Category: Markets

Fake jobs numbers…. again

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Reports, Numbers, Charts, GraphsThe White House this morning, is serving up fake jobs numbers… again. And they read like a fairy tale. 7.8% unemployment. But notice… the U6.. the real unemployment number… isn’t listed in the reports we all see… It stood at 14.6% as of last month. That’s a fact that has not moved substantially, for months. Here’s the breakdown from the BLS.GOV website.

Measure Not seasonally adjusted Seasonally adjusted
Sep ’11 Aug ’12 Sep ’12 Sep ’11 May ’12 Jun ’12 Jul ’12 Aug ’12 Sep ’12
U-1 Persons unemployed 15 weeks or longer, as a percent of the civilian labor force 5.2 4.3 4.2 5.3 4.6 4.6 4.5 4.4 4.3
U-2 Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, as a percent of the

College, Politics, and Wagnerian Opera

Upon realizing that the carnality which he desired was beyond his reach, the grubby, dwarfish Nibelung named Alberich cursed love itself in order to steal from the Rhine maidens the magical Rhine gold, which he fashioned into a ring which granted to its wearer the power to rule the world. Thus, the Ring of the Nibelung became an object of envy and the obsession to obtain it became the quest of heroes and gods.

To the baby boom generation, a college diploma was the Ring of the Nibelung; a mystical object which granted you the power to rule your world. It was something to be quested for; sacrifices along the way would be proven worthwhile in the end.

Then, it all changed. The problem is, …


The American Socialist Commonwealth (Part 1 of 2)

In 1920, as socialist parties held power in Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Russia, it appeared that the world following World War I would be a world built by socialist planning. Ludwig von Mises, the Austrian economist, thought that a socialist world simply wouldn’t do, and put pen to paper to explain why. The result was Mises’ first published article, “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth.”

Mises’ premise was really quite simple; in a socialist economy, things that are used to produce other things are controlled by the state, which means that investment in production goods no longer involves price comparisons. In a socialist system, the planners decide that more tractors should be built, and order factories to build them.

Socialist administrators can …


Failed Policies of the Last Century

(The following article was written by Peter Vessenes and contributed via Kassandra Kuehl)

On Saturday, September 1st, President Obama accused Mitt Romney of retreating to policies from the “last century” and “sticking it” to the middle class.

Is this really the case?  Whose policies exactly have “stuck it” to the middle class?

Why not go back to the Great Depression as a starting point?  After all, we are in a “Recovery” that looks a lot like that time period.  Which “policies” began there?  Perhaps the largest was Social Security.  After all, Social Security was a Democrat Party program that promised the government would “set aside” retirement, or safety money for people when they reached 65 years of age.   Unfortunately, the average life expectancy at that …


Tax-Exempt Municipal Bonds Must End

In his autobiography, Calvin Coolidge singled out tax-exempt bonds as a travesty; idiotic, improper, probably immoral, and something which needed to be addressed.

Firmly believing that all the income of the nation had to be treated equally (and that public debt was hostile to liberty) Coolidge decried this special treatment, stating point-blank that it provided a way for the wealthy to hide their income from taxation, made it too easy for local governments to amass debt, and benefited local politicians and the buyers of their bonds all at the expense of the taxpayers who had to cover the interest on the debt.

In Coolidge’s day, the courts had ruled that the Federal government didn’t have the power to tax municipal bonds – cities are incorporated …


Dr. Bernanke’s Fed Funds Patent Tonic with Opium

If you look at the weekly price chart for either gold or silver for the week ending January 27, 2012, you can make out a distinct “J” shape in prices of both metals. Tuesday the prices were suppressed, and then on Wednesday they spiked upward. You can actually pinpoint on the charts the moment the Federal Reserve announced its intent to keep the Federal Funds Rate at nearly zero percent until late 2014.

Low interest rates are supposed to spur economic growth, or at least that is what the textbook for my International Political Economy course said, so what could possibly be wrong with low interest rates?

Of course, low interest rates provide an incentive to borrow money. However, they also form a powerful incentive …


America is Bankrupt and Being Repossessed

So far in this presidential election cycle I have seen both Gary Johnson and Ron Paul bluntly declare that the most serious problem we faced as a nation was that we are bankrupt. After hearing this comments I started reflecting on the nature and effects of bankruptcy, and if we are actually bankrupt as a nation.

For corporations, bankruptcy is declared when the company cannot pay its debts as they fall due. It doesn’t mean that the company is worthless; in fact, bankrupt companies can have assets valued in the billions of dollars, and these assets don’t simply disappear because a company files for bankruptcy protection. What actually happens is that ownership rights to these assets are shifted from the company to the creditors. In …


Are Things Looking Up?

The Dow had it’s record highest point gain today up almost 940.  Although it was up a bit today, Oil prices have been retreating and have been steadily below $90/bbl for several days.  And have you noticed the price of gasoline has also been declining?

Of course, we all know it’s not over yet, but it’s good to see some positive signs.  Unfortunately, the price of diesel fuel has not come down with trhe price of gasoline, apparently due to supply issues worldwide.  And this will keep the price of consumer goods general higher.  Seems like this ought to be a priority, and not just now but for the long-haul, that is to ensure that the availability of fuels needed to transport goods (diesel being …


Good News – Bad News: Wachovia And The Market

At least good news for taxpayers… CitiGroup has backed out of talks for Wachovia leaving the entire deal for Wells Fargo.  I’m guessing that after more of the depth of bad debt came to light, it became more and more obvious that the deal just was not longer going to be in the best interest of CitiGroup’s stockholders.

That was the good news, as long as Wells Fargo can consumate the deal without government assistance.  CitiGroup apparently still plans to pursue legal remedies against Wells and Wachovia.

In the bad news column, today was day seven of overall down market results.  Some analysts are starting to say what I’ve been saying for some time now: government can’t fix this, and having the government try to …


Market Panic

All right, perhaps panic is too strong a word, but my goodness, it certainly does feel like one.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 5% today and is now down 30% since January 1.  The S&P 500 is down 33.7% year to date and the NASDAQ is off 35.6%.  This is indeed a bear market, but there is nothing rational about it whatsoever.

The sell off appears to be about nervousness investors are feeling about the future, the global economy, the bailout, corporate earnings.  I try to keep a cool head, but the Dow is down 800 points in two days and even I wonder where it’s going to end.  Then I remember what Warren Buffet said:  “It’s never as good as it appears and …