Smart Money, Scared Money. Plus, Bonus Tikka

First the reward (no sing-for-your-supper spiritual joylessness here!).

Here’s one fat cat that is Warren-curious:


Tikka has views on the e-book vs. book-books debate. E-books…nah.

Yup. Books it is!

(I find myself more and more on the opposite side of this divide; I spend more than half of my reading time on my Kindle these days.  But Tikka’s most definitely old school.)

Now to money.  Got my email update from Krugthulu today (Paul and I are like that, I tell you!).  While he notes, in effect, that the bond market and its economist watchers have correctly predicted eleven of the last three recessions, there’s no way to construe what’s happening in with US debt in any comforting fashion:

So the slump in long-term yields since last fall, from a peak of 3.2 percent to just 1.63 percent this morning, says that investors have grown drastically less sanguine about the economy. Long-term rates are now notably lower than short-term rates — and this kind of “yield curve inversion” has in the past consistently been the precursor to recession…

Why the long faces?

Krugman offers a few reasons why bond folks might be running scared.

For one, the ginormous, “self-financing” tax cut has failed; it hasn’t come close to stimulating enough economic activity to avoid blowing a hole in the deficit.

Trade wars, so easy to win, turn out to be a predictable idiocy, not just costly in themselves, but as they foment uncertainty, a deterrent to capital investment.  And last, he notes, economic troubles elsewhere, especially Europe, are beginning to affect us.

What might all this mean? Well, maybe a recession, maybe not:

The truth is that nobody is very good at calling turning points in the economy, and calling a recession before it’s really obvious in the data is much more likely to get you declared a Chicken Little than hailed as a prophet. (Believe me, I know all about it.) But the bond market, which doesn’t worry about such things, is looking remarkably grim.

And if the smart money here is also the correct money then, as Krugman writes…

I leave the possible political implications as an exercise for all of you.

Bonus Krugman — four key paragraphs from today’s column “Useful Idiots and Trumpist Billionaires”:

More to the point, Trumpism is about much more than tax cuts: It’s an attempt to end the rule of law and impose an authoritarian, white nationalist regime. And even billionaires should be terrified about what their lives will be like if that attempt succeeds.

104 replies
  1. 1

    4 Tikka photos? What have I done to deserve this bounty of awesome?

  2. 2
    germy says:

    Tuxedo cats rule.

  3. 3
    Jay Noble says:

    LOL! Coming back to the home page I was greeted by that last pic of Tikka. “Well, what do you want?” :-)

  4. 4
    debit says:

    Tikka gives off a definite “will fuck your shit up” vibe. I approve.

  5. 5
    Yutsano says:

    Tikka ain’t here for none of your hooman nonsense.

  6. 6
    FelonyGovt says:

    Tikka is one smart cat.

  7. 7

    Ric agrees with Tikka!

  8. 8
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Ric is a cat of wealth and taste

  9. 9
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Tikka has a most expressive face.

  10. 10
    Tom Levenson says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: True. But most of what he expresses are variations on the degree to which you have been found wanting.

  11. 11
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Between Ric and Tikka, I’m feeling compelled to haul out The Jungle Book and re-read “Riki-Tikki-Tavi.”

  12. 12
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    Well, that’s just his job description.

  13. 13
    JPL says:

    It’s still unknown what effect Brexit will have on Europe and the world. I’m not an economist and don’t play one on TV, but that could mean rocky times ahead. Truth me known just having a president named trump means rocky times ahead.

  14. 14
    NotMax says:

    Smoot-Hawley ain’t just a funny name in the history books.

  15. 15
    Raoul says:

    That final Tikka photo is a delight (well, maybe not for the person who received that glare).

    As to the other subject matter: I think we’ll be battening down the hatches very soon. A couple of years of profligacy (ohh, real estate. ohh, checkbook). I think we’ll be fine, but I’ve been to this rodeo several times. I was just wrapping up my BBA in Finance in October of 1987. What a ride it’s been ever since.

  16. 16
    zhena gogolia says:


    This is making me miss my dear Louis so much.

  17. 17
    Raoul says:

    @JPL: Speaking of October and Brexit, I’m visiting Scotland and the Lakes District around the third week of October. Every time I check my hotel in Manchester, the price has gone down another 5£. I wonder why that is?? (And yes, I rebook it at the lower rate. Takes about 90 seconds. Sorry, hoteliers — I didn’t vote for Boris!)

