September 30, 2008

We're all going to die.

67 comments:

Alex said...

I wish all the pundits would STOP with the fear mongering.

Original Mike said...

"We are all going to die" is, of course, true, and is the proper perspective to take on all this.

There IS an end of the world, and this ain't it.

Alex said...

The end of the world will come in approx 2 billion years as an expanding Sun burns the Earth to a crisp. I think that's not an issue to worry about in 2008.

rhhardin said...

I have to scythe another swath across the lawn, that reminds me.

The crisis touches another 401(k).

Alex said...

More proof that the sky is not falling:

McDonald's franchisees' credit not frozen, Bank of America says

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-thu-brf3-mcdonalds-bofa-sep25,0,272833.story

So much for the lie that credit is frozen.

erniecu73 said...

Hey, not fair! I love The Seventh Seal!

rhhardin said...

The important thing about the Sun is that it gets hotter when it runs out of fuel, the opposite of what you might expect.

It's going to be a really interesting scientific event.

Ron said...

-sniff- Here poor Bob always thought of Micky as Death! Dan must be the Bill and Ted version...

Ron said...

Micky wouldn't mind playing chess with Death as long as Death properly understood immigration policy...

Alex said...

I really can't wait for the Earth's heat death. Now we only need to figure out how to put me into a cyborg body...

erniecu73 said...

Alex, ask michael, he already had the procedure done. They unfortunately forgot to put in the brain back in its cavity...

Triangle Man said...

Related to Ann's earlier thread about disprovable things that otherwise reasonable people believe..."the end of days" or the "rapture" is upon us (i.e. will happen within our lifetime).

Doesn't this lead to the ultimate in short-timer behavior?

ricpic said...

Still scything on September 30th, rh? How much more can the lawn grow at this point? I did my last mowing of the 24th and that's it!

Original Mike said...

As far as I'm concerned, the world ends sometime between now and, say, 40 years from now.

Alex said...

Actually the end of the world is when YOU die. If you can't perceive the world anymore - does it even exist?

Apathetic Citizen said...

De Duva (The Dove)

Sweden, 1968

Little known Bergman short feature.

There is an umlaut over the 'u' in "Duva."

Alex said...

BTW, Max Von Sydow would make an excellent Grim Reaper.

Trooper York said...

I thought Lou Duva was De Duva.

I hate that midget Fred Flintstone motherfucker.

john said...

Dow's up +400. Has Theo look-what-you-people-made-me-do-to-myself Boem posted today? If someone knows him, can you knock on his door? (Check for gas leaks first.)

erniecu73 said...

John, I was just about to post about it!

And here is some good advise: The Depression of 2008? Don't Count on It

Original Mike said...

John - You need to post a "Spoiler Alert" ;-) I am purposefully avoiding checking on the market until the end of the day. (I'm sure I'm not alone).

Apathetic Citizen said...

Citigroup just bought Wachovia.

Question: How many people work for Wachovia in Charlotte, and how many will be fired?

20,000 work or worked for Wachovia in Charlotte, accd to the Chamber of Commerce this year.

That's a lot of redundant people.

"Citi is going to have to be draconian with this in order to make this work from their standpoint to make money," [UNC finance prof.] Plath said. "When the dust settles, they have to get rid and consolidate those operations."

Simon said...

I'm sure the economy is teetering on the brink there in New York, but here in the heartland? Still seems to work.

Original Mike said...

How come, if credit is freezing up, I continue to see frequent ads on television for home loans?

Trooper York said...

None of this bullshit would have happened if Phil Rizzuto was still alive and working for the Money Store.

john said...

Trooper,

That's because Rizzuto learned about money from the money king himself. Funny. Look at Berra at the end.

reader_iam said...

How come, if credit is freezing up, I continue to see frequent ads on television for home loans?

Because ad spots are bought in batches, under contract, and scheduled in a rotation to run certain "x" number of times. In and of itself, the fact that you're seeing ads means nothing. If you happened to see a random ad about Wachovia, it wouldn't mean the bank hadn't been gobbled up just this past weekend.

SteveR said...

