Tom Toles via Washington Post

Hat tip Prieur!

Category: Bailouts, Economy, Humor, Mathematics

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.

50 Responses to “Second Derivative Humor”

  1. Bruce N Tennessee says:


    This bungee thingy…after watching all the buying in the 10 year today…what an amazing amount of swinging we are getting in the bond market last few weeks…

    ?Bungee Ben?

  2. says:

    I doubt it is even tied

  3. AmenRa says:

    Why is it now that all of the “technicians” are screaming the market is overbought? Every talking head on Bloomberg is saying this. Did they talk up the market until the stress test results were released? I still think this a setup for the shorts. So shorts be patient. The gap up in the morning is going to hurt if you don’t keep your stops tight.

    It has gotten to the point that I prefer to listen to music and watch the charts rather than watch/listen to Bloomberg or CNBC.

  4. leftback says:

    No worries. The PPT are holding on to the cord, right??

    US$, JPY strengthening into the close. Soft PPI/CPI numbers coming up this week. Minimal ‘flation.
    All in all, we would have to say this is looking like a good week to be long bonds and short equities.
    Another profitable day at Schadenfreude Asset Management. “Your pain is our gain”™.

  5. AmenRa says:

    Oh yeah in reference to the cartoon: the decent has slowed because he has reached terminal velocity.

  6. Bruce N Tennessee says:

    Mortgages Over 5% Mean Fed Purchases as Bonds Slump

    May 11 (Bloomberg) — The world’s biggest investors are increasing bets that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will boost purchases of Treasuries as the steepest losses on government debt since 1994 send mortgage rates above 5 percent.

    Ben, when you get home tonight…a couple of ice cubes and then talk thinks over with a couple of fingers of Jack Black…soon things will be all better…

  7. Bruce N Tennessee says:

    My typing teacher in high school only passed me because she thought the girl I was dating was wonderful …

  8. Pat G. says:

    The guy falling and flailing is the consumer.

  9. Bruce N Tennessee says:

    Of course, now that we have bought 92 billion dollars worth of treasuries, there could be another reason…

    “China, wary of the troubled US economy, has already “canceled America’s credit card” by cutting down purchases of debt, a US congressman said Thursday.”

    …funny idea, this China thing…

  10. I-Man says:

    @ Left:

    Dude that weekly FXY chart is looking damn fine… screw UUP, same trade, more alpha with FXY. What do you think?

    With a solid retest of todays gap, it just might work its way into being a core holding in the I-Man model portfolio for May-June.

  11. I-Man says:

    I just got this BTW:

    ” satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else’s misfortune.”


    I thought it was more like “shady fraud” but I gave you more credit than that and had to look it up.

  12. aitrader says:

    Bungee Jumper
    1997 Darwin Awards Runner-Up
    Confirmed True by Darwin

    (13 July 1997, Virginia) Eric A. Barcia, a 22-year-old Reston, VA resident, was found dead yesterday after he used bungee cords to jump off a 70-foot railroad trestle, police said.
    The fast food worker taped a number of bungee cords together and strapped one end around his foot. Barcia had the foresight to anchor the other end to the trestle at Lake Accotink Park, and he even remembered to measure the length of the bungee cords to make sure that they were a few feet short of the 70 foot drop. He proceeded to fall headfirst from the trestle, and hit the pavement 70 feet below several seconds later.
    Fairfax County police said, “The stretched length of the cord that he had assembled was greater than the distance between the trestle and the ground.” Perhaps the deceased fast food worker should have stuck to the line, “Do you want fries with that?”

    Fitting. I wonder if the guy was part of the Bernanke or Geithner family?

  13. Marcus Aurelius says:

    The cartoon would be more accurate if the ground was covered in broken glass and rock salt.

  14. Cursive says:

    @ BnT 4:07

    RE: Jack Black

    Have you ever drank any Old Fitzgerald? It is hard as heck to find.

  15. leftback says:

    I-Man: Yes, I am not playing the US$ directly, just shorting “crap assets” and buying Treasury funds for now.

  16. Marcus Aurelius says:

    I forgot: And hungry alligators.

