Monday, March 10, 2014


I'm having procedures.  That's what the medical profession calls them these days.  Tests.  Puncturing, picturing and positioning.  There is one great thing about living in the fly-over zone within a moderately populated area with a legal and ingrained distaste for malpractice suits and jackpot justice.  The health care is wonderful; oh, not Cleveland Clinic or Mayo wonderful but really good doctors, sans egos (they'll send you somewhere if they don't feel comfortable), on time service and friendly folks.  I have a spine that looks like a train wreck so in I went today for some drug therapy to see how that would work out.  I had a neuro-surgeon look at it but he recoiled in horror and said go get stuck.  Now it's an every-day thing these days but the thought of some guy you have had drinks with sticking a needle into your spine can be a bit off-putting but in I went at 2:15 and out I came at 3:22 including a 20 minute "let's make sure he's OK" rest after the procedure.  Remarkable, and if it works really remarkable.  I had another "procedure" last Friday which is why there was not a post.  Two weeks before the next one.  Nice to be active when you get old.

I was reading a few papers from Over There over the weekend and while the Ukraine was by far the biggest story, there was a really interesting report from Germany by some minister--frankly, I forget who, speaking of the future of the EU in terms of the dormant economy of Japan which has lasted for years.  Unless, he argued, the EU was prepared to engage in a massive government-sponsored bond buying campaign in order to flood the continent with liquidity, it would be next stop Japan.  OK, that's been said before and practically every day by some the likes of Little Paulie Krugman, but by a German minister?  Statements such as that coming from the source are never heard..  But reading it I thought to myself that with a balance sheet of over $4 Trillion at the Fed, Japan printing money like it's going out of style and now this broadside, if adopted, just how much debt is going to be out there investing in what?  Answer: a hell of a lot.

OK, so what.  Well, Alan Greenspan--you remember him--gave a most interesting interview the other day that for some reason got very little play at all which is all the more remarkable because among a number of interesting things on which he commented was bubbles.  According to Mr. Greenspan, bubbles are inevitable and there is very little central banks can do to avoid them.  Well, thought I, that's a hell of a deal and I wonder if today's Fed agrees with that because if they do, here we go again with no real effort to be expected in the tapering that has begun because there are God knows how many other ways there are to pump liquidity and if What Is To Be Is To Be, who the hell cares anyway.  And I mean, what's wrong with a company that makes a car that sells for around 90 Large and can pretty much get around the block before you have to plug it in again, with a stock price that is, well, let's just say priced for perfection if not deification.  And I'm thinking that this 10 year is hanging around 2.70% with all this gearing going on and shouldn't the bond boys one day look up and say, "Hold on, is all this priced right," and then what happens?  And I know I've said it before and I was wrong but there's a lot of municipal debt out there, some of it in the tank, and in every case the bond holders took it in the neck as opposed to the employees and how long are the former going to keep hitting themselves on the head because it feels good to stop?  And of course the big question is if this thing does behave in the manner in which Mr. Greenspan thinks it's going to behave, who are they going to blame this time?  Hey, not me.  I was having procedures when all this went down.

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