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February 27, 2011 – Comments (35)

My last blog sure raised more of a ruckus than I thought.  I thank everybody who replied, and while I skimmed in the last hour the replies, i cannot have time tonight to reply to all 100 folks.  In writing that blog, and my blog about "fighting the cult of negativity", in no way was I trying to mock the bears or refute the fact that they have gotten alot of stuff right.  And, ... to my personal loss, I am hardly a permabull.  To date I'd be considerably better off if I hadn't been cautious over my time in the market.  Forget reading my old blogs, just scan the titles and that will be clear. 

I am grateful for the couple of compliments I got in the "cult" blog about "my well thought out thesis".  I wish.  All these blogs are typed on the fly and thought out at the same time, although often concieved at some random point while thinking about markets and life and what not.  They are not proofread, which no doubt leads some onlooker or other to conclude that I am beyond hope.  

In any case, the last post hoped to say this one point:

If you choose to live in the US, you will, at least if your experience is even remotely close to mine, ALWAYS be faced with people talking down on the country, down on the world, down on the future, down on everything.  There will ALWAYS be cases presented which are more than less doomsday cases.  You will always be told, by some, that a crisis lies in wait, that your way of life is soon over, that we are doomed, we are scrweed, other cultures are better, this is messed up, we are all forked-senseless on and on and on and on and on.  

In good times people panic about contrived things, in bad times they panic about the matters at hand, in no time do they really bother to stop panicking.  Its just what some people do.  SOMETIMES, the panic is justified, but USUALLY it is not.  We have recently had both times when the doomsday cults were right, and when they were wrong.  

The fact of the matter is that people are ... for all of our undeniable flaws, relatively remarkable things.  Said I to the neighbor kids who are over here basically every other day, because I cook a mean egg sandwich, when we were on our way to the movies a month ago:  "ok, gents, question.  who is the toughest animal that ever lived?".  Heated debate ensued, amongst 6-11 year olds.  A T-rex they ultimately concluded, must be the biggest bad-arse ever.  One kid apparently is an encyclopedia of dinosaur knowledge, and pointed out that some reptile or other was much larger than t-rex, but whatever that animal was it wasn't famous so the other kids weren't moved.  "thats just silly", said I, "you are obviously the toughest animal that ever lived".  No way!  You're crazy!  I'm just a kid!  "Yes", said I, "but, if dinosaurs still lived today, would we have them in a zoo?  Would they have us in a zoo?" As they got my point they shone like lightbulbs, chests out, lol.  Its true, though, we are pretty much (again, for all of our admittedly vast and broad flaws) the shyte.  We muddle through, with these incredible moments of brilliance that get us MORE than by.   On the back of Edison, Einstein, Jobs & Woz, and all of the others we ride, most gloriously, always to better days (eventually). 

When a problem actually surfaces, we do actually tend to deal with it.  Smog is way down in LA, but the # of cars sure isn't!  I remember that drama from when I was a kid.  Nobody in a major city would live to 50, they'd all die from pollution.  Ozone layer, wasn't that healing last time somebody told me?  That was FOR SURE going to end the world. On and on and on and on and on. 

It is literally a swamp of negativity that we live in, I hoped to observe that as far as I can tell, the world has gone on.   And here in the world of markets and economics and investing, we are swamped with sooo much negativity.  Eloquent, elaborate, long-written negativity.  Infomercials even, scammish websites.  Often repeating the same basic "party line" that everybody else is using, changing its story over time but always telling us that soon we will perish.  But not before we lose all of our money.  

And soooooooo often, the bears resort to hyperbolic ventures far off the path of fact, and in my view far too often they present those views as fact.  It drives me nuts.  People defend the honor of Peter Schiff...  wonder why people get annoyed with him... I can't make it through one of his videos without rolling my eyes as he ventures into wild conjecture or even mistruth, always while presenting it as fact.  This is a fact:  CSCO has a p/e of about 14.  This is not:  the US is zimbabwe.  Fact:  buying a market down 55% has never been a bad idea, ever, over a couple-few-year timeframe.  Not fact:  the US will have hyperinflation, huge inflation, huge deflation, the S&P will hit 250, the market would be fair valued at 400, gold is going to 5000, fiat currency will die, the US dollar will collapse very soon, the US is a banana republic, we are in a depression, nobody has a job, and all of the other DRAMATIC stuff that gets repeatedly said.  Its got to be 1:10, wildly bullish blogs + replies to wildly bearish.

