Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Public Option To Die For?

Do they think we don't understand, or, are they so brazen that they think they can get away with anything? The debate about a public option for health care is a joke. Nothing like being owned by the health insurance industry if you are a U.S. Senator, aye Baccus? I just hope that we get an up or down vote in the whole Senate on the issue of a public option. Private insurance companies love the playing field tilted their way, and all the excuses about being able to compete with a public option run by the government just breaks my heart. How about a public option to die for?

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Is Senator Chuck Schumer The Next Bernie Madoff?

Politico reports that New York Sen. Chuck Schumer raised $1.65 million in contributions from the financial services industry -- nearly twice the amount of any other senator.
Data from the Center for Responsive Politics shows that despite scaling back contributions after last year's financial collapse, Wall Street firms are still investing in the Senate. Of the $10.6 million the industry gave to sitting senators this year, more than $7.7 million has gone to Democrats, defying the traditional notion that Republicans benefit most from Wall Street contributions.

Read more at:

Where do I begin? How about a reference to a front page article in the Sunday New York Times on December 14, 2008 about how Senator Chuck Schumer played a role in weakening the requirements for the credit rating agencies after the senate had passed and called for tougher regulations.

This Senator Chuck Schumer, a greasy bastard from New York, is the next Bernie Madoff!!! He is from New York, and like Madoff does not give a damn about the millions of people that work hard and try to invest for their retirement. How is Senator Chuck Schumer so different than a Bernie Madoff? Senator Schumer has accepted $1.65 million from the securities and investment industry just this year. Why does he do their bidding? Because he knows that not enough Americans understand what he does for that money, or they don't care. But, anyone with an ounce of brains, knows that Wall Street firms did not give Senator Schumer this money because they like his character. This man has no character. He is a plain and simple whore. And, he needs to be called out on it.

Where is the level playing field? There is no level playing field with Senator Chuck Schumer driving the bulldozer. We need another bulldozer operator that knows and respects the people of this country. It is time for the people of New York State to dump Senator Chuck Schumer.

Stay tuned.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Where is The Level Playing Field?

Today, I would like to say a few words about the stupidity of the statement by former President Ronald Reagan that "government is the problem, not the solution." If the United States was ruled by a king or a dictator, that might be the case that government is the problem. But, when you have a democracy, and people freely elect their representatives and their president, what does that statement mean? It is nonsense, that is what it is. It sounds clever, but it is kind of stupidity that brought us the financial crisis in 1998 and the bigger one of 2007-08.

In light of the recent financial crisis, I think that the characterization that "government is the problem" should be taken on. By stripping away the laws and protections that grew out of The Great Depression the federal government made the financial crisis of 2007-08 a reality. The lack on controls over the abuses of the financial system can be directly tied to the billions of dollars lost in the markets and the housing market bubble too.

Stripping away the controls and weakening those left to enforce the few laws left makes it appear that government can not do the job of protecting the investor, whether an individual or an institution, properly. This is the nonsense that goes for deep thinking today. The sad part is that few new controls will likely be put in place as the influence of the few on Wall Street with the few that run the country is disproportionate with the overall economic good for the country. In other words, so a very few can get really rich, many many more Americans will lose what they have in the way of wealth. Does this make any sense? We sacrifice millions of families and their financial security so a few wealthy people on Wall Street can become even wealthier.

The number of people responsible for this mess is under a thousand, yet the number of people effected by the financial crisis is in the millions. And, yet, the game goes on. Unfortunately, not enough people understand what is going on or what went on to bring the economy to this point of near financial collapse. Yes, the bailout worked and was necessary. It was most necessary for ordinary people, not just the wealthy running Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley and Bank of America, etc, etc.

Where is the level playing field?

Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Is For Sunflowers & The Bengals

This is my birthday week, so I will be writing about whatever I feel like. It may be harsh, or, it may be funny, and it may be harsh and funny at the same time. Today, my city's professional football team, the Bengals, plays a real professional football organization from Pittsburgh, PA. Oh, we love to beat this team at Paul Brown Stadium, and sometimes we do win the game, but the Steeler organization is a real professional football organization that knows what it is doing. They are a model of what a good professional football organization looks and acts like. Yes, I will be rooting for the guys on the Bengals to win, but I know one win against Pittsburgh does not make Mike Brown and the Cincinnati Bengals a good professional football organization. It is my opinion that the Cincinnati Bengals will not be a good professional football organization until the Brown family sells it. Then, hopefully, it will be bought by a real sportsman, and model themselves after the Steeler organization. The Steeler's success over their history is no accident. They KNOW football, period.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday Is For Art

Fall has arrived, and with it all the rain you could want. There will be sketches to make and panels to paint for the winter. It will feel good to feel a cool breeze again, I just hope it doesn't get too cool. Have a safe and enjoyable weekend, and I hope your football team(s) win.

Stay tuned.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Rainy Week In Cincinnati

Today I need to run around and get a few things done. The holiday season is just around the corner and Ski Cincinnati apparel is in demand now. Many of us keep busy either working a job or being retired. The clowns on the hill do their job too. It is possible that we could get a health care bill passed some day, and, that it will have a public option. It would be nice, if by our actions as a nation, we affirmed that health care is a right, even for the very poor, and not just something for those that have job, can afford health care insurance, or, even get it and hold on to it.

Everyone have a safe and good weekend.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Is Our Government Feeble?

People make bad investment decisions all the time, and it can be argued that it is not the government's responsibility to prevent people from making bad investment decisions. I agree with that, but the Federal Government has a responsibility to see to it that people are not being sold snake oil as a cure for all their ills either.

Systems are no better than the quality and integrity of the people that operate them. The Food & Drug Administration is not perfect, but it is better than nothing at all. The county auditor places a seal on a gas pump that lets the consumer know that they are getting a full gallon of gas for their money. Then why is it that a public corporation can decide what constitutes a triple-A rating on a mortgage-backed bond and bring an entire nation's mortgage-backed bond market to the melting point?

When you look at the position that the three major credit rating agencies held and still hold in the rating of structured debt in the United States, I have to ask myself, do they, our Congress, really understand the influence that these three credit rating agencies have over the safety of our financial system and our capital markets?

The inability of our government to act in a more responsible manner as it pertains to the credit rating agencies and put in place firmer regulations as it concerns the rating of structured debt instruments, leaves the door open to continued abuse of the capital markets system. The new changes in regulation of the credit rating agencies, that are called for, are feeble when compared to the task and the billions of dollars that are at stake.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Serious Problem For This Country

Today I have an article to pass on that I found in a somewhat recent copy of THE NEW YORKER dated May 18, 2009. This article by Nick Paumgarten that begins on page 40, I found to be an interesting read, and I think you will too. It is a bit long, but then again you can put it down and pick it up and finish it at your own speed. This is not a contest. This is a very well written article about much of the material that has been written about in MONEYTHOUGHTS over the last several months. ANNALS OF FINANCE - The Death of Kings - Stories from the end of a financial era is well worth your time. Sometimes it is good to read about an event or an era from another person's perspective and research, and this is that opportunity.

I find it interesting where I find good stories about the recent financial crisis. Perhaps if enough people read this stuff and educate themselves about the subject of fiat money, inflation, debt, monetary policy and the markets, then perhaps pressure will be put on our representatives in Congress to educate themselves as well. One point that most commentators can agree on is that our politicians need to get up to speed on their knowledge of finance. Whether this will ever happen, I can not say, but the lack of knowledge about the banking and securities industries in the halls of Congress is a serious problem for this country.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Down The Same Road

Like the rest, I read a few magazines too. In fact, I just finished a couple of good articles in The New Yorker, and I am in the middle of another. The subject of debt as the cause of the recent financial crisis has come up repeatedly in my readings about the financial and economic crisis. Yes, too much debt is no good, but even more important than too much debt is what I will call "dirty debt". What do I mean by dirty debt?

