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Bankrupted America borrows more to get by March 30, 2018

Posted by hslu in Congress, 美國, Economics, U.S. dollar.
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$294 billion to be exact this week alone.

What happened to the once fiscal conservative, small government Republican Party? The party of Lincoln has lost its minds, morphed into Democracts, sold its soul to Trump and abandoned American people for a temporary sugar high.

Well, it’s not completely Republican’s fault because, America has been on financial steriods since 2009 and it is hard to shake that satisfying feeling just yet.

What’s going happen to this record high auction and future auctions in 2018 and 2019?

Source: U.S. debt clock

What if the promised boost to the economy from the tax cut never materialized?

How high will the yield of Treasury Bonds go before it can attract enough buyers?

What if foreign buyers stop buying American debt?

And how high will the yield on 10 year Treasury go before it tanks the stock markets?

The Fed has stopped buying government bonds and mortgage securities. It will instead sell bonds and MBS on its book to normalize the interest rate structure. The extra supply will for sure put more pressure on the prices of bonds.

Little by little, yield will go up until the economy and financial market can’t take it any more. Economic activities will contract. Stock market will crush and a recession will follow.

That’s just the way it will play out.

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Petroyuan? March 30, 2018

Posted by hslu in China, 石油, Economics, Energy, Renminbi, U.S. dollar, 中國.
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A major step to increase the circulation of renminbi in a big way.

Trump met Stormy 老少冤家. Who lied? March 27, 2018

Posted by hslu in Culture, 特朗普, 美國, Trump.
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I didn’t watch the 60 minute interview but here is my guess of who had lied about their affair:

Stormy: 0.01%,

Trump: 99.99%.

If Americans don’t care about the relationship and his model wife hasn’t said a word about the porn star, why does Trump continue to deny it?

Afterall, everyone already knows that Trump instructed his lawyer to pay her off right before the election.

A slap on Trump’s face March 24, 2018

Posted by hslu in China, Congress, 特朗普, 美國, Democracy, Economics, Global Warming, Globlization, Military, Politics, Trump, 川普.
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Question: Who dare to do this to the president of the United States of America?

Answer: Ryan and McConnell with help fron Schumer and Pelosi.

How: Forced Trump to sign the Omnibus Spending Bill passed by the Republican-controlled Congress.

What’s so special about this bill:

  • It’s 2,200-page long and no one in Congress has bothered to read it.
  • The WH had said Trump would sign it, then said he might veto it, then said he’s not happy about it and then said he would sign it.

  • Schumer got funding for a tunnel from NJ to NYC. Planned Parenthood got $500 million. JFK Center awarded $40 million. EPA budget at all time high.

  • The USA is good for six more months.
  • Defense funding up by $80 bn: a lot of borrowing for a bankrupted country: the USA.
  • It doesn’t address the fate of Dreamers.
  • It doesn’t fund Trump’s wall. The $1.6bn approved by the Congress is for repairing existing wall and building a new 33 mile long fencing or levees. No money for Trump’s concrete wall.
  • It was clearly a defeat for Trump no matter how Trump spin it. But he said that he’ll never sign another one like this again.

  • Bottom line: Beltway swamp won. Trump lost. Fisical Conservative lost.

南小馆,上海,日月光商場 March 23, 2018

Posted by hslu in China, Chinese Food, Restaurants, Shanghai, Travel, 上海, 中國.
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我們本來要去田子坊吃完飯的。我們三點去田子坊逛逛,結果決定不在那吃飯。日月光廣場就在邊上,地鐵站一出來就是了。我們因為明天要去美國,時間不多,上樓時看到這家上海餐館,形象還不錯,店面也寬敞,明亮,一看裏面還有一兩個空位,餐館外面的招牌和菜的相片也蠻吸引人的。我們當時就決定了。就它吧。

上海點心是他們的拿手菜。

明天要去美國,走以前吃個上海點心蠻好的。這次來上海還沒有吃個小籠包。臨走前來一客,以免嘴饞。

一本正經的很學樣。

浦西日月光廣場南小館

小六拼。現成的海菜不及格。其他幾樣都很好吃。可惜貴了點。這一盤要¥55。

我們兩個都喜歡菜花。有時候,捨不得不叫這一盤菜。

上海油麪,特別好吃。簡簡單單的,我要是會做就好了。

相片照的不好,不過這一籠黑松露小籠包真好吃。一人三個正正好。

這是麪皮湯。雞湯很鲜美,麪皮裏有些肉。本來要叫上海酸辣湯的。看到這道湯,還是叫來試試看。

田子坊,上海 March 23, 2018

Posted by hslu in China.
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田子坊越來越熱鬧了。

