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Doug Poretz  

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  • Parsing the Data: Basically, More People Don't Have Jobs [View article]
    Such anecdotal stories are abundant and truly define what we are going through ....
    Jan 8, 2010. 12:17 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street's Job Growth Hype Not Materializing on Main Street [View article]
    Maybe these statistics will be reality enough to be a wake-up slap in the face to the bulls so that instead of focusing on the strength of a "recovery" that does not exist, the focus shift to the ongoing decline and the question: how much worse does it get? It sure ain't getting better -- and when it isn't getting better it's either bouncing along bottom or getting worse -- and these figures indicate that it's getting worse. It is inane to think about "recovery" until trends are at least horizontal for a few months.
    Jan 8, 2010. 12:11 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Emails Reveal Fed / AIG Cover-Up [View article]
    check out also his Pre-Obama Congressional testimony on how packaged sub-prime mortgages were no threat to the financial/credit system -- as a matter of fact, at about the same time and the same congressional committee then Fed-chair Greenspan said the same thing but since then he has acknowledged that he was wrong and has apologized -- not so for Geithner
    Jan 7, 2010. 06:09 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Innovators Who Redefined Industries by Redefining Their Businesses [View article]
    Branson was a record producer before introducing innovations to the airline industry; Michael Dell was a college student who sold newspaper subscriptions before revolutionizing how computers were marketed and sold.
    Jan 7, 2010. 01:11 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Alternate Theory to Pending Home Sales Plunge [View article]
    There is another fundamental problem you missed. Under normal circumstances, when someone sells a home they take the money from the sale and buy another house, usually a move-up. When a creditor or distressed owner sells a house, they do not become buyers -- and the typical residential real estate food chain never gets going.
    Jan 7, 2010. 11:01 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Ben's Right: Fed Didn't Cause the Crunch, Securitization Did [View article]
    This is sort of analogous to saying of a heroin addict that their pusher was to blame or maybe it was the person who processed the heroin or the farmers who grew the poppies. However, the addict grew up in a culture that make heroin easy to get, and with songs and movies that make heroin cool and hip, and with a group of friends that encourage them to try this and take this, etc etc. The current situation is not just economic in nature. When we try to identify "blame" on a single (or combination) of economic regulations or policies we are missing all the rest: the Realtors who pushed homes to people they knew couldn't afford the price tag in the best of their dreams ... the people who bought expensive flat screen TVs who couldn't afford them except on credit terms that promised they didn't have to pay until X month ... the entire culture of consumerism and materialism that arose and was reinforced since the Post WWII boom ... on an on. Until we accurately define the current situation in terms much more robust than economic and financial in nature, we will continue to mislead ourselves into thinking that there is some magical bullet of financial change that will "return" us to an environment that may be impossible to replicate for a very long time.
    Jan 7, 2010. 10:36 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Will We Ever Fully Recover from the Recession? [View article]
    Even if your analysis is exactly correct for understanding economic/financial trends, it assumes that what we are going through right now is exclusively economic and financial in nature. That may be a big mistake. I think if we looked at trends around the world we'd see radical changes in much more robust ways: a shift from the manufacturing to the knowledge economy, a major and very fundamental revolution in communications, social and cultural change, the emergence of a global community where a sneeze anywhere (not just the US) can cause pneumonia everywhere else, the warfare of terrorism that means enemies are now ideologies rather than nations ... need more? The list can continue but I think the conclusion is clear: define this situation as an economic event exclusively, try to understand it in economic terms exclusively, and we'll try to remedy it with economic solutions and expect a "recovery" that will be only economic in nature. That may indeed happen and thus somehow we will have some degree of economic recovery. But "economic recovery" will be far from the equivalent of a "return" to the way things were.
    Jan 7, 2010. 10:18 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • David Leonhardt eviscerates the Fed's "If we'd had more power, we'd have kept the financial crisis from getting so bad" story line: Bernanke still hasn't explained why he failed to recognize the last bubble. So "why should Congress, or anyone else, have faith that future Fed officials will recognize the next bubble?"  [View news story]
    We ain't fixing anything until we understand that in addition to numerous financial, financial services, investment community, regulatory, fiscal policy et al mistakes, the current situation arose from all that PLUS people who hustled homes to buyers who couldn't afford them under the best of conditions, and people who bought the newest flat screen TVs they couldn't truly afford but could buy on a credit program that teased them with no payments until x date, and consumers who incurred debt to buy a new car when their existing car was more than adequate, etc etc. The current situation is not simply economic and fiscal in nature, but also cultural, social, political, etc. Until we see this as a robust problem we don't have a chance of defining it correctly and then, of course, less of a chance of remedying it correctly.
    Jan 6, 2010. 06:31 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Thoughts on Northrop Grumman's Relocation and Municipal Investments [View article]
    The move is dramatically significant both to the Greater Washington Region as a whole and the components of the region. [Fair Disclosure: for many years, as a communications guy, I helped promote the region generally and I and/or my firms have also run economic development communications campaigns for the region as a whole through the Greater Washington Board of Trade, for Montgomery County and then for Fairfax County; I've been a board member and assumed responsibility for the Northern Virginia Technology Council; I've contributed and provided pro bono services to The Chesapeake Crescent Initiative; etc etc -- I no longer have any real vested interests in that arena].

