Monday, June 29, 2009

Vegas Trip Report

I'm back from a quick trip to Vegas over the weekend. It was a interesting weekend that went something like this. I rolled into town Friday night, and headed over to the Rio. I found Dr. Pauly in the press area, and we had a nice chat about Fantasy Sports Live's plans for the next year including a new and improved Sunday's with Dr. Pauly coming this September. I also asked him about his 30 day break from the WSOP to travel the country following a concert tour. To me a nice break from the grind of the WSOP would be several weeks in Maui, vs. a travel heavy concert fest, but to each his own. I like Pauly's idea of coming back fresh for the 50k horse and Main Event, vs being burned out by the time the biggies roll around. I don't know how some of the bloggers can get through the grind of an ever longer WSOP schedule. I watched a bit of the 50k HORSE which is always cool because the field is small and the tables are star-studded. Phil Helmuth was not in the HORSE event, as he was still playing in an earlier event that was down to the last few tables. After that I headed over to Slots-a-Fun for a quick $3 craps session and off to the MGM for poker.

I put my name on the list, and was looking around the poker room, when I noticed Hoyazo, Chad and CK playing at a $1/$2 NL Holdem table. I asked to get moved over there, and after about 20 minutes I was seated. Hoy said the table was tight and they could use me to liven up the action a bit, lol. I played a pretty long session with them, and watched Chad put on his usual cash game clinic, and CK accumulate over 1k in chips. I was horribly card dead, and did not get my first pot until about three hours into the session. A couple interesting plays from Chad were as follows. Someone opened to $13 preflop and there were a couple of callers, so Chad raised to $152. I said something like "Don't you think that is a bit excessive?". It folded around until a guy with QTo stated he wanted to gamble and made the call. Chad's JJ held up. There was also this really young looking guy who thought he was some sort of poker genius. Chad and him were going at it constantly. At one point he opened to $17 preflop, and I said "that's one dollar for every year he is old." Chad called with a low suited 5 gapper, and after hitting the flop slightly took down a massive pot from the child prodigy. I love watching Chad play cash, because he plays pretty much exactly opposite of how I play, and still has success.  I was folding away with bad cards and not catching any flops as well. At one point, I had K9o and had limped from a blind in a four way pot. It checked through to the river, and I had nothing, but took a $5 stab at the small pot. I don't mind taking down the orphan pot, but I also don't mind getting called down for image purposes. As tight as I play preflop, I like to get caught bluffing once and a while so that people will think I am a bluffer in the back of their minds. Hoy made the call and dragged the pot with a 3 for bottom pair. I said "you better not make a play like that tomorrow (in the WSOP)". Eventually, I would win my first pot with a Jack high hand, and then shortly later, I would call a $13 open in a four way pot with KQo, and spike two kings on the flop. Hoy would stab at the flop, and I called. On the turn Hoy check folded to my bet. It was getting close to three in the AM at this point, and Hoy, CK, and Chad called it a night. The table got much easier immediately so I hung around for a while. Sometime after 4 AM I packed it up myself, and quit a 5 hour + session where I won just two pots and was down $150.

I slept in till about 1PM the next day, and got back the the MGM shortly after 3PM for another session. It was another card dead nightmare. Two hours into another session, and I had not won a pot yet. I had not seen a single hand like AK, AQ, AA, KK, QQ, or JJ in over eight hours of poker. It really starts to wear on you after a while, and I was even starting to make some bad plays which is not acceptable. I ran into Russ Fox and Weak Player who were at the MGM for the Clapton concert that night. Later on Chad would show up, and commented that I looked depressed. I pretty much was. I came out to Vegas to play a bunch of live poker, and was simply getting crushed. In this session, I finally started to catch some middle pairs like JJ, TT, and 99. I would raise preflop, and get a bunch of callers. The flop would come with one over, and it would check to me. I would stab at the pot and get pushed off by an immediate reraise. Basically, the medium pairs were just accelerating my losses. Eventually, I would just get up to clear my head after a three hour+ session with just a single small pot won and loss of $190. I knew things would turn around eventually, but I was not in the right mental state. I split the MGM and headed over to the RIO were I ran into Mr. Al Can't Hang. We talked for a while in the press booth, and then I headed over to a Final Table with Lee Watkinson.

