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GotLife

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  • Yet Another One For The Materialists? [View article]
    "This was in France and in Greece, a reaction to austerity programs."

    What part of, "We are out of money and hopelessly broke," didn't the Greeks and French understand? Sure, growth is the cure but higher taxes are not going to help.

    And, those higher taxes are not just hitting the 1%. We just received property taxes on our town home in Illinois. Tax bill just jumped from $7800 to over $9000, a nice 14% increase thanks in part to an even greater percentage jump in all the pension line items. Sure isn't going to help our consumer spending nor will the "temporary" 50% jump in Illinois income taxes over the next five years.
    May 7, 2012. 03:10 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Inflation's In The Poverty [View article]
    Food price inflation was 4% in 2010 and 6% in 2011. Ben in an effort to shoot up home prices, missed the house, the barn and the garage but hit the gas tank and garden square. Those OPEC countries hear the printing presses running as well and now have there own PHD economists to advise them on dollar devaluations.
    May 7, 2012. 08:50 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Exit polls in Greece show the 2 pro-bailout parties garnering just 32-36% of the vote, maybe not enough to form a majority government. It's a shocking fall for Pasok and New Democracy, which together claimed nearly 80% of the vote in 2009. "The exit polls confirm ... there's no political consensus for the kind of reforms Greece must implement if it wants to remain in the eurozone," says Nicholas Spiro.  [View news story]
    Right on Michael. And a huge part of that private debt was speculative leverage or over consumption spending by the citizens and pitiful government oversight that allowed leverage by the banks over 100 to 1.
    May 7, 2012. 08:44 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Exit polls in Greece show the 2 pro-bailout parties garnering just 32-36% of the vote, maybe not enough to form a majority government. It's a shocking fall for Pasok and New Democracy, which together claimed nearly 80% of the vote in 2009. "The exit polls confirm ... there's no political consensus for the kind of reforms Greece must implement if it wants to remain in the eurozone," says Nicholas Spiro.  [View news story]
    Agree but how is that different than America? When confronted the fiscal liberals say the solution is simply to print more. 5000 billion over three years just too austere?
    May 7, 2012. 08:32 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Exit polls in Greece show the 2 pro-bailout parties garnering just 32-36% of the vote, maybe not enough to form a majority government. It's a shocking fall for Pasok and New Democracy, which together claimed nearly 80% of the vote in 2009. "The exit polls confirm ... there's no political consensus for the kind of reforms Greece must implement if it wants to remain in the eurozone," says Nicholas Spiro.  [View news story]
    Repeat of last summer. Might be a drop in price of oil which would help but I think the supplying countries have permanently priced in Fed printing press excesses.
    May 7, 2012. 08:28 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • In the disappointing jobs report, the most important statistic may have been the 63.6% labor participation rate, a 30-year low. Critics of the Obama administration are quick to seize on this as the “real” reason for the falling unemployment rate, but the downward trend has been happening for more than a decade as baby boomers have been retiring.  [View news story]
    Retirees are not figured in percentage calculations. Can't blame the Boomers for the drop in the rate.

    A better participation demographic to examine would be women, married in particular. Qualifying for long-term unemployment is as easy as using your cell phone. Take a second earners wage, subtract Federal and state taxes and day care expenses and compare to UI plus food stamps. Conclusion? Mommy needs along term vacation.

    Now, what if you add in a couple of stay at home high school grads, on their dads health insurance till 26, also receiving UI and food stamps. Things might actually be good enough for that Disney vacation, especially if they are not paying the mortgage but still in the dwelling. All these pension eligible government employees need to become a little more critical than just, "Press one if you are still unemployed."
    May 5, 2012. 06:48 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • In the disappointing jobs report, the most important statistic may have been the 63.6% labor participation rate, a 30-year low. Critics of the Obama administration are quick to seize on this as the “real” reason for the falling unemployment rate, but the downward trend has been happening for more than a decade as baby boomers have been retiring.  [View news story]
    D_Virginia,

    Since your name, image and comments all display a bias, even to the extreme, why attempt to masquerade as an independent thinker or unaligned voter in a comment? Show some credibility and courage in your opinion and views. If they are of value, they will stand on the facts and data of the argument and need little manipulation or charade.
    May 5, 2012. 10:03 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sell In May And Do This Instead [View article]
    JimG99,

    Wish I had a dollar for every trite investment phrase purported to be wisdom. It is just so easy to debunk these things, I find it hard to believe investors continue to swallow them.

    Remember the belief that no one has ever lost money on their home? Of course they did, they have and they will! But someone pulls out a chart, never corrected for inflation, carefully selects entrance and exit points that both prove the case and can never be duplicated and, voila, another theorem equal to general relativity.

    But the geniuses that sell rear-view investing have a ready audience in people that want to invest their funds without effort or wisdom. And trite phrases do sell amazingly well. Just ask your local politician or marketing major.
    May 5, 2012. 09:42 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Deflation Exactly What Every U.S. Household Needs? [View article]
    The author states, "I do not consider a primary residence to be an asset because of how much money it costs to maintain."

    Someone needs to return to Acct 101 text, definitions of assets and liabilities. If the same dwelling is turned into a rental property, it is classified as an asset by the IRS, by the lessor and the mortgage holder, if any. A primary owner and occupier would also consider it an asset on their net worth balance sheet if they held equity in the dwelling.