    You may be right that a move such as this, which encourages competition among the segments of the region to vie as the ultimate location for Northrup, may not have very many positive consequences in the short-run. You are dramatically wrong -- DRAMATICALLY -- wrong about the benefits over the long-term. It wasn't that long ago when the Washington area was overwhelmingly populated by people employed by the US Government. A region-wide (too often segmented and too rarely coordinated) effort to attract new business to the region has shifted the employment statistics in the region: in 1965 30% of the region's workforce was employed by the government -- today it is about 11%. The area has grown significantly: the population of Fairfax County alone has now passed 1 million people; significantly, that growth has been largely with a highly educated population so that today it has the highest concentration (percent of population) of knowledge workers in the world, and it is now the nation's second largest in terms of absolute numbers of technology workers. Along with that growth has come new retailers, restaurants, doctors, teachers, professionals, service personnel, etc. Along with that growth has come new business, investment, entrepreneurial and other wealth-creating opportunities. As the area has grown it has become one of (if not "the") global centers of gravity of the IT business, as well as telecom, and other Knowledge Economy industries. Did that arise largely because of the presence of the federal government? Sure ... but it also meant that the expertise that grew here could incubate business innovations such as AOL in the early 90s and why today for the thirteenth consecutive year, the Greater Washington region has the largest number of fastest-growing private companies in America, according to Inc. Magazine (48 companies on the 2009 Inc. 500 list, three more than in 2008 and a dozen more than second place Los Angeles and New York, each with 36; Chicago has 23 companies; San Francisco has 19 companies; and Boston has 18). At the same time, the region's relatively young private sector became the best place in the country for women to establish businesses or get a job at wages that are less sexist than any other market in the nation. The region has now become home to more than 50 colleges and universities, and we have seen, as an example, George Mason University grow from a small two-year extension of the University of Virginia to emerge as a growing and increasingly prestigious university, with great support from the local private sector, that boasts Nobel Prize laureates and several highly recognized grad schools (in addition to an NCAA basketball contender).

    Has some of this growth been associated with negatives to the region or parts of it? For sure. In certain instances, were tax and other economic incentives used to attract a particular company ill-advised? For sure. Over the long-term, has this activity, seen in its totality, contributed to the quality of life and economic well-being of ALL the people of Greater Washington? For sure. More particularly, has this growth benefited the people of downtown DC? Well, get in a helicopter and take a look at all the new inner city development, the way areas you wouldn't have walked into in broad daylight just a few years ago are now models of urban renewal, and check the employment statistics for the region as a whole and each of its components.

