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Mene, mene tekel upharsin



July 31, 2013 – Comments (9) | RELATED TICKERS: BWLD , SLM

I don't think anyone reads these blogs anymore, so I am going to feel free and easy and have a little fun with this entry.

Congress ruled on student loan interest today.  A doubling of interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans - the most favorable sort of loans for post-high-school students to take out - took effect on Jul 1, doubling interest rates from 3.4% to 6.8%.  Today Congress rolled this change back ( and made some new arrangements: 

Under the bill, undergraduates will be able to borrow at 3.9% for this school year, graduate students at 5.4% and parents at 6.4%.  Rates now float, however, and reset every year, like an adjustable-rate home mortagage.  The float is linked to the 10-year Treasury note yield, but capped: interest rates would not top 8.25% for undergraduates. Graduate students would not pay rates higher than 9.5%, and parents' rates would top out at 10.5%.

To my mind, this says a little bit about where Congress thinks rates are going.  College is so expensive these days that most of the young people I know are thinking very carefully about how much debt, if any, they want to acquire.  That's very different than the 70's and 80's, when I was thinking about these things: at that time, education in America was regarded as the best investment a person could make in terms of ROI.  It's not so anymore; student loan money is a competitive market - just got more competitive - and its consumers are being very cautious with how they allocate their demand. 

In other news, BWLD blew out earnings numbers.  They added 77 new stores in 2Q13, folks.  Their new wing-portion-size that I wrote about a couple weeks ago panned out and they were able to control wing costs at the store level - they now sell wings as they buy them, by weight, rather than number.  They've communicated this so well; everybody gets it.  They popped, but never mind the P/E; they have so much room to expand, I think they're a screaming (clucking?) buy right here still. 

Even Omar Khayyam agrees:

Come, fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring

The Winter Garment of Repentance fling:

The Bird of Time has but a little way To fly--

and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing. 

I hope all my gentle readers are happy, healthy, making a little money in this crazy market, and filling up the Cup from time to time.  (If you do so at BWLD, try their new Game Changer beer - it's great.)

9 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On August 01, 2013 at 3:14 PM, chk999 (99.97) wrote:

Excellent linkage between the title and the BWLD part of the article!

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#2) On August 01, 2013 at 7:10 PM, HarryCaraysGhost (77.10) wrote:

I'll admit it. I had to google the title-

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#3) On August 01, 2013 at 7:44 PM, ikkyu2 (98.57) wrote:

"Lo, let him who hath ears to hear, let him hear."

I don't know if I made it clear enough, but the handwriting is on the wall for coming inflation and higher rates.  I don't believe anything at all about rates remaining low for an extended period.  The Fed Funds rate may stay low, but banks are not accessing the discount window at all.  Mortgage rates, student loan rates, corporate debt rates, interest rate spreads, the T yield, and pretty much anything else rate-wise you care to name - except equity yields - are on the upswing.  The trend is secular and it is going to persist for years.

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#4) On August 02, 2013 at 12:10 PM, lemoneater (58.46) wrote:

Enjoyed the title very much. Old Testament has certainly enriched our language. You may wish to use the single word title "Icabod" at some point  as well :).

ROI from a college education is a crucial concern for students. I think many of them will go to less expensive community colleges or take online courses which will give them more opportunity to stay with a job if they have one.

Have a good weekend!

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#5) On August 02, 2013 at 7:59 PM, constructive (99.97) wrote:

"they now sell wings as they buy them, by weight, rather than number."

As a side note, does anyone else find it gross when Domino's advertises pasta by the pound?

I prefer not buying restaurant food by weight.

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#6) On August 02, 2013 at 9:17 PM, HarryCaraysGhost (77.10) wrote:

I prefer not buying restaurant food by weight.

So I'm guessing your not a fan of the quarterpounder from Micky D's.

Just do what I do, order the Royale with cheese. About ten percent of the cashiers get the reference.

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#7) On August 02, 2013 at 10:03 PM, ikkyu2 (98.57) wrote:

I prefer not buying restaurant food by weight.

And you know what, Megashort, you're not asked to at BWLD.  The main reason I went there was to find out how the heck they had managed to do this on their menus.  What I found was something very like the following:

"Because of recent variability in the size of the chicken wings we purchase, we have started serving wings by the portion:

Snack (minimum 6 wings)

Small (minimum 8 wings)

Medium (minimum 10 wings)

Large (minimum 12 wings)"

We got two snack sizes and there were 6 wings apiece: one boneless, one regular.  I was not asked to order 0.45 lbs of wings, and I felt like I knew more or less what we'd be getting: 6 wings, or maybe more if they are what my girlfriend derisively calls 'meecro-wings."  (She loves the world's spiciest wings, but the place that delivers to her apartment sometimes delivers drumstick-size wings and sometimes thumbnail-size ones.  When the micro-wings came, she thought they were intentionally cheating us; I had to explain it was a nationwide issue that was affecting the price of a stock I own!)

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#8) On August 04, 2013 at 3:57 AM, Krazy8s (< 20) wrote:

in response to comment #6

Royale with Cheese script from

Movie: Pulp Fiction 

Distributed: by Miramax Films 

Release date: October 14, 1994 (1994-10-14) (US) 

Running time: 154 minutes

Country: United States

Language: English

Budget: $8.5 million Box office $213,928,76


VINCENT: You know what the funniest thing about Europe is?
JULES: What?
VINCENT: It’s the little differences. And you know what they call a, a Quarter Pounder with cheese in Paris?
JULES: They don’t call it a Quarter Pounder with cheese?
VINCENT: No, man. They got the metric system. They wouldn’t know what the #*$! a Quarter Pounder is.
JULES: Then what do they call it?
VINCENT: They call it the Royale with cheese.
JULES: Royale with cheese.
VINCENT: That’s right.
JULES: What do they call a Big Mac?
VINCENT: A Big Mac’s a Big Mac, but they call it Le Big Mac.
JULES: Le Big Mac. What do they call a Whopper?
VINCENT: I don’t know. I didn’t go into Burger King.

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#9) On August 05, 2013 at 12:59 AM, valunvesthere (22.61) wrote:

comment #8

I wonder how much McDonald's paid to have this Royale with cheese scene?

In reality I think it is coincidence because everybody understands Burger King and McDonald's, anything else this scene will have no meaning.


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