Featured Photos

Baseball Hall of Fame - 8/23/11

Featured Video

Avery's QuEST Project - It's Healthy!

House Construction

The Completed Home Renovation

Home Renovation - Complete!

Our House Construction Photoblog

RSS Feed

Money Talk

« Previous Entries                    

Taxation without Representation – Again?!?

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Britain’s fiscal year has ended, and the results of its 50% tax on bank bonuses have been tallied:


Categories: Money Talk, Political Rantings | 5 Comments »

Holy Dow!

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Those who even casually follow the Dow Jones Industrial Average know that a triple-digit swing (i.e., a change of more than 100 points in a given day) is a pretty big deal, and a change of 200 or more is worthy of a headline. Back in Sept/Oct of 2008, when the financial crisis was at its peak, we often saw swings of 400-500 points in a given day, which was simply astounding.

So you can imagine how strange this is to see (all quotes as per Yahoo! Finance):

DJIA quotes
2:36pm: 10,515.03
2:46pm: 9,872.57
2:56pm: 10,475.13

That’s a 650-point drop in ten minutes followed by 650-point rise in the next ten minutes. The cause was concern over the European Central Bank’s handling of the financial crisis in Greece, and potentially a technical glitch with regard to the trading of Proctor & Gamble shares (P&G is a Dow component).

At any rate, I have a message for whoever invested a bunch of money in the stock market at 2:46pm today:


Categories: Money Talk | Comments Off on Holy Dow!

Helping or Hurting the Little Guy: Big Booksellers Sell Cheap Books

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Building on the book theme from yesterday, we turn to this post

Categories: Money Talk, Random Acts of Blogging | 3 Comments »

Wall Street Journal – Charging for Free Content?

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Remember when the Wall Street Journal’s online content was free? And then they decided to start charging for it? And then it was free again? But sometimes it’s not?

As it turns out, the Wall Street Journal has implemented a rather unique, some may even say bizarre, online access policy. If you go to their website and click on an article, you have to login with a paid subscription. But if you Google a particular topic and the same article comes back as a search result, you can click through and read the entire article for free. So, in other words, you can’t read the entire Wall Street Journal on their website without paying for it, but if you were curious enough to enquire about everything in it, they will gladly share their content with you for free.

Perhaps an example would be useful. Follow along in a separate browser instance if you like:
Read the rest of this entry »

Categories: Money Talk, Political Rantings, Tech Talk | Comments Off on Wall Street Journal – Charging for Free Content?

What Happened? Government Forces Ken Lewis to Work for Free

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

Throughout the past year, I’ve written a few posts about various aspects of the financial crisis, but I’ve purposely stayed away from writing specifically about my employer – Bank of America.

I don’t speak for Bank of America. My words on this blog are mine and mine alone. No one at work reads them, approves them or, for all I know, even agrees with them. Still, I’ve made it a self-imposed, personal policy to steer clear of stories that involve the company, just to be safe. This morning, though, when I read about Kenneth Feinberg, the “Special Master for Compensation” (a.k.a., “The Pay Czar”), I felt compelled to speak out.

Just to be clear, though: these are my opinions. They don’t necessarily reflect the views of anyone else on the planet, whether they’re affiliated with Bank of America or not. Are we clear? OK, good.

Read the rest of this entry »

Categories: Money Talk, Political Rantings | 9 Comments »

The Incredible Shrinking PIPP

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Great news! The Obama administration has found a way to cut $488 billion from a government program, and reduce the total projected commitment of that program by a whopping $960 billion! I guess we can pay for healthcare now! OK, maybe not…

The program is the Public Private Investment Plan, or PPIP for short. PPIP was designed to achieve what Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson originally said the TARP money would be used for – buying mortgage-related assets from Wall Street firms in order to expand the power of their balance sheets. Of course, when they actually gave him the money, he decided to use it to buy equity in the banks instead.

