Thursday, August 25, 2016


With all the rhetoric about everything,very little is said about the greatness of America's ingenuity. Caterpillar, Boeing, Microsoft, Drug companies, Google, Facebook, Cisco, IBM, General Motors....I could go on and on and on. In the process of globalization, it's easy enough to copy our high labor content products but how many great drugs have come out of China, Venezuela, Russia, North Korea, Mexico...I could go on and on and on.
Yes we make what seem to be continuous mistakes and we don't solve some big problems, but to call the American contribution to human and industrial development anything but great is to be looking in the wrong direction.
When China announces its going to make a commercial jet its just a copycat. That's all.
Unfortunately, the copycats of the world are a significant competitive force. When our own government doesn't realize that much more money is saved by the creation of new drugs, than is achieved by all the generics in the world, is to add "insult to injury." Stay Tuned...


Three major drug companies spent $100 billion dollars on Research and devleopment in the last five years.

Three major generic drug companies spent under $10 billion on research and development in the last five years.

Since important new drugs are almost impossible to find the major drug companies are likely to find fewer new drugs over the next ten years as their cash flow will decline.

Since generic companies don't do much research or find too many new drugs, the net result will be less drugs, more illness and consequently, more expense.

Unless we get very lucky and the drug companies have a few more breakthroughs.

Furthermore, there is a strong likelihood of declining morale and a significant weakening of the talent who are able to find new drugs.

Sunday, July 31, 2016


It will be easy to criticize me for taking a serious matter and trivializing it.  The Russians are holding some Germans as prisoners.  They obviously don't care what Germany thinks.

Any further discussion of Crimea seems to be over and the Russians have walked off with many millions of people.  Europe has no military clout. It is obvious if Russia decides to reclaim Ukraine there won't be anybody to stop them.  We haven't been able to stop the Syrian situation, the Cuban situation, the Iranian situation, the Venezuelan situation and on and on.

The issue is not about Ukraine; it is does Russia have designs on further incursion into Europe?  If it does, no combination of forces in Europe can stop them.  Putin sees that underneath recovering economies and strong stock markets lies a broad undertone of socialist and populist voting positions.

Russia needs a bigger population and its clear they intend to get one, one way or another. Trade trumps threats.  We lose, they win and the long term is unknown.

Welcome to a Putin's Russia instead of a Gorbachev one.


Sometimes common wisdom is way off the mark.  Over the last few years we have pointed out that the PC wasn't going to disappear, the price of gold  was overblown, the pundits of gloom were mostly not worth listening to, the occupiers had little case, the deficit was substantially media hype, and the appeasement of enemies is generally not a winning strategy.

What I am going to say now seems absurd on its face, even to me who is writing it, but here I go.

My parents were born in Russia. Their citizenship papers say they were born in Russia.  Specifically they were born in Ukraine, Russia.  In my family it was taken as a statement of fact that they were from Russia. I took a look at Wikipedia and it was obvious, for several hundred years, Ukraine was considered Russia.

Somehow or other the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the name Russia was called by, ceded Ukraine to its own independence.  Now there is man by the name of Mr. Putin who thinks that breaking up the union was a very negative development for his country.

The Civil War in the United States was initially about maintaining the union between the North and the South, it was not initially fought over slavery.  I'm not sure that maintaining the Russian union is not as important to them as it was to us during the Civil War.

What am I missingS

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Sixty years ago we bought our first house. It was $11,000.00. About ten years later we sold it for $30,000.00. Basically housing prices rose steadily for sixty years. Along the way home ownership became a cult idea. It started with Roosevelt and ended in a crescendo of speculation and absurd overpricing. No one really knew why a house was worth so much and why everybody should have one. There were lots of theories. Are we now faced with a cyclical downturn in housing demand? Or have we reached a tipping point where more and more people say “Hey I don’t need a 3,000 square foot house… I just need a 1,200 or 1,600 square foot home.” That would be a break in the mania, not just a typical cyclical decline. I don’t think too many people would argue with the idea that everyone should have all the “good things in life”, the only real difference of opinion would be how to accomplish that goal.

