Seeking Alpha

Charles Margolis'  Instablog

Charles Margolis
Send Message
Just an average investor... primarily in American equity and bonds. (Important Note: My articles, blogs, comments, reference links and messages are not intended to be investment advisements; or to value securities. Examples and considerations are hypothetical and educational. Please consult a... More
View Charles Margolis' Instablogs on:
  • Obamacare: Medical Management Without Medicine

    PPACA aka Obamacare

    President Obama makes it look so easy. Fourteen months after he took office, Congress passed his Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act [PPACA.] In 2014 every American will be required to have Health Insurance, and if they do not they will be fined. The issue is PPACA aka Obamacare is effectively trying to build a skyscraper, from the top down.

    The only other time Americans have been so mandated by the government was in 1792.[1] That mandate would have required everyone to have a weapon and ammunition, and the mandate was not enforced.

    In a bold step, President Obama spoke, to bridge PPACA and the Supreme Court by saying:

    "I'd just remind conservative commentators that for years what we've heard is, the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint - that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law... Well, this is a good example. And I'm pretty confident that this court will recognize that and not take that step."[2]

    Then Federal Judge Jerry Smith, from Texas' 5th Circuit, asked the Dept. of Justice to submit to him a 3 page letter, reaffirming whether Judges can rule laws unconstitutional.[3] This set off one lawyer for CNN, Jeff Toobin, to call these Judges "deranged by their hatred for the president." Another lawyer, Laurence Tribe wrote an Opinion Article on CNN "The 5th Circuit Court's insult to Obama."[4]

    Mr. Tribe is one of fewer than 70 Professors in Harvard's history to receive "the title 'University Professor...Harvard's highest academic honor.'"[5] Neither CNN or Mr. Tribe disclose in his article that "Tribe was appointed in 2010 by President Obama and Attorney General Holder to serve as the first Senior Counselor for Access to Justice; [and] currently serves as a Member of the President's Commission on White House Fellowships."[5]

    Neither Mr. Toobin or Mr. Tribe, in their statements and articles bother to explain what Judge Smith's relationship to the PPACA debate is either. Judge Smith is presiding over a case in Texas, over a part of Obama's PPACA, that bars Physician Owned Hospitals [POH] from being formed in the future, that also prohibits POH from expanding or building anew.[6]

    Views from the Street

    The prohibition of Physician Owned Hospitals is akin to the prohibition of Lawyer Owned Law Firms. It simply does not make sense. A hospital is difficult to operate, and while it is important to eliminate impropriety in health care, this prohibition makes absolutely no sense.

    Some have openly wondered whether this clause is contained in PPACA, due to lobbying by the Hospital Industry. It may have made more sense to instead prohibit Non Physician Owned Hospitals.

    Now to put this into perspective, there are only a couple hundred Physician Owned Hospitals in America. Still it is very bothersome, to know that anyone other than a physician, in America today can build and own a hospital. Because, across all of America, there are communities that depend on older hospitals, that do not bring in a lot of revenue. These hospitals may be dictated by religious organizations, community associations, Universities or charitable organization. They could be owned by the same business man who runs a tobacco company or fast food restaurant. However, thanks to President Obama they may not be owned by physicians.

    I like to think that if any President can get a tough job done, it is the Obama Administration. However, his pursuit for perfection, has resulted in the illusion of perfection.

    Medical Management Without Medicine

    PPACA has perhaps unintentionally lowered the quality of care. I have seen several articles that speak of Obama's legislation encouraging, and paying doctors to recommend Hospice. Though articles such as Forbes 'Obamacare Dives into End of Life Debate,' from 2009 help describe the recent history of PPACAs regard for hospice.[7]

    Also PPACA is causing some professors and recent medical school graduates to look for ways to make things easy. Like, by removing the patients from the equation. It is called 'Medical Management Without Dialysis.'[8] The New York Times (NYT) article, 'When Ailments Pile Up, Asking Patients to Rethink Free Dialysis,' explains:

    "Clearly, when the program was initiated in the 1970s, the hope and expectation was that this program would return otherwise healthy people back into society so they could work and be productive," said Dr. Manjula Kurella Tamura, a kidney specialist at Stanford. But, she added, "dialysis at the end of life is a different sort of treatment."

    Well, it is not up to a President or one recent graduate from medical school, to determine for the entire country, who deserves to go on living, receiving dialysis, and who does not. Because all End Stage Renal patients only have 2 weeks to live, if they are taken off dialysis.

    People who require dialysis, need a machine to filter their blood, because their kidneys do not function. If these people do not receive dialysis (or a kidney transplant,) they will die in approximately two weeks. Congress passed the End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) program in 1972 allowing for all Medicare eligible Americans to be afforded Dialysis.[9]

    For instance a company, that Berkshire (BRK.A) has recently invested in, is Davita Inc., (DVA) and their dialysis centers in 43 states. A true sign, in that Davita does not have a dividend, and Buffett is known to focus on dividend companies.

    Obama is a politician. However not everything can be as easy as he may wish. Yes, it is important to open the doors of healthcare to all Americans. However it is imperative that the quality of care have an upward momentum. Diseases are a sensitive and emotional subject, and the President, has placed himself in the center of the action. The result is patients are receiving the care dreamed up by a non medical professional. Someone content with 'Medical Management Without Medicine,' it seems.

    Effect of Publicly Traded Companies

    Basically I would advise any investor to limit investments in Science, to monies that you would not mind completely disappearing. Because more often than not, small companies that are researching a couple drugs do just that.

    For instance Kerx Biopharmaceuticals Inc., (KERX) was slammed this week because it failed a Clinical Trial. These small Pharmaceuticals can not afford to lure investors with dividends. They most often can not increase revenue and earnings, quarterly. Because they are not simply selling a product, they are investing in research.

    So, unless you believe you'd like some ownership in one of these companies, be very cautious. Maybe one in ten picks will buck the trend.

    To get a little exposure to the world of Health and Medicine, an investor might pick up a little Apple (AAPL) and Microsoft (MSFT) and IBM (IBM). Though with the market at a high, I recommend using a long term strategy with these companies. Like buy a couple shares of Apple, a dozen shares of Microsoft and a couple shares of IBM. Check them in a year and have some more cash set aside to consider adding to your positions. Never put all your eggs in one basket.

    Now that you have a little Technology, check out the major Pharmaceutical Companies. Anyone of them can take a big hit, on a bad Clinical Trial, and can lose a lot of value when their patents expire. However, there is no pending law barring Physician or Scientist Owned Pharmaceuticals. (Or we would go back to the day when anyone could promote magic elixers, made of corn syrup, food coloring and sugar. That taste great, but don't do anything.) Literally, if you put a couple hundred dollars in a few, you will have the exposure you are looking for. Again, don't put all your eggs in though.

    Buy a little Pfizer (PFE) and a little Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) then check out Lilly (LLY) Merck (MRK) Bristol Meyers (BMY).

    To get some international exposure, pick up a little Astra Zeneca (AZN) Novartis (NVS) and Sanofi (SNY)

    Literally if you have ten shares of each of these companies you will be bringing in some good dividends, and you will be spread out. However this sector is so volatile, you have to realize there is risk. A really great idea would be to balance your portfolio with some US Treasuries, I often think to myself if I'm forced to sell at a loss, that 'I will live to fight another day.'

    Well, get yourself some Zero Coupon US Treasuries for 10 - 20 years down the line. And your portfolio will be prepared to fight in the future.

    As for Hospitals and Health Insurance, I am very hesitant. These companies have rarely performed well for me. Look at Unitedhealth Group (UNH) and even Wellpoint (WLP) However these companies have the most to lose no matter what direction the Supreme Court goes in. I believe Unitedhealth Group is attractive though. There is very little to no debt, 61 Billion dollar Market Cap, Earnings Growth and Revenue Growth.[10] This is a business that is maintaining its composure, in a very tough sector.

    Wellpoint has had a great couple weeks (last week of March & first week of April 2012,) however unattractive for Negative Earnings Growth, it is attractive for its 24 Billion dollar Market Cap.[11]

    A couple other companies I like to keep my eye on, are Gilead (GILD) Illumina (ILMN) and Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) Gilead makes medicines for HIV, and closed at 47.76 on Thursday April 5th, before Good Friday. This is 8.50 dollars off its 52 week high. Gilead is a great buy under 40 dollars a share.

    Illumina works in the field of Gene Sequencing and Epigentics, a field of study, where researchers study "heritable changes in gene expression... caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence."[12] Illumina had a very tough year in 2011 and has begun to rebuild speed.

