Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know. *

-Carl Spackler


I should take it as complement when not one but two TBP posts show up on the front page of the NYT on consecutive days. Some of this is clearly a moment of zeitgeist, with more than one person thinking of the same thing at the same time. Still, its nice to consistently beat major publications.

The first was our May 5th post, The Latest Craze: Blue Chip Penny Stocks, followed by the NYT story the next day Slump Humbling Blue-Chip Stocks. Once Citi broke a buck, and GE became single digit stock, the story was pretty obvious:


I do give the Times props on the chart title “Black-and-Blue Chips”


The second such example actually started with the Speaker’s office, which was picked up by Time magazine’s Swampland, which we then improved upon.

The Times article Job Losses Hint at Vast Remaking of Economy used a similar chart:


As I suggested, the ambiance of our chart sensitive times implies these things to more than one mind at a time — but its nice to know that we are still days and months ahead of the major media on these things.


*  “Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.” So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice. -Carl Spackler


The Latest Craze: Blue Chip Penny Stocks (March 5, 2009)


Job Losses: Comparing Recessions (February 7th, 2009)


Post WWII Recession Job Recoveries (Months) (February 9th, 2009)


Job Losses in Post WWII Recessions (February 9th, 2009)


Household Employment from Peak (February 9th, 2009)



Slump Humbling Blue-Chip Stocks
NYT, March 5, 2009


Job Losses Hint at Vast Remaking of Economy
NYT, March 6, 2009


Category: Employment, Financial Press, Markets, Valuation

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.

33 Responses to “Read It Here First: NYT Edition”

  1. xnycpdx says:

    a finance man who not only digs bill hicks, but caddyshack.

    i knew i’d found the right blog.

  2. sellthekids says:

    Gunga Galunga, Barry; Gunga Galunga.

  3. rmasand says:

    The crux of the crisis seems to be shifting from home values to joblessness, which underpins asset values. It is essential that the focus of efforts and discussions shift likewise.

    To quote Abelson in today’s Barrons:
    “David makes an impassioned plea that the nation turn its focus and its energy to the seriously ailing labor market. All the more so, because he sees this final leg down in housing as being driven by mounting joblessness.”

  4. Here’s the next issue that is starting pop up . . .

    Tent cities rise across the country
    Since foreclosure mess, homeless advocates report rise in encampments
    The Associated Press, Thurs., Sept. 18, 2008

    More coming soon

  5. schmoo says:

    …big hitter – the Lama


  6. Kyle says:

    Tent cities are much more interesting than your “first post!” claims.

  7. Kyle says:

    In other news, the NYT did an interview with Obama, they posted the entire transcript online.

    In it Obama said “[A] What I don’t think people should do is suddenly stuff money in their mattresses and pull back completely from spending. [B] I don’t think that people should be fearful about our future. [C] I don’t think that people should suddenly mistrust all of our financial institutions because the overwhelming majority of them actually have managed things reasonably well.”

    A: He’s right, they should give the soon to be inflated cash to the banks, use it to buy gold, and stuff that under their mattresses.

    B: See Tent Cities http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26776283/

    C: Citation needed

  8. Kyle says:

    Forgot to add the must-read article of the week/month/year:


    In case anyone was wondering where all the “money” went.

  9. williams says:


    A lot of self-referencing lately. Do you have a chart on the number of times you refer to yourself or your excellent blog vs. time?

  10. JohnnyVee says:

    Barry. Great job. I can’t wait to read your book.

  11. Kyle says:

    Sorry for the chain posting, had to pull the money quote:

    “In other instances, mortgage brokers would cruise neighborhoods, looking for houses with old windows or a leaning porch, something that needed fixing. They would then offer to arrange financing to pay for repairs. Many of those deals were too good to be true, and interest rates ballooned after a short period of low payments. Suddenly burdened with debt, people began to lose homes they had owned free and clear.

    As early as 2000, a handful of public officials led by the county treasurer, Jim Rokakis, went to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and pleaded with it to take some action. In 2002, the city passed an ordinance meant to discourage predatory lending by, among other things, requiring prospective borrowers to get premortgage counseling. In response, the banking industry threatened to stop making loans in the city and then lobbied state legislators to prohibit cities in Ohio from imposing local antipredatory lending laws. ”


  12. rileyx67 says:

    Great Barry, but they really need to print your piece on “i Bank 50 Billion…”, (with a bit of editing of course!)…all of Main Street needs to grasp the degree of that travesty!

