10 New Year’s Day Reads

My early New Year’s Day morning reads to help you through the day after the night before:

• In 2014 I Learned That… (Reformed Broker)
• Why 2015 might well be mankind’s happiest new year (Spectator)
• The Middle East: Gone as we know it (Al Jazeera) see also Oil finishes a rough 2014 down 46% (MarketWatch)
• Unhedged Predictions for CIOs in 2015 (Chief Investment Officer)
• What If Rates Finally Rise? Since 1955, stock valuations fell during initial rate hikes and mostly continued until the Fed finished the job. (Barron’s)
• An Unserious Look at the Year Ahead: Will Vladimir Putin pose naked to win back Russian affections? Will the iPhone 7 crumble to dust when touched? Will Gisele gripe if Tom Brady loses another Super Bowl? Will China buy Venezuela? (WSJsee also What the Economic Forecasters Got Right—and Wrong—in 2014 (Real Time Economics)
• Five Ways Obama Can Mess with Republicans in 2015 (B Politics)
• The Tech That Will Change Your Life in 2015 (WSJ)
• Our new pro-science pontiff: Pope Francis on climate change, evolution, and the Big Bang (Wonkblog)
• Why Are Resolutions So Hard To Follow?  Willpower isn’t the only determinant of resolution success. (Fast Company) see also How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions (Bloomberg View)

What are you doing to start your New Year ?
Average Pre-Election Year vs. Average Year

Source: Chart of the Day


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  1. RW commented on Jan 1

    I made a lot of money in 2014 (it was another good year for capital) but on the economic policy front the year disappointed …no, that’s too mild, it really pissed me off.

    Try Everything

    When it became clear in late 2008 that the global economy was headed toward a crash at least as dangerous as the one that had initiated the Great Depression, I was alarmed, but also hopeful. We had, after all, seen this before. And we also had a model for how to mitigate the damage; unfortunately, policymakers left it on the shelf.

    For three and a half years following the start of the Great Depression, US President Herbert Hoover’s top priority was to balance the budget, trying – but ultimately failing – to restore business confidence. In 1933, newly elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed course, adopting a simple yet radical strategy: try everything that might boost demand, increase production, or reduce unemployment – and then keep doing the things that work. ….

    NB: If 2014 showed us anything on the policymaking and fiscal legislation front it was the lack of imagination and timidity of leadership; there ain’t any FDR’s out there, at least any who can gain enough power to make a difference (or buck their financers).

    “Worldly wisdom teaches that it is better for reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally.” –John Maynard Keynes

    • OkieLawyer commented on Jan 1

      NB: If 2014 showed us anything on the policymaking and fiscal legislation front it was the lack of imagination and timidity of leadership; there ain’t any FDR’s out there, at least any who can gain enough power to make a difference (or buck their financers).

      Part of the reason, I suspect, is that those who took the most credit (and were credited in the most influential financial publications) of seeing the crash coming (Peter Schiff, et al), were believers in the Austrian school of economics. For some reason, Keynesianism fell out of favor — even though it had been proven effective for 50 years after the first Great Depression. However, even I had my doubts because of the ever-increasing national debt (at the beginning of the second Great Depression in 2008-2009, the U.S. national debt was 9% of GDP and rising). Even so, Keynesianism is like democracy; it is the worst one … except for all the others. Keynes was right: austerity might eventually work, but in the long run, we are all dead.

      The problem is that among those who have “real money,” the conventional wisdom that has taken hold is that the government budget should be “just like the household budget” — no deficit spending allowed (except, of course, that household budgets do have deficit spending for things like cars, houses and other necessary expenses that cannot wait.

      My general sentiments are expressed in this clip from Star Wars: Queen Amidala’s motion for a vote of no confidence.

    • rd commented on Jan 2

      Just as importantly, FDR focused on giving people dignity which is something the hardliners and balance the budget folks don’t worry about. It is hard to quantify the impact but must show up in improved economic conditions as greater overall confidence of the populace as well as a reduced likelihood of social turmoil. I think the recent protests against police brutality as well as the Occupy Wall Street are probably more about dignity than money. Just ask the local businessmen in those areas if this turmoil has impacted their economy.