窄窄的巷子擠滿了遊客。可是,我覺得逛街的人多,真正掏錢買大東西的人少。小吃店不夠,東西有沒有什麽特色,沒有那個非吃不可,今天不吃,一輩子後悔的意味。

田子坊的性質也跟以前不太一樣:外國餐館比以前少多了,街邊的咖啡廳增好像也少了幾家,賣老上海東西的店子到處都是,自己做的手工藝術品顯著的多了不少。田子坊的範圍也擴大一些了,有好幾個巷子我們一年前都沒有去過。遊客也比以前多,不過當天是禮拜五的下午,可能也有關係吧。

穿的稍微單薄了點。冷風吹得嗚嗚的叫,她還在外面叫客人。

像這種手工藝品的小店倒有好幾個。這種手藝現在也不多了。賺不了什麼大錢。其他像畫畫的,素描的,剪紙的也有幾個。

老上海的雪花膏。盒子好看,裏面不知道是什麼料子做的。

遊客中有不少講臺灣話和廣東話的大媽和老頭子,應該是跟著旅行團來玩的。粗聲粗氣的老遠就聽得到。講日本話和外國話(非英文)的也不少。偶爾也有幾個舉著旅行團棋子的地陪,帶著遊客來玩。不過這裏不適合旅行團吃飯,貴,有沒有中國味,所以這些遊客大概逛一逛,半鐘頭,最多一個鍾頭就走了。

年輕的美女和時髦的帥哥也不少。許多人拿著小吃一面走,一面分著吃。幾個二十來歲的美女大聲嚷嚷的,也不知道他們興奮個什麽勁,不過好像好吃的不得了。走在邊上的遊客無形中也被他們的熱情感染到了,大家樂著一團,很是熱鬧。看起來烤大魷魚,烤包穀,炸雞翅,炸薯條的生意最好。可惜,排隊的並不多。另外,也沒有看到很多提著袋子,買了東西的旅客。這些東西我還真不敢吃,尤其是那個魷魚,看到就嚇一跳,樣子也不美,說真的,請我吃我都不敢吃。包穀是我喜歡的。但是不知道它上面塗了一層什麼東西,我也不敢領教。

我們本來要在田子坊吃晚飯的,因為我們以前在這裏的巷子裏喝咖啡,吃過飯,喝了酒,悠哉悠哉的,看各式各樣的客人來來往往,很有意思。這一次我們決定不在這裏吃飯因為它沒有那個悠哉的氣氛,而且天氣也冷了一點。冷風從巷子口吹過來,涼颼颼的在頭上打轉,一個勁的往領子口裏面吹,躲起來都來不及,怎麼能夠在外面吃飯。外國餐館顯然少了不少,中國的小吃倒是增加了幾個。可是看起來都不怎麼樣。

太太在一個小巷子口看到一個老上海豆花攤子,問我要不要試試看。天這麽冷,吃碗豆花倒是一個好主意。我們問老闆有沒有甜豆花,他說,有,不過鹹豆花是他們的拿手秘方。我們叫了一客上海老豆花,兩個人分著吃。嫩嫩的熱豆花加上香菜,蔥花,榨菜丁,小蝦米和過了夜的老油條,最後澆上一小瓢辣油和一點點醬油。人民幣十塊錢,差不多美金一塊五。我們坐在只夠一個人過的巷子裏靠牆的椅子,就著一個小小的方桌,稀裏呼嚕的吃起來了。一人一口,三下兩下就吃完了。冬天裏吃的還真舒服啊。

老闆是一個四十來歲的上海人,一個人在這裏吆喝吆喝的賣豆花。生意看起來還不錯。我們跟他說田子坊好像變了不少,很多小店和餐館都不見了。他說,這裏的生意不好做,商店變得快。一來房租高,二來競爭大,賺不了錢就只有趕快關門。可能是許多商店賣的東西都大同小異,沒有太多的特色。不過一有空店面,就有不怕死的進來。我們轉一圈,還真有幾家正在裝修呢。