  18. 18
    JPL says:

    Tikka and Ric have nothing on this cat, although i think the mouse is dead

  19. 19
    Mary G says:

    Ed Kilgore at NY Mag reports on a set of 50-state approval ratings for Twitler that probably have him screaming in rage.

    Civiqs shows the president’s net approval ratios being underwater (i.e., negative) in 10 states he carried in 2016: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin. If that were to represent how the 2020 elections turn out, Trump would have a booming 119 electoral votes. And it’s not as though he’s on a knife’s edge between victory and defeat in all these Trump 2016 states where he’s doing poorly: He’s underwater by 12 points in Pennsylvania, 11 in Michigan, and nine in Arizona, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. And there’s virtually no indication that states that narrowly went for Clinton in 2016 are trending in Trump’s direction: His approval ratios are minus 18 in Colorado, minus 15 in Minnesota, minus 12 in Nevada, and minus 27 in New Hampshire. These are, by the way, polls of registered voters, not just “adults,” so they should be a relatively sound reflection of the views of the electorate.

    In case you just don’t trust this particular pollster, the other publicly available survey of state-by-state presidential job approval is from Morning Consult, and its latest numbers (as of July) are pretty similar. They show Georgia and Texas as positive for Trump, and North Carolina as very close. But all the other “battleground states” are quite the reach for the incumbent.

    Add a recession and there may be a bloodbath.

    And yes, polls this far before an election don’t predict squat, I know. But a woman can dream of holding him to 119 electoral votes!

  20. 20
    SenyorDave says:

    I don’t know if Ross is a racist per se, but he is supporting a person who is an obvious racist, has racist advisors, retweets racist memes, and is trying to put in as many racist policies as possible. And Ross is enabling this racist. Ross is a racist. If you supported David Duke you were a racist. Trump isn’t quite as in your face as Duke, but he’s every bit as much a racist.

  21. 21
    Tom Levenson says:

    @JPL: Dayum. That’s one cold cat.

  22. 22
    JPL says:

    @Raoul: Good for you. Bolton promised Boris, that he US will take care of him. We are going to have the bestest trade deals ever.

  23. 23
    laura says:

    Tuxers are so swellegant!
    Krugman’s take – end of rule of law seems scarily apt, especially on the heels of Wilhoit’s take, that the law binds those it does not protect, and protects those it does not bind.

  24. 24
    JaneE says:

    The CD rates at my credit union are inverted as of last Saturday. 3 months ago they were not. Of course my CD is coming due in a couple of weeks.

  25. 25
    Mike in NC says:


    It’s still unknown what effect Brexit will have on Europe and the world.

    Virtually every tour guide we met in the British Isles recently expected Brexit to be a complete economic disaster.

  26. 26
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    More to the point, Trumpism is about much more than tax cuts: It’s an attempt to end the rule of law and impose an authoritarian, white nationalist regime. And even billionaires should be terrified about what their lives will be like if that attempt succeeds.

    It’s especially scary considering how easy it is to get your hands on military grade weapons and gear in this country. However, the white nationalists are outnumbered and they’re not the only ones can get their hands on these weapons thanks to an extremist reading of the Second Amendment. What makes them think they’d necessarily succeed in imposing some authoritarian, white nationalist regime when so much of society is against them?

    Moreover, assuming we win next November, I’m worried about Trump refusing to accept the results and calling on his armed supporters to defend him. Am I crazy for wondering about this?

  27. 27
    Martin says:

    There’s $15T in bonds that pay a negative yield. Investors have decided the best pay to protect their capital is to pay others to not deflate it more than the yield. They see no safe investment.

    Capital is only beneficial if it’s doing work. That $15B is doing the opposite of work.

  28. 28
    NotMax says:


    Jeebus, TCM, must you show the lengthy interstitial with Woody Allen lauding Ingmar Bergman during every break?


