Monday, October 08, 2012

Financial Sarcasm Roundup for 10/08/12

My Internet connection gives me a front-row seat to the end of the ancien regime, the post-Cold War era of U.S. dollar hegemony.  The unpredictable vagaries of history will determine whether the American ruling elite gets thrown out with the currency they are about to throw away.  Alright, let's get on with the sarcasm.

Lehman Brothers' diehard hedge fund creditors have reached some kind of legal milestone in their quest for $38B worth of assets.  Yeah right.  Legal judgments mean nothing if the money is long gone.  Just ask MF Global's creditors.  Most of the unsecured claims against rump Lehman will probably go nowhere and the smart creditors have already started throwing those claims away.

Dodd-Frank is being nickel-and-dimed to death by the financial predators who don't like being bound by laws.  Tough luck for the little investor who hoped reform would have teeth.  Our leaders like to mouth off about Dodd-Frank because low-information voters mistakenly think it matters.

The World Bank is throwing more cold water on the East Asia growth story.  One factor they're missing is the tendency for authoritarian regimes to conquer their neighbors in search of new markets, cheap resources, and forced labor.  China could just walk over its neighbors after a sufficiently robust military buildup masks its inability to generate GDP growth.  That's another decade away but I didn't want to keep China exposure in my portfolio long enough to see that happen.

The latest U.S. unemployment report is complete baloney.  I'm not sure whether it's driven by political factors.  The simplest explanation is that a generation of mathematicians and economists are no longer able to recognize ground truth in statistics.  Making seasonal adjustments, then throwing them out for new adjustments, then adjusting the adjustments based on prior adjustments that were never made can have that cumulative effect.  John Williams easily deconstructs the silliness behind the adjustments that render these statistics meaningless.

I'm getting over the remnants of a headache I've had since last week and spewing this sarcasm really helps.  I've got a pretty full plate of business meetings to attend this week, plus a stack of notes on previous meetings that I still haven't blogged.  I'll get around to all of that as soon as people quit wasting my time.