## Wednesday, December 29, 2021

### Biden’s Agenda Is on Its Death Bed Because the Interests of the Rich and Poor Are Irreconcilable — Branko Marcetic

Joe Biden’s rationale for his own presidency was that he could bring oligarchs and working people together and hammer out a compromise that worked for both. The apparent death of his legislative agenda proves what a laughable fantasy that was....
Jacobin
Biden’s Agenda Is on Its Death Bed Because the Interests of the Rich and Poor Are Irreconcilable
Branko Marcetic

Peter Pan said...

Jacobin magazine, and the hacks that write for it, are a laughing stock.

Ahmed Fares said...

From the article:

It would be nice if Americans didn’t have to live in poverty to afford lifesaving medicine, but then Big Pharma would make less money.

Now for some facts (bold mine):

Another measure, Internal Rate of Return (IRR) is even more telling. IRR calculates the sales/cash flows resulting from R&D investments, ties R&D and the returns it generates together, and is a more appropriate metric for biopharma productivity. Deloitte reports that the IRR for biopharma R&D has been steadily falling from 10.1% in 2010 to 3.2% in 2017. Even Wall Street hasn’t bought into the “pharma soaring profits” view. Since February 1, 2014, while the Dow has risen 63%, the stock prices of a number of major pharma companies have been muted with Pfizer and Bristol-Myers each growing by about 15%, and Merck and AstraZeneca by roughly 6.5%. Even Lilly’s growth of 43% still lags the Dow.About Those Soaring Pharma Profits

A link to the Deloitte study:

Measuring the return from pharmaceutical innovation 2020

A quote from the above article:

R&D returns showing potential for growth

Although biopharma R&D is under mounting pressure, our analysis shows an uptick for the first time in six years (from 1.6 per cent in 2019 to 2.5 per cent in 2020).

While forecast peak sales per pipeline asset have increased by 17.9 per cent (from $357 million in 2019 to$421 million in 2020, companies are still facing rising costs of developing an asset. The average cost to bring an asset to market has risen for the seventh year in a row to \$2,442 million, due in part to longer cycle times.

Matt Franko said...

Cathie Wood has been buying a lot of small pharma for ARKK of late….

Matt Franko said...

“ Joe Biden’s rationale for his own presidency was that he could bring oligarchs and working people together ”

LOL he’s scrambled eggs and was “calling a lid” at 9:30am every day and headed to his basement…. doing the same thing now…

mike norman said...

Finally, this has been stated. Weird, because it has been sitting out there in plain sight all along. MMT will never be adopted, because the wealthy have no need for it and they are "the powers that be." They *own* the government and policy. MMT will never happen.

Peter Pan said...

If it weren't for those evil villains Manchin and Sinema, there would be a Green New Deal and a Job Guarantee.

/snark

lastgreek said...

Same reasoning why the school system (K-12) sucks. 30 kids per teacher in a classroom? Who the hell are we kiddin' here? It's hopeless. My neighbour who is a college physics professor tells me that the majority of students entering college are not academically prepared. Topics that should have been covered in high school were either glossed over, or worse, skipped altogether.

For example: Johnny wants to be a doctor. He's got the grades (or so he thinks) to enter a science degree program and further on med school. But it's wishful thinking on Johnny's part. You see, he's taking his first calculus course, but in high school that big chunk of algebra known as factoring was glossed over -- Johnny can't factor a complex algebraic expression if his life depended on it. What's the big deal? Well, the first topic you start doing in calculus class is evaluating limits ["infinitesimals" to Newton] by factoring. You fuck that topic up, and you yourself are fucked. Kiss your science dreams goodbye, Johnny -- it's the accounting degree program for you, Johnny!

And the rich? What do they care? They send their kids to well-funded private schools: no 30+ kids per class for these parents.

Peter Pan said...

Johnny could become a pipe-fitter who works in remote locations. No debt + bigger salary than he would earn as a doctor.

No fucking calculus in trade school either.

lastgreek said...

I wonder if Johnny knows that "remote locations" in Canada is code for "freezing your ass off location."

As I have said before beautiful, elegant, clever Calculus is not difficult. It's difficult when you're lost in the algebra, trigonometry, and analytical geometry subjects-- in other words, high school math.

Matt Franko said...

Greek why do you want to teach factoring? To reduce the equation?

Matt Franko said...

Greek consider that what you are complaining about isn’t that “they don’t learn factoring! “ consider the “problem” is they are not memorizing identities…

You guys should teach all the necessary identities FIRST and THEN proceed to factoring…

All of the “hard” problems in factoring always rely on memorization of some obscure identity that the student wasn’t previously adequately informed of…

The asshole math teachers turn what should be the teaching of critical technical skills into a bullshit game of “I’m smarter than you because I memorized an identity that you don’t know!”… big deal lol!

The academe of Engineering should use its own people to teach the required Math… instead of sending their students over to be taught by the whackos in the Math department many of whom have actual Art Degrees…

Matt Franko said...

Here Greek the ONLY thing that matters in this whole long wiki post is this:

“The sum of an infinite geometrical series

S
=
a
+
a
r
+
a
r
2
+
a
r
3
+

,

r
<
1
{\displaystyle S=a+ar+{ar}^{2}+{ar}^{3}+\ldots ,\ r<1}

is given by

S
=
a
1

r
{\displaystyle S={\frac {a}{1-r}}}”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truncation_error

If you haven’t memorized that identity then the whole wiki post can’t even be written…

You guys rely too much upon the memorization of identities in your curriculums then at the same time you don’t adequately teach the identities…

So youre going to have a problem…

Peter Pan said...

Collinearity equation

Necessary for photogrammetry/remote sensing. Gave me nightmares.

Ahmed Fares said...

You gain a much greater appreciation of identities if you can derive them from scratch. You can then use that knowledge to derive other identities.

For example, an annuity is the difference between two perpetuities. So basically R/i minus R/i at some point in the future discounted to the present. You can move things around to make the formula look pretty, but that's basically all it is.

Incidentally, I once derived the Black-Scholes Option Pricing Model from scratch. It gave me a deeper insight to how options work and the sense to stay away from them. I'm always surprised to see people writing call options on stocks they own, thinking it's some kind of free lunch. Even worse are people who write naked options, i.e., writing options on things they don't even own.

It's said that investing is a negative art. It's not about doing smart things but about not doing stupid things.

Matt Franko said...

I still want to know why they teach factoring…

Matt Franko said...

Why do you think selling covered calls is bad?

Ahmed Fares said...

Why do you think selling covered calls is bad?

You're bearing the downside risk of holding a stock while giving the upside away for a premium. You need the upside to cover the downside risk. Besides, if your stock is called away, you have to go back into the market and buy it at a higher price, so you can go back to writing those covered calls.

In security analysis, we buy a stock selling for a 30% discount to intrinsic value conservatively estimated, with that value expected to out three to five years hence. That's a two-year window, averaging four years out.

That's difficult enough, but the people buying and selling options think they can determine where the value of a stock will be within say a three-month window. Most people are not that smart.

Buying call options is equally stupid. Some people think they can get exposure to the market by keeping most of their money safe while buying call options with a small amount of money each time period. The problem with that is that as soon as the market starts rising, the price of call options start to rise also, which means that you now have less exposure to the market for the same dollar value. So basically, you have more exposure to the market when it's flat and less exposure when it's rising, which is stupid.

The main input in the Black-Scholes model is volatility, which is the one thing you can't predict. These people are using a static analysis where a dynamic analysis is required, i.e., the value of these options are always changing along with the value of the market.

There's no free lunch here.

Ahmed Fares said...

By the way, some people are doing the thing I mentioned in the latter part of my comment without even knowing that they're doing it. To wit, Royal Bank of Canada has a thing they call the "RBC Equity-Linked GICs". "GIC" in Canada means "Guaranteed Investment Certificate, basically earning a higher return by locking your money in for a few years. Here's how RBC describes its product:

Security and Market Potential — in One Investment

RBC Equity-Linked GICs offer the best of both worlds – the security of a GIC and the higher return potential associated with an equity investment. This combination gives you peace of mind as your investment is positioned for growth while your principal is 100% protected.

What the bank is basically doing is taking a portion of the interest you'd normally earn and buying call options with that instead. They are promising reward without the risk. A little further down, they have this:

Potential for a higher return tied to the performance of a U.S. equity index

Except that that potential evaporates the minute the market goes up because as I noted before, they are buying you less exposure in a rising market for the same amount of forgone interest that you would have otherwise received.

I should also note that you need that interest just to keep up with inflation, so trading away a portion of that interest means you're falling behind that way. So no, not "100% protected" as they claim, not when you include inflation in your calculation.

Ahmed Fares said...

For US investors, they use terms like an "equity-linked note" or "structured product" or "market-linked investment" or "principal-guaranteed notes". Here's a description from Wikipedia which shows that buying options is how they're doing it.

A principal-guaranteed note (PGN) is a structured product composed of a zero-coupon bond and a long option, which may be a call option or put option. The product is principal-protected, i.e. the investor is guaranteed to receive at least 100% of the original amount.

The product is sold at the face value, where the discount on the zero-coupon bond is used to buy an option. If the underlying product goes in favour of the investor, the option is exercised to create additional return.

Usually, the final payout is the amount invested, plus the gain in the underlying stock or index times a note-specific participation rate, which can be more or less than 100%. For example, if the underlying equity gains 50% during the investment period and the participation rate is 80%, the investor receives 1.40 dollars for each dollar invested. If the equity remains unchanged or declines, the investor still receives one dollar per dollar invested (as long as the issuer does not default). Generally, the participation rate is better in longer maturity notes, since the total amount of interest given up by the investor is higher.

Peter Pan said...

I still want to know why they teach factoring…

So you can expand the equation, and cancel out parts of it?

Development of Collinearity Condition Equations

This was the first situation where factoring was linked to something useful in real life. In high school, it was just presented as theory. No practical examples.

Matt Franko said...

We have computers so why reduce the equation…. my hunch it’s an anachronism from the days of using slide rules., which I could see the need back then you’d want to reduce products in the equation to reduce truncation error…

lastgreek said...

"Greek why do you want to teach factoring?"

Same reason you teach them the distribution property.

"To reduce the equation?"

What? No, not to reduce the equation -- to SOLVE the equation.

I dunno why but my spidee senses tell me that Matt has not one but several art degrees and he's just playing us along here.

Peter Pan said...

And when we weren't factoring equations, we were simplifying them.

Anything to keep us busy while our parents were at work...

lastgreek said...

Reversing the distributive property (factoring) is to help you simplify a fraction -- whether that fraction is in an expression or in an equation.

lastgreek said...

You need to understand the why behind the process.

Peter Pan said...

The why was to waste our time.

High school is glorified daycare.

Those of us who got good grades were punished by having to take courses like Chemistry 562. The flunkies got practical courses such as Home Economics, because they were unlikely to go on to 'higher' education. They were going to enter the workforce.

Go to any educational institution and the best parking spots are reserved for teachers and faculty. There are other buildings staffed entirely by administrators. The system exists for them. Students are the marks.