Monday, June 30, 2008

People Aren't Saving Enough for Retirement

There are times I wonder whether I should just become a ward on the state, live off the taxpayer and not try anymore. Seriously, it gets as bad as that at times. And the reason why is I think a critical mass or a critical percentage of the population is doing so, and by "critical mass" I mean enough to tank the rest of society, so why even bother. Why not just become sub prime slime and take out all the money on my house, blow it on a fancy car, and booze it up and go to Vegas. And then send the keys in the mail to the bank saying, "sorry, repossess, I don't care anymore." And then go live off the dole.

Oh, wait, that's right, I'm not a socialist. I actually support myself.

That being said, my self-reliance and true manliness of self-supportation does not dull the pain, nor lessen the anger when I see data like this;

Apparently, that vast majority of Americans do not have enough saved up for retirement. And by default, then, must be expected Daddy Government to come in and save them.

The question is, with what?

Social security?

So here's what I want all real men and women to do. If you're interested go to this web site which will help you calculate what you need to retire. Then compare it to the above chart. And then rack your brain trying to balance your desire to be a real American and support yourself or to just capitulate and go the route of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Anyway, another great article from The Economist.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Stuff White People Like - Bumper Stickers

Absolutely freaking hilarious.

If you're thinking about committing suicide, this will stop you dead in your tracks.

Warning - the site is pretty funny and you can get lost for about 2 hours on it.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

When I am King

I went to a wedding tonight and if there is something that must be extinguished from society it must be this;

"I donated money to a charity and give this donation to you as a gift."

OK, seriously, when I'm king, you are one of the first people I'm going to send to the gallows.

This is not to belittle the Crohn's and Colitis foundation, but rather those that engage in such fake "altruistic" behavior. Seriously, WTF??? There are many reason why this is so dishonest.

1. What if I wanted my freaking gift? Huh, did that occur to you? Who are you to determine whether I want a genuine bona fide table gift or a donation (no matter how honorable it may be) to some charity? Truth is I don't care about the table gift. I wouldn't have even known there was a table gift to begin with. But then you say there WAS a table gift, but that was taken away from me and given to something else? Hello, how, precisely is that a "gift" for me?

2. Don't give me this gloating "how selfless and altruistic are we" BS that you were so "kind" and "charitable" to donate money in my name to a freaking charity. It's a cop out. Plain and simple. Additionally the condescending tone of it, "how dare you expect a gift when there are people suffering." No, I'm sorry, I'm a selfish, evil, capitalist, hate-filled, racist, dog-tripping, old-people punching, nose picking, booger-eating, goose stepping bastard. Where's my freaking gift?!

3. Not to accuse this particular party, but, I'm sorry, this is too rife to be abused. All I have to do is donate 30 cents to the "Captain Capitalism's Whiskey Fund" and write on some piece of paper that says "Your gift is a $5,000 donation we made to the 'Jones Cancer Fund'" I won't have kids, but I fully expect to have nieces and nephews. And when I do, Uncle Cappy is buying them X-box and ice cream and video games and fishing trips and Swiss army knives and splat ball guns and pocket bikes and water cannons and home made rockets and all the other cool stuff kids want but parents forbid. I'm not making a freaking-a charity donation in their name.

4. The concept of a gift is that you at least TRY to guess what the person genuinely wants. This is why I always advocate giving the gift of cash. Nobody is a better determiner of what one needs, than oneself. And think about what that person wants all you want, you'll never, in the quite literal economic sense give anybody a better gift than cash. In donating money to a charity of fund, you take away the semi-purchasing power of a true and genuine gift and force that person to donate their would be gift to something that is in reality nothing more than something designated to make you feel better about yourself. ie-quit giving a gift to you for yourself you cheat skate hypocrite. Either get them what they want, or cash, or nothing at all.

When I am king, "donating to a charity" as a gift will be punishable by death.

The Surge is Working

Older chart, but I've been so busy, yet I did want to post this because, well, afterall, that truth thing kind of hurts. Plus I like it when our boys do a good job;

I will never understand the defeatist mentality.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Anybody Know Who This Artist Is?

So my grandpa always had these up in his basement and they were going to be thrown out, but I liked them and said I'd take them instead. Been trying to find out who the artist is, but no luck. Below is one of the paintings and the signature below;

Feces Attracts Flies

Ah, but who are the flies and who are the feces?

Would have liked to see them extend the chart to today.

