Draghi Speaks, Euro Falls Off Chart, Stocks Soar Despite Layoffs, Shrinking Revenues, and Evil “Strong Dollar” that just Got a Heck of Lot Stronger

There has been a litany of layoff announcements recently: Biogen said yesterday that it would axe 11% of its people. ESPN would lay off 4% of its people. Twitter a couple of days ago said it would slash its workforce by 8%. Microsoft and HP are currently very busy shedding tens of thousands of workers.

Caterpillar announced over 10,000 layoffs last month. Intuit kicked off a new round of layoffs this summer. Permanently troubled former highflyer Groupon is laying of 1,100 folks. Even startups. Zomato, based in India, is laying of 300 folks, many of them in the US. Flipagram laid off 20% of its workers. And on and on. Even Snapchat.

It isn’t a coincidence: It’s tough out there. S&P 500 companies have been reporting shrinking revenues for what will be three quarters in a row (Q1, Q2, and Q3) and declining earnings for what will be two quarters in a row (Q2 and Q3). Q4 is shaping up to be no better. Unless a miracle happens, 2015 is going to be the worst year in that respect since the Financial Crisis.

So layoffs are a logical response from a corporate point of view.

Also – and this isn’t a coincidence either – it’s going to be a banner year for M&A. Alas, an M&A boom always triggers a relentless corporate chase after the promised “synergies” and “efficiencies” between the two combined companies. Hence more layoffs.

Layoffs are a lagging indicator for corporate troubles.

So in this malaise that our economic reality has been serving up, something exciting was needed, something far away that would goose stocks and remind folks that stock prices and reality have been surgically separated years ago, and that they aren’t about to be allowed to grow back together in some unseemly manner.

And it arrived today: Draghi spoke. And it goosed stocks beautifully.

But his premonitions should have spooked them….

So at the press conference after the meeting of the Governing Council, ECB president Mario Draghi offered the alluring possibilities of “a whole menu” of options that would be considered at the December meeting, including QE that could be adjusted in “size, composition, and duration.” So more QE for longer, covering additional types of securities or even “old bicycles,” as German politician Frank Schäffler had said so elegantly in July 2012.

The Council also discussed lowering the deposit rate, which is already a negative -0.2%, to an even deeper negative – savers, pension funds, life insurance companies that are crucial in the European retirement system, and common sense be damned.

And then this happened:


In the period from before the meeting to now as I’m writing this, the euro plunged 2.2% against the dollar, to $1.11, a huge single-day move for a major currency.

And that was really bad news for US corporations. They report their Eurozone business in dollars. That much maligned “strong dollar” has become the “most popular excuse” – practically a universal excuse – why revenues and earnings are so crummy these days. And now the dollar has just become a heck of a lot stronger.

Today’s move, if it sticks, just knocked another 2% off US companies’ revenues and earnings in the Eurozone when these revenues and earnings get translated into dollars, the very thing our ingenious CEOs have been lamenting all year, every time they report their sad numbers.

And yet, just to display a glorious independence from reality, US stocks soared, with the Dow up 320 points, even as CEOs are sitting there cringing about the euro’s move and what they might have to tell analysts and investors during the next round of earnings confessions.

And the real economy? Now even Moody’s is getting edgy. Read… Moody’s Warns “of Jarring Slowdown” in Jobs, Jumps on Recession Bandwagon

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  40 comments for “Draghi Speaks, Euro Falls Off Chart, Stocks Soar Despite Layoffs, Shrinking Revenues, and Evil “Strong Dollar” that just Got a Heck of Lot Stronger

  1. Chhelo says:

    Wow, Do I slit may wrist today or tomorrow.

    Al I know is I’am a couple of moves away from “zero debt” and prepared to live on a couple grand a month. I can last for years and not make another dime.

    By March 2016 I’ll be free from this make believe political and financial system. I may be overly conservative but I’m hunkering down because the poop is rolling down the hill by gravity but when it hits the fan it will go warp 8.

    If I’m wrong my children get a windfall when I depart. if not they have a place to come to weather the storm.

    If you are not preparing for what’s coming hopefully there are enough of us to help you out as best we can when terminal velocity is reached.

