peter fox

  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About peter fox

  • Rank
  • Birthday 07/27/1978

Profile Information

  • Gender Male
  • Location Charlotte, NC
  1. We're all government workers now

    I must say I am very surprised to see this comment here. What exactly is rational compensation? Who is to be the arbiter? If fraud can be proven on a case by case basis there are remedies. The largest fraud by far was the behavior of S&P, Fitch and Moody's, the only three ratings agencies licensed by the government to rate these financial securities. These companies literally said that many C's = AAA and stupid investors bought it. Any who did deserve to lose their jobs and their money, but stupid does not necessarily equal criminal. On the bonus side, realize there are hundreds of different groups in a bank most of which likely made a profit last year. Part of the allure of working 60-70 hour weeks is that if you do well you can be well compensated. While I would argue that it is none of your business who makes a bonus it is my understanding that the groups responsible for the losses in 2008 did not receive a bonus and many lost their jobs. In other areas of the banks people who did exceptional jobs and helped the bank weather the storm saw their bonus shrink by 50-100% if they kept their jobs. In my opinion there is no greater outrage than the government causing this crisis through mass intervention in the financial industry (see Fed, Fred, Fan and FDIC) and then demanding more control when the chickens come home to roost.
  2. I highly recommend "Montessori from the Start: The Child at Home, from Birth to Age Three" by Paula Polk Lillard and Lynn Lillard. This book concretized many of the Montessori principles of early development with thorough explanations and anectdotes. The authors relate all advice back to the nature of the child and to the goal of helping the child develop with true self esteem. "Secret of Childhood" by Maria Montessori is a good primer on the Montessori method for each stage of child development. I also recommend downloading the Joyful Child catalog from The Michael Olaf Montessori Company. Congratulations!
  3. The Gift Certificate

    A glimmer of hope, maybe? Wall Street Journal's letters to the editor this morning-
  4. The Gift Certificate

    transcript audio To be clear, I am not condemning him, just pointing out the direct (regulators) and indirect (giving competitors extra cash at cheap rates) pressure the government is putting on the company. I really don't know what I would do in his situation.
  5. Paulson Agrees OKs Exec Pay Limits

    The point is that the government shouldn't be doing the bailout in the first place. If the companies are bankrupt let them be bankrupt but if they are not what gives Congress the right to break the employment contract? Also, if the goal is to nurse these companies back to health you need to be able to pay talented leaders above market compensation to take on the risks inherent in a struggling company. This is just one symptom of what we can expect by increased intervention. This press release from ARI's Yaron Brook sums it up nicely.
  6. Capitalism, R.I.P.

    I think we all agree on the government's culpability in this. Can you point out who the crook is on the private side? (I have worked in banking for three years, two months of which were spent buying mortgage pools, the rest of the time in Commercial Banking. I have pretty strong opinions and a decent handle on this, but I am not an expert so Caveat Lector!) Originators (Mortgage and Commercial Banks)- Originators do need to have the capital in order to lend. They lend their money and make a profit by collecting the interest or selling the loan to investors. If the originator sells the loan to an investor with false information (potentially through negligence) then certainly I could see calling them a crook but to my knowledge that was not the case. (There were allegations that brokers were pushing people to lie on applications but nothing systemic that I have seen). As the Fed Funds Target rate went to negative in real terms (less than inflation) the money was so easy banks felt pressured to lend more to higher risk clients (also higher reward). I don't see this as "short term manipulative greed", rather as a bad bet capitalists are free to take. Investors (Banks and Funds)- Purchased loans from originators on the open market. Full disclosure of 50-100 pieces of information about each loan is passed from originator to investor before the deal is closed. It is my understanding that varying degrees of due diligence were performed depending upon the purchaser. Yes, this piece can get quite complicated as the loans are put in tranches and sold in many different ways, but the point is the information about the underlying assets was available to the investor and no guarantees about performance were ever made, so no fraud here. With the Fed holding down interest rates, yields on corporate bonds and bank products were low. The equity market returns at this time were also sub-average. The yield was in real estate and mortgage backed securities seemed safe as they are backed by houses that can be sold if the payments aren't made. To get preferred yields investors took more risk and, like the originators, they lost. Borrowers- On a national level housing prices have not gone down since the Great Depression. You can pay $1000/mo. on an Interest Only loan for a $500,000 home that will "likely" increase in value by $20-100M over the next few years at which point you can "likely" refinance or sell and make a nice profit. You sign on not understanding that "likely" doesn't mean "definitely" (blank-out) and not considering that without this scenario you have no way to pay the $3000/mo. payment if you can't re-fi or sell (blank-out #2). My opinion on this is that the government's goal of increased home ownership along with the deep influence the Fed's monetary policy has on banking were the overwhelming contributors to this debacle. I see that banks made bad bets, investors made worse bets and taxpayers will pay the bill. It sucks but I think if presented clearly (by someone more authoritative than I) it makes a great case study for Laissez-Faire.
  7. Seeking good podcasts

    I enjoy "Bloomberg on the Economy" with Tom Keene. Some of his guests get my blood boiling but overall the show is well produced and Mr. Keene asks insightful questions. You will get the occasional defender of free markets which is nice to hear. For lighter fare I just started listening to "The Moth" podcast and have enjoyed a few episodes. The show features one speaker each episode who gets on stage and tells a (generally humorous) story about an event that changed his life. The sense of life varies from brilliant to vulgar, but I have found value in a few of the stories. The "Quick and Dirty Tips" series covers a broad array of topics in neat 5-10 minute pieces. I enjoy "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing". I also have found some interesting one-off content by searching iTunes for people I am interested in. I found a Leonard Peikoff video (America vs. Americans) and a speech Nassim Taleb gave in London (The Black Swan- Thinking the Impossible). Good luck and enjoy your new iPod!
  8. Firefly (2002)

    I found the quality to be excellent and the commercial interruptions to be minimal (4 sets of 15 to 30 second commercials per episode). I am not sure if the quote above was meant as a dig to me, but that is how I took it. Hulu is owned by the companies that own or have license to the content. Anything shown there is as if it were shown on television. Firefly is a good show but not one that I value highly enough to purchase on DVD. If the owners/licensees want to show it on the internet and are compensated by commercial advertisement, who exactly is harmed?
  9. Firefly (2002)

    Thanks to this forum I was turned on to this excellent show. FYI, all episodes are available free, legal and with excellent quality from: Enjoy!
  10. Ayn Rand on Abortion

    I don't mean to unduly prolong this discussion, but I am still not convinced of this argument. I still haven't proven that a fetus is a human, but if it were possible to prove, then I would imagine ideally (forgetting for a moment the vehemence of the anti-abortion lobby) a codified legal standard erring on the side of the woman's rights and health, similar in theory to self defense vs. manslaughter, could provide an objective basis of judgment. The standard would differ from self defense vs. manslaughter in that there would need to be overwhelming evidence that the woman's health was not in jeopardy and the woman would have an expert witness (the doctor) present at the time in question. Due to the power of the religious lobby it would be extremely difficult to get just the right law and to make sure it is used as intended, but should we really base our laws on the power that irrational people currently hold? I agree that viability is too ambiguous a standard. I haven't fully examined this side of the issue, but I would think the standard could revolve around consciousness. My thought is that the defining quality of a man as distinguished from an animal is his rational functioning. Medical science should be able to determine when the fetus becomes aware of his surroundings and is able to think. This time period could then be used as a cut off for non-emergency abortion. My purpose here was to discuss the difficulties in legal definition. All of this rests on the assumption that the fetus at some stage prior to birth becomes a human (actual), which the objectivists do not concede but I have not yet been dissuaded from.
  11. Ayn Rand on Abortion

    I understand the practical difficulties associated with any legislation in this area, but disagree that these difficulties should necessarily (taken by themselves) prevent such a law. While unintended consequences should be considered when framing a law those consequences do not dictate which laws are proper. The right to bear arms means that some will be able to use a gun to commit crimes, but more importantly protects an individual's right to protect himself. IF, a fetus in the eight month is a human being, terminating it in non-emergency situations should be illegal regardless of who may attempt to abuse such laws.
  12. Ayn Rand on Abortion

    A man's rights always end just before violating another man's rights, so the stance of Objectivism must be that the fetus is never a person even five minutes before its birth. At birth, the fetus is physically separated from the womb, but specifically how does that change the nature of the being? I go back to my question, how is the nature of the fetus 5 minutes before birth so radically different from a baby one minute after birth? It has been argued well by Mr. Peikoff and others that in the first three months the fetus is just a clump of cells with no resemblance to a human. I have not been able to find any arguments about the nature of a fetus in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.
  13. Ayn Rand on Abortion

    If I read "Ethics of Emergencies" in TVOS correctly, when discussing an ethical issue man should not base his morality on emergency situations (the lifeboat example, p.55, 1998 edition). Certainly emergency situations need to be considered secondarily and medical professionals do this on a daily basis but the morality of a volitional, non-emergency late term abortion can not be justified based on this argument. I understand the 'slippery slope' argument and agree that practically it would be difficult to define. However difficulty of definition and practical application are not arguments for the morality of an action. My point is that it is a question of science to help us determine when a person is medically a person, not necessarily viable externally, but a human being.