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(Sept 28, 2011)  

We are over a year away from the Presidential election,
but we are already in full campaign mode. If one thing is
true in American politics, it’s that political survival trumps
any other concern. Yet the economy continues to sputter
and the country’s deficit problem remains largely un-
addressed and unresolved. We do hear about the likely
causes and proposed cures for these ills, but are any of
them really on the mark?   

The Republican mantra this political season appears to let
the “job creators” free from the “job destroyers”.  The
destroyers are the Democrats and the regulators, who
have such a tight grip on the neck of business, they say,
that they just can’t break free to hire another individual.
You would think that business regulation had just started in
2008. We hear of the “uncertainty” of the business climate,
as if there hasn’t always been uncertainty in the depths of
every business cycle.  We hear of the increased costs of
hiring given Obamacare. Yet the plan has not even been
implemented yet, for the most part, so how can that be
costing so many jobs already? Weren’t health premiums
already spiraling out of control over the last 25 years?

Of course, even if one accepts that marginal increased
new regulation is a bad idea in these tough economic
times, you have to suspend disbelief to assert that on an
aggregate US basis, regulation is a significant delineating
factor in the continued weak growth and employment of the
economy. Yes, there are specific cases of seeming
overreaching and excessive bureaucracy over the past few
years, but they are a drop in the bucket in the overall
economy.  And I suppose our near total financial collapse,
and many other economic problems * made worse by lax
oversight over the past 25 years would have shown us
what the cost of too little regulation in the economy is, but
maybe not.  

The reality is no administration can have much effect on
an economy. They don’t control the business cycle. They
don’t control the money supply. They don’t control world
events. They can affect tax and fiscal policy, but these
alone don’t affect the economy very much, especially in
the short run. It’s debatable if they a positive effect,
whether they tax and spend more or less.

Now, there is no shortage of hypocrisy from the other side
of the aisle either. Obama doesn’t want to accept blame for
the economy’s failings, but he wants to pretend that his
stimulus plans will work. First, on his most recent proposal,
whether you  believe the projects proposed are worthwhile
or not, or will be handled efficiently, the plan is simply not
on a scale that could move the needle on the economy, in
any case. Even if it were a very productive use of public
money, and I believe the payroll tax reduction and other
features are good policy, it’s not going to significantly
affect unemployment. $450 billion spent over ten years is
the proposal.  

The US annual GDP is almost $15 trillion. If 20% of the
plan is effected this year, then we have $90B of stimulus,
or potentially adding 0.6% to the economy.  Of course, it’s
more complicated than this and the total effect could be
less or more. The point is that Obama is claiming that it will
have a significant impact when he should know that it won’
t, even if it worked the way he says it will. Obama’s speech
in front of an Ohio bridge was simply a beginning
campaign photo op. We can see the campaign to come
next year, using that photo, saying, “Leading the Charge
to Create Jobs”.  

Of course, many have negatively criticized whether his
past plan ($780 Billion 2009 plan) was the most productive
use of public funds to jumpstart the economy. I believe
they are largely correct. Those funds went to a variety of
things, whether to retain teachers in the states, or for
various health related grants to the states through HHS.
While those funds may have been needed in many cases,
no economist thought that those funds were used for pro
growth policies. More than a few have commented that
those stimulus funds seemed as much a payoff to his
organizational (unions and public employees) than a
serious attempt to jumpstart the economy.  Yet the rhetoric
was if it was a very productive way to stimulate the

I believe the current proposal is a good start to help the
economy. What we need are comprehensive pro growth
policies coming out of Washington. To the extent that any
government policies can help propel the economy, those
are the type that will show the world that the US is open for
business. Check back here in the near future to learn what
those policies need to be to get our economy back on

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(March 5, 2012)  

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US Cities - Ranking by Financial Quality of Life has examined and ranked the most
populous 50 cities / areas in the US by their financial quality of
life. Financial quality of life is defined here as the ratio of
median income to median expenses, adjusted for the
uncertainty of employment and career advancement, as
gauged by the unemployment rate*.  We have created a
financial Quality-of-Life Index through which we completed the
ranking of these cities. The results are probably surprising to

continue to article...US Cities - Ranking by Financial Quality
of Life.

(March 25, 2012)  

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The IPO market -  Recent IPOs, Their Performance
and Prospects.

The IPO market can be a unique source of interest for the
seasoned investor. It is an exciting area on the edge of
the equity market. It can be a rewarding and challenging
part of the market to examine, although undoubtedly a
more risky play than other areas.
In this article I’ll take a look
at the issuances of some recent companies, how they have
performed, and delve into their overall prospects and keys to

continue to article..The IPO market -  Recent IPOs, Their
Performance and Prospects.