  17. wally says:

    “The world’s biggest investors are increasing bets that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will boost purchases of Treasuries…”

    Oh, that’s just great: the Fed against the world. And whose money is Bernanke playing with here? That’s right…

  18. centiare says:

    The 2nd derivative (velocity) is the wrong metric, which of course the PTB know full well, yet it serves to advance their narrative that the economy is improving.

    If total employment is cut 1% each month, even though the *gross* number is indeed getting smaller (since the base is in turn being proportionally reduced), employment is still be shrinking by the same *rate*. In fact, as the base gets smaller, the base reduction rate could even be higher even though gross number appears to be decreasing.

  19. jc says:

    We’re borrowing half the federal budget, at some point interest rates and inflation will suddenly explode, right, then who gets cut? Does the admin tell CA or CITI or AIG, no more!

    WASHINGTON – The government will have to borrow nearly 50 cents for every dollar it spends this year, exploding the record federal deficit past $1.8 trillion under new White House estimates. Budget office figures released Monday would add $89 billion to the 2009 red ink — increasing it to more than four times last year’s all-time high as the government hands out billions more than expected for people who have lost jobs and takes in less tax revenue from people and companies making less money.

    The unprecedented deficit figures flow from the deep recession, the Wall Street bailout and the cost of President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus bill — as well as a seemingly embedded structural imbalance between what the government spends and what it takes in.

    As the economy performs worse than expected, the deficit for the 2010 budget year beginning in October will worsen by $87 billion to $1.3 trillion, the White House says. The deterioration reflects lower tax revenues and higher costs for bank failures, unemployment benefits and food stamps.

  20. Pat G. says:

    @ jc

    I just finished reading that piece. I then checked my notes and found that the lowest all time close in the dollar occurred on 3-17-08 at 70.70. Today the USD closed about 12 cents above that mark.

  21. franklin411 says:

    The deficit is unfortunate, but it’s certainly not unprecedented:

  22. Bruce in Tn says:


    You can’t be that inane…

    It is not the deficit…uh, it is the deficit on top of what we already owe. The deficit on top of our massive debt.

    If this was a one or two year phenomenon, no one would be worried.


  23. Cursive says:

    @ f411 6:40

    Per your chart, the last time Federal Debt as a percentage of GDP was greater than 10%, stocks went nowhere for 15 years. Are you as nonchalant about that eventuality, as well?

  24. franklin411 says:

    The stock market is not the economy. Say it with me, one more time: the stock market is not the economy.

    GDP seems to have grown on a steady arc regardless of deficit levels:

    I never said it was good. I said it’s not unprecedented:

    Borrowing money to send Americans to college so they can become more productive and increase GDP is good borrowing. That’s exactly what we did from 1943-present. Borrowing money to build bridges and hospitals in Iraq is bad borrowing. That’s exactly what we did from 2001-Jan 2009.

  25. call me ahab says:


    you are possibly the most naive person I have ever encountered on any financial blog-

    every American will not be college educated- and if we were to make that fantasy a reality- I get the impression that you think everyone would have great jobs because everyone has a college degree- I guess we would have to import our plumbers, firemen, policemen, EMTs, welders, factory line workers, roofers, mechanics, tailors- while the rest of us college educated folks can sit around and think big thoughts and come up with hare brained ideas- some people work – hard- and make great money doing so- with or without a degree-

    full disclosure- I have a degree in finance- but I am under no illusion that a college degree is a make or break proposition for anyone- in many cases college is nothing more than an extension of high school and is a talking point for parents to let there friends know ol’ Skippy got in Princeton- like anyone gives a flying shit.

  26. usphoenix says:

    @feanky: so exactly what planet are you from?

  27. cvienne says:


    What are the present OVER/UNDER odds in Vegas on how long Franklin keeps posting comments to this blog?

    What’s it going to take?

    The ‘double dip’ recession (that’s coming)
    or a simple retracement to the March lows?
    Will it be the 2nd stimulus plan request
    or the 3rd?
    Will it be when the deficit hits 2 trillion?
    3 trillion
    Jobless at 12%
    Interest rates rates at double digits…

    What…exactly…will be the cathartic event that makes Franklin embarassed to ever post here again?

