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  • A Career Path



    George: I am going to be an Engineer when I grow up.

    Cathy: That’s not so good engineers don’t get jobs any more.

    George: But I will. After I become an engineer I am planning to move to China; that’s where all the jobs are moving now a days.

    Cathy: But you don’t look Chinese or speak the language, I am planning to be a language major and I will speak fluent Chinese.  

    George: And what kind of a job will you get?

    Cathy: I will be translating what you say because you don’t know Chinese.
    Posted Feb 16 2010, 03:53 PM by cartoon with no comments
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  • The Meaning of Life


     
    Betty: The head of my department told me today that because of the financial crisis they might have to let me go.

    Laura: Life is terrible and then you die.

    Betty: John hasn’t call me in two weeks, I think this is the end of the relationship.

    Laura: Life is terrible and then you die.

    Betty: My mortgage is due on Tuesday and I don’t have enough money to pay it.

    Laura: Life is terrible and then you die.

    Betty: Can’t you say something else?

    Laura: Yes; life is terrible and then you are alive.
    Posted Feb 08 2010, 04:27 PM by cartoon with no comments
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  • Bubbles, Unemployment and Other Economic Problems

     
    Lori: Under Obama the America’s Trouble Asset Relief Program (TARP) will end up costing tax payers less than 1% of GDP. In the past the average cost to resolve such a crisis was around 13% of GDP.   Great news right?!

    Andrea: Well banks have found other ways to reestablish their financial health; for instance with interest rates so low it is easier for them to borrow from the Feds and invest that money in US bonds. The US bonds pay considerably better interest rates and earn a substantial profit without having to engage in public lending, an activity that can entail some risks for them.

    Lori: Nevertheless banks have returned money they owe the government. This action has demonstrated their good will.

    Andrea: By returning the money they owe quickly, banks free themselves of government supervision. Now bank executives can once again earn huge bonuses every year, bonuses that sometimes are worth millions of dollars.  Also banks have benefited from the Feds low interest rates in other ways, for instance; a large number of the savings deposits that banks now hold, were earned without having to offer high rates to their clients in order to attract them. Savers have nowhere to go but to banks in order to park their money without risk.

    Lori: I tell you what worries me the most about the economy is the unemployment situation 10+% is too high and with such numbers it is doubtful the economy will recover soon.

    Andrea: With the banks reluctance to give loans, even to small businesses, and with so many unemployed workers, the economy will not likely recover for a long time. In deed, Joseph Stiglitz a Nobel Peace Prize winner economist said recently that he and other economist believe the financial system today is even more frail than before the crisis. Stiglitz believes that another crisis is probably around the corner and that it would be a good idea to reform the global financial system to avoid more financial disasters.


    Lori: I read Stiglitz's article too.  He believes we need a global response to the problems we are facing. He also advises there should be a new reserve only coin to be backed up by some of the countries with stronger economies in the world.

    Andrea: On top of all the problems we have, the Stock Market, according to The Economist, is about “50% overvalued on the best long-term measure” and although the market rebound was needed in order to stabilize the economy last year, it appears now excessive growth is creating dangerous bubbles. On the other hand the Feds can not respond by raising interest rates to break the bubbles that could crush economic growth.

    As The Economist indicated; the problem is not just that valuations look high by historic standards, but it is also that the current combination of high asset prices, low interest rates and massive fiscal deficits is unsustainable.

    Posted Jan 27 2010, 06:25 PM by cartoon with no comments
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  • The Employment Situation Isn't That Bad

     

    Robert: I studied ecological engineering and never thought I was going to end up working in a garbage dump.
     
    Jim: Consider yourself lucky that you have a job.
     
    Robert: Well by separating the garbage in two group, organic and inorganic stuff, at least I am helping the environment.
     
    Jim: That is interesting. I see what you mean.
     
    Robert: I guess in some ways I have a green job since I contribute to help save the world from an ecological collapse.
     
    Jim: You're right; and you are one of the very fortunate ones that have a green job like the jobs Obama promised.
     
    Robert: That’s true, I am helping the environment, earning  money and helping feed my family as well. I found a few rotten oranges in the garbage and some chicken leftovers for dinner that maybe won’t make my wife and kids sick.


