Thursday, November 22, 2007

C's Xmas Wish List

Dear Santa,

I hope this message finds you and Mrs Claus well! I looked outside my window this morning and believe-it-or-not the public servants (the ones not on strike at any rate) had already strung up effigies of you, Rudolph, and the rest of the herd, along with miles of kitsch lights, fake mistletoe and shiny ribbons. I always wondered whether you approve of all this fuss, or whether you think it's all got out of hand, and simply prefer that everyone make a donation to MSF to help them with their selfless good works, or contribute to The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to insure there is life in the sea for our children generally, and The Majestic Humpbacks which the Japanese want to renew slaughtering again, in particular.

I've been good a good girl this year for the most part (excepting those ill-tempered remarks about The Administration, and the defacement of my passport when Scooter Libby was pardoned) and so I hope that I'm not being too presumptuous by getting you my list "early". Well it seems early to me anyway. As you will see, except for the Vintage Port you might surprise me with, and the Champagne that I've had difficulty affording now that the wealthy Russians have taken a fancy to using it for their foot baths, most of my requests are reasonably selfless and not for parochial benefit.

1. A large rise in the US marginal income tax rate (top Quintile).
Doesn't anyone believe in the most basic rhetoric of economic principles?

2. A forward-looking energy policy including carbon taxes, strict auto-fleet (and truck!) mileage targets, mandatory open-grids, funds for wind, solar, geothermal and CCS, intelligent public transport initiatives and anything you and Mrs Clause might think useful.

3. Single-payor national health insurance and universal coverage. France is a reasonably good model to copy in this respect, if you need to one to deliver.

4. Peace between Palestinians and Israeli's. I know you don't hold much sway in this part of the globe and that the herd HATES it, but if you could just convince the Israeli's that, as Gandhi suggested a little magnanimity, and lot less land-squatting goes a long way, and convince the Hamas-ites that there is very little point in continuously and aimlessly firing bad rockets in the general direction of the border without a Plan-B, we might actually build some trust for a final sittlement.

5. An end to Whaling, and all mindless sea-slaughtering including the Chinese finning of sharks, drift-netting, long-lining, seal-hunts, etc. Just watch this footage, and consider that whaling is even less acceptable than say, clubbing "Lassie", or garroting "Benji".

6. Replace the current crop of US Presidential Contenders with (for change) a leader with some gravitas, and a mandate to define a more inclusive and universal sense of public interest. Al Gore was perfectly acceptable, Bill Bradley was very good and independent-minded. Why can't you give us HIM for xmas?

7. Normalize Japanese interest rates (say at 2.5% to 3.5%?). Why authorities see that in a nation of savers, a virtuous circle would result from higher rates. More interest-income, more consumption, higher tax revenue, maybe even a bit of inflation, and certainly less disruptive carry-finance spilling over in to the ROW. Ohhh, but what of their Remora-like hold upon the RMB....

8. An Oyster Card. Another penny in the green fountain, but a bloody useful one!

9. Entropy in regards to USD Interest rates. Yes it will be painful, but "tough love" is precisely what is required to price and therefore allocate credit judiciously and certainly more efficiently, rather than upon yet another credit-card receivable, timeshare, autolease, or McMansion replete with jacuzzi, two dishwashers, and faux-granite counter-tops, that would make any Scandinavian engineer apoplectic with derision.

10. A copy of Toby Crabel's infamous guide. I will even trade you my rare and moldy original copy of Felix Zulauf's "The Zurich Axioms".
As with virtually all financial books (and Zulauf is no exception despite his skill at talking his book), particularly ones that proffer investment self-improvement advice, this is - at best - a stocking stuffer.

11. A piece of coal (metallurgical coal only, please), I jest you not. Actually, Santa, in hope that you'll fulfill my other selfless xmas wishes, I will let you in on a little secret that some ex-Mortgage Traders conjured up called "The Santa-Arb". You see with such loose fiscal policies and unsterilized intervention across the FX markets in the emerging, GCC, and mercantile nations, these too-clever-by-half kids have figured out that Coal is no longer a punishment but actually rather desirable, and they've set out to fool you into dropping some coal in their stocks, which they can then trade for twice-as-many stocking stuffers.

Fondly Yours,


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