Quote of the Day
“When I saw that article the other day about a market being established to bet on the probability of wars, terrorist attacks and assassinations, I dissed it completely out of hand as nonsense, incredible nonsense. All I could think of was what the blotter would look like. Let’s see. I’m short the Osama Bin Laden December ’04 calls, long 2 ambassadors to Middle East countries and have an Iraq/Iran swap on. I’m also considering some North Korea nuclear incident converts, but they’ve gotten away from me lately. “Get me a look at the East Coast Tunnels and Bridges puts, will you?”
Huh? It just could not be true. Nobody is that warped. Well, evidently, they are. Big time.”
–an anonymous Bear Stearns analyst on the proposed Terror Futures Market (policyanalysismarket.org)
About six months ago, Professor Boskin, an economist at Stanford who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under the first President George Bush, released a paper suggesting that the federal government had a bounty of $12 trillion coming that no one had bothered to count.
Baby boomers and others, who spent decades making tax-free contributions to their I.R.A.’s and 401(k) plans, would soon begin paying taxes on withdrawals from those accounts, Professor Boskin noted. The windfall from all that, he argued, would more than cover the deficits in Social Security and Medicare.
But now it appears that Professor Boskin fired a blank. On July 17, after his ideas were discussed on TV, he quietly notified his colleagues that his equations contained an error. Though he is busily overhauling his paper even now, his latest moment of fame may have already passed.