Financial Bubbles | timiacono.com

Draghi on Root Causes

I get a kick out of someone with great authority (especially central bankers these days, given their quickly fading super powers) speaking confidently about the root causes of some problem as if you’re an uninformed ignoramus (i.e., not an economist) if you don’t see what is so obvious to them and people like them. Such is the case with ECB chief Mario Draghi’s explanation to the Germans about why interest rates are freakishly low.

To wit:

They (low interest rates) are the symptom of an underlying problem, which is insufficient investment demand across the world to absorb all the savings available in the economy. And so the right way to address the challenges raised by low rates is not to try and suppress the symptoms, but to address the underlying cause.

Got it?

It’s the ‘ol “lack of aggregate demand” root cause canard (i.e., as opposed to the more sensible reckless, multi-decade expansion of credit and debt that artificially raised aggregate demand) that future historians will someday have fun with, that is, after the current set of top economists and central bankers are completely discredited.

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FinTech

CBS makes you sit through two commercials, but the prospect of Big Banks being the next sector to be overtaken by technology advances in the U.S. is worth the wait…

It couldn’t happen to a nicer sector…

This looks pretty interesting – an upcoming piece by the team at Vice News about California’s ubiquitous pumpjacks, once the subject of a piece at the old blog nearly 10 years ago – Three Chevy Tahoes and a Wal-Mart Truck.

Reading that post and the comments brought back some memories – here’s comment #2:

The Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon do seem to be the vehicle of choice for house-rich Californians in their thirties – gots to have the thousand dollar custom wheels with the performance tires though.

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They probably got at a little chuckle in the Russia Today newsroom when preparing this piece about how officials at UC Davis (one of the most liberal institutions of higher learning in the land) spent upwards of $175,000 to lessen the internet presence of their infamous “pepper spray” incident that resulted from the Occupy UC Davis demonstration in 2011.

I imagine they already have special instructions in place about the possible use of pepper spray here in 2016 now that the University of California Student Association and some lawmakers are calling for the resignation or firing of UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi who, as of this morning, has rebuffed their demands.

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A Brief History of Credit Cards

From And/Orange comes this history of the credit card in the U.S. that goes a long way in explaining how our credit-enabled economy has evolved and what its future might hold now that we (collectively and in credit card terms) have maxed everything out.

Don’t know about you, but with the end of the Costco/Amex relationship, we’ve gotten lots and lots of credit card offers recently, with almost all of them offering generous introductory benefits that have added up to a startling amount of money.

We’ve taken advantage of nearly all of them, then stopped using the new card, but new offers keep coming in as we await the new Costco Visa card which is supposed to be quite generous in rewards (e.g., an impressive 4% back on gas purchases).

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