Every 80 minutes another American veteran commits suicide

As stunning as that headline may be, keep in mind those are only the successful (if you can call it that) attempts. The war in Iraq may be over and Afghanistan winding down, but the hell of war rages on every day for veterans across America. Many of these are soldiers from wars fought decades ago as well.  The New York Times has a story on it that you can read here.

An American soldier dies every day and a half, on average, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes. More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year — more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began

As an Air Force veteran myself, I can’t help but feel the pain these families continue to go through long after the political points have been claimed when the war ends. I served in peacetime and never had to deploy to a war theatre so I don’t have to deal with those demons. But just take a look through these statistics compiled by the Department of Veterans Affairs. You can’t help but cringe.

30,000-32,000 US deaths from suicide per year among the population overall

About 20% are Veterans

About 18 deaths from suicide per day are Veterans

About 5 deaths from suicide per day among Veterans receiving care in VHA

About 950 attempts per month among Veterans receiving care in VHA as reported by suicide prevention coordinators (Oct 1 2008 – Dec 31st,2010)

About 11% (1051/10228) of those who attempted suicide in FY2009 (and did not die as a result of this attempt) made a repeat suicide attempt with an average of 9 months of follow-up

About 7% (724/10228) of suicide attempts resulted in death. Among those who survived their first suicide attempt and reattempted suicide within 9 months of their first FY09 event, ~ 6% (60/1051) died from suicide

About 33% of recent suicides have a history of previous attempts

The repeat attempts are startling. Even after an attempt has been made and the proverbial cry for help has been issued, there is no remedy for so many. These statistics also don’t take into account spouses and other loved ones left behind that can’t deal with the suicide and then do so themselves. At the very least, the total amount of pain and suffering is immeasurable.

If you’re a veteran and need help, call 1-800-273-TALK. Press “1” for Veterans.Or go online to www.VeteransCrisisLine.net. It’s completely free. I would also encourage all to donate to one of the many worthwhile programs for suicide prevention if you can afford to do so.

Sighting in your new rifle

Having a chuckle at other’s misfortune just seems so wrong, but go ahead and enjoy anyway.

Sighting in your expensive new deer rifle:

1. Shiny new, high-powered deer rifle…………$1,200.00 2. Quality, high-powered scope……………………$550.00 3. Bore sighting device……………………………….$140.00 4. Forgetting to remove the bore sighting device prior to actually firing the rifle……………Priceless!

5. Hospital Visit…………………………..$14,893.00

As John Wayne once said:
“Life’s tough. It’s even tougher if you’re stupid.”

Can you even imagine the force necessary to peel that barrel?

Quantity over quality

Zero Hedge has a piece on Fed policy that is worthy of being shared.

No, all of these are secondary items. Here is what is of absolutely critical importance in the just released Goldman letter, nested deep in Hatzius’ final paragraph, where it would otherwise be missed by most:

…we have found some evidence that at the very long end of the yield curve, where Operation Twist is concentrated, it may be not just the stock of securities held by the Fed but also the ongoing flow of purchases that matters for yields

For those who are aware of the Fed’s sentiment vis-a-vis the debate of stock vs flow of money effect, this will be a stunning revelation. Especially since it vindicates what we have been saying since day one, namely that when it comes to securities price formation in a centrally-planned regime, it is flow not stock that matters. And as those who follow the Fed’s thinking know too well, the Fed is convinced it is stock, not flow that serves as a consistent catalyst for subjective risk valuation. The above quote is just the first crack in the Fed’s thinking, because if Goldman now believes this, so will Bill Dudley, following his next meeting with Jan Hatzius at the Pound and Pence, and shortly thereafter, it will become canon at the Fed.

One way of visualizing what this means is to think of a shark which has to be constantly in motion in order to survive. Well, the allegory of Jaws can be applied to liquidity addicted capital markets. Translated simply, it means that it is irrelevant if the Fed’s balance sheet is $1 million, $1 trillion or $1,000 quadrillion. A primacy of flow over stock means that UNLESS THE FED IS ACTIVELY ENGAGING IN MONETIZATION AT EVERY GIVEN MOMENT, THE IMPACT FROM EASING DIMINISHES PROGRESSIVELY, ULTIMATELY APPROACHING ZERO AND SUBSEQUENTLY BECOMING NEGATIVE!

You should read the entire article, but I wanted to highlight this part as it reinforces something I am often criticized for. Clearly, Fed policy is directed by style over substance as appearances are everything. Liquidity is paramount as money on the sidelines detracts from the shell game. The Fed needs the money to keep flowing. This is why they get involved with their stealth stock purchases to keep the illusion alive.

I get knocked because I note the importance of consumer confidence. Austrian economists dismiss it as myth, but in Fed world it is very much a part of the show. It directly feeds into consumer spending which is central to the Keynesian business cycle theory. Consumers need to ‘feel’ that illusion of recovery so they will keep spending money. It’s not about whether or not this is a successful model to operate under. It is what it is. We can point out what we should be doing all day long but the fact is the Fed requires consumer confidence leading to consumer spending leading to liquidity spending. As the article said, it’s about “flow”. So never fear, the “crash” is still on schedule coming to a neighborhood near you.