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American Capital Agency Corp. Message Board

  • counselor711322 counselor711322 Jun 1, 2012 8:42 AM Flag

    Once again, bad news is good news

    for AGNC. There's a zero percent chance that the Fed is going to raise interest rates (the biggest threat to AGNC's profitability) any time soon.

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    • I think there was a live alternate route proposed about six weeks ago. Was that for real do you know?

      I think Keystone will go through one way or another, it will just take time and opinion management, through the operators' safety record., And maybe some stock options along the rightofway.

      The Enbridge Lakehead pipe runs 8 miles east of here and adjacent to my buddy's farm. They have a maintenance station in one small town here. They always seem well outfitted and paid. I sold my EEP after a nice cap gain and years of 7% divy to get into MTGE. Since I sold, EEP down 3.25 and Mtge up 2.25 plus double the divy for now.

    • YBF
      20 permanent employees? You are kidding me. The transalaska pipeline construction with 1/3 of the distance compared with keystone had a peak of 26,000 employees during construction which would indicate 50,000 for the keystone project. In addition they left behind 12 24hr/day manned pumpstations and I have been in every one plus there are the operating centers at Prudhoe Bay and Valdez. In addition there are numerous maintenance employees some permanent other working for contracting companies both union and non-union. Then you have security and aerial surveillance in addition to the local boost to employment in communities along the way. If you used 2,000 permanent employees for the keystone project you would be closer to the correct number. I am surprised that the pipeliners union local 798 in Tulsa, Oklahoma apparently has not yet funded a strong push for the project.

      Kurt

    • We hit our low 18 months ago with having to lay off workers. Most of our departments are so thin that when somebody goes on vacation the remaining workers have to work overtime to get the work done. Some economic recovery is occuring from my point of view because We now have the revenue margin that we can start to fill positions left open by retirements and cutbacks two years ago.

      On a couple of our committees we constantly look at contractors vs internal and dollar efficiency is about equal, but that is because our county runs very efficiently.
      For example, we sent our master electrician to tech school to get certified in elevator inspection and service. It will save us about 3k a year vs having to call contractors. Small, but when you have a whole county government thinking this way we get a lot of 3k intiatives. I never see anybody standing around. I could get very longwinded here but the experience of being on the county board has made me a fan of local government... as long as we can keep the drama queens quiet.

    • You're right. War in and of itself is sunk cost. Far better to spend a fraction on keeping it from happening in the first place.

      But once you're in it, you're in it to win it, and somehow in this last one the people who started it decided to contract it out, not even on a competitive basis, and it's cost a fat multiple of what it should have because of their decision to make their buddies rich instead of conscripting them.

      "THere is no need to be in Afghanistan and we shouldn't have spent 10 yrs in Iraq. BTW - is Somalia fixed? Did we fix things in Vietnam? "

      We did need to go into Afghanistan. We should have been out in 18 months. But W's plan wasn't to do the job we had the moral authority to do, it was to create a hundred years of profit centers for defense and security companies. Hence the unreasonable (and some say illegal, including me) diversion of the military to Iraq, where we had no business going. Somalia was and is a disaster (but recall which President got us in there? Hint: not Bubba; he was the sucker in that opera). Viet Nam would be the template for political intervention gone wrong (and if you ask which President got us in there I'll have to say Ike, though people don't like hearing that), but it was based on our experience in Korea, which went at least half right.

    • jeeez ybf - Terrible example.

      I don't think ANYTHING about fighting a war is or really can be cost-effective and I'm strongly against ALL of these interventionist/ nation building exercises that are all BLACK HOLES and wrong headed. Bring the troops home ASAP and eliminate the need for these expensive private contractors as well in addition to all of the bribes that you have to pay to your supposed allies and enemies.

      War is NOT a cost-effective enterprise and like any and all gov't actions - it's always more expensive and lasts longer than ANYONE EVER THINKS when they beat the war drums at the outset of these misguided adventures.

      THere is no need to be in Afghanistan and we shouldn't have spent 10 yrs in Iraq. BTW - is Somalia fixed? Did we fix things in Vietnam?

      Regardless - the only reason that you need troops or private K'ors over there is becuase of boneheaded public policy. And yes - the republicans are just as much if not more to blame.

    • Keystone was projected to cost jobs, not create them.

      And the people "playing politics" were the ones who needed the government to approve the project to enable the taking of land by eminent domain and the waivers of environmental and public safety regulations that building the thing would require, not to mention their need to get the stamp of government approval in order to quell the popular protest against the environmental threat the pipeline poses.

      What doesn't seem to get mentioned is, Keystone is already running a similar pipeline in a similar situation. Their best argument should have been "if that one's okay, why isn't this one?" And the answer seems to be they were screwing with the wrong landowners along the route for the second one, and hadn't really proved a need to build the second one other than the possible profit margins they could get on it (I've seen estimates of their eventual permanent labor cost as low as 20 employees. Twenty. Not sure I trust it but it's telling that anyone could compute that number. You'd think they'd have more bodies as lawyers to fight OSHA claims, if nothing else.)

    • Well, no, actually, it isn't, because private-sector contracts have built-in profit margins and far less performance-based evaluation than you'd find for a private company hiring another private company.

      The war in Iraq is a glaring example, where jobs that in past wars would have been performed by $30k/year GIs were performed by $1k/day former GIs contracted to the government by Blackwater and its parent, Halliburton, which you'll recall got a sole-source non-compete contract to run the whole show even before the bombs started dropping.

      The only time that it makes sense to contract out is when the function needed is something that the contractor is already competing in the marketplace on, hence holding its prices down, and the government would have to learn how to do, causing huge startup costs and possibly never gaining full competency.

      But when the job is something only government does it's far cheaper for the government to do it by itself, to put the profit margin into the enterprise as productive capital instead of shaving it off and putting it into a profiteer's pocket where it acts as a de facto up-front budget cut.

    • yes - I absolutely mean that Obama is/was trying to hire federal workers ... that's what his 'so-called' JOBS program was all about. Of course the republicans in Congress didn't give him additional $$ and/or authority to make additional federal hires.

      BTW - I don't know the breakdown re: the federal job count #s; perhaps some came from the military etc. Regardless - if Obama had his way and access to additional $$ - he'd spend it to create new hires ... whether needed or not and regardless of whether said could be justified by budget concerns.

      Obama's refusal to approve the Keystone Pipeline - which coincidently would create lots of private pipefitter union jobs - is example of Obama playing politics with this thing. He'd like to give jobs to his union buddies, but doesn't want to cross his environmental buddies and he doesn't want to appear that he's making a concession to the republicans. Yet I GUARANTEE you that he'll approve Keystone almost immediately if he wins re-election.

      Again - it's politics over good policy.

    • I understood your point stockmeister, I just wanted to clarify the numbers as far as federal vs state was concerned.

      Though I must admit I'm not sure what this means when applied to federal payrolls: "the decrease in gov't payrolls is happening despite (not because of) Obama."

      I don't suppose you mean that Obama is trying to hire more federal employees but somehow the headcount is going down?

      Big picture -- I tend to believe Warren Buffett's analysis, which is that governments and presidents have much less influence over the economy than most people think; and that the economy follows its own cycles and does not act like a puppet whose strings are controlled by Washington.

    • BTW - I meant to say that it's more efficient for gov't $$ to be paid out via contracts to PRIVATE sector firms (rather than permanent public sector employees).

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