That was back in September of 2008, when the worst financial crisis of our time demanded immediate, decisive action. Like suspending the two presidential campaigns for a photo-op at the White House.

Having failed to actually buy any of these so-called “toxic assets,” our government tried again in March of 2009, launching the PPIP program, which intended to use “$75 to $100 billion in TARP capital and capital from private investors [to] generate $500 billion in purchasing power to buy legacy assets

Categories: Money Talk, Political Rantings | Comments Off on The Incredible Shrinking PIPP

AIG CEO: The Pity Party’s Over, Now Get Back to Work!

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Robert Benmosche, AIG’s new CEO had an internal meeting with his employees on August 4th. This being the Internet age and all, it took all of two weeks for a transcript to make itself available for public consumption. Check out some of these quotes:

  • I don

    Categories: Money Talk | Comments Off on AIG CEO: The Pity Party’s Over, Now Get Back to Work!

    Go Penn, Beat Harvard!

    Thursday, August 13th, 2009

    If you’re an Ivy League football or basketball fan, you’re used to the occasional news story about Penn beating up on schools like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. But here’s one area where you don’t often see Penn atop the standings:

    The University of Pennsylvania, the Ivy League school founded by Benjamin Franklin, beat Harvard University

    Categories: Money Talk, University of Pennsylvania | 1 Comment »

    America to Americans: You are not as confident as you think you are

    Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

    From the top story on today’s Yahoo Finance page:

    Investors are adding consumer confidence to their growing list of things to worry about.

    Stocks reversed early gains Tuesday and moved lower after a private research group said consumer confidence unexpectedly fell in June. The Dow Jones industrials fell 105 points in late morning trading.

    After months of economic data showing that the recession was not getting worse, investors are hungry for signs that the economy is actually growing. Investors have grown nervous that the economy’s rebound won’t be as robust as hoped.

    So, basically, here’s the conversation we’ve been having with ourselves:

    Investors (last few months): We’re finally starting to feel better about the economy. We’re going to buy some stocks.

    Investors (day before yesterday): Still feeling better. Keep buying stocks…

    Private Research Group (yesterday): We know you thought you were feeling better, but you’re not. You’re feeling worse.

    Investors (this morning): Holy crap! This news has made me feel worse. Sell the stocks! Sell!! Sell!!!

    Perhaps what we have here is an over abundance of information, which has crossed the “cause & effect” transom to become a self-fulfilling prophecy?

    Categories: Money Talk | 3 Comments »

    The four states that sank the world economy

    Thursday, May 28th, 2009

    A commenter over at Asymmetrical Information pointed me to some mind-blowing facts over at Scrivener.net:

    From March, 2009:

    • The national foreclosure rate rocketed up 81% in 2008, to 1.8% (from 0.99% in 2007).
    • Only nine states had foreclosure rates above the average — and just four had rates seriously above the average: Nevada at 7.4%, Arizona and Florida at 4.5%, and California at 4%
    • Fully 41 states had below-average rates.
    • Subtract those four states and the median foreclosure rate in 2008 was only 0.90%.


    • Home prices increased in 28 states during the fourth quarter of 2008, according to the federal OFHEO State House Price Indexes (click on “State HPI Summary”).
    • In most other states price declines were modest.
    • Prices declined in Arizona by 2.91%, in Nevada by 2.66%, in California 2.61%, and in Florida by 5.47% — annual rates of decline from over-10% to over-20%.

    Another Scrivener post has some other illuminating data which compares these four states (along with Michigan, which is almost as bad, but not quite as bad as these four) to New York (which is doing comparatively well) and the national mean.

    With all the discussion of housing bubbles and credit crises, I’m amazed that I’ve never heard how localized the problem was. I also wonder if our federal government’s response would have been different if the general public knew that mortgages & housing prices in 45-46 of the states were actually doing fairly well.

    Categories: Money Talk | 2 Comments »

    « Previous Entries