Insane People Run Japan


n. Mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct her/his affairs due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior. (See here.)

The above is a legal definition as distinguished from the popular quote (misattributed to Albert Einstein), “Insanity is doing the same thing [...]


Record Low U.S. Birth Rate Parallels Japan

Fewer babies born per capita are pushing the U.S. toward zero population growth.  This began happening in Japan around the time it moved from an era of rising prices to one of price stability or very mild deflation, despite repeated “quantitative easing” by the Bank of Japan.  Bloomberg reports (LINK):

Recession Left Baby Bust as [...]


How Japanese Bonds Might Still Be a Good Investment

Periodically the blogosphere, as well as some of the MSM and academia, raise the question of how Japan’s government is going to avoid insolvency.  Federal debt exceeds 200% of GDP and continues to rise.  Until now, the solution has been for interest rates to decline, thus allowing interest costs  to stay relatively stable.  

The bogeyman [...]


Enemy Action in Munis

Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times, it’s enemy action.

—Auric Goldfinger, quote from Goldfinger (1959)

Leaving aside Vallejo’s bankruptcy of a while ago, municipal bond investors have been hit with a rat a tat tat of three California municipal bankruptcies in short order.  Stockton, Mammoth Lakes, then San Bernardino.  [...]


Japan Runs Out Of Capital

What did you think the odds were of seeing this headline when Japan was here buying up Rockefeller Center back in 1990: “In a Shift, Chinese Capital Flows to Japanese Firms.”

In late ’80s and early ’90s the Japanese were here buying large real estate projects such as Rockefeller Center and the Pebble Beach golf [...]


Another Post-Depression Echo as U.S. Banks Become the New Japan and China and Buy Lots More Treasurys

Just as happened after WW II and for many years, the U.S. banking system is ramping up its holdings of Treasurys.  Bloomberg reports:

U.S. banks bought more government and related debt in the first two months of 2012 than they did in all of last year, an endorsement of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s [...]


It’s Getting to Look a Lot Like . . . “Deflation”

I awoke on Black Friday to find one of the news reports on the Web headlining that the trend is now “extreme couponing”.  This struck me as evidence of hard times, implying excess productive capacity relative to people’s available funds, so in the spirit of the holidays, I realized that it’s getting to feel like [...]


News Flash–Rare Earths Not Rare!

I wish to put a little perspective on the issues  hysteria surrounding so-called “rare earths.” The news media were abuzz about the announcement from Japan that rare earths were found on the seabed. Plentiful there, we are told. In fact, rare earths aren’t rare.

Rare earths are relatively abundant in the Earth’s crust, but discovered minable concentrations are [...]


Who Owns Our Sovereign Debt?

The TIC (Treasury International Capital) transaction report came out today. It is something I follow mildly, because I don’t think holders of U.S. dollars have much of a choice other than to buy U.S. debt or U.S. goods with their dollars. But here is the report:

Net buying of long-term equities, notes and bonds totaled [...]


Japan’s Struggle To Recover

This article deals with the economic impacts of the earthquake in Japan. There are enough sources on the web that deal with the destruction and loss of life. We wish the people of Japan well in this difficult time.

Japan is having a grave crisis and the Bank of Japan (BOJ) [...]