    Jim: Yeah, one has to be optimistic in order to survive. When the new government investment to create jobs is implemented I am looking forward to become garbage analyst II, then I can work on separating plastic container from cans. Gosh I am so happy living in a tent on a community park close to nature. I see crickets and mice close to me all the time besides I even get wet when it rains. You couldn’t be any closer to nature than me and my family are right now.

    Posted Jan 21 2010, 03:33 PM by cartoon with no comments
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  • The U.S. Economic Crisis: The Employment Situation

     
    Charles: Unemployment has gone from 10.2% to 10% both figures are close to the historical high figure of 10.80 in the winter of 1982.

    Richard: Yes and unfortunately the average amount of time it takes someone to find employment is now 28.5 weeks; that is six and a half months!

    Charles: And six and half months is one of the worst averages in history, even worse than in 1982.

    Richard: That's right.

    Charles: We can also say we have a new record in terms of a worker’s time to get a job in the first place. The last time it took that long was back in the spring of 1983, 26 years ago.

    Richard: And I recall the winter of 2003 has been pretty bad too. Many families went hungry or actually broke up because of the situation.

    Charles: All those were terrible years and now it is even worse; it's going to take a long time for full employment to return and it might never be 4.5% again, instead we may have 6% or 6.5% as full employment. Our total labor force is about 154 million people, therefore the over 15 million that are unemployed at present represent the more than 10% unemployment figure although some analyst believe that the actual amount, allowing for those that stop searching for employment and those that work only a few hours a week, is approximately 17.5%.

    Richard: you are right; and for those that are lucky enough to have a job they are working 4% more hours than what they were working in 2008. These are rough times. No doubt about it.

    Posted Jan 18 2010, 04:40 PM by cartoon with no comments
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  • Money and Happiness

     
    George:  My parents are wrong, we don’t need money to be happy.
     
    Cathy: You're right!  Happiness comes when you make the decision to be happy!  We can be happy if we want to; all we have to do is decide to choose that wonderful feeling!
     
    George: Who needs a bicycle,  car, home or even toys to be happy? I don’t!
     
    Cathy: Me neither!
     
    George: Love is all that counts.
     
    Cathy: That’s right. By the way aren’t you hungry? Let’s go home to eat, my mother is making stuffed turkey and we got chocolate ice cream and brownies for dessert.
     
    George: Yeah and afterwards we can go to the mall with my mom, there is a new computer game that I want. I know my mother wants to buy you the new dog robot you wanted for you birthday on Sunday.
     
    Cathy: That’s great!  I am so happy; I love you. Its so easy to choose to be happy.

    Posted Jan 06 2010, 12:08 PM by cartoon with no comments
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  • Is the Economic Recession Over?

     


    Maggie: I am disenchanted that after all that has taken place in the banking industry there is little transparency in the banking sector. Also it is unfortunate that banks have only raised a small portion of the capital they need.  They sadly remain insolvent and incapable of lending.
     
    Miriam: Banks are now claiming legal but false earnings quarter after quarter; eventually however they will have to face reality and let everyone know the truth. They lack liquidity; new accounting rules allow banks to demonstrate they are solvent when in actuality they are not. If a bank is unable to sell it's securities, they may remain on the bank's balance sheet at a value decided by the bank itself. That allows banks to set their own securities price. God only knows a bank's real financial status and it's liquidity capacity.
     
    Maggie: Also the recession is far from over. In November the 3.5% GDP growth for the third quarter was revised and adjusted down to 2.8%.
     
    If we take into consideration that auto sales and new home construction was due to the government stimulus plan we can come to the conclusion that GDP for that quarter was close to a zero real increase.
     
    Miriam: I know and unemployment figures do not include people only working part time and wanting a full time job or those unemployed for more than a year who have not found work. A true and real evaluation would probably yield about 18% unemployment or perhaps even more, not the10% the government claims.

    Maggie: Yes and 70% of GDP growth comes from consumer spending therefore if unemployment is so high we might as well forget about true consistent growth for next year.
     
    Miriam: Right! And there has been a 1.5 trillion dollars reduction in consumer credit in the past 18 months, and must probably there will be another trillion dollars credit reduction next year. With less credit there is less spending and less economic growth.
     
