Why Lotteries are Bad – The Third Reason

There is a pretty obvious reason why buying lottery tickets is a bad idea. You will lose money. The odds are usually just awful. Casino gambling is, in comparison, a comparatively sound investment.

Casino_slots And, of course, casino gambling is not a wise thing to do with your savings. You would have to be off the deep end of "positive thinking" to believe anything other than it was, for some, an amusing way to waste money.

That objection to gambling, and lotteries, is today so pervasive that we have all but forgotten another traditional objection. A hundred years ago, at least as common as the argument that you would probably lose was the one that you might win. Back in the almost forgotten era when gambling of all kinds was illegal throughout the country, it was argued that gambling undermined the work ethic, allowing some to become rich without appropriate effort. And that was immoral.

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House Prices Moderate

Last week I forgot to say that the day before Travel Nightmare Wednesday is September House Price Index Tuesday. Today is the day that S&P releases the S&P Case Shiller Home Price Index numbers for September.Two-story_single-family_home

They’re okay. The 20 city composite was up 0.33% for the month. but only 9 of  the 20 individual cities were up. (Although on a seasonally adjusted basis the composite was up 0.27% with 11 individual cities posting positive numbers.) So basically it was flat. Ho-hum. Boring.

And ain’t that wonderful?

Of course, the fear would be that this is the tide turning again and we’re in for more declines. Anything is possible, but I don’t think so. We will probably get some down months in the near future, but the big bust is over.

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The New York Times Owes an Apology

Yesterday the New York Times ran an editorial so inflammatory and in such willful disregard of the facts and reason that I can do nothing other than spend today’s post calling the editors of that once proud newspaper out as the bitter and infantile hate mongers that they are.

JapaneseAmericanGrocer1942 The editorial, entitled “Goldman’s Non-Apology” starts with dismissive criticism of a mild and philosophical mea culpa, largely on behalf of the entire financial industry, made last week by the CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein.

Certainly, our industry is responsible for things. We’re a leader in our industry, and we participated in things that were clearly wrong and we have reasons to regret and apologize for.

This, the Times tells us, is a non-apology that falls far short of what is due. “Even if he had said, “we’re sorry,” it would have been hollow since he never actually said what he was sorry for….” Of course, the Times doesn’t get into all that much detail about what he should be sorry for either.

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The Holidays Begin

We are coming up on what we Americans call the Holiday Season. And it is a season: not just one holiday, but a joyous period in which every day is special. A few of those days don’t have names yet, but I am sure that in time that gap in our culture will be filled. Here’s a rundown of the next week or so.

Christmas Tree The traditional fun begins with Travel Nightmare Wednesday. Observed the day before the last Thursday in November, this holiday is celebrated around the nation by crowding into planes and spending quality time with loved ones inside cars crawling along interstates.

Then comes Thanksgiving, when we solemnly thank the Almighty for football and giant balloons in the shape of cartoon characters. Some families also give thanks that once again they deep fried the turkey without burning the house down.

Things pick up a bit with Black Friday, a holiday that celebrates the simple pleasures of buying stuff. Traditionally, it is observed by talking about how everybody else is going to the mall that day and recounting how it is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year. It is not, nor has it ever been. That honor usually goes to Most Busy Saturday, which falls this year on December 19th.

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Forex for Everybody?

Last week Moolanomy ran a long post on Forex Trading Basics and How It Works. Although reasonably factual, the post qualifies as bad money advice Chicklet-currency for strongly implying that there is a possibility that investing in forex might be a good idea. It also ends with a paid link to a forex broker-dealer.

Forex, if you don’t know, is trading in currencies, also known as foreign exchange. And if you didn’t know that, I’m sorry I told you. You could have probably lived happily ever after without knowing that this particular intersection of investing and gambling existed. Oh well. Too late now.

Superficially, currency markets are simple. A person might buy some Japanese Yen, for example, in the hopes that it would go up in price relative to the dollar. If it does, it can be sold for a profit, if it goes down, for a loss.

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