    • rj chicago commented on Jan 2

      I have to say that FDR did one thing correctly – he appointed William Knudsen in the war effort that eventually led to the US exiting the Great Depression. I have to admit that for decades I believed it was FDR who led the US out of economic malaise – In fact it was Kaiser, Knudsen and the business of America that did it. Govt. is incapable of ‘producing’ anything – that is not its intent – it merely transfers wealth and power – that is all. Read on friend.


  2. VennData commented on Jan 1

    With eye on 2016, Jeb Bush resigns from all boards

    ​”…Bush lamented Romney’s handling of the criticism [of his business background, and recently told] Miami’s WPLG-TV [that Romney] … should have told voters: “I’m a problem-solver. My life has been about building things up.’ Of his own business record, Bush said: ‘I’m not ashamed. Taking risk and creating jobs is something we ought to have more of.'”​


    ​Unless it’s one of the clean tech startups Like Solyndra.​ No matter the whole policy worked and we have a vibrate alt. energy industry thanks to Obama. With much more efficient energy usage.

    No matter Romney’s plans to let GM and C collapse looks in hindsight to have been totally wrong.

    The GOP doesn’t like talking about their mistakes, but making predictions about that future that were wrong. No Wonder CNBC viewers eat it up when they put some right wing politician predicting nonsense… their platform even allowed Peter Schiff to become a politician.

  3. VennData commented on Jan 1

    Democrat tipped blogger about Republican lawmaker meeting with white nationalists

    ​“I felt strongly that it would not have walked,” Reed told Reuters on Wednesday. “I was running in a district with a lot of bigots.”


    ​She knew divulging the info would have brought her candidate’s Republican the opponent more support.

    How proud you must be to be a GOP voter with these sorts of fellow voters. And nice to see the GOP puts into leadership I panderer to the KKK, giving the KKK a voice in important decisions.

    • rd commented on Jan 2

      Stephen Scalise clearly would not be a bigot. He actually posed in that photo in the article with a man of color immediately behind him (orange is not white).

  4. VennData commented on Jan 1

    Blodget’s site Business insider is going off the rails looking for clicks.

    Jim Webb’s Defense Of His PAC Doesn’t Add Up

    ​The Webb spokesman is right, More “Sensation” headlines.​ Only in the last line does Blodget admit that more money was given out as the election cycle came around


    ​Like this “Planted.” Planted where?​


    So Democrats “PLANT” and Republicans “disclose.”

  5. Jojo commented on Jan 1

    The Jersey Shore’s beach bailout
    Many believe the coastal areas hit hardest by Superstorm Sandy should be vacated, saying future flooding is inevitable
    December 31, 2014
    by Adam May

    Dimitra Mpovolis has called the small town of South River, New Jersey, home almost her whole life. Now, as their home is being demolished, she and her daughter Vicky have come to say goodbye.

    This is the second time in the past two years Mpovolis and her family have left their home. The first time, they were fleeing Superstorm Sandy.

    “Seven o’clock, I woke my husband up. I looked across the street, [and] the water was already here,” she said.

    Now, tired of the regular flooding which plagues their low-lying riverside neighborhood, the Mpovolis Family has decided to get out for good. They’re taking advantage of a state program called Blue Acres. Ramped up in the aftermath of Sandy, Blue Acres is meant to buy homes in flood-prone area and return the land to Mother Nature.


    • rd commented on Jan 2

      Many of the low-lying areas where she lives are actually filled in shoreline wetlands. So the fills have probably been settling over the years due to slow compression of the underlying peats (possibly a foot or more of settlement over the past century) while the ocean level is rising.

      NJ has a number of maps with known “Historic Fill” areas. Here is a link to one from the South Amboy-South River area. Just about anywhere marked as Historic Fill is likely to be prone to flooding in the coming decades. Most of these areas used to be tidal wetlands and would flood every high tide until fills were placed over them to make land and reduce mosquito habitat.


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