Sunday, May 27, 2018

More funnies: James Acaster makes girls pee

Watch the girl with black hair beside him. She just couldn't stand it.

NDD: weekly indicators starting to suck edition

New Deal Demoncrat - weekly indicators.

I hadn't been following this for a few months, so I had no idea M1 and M2 were sucking so very badly.

Tax withholding also stinks.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Saturday funnies: James Acaster

You think it's funny, but then at about 3:00 he takes you to a vast new universe of hilarity:

What makes it even funnier is Melvin Odoom constantly butting in about the relative merits of bushes and benches.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Some news

Hey, so Bitcoin's only $7500 now, eh?

BBC - Trump lawyer paid by Ukraine to arrange White House talks. God, Republicans must like doing the bidding of Russia for this clown to stay in office.

New Deal Democrat - RIP bond market. I doubt it. You need for people to suddenly not have any money to invest, or for worldwide debt to suddenly explode higher at a faster rate than worldwide savings. Interest rates are a demographic phenomenon.

CCN - US government opens probe into Bitcoin price manipulation. And just like that, it's the end.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Teachers leaving for other fields

Tim Taylor - on US teachers quitting for other fields. This shows you how desperate they are to leave an utterly fucking dismal field:

"Teachers are leaving their jobs for other careers at a rate that has grown steadily every year in the past three years. ... The majority of educators leaving Educational Services (NAICS Sector 61) are starting careers in the Healthcare and Social Assistance sector. ... For starters, some jobs in Healthcare and Social Assistance, which includes nurses, child care and family assistance services, often require some of the same skills. “Administrative Services,” which includes office workers, is another category that attracts many educators leaving the workforce."

Seriously, healthcare and social assistance? Nursing and child care? Those are fucking horrible jobs that everyone with a choice will avoid. For teachers to go into those fields means their own jobs are dismal. They'd rather compete with Mexican illegal immigrants to change diapers or babysit toddlers for $12/hr jobs than continue teaching.

You've wrecked the teaching profession.

And now, some fuckstick in Texas is saying he wants teachers to carry guns, so that when the next nutcase with an automatic starts shooting up a school, they can heroically protect the lives of our children.

Problem 1: teachers are paid less than police. Police get paid extra cos they can get shot at. Right now, teachers are leaving the profession because they're not even getting paid enough to teach. Do you want to pay teachers more?

Problem 2: Police have the legal power to shoot to kill. Teachers don't. Are you going to rewrite the law to give teachers the right to kill?

Problem 3: Police are blanket indemnified against tortious claims for anything they do while lawfully performing their job. Are you going to indemnify teachers in law?

Problem 4: Police are trained in firearm use. Fuck, movie prop guys are trained in firearm use. Are you going to pay teachers for firearm training and certification?

Problem 5: Police have health coverage so that when they get shot, the health care and rehabilitation cost doesn't bankrupt their family. Do you want to extend that health coverage to evil, socialist, gay-agenda-promoting teachers?

Problem 6: Some American teachers, probably most, have been selected on the basis of teaching ability, not on the basis of the ability to make an instant life-or-death decision in a firefight. What are you going to do? Fire them all and replace them with ex-Marines? Ex-Marines cost more.

New Deal Demoncrat finally identifies the two things to watch for

New Deal Demoncrat - interest rate and gas price watch.

NDD identifies interest rates and gas prices as the two things that will be early indicators for the next economic slowdown.

Bell rung, watchlist identified, his first watch call since the 2009 crisis ended.

Which is better than some clown bloggers out there, who make up a new cutesy slogan and watchlist and looming apocalypse every six months for their goddamn incomprehensible investment newsletter where they describe the decisions that make them significantly less money than if they'd just bought a passive S&P 500 index ETF.

The opioid crisis

WSJ RTE - prescription rates driving the opioid crisis, not unemployment.

Textbook statistical study here.

If joblessness was a cause of drug abuse, then the differential impacts of the 2008 crisis on different states would show a differential effect on drug abuse.

But the data don't show that.

