I have to get away from talking about sports for a couple days. These teams are starting to make me have irrational thoughts and it’s just not good for my overall health. Yesterday I actually caught myself thinking about driving to Berea and standing outside the players’ entrance to harass the Browns punter as he walked into the facility.
Classic quote from Shurmur yesterday on that bum when asked if he sealed his fate Sunday – “I wouldn’t say he’s lost his job right now. But we’re evaluating it.”
Hopefully the Walrus isn’t saying the same thing about Shurmur in December.
How do you get a gig writing children’s books? This has to be the best profession in America. Some of these books I read my kids, there’s like three words per page, and 10-12 pages. Then you look on the back cover and you see one of those gold medals and “over 7 million copies sold”.
I’m not talking about Harry Potter books or young adult books. I’m talking about Goodnight Moon and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The latter has sold well over 30 million copies. A copy is sold once a minute since the book was written 40 years ago. It’s got like eight pages. And the author is probably stoking his fireplace with serial number-ordered stacks of $100 bills that he’s made off that book.
I started running a couple of years ago.
Not because I wanted to. It was the last thing I was allowed to do. You get married, have a couple kids, start a Cleveland sports website, work gets more demanding … and your options start to get limited. I went from playing softball/basketball 5-6 days a week and golfing with my buddies on the weekends, down to one softball league, down to no softball and a golf league … and then the next thing I knew I was justifying driving a golf cart as exercise and commenting on which of the scented hand soaps from Bath & Body Works that I liked best.
It happens quick.
I had to do something. I figured there was no way my wife could stop me from running. She can take away my social life, ruin my golf game, and make me spend money on things I don’t want or like … but she can’t stop me from running. I could do it at night after the kids went to bed, early in the mornings. So I started doing it. And hated it at first. For all the reasons I made fun of runners in the past. It’s boring. It’s hard. I’d rather be playing a sport.
Then somewhere along the line I started to like it. The feeling you get after you’re done. The stress relief. The fact I can actually eat and not gain weight. And the amazing rush of running in races, which I totally underestimated.
Quote of the Day …“The ten most dangerous words in the English language are ‘Hi, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.’” ~ Ronald Reagan
While the economic news cycle starts to really heat up tomorrow, not too much for the markets to trade off of to start the week here. Yesterday, stocks started out down, bonds started out up … off weekend fears that the European debt crisis was taking a turn for the worse. Then things reversed yesterday afternoon when China came out and said they were considering buying Italian bonds, which would soothed fears that the large Italian economy would run out of money … which is a real possibility for Greece and some of Italy’s European counterparts.
The Dow ended up 60-some points. Mortgage bonds ended up down around 10/32. The yield on the ten-year treasury sits at 1.93%. And mortgage rates remain at 40-year lows. Yet there are a whole host of roadblocks preventing most home-owners from being able to refinance into these rates, one of several miscalculations by Big Ben Bernanke, who I have lost complete faith in. At this point, if the economy recovers, it will be in spite of him and not because of him.
In fairness to Big Ben, in hindsight, he did handle the initial wave of the financial crisis pretty well. Many people forget what a dangerous time that was for the US economy. The bank bailouts, while unpopular, worked. They helped avert a full blown depression. Just about all of those loans have been repaid, and the government is expected to MAKE 20 billion in profits off the program once the rest of the TARP $ is repaid.
The problem has been the action steps since then. I think Bernanke is really smart, a near genius, and a great historian of monetary policy in this country. I think Big Ben is like one of those guys that got all 4.0 GPA’s in high school, then you see him at the ten-year high school reunion and he hasn’t been able to apply it in the real world. And meanwhile, the kid that was smart, but lived in detention, and muddled by with 2.50 GPA’s that the light clicked on for now owns his own company and is raking in seven digits.
I think Bernanke is smart. I also think he is a numbers nerd that fails to grasp the real-world realities of this economy and why it is stuck in the mid.
Yesterday, you had Dallas Fed President Fisher come out and basically said “there’s nothing left for us to do”. Fisher has been one of the consistent dissenters to Fed policy statements these last couple years, then dissented again at the Fed’s August meeting, when the central bank pledged to keep rates at extraordinarily low levels until mid-2013. Fisher went on to say: “We’ve already done a substantial amount. We have refilled the gas tanks. There is abundant liquidity and the cost of money is cheap. The problem is transmitting that into the economy. We’ve done our job. We need someone to engage the transmission and put that money to work.”
He’s absolutely right. Then I click over to another website and see headlines that read “Bernanke Puzzled by Weak Consumer Spending” and “Bernanke Surprised by Weak Refinance Activity Despite Historically Low Interest Rates”. These have been common themes from Bernanke this spring and summer.
Really? If those things are surprising the man running the Fed, that’s a really bad sign.
Bernanke’s whole plan was to gobble up bonds to push mortgage rates down low, yet no one can refi because they’re underwater, have a split second mortgage, or have a FICO score that isn’t perfect.
And he’s confused that the people that do have a little discretionary money to spend aren’t spending it? The people that are rich, many (most?) of them small business owners that have the propensity to hire people … have been demonized in this country, with constant threats lobbied at them to raise their taxes. And the middle class … if they have are employed and have a little money to spend, they’re wisely stowing it away or paying down debt … many of them terrified of losing their job or this economy taking a turn for the worse.
Scary, scary stuff.
~ Europe Keeps Grip on Markets as US Stocks Start to Look Cheap
~ Bank of America Getting Ready to Slash 30,000 Jobs
~ Perry Draws Fire from all Sides at GOP Debate
~ Analysts Slash Bank Earnings Estimates, Hit Goldman Hardest
~ Northeast Ohio Auto Sales Boom, Advance at Twice the National Rate
~ Dallas Fed President Fisher Opposes More Action: “We’ve Done Our Job”
~ Merkel Warns on Greece, Obama Voices US Alarm
~ Small Business Mood Turns More Sour