Taking Aim at the Debt Clock

Everyone’s an economist these days.

I should probably include myself among the armchair experts. On the other hand, my nephew just graduated from University of Virginia as an economics major and my youngest son has declared as an economics major.

He will be returning from Army basic training in just a couple of weeks and then heading back to University of Maryland. My guess is that he will find that if he carries his Army issued rifle with him, his positions on the economy are much more likely to be accepted by his fellow students and perhaps even faculty.

Not that there’s anything wrong with healthy debate.

Since I live in the Washington D.C. area, I’m a little bit ambivalent about the entire debt ceiling and government shutdown debate, healthy or otherwise.

That’s because I can still remember how wonderful the commute into work was when the federal government was shut down 15 years ago. The roads were empty, reminiscent of the recent Californian Carmegeddon. Each day during the shut down restored an hour to my life in the form of less commuting.

These days, for the most part, my only commute is to the garage to retrieve rolls of toilet paper, so I don’t have quite the same incentive to see political stalemate continue. In fact, it seems as if there are lots of good reasons for all sides to come together and put an end to all of this talk about a credit downgrade for the United States.

Replace Clinton and Gingrich with Obama and Cantor, respectively, and not much has changed in the past 15 years except that Gingrich still appears to be the loser.

I know that Cantor isn’t really the Gingrich character this time around That falls to John Boehner, but it’s not really clear to me that Boehner is leading the Republican ship.

When I think of Eric Cantor I’m reminded of the Seinfeld episode when the convert to Judaism dentist insults Seinfeld as he tells jokes to him.

When asked if he was offended as a Jew, Seinfeld replied, “No, I’m offended as a comedian”.

I’m offended by Cantor because he doesn’t seem to have the semblance of thought processes.

As someone who is at least one blip away from cortical flat-lining, I’m offened that the lone Republican Jewish congressman could be so light between the ears, although he is far better groomed than I.

Debt ClockI don’t know about you, but among the things that I’m getting tired of is the everpresent appearance of the U.S. Debt Clock.

It’s not like it’s brand new. I’m not quite certain when it first made its appearance in Manhattan, but it was many years ago. Like most things that constantly seek to stimulate your senses, after a while the numbness sets in.

Perhaps the answer is to just not watch so much television or to simply change the channel.

The latter recommendation turned out to be ineffectual, as even Comedy Central’s presentation of “It’s Always Sunny in Phildadelphia” is now accompanied by the $58,000 per second movement of the clock’s digits.

Somehow, everything is funnier on Comedy Central. On C-SPAN it only seems like $40,000.

I’m also a little tired of the constant appearance of political figures as “Breaking News”. It makes me long for the days when regular programming was pre-empted by Parliament hearings into Murdoch shennanigans. At the very least they should be in fleeing cars on the Freeway” and doing their press conferences on the road. That’s where Fox News got it right.

At least we can credit the Murdochs for that innovation, and perhaps O.J., as well.

All talk on Sunday was how important it was to come to a debt crisis solution prior to the Asian markets opening.

Sure enough, no agreement and the US markets opened up on the down side.

Hey, that’s exactly what I was hoping for. After all, I needed to replace about 15% of my portfolio following assignment of JP Morgan, British Petroleum, QQQ and SPY.

Initially, as I mentioned on Friday, I was hoping to pick up shares of Caterpillar, Freeport McMoran and Praxair.

As it turned out I didn’t add Praxair, as it opened up, but I got the others, as well as repurchasing QQQ and JP Morgan.

And wouldn’t you know it, being a good boy, I got my second wish and the market turned up by 100 points from its opening low and I got the opportunity to sell call options on everything other than the Freeport shares. I just didn’t act quickly enough before it reversed its reversal.

And then late in the afternoon came the “Breaking News” again.

This time it was Majority Leader Reid giving us the bad news. There was no progress. In fact, he said the was backsliding and so the market took its cue and did the same.

Reid, at least in his public pronouncements has never learned to make his case on any subject.Droopy Dog

Today was no different.

He passingly referred to ex-Secretary of Defense Gates’ opinion that the Department of Defense budget could be pared. That would have stood in sharp contrast to what was reported as a last minute Pentagon budget increase presented by house Republicans.

We’ve heard stories before how various armed services did not want certain weapon systems or technologies, but through the wonderful system of pork, those projects and contracts were pushed through by elected officials who only cared about being elected officials.

Reid should have hammered home the point.

For a guy puported to be an ex-boxer, he can’t put the opponent away.

It was hard to tell whether Reid was sleepy or severely depressed at the podium, but he only inspired pity. Perhaps it was my imagination, but he really looked like Droopy Dog moreso than ever.

Not a winning emotion, nor look. Also, a second rate cartoon character.

I suppose that we’ll have to keep looking at the Debt Clock a while longer. In the meantime I’m beginning to think that totaliarianism is the answer.

Those kind of governments always seem to work. No one is faulting Idi Amin for the Ugandan economy.

Maybe all it takes is a Treasury Secretary and Chairman of the Federal Reserve armed with rifles and passing out blindfolds.

I’m sure my son can teach them how to take aim.