  29. 29
    JPL says:

    @Tom Levenson: Who knew that they had photo shop back then. There is no way that someone is putting that cat in a coat. lol

  30. 30
    zhena gogolia says:

    Interesting take on one of the current international stories:

    Kevin Rothrock

    Verified account

    2h2 hours ago
    Dmitry Travin has folded his “Putinism headed for elite crisis” theory into a neat little take on Moscow’s ongoing protests. They’re a political bombshell (but not right now). (My Meduza newsletter summary attached below.)

  31. 31
    Gravenstone says:

    For one, the ginormous, “self-financing” tax cut has failed; it hasn’t come close to stimulating enough economic activity to avoid blowing a hole in the deficit.

    By that metric, it was always going to fail. It was never going to be self financing, but the words were nice to hear for the idiots who claim the job of speaking to the great unwashed of this country – our failed media. But as far as putting money in the off-shore accounts of the true ‘Masters of our Universe’ – well it’s working quite a treat, isn’t it?

  32. 32
    zhena gogolia says:


    Better than the expertly curated wines.

  33. 33
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @Raoul: The Pound is plummeting because of Brexit. It has been a boon for DH and I because it means his US pension is worth a whole bunch more.

  34. 34
    Raoul says:

    @Mike in NC: It’s the weirdest damn thing (and hey, we live with Trump as our president*, so we know some damn weirdness). The U.K. is hurtling towards disaster, everyone knows it. And they promoted to P.M. the guy who promised to rip out the steering wheel and the brake pedal.

    The knock-on effects for the global economy will likely be bad enough that I won’t root for injuries. But it does seem like some sort of metastatic condition has infected anglophone countries. Hopefully New Zealand is inoculated. Maybe Australia, though they seem more wild west than the sensible shoe Kiwis.

  35. 35
  36. 36
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @zhena gogolia:
    Wow. That’s very hopeful and jives with my impressions of the Putin regime as well. I’ve always felt that Russia’s autocracy was held together by Putin’s cult of personality and that without him it would fall.

  37. 37
    NotMax says:

    @zhena gogolia

    Those too. P.O. noir.

  38. 38
    Raoul says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Well, yes. But the price is also dropping in BGP, so I’m saving doubly.

  39. 39
    dmsilev says:

    @A Ghost To Most: John Hickenlooper Drops Out Of 2020 Presidential Race One Assumes

    DENVER—Presumably thanking his supporters and vowing to keep up his fight for the well-being of everyday Americans, former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper has dropped out of the 2020 presidential race, one naturally assumes. Highly placed sources have confirmed that it is only natural to imagine that Hickenlooper, who launched his campaign for the Democratic nomination back in what most are pretty sure was March, has probably dropped out, as he did not stand a reasonable chance of winning in the first place. While no further inquiry into the status of Hickenlooper’s campaign is forthcoming or realistically necessary, one may safely assume that this headline, if not true now, cannot ultimately be false, and will in fact be accurate in every major particular within the next week. Therefore, the Onion Editorial Board has concluded that it is only logical to pursue more pressing journalistic endeavors and acknowledge the inevitable demise of this quixotic campaign. This newspaper will dutifully update this article to reflect the day of the week and city in which Hickenlooper will ultimately stand before the cameras, surrounded by his wanly smiling family, and pledge his meager support to whoever the eventual Democratic Party nominee might be. As we shall not be following up on Hickenlooper’s further and presumptively fruitless activities, we urge citizens to pursue any other avenue of information they deem necessary, which from a practical perspective is, of course, none. An informed populace is crucial to democracy, so feel free to investigate yourself, but do not attempt to contact this newspaper or its employees, as we do not care.

    OK, they were a week early, but still.

  40. 40
    cmorenc says:

    Trump’s really let this President-ing thing go to his head and spoil his once-admirable humility and graciousness, hasn’t he….as well as unfortunately made it near-impossible for the rest of us to truly enjoy making any ironic, hyperbolic humor about him. He’s too malignantly real a monster for any of it to be funny at all.

  41. 41
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:


    Knew it was an Onion piece just from the headline. Heh.

  42. 42
    TS (the original) says:

    @Mary G: Another quote from your link

    Beyond that, even those who succeed by selling their souls to the devil don’t have the collateral to pull that off twice.

