7.20.2022

Seems legit

WSJ:

Calpers’ stock portfolio returned minus 13.1%, while bonds returned minus 14.5%, the pension fund said. Those losses delivered a double blow for retirement funds and other savers who have long relied on those two assets to move in opposite directions.

Private equity and real estate returned 21.3% and 24.1%, respectively.
It's a CalPERS miracle! 

Everything with observable market prices went down, but everything CalPERS values subjectively went up! By double digits!

4.23.2022

Quotations from Chairman Varones

 Inflation is progressive utopians encountering resource constraints for the first time.

4.08.2022

Taxable brokerage vs. traditional 401(k) account

The common wisdom says pre-tax 401(k)s and IRAs beat taxable accounts hands-down. But it's not so clear to me. If you put buy-and-hold stocks or index funds in a taxable brokerage account, it's actually remarkably tax-efficient because of the ability to defer capital gains, and the preferable tax rates on dividends and capital gains.

Here's a spreadsheet where you can play with the assumptions (you'll have to make a copy for  yourself to edit): link

Yes, traditional beats taxable in simplified base case, but this ignores:

  • tax loss harvesting 
  • HIFO withdrawals 
  • foreign tax credits
  • higher potential future tax rates
With the federal government running perpetual deficits of 3% - 5% of GDP, is it really out of the question that tax rates on wealthy retirees could hit 37%? That's about the point where taxable beats pre-tax even before considering HIFO and tax loss harvesting.

1.10.2022

AOC has Covid


Anybody else think horse paste might be worth a try?


10.30.2021

CDC reached completely unsupported conclusion to downplay natural immunity, support mandates

The CDC announced a study showing that "vaccination offers higher protection than previous COVID-19 infection." 

The study shows no such thing. In fact, the data considered in the study aren't sufficient to even attempt to make such a conclusion. 

The media gleefully and unquestioningly repeated the CDC's nonsense.

In case I get banned from Twitter for questioning "The Science," here are the tweets:

























Bottom line: you can't possibly infer the efficacy of either the vaccine or natural immunity from the ratios of positive to negative tests in two narrowly selected groups that bear no resemblance to each other or the general population. Any high school statistics teacher could tell you that.

For example, the vaccinated people skew much older than the recovered in this study. If, as seems obvious, older people tend to go to the hospital more with non-Covid respiratory illnesses than young people do, that would explain this data. Yet the CDC insists this says something about Covid natural immunity instead.

Or if some people went to the hospital due to side effects from the vaccine. "See," the CDC claims, "that improves the ratio and proves vaccines are better than natural immunity!"

Others have pointed out that the 90-179 day post-vaccination window seems cherry-picked to maximize favorable outcomes for the vaccine, as the Israeli and other studies have shown vaccine efficacy drops off significantly after that period. And others have pointed out the tiny sample size of recovered people who were hospitalized and tested positive (i.e. it's both extremely rare for natural immunity to fail, and it's bad science to try to draw conclusions!). And Thomas Massie points out that they are counting “long Covid” as re-infections which might very well explain most of the cases in the study!

This is obviously a politically ordered result to support Biden's vaccine mandate push. The fact that they couldn't come up with a supportable conclusion is telling.




UPDATE 1/20/22: The CDC now admits the exact opposite of its absurd claim.

10.08.2021

More stuff that broke around 1971

We've noted before that a bunch of economic trends turned bad when Nixon closed the gold window and we launched into the current pure fiat experiment: commodity volatility, labor share of productivity gains, wealth inequality, etc.

Here's another one courtesy of Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution

In Launching the Innovation Renaissance I said that “If total factor productivity had continued to grow at its 1957 to 1973 rate then we today would be living in the world of 2076 rather than in the world of 2014.” Sadly, the future is continuing to recede. Consider the graph below. If growth had continued at the rate expected by the CBO in 2005 then we today would be living in the world of 2037 rather than in the world of 2021. (n.b. I am eyeballing.)



Interesting that the break in productivity growth happened at the time we went off the gold standard.

Is there a causal relationship either way? Did we stop becoming productive because it was easy to get rich buying levered assets with a depreciating currency? Or did we devalue the currency because we ran out of productivity growth?

UPDATE: Edward Snowden and Jack Dorsey are noticing too. And there's a web site dedicated to it: wtfhappenedin1971.com

Mmmkay....

President who usurped Congressional spending authority to issue an executive order handing out hundreds of billions of dollars right before ...