    • Mary says:

      I’ve been a reader of Wolfstreet for about a year, and I certainly appreciate the intelligent, informed posts. But the unceasing “sky is falling” mindset saddens me because it produces the attitudes embodied in Chhelo’s comment. Head for the hills, live in a shack, arm yourself to the teeth, buy mucho canned goods. Cue the Unabomber!

      What happened to the notion of community? Does being well-informed about the film flam world of corporate capital,( thanks to sources like Wolfstreet,) mean an automatic retreat into solipsism?

      • CrazyCooter says:

        Your presupposition is that a “collapse” has to be, relatively speaking, quick and brutal and clear cut. This isn’t always the case. Sometimes is a slow, relentless, barely visible grind down hill over a period of years, or even decades. This is the classic boiled frog scenario where if it happens slow enough, people tend not to notice.

        Things are NOT good. Things are NOT improving. Outlooks are decaying.

        At some point things will start to truly “break” and the pace and magnitude of events will pick up, but the fact it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it isn’t going to.

        Getting completely out of debt and stripping expenses down to the basics is absolutely the best path forward for anyone … and is my strategy as well.



      • Wolf Richter says:

        Mary, have a good craft brew (or whatever) with people you care about and enjoy life. The sky isn’t falling, at least it wasn’t last time I checked. We at WS are just discussing financial and economic issues here. I hope it will give you just a little bit of additional insight that will contribute just a tiny bit to your wise financial decisions.

      • Peepot says:

        Have a read of this:

        THE PERFECT STORM (see p. 58 onwards)

        The economy is a surplus energy equation, not a monetary one, and growth in output (and in the global population) since the Industrial Revolution has resulted from the harnessing of ever-greater quantities of energy.

        But the critical relationship between energy production and the energy cost of extraction is now deteriorating so rapidly that the economy as we have known it for more than two centuries is beginning to unravel.


        Then come back and tell us that we are still wrong.

        This is Apocalypse Now… it is imminent

        • Peepot says:

          Marginal oil production costs are heading towards $100/barrel http://ftalphaville.ft.com/2012/05/02/983171/marginal-oil-production-costs-are-heading-towards-100barrel/

          The marginal cost of the 50 largest oil and gas producers globally increased to US$92/bbl in 2011, an increase of 11% y-o-y and in-line with historical average CAGR growth. http://ftalphaville.ft.com/2012/05/02/983171/marginal-oil-production-costs-are-heading-towards-100barrel/

          Steven Kopits from Douglas-Westwood said the productivity of new capital spending has fallen by a factor of five since 2000. “The vast majority of public oil and gas companies require oil prices of over $100 to achieve positive free cash flow under current capex and dividend programmes. Nearly half of the industry needs more than $120,” he said http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/11024845/Oil-and-gas-company-debt-soars-to-danger-levels-to-cover-shortfall-in-cash.html

          Sanford C. Bernstein, the Wall Street research company, calls the rapid increase in production costs “the dark side of the golden age of shale”. In a recent analysis, it estimates that non-Opec marginal cost of production rose last year to $104.5 a barrel, up more than 13 per cent from $92.3 a barrel in 2011. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/ec3bb622-c794-11e2-9c52-00144feab7de.html#axzz3T4sTXDB5

          Price of oil is below $50 — we are in a deflationary crisis — the oil companies are insolvent — every single one of them

          Enjoy you last months of life.

        • CrazyCooter says:

          Energy production has legal/regulatory barriers just like other markets. There are energy solutions that stretch modern civilization approximately 1000 years out, and they are not fossil fuel, but these aren’t marketable today more due to government than anything else.

          I am not talking about the 100mpg carburetor or hydrogen cars or some renewable stuff (although wood works if land-to-demand ratios are maintained). For all the reading/research I have done LFTR or Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors, a type of nuclear power, are the only thing that fits the bill (but it doesn’t provide the petrochemical stocks required for plastics, pharma, agriculture, and virtually everything else in the consumer product space that isn’t metal based or plant based).

          LFTR uses Thorium, not Uranium, in the fuel cycle. Further, only a very small percentage of Uranium is of the proper isotope for nuclear power, so HUGE amounts of energy are spent mining, crushing, separating, and concentrating raw Uranium to use as fuel (with tons of depleted uranium left over – what good is that stuff?). And then only a fraction of that fuel is burned before it is stored (in cooling ponds no less – another boondoggle).

          In LFTR, plain old Thorium is burned, no rare isotopes required. The consumption rate is almost 100% due to the fuel being a liquid. So this is vastly more efficient in terms of energy inputs and outputs and waste. We had these reactors, in production and operational, back in the 60s but they were shut down as you can’t weaponize a Thorium fuel cycle so the military couldn’t get the bomb material it needed. The civilian Uranium cycle is required so the military can subsidize their cost of weapons grade Uranium and Plutonium.

          I am getting long winded, so back on point …

          The energy problems are not upon us yet, but their seeds are being sown now. Energy production is capital intensive and five, seven, ten year project timelines, sometimes longer, are the norm. As these energy projects fail to move forward, we will see the declines in the future at some point, but it is still a ways out yet given high oil prices are barely in the rear view mirror.

          To say it more simply, as energy prices crash, so does capital investments in projects that will come online in 10 years to replace old projects which have depreciated (i.e. declined in output).

          Our problems now are monetary, because the system is based on ever expanding credit/debt/financialization to stay solvent and that is breaking down. Demand is cratering because debt levels are saturated, folks can’t borrow more, and job loss/lack of wage growth is pinching budgets that are still left. Plenty of content out there on that. And when these problems advance to late stage terminal, it is going to hit global trade/economies hard.

          If you live through all that, then you can worry about keeping the lights on … which is certainly OK … it is one of the reasons I moved to Alaska. :-)

          In closing, I originally went from OMG-the-world-is-ending to understanding this is going to be a long slow decline punctuated by fits of catastrophe. I am just trying to stay the hell out of the way!



      • Petunia says:

        I was wiped out in the financial crisis of 2008 and am still here. As someone who has watched the financial markets since the seventies, I was not surprised by what happened, only that it took so long. I thought Bear Stearns would collapse in the nineties, but it survived another decade. I never understood how Enron made money, but it did, until it didn’t.

        We are not predicting the end of the world, only signaling what doesn’t look right. Sometimes things don’t look right for a long time and you are in the group that sees it early. We are only trusting our instincts here.

        • Winston says:

          “I never understood how Enron made money”

          Really?! It was very clear – it was the F word – just as FRAUD was also responsible in a large degree for 2008.

          Right now, the huge fraud being played worldwide is that monetary manipulation can forever substitute for economic fundamentals.

      • I understand what you’re saying. Each of us is dealing with this in our own way.

        I am “prepping” as well, but maybe in a more methodical way. I don’t expect the sky to fall…at least not all at once.

        If these people are like me, they have pretty much given up hope that we can elect the right people to fix the problems that beset us. I finally came to this conclusion that I needed to take care of the things that were in my immediate control: my money, my safety and the safety of my family.

        Several online prepper websites have stressed the importance of community in working together. I don’t think that is totally lost.

    • Peepot says:

      Wrong approach. Run up all the debt you like — use the cash to buy food and guns and a remote location.

      When this tips over, you won’t be paying it back

  2. michael says:


    If you don’t want to hear a contrary opinion please tune out this site and tune back in to mass media. We are all adults here and need to take whatever actions are appropriate for our families.

    The FED owns this for flooding the rest of the world with liquidity. It is a race to the bottom as the rest of the world devalues their currency to gain the advantage.

    At some point, this game is going to break down, at that point it is going to be a free for all.

    • MD says:

      Why is it all going to break down at some point? What if all the currencies devaluate simultaneously, the populace is none-the-wiser to the whole scheme, and things keep chugging along?

      • CrazyCooter says:

        Because wages aren’t going up.

        Bear in mind that things that cost a ratio of something else look the same (e.g. if you are trading one currency for another). But the outcome is different if you are paying dollars for food. Food takes energy, labor, and land to grow, all of which are appreciating in value (in the devalue scenario) so the end consumer has to foot the new price.

        I do think you are on the trail of something because I also believe the global central bank plan is a sort of doe-see-doe where everyone devalues in lock step to keep the party going.

        However, wages and jobs have to play along so consumers can afford the now more expensive goods and services. Since the money isn’t flowing to consumers/workers, this isn’t panning out. It is flowing for financialized assets, which partially explains real estate, stocks, and that sort of stuff.



    • Peepot says:

      100% correct.