If one is to successfully participate in the markets, we will eventually have to just get used to that fact, and learn to tune it out.  Hopefully the never ending chrous of would be sorrows won't cause people to ignore it the next time it makes sense.  Like the next time someting really serious IS ABOUT to happen.

We will ALSO have to, somehow, in and among the endless rain of dire predictions, manage to pay attention to the ones that really matter. That becomes the responsibility of the bulls.  All the noise will only serve to make it really difficult. 

None of that blog was meant as a bullish rant.  I am, as well noted in the last month, really not that bullish right now, and as noted last week, I acknolwedge the potential problems of coked-up speculators running oil to 140 on mid-east panic.  And I acknowledge that the market is no longer "cheap", but probably roughly fair valued.  I'm not bearish either, I'm still net long, just with a big cash cushion.  And there is, I really think, one more important chapter (at least) to this secular bear, which I have many times said will become the biggest in 70 years...  There will be another time for the bears to shine - I am sure of it - before the next secular bull. 

Per my vow, I will buy drinks for an entire casino should the opportunity present itself.  I'd just as soon do it in Reno, as I've never been, and Starfire lives there.  And I will note that I am pretty sure that I'll blog all about me blowing my portfolio up, if it happens. But it won't...  ;)

The video was of Danny Macaskill, a vid I randomly stumbled across on youtube while watching "band of horses" vids.  It is probably the most awesome thing I have ever seen on youtube, actually I know it is. 

35 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On February 27, 2011 at 2:50 AM, checklist34 (99.71) wrote:

Bears, honestly, though, you have to be able to admit that some of your arguments are just insane. 

"THE DOLLAR HAS LOST 93% OF ITS VALUE SINCE THE FED WAS BROUGHT INTO THIS WORLD, FROM THE 9TH PLANE OF HADES!!!"

and how many times more dollars does the average person make? 

We are better off than we were when the fed was created, better off than we were in the 50s, and so forth.  The median salary relative to the cost of bread/car/house and so forth has improved, not worsened.  

To present just the one fact, as though this means we have all been robbed of 93% of our wealth is just plain wrong.  Period.  

Some of you guys areSMART, in fact CAPs has alot of smart bears.  Just only say stuff thats true, or acknowledge views and opinions as such and on't present them as fact, and your posts would be far more valuable.  To me at least, in my opinion.

In fact, THE best comments about gold I have ever seen are by Binve in his blog, after I posted my gold blog like a year ago.  

Other non-facts were noted above.   Lets have "bearish posts with only facts" week??  Then we can get drunk in Reno, as I am a loser in that bet, and must buy. 

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#2) On February 27, 2011 at 2:52 AM, checklist34 (99.71) wrote:

When I first posted my "cult of negativity", I actually had the idea for 3 blogs.  The first 2 are in, the last one is comin up... 

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#3) On February 27, 2011 at 3:18 AM, FleaBagger (29.74) wrote:

We are not 93% worse off than we were in 1914 (or whenever), but approximately 93% worse off than we would have been without the Fed.

Not a demonstrable fact, but an opinion based on a lot of study and thought.

Deflationary periods are necessary corrections of times of excess, or times of unhindered prosperity, growth, and opportunity. The Fed robs the economy of these benefits, and takes from the rest of the economy to give to the government's clients, particularly banks and defense contractors. The benefits trickle down smaller and smaller, and do not match the detriments imposed on those at the bottom of the trickle. (Us.)

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#4) On February 27, 2011 at 3:30 AM, ozzfan1317 (81.31) wrote:

Rec 'm gonna head to bed soon but I always love a good economic, financial or stock picking debate or civil discourse in general. So I will be revisiting this blog.

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#5) On February 27, 2011 at 5:07 AM, mhy729 (33.20) wrote:

Re: that video of the biker with the 'mad skillz', I don't think I've seen a more thorough demonstration of a human being so perfectly attuned to the machine he is using.  It's almost like it's an extension of his body...totally amazing.

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#6) On February 27, 2011 at 8:53 AM, dbjella (< 20) wrote:

The video was of Danny Macaskill, a vid I randomly stumbled across on youtube while watching "band of horses" vids.  It is probably the most awesome thing I have ever seen on youtube, actually I know it is. 