其他的像茶館,畫廊,雕刻,藝術館也不少。真不知道他們靠什麽樣的旅客賺錢。

逛了一陣子以後,太太看到一個貓咪咖啡廳,裏頭有五六張桌子還有幾隻貓在裏面四處張望。我們走的也累了,吃飯的時間還早,正好去叫個咖啡或者拿鐵之類的飲料,休息一下。

我們肚子還不餓,叫了兩杯拿鐵,看貓咪玩,劃手機,打發時間。我問了服務員,他說這家咖啡廳一共有 11 隻貓,都是員工在照顧。老闆娘看來也在,前前後後指揮服務員,照顧客人。精明能幹。生意可以,一直有客人來,喝咖啡,品嚐紅酒,叫了一些美國菜。

我們坐在一個 loft 上,樓上還有好大的兩間廳房,只是我們去的那天只有一個年輕貌美的姑娘在那。我們叫了咖啡,拿鐵,劃手機,休息,看貓咪跑來跑去。

晚飯在田子坊邊上的日月光廣場的一家上海館子吃的飯。吃完飯坐地鐵,回到家已經快十點了。

明天下午要去美國看兒子,媳婦,女兒,女婿和七個月大的小孫女。

行李還沒有收好呢。趕快,不然兩點都沒法睡覺。

戎参,エビス参,長泰廣場,浦東張江 March 23, 2018

Posted by hslu in China, Economics, Food, Japan, Restaurants, Shanghai, 浦東.
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整個餐館的裏裏外外找不到餐館的中文名字,日本字倒有一大堆,可惜我看不懂,只有去網路上找了。

戎参是它的名字。

這是外面的招牌。可惜手機的照相機性能不夠好,照出來的相片太黑了。

開放式的廚房在後面,邊上有一個不是很正式的吧檯,不大,也沒有什麼酒。Sake 也不多。五個廚子在廚房做事。可惜兩個烤臺太小,忙起來,烤的東西要等好一陣子。

木頭凳子和木頭桌子,很一般燒酒居的擺設。服務員有三個。

我們七點多一點來的。快八點半了,我們還有一個菜;烤雞翅,沒來。廚房的作業可能有問題,因為我們其他的烤物都已經吃完了。其實這時候,戎參的生意已經淡下來了,看起來今天晚上只能做一輪生意。

這不是一家新開的餐館,在這個位置已經一年多了。能夠在這裏熬過來的,也是不簡單了。

我們的房地產中介跟我們說,在張江的兩個購物中心:長泰廣場和匯智廣場,開餐館不容易。雖然來這裏的人非常多,吃飯的時候,許多餐館都要排隊,忙的要排半個鍾頭到一個鍾頭。餐館的房租高,薪水高,競爭大,雖然有許多客人,週末尤其忙,可是還是有很多空的鋪位。除了幾個特別忙,天天要排隊的餐館以外,百分之五,六十的正式餐館都不怎麽賺錢。如果真是這樣,那還真不容易啊。

我們這一次離開上海已經快九個月了。長泰和匯智廣場改變。有些以前熟悉的餐館都不見了:

台灣來的石二锅再見了。很好的位置也救不了它。轉檯不夠快是原因之一。

美國來的 TFI Fridays 關門大吉了。我們經過它的門口許多許多次,就從來沒看過它忙過。好大的餐館,跟美國的一樣。再見了。

美國來的 Dunkin Donut 沒了,

台灣來的四海遊龍游走了,

幾個四川餐館換名字了,

幾個麪店空著沒人敢進來,

一個賣小吃和湯圓的沒了。

Papa Johns 三月初關的門,現在正在重新裝潢。說真的,每次經過它只有小貓兩三隻。我們來過一次,它比 Pizza Hut 和 KFC 要差多了。它能留到現在還真不簡單,重新裝潢,改菜單,想要捲土重來。有志氣。