Down 10,000

It was about, oh, I guess two months or so ago my grandma and dad were in town. My grandma had worked at Smith Barney back in her youth and so is quite savvy on the market and so forth. With the housing turmoil my dad asked "how far do you think the Dow is going to go down?"

I said, "Eh, around 10,000."

To which my grandma disagreed. "10,000? Are you sure? I don't think so, that's pretty steep."

Ah, the bad news just keeps rolling in.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Take That PEG Ratio and Shove It

A quick economics lesson of the day here and that is the PEG ratio.

A lot of people look at a P/E ratio as a means to determine whether a stock is under or overvalued. The price divided by the earnings of a share of stock (thus, P/E) shows how much you're paying in stock price to be entitled to one dollar in earnings. Thus a P/E of 100 means you're shelling out $100 in price for $1 in earnings and a P/E of 4 means you're only paying $4 in price for that same $1 in earnings.

The problem though, is with P/E ratios they don't account for growth. So a company could be making very little now, but if its earnings grow by, say, 500%, then it will be making sizable profits in the future.

This phenomenon was played out in Dotcom P/E ratios in the late 90s. Yahoo for example had a P/E of 571 at its peak in 1999. Obviously nobody was willing to pay $571 for a $1 in earnings, but it was the promise of future earnings growth that warranted such a high P/E ratio.

Thus to account for the prospect of growth they developed the PEG ratio - Price Earnings Growth. The original version discounted the P/E ratio by one year's worth of expected earnings growth. Thus the higher the growth, the lower the PEG ratio and thus the better "deal" you'd get.

However, there's just one minor problem. Stock markets are notoriously optimistic and overestimate growth. An interesting chart on Wikipedia from Robert Shiller shows the correlation between P/E ratios and their 20 year annualized return and it shows (commonsensically enough) that the lower P/E stocks had higher returns.

This counters, or at least gives reason to question any broker or smooth talking investment banker trying to push or sell the latest stock or technology saying "well, even if it has a P/E ratio of 300, it's still a great deal because of all the future growth that will occur." History has suggested, over various periods of time, we overestimate growth and do not value low P/E ratios as much as we should.

Of course this suggests something very obvious; the less you pay for a stock, the better deal you'll tend to get. I think people would become infinitely better investors if they treated buying stocks like buying gas; you want the price of it as cheap as possible when you buy. It's only when you sell do you want the price to go up.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Jury Duty

I apologize, but I just got jury duty.

Realizing what a farce the judicial system is in America I fully intend to use it as a means to advance a political agenda instead of justice.

HA HA HA!!!!

No, just kidding folks. I'm not a liberal Berkeley commie judge. I actually adhere to morals and integrity.

Regardless, postings will be a little short in the mean time as the juror vat as I like to call it, has no wifi access.

Adventures in Bachelortudosity


Thank You Ramirez

The man rocks;

And if you want to get technical, a flea is about 200 times the size of Anwar.

Please, leftists and enviromentalist whackos, e-mail in your thoughts!

(and sorry, unless it is genuinely intelligent commentary you make, it will be thrown in the troll pile)

"But He Started It!"

Having siblings it was a guarantee I would use the phrase "but s/he started it."

And what angers me about parents is they retort;

"I don't care who started it, I'll finish it."

This is injustice, albeit on a small level.

But that is the key, and as Dennis Prager mentioned, it does matter who starts it.

Thus, imagine my surprise when I found out the 72 hour cease fire between Israel and the Palestinians was broken by none other than....

the Palestinians.

And for all the complications between the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and for all the speculation and the philosophies of why who does what, if there is something I've consistently seen it's that the Palestinians in something nearly 98% of the time start it. I remember once, and in intellectual honesty, the Israelis starting it and where I disagreed with them. But they are heavily outdone in "starting-it-manship" by the Palestinians.

In any case, it's stuff like this that erodes any pity I have for the Palestinians because it's nothing more than outright lying when engaging in a farcical truce only to break it less than a week later. Furthermore, as long as this childish behavior keeps up, they can expect to have a standard of living equal to a one-paltry-25th of the Israelis because nobody will trust them and therefore nobody will ever invest in them. I don't see a Palestinian ETF or indexed mutual fund out there. But I do see an Abu Dhabi/Arab regional one.