Where's Country Joe and the Fish when you need them?

One, two, three, what are we frightened for?
Don't tell me, I don't give a damn
Next stop is Fannie Mae

And it's five, six, seven, open up the pearly gates
ain't no time to wonder why, whoopee we're all gonna die

Apathetic Citizen said...

Woody Allen learns about the "predicament of man in...the black absurd cosmos"

Alex said...

I keep getting 3-5 credit offers per week despite that I already have 2 credit cards(that I pay off the balance 100% every month). So much for non-existent credit? Or just maybe they're not giving credit to deadbeats anymore? Why

Original Mike said...

Good point, reader.

Original Mike said...

Or just maybe they're not giving credit to deadbeats anymore?

Actually, Alex, "deadbeat" is the term the credit card industry uses for people like you (and me) who pay up every month.

Alex said...

Actually, Alex, "deadbeat" is the term the credit card industry uses for people like you (and me) who pay up every month.

3:45 PM


Actually more technically speaking, we're free-loaders since we use the credit cards for convenience and it costs THEM money.

AllenS said...

The market is closed for the day:

+485.21 +4.68%

chickenlittle said...

Simon said: I'm sure the economy is teetering on the brink there in New York, but here in the heartland? Still seems to work.

The heartland is much less leveraged in so many ways. For example, they produce tangible exports; their housing markets never got insane. Yet the coastal left will blame the rubes for the imminent collapse.

Original Mike said...

Yeah, but "deadbeat" is more condescending.

reader_iam said...

I certainly get why you're busting on Theo, though I wouldn't, myself. Seems to me as if he's potentially suffering sufficient natural consequences without piling on, which sort of means the latter speaks more about the piler.

The other thing is, just because the markets have gone back up 400 points doesn't mean that anyone's given investment collection has (or would have) gone up a corresponding percentage with what it lost yesterday. It depends. Ours sure hasn't; not even close, and it is discouraging, especially when the pension plan in question is not full of risky stuff and nothing having to do with the financial sectors. So I can get how discouraging it is, and I'm not as close to retirement age as I believe Theo is and I have only one kid, who's still 10 years away from college.

We didn't sell yesterday, by the way, to be clear. We're staying the course, so far. Still, losing tens of thousands of dollars in a single day from a self-funded (because for the majority of our lives, we've both been self-employed) pension plan is no joke.

I take small comfort in the fact that this pension plan probably faired better than the one we have through my husband's employer, which generally speaking fares worse in any given situation. Luckily, that statement won't come until, oh, November, by which time either a) things will have gotten better enough as to put it in perspective or b) sufficiently worse as to put it in perspective.

So it goes.

Alex said...

chickenlittle - funny how the east coast types want to pin all the blame on "flyover country".

chickenlittle said...

allenS said:

The market is closed for the day:

+485.21 +4.68%


Careful though. DTL will call this a dead cat bounce .

Original Mike said...

I'm not piling on. It will probably go back down tomorrow.

reader_iam said...

May I share another little anecdote?

This is unfortunate timing, for people such as I who work under contract (that is, I'm not a W-2 employee) and whose contracts are renegotiated at--you guessed it!--just this time of year. Whereas just a few weeks ago we were talking about a healthy increase in the contract with the client for whom I do most of my work, it's most likely now that the contract will stay flat. (I'm grateful for that bone, by the way; back when the tech bubble burst, I lost a number of contracts and in others slashed my rate.) This means that my personal take-home for all of next year will remain flat or, more likely, be reduced (due to corporate expenses not remaining flat).

I would fight with my boss about all of this, but really, there's not point standing around yelling at the bathroom mirror!

As I said, so it goes.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I was never busting on Theo for losing money, only for loosing a silly tantrum against the Republicans as a result. (How could I? I lost $40,000 yesterday, and made back less than half of it today.)

Alex said...

McArdle has gone off the deep end. Fear-mongering on the bailout and Palin-bashing. She's actually agreeing with Deranged Andy.

Alex said...

reader_iam - no one denied that we are in a economic slump. But that's a far cry from the chicken little "we're about to head into a great depression".