  28. call me ahab says:


    good question- but?- this is a blog open to anyone- that obviously doesn’t get on the bad side to BR- so- let him post- as a soon to be college professor- Dr. Franklin- can at least take some of the ideas (hopefully) from this blog into the classroom-

    hang in there franklin- it’s not hate- it’s exasperation

  29. ButtoMcFarty says:



    “There’s an old saying in Tennessee – I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee…that says, fool me once, shame on…shame on you. Fool me…you can’t get fooled again.”

    George W. Bush

  30. The Curmudgeon says:

    Yet Franklin wants us to go back to making things….a clue here…it doesn’t take a college degree to stamp parts out of metal or plastic.

    The chart of government deficits perfectly illustrates the problem with this deficit relative to the deficit incurred to win World War Two. WWII was a true “investment” such that freedom and liberty and the ability to make things with some expectation of profitably selling them in an economic system that recognized and enforced property rights could flourish. It succeeded magnificently. The first, last and always, most important role of government is security. Without it, there can never be freedom, nor economic growth. Winning the war provided the security. The economy here and throughout the American hemisphere boomed.

    Now, our government proposes to borrow nearly as much as a percent of GDP, but for what? On failing banks and dinosaur car companies strangled by politics and unionism? That’s an “investment” not apt to provide returns like victory in WWII. Or, on “stimulus” aimed at re-directing resources from the private to the public sector such that nothing, but nothing happens without the leaden hand of government guiding its outcome?

    It amazes me that in the span of about 2/3rds of a year, we have collectively decided that just the fear of hard times proves sufficient reason to cast away the last slivers of economic autonomy we had. de Tocqueville was right. He expected that one day we would look to the government to provide for all of our happiness. He said we’d be like herd animals–sheep–with the government our shepherd.

    This runaway government spending and collectivization of the economy will end very badly, much worse than what we’ve seen the last eight months. Shepherds never really care about their sheep, except when they’re cold or it’s time for dinner.

  31. cvienne says:


    Oh I fully acknowledge the RIGHT of Franklin to post here…

    I’m not talking about censorship here…

    I’m referring to Franklin’s own pain threshold as the weight of MACROECONOMICS eventually comes to bear on his misplaced philosophical hope…

    Keep ‘em coming Franklin…Your TRUE honor will be revealed when you can stand against the slings and arrows of FAILED POLICY, not the WARNINGS OF failed policy…

  32. DL says:

    cvienne @ 8:22

    He does seem rather tenacious. He might just get worn down over time.
    But for a single cathartic event to be sufficient, I think the S&P would have to drop more than 300 points from here. Maybe even 400 points.

  33. call me ahab says:


    great post


    true- his arguments may become hard to defend- but maybe he will start to understand- and carry it to the doe eyed students under his tutelage

  34. Cursive says:

    f411 7:29

    FWIW, I enjoy your posts, although cvienne is probably right about the eventual end. Perhaps you are having a lot of fun being disingenous, perhaps not. Well, Ahab already beat me to it and TC put the exclamation point. I am a college grad, but I, in my experience, one’s productivity is generally inverse to the number of college degrees one has. The dearth of actual knowledge and/or learning on college campuses (campii for MEH) is shocking. Most universities seem more content to build a winning football team and rake in higher tuition fees than to graduate even semi-literate alumni. I love college footbally, but hey, it’s not more important than a serious education rooted in a liberal arts curriculum.

  35. cvienne says:


    Bringing up “de Tocqueville” was very apt..It pretty much describes the STAGE at which we arrived at the present moment…

    Just to be clear (and I’ll say this once and for all)…I’m not AGAINST the Administration…I don’t want the Administration to fail, and I don’t want America to fail…

    I do acknowledge that the present Administration got dealt a pretty bad hand…They “INHERITED” it as they are endless to point out…

    The FAULT is not due to singular events…I’ll quote Tolstoy here…

    “The human mind cannot grasp the causes of phenomena in the aggregate.
    But the need to find these causes is inherent in man’s soul.
    And the human intellect, without investigating the multiplicity
    and complexity of the conditions of phenomena, any one of which taken
    separately may seem to be the cause, snatches at the first, the most
    intelligible approximation to a cause, and says: “This is the cause!””

