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Archive for August, 2012

A Great Quote on Investing

August 10, 2012 Leave a comment

The investment process is only half the battle. The other weighty component is struggling with yourself, and immunizing yourself from the psychological effects of the swings of markets, career risk, the pressure of benchmarks, competition, and the loneliness of the long distance runner. – Barton Biggs

Uncle Milton, 100 Years On

August 9, 2012 Leave a comment

We forget how much of today’s free market views—the language and examples we commonly use—come from Milton Friedman. He belongs in the company of Smith, Bastiat, Hayek, and Von Mises, among a few elite others, in not just espousing the virtues of free markets, but explaining them in ways the non-economist public understood intuitively.

You can see the entire run of his PBS specials here:

http://www.freetochoose.tv/

The Real Payroll Numbers

August 7, 2012 Leave a comment

While overall unemployment remains high in the US, here’s an amazing revelation few are talking about:

Change in Payrolls Since June 2009 (End of Recession)

Private Payrolls:                +3,212,000

Government Payrolls:         -618,000

Source: Thomson Reuters, US Bureau of Labor and Statistics

Effectively, the private sector is staging a comeback few appreciate, whereas the jobs contraction largely has been at the federal, state and municipal levels.  For more information on the payroll numbers, check out this recent article on Fisher Investments MarketMinder:  Donkeys, Elephants, and Employment

 

Utterly Depressing News About Taxes

August 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Oh, what a world, what a world! While media chatterheads go on about Libor and other financial chicanery, this sneakily one of the most depressing financial news stories in some time:

Firms Pass Up Tax Breaks, Citing Hassles, Complexity – John D. McKinnon

But executives, particularly at small and medium-size companies, complain that many of the tax deductions are either too cumbersome or too confusing. In some cases, the cost of obtaining the tax benefit is greater than the benefit itself—a wrinkle that has helped spawn a cottage industry of tax-credit consultants. Also problematic is the threat of pushback from the Internal Revenue Service.

The result: many companies are saying “no, thanks” and are likely paying more taxes than legally required. And corporate breaks that Washington hopes will boost the economy often prove ineffective.

You’re thinking, well, of course they’re talking about Greece. No! The US ! A world where the tax code is so convoluted that small businesses pass up tax breaks in the world’s breadbasket of capitalism is a miserable world indeed. It also starkly displays how, 10 years hence from Sarbanes-Oxley, big firms with big accounting and audit budgets have an advantage over smaller firms… all due to a bloated tax code.

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