    And Intuitive Surgical, makes a minimally invasive surgical suite, called DaVinci. The stock is now close to 550 dollars a share and that is quite expensive, for this company. However, it serves as a role model for one of the few medical equipment companies that has found such momentum in share price.

    Balance, Balance, Balance

    Unfortunately, if history repeats itself, the above recipe is only good for long term investment. In the near term, you will not strike it rich by building up positions in these companies. Though having some exposure helps to round out your portfolio.

    If you set your dividends to reinvest, over time, a couple of these companies will likely prove to be profitable. Though I strongly recommend keeping the percentage of your portfolio in this sector to under ten percent, given the risk. Because often these stocks do not conform to traditional business models. Thus, investors jump ship, and hurt these stocks, at the slightest sign of weakness. Even though in some cases a failed clinical trial yields a lot of important information.

    If you want to be really wise, keep these companies on a Watch List, and check them occasionally. Watch their performance over the next 6 months, and really get to know them.

    Hospitals

    HCA Holdings (HCA) is a hospital chain out of Tennessee that is well off its 52 week high of 35.37 Though in the past week from Friday March 30th to April 4th the stock has gone from 24 dollars to 27 dollars a share. An over ten percent leap. I'd watch for this stock to dwindle slightly during the summer. HCA is buried in debt, 27 Billion dollars worth, with under 500 million dollars cash on hand. [13]

    Unlike Walmart (WMT) another company with a lot of debt, the Hospital Industry does not have a steady stream of customers simply handing over money for products, to go home with. Patients often are using insurance to pay for services and the hospitals are being reimbursed. Instead of paying managers and check-out personnel, Hospitals need medical professionals who are paid far more.

    Another hospital chain Tenet (THC) also proves to be a stock that simply can not produce value for shareholders. At 5.26, Tenet is an 'investor owned health service,' company. Unfortunately, though, with their CEO making 4 million dollars a year and Vice Chairman making 1.8 million dollars, the investors have little to show for their investment, over the near and long term.

    United Health Service (UHS) appears to be another beleaguered Hospital Company. United Health is based out of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Its top 4 Executives, none of whom are MDs or PhDs make about 8.5 million dollars a year.

    Though the company has earnings and revenue growth currently, its cash / debt ratio is very imbalanced. 41 million dollars on hand and 3.7 billion dollars in debt [14]

    Eliminating POH, benefits only high paid hospital executives

    In order to enhance health care we need the best and brightest going into Medicine. Obtaining Medical Degrees, and being able to go into hospitals that are run efficiently. The concept that forbidding Physician Owned Hospitals, is some how good for America, or the Hospital Industry, does not prove true based on analysis of the publicly traded American Hospital Industry.

    I can only surmise that the people who will enjoy the elimination are these few, mostly non MDs who are executives at the for profit hospitals.

    The problem that some have with POH, is that the physician owners benefit too much from the care they provide. Some say they are paid three times (for providing care, facilitating care, then for owning the facility,) instead of revenue going to non physicians.[15] Though this argument is not sensitive to the fact that many hospitals lose money. They are built and maintained to treat people. The executives often are paid handsomely, regardless of ownership.

    The point, however is, people need care when they get sick. Because proper care, often will intervene in the worsening of a disease. Often proper care will save money in the long run, and will allow for people to get back on their feet and continue with their lives. Thus benefiting the economy, not only an individual contribution, but a family's contribution.

    Had PPACA, instead said, only physicians can own hospitals, and implemented a code, to allow access for more people and reduce impropriety, I believe we'd see a stronger system. One, where the doctors could converse with people who understand medicine.

    We'd never, ever hear the end of it, if one day MDs tried to ask that there be no more Lawyer Owned Law Firms. It would be considered a joke, by lawyers. 'Who in the world do those Medical Doctors think they are?' Would be the battle cry.

    Some, not all, but some MDs who own hospitals, never ever give up. They devote their whole life and all the money they make to try to raise the bar of medical excellence. To support not just their communities, but the entire Nation. To advance medicine, the subject they are knowledgeable of, from education and experience.

    Currently, if a physician wants to build a hospital, they need to ask anyone other than their peers, to be the owners. PPACA automatically presumes that all these other organizations are more capable, more trustworthy, than the actual people who are trained to handle these health conditions.

    I still like to believe if anyone can take on the toughest challenges and find success, it is President Obama. However, I just hope he can see that one of the toughest challenges, is making sure that PPACA does not lower the quality of health care. That in order for real care and healing to take place the only option is, medical management with medicine.