  43. 43
    Martin says:

    @Mike in NC: Yeah, I don’t see any way it can’t be. This is an interesting twist on the trolly problem. The UK is driving a trolly and it’s going to crash into the pit of an active volcano. If they throw a switch, they can instead crash into a giant acid lake. Parliament keeps demanding they pull switch that says ‘stop safely and give everyone a pony’ and nobody really seems to be able to convince them there is no such switch, and the acid lake switch is now a mile behind them.

  44. 44
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @Mary G:

    Add a recession and there may be a bloodbath.

    Hmm. GOP civil war heading into the election, anyone?

  45. 45
    Martin says:

    @Mary G: No need for a recession. Trump ascribes to the ‘beatings will continue until morale improves’ school of leadership. The bad polling will just make him increasingly batshit.

    It’s derp all the way down.

  46. 46
    debbie says:

    Tikka is the only cat I’ve seen settle for such a shallow box.

    Do any of the markets take into account that farmers will never regain their customers and market share, or do they just focus on the immediate loss of exports?

  47. 47
    West of the Rockies says:

    Totally OT, but does the 1970 film WUSA hold up? I just now heard of it. It sounds all-too timely now.

  48. 48
    JPL says:

    @dmsilev: Maybe next they will target Beto. just sayin

  49. 49
    J R in WV says:


    Is your hubby with you in GB yet? Last I heard he was working in Atlanta waiting for word to proceed to immigrate …

  50. 50
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    The EU sure has been giving the UK a lot of breaks despite how stupidly the UK has handled this whole Brexit debacle. I suspect this is because Europe’s economy, as Krugman pointed out, isn’t doing so hot now. Imagine what the possible effects could be when Brexit does occur. So they keep giving the UK extensions to put that off as long as possible. Plausible?

  51. 51
    TS (the original) says:


    Maybe Australia

    RW Government, horror treatment of refugees, religion suddenly become important – not looking good. Also this – Hundreds of Australians are gathering in Sydney for the country’s first Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which will run until Sunday. Inspired by its US counterpart event, it’s being billed as one of the largest conservative gatherings in Australia.

    We also have very strong ties to the UK and what is happening there is unbelievable – it I wasn’t watching it slowly unfold.

  52. 52
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @TS (the original):

    The US is making the world stupider by exporting our RWNJ culture

  53. 53
    Spanky says:

    @JPL: I would guess that that cat is dead. There’s no way a cat would show so crisply in a long-exposure shot from back then if he hadn’t already joined the choir invisible. Especially stuffed into a coat like that.

    That is an ex-cat.

  54. 54
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Interestingly, while GBP plummets, the Ukrainian hryvnia is up 9% against the dollar so far this year. It seems that the currency market likes the combination of free elections and a Eurocentric polity.

  55. 55
    Jeffro says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: You’re not crazy at all. Considering that he knows on some level that leaving the WH = potential for prison time, it would not be surprising at all for him to claim that this time around not 3M but 10M or more “illegals” voted for the Dem. “PROTECT ME!” – he’s shouted it more than once.

    I’d like to think that some significant portion of the GOP (both its elected officials and its voters) would at that point not be willing to shred both the Constituion AND the economy, but hey, who knows?

  56. 56
    Mary G says:

    @J R in WV: I asked her this morning, and no, her husband is still in America.

  57. 57
    NotMax says:

    Heh. Quick cheap laff.

    In movie from 1956 showing on TCM right now, a VW microbus drove up*, a technician got out and opened the rear engine compartment on orders from the honcho he was transporting to reveal inside it a complete short wave radio rig.

    *Undoubtedly was being towed by an off screen vehicle.

  58. 58
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    What, you’re saying that markets don’t like kleptocratic autocracies that can confiscate all your property and wealth without due process? Next you’ll tell me Mother Russia’s economy is smaller than Italy’s

  59. 59
    NotMax says:

    @West of the Rockies

    Last time saw it was … 1970. Best I’m able to say from that viewing is: great cast, terrible movie.

  60. 60
    TS (the original) says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: Some of the stupid has to be already there/here. The US has made it OK to elect the stupid into positions of power. That anyone speaks in serious tones about the current US president* amazes me – Politicians world wide do not want to see that the emperor has no clothes.