Let me start by saying that debt like fire, used correctly, is a good thing. A fire in a California forest is not the proper use of fire, nor is debt taken on by an individual, couple, family, partnership or corporation that is beyond sound judgement. Add to the equation motive of lenders to grant unsound debt levels to borrowers, that can not be sustained, and you have the recipe for financial disaster. Where and why was there a motive?

The answer to the above question lies in the creation of another financial tool, in and of itself not bad, but eventually because of greed became the problem - the mortgage-backed bond. Bundling mortgages into bonds to be sold to investors around the world is a great idea. The problem came about when those doing the bundling realized that they could cheat a little and shop for the triple-A rating, which would give the bonds they were selling the highest bond rating given out by the credit rating agencies. The credit rating agencies soon realized that the growth in earning per share (EPS) of their corporation was tied directly to the growth of the structured finance bond market. Buying the triple-A rating, in my mind, sealed the fate of the mortgage-backed bond market and lead to the eventual meltdown in the mortgage-backed bond market.

The problem, as I see it, lies with the ease in which the credit rating agencies were able to game the system for their profit, and leave everyone else, investors in the mortgage-backed bonds, holding the bag. Debt used properly is a good thing, just as fire used correctly warms our homes in the winter and cooks our food.

Whether the Fed or Congress understands this simple fact is unknown to me, but until they "get it" we are going to be going down the same road in the very near future.

Stay tuned.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Double Bubble Toil And Trouble

In my book nothing has changed as far as the credit rating agencies are concerned. The new rules amount to a bunch of nothing. That the investment bankers will not be able to "shop" a rating is a bunch of crap. There were loop holes in the new ideas before they even hit the ground. The future of structured finance is alive and well as far as Wall Street is concerned, but as for the investors and institutional fixed-income portfolio managers, I have this advise: Don't buy a pig in a poke!!!

I know my ideas are unrealistic when it comes to how Wall Street should be run and regulated, but then again, I have the luxury of not having to deal with all those lobbyists that invade Washington to press the case for the "poor folks" of Wall Street, the big investment bankers that brought you the bond market meltdown down and the financial crisis of 2007-08.

The second housing bubble will not happen immediately. In fact, it just might take a few years to get really blown up again. But, with the watered down nonsense that has been placed on the credit rating agencies as new regulations, it is coming, perhaps not right away, but it will appear again.

The triple-A rating should be in the hands of the Federal Reserve Bank because the triple-A rating on an investment security means something to the Fed, and to the stability of a commercial bank's portfolio of assets. Let the private rating agencies do the research, but let the Fed pass on whether the quality meets the test for a triple-A rating. That way the ability of the investment banker to "buy" the rating is cut off. As the system works now, the abuses are just a matter of a little time away. Triple-A rated paper for structured debt obligations means nothing as far as I am concerned . They don't hold water. They remain a joke. Buyer beware!!!

Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Is For Sunflowers

The summer is just about over. The cycle that started months ago with just a few seeds being planted is near the end. Now I am harvesting the sunflower seeds for next year, and I am planning on planting even more sunflowers in the back yard. I have enough images to draw and paint for the winter months. I only hope those months will fly by as fast as the summer months that flew by like a rocket.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saturday Is For Art

The above painting, Mother & Child: Level Playing Field Out The Window that is on display in the art show at the Cincinnati Art Galleries did not win any prizes. Getting into the show is prize enough, as my brand of political art is not always greeted by the judges and public so kindly. I have been making paintings dealing with political satire for 20 years now, and while at times I branch out to do something different, like paint fish or flowers, I always come back to doing my political paintings. I plan to do a few more in 2010, but after I finish my series of sunflowers which I am now working. It is now my season for selling my Ski Cincinnati T-shirts and sweat shirts, so I will be splitting my time between making art and selling t-shirts. Anyone interested in buying a Ski Cincinnati t-shirt can check out the locations listed on the Ski Cincinnati blog. These t-shirts make a nice inexpensive gift, and the humor is at no ones expense. Just good clean fun for a t-shirt.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Happy New Year 5770

This evening begins the Jewish holiday known as Rosh Hashanah, the New Year. This coming year will be 5770 on the Hebrew calendar.

