Monday, April 30, 2007

One Simple Question

With property prices going down, does this mean municipal and local governments will be lowering their property taxes?

HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!

Oh, I kill me sometimes.

Captain Capitalism's Annual Chart Contest - Entrant #8

This is from Kenza, an engineer that was finally persuaded to submit a chart after I offered my DVD suite of instructional dance class videos in addition to the $15 and a signed photograph for the grand prize of the winner of the chart contest.

She highlights what is a legitimate criticism of the economic recovery post stock market crash/9-11, in that it was slower than previous ones. This much is true, but the last "recession" we had was nothing. There was not that big of a valley to climb out of, additionally average wages for your average earner didn't really recover significantly until 2006. I would be curious to see if these charts were extended one year.

Regardless, a potential winner in the chart contest!!! (and yes, the fact she's female does have an increasing chance on her winning ;P JUST KIDDING!)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Time for a Recession

Sorry folks, a friendly neighborhood blogger pointed out to me that the chart I had here was in fact copyrighted, my apologies, but I had to take it down. Regardless you can find the chart here

I think I'm going to switch from "minimal economic growth" to a "moderate recession" forecast.

Though I also expect oil prices to drop or at least not increase as much as last year's summer for the US' economy will slow down.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Do I Have to Kiss on the First Date?

"Pace" my father would say.

"Pace?" I'd ask.


"Cadence" my father would would say.

"Cadence?" I'd ask.


"No rush. Smell the roses. You can go too fast, but you can rarely go too slow."

Of course when he was dispensing this wisdom it was when we were running around the lakes back when I was in college and he was in his 50's. And as a means by which to excuse his inability to keep up with my pace he would tender the argument, "Good runners pace themselves. no rush. Cadence. Pace."

That and he wanted to extend the time he could scope out the young 20 something chicks running around Minneapolis.

But his words in an odd sense were very appropriate last night for your beloved captain had a first date.

Now I'm old. And I don't mean that in an age way, I mean that in an experience way. To quote Indiana Jones, "it's not the years, it's the mileage" and thus is my case.

I don't get excited about first dates anymore. I frankly don't have the time and I don't have the energy. Worrying never resulted in a tangible benefit and as 99.6% of first dates go, that's all they ever become, ergo why get worked up over nothing? So when you get to be the decrepit age of 32 dating no longer is something to get excited about, it's a chore. And you no longer hope to score in the first night, you hope to have concluded the date and be in bed by 11PM, maybe even knocking off earlier to enjoy a beer with your buddies at your friendly neighborhood bar.

In otherwords, first dates are about as exciting as going to church. You don't get excited and you don't expect anything because that's what they are.

So I go on the date. And she's a nice girl. Witty banter is exchanged. Inquiries asked about the other. We hit a swing joint and a Latin joint, notch up a couple dances. And I'm so indifferent about dating at this stage that I'm completely relaxed for it's no different than just hanging out with a friend or an acquaintance. It is the complete opposite of when you were 16 and you spent the last 50% of the date worrying about whether you'd kiss the girl or not or how you would go about kissing her and what strategy you would employ.

Now you're thinking, "You know, if I leave here by 1030, I could maybe finish off that John Wayne movie I left in the DVD player."

So it was getting to be that time. I had to get to work the next morn and so I suggest that it's time to go and she concurs.

So I drive her to her car, pull up next to it and then the wierdest thing happened. Fully expecting her to hop out and say "catch ya later" like my good buddy Chico would, she sits there.

Still not even thinking, I was like, "well... have a good night."

She said, "yeah, thanks that was really fun!"...but she's still sitting there.

And then you start using phrases that are polite and signal the end of the conversation. You know, common phrases like;

"Well, I better get going"


"Well, we'll be seeing ya!"


"Yep, well, you have a good night."

Still sitting there.

And THEN, THEN it hits me.

"Wait, does she want me to actually kiss her????"

Which is so foreign to me at this now old and decrepit age.

"Why would she want to kiss on the first date? Who kisses on the first date? That's so 1997! Isn't it kind of forward or rude to kiss some girl you just took out once? No, she can't really be expecting a kiss on the first date. Surely modern day women don't kiss on the first date!"

