As I noted many years ago, I approach each and every trade as if my reasons to make the purchase are possibly wrong. Indeed, I approach stock trading expecting to be wrong. (Its an ego free way to plan stop losses).

I find it healthy to occasionally look at what else I have been saying or expecting or writing or thinking  that might not have been right, or that time has prove to be dubious at best, totally wrong at worst.

What follows is a short list of things that either 1) I have been wrong about, or 2) people whom I respect disagree with me about, or 3) I have demonstrated a form of tone deafness about :

High Frequency Flash Trading:  Kid Dynamite takes me to school on HFT, noting You Really Shouldn’t Care So Much About Flash Trading;

Front Running Monies: Mike Santoli of Barrons chastises my math, telling me “Don’t hurt yourself trying to arrive at anything near $22b for flash. It’s likely some vague guess of all revenue tied to HFT, most of which is quasi-market making activity. It was a little-understood loophole, now closed. Trading has never been faster or cheaper, and is more frictionless for the little guy than the fund needing to move size. The ill-informed sanctimonious rhetoric surrounding it has been ridiculous.”

Nobel Irony: Felix Salmon tells me I am like Alanis Morisette in that i do not understand what irony is (no, its not like rain on your wedding day — that’s merely inconvenience)

Wall Street Bonuses:  As 90% of you made clear to me, Wall Street bonuses ARE something to be upset about. (My RSS feed did leap to 47k from 42k on that post, so someone agreed wit me).

In order, I think Santoli is totally correct, Kid Dynamite has a valid point (but where there is front running, we disagree),  readers pointed out something that many people are upset about (and that I perhaps shrugged off too quickly) — but I still believe bonuses are not the most important systemic  or political issue out there.

As to Felix, my record remains (heh heh) unblemished whenever we disagree.


Ahhh, that felt good . . . What have you been wrong about recently?

Category: Psychology

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.

93 Responses to “Wrong!”

  1. Mannwich says:

    It takes a big person to admit they’re wrong. Many kudos to you, but is this a trap, Barry? ;-)

    OK, I’ll bite. The market. Had no idea that it would run for this long but it’s yet another lesson not to confuse the market with the economy, and to never underestimate the stupidity of the American people to buy a slogan like the “green shoots” slogan. We the Sheeple LIKE to be lied to. That’s the bottom line.

    And, please, Wanger, spare me the “mini-boom” talk. You’ve been right about the markets since late August, but you were shitting your underoos just a couple of weeks ago when the market dipped and actually started admitting you were wrong, so please spare me your mindless mantra. The market is NOT the economy. Nothing has fundamentally changed in the economy and nothing has been fixed. Not one thing.

  2. KidDynamite says:

    I was wrong in not buying GS stock last year because i thought the new liberal administration would make an example out of them and take them down… WOW – couldn’t have been more wrong.

    Mannwich’s second to last sentence highlights another main wrong-point for me and many others: the market is NOT the economy. When you’re short in a market like this, you really start to understand how rigged the system is to pump the markets higher. I came to the realization only a month ago that the reason people own mutual stocks is the same reason people pay lobbyists: fund managers are lobbyists for stocks – going on TV and pumping their own books, convincing more people to buy stocks, and keeping the machine churning…

  3. cjcpa says:

    Wow, a chance to tell what I don’t know!

    I was wrong in buying faz and srs in the spring. Sell in May and go away definitely did not happen.
    Sold the faz at a loss. Holding the srs to see if reality as reported by calculatedrisk eventually shows up.
    Small positions, so, whatever.

    I have been wrong that the market in general will reflect the economy. Unemployment still rising. Barry, your graph on total hours worked shows that the national economy is doing less. But the market doesn’t care.

    I did move some money back into long mutual funds around 12/31/08, so I think I’m better than break even. Moved the wife’s 401k into treasury money market. just got a statement that the yield continues to be 0%. Need to change that, but at this point… cannot be wrong with ‘her money.’ But I guess in missing the rally, I was wrong on that too.

    I could go on, but these are the big ones.

  4. Bruce in Tn says:

    I, until recently, thought Brad Pitt was better looking than me. Wrong! I would post a picture, but the feminine persuasion of the reading universe might have difficulty typing on their keyboards until all the drool was cleaned up, and in this economy we should stay as productive as possible…..

    Now back to your regularly scheduled program…

  5. VennData says:

    I was wrong to have those last three beers at the Blackhawks game last night, and even wronger [look I'm hung over] to have hit Hubbard Street after the game.

    However, if you haven’t been lucky enough to witness one of the most stirring traditions in sport, Jim Cornelison singing the National Anthem while the entire stadium stands up and cheers throughout, you’re missing something.

  6. SINGER says:

    Wrong about the degree to which money would pour into equities and not necessarily the percentage extent of the upmove, but how quickly it happened, and most begrudgingly, how the advance has come without any major pullbacks…

  7. I thought the gold rally would have ended two weeks ago due to the seasonal trade. It is still going strong. Fortunately, I’m not stupid enough to short it and my strategy keeps skin in the game at all times so this is not such an inconvenience. As a matter of fact, these new highs are what we could call a pleasant surprise

  8. dr.j says:

    I have been wrong about crediting the American people with understanding that bonuses awarded by private businesses are not their concern. What is their concern, that they ignore, is the impact of high salaries, unmeasured performance, 3 day work weeks, and bonuses draped in the term “campaign contributions” that make up the world of our “professional politicians.”

    Ignore the man behind the curtain, the great Ozbama has spoken.

