Tuesday, September 27, 2016

BUBBLES A NECESSARY EVIL? (ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 11/18/10)

I looked at the tax receipts and expenditures for the federal government for the past twenty years. This period covers Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama. There was a surplus for a few years in the late 1990’s.

A U.S. Treasury report of May 2008 stated that “Much of the growth during the late 1990s can be attributed to the extraordinary performance of the stock market and its effects on individual income tax receipts”. It further stated that “Capital gains income more than quadrupled between 1994 and 2000. Tax receipts from capital gains realization more than tripled during this period, even though the tax rate on capital gains was reduced beginning in 1997”. As to the increase of taxable income the report stated “Taxable personal income grew faster than GDP during this period. Much of the rise in wages was related to the exercise of stock options and bonus income".

On July 17, 1995 the NASDAQ stock index closed above the 1,000. On March 10, 2000 the index reached a high of 5,132. The NASDAQ bubble of this period under a Democratic President Clinton and a Republican controlled congress contributed significantly to creating a budget surplus. Unfortunately the NASDAQ (DOT.COM) which kept strong receipts flowing into the treasury was destructed by the crash of Bubble Number One. A surplus of any significance was only achieved for a couple of years.

When President Bush took office the budget surplus was already declining. Then the staggering September 11 attacks took place. President Bush and the Congress enacted an emergency tax relief program to attempt to stop the slide in economic activity. The results of those tax cuts are best described in the same Department of Treasury report. The report states: “After 2004, tax revenues again grew faster than the economy. Between 2004 and 2006, capital gains realizations grew by approximately 60 percent. Growth in corporate income tax receipts was especially strong recently, nearly doubling in levels between 2004 and 2007”.

As the economy began to recover bubble number two, the housing market got completely out of control. When this bubble burst the economy was in a free fall. The very large deficit of 2009 and 2010 were caused by a response to Bubble Number Two. Again both Presidents Bush and Obama and the Congress along with the Fed responded very effectively.

Where we sit today our country is still facing double digit unemployment in many areas. Increasing taxes is not supported by official U.S. Treasury commentary. The deficit is not a partisan problem.

Requiring two bubbles to keep this economy in a prosperous state for the last two decades is an unfortunate state of circumstances. The problem is that it’s almost impossible to stop bubbles in free economic democracy. Stay tuned…

Monday, September 26, 2016

WHAT TRUMP (ORIG. ROMNEY) NEEDS TO SAY TO GET ELECTED..(ORIG. PUBLISHED 8/13/12)

I am personally against abortion but if you want an abortion you should be able to get one without any problems. 

Gun Control is like the problem we face with illegal drug use.  It's impossible to keep guns out of the wrong hands completely just like its impossible to believe that illegal drug use will ever go away completely. We should continue to maintain laws that protect the innocent and persecute the guilty in both matters. 

I am not in favor of rich people, poor people or any other particular group, I am only in favor of economic policies that work to make our country better for as many people as possible. 

I am not against Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security, but I am in favor of policies that will make them last permanently.

I won't appease any particular group or interest in order to be elected. 

I am in favor of an education system that raises the accomplishment of a much larger segment of our school populations.  I will find a way to sit down with the top school union representatives and work out a mutually agreeable plan that will get this well on the road during my administration. 

My administration will be color blind, religion blind, gender blind, handicapped blind, minority blind and sexuality blind.  

I will pick people who will do their jobs for all Americans even when decisions create controversy.

I will not run the traditional political play game of buying votes.

I will do the best I can even if I am not elected to a second term if I win the first.

I will not allow Israel or any of our allies to be scapegoated by politics. 




Thursday, August 25, 2016

BLOG OF THE DAY(ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 3/2/11)

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...

ITS TOUGH AND EXPENSIVE TO CREATE NEW DRUGS...ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 6/4/12

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

TRUMP -DOES HE HAVE IT CORRECT? ( ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 5/2/14)

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.


TRUMP-DOES HE REALLY HAVE IT CORRECT? RUSIA & UKRAINE - A COUNTRY THAT WAS ONCE ONE...(ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 9/11/14)

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

CHAINS OF MANY KINDS...HOUSING, HISTORY, GOVERNMENT AND FREEDOM (ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 8/14/12)

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.


 

Shepard Osherow. All Rights Reserved