    -Leo Tolstoy
    War and Peace
    Book IV, Part 2, Chapter 1, first paragraph

    So it was not TOTALLY the fault of Bush, or Clinton, or Bush 41, or Reagan, or Carter, or Nixon…

    Instead, it was the sequential lack of foresight to anticipate events and lack of political will address the future at the cost of political capital…And Americans themselves were complicit (read: greedy)…

    So now it’s Obama’s turn at the wheel…My main problem with him ALL ALONG is the following:

    How the heck did he not realize that this was coming ALL ALONG??? I mean, for crying out loud, this has been the most PREDICTED recession in the history of economics…Most people who blog on this site were aware of what would transpire clear back to the 2005-2006 era…That’s about the same time that the Obama star began to rise…

    Was he so simply focused on his own process that he was oblivious to what was happening?

    That’s always been a head scratcher to me…I mean, I’ve always asked…”Why does he want this job?”…

    So now he has the opportunity to make history…But every SMART person knows that the VERY BEST way to reconstruct a future is to pass through some HELL…That means FINANCIAL HELL where the US actually goes through a ‘depression like’ scenario, then finally regroups, re-invents itself, and emerges stronger on the other side…

    Yet the POLICY RESPONSE is more tailored to try and AVOID the worse aspects of that…

    In other words, Obama has put the objectives of his own CAMPAIGN PROMISES, and therefore his own ego AHEAD of what would probably be better for AMERICA…

    It’s impossible for freshly minted disciples like Franklin to understand that at this early stage of the game…

  36. matt says:

    See, the cartoon is all wrong. First, why does the overpass say economy on it? Shouldn’t the bungee jumper be the economy and Goldman be the one with control over the slack in the line?

    Better yet, they should make Goldman the jumper, and have the U.S. Government shaking down a bunch of taxpayers to create a soft pile of money to break Goldman’s fall

  37. cvienne says:

    It is overly simplistic to express it this way but I’ll say it anyway…

    “Everyone wants to be Roosevelt, but nobody wants to be Hoover”…

    Point being…Somebody has to be THE ONE that let’s it disintegrate down the POINT OF NO RETURN…

    Sun-Tzu, in “The Art of War”, describes just that…A soldier MUST FACE a TRUE life or death scenario in order to fully display his true warrior nature…

    Not a small part of the chronicled success of Roosevelt was the fact that THE SITUATION had basically already burned to the ground by the time he stepped in…Anything would have worked…Heck, he could have likely suggested that we resorted to COMMUNISM at that point and many might have gone along with the idea…

    So far…this time around, it STILL has not burned to the ground yet…

  38. call me ahab says:

    Cvienne Says:

    ”Why does he want this job?”…

    you’re kidding right?

    to be the Man- to be the 44th president of the United States- regardless of failure or success- they made into the history books

  39. cvienne says:

    Back to the POST (the cartoon)…

    I see the present position of the jumper at 666 (on the S&P) as a positional reference…

    The “slack” in the bungee represents the strength in the economy relative to that position…

    …and…GO CAPS! Game 7 here we come baby!

  40. cvienne says:


    so you’re basically fine to have a President whose main objective is “to be the man”…

    and NOT someone who is willing to subjicate their own ego to represent the future prosperity of the aggregate of constituents they are elected to represent (on BOTH sides of the aisle)…

  41. call me ahab says:


    just a realist – Obama has his agenda- but he didn’t run for President so he could get health care passed- he ran for President so he could become President- as does everyone- irrespective of Party-

    not saying it’s right- just the way it is- the world over- in every country and every party – except for maybe-

    Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich and Ralph Nader

  42. Marcus Aurelius says:

    First Obama is t0 blame for the down market and he’s a socialist. Then, he gets no credit for the up market, and he’s a fascist. Now, his ego drives him, and he represents only special interests? That sounds exactly like George W. Bush, to me.

    Damn, would you give the man a break? He’s been Prez for under 4 months, with 2 wars going on, a tanking economy, and Republicans sniping at him from the “other side of the aisle,” by voting 100% in lock step against anything he puts forth. He could say that having food is better than not having food, and the Republicans would oppose him to a man. He’s a muslim, a terrorist sympathizer, a foreigner. Jesus Christ’s face on a potato chip — is there anything he hasn’t been accused of?