  9. ben22 says:

    Respect BR, how many people out in the public like you are willing to EVER do something like this. Cramer is to busy telling us about the grand slam he hit on his market calls during the last 12 months in his new book. What a joke.

    This is the type of thing you do that makes it hard for me to think I’d ever stop coming here, even when I don’t agree with what you say, after all, that makes a market.

    As for what I’ve been wrong about lately, lol, where do I start, my two biggest mistakes in the last two months:

    I sold out of all my longs at 1k, though I was in this early so I try to console myself that way.

    I made a big mistake on a silver trade short not long ago and lost money on that.

    Hopefully I won’t top any of these before year end.

  10. sharkbait says:

    Re: Wrong!: Or why DJIA 10k is NOT indicating a SUSTAINABLE end to the economic downturn. BTW, nominal DJIA at 10k in 1999. Add inflation, and no one’s made any money in 10 yrs. unless massively inflation hedged.

    While I totally disagree with Robert Reich’s view that Keynesian monetarism (print until you drop) is the correct strategy here, I otherwise agree with his views on Wall St. vs. Main St. (below).


    Wednesday, October 14, 2009
    Why the Dow Broke 10,000, and Why You Should Still Watch Your Wallet

    How did the Dow break 10,000 when the rest of the economy is in the toilet?

    1. Corporate earnings are up — mainly because companies have been cutting costs. Payrolls comprise 70 percent of most companies’ costs, which means companies have been slashing jobs. In the end, this is a self-defeating strategy. If workers don’t have jobs or are afraid of losing them, they won’t buy, and company profits will disappear.

    2. Federal borrowing has filled the gap that consumers and businesses created when the latter began to reduce their debt. Federal debt, in other words, has kept the economy from tanking. Can’t keep up forever, though.

    3. With such horrid employment numbers, Wall Street figures the Fed will keep interest rates low for some time, and continue to flood the economy with money. That’s good news for the Street because it means money stays cheap — and with cheap money the Street can make lots of bets on almost everything under the sun and moon. As a result, the Street’s earnings are way up. But this, too, is temporary. At some point the Fed is going to worry about inflation and a falling dollar.

    4. Investors of all stripes want to get in early and ride the wave. Pension funds, mutual funds, and other institutional investors figure the bull market has more oomph in it because, well, other investors will jump in. Think Ponzi scheme. Nice for now, but watch out if you’re one of the last in.

    In other words, this is all temporary fluff, folks. Anyone who hasn’t learned by now that there’s almost no relationship between the Dow and the real economy deserves to lose his or her shirt in the Wall Street casino.”

  11. catman says:

    I went bottom fishing in UCBH and caught an old tire that cost me some money to get removed from around my neck. Smelled really bad too.

  12. rootless_cosmopolitan says:

    I may have been wrong until a few weeks ago about debt deflation necessarily leading to a strong decrease in GDP. Instead, there is a theoretical possibility of ongoing debt deflation in the system and even slight economic growth at the same time as along as demand from increasing income grows faster than demand decreases from a negative change of new debt. Latter term would be about Zero in the equation, if debt deflation takes place with about constant speed and isn’t accelerating.

    This mistake has been founded in not giving enough thought to the relation between debt and GDP. GDP is a flow variable and as such a function of new debt, since it’s the debt change that contributes to demand, besides income, i.e., the GDP change, the first derivative of GDP, is a function of the first derivative of new debt, equivalent to the second derivative of total debt. It was an insightful post at the Econbrowser blog[1] that featured a working paper by Michael Biggs, Thomas Mayer and Andreas Pick with Deutsche Bank, which pointed me to my fallacious logic.

    Therefore, the answer to the question of economic expansion vs. economic contraction will depend on whether there will be an accelerating debt deflation and how debt deflation weighs in compared to income changes (e.g. due to rising/falling employment). On the other hand, another conclusion from this is a stronger negative effect on GDP of decreasing new government debt, with which the economy is stimulated, to be expected once the stimulus is faded.



  13. HCF says:

    I am never wrong because I follow Harry Wanger as my Lord and savior. I will ride this mini-boom to the sky by leveraging up on Nasdaq, S&P and especially my binky, Apple. Remember that deficits don’t matter, unemployment doesn’t matter, and that anyone who doesn’t see the green shoots isn’t wearing these awesome green tinted glasses that Ben Bernanke and Goldman Sachs sold me…


  14. dead hobo says:

    What I have been wrong about:

    I started hanging around bear sites like this, lost my perspective, started paying too much attention to the economy and fundamentals, and saw my returns go to the shitter.

    In a former life I sounded a lot closer like F411 and even that idiot Wanker than I do today. While I never had trouble recognizing crooks and crooked behavior, I started caring about it. Then I started confusing the economy with the market. I made a lot in the market in years gone by not merging the two before, and on the next dip I will do it again.

    I need to clear my pallet, so I’ll say good bye for now and maybe turn CNBC back on.

  15. was wrong in thinking that the ‘Cained Peep might recognize a good idea (NattyGas/the Pickens Plan, for easy ref.) when they heard one..

    “…”The common wisdom was that unconventional gas was too difficult, too expensive and too demanding,” he said, according to Petroleum Economist. “This has changed. If we ever doubted that gas was the fuel of the future – in many ways there’s the answer.”
    The breakthrough has been to combine 3-D seismic imaging with new technologies to free “tight gas” by smashing rocks, known as hydro-fracturing or “fracking” in the trade…
    As for the US, we may soon be looking at an era when gas, wind and solar power, combined with a smarter grid and a switch to electric cars returns the country to near energy self-sufficiency.