Which begets a serious question I tender to the readers out there, why haven't they realized this and what on God's green Earth compels them to keep themselves down like this? Fine, I can understand them blaming Israel and the West for all their woes, but inevitably the Palestinian people have just got to get sick of this and say, "You know what, screw this suicide bombing stuff, I'm going to school to become an engineer and play X-Box."

Monday, June 23, 2008

And If He's Wrong...

Then I want him to pay with his career.

Hard Cover or Soft Cover

Odd question for all the Captain Capitalismites out there, but do any of you guys care if I publish the book hard cover versus soft cover? Let me know, have to make a decision here. Any advice from the market would be appreciated.


Hope, Change, Unity and Kirk Watson

Freaking hilarious. Shows the true intelligence and above all the substance of the Obama campaign.

This is pretty funny too.

It's Because You're a Socialist, Obama, Not Because You're Black

I will preemptively address this and it will be a short post for it truly and really is that simple;

Obama, people who don't vote for you will do so, not because you're black. It's because you're a socialist.

I don't know how many Republicans, Capitalists, Libertarians and other like-minded people who because they advocate low taxes must automatically mean they're racist, would have gladly had Condi Rice as a presidential candidate over John McCain. And I'm adamantly sure that the vast majority of Republicans, Capitalists, Libertarians and other like-minded people who because they advocate low taxes must automatically mean they're racist, would whole heartedly support my presidential nominee; Walter E Williams. And there is of course the likes of Thomas Sowell and Peter Swanson and scores of others who are black and would make better presidential fodder than McCain. And the reason why we support these blacks over you, is because they are pro-capitalist, American loving Americans who are for not just social freedom, but economic freedom as well. Race really has nothing to do with it. We are truly capable of looking at a candidate for their policies and not the color of their skin.

The question is; all your supporters who are going to vote for you just because you're black and couldn't care less about your policies (because you have none except "change" and "hope" and "uniting"), is that not by default technically racist?

Just wondering.

In the meantime I will be voting Libertarian because I am done with the Norm Colemans and the John McCains of this world. Besides Walter E didn't run. Any chance of kidnapping and individual and forcing him to run?

Robert Shiller and Edward Fox; Separated at Birth???

So to make sure the book is all legal and nice I made sure I have permission to use everybody's data for the charts in the book (of which there is no less than 35 charts - how can you not want to buy that book? hmmmmmm....chaaaarts). On of the charts is the S&P 500 P/E ratio and Dr. Robert Shiller of Yale has a great database at his site.

Still, wanting to make sure I did everything correctly I called up the office, got his very nice and sweet assistant Carol to help me out, and boom, got permission.

But when I went to his site, the picture he has up reminded me of somebody who I couldn't put my finger on. Here's his picture;

It wasn't until last night when I was watching "The Guns of Navarone" did I remember who he reminded me of; Edward Fox from the sequel "Force 10 From Navarone."

Or perhaps they are one and the same! And it has been Edward Fox this entire time pulling of his most amazing acting yet as he poses as an Ivy League economist!

Oh, how would the markets react to that!?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Seems I Must Explain Myself

I take the stand that children are expensive, burdensome and not for me.

I get so much trollish hate-posts that it warrants explanation and a lecture.

#1. This is still a free country and if I so decide not to have a child, that is my god damned right. It is not selfish, self-centered or greedy. What is greedy are people who have children because children go well with the drapes and they "always wanted children" but then dump them off at a day care center or have a nanny or grandma raise them because they're too busy with their career.

#2. It is very UNselfish of me not to have a child, because I respect the would be Cpt. Capitalism Jr enough to know I would not be a good father. I would be a reluctant father. And since, unlike too many people today, I refuse to ship my kid off to a day care farm, and would insist either myself or my wife would stay home with the kid, the fact I refuse to have a child only means I respect human life and children enough to know its best I don't bring one into this world under my fathership.

#3. This Darwinian BS that "Oh, Captain, you're just the person we need to breed." BS. If my child is going to be born, I face a paradox. He/she is not going to be a loafer and live off of welfare and the state. They will be just as independent and self reliant a man as I am, under my insistence. However, the irony is that the trend is to teach children dependency and victimhood in school. And as far as I can tell or forecast, that means my offspring will just end up being a host to a generation of parasites by the default fact s/he will be a producer and not a consumer. ie-I don't have faith in the future of this country or society to bring a child into it, simply because I think s/he will just end up slaving away to pay for a bunch of whinny socialist parasites. So you guys go and adhere to this "don't you want your legacy to continue" BS all you want. I'm already a slave enough to the parasites of this nation paying the taxes I do. I'm not putting any innocent human in the same position.

