Great take on the recent years of madness, via Across the Street:

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via Across the Street

Category: Markets

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

35 Responses to “The Economy According to MC Escher”

  1. DL says:

    $150B is not enough. Now AIG wants EVEN MORE.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/29353282

    Can’t Obama say “no” to anyone?

  2. arcticpup says:

    Obama might have to say “NO”… if the dragon in the east says it’s not going to buy anyone US t-Bills… and starts to sell rapidly what it already owns.

    One wonders how much China… will buy until it tells the US to pay up?

  3. DL says:

    arcticpup @ 4:21

    Yeah, Japan and China would be doing us a favor if they put us on a (financial) diet.

    No more loans until Obama says “no” to someone.

  4. Pool Shark says:

    Perpetual Motion Perfected!

    Just pay profits out of receipts!

    (Charles Ponzi was such an amateur…)

  5. Transor Z says:

    Markets down 3.4% — Jai ho!

  6. Let’s give up our future for Lent.

  7. franklin411 says:

    I honestly don’t care what Wall Street thinks of the President’s plans anymore.

    If your teenager got drunk and smashed his car into your home, would you trust him when he says “give me the keys…I’ll back the car out of here?”

    Of course not.

    Wall Street traitors ruined our economy, and now they’re bitching and moaning because the administration isn’t doing what they want them to do.

    Wall Street can go hang itself. It’s time to do whatever needs to be done in the national interest. If that means the S+P goes to 0, then so be it.

  8. franklin411 says:

    And it looks like a lot of Americans agree with me. Go ahead and throw your temper tantrum, Wall Street traitors. You’re not helping your case:

    Poll: On economy, more trust for Washington than for Wall St.
    Posted: 04:07 PM ET
    From CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser

    WASHINGTON (CNN) — Pennsylvania Avenue beats out Wall Street in a new national poll: the survey suggests Americans have more confidence in economic decision-making coming from the White House and Congress than from Wall Street, the banks or auto executives.

    A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Monday suggests that the public opposes plans to provide more taxpayer dollars to the banks and the major domestic automakers.

    Three out of 10 questioned in the poll said they’re confident that Wall Street will make the right decisions to help the country overcome the current economic recession. That number drops 2 points to 28 percent when asked about bankers and financial executives. And only 26 percent said they’re confident that auto executives will make the right economic decisions.

    But 53 percent of those questioned said they have confidence in Republicans in Congress making the right calls regarding the economy. Even more — two out of three — expressed confidence that the Democrats who control Congress will make the right economic decisions. And three out of four said they think President Barack Obama will make the right moves when it comes dealing with the recession.

    “You know times are tough when Republicans have more confidence in a Democratic president than they do in bankers or Wall Street investors, but that’s what the poll is showing now,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Among Republicans, 37 percent say they are confident in Obama’s ability to make the right economic decisions, but only 31 percent of Republicans feel that way about Wall Street.”

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/02/23/poll-more-trust-for-washington-than-business-leaders-on-economy/

  9. Escher is the greatest, his works, often, capture the Human Condition, without saying a word.

    as an aside, check the detail, replete in many of his works, in the lower reproduction. With flora like that, how can there not be something askance?

    and, OOC, what’s the significance of the two Geometric shapes atop the platforms??

    Past that, so much for trying Fade sentiment, and “overextended” charts–Tight stops, via Ethical Agents, are a G-dsend..

    Nice to be Net Short.

  10. roncfp says:

    Come on BR, enough with the multitudes of looking at the same accident a million different ways. You can’t regulate human emotion and greed is the worse one.

  11. DL says:

    Remember this from Hillary Clinton during the campaign?

    “The sky will open. The lights will come down. Celestial choirs will be singing and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect!”

    Doesn’t seem to be working out that way just yet.

  12. DC says:

    I wonder how sales of “I SUPPORT THE TROOPS” magnetic ribbons are going these days?

    Seems most of the media have concluded that the War on Terror is far less important than whether the banks are or aren’t nationalized…whatever you think that means.

    It’s disgusting. Right now some soldier is pinned down in a firefight and nobody gives a shit. Whether you supported or opposed entry into Iraq, the fact is that the war is still raging (and the price tag is of course still rising).

    Imagine you’re in Baghdad watching the Nightly News these days, much less CNBC. What is it that they’re defending?

  13. You can’t regulate human emotion and greed is the worse one.

    Well, actually you can. They’re called laws.

  14. Transor Z says:

    @ roncfp:

    Sure you can regulate human emotion. Society agrees that certain emotional responses are antisocial/inappropriate/abnormal. Then you start prescribing.

    [cut to Chuck Heston]: ”You cut out his brain, you damned bloody baboon!”

    Where is Hunter S. Thompson when we need him most?

  15. CNBC Sucks says:

    As a registered Republican, the use of Escher to make liberal political points is degenerate and against the laws of the Reich! Your “liberal Republican” party privileges are revoked, Ritholtz. Just kidding, Barry, just checking out TBP for the first time in two months and see what’s changed, and I am glad to see not much. Don’t get your hopes up, old friends, The Great CNBC Sucks (I added “The Great” to my alias because I like the way it makes me sound like a magician, plus “The Very Great CNBC Sucks” sounded a little over the top) is not returning on a regular basis. Just thought I would say hello.

    Since stocks are back to 1997 levels, I should say, come to think of it, 1997 was a pretty good year. At that time, I was rooting on my party’s witch hunt and impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton. Who would have known then that I would become the national founder and leader of the “registered Republican movement” just 11 short years later.

    Oh, I should also add, Barry: I should never have made fun of your “liberal Republican” self-identification (http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2008/11/prediction-markets-contest/). I decided to stay a Republican just like Nelson Rockefeller and Robert La Follette, because I learned Democrats cannot be trusted to defeat Republicans. They are just too silly and clumsy, especially with that awful stimulus package. Maybe they can grow some and hopefully this Barry Obama can do some good things, but I wanted to tell you that I decided to remain a “proud” Republican just like you.

  16. km4 says:

    If you’re not completely pissed off at both GOP and Dems political assclowns then peruse this diary

    AIG: Give us another bailout or we’ll declare bankruptcy
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/2/23/153939/985/832/700892

    Here’s the good part….

    the American taxpayer has already fronted AIG in the last five months:

    1. an $85 billion loan from the Fed

    2. an additional $37.8 billion loan from the Federal Reserve a month later

    3. an additional $20.9 billion under a new program where the Fed would buy commercial paper — short-term debt often used for day-to-day expenses

    4. the U.S. government restructured its loans to AIG, giving the company about $150 billion in total as part of a rescue package in November. It included a $40 billion cash infusion from the $700 billion financial bailout

    As part of the package restructured in November, the government is also spending up to $53 billion to buy up mortgage-backed assets and other AIG contracts on debt.

    And yet that still isn’t enough!

    To put that in perspective, remember when Hillarycare was too expensive for America? It’s cost was $110 Billion to insure all Americans. Now we’ve thrown $150 Billion at an insurance company, and that appears to be just the downpayment.

  17. willid3 says:

    the only part missing from the cartoon was the collapsing wages. and while you might not be able to completely stop criminal activity, you can at least reduce the amount of it to bearable levels. thats why we have laws against things like fraud, robbery, murder and kidnapping. the problem was those in charge of the government decided that they didn’t want to enforce the laws they were responsible for. and that they were instead instead to treat those they were to monitor as ‘customers’ and help them do even more damage. it would be like the police helping a bank robber. and then complaining they didn’t see it coming.

  18. Mannwich says:

    Welcome back, CNBC Sucks. Your contributions to this blog were sorely missed.

    I knew you couldn’t stay away for too long though! ;–)

  19. Steve Barry says:

    My 3 AM Sunday call said:

    “I am confident in making a major call right now…I see the market rolling over once S&P breaks 750, likely this week…volume will pick up…market will drop 30% or so to 500, Dow to 5000 (Bill Gross’ call from 7 years ago will finally be proven correct)”

    It happened right away, as we closed below 750. I feel this all is going to happen really fast, maybe 3 weeks…a crash is also possible if volume really picks up. Still mind boggling that put/call could only get to .97 today…longs are just daring the market to smoke them.

    As for the government actions…lipstick on a pig. I wish them luck.

  20. AAfter says:

    With the all the negatives, excesses , and inefficiencies, this economy did produce some beautiful homes [foreclosure does not make them ugly], followed Moore’s law to create fast computers, medical devices, ipodes, and Skype [that connected the world almost better than any idea], a faster robust internet, and a few websites that know everything about us [handy for memory loss], and so many other inventions.
    Hence, I say ‘play it again Sam’…

  21. nice timing SB,

    that call of yours was going through mind today, along w/ “went down the toilet on that ugly bitch” (yes, from Wall Street) )

    forgot, in part, my own advice: “The easiest trade is to Fade those fading Steve Barry”

    as you delineate, the Short side is the Safe side..

