Monday, March 31, 2008

Food Stamp Rate

I fully expect this post to be forwarded and linked to not just your buddies, but it better damn well end up on the Rush Limbaugh show or some big time operator, simply because I forecast the left is going to seize on this food stamp BS and try to run with it. So I'm doing all of you a favor in pulling the data on this and posting it. The least you can do is forward it not just to friends, but to somebody with some wattage under their radio show.

OK, like a previous post I had where some report came out and claimed that the nominal number of people that were below the poverty line was proof positive Bush and Cheney were out there knee-capping babies and stealing old people's dentures, I made the clear distinction that to look at the nominal amount of people on any statistic or trait was pointless in a population that is growing.

That's because if a population is growing, you will by default always have "record numbers of people" doing X, Y and Z each and every year.

For example;

Did you know that in 1790 only 3,000 Americans died of cancer.

But under George Bush a "record" of over 60,000 Americans died of cancer! Bush supports cancer! End the pro-Cancer regime now!!!!


I then suggested some simple 4th grade mathematics that would imply there might be a "poverty rate." That 4th grade logic would imply you would acknowledge the population is growing and a more proper measure of poverty would be the percentage of the population under the poverty line. This painted a much less dismal portrait of what the left was trying to pass on as truth.

And so I find it my job again to calculate a similar ratio this time. For a moronic friend of mine who hates Bush because, well he's Bush, and the Independent in the UK have pointed out the same thing with equally ignorant and moronic bliss (and within 4 hours of each other, so I'm surmising some e-mail is being forwarded in leftist circles as to this latest egregious "atrocity" against the American people).




But before we start sharpening our pitchforks and cutting the brake lines to SUV's in the fancier zip codes, allow me to tender an argument in the vain hopes some on the left will adhere to some intellectual honesty and agree with me that, yes, we should really measure the number of people on food stamps, not on a nominal basis, but as a percentage of the population.

Food stamp recipients have gone up, but they are not at a record high as a percent of the population.

Now I know this may dismay some of you leftists, socialists and commies out there, but that's the truth. I'm sorry, I don't make stuff up, this is just the census bureau and the department of agriculture. If you don't like their data, go yell at them.

Regardless, as you can see, food stamp recipients as a percent of the population (despite the best efforts of people employed by the food stamp program to do outreach and get more on the program to protect their jobs) has actually gone down from 2006. Albeit slightly, a lower percentage of people are on food stamps as of 12-31-07 than were in 2006. 2008 data is not yet available, and please don't give me guff about how in those past three months food stamps applicants have skyrocketed and I'm not accounting for it.

Additionally, to point out the hypocrisy of the "food-stamps-are-at-an-all-time-high-Bush-must-die" camp, the food stamp rate reached an all-time high under Bill Clinton, yet we did not clamor for his death nor claim the US was in the next "Great Depression" (because frankly those of us on the right couldn't even think of something so stupid as to point to food stamps as a means by which to incriminate an administration).

Now, look, I'm seriously getting sick of this childish nonsense. And that's exactly what it is, is childish nonsense. I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who agreed with me completely that it's not even worth having a conversation with your typical leftist by our age, because by our age they have made up their mind and want to believe in what they want to believe. Data, statistics, facts and reality have nothing to do with it. They will take whatever data they can and twist, contort and spin it to their own desires, with no desire to actually follow or care what is the truth. So do me and the rest of the intellectually honest people a favor. Don't even feign some kind of passion or fake adherence to the truth. We know your game. You just will cling on to whatever tidbit of data you can and propagate it as truth to push your ulterior political agendas. I can't even debate with the majority of leftists anymore because it's pointless. Truth and data have no effect on you.

Libertarian/Conservative - "The sky is blue."

Liberal/Leftist - "No it isn't."

Libertarian/Conservative - "Well how do you explain this data from the Federal Reserve that proves it is."

*Liberal switches to default conspiracy mode*

Liberal/Leftist - "Well, obviously Bush is in control of the Fed and all their economics were told they'd lose their jobs if they didn't say the sky was blue."

This is why I just resort to betting most leftists because it puts an endgame to a conversation that no amount of logic or honest would conclude, and saves me an immense amount of time.

So look, at minimum, just please be honest. You hate or at minimum envy people who have it better off than you and want their money. It's OK, admit it, heck, I'll even go along with you at times as I've seen enough nepotism and spoiled brat daddy's boys/girls get jobs they were completely incompetent to receive. But just say you're for socialism or communism because you are just plain envious. Don't go through the shenanigans of trying futile and dishonest shtick like this as somehow providing the "means" or "rationale" as to why its OK to take other's people money that frankly isn't yours.

Maybe if you spent more time working on a business or getting a degree in engineering or computers, or heck, channeled the hate and envy into something productive and stopped protesting "cause x"or whatever the flavor of the week the cause is, you'd have your own money to envy. Which you could then tax from yourself and give to yourself in a weird self-serving wealth redistributing way and claim riches yet "social justice" at the same time. Whatever turns your gears.

The Job Market for Banking Executives

Hope all you Bearn Stearns blue blood, Citigroup mortgage bankers and big time corporate manager types enjoy the job market. Because this it's become.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

In Europe, Gas is Only $2.08 a Gallon (Adjusting for Taxes)

Most of the Cappy Cap readers have no idea how many internet trolls I have that I screen out on a regular basis. The most recent one was some idiot that started off good, but then frankly, just started talking nonsense.

And to display intellectual honesty, I will post opposing views, such as Ed Kohler, who, though we disagree on everything, has maintained a civil tone and made his disagreements not only with politeness, but more importantly, with logic and intellectual honesty.

You are more likely to get banned from posting on this forum, not if you disagree with me or even insult me, but if you make outright stupid or blatantly wrong statements. Especially if I think you yourself don't believe them and are just posting because you have an ulterior political agenda and have no moral qualms about you to push that agenda ahead of truth or honesty.

Regardless, just out of sheer "I told you so"- ness, I am posting this chart that utterly obliterates this latest troll's contention that the price of oil has NOT gone up because of the decreasing dollar, but because of big oil (be thankful I spared you his idiotic blathering posts).

As you can plainly see the price of commodities has gone up more in dollar terms than Euro terms. Commodities also include oil (for those of you in Rio Linda).

And if you were to do some interesting mathematics, this means that right now with gas at $3.15 a gallon down the road from me, it would (assuming equal taxation in Europe which is not the case, but for comparative purposes it is) be about $2.08 in Europe.

It's a sad day when the currency markets have less faith in America's productivity than Europe's. Yet, I'm sure if we churn out more communications majors that have work experience in Americorps this will tilt the currency markets into the dollar's favor.



Wow, who would have guessed a defeatist film like Stop Loss would have failed like "Lions for Lambs?"

It actually gives me hope that there is some kind of "silent majority" that is sick of the constant Anti-American, Anti-Military, Anti-Success crowd.

No shock it was an MTV movie.

Where the hell are the Indiana Jones and Star Wars flicks? No seriously, where are the moralled, gun toting westerns where a bunch of honorable guys are still allowed to pick up their guns and go kill the bad guys because the local law enfarsement (particular kudos to the crap that is known as the Minneapolis "profleece" department) is too impotent to deal with the problem?

I think of Tombstone where the good guys just up and killed the bad guys, but today, they'd get arrested and prosecuted for murder. Sadly, if I uttered the words to any enemy of mine "I'm your huckleberry" I'd too be arrested and sent to the slammer because of political incorrectness. I'm sure saying "Hell's coming with me" would also be banned.

I'm glad we de-masculinized the United States. Wyatt Earp I'm sure would be proud.

Friday, March 28, 2008

All You Ever Needed to Know About Finance

I tell my students that for the most part, 90% of investment professionals wasted their time to get a bachelors, masters or doctorate in finance. For 90% of them fail to do the one thing they were trained to do and that is beat the index.

A lot of those in the finance world don't want you to know about that because if the average person found out that by investing in the index, they would beat the majority of the "professionals" the majority of the time, then these guys would not have jobs.

Additionally you are paying fees on top of it for sub prime service. Fees that lower your overall return to such an extent you'd have 80% than if you just invested in the index and not paid for fees that provided below market returns;

So, if you want to have an intellectual equivalent to a doctorate in finance, with honors, just invest in the index. No need to waste eight years getting letters behind your name that mean you'll probably fail to beat the index. Plus, everybody should know worship and love Morningstar.

That alone will save you the four years it would take to get your bachelors.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

You're Not a Team Player

I remember talking to a recruiter and he was a blunt fellow (which I appreciate). And he said, "Look, you're not a team player."

I then pointed out that most of the banks I was working at were losing money hand over fist and that wouldn't banks or other employers who wanted to make money want a "non team player" from a bank that was losing money than a "team player" that help the bank lose even more money?

"No, it is more important to be a team player than to make a profit."

It was blunt, but depressing at the same time. You don't do what's right. You don't do what's obvious to make a profit. You just be a team player and don't think.

Thus it's nice to see the results of putting "being a team player" above "profit and truth."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Progressive Dematurization

I'm sitting at the coffee shop working on the housing crisis book. I go to the coffee shop because I get sick of being couped up in my house and need a change of scenery. I also go to the coffee shop because the people here are more or less middle aged and quiet. And while the occasional mom will come in with her toddler (which have this uncanny proneness to come up to me and want to talk to me despite my well-known Anti-Child Policy, they're like cats) I am left in relative peace.

Until now, for a group of as far as I can tell, high school girls have entered the coffee shop and are now talking as if they're all from Fresno Valley in California, when in fact we're in Minnesota.

"Like, OH MY GAWD!"

"Did he say that!??"

"That's, like, so weird!"

And thus the writing comes to a screeching halt and I hear nonsensical blather about Jimmy, and Bobby, and Steve and is she going out with him, LIKE OMG, you're kidding!

And every sentence is spoken with the tone of a question;

"So I got in my caaaar?"

"And I was going to call Tashaaaa?"

"She was was like, I don't have time for you????"

Then there is the occasional screaming as a text from some boy or another obviously has come in. I wish they'd just pass notes.

