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Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Imagine having the greatest opportunity life gives anyone. Then imagine all those belief systems, those unworkable and ill conceived- sometimes true and false- belief systems that manifest themselves in some childhood fantasy. Of hope and change. Two words designed to capture votes, but of themselves are hollow. There can be no hope or change where courage does not exist.
Imagine hope and change without courage in 1860. Imagine the probable outcome facing a man who given the greatest opportunity in life would squander it for lack of courage. Perhaps it would have been handed off or left for someone else. But courage came with hope and change in that hallowed time and a nation of free men set about righting an old wrong. They paid for it with their lives. But such is the outcome when hope and change come with courage.
So it was in 2008, that a nation beset with the worst economic disaster of their lives fell for a couple of hollow words. Ingredients that by themselves cannot complete any rescue recipe. And a man, who lacked one vital ingredient- held hostage by immature and fallible belief systems, set about doing the work where courageous men see opportunity. There would be no Antietam and no Gettysburg here, no bloody fields perhaps no bullet when it was over. And there would be no hope, nor change, where great personal courage is not part of that effort. Men are not born with courage. They learn it and acquire it. Courage is the ability and vision to see what has to be done, the willingness to incur the awful damage that it will surely bring, and the determination to bring the task to its conclusion.
And I see a man that will squander that chance. A man so gifted in so many ways. But all of that matters not if you don’t bring some personal courage to the party. That is how it’s going to end for him. People will scratch their heads and wonder why he failed. And I will tell you. You can be the best orator, the sharpest dresser, a comedian. All of those things are nice. But if you are going to step up and lead the world, you better have a shitload of courage and this man, well I haven’t even seen a trace of courage so far.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to separate investors from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from any actual profit earned.
Ok. Clearly Social Security fits this definition. You pay in, the government rips off the trust, and now it must be funded by a reduced and subsequent demographic of younger "investors." It has never made any "profit." Somehow a job reduced structural environment with declining demographics must pay for the boomers. That cannot work and unlike a pure Ponzi- your contributions are never voluntary.
Now let's look at the stock market. Does the stock market fit the definition of a Ponzi scheme?
Yes. People buy stock hoping that it will appreciate and at some future point- subsequent investors will buy that appreciated stock. We agree to this Ponzi scheme- in fact- it is legal. What happens when stock doesn't appreciate? What happens when the great lie that everyone has been told finally gets exposed?
Well, historically speaking, up until 1999 the stock market had always appreciated. Like housing. So for most of the 20th century the urban legend was true. But then a couple of odd things happened.
The market quit growing. From 1999 to 2010, a period of ten or eleven years, there has been no appreciable rise in equities. I'm not talking individual Apple type stocks. I'm talking about the major averages. A decade, even by fund manager standards, is a long term time horizon.
Then another odd thing happened. Nearly every private and public fund failed to adjust to this new reality. Year after year, actuaries continued to maintain that these funds would make anywhere from 7-9% annualized returns in the stock market. Certainly they did. In fact here's a table of 200 public funds that are continuing to base their funding ratios based on a world that changed- even though the people running these funds apparently haven't picked up on that change yet.
Then one last thing happened. The money that is used to transfer our wealth into this stock market has been inflated. Created out of thin air and thus any value it might have still had- has been diluted further still by a FED that is buying all of the debt our government issues. Debt that we guarantee the world we will pay with money that doesn't exist nor will it ever likely exist. Remember our money can only be created when we take on debt. It is a debt instrument.
So what's wrong with this picture? Well, we have a rather nasty hybrid Ponzi scheme. It's called the stock market. All of your wealth is being transferred into a stock market with money that has no value. Into a market that has been dead money for the past 11 years. And as a few more years go by, all of those 8% actuarial assumptions, are going to have to come down to perhaps 3 or 4% and begin to reflect reality. Taxpayers are going to have to foot the bill for pension shortfalls. And at the same time, taxpayers are going to have to pay those trillions of debt via treasuries that we have sold to China, Japan, the UK, and the FED. With interest. And continue to hike taxes to pay for the continuing operations of a government gone berserk.
Are you starting to get the picture? We are on the leading edge of a perfect storm. An economic storm that will bring this country to it's knees in less than 10 years. It's not a matter of if any longer.
You see, there isn't going to be any wealth leftover to buy stocks. That's how Ponzi schemes always end. They run out of investors. And that is precisely what is going to happen, what's been happening, in the national Ponzi scheme. You are left with one question if you are relying on funds invested in the market for your long term security.