    This has currency implications…”
    LSS: We’ve lots of NatGas..
    needless to say, w/NattyGas, a couple of extra Pipelines, and a ‘distributed (electricity) generation’ methodolgy, we wouldn’t even need the ‘Flock Choppers’, or the ‘Smart (Command ‘n Control) Grid’-boondoggle..

    past that, I’ve been Wrong plenty!


    ben22 makes a good point, posts like these make you, easily, one of the Best~

  16. ItalicBold says:

    Where’s Harry ;)

  17. flipspiceland says:

    Made the mistake of confusing being right about GM but 9 months wrong with timing.

    I soldin the money calls when GM was at 19 and change. It subsequently doubled before I voluntarily closed the position only to see it a few months later go bankrupt. Had I fallen asleep for about 6 months
    there would likely be a new 969 in garage.

  18. batmando says:

    @dead hobo at 11:25 am
    “I need to clear my pallet,..”
    you really ARE a homeless derelict and sleep on a pallet? ;^}

  19. Gatsby says:

    Well I was wrong in thinking that the markets would be tied closer to economic fundamentals, thus mis-judging how much gas this rally (still) has.

    I also played it wrong. I should have ridden the wave as BR has instead of sitting out.

    Oh well that’s the game, can’t dwell on mistakes, accepting yourself as flawed is part of keeping your samity and your focus.

    “I remember once in August 1993, I was wrong, and I could be wrong again.” ~ Paul Simon

  20. dead hobo says:

    batmando Says:
    October 15th, 2009 at 11:33 am

    @dead hobo at 11:25 am
    “I need to clear my pallet,..”
    you really ARE a homeless derelict and sleep on a pallet? ;^}

    Whatever the fuck the right word is, use it instead.

  21. batmando says:

    @MEH & cvienne
    re ‘distributed (electricity) generation’
    could you provide links? e.g., co-gen/hvac micro turbines available today suitable for home retrofits?

  22. Mannwich says:

    One other mistake I made – - it pays to not overthink the market, especially a market as a rigged as this one with an unthinking populace overeager to believe anything it’s told by the powers that be. Like hobo, I’d have probably been better off in my short term trading activities knowing LESS about reality. That’s the bizarre contradiction about the markets, especially ones as distorted as these. In the short term, but you’re often better off being an unthinking moron and “following the herd” for a while. Long term? I’d rather be in the other camp though. Oftentimes, slow and steady wins the race.

  23. Mannwich says:

    @Italic: We won’t see Harry on this thread. He’s never been wrong before.

  24. MRegan says:

    My cursory review of Concho Resources led me to an unjustified dismissal of their stock (CXO)- about 12% ago. Just plain dumb and lazy thinking.

    My view is that one should ask oneself why were ‘you’ wrong? What contributed to the erroneous conclusion(s)? Ideology, bias, mythical thinking and lack of perspective and proportion all seem to lead us quickly onto the shoals. We all have the tendency to seek views that confirm prior biases; few have the mettle to mull things over in a dispassionate manner.

    As for right- CWV- more than doubled since I mentioned it here.

  25. batmando says:

    i was wrong to make fun dh. sorry.

  26. rootless_cosmopolitan says:


    I was wrong about betting on black in my last roulette game. If I had bet on red I would have been rich. It’s often not so much different with bets in the stock market, either regarding single companies, or the direction of the market as a whole.


  27. TDL says:

    I’d say what I was wrong about, but I don’t think there is enough room for me to post it here.


  28. clawback says:

    I was wrong about how long Europe would play extend and pretend with their own banks. Boy, am I stupid.

    I was also wrong about unemployment. I thought for sure we’d be at 11-12% by now. But then again, what is the “real” unemployment figure? With the Birth-Death adjustments and all those people going out of the workforce altogether, maybe we’re closer to my guess than we are to 9.8% anyway.

    In other words, I “misunderstimated” the ability of governments, both here and abroad, to lie about the state of the banks and the economy.

  29. h00t22 says:

    Salmon doesn’t have a clue about the significance of Fama contributions. Clueless bobbleheads like him are the reason masses are undereducated in financial matters and a few thugs are successful in taking advantage of that ignorance.

  30. batmando,

    also, re: co-gen/hvac micro turbines available today suitable for home retrofits?
    most of that stuff hasn’t been shaken out ‘into the wild’, yet/is, still, ‘new’..

    larger apps, like Apartment buildings/complexes, Shopping Malls, Highrises/Office Towers, Campuses, small Neighborhoods are/have been doable for some time..

    for more see: MCHP , and CHP (combined heat/power=co-gen)

    what about the GFA triple?

  31. cvienne says:

    I swapped out the Cincinnati D (who scored 10 FF points last week), with the Miami D (who scored a donut)…

    So I lost to Mannwich by 4 points (instead of winning by 6)…

    cvienne is n0w 3-2 instead of 4-1… Grrr!

    Note: That’s not ALL I’ve been wrong about (just the most recent in a list as long as a roll of toilet paper)

  32. MRegan says:

    GFA- extremely wrong about GAFISA. I should have bet the WHOLE EFFIN FARM*!

    *Tragically, my farm is a flower pot with a dead geranium so I’d only be up three dead geraniums, OTOH, more than one pot to p^ss in, and that ain’t chopped liver.