    ____________________

    Sources:

    [1] "The Militia Acts of 1792... would have required every "free able-bodied white male citizen" between the ages of 18 and 45, with a few occupational exceptions, to "provide himself" a weapon and ammunition" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individual_mandate

    [2] "Obama 'confident' Supreme Court will uphold health care law" by David Nakamura (April 3, 2012)
    http://washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-remains-confident-supreme-court-will-uphold-health-care-law/2012/04/02/gIQA9HIOrS_story.html

    [3] "Federal Judge Demands Obama Explain 'Obamacare' Statements" by Devin Dwyer (April 3, 2012)
    news.yahoo.com/federal-judge-demands-oba...

    [4] "The 5th Circuit Court's insult to Obama" by Laurence H. Tribe (April 6, 2012) http://cnn.com/2012/04/06/opinion/tribe-obama-remarks/?hpt=hp_c2

    [5] Laurence H. Tribe 'Harvard Law School Faculty Directory' http://law.harvard.edu/faculty/directory/index.html?id=74

    [6] "PPACA Eliminates Stark Exception to Physician Owned Hospitals (June 9, 2010) http://gastro.org/journals-publications/gi-quality-and-practice-management-news/2010/june/ppaca-eliminates-stark-exception-to-physician-owned-hospitals

    [7] "Obamacare dives into End-Of-Life debate" by David Whelan (July 24, 2009) www.forbes.com/2009/07/24/obamacare-medi...

    [8] "When Ailment Pile Up, Asking Patients to Rethink Free Dialysis" by Gina Kolata (march 31, 2011) http://nytimes.com/2011/04/01/health/01dialysis.html

    [9] "End Stage Renal Disease (U.S. Federal Program)" Wikipedia Article en.wikipedia.org/wiki/End_Stage_Renal_Di...)

    [10] United Healthgroup Key Statistics (April 7, 2012) finance.yahoo.com/q/ks?s=UNH+Key+Statistics

    [11] Wellpoint Key Statics (April 7, 2012) finance.yahoo.com/q/ks?s=WLP+Key+Statistics

    [12] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics

    [13] finance.yahoo.com/q/ks?s=HCA+Key+Statistics

    [14] finance.yahoo.com/q/ks?s=UHS+Key+Statistics

    [15] "Physician-owned hospitals under scrutiny" Angieslist (ANGI) (May 7, 2010) http://angieslist.com/articles/physician-owned-hospitals-under-scrutiny.htm

    Disclosure: I am long BRK.B, AAPL, IBM, MSFT, ILMN, MRK, LLY, WLP, BMY, AZN, NVS, THC, ANGI, WMT, NYT, GILD.

    Additional disclosure: I have no positions in SNY, KERX, UNH, UHS, DVA, ISRG, HCA and no plans to initiate any positions in the next 72 hours. I receive no compensation to write about any of the specific stock, sector or theme.

    Apr 09 9:46 AM | Link | Comment!
  • Berkshire & Mars: Trayvon's Skittles
    Berkshire Shed a Tear

    In 2008 Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) and Mars Inc. bought Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company. Their product 'Skittles' has been at the center of an American Tragedy. The killing of an American teenager, who was on his way home, when a neighbor inaccurately profiled him.

    Currently photos of the colorful Skittles candy wrapper covering protestors' mouths are circulating. As well Americans have been encouraged to send the candy to Congress and to the Sanford, Florida Police Department.

    Mars and Wrigley released a statement saying:

    ".. (we) feel it inappropriate to get involved or comment further as we would never wish for our actions to be perceived as an attempt of commercial gain following this tragedy."

    In 1994 Skittles began using the slogan 'taste the rainbow.' It is a multi colored candy, that is chewy and satisfying. Skittles represent a very unique creation.

    They contain:

    "SUGAR, CORN SYRUP, HYDROGENATED PALM KERNEL OIL; LESS THAN 2%: APPLE JUICE FROM CONCENTRATE, CITRIC ACID, TAPIOCA DEXTRIN, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, ASCORBIC ACID (COLORING,) SODIUM CITRATE AND CARNAUBA WAX."

    It turned out that this candy, did in a sense protect young Trayvon. No, they could not protect his life. However, they have protected the memory of him. Because people know what it is like to walk around with a bag of them. It is, to be American.

    You do not need a concealed weapons permit, you do not need a reminder that you are 'not a freelance police officer,' because you now have a permit to carry Skittles.

