Author: Jeff Carter

Fire Sale on Addison and Clark

This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures

The Cubs are my favorite baseball team and have been since I was a little kid.  My father was more of an American League guy.  Ted Williams was his favorite player and the Detroit Tigers were sort of “the team” in his town growing up.  In my small neighborhood when I was at the impressionable age of 10 and under, the Cubs were the favorite team.  Virtually every other neighborhood in my town was White Sox country.  Ernie Banks, like a lot of Cubs fans of my age, was my favorite player.  But, I loved Santo, Williams, and Fergie too.

2016 was an amazing experience for me.  I went to almost all the World Series and playoff games.  I went to Game 7 with guys I had known since early childhood.  We had a blast.

Yesterday, they traded away a lot of those players we cheered on and developed a fondness for over the years.  Rizzo, Bryant, and Javy Baez… saddened me.  Everyone saw it coming.  Baseball is a business.  Statistics and rules make it so teams figure out when players will be at their career peak.  It also makes everyone see the writing on the wall when players will be unloaded.  The Cubs weren’t the only sellers yesterday.

A huge part of the problem is the way MLB is structured.  Luxury taxes, limits on all kinds of activities for teams to make revenue, and other constraints really tie the hands of teams.  I think it hurts players, and more (Read more...)

The Game Plan

This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures

If you don’t think Democrats have a game plan you are either stupid, or have your head in the sand.  Right now, it looks like Republicans are going to overwhelm them in House and Senate elections come 2022.  The Democratic Game Plan is pretty clear.

  1.  Spend like there is no tomorrow.  Justify the spending with studies from saltwater economists who favor central planning and government solutions to problems.  Hey, the Russians had academic studies back up their policies too.  So does the Communist Party of China.  The infrastructure bill that Republicans agreed to is just a giveaway to public sector unions and cronies.
  2. Create a lot of dependence on government. Institute basic income.
  3. Re-create the pandemic.  They need masks, lockdowns, and other totalitarian instruments of control to keep fear flowing through people.  They are following the fear, not the science.  Democratic governors are already starting more totalitarian policies.  Watch Illinois.  This week is Lollapalooza.  The state needs the tax revenue.  Next week, Democratic Machine tool JB Pritzker will trot out a statement that says “We are seeing rising cases of Covid and we need to stop the spread.”  Mask orders will go into effect and so will limited hours/seating capacities at bars and restaurants.
  4. Re-engineer the military.  They need the military to enforce socialism.
  5. Continue to control education so they create stupid people.  Sheep are easier to lead than people who can think for themselves and are independent.
  6. None of the governors wants to be on the hook for (Read more...)

The Free Market Works If You Let It

This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures

I read a lot of stuff from all over.  I do it for information and perspective.  I read liberal bloggers and conservative bloggers.  Seth Godin is an uber-liberal blogger.  He blogs daily and sometimes there is some stuff that can be actionable for you.

Today’s blog was about the failure of free markets to solve problems.  His entire pretense and framing are wrong.   Here is the money quote which shows you where he stands,

Except there are problems that the market hasn’t solved, and probably can’t. A century into this worldwide experiment, the market hasn’t solved mass education, it’s made obesity and health problems worse, and it has dumped an enormous amount of long-term toxic waste into the world where we all live. 

If we look at American history and the “problems” Godin talks about, we have used government-run solutions to the problems, not the free market.

-American public school education is a disaster and getting worse.  Why? Teachers’ unions and government bureaucracy.  We are spending more and more money on public education and getting worse results.  A minority of states have started to enable charter and private schools by giving parents control of the money.  Vouchers and anything else that allows entrepreneurs to solve the problem will eventually work.  We won’t be having cultural debates over the value of teaching CRT racism either.

-Obesity is a problem, accentuated by Covid.  Fat people had more trouble with Covid and were more likely to die from it if they contracted it.  (Read more...)

Are You A Non-Conformist?

This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


often capitalizeda person who does not conform to an established church especiallyone who does not conform to the Church of England
2a person who does not conform to a generally accepted pattern of thought or action
It is really hard to be a non-conformist.  One of the hard things in spotting a non-conformist is sometimes people just don’t conform in order to draw attention to themselves.  That’s not non-conformity. It’s also more than leading life with George Costanza ethos of thinking one thing and doing the opposite.

Successful entrepreneurs are non-conformists.  By definition.  Successful traders and investors are often non-conformists.  They go against the herd.  People think their ideas, thoughts, and actions are dumb or a waste of time.  Non-conformists aren’t afraid of an argument, or to be disagreeable.  They have rough edges.  They can, and offering spaces to be non-conforming can be very uncomfortable.
I remember a friend I had growing up.  His family was large, and his parents created a culture where non-conformity was embraced.  There were a lot of personalities in the group and I am sure plenty of arguments.  But, if you are going to have a large family you are probably pretty tolerant and the culture of this house was most certainly that.
Conformist societies aren’t tolerant.
Non-conformists open themselves up to ridicule and more importantly, failure.  Not doing what everyone thinks you should be doing is taking a risk.  It’s hard to do.  We love to (Read more...)

$Zuckbucks$ and Political CryptoTokens

This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures

We are learning more and more about how Facebook’s ($FB) Mark Zuckerberg not only suppressed freedom of speech on his platform but he used his money to back hard left-wing candidates in the last election.  What we don’t have is any tracking mechanism on the money.  People have complained about money in politics for years.  We have had campaign finance reform which failed.  The left used to whine about the Koch brothers long before the right whined about George Soros.

I am all for any US citizen or US-based entity putting as much money as they want into a political race as long as it’s transparent. You earned the money, you get to decide what to do with it. There are diminishing returns to dollars spent.  The laws of economics even work in political races. Foreign money isn’t welcome in determining the make-up of our government and that needs to be tracked too.  In the early 1990s, Bill Clinton famously mined China for money far before the fake Russian outrage of 2016.

The problem is how to trace and track it all.

Fortunately, there is a new technological way.  Create a political token and have a corresponding blockchain.  All money that is spent on political ads, material, travel, cocktail parties, political lobbying, and the like would have to be paid for with a token. Each token would be like a stablecoin, equivalent to the value of one US Dollar.  US Dollars would be converted to Political tokens.  Once that happened, (Read more...)

Capitalism Doesn’t Build Wealth

This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures

There are some huge misconceptions when it comes to capitalism.  We are seeing it play out in the responses to the protests in Cuba.  The far-left says government failure in Cuba it’s because the US didn’t trade with Cuba.  They ignore that at least 151 other countries did trade with Cuba.  By the way, the US sends $3 billion in remittances to Cuba each year.  That “Cuba failed because of the US” excuse doesn’t hunt.

Cuba is a shitty place to live.  No one “emigrates” there.   I notice no one from the US has taken up Senator Rubio’s offer.

I have seen leftists post photos of slums in American cities that echo the slums that exist all over Cuba trying to say that just because you have capitalism doesn’t mean you avoid having slums.  Some people think that capitalism changes the incentives of people getting them to focus on the short term over the long term.  Somehow, central planners only look at the long term because the long term isn’t profitable and the short term is right?

All the statements, focus, framing, and ideas expressed in the failure of capitalism are a failure to understand what capitalism really is.  Our current administration rejects capitalism.   No surprise given the state of our public education system.

Capitalism is a capital allocation mechanism.  Period.  The less (Read more...)


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures

As the summer goes on, we are seeing things that were highly predictable.

Fires near my cabin in Minnesota and across the border in Canada along with some floods from heavy rainfall in Europe and heat in my home of Las Vegas are bringing up the chorus of global warming.

First off, the only way to “solve” global warming and meet an information economy on-demand energy needs (with electronic vehicles included!) is to build lots and lots of nuclear power plants.  All the solar and wind stuff is a diversion and just an excuse to funnel subsidies and government cash to cronies.

Let’s think about the events of this summer logically without fearful breathlessness.

-There are fires in forests every year.  This year the fires near me were started by lightning.  They are being fueled by an older growth forest and by “blowdown”.  The blowdown happened because spruce budworm came through the forest and killed a lot of old spruce trees.  It has nothing to do with global warming.  An aside, I am seeing a lot of old spruce trees across the lake from me get brown.  I am hoping it’s not spruce budworm which we have been mercilessly spared of so far since it first did a lot of damage here in the early 2000s.   There are forest fires in Oregon.  They aren’t related to global warming at all.

-It rains every year.  Some years are more intense than others.  I remember in 1987 a huge rain in Chicago.  (Read more...)

Parallel, Not Repeats

This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures

This summer, I wanted to re-read Ernest Hemingway.  When I was in high school, I was on a short road trip with my friend Sam.  In his English class at his high school, they were reading The Sun Also Rises.  I had heard of Hemingway at that point but never had read him.  Thankfully my junior year I was exposed to a very healthy dose of classical literature courtesy of Ms. Millies.

I have been reading “The Complete Short Stories” and will re-read “For Whom the Bell Tolls” when I am done with the short stories.  I just have finished Hemingway’s series of stories that deal with the Spanish Civil War.  It’s not impossible to appreciate them without knowing the history of that war, but it helps.

I don’t have a huge basket of knowledge of the Spanish Civil War.  I started to look some things up to see why it happened, and how it started.  I also look for critiques of the story to see what the experts are thinking.  In one story, “Under the Ridge”, the critiques all said that Hemingway was writing about the uselessness of war.  I am not sure that was the overriding theme.  He used war as a backdrop, but I think he really was writing about his dissatisfaction with communism.  The leaders of the communist side assassinated two people in the story and “Russians” were hated.

Communists and socialists should be hated.  There is no room for them in the human experience.  There (Read more...)

Post Trump Trump

This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures

Been watching the whirlwind of politics a bit.  The Democrats have gotten more strident.  Swinging even further to the left in their statements.  I think the NYC mayoral election is an outlier.  I don’t think the NYC mayor will have success bringing true Guiliani “law and order” to NYC.

Democrats have their own issues.  As an Illinoisian, it is no surprise to me that Democrats don’t give a hoot about the corruption in the Biden administration.  They haven’t in Illinois for over 50 years.  Can you imagine one of the Trump children selling their “art” in a private sale?

Watching post-President Trump is interesting only to see the response.   It’s not a surprise that he is taking a high profile unlike every President until Obama.  Obama has kept a high profile since leaving office and he is the first president to really actively do that.  Given who Obama was, and what he thought he was about it is no surprise.

Democrats still viscerally hate Trump.  No surprise there.  All you have to do is go on Twitter to see.  Anything that is related to Trump or Peter Thiel at all is roundly chastised by the chattering class. The GOP establishment is taking a deep breath and trying to re-establish control over the party.  I don’t think that happens. They are dinosaurs and good riddance to them.  It’s also no surprise that a large percentage of people who voted for Trump want him to run again.

I think that is a (Read more...)

Boats are Utilitarian

This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures

For me, boats have always been utilitarian.  I never owned a boat until I bought the cabin we own.  I got my grandfather’s red fishing Lund in the deal.  It has a 9.9 horsepower Mercury motor.  It’s not at all a fancy boat.  It doesn’t need much maintenance.  The motor is “old reliable”.   One or two pulls and it starts right up, even after a long winter.  We replaced the worn wooden seats on it a year ago.  I like motoring in that boat because it’s really the only boat I know.  My grandfather never named it.  We just called it “The Lund”.

Our place is way up north in Grand Marias, MN.  It’s in the Boundary Waters.  You literally are in the middle of the boreal forest.  My neighbor just down the way had a wolf next to his cabin the other day.  We have had a little bear running around here and we have four beavers, and a large family of otters on our lake.  A number of years ago, one morning I woke up and a female moose was swimming in front of our dock.

One of our neighbors gave us a sailboat that needed some work.  Both of my daughters like to sail so we “acquired” it and they patched it up.  They learned to sail at summer camp.  I never learned to sail and I get seasick.  The name of the boat is “Mere Puffery”.  Lawyers will find that funny.

Anyone that knows me (Read more...)