Anyway the reason I'm bringing this up and taking a hiatus from my writing is that it reminded me of an interesting observation I had when I was younger.

When teaching college economics at the local community college, the majority of the students were between 19-23. I was the ripe old age of 28 and with just that 5 years difference I remember listening to all their complaints and watch them behave and realized, "Holy crap, they're children! When I was 19-23, I thought women were so much more mature and I would have done anything to get them. But now that I see them and I'm older, I realize no wonder i was having so many problems when I was younger! They're all insane!"

And the same criticism can be laid square on the men too, but I wasn't interested in men, I was interested in girls. regardless, men of the same age in my class starting every sentence with "dude."

"Dude, she was like totally f#cking hot!"

"Dude! Sweet, I'm like so going to get hammered!"

"Dude, so like when supply kindof, you know, equals demand, that will give you uhhh, equilibrium. Rock on."

And then I realized I must have really sucked with the women in my youth because this was my competition and I still couldn't beat them. perhaps I should have gotten a hat and put it on backwards and said, "Dude!"

Regardless, now I sit here and listen to these kids and wonder how at the age of 16 or 17 I could have ever thought I was the one with the problem. These kids are insane today. They're literally, well, kids.

What scares me though is if when I'm 45 I'm going to look back at 33 year old women and then say, "what the heck was I thinking? They have a My Space page? And they watch American Idol? And Lost? "

Any 45 year old men or women out there that can attest to this????

In any case my point to all you younger, yet more mature for your age, junior deputy, aspiring or otherwise economists out there, realize that in being an economist (official or otherwise) you are a bit wiser than your contemporaries and that chances are any problems you have arising from courting people your own age are not due to you, but the likelihood everybody else is insane.

Trivisonno on Withholding Taxes

Jon sent this link and it's some pretty cool chartage. Matt Trivisonno.

One of the particularly interesting charts is withholding taxes. As the economy slows down and the tax base shrinks, tax revenue slows;

Again, this gets back to the commonsense concept that if your tax base does not grow that your tax revenues, no matter how high the tax rate, will not grow. 100% of 0 is still 0.

This simple concept is seemingly lost on the democratic presidential contenders as their fiscal policy platforms both consist of increasing taxes and letting the Bush tax cuts expire.

We're about to go into a recession. The US is faced with its largest financial banking crisis since the Great Depression. Everybody's net worth is decreasing and the dollar is worthless. And to solve this problem Clinton/Obama are going to ...

raise taxes?

Yeah, that'll get the economy going.

So sad envy and class warfare blinds the masses as to what's truly in society's best interests.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

When Markets Clear

There is a dance joint in Minneapolis called "First Avenue." And in all seriousness it is one of the best dance halls I've been to in America. One of the longest running, it's been consistently open as long as I've been here. But the last time I went there I was about 25, maybe even 24. And the reason is that when you go to the clubs you are intending to meet a girl. Ironically, or perhaps even smartly, women are there to get free drinks, not meet a guy. And you realize this by the age of about 24 - 25 and then you just stop going out to the Boomchicaboom Bars.

What's ironic though is that my friends of the female persuasion still want to go to the Boomchicaboom Bars and "party." Whilst my male friends and more refined female friends want to "go to a jazz club" or "sit and smoke a cigar" or something less painful than the Boomchicaboom bars like smashing our toes with a sledgehammer. It was only by accident that I ended up at First Avenue this past year when we all decided to go to their late night salsa dance, where at the old age of 32 I "closed down the joint." That being said there was some culture there, being salsa dancing, not just loud obnoxious music and girls hitting me up for drinks.

Regardless, what ends up happening is that boys and girls become men and women and leave the bar scene and instead just stay home, fall asleep, play video games or go elsewhere. Some roving band of women may go back to whoop it up like they did in their college days and "party" but for the most part you're not going to see any man over 30 at any of these places. The market has cleared and there is no more trading at that 27 + something level.

I was trying to explain this to my female friends that were complaining there aren't just any men their age out partying anymore, until I came across this.

Thank you 'Least I Could Do' for making my job of explaining things a lot easier.

Monday, March 24, 2008

How Can This Be?

Interesting chart I found whilst gallivanting around on Was looking for population data but came across this chart showing not a lot of women fathom themselves as happy as women were during their grandmothers' time.

Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but might it be worth seeking advice from our elders?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

When Middle Aged Men Cry

I cried once. It was when the closed down and tore down my favorite hang out in the Twin Cities;

The Manor.

Ah, yes, the Manor.

I was all of 21 years old, still in college and I would bike all over the Twin Cities. As the cities are laid out, two roads and a fair amount of bike trails follow the east and west side of the Mississippi river and so I became very familiar with those areas. But on the east side of the river, right across an old fort called Fort Snelling, there was this 1950's type style place called "The Manor."

It looked like an old fart's place and I was compelled to poke my head in there during a Saturday afternoon. When I got in there was a piano bar, tons of smoke (as this was before the Nazi's took over and banned smoking) and a medieval suit of armor in a glass display case. Most important though was a dance floor sunk in below the seats that surrounded it and paintings reminiscent of the Kramer portrait done in 1960's style.