I then headed over to Casino Royal for a $3 Craps session, and ended up back at the MGM around midnight. I could not find any bloggers (Hoy was off making a big score at the Venetian), so I sat down for some more $1/$2 NL and started running like a God. Second orbit I picked up KK and dragged a $320 pot. I would also pick up AA, QQ (2x), and AK (2x) during the session, and run my $200 buy-in up to about $530 over 3 1/2 hours. The session would come close to squaring my losses from the previous two horrible sessions. I called it a night. Sunday morning, I was feeling a bit burned out and decided to head home earlier than planned.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Fed Can't Have It Both Ways

The Fed just completed their recent meeting with a statement that they are seeing signs of the economy improving, and are going to leave overnight rates at 0%-0.25% for the indefinite future. On one hand they are saying the economy is improving. On the other hand they are saying the economy is crap because they need to keep rates at historic lows for an extended period of time. Many people do not understand how fiscal policy works, but the Fed. should. When the Fed. adjusts their rates there is a 9-12 month lag before the rate change takes full effect in the economy. Because of this huge lag, the Fed. needs to stay ahead of the curve, and try to anticipate where the economy will be in a year. Keeping rates too low in a recovering economy leads to inflation, and was a big cause of the current financial crisis. Had the Fed. kept rates higher prior to 2008, it would have helped to prevent, and/or deflate the housing bubble. It would have been harder for people to qualify for even the sub-prime type loans if rates were higher, and if less sub-prime loans were made, the housing bubble would have been less severe. The Fed. was essentially enabling the housing bubble through fiscal policy. If the Fed. really thought the economy would be recovering in the next 12 months, they would need to start moving rates up now. How about just moving the rate to 0.25%, instead of a range that includes borrowing money for free? The fact is that there are no green shoots, and the Fed. is well aware that Obama's policies, if enacted, will crush the economy for many years to come. They want to be a team player so they are talking the economy up, but their interest rate policy speaks for itself. Holding rates at historic lows for an indefinite amount of time, means that in their opinion, the economy will not be improving for an indefinite amount of time plus 9 to 12 months.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Last Minute Vegas Run

It does not appear that there will be an organized blogger gathering this summer. That's no reason for me to not make a Vegas run though, is it? I got a bit of business to attend to, and the WSOP is a great place to promote Fantasy Sports Live, so I am going to pack up and head out this weekend. My only plans are to spend some time in the Amazon Room promoting FSL and meeting with some of the bloggers reporting on the event. Also, I am going to play as much live poker as possible (probably at MGM). I don't believe there are any organized blogger events Friday-Sunday, so I am going to play it by ear I guess. I don't plan on playing in the WSOP, but that could change if I go on a heater Friday night. Good luck me.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Too Big To Fail

Nothing makes me cringe more than when I hear the words "too big to fail". Too big to fail is a new and horrible concept. It basically says that there are certain companies that pose systemic risk to the United States economy if they were to fail and file for bankruptcy. Obama's new regulatory plan addresses companies that are too big to fail by regulating them in new ways, while leaving out new regulations for Fannie Mae and Freddy Mack. The new regulations also fail to address the fact that the FHA has become the new sub-prime lender of choice with 3.5% down loans to people with poor credit in a crashing housing market. I guess we never learn a thing do we?

I have a better idea about how to deal with companies that are "too big to fail". The answer is not regulating them. The answer is not letting them exist. Why does America need companies that are too big to fail anyway? What purpose do they serve to us? We should have been thinking about this one a while ago when we let them merge into the size they are now. So rather than regulating them, I say we figure out what companies are already to big to fail and break them into smaller fail-able pieces, and stop letting companies merge into massive too big to fail size. I would say that AIG, Fannie, Freddy, Citi and B of A are in the too big to fail camp and need to be dealt with sooner rather than later. So how about just taking care those five, and then saying that the United States will never bail out a company of any size again, so don't come asking. Capitalism requires that weak companies can fail so that their workers and assets can be recycled by better and stronger companies. This way the overall economy grows as productivity is increased. Artificially keeping failing companies alive can only lower productivity, because resources are not being allocated properly. To grow the economy companies must be allowed to fail big or small. All this government intervention disguised as helping the economy can only do harm.

