ObamaCare & SCOTUS

ObamaCare is flawed. No question about that. But when one side gets to push its own agenda while the other side refuses to participate, then flawed is the result. But that’s not the issue. The real issue that neither party will face up to is that as long as OUR generation continues to cash in at the expense of the next and refuses to pay taxes for the services that it enjoys then we have a fiscal disaster looming before us. Benefits have to be cut and taxes have to be raised. As long as one side refuses to raise taxes and the other side refuses to cut benefits then no progress is possible and disaster draws closer. Given that, today’s decision by the Supreme Court was irrelevant in the larger scale of things. What does matter is whether we begin to tackle the cost of healthcare. Continue reading

Mind that sandwich

Some products are not subject to VAT in Europe; others are. With VAT in the UK at 17.5% and going to 20.0% whether it is taxed or not makes a big difference. So, is a toasted sandwich from Subway just that and not subject to VAT or is it hot takeaway food when, apparently, it is subject to VAT? In a related dispute, a sandwich eaten sitting down inside the door is subject to VAT, but one eaten standing up just outside the door is not. Go figure!

Father’s Day 2012

I don’t know how your day passed but mine passed with several stories on the radio about sons and fathers. I suppose the theme common to all the stories ran something like I hated my father when I was a kid but when I grew up all I saw was this sorry old man and I couldn’t hate him anymore. I suppose the sub-theme was each son trying to avoid being like his father but slowly and gradually and in some case unwittingly it seemed falling into the same pattern — or a reverse of the father that made the son not an image but a counter-impage. Interesting perspectives. Continue reading

Risk averse – sometimes

A fascinating article in the New York Times by a retired trader, now neuroscientist at Cambridge John Coates entitled “The Biology of Bubble and Crash.” In it, he notes that when someone enters a trade, the body feeds testosterone into the system of the trader, creating a sense of invincibility and generating a very high tolerance for risk. Bad news, however, feeds cortisol into the system generating an irrational level of risk aversion.Our models tend to assume that people have a relatively stable level of risk aversion. Investment houses give tests to be filled in at home after hours to determine one’s tolerance for risk. What Coates work has shown, is that risk tolerance fluctuates wildly and does so at the hands of our hormones. Younger males — the typical traders — are particularly susceptible to volatile body chemistry.

Risk Averse – Sometimes

A fascinating article in the New York Times by a retired trader, now neuroscientist at Cambridge John Coates entitled “The Biology of Bubble and Crash.” In it, he notes that when someone enters a trade, the body feeds testosterone into the system of the trader, creating a sense of invincibility and generating a very high tolerance for risk. Bad news, however, feeds cortisol into the system generating an irrational level of risk aversion. Continue reading