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  • President Obama makes it official, announcing a "framework" for extensions of tax cuts, unemployment benefits and estate taxes, plus a one-year payroll tax reduction. But there's a downside: no relief for the ballooning deficit - estimated $830B for extending the tax cuts, $56B for more unemployment benefits.  [View news story]
    O should have stood firm, let the cuts expire across the board -both Bush's and his - and taken the heat for it next election. At least he could have hung it on the Reps.

    Now, he looks bad to the left for providing welfare for the rich, he looks bad to the right for providing welfare for the poor, and he looks bad to the center for not trying to keep the deficit in check.

    My sense is he is worried the economy is on the brink of collapse and wants to prop it some with money that would otherwise have been called "stimulus" but this way he appears to be a "consensus builder."

    Unfortunately that's a very Carter thing to do.
    Dec 6, 2010. 08:15 PM | 13 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • "Nokia (NOK) has mostly nailed the design with the Lumia 925, but Windows Phone (MSFT) is holding it back," writes The Verge's Tom Warren while rating the phone 8.1/10. Warren likes the 925's aluminum build, performance, and low-light camera shots, but Windows Phone's app issues (not just in terms of availability, but also quality relative to similar iOS/Android apps) and missing features (reliable notifications, 1080p display support, etc.) remain a problem. Engadget's Mat Smith offers a similar take. Nokia exec Vesa Jutila admitted last month missing apps remains the "biggest complaint" of Lumia users; Microsoft is trying to address the problem by paying some developers $100K+ to build WP8 apps. [View news story]
    The problem with professional tech reviewers in particular of the type at Verve is that their experience and needs match an incredibly small percentage of the super hardcore who use a million apps many of which are very niche.

    The vast majority of the population neither needs nor cares about them, yet as it is the primary differentiator in the smartphone universe, these reviewers feel compelled to make the point as if in repetition it will gain relevance.

    Take away the app 'concern' which isn't a concern for the vast majority of users, and what do you have? An outstanding device. And that's the bottom line.
    Jun 16, 2013. 09:24 PM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Greece might be finally turning things around, says Morgan Stanley analyst Daniele Antonucci. While the country isn't actually recovering, the huge uncertainty that was caused by fears of a Grexit and other factors, and which was destroying economic activity, has been removed. The recession is alleviating, Greece is becoming more competitive and it's almost achieved a primary surplus. [View news story]
    Wow. Well, as someone with exposure to Greece I can say that yes, Grexit is gone, but that doesn't mean Greece is 'fixed' by any measure. The regulatory environment has not changed, public sector reform has only been performed in the most perfunctory window-dressing manner, and the institutions and central government are still controlled by the same people who screwed up the country in the first place....

    What's changed is money in/money out, i.e. yes the primary surplus is almost a reality but its being funded not by economic activity but by savings, which are being depleted. What this means to me is the bottom isn't in yet....

    The dozen 'temporary' taxes instituted to siphon money from the people to pay off the government's public sector originating debt don't reflect an improving economic environment that will increase revenues and balance the country's budget. Economic activity is depressed and people have run for the hills (moved to their farms to live off the land while taking advantage of tax incentives promoting agriculture activity).

    The main reason the government is not pushing public sector reform is because of how large a part of the domestic economic activity it makes up. There's nothing to fill that vacuum if the government squashes it. Most Greek investment activity is now occurring outside the country in places like Bulgaria, because the Greeks themselves cant handle the regulatory and tax burdens of operating commerce in the country. And that hasn't changed either.

    Observers watching the numbers will miss a large part of the reality. (GREK) has had a nice run over the last 6 months or so, but I'm not buying. That run was based on the Grexit coming off the table. In my opinion the real bull run hasn't started yet. I could be wrong of course, watching things from a small business perspective, and the GREK reflects much larger entities, who have direct lines to the government and political leadership, so do your own homework.
    Jan 21, 2013. 09:14 AM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • After three "jobless recoveries" in the last twenty years, NYT's Hedrick Smith suggests it's time to take a lesson from Henry Ford. History has proven Ford's virtuous circle to be effective, and if business managers "give the middle class a better share of the nation’s economic gains... the economy will grow faster." [View news story]
    So long as we permit more and more of the wealth of the nation to trickle into fewer hands, the pool of the non-productive poor at the bottom will grow.

