Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fluctuation Can Indeed Be Loss

A financial adviser I once worked with, as the market went down and our portfolio did too, smiled and said, in his Oxbridge English accent, 'At these times, you have to keep in mind the difference between fluctuation and loss.' Well, if you rely solely on equities, timing is everything, and if your timing's off, you're in big, big trouble.

They originally introduced Social Security, of course, so old folk wouldn't starve to death. It's comical, or would be if it weren't so tragic, to hear all those bootstrap-pulling-up righties talking about fixing everything with savings--health, retirement, social safety nets. Pensions gone, or raided and cash-stripped in M&As, or in equities and now low. Consumer spending driven by debt on 25%/yr credit cards, home equity loans, now slowing, and, oddly, in a 65-70% consumer-driven economy, recovery ain't 'zackly going full steam. So, more savings will solve everything. That way, less government spending, a lower deficit. And, of course, the social, fiscal, political, medical, educational answer for everything, lower taxes.

Makes absolutely no sense, even if constructed on an entirely non-ideological base, as if we didn't, in fact, have any obligations to each other as human beings. None whatever. None.

Did I say it makes no sense? Let me, then, say it makes no sense...

4 comments:

BlakNo1 said...

Damned stock market. I'd sooner take my money to Foxwoods.

Ruth said...

New version of trickle down, imho. If you save, it will be in some form in an investment/financial institution. The market will go up, and the rich and business will have more. Then those magical engines of prosperity will give folks jobs. Seriously, all the thinking I hear from the right seems to be about how to take care of the business/supply side.

ProfWombat said...

Blak: if you haven't been to Foxwoods, it's amazing. You drive through the woods for a while, and then, out of nowhere, looms this colossus of a building. You go in, and there are vast rooms full of slot machines, mostly worked by absorbed, blank-faced, pasty white people. Interspersed, here and there, are sculptures celebrating Native American values. Not, in some ways, all that different from, say, the headquarters of Bear Stearns...

Ruth: but, in fact, they aren't taking care of business. Business is largely a function of demand, rather than supply, in this country. They're taking care of themselves, and their clients, guarding their money and power, damning taxation and regulation, confusing the former with freedom and the latter with tyranny. But they really aren't doing much for the actual economy. But, then, you knew that...

BlakNo1 said...

A good friend used to do production work at Foxwoods. He hated the place, wouldn't even stay overnight unless absolutely necessary.