Original Mike said...

I don't want to think about how much I've lost. In fact, I'm not thinking about it.

Unfortunately, this is end-of-month, and I'll go through my little ritual (as quickly as I can, this time) of tallying things up.

So it goes.

reader_iam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lorelei Leigh said...

Because ad spots are bought in batches, under contract, and scheduled in a rotation to run certain "x" number of times. In and of itself, the fact that you're seeing ads means nothing. If you happened to see a random ad about Wachovia, it wouldn't mean the bank hadn't been gobbled up just this past weekend.

This explains all those ads I keep seeing for WaMu's free checking. You know, "Woo hoo, WaMu." That's okay, though. It provides good entertainment. I just laugh and laugh every time I see them now.

Apathetic Citizen said...

What one stock in the S&P 500 went up yesterday, accd to NPR?

Campbell's Soup.

When you got no money, you can afford soup. It's warm, filling.

Good video of Dorothea Lange photos with Bing Crosby singing....No obesity problem then.

john said...

Reader:

exactly. The market behaved, today, with the same level of sanity that drove it to Theo's depth of despair yesterday. That is, no sanity at all. The cummulative wisdom of "the enlightened self interest of 10s of millions of individual buyers and sellers" is to turn the market into a joke. Cummulative wisdom of a bunch of lemmings.

Like you, I don't sell when the price is low and buy when the price is high. To feel sorry for those who do is to wish them success in committing suicide.

I also lost a lot of "money" in the market yesterday. And today, strangely, I made a lot of this "money" back (I think), without doing a thing except poking a little fun at some people here. Even more funny, my wallet has the same $17 in it as yesterday.

reader_iam said...

Unfortunately, my wallet will contain the same $17 this time next year as today (metaphorically speaking). You caught that part of my comments, right? That wasn't intended, at all, as a whine (things ebb and flow, and especially if you're self-employed). It was, however, to illustrate that there are all sorts of implications to what's going on, and I can assure you that I, and my situation, is not unique in any way.

Also, my husband mentioned that the topic of "all of this" came up during work conference calls, and specifically in context of contracts the large tech company for which he works were looking at with other companies for next year. Let's just say that rocks thrown in water tend to ripple; and that there's nervousness in other areas that may not yet be fully apparent.

reader_iam said...

I mean, sure--let's not do chicken little. But let's not do Pollyanna either.

I think they're both potentially dangerous attitudes, prone to causing self-deception, ideological outbursts and poor decisions based on shaky premises.

reader_iam said...

Hey: That could be the metaphor for our elected and other officials as they flail about, hashing out plans:

Chickenlittle vs. Pollyanna goes 12 rounds!

Original Mike said...

No PollyAnna here. But, as stated up thread, the world WILL come to an end someday (someday soon). Acknowledging that that day is not today is healthy.

reader_iam said...

What a prize fight.

But what's the prize?

Original Mike said...

Well, don't get me started on those worthless pieces of crap we call our elected officials.

Original Mike said...

I've stopped watching the news, not because I want to avoid the market, but because I want to avoid the stroke I'm courting watching the likes of Barney Frank, et al.

SteveR said...

Just imagine how you'd feel if you were depending on Social Security for your retirement (or health care for that matter). Smart people know not to depend on the government on financial matters, right?

hello

(Crickets chirp)

Original Mike said...

I don't know, SteveR. You think the politicians are not going to attempt to "bail-out" those that didn't adequately save? (And I'm not talking about the truly poor, I'm talking about the middle class). It's not possible, of course, but they'll take the whole system down trying. Unless you put your money in a mattress, it's pretty hard to avoid the fallout. There is an argument to be made for not being the rube who tries to take care of yourself (not that I'm constitutionally fit to try that strategy).

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Reader wrote: I would fight with my boss about all of this, but really, there's not point standing around yelling at the bathroom mirror!

So...you are the change you were waiting for, no?

Fred Drinkwater said...

alex and Original Mike:
The credit card companies do make money from deadbeats like the 3 of us. They get a percentage of every transaction, from the merchant. In fact, if you focus your buying through one card, that can be a big enough income so that you can squeeze many concessions (about fees and interest) from the credit card company.
Works for me, anyway.

