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February 2010



Once again: it's not about ideology

February 25, 2010 – Comments (3)

The worst "reform" ever, all but given up for dead, is suddenly making a surprising comeback. As Republicans are quietly drinking champagne while making rabid protests in public, the Caps community again finds itself divided by the ideological lines. We again seem to be willing to debate the Evil Big Government vs. the Evil Big Business despite the fact that obamacare has been set up from the very beginning as a giant ripoff scheme having nothing to do with either Socialism or laissez faire.  [more]



Which oligarch will be the next patient?

February 24, 2010 – Comments (0)

This is why I'm keeping my red thumbs on MTL. Last year MTL has barely escaped a visit from Putin's doctor, most likely because of the crisis, but we'll never know how many shares changed hands under the table before Putin called the doctor off. Now the hungry kleptocracy, starved by low oil prices, is looking for the next patient to send the doctor to. If last time it was just one Zyuzin, this time it's 4 oligarchs at once, including #2 on Russia's Forbes list - a measure of just how hungry Putin's officials became when oil stayed below $80 for just one year. My personal take: the writing is on the wall, if oil doesn't go up to $200 and really soon, this regime will start eating its own entrails.   [more]



What central planning is and what it is not

February 19, 2010 – Comments (18)

The idea of central planning is getting a very bad rap in this community. Of course there is an obvious selection bias involved. The people here are looking for ways to invest money that was earned under the (supposedly) free market, and most have a vested interest in the current system. Also when you have a vested interest it makes you think everybody who's praising the system is smart and everybody who is less sanguine must be stupid. This in only natural.  [more]



Criminal justice, Russian-style

February 18, 2010 – Comments (2)

The thieves that stole half a billion dollars continue to defy Medvedev's call for the rule of law. I think Medvedev should complain to the authorities :)   [more]



Cut the deficit but not my benefits - yes, it is possible

February 13, 2010 – Comments (15)

No sooner did I remark here that there enough fat cats to cut the deficit without cutting the benefits, than another poster challenged me with this rebuff:   [more]



The worst way to invest

February 11, 2010 – Comments (0)

China's latest decision to invest $9.6 Billion in stocks made the headlines today. In principle, this is a step in the right direction. However:  [more]



Imbeciles get their president

February 08, 2010 – Comments (5)

Elections in the Ukraine probably deserve an entry in the Guinness book of records as the first election in which the top job was contended by two ex-prisoners. Mr. Yanukovich has served two prison terms, one for robbery, and the other for aggravated assault. Ms. Timoshenko has spent a few weeks in jail for financial improprieties. One can only feel sorry for the voters who had to make a tough choice between the lady and the thug. Still, the victory of the candidate who makes two spelling errors in the words "Prime Minister", talks about "famous poet Chekhov", and makes references to the "best Ukrainian genocide" ("I see here in this room the best Ukrainian genocide." - You mean, the best gene pool? -"Yes, and the gene pool too") would make Socrates feel justified in his critique of democracy. In a recent meeting with supporters, after Mr. Yanukovich finished reading his speech from paper, he blurted out into the microphone that he thought had been turned off, "What are these imbeciles still waiting for?" Looks like imbeciles have finally elected their president.  [more]



Idiot of the day: Allan Sloan (or the dumbest suggestion how to reform Social Security)

February 04, 2010 – Comments (0)

This otherwise good article contained one surprisingly dumb statement:   [more]



Too much pessimism

February 03, 2010 – Comments (11)

There is too much long-term pessimism on these boards, as evidenced, for example, by russiangambit's posts. Almost everybody sees some iceberg ahead: we can't afford Social security, we can't afford military spending, the budget deficit will destroy us, blah-blah-blah. Interestingly, the same people often remain optimistic about the short term - the nearest 3-5 years or so. As for me, it's quite the contrary. I'm fairly pessimistic about the next 5 years, but optimistic about the long run.   [more]



Finally, a budget that makes sense.

February 01, 2010 – Comments (10)

You have to give credit where credit is due. For the first time since taking the office, BHO has presented a reasonable proposal. Strictly speaking, it's not even a new proposal. I call it a return to sanity. It simply restores the status quo that we had before baby Bush's ill-advised tax cuts. All intelligent people back then, including Buffett, told baby Bush the budget could not afford these cuts, and lo and behold, they were right. The budget could not afford them. Time to recognize this simple fact, let the cuts expire, and to go back to the tax system that we had for many decades before Dubya and did quite well with it. It would be even better if BHO's budget proposals were not intended as a bargaining chip and actually became law, but I guess that would be asking for too much.   [more]