  22. Mark E. Hoffer: I believe the little weird plants in the lower left of the Escher print are lichens, the branchy one is a reindeer lichen which is common in Maine, and the cup one is also quite common here. They grow to be about 1 inch tall. I never noticed that before. Godel, Escher & Bach is my source for Escher drawings. Hofstadter’s got a slew of them in there.

  23. “What is it that they’re defending?”

    Good question. I asked that myself during our first little Gulf adventure, sitting on a sand berm at 5:00 am in the star-lit cold of a desert morning, watching B-52′s in the distance, carpet bombing a bunch of people I never knew and now wouldn’t for sure. When I got back home, I checked to see if the constitution that I had sworn to protect and defend said that it was a constitutionally protected right to freely flowing oil such that soccer moms could have cheap gas to drive their kids around in hulking SUV’s. Couldn’t find it anywhere in there, so I got out.

    Which is what those guys in Iraq should do as well. It’s been over five years now since the latest adventure started. If a soldier is in Iraq today it is because they either volunteered after the war started, knowing full well what lay in store, or they re-upped after their first tour.

  24. usphoenix says:

    The Escher art and the comments remind me an MCI saying from the Eighties:

    “Sell at a loss. Make it up on volume.”

    Gee, what else could that be applied to today? Taxpayer money?

  25. grumpyoldvet says:

    Curmudgeon….

    Same shit I was wondering when I was in a far off jungle. Only there wasn’t any oil and we still lost 58,000 plus people there. What a fucking waste war is.

  26. “What a fucking waste war is.”

    Indeed.

  27. Curmudgeon,

    re: “If a soldier is in Iraq today it is because they either volunteered after the war started, knowing full well what lay in store, or they re-upped after their first tour.”–whil, no doubt True, in part, it’s worse than that..

    see:
    http://www.icerocket.com/search?tab=web&q=citizenship+for+military+service

    growing cadres of foreigners w/in the Services..trained, in the ultimate Boot Camp, for all manner of ‘Urban Warfare’ while being acclimated to the Command and Control structure..

    a Real barrel of monkeys were creating, of course, on the tax-payer dime..forgetting anything about ‘Daddy Warbucks’ or Xe, you know, just to go along to get along.
    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/02/blackwater_is_dead_long_live_xe.php

    Though, this: “I checked to see if the constitution that I had sworn to protect and defend said that it was a constitutionally protected right to freely flowing oil such that soccer moms could have cheap gas to drive their kids around in hulking SUV’s. Couldn’t find it anywhere in there, so I got out.” is Good of you.

    Shows, as well, how easy a thing it is to do. 2x-check one’s Oath. We should wonder if that’ll become a new trend..LSS: we’ll never get back ‘into the Black’, until something like that becomes ‘the new Black”.

  28. AGG says:

    The stairway to nowhere is a bit depressing. It’s also misleading. Somebody was and is stealing us blind. Let’s cut the “How the fuck did this happen?” thing and lock those bastards up.
    I read this in Counterpunch which succinctly describes the current situation:
    A truly socialized Treasury policy would be for banks to lend for productive purposes that contribute to real economic growth, not merely to increase overhead and inflate asset prices by enough to extract interest charges. Fiscal policy would aim to minimize rather than maximizing the price of home ownership and doing business, by basing the tax system on collecting the rent that is now being paid out as interest. Shifting the tax burden off wages and profits onto rent and interest was the core of classical political economy in the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as the Progressive Era and Social Democratic reform movements in the United States and Europe prior to World War I. But this doctrine and its reform program has been buried by the rhetorical smokescreen organized by financial lobbyists seeking to muddy the ideological waters sufficiently to mute popular opposition to today’s power grab by finance capital and monopoly capital. Their alternative to true nationalization and socialization of finance is debt peonage, oligarchy and neo-feudalism. They have called this program “free markets.”

    Michael Hudson is a former Wall Street economist. A Distinguished Research Professor at University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC), he is the author of many books, including Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (new ed., Pluto Press, 2002) He can be reached via his website, mh@michael-hudson.com

    However, as much as I do agree in principle with Hudson, I think that the faux nationalization is the best we can get from the “free market” which owns our MBA government. The only way to control these monsters is more and more demand destruction. And by the way, that will help strangle the war appropriations so the Cheney war profiteering traitors can look for a real job.

  29. johnbougearel says:

    Escher gives a pretty good visual of Einstein’s definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results

  30. BWA! HA! HA!

    Instant classics!