  3. AC says:

    The solution to the S&P 500 earnings trainwreck is obviously to churn out more bonds, and use the proceeds for more share buybacks and executive bonuses.

    Should be entertaining at some point.

  4. MC says:

    In case you are wondering what all those billions the ECB has been sinking into financial markets since last years achieved, they got us three things.

    First, stock markets became a whole lot rockier than they were. They may be soaring right now, but this Summer even the almighty DAX40 got the clobbering of a lifetime. I don’t know how long the present rally will last but my guess is not long. Not even tenured academics believe the official figures from Beijing anymore.

    Second, yesterday for the first time in history two-year Italian sovereign bonds had a negative yield. Apparently someone thought it a great idea to pay the Italian government to borrow money. Once Spain holds her elections and forms a government amenable to not-so vested interests like Italy did, it will be her turn.

    Third, since early last year automotive sales started skyrocketing in face of the same old from crummy to atrocious fundamentals (real wages, unemployment etc).

    That would be all. There are also a smattering of housing bubbles popping up, but forget yield compression being the issue: the problem is prices are soaring with no buyers in sight, despite mortgages being at a true all-time low (Euribor 6M + 1.50% being the average around here).
    House flipping is no part of the European culture and younger Generation X and Millenials rightly refuse to be suckered into the home ownership game.

    This is all Draghi’s war on savers and common sense achieved.

  5. night-train says:

    I don’t pretend to be as sophisticated in understanding financial market machinations as many who visit this site. But I do recognize when a whole gaggle of financial issues are out of whack and make no sense. I also believe that human nature is what it is and has pretty much always been.

    I believe, that regardless of all the smoke and mirrors and other slight of hand Fed moves, there will come a point when someone will decide the moment is right to cash out their chips throwing the game into chaos. Perhaps it will be a calculated move, or just the first guy to blink. I think basic human nature prevails, despite the unprecedented financial engineering. As Robert Burns wrote in the poem “To a Mouse” “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, Gang aft agley,”.

  6. Dan Romig says:

    Wolf’s quote, “… that stock prices and reality have been surgically separated years ago, …” rings so true! Take Amazon for example: their stock rose 10% in after hours trading Thursday to put their Market Cap. at over $290 billion. This company doesn’t really make a profit, but they’re taking a huge chunk out of retailers’ business, and going after tech companies’ ‘Cloud’ data storage & access. I’m glad I didn’t have the cojones to short Amazon a few months ago when it was trading at $420 a share instead of the $623 it’s at now, but I still don’t understand it’s stock price???

    As far as Draghi and the Euro goes, this too I don’t understand. First, what the hell’s going on when I have to pay a bank to hold my money – it should be the other way around! Second, the citizens whose nations are tied into the Euro really don’t like each other – and haven’t for centuries. The experiment of a unified fiat currency has held together so far, but will it last?

    The stock market got a nice kick yesterday, but as Wolf reports, companies are shedding workers, and in the long run that’s a recipe for shrinkage. Viagra anyone?

    • CrazyCooter says:

      WS readers, correct me if I am wrong, but there is only one phase in the history of stocks where prices (e.g. Amazon) could behave thusly:

      The Mania Phase.



      • Petunia says:

        In the universe of badly run companies that define corporate America, Amazon is a shining star for the following reasons:

        It is run by a highly competent executive, their use of technology is well applied, and they have good business practices and customer service.

        I don’t follow the stock market anymore but I can tell you that Amazon gets a big chunk of my limited budget. This means that even in a bad retail environment they are attracting the bulk of discretionary spending. That is what is driving the stock price, cash flow.

        • CrazyCooter says:

          Trust me, I spend LOTS of money at Amazon (I live in a small town in AK, I pay for Amazon Prime, and I save tons of money on better products – happy customer).

          That said, equity investment is a claim on future *profits* not future cash flow. Amazon investors are idiots because they are dumping cash into a furnace, which Bezos promptly burns on razor thin margins and expansion, with no hope of getting a return in the future. And then he turns around and dumps more shares on the market at ridiculous prices.

          To this day, the only explanation for Amazon that I can find is “mania”. It is just as savvy as investing in tulips or south sea trading companies – both of which were business models as well – but the valuations got out of hand. The ride up was gang busters, but in the long run, things revert to their actual fundamental values.

          The OP on Amazon’s stock price had it right and as Amazon customers, we have it right too.



        • Petunia says:


          If you start valuing companies on fundamentals the entire stock market is overvalued by at least 80%, IMHO.

  7. Sandro says:

    I live in Brazil and I think it’s going to happen in the US just like happened here.
    Here, the presidential election was last year, so before election, there were no interest raise, lots of money lent to companies to avoid lay offs, lots of short-time contracts by the government to avoid lay offs and several other things done just to hold the situation a little longer and win the elections.
    After elections, you can see on the news… Huge depression on economy.
    So, I think US government will do something similar until elections and recession will come, but only in 2017.

  8. ERG says:

    China just reduced their interest rate so this is a continuation of what has been going on for some time. Yes, my friends, I believe the ‘slow-motion train wreck’ is the right metaphor for what is happening, with the seminal event or trigger being 2008/09.

    Globally, we are at or near peak debt and it’s happening at a time when population demographics simply no longer support the elaborate Ponzi Scheme that we’ve been deluding ourselves with in the post-war period. (That war would be WW II, btw.)

    The sky is not falling because that already happened in 2008/09. What your witnessing now is the stage-wise failure of the various band-aids that we’re applied, nearly all of which are more like the equivalent of putting salt into a wound.

  9. Tyler from Grand Rapids says:

    Wolf and Fellow readers,

    I recently read the book “Rise of the Robots – Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future”. The books main premise is how IT is advancing to the point where it no longer is a complement to workers and is instead becoming a substitute, leaving less and less space for humans to compete.

    How much do you guys see this aspect playing into the rising inequality and falling labor force participation. Interesting read which I’d recommend and I have no idea when the next crash will hit but it’s like a slow motion train wreck waiting for it.

    • Petunia says:

      Alvin Toffler wrote a series of books in the seventies, about how the future would be affected by technology. I remember reading a couple of them, where the basic premise was that in order to automate, we needed to move to a leisure society with a guaranteed income. Well, we automated but the guaranteed income part is missing.

      • Night-train says:

        Petunia, I had an econ course in 1968 and one of the main themes was automation and its expected impact on society. One solution was, as you said, the leisure society approach. Another was for society to accept 25%+ unemployment as normal and provide meaningful income support for those displaced workers. Considering people’s disdain for social programs, that too seems to be a non starter. So, I suppose societal chaos is all that is left.

    • CrazyCooter says:

      Computing technology is a Kondratiev Wave (KWave), an economic theory developed by Nikolai Kondratiev.


      One of the applications is that transformational technologies have a cycle. They start small, become a huge economic expansionary force, peak, and then commodized as they mature. Rather than dying, the technology becomes foundational and low margin and thus cheap (and necessary) input for a future transformation.

      An example is the steam engine which was so large and inefficient in prototype it could nearly sink the ship it powered. Withing 50 to 60 years it had advanced to the point it was miniaturized enough to go on rails kicking off the rail roads (just consider what that did for industrialization). And after rail became a commodity, other things followed that wouldn’t have happened with out rail which wouldn’t have happened without the steam engine … all the way back to fire, coal, iron working, whatever.

      Information processing is very long in the tooth and has advanced to the point that business models and products are possible now which require vast amounts of calculation to achieve relatively minor/modest gains. Robotics is a good example. If McDonalds replaces a cook with an automated system, we are talking about a few dollars an hour wage wise as the discriminating factor between success and failure (economically speaking). If one considers the volume of IP wrapped up in that automation system, in terms of patents, software, programming, R&D, and so on – it is crazy. All to replace an essentially unskilled worker making the most basic wage.

      But here we are because those technology inputs are steadily falling in price – because computing is firmly in the commodization phase of the K-Wave.

      This is one of the reasons I left major metro areas because many, many people in IT related industries are going to get crushed going forward as companies continue to commodities on the IT front (e.g. replacing home grown systems with off the shelf systems) and IT is one of the big contributors to the middle class right now. To be clear, all the jobs aren’t going away, but it isn’t going to be the gravy train growth industry many have gotten used to in the 90s and 00s (the twenty year fat middle of the bell curve by my reckoning).

      Something else is coming and will prove to be the next engine of economic growth, but all the cash flow that happened in the computer expansion phase is going to go *poof* before that new phase kicks off.

      I know that might be a bit OT, but I hope that helps give your question perspective.



  10. ERG says:


    Does the book outline an expedited path for IT replacing lawyers?
    I hope.
    I wish.
    I pray.

    • Tyler from Grand Rapids says:


      One of the solutions he proposed was a guaranteed income, but alas I don’t see that happening anytime soon.


      Good news there as legal work, especially research, is already being highly automated. Bad news is Skynet will soon be self aware jk :P

  11. walter map says:

    Iceland Just Jailed Dozens of Corrupt Bankers for 74 Years, The Opposite of What America Does


    If I’m dreaming, please don’t wake me.

  12. OutLookingIn says:

    The race to the bottom continues for ALL fiat currencies.
    The “beggar thy neighbor” financial policy of devaluation, followed by virtually all of the global central bankers, continues unabated. What we are witnessing is the climax of the “blow off top” before the fall.

    “There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crises should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved”.

    – Ludwig von Mises

    The global financial system is now well past the point of remedial action.
    That decision point was reached at the explosive end of the dot com bubble. Leading to the even larger and wider reach of the 2008 financial crisis. We are now marking time waiting, as the “final and total catastrophe” that Mises warned about many years ago, arrives.

  13. ERG says:

    Ok, Tyler.

    Re: Lawyers. That’s actually too bad because I was hoping for more of a Shakespearean solution.

    Re: Automation. What you’re referring to is something called ‘The Luddite Fallacy’. Like many things that sell lots of books it also happens to be total nonsense.

    • Tyler from Grand Rapids says:

      Ahh, the ole Luddite Fallacy, it worked on me as I definitely bought that audiobook lol

  14. ETSmith says:

    Re: CrazyCooter and Thorium

    Sorry to burst your bubble but you have swallowed the propaganda, without looking at reality.

    The Thorium process uses Th232 + a neutron to produce U233. just like the Plutonium cycle uses U238 + neutron to produce Pu239. So both process start with a critical mass of U235 in a reactor to produce the eventual product.

    Both are theoretically 100% efficient but nature steps in to the scene to gum up the works. In both cycles the fissionable product can absorb a neutron and not fission but becomes an “inert” poison like U234 or Pu240, which can continue to absorb neutrons.

    Thorium produces U233 which the zealots pretend can not be used as a bomb. This is false: it is not as useful because of spontaneous fissioning but it can and HAS been used to make an atom bomb (Yucca Flats testing). You are seriously underestimating the intelligence of engineers if you presume it can have no warlike uses. What we have done once (or twice) we can do in mass production.

    So if you want the most efficient power source you would go for one of the Liquid fluoride salt (a eutectic mix of KF and NaF) breeder reactors that I studied back in the ’70s. Why do we not have them. Basic problem is that high temperature fluoride salts eat the plumbing like candy. Corrosion (same as with Thorium) means that you will have to replace the works every year. Hardly economical.

    Then of course there is the difference in number of neutrons liberated, and critical mass. In any case you must start with a critical mass of U235 or Pu239 surrounded by (Th232 or U238). There are slight advantages for each system but the basic physics actually favors the production of Plutonium using the same molten salt reactor.

    I speak as a retired former nuclear engineer and high temperature chemist (fluorine specialty).

    So heed not the words of zealots out to lead you into error, but rather develop the habit of actually looking at the data. Works for finance also.


  15. ERG says:

    Pick up a copy (or audiobook) of Henry Hazlitt’s “Economics In One Lesson” and you will find out that there are very few – if any – new ideas in economics, but there are plenty of old mistakes.

    • night-train says:

      ERG – I figured that out back in the late 80s when debt was replaced with the more benign term “leverage”. Leverage may have been common in the economics-financial outfits, but it seemed to become popular with the mainstream as well. Being leveraged sounded nicer than being in debt.

  16. ERG says:

    NT, that’s right, and taxes were called ‘revenue enhancement’ and have now morphed into ‘investment’. Pure, unadulterated Bulls**t.

    Hazlitt’s book is available online for free, btw.

    Another book that is an absolute must read for anyone who wants to really understand how the world works – or does not work – is Carlo Cipolla’s “The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity”. Also online for free, IIRC.

  17. david says:

    You guys don’t worry about Amazons price. Its P/E is only about 870-ish. It will grow into that in say…. 40 years.

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