For the next 8 years me and my friends would go there and take over the place. There was a horrible swing band, but it didn't matter because they were our swing band and we could dance all night long to them. The owners and staff loved us because I think we were the first new blood they had in the place since 1970. And we had a waitress that was with the place when it originally opened. She would repetitively return and ask us what we wanted to drink because I think in all seriousness she had Alzheimers, but to the dismay of my male friends she did remember me and would always remember what I had ordered. Then she would act insulted when everybody reordered their drinks again.

But what I think has to be the coolest thing about The Manor was that Jim Tolck's Little Big Band would go on break and while on break me and Jim (three times my age) would exchange horrible jokes, and whilst Jim got himself a drink, he'd allow me to do stand up comedy (for an audience that was pretty much all my friends anyway). Jokes such as;

"Guy walks into the doctor's office and says, "Doc, there's something wrong with me."

Doctor looks at him, runs some tests comes back and says, "I'm sorry, but I have bad news. You only have 10 left to live."

The guy says, "10? What do you mean 10? 10 years, 10 months?"

The doctor says, "9...8...7...6..."

Another one was, "Hey Jim, you know why when ducks fly in that V shape formation one line of ducks it always longer than they other?"

"No, why?"

"There's more ducks in that line."

Other jokes such as "Where's the rest of my band?" And I would reply, "they're either out collecting their social security checks or they're dead." And the drummer who was an old refined black gentleman would be about to do the rim shot, but on second thought just shook his head and denied us the rim shot on account the jokes were so horrible. It was a grand time.

Of course since it was a grand time, it meant it had to end. And in 2004 the owner of The Manor sold out to some real estate developers who were going to put in (what else?) condos.

And so arguably what was the best venue in all of the Twin Cities was demolished (though I kept a piece of brick from the rubble as a memoir) and in its place soon went condos.

I had a personal grudge against these condos and hoped they'd fail miserably, but this was 2004 and this was when the condo market was hot. Everybody was moving into condos. Why that was the cool hip thing!

"Are you a baby boomer looking to downsize?"


"Are you an up and coming young Gen X'er that doesn't have a family, but wants to not waste rent?"


"Are you just some dumb schmuck who has a pulse?"


But I would have my revenge. For I knew the market was getting flooded with condos. I had seen enough proposals for condos come across my desk. But I had also been one of those foolish analysts that researched the market and knew there was such a glut, that inevitably the condo market would crash;

Sure enough with over 30 times the historical average annual amount of condo's hitting the local market, the market collapsed and soon over night, these "luxury condo developments" were converted into "Luxury rental/for sale/lease/timeshare/helpuswe'resodesperate apartments/condo's/whateverwecanget."

And not just locally, but nationally the condo glut took hold.

Now basic economics, which it seems most bankers and real estate developers were woefully inadequately educated in, tells you that when supply goes up without a corresponding increase in demand, prices go down. And they might go down so much that you can't sell your condo's for what it cost you to build them and you're going to take a loss. Thus I was happy to see when I drove past the old site of The Manor yesterday just how many extra units were for sale/lease/rent/etc. No doubt many condo developers are suffering losses and tears right now.

But that's what you get when you tear down the Captain's favorite hang out joint.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Most Likely to Lose Your Baggage

I was always fly light and if I need to wear a suit, I wear it on the plane. It is because of the fear that they will lose my luggage and my vacation/business will be impaired. So on I go with my laptop and my backpack that carries my deodorant, tooth brush, socks, one pair of jeans, undershirts and boxer shorts. Never can have too little of those.

But The Economist has polled to find out which European airlines are most prone to lose luggage.

I'll still continue to do it my way. Saves a lot of time just going to the car rental and not have to queue in front of the baggage claim.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Another Nail On the Coffin

I was wondering if there are any people still out there that believe it's "big oil" that is controlling prices and exploiting we poor Americans or if the cold hard facts and realities of economics is finally starting to permeate into the American psyche and people are starting to look at who really owns the oil, who produces and, and maybe even launched investigations into how these two things called "supply" and "demand" have an effect on the price of oil.

But just in case you're still running into the sophomores in college who with their professor-instilled new-found knowledge are going to continue to tell you that it's all a conspiracy man and the oil companies are working together to keep us down, here is another little tidbit that should help you quelch those little brats up;

May favorite is when you have them dead to rights and they still try to defend their original position.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Every Generation Has Their Volcker Recession

The Boomers had their recession from 1979-1982. I thought Gen X would have theirs during the DotcomMania days, but it was too weak. This up coming recession will not be and thus will be the “Gen X’ers” recession.

I have a theory about recessions and it basically goes like this. Every generation has to grow up. The more successful an economy is, the longer this takes as mommy and daddy can support their children for longer periods of time allowing their children to avoid the hard reality of economics; that you have to work in order to eat. This happened with the Baby Boomers in the late 1970’sand early 1980’s. One can contribute the recession of that time to the oil crises, but if you look at labor productivity, I’m more inclined to say it was the hippie commie attitude that everything should be free and why should we work (maaaan!) Well because if nobody works, then there is no food to eat. And if nobody works there aren’t any Jim Morrison 8 tracks to listen to.