#4. You TRULY sick, twisted greedy effers who demand other people pro-create so THEIR children can SUPPORT YOU via social security????? Seriously, do you not have the capacity to think independently??? Since when did children become mandatory batteries to fund your retirement? Why don't you just stick an IV in them and transfer their blood directly to your bodies? And by the way, how does that, demanding people have children to support you in your retirement, exactly differ from slavery? You sick twisted, pathetic a$$holes. You better pray and hope I don't become president/king because you're the first people I'm gunning after.

Now unless somebody has a great job opportunity for me that will make me infinitely wealthy or reason to think somehow the choice between Barack "The Socialist American Hater" Obama and John "The Socialist American Hater" McCain portends hope for this nation, please do not ask me, let alone demand I pro-create and bring a child into this hell hole. And dare I say it, before you bring another innocent soul into this world, you better think as long as hard as I have on this one before you do too.

Because as far as I can tell, that is the truest sign of love and compassion for a child; Thinking about them before they already exist.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

At Least She's Honest

So a friend of mine lives in this mid to late twenties, preppy, cha-chi apartment complex that I call "the breeding grounds." All of 3 years ago you could find a place to park, but as these 20 somethings started meeting other 20 somethings, the parking lot gets fuller and fuller. Then little ones started sprouting out. And now it's impossible to find a parking spot.

To accommodate this demographic increase in the number of parents, the apartment management purchases a subscription to "Parent" magazine and leaves a couple free issues in the atrium. I'm not a parent, not do I care much for children, but I occasionally pick a copy up and peruse. And I do believe there is a Blogging God out there, because I grab this morning's latest issue, opened it up and BAAM!!! The Blogging God (who I shall name Morty) forced the magazine to open to something I've always suspected and was outright scary;

Now, like I said before, I shall never have kids. I've spoken about the rates of return you can realize on a vasectomy, but just how it's so defeatist that "oh, yeah, you pretty much give up your life and couldn't care less about your spouse. Your spouse is just there to make the kid happen, and then after that he/she is more of an annoyance. Sex is a chore and a bore. But, you know, that's life and this sad existence is all worth it because you have a kid." Or "there only is so much love to go around" as if love is in a limited quantity.

B as in B.

S as in S.

If this is a prevalent mentality in society today, then to hell with having kids. Aside from not having a kid be one of the smartest moves you can do financially, this psychological mentality that we're just drones to spit out children and then ignore your spouse means there's a cost to kids beyond finances and it's your life, your soul, your sentientness.

This also goes a long way in explaining when I'm at Target or Best Buy, buying GTAIV, Metal Gear Solid 4, or Army of 2, and I see a mom with her screaming child/children why her face is very somber looking, very depressed and very defeated, drawn out, broken. Lifeless and listless. And why I'm relatively happy knowing I'm going home to play a video game and my only major chore is to clean the toilet and water the garden.

To all the single and kidless economists out there, aspiring, junior, deputy, official or otherwise, go buy yourself and drink and toast one to yourself. Life could be a lot more lifeless.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Oil at an All Time Historical and Inflationary Adjusted High

Thank you environmentalist, leftist, democratic, socialist whackos.

Hat tip to WTRG Economics. Some outright amazing data on energy.

They Weren't Kidding About Those Wait Times

So when Obama gets elected on the backs of ignorant youth who think it cool to wear a Che Guevera t-shirt (and I don't care if I spelled his name wrong), he no doubt will start embarking on nationalized health care.

And one of those common mantra arguments you hear from the right is "do you know how long the wait times are for these countries with universal health care???" And although hypocritical, I'm more inclined to believe these arguments without confirming them as over the years of my life, the "right wing" arguments tend to prove true and leftist arguments tend to prove false. It's why I will take a capitalist or libertarian at their word and confirm what they claim at my leisure, and will listen to a socialist with an eyebrow raised, believing nothing they say until I can confirm it.

Regardless, thanks to a friendly Canadian, he pointed me in the direction of the Fraser Institute where they conducted a study on wait times in Canada. And it seems not only were they not joking about wait times being horribly long in Canada and other countries, but they're getting worse. Here are just two charts from the report (but the report is just full of charty goodness);

Now only if the OECD or some outfit had "wait times" as a measure we could compare different countries against.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

But You Can't Incorporate Economic Growth

Here's a fun game to play;

Budget Hero.