    Capstone- that one is the bomb…microgeneration is the future. Line loss is a luxury we can no longer afford (never could, really)…

  33. torrie-amos says:

    ummm, this might sound dumb, but, No. 1- No Plan For Profits…………I decided to cash out Feb. of 2000 almost to the day at the top, yet, like I said, no plan for the profits, and everyone then was saying yada yada yada……..No. 2-Not Listening Too Myself…… April of 01 I wanted to put on a big hedge and did not, had it all worked out, etc. etc., market rolled in May and June and was like, crap, that was what it was for, needless to say next 3 months were what it was for…….No. 3-Procrastination……..this last month I finally went back and did a CSI forensic analysis on all my trades so I could 100% completely understand me as opposed to the market…………….summary, it’s like I have fatal flaw, I tend to trade themes, find and dandy, and along the way without a detailed written out gameplan to the nth degree, I always throw in a bit of this and a bit of that………so 80% of what I do works out perfectly, 10% that I throw in turns to crap, and I allow it too influence the other 80% which was perfect…………………here is a prime example, i was buying double longs the day of last years crash and bailing in a 2-3 days, made extreme gains, which was great cause i was out 75% of 08, came into 09 and I had been picking at financiall strong companies along with the double etf’s, roll into january and the double etf’s lost quite a bit quick, while my fianacially strong companies held, yet, sold em all out, feb 9th i only bought all financially strong companies, what i dubbed mutual fund favorites, stocks with strong balance sheets profits trading over 25 bucks, approsimately 30 of em, the next day the market rolled on it’s final leg down, i allowed the ones the rolled to influence all others and bailed on the whole basket…………………….chilled for a few weeks and called the low to the half hour, yet, had very little house money too put in good stops just in case, so watched the move, fly by, since then it’s been nickel and dimes building up some house money, versus, just buying the best companies, ala, apple, gs, etc. and letting them go…………….one of my themes was insurers, since they own a good chunk of market around june i did my research had my list, had my hour and day of the buy yet the rest of the market was crappy and lo and behold it was a breakout that never looked back and still hastn’t, and thus the beat goes on…………….fwiw, i assumed it would play out similar too 9-11, that last down leg from feb – march just screwed up my timing and confidence royally

    one of best posts in awhile, good for the soul to know not alone, the more blogs i read, it is obvious most everyone is confused almost worldwide

    IMHO, euro is going up because whereas they are no better off then us, at least the fired there bankers and put in new management, we have left ours alone, the only conclusions is collusion, banks you deal with your existing house disaster, equity loan disaster, credit card disaster, etc…………..we will handle the rest………………….the fed or anyone else has not f’n clue how too get out of this

    here’s my new theme, in the nineties we had explsosive growth that was real, in this decade we had growth that was build on leverage, over the next decade the best we can expect is okay, ie, stabilize at the quote on unquote new normal………………the market is bigger than the fed, and all of em worldwide, you want too devalue, wtf do you do with 100-150 oil, like that is not the most massive of taxes……….the fed has painted themselves into a corner, yeah, you can change the math temporarily thru policy, yet the reason why the world works is because even though we all talk different languages we all use the same math, the numbers don’t lie, we are destined for okayness

  34. HarryWanger says:

    I was wrong on RIMM after earnings and stopped out at 4% loss. Other than that, it’s been an extremely rewarding rally. I was partially wrong on how quickly the economy would turn the corner. As you know, I’ve been stating that we were to enter a mini economic boom but the velocity is surprising even to me.

  35. cvienne says:


    I know Capstone is a company that’s in that business, but as MEH says, the focus is on larger outlets…

    I think they almost got a contract with Wal-Mart a few years back, if I recall…

    In any case, retrofitting a home doesn’t need to be as complicated or sophisticated as all that… I’ve found the best approach to working on an existing home is to “compartmentalize”… IOW – You don’t try to create a universal system… Instead, you take individual rooms and living spaces, and work with the advantages that those spaces offer you…

    In the end, you wind up with a “hybrid” system… I literally have sections of my house served by solar, certain areas by nat gas, and certain areas with “pellet stoves”… Believe it or not, it’s more efficient that way, saves more money, AND, in the event that one or more of the resources gets scarce, you are always left with a backup…

    I’ll give you a stupid “tin foil hat” example (only for the purposes of making my point)… Let’s say you convert your home to 100% solar… Then, lets say a big meteor hits the earth and blackens out the sun for 2 years… OK, aside from ‘food’ problems, put that aside for the moment… But your ‘shelter’ needs that you thought were handled based on a electric grid loss, remain unusable because there’s not enough sunlight to recharge your solar panels…

    Stuff like that…

    Or, you convert to all nat gas to run a generator, but if there end up being gasoline supply disruptions, when people start running their cars on nat gas, it taxes the supply distribution… Therefore, you may find that good old wood pellets, are the most economic thing to burn to heat your house…

  36. cvienne says:


    “I’ve been stating that we were to enter a mini economic boom”

    So basically, your WRONG will not appear until about Q210… Until then, party on!

  37. HarryWanger says:

    cvienne: Keep that head in the sand and ignore the macro picture.

  38. call me ahab says:


    you are a fucking idiot-

    sometimes idiots get lucky- but you’re still an idiot

  39. Rikky says:

    i continue to be wrong on overestimating the american people and their tolerance for being repeatedly raped and robbed by TPTB. we’re continually being used as the doormat for the elite in washington and wall street and we do nothingt. TPTB use our human ‘evolution’ as a chip to keep us complacent and compliant relegating violence as something for the history books. the game has been rigged and the democratic process is broken so peaceful solutions will not work. i continue to wait, and be wrong, that the american people will rise up and take matters into their own hands to take back their country, violently if necessary.

  40. MRegan says:

    Second huge mistake- mentioning CXO- some gaggle of flea-bitten mongrel geese have begun bidding it up like it was the last lipstick at trannies’ convention.