This all gets down the the flawed notion of growth through acquisition. Small companies usually can grow fine on there own. Medium sized companies can grow on their own, and can also pick up some efficiencies through acquisitions. For fortune 500 companies it starts to get pretty hard to grow at any kind of pace on your own due to their sheer size. So to satisfy the board and stock holders many try to continue to grow for the sake of growth and go out and buy more and more companies that are less and less a good or productive match. The CFOs love this because it allows them to cook up the books during the acquisition period and during the wind down period later on (when the acquisition officially fails), smoothing out earning as required. The ability to take liberties with your financial statements has got to be one of the main reasons big public companies continue to acquire. I do not think that it is a highly profitable or efficient thing for a company to become massive for the sake of being massive, so lets just stop that notion now. Not in America. Stop approving mergers for companies that are trying to become to big to fail, and the problem is solved and capitalism can do its work.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Economy Much Worse Than What Is Being Reported

Lets face some facts here.  The government loves to manipulate economic data to serve their own purposes.  According to the government GDP was down about 6% in Q4 2009 and Q1 2009.  Q2 2009 numbers have not been released yet (quarter is not over).  I started thinking about ways to estimate GDP without relying on bogus government numbers, and also get more granularity than a quarterly report.  It turns out that you can easily back your way into GDP by using Hauser's Law.
Hauser proposed a law that total U.S. Federal tax revenues hold constant at about 19.5% of GDP based on the above chart.  The law was proposed about 15 years ago, and most economists did not believe it could be true.  It has continued to hold since that time even though individual income tax rates have varied wildly.  It basically proves that you can't soak the rich with higher taxes as a way to increase tax revenues.  Unfortunately, the concept of soaking the rich to pay for new expansions of social programs is the key to Obama's plans.  This law will need to be broken for Obama to succeed and it has held for 60 years now.  It is actually pretty easy to explain.  If you raise taxes on the rich for example, GDP will contract as a result of the higher taxes, and you end up getting a larger percentage of a smaller pie for a wash.  The reduction of the top bracket from 90% to 70% in the 60s did not hurt tax revenue at all as a percentage of GDP.  When Reagan reduced it again from 70% to 50%, again no reduction.  Even the Bush tax cuts to address the economy after 9/11 did not reduce revenue as a percentage of GDP.   Since Federal tax revenue is a fixed percentage of GDP, the only way to increase it is to grow the economy.  Tax cuts can grow the economy, and as a result increase Federal tax revenues.  Tax increases, shrink the economy, and as a result lower federal tax revenues.  If Obama really wanted more money for the government to spend he should be looking at tax cuts to grow the economy, vs. tax increases that have never worked in the last 60 years.

So if Hauser's law continues to hold today, which I am assuming it does, then changes in tax revenues are directly proportional to the underlying GDP growth.  You can simply look at monthly tax revenues and back your way into GDP.  Below is a scary chart showing 12 month percentage change in monthly Federal Tax Receipts.

As you can see Federal Tax Revenues have fallen off a cliff in 2009, and if Hauser's law is holding the GDP growth chart would look identical to the chart above.  Through the first 5 months of 2009, tax revenues are down 22.7% indicating a GDP contraction of 22.7% which is much higher than the 6% number that is reported.  A contraction of this size puts us easily in the area of a depression.  I used a three month rolling average to pinpoint the start of the depression at February 2008.  The contraction has accelerated in Q2 to twice the level of Q1. Even the Governments bogus numbers should show a GDP contraction of at least 10% in Q2 when reported in July.  This is a massive acceleration of the economic decline.  There are no "Green Shoots" and the economy is not getting worse less fast as reported.  The downturn is accelerating in Q2 2009, and when the stock market gets wind of this, watch out.  

Since Obama's entire economic plan is based on a false premise, the damage can't be undone, unless there is a radical change in policies towards promoting  economic growth.  I doubt that will happen, so we will be waiting until 2012 to start undoing the damage to our economy caused by the Obama administration.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

RIP GameDayDraft and FantasySportsExchange

Two more competitors have disappeared recently. Game Day Draft which was the first site to launch under the UIGEA exemption no longer exists. They launched with a confusing web site and a strange pick from player pools structure. They were also located off-shore in Costa Rica which seems a bit shady for a "legal" fantasy sports site.  They tried to reinvent themselves by copying our contest lobby, but their site continued to be a confusing mess, and they have finally thrown in the towel.  RIP Game Day Draft.

Fantasy Sports Exchange was a sister site to the large offshore sports book World Sports Exchange. They launched about 5 months after us, and clearly used our site as a basis for building their daily fantasy sports site.  They threw a ton of money at the software and did a pretty good job with it.  I told our partners after they launched that our site would look and function very similar to theirs if we had an unlimited software budget.  Their draft interface was more advanced than ours at launch, and we copied some of the things that they did to get to where we are now with FSL's draft interface.  Since I can't win prizes at Fantasy Sports Live, I have had my eyes out for a similar site where I could play at and Fantasy Sports Exchange was the best I have seen.  Unfortunately, they are an offshore sports book so they can't be funded by PayPal or credit card. I have not had a way to fund offshore accounts since the UIGEA passed, so there was no way for me to open and fund an account with them.  They also did not attempt to fully comply with the UIGEA because they did not need to, leaving them with a fantasy sports gambling site per U.S. law.  I think the account funding issues are what ultimately killed them. Why play at an offshore sports book when you could play on a legal U.S. site like ours. RIP Fantasy Sports Exchange.

It appears from the rumblings around that interweb that both companies are making it hard for players to get funds out, which is unfortunate.  It leaves people with a bad taste in their mouths for daily fantasy sports.  Fantasy Sports Live is here to stay though, and we welcome any users from GDD of FSE who would like to play daily fantasy sports on a site that is here to stay. With the departure of GameDayDraft, FantasySportsExchange, InstantFantasySports, and DraftMix from the scene, we are left with just SnapDraft as a major competitor, and a handful of smaller copycat sites with little to no traffic.  None of our competition is over a year old now. Our fees are less than 1/2 the fees at SnapDraft, and our structures and transparency is much, much better than theirs.  If you want to profit from fantasy sports, we are now the only game in town as Snap Draft is more of a lottery style site that can't be beaten long term.  Our decision to profitably grow the company has been key.  We are no Facebook.  We have a solid business model and are already profitable giving us staying power for the long haul.  Check out Fantasy Sports Live if you are ready to profit long-term from your sports knowledge.

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Monday, June 08, 2009

Supreme Court Stays Chrysler Bankruptcy

The Executive Branch of the government is constitutionally required to enforce the laws of the United States.  As I stated in Depression 2.0, Obama was attempting to rewrite the U.S. bankruptcy laws in the Chrysler bankruptcy as a way to payback the UAW for supporting him.  While Congress refused to stop him from doing this, a small group of Indiana investors successfully appealed to the Supreme Court and the proceedings have been stopped pending a potential hearing at the highest court of the land.  The UAW has no claim to anything in this bankruptcy, but were going to be gifted a large stake in the company, as well as cash and warrants.  Obama played hardball with the secured investors, and softball with the UAW.  Had everyone agreed to this, fine.  Many did, but any objection to this would require the Bankruptcy laws to be followed and there were objections.   This is great news, because it shows that Obama's unlimited power is going to get checked (as is should be), by another branch of government.  I do not see anyway that they will not actually hear the case, and if they do there is no way they are going to allow bankruptcy laws to be destroyed for political reasons.  This will also effectively kill the GM "prepackaged" bankruptcy as well.  What should have happened is the UAW should have taken nothing, but received the opportunity to save some jobs through bankruptcy.  That's how it supposed to work.  Had that happened, it would have been possible for Chrysler to survive bankruptcy.  You basically go the UAW, and say you will get nothing, and if you do not agree to that we will liquidate the company, and all union jobs will be lost.  That is a pretty good incentive to take the deal.  Unions are like parasites.  They are not supposed to be able to kill the host and still survive.  Finally, some much needed sanity from the government, and a chance of continued investment in U.S. companies.

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Best Comedy Ever Made?