Bar the horrible fashions of the late 1970’s (though my generation went through that earlier in the“grunge” phase – remember that? Where we’d pierce everything and make ourselves look revolting?) Gen X is repeating the same thing today. Everything should be free, why should we work, dude? I’ll just buy a house and take the equity out of it and avoid working to pay for my stuff. And then I can listen to my Kirk Cobain album, dude. This attitude caused debt to skyrocket during our coming of age and brought even more shame to my generation. Household debt as a percent of GDP is nearly 100%, up from a boomer average of about 60%.

And so now I think it’s time for another generational recession. Where unemployment and hard times befall us, and my generation is starkly reminded of why communist countries fail. Cause nobody works and our parents weren’t just saying it for S’s and G’s when we were kids in that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Just Fed induced inflation. Get ready to grow up, dude.

PS-Kirk Cobain sucked. No really, he did. And he was a loser on top of it too. Yeah, sorry, didn't mean to hit all the emo kids upside the head with that one. Yeah, apparently he did indeed suck. Some scientists over in Russia proved it, something to do with cosines and newtonian physics I believe.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bad Timing

What I don't think a lot of people realize is just how bad timing this housing crash is. It comes on the precipice of the Baby Boomers retiring where we'll be forced to raise taxes to pay for medicare and medicaid and social security. Seeing raising taxes is the most likely scenario, you can forget lowering taxes as an option to help stave off the recession (which results in the Democrats ironically advocating a stimulus package, only to take it away from you by letting the Bush tax cuts expire). But the housing crash and it's consequential contagion to other areas of the economy is also accelerating another disturbing trend;

the labor force participation rate.

For the past 40 years or so we could rely upon more and more women to enter the labor force and largely keep upward pressue on GDP growth which would minimalize if not mute the effect of recessions.

But women are participating at rates equal to men now, and now that Gen X women are coming of child birthing age, they are starting to drop out of the labor force bringing the trend back downwards. This combined with the discouraging effects of the housing crash, is resulting in an overall decrease in the labor force participation rate, meaning less and less people are looking for work when in order to afford the retiring masses we need more people than ever working in the economy.

Again, you wonder why the dollar is tanking.

Why are All the Protest Signs in English

This is something I've noticed, but why is it, regardless of the country they're in and the language they speak, the signs protesters use are always in English? This is just the latest example in China.

What compels people in China to protest in English when no English speaking government has any say about their transportation policy? Anybody got any ideas on this?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Moving 3M to Canada

The Captain,

because of his calm demeanor,
patience for office politics,
passion for traffic laden commutes,
capacity to endure inept leadership and management,
and tolerance for incompetence

is primarily self-employed.

The majority of his income comes from him instructing others be it dance classes, finance seminars, or writing books because, frankly, in all instances he has no boss. He gets to decide how things get done and (surprise surprise) it GETS DONE BETTER, FASTER AND CHEAPER than if he had some middle management yutz looking over his shoulder all the time.

However, whatever success the Captain has had, has been preceded by many failures. And that is the trick to success - failure.

For every successful venture I've come up with, there's been at least 3-4 ideas that just never took. It's very much like dating. In my youth I was considered a player. But for every girl that said yes, there was at least 8 that said no. Still, the frequency of my success led men in my cadre to believe I was a player, and this principle still applies to economic adventures.

So the Captain's come up with a new one. And, like all the other ventures before it, he's planning on this one failing too. But if it takes...hooooo boy! The Captain might just buy that Pontiac Solstice he's always wanted.

The idea is based on "capital flight." And essentially your beloved Captain would be a broker, brokering deals to get companies out of the US and move their headquarters to.....


"Canada?" You ask.

"Yes, Canada." I reply.

"Why Canada?" you might ask.

Well here's why.

First, you have an increasingly hostile environment here in the US towards "big business." If you can stomach the outright lies and ignorance, listen to the Ed Schulz Show and you cannot go 15 minutes without one caller calling in and saying,

"You know, when are we going to have policies for the little man? When can your hard working Joe get a job? Where are all those jobs?"

and within 5 minutes another caller calling in and saying,

"You know, it's these damn corporations that aren't paying their fair share. We need to tax them and the rich! When are these criminals going to be forced to do their part for society?"

The entire time Ed just blatheringly agreeing with them.

But it goes beyond lefties listening to commie radio. There is a critical mass of people who are so blindingly ignorant of basic economics, they blame almost all problems on "big business" and "the rich."

Ask your average 22 year old "college graduate" the solution?

Tax the rich.

Why are we in the economic situation we're in?

Big business and George Bush.

Why are their nuclear reactor problems in Japan?

Big business cut costs just like they did in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Of course the solution is to tax and regulate (and then whine when there aren't any jobs), but in the end the business climate in the US is simply hostile. Businesses should be looking to relocate.

