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  • Cries Of Despair Induced By Wednesday's Disappointing First-Quarter U.S. GDP Growth Report [View article]
    The cost of instruction (Faculty salaries primarily) has not risen at nearly the same rate as the cost of administration. (Administrative salaries primarily.)
    Here's an idea. Why not make state aid to public colleges and schools contingent on the increases in the cost of instruction: rather than on the total cost of operating the schools? Increases in funding would be dependent on increases in faculty salaries, lab equipment and other items that would directly affect education. Administrative cost beyond a reasonable percentage would not be covered. Neither would grandiose stadiums, luxury student apartments, fancy field houses and the like that have little or nothing to do with education.
    May 3, 2015. 02:48 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Cries Of Despair Induced By Wednesday's Disappointing First-Quarter U.S. GDP Growth Report [View article]
    When I graduated from a well know private college in 1952 it cost about $1,000 per year. When my granddaughter graduated from the same college in 2011 it cost over $50,000 per year.
    When I bought my first car in 1950, a Plymouth, it cost about $2,000. A standard brand car like a Chevy Malibou today costs about $25,000. Todays' car is a much better vehicle than one in 1950 in every way. The college education is essentially no better than in 1950, but it costs 50 times as much while the car costs only about 12 times as much.
    The cost of education has gotten out of sync with the ability of people to pay.
    One of the sensible things government could do would be to devote more resources to funding education for all and less to foreign military adventures. The cost of good college and technical schools should not out of the reach of ordinary citizens.
    May 2, 2015. 10:31 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Cries Of Despair Induced By Wednesday's Disappointing First-Quarter U.S. GDP Growth Report [View article]
    James Hanshaw.
    Your idea is so sensible that it will never be implemented.
    May 1, 2015. 02:42 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • BCE off slightly after Q1 beats on top and bottom lines [View news story]
    I suppose if their report had been worse the price would have gone up???
    Apr 30, 2015. 02:25 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Could Sustained Negative Interest Rates Lead To Bank Deposit Outflows? [View article]
    David de los Angeles
    Your bobsled analogy is perfect.
    Also the "Magical Mystery Fed". So many poorly informed Americans seem to think that our central bankers operate in a vacuum - without taking into account the world economy and the actions of all the other central bankers.
    Apr 29, 2015. 10:21 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Could Sustained Negative Interest Rates Lead To Bank Deposit Outflows? [View article]
    The law of supply and demand has never been repealed.
    There is more money in the world at present than demand for it. Therefore, banks are not interested in bidding for more of it. When borrowers are scarce and reluctant, bankers compete with each other by lowering the rates they charge. If banks have more funds than can be profitable employed in lending or investment it is not in their interest to bid for more by offering depositors attractive rates. There are obvious costs for banks to hold funds. U.S. banks pay FDIC insurance on their deposits and there are the embedded costs of simply operating the organization. Many banks have effectively been employing negative interest by imposing various fees on small accounts.
    In my view, central bankers are not creating a low or negative rate environment. They are simply reacting to it.
    Until world trade improves and there is more demand for money, low or negative interest rates will prevail regardless of what central bankers do. How long that may be is anyone's guess.
    Apr 28, 2015. 11:09 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Franchisees unsettled with new plans at McDonald's [View news story]
    A system similar to the Create Your Taste kiosk ordering system has been in use for over ten years by the Sheetz chain in Pennsylvania. It is extremely successful. Sheetz has gas stations all over the state with convenience store/restaurants attached. They offer fresh, made to order food and their model is so successful that they are now starting to open stand alone restaurants.
    The customers they serve are very much like the core MCD customer; working people looking for fast, tasty food at a modest price.
    I think MCD franchisees will be pleasantly surprised if they invest in the kiosks, based on what I see in Sheetz.
    Apr 15, 2015. 03:55 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Spring Cleaning: My YTD Portfolio Review [View article]
    For a clean energy investment take a look at Next Era Energy. 95% of their energy comes from clean or renewable sources. Wind power is their biggest at 58%.They are leaders in solar energy production-- and they are good dividend payers. Yields 2.95% at current price of $104.36. Annual dividend gain of about 13% in recent years.