I saw "The Hangover" last night, and IMO it is the best comedy ever made by miles.  No other comedy comes close to this one, and I love me a good comedy.  Imagine if Old School was ten time funnier. That's what you have with The Hangover.  When the movie ended it got a standing ovation from the theater crowd, something that I have never seen before.  I also can't wait to see it again, and I have never wanted to see a movie twice prior to release on DVD before.  I have not decided yet, but it may be my new all-time favorite movie including all genres.  Nuff said. 

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Depression 2.0

I hate to say it, but I think we are well into our second depression in the United States.  A depression seemed so unlikely based on the lessons learned from the last one, but we are facing a very unique set of circumstances here that make depression 2.0 just about unavoidable.  The ingredients we have in place are pretty rare, but perfect for causing the second major U.S. depression.  We have a systemic shock to the world banking system as a result of the U.S. government allowing loose credit for way too long (republicans and democrats share the blame here).  We have an inexperienced, charismatic, president, who does not have a clue on economics, and has surrounded himself with a ton of liberal yes men advisors.  We have a democratically controlled congress that is sleeping at the wheel and rubber stamping anything the anointed one want’s to do.  We have a corrupt and biased press that refuses to honestly evaluate anything the president does.  The only voice of reason here (fiscal conservatives), are completely drowned out by the biased media coverage.  This rare stack-up of events puts us on course for a lengthy downturn that will feel much more like a depression than a recession by the time it ends if ever.

The economy is in horrible shape right now.  Forget about reports from the biased media that consumer confidence is up, and that housing is improving.  The media is talking the economy up as much as they can, because that is what Obama would want them to do.  He is paying for good media coverage through kickbacks to GE (parent company of NBC) including Cap and Trade preferences, Universal Health Care preferences, and unrestricted access to the White House.  I was flipping channels the other day and found a special on the interworkings of the Obama White House. This was not a Fox News report, because they would never get access like that.  It was obviously NBC the most biased and corrupt news organization out there, getting repaid for there biased reporting of the anointed ones election.  The media is cherry picking good news about the economy.  The economy is not improving, unless your definition of improvement is getting worse less fast.  The economy may be getting worse less fast, but it is still getting worse day by day, month by month.  Q1 home prices were down by the largest amount Y/Y on record.  Home price declines are actually accelerating right now.  Tough to find that in the media “housing market is improving” reports.  Consumer confidence may be ticking up, but same stores in May (a measure of actual consumer sentiment) were lower across the board.  In other words consumer spending continues to drop.  The problem with talking the economy up is that it rarely works.  Eventually people will figure out that the talk is just talk, and the economy is in truly bad shape.  It’s not that hard, go to a shopping mall and see for yourself.

A shock to the banking system is not enough to take the strong American economy down for good.  Normally easing interest rates and waiting the nine or so months for the changes to filter through the economy is enough to fix the problems.  Rates were lowered early on in this depression. The initial TARP capital injections into the banks were probably also required to stabilize the banking sector.  I would say about 300 Billion between AIG and the troubled banks would have been enough.  After that, you need to wait things out.  Unfortunately, along comes a new president with a wealth redistribution, socialist agenda.  Being opportunistic, he sees the crisis as a means to push his agenda.  His agenda though is pure anti-growth, pure punish the hard-working, and pure spoil the lazy.  Basically a pure anti-American agenda that would have the founding fathers spinning in their graves.  I could never really figure out the reason for the second amendment, but those genius founding fathers were looking 100s of years ahead to how our system could be corrupted by the executive branch.  The 2nd amendment is a check against unlimited executive power, and it may be time to use it.

So at a time when only sound economic policy can get us out of this depression, we have a president who could care less about sound economic policy, and cares only about social engineering.  We have a president that is spending about $18,000 per tax payer this year to “fix the economy”, with policies that will never work.  I think if you asked the average American they would want there 18k back.  The problem with spending 1.8 trillion dollars that you don’t have is that you have to pay it back some day.  You better get a massive bang for your buck if you are going to put all taxpayers on the hook for that kind of money.  When it does not work, it is not free.  The repayment of that debt will be a headwind against the economy for the next 50 years at least.

Lets just look at a few of the ways that Obama is damaging the economy with his policies and steering us right into a depression.