  13. 10 cc says:

    Barry Ritholtz@March 7th, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    “I just spent sixty days in the jailhouse
    for the crime of havin’ no dough
    Now here I am back out on the street
    for the crime of havin’ nowhere to go”

    “Save your neck
    Or save your brother
    Looks like it’s
    One or the other
    Oh, you don’t know
    the shape I’m in”

    - The Shape I’m In
    – The Band

  14. AGG says:

    A vast remaking of the economy would require revoking a shit load of corporate charters and prison for several thousand corporate executives:

    This from the Alternet web site:

    In his book When Corporations Rule the World, David Korten, former Harvard Business School Professor writes, “In the young American republic, there was little sense that corporations were either inevitable or always appropriate.” Early in American history, Americans were very much concerned about any entity achieving too much power, and so in corporate charters there were clear limits placed on: years permitted to exist, borrowing, land ownership, extent of enterprise, and sometimes even on profits. Korten notes that in the first half of the nineteenth century, “Action by state legislators to amend, revoke, or simply fail to renew corporate charters was fairly common.”

    The Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD) was created in 1994, in part to inform Americans that they can in fact revoke corporate charters. In 1890, POCLAD explains, the highest court in New York State revoked the charter of the North River Sugar Refining Corporation in this unanimous decision: “The judgment sought against the defendant is one of corporate death … the defendant corporation has violated its charter, and failed in the performance of its corporate duties, and that in respects so material and important as to justify a judgment of dissolution.”

    Of course the libertarians don’t mind if a bunch of children and old folks die from xyprexia . It’s all part of the “free market”‘. We certainly don’t wanr government interference in the marketplace. After all, beaurocratic supervision of corporations inhibits their efficiency and raises the price of their product. If people start dying from a drug, they’ll probably stop taking it, right? It’s in a corporation’s enlightened self interest to not market drugs that kill people, right? Mises, you were SO Enlightened!

    Do the world a favor, revoke a corporate charter today. No more limited liability for corporate criminals!

  15. AGG,

    see: http://clusty.com/search?input-form=clusty-simple&v%3Asources=webplus&query=Nader+on+corporate+charters

    “The relentless expansion of corporate control over our political economy has proven nearly immune to daily reporting by the mainstream media. Corporate crime, fraud and abuse have become like the weather; everyone is talking about the storm but no one seems able to do anything about it. This is largely because expected accountability mechanisms — including boards of directors, outside accounting and law firms, bankers and brokers, state and federal regulatory agencies and legislatures — are inert or complicit.

    When, year after year, the established corporate watchdogs receive their profits or compensation directly or indirectly from the companies they are supposed to be watching, independent judgment fails, corruption increases and conflicts of interest grow among major CEOs and their cliques. Over time, these institutions, unwilling to reform themselves, strive to transfer the costs of their misdeeds and recklessness onto the larger citizenry. In so doing, big business is in the process of destroying the very capitalism that has provided it with a formidable ideological cover…”

    Nader, re: Corporate Charters, is correct, some do deserve to be terminated..

    Re: Mises, it wasn’t his Job to predict any, and all, potential abuses..that is, of course, why people learn things..

    and, maybe, we’ve learned that ideologues, no matter the stripe, are checkered, at best..

    I’d post the def., though someone has limited posts to two links.. (:

  16. AGG says:

    Hoffer says, “maybe, we’ve learned that ideologues, no matter the stripe, are checkered, at best”

    I totally agree. But I’m pushing a more precise point. The constitution was hijacked buy profit mad supreme court justices in the late 19th century. It was twisted, tortured, bastardized and ripped into unrecognizable dribble for the sake of providing a legal backstop for corporate shenanigans and malfeasance. We need to go back to that point and push the reset button. Sure, there’s a pack of sophists who would rather die than have logic, justice and freedom in our judicial system, but without the reset, we are one step away from dictatorship. It all boils down to balance of powers. We no longer have balanced powers because a group of powerful bullshit artists set out in the late 19th century to castrate all three branches with money clippers. They succeded. Now what?

  17. well, I tend to agree, though, this: “but without the reset, we are one step away from dictatorship.”

    may need an edit, seems, to me, the dictatorship, in spirit, if not letter, is, already, here.

    though, seeing some of recent ‘legislative hits’, and E.O.’s, maybe it’s here in Letter, as well..

    to your point, about that 19th C. History, you should post some links, the vast majority have no idea, and, thereby, no way to grasp what you’re alluding to..

  18. mark mchugh says:

    The NYT responded to your “buddies for life” request:

    “We have a pond in the back. We have a pool and a pond. The pond would be good for you.”

  19. AGG says:

    About the reality of a dictatorship, I believe the last step is when we fear government more than the government fears us. True, all those quaint rights like privacy of our papers, homes, identity seem to have vanished but still we don’t have that fear level that exists in overt dictatorships.
    As to providing links, I’ll do my best. I admit I am not as diligent in this area as you are. I’m just ever mindful of the “attention span” problem of the average reader; i.e. if he is a thinker, he’s probably “figured it out” already; if not he is normally a victim of status quo ante worship. At any rate, I’ll keep trying to point to the present day enablers of this criminal insanity in the press, business and government so that people will realize the folly of considering these sources of info (or disinfo) as credible. Crirical thinking is hard and most people are too lazy to engage in it. Perhaps these grueling times will get some more people thinking.