After watching that video I couldn't help but think of my old Huffy.  I bet Danny never had a Huffy :)

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#7) On February 27, 2011 at 9:03 AM, whereaminow (22.35) wrote:

checklist,

and how many times more dollars does the average person make? 

You do realize that your labor is a product or good on the market which the dollar can lose value to as well, right? Basics of inflation, brother.

This is why your criticism of bears (which I am not) or negative people (which I am not) was so ridiculous. These are basic economic ideas that are not disputed. It's like criticizing people because they believe in marginal utility.

David in Qatar

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#8) On February 27, 2011 at 10:03 AM, OneLegged (< 20) wrote:

Do a search for Ryan Leach videos as well.  More incredible bike stunts.  More fluid and smooth.

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#9) On February 27, 2011 at 12:22 PM, 100ozRound (29.52) wrote:

We are better off than we were when the fed was created, better off than we were in the 50s, and so forth.

Now is that because of the Fed or because we've been able to export our production to third world countries that can do it cheaper therefore lowering our the costs of the goods we purchase?

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#10) On February 27, 2011 at 12:27 PM, MoneyWorksforMe (< 20) wrote:

Not a very profound title...

Is there a gargantuan meteor on a collision course with earth within the next few years? Is a massive volcano forecasted to erupt soon? Is the universe within years of completely collapsing in on itself? Is the sun millions of years older than we previously thought, and only a few years from transforming into a red giant which will imminently scorch all life from earth's surface?

Did I miss something?

Who the hell thinks the world is ending? Not even the most bearish of the bears believe this is true...

Many of the bears are the ones who see the social and economic problems plaguing America--and they are the ones who demand change. If it wasn't for the bears, the U.S. economy would have never developed into the superpower it has become.

"Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation" -Oscar Wilde

Do not underestimate the importance of the bears. 

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#11) On February 27, 2011 at 12:55 PM, MoneyWorksforMe (< 20) wrote:

"When a problem actually surfaces, we do actually tend to deal with it.  Smog is way down in LA, but the # of cars sure isn't!  I remember that drama from when I was a kid.  Nobody in a major city would live to 50, they'd all die from pollution.  Ozone layer, wasn't that healing last time somebody told me?  That was FOR SURE going to end the world. On and on and on and on and on."

Funny how you neglect to elaborate on how devastating these problems were before each were mitigated... 

And with regards to the ozone hole over Antarctica--that problem was probably a few years away from causing massive and irreversible devastation to the planet...Not to mention how lucky we were for it to develop over such a remote and desolate part of the world. What would have been the consequences had the ozone hole developed over a highly populated area such as the north east U.S. or western Europe?

Whether or not you realize it, from time to time we get extremely fortunate...The fact that such events have happened in the past should serve as a constant reminder of how it is important to be vigilante, and there are serious risks of being too complacent. The financial crisis just as the ozone hole, smog related deaths, lead poisoning deaths etc etc. etc. could have been avoided almost entirely but action was only sought when either the negatives of ignoring it outweighed the benefits, or the guise that it "isn't a problem" is forced to be removed by an overwhelming amount of empirical evidence...

Mankind has a history of taking action just in the nick of time or usually after something devastating has already happened. Why wait until something terrible happens before taking action? You also seem to think that all problems are fixable or reversible...But have you ever thought that perhaps some problems if left alone could snowball out of control? Are there any thresholds? 

 

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#12) On February 27, 2011 at 1:45 PM, portefeuille (99.60) wrote:

When I was around 10y old (so probably 4'2') I played high jump with my brother and sister (14y/5'6'' and 12y/5') on the lawn next to our swimming pool in Spain. We had a slightly inflated air mattress, 5 bamboo poles and 2 ashtrays (filled with sand (and a few cigarette remains)) and the winner would obviously be the one that managed to the jump over the highest positioned pole. As one might assume looking at the sketch below the pole did not just fall, the whole construction usually collapsed if the jump was not successful. It collapsed quite a few times and we were pretty well covered by minor injuries (grass burns, bruises, cuts from the bamboo) after the first few rounds. I think I ended up winner (pole height for the winning jump was around 4') simply for being the most reckless. I think that mentality still lives in my trading, hehe ...

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#13) On February 27, 2011 at 2:29 PM, Starfirenv (< 20) wrote:

checklist34- I left a response on your last blog but it is now in blog heaven. Totally enjoyed your contribution here- from both sides of the aisle. Especially the part about T Rex. To be able to expand and expose the potential and unlimited possibility of a young person in such simple terms and at such a young age is as beautiful as anything Danny does on that bike.
  My fave vid of him is here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cj6ho1-G6tw

Courtesy of THE TMFanimal- this year's TMF fantasy football champ, after coming out of last place (and league commish also). He offered it up on one of the fundraiser marathons.

Any way- I just got back from a month of killing lionfish on the Barrier Reef in BZ and saw your last blog late in the wee hrs.

The Reno thing sounds like fun. Here is the deal- I will be headed back to the Islands from late April to late May.

On Reno-
Winter : World Class skiing/boarding 30 mins away. Many resorts to choose from. Usual Casino "action" (that's gambling in Nv speak), shows bars. Right now there is a ton of fresh snow and it doesn't get any better. Ski till July
Summer: Early, ski morn, canoe Tahoe in the PM, white water course in down town Reno if kayaking is your thing. Short ride to Virginia City ((pretty cool, lots of history. Mark Twains desk where he wrote while with the newspaper, Bucket of Blood Saloon, ever heard of the "Dead man's hand" of Aces and 8's? "Blue Ribbon" (fishing term) trout fishing in the Truckee. Sunset booze cruise on the Tahoe Queen (old riverboat style paddle- wheeler). Etc, etc.
  All kid friendly. My  17 yr old daughter would be willing to watch a few kids to ensure  plenty of adult time.
  Maybe Davidsadick (some of my best friends are) could find his way here. I have a feeling he would be a lot of fun and add a little spice to the mix.
  Yea, I'll have some drinks with you cklist, but you gotta' try and keep your pants on.
  Question- If you hate haters, does that mean you are one? Best from Reno and the "Silver State".

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#14) On February 27, 2011 at 7:14 PM, russiangambit (29.29) wrote:

Checklist, I have to give you this - Warren Buffet has exactly the same opnion

 http://pragcap.com/warren-buffetts-annual-letter-to-shareholders

"Throughout my lifetime, politicians and pundits have constantly moaned about terrifying problems facing America. Yet our citizens now live an astonishing six times better than when I was born. The prophets of doom have overlooked the all-important factor that is certain: Human potential is far from exhausted, and the American system for unleashing that potential – a system that has worked wonders for over two centuries despite frequent interruptions for recessions and even a Civil War – remains alive and effective.

We are not natively smarter than we were when our country was founded nor do we work harder. But look around you and see a world beyond the dreams of any colonial citizen. Now, as in 1776, 1861, 1932 and 1941, America’s best days lie ahead.”

However, one has to realize that even though world is unlikely to end, there is no guarantee that you are going to be comfortable living with it. And therefore it is a pretty cold comfort, given how the world can perfectly go on without you.

 

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#15) On February 27, 2011 at 10:17 PM, Momentum21 (95.21) wrote:

I like the sounds of Reno.

My favorite vacation spot is right up the road in Incline Village.

Might be time to unveil the CAPS conference idea.  : )

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#16) On February 28, 2011 at 1:51 AM, outoffocus (22.89) wrote:

I would like to rec MoneyWorksforMe's comment. 

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#17) On February 28, 2011 at 9:33 AM, Option1307 (29.75) wrote:

+1 per usual.

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#18) On February 28, 2011 at 9:44 AM, hnhm9111 (< 20) wrote:

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#19) On February 28, 2011 at 1:31 PM, checklist34 (99.71) wrote:

Flea, we are much better off than we were in the 1910s.  By any reaosnable measure.  Any.  The average american can buy far more food, cars, housing and everything else.  Remember when viewing some things you have to adjust for the relative quality and content of them. 

To state that we are 93% worse off than we would have been without the Fed is just ... out there.  

I swear I blogged once about the relative cost of living now -vs- the 50's and EVERYTHING was cheaper.  The median salary today could buy more milk, more bread, more houses (which are far larger), about the same amount of cars (airbags, etc., they are far better) .  But I couldn't find the blog the other day. 

Wage growth has outpaced inflation.  So to claim that we are 93% worse off due to the dollar losing 93% of its purchasing power is WRONG.  We have probably 20x more dollars.

Would wages have grown as much without inflation?  No.

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#20) On February 28, 2011 at 1:32 PM, checklist34 (99.71) wrote:

mhy, that video just leaves me awestruck, even after probably a couple hundred views or more. 

If only I could drive like that, or even 10% like that...

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#21) On February 28, 2011 at 1:37 PM, checklist34 (99.71) wrote:

dbjella, I had a BMX I got for 10 bucks at a rummage sale, it was yellow and blue and I was soooooo proud of that thing. 

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#22) On February 28, 2011 at 1:44 PM, checklist34 (99.71) wrote:

David,

    If you are not a bear, it sure doesn't show in your writing.  

    The criticism was simple:  the bears on the web tend to cycle and recycle and rehash the same basic things - kind of whatever the "panic of the week" is, and close themselves off to counterpoints or thinking things through.  They declare themselves absolutely correct at all times, at least in general and in my observaqtion, make ABSOLUTE statements, predictions, and so forth, and ooooh too rarely own up to getting things completely wrong.  And as a result they led themselves and many others, I fear, astray over the last couple of years.

     I'll go read your post on the basics of inflation, but frankly, David, isn't it overwhelmingly likely to

A)  use alot of formal jargon and academic-style writing

B)  pontificate greatly and

C)  miss the basic relevant points?  Per you:  staglfation IS HERE, FOR SURE (I paraphrase).  Thats debatable my good fellow.  

However built into your lifestyle and persona it is, strive to not be a coffee shop intellectual.  Form your own world view and way of understanding, don't hide behind quoting someone's book, admit that you do not KNOW outcomes ahead of time.  You'll do much better.  

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#23) On February 28, 2011 at 1:45 PM, checklist34 (99.71) wrote:

100oz,

    My point is just that the anti-fed cult always quotes this 93% figure without offering it in anything that even remotely resembles proper context.  

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#24) On February 28, 2011 at 1:49 PM, checklist34 (99.71) wrote:

moneyworks,

    I would not dispute that humans tend to act best only when they are essentially forced to, but we do act.

    "the world is ending" is me sarcastically poking at the endless flood of dire predictions from the bearish camp, usually stated in ABSOLUTE terms.  Dollar is collapsing, life as we know it ending, ALL the banks are insolvent, "the S&P is grossly overvalued" (when it was in the 800s, based on the "panic of the day", which at that time was that p/e chart).  etc, etc.

    In my view They cripple themselves, intellectually and possibly as investors, by simply refusing to look at things rationally and always staying in this rut of hyper-negative prediction.

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#25) On February 28, 2011 at 1:59 PM, checklist34 (99.71) wrote:

WRT moneyworks for me's 2nd post and the very good thought it contains, and to understand my point, imagine this scenario:

we get an ongoing period of middle east tensions and oil supply gets restricted

oil prices spike wildly, which leads much of the world back into recession

at the same time, the spiking oil prices and worldwide recession kick the leg out from under china's property bubble and it starts to deflate.  

At this point, panic would be considerable, we'd probably have DOW 9000, 8000, civil unrest, blood in the streets.  

What would happen, at some point?  A fantastic buying opportunity that would afford those who got it right returns not measured in percent but in multiples.  

Would the bearish "cults" at that point say "holy crap we've had a selloff, we're back near the historical record for the market relative to its longtime trend, blood is in the streets, "others are fearful"...  or would they just, with even more volume and authority, hammer out their bearish ideas, making ABSOLUTE statements all the while?

What do you think?

I do not debate that sometimes things are screwed, and I have REPEATEDLY stated that the world is due another big screwing before this secular bear ends...  I just observe that the bears behave not really like rational persons, but like relgiious ones.  And frankly, I would offer the same for 90% of goldbugs.  

This behavior is what creates bubbles.  Not the fed.  Religious belief in tech stocks, religious belief in house prices.  Etc.

Avoid groupthink, and you'll prosper more, methinks.

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#26) On February 28, 2011 at 1:59 PM, checklist34 (99.71) wrote:

porte, for me it was swinging, tarzan style, on bail twine after jumping off a stack of bails, hoping to make it to the ohter stack.  lol

good times

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#27) On February 28, 2011 at 2:01 PM, checklist34 (99.71) wrote:

Starfire, we should plan a CAPs trip to Vegas.  The goldbugs can all throw ice cubes at me and I will keep my pants on.

That was well said about Macaskill... that video is amazing for the bike stunts, but its the stunning demonstration of humanity that makes it so great.  It makes you wonder how many times he fell, how many times he failed, before that happened.  It makes you wonder if he was lonesome as a kid, so as to have just that bike to keep company with, it makes you wonder all of this...

I hope he makes a million and marries a gem.

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#28) On February 28, 2011 at 4:24 PM, Starfirenv (< 20) wrote:

Cklist- I should also mention -
Tahoe Rim Trail, if you hike
Markleeville Hot Springs
Pyramid Lake
Devil's Postpile, if you like to climb.
or, a few hrs drive to-
Yosemite
Sequoia Nat'l Park
"The Bay"- Steinhart Aquarium, Fisherman's Wharf, Golden Gate Park, maybe a Giant's (or A's game). Cannery Row?
Redwood forrests on the coast?
Vegas? Vegas? I don't think so.
Feel free to contact me at caps username Gee mail. Best

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#29) On February 28, 2011 at 7:33 PM, truthisntstupid (85.31) wrote:

I wish people could feel the truth in checklist's comment #20 in this thread as much as I do.

Look, I can't debate someone that knows all the jargon and all the academic studies.  And I won't ever be able to.  Sorry, I'd rather read The Ultimate Dividend Playbook...Warren Buffet and The Interpretation Of Financial Statements....What Works On Wall Street......Financial Shenanigans....my Intermediate Accounting textbook....or any one of dozens of other investing books sitting on my bookshelf.  

I am ill-equipped to argue with someone about macroeconomics.  I'll never be satisfied with my knowledge in the area I'm interested in.

So at the risk of numbers of people calling me an idiot, I'll do this one more time.  I'm not totally ill-equipped.

Because while all my adult life there have been people pointing to all the reasons we're supposedly screwed, as checklist points out, I've been around long enough to point to the reality of 4 decades now and say,  "Um...this is what actually happened."

It isn't open for debate.  It's life as it unfolded.  

I'm not going to go back and forth and copy everything checklist wrote in comment #20.  Everyone here is perfectly capable of going back up and reading it.

Yes, we've had price inflation.  But it doesn't seem to me as if an average person's paycheck will buy less today than an average person's paycheck would buy 20 or 30 years ago.  I'm fairly certain it will buy more.  More than fairly certain.

Now while a large number of people half or 2/3 my age might want to argue and tell me I'm nuts, I'm sorry, it's not worth my time to argue with you.  Especially if  I get tired of pointing to the reality of the last 4 decades and drawing insults or name-calling for it.

I was somewhat forced to drop out of college 1 semester short of my BA in accounting 15 years ago, and most of my adult life before that (12 years) was spent on active duty in the military.  I've never made a lot of money.

Strangely, I feel I live much better now than I did 30 years ago.  The inflation calculator tells me I must be making 2.5 times as much money as I was making 30 years ago if that's true.  I'm partially disabled and have a job I like but doesn't pay much.  

Believe me,  $8.85 an hour is not  2.5 times what I was making 30 years ago.

I'm not saying inflation isn't much ado about nothing.  I am saying all the fear and all the worry and all the negativity checklist is talking about is, as he says, overdone.

1) The spread of WalMart with its massive economies of scale bringing more goods to American consumers at lower prices relative to their income 

2) And the fact that for decades new technology and electronics goods have gotten progressively cheaper 

....have done far more to improve the standard of living...even for those at the bottom (ME!)  than inflation has done to hurt it.  Period.  

When did you last pay $915 for a VCR?  Oh?  Really?  What on earth am I talking about?

My first VCR in 1980 cost $325.  Go ahead.  Plug those numbers into an inflation calculator and figure it out.  That's like spending $915 today.  Here you go...here's an inflation calculator.

http://www.dollartimes.com/calculators/inflation.htm

 

My first microwave in 1978 cost close to $900 in today's dollars.  It was just under $300.   Spending $300 in 1978 or 1980 felt pretty much the same as spending $900 now.

Computers are ridiculously cheaper.  Even things that seem priced pretty much the same now as they did 30 years ago actually cost 3 times more then, because a dollar in 1978 was worth as much as $3.48 is today.

Living today is generally better and many things are cheaper.  The fact that you won't find a loaf of bread selling for 15 cents any more  is only part of a huge picture that spans decades.