    Apr 15, 2015. 09:26 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • McDonald's Still Getting Its Lunch, And Breakfast, Eaten [View article]
    Long MCD and planning to hold.
    However, I agree that sending customers to Taco Bell sounds like a dumb move.
    (Unless TacoBel's breakfast is really terrible--maybe it is.) Time will tell. However, this is a good sign that MCD management is being super aggressive - and confident that their offerings will bring people in for breakfast long term.
    Apr 14, 2015. 01:23 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • AT&T Pays To Be Defensive [View article]
    As an old and conservative guy I usually have T in my thoughts as an investment- but so far I have not bought any. My favored telecom investment is BCE (Bell of Canada).
    Five years ago T sold for about $35. Today it is $32.77. Decline of 9.3 %.
    Five years ago BCE sold for about $30.00 Today it is priced at $43.67. That's 14.5% more.
    T's current dividend yield is 5.74%. BCE's is $4.76%.
    T's dividend growth is about 9% annually. BCE's is about 12%.
    If you're into math you can figure that out exactly - but it looks to me as if BCE wins by a mile.
    My 2 cents.
    (Yes: Canada nicks you for tax withholding if your stock is in a taxable account - but you get it back dollar for dollar when you pay your US income tax.
    Apr 13, 2015. 11:34 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 3 Good Reasons To Sell BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust [View article]
    Good article. Thanks.
    I sold the BPT shares in my taxable account in Dec. to balance its capital loss against capital gains I had booked in other securities - and sold the shares in my IRA in Feb. 2015, when the trend looked bad.
    Based on your analysis I don't think i'll buy back in unless it gets really cheap.
    Apr 2, 2015. 11:19 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • All-day breakfast to be tested at McDonald's [View news story]
    IMO the egg McMuffin is the best tasting item on the menu. Finally a smart move.
    Mar 30, 2015. 11:39 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Remicade biosimilars launched in Europe [View news story]
    My philosophy is to own the biggest and long term best companies in a variety of industries. JNJ fits that criterion for the pharma business in my opinion. Its market cap is about 30% larger than Pfizer, the second largest. Its trailing PE is a reasonable 17.6. Its beta is a comfortable .94. Dividend is amply covered and has been rising steadily of years. Products cover a wide range - not limited to the vagaries of the more narrowly drug focused companies.
    To me it is a ideal core holding for a conservative divided portfolio.
    Feb 25, 2015. 11:09 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Makers of pricey drugs working on new payment model [View news story]
    According to Dartmouth Medical School there are approximately 170 to 200 million individuals infected with Hepatitis C in the world (about 3.3% of the world's population).
    There are 3 to 5 million individuals in the United States alone. Yet Gilead Sciences is charging $84,000 for a course of treatment to patients in the United States. Many insurance carriers are balking at this price--especially since Gilead is charging far less in Europe and even less in India ($300 in India). Their argument is that it saves expensive liver transplants.
    This is a specious argument, because there are only about 6,000 liver transplants performed annually in the U.S. and there about 17,000 on the waiting list (According to Columbia University's Department of Surgery). Most patients will die before receiving a liver transplant simply because there aren't enough donors. 3 to 5 million individuals in the United States and 170 million or more world wide seems to me to be a pretty substantial market.
    Why would a company condemn all these people to death by holding out for a massive short term profit margin? The incremental cost of producing a drug once the R & D is done is pretty small. The potential profit to be made by curing the millions of sufferers of the disease are huge. By the way Gilead didn't do the R & D on this drug. They bought a smaller company which had done the original research. Gilead’s experimental drug was bought through its $11 billion acquisition of Pharmasset.
    Feb 19, 2015. 03:27 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Makers of pricey drugs working on new payment model [View news story]
    When Apple develops a new product it costs big money. Apple does't expect to get it back by selling limited number of iPads at extremely high prices. They recover their costs + a good profit by selling millions of iPads at more modest prices. This system has worked wonderfully for them.
    I can't understand why a drug company wants to limit their cure to a small group of people who can pay extremely high prices. Why not offer the cure to the thousands who need it at a reasonable price?
    It seems to me that is a more rational way (and humane) to operate and should be more profitable for the company in the end.
    Feb 19, 2015. 11:14 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment