assets are marked to fair market value and ALL capital gains are realized on death and transfer in the estate to heirs.  There shall be NO deduction for anything.  The rate shall be the same rate as for the income tax.  Asset transfers to spouses shall defer the tax until the spouse passes.  That's it.

The gift tax is integrated into the estate tax:  ANY gifts of appreciated property shall cause capital gains to be realized and the tax paid by the donee or donor, as specified in the gift. No other gift tax shall exist.

Simple.  Easy.  Fair.  The Bunkerman approach to government

Word of the Day

"Adumbrate" - verb [$10]
Adumbrate means to give a sketchy outline; to foreshadow.
Sentence:  In his blog this week, Bunkerman adumbrates a K. I. S. S. approach to true tax reform.  Hello Barry, are you reading?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Taxes. II.

Today I shall adumbrate how the income tax system can - should - be reformed. 

Objective:  a simple, fair system understandable by all sentient human beings.

There are two rules: 

1.  ALL income (profit) is taxed at the same rate.  No deductions.
2.  Adults receive a large personal exemption, children/dependents a smaller one; both are computed to reflect reasonable costs of a simple and frugal household lifestyle.

Thus in Bunkerman's K. I. S. S. income tax system, that tax emulates a simple tax on household profits, the amounts a household has after that costs of a simple, frugal life style.

My guess:  the adult exemption would be about $20,000, the child/dependent exemption would be about $5,000. Thus the prototypical "family of four" would receive the first $50,000 without any income tax. [Don't forget, they will be paying the Bunkerman VAT, hence paying something to support the government].

No deductions means no deductions.  No deductions for mortgage interest, charity donations, medical expenses, state/local incomes taxes, property taxes ... nothing.

ALL income would be taxed EQUALLY.  That means municipal bonds, rents, capital gains, wages, business profits, pensions ... everything.

This would be the ONLY tax on anything related to incomes:  no added taxes for Social Security, Medicare, etc.  Those benefits are paid out of general revenues, which includes the VAT and estate taxes.

That's it.  Simple, understandable, doable.

Tomorrow:  the estate tax.

Future Posts:  the corporate tax and the VAT.

Word of the Day

"Disport" - verb & noun [10]
Disport means (verb, intransitive and reflexive) frolic, gambol, enjoy oneself (disported on the sand, disported themselves at sth); (noun, archaic) 1. relaxation; 2. a pastime.
Sentence:  His taxes completed, this afternoon Bunkerman intends to disport himself with a local friend at the MG range, capping off a few hundred rounds of 9mm.  That metal target is going to sound like Lionel Hampton.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I finished doing my taxes yesterday: Federal and state income taxes and estimated taxes for 2011, a very long and ultimately painful process as I saw how much I pay to support the governments.

All rational persons who believe in freedom and happiness must agree that the US system is an utter disgrace and a violation of the principles upon which the US was built.  There is no doubt the Founding Fathers would revolt against the current system.

The simple problem is that system attempts to raise too much money from one source, viz. incomes.

The systems taxes wage income, investment incomes, income from property, and corporate incomes with a panoply of complex taxes and rules far too complex.

Let's think about happiness.  All should contribute something to the support of the government in a manner that burdens happiness the least.  There are two material (in both senses of the word) supports to securing happiness:  income and use of goods/services.

Thus obviously the current system neglects taxing a huge resource for happiness:  use of goods/services.  That resource is simply not paying its fair share.

What is a fair tax system?  All resources to happiness pay equal taxes to support the government.

True tax reform will subject all income to an single tax and all use of goods/services to an single tax.  True tax reform will have the following elements:

1. a uniform VAT on all goods & services (whether imported or made/done in the US).
2. a uniform income tax on ALL incomes (and I mean ALL).

The tax system will not be used for social engineering; it simply shall be a system to collect money with the least disturbance to the path of any person's happiness.

Social support systems would be direct and NOT be created via tax benefits or deductions or credits.

I will write about the details later this week, perhaps in several blogs.

Word of the Day

"Consentient" - adjective [$10]
Consentient means 1. agreeing, united in opinion; 2. concurrent; 3. (often followed by 'to') consenting.
Sentence:  All sentient beings must be consentient in thinking that the US tax revenue system is a disgrace to the Declaration of Independence.

Monday, April 11, 2011

What is a Coney?

That is the subject of a jocular discussion between Mrs. B & myself this weekend, which spread to a dog agility event in New Hampshire.  For background, Mrs. B grew up in Brooklyn and I grew up in my hometown in central/SE Ohio. 

To a New Yorker, a coney is what was sold at Coney Island in New York City - the original.  Ordering a coney, one received a hot dog slathered in mustard & sauerkraut in a bun.  Those are still sold on the streets of New York from the numerous carts that sell food in Manhattan. 

BUT in the heartland of the US, a coney is different.  It's not even named after the Coney Island of New York City.  There was a Coney Island amusement park in Cincinnati years ago.  And it sold coneys!

The Ohio (and Indiana) coney is a hot dog slathered in chili / sloppy joe sauce, mustard and onions.  Very tasty!  We had those often at home as a boy; one could also buy them at the old root beer stands (A&W or Stewart's) or at the various Dairy Queens.  They even sold a foot-long Coney!

I made Ohio-style coneys over the weekend.  Here's the recipe:

Use good hot dogs - I used Black Angus beef hot dogs made 8#/lb.  The mustard was Buckeye Mustard made in Ohio.  The sauce was made with a pound of Black Angus 85% lean burger and a can of Manwich (just follow directions on the can).  I chopped up an onion myself.  Just boil the hot dogs a few minutes.

Take the hot dog bun, line both interior sides with mustard, put a hot dog into it, slather with as much sauce as possible, top with as much onions as will fit.  Eat & enjoy! 

Lol, be sure to have a good napkin & a spoon to gather up the goodies that drop off.  Mmmmmm.  Far, far better than the New York Coney!

The Ohio coney is a fine example of American ingenuity.  The New Yorkers made a good start, but then the Ohioians improvised to improve it to create a superior product.

I'm looking forward to leftovers this week.

Word of the Day

"Conjuncture" - noun [$10]
Conjuncture means a combination of events; a state of affairs.
Sentence:  Is the conjuncture of the Panic of 2008, the Great Recession and the ongoing retirement of the baby boomers sufficient to cause American leaders to "think outside the box" for governmental reform?  I doubt it. We mostly have the same old fools and knaves in the Dark City in the swamp.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Libertarianism is Fatally Flawed

My posts of October 18, 19, and 20 of 2010 proved that Libertarianism as a doctrine for government and the economy simply is fundamentally flawed both in theory and practice.  Here are the links:

The axiomatic basis of Libertarianism is wrong:  maximal freedom does NOT maximise happiness.

Libertarianism seems "good" on some measures in a static, time static world, but it fails in a dynamic world when changes can occur over time.

Libertarianism leads to a world dominated by Vikings, whether in reality or metaphorically. 

Feudalism arises from Libertarianism:  the rich and powerful enserf the common man and woman.  The Vikings who have looted from the people create a new aristocracy for themselves and their descendants.

Toss unrestrained Libertarianism onto the junk heap of history.  All talk using its principles should be viewed in the same light as Marxist talk:  simply wrong and worthless in any argument.

Word of the Day

"Abnegate" - verb [$10] and "Abnegation" - noun [$10]
Abnegate means 1. to give up or deny oneself (a pleasure, etc.); 2. renounce or reject.
Abnegation means 1. denial; the rejection or renunciation of  a doctrine; 2. = self-denial.
Sentence:  Intellectual honesty mandates the abnegation of Libertarianism by its adherents.  Libertarians!  Bunkerman calls on you to abnegate your doctrine; it's a failure and fundamentally flawed in theory and practice.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Word of the Day

"Disjuncture" - noun [$10]
Disjuncture means a disjointed state, a separation, or disconnection.
Sentence:  The disjuncture between the far left and the far right cannot be bridged; it's time for leadership to come forward in the center of the American polity.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

More Selling

Krypto wants me to sell some European stocks; I will obey via VGK, the Vanguard European stock ETF.

Word of the Day

"Unctuous" - adjective [$10] also "unctious"
Unctuous means 1. having the quality or characteristics of oil or ointment, greasy; 2. (of behavior, speech) unpleasantly flattering.
Sentence:  I grimace when an unctuous guest on Babblevision or Blabberg says, "that's a great question": it's simply kissing the host's butt, kowtowing for favorable treatment.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

More Selling


Krypto wants me to sell some more gold or silver.  I'd like to get my gold/silver ratio under 2:1, so will sell some more silver bullion.  It's not too useful for civil strife, being heavy to transport compared to its value.  Taking a trip to the bank vaults this morning ...