TARP was never intended to be used to bail out the car companies.  GM and Chrysler both have broken business models and are not savable. Every dollar that we give them is flushed down the toilet.  Unless we offer to provide them unlimited funds to stay in operation they will be both be bankrupt for good in short order.  Worst of all, Obama corrupted to bankrupcy process to payback the UAW for helping elect him.  Unless the Chrysler bankruptcy is tossed out on appeal, our bankruptcy laws will be broken in the United States, and that will dry up investment in U.S. companies.  Why be a secured investor in a company, if bankruptcy rules can be changed for political reasons?  I also do not understand how TARP can be used to buy 60% ownership of a car company out of bankruptcy.  I guess since the bill is 1000 pages long, and nobody read it so Obama can do what he likes no matter how unconstitutional.  The initial TARP funds were distributed by Bush as preferred stock would have likely been repaid with the exception of AIG.  AIG should have been cut-off after the initial stabilization effort and been allowed to fail.  Conversions of preferred stock to common stock (Citigroup) is the same as flushing that money down the toilet.  So under Bush they were careful to make sure that TARP would be repaid, and tax payers would not be damaged.  Under Obama TARP has been turned into a slush fund of bail out money that will probably never be repaid.  If transparency is ever brought to TARP it will be clear that the money distributed under Bush was mostly repaid, and under Obama was not repaid at all for a huge taxpayer loss.

Stimulus Bill

Let’s face facts here; the stimulus bill has not stimulated the economy in any way.  It was a welfare bill disguised as a stimulus package.  If you gave me 770 billion dollars to stimulate the economy, the recession would already be over.  I would have suspended income tax collection, and reduced corporate tax rates until the 770 billion was “not collected”.  The key difference here is that not collecting the money is not an expansion of government, and is very easy to unwind.  Every working individual and corporation would be immediately stimulated.  They may not spend the extra money, but if they don’t it will get saved which is good for the banks.  It also gives people an incentive to work, and businesses an incentive to hire.  The stimulus package was simply a welfare package, and gives no incentive to work or for businesses to hire.  Let’s break it apart a bit here.  A massive portion of the stimulus was for the “Make Work Pay” tax credit.  A tax credit is not a tax cut, and that is a huge difference.  There were no actual tax cuts in the stimulus package despite media and Obama reports to the contrary.  The tax credit is phased out for 100k+ earners, and is paid out even if you did not pay taxes. (Refund of your Social Security and Medicare withholdings).  So there is no stimulus here for high income earners, and he has raised the marginal tax rate for low income earners disincentivizing hard work.  Basically, a low wage earner who qualifies for the tax credit faces a phase out if they earn any more money as well as increased tax rates.  The double whammy makes it not worth it to work harder and earn more money because the government will take most of it.  100s of billions of stimulus is welfare for states so they can temporarily avoid tough budget decisions.  100s of billions are to extend and raise unemployment benefits which has been shown over and over again to discourage people from seeking work, and expanded Medicare payments which don’t stimulate the economy at all.  The rest is for shovel ready projects of which less than a billion has been spent so far, and for research grants to study liberal pseudo science like Global Warming.  The quality of science is deteriorated by government assistance, as it politicizes science.  The government will siphon off 75% of the R&D grant funds by administering them.  It would have been a much better idea to expand the corporate R&D tax credit.  At least corporations would research stuff that could help the economy as opposed the government standard pig flatulence studies.

Cap and Trade

The most scientifically dishonest policy from the president that said he would use sound science to make public policy.  Obama’s energy policy will cost the average family $4600 a year in extra energy and related costs in a time of depression, and ship millions of manufacturing jobs overseas where energy will be much cheaper.  The policy will also have no measurable effect on Global Temperatures that have been dropping for the last 7 years and are expected to continue to drop in their normal 30 year up and down cycle as determined by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).  There is no current substitution for oil, and CO2 is a harmless gas that is essential for life as we know it.  If this policy is enacted, not only will a depression be guaranteed, but our national security and quality off life will take a huge hit.  Keep in mind that the science of global warming per the IPCC was determined by a show of hands, and not by reproducible experiments.  I was not aware that a show of hands trumps an actual scientific experiment, but this is how Obama science policy works.  I would really appreciate a public debate on this matter before we head back to the energy use levels of 1905, but it is not going to happen because the liberals would not win, and they are the ones in control now.