Do you really believe, in an era of diluted dollars, higher taxes, and a country that has farmed all of its jobs overseas, that the stock market has the capacity to appreciate? And even if it did, just who would we sell that appreciated stock to? Would looking at the last ten years make a difference to you? This game is over. Nobody has accepted that reality including the fund managers still projecting ridiculous 8% yoy returns.
The stock market didn't start out as a Ponzi scheme, but it has damn sure turned into one.
The existing power structure will remain in place as long as they can shield the population from the consequences of it's actions.
Combine this infallible truth with the sociopaths who make up the top tier of the current power structure and the answer is they will do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING they can to shield the population from the consequences of their actions. That most certainly includes stock market manipulation by any means necessary.
ANYTHING and EVERYTHING!
Very often I see heated debates with people on various web sites where the consensus view is that people like the one above are nuts. Absolute testimony to the success of the lies told by politicians, leaders, and the FED. They are given great credibility yet chaps like this are dismissed.
There is a real danger in attaching all of that credibility in your leadership. They have everything to lose. They are HUGELY motivated to lie. The guy above? What's his motivation?
I always attach diminished credibility to those with the greatest need to lie. Whether that's politicians trying to get re-elected amidst a scandal or a murderer caked in blood proclaiming his innocence.
Ask yourself that question while examining a socialized bank system that practices the most lax accounting standards in existence- allowed and encouraged to do so by politicians. A 20 trillion national debt, and a FED that continues to buy everything in sight (bonds) and which will try a second round of quantitative easing as it experiences the death throes of deflation (the things you want) and inflation (the things you need) at the same time.
The recession was over in June of 2009, only nobody noticed. Because you know, we're so economically healthy and vibrant.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Monetary policy is also in the spotlight Tuesday, with the Federal Reserve releasing the minutes from its last meeting. The central bank is widely expected to keep its key interest rate target unchanged at historical lows between 0.0% and 0.25%.
Investors will scrutinize the statement for "any signs that the Fed will raise rates, or take any other intervention actions," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.
With such a heavy schedule of reports on tap, stocks could see more action this week than they have in a slow September thus far. Last week, stocks ended higher on Monday and Wednesday but closed mixed to flat the rest of the week. The Dow gained 0.6% over the week, while the S&P added 0.3% and the Nasdaq leapt 1.3%.
The previous week, stocks went practically nowhere, with one big leap back and three baby steps forward.
I suppose it's possible that a conical shaped interstellar ship could land on my front lawn. Slowly the door might ease to the ground. A yeti could step out and deliver a large thin crust pizza to my front door. Could this happen? In this bizarro news universe, anything is possible.
I have all but given up hope of President Obama ever doing one thing that might actually benefit the citizenry of the U.S.
Tomorrow, President Obama is going to do what he does best. Talk. He will talk about how we inherited this mess, he will talk about failed policies, and he will use more of the same abstract rhetoric to talk about the economy. And about more failed policies he's going to try and enact to stimulate the economy. To create jobs. About 100 times. I won't be listening.
This is what he's not going to do. He is not going to admit that Obamacare is a failure, nobody wanted it, it couldn't have come at a worse time, and that it's economic ramifications are so enormous that this bill almost single handedly- stopped any hope of a recovery. Sorry about those jobs, fellas.
He is not going to admit that he doesn't have a clue about what the hell to do- although by now there are millions of us who know he is clueless. Those ranks are going to swell with time.
In my alternate bizarro universe, I suppose he could say Obamacare was a failure- I take it back. And while we're at it, the FED is robbing this country of it's wealth and my next mission in life is to abolish the FED. I suppose those things could happen.
Until then, I'm going to be in the front yard waiting for a pizza to arrive.
Post Script-Town Hall Meeting Over
I lied. I watched this cleverly choreographed and scripted libtard love fest on CNBC. It was, exactly, what I thought it would be. They did pipe in one Santelli question...he was on his best behavior...and the President was forced to agree. Not that it will change his government grabbing, tax and spend policies. A confiscatory government always believes...its our money- not yours.
Doctor Zero. Unbelievable.
I was going to blog this very subject. After having read this, I simply defer to you. I am in awe. Not only are you articulate and precise, but your citations are most effective. I think the greatest praise one writer can have for another is to link a piece so well written that it cannot be improved upon. With your permission, that is what I am going to do.
This dude is my favorite writer on the web. I mean that and I read a LOT. Find out why.