Word of the Day

"Pyrrhonism" - noun [$10] a T. S. Eliot word (can be used upper or lower case)
Pyrrhonism means the philosophy of Pyrrho of Ellis (c. 300 BC) maintaining that certainty of knowledge is unattainable.  Compare to "skepticism" meaning a habit of examining evidence and the capacity for delayed decision"
Sentence: (from T. S. Eliot) "Where skepticism is strength, pyrrhonism is weakness:  for we need not only the strength to defer a decision, but the strength to make one."

Bunkerman is a skeptic, not a pyrrhonist, that human activities have caused any material global warming:  until the cause of multi-hundred year climate change is understood, no one can claim the same effects are not causing today's warmer climate.  There were no SUVs around 1,000 years ago to cause the Earth to be warmer then than now.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Some Selling

Krypto wants me to sell some emerging market stocks; I will obey this AM by selling some VWO, the Vanguard ETF for that sector.  A plethora of sell signals loom if Ms. Market keeps dancing on the table.

Word of the Day

"Appetency" - noun [$10] a T. S. Eliot word
Appetency means longing or desire.
Sentence:  Whining in appetency for 'someone' to do something accomplishes nothing.  The people need to use their power themselves.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Hogs at the Trough

Is there any wonder why Main Street hates Wall Street?  The sheer greed and rampant looting by the Street Vikings, and the pompous posturing, makes me puke.  And get angry.  The latest example is that multimillionaire lieutenant of Warren Buffet being such a hog that he just has to buy a huge position in a stock before recommending to Warren Buffet that Berkshire Hathaway buy the company at a huge mark-up.  He was front running his own employer!

Despite vague statements, I doubt that the front running was legal; under simple, longstanding principles of common law, an employee's duty is to the employer in this type of action.  Such front running is statutorily illegal in many analogous professions, such as real estate broker.  It certainly was not ethical.

I'll give octogenarian Warren Buffet a pass ... he's ready for the dog track and might not be able to pay attention to details nowadays.

But in today's WSJ, the HOG claims that "I don't believe I did anything wrong or unethical," adding that he would "do it again tomorrow."

Sigh ...
Lawyers and investment bankers on the Street are perfectly happy to screw the poor and ignorant, and then later claim "client confidentiality".  Traders front run clients.  Street firms sell clients garbage they expect to default.  Street firms take opposite positions they are recommending to clients.  It's endless.  Paid hacks funded by the Street fight basic fairness in financial markets.  Street lobbyists fight market regulations when even yesterday, exchanges have to cancel trades in ETFs that went awry under the electronic trading cluster FUBAR system.
Nothing has been learned by the Panic of 2008.  The Vikings are back looting the nation.  :((
None yet.  A strong signal to add to cash exists, but no weak sell signals exist except in gold (for which I usually require a strong signal) before acting.
By the way, a "weak signal" is when an asset class is at least 5% out of balance; a strong signal is when the class is at least 10% out of balance.  Example:  An asset class with a canonical 20% position is out of balance by 10% when it reaches 22% of total assets. Here's the math: (22%-20%)/20% = 2%/20% = 10%.  This calculation is easily coded into a spreadsheet to show the signals.
I may act at some time if cash gets further out of balance, but for now I will "Obey the Machine".
Word of the Day
"Jackleg" - adjective & noun [$100] a Big Al word!  Chiefly South Midland and Southern US.
Jackleg means (adjective) 1. unsilled or untrained for one's work; amateur: a jackleg electrician; 2. unscrupulous or without accepted standards of one's profession:  a jackleg lawyer; 3. makeshift, temporary; (noun) an unskilled or unscrupulous itinerant worker or practitioner.
Sentence:  Wall Street is crammed with jackleg traders, bankers and lawyers.  Can one find a single honest man there?  Yes, I know a few ... just a few.  When I went to work on the Street (1981), it was crammed with persons of integrity.  When my partners & I left to form our own firm (1993), it was becoming dominated by knaves.