  41. alfred e says:

    @CV: Pellet stove? Tried that. Living in “the woods” on the Olympic peninsula, I mistakenly assumed
    pellets would continue to be made from scrap and mill sawdust, and priced accordingly. Mills don’t have sawdust. It’s called particle board. And now they make floor joists from it for new houses.

    Stores were actually shipping pellets in from Idaho. Wal-Mart from Arkansas.

    What kind of economic sense does that make?

    When I asked Economic council gurus and big dogs they always had an excuse. No profit.

    No more pellet stoves for me. My own tree stand that I can harvest forever.

  42. cvienne says:


    I’m speaking more from the POV of the heat output from the stoves themselves…

    And again, I’m referring to it as a “backup to a backup” scenario (in terms of being able to hold on to the resource fuel needed)… I understand what you’re saying, but you have to try to understand the 360 degree FRAME of my argument…

  43. cvienne says:


    In fact, I don’t BUY pellets… I have ample scrap wood all around that I chip, dry and burn for free… I’m not buying from Wal-Mart…

  44. Greg0658 says:

    “the new liberal administration would make an example out of them and take them down” .. (-: .. didn’t think we elected a Hitler .. now what could be .. we’ll see

    “about the degree to which money would pour into equities” .. ask where would the PPT want the $780B to go ? .. your game / you answer …. imo – like take a chance on $ destruction with bennies

    T1 – bought into and loved for years my dads American Dream and looking around can see the diamonds and rust .. now I feel fat and chained to a ball
    T2 – words have meaning .. can be “loose lips sinks ships” or “wake the sheep” .. maybe best to speak in back rooms with the tribe … artists should stick to sculptures, pictures and music .. its fuzzy that way
    T3 – Submit Comment

  45. alfred e says:

    My mistake was thinking the banks would want to clean their balance sheets up quickly and move on. Clean start.

    Get beyond the ugly truth.

    Allow RE and CRE to reset to “market” pricing. As opposed to CA pricing. Or fed subsidized pricing. AS in cash for clunkers.

    No one has allowed that to happen yet.

    I haven’t been crushed, but the invisible inflation is eating into my cash sitting on the sidelines.

    But I am still going to remain patient, fully expecting the inevitable reset at some point. Or collapse before hyperinflation.

  46. MorticiaA says:

    I think I can beat Kim Clijsters at tennis; this hasn’t been proven anecdotally, but I’m thinking I might as well admit my wrongness before anything can be proven.

    I was wrong about KLewis’ departure date (thought it would have been earlier than EOY); I have my thoughts on who his replacement will be but I can’t admit to being wrong OR right until the big announcement is made; I stand prepared to be wrong on that call.

  47. greg says:

    As long as it costs hundreds of millions of dollars to get elected to office, nothing will ever change. Where do you think the money comes from?
    I thought more people would understand this quite simple concept, however we continue to talk of voting in better people, next time. Maybe someday people will see the flaw in the system, until then I’ll be wrong.

  48. cvienne says:

    I think many Americans were wrong in thinking Obama would be like FDR…

    FDR: “The only thing you have to fear, is fear itself”

    Obama Legacy: “The only thing you have to fear, is GREED itself”

    Fear & Greed, it’s always about how those two dance with each other…

  49. Bruce in Tn says:

    Wanger, you couldn’t be real. But I enjoy your posts. There was an old story in Outdoor Life when I was a kid, about 3 guys who hunted quail regularly. The title was “I got three.”

    Gist of the story was one day, after many years of hunting, two of the guys got together and decided they’d pull one on the other friend. They were going to claim more of the quail on a covey rise than they deserved, and once the hunt got started they did too.

    Dogs would point. The three of them would flush the covey. All would shoot. And one or the other of the pranksters would generally say, “I got three.” And the other guy, of course, would claim two or three birds too.

    Now this left the third friend, who was a very good shot, with usually one or no birds on the covey rise. This went on all day, but he wasn’t stupid, and when the afternoon began, as soon as they found a covey and the shooting was over, he’d say,”I got three!”

    The two pranksters saw what was happening. But they didn’t let on. Late in the afternoon, they were in the truck, heading home and the friend who’d had the trick pulled on him was asleep between the other two. The driver winked at the friend riding shotgun, and stomped on the brakes, and they both put their arms out to catch the sleeping friend.

    The sharp braking woke him up from a sound sleep, and he shouted, “I got three!!”

    Wanger, you can go back to sleep now…

  50. TakBak04 says:

    Sometimes it takes awhile to discern whether Wrong turns out down the road to have been Right….but:

    Wrong in thinking that the “collapse of Wall Street” and the exposure of much of the “crookery, criminality ,schemes and rigging”” (note in quotes) would lead to prosecutions that would clear out and clean up what has been making the market a casino since the dot com bubble started to inflate..

    Wrong in not understanding that Wall Street is rigged against the average Joe and Jane with their money in so-called conservative, value investments in their 401-K’s, IRA’s. Even the careful stock or mutual fund buyer trying to do thorough research was found to be just an idiot when ratings agencies turned out to be on the take from those they were rating. Wrong in thinking that a Savings Account or CD’s would still be available as the safe place for those who are unsophisticated about investing but need to protect and incrementally grow income and that those “small” investors wouldn’t be sacrificed so the trading and hooplah and unwinding of crooked schemes could go on due to forced 0 % Interest Rate policy .

    Wrong in thinking that a new administration would come in like Teddy Roosevelt and hit the ground running with reforms when it had the best opportunity in decades. Wrong in not realizing the global implications of complicity in the financial crash would make it almost impossible for such reforms to come swiftly and that “cover up and move along” would be the least painful solution for all concerned.