    Because, if you gave these ingredients to Smith & Wesson (SWHC) or Lockheed Martin (LMT) they wouldn't know what to do with them. Because they make weapons. Berkshire Hathaway and Mars make Candy.

    The White House

    At first the White House stated:

    "But obviously, we're not going to wade into a local law-enforcement matter."

    www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/vide...

    Obviously, the White House Press Secretary was trying to deflect the media's attention. With an excuse that was not consistent with the recent actions made by President Obama.

    When a legendary Harvard English Professor was racially profiled in Boston, early in the Obama Administration, the President was very vocal. The Professor, Henry Louis Gates Jr., was having trouble opening his front door, after returning from over seas.

    A passerby thought Mr. Gates may have been trying to break in and called the police. When the police arrived, the Harvard Professor was affronted, by accusations that he did not belong in his own home.

    So the President had the two men, and their families over to the White House where they joked, made peace, and drank beer.

    Unfortunately, the reality is extreme incidents of injustice can not be overcome in this fashion.

    The President made a powerful statement, 'If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon Martin.' It resonates true.

    The media is trying not to leave any stone unturned. Discovering that Trayvon Martin had been suspended for having an empty plastic bag in his back pack, that allegedly contained Marijuana residue.

    Though, Mr. Trayvon Martin, the future pilot, the great engineer, the aspiring Politician, or just the average American; will never have the Liberty to write about such trivial incidents in his youth. On his path to greatness. As President Obama did, in Dreams From My Father.

    (to read more about this subject, here is a good source: www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/ar...)

    Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death

    We, Americans fought for Liberty. We experienced War. Famously, Patrick Henry tried to argue for the Revolution with these words.

    www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/liberty

    Definition of LIBERTY

    1: the quality or state of being free: a : the power to do as one pleases b : freedom from physical restraint c : freedom from arbitrary or despotic control d : the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges e : the power of choice

    The Declaration of Independence states that 'All Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Hapiness.'

    These sentiments are the reason why we have the great American Businesses that we have today. They are the reason why we have freedom. Because, Americans would not settle to be subjects and servants to the King of England. Instead we fought for democracy.

    That is what I believe saddens the nation, saddens the President, and everyone who has commented on this tragedy. We know what is worth fighting over. We know the loss, and the responsibility. And the details of the Trayvon Martin killing, point to a Neighborhood Watchman who was overzealous. Who was upset that he was being "checked out," by a young teen who was unfamiliar to him.

    February 26, 2012 : Sanford, Florida

    Exactly three weeks after his 17th birthday a boy was walking in a neighborhood. He had a phone, a bag of Skittles and a can of Arizona Tea.

    A resident of the neighborhood saw this boy, and decided to call the police. George Zimmerman, states 'there is a real suspicious guy,'
    'this guy looks like he's up to no good, or he's on drugs or something, it's raining, and he's just walking around looking about.'

    Mr. Zimmerman goes on to say that young Trayvon Martin is wearing a 'dark hoodie, like a grey hoodie, either jeans or sweat pants, and white tennis shoes.'

    He continues, 'he's here now, just staring, looking at all the houses, now he's just staring at me.' Mr. Zimmerman then says, 'now he's coming towards me,' (sound of car door and sound of rain) 'he's got his hand in his waist band, and he's a black male, he's got a button on his shirt, late teens' (sound of door again) 'something's wrong with him, yep he's coming to check me out, he's got something in his hands, I don't know what his deal is, get an Officer over here, ok, these a**holes they always get away.'

    "I Am Trayvon Martin"

    This Nation has been through a lot in the past ten years.

    However this phone call made available online, on YouTube (GOOG) captured the nation's attention. Because what happened within the next 3 minutes did not sit well, it did not seem to make sense.

    Mr. Zimmerman has been described as a 'Neighborhood Watchman.'

    The public knows exactly what he was thinking, what he was claiming, because of this recording.

    He says he saw, 'a teen' with 'something in his hands.'

    Most everyone knows what a can of Arizona Soft Drink looks like because it has a very distinctive tall shape. It seems difficult to believe anyone could mistake a can of Arizona Brand Tea for some sort of weapon.

    Now, we know one other thing seems certain Mr. Zimmerman knew full well he had his gun. He says on the tape Trayvon was leaving, claiming he was 'runnning.'