  31. AGG,

    see: “Shifting the tax burden off wages and profits onto rent and interest was the core of classical political economy in the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as the Progressive Era and Social Democratic reform movements in the United States and Europe prior to World War I.”

    let’s see, prior to WWI..

    further: “But this doctrine and its reform program has been buried by the rhetorical smokescreen organized by financial lobbyists seeking to muddy the ideological waters sufficiently to mute popular opposition to today’s power grab by finance capital and monopoly capital.”

    Blind, are we?, to the Federal Reserve Act of 1913? wonder where the ‘Financial lobbyists’ descended from?

    then, you go on ranting about ‘Free Markets’ ? as if, any costruction thereof would actually included a “Central Bank”?

    riight..

    see some of this: “The massive U.S. loans to the Allies, and the subsequent American entry into the war, could not have been financed by the relatively hard-money, gold standard system that existed before 1914. Fortuitously, an institution was established at the end of 1913 that made the loans and war finance possible: the Federal Reserve System. By centralizing reserves, by providing a government-privileged lender of last resort to the banks, the Fed enabled the banking system to inflate money and credit, finance loans to the Allies, and float massive deficits once the U.S. entered the war. In addition, the seemingly odd Fed policy of creating an acceptance market out of thin air by standing ready to purchase acceptance at a subsidized rate, enabled the Fed to rediscount acceptance on munitions exports.

    The Federal Reserve was the outgrowth of five years of planning, amending, and compromising among various politicians and concerned financial groups, led by the major financial interests, including the Morgans, the Rockefellers, and the Kuhn, Loebs, along with their assorted economists and technicians….”
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard66.html
    http://www.icerocket.com/search?tab=web&fr=h&q=rothbard+on+central+banking

    maybe, you know, on the off-chance, you’ll learn something new, or, at least, practice a new note, if not a new harmony..

  32. AGG says:

    Hoffer,
    I do not rant. I make well thought allegations about what I like to call the ” vocabulary of freedom” shell game. I get it. Whenever the term “free market” comes up, we are in conflict because I don’t think, except in a utopian sense in some economists “empty economy”, a free market has ever existed. Nor will it exist as long as we have such adroit system gamers in business and government. There is no free market. It’s a dodge. A whoopee expresion to make us all believe in egalitarian la la land. The issue, the central issue, that you just don’t want to talk about is that, in human affairs, someone will always boss someone else around. I have frequented the Lew Rockwel web site for years and it’s all quite logical. Do you, know why Rothbard admired the mafia? You see, your ideology is fixed in concrete. You are not open to new ideas. You want to dictate with your hrumph, hrumph and erudition all sorts of entertaining, idealistic ideas that in a just world amount to tyranny.
    But I’ve got to admit, you’re a lot of fun to argue with because you are smart as all get out. I will continue to call you on terms like “free market” because there ain’t no such animal, sir.

  33. roncfp says:

    @ Douglas Watts,

    Laws regulate our actions NOT how we feel about things. Greed in and of itself is NOT against the law.

  34. Douglas,

    with this: “Godel, Escher & Bach” http://www.amazon.com/Godel-Escher-Bach-Eternal-Golden/dp/0465026567 thanks for the reminder. It’s been a while since I’ve thought of that book. Like, too, many others, once in the Library, then lent out, never to be seen again..

    from the link: “Topics Covered: J.S. Bach, M.C. Escher, Kurt Gödel: biographical information and work, artificial intelligence (AI) history and theories, strange loops and tangled hierarchies, formal and informal systems, number theory, form in mathematics, figure and ground, consistency, completeness, Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry, recursive structures, theories of meaning, propositional calculus, typographical number theory, Zen and mathematics, levels of description and computers; theory of mind: neurons, minds and thoughts; undecidability; self-reference and self-representation; Turing test for machine intelligence.”

    I’d say, at U$D ~16, it’s a Gift, worthwhile at twice the price.

    past that, to your point about the ‘flora’, I hear you. though, if we are to believe that the woman, being depicted, is of us, they’d scale past 1″, yes? thereby, my note..
    ~~

    AGG,

    you can confuse me with “want(-ing) to dictate”, believe that my “ideology is fixed in concrete” and imagine that I’m some, unwitting, or otherwise, stalwart for Tyrrants, all you’d like–if that’s what, indeed, gives you pleasure.

    though, your pretense of ‘argument’ is, rather, too far beyond the pale..

    be a good sport, cogitate upon this: “maybe, you know, on the off-chance, you’ll learn something new, or, at least, practice a new note, if not a new harmony..”, at least once.

  35. bcasey says:

    Nice rant Franklin411, but until you get your pitchfork and several hundred thousand others join you with theirs there on Wall Street, nothing is going to happen.

    always liked Escher but I think Van Gogh might be more suitable to these times.