  61. 61
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:


    I’d like to think so too. I prefer to think that most of them are chickenshits who talk a good game but won’t do anything. It’s the few that aren’t I’m more worried about

  62. 62
    Gustopher says:

    Tika is beautiful, but wrong about ebooks. The cat must still have young eyes and not need to increase the font.

  63. 63
    Martin says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: The EU has no interest in punishing the UK. They like the UK. If the UK wants to leave, all the EU asks is that they handle it responsibly, which they’ve consistently failed to do. This situation benefits neither the UK or the EU, the EU simply wants to minimize the damage all around, and if extensions do that, then there will be extensions. At some point your transition costs start to add up and you have to just say, ‘hey, we’re done here’.

  64. 64
    Butter emails!!! says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    Ummm. Rupert Murdoch was Australian and the whole anglophone world going nuts isn’t some uncanny coincidence.

  65. 65
  66. 66

    @NotMax: When I was doing a shoot at one of the local airports where the theme was VW’s and airplanes, somebody alluded to the engine being under the hood of a VW bug. I explained that the engine was in the rear of the car. (I’m a former owner of a ’62 bug.)

  67. 67
    MomSense says:

    @Jay Noble:

    I think Tikka in that last photo is my spirit animal, today anyway. It’s been a day.

  68. 68
    NotMax says:


    Trivia: The VW Beetle first went on sale in the U.S. in 1949. Total number sold in U.S. from that model year: 2.

  69. 69
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: I owned a ’68 for a few years. A friend and I replaced the engine one weekend. Can’t imagine doing that kind of thing with any modern car.

  70. 70
    M31 says:

    @NotMax: an old friend of mine had a mid-50’s VW bus that had a crank start handle (in case the 6V electric starter couldn’t handle it), that thing was a beauty

  71. 71

    @Gin & Tonic: There are only 4 bolts securing the engine to the transmission, piece of cake to pull out.

  72. 72
    Jay says:

    This essay by ⁦@shane_burley1⁩ is excellent & highly recommend that you take some time to read it.It locates white supremacist terrorism within its wider historical, ideological & social context & also has some useful ideas on how we should resist— Anti-Fascism & Far Right 🥤 (@FFRAFAction) August 13, 2019

  73. 73
    Chris T. says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    However, the white nationalists are outnumbered and they’re not the only ones can get their hands on these weapons thanks to an extremist reading of the Second Amendment. What makes them think they’d necessarily succeed in imposing some authoritarian, white nationalist regime when so much of society is against them?

    That one’s easy: they think they’re just naturally superior. One white nationalist is as good as a dozen “other”, so as long as they make up 10% of the people, obviously they’ll succeed.

    (They’re lucky there is no one “superior race” because if there were, it sure wouldn’t be them.)

  74. 74

    I think what brought up my comment was one photog wanted the model to pose in the trunk and thought the trunk was very small in the back(the trunk is in front with the gas tank).

    (Kids these days…)

  75. 75
    NotMax says:


    Made me recall how amused the mechanic was that I’d been driving anywhere in the big ol’ ’68 Chrysler wagon when he discovered the two front motor mounts had sheared off.

  76. 76
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Chris T.:

    What makes them think they’d necessarily succeed in imposing some authoritarian, white nationalist regime

    Those who can make you believe absurdities,
    Can make you commit atrocities.

    Project Blitz is a helluva drug.

  77. 77
    Jay says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    You can buy crate engines, that are “plug and play”, so that all you do is unplug all the connections to the internal controls, unbolt all the “”stuff” mounted to the firewall and fenders, pile it ontop of the engine, unbolt the engine from the transmission, unbolt the motor mounts, pull the engine.

    Put in the new engine and reverse the process.

    They are not cheap, but common in mod-rods, ( old car, all the new technology).

    Can be done in a weekend, by several guys, if it’s just a swap.

    Takes longer for Mod-Rods because of the internal parts of the technology and often the need for custom wiring.

  78. 78
    NotMax says:

    @A Ghost To Most

    That Voltaire dude certainly has a way with words, didn’t he?

  79. 79
    NotMax says:


    had, not has

  80. 80
    zhena gogolia says:

    Western Mass is so civilized. This talk show on WGBY is so sweet. Two young guys from a library talking about their programs. They remind me of nice people in Moscow.

  81. 81
    zhena gogolia says:


    He’s been getting recognized more and more.