I can not help but think back to a time 70 years ago, when Europe was at the beginning of WWII, and all the lives that were lost and all the suffering that took place then during the years of the war. Books have been written as to why a war even came about. Why a country that produced such brilliant and gifted people could reach such a dark side of humanity? Why did not people speak up when they saw and heard things that they knew were not right? We can analyze the past, but it is the present and future that I am concerned with.

Freedom of speech is something we all hold dear, yet civility in speech and respect for each other's humanity has taken a turn towards the dark side most recently in the United States. We need people to speak up, even if they are admonished for doing so. I hardly agree with everything former President Carter says, but his recent willingness to speak up is very gratifying to me. We need more people to speak up when the dark side of humanity tries to take control.

The Hebrew word "rosh" means head. Now is the time for all good people to use their head and speak out against racism and other forms of hatred. The dark side of humanity will not be stopped if we remain silent.

A Happy & Healthy New Year to all.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Moneythoughts Returns

Just got back from California and I need a day or two to adjust back. I also need to get to work on other business matters too. The economy is coming back. Unfortunately, the same bad things are in line to happen again. More about that later.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Last Day Of Economic Research In California

Well, my economic research of California is almost complete. Yesterday I visited the set where they produce the TV program Melrose Place. This industry is very labor intensive with lots and lots of people working together as a team to produce a TV show. But, the bottom line is, in my opinion, that we need to produce more products and stop giving away our ability to produce from new technology. Having lots of coffee shops, restaurants, clothing stores, furniture stores and other kinds of stores is good, but without this nation offering the rest of the world products, we can not hope to balance our foreign trade deficit. To some people, our foreign trade imbalance means nothing, but while we are printing a lot of money to bail out the banks and help the domestic economy, the United States needs to have a plan to reduce our trade imbalance. At some point, just like at some point there are too many triple-A rated mortgage-backed bonds, we can not continue to expect foreign governments, spell that People's Republic of China, to continue to buy our government's debt. I realize that some people will think I am crazy for bringing this up, but when a government borrows on a regular basis and your money is fiat money, and you run the printing presses, there is a day when the buyer of your debt comes to an end. Politically, this is not a good position for our country to be in as well.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Unlevel Playing Field - What's Congress Going To Do?

Did you hear President Obama talk about RESPONSIBILITY in his speech to Wall Street. He might have well been speaking in Greek in my opinion. Wall Street has no sense of responsibility, period. If they did, there would have never been a meltdown followed by a financial crisis. To think little or no regulation will get the job done is just plain stupid. The investment banking and securities industry needs to be regulated 24/7!!!

Personally, I would not put a new dollar in the market given the way the game is not regulated. Congress needs to put the millions of American families first, and the few hundred that run Wall Street second. But, the problem is that too too many Americans do not understand what is needed in the way of regulation. Far too many think that government regulation is the problem. Yes, that is the problem. The Federal Reserve Bank and the Securities & Exchange Commission should just look the other way as the banks and the securities industry lay another meltdown and financial crisis on us.

We will see what comes out of Congress, but as far as my money is concerned, the level playing field is not even close to being playable.

Stay tuned.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Get With It Congress, The Country Is Waiting

Term of the Day - fiat money

Money which has no intrinsic value and cannot be redeemed for specie or any commodity, but is made legal tender through government decree. All modern paper currencies are fiat money, as are most modern coins. The value of fiat money depends on the strength of the issuing country's economy. Inflation results when a government issues too much fiat money.

The weakness of fiat money is that it is no better than the people who are in charge of printing it - the government. Too much money leads to inflation, and inflation eats away at our purchasing power, so what can we do to hedge ourselves against loss of purchasing power? The stock market and mutual funds have helped, but Wall Street's disregard for a level playing field has compromised that strategy. There are news articles about the fact that Wall Street's lobbyists are fighting to stop more regulation of the securities industry and investment products. The casino is open for business, so place your bets and put your chips on the table.

The very wealthy have turned to fine art. Even contemporary art prices are in the millions of dollars today. How about a balloon dog by jeff Koons? What's the point? When the people printing the money can not trusted to protect the integrity of the dollar, people will find "new money" to take its place.

The Federal Reserve Bank, our central bank, should be concerned with the integrity of the U.S. dollar. However, because Congress will not accept their responsibility for the economy, the Fed gets sucked into the crisis. Congress needs to level the playing field by cleaning up the game. Our professional sports leagues have better control over their leagues than our Congress has over the securities industry and investment products. Get with it Congress, the country is waiting.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

LA And Points South

If traffic is any indication of economic activity, then California has a lot of economic activity. People in the LA area are driving their cars and trucks and riding their bikes and walking up and down the streets.

The economists and "bright people" that said we, in the USA, don't need to make anything, should re-think that strategy. A service industry is nice, but in my opinion we need to produce things as well.

Have a nice Sunday.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Heading South On Highway One

I am still on my journey through the State of California. I was unable to post a report yesterday, Thursday 9/10. Today I have been traveling quite a bit and have had little time to write. Will have more to say later.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Checking Out the Economy In San Francisco

For the next few days, I will doing research on the state of the economy in California. Today I am in San Francisco checking things out. I will file reports from the field later.

The Congress is balking at the need for financial regulations (see Wall Street Journal), so if that is the case, look for another financial crisis in the near future. Money talks and bull shit walks, and greed is alive and well on Wall Street again.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I Support My President For A Public Option

Monday, our Labor Day in the USA, I went to see and hear my president, President Obama. He came to Cincinnati to speak to labor union families and friends. Unlike some who have a problem with a black president, I like Obama and I voted for him and I support his policies. So, I went to hear him speak at Old Coney. While the TV news gives equal time to those that protest against our President, there are many many more inside Old Coney that support him.

Tom Friedman on Meet The Press Sunday spoke up and said a few things that I thought needed to be said about the stupidity of people protesting the President of the United States speaking to school children and encouraging them to stay in school and try to get good grades. Friedman rightfully said, such talk against the President speaking to America's school children is plain stupid. But, we need more people like Tom Friedman to speak up.

While TV news shows will show both sides, be smart enough to recognize nonsense when you see it. We have a smart articulate president, and maybe it is just going to take time for all the Yahoos to get used to a president speaking in complete sentences and using correct grammar.

Stay tuned.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day 2009

I am going to hear President Obama at Old Coney today. No, I am not in a union, but I knew someone that knew someone. I saw Obama speak when he came to Cincinnati as a candidate in February 2008 at the University of Cincinnati. My friend and I have never seen a sitting president before, so we are going to drive over to Old Coney and at least hear him speak. We might not actually get to see very much, but we will see. I went to hear Vice-President Biden this past summer when he came to my neighborhood of Northside to speak about economic development. I enjoy listening to politicians and talking heads talk about economics. What I really love is when they talk about the capital markets. I also love to hear the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank talk about monetary policy, and then switch gears and talk about helping the economy. I still am trying to figure out what protecting the integrity of the U.S. dollar, our currency, and helping the economy have to do with running monetary policy. The President and Congress make Fiscal Policy and that along with tax policy should take care of the economy. The Fed, our central bank, should be concerned with the integrity of the dollar and seeing that there are enough reserves in the banking system to keep the economy moving.

