Thursday, August 28, 2014

The chimera attracts a lot of attention

Moral: Wherein we look around at all of the viewpoints (as in, Janet's is only one of many).

First, a disclosure. There was the beginning of a re-look at finance/economics six years ago from two viewpoints (pointer to the first post on finance, both September, 2007): truth engineering, 7oops7.
  • The first blog has a more general theme which will be of more interest as things unwind (that is, when Janet deigns to let things take a "natural" course - she cannot keep her finger in the hole in the dike forever). As mentioned in that first blog (2007), things looked zero-sum at the time (even with all those talking win-win; too, remember all of those who said that we had "risk" trumped?). As time went on, near-zero became into focus (and will be explained further). As well, the whole gaming aspect makes one think of finance as basically a playground for the few (diaper'd set, for the most part, who we had to clean up after - idiots, and we'll go on about this). 
  • The second blog started with a focus on engineering issues. One hard problem is earned value. Essentially, that deals with knowing how well progress measures are showing real status. Okay? Just like accountants can cook the books, project people play with these types of numbers (or, let's say, have been known to; however, saying that glosses over a whole lot of issues). But, it became apparent, about this time, that the brains of finance had led us astray - what? again? Remember, my advanced academic work was done in mathematical economics, for the most part. But, I worked, during my career, with engineering problems. When I woke up to the fact of the dire straits (not personal), old Rip came to mind. WTF? And, look, brains, I still am asking that? ... So, you see, evaluations (establishing value - needs to be updated) are more commonly necessary than one might realize. That is, operationally, we need to do this. What has happened, though, is that a whole lot of this type of stuff is being applied mindlessly (sheesh, talk about a real need for mindfulness).  

Today I ran across some writings by Doug Short (searching on evaluations). He started his blog in 2005 and found success: dShort Updates. Too, he has a data focus (with lots of nice charts). Too, he and I have some parallels, though I may be a little older. I like that he is autodidact in economics (there is a lot to discuss here). Actually, in any field, one has to follow one's own lead if venturing outside of the mainstream.

So, Doug is on the reference list that I need to build (early collection of blogs and miscellany). There will be more viewpoints added to the list.


Aside: Look at my academic and career background. Note, please, Data-Driven Purgatory has a lot behind it. Of course, it is my responsibility to support and to argue for the position. But, for beginners, consider, please quasi-empirical imperatives (trutheng, 7oops7). Despite large numbers (and their gifts), we are being over-layed insidiously with pseudo-truths abetted via computation and its mathematical associates and ought to be quaking in our boots. Even the IEEE wrote about having jobs in big-daddy data (essentially, machine learning and statistical testing). Forget ISIS (they, at least, are true to their word). This is much worse since it poses with such a nice demeanor while plotting our demise (not physical, as ISIS would have; no, intellectual and spiritual death - much, much worse.

Remarks:  Modified: 02/11/2015

01/15/2015 -- At last, a series that will establish the basis and extensions, as required. We are going to go back to some simple and come forward to the modern, complicated economy. Why? My long chain of ancestors (inherited via Prof. Lucio Arteaga) is one motivation.

02/11/2015 -- Wikipedia: Zero interest rate policy.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Tetons weep

Moral: Wherein we stop to see the posturing in the western hills.

Say what? 2013 - Transitions, 2012 - After all of these years, 2011 - Financial piracy, 2010 Chimera II.

We are in the time of the annual pilgrimage, again. If only it were a pilgrimage. However, to whom would the oracles bow and pray (I know, it is the age of selfies, Lord, deliver us)?

It is really a meeting of the inflated heads who control money as if their bailiwick is central to any economy. Hence, posturing and preening before their peers.

Folks (of the money supply), we could easily barter, if we had to. Get over yourselves. Money? It cannot be eaten, nor breathed, or used for hygiene, ... Whence so much emphasis?

You see, gal and guys, your thing is more like plumbing. If only you could see that. Distribute the water and collect the waste. Okay? What? Yes, a utility ought to be how you consider your work.