    Wrong in finding the whole Wall Street scene so distasteful that in March I moved 70% of what I had into cash figuring it would take at least a year for all the investigations to sort out where things went wrong and that the markets would take quite a while to get back to even 9,000 on the Dow. Slow and steady was what I thought things would be as we climbed the “wall of worry.”
    Aside from buying a couple of “safe” dividend stocks to stick a toe in the goo…I’m still close to 70%. I’ll wait it out another six months to see what other shoes start to drop.

    What I think I’m Right about is that this Goldman Administration is firing on all cylinders to keep this Casino going…on light volume and with money that I suspect is a revolving door between treasury and banks and back again. Traders moving money back and forth, in and out of the “flavor of the day” so that it all looks like it’s “normal” but based on models and other mathematical schemes that have no relation to real earnings in what is a very shakey economy. So, for those who say the market is separate from the economy (which it is) there is also the problem that when 70% of GDP is based on consumer spending and the consumer doesn’t have a job, little asset value and mountains of debt there will certainly have to be other ways to keep the Grand Casino running and it’s terrifying to think of what they will be concocting to keep the lights on, the gaming tables filled ,the liquor flowing and the pimps and hookers in business.

    At any rate, Harry Wanger is happy. It’s healthier to try to have a positive attitude in such trying times. Perhaps pixie dust is all we need to vanish it all away.

  51. Harry Wagner says:

    Bruce – Three what? And that story did not say anything about indicies.

  52. ben22 says:


    First, thanks for your post, that was nice to read.

    That said, I disagree with this:

    “here’s my new theme, in the nineties we had explsosive growth that was real”

    It can be shown if you look at the two great bull markets that have happened since the end of the depression that the economic strength of the 40′s to 60′s bull was much much more “real” than the economic growth that happened from 75-99. This really can’t be argued, by almost every single meaningful measure the first bull, economically, was much stronger than the last. So many people got sold the idea of the new economy in the 90′s just like they did in the 20′s. it’s the debt behind it that is what needs to be paid attention to, not just now, but in the 90′s as well. jmo.

  53. Space_Cowboy_NW says:

    The older I get, the less i know….(every day reinforced)

    “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

    “A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar. ”

    -Mark Twain

  54. rohangt says:

    Its not whether bonuses good or bad. Yes as per our system we should reward people who are outstanding. The bigger question is, as a society, why do we reward the middle man who provides nothing tangible to society, but instead pilfers a small amount on every transaction. Are we to reward such actions … one might say it is capitalism and a free market. But when there is an entity that holds down interest rates (the cost of short term money) and that rate is only available to a select few, then that cannot be a free market.

  55. batmando says:

    i was wrong to liquidate cef, fxf, gdx and slw on 10/28/08 to fund ira roll-overs to barry and mish. the degree of wrong depends on whether i would have let those positions ride from then ’til now.
    not likely.

    @ meh & cvienne -
    about what i have gathered previously, i.e., micro turbine, MCHP, CHP not yet at the homeowner level.
    in my small village where we own the power distribution gird and buy elec cooperatively, it would make extreme sense to float a bond issue and finance individual homeowners to install microturbines and sell excess back to the village

  56. Bruce in Tn says:

    Harry, I read your sob story a few weeks ago, too, like Mannwich.

  57. investorinpa says:

    Earlier this summer, I thought Bruno had the chance to be almost as funny as Borat…boy was I wrong…

  58. batmando says:

    i was wrong to poke fun at dh’s pallet, yes, but not at “indicies”
    “…have you been watching the indicies?”
    same root as
    Gk. (Attic) moron, neut. of moros “foolish, dull” (probably cognate with Skt. murah “idiotic;” L. morus “foolish” is a loan-word from Gk.).

  59. batmando says:

    left out
    Sophomoric “characteristic of a sophomore” (regarded as self-assured and opinionated but crude and immature)
    altered from sophumer, probably by influence of folk etymology derivation from Gk. sophos “wise” + moros “foolish, dull.”

  60. Canadian politics. Since we don’t have the financial power to be raped in this country like you guys do in the US we sort of play at it. That said, I am continually surprised at how complacent the Canadian populace is when confronted with proven political liars. As long as people are getting a paycheck they really don’t care for the morality of our leaders. As long as they aren’t the ones being taken they will ignore deep moral flaws. I find this quite disturbing coming from a people that the world considers ‘polite’

  61. batmando,

    w/this: “in my small village where we own the power distribution gird and buy elec cooperatively, it would make extreme sense to float a bond issue and finance..”

    if you have access to NatGas, or a large landfill nearby, it’d make sense to spool up a microturbine set, and ‘sell’ that ‘to the Grid’..

    as a + y’all would learn that the ‘each ‘n every’ app./ mode of ‘thinking’ is a waste of resources/needlessly redundant/a relic of the “Economy predicated on Waste”..

    if you have access to NatGas, I’ll do the Deal myself if your co-op will consent to a ‘Take-or-Pay” ‘tract for the electrons..

  62. Vermont Trader says:

    i was wrong when i started shorting the market 2 weeks ago in the 1070 range..

    cost me a couple% so far but i’m holding it.

    still 150% net short.

    added a position in UUP this morning.

    haven’t been working b/c we have had snow here in VT and I’ve been skiing..

    and i’m out the door again..

  63. mcHAPPY says:

    Great post, BR. Humility is a much needed characteristic missing in the financial world.

