Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A few loose ends....................................

Marshall Tucker Band.............................This Ol' Cowboy

Thinking about taxes..................................

A recent Megan McArdle post, highlighting our likely disappointment with the latest governmental "big ideas," includes this:

One sort of suspects that the reason everyone is suddenly so gung-ho for universal preschool is that we haven't tried it yet, so it's at least plausible to claim that it will work. Republicans, meanwhile, are still talking about marginal tax cuts as if they could improve everything that is wrong with the economy when they demonstrably did not under George W. Bush.

While I will never claim to be a fan of higher taxes, it is important to note why the tax cuts of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan were so successful in boosting the economy.  The rates were really high back then.  A marginal rate of 90% for the top bracket in 1960 for Kennedy to work with.  A marginal rate of  70% for the top bracket for Reagan to work with.  When George W, wanted to cut rates in 2000, the marginal rate for the top bracket was 40%.  Not much room for maneuvering. The following chart of the top bracket rates through 2008 paints the picture (a larger version can be found here).















Lest you think that all this lowering of tax rates has starved "the beast,"  governmental revenues have never been higher.  Of course, governmental spending has never been higher.











From practical experience, I can tell you that may of the high income earners in the 1970's avoided the 70% tax bite by participating in "tax shelter" investments.  I saw smart people invest in bad real estate deals simply because they would rather do that than write the check to Uncle Sam.  The best outcome of the more reasonable rates for the top brackets is that more people seem willing to just pay the tax and skip the "tax shelters."  At least that's been my experience.  Yours may vary.

No day.................................................

















No day is so bad it can't be fixed with a nap.
-Carrie Snow

Q & A................................................















"I have always been much better at asking questions than knowing what the answers were."
-Bill James

thanks jess

Fifty years ago.................................

Sir Douglas Quintet.................................She's About A Mover



Thanks to Greg for the inspiration.
Backstory here.

Like fire...........................................

Would Robin William channel Bruce Springsteen via Elmer Fudd?   Yep.

Another way of thinking about............

..........................................................economic inequality:

And so a germane question is suggested: even if Fred Smith’s innovation unambiguously increased monetary-income (or monetary-wealth) inequality, did this innovation increase economic inequality (properly reckoned)?  My answer is ‘no’; this innovation decreased economic inequality by making consumption possibilities more equal.

Consumption possibilities have never been better.  Full post here.

via maggie's farm

A mighty fine question.............................


Truth in advertising..................................


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What you say..............................?

Ray Charles.............................................Hit The Road Jack

Capturing thinkingness...............................

More "Random Thoughts" from The Execupundit:

I don't think anyone in the inner circles of American leadership is reading Marcus Aurelius ... Never assume that crisis and a sense of urgency are on speaking terms ... Many a man secretly wishes he knew how to play the bagpipes ... The people who possess the greatest passion to hold political office are usually the last ones who should hold it ... We should strive to be kind to others and should never assume that we are automatically kind to ourselves.

Some writers are just more interesting than others

If you enjoy the turn of a phrase, you might want to check out The Epicurean Dealmaker from time to time.  It is always worth the investment.  A wee excerpt from his latest:

This really is masterful trolling. In one sequence, investment bankers, corporate acquirers, and private equity firms are all depicted by the Oracle of Omaha as modern day Snidely Whiplashes, evilly twirling their mustaches as they sell unnecessary transactions, “invariably” fire trusted and loyal employees, and repeatedly ravage the sanctity and probity of the acquired company’s balance sheet with dat ole debbil Debt. In contrast, Berkshire Hathaway is characterized as a veritable lavender-scented bosom of motherly protection and comfort.

Speaking of the Oracle of Omaha...............

"My successor will need one other particular strength: the ability to fight off the ABCs of business decay, which are arrogance, bureaucracy and complacency," he said. "When these corporate cancers metastasize, even the strongest of companies can falter."
-Warren Buffett, as being quoted in this post

Fifty years ago.....................................

We Five...............................................You Were On My Mind

On seeking......................................

“Seek not the favor of the multitude; it is seldom got by honest and lawful means. But seek the testimony of few; and number not voices, but weigh them.” 
-Immanuel Kant

On seizing and listening.............