    Maggie: The way I see it, it will take sometime but the Chinese economic bubble will likely burst, meanwhile China by having the Yuan pegged to the dollar, and deliberately holding the Yuan's value down against the dollar, is robbing us of possible new job creation.
     
    Miriam: Things look pretty bad, I wonder why we bother going to school, we aren't likely to get jobs when we graduate.
    Posted Jan 05 2010, 04:41 PM by cartoon with no comments
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  • New World Market Economic Bubbles; and a Future Economic Reality Difficult to Accept for Most

     

    Karla: I don’t know what to think of the economy anymore. Jobless claims are down and new home sales have come up. Could this by an omen of a possible recovery?

    Lyla: I am skeptical, meanwhile unemployment remains high demand will be low and the economy will fail to show substantial growth.  Besides the assistance program for new home buyers of $8,000 dollars will end around April of 2010 and that will likely slow down a possible economic recovery.

    Karla: Obama’s economic stimulus plan is insufficient. On November 19 of this year in the New York Times Paul Krugman mentioned that “the A.I.G. rescue was part of a pattern: Throughout the financial crisis key officials -- most notably Timothy Geithner, who was president of the New York Fed in 2008 and is now Treasury secretary -- have shied away from doing anything that might rattle Wall Street. And the bitter paradox is that this play-it-safe approach has ended up undermining prospects for economic recovery. For the job of fixing the broken economy is far from done -- yet finishing the job has become nearly impossible now that the public has lost faith in the government’s efforts, viewing them as little more than handouts to the people who got us into this mess. About the A.I.G. affair: during the bubble years, many financial companies created the illusion of financial soundness by buying credit-default swaps from A.I.G. -- basically, insurance policies in which A.I.G. promised to make up the difference if borrowers defaulted on their debts. It was an illusion because the insurer didn’t have remotely enough money to make good on its promises if things went bad. And sure enough, things went bad.”

    Lyla: Yes, I remembered reading that article, Krugman also mentioned:  “So why protect bankers from the consequences of their errors? Well, by the time A.I.G.’s hollowness became apparent, the world financial system was on the edge of collapse and officials judged -- probably correctly — that letting A.I.G. go bankrupt would push the financial system over that edge. So A.I.G. was effectively nationalized; it's promises became taxpayer liabilities. But was there any way to limit those liabilities? After all, banks would have suffered huge losses if A.I.G. had been allowed to fail. So it seemed only fair for them to bear part of the cost of the bailout, which they could have done by accepting a “haircut” on the amounts A.I.G. owed them. Indeed, the government asked them to do just that. But they said no -- and that was the end of the story. Taxpayers not only ended up honoring foolish promises made by other people, they ended up doing so at 100 cents on the dollar.”

    Karla: Mohamed El-Erian Pimco's director has said that the economic crisis we are witnessing is formidable. It hit the economic core hard and he thinks we are experiencing a sugar rush right now and the markets think that everything is going to be well soon. El -Erian really believes that the slight economic improvement we are experiencing is only “temporal and reversible.”

    Lyla: God only knows when the economy will get Better if it ever does. It might improve some, but China is taking away many of our possible new jobs by keeping the Yuan below the dollar and is hard to think that Obama will borrow more funds to give the economy a second jolt since the debt is already huge.

    Karla: Many economists believe that there is a bubble in the stock market. The market grew some at first and that was expected since companies’ lay off many workers and improved productivity becoming more efficient. However market growth has continued beyond reasonable expectations.  This could be a new bubble that could crash the economy again. Maybe not as strong as the Real Estate bubble, but powerful enough to cause a Great deal of damage.

    Lyla: You are right. Bubbles are showing up here and abroad too. One has only to look at China. The Chinese government has invested over a trillion dollars in their stimulus package. A great deal of the Chinese production won’t find markets for their products. Many investors that are so sure about the Chinese economic rebound could end up empty handed. As central bankers around the world put an end to their stimulus programs a new economic world picture will emerge and it won’t look too nice.

    Posted Dec 14 2009, 11:53 AM by cartoon with 1 comment(s)
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  • The Value of Happiness Now-a-days

     

    George: My folks are so incredibly happy that you wouldn't believe it, and of course that makes me very, very happy too!