    Geithner sucks. Bernanke sucks. Rubin sucks. We all know it. The fiscal policy is bad, but there aren’t many options that aren’t.

    On the other hand, the country is no longer being run by the religious right. The dissemination of science is no longer a matter of policy. Once again, we do not torture. People all over the world are starting to respect our leadership again.

    The majority of Americans elected Obama to carry out a Progressives/Democratic/Liberals agenda. He does represent both sides of the aisle, because only because both sides are Americans, and he’s the freekin’ President. He does not need to do squat that the Republicans/conservatives want — he was not elected to fulfill any part of their crazy fuckwit agenda. He owes them nothing.

    Think of the alternatives to Obama: McCain? Pailin? (seriously Palin?) Clinton? Fred Thompson? Mitt Romney? Ron Paul? Bobby Jindal? Rush Limbaugh? Newt Gingrich? Lyndon Freekin’ LaRouche? Really? Any of these chowder heads could run the country better?

    Maybe next time.

    You don’t have to like or agree with everything Obama does – I certainly don’t. OTOH, he’s who we chose, and he’s doing his level best to lead the country. Give the dude some respect — he’s the goddamned President, after all. HE. IS. THE. MAN.

  43. DL says:

    cvienne @ 10:02

    He has no interest in representing “both sides of the aisle”.

    (Not that Bush did either).

  44. Stuart says:

    “The deficit is unfortunate” 14% of GDP is unfortunate??? 5% used to be considered banana republic.

    unfortunate…. uh, er, ya. It’s unfortunate alright. Holy cow.

  45. Onlooker from Troy says:

    Here’s a great line:

    “We’re going to have a sudden jamming on the brakes of investors’ enthusiasm for early-cycle stocks when they realize they made a big mistake,” he said in a telephone interview last week. “If you’re not properly positioned in your portfolio, you may find that you go through the windshield.”

    Love the metaphor. Starting to see more of this kind of sentiment out there. Interesting. The market no longer has something “to shoot for” in the bank stress test release date. Interesting how that dynamic works. Kind of floating without an impetus for further rise it seems to me. Very little upside from here it seems. Why hold shares when even the bullish estimates (e.g. Abby Cohen, GS) are for only 10-15% up from here at year end? And you know that the market’s not likely to just go sideways in economic conditions like we have. Too much uncertainty.

    I feel a let down coming.

  46. bman says:

    Back to the cartoon, the obvious issue as some have pointed out is that the potential energy of the jumper has not been balanced with the spring of the bungee.

    That is what happens when you are more interested in teaching your child baseball, then stuff like math, science and engineering…

    Go short on business degrees.

  47. bman says:

    We live in a country that tried and failed in the last decade to impose some sort of order upon the world.
    As I think most recognize that order was flawed and misguided, poorly implemented and rejected by the world, and lastly the American people.

    It may not require a college degree to stamp parts out of whatever, but to think you can rule the world without being able to manufacture and provide all the parts you need, not just in time, but on hand and in place, is just plain stupid.

    The sad fact is that a lot of people in the business world are supposed to have higher degrees, and they can sit, surrounded by piles of their rusting wrecked civilization, and actually say things like you don’t need a college degree to do blah blah. Go back to school! Yes you! Preferably in a third world country because that’s the skills you’re going to need now.

  48. BAM says:

    Long time lurker but first time leaving a comment, so please please be easy on me.

    I am just an average American that loves to read everything from history, physics to now the world of finances. From that perspective, I think one word can sum up current state of economy: “Deception”.

    I gave up on trying to make sense of the markets activity for last few months. How can stocks soar when the economy is literally on life support? Isn’t it obvious to any casual observers that with unemployment at 8.9%, shrinking GDP, housing still long way from bottom, deficit at all time high, most if not all major banks literally insolvent and others(too numerous to mention)? Is the stock market really manipulated and based on any reality?

    This reminds of the great propaganda effort by our government during the Vietnam war. Gov was determined to win the war here with every propaganda imaginable. Is Obama administration on the same path?

    Amazing stuff….

  49. dead hobo says:

    Cursive Says:
    May 11th, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Have you ever drank any Old Fitzgerald? It is hard as heck to find.

    No it isn’t. Just look on the bottom shelf.

  50. cvienne says:

    How about “Ol Harper”