Universal Heath Care

Here are the facts.  Health care in the United States is the best in the world.  Countries that have universal health care ration it with long waits and by letting people die while waiting for treatment.  The problem is also greatly exaggerated.  I keep hearing 50 million are uninsured.  Well 10 million of those are illegal immigrants, and they should not get universal heath care.  8 million more are under 18, and can probably do without.  Another 10 million are 18-34, and probably choose to not have it to save money.  That leaves just 20 million who are probably too poor to pay for health insurance.  Mandating that these 20 million now pay for health care will not work, because they can’t afford it.  Once you realize all this, you can see it is just another Welfare policy.  Tax the rich and use it to pay for the poor’s heath care coverage.  Well there are many problems here.  First off, universal health care is a disincentive to work.  If you need a job to get good heath care then that is a reason to go out and get a job.  If you tax the rich to pay for it that will put a drag on the economy and make them less likely to work hard.  Increasing taxes in anyway will hurt the economy and that is a proven fact.  Tax the rich enough and they will simply leave the economy.  Lastly, the government does not run anything efficiently.  Getting them involved just means more waste and worse care.  If it ain’t broke don’t fix it is my vote.  If this somehow gets through, a depression is guaranteed because they will tax us to death to pay for it.  Think about a national sales tax.  Think about taxing your company health care benefits.  Think about sin taxes.  Obama is thinking about all of these, and every one of them will kill the economy.

Reckless Spending Plans

If you combine TARP, the stimulus package, the 2009 and proposed 2010 budgets, and the expanded balance sheet of the FED, we have more deficit spending (planned or spent) in the last 6 months, than the last 30 years combined.  This reckless spending is driving up interest rates, devaluing the Dollar, and causing domestic inflation.  Mortgage rates are up ¾ of a point in a week.  Oil is heading back up to $80.  This is all happening before the economy has started to recover.  In a normal recovery, the economy starts to move and that causes interest rates and inflation to start ticking up. When it is caused by the economy this is normal and good.  When it is caused by reckless government spending it is not good.  The economy is already facing stiff head winds as it tries to recover.  This is why I do not see the economy recovering anytime soon.  Forget about a Q3 or Q4 recovery that the media likes to hype.  A recovering economy has never felt headwinds like this before, and the economy is way too weak to overcome them anytime soon. Deficit spending needs to end ASAP so that the headwinds can be removed. Also, the government needs to stop intervening in the economy.  You can’t fight off the bottom, only delay it.  Obama may be successful in delaying the bottom for 4 years, but that means 4 years of economic decline.  If you let the economy find its bottom it will grow again given some time.  The only way out of this is to stop bailing out companies, and stop spending money that we do not have.  The deficit last year was a historically high $450 Billion.  Obama has no problem with trillion dollar deficits for the next 10 years.  We will not get fiscal responsibility until he is long gone.  I just wonder how much permanent damage will be caused by a 5+ year long depression.

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

BBT4 Run Recap

I ended up playing in 18 of the BBT4 events and did not win a TOC seat.  I went in figuring I would play around 20 and that would give me about a 50/50 shot at a seat (based on average field of 50) and that’s about what happened.  I was heads up once in the riverchasers with the chip lead for my 50/50 chance, but did not convert.  Overall, I played pretty well, but was bounced on bad beats just before several final tables.  That was evened out to some extent by a lucksack/cardrack run to third in one.  I can’t really compare myself on points to those who played most of them when I played less than 1 out of 3.  I finished in 48th overall on points.  Only 2 people finished higher than me with 18 or less events, and I finished higher than 22 people who played 18 or more events.  I was profitable over the series, though not by a huge margin.  I have now been profitable over each BBT series individually.  If you look at points per event, I ended up in 20th place overall for anyone with at least 18 events.  I think that’s about where I would have landed if I had played most of them.  I think I would have had about a 90% chance at a seat as well if I played them all, but that is not really possible.  The timing of these things is horrible for me, and it would have taken a divorce to play in more of them (I took a ton of heat as it was).  It was a lot of fun though to play against everyone, and there were some very enjoyable final tables along the way. I wish the best of luck to everyone who made the TOC, and for whoever wins a seat, could you please take the M.E. down.

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