Shows you, you can't just "spend a little bit more on health, education and children."

But it doesn't account for economic growth from lower taxes.

Canada About to Become More Capitalist Than the United States

I have had the honor of being invited to blog on Small Dead Animals, the premier Canadian web site for independent thought, conservative, free-market thinking, liberty and other sins. Thusly, since it is a Canadian web site, I decided I should make a post about Canada and thought as a kind of token "economics lesson of the day" I would describe the concept of "government spending as a percent of GDP."

The reason I like this measure is that it is "the" measure to gauge how "capitalistic" or "communistic" your economy is. If you take the government budget and divided it by GDP this shows you, more or less, what percent of the economy the government is taking. Now, a lot of people will point out that it should be government revenues, not expenditures that should be divided by GDP to see how much a country is "taxed." The problem is ultimately, whether it is debt spending today or actually taxes collected, taxes is what will inevitably pay for that spending. Thus I prefer to measure what the government spends, not what it takes in.

But imagine my surprise when I, Captain Capitalism, presumed knower-of-all-things-economic, pulled the figures for Canada and realized Canadians have the same tax level as the US. 37%.

It was shocking because Canada is supposed to be the socialist of North America and we're supposed to be the capitalists. Canada is the one with socialized medicine. Canada is the flag cowardly Americans put on their backpacks as they go to Europe. We're the evil capitalist jerks, Canada is the socialists everybody loves. And given the trend it looks like Canada is going to usurp this role.

If McCain Was Smart

He'd pay attention to an NBC poll (yes, MSM, not known for its bias to the right) and realize the silent majority is providing him is one way ticket to the presidency.

81% of Americans want to expand drilling for oil.

If that isn't a platform that runs against the Democrats, I don't know what is.

The Left is to Blame for High Gas Prices

Yeah, but those acres aren't where the oil is.

Seriously, this is the consequence of "going green" and brainwashing my generation with "Captain Planet" and the current generation with dying polar bears/global warming.

You leftists pushed for ethanol. You leftists voted in the democrats who have been against ANWAR and drilling WHERE THE OIL IS and shale drilling. You've been against building nuclear power plants. You've been against building refineries. You have effectively cut off the supply of energy (and don't tell me about wind or solar power). YOU are to blame, so don't bitch about the high price of gas or revert to your inane conspiracy theory argument and blame it on "big oil."

This is (as Rush Limbaugh says) the egregious price of your ignorance.

The question is whether you're going to get sick of $5 gallon gasoline and come around, or continue to force a low standard of living on the country to adhere to your psycho-pathological infatuation with environmentalism.

Sunspots Analysis

Great post and a good review if you want to basically have some handy ammo to shoot a big gapping hole in this global warming BS.

ht to Ian.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

No, Seriously, Will We Blame China?

I opted to focus in on one particular aspect of the previous chart I posted before and I want to ask the left a serious question;

When China inevitably starts producing more carbon emissions than the US, will you go after them vehemently as you do the US? Because it's going to happen next year, 2009. Seriously, I want to know. Are there going to be protests? Are you going to contact the Chinese embassies? No doubt you are well researched enough on this that you already have plans to divert your efforts towards China? Right? Because you're so well researched? RIGHT? And we can expect mainstream media outlets to highlight China being the world's biggest carbon emitter hence forth, and not just independent publications The Economist, right????

No, wait, let me answer for you. You're not going to even expend one calorie of energy attacking China because the underlying, unspoken goal of this global warming farce is to stop capitalism. It's to stop progress. It's to weaken the United States. And it's to employ a bunch of otherwise unemployable scientists and activists and make people who've never contributed a cent of GDP to this economy feel good about themselves.

That's what it's all about.

Sunspots and Global Warming

Wow, who would have guessed. Sun spots increase along with global warming.

Though I'm sure, momentarily, I will be told by a socialist internet troll somewhere, some warped, illogical line of logic by which I should ignore my eyes, ignore what I see and believe in global warming anyway.

Oh, and I'm pre-emptively striking the "well, they couldn't measure sun spots back then as frequently as they do now." Though no doubt true, I'm going to assume the data above has been adjusted for that in some manner or another.