  82. 82
    Sure Lurkalot says:

    @A Ghost To Most: Fellow long time resident in the square state, I have never been a fan of Hick, as mayor of my city or as governor. His presidential campaign didn’t help, just the opposite. There’s a large field of candidates to replace incorrigible Cory, and at first glance, many I’d prefer over Hick. Yes of course I’d vote for him.

  83. 83
    StringOnAStick says:

    Today is exactly 6 weeks since my last knee replacement, and I’m glad I only had two knees to replace at this point. I got to 125 degrees of flexion today with much wincing, but I’m progressing faster than last time. When I’m at my home desk I’ve been using the office scratching post since it cradles my leg nicely at just the right height. Every once in awhile one of our sister cats comes flying in to tackle the post and then reach up to slap my leg for having the temerity to be taking up space on THEIR scratching post. No claws though, just a warning.

  84. 84
    Jay says:

    This is why the Nazis think they can win their race war.

    "The Manhattan District Attorney Office admitted it demanded Google hand over account information for all devices used in parts of the Upper East Side. They didn’t do this to find the Proud Boys; they did it to find Antifa members."— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) August 13, 2019

  85. 85
    StringOnAStick says:

    @Sure Lurkalot: Fellow Coloradoan here, and I agree. I’d rather have Johnson or Romanoff as our replacement for the odious Gardner (R – batshit toady); I’m tired of Hick and his ever so carefully calibrated centrism. He can go back to running his brewpub.

  86. 86
    pluky says:

    I can’t believe no one has so much as mentioned Henri the existential cat. He must be a distant cousin of Tikka.,_le_Chat_Noir

  87. 87
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Words to live by.

    Some people stop livin’
    Long before they die

  88. 88

    Y’know, I’ve been reading Krugthulu for more than fifteen years, and I don’t think I realised he was Jewish until that excerpt above. I don’t know how it wasn’t obvious.

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: I had to read the first sentence, because it’s also the sort of thing Wonkette might use as a headline if he actually had dropped out. Once I got past the headline, the source was immediately obvious.

    Regarding the subject, I’ll just say my current employment is finance-adjacent, and I suspect that most of the people working in this field don’t actually know any more about the topic than I do. It’s commonly joked that economics has predicted nine of the last five recessions, but a yield curve inversion like we’re currently seeing is certainly alarming, particularly when mixed with the sluggish earnings numbers and employment numbers we’re getting, not to mention the slow-motion train wreck of Brexit. Given how interconnected the world economy is, it’s quite possible that if a no deal Brexit happens, it could bring our economy to a crashing halt as well. And that’s not even getting into the trade wars, the completely clueless Individual-1 administration*, and various other factors.

    I hope folks here don’t have many aggressive investments right now. If you do, it might be time to wait for the next reasonably good day in the market and then replace them for something more conservative – assuming you’re not locked in. (Of course, if you’re my age [mid-thirties], it might not matter so much, unless you depend on your investments for income, but if you’re closer to retirement age, it’s probably time to start thinking about getting out of stocks.)

    Things are probably going to continue to be volatile for a while, but I expect a major crash in the next year or two. November 1, 2019, is a date to pay particularly close attention to, since the deadline for Brexit negotiations is currently October 31, and the Conservative Party doesn’t seem to have a plan. Who knew that crashing out of the EU based on an ill-thought-out, vaguely phrased referendum where the voters were given inaccurate information might be a bad idea? //

    Of course, take all this with a grain of salt, as I have no formal financial training; this is just what I’ve picked up from listening to this stuff for over a year now. My view is that another recession is inevitable, so I’m leaning towards hoping the crash occurs sometime before November next year so the correct party receives blame for it. If it occurs after the election, Democrats will be unfairly blamed for it and the damage could be incalculable. Of course, there will be a tremendous amount of damage either way.

    But think of it this way: Dump’s approval numbers are underwater with the economy in relatively good shape (at least superficially – real wages haven’t come close to productivity numbers, though, and way too many people have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet). Imagine how much worse they’ll be if the economy crashes!

