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Posts Tagged ‘Economics’

To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labor, to be given a chance to create, is the meat and potatoes of life.  The money is the gravy.
    —    Bette Davis
[It normally takes seven to seven and a half years of retirement for the average American to “recover” all of the funds paid into their Social Security retirement funds during their forty odd years of work.  I’m well over half-way there and looking forward to the gravy!    —    kmab]
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On This Day In:
2021 Four Down, Three To Go
It Still Ain’t
Boosted
2020 Three Down, Four To Go
Twenty-Four ‘Til You
2019 Two Down, Five To Go
2018 Year One, Done!
2017 First Day Of Retirement!
2016 Revere And Criticize
2015 Global Climate Change May Test This Statement
2014 Adaptability Won
2013 Disappeared
2012 Fuller
Life On The Range
More Classics
2011 Stoned Again?
2010 Insubordination… And That’s Why I Love Her!
Losing – Week One

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The rich are always going to say that, you know, just give us more money and we’ll go out and spend more and then it will all trickle down to the rest of you.  But that has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope the American public is catching on.
    —     Warren Buffett
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On This Day In:
2021 Hold That Thought
Got Love?
2020 Everyone I’ve Ever Met
A Secret Chord
2019 A Big “IF”
2018 Silence Presence
2017 Feeling Small Standing In Front Of My Shelves
2016 Show Willing
2015 If He Only Knew…
2014 Dared To Love
2013 Strong Kung-Fu
2012 Two Tribes
2011 Made Any Assumptions Lately?

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Americans are in a cycle of fear which leads to people not wanting to spend and not wanting to make investments, and that leads to more fear.  We’ll break out of it.  It takes time.
    —     Warren Buffett
It’s never paid to bet against America.  We come through things, but its not always a smooth ride.
    —    Warren Buffett
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On This Day In:
2021 Sift And Stir
Some Oaktown Beat
2020 Role Reversal
Time To Defend The Constitution (Part I)
Time To Defend The Constitution (Part II)
2019 Right Or Wrong
2018 Open Doors
2017 When It Deserves It
2016 Expiation For Rest
2015 You’ll Get Through It
2014 A Special Kind Of Fall
2013 Very Rewarding
2012 MIB3 – The Team Is Closer Than Ever
Yet
2011 Little By Little

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I do not know which of our afflictions God intends that we overcome and which He means for us to bear.  But this is certain:  Some I have overcome, some I continue to bear.
  —  Jean Toomer
[Another (2022) COVID Update:
This update is being written on 5 June 2022 (for posting on 12 June).  There have now been:  1,003,803 total deaths;  247 average deaths per day;  84,565,697 total cases (about 1% fatality rate);  97,611 new average for daily cases;  and, 258,747,147 vaccinations (at least one dose and over 5yrs old) – for a rough 83% of the (eligible) population.  Over 90% of hospitalizations and deaths are of those who have not been vaccinated.  I have not been able to determine if the (remaining) less than 10% are fully vaccinated and current with their booster(s).
What do we know?
Surprisingly little (IMHO) at the end of 18 months…  The early prediction was a fatality number of 2.2 million in the first 18 months IF WE DID NOTHING.  We temporarily shut down a significant portion of society (NOT the economy).  We halved the total deaths to date, but not the rate of deaths per cases.  The economy (and society) are roughly back to “normal”.  Most people can (do) now work from their offices (and / or homes).  Stores and restaurants / bars are mostly opened, but business levels have not recovered.  Most importantly:  we still have little to no publicly available information about the rates or effects of “long-term” COVID, the number of folks with current boosters, or the duration of the vaccine (or booster) effectiveness.  We DO know there is a general decrease in the vaccine(s) effectiveness – hence the recommendation for boosters.  We don’t know the breakdowns by factors such as age, gender, over-all health, etc.  I’m not saying the number(s) isn’t (/ aren’t) out there somewhere or that someone, somewhere isn’t tracking this data – only that I can’t find it readily available.  And, here we are:  “Only time will tell…
As a side note:  much is being made about the pandemic’s effect on the economy – past and current.  While we (in the U.S.) have accepted deaths and illnesses as a “cost” of returning to a “normal” economy, the world’s manufacturer (China) has not.  They continue to impose local and wide area shutdowns to prevent the spread of COVID whenever there is another surge.  Our (U.S.) demand continues to grow back to normal rates (pent up and current demand).  Goods are not being made / delivered to meet demand – so prices increase.  They will continue to do so until supply (roughly) matches demand.  No matter what the Federal Reserve does to interest rates to “cool” inflation, it will have little effect until the manufacturing / delivery conditions change.  How long will that be?  How long is a piece of string??  You never know until have it’s been finally cut (until it’s over).    —    KMAB]
Original post (from 2020):
[This is an unusual post for me.  This post is being written on 28 May, three days after the Memorial Day weekend.  Yesterday, the U.S. passed 100K in deaths due to COVID-19.  We are dying at just under 1,000 lives per day.  We are engaged in a great social experiment testing whether we can open our economy without a plan to deal with the virus.  This post is scheduled to go online roughly 15 days after the holiday weekend.  If the President’s gamble was correct, the average death rate will be at or below 1,000 per day.  If his gamble (with our lives) is incorrect, the death rate will be higher – and potentially much higher.  Only time will tell.   —   KMAB]
(2021) Follow Up to Last Year’s (2020) Post (115,000+):
The “post” above is from one year ago.  It is still too early to tell how good / bad a gamble President Trump took with the health of the nation.  Partly because it is still too soon to have had academia take a look at the data and partly because a number of states – mostly (but not exclusively) with Republican governors (Florida) – are using their office / administrations to hide the true / accurate numbers of illnesses and deaths for political reasons.  We do know that since the Inauguration, the vaccine count has gone from under 50 million to over 300 million.  Over 50% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of vaccine.  Part of this success is attributable to a competent President / Administration and part to the manufacture and distribution of the various vaccines ramping up.
As for our losses, the current “rolling” weekly death average is under 500 per day.  A few weeks ago, the CDC also updated the information on their site to “confirm” that not only are the vaccinated unlikely to get seriously ill and die (still 5 – 10% chance of illness, and less than 1% chance of death), you are also unlikely to become infected and ill at all (15 – 20% illness rate once vaccine period is completed).  Again, it’s too early to KNOW the exact numbers, but in this case it’s because (it is my understanding) “illness” is being self-reported.  Still, this is “good” news and we should see the economy and society begin to return to normal.  We’ve dodged a bullet this time folks.  I am not making light of the individual losses to family members and friends, but the virus could have been a lot more lethal and we still have a considerable way to go on getting the rest of the way to herd immunity.  Let’s hope we are better prepared for the next epidemic…
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On This Day In:
2021 One Year Later (Now 604,000+)
Good Intentions
2020 115,000+
2019 One Generation’s View
2018 The One Thing
2017 Never Give Up
2016 Which Generation Are We?
Congratulations, Kyle!
2015 Centered
2014 Economic Trinity
2013 At Both Ends
2012 Holding Allowance
2011 The Power Of Good

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It was recognized that free trade in goods, though to be continued, was likely to be much less important to rich countries in the future than freedom for international and transnational telecommunications.  Now that factories (except in low wage areas) were bound to become more and more automated, people in the rich northern one-third of the world would mostly be in white collar jobs where they would be working with their imaginations rather than their hands.  But people in such jobs would not necessarily need to live near their workplaces.  What should be the nationality and tax position of a Belgian dress designer who lives in Monte Carlo and St Moritz in the winter, at Stratford-on-Avon in the spring, and Corfu in the summer, and does his work by daily telecommunication through a portable console to colleagues and computers at the largely automated textile factory at Volgograd where he works – who becomes, in fact, a telecommuter?
    —     General Sir John Hackett (et al)
From: “The Third World War: August 1985
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On This Day In:
2021 Still A Work In Progress
An Innocent Man
2020 Three Stooges
2019 #Impeach45: Halt The Slide Into Tryanny
2018 Expecting Profit
2017 In Spite Of The President
2016 And Sets
And My God For His Graces
2015 About Character
2014 Your Gain
2013 Look Up
2012 Count Me In
2011 Pirates Four, Three Songs
Sir Charles
Look First, Not Last
2010 Par-a-diddle

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The wars of the late nineteenth century – the American Civil War, for example and the Franco-Prussian War – were wars of the railway, the telegraph, breech-loading small arms and tinned rations.  The seas were dominated by the ironclad.  At the beginning of the twentieth century the Russo-Japanese War show to any who cared to learn the dominance on the battlefield of the spade, barbed wire and automatic weapons.  The First World War rammed home the same lesson, in a war in which the internal combustion engine, artillery, the submarine, air power and armoured vehicles became the dominant features.  The Second World War was one of worldwide mobility on land and sea and in the air, of total mobilization of population and industrial reserves, of sea power and of air forces.  It ended in the shadow of the nuclear weapon.  The Third World War was widely expected to be the first nuclear war – and perhaps the last.  It turned out in the event to be essentially a war of electronics.
    —     General Sir John Hackett (et al)
From his book:  “The Third World War: August 1985
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On This Day In:
2021 The Correct Answer Will Be In The Form Of A Question
Listen Up
2020 Testing To Open The Economy Safely
2019 Or Thought I’d Thought
2018 Go And Dare
2017 And Wealth A Poor Substitute For Ability
2016 Neither Darkness Nor Shadows
2015 It Took Roots
2014 Hard Evidence
2013 Full Participation
2012 Roving (Again)
Ooops, Again
2011 Why Not?

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Russia is still contending with the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Russia can meddle in Ukraine at the margins, but threats to fully invade and occupy a country of more than 44 million people aren’t credible.  That big a move would cost too many Russian lives and too many rubles for a chronically weak – and weakening – Russian economy.  In recent months, Belarus provided the latest example of the post-Soviet demand for fundamental change and the need to shoot people to keep protests under control.  In the most recent presidential election in Moldova, a Harvard-educated economist toppled a pro-Kremlin incumbent.  Last year, Turkey’s backing for Azerbaijan dealt a humiliating defeat to Russian ally Armenia in a region that Russia once dominated.  Beijing is increasingly competing for influence with Moscow among the former Soviet Central Asian states.
    —     Ian Bremmer
From his opinion piece:  “The Risk Report: What game is Putin playing?
Appearing in:  Time Magazine;  dtd:  21/28 June 2021
[It seems the “threat” of invasion was a little more “credible” than Mr. Bremmer believed (the editorial was from 2021).  IF the West continues to support Ukraine and IF Putin doesn’t resort to tactical nukes, it appears Mr. Bremmer will ultimately be proven correct that Russia bit off it bit more than it could chew (let alone conquer).    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2021 Or Faith In A Creator…
It Seemed The Taste Was Not So Sweet
2020 Nearer My God To Thee, By George
I’ve Got To Keep Working On It
2019 Laugh With Me
2018 Both Sides, Mr. President?
2017 Republicans Better Wake Up
2016 Truth Telling
2015 To Be Effective In The Modern World
2014 A Little Cover
2013 Binding
2012 Lift
2011 Another Good Movie, Another Excellent Book
miSFits
I’m Just Not Sure

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In absolute terms, moreover, the mass and volume (to say nothing of the cost) of all that was required, particularly in fuel and munitions, to maintain an army in field operations at an intensive rate against a similarly equipped opponent, was now very great.  It had taken a quantitative jump since the Second World War.  Warfare in the Middle East in the seventies had shown this very clearly, if on relatively small scale.  It was just no longer possible, at the rate at which stocks could now be exhausted, to sustain intensive operations of war for months on end.  Head – and equipment – counts were no longer the true measure of an army’s capability.  Formation in large numbers could be a liability rather than an advantage unless they could be kept effectively in action.
The Soviet war-fighting philosophy, from whatever origins it may been evolved, was in the circumstances of the 1980s exactly right.  It enjoined the initiation of total and violent offensive action, swiftly followed through to the early attainment of a valuable objective.  The position of military advantage thus secured would then be exploited by political means.  Speed was everything. The corollary was that failure to secure the objective in good time must result in a thorough-going reappraisal, in which to continue to press towards the same end might very well be the least sensible course.
    —     General Sir John Hackett (et al)
From the “future-history” novel:  “The Third World War: August 1985
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On This Day In:
2021 Facing Life
70’s Sunshine Sound
2020 #IncompetentTrump And His Pandemic Briefings
#IncompetentTrump
2019 I Hope So
2018 Painted Into
2017 Prayers, Miracles And Lottery Tickets
Roman View
2016 Dignity And Grace
2015 Is It Warm Enough For You
2014 What The Right STILL Wants
2013 Embrace Serendipity
2012 Your Order, Please
2011 Well Enough Anyway

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Conversations about democracy, technology and the economic dominance of surveillance capitalism are now inseparable.  Looking ahead to the year 2030, I put my bet on democracy because it’s the best idea humanity has ever had, despite all of its obvious imperfections.  When I wake up every morning, I’m thinking about what I can do to contribute to this so that our societies mobilize to double down on democracy.  This begins with saying out loud that the current state of affairs is intolerable.  As citizens, we begin by joining together in our communities, organizations, associations, political networks to demand an end to commercial surveillance.  Our lawmakers hear from the tech lobbyists every day.  They need to feel us at their backs instead.  We are poised at a new beginning, and not a moment too late.
    —    Shoshana Zuboff
From her interview:  “Living up to the promises of the digital age
Appearing in:  Time Magazine;  dtd:  1 / 8 February 2021
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On This Day In:
2020 Still On The Obstacle Course?
Thunder
2019 Expecting A December Correction
2018 Dominoes II (Update From Last Year’s Post)
2017 Dominoes
2016 Itchin’
2015 In The Not So Distant Future
2014 Sources
2013 Three Essentials
2012 Just Looking
2011 Religious Lessons
2010 View From Under The Bus… (A mid-term report card on the Obama Administration. Long, but still worth reading for historical perspective.)

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Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living.  The world owes you nothing.  It was here first.
    —     Mark Twain
[Whether we leave it habitable or not is a different question…    —    kmab]
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On This Day In:
2020 Necessary And Desirable
Who Made The Rules?
2019 The Far Side
2018 Hold On
Day 11: Just Plain Tired
2017 Why Don’t You Tell Us What You Really Think?
2016 Discontent
2015 Do You Know Me?
Appetite For Life Update
2014 Tough Journalism
2013 Things I’ve Learned
2012 Abstainer, n.
2011 Rain, Rain, Rain
Test Your Strength
2009 End the mistakes…

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…We have no idea – and never have had – whether the market is going to go up, down, or sideways in the near- or intermediate term future.
What we do know, however, is that occasional outbreaks of those two super-contagious diseases, fear and greed, will forever occur in the investment community.  The timing of these epidemics will be unpredictable.  And the market aberrations produced by them will be equally unpredictable, both as to duration and degree.  Therefore, we never try to anticipate the arrival or departure of either disease.  Our goal is more modest:  we simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.
    —    Warren Buffett
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On This Day In:
2020 BLM
2019 Courage And Patience
2018 Push The Envelope
2017 Ents
2016 Are You Sure?
2015 Distracted
2014 What It Takes
2013 We Are
2012 Utopian
2011 Seen Any Black Swans Lately?

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Human history can be viewed as a slowly dawning awareness that we are members of a larger group.  Initially our loyalties were to ourselves and our immediate family, next, to bands of wandering hunter-gatherers, then to tribes, small settlements, city-states, nations.  We have broadened the circle of those we love.  We have now organized what are modestly described as super-powers, which include groups of people from divergent ethnic and cultural backgrounds working in some sense together — surely a humanizing and character building experience.  If we are to survive, our loyalties must be broadened further, to include the whole human community, the entire planet Earth.  Many of those who run the nations will find this idea unpleasant.  They will fear the loss of power.  We will hear much about treason and disloyalty.  Rich nation-states will have to share their wealth with poor ones.  But the choice, as H. G. Wells once said in a different context, is clearly the universe or nothing.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2020 Stay Gentle
2019 Immoral #45
2018 From My Soapbox
2017 The Single Most Effective Thing For Health
2016 A Trumpet Solo
2015 Potential Is A Heavy Burden
2014 Fear Not, Weep Not
2013 Half Way There
2012 Sacrificed Any Lately?
2011 The Value Of One’s Character
2010 Intervals
On Being Human
Non-predictive Emergence
Events
Bodily Functions
Standing Thoughts
Sent Home Is Better Than Fixed

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Economic medicine that was previously meted out by the cupful has recently been dispensed by the barrel.  These once unthinkable dosages will almost certainly bring on unwelcome after-effects.  Their precise nature is anyone’s guess, though one likely consequence is an onslaught of inflation.
    —    Warren Buffett
[Government handouts can get you through a non-market caused depression (like the one recently caused by COVID / relief payments), but without an employment plan which improves the general welfare (like a massive infrastructure bill), only the wealthy will benefit when inflation inevitably begins to roar.  Infrastructure will improve the national resource base (bridges, roads, levies, dams, drainage, parks, beaches, river-fronts, water and waste treatment, trains and airports, etc.), it will also provide medium and long-term employment to re-build our middle class.  The longer the delay in passing a major bill, the less time available for its impact to begin before the next election cycle and the greater the opportunity for the “do-nothing” Republicans to blame the lack of progress on Democrats who wanted more than they could deliver and then failed to deliver anything.  The danger is too little and too late.  With or without jobs, inflation is coming (IMHO).  The question is:  who will gain from it and who will suffer for it?    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2020 Know Love
2019 Spoiler Alert
2018 Tic-Toc
2017 Explaining Working Class Support For Donald
2016 Not In My Experience
2015 Effort
2014 Honest Wants
2013 Faith, n.
2012 Surprise Me
2011 Confused With Truth

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Probably, no nation is rich enough to pay for both war and civilization.  We must make our choice;  we cannot have both.
   —   Abraham Flexner
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On This Day In:
2020 Haunting Illusions
True Color
Crackin’ The Flags
2019 Maybe A Slight Advantage
We Should Never Give Up On Our Dreams
2018 As I Recall
2017 Truly Generous
2016 Choose Your Destiny
2015 Fast And Firm
2014 Neither Head Nor Heart
2013 Lonely, Foolish, Love Songs
Batting 1.000
Coward, n.
2012 At Least A Little More Difficult
2011 Speaking Of Fear

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In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.  It is up to us.
   —    Carl Sagan
[An Inauguration and rejoining the Paris Climate Accords are just a start.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2020 Hoping For #46 In January 2021
2019 Interesting, But Not Fascinating
But Try To Eat The Low-Hanging First
2018 Me, Too
2017 Apt Enough?
2016 Now Or Ever
21, Pause, Restart
2015 I Am Shocked, Sir, Shocked…
Lucy & FSND-2
2014 Less Difficult
2013 The Spirit Of Liberty
2012 The Essential Freedom Of Aloneness
2011 A Problem Of Scale
Fred Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
2010 Another Book, Another Jog…

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