Many thanks to Marc!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Energy Hogs

Here's a Jim dandy chart to have in your arsenal whenst arguing against the socialists about global warming

(though, I seriously wonder whether you should even argue with them, and rather instead just accuse them of being disingenuous and hiding behind such a ruse as "global warming" to rationalize a wealth transfer. no, seriously, anybody even thing about that? Instead of trying to argue whether or not there is global warming, wouldn't it just be easier to go straight to the jugular and question their belief in it? To accuse them of being nothing more than desperate socialists willing to resort to the most outlandish conspiracy theories and methods to parasite off the producers of society? Ah, forget it, never mind, the amount of brainwashing kids get nowadays in school if they'll vote for somebody who promises "hope" and "change" and no means by which to deliver it, they'll fight to the death for something as a fear-mongering religion as global warming.)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Outstanding Picture from The Economist

Was from this article.

Yes, let us embrace diversity. Even if it results in a theocracy that destroys freedom.

This will be the consequence if we put diversity above freedom.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Achievements in Bachelortudeosity

In line with refusing to make my bed (as most of the time I sleep on my couch), I embarked on spring cleaning last week.

And one of the more annoying aspects of cleaning or keeping an abode clean is that if you technically want to keep your carpets clean, you should really take off your shoes.

This poses a problem for me in that I am always coming or going, and in Minnesota, particularly during winter, there is snow or slush, thus necessitating you take off your shoes before you traipse around the house, no matter how little time you must spend at home.

Thus, I employed an ingenious technique.

I would take all the junk mail I had and throw it on the floor. Any paper or print offs I had that I did not need, I would throw on the floor. This in essence made all the junk mail and paper my "area rug" and so if I needed to just make a call, grab some gear and head out once again, I would not be encumbered with taking off my shoes, but instead could just walk on the papers that had been laid down on the floor, conduct my business as needed, and then leave. Oh, sure, initially it was like a game of hopscotch where I would only have bits and pieces of paper leading to the fax, or leading to the computer, by which I would have to play a game of human frogger jumping from one piece of paper to the next to avoid touching the carpet, but after a couple weeks the floor was amply covered and I could gallivant about my house as I pleased without going through the torture of taking off my shoes.

Now, many of my friends critiqued me for this. They said my bachelor pad looked like I was trying to potty train a dog with all the papers on the ground. And "what happens if you have a date." To which I responded, "there's either her place or I'd much rather get a hotel room for $50 than spend the hours needed to clean." Which begat eyes rolling and some commentary about how I'll never find a girl and how hopeless I was, and girls don't like X-Box or a half polished off bottle of Jim Bean on the counter, why don't you conform and become a communist like the rest of us and do what society tells you and make your bed and go to church even though deep down inside women like the renegade bad ass, Tony Stark, Captain Jack Sparrow type blah blah blah...

But oh, how wrong they were.

For when I started my spring cleaning and pulled all the papers off the floor, the carpets were spotless. Beautiful. And not once this past year did I have to take off my shoes, thereby avoiding horrible psychological reminiscings of visiting grandma where they forced me to take off my shoes.

Oh, mock me if you must, but these economic bachelor like ways will certainly serve us bachelors well in the future. Besides, quite literally, girls will always prefer the guy who comes up with Captain Jack Sparrow-level-of-cleverness ideas like using junk mail as an area rug than some schmutz who always insists you take off your shoes before you walk on his precious little downtown condo's carpet.

World GDP v. World Oil Production

I was originally attempting a means by which to compare commodity prices like oil to a measure of production by which to determine whether a commodity is over or undervalued. Instead I just came up with another chart that explains (yet ONCE AGAIN) why it isn't Exxon or BP or "Big Oil" jacking up prices, as much as it is the fact the world economy is growing faster than oil production and therefore (revisiting the basics of economics 101 which most people don't get during their education) since demand is exceeding supply, prices have gone up.

They didn't have 2008 figures which I'd be curious to see with this last spike, but yeah, my apologies to all you freshmen and sophomores in college out there, apparently it isn't Dick Cheney and Haliburton just trying to piss you off. It's just simple economics.

Of course we could allow for drilling offshore or in ANWAR which would increase supply and thereby lower...oh heck, never mind. I'm foolishly assuming people care about lowering the price of oil when in reality these people want nothing more than to destroy the US economy.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

There's Nothing Wrong With To Do Lists

The same girl that criticized me about ripping tags out of my shirt has now mocked me for my to do list.

Thus warranting the economic lesson about the merits of to do lists.