  20. AGG,

    critical thinking is like learning to ride a bike, sometimes painful, at first, though, people get better at with practice, soon it’s like second nature.

    and, even ‘thinkers’ can’t know everything, noone’s an Ecyclopedia, even Brown..

    also, re: the lazy, it’s almost Biblical, they, too, shall always be with us. It’s, ultimately, their choice..

    but, links help, I mean, really, who knows anyone on these ‘tubes?

    to that point, I reinforced my inbox in expectation of your e|mail, the blade salesmen was happy, but the server hasn’t even had the need to burn-in yet..

  21. AGG says:

    I sent an e-mail some time ago to one Mark E. Hoffer in regards to the Gelbert Aquarian Power Generator. This invention makes use of the following common principles to generate power:
    1) H2O capillary adhesion (hydrophylic action of a mechanical xylem)
    2) Hydrophobic action
    3) Pressure differentials
    4) H2O’s paramagnetic nature
    No, it’s not a gloryfied dunking bird. I’ve been there. This can be scaled up.
    Did you get it?

  22. usphoenix says:

    WOW. Yeah. Today corporations have more legal standing than citizens. Care to guess why?

  23. lw says:

    So if I traced back time correctly…

    The employment picture for this “downturn” was tracking nicely to the 1990 and 2001 recessions last November.

    So my theory is that the ~$800B stimulus package was written assuming that by now things would be stable and maybe improving a bit without a stimulus package..

    Would explain why the stimulus package isn’t all that stimulating, it didn’t need to stimulate…..

    Time for Stimulus Part II.. They need to go for at least a $1T this time… Just spending billions isn’t all that impressive anymore.

  24. AGG,

    no, I didn’t, not sure where it got off to, though, if you sent it through the .blogspot site, I’ve never seen that e|mail address come up that way..

    though, Tesla well knew of your points 1.) & 4.) , used them in pumps that were tremendously efficient..

  25. usphoenix,

    I’ll take the 14th Amendment, and lay U$D 500 @ 2-5

  26. AGG says:

    Okay, I’ll send my terms again.

  27. Greg0658 says:

    “Crirical thinking is hard and most people are too lazy to engage in it.”

    BUT .. REALLY .. WHY bother . really

    we are allowed to vote for someone who will decide on all things for us .. it may be that you decide A over B is 51% in your camp .. then we have the Flip Flopper Factor ……….. and where do all these factors go .. Poof

    so do your homework and vote for us because they will wreck your life

  28. doug86 says:

    “The first was our May 5th post,”

    Please change to “March 5th”…

  29. Pat Shuff says:

    In detailing the downfall of the Russian oligarchs it apparently eludes this NYT reporter that he has written a paralleling parody of his beloved NY, NY. Switching names,
    faces and NY/DC for Moscow, the storyline remains the same
    only more so. Back in the US, back in the US, back in the Big Apple on the Volga.


  30. Avl Dao says:

    Barry, I’m glad I lobbied last month for you and TBP readers to tackle how we’re likely already undergoing a Structural Economic Transformation, rather than a depression or ‘just’ a Great Recession. Comments in your Feb 28 blog posting:

    Last month, some readers at CalculatedRisk took my bait and picked up the discussion ball and along the way nicknamed it, SET (Structural Economic Transformation).

    And BTW, that’s nice wording, “the ambiance of our chart sensitive times implies these things to more than one mind at a time…”

    Getting the SET discussion started is the easy part…we still need to decide where we want our economy deposited…where do we want to arrive at once global DeLeveraging has run its course? Given the death of these four multi-decade economic models and waves:

    1. The 25-year Consumer Debt Model that was popularly labeled as a Consumer Spending Model (see #4 below). Lifespan: 1982-2007.

    2. The 23-year Service Economy Model where Knowledge Workers and Service Jobs relied heavily on access to debt to finance the household budget gap caused by the shift away from manufacturing. Lifespan: 1984-2007

    3. The 25-year Secular Bull Market on Wall Street. Lifespan: August 1982 to November 2007.

    4. The 25-year ‘political economic experiment’ in operating an Economic Superpower (now of 300+ million people) off of a GDP model 70% driven by debt-enabled Consumer Consumption. Lifespan: 1982-2007

  31. Avl Dao,

    to your SET, and given your timeframes, you may think about adding these, related, topics:



    might help to give balance to understanding the ‘pincer’ being applied to the productive Economy.

    they could be seen as a subset of 2., though, as 5., it would start a blank page to draw in/erase other maladies set upon our Society/Economy..