In either case I was thrown off and didn't want to make her uncomfortable so I leaned over and gave her a friendly hug. Which I thought was a safe diplomatic compromise. Didn't want to be forward, and frankly I just don't kiss any ole girl that comes along. Kind of have to establish a fair amount of "liking" before you get with the kissing.

Regardless the hug seemed to do the trick and I was on my way back. Was thinking in the car if that is what is socially acceptable or not. Are men now expected to just kiss the girl on the first date? since when did this rule change? And to be forthright, I don't like it. I don't like to be rushed. Threw me off guard there and to quote Cary Grant from "Father Goose" "she scared me half to death!" I'm an old man. We 32 year old men can't handle such reckless and wanton advances.

So please ladies, despite our evil Cary Grantish and economic charms;

"Pace. Cadence. No rush."

Thursday, April 26, 2007

What's Good for GM is Good for America

Or hopefully not.

Manufacturing vs. Services as % of GDP

Give it another 50 years and the US will be a pure service economy while everything will actually be made in China and Mexico and when the producers of the world realize they have the means of production, hooooo! Look out!
I'm sure, however, all those sociology degrees will come to vital use at that point.

When Politicians Forget to Adjust for Inflation

An astute point by Swanblog.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

That Damn George Bush!- Entrant # 7?

I think were at 7. Mr. Brown sent this one from a web site full of charts which is a good thing that the world can always use more of;
I'm not a big fan of Bush, but this schtick that he only benefits the rich get's mighty tiresome.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

These Charts Deserve More Attention

It was no more than 5 months ago that people who had skin in the game would brush me aside as if I was some dumb young kid who knew nothing of the housing market, knew nothing of economics and was a fool for proclaiming from the mountain tops that there was housing crash and it was on its way.

5 short months later and with enough negative news hitting the market, now I am no longer brushed aside, but rather sought after for one question and one question only;

"Are we at the bottom yet?"

To which I answer, "heck no, we're not at the bottom, this is just the beginning!" with a smile on my face for even though I own a house I enjoy being right more especially when these were the same people ignored me and laughed at my outlandish theories about a housing bubble. And the data would support me on this. This spiffy charts provided by the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors suggest that the correction has JUST BEGUN! Very similar to the Shiller Roller Coaster chart.

The second question I'm asked is "when will it bottom out?" requesting I give an estimate. So now that it seems I might have people's attention I'm going to bring back two charts that I think you'll pay a little more attention to this time around;

1. National House Price to Rents. This shows you that house prices have increased faster than the cash flows that should afford them; rents. And if housing prices were to get back into historical line, they would have to drop by about 40%.

2. National House Price to Income. This compares the median house price to the median income. This implies that housing would have to drop by 20% to get back into line.

So I don't know, 6 months to a year? Depends on if developers cut back on flooding us with a glut of cookie cutter townhomes and condos. Regardless, it's going to be a while and America is going to get a LONG OVER DUE lesson in them merits of fiscal austerity.

Additionally, I also suggest you read this little ditty because I speculate on the effects on the overall economy and it's just plain freaking funny. This too should have gotten more play than it did.
Alas, I don't play the tune people want to hear, just the tune they needed to hear 6 months ago.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sweetening the Pot - Annual Chart Contest

OK all aspiring and junior deputy economists. This will be the final week of Captain Capitalism's Annual Chart contest, we've had some good entries.

However, I've decided to sweeten the pot a little bit.

As some of you may know I do a fair amount of ballroom dancing on the side and over the course of the years I have put together some *high quality* instructional DVD's that I sell to my students.

So whoever wins Captain Capitalism's Annual Chart contest will not only win the Grand Prize of $15 and a signed photo of the Captain himself, but

You will WIN THE CAPTAIN'S ENTIRE DANCE DVD SUITE!!!! (a $60 retail value!)

Yes, not only can you learn about economics, but you can learn to dance as well!

And what is sexier than a dancing economist I ask?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

My Goldman Sachs Story

I was at my bar last night. Technically I don’t own it, but I like using the possessive pronoun in the phrase “my bar.” It also happens to be in “my town” which too, unbeknownst to all the townspeople is owned by me. It’s all mine, the bar, the town, the roads. Everything, I freaking own it all!

