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Showing posts from February, 2015

Traffic

I live in Los Angeles County, and just moved here this year from New York City.  I regularly visit the San Francisco Bay area as well as San Diego where I have children living as well as business interests.  These areas all share in common a largely affluent and highly educated population.  They also all have terrible traffic problems.  As I sat in some traffic recently my mind drifted again, as it does too often, at the terrible incompetence of government and how we citizens demand virtually nothing of our leaders.  In election season we fall for a few platitudes about change or growth and like complete morons we run to support this politician or that one, never insisting upon hearing real concrete goals and demanding upon hearing concrete action steps that will be taken to improve our lives.

The Real Estate Lesson of Radio Shack

Radio Shack filed for bankruptcy recently, and announced that it would close 2,400 stores.  They fell prey to technological advancement that they were ill prepared for, and thus could not offer customers compelling value. The lesson one can infer is that tastes change, technology changes, and thus companies that once were dominant ultimately fall away.  I read recently that nearly 90% of the companies listed in the Fortune 500 in 1955 no longer exist.  This doesn’t surprise me at all.

Obama’s “Trickle Down” Recovery

I have been surprised recently at how often I hear from people who tell me how our economic recovery is now finally on firm ground.   This claim is based upon the fact that the stock market is at historical highs, the U.S. government can borrow money at historically low rates, the federal budget deficit is lower now than it’s been in years, inflation rates are extremely low, gasoline prices are lower than they've been in a long while, and the unemployment rate is down to a very nice level.  Most of those who express this exuberance are left-leaning Democrats, who in the same breath, knowing I’m no fan of our current President and believed he would lead us to some version of ruin, give me a version of “How does it feel to have been so wrong?”

Taxes and (In)Efficiency

The divide between the two main political parties today is historically wide, and ideas about what is the proper taxation level is a key difference between them.  The Democrats, led by President Obama, favor ever-higher taxation levels, claiming to be driven by their pursuit of what they refer to as “fairness.”  The Republicans mostly rally around the notion of reducing taxes, with a belief that lower levels of taxation will leave more money in the hands of people and companies who will spend or invest that money and thus stimulate economic vibrancy that will create more jobs and the hoped for real economic growth.