    We do not hear Mr. Zimmerman, from the safety of his vehicle, on the recorded line, attempt to identify himself and ask Trayvon anything. What we hear is someone calling the police to tell them a teen, with a button on his shirt is looking at the buildings in the neighborhood, then looking at him.

    Politics of an election

    The unfortunate issue here, is it is election season. Though there may be a right thing to do, obviously the most important thing on the White House's mind is to get a re-election.

    This is Florida, not Wyoming. President Obama has campaigned in Puerto Rico hoping to get votes in Florida.

    The White House made it abundantly clear, that it does not 'wade' into local matters. Unless of course it's for a photo opportunity over some cold beers.

    There are no easy answers to this. Telling teens, if some big guy, in plain clothes, who doesn't identify himself, who may seem weird, smelling of who knows what, runs up to you, panting, with his hand on a gun, starts to question you and grab you, you're supposed to just be nice and polite and answer his questions... ain't gonna fly. There's some responsibility that is needed on the side of the George Zimmermans of the world.

    As far as I can tell, the bigger person in this tragedy, Trayvon unfortunately is gone. I know this because he was not carrying a weapon. He was carrying a bag of Skittles.

    Seeking Alpha

    So when I went to publish this article on Seeking Alpha their editor wrote:

    "This article lacks the in-depth fundamental analysis and actionable opinion on stocks we look for in published articles."

    I disagree, because I selected the subject as 'economy.' This is an article that addresses the economy. It is an analysis of action and reaction in the corporate world, in regard to consumers.

    Companies like Berkshire and Mars, and for that matter Walmart (WMT) are dependent on consumers being able to ambulate freely to shop. If in the future consumers are afraid to step out of their front doors, for fear; if in the future parents do not let their children go shop for candy, it will reduce growth.

    This would make a good case for Amazon (AMZN). Because their products are delivered, often by United Parcel Service (UPS).

    As an investor, I know that brands and products are of monumental importance, to business. The precise atmosphere of the past, present and their relationship to the future, drives the market for certain companies.

    I often find myself stuck between giving up hope on businesses that work to save lives. Because a slight failure in a clinical trial will send the company spiraling down. As was the case with United Therapeutics (UTHR) last year. They are focused on advancing treatment for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, a tragic disease.

    Of course they are not going to simply cure the disease, over night or in a fiscal year. They need to experience trial and error, in order to find what works. However the market can not quite understand this.

    So I wonder, should I buy Hillenbrand (HI) www.hillenbrand.com the Coffin maker? Or Walmart because they also offer Coffins. Or Hil Rom (HRC) because they make Hospital beds. And, of course it comes down to the analysis of their financials, and the market for their business. In deciding how much or whether to buy any shares of this or that company.

    Buy Berkshire?

    So based on the fact that one product, out of many owned by Berkshire, was involved in one national event, is it a buy?

    Well, BRK.A is 122,000 dollars a share, and Mars is a private company. So do you buy a competitor? Like Tootsie Roll (TR) or Hershey (HSY) Or perhaps BRK.B?

    Well, obviously not on this tragedy. No, the purpose here, is not to make a suggestion. The purpose is to be informative, because this event applies to the economy. It applies to the future. And, it sure as anything applies to the companies that manufacture these products.

    I don't simply recommend one stock, generally. To play the future of the market, I would say, buy a few shares of BRK.B, a few shares of Walmart and a couple shares of Amazon.

    That way if one disappears the other positions will hopefully compensate.

    Do The Right Thing

    We've seen such a diverse, mind numbing, tidal wave of conflict, in reaction to the injust killing of Trayvon Martin. It is an outpouring of emotion.

    In Tunisia, one man Mohamed Bouazizi protested ill treatment, and subsequent protests effected change in Egypt and Libya. Though the continuation of uprisings have reached a road block, in Syria. Where reporters and thousands have suffered and died, at the hands of a brutal dictator.

    Thus far, those deaths have resulted in a political affair between Kofi Annan and the dictator of Syria, Bashar al-Assad. As well as the publication of al-Assad's alleged personal e-mails.

    What it boils down to here, in America, currently is re-election. And, as the saying goes, if you are not for it, you are against it. I beg to differ with the Seeking Alpha editors, all of this is very relevant to the economy, and to the stock market, from an investor stand point and from a business stand point. When I make a recommendation it is based on the precise moment, and the relationship of the business to the context of the economy. (Simply put, if you are an investor or businessperson today, and you don't understand the tragic loss of Trayvon Martin, you might as well have your head stuck in the sand.)

