Timing when you die and the Will to Live for a Special Moment

Last night in my Monday night group Dave Heath, who is 80, reported on his weekend in Houston for NASA’s 50th fete for Apollo 11.  Dave was a control room guy back then; a re-entry engineering specialist.  One of his remarks was about how Chris Kraft, at 95, was eagerly greeting everyone and having a great time.  Only about a third of that control room crew live, but there was Chris, their leader, hearty if not hale.
Chris died Monday.  News broke this morning.
Spell ck H/T to JNC!

Open Thread 6/14

I have added this thread in lieu of a recent Morning Report.

The Currency of Last Resort and Free Trade

Lately I have been following The Peterson Institute for International Economics.

See:  https://piie.com/

It can be characterized as pro free trade, and market oriented [right, Brent?].  It was founded by a guy named Fred Bergsten, a man with a long career in and close to government, as opposed to either business, finance, or academe.  The Institute got the Peterson brand because Pete Peterson gave it a bunch of money.  The place is considered one of the big time think tanks.

As it happens, Bergsten is a leading proponent of the strong dollar as the main cause of any trade imbalances.

His thinking goes like this: a strong dollar is the reserve currency, and thus the “price” of the dollar is relatively the highest price for any currency.

The high priced dollar means that America can buy overseas at a relatively low price for goods, while foreigners have to pay a relative premium for American goods.

Bergsten thinks this is a mixed blessing but balances on the gold/shit scale in favor of gold.  As an aside, I think most economists would say that.

But it has me wondering how much of the trade imbalance is related to the strength of the dollar, and whether there are empirical studies from either the IMF or the central banks or the leading graduate schools of finance?

Assuming there is a relationship, of course, how could a double blind study be managed?  I suspect any study would be entirely computer modeled and be dependent on inputs.

Brent, do you have any insights?

An Interesting Amicus Brief

Were states correct when they forced electors to vote according to the popular vote in those states?  Here are the arguments for elector discretion.



Iowahawk knows best 1/3/17



We’re # 4!

Germany’s “Heritage” ranking alone justified labeling this post “Goofy”.

Beethoven, Mozart, and uh…

DJT Lost $1B

Assuming DJT lost @$1B in one year, his loss carry forward is check the box stuff, neither “genius”(Giuliani) nor “meretricious”or “suspect”(his media critics apparent take-away).

Somehow the media, by missing this point, has lost focus on the fact that this con man

lost one billion dollars.

A  purely technical point: any losses that resulted in debt cancellation, either through bankruptcies or agreement, generated income to him if he benefited from the cancellation. This is probable, due to what has been revealed in litigation about the structure of his businesses.  I begin to understand why DJT gets audited a lot.

I used to get audited a lot, but always ended up with tax savings through the audit because I purposely overpaid my taxes for years with the foreknowledge that I was being targeted.

FWIW, targeting is sometimes intentional, sometimes the result of one asshole in a bureaucracy, and actually usually based on the “flags” the computer looks for.  I had “flags” because of – wait for it – real estate investments.

And when the S&L crisis hit in the 80s and my little empire almost went under, costing me hundreds of thousands – but NOT A BILLION – I got audited for my loss carry-forwards.  For the last twenty years I practiced, sans multiple real estate investments, I was never audited.  No flags on simple returns.

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