      While Henry Wriston believed in careful planning, he was also an opportunist.  He regarded plans as guidelines for handling only routine matters.  "When something unusual supervenes," he later wrote, "seize the opportunity and let the plan stay on ice for a while."
      Henry Wriston was also a master of intelligence gathering.  His ever-present bowl of jelly beans, said Walter Wriston, apparently induced faculty and students to volunteer equally juicy nuggets of campus gossip.  "He always seemed to know what was going on on campus," Wriston said.  "People accused him of having a spy system.  I asked him how he knew what was going on, and he used to say, "People will tell you absolutely anything if you'll listen."

-Phillip L. Zweig,  Wriston:  Walter Wriston, Citibank, and the Rise and Fall of American Financial Supremacy

“It’s juicy, tangy, messy, and sweet.”

















...........................................Do check in with Scott Blitstein.

An important chapter............................

     Henry Wriston had an opinion about, and an interest in, every issue, from morals to monetary policy.  He was a tight-money man who was aware of the evils of inflation even when there was none.  He decried government hostility to business, but called on businessmen to be business statesmen.  Henry Wriston believed that the "railroad financier [Cornelius Vanderbilt] who many years ago said 'the public be damned' wrote an important chapter in the history of human stupidity."

-Phillip L. Zweig,  Wriston:  Walter Wriston, Citibank, and the Rise and Fall of American Financial Supremacy

Instant Karma.........................................












quote of the day from here

Instant Karma's gonna get you
Gonna knock you off your feet
Better recognize your brothers
Ev'ryone you meet
Why in the world are we here
Surely not to live in pain and fear
Why on earth are you there
When you're ev'rywhere
Come and get your share


-John Lennon

Monday, March 2, 2015

One thing I must say.................................

The Allman Brothers...............................Please Come Home



thanks Jb

That kind of evening...................................


Into every life.......................................















via

Opening paragraphs.................................

In the fall of 1786 the fifty-four-year-old president of the Potomac Company, George Washington, late commander in chief of the American Army (resigned December 23, 1783, after eight years of active duty) was seriously broke.  Majestically, he had refused any salary from the revolutionary American government so seldom in useful Congress assembled.  But it had always been agreed that should their cause be victorious, Congress would pay the General's expenses, which it did, with some awe at Washington's meticulous bookkeeping and lavish way of life -- Congress had to cough up $100,000.
     Now the General was retired to his Virginia plantation, Mount Vernon.  Despite one hundred slaves, Mount Vernon yielded insufficient revenue, while various western lands on the Ohio River were costing the General more than they brought in.  Worse, since he was the world's most famous man he was also the most visited at home by both countrymen and wide-eyed Europeans.   He was an indulgent host;  unfortunately, neither his wealth nor that of his wife, Martha Custis, could pay for so royal a way of life.  At one point, he seriously considered retreating north to Niagara;  if that did not keep his admirers at bay, he was willing to flee even farther into Canada in order to escape his expensive fame.  But a few trips away from Mount Vernon made it clear that there was to be no escape for him anywhere;  he was to be famous for life and, probably, for all he knew or suspected, thereafter.  Glumly he wrote, "My living under the best economy I can use must unavoidably be expensive."  Plainly, Mount Vernon was to be "a well-resorted tavern, (frequented by) and strangers who are going from North to South of from South to North."  Yet his crops were sparse.  Bad soil.  Too little fertilizer.  He needed to be, he complained, Midas-like, "one who can convert everything he touches to manure as the first transmutation towards gold."

-Gore Vidal,  Inventing a Nation:  Washington, Adams, Jefferson

Fifty years ago.........................................

The Supremes.........................My World Is Empty Without You

Reverence..............................





















via

One way to look at it...............................

      You took this birth because you have work to do that involves suffering and the kinds of situations you find yourself in.  This is your curriculum for this birth.  Where you are now with all your neuroses and problems is just the right place.  This is it, and it's perfect.  Life life fully and richly as a partner with God and accept what comes with openness and love.
-Ram Dass,  Polishing The Mirror:  How To Live From Your Spiritual Heart

Whose design.........................................


"May the Almighty be praised, whose design and wisdom cannot be fathomed."
-Moses Maimonides

image via

Spring is right around the corner................



















thanks jonco

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Here's one for Jetboy..................................

Taj Mahal with Toumani Diabate..........................Queen Bee

First job...........................................

