Economics, Financial Ethics and Consulting; Hartzman Fiduciary

One who intends to leave others better off for his having existed.

4/17/14

Trojan Horse Scam

"...a trojan horse is an ...offer ...designed to draw potential [Marks] by offering them ...something of value for acceptance, but following acceptance, the buyer is forced to spend a much larger amount of money, ...by being signed into a lengthy contract, from which exit is difficult...

The harmful consequences faced by the [Mark] ...may include spending far above market rate [or a] large amount of debt...
...the victim of the trojan horse is likely to end up spending far more money over time, either through continual withdrawals from the [Mark's indebtedness] ...or add-ons to a bill that must be paid in order to avoid loss of an object or service of prime importance (such as [police, fire or energy]).

...Auto-manufacturers and car dealerships will often advertise free or subsidized gas to car buyers for a certain amount of time, but increase the cost of the car in other ways."

Trojan Horse Scam

4/14/14

Passover Conundrum; Exodus 12:23

"When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the door frame and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down."

http://biblehub.com/exodus/12-13.htm
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If God is all knowing, why would God need the Israelites to smear blood on their doorways, if God knew who was who?

If there is only one God, who was the destroyer?

How can God order the murder of the first born, if God is all good?

If God is all mighty, why would a destroyer be necessary?






Yes Weekly's Eric Ginsburg: "Jewish slave traders, Civil War heroes, spies and foot doctors"

"Historical Jewish figures that I’ve taught myself about, like Emma Goldman,
arrived in waves around 1885.

According to Temple Emanuel’s website,
the first permanent Jewish settlers came to Greensboro in the same time period.

Temple Emanuel was formed not long after, but it wasn’t until the 1940s
that the Greensboro Jewish Federation and Beth David Synagogue were formed...

...Jewish Major Mordecai, of North Carolina,
resigned when war broke out rather than align himself with either army.

A ring reading “Raleigh” in Hebrew was dug up at a battlefield.

All told, about 3,000 Jewish soldiers fought for the Confederacy,
some defending their hometowns and others their slave plantations.

The film [...and larger exhibit at the Greensboro Historical Museum
about Jewish life in North Carolina...,]
explored personal stories of soldiers requesting time off for religious holidays,
a female spy ring in the capital, and even the rise of Judah Benjamin,
a Jewish senator who became the Confederate secretary of war and later secretary of state.

Approximately 7,000 Jews fought for the Union.

In a time when the national Jewish population was 150,000,
the film noted that an estimated 10,000 Jewish servicemen was a remarkable percentage.

The film portrayed Lincoln in an unflinchingly positive light,
never alluding to the fact that he didn’t always oppose slavery.

Instead it focused on his decision to allow a Jewish chaplain in the Union army
and to send his Jewish foot doctor to negotiate with the Confederacy.

It also noted that five Jews were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor
for their Union service.

Most shocking to me, however,
was learning about General Ulysses S. Grant’s General Order No. 11,
where he called for the forcible eviction of all Jews living within “the department” under his control,
a large area including parts of Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky, within 24 hours.

I remember my dad telling me that in places like where I grew up,
there used to be laws against Jews owning land, but I had never heard of this.

...the film explored the disagreements within the Jewish community
about whether owning slaves contradicted the Passover teachings...

Part of the larger exhibit at the Greensboro Historical Museum about Jewish life in North Carolina,
the film illustrated a different lens through which to view the Civil War
and a more complex picture of Jewish history in the country."

Eric Ginsburg

4/13/14

“That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Unseen”

“In the economic sphere an act, a habit, an institution, a law produces not only one effect, but a series of effects. Of these effects, the first alone is immediate; it appears simultaneously with its cause; it is seen. The other effects emerge only subsequently; they are not seen; we are fortunate if we foresee them.

There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen.

Yet this difference is tremendous; for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favorable, the later consequences are disastrous, and vice versa. Whence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good that will be followed by a great evil to come, while the good economist pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil.”

Frédéric Bastiat, 1850

Gun control, Ukraine and reality

"In Ukraine a license is required to own firearms.

If a citizen is:

21 years of age (18 if the license is for hunting)
has no criminal record
has no history of domestic violence
has no mental illness or history of mental illness
has good reason (target shooting, hunting, collection)

...then that person may be issued a license.