See, previous to "to do lists" people didn't know what to do. They were just standing around. Doing nothing. A lot like France. And then, an ingenious human came up with the idea to do things and thus composed the first to do list in the history of man.

He, along with other humans, started doing the things that were listed on the to do list. And thus production and GDP ensued and soon they were driving cars, brewing beer, programming video games and raising dachshunds. Yes, all the great things in life emanating from that first to do list.

Therefore, (on a more serious note) I am a big believer in to do lists. Much more gets done, more efficiency ensues, life gets easier and in general you are typically wealthier. I often opine what the economic consequences would be if society in general got into the good habits of putting together to do lists...heck I often opine what would happen to GDP production if women started dressing like Sophia Loren did back in the 40's. But, regardless, I would not be surprised if it resulted in a full 1-1.5% additional boost in economic growth. That translates into $140 -$210 billion in extra production.

Ahhh, but what a stupid idea. Like something as simple as to do lists would have any real economic consequence. Kind of like a "point and click interface" that would get rid of the need to know DOS.

Sub Prime Slime

Oft we think of "sub prime" as the bottom of the barrel types abusing the equity in their home as they lollygag between the bar and the trailer court.

Not so.

Suburbia is the primary culprit and abuser of the sub prime loans. This chart from the Federal Reserve (those of you not familiar with the Twin Cities area will need to know the "inner city" is barely on the map here and it is the suburbs marked in red) shows the prevalence of sub prime mortgages and they're all in the fancier zip codes.

City or burbs, the desire to avoid work, yet still consume what you want runs rampant.

Herman the Bunny

I was pouring a new concrete footing for one of the support pillars for my deck. It had to be about 3 feet deep and a foot across otherwise it would shift and fail to act as an anchor. So I dug a sizable hole, figured it was enough work for the day and retired.

Next day it rains cats and dogs and thinking the hole has now filled up a little bit, I returned to the hole to see how much re-digging I would have to do, only to see an baby bunny shivering in the hole. Figured the poor thing was there all night, doused in rain and scared to death.

Not wanting to get rabies, I got a shovel and returned to scoop the little critter out, but he wanted none of it. Additionally I didn't want to accidentally break any of his little rabbit legs by shoving the shovel underneath him to scoop him up. So I risked the chance of rabies and just picked the little guy up with my hands.

Poor thing was cold and shivering and so I put him in the sun, went inside the house and grabbed a carrot. I return and he's still there, shivering. I put the carrot next to him (which was almost bigger than he was) and he didn't do anything. All of the sudden he darts away from me, and slips back into the hole which was all of 4 feet away.

Now feeling like he was being dishonest with me (not to mention a pretty dumb bunny), I grabbed him out of the hole and put him near some shrubbery in my back yard and left the carrot there. A month goes by and I'm smoking my cigar and I see him eating my grass near the shrubs I dropped him off at. Grabbed a picture of him, and I'm now calling him "Herman the Bunny" and he is a fixture of the Captain's Bachelor Pad and is about the closest thing I want to a child (this one lives in the back yard and costs me nothing).

I mention Herman the Bunny because the people over at Snarkolepsy have one. You should check out some of the pictures.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Foreclosure Rates in Your Neighborhood

I found this chart pretty and informative.

Kind of like how I like my women...ahhh...Maria Bartiromo.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

HOV's for SUV's

So I get a motorcycle.

Which means I can drive on the HOV lanes on the highway.

Which means during this last rush hour I was whizzing by practically a parking lot of cars.

But I found this odd in that, if you are to be a believer in global warming and so forth, then in all intellectual honesty the HOV lanes or "share lanes" should be open only to SUV's, trucks and other gas guzzlers. Reason being is the amount of carbon dioxide they emit just sitting there inching along at 1 mile per hour is more than if they were allowed to zip along in the HOV lanes, certainly more than what I would expend sitting there in my motorcycle or all the sensitive 90's men driving their hybrids.

So if we really do care about global warming and can admit that HOV's are pretty much a failed attempt at moving traffic along faster, then we should open them up only to SUV's, trucks and other vehicles consuming the most gas. This would lessen the amount of carbon emissions emanating from the interstate and we would do our part in fighting global warming.

I know it may sound outlandish, but it's true.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Tornadoes Determine Economic Growth

So it's tornado chasing season and I usually try to get out to chase some storms down because this is what really cool, hip economist type guys do to impress the girls. And while dabbling on the internet I found this chart that showed where tornadoes occur and it occurred to me it is a nearly identical match to which countries enjoy 1st world status. ie-where there is the most tornadic activity there is also the most economic growth. Heck, even South Korea is plagued with tornadoes, but it's evil communist twin to the north is not.

