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    Thoughts From the Frontline, February 2013

    The Healthcare Blues

    February 27, 2013

    It has been some time since we peeked into my worry closet. A few questions this weekend prompted me to think about things I am paying attention to but have not written about, and one thing that I am not worried about at all, despite the apparent media hysteria.

    But first, a quick note. My tenth annual Strategic Investment Conference (May 1-3 in Carlsbad, California) seems to be filling up nicely. The speaker lineup is exceptional: Kyle Bass; Ian Bremmer; Mohamed El-Erian; Niall Ferguson...

    Whatever It Takes

    February 20, 2013

    Lord Melchett: “Farewell, Blackadder [hands him a parchment]. The foremost cartographers of the land have prepared this for you; it's a map of the area that you'll be traversing. [Blackadder opens it up and sees it is blank] They'll be very grateful if you could just fill it in as you go along. Bye-bye.”

    – From the English comedy series Blackadder (Part 2, Episode 3)

    Was it only a few years ago I visited the Emerald Isle of Ireland? So recently had this fair land come to such a sad...

    How Not to Run a Pension

    February 13, 2013

    “The government is the prisoner of the bureaucracy. We have 4,021 associations and 6,200 codes. You simply cannot change things. There are 600,000 tax elements. No one really knows who pays what.”

    – A journalist in Greece

    For all the focus on the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare, there is another unfunded crisis brewing, and this one is in your own back yard. It’s coming to you even if you live outside of the US; it just might take a little longer to get there. I wrote...

    The Good, the Bad, and the Greek (Risks)

    February 6, 2013

    “The euro will not survive the first major European recession.” – Milton Friedman, 1999

    “It seems to me that Europe, especially with the addition of more countries, is becoming ever-more susceptible to any asymmetric shock. Sooner or later, when the global economy hits a real bump, Europe’s internal contradictions will tear it apart.” – Milton Friedman, 1999

    “… there will be asymmetric shocks hitting the different countries. That will mean that the only adjustment mechanism they have to...