Bits & Pieces (TGIF Edition)

Can’t embed it, but I do recommend Full Metal Disney. Very strange, but well-executed.

If you’re not listening to the My History Can Beat up Your Politics by Bruce Carlson, you’re making a profound error. Here, he discusses the effectiveness of stimulus spending in a historical context.

He quotes Herbert Hoover as saying: “No one is starving. The hobo eats better than ever before.”

That Herbert Hoover was a man after my own heart. If you’ve never read it, you should consult John Hodgman’s Compleat List of Hobo Names. Myself, I am partial to Chicken Nugget Will and Persuasive Fredrick. And Cthulhu Carl. Then, you too, will be an expert on hobos.

Steve Jobs new biography includes a bit on warning Obama that he was going to be a one-term president. It also included the interesting observation that it’s too damned hard to build factories in America, while it’s easy to do in China.

Louisiana law bans cash transactions for second hand goods. Holy crap, why does every politician want to make me a frothing-at-the-mouth libertarian?

According to The Transom, David Frum is not a serious person. You have to scroll down to read it. But it’s there.

 — KW



It’s all gonna be OK

A sure sign that home prices have stopped falling:

A San Francisco insurer will roll out coverage against falling housing values in Ohio, the first state where it is selling policies for owners of single-family houses and condos.

Home Value Insurance Co. will use calculations by the Case-Shiller Home Price Index to decide payouts if homeowner policyholders sell their houses below the insured values. The company, founded in 2009 and headed by former investment banker Scott Ryles, will sell its Home Value Protection policies through independent agents.

The Tea Party vs Occupy Wall Street by The Duck of Minerva

All credit and thanks to The Duck of Minerva for this.

OWS Update

Man arrested in Toronto for crawling into tents and sniffing some young lady’s feet. The poor foot-sniffer, just looking for olfactory justice for foot fetishists, was promptly oppressed by The Man™.

Reports of sexual harassment and assault at OWS events continue.

Protesters in L.A. have cost local government $45,000 so far. Redistributing wealth from other city services to protecting (and cleaning up after) the Noble Protestor.

Enthusiasm has apparently waned for some:

Rachel Goldie, 20, decided to leave the protest Wednesday because she felt it had been corrupted by people who didn’t care about economic justice. “Everybody is pretty much just partying it up,” she said.

Harassing people randomly is probably not the best way to sell your message. Occupy Baltimore distributes pamphlet urging victims of sexual assault not to report it to the police. Yay, enlightenment!

Lee Stranahan makes some ironic comments on OWS declaration via the medium of pictures. I especially like this one.

Lee also makes an argument for the fundamental differences between OWS and the Tea Party. Myself, I like Arun Gupta’s reflection upon the similarities of their root causes, while acknowledging various differences.

In NYC, residents are protesting the protestors. Noise pollution and garbage being two major issues.

The WSJ on OWS. Observations, some digs at Obama and MoveOn.org, but . . . I dunno, I expect more from you, WSJ. James Picht blames a sense of entitlement on the behalf of Wall Street bankers and welfare queens as the problem.

And that’s that, for now.

Morning Report

Vital Statistics:

Last Change Percent
S&P Futures 1221.8 11.9 0.98%
Eurostoxx Index 2313.7 41.960 1.85%
Oil (WTI) 87.28 1.210 1.41%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 76.75 -0.168 -0.22%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.19% 0.00%

European leaders begin a 6-day summit on Greece and the banks today. Merkel and Sarkozy are having differences over the mechanics of the European Financial Stability Facility. The WSJ has an article this morning about the exposure French banks have to Greece. While a Greek default will not make them insolvent, they will have to raise capital and de-risk. Societe Generale’s stock has been cut in half over the last 3 months. EURIBOR / OIS spreads have retreated from their peak a month ago, but are still elevated.

In earnings, Mister Softee posted better than expected sales on strong corporate demand. It is now a value stock, sporting a single digit P/E. I remember when MSFT was a growth stock in the late 90s, trading at 56x 2000 EPS of .86. Earnings have increased 10% a year to a current estimate of $2.83. Meanwhile, the stock has been cut in half over the same time period. The gulf between the perceptions of growth investors and value investors is huge. And once growth investors decide the fizz is gone, it is a long long way down until value investors get interested. AAPL investors beware.

Occupy….Main Street?