Once a license is issued, all guns must be kept unloaded and in a safe. If a person owns more than three firearms, the safe must have an alarm on it. Citizens are permitted to own non-fully automatic rifles and shotguns as long as they are stored properly when not in use.

Handguns are illegal except for target shooting and those who hold concealed carry permits. Handguns are only allowed in .22, 9mm, .357mag and .38 calibre. Concealed carry licenses are available, but are not normally issued unless a threat to life is present and can be proven."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overview_of_gun_laws_by_nation#Ukraine
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Now it's a question of who's on the list of firearm owners.

If the Russians take over more of Ukraine, it would make sense for them to use the list of non Russian speaking gun owners to confiscate their weapons.

A relatively unarmed population is much easier to control.

Relatively unarmed nations are much easier to invade.

Being listed by the government with owning a gun appears to be much more risky than not having your name on a list.

The Ukrainian people have very little ability to defend themselves unless their government provides the means.

The Ukrainian government looks unprepared, underfunded and organizationally compromised.

Ukraine has made itself low hanging fruit for Russia.

4/12/14

"Shootout in Kramatorsk", Ukraine

"Pro-Russian forces are taking part and leading attacks on government buildings in Donetsk Oblast, including police and security service stations, said Interior Ministry Arsen Avakov.

...gun shots have been recorded in and outside the compound of the main police station in Kramatorsk...

Armed men stormed the building, said the Interior Ministry. The law enforcement website says that “a shootout is happening between police and unknown armed men.“

In Chervoniy Lyman, a district center of 20,000 people on the northern edge of Donetsk Oblast, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said an attack on the local police station “by Russian forces” was repelled three hours ago.

The alleged Russians were armed with Russian-made AK 100 submachine guns that are only used by Russian military forces, said Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.

In Slovyansk, mobile communication towers have been destroyed, said Avakov. Earlier on April 11, pro-Russian forces, some of whom are suspected Russian military soldiers, had taken over the local police station and Security Service (KGB-successor agency) building in Slovyansk. Road blocks and check points were set up by pro-Russian forces at the same time.

“The government of Ukraine considers the facts of the present day as a manifestation of external aggression by Russia,” reads the Internal Ministry’s website.

Pro-Russian forces still occcupty the regional legislature building in Donetsk and the SBU building in Luhansk."

http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/shootout-in-kramatorsk-next-on-wave-of-russian-assault-on-donetsk-oblast-343255.html

Previously;

http://hartzman.blogspot.com/2014/03/map-of-russian-military-build-up-on.html

http://hartzman.blogspot.com/2014/03/us-food-prices-are-up-19-in-2014-q1-gdp.html

http://hartzman.blogspot.com/2014/03/us-food-prices-are-up-19-in-2014-q1-gdp.html

http://hartzman.blogspot.com/2014/03/on-famine-inflicted-by-soviet-union-on.html

http://hartzman.blogspot.com/2014/03/mikhail-bakharev-editor-of-crimea.html

http://hartzman.blogspot.com/2014/03/maps-what-if-few-in-ukraine-retaliate.html

http://hartzman.blogspot.com/2014/02/on-ukraine-with-maps-remember-when.html

http://hartzman.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-math-that-predicted-revolutions.html

What could happen if a generation
of underemployed, underpaid, educated and indebted young adults
became disillusioned by their elders’ financial mismanagement
and sought to identify and punish those responsible?

4/9/14

"The SEC never went after the powerful."

"The SEC has become “an agency that polices the broken windows on the street level and rarely goes to the penthouse floors,” Kidney said, according to a copy of his remarks obtained by Bloomberg News. “On the rare occasions when enforcement does go to the penthouse, good manners are paramount. Tough enforcement, risky enforcement, is subject to extensive negotiation and weakening.

Kidney said his superiors were more focused on getting high-paying jobs after their government service than on bringing difficult cases. The agency’s penalties, Kidney said, have become “at most a tollbooth on the bankster turnpike.”
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"Kidney essentially confirmed everyone’s worst fears – that the regulators have been captured by the businesses they are supposed to be regulating and that the law only applies to some."

http://news.firedoglake.com/2014/04/09/retiring-sec-attorney-says-agency-fails-to-hold-powerful-accountable/

4/8/14

"Troubled Currencies Project black-market exchange-rate data"


"Regimes in countries undergoing severe inflation have a long history of hiding the true extent of their inflationary woes. In many cases, governments fabricate inflation statistics to hide their economic problems. In the extreme, countries simply stop reporting inflation data. This was the case in Zimbabwe, a country that recorded the world's second-highest hyperinflation. Results of research determined that Zimbabwe's hyperinflation peaked in mid-November 2008, at a monthly rate of 7.96 × 1010% — roughly 8 followed by 10 zeros.

...Many countries have followed this course — failing to report any usable monetary data and neglecting to report inflation data in a timely and replicable manner. Those data that are reported are often deceptive, if not completely fabricated."

Steve H. Hanke
The Troubled Currencies Project
Johns Hopkins University

http://www.cato.org/research/troubled-currencies-project

On March 23, 2006, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System 
will cease publication of the M3 monetary aggregate

US Federal Reserve Announcement
November 10, 2005

If a nation prints more money
like cutting a 16 inch pizza into 12 slices instead of 8
is each slice worth less?

What if the pizza shrinks while the number of slices rise?

In the absence of the gold standard
there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation

There is no safe store of value

Alan Greenspan

If one family has meat and another is growing vegetables
could the meat family accept an I Owe yoU for some present meat
in exchange for some future vegetables, plus extra to compensate for waiting,
like borrowing from a bank?

If the Veggie family exchanges present sustenance for future need
is the IOU money and the extra interest, like buying groceries with a credit card?

If the Meat family exchanges a Veggie IOU for an axe
is the transaction dependent on the IOU’s perceived value,
like the trade-in value of a used car?

Could widespread consensus of an over-abundantly large crop
make the Veggie IOU worth less axe,
like buying local corn after harvesting a bumper crop?

What could happen if the Veggie family issues or is thought to have issued
more IOUs than planted seeds?

Athenian money…defined a pattern 
which was to repeat in other empires which were to follow
dominance of trade
influx of gold to balance exports
 public wealth
 liberty
 overconfidence
the discovery of loosely managed money
as a stimulating solution to stagnation in an economy near its zenith…
before finally the emptiness of the monetary promise was exposed
leading to rapid national collapse

Paul Tustain

If Germany’s central bank suspended the right
to redeem gold backed Reichsmarks during World War I
and 170 Reichsmarks bought an ounce of gold in January 1919,
why did an ounce of gold cost 87,000,000,000,000 Reichsmarks
in November 1923?

The excess credit which the Fed pumped into the economy
 spilled over into the stock market
triggering a fantastic speculative boom

Belatedly, Federal Reserve officials attempted to sop up the excess reserves
 and finally succeeded in braking the boom

But it was too late
 by 1929 the speculative imbalances had become so overwhelming 
that the attempt precipitated a sharp retrenching
 and a constant demoralizing of business confidence

Alan Greenspan
Conceded free-market deregulatory ideology was flawed in October, 2008

Why did the US stop exchanging paper dollars for gold and silver
after printing more without raising taxes
to pay for Vietnam and socialized benefit programs?

Have American legislators and the Federal Reserve
been abusing the dollar’s status as a reserve currency
to avoid overtly raising domestic taxation
by covertly taxing US dollar denominated assets like oil by over-printing money?

Are taxes rising or falling if workers, savers and investors are exposed
to inflationary capital confiscation?

Inflation is one form of taxation that can be imposed without legislation

Milton Friedman
Economic Nobel Laureate

4/7/14

"What we have today is a complete mess."

"An exchange used to be a place, yes, a physical place, where people would come together to buy or sell, hoping to achieve the best price for themselves," he said. "The more the exchange was able to attract all of the buy and sell interests in a product, the more the prices on the exchange would reflect the true state of supply and demand."

"In the last twenty years came computers, electronic communications, electronic exchanges, dark pools, flash orders, multiple exchanges, alternative trading venues, direct access brokers, OTC derivatives, high-frequency traders ... Reg NMS in the U.S. -- and what we have today is a complete mess."

"It is not so much anymore that the public does not trust their brokers. They do not trust the markets, the exchanges, or the regulators either. And why should they, given our showing the past few years? To the public the financial markets may increasingly seem like a casino, except that the casino is more transparent and simpler to understand."

"...I did not see the forces of fragmentation and the opportunity for people to use technology to keep to the letter but avoid the spirit of the rules -- creating the current crisis."