    The result of the current concentration of wealth at the top is a pool of 47m living on food stamps.

    The trick is to 'thicken the middle', support the middle class, grow it, so more of the bottom produces, earns, and consumes.

    Otherwise, the large pool at the bottom will find their own way to get back their piece of the pie, by voting it to themselves or otherwise.

    A strong middle class is the hallmark of a healthy capitalist republic, and anyone who thinks otherwise is confused.

    Frankly, I can't support any notion of trickle down, tax breaks for the wealthy propaganda, especially the drivel coming out of the current Republican candidate. It's such a shame that the best candidates often get defeated in the primary, and lately, the Republicans field an ever more obnoxious agenda in order to appeal to the extremist elements of the party as if they somehow believe independents will find that appealing.

    Hey, Romney, listen up, while you cater to the fascists and oligarchs, those of us who may have considered you, stop doing so.

    And your choice for VP sucks.
    Sep 3, 2012. 02:39 PM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • It hardly matters what Geithner says when seven out of every 10 voters say they oppose raising the debt ceiling, Stan Collender writes. "This almost certainly means that most representatives and senators will need to vote against a debt ceiling bill at least once so that they have something on the record showing their constituents that they were with them."  [View news story]
    This almost certainly means that that at least 7 out of 10 voters in the US are misinformed or uneducated about what a debt ceiling is and how the economy works.
    Apr 20, 2011. 07:06 PM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Energy stocks shellacked as Nymex crude drops below $50 [View news story]

    If American producers overextended themselves on credit and can't cut the fat to survive, what do you want to do, subsidize them? I don't believe that's the case but you seem to. And your 'hundreds of thousands of jobs' pale in the face of the entire rest of the economy. Everyone, period, benefits from a low cost of oil. No one cried for all the realtors who lost their jobs in the housing bust and no one is going to cry for the oilmen today. Get over it, this is real basic capitalism.

    The funniest thing about this is how little attention is being paid to the fact that banks are now out of commodities - as of this year - and the de-financialization of the commodities markets has been accompanied by the thud of collapsing commodity prices. The truth is, most of the air under commodities has been bank shenanigans and prices are really reverting to true supply-demand economics. And the 95% of the economy not employed in drilling oil is absolutely ecstatic.
    Jan 5, 2015. 02:35 PM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • September Nonfarm Payrolls: +114K vs. consensus +115K, +142K previous (revised from 96K). Unemployment rate 7.8% vs. consensus 8.2%, 8.1% previous. [View news story]

    Please name 5 ways the US has become socialist since Obama's presidency.

    I'm really curious.
    Oct 5, 2012. 11:06 AM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • As crude oil takes out $100 to notch new lows at $99.70, all 20 Dow Jones Transport stocks move higher. Among the leaders, UAL +5.6%, DAL +5.3%, FDX +3%, JBHT +2.2%, CSX +1.8%. The big debate for oil - and thus the transports - is whether the retreat in oil prices is driven by global growth fears or is a recalibration after the runup from MENA crises.  [View news story]
    I find this humourous after all the thumbs down I get whenever I say there is too much spec money in oil....
    May 5, 2011. 02:33 PM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Obama will ask Congress next week to approve a six-year, $53B program for construction of a national high-speed and intercity rail network. GE Transportation President Lorenzo Simonelli, whose company is the leading manufacturer of diesel electric locomotives, welcomes the plan.  [View news story]
    The comments here Freeform have nothing to do with the reality of the impact of rail to the domestic economy, its a bunch of folks spouting their politics.

    I'd suggest if you honestly want to consider what the impact of a good rail system really is on a country, to take a look at the Boston-DC and NYC-DC lines and to spend some time actually using the phenomenal rail systems in countries we consider to be inferior. Hah.

    American bigotry made US tech fall behind before and look at it rearing its head here now. It's cool to drive a german car and use european appliances but try and replicate euro efficiency here and it becomes "leftist" this and "socialist" that. Hah.
    Feb 8, 2011. 08:39 PM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Obama will ask Congress next week to approve a six-year, $53B program for construction of a national high-speed and intercity rail network. GE Transportation President Lorenzo Simonelli, whose company is the leading manufacturer of diesel electric locomotives, welcomes the plan.  [View news story]
    Yeah Tony, dumb down the conversation so you can understand it, make it about "left" and "right", bite size pieces of of pre-chewed info you can digest. Go for some ad hominem attacks too while you're at it, the issue at hand is never as meaningful as whether you have stamped it as a "left" one or a "right" one.
    Feb 8, 2011. 08:34 PM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A JPMorgan (JPM) customer explains why he uses payday loans, at 287% interest, over applying for a credit card: "Here, I feel respected. At J.P. Morgan, when I walk in, I feel very small, and not particularly important."  [View news story]
    Interesting how the focus is on the comment made by the lendee and there is no reference in the comments about the 287% interest rates charged by payday lenders.

    Besides the fact that those rates immediately bring to mind the alternative economy and "break your legs" folks - just because you have an office a suit and an LLC doesn't make it right - no one in the comments is concerned about just the fact that these payday guys are becoming more and more prevalent in the economy helping to reinforce the permanent underclass status of some of our fellow Americans.

    This isn't business this is predatory exploitation of the less informed.
    Dec 26, 2010. 06:18 PM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • After a bruising week, Pres. Obama will hold a one-day summit on Wednesday for corporate CEOs, hoping to persuade some of the companies to start using their collective $1.9T of cash for expansion and new hires. Invitees include GOOG, CSCO, IBM, AXP, PEP and more.  [View news story]
    When the Chinese Premier was newly elected he came to the US and toured corporate America BEFORE meeting the President. I am too lazy to dig up the relevant dates and meetings, but I do remember something about a party at Gates' estate.

    I thought that was meaningful, and widely ignored.

    You cannot run an economy without talking to the heads of business. Any comment here considering this action by Obama as erroneous or problematic is partisan politics and doesn't intend for the well-being of the nation.
    Dec 11, 2010. 08:26 PM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Energy stocks shellacked as Nymex crude drops below $50 [View news story]
    "slowing economies" is absolutely the wrong interpretation of the decline in oil. There's a dozen things hammering energy right now, and that's just one smallish part of the equation.
    Jan 5, 2015. 01:36 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Reports: Apple facing EU tax probe, building huge ad team [View news story]

    The EU originally looked at Ireland's corporate tax rate while preparing, planning and executing the Irish bailout. And backed away.

    Makes me wonder what's changed and I think I know: they didn't want to go after corporate entities set up in Ireland across the board, they wanted to pick and choose their sacrificial cows.

    I'm not a fan of tax rate mitigation strategies that utilize off-shoring on principle, but I understand them. And if the US doesn't fix it's increasingly regulation-heavy, convoluted and overwhelming tax and legal codes it is destined to fall into non-competitiveness in the international arena, and those companies set up as multinational entities with offshore headquarters will simply.... move. And it'll be trivial to do so. And the money will most certainly stay 'offshore'.
    Jun 10, 2014. 08:10 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Jim Grant rips the Fed, warns of 10% inflation and waxes nostalgic for a time when Washington let prices fall in crises rather than goose them up. Stocks, bonds, gold... almost everything is overpriced: The Fed "has unilaterally taken it upon itself to levitate asset prices... So the things that we take as prices freely determined are in fact manipulated."  [View news story]
    I'd like to suggest an alternative scenario:

    Commodity gains are overdone and unsustainable since the vast majority of people not just in the US but in the emerging world can't bear the burden, they are destined to bounce backas the global economy is being punished by them.

    Everything IS overpriced already but it won't result in inflation it will result in contraction and deflation. People are cutting spending as wages have been unable to track price inflation. I'm no economist, or some guy who's opinion merits a market current but wI'll side with the fed on this, I suspect they will be proved right.

    I'm getting further and further from believing the hyperinflation hypothesis.the more I talk to the middle class of America.
    May 20, 2011. 06:30 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment