The problem with writing financial columns today is that the present is not like any other moment we can recall in U.S. history. As students of world history, the search for similar historical analogies yields disturbing results. A U.S. public education system has provided at least two generations with a distinct bias towards trusting big government and the idea of central planning. Failing to require economics to be taught to each generation of American citizens is producing undesirable effects. Accordingly, we find ourselves taking an ever-increasingly international and mercenary-like approach to investing. The reason is simple. Our hopes for better policy-making in the U.S. are all but abandoned. With this reality comes the conclusion that the unassailable stability of the U.S.A. is in doubt. Or put another way, Medi-scare is working.
The U.S. Head Get Bit Off If We Keep Extending the Debt Ceiling
As we begin the month of June we are reminded of a recent newsletter we read that likened current U.S. fiscal and monetary policy to that of the male mantis during reproduction activity. Apparently, (we have not seen the video library) the male mantis does what nature tells him will feel good, then the larger female (a metaphor for the ruthless global markets) rewards the male by eating his head. We are not sure Ben Bernanke would embrace this comparison. However we suspect the good-humored (though regrettably late) Teddy Kennedy would probably have a chuckle for this somewhat chilling analogy.
The good news for U.S. investors is there are a reasonable number of domestically based companies that still offer durable global competitive advantages. And some of these companies offer investors a significant percentage of overseas sales revenue. There is one too often overlooked fact. The U.S. is still nearly “everyone’s best customer.” And though this fact reeks of precariousness, there are a fair number of American companies that do not have all their eggs in the basket that is so heavily influenced by U.S. policymakers. Perhaps we should take some comfort in knowing there is little advantage in the short run for any other nation to digest the gigantic head of America while engaging in "commerce" with us. Hmmm. Maybe some more praying is in order.
Bloomberg - Republicans are holding to their demand that spending cuts exceed an increase in the government’s legal debt limit, he said. The meeting followed the House’s 318-97 vote yesterday defeating a measure that would have raised the $14.3 trillion debt limit by $2.4 trillion without spending reductions. Republicans scheduled the vote to drive home their position that a debt-limit increase without what Boehner called “major spending cuts” is unacceptable. Democrats derided the vote as political theater. Read full story here: News New Mexico
From forbes.com - The state was scheduled for hearings Wednesday on a plan to reduce the rate hikes New Mexico electric customers will face for federally mandated pollution controls at a coal-fired plant. The state Environmental Improvement Board has proposed a $77 million plan for improvements to meet new Environmental Protection Agency directives, which it estimates will cost the Public Service Company of New Mexico ( PNM - news - people ) customers about $11 a year, according to the Albuquerque Journal. That compares to an EPA plan that officials estimate would cost ratepayers about $85 a year. More News New Mexico
Badger Herald - Fifty-six days after the official Supreme Court election came to a close, Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg conceded the seat to incumbent Justice David Prosser Tuesday. During a press conference Tuesday, Kloppenburg said she called Prosser earlier in the day to inform him she would not pursue legal action on the recount results and to give her congratulations on his victory. “It would serve no purpose to bring a suit with insufficient legal basis,” Kloppenburg said during the conference. “That is not the kind of lawyer I am.” According to the Government Accountability Board, Prosser was certified as the winning candidate last week by a margin of 7,004 votes. Read full story here: News New Mexico
Bloomberg - Crude oil dropped the most in three weeks after data showed that U.S. companies added fewer jobs than forecast last month and the expansion of manufacturing slowed, bolstering concern fuel demand growth will weaken. Oil fell as much as 2.7 percent after ADP Employer Services said employment rose by 38,000 in May, the smallest gain since September. A 175,000 increase in was forecast, according to a Bloomberg News survey. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index decreased to the lowest level since September 2009, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said today. “We’ve received disappointing economic news all week,” said Peter Beutel, the president of Cameron Hanover Inc., an energy advisory company in New Canaan, Connecticut. “Consumers are fearful about the future, which translates into lower fuel demand. Read full story here: News New Mexico
Job Creation 127,000 Short of "Forecasts" - Oil Plunges
The Nation - What was Timothy Geithner thinking back in 2008 when, as president of the New York Fed, he decided to give Goldman Sachs a $30 billion interest-free loan as part of an $80 billion secret float to favored banks? The sordid details of that program were finally made public this week in response to a court order for a Freedom of Information Act release, thanks to a Bloomberg News lawsuit. Read full story here: News New Mexico
KOB TV - Eyewitness News 4 has learned millions of taxpayer dollars are being used for pay raises instead of public safety equipment. Monday night KOB reported a story about a new ladder-truck for the West Side and City Councilor Dan Lewis stated he hoped to fund it by using quarter-cent public safety money, which was approved by voters back in 2003. KOB went to City Hall on Tuesday to find out how much is in that fund. It turns out, there's not one dime. Read full story here: News New Mexico
Townhall- It’s apparent that neither side is serious about controlling spending. I don’t make that statement lightly. Evidence for the Democrats: They want to increase the debt limit by $2 trillion. Why that specific amount? Because it keeps the federal government functioning and solvent through the 2012 presidential elections. How convenient. Evidence the Republicans aren’t serious: As the Federal Treasury burns, the House Armed Services and Appropriations Committees are earmarking tax dollars for programs, planes and weapons systems the Pentagon either didn’t ask for or doesn’t need. As large as the Defense Department’s budget is, Republicans still won’t sacrifice even a portion of that sacred cow. Democrats and Republicans alike seem more concerned with notching meaningless victories in the three-foot walls that fence them in than reaching their true potential – the ability to set this country on a course out of economic bondage.
Our national debt has become our slave master. It controls the values of the homes we buy, the purchasing power of our currency, even our international diplomacy. If you don’t believe me, then why do we let a known murderer and tyrant in North Korea mock his neighbors and the world with his puerile behavior? Because China says so. Read full story here: News New Mexico
From washingtontimes.com -More than 77,000 federal government employees throughout the country — including computer operators, more than 5,000 air traffic controllers, 22 librarians and one interior designer — earned more than the governors of the states in which they work. The findings, from a Congressional Research Service report requested by Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, were released at a time when public workers’ salaries and benefits are under scrutiny across the country as governments try to streamline. CRS reviewed 2009 salary figures, the most recent available, and found 77,057 employees who earned more in annual pay than their respective governors. Of those workers, 18,351 were doctors — the highest percentage. The second-highest total was for 5,170 air traffic controllers — likely both front-line controllers and their supervisors. More News New Mexico
Capitol Report New Mexico - Here are a couple more dispatches on the “Lizard War” we’ve been blogging about. First, the Houston Chronicle ran a story in its Sunday edition on the debate raging in west Texas and southeast New Mexico about whether the dunes sage brush lizard should be placed on the federal government’s endangered species list: “It’s reptile dysfunction,” said Jerry Patterson, the [Texas] land commissioner, who has filed comments with federal officials in opposition of the proposed listing. The Texas General Land Office, which Patterson leads, earned a record $108 million for drilling rights in school fund lands during a quarterly auction last month. “If we had this hanging over us, do you think people will be writing checks just for the right to drill?” he said. “It will bring exploration and production to a screeching halt.” Read full story here: News New Mexico
Capitol Report New Mexico - Eight years ago, the people in Texas approved tort reform to help doctors hit by malpractice claims. The bill — which was narrowly pased – puts limits on noneconomic damages; product liability reform; punitive damages; medical liability reform joint and several liability; and class action reform. Voters also approved a constitutional amendment, Proposition 12, in 2003, which eliminates potential court challenges to the law that limited noneconomic damages to $750,000 and limited doctors’ liability to $250,00. The result? This from the San Antonio Express-News on May 30, headlined “Malpractice lawsuits plummet”: Read full story here: News New Mexico
Washington, DC (May 31, 2011) Today, Congressman Pearce voted against a limited bill that would raise the debt limit without regard for Washington’s spending problem. Congressman Pearce has long argued that it is time to address America’s debt crisis. Mr. Pearce issued the following statement on the debt ceiling: “For too long, the federal government has chosen to repeatedly raise the debt limit while sending the bill to our children and grandchildren. Our national debt is crippling our ability to compete internationally, is stifling our job growth, and is pushing us to the brink of economic collapse. Any action to raise our debt ceiling must be accompanied by dramatic changes in the way we spend, the way we operate, even the way we think. We must promote policies that allow businesses to put Americans back to work. We must stop spending money we don’t have on programs we don’t need. We must stop thinking about what we want the government to do for us, and start thinking about what we can afford. Americans understand that eventually you have to pay your bills, and they expect Congress to do the same. It is time to stop kicking the can down the road and develop serious solutions to our unprecedented national debt.”
U.S. Senate candidate Greg Sowards suggest there are 5 questions he will ask himself before voting on any piece of legislation: The answer to these questions will act as a safety net to filter out bad legislation.
1. Is this legislation worth putting our children and grandchildren into debt?
2. What effect does it have on America's traditional family?
3. Does it take rights away from law abiding citizens and give them to criminals?
4. Does it strengthen and uphold the U.S. Constitution?
5. Does it protect the Sovereignty of America?
According to Sowards, anything that doesn't get through this net, he will actively fight against! On Sowards campaign site he says, "I will not sit idly by and watch it happen, because I am afraid of offending a so called, friend in Washington!"
We will ask Sowards to measure Paul Ryan's budget plan, Path to Prosperity" against these principles when he appears on News New Mexico Thursday morning June 2nd.