Tesla Goes Fishing
Tesla Motors is up to something remarkable. But what it is, exactly, is unclear. According to the Tesla Motors website, the company’s mission is: to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport.
Tesla Model 3: the company’s first “mass market” entry so to speak, which is supposed to help the world to reach the nirvana of “sustainable” transport. On the side, it is helping a number of Wall Street firms to increase their commission income.
Image credit: Tesla Motors
Scratching the Surface
Problems, as people commonly perceive them, require solutions. Broken shoelaces must get fixed. Regrettably, in today’s democracy this means the candidate who offers the most fixes – in the form of goodies – to the most people wins the election.
Three gentlemen who need a solution real fast. “Did you bring the book?” “No, I thought you had it…”
Image credit: CreateSpace
Hazards and Benefits
Rubbernecking at the economic train wreck of central planners is not without hazard. A strained collar and dry eyes, for instance, are common perils. So, too, is the lasting grimace of disbelief that comes with the roll-out of each zany scheme to save us from ourselves.
Hazard of the dispassionate observer: the rictus of disbelief will get etched in one’s face.
A Week to Remember
Today we look back to the recent past with singleness of purpose. Context and edification for the present economy is what we’re after. We have questions…
How come the recovery has been so weak? Why is it that, nearly seven years after the official end of the Great Recession, the economy’s still mired in a soft muddy quagmire? Squinting, focusing, and refocusing, there’s one particular week that rises above all others.
Hank the scaremonger – in meetings behind closed doors, he threatened Congressmen with financial apocalypse and even martial law if they didn’t hand over $700 billion in tax payer money with essentially no oversight. This has been independently confirmed by several Congressmen. Griffin’s “The Creature from Jekyll Island” is often decried as “conspiracy theory” by establishment shills, but it inter alia contains an eerie prediction of practically everything that eventually happened in 2008.
Photo credit: Talks at Google
Intel Employees Get RIF’d
Dark storm clouds gather along the economic horizon. They multiply ominously with each passing day. The recovery, weak as it has been, has run for nearly seven years. Now it appears to be sputtering and stalling out.
Intel (INTC), monthly. The stock has performed fairly well since 2009 (most stocks have), but has yet to regain its bubble peak made 16 years ago. Its recent earnings report (“beating expectations”, natch) reminded us strongly of the accounting games played by IBM over the past few years, which were mainly designed to mask the ever more worrisome decline in its business. In Intel’s case the casino punters are still buying it (they’ll believe almost anything after all), at IBM it has stopped working – click to enlarge.
What’s up with U.S. consumers? They seem to have come to their senses at the worst possible time. They can no longer be counted on to push economic growth up and to the right. Specifically, they’re not spending money on stuff.
A little public service on etymology: “Double whammy” was reportedly first used in a 1941 Oakland Tribune article related to boxing. It means a devastating blow, setback or catastrophe. In today’s economy, it often means “good summary”.
Photo credit: Pixelrobot
Trading Snail Shell Spirals
Stock picking is an exercise in humility. Ask anyone who has tried it. Chances are their best ideas have gone against them more frequently than they’d care to admit.
One thing that makes stock picking so confounding, is that it seems so simple in hindsight. Gazing at a stock’s price chart, the wave movements over time appear to be almost predictable. The precise moments to buy and sell look clear and obvious.
Faux Growth Recovery
Nearly 7 years have elapsed since the official end of the Great Recession. By now it’s painfully obvious the rising tide of economic recovery has failed to lift all boats. In fact, many boats bottomed out on the rocks in early 2009 and have been taking on water ever since.
Last week, for instance, it was reported that U.S. credit card debt topped $917 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015. That’s up $71 billion from the year before. Shouldn’t the economic recovery allow consumers to pay down their debts?
Annual increase in credit card debt load….via cardhub (more data here) – click to enlarge.
The Growing Chorus for Fiscal Stimulus
Central bankers and monetary adherents the world over are united in the common grouse that fiscal policy is lacking. Grander programs of direct stimulation are needed, they grumble. Monetary policy alone won’t cut the mustard, they gripe.
Global debt-to-GDP ratios (excl. financial debt). Obviously, it is not enough. More debt is needed, so we may “stimulate” ourselves back to prosperity.
“The Phillips Curve is alive,” said Fed Chair Janet Yellen at Wednesday’s post FOMC meeting press conference. We’ll offer some remarks on this in just a moment, including why Yellen is toast. But first we must put her utterances into proper context.
This week, at a business meeting, we experienced the full veracity of Brandolini’s Law. If you happen to be ignorant of Brandolini’s Law, we must apologize. For we must forever end your bliss.
Alberto Brandolini introduces his magnificent, if sobering, law to the world.
Free Lunches and More
“There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” is one of the essential axioms of economics. No doubt about it, there’s no getting around this simple truth. Everything has a price.
Eternal lunch time in the Land of Cockaigne, where the comrades just need to open their mouths to let the roasted chickens fly in! However, even there, “man would be forced to economize time” (Mises), unless he were immortal.
Painting by Pieter Bruegel der Ältere
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