    Thus the title of this passage, after Spike Lee's movie. Here Mr. Lee thought he may have been doing the right thing, by using Twitter to try to publicize the location of Trayvon's killer. However instead he wound up with egg on his face, he did not do the right thing, though at the time it felt like he was.

    He was using a keyboard and Twitter. Trayvon thought, perhaps he was doing the right thing, by trying to walk away from this person who he did not know, back to his father's home, with his candy. And, Mr. Zimmerman, in his little world, possibly thought he was doing the right thing, armmed with lethal force. The White House Press Secretary thought he was doing the right thing, by trying to ignore the media and the public. The President, also by making his statement, must have felt that was the right thing to do, with his voice.

    Only afterwards, can it be determined, whether they actually did the right thing.

    Spike Lee, made a mistake. Trayvon Martin was killed. Mr. Zimmerman was placed under arrest, then released, and is now in hiding, over the furor he caused. The Press Secretary was trumped by the President. And, the President focused on his campaign.

    My opinion is, in order for American businesses to thrive, we need consumers. As well, for businesses to thrive into the future they need to use thought, and understand the ethics and morals of the public. Because in the long term the majority will rule. So it is monumentally important for businesses to understand this. Clearly, atleast one American Businessman does, he runs a company called Berkshire Hathaway. Though it is unclear if newbies around him, like the rejected David Sokol, fully understand.

    Fundamental Analysis & Actionable Opinion

    The issue with Seeking Alpha, is they are settling for 'cookie cutter' articles. So many are entitled "3 to buy 1 to avoid," or some variation. Basically my philosophy is to use a strategy, and part of the strategy is to understand how these sectors and industries fit into the special interests of those making the deals.

    I am speaking about strategy and knowledge of the present market factors. How this knowledge can be used to understand the future of a financial market. How investors can also make attempts to balance Social Responsibility, with Profit.

    Though sometimes, as is the case now, it is not simply about trying to make a buck. My effort is to try to use strength, and side with the better good. In order to perfect a strategy. Though Walmart is not perfect, it is alongside BRK.B and Amazon in my book. Because so far the good outweighs the bad.

    Trayvon's Skittles

    The subject of this article is Berkshire Hathaway and Mars Candy. It is the story of one of their customers, who was very unfortunate. Their product protected his memory. Because Skittles motivated the public.

    Because Trayvon went to the store, to buy Skittles. He was on his way back from the store, with them. And he never got the chance to even enjoy them.

    Think about it. If you had 2 billion dollars, what would you do? Buy the LA Dodgers. What if you had 23 billion dollars? Would you buy Wrigley? Well, Berkshire saw value.

    That is why I am long on Berkshire Class B shares. Because currently we have someone who is not trying to take billions and build up a dictatorship. We have a business that favors America, Rail Roads, Coca Cola, IBM, Bank of America, and Wrigley (just to name a few.)

    We have been through so much in the past ten years. America clearly is not easily moved to take action. We've seen President Obama countless times tell Americans about how they are not Warren Buffett.
    And how we should go along with a 'Buffett Rule,' that is not even precisely what Mr. Buffett has articulated is his hope for the tax code.

    Mr. Martin, was not Warren Buffett. If he was, at this point we have to wonder, if it was Mr. Buffett walking around with his hoodie on carrying his Skittles, during halftime, if he would have been shot at. For looking 'suspicious.'

    Trayvon only had a few dollars, and he chose to buy a drink and some candy. Those products, somehow made him suspicious to an overzealous, gun toting Neighborhood Watchman, in defiance of common sense. Mr. Martin, can no longer aspire to be a part of great American Institutions. Though America, Berkshire, the White House, can still be Trayvon, by not taking Liberty and the value of Americans lives for granted.

    Disclosure: I am long BRK.B, SWHC, LMT, AMZN, WMT, UPS, HSY, TR, HI, HRC, UTHR.

    Tags: BRK.A, GOOG, HI, HRC, HSY, LMT, SWHC, TR, UTHR, WMT, UPS, AMZN, economy
    Apr 02 7:56 PM | Link | Comment!
Full index of posts »
Latest Followers

StockTalks

More »
Posts by Themes
Instablogs are Seeking Alpha's free blogging platform customized for finance, with instant set up and exposure to millions of readers interested in the financial markets. Publish your own instablog in minutes.