Thanksgiving Week

For some reason Thanksgiving never made it as a national holiday in the UK, possibly because England was feeling a little sour after only winning a nonetheless hard won second place in The War Of Independence, but I certainly always enjoy it, and various branches of my family have had a long and storied history […]
Slope of Hope

Thanksgiving Idea: Give government back to the Native Americans?

I’m thankful for a lot of things this year, but I don’t want to disfigure this blog too much with the maudlin friends-and-family sentiments that are more conventional on Facebook.

Let me try something in the old-style Thanksgiving spirit and just say thank-you to the Native Americans for not insisting that all of the Europeans who landed here return back home. Without Native American hospitality I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the use of this great continent for 54 years.

However, I wonder if we European-Americans haven’t overstayed our welcome. I haven’t kept in touch with the Native American friends whom I made while living in New Mexico, but I can’t imagine that they looked at the 2016 Presidential election and said “It is amazing that these European immigrants managed to find two such fantastic candidates.”

Maybe we can’t all clear out and leave North America to its rightful inhabitants (unless we start to do better on the PISA test, other countries probably wouldn’t want us), but could we at least clear out politically? Why not let the Native Americans set up a government (presumably they’d pick a British-style parliamentary system, as have most countries) and we non-Native Americans can agree to respect their decisions?


Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

Commodities Strength Continues

Commodities, particularly oil, continue to be strong. You can see the breakout a few weeks ago from the range DBC was in, and the successful test afterward. More specifically, oil is gaining strength, I suppose with an eye toward next week’s big OPEC meeting/announcements. The yellow area represents a strong base, and I’ve circled where […]
Slope of Hope

Europe and competition among U.S. states prove that high corporate tax rates are unsustainable?

My Facebook friends continue to be filled with wrath regarding the Republican proposal to cut corporate tax rates to the levels that prevail in Europe (18.9 percent, average). One friend, for example, recently cited to “The Republican War on College: For the cost of cutting corporate income taxes, the U.S. could provide universal pre-K and make tuition free at public colleges for nonaffluent students.” (Atlantic)

These same folks often cite European welfare states as examples to which the U.S. should aspire. I’m wondering if those same welfare states haven’t proven that it isn’t possible to sustain a high corporate tax rate.

The average human is reluctant to move and the average American is no longer even willing to move from state to state (see Tyler Cowen: “These days Americans are less likely to switch jobs, less likely to move around the country, and, on a given day, less likely to go outside the house at all.”). But corporate shells don’t miss friends and family when they move to Bermuda (tax-free), or Ireland (12.5 percent tax), or nowhere at all (Apple Computer’s profits!).

I wonder if we’ve already run this experiment on a smaller scale here in the U.S. among the states. In theory a lot of states have corporate income taxes. But in practice the big companies don’t need to pay this because they demand 20 years of tax-free living in exchange for locating a headquarters or factory in a state. So if our states can’t collect these taxes in practice, except on some hapless small businesses that don’t generate much profit, why is there any possibility of collecting big $ $ at the national level now that world business is global?

The Europeans became experts at collecting the highest possible percentage of GDP as tax revenue to run their massive welfare states (since trimmed back, of course, and now the U.S. has caught up!). If Europe can’t make high corporate income tax rates work, why do we think that we can?


Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

Should I quit as a trader?

It is not uncommon for developing traders to stare at this decision: should I quit?  This is true for even traders who go on to become successful, even 7-figure traders.

I share this because I know that there are readers facing this question.  And many wonder whether they can make it, if they start poorly.  You can.

Let me share a recent anecdote from our trading desk.

Recently, a developing trader at our firm, asked to speak with me about whether he should continue.  He was coming near the end of his personal funds.  He wanted to know if the firm would help him financially if necessary.  More importantly, he asked me whether I thought he should continue.

I was a bit startled by the question as I never sensed this trader had doubts.  If he has them, so many more must.

This developing trader had asked his mentor whether he should continue.  His mentor shared that he showed more promise than all of his past junior traders.  But then mentor suggested this developing trader ask me.  That I would be honest with trader and would be a good resource given my experience watching traders develop.

Thxs mentor!  Put all the pressure on me.

I reviewed the developing trader’s results and they had been mostly flat overall.  You could see internal pressure to make money infecting certain months and causing progress to wane.  Importantly, you could clearly see growth prior to these periods and then the waning.  He contributed importantly to his team.  He loved trading.  He fit in well with the firm culture.  He was well positioned to improve with an outstanding trading mentor.

More for form than substance, I discussed this trader with the partners for agreement to approve firm resources for trader.  The partners quickly and unanimously agreed.  We assured the trader that he would have financial support from the firm and mapped out a plan for the next 6 months.

Financial stress is a very real issue that developing traders face.  Backstopping from a firm can often make all the difference between success or failure for a trader’s career.  And it is not just the financial support to pay the bills, but it is the relief to trader that they can now just concentrate on their trading.  Full focus breeds their best results.

Fast forward to this month, and trader is having his best month to date.  A month, in fact, that clearly shows he has the ability to succeed and sustain as a professional trader.

These are the very real discussions that occur at a professional prop firm.  These are the very real challenges that developing traders face.  Many do find solutions and go on to have lasting and rewarding trading careers.

So if you are like this trader above, and wondering whether you ought to quit.  Do not feel inadequate solely for facing this issue.  We face it here as well.  And some come through on the other side to become winning traders.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

I welcome your feedback/questions-


*no relevant positons


SMB Training Blog

UndocuAlly training

Here’s a career path that I hadn’t known about: UndocuAlly trainer.

From a mole within one of America’s more expensive liberal arts colleges, a letter sent to all faculty members:

Dear all,
My name is **** and I’m the Program Coordinator for Undocumented Student Initiatives… . As continuing from last year, we are offering another UndocuAlly training for faculty and staff. We encourage all to attend if possible. Please share this message with you [sic] department.
Warm wishes,
Dear colleagues,
Our Undocu-Ally trainings [nobody can agree if this is spelled with or without a hyphen?] have been fully attended and well received in the past year. Thank you for those who have already joined us for these. We are pleased to announce that we are offering another Undocu-Ally training in the next couple of weeks. Please sign up as soon as possible. We will have 30 spots available.

Requirements for Certification:
1. Attend the training in-full, no arriving late or leaving early. (Yes, the training is three hours long)
2. …
5. Sign Undocu-Ally commitment letter and Educator Activist decal.
?If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. We will be offering more Undocu-Ally trainings soon in case you are not able to make it to this one.

Apparently there is a lot of demand nationwide for people to deliver these classes. For example, see UC Berkeley’s corresponding program, which also includes a sticker of a butterfly (people are ugly caterpillars when living in a country other than the U.S. and metamorphose into a beautiful butterfly once established in the U.S.?).

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog


No, this isn’t a plea for the market to stop going up. It’s more useful than that. One of you helpfully suggested that, with the growing SlopeCharts list of technical indicators, some instructional information might be helpful. OK, done! Now there is a Help button on every tab related to studies, and clicking it will […]
Slope of Hope