Second, where does a business decide to relocate? Well among other things you look for a stable country, with the rule of law, relatively uncorrupt, and an educated population. Well shucks howdy, Canada not only has all those things, but they're right next door to the US. And not only are they next door, they speak English. And not only do they have these things, guess what? Despite the Magic O bringing Kumbya Nirvana to the US, it seems Canada is trouncing the US in terms of corruption. 8.9 vs 7.1 (the color is misleading as the US is at the bottom of that color spectrum while Canada is at the top).

Third, have you looked at the finances of Canada vs. the US? I'll take Mr. Harper over Mr. Obama any day.

Fourth, and here is where the ole Captain hopes to bag some great clients. Statutory corporate tax rates in the US are 40%. In Canada, they are slated to be a mere 15% come 2012. Mexico, 30%.

Now is the time you can fully expect the automotonic response from the left about "the corporations don't pay that amount. They use LOOPHOLES. Their effective corporate tax rates are MUCH lower."

Yeah, "much" lower. try 32%. And forget the whole concept a corporation wouldn't be engaging in the accounting trickery in the first place if corporate tax rates weren't 40%. And never mind if they move to Canada they would still beat the effective corporate tax rate by more than half.

But I am not here to preemptively strike leftist arguments about corporate taxes (no matter how fun and easy it is to do). I'm here to simply point out a very lucrative market.

Say I approach 3M (whose CEO has been hinting he might make a great client). Well, of course the leftists here hate big business. And since 3M doesn't pay any taxes here at all because of "loopholes" then nobody should miss them if they up and leave, right?

Well here's 3M's latest income statement;

Wow, I guess they are paying taxes after all!

Not the 40%, but just shy of 30% on average.

Now assume good ole George of 3M decides to hire the Captain. The Captain arranges for some meetings, and we get 3M to relocate to Canada.

What kind of savings did the ole Captain bring to the 3M shareholders?

Well, under the Captain's plan 3M shareholders would have to pay $863 million in taxes.

In 2010 they paid $1.6 billion.

A savings of $740 million.

The type of dollar figures I'm talking here are on par with the other brilliant idea I had about...oh.....5 years ago. Back then I had this funny idea there was a housing bubble forming. And that if the entire financial services industry just listened to me (or Shiller, or Roubini, or Schiff), I would have saved the country hundreds of billions of dollars.

But nooooo. You don't have an MBA and didn't go to Harvard like our dear leader, Obama.

Regardless and sarcasm aside, you throw in a 3M, a General Mills, a Best Buy, a Cargill and soon we're talking real money. And not only are we talking real money. We're talking huge economic ramifications for the country.

For you see, the ole Captain, along with all of his readers, can go ahead and laugh at himself knowing due to the lethargy of corporate America, such a revolutionary idea is nearly impossible. And the Captain, like when he went up and asked out Charmin Michelle not knowing who she was, is fully aware his chances are very slim. But for all of the people in the US who love to hate corporate America and blame "big business" for everything, don't worry. The Captain is working on it right now to get those evil, icky, yucky gross corporations out of here so you don't have to suffer under them any more.

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Twist of Irony

As some of you may or may not know, I have a little moonlighting career as a dance instructor (which thanks to the housing crash is the only form of employment I have).

That being said, I found it interesting that one of my students is named "Adam Smith."


I think not.

The Gods of Economics watch over me.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Should Obama Lose, He Can't Blame Racism

Sadly, it's become such a broken record that Republicans are already forecasting it. If Obama wins the democratic nomination, then if he loses the presidential race it will be proof once again that "oh, what a horribly racist country this is," and "oh, what a horribly injust society this is" and "oh, what a bunch of racist bastards those evil Republicans are." And so you can see them practicing their walking on eggshells already.

But I posed a question/poll a week ago or so, because I had a hunch that reflects what I believe to be the majority of people's views. That it's not about your race as much as it is about the policies you endorse. And if you endorse socialism, doesn't matter what race you are, you're probably going to lose. Oh sure, you'll win state offices in California or Vermont, but you won't win the presidency. Unfortunately there's still too many of those damn hard working, independent capitalists out there.

Thus I was not surprised to find out the results of my poll. That when asked "What concerns you more about Obama? The Che poster at one of his campaign offices or the picture of him dress in some kind of Somali garb" the vast majority of people said the Che poster concerned them more.

Also keep in mind this question was posed to readers of Captain Capitalism, who of course are racist, bigotted, hate filled puppy kickers. The rest of society would presumably be even less concerned about the Somali garb.

Regardless the point is I've just delivered another softball to the Republicans. Should Obama lose to McCain, I don't want to hear a peep about racism. Obama will lose not because of his race, but because the man is a socialist. (Note how I'm just assuming Obama will win the democratic nomination)
(OK, I just took a closer look at the chart and noticed that this damn MS Excel 2007 converted the numbers to percentages, but not the actual percentages, it just put a percent sign in front of the number and a comma. Anybody up for taking up pitch forks and torches and heading down to Microsoft's HQ to kill the bastard that created this latest suite of MS Office? I swear, I'm saving my old version of Office 2003 till I die).

Can't Have It Both Ways Boys

The Dow Jones today continued its gains after the Federal Reserve said it'd do all in its power to prevent a liquidity crisis. However, the price of oil shot to an all time high above $110, this then triggered a sell off and brough the DJIA into negative territory.

What angers me about this is that the stock market went up and then down for THE SAME REASON. In other words, the cause for the increase in the stock market was the same cause for its decrease.

The Fed swore it would come to Wall Street's rescue even if that meant pumping the economy with hundreds of billions of dollars in liquidity.


But in pumping hundred of billions of dollars into the economy, it further weakened the dollar. And if you've been paying attention, the reason oil has been going up in price is not that oil is becoming more valuable, but the dollar is becoming less and less valuable. And so by vowing to save Wall Street, the Fed hurts the dollar and drives up the price of oil which drove stock prices down.


So Wall Street, Ivy Leaguing, Bulge Bracketing gurus, which one is it?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I Are Sick

Sorry for the lack of posts Captain Capitalismites, but I haven't been this sick in a while. And maybe some of you medical capitalists out there can explain to me that when I get sick why do all my dreams revert to dreaming about solving mathematical or physical riddles and repetitiously. Almost as if your brain is trying to figure out the DNA code of the virus you got.

In any case I am also working on that book, which is 14 chapters out of 22 done. Many thanks to Bucktown for his help.

Regardless, I am sick and in being sick you cannot contribute to GDP. But I was glad to see Americans, true to their work-avoiding form, decided that despite a housing crash and an impending social security crisis we've now reverted to credit cards to maintain our consumption (without any additional production).

And you wonder why the dollar is tanking

Sunday, March 09, 2008

A Friendly Reminder - If Corporations Really Cared About Global Warming...

Given the price of gas going up and we're facing $4 gallon of gas, I thought this little post I made a while ago might convince those corporate social responsibility types up in the executive offices about just how much they're contributing to global warming by forcing millions of Americans to pointlessly commute. Think of how much publicity your corporation would get if you made telecommuting an official corporate policy!

What I don’t get is power.

Money I can understand, but power, that is something very human, maybe the key to evil.

The reason I say that is I look at all the people running for office and you wonder, why would some of these people even bother? They’re so loaded, you’d think the last thing they’d want is a full time job and instead should be off on a cruise somewhere soaking up the rays, eating sushi till their death.

John Edwards is the perfect example. Multi millionaire, set for life and yet he chooses to work.

His senior running partner from a presidential election ago, John Kerry, had the sweet set up. Married to a ketchup heiress. Why run for senate, let alone the 80 hour work week president?

And a local here in Minnesota, though he is no more on the political scene, Mark “Daddy’s Boy” Dayton, heir to the Dayton empire, decided to buy himself a senator’s seat two terms ago.

Alas they still run, by the droves. Pretty much everybody in congress and the presidency don’t need the job, but they fight, lie, cheat and take donations from illegal sources to maintain their position of power like there’s no tomorrow. Alas, I cannot figure out why.

But “power” isn’t an addictive drug that just affects politicians. You look at pretty much any institution and “power” is a reward unto itself. Government, non-profits, political organizations, corporations, militant groups, you name it. But the place I see the irrational addiction to power most flagrantly violating common sense is in corporate America, particularly when it comes to telecommuting.

I don’t think I’ve had a job in the past 10 years where I HAD to be at the office to do it. With “today’s” technology (which has been available for about a decade) the vast majority of office and corporate jobs could be done from home.

E-mail, attaching documents, conducting research, calling people, presentations, etc., all the duties, functions and responsibilities of your typical office job can be done from home. And not to mention pretty much every American household has the computer, fax and other machinery to accommodate this. But try to get your boss, let alone anybody with the power who could make it a corporate wide policy to endorse telecommuting is like getting congress to get a flat tax; it would all make our lives incredibly easier, but the politics of power block it every time.

However, this time there is a little political twist. Far from the comfort, job satisfaction and happiness of millions of workers everywhere being the impetus to implementing telecommuting, global warming is providing the political incentive to cut back on greenhouse gases and gasoline consumption. And with this political twist, corporations are bending over backwards to present themselves as “green” companies. NBC with their ridiculous “black out” during a football game comes to mind. However, wouldn’t it make sense, such an unbelievably, incomprehensible simple, simple sense to endorse and aggressively pursue implementing a “maximum telecommuting policy?”

I mean, come on. It’s a win win win win win situation.

The corporation not only gets to feign being green, IT ACTUALLY IS BEING GREEN!

Employee job satisfaction would rise like you wouldn’t believe, not to mention the resulting increase in labor productivity.

Greenhouse gases would drop more than any worthless Kyoto Protocol or “Carbon Trading Indulgences…errr I mean “permits” would cause.

TRAFFIC! Good Lord! Could you imagine the elimination of rush hour from every major metropolis? Nobody would be going to work!

The TIME saved from wasting your time commuting. Instead you could spend it sleeping, improve your health, and spend more time with your family instead. Maybe even divorce rates would go down?

And let’s not forget about the costs we’d save on the transportation budgets at the state, federal and local levels! We wouldn’t need any new roads, it would just be maintenance. Tax cuts all around, or if you’re a lefter leaning sort, “more spending for more worthless social program X.”

And if corporations really, REALLY wanted to help the nation become independent from oil, how about not requiring us to drive to your lousy, stinking office in the first place? Could you imagine what would happen to the price of gas if we didn’t have to commute?

All these benefits are certainly achievable, but there’s just one thing blocking the way;


Specifically corporate power.

For whatever sick twisted reason, I have to drive to the office. I certainly don’t need to. I have a computer at home, a fax at home and even a web cam. But no, my boss insists I drive to the office. Why?

So I can do what I would have normally done at home.

Of course when confronted with the option or request of telecommuting, there is no good reason they can give you, other than they want you to be under their control. They want you to be there, where they can see you, because lord knows that if you were working from home, you’d be drunk, high and bringing hookers over on a coke while you play Halo 3 all day and sell corporate secrets on E-Bay.

And if you think my claim that corporations do this for purely power and political reasons, consider the most obvious and egregious use and abuse of power by corporations;

The meeting.

Cripes. Does a bigger destroyer and depleter of productivity, GDP and work exist? The meeting must have been a creation of communists in a desperate attempt to slow down capitalist economies.

The meeting works like this;

Big time, gray haired bosses like to see how much of other people’s time they can send into a black hole. ALL people, no matter how irrelevant their job is to the presumed purpose of the meeting are required to attend. Nobody is listening to the current speaker because it’s irrelevant to their job. Meanwhile, the brown nosers, who like you have no purpose of being at the meeting either, ask a litany of questions or blather on about their project to make themselves sound busy and productive, which only lengthens the pain and suffering of those who actually have REAL work to do. Meanwhile the boss sits there, laughing inside, knowing he or she is exercising their power forcing you to waste your time and made you spend the money on gas to attend the meeting.

It is proof positive the only reason you commute is because irrational corporate power wants you to jump through hoops like meetings, commuting, participating in “corporate charity events.”

So my fellow junior, deputy, aspiring, official or otherwise economists, just like the US’ tax system, just like the raj system in India and just like Kim Jong Il in North Korea, the masses are expected to suffer some more for irrational power. For while a life of never commuting again, spending more time with your family, sleeping in for a full 9 hours a day, eliminating the country’s dependence on oil, not to mention finally ending this stupid debate about global warming, as well as the limitless economic benefits telecommuting would provide we’re going to continue to pointlessly drive billions of miles for the sole reason of petty, corporate power.

Not Out of the Woods Yet When it Comes to Housing

It will get worse before it gets better. Some charts that have been burning a hole in my pocket from the WSJ;

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Captain Tenders a Question

So I finish my dance class in Minneapolis. And I have to drive through the town of St. Louis Park, which has a heavy Jewish population. And I hadn't eaten since 2PM and a good ole fashioned, Jewish deli sandwich sounded heavenly. But it's about 930 at night and I wouldn't mind having a drink.

And then it occurs to me.

They have Irish bars.

They have German bars.

They even have Italian bistros.

But I've never heard of a Jewish bar.

And the more I drove through St. Louis Park, and the more I realized I would literally have killed for a good rye sandwich with a tall beer next to it, the more I started asking myself;

"Why isn't there such a thing as a "Jewish Bar?" I think the idea would be amazing.

I am only Jewish via bloodlines, but can somebody who is a practicing Jew explain to me why there isn't a Jewish bar??? Seriously, I think it's a million dollar idea.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

What Disturbs You More About Obama

I mean this as a serious question, I am not mocking or making fun of Obama, but which of these two images disturbs you more about Obama;

1. The fact he wore some Somali/Muslim garb


2. The fact he has a Che Guevara poster in one of his offices.

(BTW ef Che, he's a loser)

I have a feeling I already know the answer, but I ask for a reason so that I can predict something that would be of significant importance should he lose either the democratic nomination or the presidential election. I would appreciate your truthful and sincere opinion.

Just a Friendly Reminder How Right I Usually Am

Found this old post.

Good ole Hugo.

If you're about to lose power, start a war.

Actually, how are the leftists that love Hugo going to rationalize their love for him now? He started a war, just like Bush! He's a warmonger!

Ahhh, but he's their warmonger.

Beggars Can't Be Choosers

What I find sad is that the state of education in the US is so pathetic, that your average American doesn't know that Dhabi and the UAE are probably the best allies we have in the middle east and prove that the West, Islam and capitalism actually can get along, even benefit one another.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Captain Capitalism's 2008 Annual Chart Contest!

It occurred to me during the busy season of dance classes, taxes and writing a book, that now would be a great time to implement 2008's Captain Capitalism's Annual Chart Contest!!!

Yes, you too can be a great chartist (not the British political party) like myself!

Just submit your charts to (remember it's, not CAPTAINcapitalism) and in doing so, not only will your chart be posted, but whoever comes up with the best chart wins...



A signed photo of the Captain


The Official Junior Deputy Economist Award


The Captain's instructional dance video of your choice!

How can you NOT enter????

So start sending in those charts! (Besides, I am serious lacking time to post any serious commentary and chartage, so help me out!)