    Anyway, like I said, take my musings with a grain of salt, but if you have money in the market and are liable to need it as a source of income within the next 5-10 years, it’s probably time to start thinking about finding an optimal time to get out of your aggressive investments. I’d place at least 30% odds that you should be out before mid-October due to the aforementioned ongoing Brexit clusterfuck, and possibly as close to 80% – there’s really no way to be sure.

    Ceterum censeo factionem Republicanam esse delendam

  89. 89
    Ksmiami says:

    @debit: Good when it comes down to us vs them, I feel more confident with Tikka on our side

  90. 90
    oatler. says:

    @NotMax: Check out the novel it was based on, Hall of Mirrors. There’s a long chapter in it called “The big store” that’s more than timely.

  91. 91
    Jay says:

    Thinking abt this @adamjohnsonNYC piece today"Between Aug. 12 & Sept 12, these papers ran 28 op-eds or editorials condemning the anti-fascist movement known as antifa, or calling on politicians to do so, & 27 condemning neo-Nazis & white supremacists…"— Christopher Mathias (@letsgomathias) August 12, 2019

  92. 92
    jl says:

    “While he notes, in effect, that the bond market and its economist watchers have correctly predicted eleven of the last three recessions, there’s no way to construe what’s happening in with US debt in any comforting fashion:”

    It’s the stock market that’s predicted 11 of the last 3 recessions. Bond market producing inverted yield curves has been a pretty reliable predictor of recession in the near future. The second sentence seems a little garbled. I think Krugman’s argument is that the bond market responds in a more predictable and consistent way to both financial and real economic signals of a big slow down in growth (which if big enough means a recession). Krug’s main argument wrt to real economy is that the GOP rich person’s tax cut, and trade war nonsense have thrown real investment into the toilet. That means much lower level of real growth, and therefore lower interest rates than otherwise, so real bond prices rise for existing, already issued, long term bonds. Nothing to do with deficits or debt right now. So far, increase in debt not large enough, paired with other factors leading to lower interest rates, not higher, so not a factor right now.

  93. 93
    thalarctosMaritimus says:

    @Spanky: You may be right about that. I have also read, though, that those are mostly photographic backdrops, and that only the cat’s face–visible through a hole in the backdrop, like those carnival props–is really the cat in question.

    If it’s just the face, I can imagine scruffing the cat behind the backdrop long enough to hold it still. And I imagine they would still throw away several blurry ones for each crisp one.

    I don’t know enough to say whether that explanation is true, but the photos at this site certainly do look like they could have been done that way.

  94. 94
    Another Scott says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))): Good points – one needs to be reasonably comfortable with one’s investments.

    CalculatedRisk still doesn’t see a recession coming, but he says the risks are increasing. I pay attention to him because he collects a lot of real data and shows trends over time.

    My take is that there’s still a huge amount of money out there looking for returns. Lots and lots of people with lots of money are willing to pay someone to look after it (rather than earning interest), but corporate profits are still decent though they’re not increasing linearly.

    “All told, annualised corporate profits exceeded $2trn last quarter, nearly double the level a decade ago. President Donald Trump’s tax reform cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%. This and his deregulatory efforts have freed up capital. Companies have used the windfall to buy back shares—reducing the amount of stock and superficially boosting earnings per share. The s&p 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite, three leading share indices, hit record highs on July 15th.”

    Yeah, the stock market is lumpy and scary, the bond market is lumpy and scary, but getting out without a plan to get back in can be costly.

    Just my $0.02.


  95. 95
    TenguPhule says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    However, the white nationalists are outnumbered and they’re not the only ones can get their hands on these weapons thanks to an extremist reading of the Second Amendment. What makes them think they’d necessarily succeed in imposing some authoritarian, white nationalist regime when so much of society is against them?

    Saddam Hussian’s Iraq had every family armed with an AK-47. The Baath were a minority ruling the country because even if everyone else was armed, the ruling party still had more firepower to deploy.

  96. 96

    @Another Scott:

    My take is that there’s still a huge amount of money out there looking for returns.

    The problem is that too much money looking at too few worthwhile investments is what drives asset bubbles, which do unpleasant things to the economy when they pop. What we really need to do is to raise taxes on the ultra-rich and spend the money on services for the poor and middle class. That will give those working people more money to spend on goods and services, which will give the rich more worthwhile places to invest their remaining money.

