Asked and Answered
From time to time the comments section is visited by one of the Anon posters. The one I am talking about offers a great contrarian view than most of what I write and usually will ask great questions that I will think about for some time. Last night was such an instance.
Here's a question, when is the last time you were optimistic, I mean truly optimistic about the state of the US economy? My guess is the answer is never, hence the reason some (namely I) question your impartiality.Now if you are not familiar with Anon that comment may have seemed a touch rough, but I actually like his/her up front take and there are some points here that I would like to discuss.
For me, I was optimistic in 01, staid in 02-03, concerned in 04, gloomy gus pessimist 2005-07. Since then, I have slowly become more and more optimistic. Despite the massive, massive govt interventions, we still have gone through the most jarring economic dislocation in decades. We are so much closer to the bottom now than we were in 2005, and this makes me much more optimistic now than I was then.
When was the last time I was optimistic on the US economy? I would say the 1998-2000 time frame. I was fresh out of college, working at one of the hottest biotechs in the industry, gene discovery was running at a clip unseen which promised new drugs, the Internet was not new but the promise it offered sure was, a projected budget surplus was a good thing I thought, the dollar was king crap of turd mountain, and everyone around me (and myself to some extent) were riding the stock market wave higher.
So what happened?
Well, all those genes I and many others found were great but never really translated (pun intended!) to real drugs. My firm was losing about 400-700 million a year but was valued at something like 8 Billion dollars!
Cisco was almost worth more than Japan or something and suddenly that made no sense anymore.
All those stocks up in the nosebleeds came down hard and many got toasted (I sold all my options $5 from the all time high! HA!).
Pets.com closed which was scary.
On some of this I am trying to be funny, but what happened was a huge bubble burst. Soon I was informed I would be out of a job and had to find another. Many faced the same thing. The rest I think you probably know how it goes.
In summary, I wanted to learn how the whole thing happened and that was how I learned about things economic and especially about bubbles.
And not even 2 years later I started to see some of the same signs in housing here in Massachusetts. I applied lessons learned and figured the easy money from Alan Greenspan was an attempt to make the same kind of bubble the dotcom was in another form to rescue an economy that was facing the worst recession since the Great Depression (and yes many were writing that then!).
So Anon, you say you turned more optimistic in 2001, but I was the opposite. I thought it would take a long time to work off all the malinvestment. Little did I know a bubble replacement was in the works.
Now do not confuse macro views with short window views. I knew housing was going up and would continue to until a blow off top, so you could say I was "optimistic" on home prices, but pessimistic on the ramifications to the economy. That's why I was piling into gold and silver from 2002-2004.
I am not optimistic now. Anon may well be right that we are near "the bottom" and I may even agree. What I think we will differ on is how long we stay at the bottom. Just because you have stopped falling does not mean you are going to go up. I do not have time to cover all the reasons for my views, if you read regularly you know the imbalances of which I speak
Anyways, I hope that both answered Anon's question and was worth a read in the process. I do not pretend to know everything I just offer my take.
Trolling the Internets (both of them) for the best reads out there so you can all save time.
Official World Gold Holdings and the Evolution of Global Trade and Wealth
The sharp as an obsidian scalpel Jesse starts off with some gold related ideas and then expands into some key ideas you should be aware of.
Q4 GDP: Beware the Blip
Calculated Risk could have saved CNBC all the breathless amazement at today's GDP number. Hint: it's a one hit wonder.
We are Screwed - The State of the Union
Reader C-T let go on a great missive that is worth a look. Great point:
More and more of the American middle class are joining the race to the bottom, entering the ranks of the poor every day. Food Stamps and other entitlement programs have replaced the food lines of the Great Depression.To which I responded:
Why is it nobody gets this? They all say "In the Depression there were food lines" well WTF do you call millions on food stamps? I call it moving the line out of sight.Indeed.
Wall Street Reform and the Federal Reserve
Sharp take on some historical facts about the FED, the US dollar, fiat currency, and much more from Sonicninjakitty.
The blogroll on the left (on the right for those of you in the southern hemisphere) has plenty to read on a news filled day as well.
Friday Night Entertainment
I was sidetracked most of the day exchanging emails with a trader friend of mine who was playing TNA for the morning pop then sold off to avoid the after 11am downdraft. TNA is an ETF so get your mind out of the gutter! Anyways, plenty of good fun this evening.
I am Not Making This Up
Sometimes real life is better than make believe!
Christina Fernandez, Argentinian President, Says Pork is Better Than Viagra for Sex Life
The best looking president in the world shared her input on the other white meat:
Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez has told a gathering at her Presidential Palace that pork is even better than Viagra for spicing things up in the bedroom - and credited a satisfying weekend with her husband to the meat.For Valentines day gentlemen, may I suggest some flowers, some candy, and some bone-in pork chops? You never know!
"I've just been told something I didn't know, that eating pork improves your sex life," she said in a televised speech to the leaders of the Argentinian meat industry, "I'd say it's a lot nicer to eat a bit of grilled pork than take Viagra."
Speaking of a weekend spent with her husband after eating the meat, Fernandez said, "We were in high spirits the whole weekend... I'm a pork fanatic."
Loyal reader and literary sage Gawains suggested some works this week:
-"Exiles" by Ron Hansen which looks very compelling
-"Imbibe" by David Wondrich and with a title like that it is going in my Amazon basket!
And no I do not get anything from Amazon, no affiliation.
I will throw in a book passage:
"In addition to believing that my brother's book deserves to be read, there is another reason for having it published.Prologue for "Somewhere in Time" by Richard Matheson.
Frankly his story is incredible. No matter how I try, I can't believe it. I hope its publication creates the possibility that someone will. For myself, I can accept only one aspect of it-but that I accept completely: To Richard, this was not a work of fiction. He believed, without question, that he lived each moment."
Naked Capitalism offered this choice picture:
Be sure to drink your ovaltine!
This is running long, so here we go....
Take a chance, come on and dance
Guys grab a girl, don't wait, make HER TWIRL
It's your world and I'm just a SQUIRREL
Trying to get a nut to move your butt
To the dance floor, so yo what's up
C&C Music Factory!
Where to start? Ok, when I was young I used to see those TV commercials that had those huge compilation albums for sale and the titles would scroll on the screen and soundbites were played. I always loved the song by the Moody Blues, "Knights in White Satin" and it was on every one of those albums:
Gawains wonders if I like country music, and I of course grew up on folk and country music and my Dad's 12 string guitar! Try out David Allen Coe with "You Never Even Called Me by My Name":
My position is I don't care what the ladies call me, as long as they call me!
I had never heard The Police tune "Synchronicity" and lets say I found it interesting:
My wifes dream man has been Sting for years!
From a late comment from last post I was challenged to post a song with just some lyrics to go on. I KNEW one song right off the bat, but I also weaseled out and did a search and now I am stuck. Best guess, is Michael Damian's "Rock On" but the older version is better I think (plus I had help!). Try out David Essex and "Rock On":
Editors picks? Ok.
In line with the "not in one calendar year repeat unless special circumstances" rule, enjoy the greatest metal singer going it alone with "Tears of the Dragon":
I still get chills on that one.
Get loose, get crazy and get wild with White Snake and "Still of the Night":
Have a good night!