Thus, it's really just a case of Republican states (where addiction is more common) being full of doctors who love prescribing drugs. And Republican voters loving taking drugs, instead of trusting in Christ to lead them through times of difficulty.

As an aside, Jordan Peterson (yeah, I've been watching him, wanted to see what the fuss was about) makes the point that "people who are depressed feel physical pain more, it's statistically proven. And people who feel pain more get prescribed more opioids." Thus, Republican states must be more psychologically depressing states.

If that's the case, then the above study must show that Republican depression has nothing to do with economic hardship.

Maybe Peterson can explain whether more hateful people feel depression more.

Or maybe whether the cognitive dissonance required to profess love of Christ and patriotism, while simultaneously hating the 50% of Americans who don't vote for your party, correlates with increased depression and physical pain.

New Deal Demoncrat is getting full of himself

New Deal Demoncrat - dear professor Krugman....


You never admit that you read my blog. Why would you expect that K-dog will admit to reading your blog?

Seriously, though, the Krugginator tends to stay away from social media because it's full of dickless fucksticks constantly trying to make their mark by taking on Teh Ebil Krugman Sociamalist, kinda like an army of WWF fans demanding a title shot with the heavyweight champion without ever having contested a match. He even ignores taunts from the St. Louis Fed's resident clown Stephen Williamson, leaving it to DeLong to respond to Williamson's idiotic jawboning.

Put succinctly, K-dog always has a choice of how to apportion scarce resources. He can

1) chat with a large pool of distinguished economist friends like Mo Obstfeld, Larry Summers or Barry Eichengreen on economics topics that extend his knowledge and understanding, or

2) read a blog by some guy.

If K-dog is a rational maximizer of utility facing a time constraint, he will always choose 1 over 2.

Just accept that we all can't be the blog that Obama relied on to provide him with critical national security insights in the midst of an international crisis.

Monday, May 21, 2018

New Deal Demoncrat, retail sales

New Deal Demoncrat - April retail sales.

By the way, look at the retail sales chart:

It spiked along with the S&P 500. So was the S&P 500 spike of earlier this year really unearned, or was it entirely reasonable?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Bespoke on S&P 500 trailing PE

Bespoke - S&P 500 trailing 12-month PE. Wherein they give you pictures like this:

And if you look real close you'll see that while yes, it would have been bad to buy at the 30 peak in 2000, it was a fucking amazing time for a long-termer to buy in early 1992.

Now you have a reason to ignore forever any fuckstick who whines about the S&P trailing 12-month PE.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

On the underdevelopment of the Balkans

Branko Milanovic - a geographical hypothesis for why the Balkans are underdeveloped. He brings up 20th century communism and earlier Turk exploitation as explanations, then includes high mountains (as barriers to land travel) and contiguity with the Ukrainian steppe (as enabling constant invasions) as new explanations.

Unfortunately, Branko forgets that trade never happened over land in this era. It was always by sea, where transportation costs are a tiny fraction of the land transportation costs.

There are a few counterexamples, like the land silk route thru Asia (which required a single massive empire to enable it) and the later land gold route through Africa (ditto). But boring trade of boring average commodities happened by sea and river.

And the interior of the Balkans was inaccessible from the sea due to the Iron Gates. There was no way to get from the Black Sea to Hungary and beyond, except by trails. There was I guess a road from Venice through Carinthia to the Austrian interior, but there again you have the problem of roads being too expensive for travel. Thus there could be no external trade connections with the Balkans, thus no wealth.

So there's an alternate theory for you.

You could counter that the massive Hungarian silver and gold deposits exploited starting in the 13th century became a good replacement for wealth by trade... but then you'd have to do the work to figure out if the Balkan-Western wealth gap narrowed during that time. It may have: they built a fuckton of new castles and saw massive immigration from Germany.

As for invasions, why not look at the economy of Hungary before and after their slaughter at the hands of the Mongols in 1241-2? Hungary in fact bounced back rather quickly from a very thorough genocide: ten years later they were healthy enough to go back to constant war with Bohemia, with a few hundred new stone castles having been built in their territory. I think the effect of invasions and slaughters is a lot different in the middle ages, where no economies were operating anywhere near capacity in the first place.