One of the ongoing themes here at ATiM as well as in the wider media, and perhaps a motivating factor for the otherwise aimless and inexplicable happening (event? movement? protest?…what the hell is it, anyway?) known as Occupy Wall Street is that while the finance industry got saved by taxpayers during the financial crisis of 2008, the average person….the 99% in the lingo of the OWS crowd…was left on the outside looking in. Unemployment remains high, housing prices remain low, and the economy is growing at a glacial pace, leading many to resent the bailout of banks (along with, as never seems to be mentioned, insurance companies, car manufacturers and, of course, quasi-government agencies) and to pose the rhetorical question: While Wall Street was getting bailed out, what did Main Street get?

Well, allow me to point out what it got. Or, more accurately, gets.

Earlier today I posted a comment pointing out just how much gets spent on “Main Street” every year. But even the huge dollar numbers don’t do justice to the sheer number of federal programs aimed at providing aid to the self-declared 99%. Consider the following, not at all comprehensive, list, headed by the government department tasked with administering the aid.

Department of Agriculture

Agriculture Management Assistance Program
Business and Industrial Guaranteed Loan Program
Child and Adult Care Food Program
Commodity Marketing Assistance Loans and Loan Deficiency Payments
Commodity Supplemental Food Program
Crop Insurance Program
Dairy Indemnity Program
Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Florida only)
Emergency Conservation Program for Agricultural Producers
Emergency Farm Loans Program
Emergency Food Assistance Program
Farm Operating Loans Program
Farm Ownership Loans Program
Farm Storage Facility Loans Program
Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program
Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Competitive Grants Program
Rural Housing Loans Program
Farm Labor Housing Loans and Grants Program
Housing Repair Loans and Grants Program
Rural Rental Assistance Program
Rural Rental Housing Program
School Lunch and Breakfast Program
Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program
Special Milk Program
Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program
Summer Food Service Program
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program

Department of Education

Advanced Placement Test Fee Program
Byrd Honors Scholarships
Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program
Early Intervention Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities
Education Consolidation Loans
Federal Pell Grants
Federal Perkins Loan Program
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
Federal Work Study
Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need
Jacob K. Javits Fellowship Program
PLUS Parent Loan
Stafford Loans for Students
TRIO Student Support Services

Department of Health and Human Services

Advanced Education Nursing Traineeships
Assets for Independence Program
Child Care and Development Fund
Clinical Research Loan Repayment Program
Community Food Nutrition Program
Consolidated Health Centers
Contraception and Infertility Research Loan Repayment Program
Disaster Assistance for Older Americans
General Research Loan Repayment Program
Head Start and Early Head Start
Health Disparities Research Loan Repayment Program
Health Professional Scholarship Program
Immunization Grants
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
Medicaid Program
Medicare Program
National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program
National Health Service Corp Scholarship Program
National Research Service Awards
National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program
Pediatric Research Loan Repayment Program
Prescription Drug and Other Assistance Programs
Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant
Social Services Block Grant
State Children’s Health Insurance Program
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
Undergraduate Scholarship Program for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Adjustable Rate Mortgage Insurance
Basic FHA Insured Home Mortgage
Combination Mortgage Insurance for Manufactured Home and Lot
Doctoral Dissertation Research Grants
Early Doctoral Student Research Grants
HUD Public Housing Program
Home Equity Conversion Mortgages
Home Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance
Manufactured Home Loan Insurance
Property Improvement Loan Insurance
Mortgage Insurance for Disaster Victims

Department of Labor

Disaster Unemployment Insurance
Dislocated Worker Program
EBSA COBRA Premium Assistance
Health Coverage Tax Credit
Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation
National Emergency Grants
Unemployment Insurance

Small Business Administration

7a Small Business Loan
Business Physical Disaster Loans
Certified Development Company Loan Program
Economic Injury Disaster Loans
Small Business Investment Company Program
Home and Property Disaster Loans
Microloan Program

Social Security Administration

Child’s Insurance Benefits
Disability Benefits
Disabled Surviving Divorced Spouse Benefits
Disabled Widow(er)’s Insurance Benefits
Divorced Spouse Benefits
Independently Entitled Divorced Spouse’s Benefits
SS Medicare Program
Mother’s or Father’s Insurance Benefits
Parent’s Insurance Benefits
Retirement Insurance Benefits
Spouse’s Insurance Benefits
Surviving Divorced Spouse Benefits
Widow(er)’s benefits
Supplemental Security Income

Again, as long as this list may appear, it is not comprehensive. And note that, unlike the Wall Street bailouts, these are not one-off programs. They are on-going benefits with annual budgets, year after year. Note also that few of these benefits are available to the demonized 1% that the OWSers are making such a fuss about. Perhaps the 1% ought to think about Occupying Main Street.


Instead of joining Occupy Main Street, I’m going to join this movement:

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