My skin went clammy and cold when I read that over 140,000 people suddenly
disappeared from the "continuing claims" rolls of those receiving unemployment
checks at the same time as we see rising unemployment.
It made me wonder when I was going to be among them, either as a guy who got
fired and could never again find a job and so he collected unemployment checks
until his benefits ran out, or as the guy who just literally disappears one day
and everyone thinks that the CIA finally "took him out", or a mother ship
finally got here from another galaxy to rescue me and take me back to my home
planet where the people are a lot smarter in that they have a currency made of
gold so that the government cannot increase the money supply, so that there are
no monetary booms and thus no devastating busts, and everybody is happy and
ever after, and the beer gives you a really nice sustained buzz, but you can
never drink so much that you throw up all over yourself.
But even the unemployed have a stake in the recent stockmarket bull run, which
is one of those good news/bad news jokes, in that the bad news is that it is
rising stupidly in defiance of reality and common sense, whereas it is
seemingly good news for all of the people who have all their entire financial
future invested in paper assets that are already showing losses and for the
unemployed who hope to get a job with some of those same companies or companies
catering to them.
I can't remember if there is an Aesop's fable about the folly of putting all of
one's eggs in one basket, but there is, fortunately, a Mogambo Economic Fable
(MEF) about it.
It seems that, once upon a time, there was this egg rancher who incorporated
his operation and sold a lot of the stock to some investors, keeping enough
shares to still give him majority control plus a lot of money which was (as
they say), "Mostly spent on liquor, horses and women, and the rest I spent
For a while, things were fine, but the rancher soon found himself paying
blackmail money to suppress some embarrassing, and probably incriminating,
photographs of him and several members of a visiting Albanian folk-dancing
troupe who said they were women, and who looked like women, too, but were
Anyway, by the time the rancher discovered the deception, it was too late to
stop, and it turned out to be the episode that launched years of intense
psychotherapy, during which time he discovered to his horror that this
folk-dancer fiasco thing was just the tip of a really big cesspool of some
really weird psycho crap.
To pay the hush-money and the psychiatrist, the rancher finally had to sell his
egg-gathering baskets. Then, one day, the baskets were all gone except for one
last basket. So he used the one remaining basket to gather all the eggs.
As fate would have it, one day he found an egg made of pure gold! Upon leaving
the chicken coop, he was thinking that he needed to buy some more egg baskets,
but the price of the baskets was too high because the loathsome Federal Reserve
was creating so staggeringly much money and credit to keep inflation roaring in
the inflated stock market, the inflated bond market, the inflated housing
market, the inflated derivatives market, the inflated basket market, the
inflated food and energy markets and the cancerous growth of government so that
these markets would not collapse and hand a huge, crippling, crippling,
catastrophic loss to everyone who owns the paper assets comprising those
markets, the result of which will be even MORE inflation in prices, which had
already, to the rancher's initial dismay, affected the price of egg-gathering
But now he could sell the golden egg and buy some baskets! The news was, of
course, so exciting that the rancher stumbled and fell, and all the real eggs
broke, turning the day into a total loss, which just happened to be the "straw
that broke the camel's back", profit-wise as a result of mismanagement by the
rancher, an accountant that was a cricket, farm laborers that were ants, and
the bankrupting burden of constantly-increasing government regulations and
The rancher was, alas, bankrupt, and all the stock went to zero value.
Of course, the stockholders all ran down to yell at the rancher with their
little Munchkin-like voices and waving their little arms comically in the air
that that they were now broke and ruined because they had put all their
retirement money into the one stock.
And the rancher yelled back that he was broke, too, as all his controlling
interest in the business was now worthless, too, and he had long ago spent all
the money he had received from the initial stock offering on, for instance,
partying with visiting Albanian folk dancers and psychiatrists.
Then they all started screaming and yelling at each other, and there was a big
fight, whereupon they all started killing each other, attracting the attention
of a big, bad wolf that was nearby, huffing and puffing trying to blow down the
brick house of three cowering pigs, but he couldn't blow the house down.
So the wolf came over and ate the rancher, all investors, all the broken eggs
and most of the chickens, too, before then using the golden egg as a mighty
hammer to beat down the door of the pigs' brick house and eat them, too.
Richard Daughty is general partner and COO for Smith Consultant Group,
serving the financial and medical communities, and the editor of The Mogambo
Guru economic newsletter - an avocational exercise to heap disrespect on those
who desperately deserve it.