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Prove me right, shame on you April 18, 2010

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Does Not Compute, Politics, Space Program.
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Look I know that I’ve criticized Republicans for living in the past, but really, this guy is at least in the 20th Century with his misconceptions.

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Banks, risk and lobbying March 7, 2010

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Business & Society, Economics, Government.
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In a working paper for the IMF, which is prefaced by a bit disclaiming that it actually represents the views of the IMF, we find this gem of a summary.

Using detailed information on lobbying and mortgage lending activities, we find that lenders lobbying
more on issues related to mortgage lending (i) had higher loan-to-income ratios, (ii) securitized more
intensively, and (iii) had faster growing portfolios. Ex-post, delinquency rates are higher in areas
where lobbyist’ lending grew faster and they experienced negative abnormal stock returns during key
crisis events. The findings are robust to (i) falsification tests using lobbying on issues unrelated to
mortgage lending, (ii) a difference-in-difference approach based on state-level laws, and (iii)
instrumental variables strategies. These results show that lobbying lenders engage in riskier lending.

Aren’t we all just absolutely shocked?

Coming out of “retirement”, slowly but surely March 7, 2010

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Uncategorized.
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I’ve let this blog languish for over a year now, in part because I just had so much other stuff happening and also because I was reconsidering what I wanted this blog to be, including the title. While I still will be commenting on politics, economics and related subjects I’m interested in posting more about science fiction, tech, science and pretty much whatever strikes my fancy. Whether “It’s the 21st Century, Stupid!” is an appropriate title I still haven’t decided on. I’m also planning on switching from WordPress free hosting to hosting on another service and possibly playing with designing my own unique appearance.

So Much for Health Care Reform January 10, 2009

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Corruption, Government, Health Care, Health Insurance, Politics.
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Tom Daschle is promising that health care reform will be truly bipartisan. If by this he means that he won’t be pushing for anything that the Republicans won’t sign up for then meaningful reform that will help the uninsured in this country is dead. The Republicans in the House and Senate will never go along with anything that doesn’t protect the current profit levels (If not even more.) of the insurance companies, the large publicly held hospital chains and the pharmaceutical industry. Given those limitations you cannot accomplish anything that will really help. All you have to do in order to understand that is read the position expressed by Senator Michael Enzi R-WY. What’s really important? Not the uninsured. Not cost control. Not the health of millions of Americans. It’s the insurance companies.

“Any new insurance coverage must be delivered through private insurance plans,” said Senator Michael B. Enzi, Republican of Wyoming and his party’s ranking member on the Health committee, in prepared comments for the hearing, the panel’s first session of the year.

There’s some real caring and compassion for you. Care for corporations, that is.

This Cheers Me Up January 4, 2009

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Good news.
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This article from the Kansas City Star about a musician going back on tour with his old band just struck me as something great.

His old band from England e-mails him to ask if he can go on tour with them while they’re in the U.S. His boss gets on board, promising him his job will be waiting for him and is even going to put up a web site tracking the whole thing. And when he asks his wife she supports him as well, recognizing that this kind of opportunity is just too much to ask him to pass up on. Good stuff.

Did He Look in Madoff’s Eyes? December 17, 2008

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Business & Society, Corruption, Economics, Government, The Big Crash of 2008, The Bush Administration.
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In an editorial the Kansas City Star’s resident ultra-conservative, E. Thomas McClanahan actually says that an inept SEC led to the Madoff scandal. I’m sorry, Mr. McClanahan, but in fact the SEC was basically doing what your hero Dubya wanted them to do, which is largely nothing. Was there any regulatory agency that wasn’t having their budgets cut under the Bush administration? Any agency that wasn’t full of political appointees whose main goal was to forward a particular political agenda? Look at Cox’s background. What else would anyone expect of an SEC he’s in charge of? Let’s face it, everything went according to plan and if you think Madoff is the only one out there…

If they can do it for carpenters… November 27, 2008

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Business & Society, Employment.
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I was just watching a bit of This Old House on the digital tier of my local public TV station. They did a little featurette about a carpenter’s apprentice that works with the show. Don’t you think that paid apprenticeships would work for lots of fields that don’t have it now like accountants, programmers and network engineers among others?

Quants, Assumptions and Unexamined Actions November 23, 2008

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Economics, The Big Crash of 2008, What is Justice?.
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If you combine these articles with my previous post about the article from Scientific American don’t you have to wonder about every analysis concerning finance and credit?

Steve Lohr in the New York Times

Lee Gomes in Forbes

Citigroup Saw No Red Flags Even as It Made Bolder Bet

Aren’t these largely the same processes that credit bureaus use in determining how to create “credit scores” for the rest of us? Don’t you wonder about their ability to figure out a darn thing? Don’t you think that just maybe they ignore the human factor entirely in their analyses of people’s ability and willingness to pay back their debt? Should people be cut some slack in times like these as the companies that extend them credit prove that they in fact don’t have a clue when it comes to risk analysis? Questions, questions.

Wall Street GIGO November 21, 2008

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Business & Society, Economics, Government, Technology, The Big Crash of 2008.
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Scientific American points out a couple of things that helped lead to our current disastrous situation. What, you might ask, would SciAm have to say about something that comes down to economics and politics? Simple. The financial industry pled for a lifting of rules for how much they needed to hold in reserve. Complex modelling was used with a basic set of assumptions in order to forecast what these institutions could do under the new rules. Those assumptions were based on old fashioned basic assumptions from classical economics. They were completely wrong. The models based on them failed miserably. The big question is whether or not the people in charge of these institutions will draw the correct conclusions in the aftermath and with their egos I just don’t know if I’d bet on it.

Related Issues November 13, 2008

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Business & Society, Government, Health Care, Health Insurance.
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I stumbled across this article through Google news. It’s always sad when someone joins in with others who just miss the point completely. If you do something to help take care of the health care situation and do it properly then it will in fact help the economy.