    For mcHAPPY, he has been wrong since this rally began in March. He was wrong about the collapse until he started educating himself and told his financial advisor to frig off. He has been sooooo wrong on oil it is laughable – only after many nights of crying, of course. And finally (well, not finally but enough for now) he has been extremely incorrect in assuming any correlation between the markets and the economy.

    This lesson in humility has been very expensive.

  64. JT says:


    You never stated that you believed bonuses are not the most important systemic or political issue out there. Instead, you actually defended the huge bonuses of a company that should be BK…Goldman Sachs.

    You do not need to defend your bonus via defending GS.

    Please give it a rest already. You are wrong and GS bonuses have nothing to do with your bonus…you are worth every penny!


  65. cvienne says:


    Re: MEH response… x2

  66. torrie-amos says:


    ahhhhhh, context, “explosive growth”, consumer buying pc’s en droves, cell phones, hooking up too the internet, every major company and small business doing the same thing, and other countries, so the sales were real, the profits were real………thus explosive growth…………now the culmination in profits were the y2k scare, anyone with computers had too spend massive amounts of money on protection, this was an 18 month ramp into the new year, but i get your gist ben

  67. Thor says:

    And don’t forget Y2K – billions spent there

  68. Greg0658 says:

    here I go again / more bytes in www .. Wrong! .. the POTUS is in NO doing Q&A (I know again) but a 6yo boy took off in his dads experimental balloon craft .. so not to out scooped CNNx2, MSNBC, Fox gotta cut away to see the flight
    CNBC has a real mission .. pump and report the markets
    still love this one JoJo “waste is a terrible thing to mind”

  69. Christopher says:

    The stupid STL Cardinals.
    Agreeing to let my daughter and her friends setup a haunted house in our barn.

    That’ll do for now.

  70. batmando says:

    @ meh & cvienne
    no landfill, but natgas available
    in last 10 years we’ve lost two of three local manufacturer/employers who would have made microturbine/co-gen really fly
    haven’t yet floated microturbine/co-gen to local p-t-b, a lot of small town politics to navigate with other pressing issues in the way, but long-term it only makes sense

  71. globaleyes says:

    Wrong? I’m the biggest loser you’ve ever met.

    Does it sound like I’m bragging?

    I am!

    I brag because I try more than others.

    And that makes me right!

  72. just-a-thought says:

    I was wrong to think ‘ The Hills’ was the worst show on tv….turns out it’s CNBC’s power lunch….I like some of there other stuff (love Fast Money), but I just can’t stand the power lunch crew

    Also, I just finished my Master’s in Financial Economics and……1) I was wrong to think Economists as a group knew what they were talking about, in my estimation only about 5% have a clue (I understand the whole Keynesian economic model in detail and can debate against it fantastically now though which is always a good time…I’m not a fan of Keynes’ whatsoever) 2) I should have sold out and got my MBA, because even though I took the MBA finance classes combined with graduate level Economics, it doesn’t seem to impress prospective employers as much as the MBA

    Also, I used to think I only liked brunettes….Melissa Francis has slowly but surely convinced me otherwise

    If you need more of my faults just consult my ex……

  73. batmando,

    they, the local p-t-b, are, already buying electrons..

    unless they’re on the ‘kickback’ train, they’ll have no problems stroking a ‘tract that’ll, guaranteed, save them $$ (one caveat, y’all might be on a subsidized tit sourced to a nearby Hydro gen-mill)

    as an aside, remember, Hydro isn’t ‘Green’, it’s ‘Blue’–for the Fish.

    past that, a locally-situated microturbine gen-set will be less expensive that Retail ‘trons from ‘the Ute’.
    the Deal will Finance itself, and need not get in the way of ‘other projects’..

  74. What is scaring me is that as I age I get more and more right. My percentages are definitely going up. Why would this be scary? Because I am usually most right about my fellow humans and human nature and the pain and/or carnage that follows is quite often real. A phrase I often use these days is, “I’m right again…..OH NO!”

  75. batmando,

    if you have Hospitals, old people(in, fairly, sufficient quantity), abbatoirs, or, simply, anybody that uses a decent quantity of this stuff .. (IOW, beyond He for Balloons y Birthday parties)

    We’ll put you into the IG business to go with your electron gensets..

    One can’t believe how inexpensive things can get when we stop predicating our Systems on Waste..

  76. adartmouth says:

    it is ironic AM wrote a song about irony when she didnt know what it is.

  77. dagmountain says:

    Bravo Barry! You’re a big man for admitting that and that is why I am such an avid reader of this blog. It takes a courageous person to stand up for the weak. Thank you for all your great journalism over the years.

  78. batmando says:

    @ meh
    village participates in various co-ops of municipalities in long-term purchase commitments, e.g. shares of a hydro project. main load though does depend on contracting with major utilities. a municipally-owned microturbine would dis-/replace some of that dependence and generate revenue when/if loads permit feeding back into grid. whether that would adversely affect bulk purchase contract pricing and savings/revenues would offset any such adverse effects would have to be summed out. long-term project, have to plant seeds with various sympathetic elements of p-t-b.
    only remaining local manufacturer is an aluminum foundry. don’t know what IG there might be.

  79. emmanuel117 says:

    GOOG call butterfly unwrapped too early…

  80. batmando,

    the aluminum foundry could be using O2, at the minimum, and others, like Ar, if they’re doing anything more than casting ingots..

    the foundry, itself, could be turned into electron/IG gen facility, and, at the same time, knock out alot of their, current, demand for ‘smokestacks’..

    though, with this: “..if loads permit feeding back into grid. whether that would adversely affect bulk purchase contract pricing and savings/revenues would offset any such adverse effects would have to be summed out. long-term project, have to plant seeds with various sympathetic elements of p-t-b.”

    you, already, see, that these are long sales-cycle projects..esp. when one runs into the ‘we don’t do it that way ’round here’ ‘tudes..

    if you ever have any further Q’s, let me know..