We could use the heart and blood; but, the rapacious doings of finance (abetted by you people) keep us from using that (heart - wonderfulness, to the extreme. Okay? That could be applied to anything of the FED?).


William Gaston, in the WSJ, had some nice thoughts, which are below: 8/20/14 - Shared Prosperity Is a Moral Imperative. Perhaps, some day we could use moral in talking about the FED (will not hold my breath on this, though). To quote William:
    In recent decades, the gap between the compensation of corporate leaders and that of their workers has increased many times over. The surge of the financial-services sector produced a new tranche of packagers, traders and managers who enjoy almost unimaginable wealth. Meanwhile, middle-class families have been treading water, and many parents fear that their children will do worse. (emphasis mine)
Nice, William. But, will the FED listen? 

Let me add one thing, for Janet. The current policy is pushing people to play the ca-pital-sino (not this old guy, talk to me about reasonable economics) where there are several problematic issues. For one, it's aerated (only a small percentage get their bucks - beyond those taking the cream daily - do you really need a lesson here?). Yes, the boat is floated with gaseous matter. And, most people are heavier than can be sustained (except on paper). For another, William says "treading" (as if they have the energy to do so). The real fact is that most are trying to not succumb to the flaying that has been going on for so long (thanks Ben). 

Methinks that these people would love to be like Isabella and Mortimer, partying while poor Hugh was disembowelled (Note: the spectators had "delight and merriment" at his expense.).  

Remarks:  Modified: 08/26/2014

08/22/2014 -- Flaying the savers will not solve the "What recovery?" problem. Finance caused the problem; it got bailed out; the current mode just reinforces "moral" turpitude (wait! is that the goal? screw everyone worse this time around?). Having the low rate is supposed to put people back to work? Ben, at least, mouthed the need for fiscal approaches. We ought to have had a jobs program a long time ago (opportunity missed; just like we missed out on nationalizing those institutions that created the problem - namely, banks).

08/26/2014 -- Gosh, Trish Regan (USA Today) has it right. However, even those (most of them) who think that they are gaining only think that. The cheshire multiple (plus insiders raking off the cream and other manipulations and ...) says otherwise. And, it does not have to be this way. ... Much to discuss.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Moral: Wherein we look at FAME.

In short, Finance and Accounting MEmos. See,

Nice, like the business model which expends the effort to condense, summarize academic papers in order to present these little overviews in a coherent form. And, on-line access is free. The printed copy requires one to come up with money.

To date, there have been two publications. These will be the source for coming posts.

We will have to give a nod to editors and supporters. Great idea.

Also, we will upgrade our opinions (FEDaereated - the latest, 7oops7, Truth Enginneering).


As an aside, CALPERS seems to want to downplay equities. Perhaps, they're seeing that the aerated property causes things like the Minsky dump.

Remarks:  Modified: 08/12/2014

08/12/2014 -- 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Savings and savers

Moral: Wherein we use a simple example to start to talk the issues.

Granted that there are several factors involved, but the image shows the reality. That is, the backbone of the economy has been flayed. Backbone? Those who work, live within their means, pay their bills (including mortgages - as in, none of the saving class walked away from their debt: unlike some who, as adults, put on their back, knowingly, debt beyond their means, and then had the gall to just shuck off the burden (the old debtor prison came into vogue for such behavior) and walk away - still cannot find that other than unconscionable).

So, the likes of Ben, the past decade, and, now, Janet, care little for those backbone types. No, the ca-pital-sino (gambling, essentially - plus, illusory gains so that people can salivate about their 401Ks - which, for the most, will not provide what they think - all explainable) is the focus.


Let's start with a simple example. A set of savings bonds that was bought in the year of 1980 and cashed out in 2010 would have returned 422% based upon the purchase price of the bond. You see, those terms were the norm back in those days when bonds were still being sold under a patriotic guise. As in, every payday, whether you were already doing a payroll deduction for bonds, you would hear a spiel about the need for people working in the United States to buy and uphold the country.