    Maintenance, as a cost, does not destroy or negate the equity value of an asset. It equates to rent or depreciation and, short of living in a cardboard box, not sure how it can be avoided.

    The creative destruction the author proposes is wonderful as long as it is not happening to you or your friends and family. The real mistake the Fed made was trying to inflate housing values but instead, missing the house, the barn, the garage and car, squarely hitting the gas tank. Of course, they are probably all likely to go higher in the future since replacement "assets" are going to cost much more because of the wildly depreciated dollar.

    Anybody remember 'Animal House' after they destroyed Fish's brother's limo? "Fish, you f(screwed) up. You trusted us." That's the Congress, Fed, Treasury and too-big-to-fail-bank's response to you America.
    May 1, 2012. 08:54 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Retirement: Where Should A Beginner Begin? (Part 3) [View article]
    "Spend less than you earn and invest in solid businesses and things tend to work out."

    Couldn't agree more! Accumulation of assets and the focus on stable income is step 1 for retirees, as RS outlines, but positive cash flow is sound advice where ever you may be in your life-cycle. Gaining the discipline to live within means and recognize wants vs. needs allows for the savings to accumulate and become an eventual, manageable income stream.

    We have only to look at the disaster surrounding us and our global neighbors to recognize the dangers of unrestricted and unrecognized risk associated with unbounded leverage. But the austerity pill is difficult and, when asked why they need to swallow, the response should be, 'Because you are worth-less.'
    Apr 30, 2012. 02:30 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Holding Stocks Long Term [View article]
    Good points Matt. Like a career, there are lots of ways to make a dollar. Sitck with what works for you and understand your probabilities. Here is an example. Early in my investment career, I got burned trading options. But learning the probability that close to 80% of sold (written) calls expire worthless allowed me to work on a strategy that took advantage of that fact. Understanding the probabilities regarding the returns of large, blue chip, dividend paying stocks with steadily increasing dividends has also worked well for me in retirement.

    I have former colleagues that continue to hold stock in the firm we retired from in spite of it's performance of an 80% loss over the last fifteen years. This is not even calculating the loss they suffered in purchasing power. Got to separate opinion biasfrom objective analysis or you get killed in the market and I put the probability of that at much greater than 50%.
    Apr 27, 2012. 06:21 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Holding Stocks Long Term [View article]
    Hi Roger. Enjoy your articles.

    The problem I often see with the headlines that espouse a trite phrase of supposed wisdom (and I understand SA not the author scripts the headline) is that every investment suggestion has an associated probability that is never included and, in some cases, not even understood by the readers of the associated article.

    For example, is diversification always a winner over putting all your chips on a single firm? There is wisdom in diversification and an associated probability available. But even that probability depends on how and what an investor chooses to use, with more associated probability, for the strategy. Banking on financials for diversification and choosing dividend stocks was a poor choice personally over putting it all on AAPL in 2007 but the probabilities pushed me in that direction at the time. And I remain comfortable, although not completely pleased, with the decision.

    I just wish more authors included known probabilities. They have helped me choose winning strategies, avoid mental errors and build confidence in the opinions of myself and others when I have had them available and used them appropriately.

    Sorry if this might be an intuitively obvious point to an investor such as yourself. During the internet bubble during the nineties I heard this 'hold for the long term' phrase used so often over internet stocks, as brilliant people invested in inflated but valueless firms and rode them all the way into the ground. Afterward, some of the same folks even joined the real estate bubble because 'homes have never lost value like the stock market.' We know how that trite phrase worked out. It wasn't a 100% then or now.

    Thanks for the fine articles. I always enjoy the point of view.
    Apr 27, 2012. 01:34 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Winning And Losing Stocks Due To Low Natural Gas Prices [View article]
    "Unless you think that oil prices will collapse"

    I am of the belief that the Fed, in an effort to inflate housing prices, has badly missed their target and permanently inflated the price of oil. Oil producing countries demand more of the oversupplied dollars in compensation. They are not the economic dolts they were when the petrodollar game began.
    Apr 27, 2012. 07:12 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Winning And Losing Stocks Due To Low Natural Gas Prices [View article]
    I have doubts the US will be pushing NG for transportation but not because of the cost or effectiveness. I believe they will avoid a changeover because tax could not be easily calculated on NG transportation use.

    For example, in Illinois there is abundant distribution of NG across the State in metro, suburban and rural communities. There is a company that offers a home refueling system for NG. This would severely impact gasoline revenues were consumers and business owners to convert to NG. Since NG is also used for home heating, peak electrical and feedstocks, it would be difficult to isolate the portion for road taxes and severely impact the small consumer or business that couldn't convert. And since each State and geography has different access and usage, the Federal taxes would be an eternal mystery and source of irritation around the country. (Kind of like airline fares...)

    Gasoline has only one purpose that I know of so it would appear to be a much easier tax target. I have pondered for a while on the lack enthusiasm for T Boone's proposal. And doesn't each barrel of oil yield some amount of gasoline and diesel when it is cracked? Would all the US refineries have to export that entire portion of their production if the US went NG?
    Apr 27, 2012. 07:05 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Bullish Case For Westport Innovations [View article]
    Could some of our government's reluctance be based on the loss of revenue if diesel and gasoline are replaced by NG? I understand LNG would be a challenge for light trucks and commuters but I've just read about a company with a home fueling station for those of us using piped NG for residential heat. How would the 20% governments siphon off for roads be replaced?
    Apr 23, 2012. 05:11 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
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