Slope of Hope Blog Posts

Slope initially began as a blog, so this is where most of the website’s content resides. Here we have tens of thousands of posts dating back over a decade. These are listed in reverse chronological order. Click on any category icon below to see posts tagged with that particular subject, or click on a word in the category cloud on the right side of the screen for more specific choices.

This Sad Burlesque

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I write in hopes that by the time you get this letter
We may live to see a change for the better
Or are we so devoted to these wretched selfish motives
When the cold facts and figures all add up
They cannot contradict this sad burlesque

This sad burlesque
With miserable failures making entertainment of our fate
Laughter cannot dignify of elevate
This sad burlesque

Now can they recall being young and idealistic
Before wading knee-deep in hogwash and arithmetic
The pitying smirk
The argument runs like clockwork
Will run down eventually and splutter to a stop

P.S. Well by now you know the worst of it
And we've heard all the alibis that they've rehearsed
The smug predictions
If it's not a contradiction
Keep faith in human nature
And have mercy on the creatures in this sad burlesque

- Declan Patrick MacManus

The True Middle Class

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In the spirit of Labor Day, I thought I'd say something about class.

There are some who call the United States a classless society. I certainly do not. But my view of "class" this morning only partly has to do with assets owned by a given party. It also has to do with how "in-the-know" someone is.

Allow me to crudely define this view using three groups:

  • Cornupecuniae – This is the ruling class. The top 1% of the U.S. owns 34% of the wealth. Since the mid-1950s, the "skewed-ness" of wealth distribution has becoming increasingly distorted. But the important thing here is the concentration of knowledge and power, because that upper echelons have, over the past few decades, turned the United States into a virtual plutocracy. Consider the ethics and well-being of Goldman Sachs, and you pretty much get the picture. We'll call this Group #1.
  • Ignoramus Felicitia - Here's where just about everyone else is. This is where people who really don't understand the world around them reside. They don't really read that much. They like their sports, their action movies, their sit-coms. They need distractions, lest they risk a chance of being exposed to something unsettling. As long as they can get their $1.99 hot dog/Coke-with-refills at Costco and have a roof over their heads, they're not going to cause any trouble. I'd say this is 95% of the country. Let's call this Group #2.
  • Illuminata Miserque – And here we have those who may or may not have money, but they have knowledge, and they find that knowledge distressing. They learn; they read; they converse; they dig deeper; but there's not much they can do about what they find. This, as you can imagine, is the realm of Slope. Every day there are superb articles shared here, and as a group we continue to learn more and understand better……….the principal result of which is agitation. We'll dub this one Group #3.

The rally which begin in early March and continues to this day (even on Labor Day Weekend, when the /ES simply thundered higher still), was created when Group #1 convinced Group #2 that everything was going to be OK. Group #3 knows things are not OK, but it stands aghast and bewildered that the reality they understand isn't aligning with the action in the markets. It all goes back to that annoying, oft-cited phrase that markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent. The "irrational" part refers to the disparity between what Group #3 sees and the beliefs that Group #1 professes.

I don't have any ambitions to change the unchangeable; I simply want to be well-positioned and well-capitalized to profit from when reality becomes something that Group #1 can't hide anymore. (Of course, they too will be well-positioned for the fall; they're not idiots, you know; there's a reason they got into Group #1 in the first place). And, with that — and the /ES approaching another lifetime contract high — I bid you adieu.