  81. dumbmoney says:

    How on earth could the creator of efficient market theory be considered a front-runner for the Nobel in economics. Efficient Market Theory? What a frickin’ joke.

  82. dumbmoney says:

    Oops. Not the creator of EFT. Just a proponent.

  83. TakBak04 says:

    cvienne Says:
    October 15th, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    I think many Americans were wrong in thinking Obama would be like FDR…

    FDR: “The only thing you have to fear, is fear itself”

    Obama Legacy: “The only thing you have to fear, is GREED itself”

    Fear & Greed, it’s always about how those two dance with each other…


    I think that he was CLUELESS!

    And, I think that those who “Marketed Him” had their own agendas. But, it remains to be seen whether he listens to his Left (who “brought him in to the dance with invitation” or the clarion cries from Fox News Network/NeoCons and other Disruptors. I don’t think he was the “Leftist Dream” that folks want to paint him as….that he’s much more Conservative. But, Barry will LEARN that the folks who “thought” they “brung him to the dance” will make sure in some way that he understands that.

    It ain’t gonna be pretty what’s going to go on in the “Clash of Titans” here in the US where we need to get back to “WHO ARE WE? WHERE ARE WE GOING…and WHAT ARE WE AMERICANS ALL ABOUT!

    Apologize for SHOUTING for EMPHASIS.

    GACK… Don’t want to sound like some Troll on Barry’s Excellent site. I want to keep “underground” …but sometimes it’s just a “shout out.”

  84. TakBak04 says:

    dead hobo Says:
    October 15th, 2009 at 11:25 am

    What I have been wrong about:

    I started hanging around bear sites like this, lost my perspective, started paying too much attention to the economy and fundamentals, and saw my returns go to the shitter.

    In a former life I sounded a lot closer like F411 and even that idiot Wanker than I do today. While I never had trouble recognizing crooks and crooked behavior, I started caring about it. Then I started confusing the economy with the market. I made a lot in the market in years gone by not merging the two before, and on the next dip I will do it again.

    I need to clear my pallet, so I’ll say good bye for now and maybe turn CNBC back on.


    dead hobo in some ways really “nails it.” When one starts to “look, dig deeper and then eventually “CARE” it’s the death knell for making PROFITS.

    One should never have a conscience or “Look Back, Forward….or Think to Much ….it will DESTROY your TRADE.

    It’s the TRUTH! That Damned “Introspection” spoils your GAME…and you are DEAD.

  85. Ponchovilla says:

    Ahab is complementing you by calling you a “fucking idiot”. Whether you are a virgin or not does not matter. The context of the use of “fucking idiot” in this case is a plurative nannotive. For example , as used in a sentence for clarity. Most Congressman are “fucking idiots” as it is observed that they continue to fuck the idiots loosely referred to as their constituents.

  86. Ponchovilla says:

    One more thing about this virginity stuff. Where I come from it’s much better to be the FUCKER than the FUCKEE. But GOD BLESS AMERICAN. You have freedom of choice, so they tell you you gringos.

  87. Greg0658 says:

    what a partially wacked out thread – did I do that .. but I wish to extend the www net-neutral tv utilization more – might as well be here … maybe when/if Comcast takes over NBC Universal .. bandwidth usage will be controlled better – maybe .. I understand bandwidth to a small degree .. I know that if 100 people in my neighborhood wanted to see the flying balloon boy – it would be better streamed on a tv channel; as well as the POTUS in NO (as opposed to each of us streaming via the www – I think / maybe I don’t understand www streaming enough) – I also know that streaming the same content (lets use the max useage I can think of) a POTUS address to Congress is probably on upwards of 20 channels at the same time .. of course 7 will be GOP slanted and 7 will be Dem slanted and the other 6 will be a mix of appeal to demographics …. one of those pictures I did awhile back a yinyang Report/Purport …. here/that is the jist of these bytes – we have The Weather Channel (usually reports on the 8′s local radar); ESPN123 with all sports; AMC with old movies; Discovery and History for those interested in those fields; we’ve got Cspan123 for Washington DC 24/7; as well as a least 4 major network platforms of local free press programming

    So how about channels for Eastern Central Mountain Pacific breaking news channels; the GOP channel; the Dems channel; the Independant channel; the Greenpeace/Sierra channel; POTUS CEO* of America channel (*ya right) … you get the drift .. Hope a few of you get this message in a bot/thread
    OOT4 – Submit

  88. Greg0658 says:

    wrong or right ! …. Afganistan direction and troops ?
    hey Greenpeace Sierra types .. is there a location in Afganistan that a nuclear bomb set off would make a nice water collection basin and remind the world and mostly the Middle East what could happen
    …. pre-warn folks on the ME Civil Defense Channel .. and the Weather Channel get involved on a best day to execute for world distribution of fallout

    sorta along the lines – that I believe we all understand .. “Do Unto Others As”

  89. bobby says:

    wrong on most everything…still made a little bit though…

  90. Transor Z says:

    Awesome post. Takes a truly smart/wise person to admit to faults.

  91. Strong people make as many and as ghastly mistakes as weak people. The difference is that strong people admit them, laugh at them, learn form them. This is how they become strong. – Richard Needham

    Mistakes are their own instructors. – Horace

    “A life making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing at all.”- George Bernard S