Original Mike said...

Ahh, Fred. I'm disappointed. Here I thought I was "stickin' it to the man".

Well, I sarted out as Polly, but I depressed myself to the point that I need to find a drink.

Ta ta.

john said...

Reader,

I don't think we were arguing about the economy or the market. I am also self employed, live quite close to market forces, and am incensed how the chicken littles (including Bush and Paulson) can create self-fulfilling prophecies.

rcocean said...

I have trouble taking Drezner seriously. He's basically a cheerleader for the financial/global elite.

Free trade good -blah blah, globalism good -blah blah, massive immigration good -blah blah, massive trade deficits/falling dollar- who cares?

For years he's been a superficial financial Pangloss. That he's now pushing for the financial bailout (sorry rescue) doesn't surprise me. But since its going to pass, his support makes me nervous.

blake said...

Googlefight seems to be having trouble but otherwise it would tell us who wins between Chicken Little and Pollyanna.

(My guess? Chicken Little.)

reader_iam said...

I found the discussion between Bob and Dan interesting; I just had time to listen to it now (as usual, when home, while folding laundry and, in this case, also packing to go drive across country again. Can't wait to hear familial next generation up's take on all this.

Theo Boehm said...

Thanks, Reader.

You know, I regard my $17,000 loss yesterday as the canary in the coal mine.

My point in bitching about my situation was that never before in my relatively long life have I seen stock markets driven down so sharply by such an identifiable event, where I lost money, and the responsibility for which could be laid on a handful of identifiable people, including my own Democratic Congressman.

Stock markets go up and down on news and rumors, but this seemed like something out of a bad dream of the Gilded Age in a blender with the Roaring '20's.

I agree entirely with David Brooks in his NYT piece, written about elsewhere in this blog today. People may disagree, but I think Brooks nailed it in his assessment of a failure of leadership.

There is an impending crisis of liquidity. One of the world's leading experts in liquidity and financial markets happens to be Ben Bernanke, co-author of the "bailout" plan. His 10-year-old computer model has so far completely predicted events, and it shows total financial disaster ahead unless capital is injected forthwith. Brooks is completely right in calling the Members of Congress who voted against it, "nihilists." Bernanke obviously hasn't convinced enough people, but he has convinced me.

Simon is also correct in asserting that Congress was doing its democratic duty by listening to constituents. I think, however, Simon would agree that we do not live in a perfect democracy, but a republic, increasingly banana-like, where, very occasionally, the people's representatives might still be expected to show some leadership.

This failure of leadership and the impending, very likely avoidable financial meltdown will have real-world effects, including, but not limited to, wiping out my savings and my family's ruin.

It's also going to ruin a lot of very smug people if Bernanke's model is correct. I hope they can wait 28 years for the market to come back to previous levels, as it did post-1929. For my part, I should live so long.

The market coming back today was not unexpected. But having lost over 12% on my 401K this year, BEFORE the crash, I am not inclined to continue to throw proverbial good money after bad. I was 85% invested in the best-performing funds among my 401K choices. I also lost about 6.75% in my private portfolio YTD, which is my own damned fault, but as it is intended for income, I don't really care, unless, of course, those companies producing that income and dividends go belly up because of a credit crunch.

Anyway, a final point of my own personal example is that equities markets have to be relatively stable to not scare off their customers, including the very typical likes of me.

Yes, we can have classical laissez faire equities markets, complete with classical booms and busts. And all you Adam Smiths out there can pat yourselves on the back over the superiority of your belief in the Wonders of The Market. Just don't be surprised if instead of Adam Smith, some of the rest of us see Charles Ponzi, and are wondering where the cops are.

blake said...

Well, I guess I'm an Adam Smith guy, but I think the markets are far from free.

I do agree with you that we live in a Republic, and these guys are supposed to do the right thing, whether that's the bail-out or not.

I think that's the most irritating thing: They don't know what they're doing. Even if they did, I have no confidence they'd do the right thing.