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I was among the first people to try out Apple Pay the moment it came available on Monday. It was convenient, fast, and it seemingly worked without incident ... until I logged in and checked my debit card bill.

As it turns out, I've been charged twice for every single purchase I've made with Apple Pay at various stores.

A quick search of Twitter found many other people experiencing this same exact problem.

Of course with debit cards there is a huge potential problem here because if you overdraw your checking account using one you're going to get monkey-hammered for as much as $39 for each overdrawn item.

Yeah, I'm sure Apple will "fix it", but the point remains that this so-called technological marvel was supposed to make this sort of thing impossible because a given token issued by the software for a given payment would only be good once.

It looks like it was good at least twice, eh?

Oops.

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Hoh hoh hoh hoh hoh hoh hoh....

By estimating that zero stimulus would be consistent with a 10 percent quarterly drop in equities, they calculate it takes around $200 billion from central banks each quarter to keep markets from selling off.

What?

Note that central bank "stimulus" is not real.  An example will suffice.

Let's say there are exactly two things in the world of economic value -- $100 and 100 bushels of corn.

What's the likely clearing price -- that is, what you would exchange one bushel of corn for?

$1, right?

Remember, other than time preference there is nothing else in the economy to express value through than corn and dollars.

Ok, so now the central banks simply double the number of dollars.  That is, there now exists $200.

What is now the likely clearing price for one bushel of corn?

$2.

So the "price" of markets "not selling off" is the theft of that $200 billion a quarter, or $800 billion a year, from you in the form of your purchasing power.  In other words that $800 billion a year is stolen from you.

If you were taxed to the tune of a few thousand dollars a year so people with stocks would not see the price of their stock decline, and it was literally given to those people who owned stock, you'd be outraged.  The lower-income people who can't afford to and don't own any stock would likely revolt -- and quite-possibly violently so.

So let's now have a full and fair discussion about your silent consent to this now-admitted theft......

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2014-10-22 07:39 by Karl Denninger
in Macro Factors , 133 references
 

CPI came in at 0.1%, both core and headline.

Food was up 0.3% but energy was down large, -0.7%, offsetting it.

The stunners in the food area are whole meats; specifically beef and pork -- and especially beef, which is up nearly 20% on an annual basis.  Pork is up 11.4%, held down by chops.  I don't believe the bacon number, by the way -- it sure as hell is up more than 3.8% in my experience over the last year (closer to the 20% for "other" pork products.)

In fact regular fresh food products of the animal sort are all up big; fish (6%), dairy (4.9%), eggs (8.5%), etc.

Wanna eat low carb?  It's gonna cost you!

As for those who think deflation sucks, please explain in the context of televisions and computers, both of which continue their relentless and decades-long deflationary price trends.

Hourly earnings were down 0.2%, offset by an increase in working hours of one tenth to 34.6.  Work harder and get paid less, slave!

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There are times that I spit my espresso on the monitor and keyboard; it wipes off the monitor but frequently winds up costing me a new keyboard.  This article, when I read it, got close.

We fling open the doors of America’s emergency departments to help those who can’t afford health care.  We have legislated this protection: No person can be turned away for financial reasons.  This is very compassionate, and represents the higher angels of our culture.  Alas, it also is emblematic of the stupider demons of government.  You see, the ER demonstrates the inverted priorities of American society.

Oh really?  Let's see your argument...

In the ER, expensive tattoos abound.  Piercing is ubiquitous.  Almost every adult and child has a smartphone, it seems.  All too many spend the duration of their ER visit glaring at the screen of said phone; barely looking up at the physician who is attempting to engage them in meaningful conversation about the reason they came for care.

And your ER is full of expensive toys and ridiculous cost models because?

See, the two are linked, aren't they?  You call this a "higher angel" but I argue that it's demonic.

It's demonic because that which you can "charge someone else for" provides a gross incentive for people to consume without consideration.  If booze was free how much would many people drink?  If steak was free how many ribeyes would you have?  I know my answer: I'd eat 'em every single day -- and probably two of them, for breakfast and dinner.

Of course I eat low-carb.

What prevents me from doing that?  I have to pay for the steaks.

Dental care? It is regularly ignored because, in the words of my patients, “I don’t have dental insurance.” Guess what. Neither do I, and I pay a lot for insurance. Dental care has typically been a cash business. That’s why dentists, crafty guys and gals that they are, spend their time mucking around the human mouth. Floss and toothpaste? Seems a bit excessive compared to a nice new tattoo.

Oh?  Or is the truth that people do floss and brush but (1) there is a huge genetic component, particularly related to gum disease and the rate of building of plaque and tartar (now being recognized as real, but formerly not) and (2) calling your customers liars is not conducive to repeat business.

As for more than the routine when it comes to dental care it's gotten damned expensive, except for cosmetics, which have come down quite a bit over the years.  Why?  For the same reason the rest of medical care has -- cost-shifting and monopoly protections granted by government to the industry.  Doubt me?  Go hop a plane and fly to Japan to have your major dental work done.  Bring cash, but about a quarter of it compared to what you'll be charged here.  Japan is not a third-world country either and even quite-serious dental work, such as root canals and crowns, are not "high tech" procedures -- they're things we've known how to do for decades.

A woman told me, recently, that her daughter (at birth) had a minor congenital abnormality that required daily application of a cream. “And I had to spend $200 of my own money!” She was aghast.

Why did it cost $200 a month (which incidentally is over $2,000 a year) instead of $20?  Again: Monopoly protections, which are supposed to be federal offenses and land you in the pokey for a decade along with getting you fined a million smackers -- for each instance.

We can’t keep this up.  We’ve created a monstrosity of entitlement.  I care for the poor; I love the poor and have always tried my best to help those in genuine need.  Those truly hurting.

But when cosmetics, vices and electronics are considered reasonable expenditures while the rest of us pay for necessities like prescriptions (or over the counter Tylenol and Motrin as I’m often asked to prescribe for Medicaid), then we are entering the death spiral.

Quit ripping people off and I'll listen to you.  You can talk to me about this when it costs $100 for 15 minutes of your time to stitch up my finger or foot instead of $5,000; $400 an hour is pretty good money, and commensurate with your training and experience, and is about what your time is worth on the free market (for an example again, go try for the same care in Japan or other first-world nation ex-United States.)  $20,000 is outrageous and trying to bill me for that after-the-fact without fair and full disclosure (say much less an opportunity to negotiate beforehand) is theft and extortion, both of which are supposed to be felonies.

Until then go **** a duck Edwin, and you better pray you don't need computer or networking help, because I have a special hourly rate just for you -- it's $20,000, you see, payable in advance -- and in cash.

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Here's what got left out on Apple due to time -- why the buybacks if there is so much investment they could do in future R&D?

I'll tell you why -- they have nothing in the pipeline.

Worse, they were forced by the market to unlock their music.  My kid started with an iPod (because she just had to have an Apple, you know) but.... after two buys she figured out that Apple's crap has **** for lifetime and durability.  By then Apple had dropped the DRM on their music due to market pressure, and guess what -- she then used a Samsung phone (on which she listens to that same music!) and now, a BlackBerry (ditto.)

Oops -- there goes the model of "wall in the garden."

It still works with the iPhone -- for now -- but here's the question: Where is the next huge hit for Apple?

That's a good question, isn't it -- and if Apple is so cranked up about the future -- and has "the next big thing" in the pipeline why the buybacks rather than spending those funds on R&D to build the business?

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