"It is vitally important that we bring an end to this crisis of trust before it spreads any further. That we bring back order, fair dealing, and trust in the marketplace. The financial markets of ... the world's developed countries are at a turning point. Technology, market structure, and new products have evolved more quickly than our capacity to understand or control them. The result has been a series of crises over the past few years that have caused many investors to lose confidence or to think that the whole system is a rigged game."

Thomas Peterffy

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-07/father-high-speed-trading-speaks-market-we-created-casino-complete-mess-rigged-game

I believe the world’s wealthiest generation forfeited their children’s financial future for present prosperity.

"Some of the demographic changes over the last 6 years"


"1) There are now more people in the 16 to 24 age group...

2) There are fewer people in the prime working age group.

3) There are many more people in the older age group."

http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2014/04/wsj-employment-graph-ignores.html#CsuIyjjJ01cPS2E2.99
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If there are more than 3 workers contributing to Social Security for every beneficiary, how will less than 2 workers be able to pay for more as the Baby Boom retires?

Was it justifiable for the baby boom to promise themselves tens of trillions of unfunded benefits, like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, for future generations to pay for?

Human beings are… of two persuasions
the first would spend tomorrow what they earn today
the second would spend today what they hope to earn tomorrow

From this…arise all conflicts that lead to economic crises
to panics, depressions, violent and revolutionary transfers of wealth
and perhaps most wars

Freeman Tilden

If workers earn, pay taxes, spend, save and invest while retirees divest, downsize, budget and draw income and healthcare benefits, what’s going to happen when more retirees want what fewer workers may not be able to deliver?

Are Baby Boomers going to get more or less than they think, if the supply of what they want to sell exceeds demand, as they exchange assets for needed goods and services at relatively the same time?

There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom
 brought on by credit expansion

The question is only whether the crisis should come sooner
 as a result of  abandonment of credit expansion
 or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved

Ludwig von Mises

Most financial industry economists considered warnings of financial bubbles unproven, non-existent or exaggerated until afterward.

If there are at least 15,000 professional American economists, and less than 1% predicted the 2008/9 financial crisis, most financial industry economic prognostications appear to be relatively useless.

If investment returns are dependent on rising home values and liquidity supplied by new and existing investors, what should happen if incoming investment slows and lack of liquidity creates a confidence crisis?

Ponzi finance units must increase outstanding debt
in order to meet financial obligations

A transition occurs over the course of an expansion
as increasingly risky positions are validated by the booming economy
that renders the built in margins of error superfluous
encouraging adoption of riskier positions

Eventually, either financing costs rise
or income comes in below expectations
leading to defaults on payment commitments

Hyman Minsky

The federal government stabilized the economy by borrowing from relatively younger American's and their children who may not reap the prosperity of their parents.

Corruption of the political, capitalist and information systems negatively influenced economic performance and consumer behavior through legislation, budget appropriation, regulation and taxation to benefit a few at the expense of many.

A democracy will continue to exist
 up until the time that voters discover
 that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury

From that moment on
the majority always votes for the candidates
who promise the most benefits…
with the result that every democracy
will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy…

…nations always progressed through the following sequence

From bondage to spiritual faith
from spiritual faith to great courage
from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance
from abundance to complacency
from complacency to apathy
 from apathy to dependence
from dependence back into bondage

Unknown

If Bernard Madoff distributed money from wealthy newer investors to pay earlier investors until there wasn't enough money to continue, does the US government operate under the same structure with mandatory participation for all?

Socioeconomic disharmonies will likely increase.

Are the only two certainties that there are at least two players...

you and everything that’s not?

Think ≠ Chess & Cognitive Dissonance

The great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearance
as though they were realities,
and are often more influenced by the things that seem than those that are.



Niccolo Machiavelli

Is what’s happening, happening or what you tell yourself is happening?

When you recall, are you remembering,
or are you remembering the last memory of a recollection?

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.



Socrates
Is yesterday a certainty, if the past is dependent on the present?

Is what you used to look like what you see in a mirror?

Things are not what they appear to be, nor are they otherwise.

Buddha
Is the present a place you’ve never been?

Is present experience relative to the past
or memories of the past?

We are never deceived; we but deceive ourselves.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Is what you remember
usually better or worse than what actually happened?