But, since so few really understand what the difference is between monetary policy and Fiscal policy, the two get a bit mixed up in people's minds. Monetary Policy does not get mixed up in the mind of Ben Bernanke, the Chairman of the Fed, but he has to work with a lot of people who do not understand the difference. That is namely Congress that doesn't understand the difference. Because if the members of Congress, both Senate and House, understood the difference between monetary policy and Fiscal Policy, they would not be asking the Fed to do their work. But, Congress is not equipped to understand because they have to spend all their time raising money so they can get re-elected. Now, they can blame the Fed for the fact that they did a miserable job. Put it on the other guy, not me.

I am still waiting to see what Congress and the President are going to do about putting the rules back in the investment game. From a social-intellectual perspective, I find it interesting that we have tighter controls on a professional football game on a Sunday afternoon than we have on the field of investment banking and investment management. Why in NFL football we even have instant replay to get the call right. On Wall Street, we have removed the officials and we don't care about instant replay. Does this speak to our values, or, the dumbing down of America is so complete that people are happy with their beer and their football team?

Have a Happy Labor Day.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday Is For Sunflowers

Friday night I went to a small art show, a one man show, and the artist was a man, to see an old friend from the local art scene. This woman was the director of the Carnegie Art Center in Covington, KY in May 1992, when I exhibited my early paintings from 1988 to 1992. All of those paintings were done in oil on board. There was one piece that I did on paper, a stamp, that I encouraged everyone that came into the gallery to see my paintings to sign. Later, I had that piece framed. It is interesting now to look at that piece because a number of the people that came to that exhibit are no longer with us. Notice that it cost 29 cents to mail a first-class letter in 1992. Now to mail that same letter it costs 44 cents. That is what happens when you have a monetary policy that is run for the benefit of those that use leverage and borrow to the hilt. But, people don't want to know about monetary theory or monetary policy, we will leave that to the smart folks in Washington. Right? When I was a little boy, it cost 5 cents for a candy bar. The same candy bar costs a dollar today. And, economists want to know why people don't save their money in a savings account. You might as well invest it in a good stock like Cincinnati's P&G and let it appreciate over time with inflation. P&G will raise their prices and as they raise their prices their earnings per share (EPS) will go up and since stocks sell at a price earnings ratio (PE) the price of P&G will go up. Now if Congress and the Lobbyists don't fuck you over, at the end of 30 or 40 years, you should have hedged yourself against inflation. But we all know that already. Right? So, as you celebrate Labor Day tmorrow, think about how you are going to hedge against the inflation that is coming soon to a theatre near you. Happy Labor Day ya all!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday Is For Art

These two paintings of the sunflowers that I grew on the side of my house by the porch are works in progress. That means I am not done with them. The first painting is on a kitchen cabinet door. Jeff, a friend and one of the guys that I have coffee with on Sunday mornings, works in construction and gave me two cabinet doors. My cousin Toby suggested that these two sunflowers are perhaps talking about Van Gogh. Could be, but since I don't speak or understand Sunflowerian, I can't say. The painting below is on MDO plywood that is cut and placed in to an old wood window. I have a few windows that I have gessoed and will use in the sunflower series. These are painted in acrylic. Acrylics dry quickly and all you need is soap and water to clean your brushes.

Everyone have a safe and enjoyable weekend.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Investor Protection: Where Is It?

The level of political debate in this country has gone straight downhill over the last 30 years. It is not even well reasoned or clever. As a result of the decline, the management of those investor protections have gone downhill as well. I am speaking about those protections put in place by a Federal government that lived through economic panics, a Great Depression and a world war. By 1945, the United States had in place a Securities & Exchange Commission and laws to protect the investor. Over the last 30 years those laws and protections were watered down and the financial crisis and economic recession came about with a loud bang. There are not enough people organized to influence Congress to bring back the protections and staff the agencies to do the work. Lobbyists run the country, and the average citizen is in the dark, or, just doesn't care. I am still waiting to see what this administration is going to do to protect the millions of people that feel they need to invest for their retirement in our capital markets. I am waiting.

