Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Howdy. Thanks to everyone who made my birthday so much fun this year! Also, I'd like to say that I'm going to go ahead and place a hex on everyone who participated in the "decorating" of my office, the hex to remain in place until such time that my office once again becomes clean (I've pulled down the streamers, but there are still a whole bunch of balloons, and I'm pretty sure I'll be finding confetti in the nooks and crannies of my office for the next several years).

Well, last night I went and had dinner with Ryan, Jamie, and Nicole at Hyde Park Grill. It wasn't really a birthday celebration dinner, necessarily, because we already sort of did that on Saturday night, but it was a nice dinner, nonetheless, and they even got me some presents (a David Byrne album, the new Herbie Hancock, and a Wilco DVD). Thanks to all the folks who called or stopped by to wish me a happy birthday!

And for the millionth time, I will readily admit to being totally confused by the economy and by Wall Street. The Fed takes action to help save Bear Stearns and reduces a key interest rate by .75 because the economy is silding deeper into the crapper, and suddenly the stock market reacts by wildly skyrocketing 420 points? It just feels crazy. It seems like the American economy is some sort of seriously ill hospital patient, and then whenever the doctor gives that patient a shot of painkillers to temporarily ease his symptoms, the patient's family immediately rushes out to buy the patient exercise equipment and plane tickets for the patient to travel with them to Europe next month. Is it well-wishing that's driving this behavior or some kind of hope that spending money on future plans will either cure the patient or make him forget his own sickness? I'm all for the power of positive thinking, but doesn't it just seem sort of natural that there might be dire consequences for bad decision-making in a freemarket economy (i.e., the poor investment decisions and overextended credit of Bear Stearns)? Anyway, I don't really understand the stock market. They seem like a bunch of overstimulated, hyperactive little kids who just respond with knee-jerk reactions to the latest news rather than choosing to try to see any kind of big picture and move proactively and purposefully.

Well, that's enough for now. Maybe more later.
But I'm no economist. I took economics from a professor who was aptly nicknamed "Sleepy Joe" because of the effect that he had on his students.


Anonymous said...


Interesting. I talked you into taking an economics class in college - you hated it - and almost got a "C". I have an MBA and have been in the business world for thirty five years. And, your view of what is happening in our economy and financial markets is one of the most insightful I have seen in recent months. What the Fed and the government are doing is trying to offset the NORMAL AND EXPECTED results of allowing our financial enterprises to run with little or no common sense rules and regulation for many years. We just don't want to face the facts that SUBPRIME mortgages are, fundamentally, a very risky investment (SURPRISE!!!). Further, basing our economic growth on ever-expanding credit until the consumer simply can't carry any more debt can only end in a growing number of bankruptcies - and another financial crisis.

Smart dude.


J.S. said...

Thanks, Dad! Maybe I should have mentioned in the actual post that even though I never did get into economics in college, when I was but a wee toddler, Dad used to read The Wall Street Journal to me while I sat in his lap (I think I mostly just liked the sound of reading). Anyway, maybe a bit of that finance stuff soaked into my head through osmosis!