      Jesus warned us, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt ... For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."  Desire creates your universe, that's just the way it works.  So your first job is to work on yourself.  The greatest thing you can do for another human being is to get your own house in order and find your true spiritual heart.
-Ram Dass,  Polishing The Mirror:  How To Live From Your Spiritual Heart

Trust, but verify.....................................

      Man's chief trouble is a mistrust of himself, so that the self trusting man becomes a rare and singular spectacle.  If a man looks upon himself as a "worm," what can come out of him but an ineffectual wriggling.  Truly, "He that humbleth shall be exalted," but not he that degradeth himself.  A man should see himself as he is, and if there is any unworthiness in him, he should get rid of it, and retain and rely upon that which is of worth.  A man is only debased when he debases himself...
-James Allen

A doctrine..............................................

"Morality is not properly the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness."

Hippos v Rhinos............................

Who would win the fight?














In this corner, the Hippo:
Listen. I am not about to assume a tactical fighting stance in the face of an angry rhinoceros. I mean no disrespect to these dumb, plate-clad relics; a rhino would beat the absolute hell out of me. But, hippopotami are legendarily ornery, aggressive beasts; rhinos just look that way. The Zulu warriors of southern Africa used to march to war chanting about the bravery and fighting prowess of the hippopotamus. And let me tell you: They knew what they were talking about.

In this corner, the Rhino
Now let's talk about the most obvious mismatch. Hippos have big teeth. They can make things happen with those teeth. Rhinos have motherfucking swords attached to their heads. The point here is that everyone bites, but attaching a sword to your head is outlawed, because a man with a sword attached to his head can topple governments.

Full, trash-talking debate is here.

Thanks Craig

On whither goes the stock market..................?

Three wee excerpts from this Barry Ritholtz post:
The noise box in your den (and on the wall of your trading room) has been tallying a catalog of potential crises and hazards. That parade of terribles seems to be getting longer each day. Although none of them are new, it is as if all of them have suddenly risen in unison, a chorus of noise, funk and angst. Markets are expensive, the Federal Reserve's stimulus of quantitative easing and zero interest rates is ending, the euro is collapsing, deflation is a threat, rates are rising, residential real estate is a mess, biotech is a bubble, oil prices are plunging, Grexit will arrive any day. Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes...The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together...mass hysteria! 
No one ever knows the future, but humans harbor this illusion that they have a sense of what is happening, some idea of what will occur, and an ability to control their fates as events unfold. The Gods find these qualities quirky and amusing, always worth a chuckle on Mount Olympus.
Humans are adorable.

Fifty years ago......................................

The Rolling Stones...................................Get Off Of My Cloud

Traffic.................................................


Ah, capitalism.............................................

 "Theory suggests that incumbents going out of business is an essential indicator of industry health. Without their exit, entrants are never allowed to bring disruptive ideas to bear and innovation simply stops."
-Horace Dediu, as excerpted from here

via

Next year.............................................


Friday, February 27, 2015

Every so often, this HAS to be played.............

The Marshall Tucker Band.......................Running Like The Wind

Not trying to rush things, mind you.....

.........................just thought a few pictures from last Spring might help carry you over Winter's finish line::







Oblique...............................................


Unanswerable......................................


















photo via         cartoon via

Ball's in your court.............................


Fifty years ago...............................

Gary Lewis & The Playboys.............................Count Me In

Chewdiasm............................................


































There's a very passionate pro-chewing movement on the Internet called Chewdiasm. They say that we should be chewing 50 to 100 times per mouthful, which is insane. I tried that. It takes like a day and a half to eat a sandwich. But their basic idea is right. If you chew, you'll eat slower and you will get more nutrients.

He makes a good point..........................

My point in all this is to simply recognize that behind every seemingly irrational (market) act is a human being. A little humility goes a long way. We all know less than we thinkWe are all broken in some way with a limited time on this EarthLife is messy for everyone. So bloggers (and Tweeters) out there cut everyone a little slack and focus on what you can do to make things a little better rather than a little worse.
-Tadas Viskanta, as excerpted from here
(parentheses mine)

Unfortunately, it is easy to do.......................

For the time being, Bashar Assad is probably less concerned about reconquering the whole of his country than about avoiding the fate of Qaddafi or Saddam Hussein. In that context, ISIS is useful to him: it’s in his interest, in the words of Lenin, to heighten the contradictions
-as excerpted from this American Interest post.

Striving.......................................................

















via