Abraham Lincoln once had a debate with Stephen A. Douglas. They were both running for Senator of Illinois. Douglas said the slaves of the south were better off than the northern immigrants. His rationale was that slaves were property and generally treated better than the northern laborers. This appeared to be true at the time. Lincoln’s response was that the difference between the northern laborers and the slaves was that northern laborers would eventually be upwardly mobile, one after the other. One would a start business, many would begin to hire their own employees and another would rise up in someone else’s business. Whereas he said that slaves, on the other hand, couldn’t go anywhere. They had their chains.

Unfortunately there are many kinds of chains. One can be chasing an impossible dream that housing prices will rise forever, or that internet prices will rise forever, or that people will stay pessimistic forever or that the government will provide for you forever. We are reaching the point where millions and millions of people are working for the government. We are increasingly restrained by an enlarging government which is viewed as beneficial but instead, in many ways, is becoming a new form of imposed chains.

Almost every significant unionized industry in America has failed. Now the largest unionized segment in America is government. I’m not against unions, anymore than I am pro-incompetent management. But they have both often caused more harm than good and been well compensated along the way.

People don’t leave what they believe to be secure environments. With unionized government jobs you’re unlikely to leave. You give up on opportunity. You generally vote for those in control that convince you that this is a good deal. You are mentally captured by what they seem to be providing and give up almost any chance for significant opportunity. Are we now on the road to the subtle enslavement state? You may be free to go, but how can you. Lincoln was right when he implied that “chains” come in many different varieties.

Government can only be paid for by taxes. If wages and salaries aren’t rising, and stocks aren’t rising, and houses aren’t rising, there isn’t going to be much to pay for future government. Freedom to succeed will ultimately create  a more economically equal society. Reducing that freedom, whether well meaning or not, will ultimately prolong the problem. Certainly taxation without representation, where a small percentage of the people pay almost all of the taxes, will not work. The ultra wealthy who attempt to shield their real tax reducing methods, while shouting for equality, don’t help solve our problems.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


The same affliction to our sanity involves the media abuse of the slogan "top one percenters". Recently the median salary of the public university presidents place them all in the top one percenters.

The Presidents of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Michigan, Amherst, Williams, Stanford are all in the top one percenters. The same is true for hundreds if not thousands of University Professors.

Okay, so is the head of the American Red Cross, the American Cancer Society, the President of the United States, Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Herman Cain, Jesse Jackson, Jeb Bush, Michael Bloomberg, lots of Senators and Congressman and the head of the AARP (a real disaster). NBA and NFL's top players such as Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant, Shaq, Dan Marino, Tom Brady, Michael Vick,; Musicians and Artists like Beyonce, JayZ, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Janet Jackson, Taylor Swift, Toby Keith, Garth Brooks, Jennifer Lopez, Hank Williams Jr., Mariah Carey, Harry Belafonte, Barbara Streisand Actors, Actresses and Media celebrities such as Angela Jolie, Steven Spielberg, Justin Bieber, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Jerry Seinfeld, Jennifer Aniston, Oprah Winfrey, David Letterman, Tyra Banks, Kim Kardashian, Larry King, Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, Ariana Huffington, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Friedman, Jim Cramer, Eddie Murphy, and top people that run hundreds of thousands of employees and many of those like Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, and Steve Jobs who created unbelievable changes in society and millions of jobs, are in the one percenters club. I could keep listing people...the media lies...look at the truth.

I was in Austin recently and there was an Occupy Wall Street group. I decided to sit down on the lawn with some of them and found out from about 15 different conversations that everyone of these "Occupiers" knew absolutely nothing about salary levels and economics. One young woman was telling another young woman how much she loved her. They really didn't know each other. Maybe I overstepped my bounds but we were kind of chatting and I said to the better dressed young lady; "Why don't you give this woman you love your hat - she seems to be getting sunburned". That went about as far as I could throw an elephant. For some strange reason the media hypes and the police in this situation were busy placating the group as they trashed a substantial piece of property. None of the people I spoke with knew anything at all about who the "one percenters" were.

Monday, July 25, 2016


Saul Alinsky pontificated in his Rules for Radicals that to destroy the American system that a realistic radical is completely unconcerned about the verification of facts and that they are only interested in their agenda. He states that the purpose of radicals is to sew discontent and to seek to create an environment so they can influence the generally ignorant population to support political goals that would otherwise be unsupportable in the face of the facts.

Shepard Osherow. All Rights Reserved