Tiny Tim Takes on Scrooge

The ghost of Christmas’ Present is here with words for the Bankman-Frieds. Since Peter’s just down the road, he’s got the top dog-walkers on the case listening in; Rob has some culinary advice for Andrew Robinson (who premiers on the podcast this week); Mr. Lileks posits the nobility of the trades he got to know in chilly Fargo, ND.

And as Tiny Tim observed, “God bless us, every one.” Merry Christmas! See you in 2023.

Music from this week’s podcast: What Christmas Means to Me by Stevie Wonder

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There are 24 comments.

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  1. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Sure, but what’s with the concert still of Yes?

    • #1
  2. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Was that Sowell who said that about Harvard?  I thought it was Charles Krauthammer.

    • #2
  3. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    I wonder if Rob knows the old saw.

    What is a communist?

    Someone who reads/has read Marx.

    What is an anti-communist?

    Someone who understands Marx.

    • #3
  4. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    For James:

     

    • #4
  5. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Dang, I was hoping to hear from Mr Garak.

     

    Wrong Andrew Robinson.

    • #5
  6. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Letterman used to have Darlene Love on his show each year to sing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” but I recently heard this one and I like it more:

     

    • #6
  7. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    SBF embezzled other peoples money and stuck it in a hedge fund that speculated on crypto. Even if you don’t break the law when you do it, speculating on crypto doesn’t add much value to society. For example, when guys speculate on commodity markets it adds liquidity and helps price discovery on the stuff that society needs. Speculating on agricultural markets and commodities actually smooths out prices and makes products more available.

    The Stanford credit union lends on productive activities and consumer purchases.

    Decentralized crypto is hard money or a speculative currency that some people need on some parts of the planet. That is different from the rest of it. Bitcoin is not a token etc.

    Tokens look completely bogus to me. That is what the Sequoia hedge fund pumped up that got this thing started. I’m told that stable coins are bogus.

    The fundamental question you guys are asking is how do legal tender laws advance human flourishing?  Unfortunately, we are getting to the tipping point where legal tender laws don’t net out. lol

    It looks to me like Gary Gensler stepped in it like no ruling class bureaucrat has ever done by a wide margin. Of course nothing will happen to him and the reporting on him will be really lame.

    The interviews of Kevin O’Leary are just amazing. I think it would be really nice if he got into big legal trouble from this thing.

    I would also like to hear an interview of Sequoia’s risk management guy and their lawyers.

    • #7
  8. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Whenever I hear any trade school argument, I always think that the implication is that liberal arts is a scam. If it’s not a scam, it’s overpriced. Nobody ever structures the discussion that way. Think of all the wasted money and time.

    I went to college a long time ago. I was absolutely amazed at how many smart people thought that liberal arts was a waste of time and money and they thought you were stupid if you didn’t have that opinion. 

    I think the root of it is the bogus accreditation system. There is no value added except in technical fields., possibly. It’s just a bogus trade licensing scam like most states have.

    • #8
  9. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

     

    Education is not an actual “public good”. 

    Government schools, usually called public schools, don’t add any value. In fact they just make everything worse. Just cut a check to the parents and the aggregate value goes straight up.

    • #9
  10. Rightfromthestart Coolidge
    Rightfromthestart
    @Rightfromthestart

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Gentlemen! 

      I was happy this year to have the rare pleasure of meeting, conversing and having a drink with James and Rob at the Manhattan meet up.  Also yes, the 1951 Alastair Sim version is the standard, amazingly he was only 51 at the time. 

    • #10
  11. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

     

    Education is not an actual “public good”.

    Government schools, usually called public schools, don’t add any value. In fact they just make everything worse. Just cut a check to the parents and the aggregate value goes straight up.

    If you are willing to put tax payer money into the check, then you must think it is a public good.  But it seems you also think that government run schools are a poor way of creating that public good.    I agree on both parts.   We need re-discover the idea that “education” is not the same as schooling.

    • #11
  12. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    Before the federal govt. got into bank regulation in 1930’s.   Bank shareholders usually had “double indemnity” responsibility.   That is, they were responsible for matching their investment in the event of a bank failure.   Borrowing was hard back then.

    From here:

    Extended Liability before the Great Depression

    Bank liability was not always so limited. Before the Great Depression, bank shareholders in some states were responsible (in proportion to their shareholdings) for their initial investment plus some or all of the unpaid debts of a failed bank with negative net worth. The map below shows how bank shareholder liability structure varied by state in 1926. Under double liability, the most common regime, bank shareholders were liable for as much as the par value of their shares plus their initial investment to cover losses by a failed bank.

    Does More “Skin in the Game” Mitigate Bank Risk-Taking?

     

    Extended Liability and Bank Risk-Taking in Theory

    While the additional skin in the game under double liability should, in theory, mitigate excessive risk-taking, there could also be offsetting effects as well. For example, it could be the case that these banks were better able to attract less sophisticated depositors lulled by a sense of safety due to extended liability. If such depositors were less likely to withdraw deposits when the banks’ financial conditions deteriorated, the weakened “depositor discipline” could incentivize bankers to take more risks. An alternative offsetting effect could arise from “adverse selection” since the investors who select to own shares in a double liability bank are likely the most risk tolerant. If either effect was operating, double liability banks might take similar or even more risk than limited liability banks. Because the effect of limiting liability on bank risk-taking is difficult to untangle theoretically, we turn to historical data for some evidence.

    • #12
  13. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):
    If you are willing to put tax payer money into the check, then you must think it is a public good. 

    This is the problem. Unless you do it that way, how do you develop their human capital fast enough? 

    Seriously, I don’t have the answer. 

    At the same time, it’s not a public good and it’s behaved as such since 1970 or so. It’s not like the fire department or building roads or anything like that. 

    I’m open to any ideas.

     

    • #13
  14. EJHill+ Podcaster
    EJHill+
    @EJHill

    “The Public Good” is one of those phrases that rankles me. It ranks right up there with “voting against your own interests.” Both assume that others know better than you.

    • #14
  15. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    EJHill+ (View Comment):

    “The Public Good” is one of those phrases that rankles me. It ranks right up there with “voting against your own interests.” Both assume that others know better than you.

    I’m talking about the economic definition. It’s a legit economic term. 

    If people actually want to lower government spending and increase economic output they need to understand what it means. 

    Having said that, Democrats use the term in the way you are describing. “The fire department is socialism” blah blah blah.

    • #15
  16. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

     

    Education is not an actual “public good”.

    Government schools, usually called public schools, don’t add any value. In fact they just make everything worse. Just cut a check to the parents and the aggregate value goes straight up.

    What if the parents don’t use it to educate their children?

    • #16
  17. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Rightfromthestart (View Comment):

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Gentlemen!

    I was happy this year to have the rare pleasure of meeting, conversing and having a drink with James and Rob at the Manhattan meet up. Also yes, the 1951 Alastair Sim version is the standard, amazingly he was only 51 at the time.

    I was disappointed to hear it being said as “Sims.”

    • #17
  18. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    EJHill+ (View Comment):

    “The Public Good” is one of those phrases that rankles me. It ranks right up there with “voting against your own interests.” Both assume that others know better than you.

    It depends.  Do I know that someone would be better off spending their money on, say, buying and reading a good book vs getting plastered and going for a drive?

    Yes.  Yes I do.

    • #18
  19. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    kedavis (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

     

    Education is not an actual “public good”.

    Government schools, usually called public schools, don’t add any value. In fact they just make everything worse. Just cut a check to the parents and the aggregate value goes straight up.

    What if the parents don’t use it to educate their children?

    What do you think I’m going to say about what you are saying? tia 

    • #19
  20. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    kedavis (View Comment):

    EJHill+ (View Comment):

    “The Public Good” is one of those phrases that rankles me. It ranks right up there with “voting against your own interests.” Both assume that others know better than you.

    It depends. Do I know that someone would be better off spending their money on, say, buying and reading a good book vs getting plastered and going for a drive?

    Yes. Yes I do.

    We are talking about government spending.

    • #20
  21. La Tapada Member
    La Tapada
    @LaTapada

    Seen somewhere on the Internet: Sam Bankrupt Fraud

    • #21
  22. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Rightfromthestart (View Comment):

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Gentlemen!

    I was happy this year to have the rare pleasure of meeting, conversing and having a drink with James and Rob at the Manhattan meet up. Also yes, the 1951 Alastair Sim version is the standard, amazingly he was only 51 at the time.

    I was disappointed to hear it being said as “Sims.”

    That’s because I always watch it twice.

    • #22
  23. J Ro Member
    J Ro
    @JRo

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    EJHill+ (View Comment):

    “The Public Good” is one of those phrases that rankles me. It ranks right up there with “voting against your own interests.” Both assume that others know better than you.

    It depends. Do I know that someone would be better off spending their money on, say, buying and reading a good book vs getting plastered and going for a drive?

    Yes. Yes I do.

    We are talking about government spending.

    “Public Goods” by Tyler Cowen at Econlib:

    https://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/PublicGoods.html

    ”One of the best examples of a public good is national defense.”

    • #23
  24. J Ro Member
    J Ro
    @JRo

    Thanks, Gents, for another year of interesting, entertaining, and informative podcasting.

    Your theme and one of your topics of interest this week remind me of this somewhat obscure bit from Dickens’ most popular ghost story:

    “All he could make out was, that it was still very foggy and extremely cold, and that there was no noise of people running to and fro, and making a great stir, as there unquestionably would have been if night had beaten off bright day, and taken possession of the world. This was a great relief, because “three days after sight of this First of Exchange pay to Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge or his order,” and so forth, would have become a mere United States’ security if there were no days to count by.”

    Apparently US investment securities were commonly understood to have a very bad reputation in December 1843. If the story were rewritten this December, Scrooge’s business concerns might be that previously valuable business claims “would have become a mere SBF cryptocurrency token.” 

    God Bless Us, Every One!

    • #24
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