A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 12, 2014
“The U.S. dollar is the cleanest dirty shirt”

"Then I fumbled in my closet through my clothes and found my cleanest dirty shirt” is a lyric in the country song “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down.” written by Kris Kristofferson and first recorded by Ray Stevens in 1969, then popularized by Johnny Cash.

Mohamed A. El-Erian of Pacific Investment Management Co. (PIMCO) borrowed the “cleanest dirty shirt” line to tell Reuters Insider television in 2010 that the United States was the best of many bad national economies:

“At some point, when you only have dirty shirts in your closet, it’s about your cleanest dirty shirt. The U.S. is your cleanest dirty shirt.”

“The U.S. dollar is the best-looking horse in the glue factory” and “The U.S. dollar is the leper with the most fingers” are similar expressions.


Wikipedia: Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down
“Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down” is a song written by Kris Kristofferson and first recorded by Ray Stevens in 1969; it became Stevens’ first country chart hit, reaching #55 on the country charts and #81 on the pop Top 100 in 1969. Kristofferson released his own version the following year, on his debut album, Kristofferson. Johnny Cash also released a version of the song that year, on his live album The Johnny Cash Show. Cash’s recording won the Country Music Association Award for Song of the Year in 1970 and hit number one on the country charts.

Wikipedia: Mohamed A. El-Erian
Mohamed A. El-Erian (Egyptian Arabic: [mæˈħæmmæd elʕeɾˈjæːn]; born August 19, 1958) is the Chief Economic Adviser of Allianz, a multinational financial services company. He is the former CEO and co-Chief Investment Officer of PIMCO, a global investment firm and one of the world’s largest bond investors, which is owned by Allianz.

El-Erian serves as chair of President Obama’s Global Development Council. He is a columnist for Bloomberg View, as well as a regular contributor to the Financial Times and a member of their A List. He is also a regular contributor to Business Insider as well as Fortune/CNN and Foreign Policy.

YouTube
Johnny Cash Show: Johnny Cash - Sunday Morning Coming Down
Media Scores Center
Uploaded on Apr 4, 2009
Johnny Cash - Sunday Morning Coming Down

Well, I woke up Sunday morning
With no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt.
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad,
So I had one more for dessert.
Then I fumbled in my closet through my clothes
And found my cleanest dirty shirt.
Then I washed my face and combed my hair
And stumbled down the stairs to meet the day.

Reuters
UPDATE 3-PIMCO’s El-Erian: Further ECB action needed in Greece
Tue Jun 15, 2010 5:16pm EDT
NEW YORK, June 15 (Reuters) - Greece’s deepening credit crisis could force the European Central Bank to purchase additional debt of the troubled eurozone nation, the chief of the world’s largest bond fund said on Tuesday.

“I think what we are going to see over the next few months is the ECB having to buy more and more Greek bonds,” Mohamed El-Erian of Pacific Investment Management Co, PIMCO, told Reuters Insider television.
(...)
“The U.S. has a lot more time to deal with this issue,” said El-Erian, who helps oversee more than $1 trillion at PIMCO. “The U.S. has massive global advantages. It is the reserve currency, which means whenever there is a shock in the world, the U.S. becomes the flight-to-quality and the flight-to-liquidity. We are seeing that today.”

That’s not to say that the AAA credit rating of the United States is airtight, El-Erian said. “At some point, when you only have dirty shirts in your closet, it’s about your cleanest dirty shirt. The U.S. is your cleanest dirty shirt.”

CNBC
Gross: U.S. Still ‘Cleanest Dirty Shirt’
Thursday, 28 Jun 2012 | 2:17 PM ET
Bond King Bill Gross is betting big on the U.S., saying that it’s still the “cleanest dirty shirt.”

Forbes.com
BUSINESS 11/16/2012 @ 9:07PM
The Cleanest Dirty Shirt
By Karl Smith
Bill Gross on US Bonds. From the transcript:

America is the cleanest, dirty shirt in terms of financial markets and where money is moving towards, mandy. out of euro land. out of all of the risky peripheral countries because America is a safe haven. everything an investor desires.relatively low debt. a reserve currency status. domination of the global military stage, et cetera. but the message is well just to conclude the point, you know, suggest there may come a time and the king has no clothes that where the king’s cloamove reveals a body struggling to stay alive with the steroids and we have seen it last couple of years.

What’s heart-breaking here is that it seems Bill Gross is so close to seeing it all, but shuts down just before he gets there.

He gets the “cleanest dirty shirt” thing, which is like saying that America sucks but everyone else just sucks worse.

Zero Hedge
Is The U.S. The “Cleanest Dirty Shirt” Or Just Kidding Itself?
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/13/2012 15:59 -0400
The following chart is perhaps the best glimpse of the excessively optimistic ‘hope’ relative to the rest of the world that US equity markets (and their extrapolators analysts) currently possess. Since the start of 2012, analysts, guided by both macro uncertainty and company expectations, have crushed 2013 EPS expectations across all global markets - well nearly all…

Zero Hedge
‘Cleanest Dirty Shirt’ Or ‘Greatest Fool’?
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/17/2013 14:39 -0400
Little comment necessary here except a reminder for US investors that return of capital is a higher priority than return on capital and the divergences are becoming increasingly unsustainable. As investors stare blankly, pointing fingers at gold, we also address what it means when Gold and Treasuries are rallying at the same time…

Twitter
Paul R. La Monica
‏@LaMonicaBuzz
Stocks are the “cleanest dirty shirt.” Thanks @PIMCO. And Johnny Cash. And @gwenguns for art! http://bit.ly/1sZ7nDt
1:00 PM - 22 May 2014

Zero Hedge
King Dollar - Be Careful What You Wish For
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/12/2014 13:32 -0400
It’s so good to be the cleanest dirty shirt, right? Wrong…

Twitter
Jim Wood, CFP®
‏@JimWoodCFP
With apologies to Johnny Cash, the US Economy appears to be “the cleanest dirty shirt” out there: https://e.ptsm.us/1Yb1oJ
4:16 PM - 13 Oct 2014

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • Sunday, October 12, 2014 • Permalink