Notebook, 15 January 2016: Twenty Years In The Making

On stage, investing superstar Peter Lynch once held up a computer hard drive to the audience. The latest and greatest expression of mankind’s technological prowess.

“What a piece of shit,” he called it.

As an investment opportunity anyways. Yeah, Lynch never had much of a problem expressing himself. Point is, he went onto say, those interested in the stock market would be better off keeping their eyes open, seeing which retailers were busy, which factories was making lots of deliveries, that kind of thing. Call it situational awareness. As far as it goes, it’s excellent advice. Anyways, this is my story. I promise it’ll be short.
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Notebook, 23 January 2011: My Response to Howard Dean and bobswern . . .

Well.

I was flattered to be asked by Howard Dean for my thoughts on the way forward for progressives. Thank you, Governor Dean, that was gracious of you, and my thoughts follow.

I deleted my extended answer, then bobswern’s diary prompts me to revisit my concerns. This post is actually a comment which had gotten out of hand, as well as my response to Gov. Dean.

If you will, follow me beneath the fold . . .
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Notebook: 23 May 2010

Author’s note: This is not another installment of my series on deficit reduction, the next of which (on corporate tax havens) is still in progress. See Part One and Part Two of my deficit reduction series thus far.

The schedule is this: on December 1, The Deficit Commission reports its findings and makes its recommendations. A month later, on the first Monday in January (which falls on the third in 2011), the white house must submit its budget proposal for FY 2012.

The noise level should be fairly impressive beginning january, but the business MSM isn’t waiting and neither should we.

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Pushing Back On Deficit Reduction II – Transfer Pricing Abuse

When you were sitting down and struggling with your taxes this spring, wondering if you were supposed to be supporting the US federal budget all by yourself, be reassured: you were correct.

Because you could simply do away with the Department of Homeland Security. Just get rid of it entirely, along with all the departments and divisions within it. Just wipe it out, erase it from the budget, and save the taxpayers about $43 billion dollars annually.

Or you could fund it in its entirety, and then some, with the estimated $60 billion in federal tax revenues which are lost by the US through just one of the various off shore tax avoidance evasion practices: transfer pricing abuse:

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Deficit Reduction I – Pushing Back On The Myth

And so it begins.

The UK elections are over, and though neither major party won a clear majority, the conservative Tories intend to try and form a government with the Liberal Democrats. Business news has focused heavily on this election hoping for a clear path forward on cutting government spending, and to gauge the prevailing political appetite for cutting government services. (British election: What it means for the UK and the US)

On a show taped Thursday, Charlie Rose hosted an interview with Byron Wien (Blackstone Advisory Services LP), Barton Biggs (Traxis Partners) and Roger Altman (fmr Deputy Treasury Secretary, then founder and chairman, Evercore Partners). They focused on the the market glitch, but they couldn’t help quickly moving from this to what markets think worries them: the tension between levels of government debt (evidently, their own thin capital requirements and the elevated loads of consumer debt, which benefits banking, is much less worrisome), and the political turmoil expected from getting rent-seeking proposals they want: funding reductions for society’s safety net.

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The globalization backlash… UPDATED

Friday, 10/24/08, 6:00 AM

Background: The opening for the US equity markets is a few hours away, and already both the S&P and Dow futures are locked limit down, that is, futures trading has been suspended for a half hour or until the markets open. The FTSE 100, DAX, and CAC 40 are sharply down, as were the Asian markets overnight. All this while OPEC announces a 1.5bn barrel cutback in oil production.

Diplomacy is indeed the art of the possible. It requires endless patience and readiness to pounce on any opportunity, and lo, the current financial crisis rears up. While I take anything coming out of the Russian press with a huge dose of salt, this story from the Rossiyskaya Gazeta, George W. Bush Called to Order points to an amusing plight the free-wheeling, open-market neocons (or neoliberals, whatever you want to call them) have placed themselves in.

That open global markets lead to a de jure loss of a little bit of American sovereignty. (Where it hurts, too—in the Amerikan business sector.)

Of course, this depends on what agreements come out of the ongoing negotiations, as well as what new financial sector regulations are adopted in the U.S., but the point is, because the mess caused by Amerika’s pro-business, anything-goes climate has spilled over our borders, Amerikan financial titans have little choice but to take seriously any impositions foreign finance ministers might wish to make. Not that I think they particularly care, but Amerikan exceptionalism lies at the core of everything their political bedfellows believe in. Still, I wonder to what extent the $700bn Paulson bailout plan is an ideologue attempt to maintain the notion of Amerikan economic hegemony.

What a change from Bretton Woods. Amerikan exceptionalists must be tearing their hair out.

UPDATE: In a similar vein, Philip Stephens writes in FT, Globalisation and the new nationalism collide. Well, I wait for an Obama administration, and whatever change he can manage amidst America’s current political climate. Strong job growth for America’s working class would loosen up American attitudes fairly quickly.