Check out the above story on the credit rating agencies. I see light at the end of the tunnel, and it may not be an on coming train!!!

Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

We Need Every Hand On An Oar

I believe there is room for debate about the proper role of government, but I find it interesting that there is so little honesty in the debate. What am I talking about? Nearly everyone would agree that in this day, the Federal government needs to have a standing military to protect and defend our country. I do not think there are many people in the United States that would argue with that assumption. At the local level of government not too many people would argue with police and fire fighters and highway patrol. But as we move from these basic positions, we find that the subject of health care becomes a hot button. Why? If we were all in the same big row boat and all of us had an oar and it was dependent upon all of us to row, would it not make sense that health care for all those in the boat be essential? The problem as I see it is that we as a nation are split over whether we care about our fellow citizen. I think everyone should get health care as a basic human right, but I also believe that every citizen should give back service to their country if capable and able. If we are all in the same row boat, and we all have an oar, then we all need to row when it is our turn, and we all need to be in the best of health to do it. Why is there health care in every other industrialized country but ours? I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that we are a country made up of so many different origins of people. That some people are not recognized in the eyes of others that they deserve health care may be the problem. The economics of universal health care is on the table, but economics will only take this argument so far. People need to care about their neighbor as much as they care about themselves. I would like everyone to get good health care in our country, and that means people learning to live a healthy life style too. The Congress has tilted the playing field to the advantage of the wealthy, in my opinion, (look at the financial crisis if you want proof), now is the time for Congress to move in the direction of a public option for those that can not afford or even get medical coverage in the private sector. As we compete as a country, we need as many hands on an oar as possible, and it starts with universal health care.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Let Congress Clean Up The Game First

The savings rate in the United States is up. Should that be a surprise? I am not surprised. Saving money for some is like taking money off the table and out of the game. What game? The investment game. If inflation is down overall, then the need to hedge against your loss of purchasing power by investing in the capital markets is reduced. Although interest rates are low, the important thing is that your dollars are protected by the FDIC if they are in an insured commercial bank. So why not save? Who goes to a dirty casino? Why would you? The Wall Street casino is dirty, and people now know it. Let Washington show us that they are serious about cleaning up Wall Street, and the cute little games they made legal like credit default swaps. We need capital markets to move money from lenders to borrowers, but we do not need to be a party to a flawed game. Let Congress clean up the mess they made, then perhaps we will see the movement of capital out of savings and back into the market.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

They Screwed Us Royally

Yesterday, I wrote about the segment on 60 Minutes Sunday night that dealt with the topic of credit default swaps. Later Monday I drove to Detroit and back on a little family business. They sure have nice freeways into Detroit (I-75). The quality of the pavement is excellent in my opinion. Nothing like the Third World drive on I-75 into downtown Cincinnati. There are so many speed bumps where there should not be any, on a expressway that permits you to drive at 55 mph, you have to wonder, what do we have to do to get competent politicians that give us the most bang for our bucks? And, a mayor that can hit the side of a barn with a baseball from 60 feet?

I know I have mentioned this before, but when I had a lot of time to think yesterday while driving for 10 hours, I could not help but think about the number of people hurt by the change in legislation that permits so few to make so much money from credit default swaps. Yes, it was legalized gambling. Where were the politicians that are suppose to think before they vote? Where are our leaders before they put forward such nonsense? Alan Greenspan is an idiot, and after he is dead, I am sure there will be people that will write that, if not sooner. His testimony before Henry Waxman's House committee was feeble!!! This idiot ran the Federal Reserve Bank, and everyone thought he was so smart. Well, we now see how smart he was.

As I said, I can not stop thinking about the millions of people that were hurt as a result of the financial crisis, and for what? So a very very few could make the big bucks. That is how you run a country? Sacrifice the many for the few? Reagan, the Bushes and Clinton each had a hand in taking apart the protections that were put in place to protect the many hard working people from abuse. Now I know why they are always smiling, they screwed us royally!!!

Stay Tuned.