長泰廣場後面的一長排的啤酒屋,只有三,四家還是開的。生意不好做。

我繞了一圈,估計一下,可能有百分之五的餐館換了老闆或關門了。賣衣服和賣鞋子的店面也關了幾家,大概不到百分之五吧。匯智廣場生意普遍不怎麽好,空的店面可能有百分之七,八吧。不過幾個知名度高,原先就要排隊的餐館仍然要排隊。台灣來的龍門客棧還在,它位置不好,在裏面邊上。我們彎過去看了一看,只有小貓兩三隻。包廂還有幾個人。看來也是在慘淡經營,痛苦的掙扎著。

戎參生意好,雖然沒有排隊,但是也可稱得上座無虛席吧。這在星期二的晚上應該是不容易了。正式餐館的消費比較高,裏面的客人是清一色的年輕高科技員工。沒有大媽,沒有孩子,沒有老家伙。我們兩個是特殊份子,不算。

雖然我們看不到餐館的中文名字可是知道它是日本燒酒居。就是喝啤酒,吃烤肉這一類的飯店。中國菜吃多了,換個口味挺好的。

菜單上的東西不少,我們沒有來過,只有檢看得懂的叫:不外乎燒烤和一些下酒菜之類的。

毛豆在熱鹽水中過的。

烤青魚,味道好,刺多。魚味道重。

柴魚豆腐。要加一點醬油才行。

French fries 差了點,可能是舊油炸出來的。炸的時間也不夠,不夠脆。下次不叫。炸大蝦子還可以。

這是烤飯糰。味道特別,裏面不是白飯,好像是五穀雜糧。外面烤得很脆,很香,不油。配的鹹菜很好吃。有一點酸甜味。

Bacon wrapped sweet peppers 和雞的軟骨。少了點。

烤雞翅。等了好久。廚房的作業有些問題。烤台太小了。下次叫炸雞翅會比較快。

Blame it on Trump March 22, 2018

Posted by hslu in China, 特朗普, 美國, Economics, Global Affair, Globlization, jobs, Trade, U.S. Foreign Policy, 川普, 中國.
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The world markets will crush some more in the days and weeks to come. The severities will hinge on China’s response. If Boeing becomes the primary target of China’s retaliation against Trump’s threat, DJIA will see more triple digit drops because Boeing (BA, $319.61) accounts for 9.4% of the index.

Source: http://indexarb.com/indexComponentWtsDJ.html

What does Trump’s trade war mean to you?

  • Your net worth will decline if you have IRA, Roth IRA, 401(k), 403(b), SEP-IRA, TSP, FERS or an account with any of the discount brokers.
  • The stuff you buy at your local Walmart and many other companies will be more expensive.
  • America’s trade deficits will go up. It will not go down because import goods will be morr expensive.
  • If you work for Boeing, you might see a pink slip.
  • If you work for any company affected by Trump’s action, you might see a pink slip.
  • Inflation will creep up which might force the Fed to raise interest rate faster than they have planned. The stock and bond markets don’t like that a bit. Your net worth will take more beating.
  • You will hate Trump more and vote Democrat this November. Democrats will control the House and Trump will be impeached next January. Whether Democrats have the majority of the Senate is inconsequential.
  • When the interest rate goes up, the U.S. government will pay more interest on its national debt. As a result, funding for other services has to drop unless America borrows more to pay for them.
  • If China decides to reduce its purchase of U.S. Treasury bonds, interest rates on these government bonds will go up.
  • Interest rate on student loans and credit card balances will go up. You will have less money to spend. You will be poorer than before.

If global recession comes as a result of Trump’s unilateral action on tariff, the pain on stock markets will spread far and wide.

But, is a recession likely because of a global trade war?

Consider this: In a trade war, America’s trading partners will export less and they will definitely purchase less from America.

The bottom line is: you lose whether you like Trump or not.

And what’s going to happen to Trump? Mueller is digging a hole for Trump to jump in. Trump is digging another hole for him as a backup.

Standard deduction, here I come March 22, 2018

Posted by hslu in Taxes.
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The Effect of the New Tax Bill on Itemized Deductions

http://flip.it/aPec8G

Source: Flipboard

After taking itemized deductions for the past 30+ years, I will take the standard deduction for the first time on my 2017 tax return.

Another one of my life’s turning points.

A pretty scary chart March 22, 2018

Posted by hslu in Economics.
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What will the chart look like nine months or a year down the road?

The stock market is trying to figure it out too.

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