Saturday, November 28, 2009

dEAr sANta...

dEAr sANta...

I know it's crunch-time for you, the elves and Mme Claus, but nevertheless, I reckon I've been reasonably good (excepting that naughty thing or two you must already know about), and so with that in mind, I submit to you my 'modest', scaled-down Xmas list...

  • A complete boxed set of "Black Adder"
  • An end to whaling and wholesale plunder of the oceans
  • Some seriously steep cuts in the US military budget
  • A US healthcare plan consisting of universal basic coverage, engaging a single-payor insurer of a mandatory-participation risk-pool funded through a VAT not forgetting to to remove corp healthcare-expense deductability, supplemented with a private market for supplemental cover.
  • Sunshining of time-and-sales along with 13F as well as increasing filing freq. to monthly (delay still acceptable), including OTC swaps, derivs and all contingent exposures, separately detailed.
  • A meaningfully large carbon-tax, particularly upon motor fuels, of perhaps 50% followed by several years of further flesh-extraction in order to quickly bring US energy policy into line with OECD peers.
  • Debate and subsequent introduction of Electoral Reform including Preferential and Mandatory Voting
  • A rapid decrease in developing world fertility rates.
  • Elimination of CDS
  • A diminishment of inequality between the rich and the poor
  • A substitution of pragmatism for partisanship across the spectrum of American politics.
  • An end to distorting energy subsidies in many emerging markets.
  • An end to the dual mandate at the Fed (don't even ask which one we should kill)
  • Peace between Israelis and Palestinians based upon a two-state solution, mutual respect and an agreement to administer Jerusalem as an international city.
  • A raising of the mandatory retirement age for social security from 65 to 70 (until such time as The People can afford it).
  • A resolve by financial institutions to counter-cyclicly RAISE collateral requirements and decrease the LTV ratio for new loans as asset prices rise over time and vice-versa as they fall.
  • A separation of prop leveraged spec activities from publicly-regulated and insured banks.
  • An end to the destruction of the rainforest and other fragile ecosystems.
  • Better pricing of externalities, in general
  • A marked increase in spec margins on global futures exchanges, a clampdown upon specs claiming hedge status and BD transformers assisting such actions, and an introduction of a "Tobin" tax
  • Serious re-examination of monoculture and intensive fertilizer and pesticide use.
  • A high windfall profits tax on bonus comp vested on short-horizons, with windfall rates diminishing to the prevailing marginal rate where said comp is accrued over long-horizons and and subject to claw-back.
  • A heightened sense of the Public Interest in government & an end to corporate capture of The State along with its insidious rent-seeking,
  • An extended spate of world peace would also be marvelous if you can swing it!
  • Oh and for me, perhaps a pound or three of decent oily Italian-Roast coffee beans and a couple of drinkable bottles of LBV Port to sip by the fire...
With most heartfelt thanks on whatever you can swing,



Buzz said...

For an old geezer like me that has toiled his whole life and now, even though self employed(and 'employing' three other human beings), still has a soft spot in his heart for LABOR you amaze me. You are so Frickin' smart! I might/maybe able to grasp some of the technical stuff you speak of with some awarness of the context but I trust you... I trust YOUTH....I am young at heart and will drop in my tracks if that's what it takes to fend off subliminal psychic erosion of the fear mongering security based *rights* mentality of my aging peers.

You go girl!

May Santa be nice.


Anonymous said...

You are a dreamer!
On top of that, you stole my list!
It's over, for both of us.

Anonymous said...

You really sound like my kind of chick and if I wasn't married I would hunt you down!

Dreaming it certainly is, but one or two would really be a great world present.

Manc Trader said...

I think your wish on fertility rates is coming true, see link. The rest we can only hope for.

ahab said...


yeah right

Chris said...

No CDS? Really? Seems a bit over-reactive for someone with normally measured solutions... But maybe even the elves don't know how to tell what from what in that market, so it's easier to make them dump it all down a ice tube at the N. Pole

epileptikitty said...

"Blackadder": i've been trolling the world of private bittorrent sites. There's a wealth of current Brit TV comedy.

Phillip said...


As usual, the breadth and depth of your insight and foresight leave a high water mark us mortals can barely glimpse.

My single wish would be the passage of the American Monetary Act proposed by Stephen Zarlenga, the preeminent monetary scientist and historian of our time. See

This will be introduced soon by Congressman Dennis Kucinich. It is endorsed by many including economist Michael Hudson ( my pick were the NYT to decide they wanted someone on the editorial page that actually understood the monetary causes of today's disasters.

Besides allowing funding of many of your wishes the AMA would allow for the eventual elimination of Federal taxes for revenue, although taxes for regulation (to modify behaviour per your carbon tax) and for stabilization (to keep the money supply in sync with the real economy) may be necessary at times.

Ever trying to pave the road ahead, but mostly dodging potholes....

Anonymous said...

what a buffoon.
no wonder you are unemployed.
why don't you come out from behind the curtain and show the world your true identity.

the bohemian said...

although i like many of your ideas- "mandatory" voting in a free society is antithesis of a free society-

if i am free- than i am free not to vote- no?

"Cassandra" said...


the case for mandatory voting is straight forward:

- citizenship comes with rights and responsibilities
- one of those responsibilities is with respect to civic life
- democracy works better when there is a tacit understanding that The State is an extension
- voting helps greatly in fostering both of the preceding

Of course, an essential element of mandatory voting schemes IS the right to vote for no-one, but this is different than not voting.

valeriobrl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
valeriobrl said...

