Archive for December, 2010

Interesting to see how the world’s stock markets did in 2010.
 
Americas 
Canada        + 33.33%
Mexico        + 19.02%
U.S.          + 12.97%
Brazil        +  1.11%
Europe 
Russia        + 22.13%
Germany       + 16.06%
U.K.          + 10.53%
France        –  2.00%
Ireland       –  3.08%
Portugal      –  9.27%
Spain         – 16.81%
Greece        – 35.48%
Asia Pacific 
Thailand      + 40.60%
South Korea   + 21.88%
India         + 16.74%
Singapore     + 10.87%
Taiwan        +  8.79%
Hong Kong     +  5.15%
Australia     +  0.08%
Japan         –  3.01%
China         – 15.79%

Oil Turns 90

Posted: December 22, 2010 in Technology and Business
Oil just turned $90 a barrel.  I’m getting scared.  It has not "misbehaved" yet… meaning, it didn’t shoot up to $90 from, say, $70 overnight.  But, still, it’s getting uncomfortable.
 
Note, if gas prices sprint to $4 per gallon… or, help us, $5 per gallon… we know what will happen.
While I have vehemently disagreed with some of the uses of "bail out" funds, I feel equally as indignant with the term "bail out."
 
It wasn’t a bail out.  We Americans were investors of last resort.
 
Turns out all of the things most people think are "bail outs" are actually going to make money for us.
 
Ironically, the place where we are going to lose money is the housing programs.
In other words, not Wall Street fat cats… but good ole average Joe and Jane Doe.
 
 
     Most important, he said, is that the government’s combined investments in banks, financial institutions, automakers and credit markets "will show a positive return. The losses will be limited to the amount we spend on our housing programs."
 
So, if you want to say that good ole average Joe and Jane Doe were duped by Wall Street fat cats… fine, then we all bailed them out of their predicament.
 
If you want to say this was a tragic outcome of a noble effort to make the American Dream available to all… fine, I’m even good with that.
 
Other than the horribly offensive bonuses that were paid to employees of essentially bankrupt companies, let’s just make sure we call a spade a spade when it comes to discussing who actually got bailed out.
 
As for the American Dream?  Turns out it takes hard work to achieve.  Like anything of great value.

Rotten Politics

Posted: December 7, 2010 in Technology and Business
If you read the democratic rhetoric, they "saved" the middle class from the evil republicans who only cared about cutting taxes for millionaires.
 
Huh?  Republicans care about cutting taxes for everyone… period. 
 
Somehow implying that they don’t care about the middle class is asinine… and offensive politics, Mr. Obama... of the type that I was hoping would be beneath you. 
 
Apparently not.
 
Further, it’s also being represented that it’s extending the tax breaks on the most wealthy that’s breaking the bank here.
 
Huh?  Of the $458 billion in estimated tax revenue that potentially could be lost over two years, $383 billion of that is from what democrats are characterized as middle class.  What’s the most wealthy’s portion?  About a measly 16% of the total… hardly a bank-breaker. 
 
Geez… politics have completely clouded perspective. 
 
Given the rotten politics, I’m not sure I wouldn’t have played hardball if I were one of the republicans running this thing.  That is, let the tax cuts expire on Dec 31st.  Live with the pain our democratic President caused for about a week.  Then, as my first act of a republican-controlled congress, reinstate the tax cuts and make them retroactive to Jan 1… making heroes out of the republicans to all classes of citizens.
 
Now that’s politics.