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December 2011

December 31, 2011

Bob Hope's secret of getting rich

"He was the first comedian to run himself as a business, and he succeeded brilliantly.Time magazine reported in 1967 that he was worth half a billion dollars. Asked about the figure, Hope said, 'Anyone can do it. All you have to do is save a million dollars a year for 500 years.'"

Link via Stan Liebowitz.

"My dad taught me cashflow with a soda machine"

Pretty good parenting.

December 30, 2011

"We Polled A Bunch Of Economists And ALL Gave President Obama Mediocre Marks"

Makes me proud of my profession.

Half of the 36 economists who responded to the Dec. 14-20 AP survey rated Obama's economic policies "fair." And 13 called them "poor." Just five of the economists gave the president "good" marks. None rated him as "excellent."

This changes *everything*

All the secrets of Kate Middleton's hair revealed.

"The 25 Weirdest Job Interview Questions Asked This Year"

Two points about this list:

1. The list says something about which companies you might want to work for and which ones--or at least, whose HR departments--you want to avoid.

2. We should be preparing college graduates how to answer, or at least how to think, about some of these questions.

Google Zeitgeist 2011

In the top five for the U.S.: Rebecca Black, Casey Anthony, and Battlefield 3.

Sigh.

December 29, 2011

"Here's Why The F-35 Is Going To Be The Allied Fighter Of The 21st Century"

Apparently, almost everybody is going to have some.

"Sen. Harry Reid's Unicorns: Fact Checking a Whopper"

Economist Paul Gregory makes short work of one of Harry Reid's mendacious pronouncements

Tax policy should be serious business carried out by serious politicians using real facts and figures. This is why we have the Library of Congress and the Congressional Budget Office, among other expert institutions.

How can we take Congress seriously when the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, makes patently inaccurate, outrageous and bizarre claims on an important tax-policy issue without any heads being turned? I guess this is what we have come to expect of Congress. No wonder citizens with favorable opinions of Congress are as rare as unicorns, to borrow a phrase.

"16 Of Wall Street's Sharpest Minds Predict Where Stocks Are Headed In 2012"

Get this: with all the huge uncertainties hanging over the stock market--Europe, Iran's nukes, the U.S. fiscal situation both federal and state, China's possible slowdown, just to name a few--the mean forecast S&P close for 2012 is 1367 and the range is from just 1238 to 1500

The herd mentality at work.

December 28, 2011

"John Cochrane's Talk at Hoover: His Version"

Cochrane, as usual, doesn't mince words.

Taxing the rich is the new hot idea. But do we have 9% unemployment-of anything but tax lawyers and lobbyists--because the capital gains rate is too low? Besides, in this room we know that total marginal rates matter, not just average Federal income taxes of Warren Buffet. Greg Mankiw figured his marginal tax rate at 93% including Federal, state, local, and estate taxes. And even he forgot about sales, excise, and corporate taxes. Is 93% too low, and the cause of unemployment?

The Fed is debating QE3. Or is it 5? And promising zero interest rates all the way to the third year of the Malia Obama administration. All to lower long rates 10 basis points through some segmented-market magic. But do we really have 9% unemployment because 3% mortgages with 3% inflation are strangling the economy from lack of credit? Or because the market is screaming for 3 year bonds, but Treasury issued at 10 years instead? Or because $1.5 trillion of excess reserves aren't enough to mediate transactons?

I posed this question to a somewhat dovish Federal Reserve bank president recently. He answered succinctly, "Aggregate demand is inadequate. We fill it. " Really? That's at least coherent. I read the same model as an undergraduate. But as a diagnosis, it seems an awfully simplistic uni-causal, uni-dimensional view of prosperity. Medieval doctors had three humors, not just one.

 

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