WC Varones

Don't lend your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools

What's wrong with this picture?

The ever-amusing Krugmanesque Professor Menzie Chinn, arguing that data demonstrate that deficits are good for economic growth:

German engineering

Hillary crashes biotechs by threatening price controls

Biotechs were off to a flat start this morning, until this.

Here's the tweet (not sure about the time stamp which shows 7:26 p.m. tonight which hasn't happened yet unless maybe that's the Benghazi time zone):

Barron's and Economist Magazine call for MOAR free money

The Economist used to be a sensible, free-market-oriented news magazine, but has in recent years fallen in love with all manner of central planning, including twice endorsing leftist Barack Obama for President.  This week's call for still more centrally-planned zero interest rates is no exception:
On its own, therefore, the balance of probabilities argues against a rise. But the clinching argument against the hawks is that they ignore a fundamental asymmetry of risks. If the Fed waits too long to tighten, then inflation will rise above 2%. Were that to happen, the Fed has unlimited capacity to raise rates and could do so safe in the knowledge that it had pushed the American economy to its speed limit. If rates then had to rise steeply, the central bank would at least have more room to respond to future troubles by cutting again.

Raising rates too soon would be much costlier. A slowdown in growth could turn low inflation into deflation. To perk the economy back up, the Fed would have little option but to restart quantitative easing. That sort of backtracking is precisely the fate that has befallen other central banks which moved to tighten too swiftly (see article). Years of rock-bottom interest rates in Japan might have been avoided had the Bank of Japan been a little more patient in 2000, when it lifted rates in response to quickening growth (and higher stockmarkets) despite falling prices.

Low interest rates have risks. But premature rate increases can make them a near-permanent feature of economic life. For months Fed statements have declared that inflation will soon return to 2%. There is little harm in waiting to be sure.
This fear of "asymmetric risks" is what has created the reality of asymmetric policy: years of global ZIRP, flirting with NIRP, and trillions of dollars created out of thin air. If non-zero interest rates do eventually create a crisis, it won't be the fault of the increase, but of the central planners who distorted the economy and created massive imbalances by forcing rates to zero for so long.

And here's Wall Street mag Barron's pleading for more of the same.

Seven years in, and after statute of limitations has expired, Obama regime decides to start prosecuting Wall Street crooks

Well, that's timely:
Stung by years of criticism that it has coddled Wall Street criminals, the Justice Department issued new policies on Wednesday that prioritize the prosecution of individual employees — not just their companies — and put pressure on corporations to turn over evidence against their executives.

The new rules, issued in a memo to federal prosecutors nationwide, are the first major policy announcement by Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch since she took office in April. The memo is a tacit acknowledgment of criticism that despite securing record fines from major corporations, the Justice Department under President Obama has punished few executives involved in the housing crisis, the financial meltdown and corporate scandals.
Orangelo Mozilo could not be reached for comment.

Bill Gross: the Fed is destroying the economy

The Fed is beginning to recognize that 6 years of zero bound interest rates have negative influences on the real economy – it destroys historical business models essential to capitalism such as pension funds, insurance companies, and the willingness to save money itself. If savings wither then so too does its Siamese Twin – investment – and with it, long term productivity – the decline of which we have seen not just in the U.S. but worldwide.

Team Obama: World Police

This was a photoshop I made back when Obama was bombing Libya into a humanitarian crisis and playground for terrorists. Or perhaps when he was trying to persuade Congress and our allies to bomb Syria to help the "rebels" (now better known as "ISIS").

I couldn't find it for the longest time, but it just popped up on my Facebook memories feed.

Two years later, Libyan refugees are still dying by the hundreds in the aftermath of Hurricane Obama.

Wherein we apologize to the Department of Homeland Security

Last week we wrote on Facebook, "Apparently the next 9/11 will be perpetrated by gay escorts. Thank you DHS for keeping us safe from this threat!"

Only days later, the Roanoke on-air shooting of a reporter and cameraman turns out to have been perpetuated not just by a race-obsessed, perpetually aggrieved black man, but... a [former] gay escort!

Well played, DHS!

If you panicked and sold stocks at the open this morning...

... you've got a big dump in your pants!  This is CVS, the drug store, which some idiots blew out at $87 or lower this morning.  Same thing happened with lots of other stocks and even the whole market to a lesser degree.

Demon Sheep: the Legend of Carly Fiorina

Those of you outside California probably never saw this ad, which was the talk of the state during the 2010 Senate primaries.

Fiorina got a lot of "WTF?" reactions to the ad, but I thought it made a good use of silliness and hyperbole to make serious points about her opponent's record.

Carly Fiorina's business record

After tonight's JV debate, Carly Fiorina is the new black.  I've followed Fiorina's career for years, read books on the Hewlett-Packard board battles, and seen Fiorina speak at a small event.

From what I've gathered, Fiorina was an outstanding saleswoman who talked her way up the corporate ladder.  She exudes confidence and competence.  But her management record is highly questionable.  Here's the stock price performance of HP during her tenure, along with the S&P 500, the Nasdaq, and old-tech peers IBM, Microsoft, and Intel for comparison (click the image to enlarge).

Hewlett-Packard underperformed the indexes and its peers from the time of Fiorina's hiring until she was forced out by the board for poor performance. Is this just an issue of short-termism, and was Fiorina's decision to take on billions in debt to acquire Compaq a brilliant long-term strategic move? Hardly. Here are the longer-term results. Hewlett-Packard remains underwater to this day, after its peers have long since rebounded.

Talk to any HP employees who were there during Fiorina's tenure. She was widely disliked, largely due to the mass layoffs and the destruction of the H-P culture. But shareholders fared just as badly.

Yes, she's a great debater, using the same excellent speaking skills that brought her to the top of corporate America. But, Republicans, don't think her mediocre management history won't be an issue if she's on the ticket.

Carbon isn't pollution

It's a natural element, and one of the basic building blocks of life on Earth.

And no, you can't "stop" carbon emissions without exterminating every animal on Earth.

Redefining clean, natural air as "pollution" is exactly what Orwell warned us about:
“Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thought-crime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by eactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. . . . The process will still be continuing long after you and I are dead. Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. Even now, of course, there's no reason or excuse for commiting thought-crime. It's merely a question of self-discipline, reality-control. But in the end there won't be any need even for that. . . . Has it ever occcured to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?”

― George Orwell, 1984
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