Too, there had been inflation during that 30-year period (which is coming back, folks, despite the machinations of Janet - some are already feeling this, in many ways - as she fiddles with the definition of the measure). And, interest moved up and down as has become a regular thing until six years ago or so.

Three years of bonds
Note: figures obtained via the Saving Bonds Wizard
provided by the U.S. Department of Treasury
What happened then had all sorts of rationalizations attached none of which considered savers or their usefulness since "debt" seems to have become the preferred mode.

Now, the image shows three tables related to bonds that were bought in three different years. For each year, a bond was bought every month costing $150 which had a denomination of $300. So, the total cost for each of the years was $1,800.

The tables are evaluations of these bonds (using the savings bonds wizard) at five different points from February 2006, which is provided as a base, to August 2014. Now, by the time of the first evaluation - 2006, the value of the earliest set of bonds (top table - 1993) had already increased by 78% over a 23-year period (that is, 6% a year). Similarly, the 1997 and 2002 bonds had increased, 42% and 16%, respectively.

What we can see with the 2011 evaluation (1993 bonds) is a braking such that the returns reduce substantially. This is obvious for the other two years, with 2002 being the most dramatic (due, in part, to changes in the rules - necessary adjustments: some early I-bonds are paying 5% right now even with Ben and Janet trying to reduce that outflow).

The last column shows the difference for the bonds at maturity, that is, after the duration of the thirty years (after that, there is no more increment). For the 1993 bonds, the difference is only $6.00. However, there is a noticeable difference for the later bonds. This difference, folks, denotes unrecoverable losses due to the unfortunate reality that taxpayers had to bail out bankers who did not know how to do their job.

And, then, the fact that those who control the funny (fiat) money (have you heard, of late, about the Forbes guy talking some other method?) decided that they would set the interest rate at an unprecedented level. Why? Because they could; we still have to get this thing unwound with unknown consequences (by the way, will Janet talk coo-coo under the shadow of the Tetons in order to soothe the feathers of the addicts of easy, plentiful money?).


This is one little example. The other side of the coin needs to be seen. As in, the trappings of power in Washington puts serious blinders, many times. There is no reason to continue to flay the savers. In fact, the adjustments to the model that are necessary must be lifted to view so that we can get them discussed and, perhaps, understood.

Remarks:  Modified: 02/11/2015

08/12/2014 -- Leverage is balm for the banking, and finance, folks (but, then, the whole system seems to want to defy physical limits, say thermodynamics). They think that 22-1 is normal (whereas, in the olden days 12-1 was thought the upper limit).

22-1 means what? If someone came to you and offered you 4.5 cents for a dollar, would you not laugh? In essence, there are 22 demands upon the same dollar (so to speak).

Now, bankers make their money as they will take a dollar and give you paper that is supposed to be worth a dollar but is actually backed up with 4.5 cents. At the same time, though, they siphon off their take from the "real" and not their phony money.

Finally, for the economic wags, who will say that "real" money gets eroded by inflation. Yes, that is true; but, inflation denotes "real" pressure (meaning, something behind the phenomenon) on money. What we are talking with leverage (and, for the most part, the markets - that are behind everyone's 401K mania) is "aeration" pure and simple, Modigliani, notwithstanding. The equivalence is not there, as will be shown.

08/12/2014 -- Need to look at FAME.

08/25/2014 -- The Tetons visit might have been the time, but not. No, they want to push equity. So, will the S&P 500 at 2,000 be enough? Or, do you guys/gals want to  just aerated to where the mess is huge? Again, that is, so we can mop up the diapers of that market-playing class?  

09/17/2014 -- The coo-coo, goo-goo goes on. The landscape is strewn with the lifeless bodies of the savers. Thanks, Janet.

02/11/2015 -- Wikipedia: Zero interest rate policy.