I know I live better today than I did 30 years ago....and I know that I'm not making 2.5 times as much as I did then.

The minimum wage was $1.60 an hour when I got my first job in 1973.  Now it's $7.25.

Wages have outpaced inflation.  Most of us are better off.  If someone like me who has never made a lot of money is so much better off today than 3 decades ago, everyone else has to be.

 

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#30) On March 02, 2011 at 2:47 AM, checklist34 (99.71) wrote:

starfire, cool man, I'll email.

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#31) On March 02, 2011 at 3:32 AM, checklist34 (99.71) wrote:

truth, your comment #30 is one of the best I have read on any stock blog.  I thank you for the compliment, but mostly, although I am young and got my first pay in the 80s, so I can't relate to all of this, I perhaps can a little.

I had written a very long, and I think pretty good, reply to this, but firefox crashed and it was lost.  I will try to do it again, but it may come out more jumbled.  I always write off the cuff w/o plans or proofreads, and thats just how it comes out best.  I'll try.

I will preface and disclaim this by acknowledging that my family grew up poor.  I don't know what the poverty line was in the 80s but we were, I am sure, below it.  

We were a farm family, so our food was cheap, because we literally grew and raised it, old-school style, for the most part.  But for boughten foods, we were too poor for, say, sweetened cereal.  If we got it we had to mix it with cheap cereal, so like if we got a box of Fruitie Pebbles it'd be 1/2 and 1/2 with Rice Krispies.  

We almost never had new clothes, hand me downs and rummage sales.  

Our house was a billion years old and tiny, we shared bedrooms and stuff.  

I am parent today, and I have known many other parents my age when the kid makes a friend or whatever, and some of them have been on housing assitance and stuff, and single moms, and NONE of those kids has less than we had.  In fact I don't think I have ever met 1 kid who had less toys than all of us combined.  

Look at the ratio of dining out today among the general population relative to what I remember growing up.  

Drive around a town like mine, where youc an find neighborhoods built in certain eras, and just look at the progression of house sizes.  They were TINY in the 50s, TINY, and I mean like 1500 square feet total or something, and probably a family of 4 or 5 lived there.  What do normal, middle class families live in today?  relative palaces.

From here:

http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/50sfood.html

Gerber Baby food was 10 cents.  Today its 2/$1.29.  So about 6 times more expensive.  Average salary is up 10 times, from:

http://kclibrary.lonestar.edu/decade50.html and a WAG of $28k

Eggs were 49 cents per dozen, they are what now?  2 bucks?  1.50?  wage growth easily beats that.

carnation milk can was 14 cents, today its 1.29 

from http://www.fiftiesweb.com/pop/prices-1955.htm

Average salary:  $4k (average household income now is 50k) 

Ford car:  1600-2900  (its more now, but its not directly comparable, cars have, by law, become far more elaborate and better than they were).  this isn't that far off

bread:  18 cents , maybe today inflation has beaten wage growth in bread a bit, but I remember what store-bought bread was like, and if you still get that uber-cheap stuff its no more than 1.50.  we're eating better bread!

milk:  92 cents.  this isn't even close, its like 3.50 for a gallon now, less than half as much adjusted for wages

oreos were 39 cents.  no worse off today, was the package as big back then?

house:  22k.  for an average 50's house now, is it more than 200k?  I doubt it...  150k where i live would buy you a normal bilevel, which is a nice house.

baseball glove was 10 bucks, ... you can still get a glove for a kid for like 20 bucks.

dozen eggs 61 cents?  its only 3x taht today.

cracker jack 24 pack was 1.49, its 18 bucks today.  Cracker Jack is more epxensive today.  :(

I get extremely exhausted from reading the deluge of negativity at times, and extremely frustrated when it ventures from the factual.  I don't begrudge somebodyan attitude or outlook, but the hyperbole and alarmist rants get to me. 

We aren't worse off since the Fed was incarnated, period. 

I respect the potential for an itneresting debate of whether we'd be better off today, with productivity and technology gains and such, without having had the fed.  

I am not a supporter of big government. 

I am not saying things are perfect and negativists don't have any valid points.  I just wish they'd keep it within the realm of reason and reality.  

thats about it man, thanks for posting that.  

 

 

 

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#32) On March 02, 2011 at 3:41 PM, truthisntstupid (85.31) wrote:

 checklist

In 1974 I left home and spent 3 years in the army, getting out in 1977.  

From 1977-1980 I spent 3 years working in factories, then went back in the service, joining the navy, and stayed in the navy 9 years.

During the 3 years I worked in factories I made more money than I make now. 

But there was no local WalMart for people unless they lived in Arkansas. And even for people who went to WalMart in Arkansas back then, it didn't yet have the massive economies of scale that would later enable it to literally be the tide that lifted all boats in improving the standard of living for millions of people.

There were no dollar stores.  Many, many things that make life good were more expensive relative to the money people made then. 

I think you could find a 19-inch color TV for around a couple hundred dollars if not a little more back then.   But that was a lot more expensive than paying a couple hundred dollars today.

 It irks me that people who don't know what they are talking about want to point to inflation and bitch about the loss of purchasing power over the last few decades.  

Read about the Depression in a history book.   Now read The Grapes Of Wrath.

Read about the French Revolution in a history book.   Now read  A Tale Of Two Cities.

People who read about inflation and how much "worse off"  we are today and argue with me are more attached to their beliefs than they are to knowing the truth.  Reading about how much "worse off"  we are today isn't something I'm likely to spend much time on, because I know all too well it's a myth.  

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#33) On March 02, 2011 at 6:26 PM, truthisntstupid (85.31) wrote:

"Read about the Depression in a history book.  Now read The Grapes Of Wrath.

"Read about the French Revolution in a history book.  Now read A Tale Of Two Cities."

For those who don't read much...I'm saying the person who buries his nose in academia can never have the same sense of what living in those times were like as one who lived during those times. 

Barring that, the next best thing is to read classical literature that was set in that time. 

OK, it's a little off-topic.  So shoot me.  Or read more classical literature, and see what I mean.   War And Peace was awesome, too, by the way.

I'm comparing the academic theories and statistics to the history book.  Study them all you want...you'll never know what it was like to be an adult living in the 70s or 80s as much as someone who was there. 

And if a b-i-g part of the pessimist's argument centers on "how much worse off we are today than we were 20 or 30 years ago,"  a b-i-g part of their argument has a foundation built on misinformation, misrepresentation, and exaggeration by hysterics who didn't care about the truth as much as they cared about convincing everyone the sky was falling.

According to them, it's been falling all my adult life.   Sometimes prices shot up ahead of wages, and during those times, it seemed hard and I was among those who bitched loudly about it.  But looking back across 54 years, 37 of which I've been on my own, we're much better off than we were in 1974 when I left home.  

I don't like the ever-growing gap between the richest and the poorest.  No, I don't.  But the poorest aren't as poor as they were 30 years ago, either, and I don't think a lot of people realize that.

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#34) On March 09, 2011 at 3:28 AM, checklist34 (99.71) wrote:

yes!  don't bury yourself in academia, lest you risk being more ignorant than anybody really should ...  lest you risk such ignorance that you embarass yourself even as you try to talk smart.

my father would be very glad you got out of the military, he was in it, he never wanted us kids in it at all, going so far as to order us to move to canada if a draft had broken out in the gulf war.  ?His experiences, I guess, weren't good in the V war.  Stories I can't tell ...

I am not a fan of the growing gap either, not one bit.  But the fact of the matter is you are right, the poorest aren't as poor.  

To help that gap we need to back off of socialism... but lordie that is a rant for another day.  I 

IN MY WHOLE LIFE I NEVER HEARD ANYBODY MAKE YOUR POINT ABOUT WAL-MART AND IT BRINGING RLEATIVE PROSPERITY VIA ITS ECONOMIES OF SCALE AND BARGAINS.  That is a truly innovative statment, in my experience.  And perhaps one with considerable merit.  Every diaper my son ever wore was bought there, cheap, and, at least back then, they were pretty good diapers.  

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#35) On March 09, 2011 at 7:57 PM, truthisntstupid (85.31) wrote:

"IN MY WHOLE LIFE I NEVER HEARD ANYBODY MAKE YOUR POINT ABOUT WAL-MART AND IT BRINGING RELATIVE PROSPERITY VIA ITS ECONOMIES OF SCALE AND BARGAINS."

It isn't really innovative, checklist.  Just the truth as I've observed it.  A person who lives on not much more than minimum wage can live far better today than his counterpart 30 years ago.  

I have been both. 

 

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