Monday, April 11, 2011

The SBA and meretricious

1. Appealing in a cheap or showy manner: tawdry.
2. Based on pretense or insincerity.
From Latin meretricius, meretrix (prostitute), from merere (to earn money).
The meretricious debate on government spending and the budget extends to SBA loans.

Total credit subsidy appropriations are proposed to go from $83 million in FY 2010 to $215 million in FY 2012. Of course, using the governments’ calculator the $215 million proposed for FY 2012 will be a DECREASE from the actual FY 2011 appropriation when considering the $505 million in Jobs Act money. As a result, funding is increasing while at the same time decreasing. Don't you just love government speak?

SBA LIBOR Base Rate April 2011 = 3.24%
SBA Fixed Base Rate April 2011 = 6.24%

504 Debenture Rate for March

The debenture rate is 4.09% but note rate is 4.15% and effective yield is only 5.94%.


The economy may be stalling a bit based upon capacity utilization rates.

This obscure gauge, which measures how much plants and factories are being used, has been steadily climbing since reaching a historic low in August of 2009 of only 68.2%.

Keep your eye on Friday’s release from the Federal Reserve on Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization.

Here is what capacity utilization rates have done:

1997- 83.6

1998- 83.0

1999- 82.4

2000- 82.6

2001- 77.4

2002- 75.6

2003- 74.6

2004- 79.2

2005- 80.7

2006- 82.4

2007- 81.5

2008- 79.9

2009- 69.9

2010- 74.8

2011- 76

What does all this mean?

I don't know.

Capacity utilization, which measures the amount of a plant that is in use, fell to 76.3 percent in February from a revised 76.4 percent in January. In December it was at 76.3 percent.

One of the Federal Reserve’s favorite gauges of the economy is the capacity utilization rate. The Federal Reserve watches capacity utilization rates to see if production constraints are threatening to cause inflationary pressures. Bottlenecks or shortages often lead to inflationary pressures that would drive prices even higher. Several analysts have pointed to a rate between 81% and 82% as a tipping point over which inflation is spurred.

Capacity utilization at 76% is still far below normal - and well below the pre-recession levels of 81.2% in November 2007.

That means we still have a long way to go before interest rates really start to go up.

“It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility”
-Yogi Berra

Humility is good for us all. Humidity might even be better for others. Baseball physicists (yes, there really are such people) found that when the relative humidity is increased from 30 percent to 50 percent, the weight of the ball increases causing fewer home runs.

Coors Field in mile-high Denver has been long viewed as a batter’s paradise and a pitcher’s nightmare. Because the air density in Denver is approximately 80 percent of that at sea level, fly balls hit there carry farther. For the first seven seasons at Coors, there were 3.20 home runs hit per game. However, beginning in 2002 the Colorado Rockies began to store their baseballs in a humidor at a constant 50 percent relative humidity as opposed to the more typical 30 percent humidity in Denver. Ever since then, only 2.39 home runs were hit per game.

At Chase Field where the Arizona Diamondbacks play, the typical relative humidity is even lower than in Denver. It’s around only 20 percent. The Diamondbacks recently decided to NOT store balls in a humidor like they do at Coors Field.

Some baseball moisture experts concluded that the humidor idea could have reduced home runs at hitter-friendly Chase Field between 38 percent and 54 percent.

That’s too bad for the imperfect pitcher, Armando Galarraga. Armando made a successful debut for the Diamondbacks in Chicago against the Cubs. He allowed just two walks while striking out five in seven innings of work. He gave up only five hits but two of those were home runs. Home runs have always been a problem for Galarraga, and when he eventually pitches in Arizona, that stadium won’t help.

Armando next pitches Tuesday in Arizona against the Cardinals.

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