  97. 97

    @Another Scott: Thanks. I definitely agree on the need for a plan, though at times it may be necessary to improvise if the underlying assumptions behind the plan turn out to be faulty. Of course, most people don’t have the time or energy to monitor the market closely enough to determine such things, which is why many of them hand their money off to managers. Investors do seem to be the most bullish they’ve been on fixed income in over a decade, though, which comes as one of the least surprising things I’ve read/heard about investments since I started following the issue closely.

    @Roger Moore: Yeah, agreed. This is another reason Warren’s wealth tax is such a great idea. If people who don’t have much money are given more money, they’re going to spend it, which results in it going right back into the economy. It’s a related concept to marginal utility, which is usually thought of in terms of goods or services, but the concept can be applied to money itself: the less money you have, the more marginal utility any individual dollar will have to you. The upper 0.1% wouldn’t even notice the money from Warren’s wealth tax proposal without accountants (unless they pay particularly close attention to their taxes); it’s a rounding error. For the working poor, it’s the difference between being able to pay for rent and heating and not, to feed their children and not, between needing to take a second job and not. We can pretty much rest assured they will spend every cent of it, so in some sense the money has not merely greater marginal utility to the poor, but to the economy as a whole – the rich don’t get rich by spending money, after all.

    Ceterum censeo factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

  98. 98
    Another Scott says:

    @Roger Moore: Agreed that taxes on the wealthy are obviously too low (and taxes on the bottom 50% are obviously too high).

    Bubbles are always a concern, but I don’t see one in the real economy. Too many people with money are too nervous and willing to take ~0% on CDs and savings and bonds and the like. That’s not a sign of an over-heated economy, it’s a sign of slow growth but not a coming recession.

    As of today, the S&P 500 is up less than 100 points in the last year. That’s not a sign of a stock bubble.

    Of course, there will be another recession sometime. Donnie’s tariffs and Brexit and all the rest aren’t helping. But I’m more worried about < 2% real GDP growth for the next decade, and the rich continuing to grab all of the wealth in the economy, myself.


    My $0.02.


  99. 99
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    I’ve always felt that Russia’s autocracy was held together by Putin’s cult of poisonality…

    FTFY, courtesy of polonium & Novichok…

  100. 100
    ET says:

    Tikka has some serious Resting Bitch Face.

  101. 101
    J R in WV says:

    @Mary G:

    OK, Thanks. I’m not surprised, that was the case last time she mentioned it.

  102. 102
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Uncle Cosmo:
    Some poisoning links found while poking at that:
    The New York Times Style Magazine, FWIW. Interesting article.
    What if the Powerful (and Paranoid) Started Using Official Tasters Again? (Ligaya Mishan, Oct. 31, 2018)

    So the hiring of food tasters is best understood as a cosmetic gesture. Often they’re part of a protective entourage, a cohort whose primary goal is less to shield the figure at the center than to threaten and unsettle others. Putin is said to rarely touch food at banquets outside of Russia. Nicolae Ceausescu, the general secretary of the Romanian Communist Party from 1965 to 1989, brought his own taster to an event at Buckingham Palace in 1978. (The queen was not amused.)

    In the late 13th century, Pope Boniface VIII kept a stash of knives that were said to be carved from unicorn horn that would sweat if put in contact with poison.

    Donald Trump eats McDonald’s for fear of being poisoned? That says it all (Snarky, Zoe Williams, 5 Jan 2018)

    Obama – nobody forget Obama – walked a desperate tightrope of presenting himself in an honest way while at the same time masking his effortless superiority, which he managed by eating salted caramel and admitting it. Just imagine for one second that being the worst thing you could say about the US president.

  103. 103
    Raoul says:

    @Butter emails!!!: Astute (and dispiriting) point.

  104. 104
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Mary G: The thing that keeps me from feeling too optimistic about this is that Trump’s personal approval was even lower than this when he won in 2016.

    Now, that was personal approval for a non-incumbent, which is not quite the same thing. It shot up to near 50% the moment it was clear he’d won the election–all these conservatives who’d voted for him grudgingly without liking him decided he was OK after all. But, that said, performance against generic Democrat isn’t the same thing as performance against whoever the party actually nominates, and there are definitely some never-Trumper conservatives who have come around to supporting Trump already.

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