    Kathy: Wait, I know! They must have purchased a brand new car!

    George: Nope...

    Kathy: Let me guess: they are going to Europe!

    George: I don't think so.

    Kathy: I give up. What could have made them so happy?

    George: They got food stamps.

    Kathy: They must have been awfully hungry!


    Posted Dec 09 2009, 05:37 PM by cartoon with 1 comment(s)
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  • China is Pulling the U.S. and World Economy Down

     

    Anna: I have good news for you, home prices have increased for three consecutive months; I am thrilled!

    Karla: Unfortunately I am not so hopeful as you are; artificial low interest rates and a government tax credit are luring buyers but the governmental help will not last too long, indeed it will likely expire rather soon.

    Anna: Don’t tell me that! I was so excited about the good news, what a pity. At least the stock market is doing better.

    Karla: Companies have cut costs mostly by laying off employees and investors don’t know where to place their money so they go to the stock market as the best possible place. Even if the market doesn’t tell us too much about the economy. You could say that what we are actually witnessing is not actually a bull market but sometimes a bear market too.

    Anna: I guess that’s true. Also I heard that some very important banks are still weak; I know that banks are not lending yet and therefore that’s going to be a very important factor negatively impacting in the economic recovery.

    Karla: That’s right. I have to say that for me, in the long run, taking into account the worst of all possible factors the one that is going to hurt us the most is China.

    While a low dollar helps our exports the Chinese keep indexing  the Yuan’s value below the dollar and that will have a terrible effect in our economic recovery.

    Anna: Yes I know; a friend has also told me that China’s asset buying in the U.S. helped inflate the housing bubble. By keeping its currency attached to the dollar they are really hurting our chances of growth and economic recovery.

    Karla: Indeed they are hurting workers all over the world. Paul Krugman recently wrote an article in the October 22, 2009, New York Times about this issue:

    “Chinese officials are, in effect, devaluing their currency against everyone else’s. Meanwhile, productivity in China’s export industries soared; combined with the de facto devaluation, this made Chinese goods extremely cheap on world markets. The result was a huge Chinese trade surplus. If supply and demand had been allowed to prevail, the value of China’s currency would have risen sharply. But Chinese authorities didn’t let it rise. They kept it down by selling vast quantities of the currency, acquiring in return an enormous hoard of foreign assets, mostly in dollars, currently worth about $2.1 trillion. China has been keeping its currency pegged to the dollar which gives them a huge trade surplus and a rapidly recovering economy. China is a country whose currency should be rising in value and is in effect engineering a large devaluation instead. And that’s a particularly bad thing to do at a time when the world economy remains deeply depressed due to inadequate overall demand. By pursuing a weak-currency policy, China is siphoning some of that inadequate demand away from other nations, which is hurting growth almost everywhere. The biggest victims, by the way, are probably workers in other poor countries. In normal times, I’d be among the first to reject claims that China is stealing other peoples’ jobs, but right now it’s the simple truth.”


    Posted Nov 18 2009, 02:19 PM by cartoon with 1 comment(s)
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  • Threat of Inflation and a Weaker Dollar

     

    Posted Nov 18 2009, 01:49 PM by cartoon with 1 comment(s)
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  • Romantic Relationships and their Paradoxical Problems

     

    Posted Nov 03 2009, 05:04 PM by cartoon with no comments
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  • Hilary Hahn plays Prokofiev violin concerto

    Posted Oct 25 2009, 04:51 PM by cartoon with no comments
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  • Prokofiev's First Violin Concerto

    First Violin Concerto

     

    The final two and a half minutes of the opening movement of Sergei Prokofiev’s first violin concerto is an astonishing work of musical poetry and spiritual ecstasy; also its twin at the end of the piece as a whole might as well have been written to evoke the image of an ascending soul, so tenuous, tremulous, and delicate is it throughout, but most of all in its final upward drifting tones.

    Posted Oct 25 2009, 04:12 AM by cartoon with no comments
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  • If You Don't Want to be Dumped Then You Better Learn the Rules of Love


    Posted Oct 19 2009, 12:14 PM by cartoon with 1 comment(s)
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