This can only mean one things. CAPITALISTS ARE CONTROLLING THE GLOBAL WARMING TO BRING MORE TORNADOES TO THEIR COUNTRIES AND THUS MORE ECONOMIC GROWTH!!!! Those greedy bastards! Hogging all the tornadic activity to themselves!

Of course, this is not much more outlandish than most theories tendered by leftists.

They Didn't Call it the Volcker Recession for Nothing

Wow, imagine that, the head of the Fed during the worst recession since the Great Depression endorses Obama. (I will immediately concede Paul Volcker was not responsible for the Volcker recession, I'm just taking a cheap most of the left does...except I'm not trying to pass it off as truth and maintain some level of intellectual honesty).

Hey, Do You Want to Get Depressed?

Here's something to forward to all your friends to put them in a bad mood. How much of GDP we can expect to drop on social security and medicare in the coming years.

You see, social security is thought to be the one that will break the financial back of the US, but it is medicare that will bankrupt the nation. Going from just 3% of GDP today, it will grow to 11% by 2080. Social security will only grow to 6% GDP. We'll be spending nearly 17% of our incomes on keeping people alive for another 2-3 years. Of course this will be my generation, but the truth is I don't want to impoverish some poor working kid by foisting a 17% tax burden on them. Pull the plugs, I don't need viagra (or its 2080 equivalent) and I sure am hell not going to insist younger generations keep me alive a paltry extra 6 months if it costs them $1 million in medical bills to do so.

Recession Time

We had a song called "Check Out Time" back when I worked as a campus cop whenst going to college. It was a jovial toe tapper and we'd sing it when signing out for the night. However the same tune could be applied today, given the news on the unemployment rate;

It's recession time!
Yes recession time!

Hey, buy me a beer with a quarter and a dime.

"The stimulus package will work," don't give me that line.

"Just a temporary lull," don't be so asinine.

Now I'll say it again, just one more time
Cause it's recession time, yeah recession time!!!

My question is this; how much you want to bet they'll blame Bush and Republicans for the recession we'll be in, even though it's the sub prime deadbeats and the corrupt mortgage lenders/bankers that are truly to blame?

Thursday, June 05, 2008


There are many jim dandy charts in the upcoming book, but one I thought I'd share with you prematurely is charge off rate in that is shows the banks are indeed paying for their sins. Originally when I had pulled up this chart a month ago it was only at .44%, now it's up to .66%. But what is most disconcerting is the rate at which it is growing.

If it keeps going, a lot of banks capital base is going to be threatened, and they'll end up going bankrupt.

Oh, wait, that's right. Banks don't go bankrupt. They just go to the taxpayer for a bailout or the Fed for a cheap loan.

Moral hazard anyone?

Andrew Has 18,000 years to Complete His Assignment

You all know Andrew.

He has 18,000 years to complete his assignment.

Must be outcomebased education coming to Canada.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Real Men Rip Out Their Tags

I was berated one time for ripping out the tag of the back of my shirt by a girl who shall go unnamed. Presumably, I was supposed to let the thing itch the living daylights out of me for years to come.

Of course she says that one can cut it out, but that just makes it worse because then you have a shriveled, jagged tag with the consistency of straw now constantly scratching your back. Then she somehow tries to rationalize this pain and agony by saying, "well at least you won't have a hole that will continue to grow because you've disrupted the fabric."

Now, as I am being pelted in my head, she is telling me (and I quote)

"they have this device in craft stores, and I don't know what it's called, but it can be used to remove tags without ripping the shirt. I think it's called a 'pull the stitches out thingy.'"

Thank you just the same ladies, but I think we true, red-blooded American patriotic men will continue to just rip the tags off our shirts.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

How Bad is This Credit Crunch?

Pretty bad according to The Economist. I know a lot of people want to dismiss this as just a minor blip in the economy, surely bound not to spread into the larger economy and cause a recession, but don't get too optimistic.

Housing Prices Never Go Down

It was a common mantra whilst working in banking. And in previous posts I predicted housing had to correct by about 25-30% to be in line with historical trends in terms of house price to rents and house price to incomes. Still, the visual on this chart is just wonderfully vindicating.