    I just do not get your point, but to the degree that you think this relocation of Northrup, even associated with tax benefits and other incentives, will contribute negatively to the region or DC itself, especially beyond the short-term, you are just plain wrong.
    Jan 6, 2010. 12:18 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Google Nexus One: The TechCrunch Review [View article]
    Vassar: I think you have it wrong -- Arrington isn't bullish on the N1 "despite" its few flaws -- I think he is bullish on the N1 "because" of all the positives he cites.
    Jan 6, 2010. 10:32 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 2010 Economic Outlook: The Tipping Point [View article]
    I agree with many of your points -- but I have a problem with your statement about "the economy sinking back into recession" -- I didn't know the economy was OUT of recession. Take a look at the reports and memos from The National Bureau of Economic Research, which declares when recessions start and when recessions end (and, by the way, provide some really great and candid analysis of the economy -- see and it is clear that the recession is far from over -- SO, if we are going to sink, it won't be "back into recession," but into something quite different, and probably worse.
    Jan 6, 2010. 09:25 AM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Treasuries Rise as Homes Sales Fall [View article]
    Paul Krugman is quoted to say there is 30-40% chance that the "U.S. economy will slide into a recession during the second half of the year." Wouldn't that mean the economy will have to climb out of the recession we're in now?
    Jan 6, 2010. 08:35 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Home Sales Skyrocket, Backlog Clears [View article]
    I do not think a negative view is an indicator of recovery -- what I do think (what I've observed and what I believe market statistics will bear out) is that a market reaches its peak when non-professionals (e.g., retail, individual investors) enter the market because it has made a major move northward. Look at the boom -- how it exploded when individuals started "betting" on stocks they heard "hot tips" about but that had no fundamentals such as revenues and earnings -- I think it is much wiser to worry about the irrational top rather than a conservative bottom -- when the market starts moving off the bottom, you can get in and ride the wave, perhaps giving up the first few points -- but when the market starts falling off the top, all you can do is mitigate the loss -- although it is hard to believe and many won't agree with me, I think both the stock market and the residential real estate market are at or near their new tops -- sit back and watch more and more individual investors start to "play" in real estate and equities -- it will be a major sign to get out .....

    On Dec 23 02:27 PM joof wrote:

    > The unwashed herd remains negative - see the barely literate posts
    > attacking the article . Yet another contrarian indicator of recovery
    Jan 1, 2010. 09:35 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Housing Boom? 7 Cities Where People Are Moving to [View article]
    The problem is that for people to move IN to one market, they have to move OUT of another market -- bully for the markets enjoying net in-migration growth! And everyone in those markets better make a new year's wish that the markets improve where people have houses they'd like to sell so they can move to the more prosperous cities.
    Dec 31, 2009. 02:44 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why I'm Still Distrustful of This Rally [View article]
    Why do I get the same feeling, when reading comments by the bulls above, that I had when hearing people talk about "the new economy" during the " boom"? Then, those who argued: "But, these companies don't even have revenues" were told: "You don't understand; in the new economy and with new valuation standards, revenue doesn't matter, and income doesn't matter, but what does matter is a great story told well about a market that maybe can exist and this company maybe can become the market leader." It was great to listen to that logic; hell, it was great to be a part of it; it was even great enjoying the build-up of wealth during a period of irrational investing logic. But that logic and that market could not be sustained. As one observer/commenter above noted: you wouldn't have made money then if you sat on the sidelines. But you wouldn't have lost money when the crash came rapidly, steeply, and widely if you were sitting on the sidelines either. So that means, the core questions are: Is the current investment logic, regardless of how it can be quantified, ever going to be justified, and, if not, when will reality cause the collapse? Here is a wish for 2010: may you be in the market for as long as it is irrational, and may you decide to sit on the sideline the day before reality it crashes.
    Dec 31, 2009. 02:39 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment