Monthly Archives: August 2007

sub-prime lending

the other day, when I admitted that I didn’t understand exactly what this whole sub-prime lending situation was, someone convinced me that the loans were being made at lower than the prime rate (sub-“prime rate”).  that sounded absurd to me — how could a bank loan at less than the incredibly low interest rates that were available to prime borrowers?  convinced is a strong word — I objected, and they persisted, so I stopped arguing with them (A HA!  I shouldn’t have caved — may that be the last time I ever do THAT!)

anyways, as Wikipedia sayeth:

The term “subprime” refers to the credit status of the borrower (being less than ideal), not the interest rate on the loan itself.

alas, I didn’t have Wikipedia available when I was having that discussion.  am I the only guy that wishes I had the Internet available in my peripheral vision at all times, just like the Terminator and his heads-up display?  that should be available soon enough, I imagine.

more on why we shouldn’t bail out the subprime debacle by the chief economist at the Waffle House (??!?)…


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Filed under economics, finance, freedom

31 consecutive years of trade deficits

In the comments to this thread on Lou Dobbs decrying our trade deficits, one Mike Laursen had the winning quote in my book:

You’d think that our having thrived through thirty-one years of trade deficits might spark the thought that maybe trade deficits don’t matter that much.

Ah yes, remember how great things were before the huge trade deficits?  The crappy-funk economy that was the mid-70’s; gas shortages and national ‘malaise’?

Until someone can offer some better proof — historical precedence even — that these trade deficits are bad, I don’t buy it.  The prediction that impending doom is right around the corner is as old as mankind, and it sells a lot of books and TV airtime…


Filed under angry, damn lies, economics, I believe that trade deficits are our future, politics

local pizza vs. corporate pizza

First of all, Bryan, I’m sorry for barfing all over the comments on your post Does Anyone Care? with my why-oh-why doesn’t everyone think my economist-heroes response. Sometimes I forget that being a bit of an econ-geek isn’t everyone’s idea of how to make friends and be the life of the party.

Anyhow, I thought this was interesting and in the same vein as your question — will New Yorkers support the local ‘authentic’ pizza place over Papa John’s?

There really is a John inside Johnny’s Pizza in Sunset Park, Brooklyn – John Miniaci Jr., whose father, John Sr., founded the neighborhood pizzeria in 1968.

There will soon be another John right next door on Fifth Avenue – Papa John’s Pizza, a franchise outlet. John Jr. considers this as an insult to his own papa John, who died just one month ago. Of all the spots the franchise could have chosen, why, he asks, did it have to be on the other side of the wall where two centurion busts stand guard above customers waiting for zeppoles or Sicilian slices? “This is a neighborhood that has had businesses in the same family for two and three generations,” Mr. Miniaci said. “These big corporations come in and don’t see the value of that.”

There are three main potential outcomes: Papa John’s crushes Johnny’s, the new Papa John’s goes out of business, or they share the market and both continue to operate. I predict #3.


Filed under economics

why doesn’t wordpress move updated posts to the top?

ponder that question while you click on this: Most Libertarian Sport?

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Filed under Uncategorized

wisdom of Yoda, Bruce Lee

A master martial artist asked Bruce Lee to teach him everything Bruce knew about martial arts. Bruce held up two cups, both filled with liquid.

“The first cup,” said Bruce, “represents all of your knowledge about martial arts. The second cup represents all of my knowledge about martial arts. If you want to fill your cup with my knowledge, you must first empty your cup of your knowledge.”

Or as Yoda would say: “Unlearning nonsense is as valuable as learning the truth…”

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Filed under boogie woogie, cuz I'm on a roll, homies

This cracked me up. Go there now and listen to the mp3…

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Filed under funny, homies

does this blog make my butt look big?

“Blogging is very intense — physically, mentally,” she said. “You’re constantly scanning for news. You’re constantly trying to come up with information that you think will mobilize your readers. In the meantime, you’re sitting at a computer and your ass is getting wider and your arm and neck and shoulder are wearing out because you’re constantly using a mouse.”

These are just a few of the reasons Susie Madrak (aka Suburban Guerilla) thinks a “blogger union” is a swell idea.  This is nonsensical on so many levels; of course the first thing it brings to my mind is having to pay $20 union-dues every month before I’m allowed to blog.  Fat chance.

I think the word she’s looking for is “professional association”… such a group that could set professional standards and buy group insurance.  But that term probably smacks of capitalism (oh! the horror!).

[update] ugh, I read down through more than 10 of her posts, and she clearly states that she isn’t trying to start a union, she’s just trying to buy group insurance.  I can’t fault her for that — in fact it’s exactly what I wish for all Americans — buying your own health insurance and not having it tied to your employer.  The corporate tax benefits of employer-provided health insurance is a BIG HUGE part of the reason we have spiraling health care costs (see previous post on “if car insurance was like health insurance” — wait, that was over a year ago, I should probably update it).

Butt she didn’t refute the quote that kicked this whole post off — so I stand by my headline.


Filed under attempt to be funny, boogie woogie, petty jealousy, stupid government