Anyway, I was at my bar last night talking to some buddies of mine. And we were exchanging stories about“interviews from hell.” Most of them themed or centralled around stories of some idiot 24 year old HR generalist idiot that knew nothing of your field or specialty asking you;

“If you were in this situation,what would you do and why?”

“Have you ever been in asituation and you disagreed with your boss?”

“What is your favorite color and why?”

Meanwhile you’d sit there and be amazed the entirety of the US labor market hasn’t come to a screeching halt due to the inefficiencies and incompetence of its gatekeepers; HR.

So I told my worst interview story, which begat requests that I put it up on the blog (as some in the crew were investment bankers) and so I've decided to oblige them.

I was all of 21 I think, maybe just recently turned 22. By this time I was coming upon the end of a hellish experience known as college. And it WAS hellish and I mean it in the most sincerest and literal sense. Most people say, "It was hell" when in reality it was just an annoyance. College WAS hell (hell, I even wrote song about to sing whilst on patrol)

Regardless, the primary (although not only) reason college was hell was because I worked full time while going to school full time. I had dropped down to 118 pounds my sophomore year because I couldn’t afford much in the way of food and my job required me to bike about 50 miles a day. This was on top of a credit load that most preppy suburbanites would get crushed under, so after three and a half years of this (and sleep deprevation) the light at the end of the tunnel was coming. Add to this I had a 3.96 GPA and 3 interships under my belt, I thought the last thing I would have to worry about was a job. So as luck would have it, I got an interview with the chalice of all finance majors; Goldman Sachs.

Now the bulge bracket doesn’t bother with the U of MN because frankly, nobody in the world has heard about the "Carlson School of Management." And as far as the East Coast is concerned the only schools are Wharton, Chicago, Darden, Harvard and Nepotism U. And if I recall correctly I had a buddy either hack or somehow provide me the password and username from the U of Chicago's job posting board which ended up in me getting the interview for a "GLOBAL EQUITIES ANALYST" at none other than Goldman Sachs.

Now this was right up my alley. I had a passion for finance and international economics (heck, I interned under the international economics department at Wells Fargo and had subscribed to The Economist since I was 19), and so I was naturally excited about being the one non-ivy leaguer to break into the Bulge Bracket. To be the one guy from Carlson to say, "Oh no, I don't work at Piper Jaffray or Dain Rauscher or one of those wannabe investment banks. I work at a "real" one." But there was one slight problem.

You see, at the time, Goldman Sachs was still a privately held company. So there was no way to know how much they made. And they fed me this line, "well, if you'd like to interview with us, then you'll have to fly out here for the interview on your own expense."

Of course, 5 years later they go public and I find out they made $47 trillion in earnings and could have damned well afforded my flight with my own personal team of redheaded Irish cheerleaders to cheer me on for the interview, but being a naive 22 year old, what did I know? So I fell for it.

Now the thing is, I didn't make $47 trillion in earnings in 1997 either. And I couldn't afford a flight out there, so my only option was to load up my rusty but trusty 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme with some Moutain Dew, some deoderant (no tapes or CD's cause there was no deck), my best suit and head on out.

I scheduled myself two days to get there and two days to get back.

Of course there are logistical problems with planning a cumulative 5 day road trip and making only $16,000 per year without parental support. Namely, you can't afford lodging, which means you sleep in the back of your 1985 Cutlass Supreme. (which is actually quite comfy).

The first rest stop was a small town in Pennsylvannia, Clarion.

I stopped there because there was a state college campus and I figured it was just as safe as any place to stop and sleep. I woke up the next morn around 830AM to the sounds of other students my age making noise and making their way to the gym of the parking lot I had decided to park in. So I decided to wake up, head into the gym and see if there were some lockers where I could maybe take a shower, freshen up, change clothes and hit the road again.

The problem is I'm a particularly young looking 22 year old at the time, wearing what amounted to cut off sweats and a t-shirt and didn't materially differ from anybody else walking into the gym at that time. Little did I know I was about to be assumed into the Badminton 101 class with the rest of the college students.

Little did they know that I was the badminton champion at my high school.

