I was cleansing my inbox today and found this friendly letter to the Fed from 2007 written by our comrades at Long or Short Capital (vaguely connected to our own fake hedge fund, Intergalactic Capital). I was all ready to take a whimsical walk down memory lane, since 2007 was the year before our financial meltdown. Yet strangely, this missive does not seem dated.
To: The Fed
From: Long or Short Capital
Re: You suck
Dear the Fed,
You suck. You don’t have a backbone and as a result you are slowly and very surely making our country and our currency irrelevant. Usually the masses rebel and bring down great empires but luckily for us democracy fixed that problem. Unfortunately, democracy can’t fix how lame and fickle you are and so you will be our ruin.
A few things to tell you:
1) Inflation isn’t 2% like your pathetic CPI ex-Food & Energy says it is.
First of all, as far as I can tell food and energy are the only two items you should NEVER exclude from an inflation index. Tell your wife and kids they can have everything in the consumer basket except food and energy and you will quickly see that they are actually the two MOST important and indispensable factors in the CPI.
You can find substitutes for, or go without, everything in the basket EXCEPT those two.
Secondly, stop using “Seasonally Adjusted Intervention Analysis” it’s as sketchy as the Seldom-Accepted-Accounting-Principles (SAAP) we use to cook the books here at LoS. I mean writing a computer program to automatically remove any items in the basket which deviate meaningfully from the previous year? Isn’t the point of the data to SHOW the change versus the previous year, not hide it? Oh, I found the list of items that you’ve adjusted for and it’s embarrassing. Continue reading Dear The Fed: You Suck
My New England home was my favorite place in the world when I was little. We bought it with several acres of land and it was surrounded by fields and forests and freshwater ponds on all sides. Our property was flanked by the longest line of ancient green-and-blue fir and spruce trees in the state. My parents were very proud of that. We grew up blueberrying and ice-skating and catching painted turtles.
My parents, who were born of Depression-era parents, were fiscally conservative and hugely diligent savers. They bought the house for $49,000 in the mid-70s and sold it for almost a half million in the late 90s when they retired. In the interim, they ceaselessly worked the land to make it beautiful.
Growing up, my mother was the only mother I knew who fed her kids from her own orchards and gardens year round, just for the pleasure of it. A teacher and artist, she set her summers aside for planting and canning for winter. My father was the only father I knew who could build and landscape almost anything from nothing. He loved deep-sea fishing and we ate seafood — mussels, scallops, flounder, bluefish — year-round hooked off his boat. He caught so much he would often give it away to the neighbors. Continue reading What’s Left Of My Childhood Home
A reader requested I write about the inevitable zombie apocalypse.
Very well then.
I do not ascribe zombies to the rise of the Tea Party, the Gang of Six, or today’s call by euro-zone chiefs for a “selective default” on the Greek debt.
Although that would be entirely conceivable.
However, it is worth noting that respectable bastions of academia are taking seriously the zombie question. This has been evidenced by such mounting bodies of work as: Why Zombies Are Inconceivable (Eric Marcus); Zombie Killer (Nigel Thomas); Zombies and the Case of the Phenomenal Pickpocket (Michael Lynch); Zombies Support Biological Theories of Consciousness (Andrew Bailey); and Zombie Mary and the Blue Banana (Tillman Vierkant).
Ordinarily, this might be dismissed as so many starving philosophers jumping on the Max Brooks “Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection From the Living Dead” bandwagon and its many spinoffs since the book’s release in 2003.
Except the term “zombie,” it seems, was first introduced and popularized by a philosopher and professor back in 1974. Continue reading Zombies, Freewill and the Inevitable Zombie Apocalypse
So there’s this small issue of the world being debt-ridden and nobody hiring and the delicate financial machinery of our country breaking down in a way that can only be called utterly embarrassing.
This is not altogether bad news. For those who have long been looking for their moment to escape a lifetime of professional drudgery, it is a chance to hit the reset button. Go back to university, take a master class in sculpture or become a Cordon Bleu chef. Our favorite course of late is this one.
Go to the desert and paint your masterpiece knowing you will be unmolested.
The great thing about no opportunity is this: if you remove yourself from the world to do what you want to do, as opposed to doing the fake thing you’re pretending to want to do, it comes with no opportunity cost. You will not be missing out on all the good jobs. There are no good jobs!
The best part is, after taking a year or two out to reposition yourself, the odds are you’ll be returning to a world of renewed opportunity. Maybe not of the milk-and-honey variety, but certainly superior to what you see today.
How can we presume this? Continue reading Good News About Unmitigated Awfulness
It took longer than usual to take up the pen today. Probably because it was imperative to check out the “Every Single Outfit Catherine Wore on the Royal Tour” feature in the Huffington Post.
Having done that, I now turn to more important matters.
Like this cash-or-credit debate taking place in the papers. Financial vigilantes are urging consumers to cut up their credit cards and throw them away. One article in SmartMoney actually sounded the shibboleth: “I’m going all cash!”
To which readers had a range of emotional responses. Two encapsulating these:
“This is simply an irritating article. I am willing to bet $1000 that the author
is lying and in fact is still using his credit cards and not wandering around
paying for everything with cash. If you’re going to write an article, at least
please be intellectually honest. Do you think we are that stupid?’
“Already living this dream. In fact it is a great reality to know that you owe nothing to anyone. We do not have credit cards either, we have covered that with an emergency fund. We own a house (no mortgage) and we have paid cash for all of our vehicles (no financing). As far as I’m concerned, living within your means and being debt free is the NEW AMERICAN DREAM.”
The most compelling reason for getting rid of your credit cards is obvious: ordinary folk have to pay 14% interest on average for them. Yet banks pay less than 1% whenever they feel like borrowing from the government (yes, that includes JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America — even Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, which received “bank holding company” status during the credit crisis).
Kind of annoying that the Big Banks get to play with money for almost nothing, but not us Little People, isn’t it? Continue reading Cash or Credit: A Stuffing Under the Mattress Vs. A Hiding in the Closet
Not my words, just something an observant Canadian living inside the U.S. had to say today about our country’s death match over the debt ceiling — before remarking that it might be wise to, uh, “back-migrate.”
Instead of an espresso shot this morning, take a gander at our impressive U.S. Debt Clock. If that doesn’t jolt you awake, nothing will.
Remember, no one on this planet even has $1 trillion. Yet, somehow the U.S. has found itself on the hook for more than $54 trillion. Continue reading ‘Bogged Down In A Pseudo-Religious, Ideological War Over Whatever’