Ciao come stai?
I've the feeling They are anticipating the rally this year (have a look @ volume last 3 week cdl on VIZ9 - CBOE S&P 500)
See U around..

RichL said...

For the US domestic portion of your wish list, I'd suggest first wishing for $1 billion or more to set up a PAC that would be able to out-bribe the corporate interests that have driven nearly all of US policy initiatives for the past 9 years.

If Congress is purchased by you there might be some hope of disinterested legislation in the US today.

Anonymous said...

Mandatory voting--in the form of a fine levied on any citizen who fails to vote--exists in a few of the Benelux country (definitely Netherlands, maybe Belgium as well). Dutch people I've talked to say it works very well; employers have adapted and accommodate voting days, everyone goes to the polls, and if you want to register a protest vote, you vote for no one (which can be tracked as voter dissatisfaction the same way voting rates in the US are tracked).


PS adore the post and the blog, Cassandra.

Anonymous said...

PPS--you may have forgotten:

Fundamentally improve the level of education of American children by increasing the overall calibre of teaching (perhaps by inverting the standing of teachers and bankers in social circles) and by having parents commit to a deep involvement in their child's education rather than dropping them in front of the television while they go shopping on credit.

Organ donation as a default status (with opt-out) would also be nice...


the bohemian said...


i could not disagree more on your rationale for mandatory voting-

voting is a right but not a requirement of citizenship-

this isn't a police state last i checked

"Cassandra" said...

i would argue intention and purpose distinguish such a measure from any fascistic association. i would agree that it is an inalienable right but i would argue it is also an obligation - one of the few to one's fellow citizens. i would argue that by necessity one cannot cavalierly pick and choose their obligations, particularly in the civic sphere. Moreover, it is hardly onerous, has a sidepocket to philosophically cater to protests and superior democracies to our own that continue to dynamically evolve in modernity have mirrored these beliefs.

Anonymous said...

Voting should not be an obligation if 1) you sincerely belive the system is broken 2) the system doesn't approximate representative democracy (in the Madisonian sense of the US system), 3) your vote doesn't count in a winner-take-all electoral college (eg a Republican in NY or Democrat in Georgia), 4) laws are written by aides, think tankers, lobbyists, and special interests, not the people you actually elect, and 5) you believe your CHOICE not to vote signifies a repudiation of all of the above.

"Cassandra" said...

I hear you but I think - for democracy, real or imagined - such an attitude has a self-fulfilling sense to it. Seeing how voluntary participation and attendant apathy (not necessarily but likely causally related) have train-wrecked the system as you describe, I am willing to take a flyer that the market is so oversold it is underestimating the sense of The People to improve. CAll me an optimist if you wish....

Anonymous said...

There's a lot of literature on this (from a quick google search). Took three points from skimming: voter engagement does increase with compulsory voting; voting levels are stratified by income, so the lack of compulsory voting impacts the poor more; and evidently the gini coefficient is lower (more equal distribution of income) in jurisdictions with effective compulsory voting. That last one is surprising (and optimistic, if one shares the earlier Xmas wish). Here's the link (haven't read the whole thing):,,id=202510,00.html

Don't even get me started on disenfranchising convicted felons of the right to vote--get caught on the corner with a dime bag, suffer taxation without representation; get caught on campus with a dime bag, you too could be the President of the United States.


Anonymous said...

Ha. Wrong link.


investmentgardener said...

Hear, hear!

vercingeto said...

I wish for systematic failure resulting from over indebtedness and socially driven investments, civil war and global war, only a population cull will ensure survival of the planet and good quality fo life. Please Santa Claus, make the world a better place for me.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you're posting more frequently after a bit of a hiatus, so that's one Christmas present I've already received. Thanks for being back, and for your list.

PS: Don't know if you've seen the article about Ayn Rand in "Gentleman's Quarterly," but check it out. I'm willing to give long odds that you'll laugh out loud at least once.

Ron said...

Prive Rand Wrong, indeed. Merry holidays,

Anonymous said...

Bit surprised about the CDS and Tobin Tax, there's a bit of repetition in the nature stuff (the externalities point is all encompassing and fundamental). Read Bakan The Corporation if you haven't already.
Good list, but I'm not sure anyone's been than good this year even if Santa were omnipotent. has a bit of Baldrick.
Have a good one,

mozzie said...

@ bohemian (presumably US GOPer who has no concept of Bohemia - you know they don't speak "US region English"?)
Australia has long had compulsory voting at all levels of Government. Of course, we are not as free as you in the US (and we are frequently so informed).
But "freedom" does not mean "free to do exactly as I please" - we are a little more insistanet that you have few opportunities to ignore participatory democracy (as opposed to using access as a pre-filter).

However, this does *not* mean that you have to vote for anyone at all. So long as you attend a polling place and are crossed (literally) off the electoral rolls and receive the ballot paper, you're free to leave. You can take the ballots home, drop them in the trash, or put them in a ballot box. In the latter case you can either put them in untouched, scribble (obscenities or whatever) on it, or follow simple instructions and put in a valid vote (over 90% do).

Whaling = nice emotional distraction for green warriors so pillaging world tuna stocks can continue.

Charles Butler said...

1). Ferrovial-CIC? Legally can't happen. Biggest current sahreholders are 40+%. Bid for anything over 30 immediately jumps to 100.

2). Shrinking birth rates - 9 billion souls with underfunded pensions. Great! Better solution is to bite the bullet and ban medical research. Saves your whales, too.