"Hey you, grab a racket!"

"Uh, OK."

So, after 1 hour of summarily defeating the best U of Penn Clarion had to offer (and getting some odd looks that nobody could recognize me or remember me), I hit the showers (which was my original purpose in the first place) cleaned up, hopped back into the Gutless Cutlass and headed out.

I made it to Union City and due to my then-infant economic spidey senses I was able to find a place to park for 50 cents a day. The problem was it was already getting dark and hotel rates I observed along the highway were around $180/night. But I did recall a way side near a town called Dover a couple miles back. So I decided to head back to the way side, sleep, wake up the next morning park my car in Union City and take the train into New York for my interview.

The next morning I did wake up. By this time I was wearing the same clothes for the third straight day and would have to clean up somewhere between Dover and NYC. Started making my way in and right before I got to Union City I stopped at a McDonalds. Went in with my suit and shaving kit. Washed up my body best one can in a washroom in McDonalds. Shaved, put on my suit and headed across the Hudson into Battery Park. Found Goldman Sach's HQ, went in, said I was in for an interview with some high ranked schmutz or another and was escorted upstairs to his office.

Now, I had never been to New York, but I knew this guy was probably pretty highly ranked. His office had a perfect view of the Statue of Liberty. It was right on the coast of Battery Park. And he actually DID have his own redheaded Irish girl cheerleading squad! I'm not kidding, they were right there! I did however remember him having a two floor red carpeted office.

So there I am, sitting in this guy's office. Looking around and he comes in. We introduce ourselves and he says, "So, what was on the front page of the Wall Street Journal this morning?"


"What was on the front page of the Wall Street Journal this morning?"

I didn't know. I was driving in from Dover. I was in a McDonalds washing my arm pits with cold sink water and shaving. And making sure I had enough time to make it into Manhattan so I wouldn't be late. And this guy wants to know what's on the front page of the WSJ?

I said, "I don't know."

"Do you read the Wall Street Journal?"

Which I didn't because the Wall Street Journal, frankly, sucks. It's a paper. Even in 1997 it was outdated. I got most of my news from the Internet and if I read anything it was The Economist.

So I lied and said, "uh, yeah."

"What was on it yesterday?"

By this time I wanted to reach across his table, grab him by the lapels and say, "Listen you blue blood schmuck, I just drove 2 days across half the freakin' country because you're too damn cheap to fly me out here. I had to sleep in two way sides, act like I was in a badminton class, essentially shower in a McDonalds' sink and drop who knows how much in gas and Mountain Dew to have your Ivy League pampered ass look at me and ask me what was on the front page of the Wall Street Journal? I don't know what was on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, but I can tell you what Dover, New Jersey looks like at 3AM!"

But by that time I knew it was pretty much over. There was a whole different set of unspoken professional rules out there in the Bulge Bracket that they must have taught you in the Ivy League. And it wouldn't have mattered much if I did know what was on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, because I presume there would have been another eccentric trip wire of the east coast I-Banking world I would have tripped. I got through the rest of the interview with no questions about what I knew about sovereign risk analysis, model programming, valuation techniques or any of my other fortes. And now that I think about it, the suit I interviewed in was from JC Penny. I'm sure I ruined any chances of future U of MN students ever getting an interview at Goldmand Sachs.

And so defeated I left the Big Apple, confident I would get a rejection letter in the mail, which I did one week later.

Now one would think that a kid with the gumption and determination to drive 2 days for an interview, who would sleep in way sides and shower at a McDonalds would in that action itself warrant employment with most employers. But it seems employers nowadays are more concerned with protocol, about procedure, about HR standard questions of "what would you do if you were in this situation" or "if you saw an employee do something unethical, what would you do and why?" or in the case of Goldman Sachs "what was on the front page of the Wall Street Journal?"

Who knew the bulge bracket was no more efficient than the HR department.

Friday, April 20, 2007

A Ray of Hope

Let it be known that today, April 20th, 2007, I saw my first issue of The Economist at the check out line at the grocery store.

There is hope that all is not lost.

Working Women

Just a graphical representation of something we already knew was happening. Seems my generation is intent on slaving away. Mayhaps I could find a sugar mamma!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

You Shall Read Alice the Camel

She's quirky, that being said, she's original and she's a conservative female blogger, which naturally shows truly independent thought despite societal brainwashing.

You will read her blog.

You will conform.

Embrace the camel.

Gross Municipal Product

I had speculated there must have been data like this before, just couldn't find it.

I do like how cities of just 10 million people have GDP's greater than countries with hundreds of millions of people. Also notice which countries these all hail from;

CAPIALIST ONES!!!! (Except Paris)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sexy Conservative Female Blogger

I've speculated this dangerous combination pratically guarantees a succesful blog.

And while I was going to link to this girl's web site by introducing her with my fancy high end writing, I figured this would work a million times better;

This is her

Probably the best chart I've ever posted.

The Antithesis of America

Just look at it skyrocket during the "Great" Society.


The party is over.

A Friendly Reminder

I will not post comments where you're cursing. I'll accept ass, cripes sh!t, ef, effing and other such things, but not the real McCoy. Remember, youngin's need to have the brainwashing undone and counter their indoctrination at the public schools.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Of Indians and Irishmen

So I was in Thunder Bay Canada a while ago and had an epiphany. And this epiphany was at "Bannon's Gas Bar."

"Bannon's Gas Bar?" you might ask.

Yes, Bannon's Gas Bar.

For you see on the first night of our arrival in Thunder Bay my buddy Tony and I were looking for two simple things wrapped up in one convenient place

1. A place to eat
2. A place to smoke a cigar

Knowing this wasn't Quebec we thought we might have stood a pretty good shot, but little did we know that;

1. Thunder Bay is a pithole so there were no good restuarants
2. It's just as hyper-Nazi on the smoking ban as Quebec, Minnesota and 1930's Berlin.

That's when our hotel hostess recommended Bannon's.

"You can smoke and eat at Bannon's."

"So where's Bannon's?" we asked?

"It's on the reservation."

And then I was reminded, Indian reservations, presumably the same as in the US, are technically sovereign nations that set up their own rules and laws and needn't necessarily goose-step in line with the rest of their anti-smoking-Nazi Canadian and American brothers.

So it was off to Bannon's Gas Bar we went.

Now we had made it up to Duluth from the Twin Cities on one tank of gas and we surmised that gas was a lot more expensive in Canada, so the strategy of timing our fills required us to fill up near the border, but not in Canada, hopefully get by on one tank of gas while in Canada with enough to spare to get us to the closest American gas station on the return trip.

And we were right. Canada, when you adjust for the litre (note I put the "e" after the "r" to make it truly Canadian) has gas costing about $3.70 per gallon, a full dollar more than what we were paying in the land of the free.

But I noticed something odd about Bannon's Gas Bar. Gas was a full 20% cheaper on the reservation than just 1.6 km (note the metric conversion) north across the river in Thunder Bay. Again, I was reminded that Indian reservations are their own sovereign nations able to set their own tax rates on gas and tobacco and so forth and therefore have cheaper gas.

So Tony and I sat down at Bannon's, ordered a pizza, lit up some cigars and enjoyed our dinner, and then BAAM! It hit me.



And then my economic spidey senses started tingling. I had a cunning plan. And it was sheer brilliance.
Here you have the US' (and Canada's I presume) poorest ethnic group, native Indians. They suffer from lower standards of living;

The highest unemployment rates

And the highest poverty rates

But the key, is they sit within an much larger and higher income economy. And if we were to be astute students of economic history, that economic history would tell us this is eerily similar to another group of people who suffered from those same lower standards of living, higher unemployment, higher poverty rates, etc., that was also embedded in a larger economic region;

Ireland at the time was the armpit of Europe. They had nothing. They had standards of living equal to about 60% that of mainland Europe (whatever that's worth!).
They were poorer. Had higher unemployment etc. etc. similar to today's American and Canadian Indians. But then somebody over there (I don't know who, but I'd like to think it was one person, a revolutionary that said)
"Hey, this socialism schtick ain't working and it sucks on top of it. Instead of banging our heads against the wall and fleecing and punishing any sort of profit, work ethic and innovation, let's steal all of mainland Europe's investment, talented labor and jobs by lowering our taxes and making this a business friendly, pro-capitalism place."

And so they did.

They lowered corporate taxes to the lowest in all of the OECD;
They lowered overall taxes to make it an attractive place to anybody that DARED insist on keeping the majority of what they earned;
An the results were PHENOMENAL, HISTORICAL!
Unemployment went from zero to herom literally the worst to the best;
GDP growth HUMILIATED every other developed nations and summarily TROUNCED mainland old Europe;

But most jaw-dropping is the near QUADRUPLING in standards of living in a SHORT 25 years!
Never, bar Hong Kong and modern day China has such a rapid improvement in a people's standard of living occured. And (just like China and Hong Kong) it was due to implementing free market, capitalist ideas.
This behooves the questions; if the Irish could do it, then why not the Indians?
If the Indians were to steal a play from the Irish play book, they could pull off the exact same thing Ireland did and go from arguably the poorest ethnic group in America to potentially the richest.

Cut taxes to levels below the surrounding economic region and in essence make it more attractive to set up shop there for companies, workers, enterpreneuers etc. than the surrounding area.
Capitalize on the ensuing investment and economic growth.
And then watch their standards of living sky rocket.
Already this is happening on a microeconomic scale as evidenced by my trip to Bannon's. People in Thunder Bay no doubt drive the 1.6 km south to Bannon's Gas Bar to get cheaper gas. No doubt people drive there because they wish to "sin" and have a cigarette after dinner or with a whiskey. And if while there really isn't anything to do in Thunder Bay, the most attractive spot is none other than the Casino. If various tribes and Indian nations were to expand these freedoms to include not just low taxes on cigarettes and gas, the freedom of smoking in a bar, and the freedom to gamble, etc., but;

The freedom for corporations to keep 90% of their profits.

The freedom for workers to keep 90% of their earnings

The freedom for entrepreneuers to set up shop without overburdensome regulation and red tape
They could poach 1/3rd of all the investment in America just like Ireland has from Europe and perhaps enjoy a 4 fold increase in standards of living. The theory is not only perfectly feasible, but its time tested on a bevy of other nations;
The Cayman Islands
The Falklands
Hong Kong
It could happen starting today and in 20 years, Indian poverty would be a thing of the past. The Pine Ridge reservation wouldn't be the dump that it is, but a business center. And Indians wouldn't just have success with casinos, but if they were to take some lessons from their Irish, Swiss, and Bermudian (sp?) counterparts, they could diversify into banking, insurance and financial advising (which there must be some financially savvy masterminds in the Indian casinos for which this would be a natural professional progression).
Of course there is just one small hurdle to achieving this. And it is the same hurdle that has always stopped economic progress and advancement. And that is the ignorance bred by leftist brainwashing that plays the fears, greed and envy of human nature and villifies capitalism and free markets and small government.
So sad so many have been kept so poor, by so few.

What's Wrong with This Picture - 2

OK aspiring and junior deputy economists, time for your favorite game once again;


Yes, the game where the media shows you how naive they are by completely ignoring the obvious problem to today's societal ills!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Captain Capitalism's Annual Chart Contest - Entrant #6

From our Swiss friend, Daniel;
"Hi Capt, I did this very simple chart last year when everybody, at least in Europe, went crazy about the Soccer World Cup in Germany. I compared the estimated value of the squads, which I had found in an edition of The Economist, with the success that they had. It seems like money can buy success indeed."
Herr Dan makes a good point about something that we here in the US already know;
The New York Yankees owe their success to money, not good ol' fashioned American Underdoggedness.
Which is primarily the reason I don't bother watching professional sports.
Who the f cares?
Yeah, that's just what I want to do, PAY to WATCH OTHER PEOPLE play sports when for the price of a ticket I could buy my own damn soccer ball and go have an infinitely better (and healthier) time playing with my buddies or the neighborhood kids.
I will never understand professional sports or the people that stake their personal value on them.

Captain Capitalism's Annual Chart Contest - Entrant #5!

From Soren, a pretty neato chart. Actuall interactive so you'll want to click here to actually toy with it.

Captain Capitalism's Annual Chart Contest - Entrant #4

It took a while for me to get my eyes around this one, but Michelle has a distinct advantage in being a mathematician and this was probably as simple to her as a one line chart. Enjoy the next 15 minutes getting your arms around this one;

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Another Cool Chart

I remember in elementary or perhaps middle school where they blamed the Great Depression the the stock market crash of 1929 and in turn blamed the stock market crash on people buying on margin.

Debt, unless controlled, has more or less been the culprit of every bubble. If not it at least exacerbates the damage when the bubble pops. I've often speculated there must had been some climatic event that prompted Mohammed to ban the use of debt in Islam, much in the way I theorize that STD's and abandoned children wreaked such havoc upon society that marriage and monogamy were engrained in pretty much all religions.

So I was glad to see so much debt being used in the US today. Actually, it's probably a LOT more in that this chart only goes to 2002 and doesn't include all the idiots using ARMS and NegAm's to buy their houses.

And some other good news. Got a lot of charts sent to me for the competition. Actually, none of them were charts. They were links. But just a little bit of advice for all of you participating in Captain Capitalism's Annual Chart Contest;

DON'T SEND ME LINKS TO CHARTS! That means I have to go and get them myself.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

This is Kind of a Neat Chart

Hi All,

Been busy, tax season and all. Just no time for the weary. Regardless here is a chart I found interesting.

I will be determining a winner here for the Annual Chart Contest.

Truthfully, anybody who puts forth the minimalist of efforts to find a decent chart could probably take it right about now, which would entitle you to $15 dollars and a signed photo of the Captain (though, some have suggested that this is no incentive, which hurts because I've always fashioned myself as at least cute! Where the heck are the female entrants to this competition?)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

South of the Border

Down south of the border
Down Mexico way
All the guys and dames
Who work real hard
Keep most of their take home pay
And as my economic spidey senses tingle
My thoughts ever stray
South of the border
Down Mexico way.

Also, it reminds me of this post on long term unemployment as Mexico and South Korea also at the bottom of the charts there.

I would have done "South of the Border, Down South Korea's Way" but it just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Captain Capitalism's Annual Chart Contest - Entrant #4

From Scott Olson!

Who will win? Is there a dark horse? Does the Captain favor cute redheads that submit charts? You won't know and won't stand a chance to win unless you submit your very own chart!

Captain Capitalism's Annual Chart Contest - Entrant #3

The Bad sent in this one. And he had doubt I was going to publish it! Such lack of faith in the Captain.
That being said, what, are you people trying to do to me???? I need context with these charts!!!
I surmise this is the potential real identity of the Captain? And why is it Bruce Wayne and Captain Capitalism have neve been photographed in the same picture?
Enter your chart by e-mailing it to (that's CAPTcapitalism, not and you too can win $15 and a signed photo of the Captain with his harem of Capitalism Cuties!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Holy Freaking Neato Batman!

No doubt based on Shiller's famous chart. We should make all charts like this;

Then two things would happen. Younger folk would get interested in economics.
People will finally start to realize that the worst of the housing bubble is not over.

Captain Capitalism's Annual Chart Contest - Contestant #2

Good ol' Kate has sent me a chart which has me more confused. I don't know if she was trying to throw me off or if she was just pointing out that large Muslim populations live in areas that are prone to tsunamis.

Help me out Kate!
Remember, $15 and a signed photo of the Captain is all yours if you get the best chart.

Competition will run till whenever I feel like it should end!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

"Gee Frank, I Have No Freaking Clue Why Ireland is Kicking So Much Ass"

Will somebody on the left, please, PLEASE explain to me how you rationalize Ireland?

Really I need the joke. I need a good laugh. Tell me how Ireland lowering its taxes has not helped the country tranform itself from the armpit of Europe to the underdog rival to Luxembourg. How it has not brought its people out of French levels of poverty.

Any takers?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Captain Capitalism's Annual Chart Contest - Entrant 1

Here it is, from Robert.

Can you beat this chart? If you can $15 smackeroos are yours along with a signed photo of the Captain!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Alvaro Version 2.0

Sorry, missed this chart from The Economist previously.

Again, it's amazing what happens when adults take over.

This Isn't Too Unlike Me at work