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Showing posts from June, 2012

The New European Solution

The agreement reached on Thursday in the Eurozone sparked a major stock and bond rally in world financial markets.  There was a nearly two percent pop across the globe.  The agreement basically made each country responsible for every other country's commercial banking system.  The next step will be Eurobonds, which makes every country responsible for the sovereign debt of all the other countries -- "joint and several" is the usual phrase.

Nothing, of course, in the agreement reigns in the growth of that sovereign debt or in way repairs commercial bank balance sheets.  There is just a new signatory -- Germany.  Now, if one looks only at Germany and ignores the rest of the Eurozone, it is clear that Germany itself is on the road to financial ruin, long before taking on the indebtedness of the likes of Greece, Spain, Italy, etc.  The main thing that these agreements do is to eliminate any rational reason for the profligate countries to take any measures to curb their budget …

McDonnell Reappoints Dragas

I like Helen Dragas.  I know that may sound strange, but I think she is very smart and well intentioned.  We all make mistakes.  I think her second term will prove out that she can be an outstanding member of the Board of Visitors.

But, you have to wonder about Governor McDonnell.  What's he thinking?  He announced the appointment as if the opposition to Dragas was gender based, which is completely ridiculous.  What McDonnell still refuses to admit, at least publicly, is that he favored the ouster of Sullivan all along.  That is the only conceivable explanation for Dragas's reappointment.

I would not worry about the Board of Visitors ganging up on Sullivan.  I don't see that happening.  I expect Dragas will be very cooperative and the future is likely to be harmonious.

But, you have to wonder about the Governor in all of this.  No matter how you tell the story, the Governor's role is likely not to be one that history will look back on with admiration.

The Supreme Court

Conservatives are castigating John Roberts for joining with four liberals to provide a path to constitutionality for Obamacare.  Why pick on him?  When Republicans are in political control, they do exactly the same thing.

Ever hear of "Americans for Disability Act," "The Prescription Drug Bill," "No Child Left Behind," etc.  These are Republican initiatives passed by Republicans.  Who were the biggest critics of Sarah Palin after she was the Republican nominee for VP?  Karl Rove and Peggy Noonan -- two Republicans.  What was her crime?  She didn't read the NY Times and thought Russsia was across the Bering Straights (which it is).

Who coined the phrase "voodoo economics" to describe the Reagan tax cut plan?  A conservative Republican, that's who.  What Governor recently followed the advice of four liberal Democrats, against the advice of conservatives, to try to destabilize the University of Virginia?  A conservative Republican that's …

Germany Slowly Getting Pulled In

What was a disastrous future for the southern periphery of Europe is now being extended to the northern states as well.  Germany is the main target of this exercise.  Today's agreement to accept near worthless bank equity by the European banking stabilization fund is an admission of hopelessness.

No one yet is reducing the yawning deficits or recapitalizing the insolvent banks that plague Europe.   That's off the table for now.  So, European debt continues to explode off to infinity while the paper-shuffling politicians rearrange the names of the guarantors.  In the end, it won't matter.  Germany will suffer the same fate as Greece and for the same reason.  They can't pay their bills.

The problem in Europe is one of solvency, not one of liquidity.  These patch jobs only make the final outcome much more severe than it would be if the real problems were faced with candor.

New Fund: AmDynamic Sukuk

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After the spectacular performance of AmDynamic Bond fund, AmInvestment Services Bhd would like to replicate the success of the conventional fund into this newly launched shariah compliant fund.

The Fund aims to provide capital appreciation by investing primarily in Sukuk both locally and globally. To achieve the investment objective, the Fund will undertake active management to enhance and optimize returns from investing in sovereign, quasi-sovereign and corporate Sukuks. The sectorial weightings maybe adjusted to maximize the performance. There is no minimum rating for a Sukuk purchased or held by the Fund.
More about the Fund
Value-add of the Fund is derived from active tactical duration management, yield curve positioning and credit spread arbitrage. Credit spread arbitrage and yield curve positioning is part of relative value approach that involves analysis of general economic and market conditions and the use of models to analyze and compare expected returns as well as the assumed r…

How Can A Profit-Guaranteed Investment Be Risky?

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Investment professionals love complicating things. Trust me on that. I was once like that. You don’t believe me?
The next time you meet people from the investment industry, try asking them to give you a definition of the word “risk”.
Investopedia defines “risk” as “the chance that an investment’s actual return will be different than expected...risk is usually measured by the standard deviation of the historical/average return of a specific investment.”

Don’t get me wrong. This is actually a pretty good definition of "risk”... that is if you speak finance. But most people don’t, and if you are like most people, you probably struggled to understand even the first sentence (actual return vs expected return...huh?). Good luck attempting to measure risk!

Then, what does RISK mean? Complicated definitions aside, many investment professionals define “risks” consistent with the above definition i.e. in terms of “uncertainty” (or “volatility”, a fancy word for uncertainty). Professionals refer t…

Mostly Winners -- Two Losers

Now that the UVA crisis has passed it is easy to see that the ultimate outcome created winning positions for mostly everyone involved.  Even Rector Helen Dragas emerged with strength and character in bowing to the inevitable return of President Teresa Sullivan.  It is unfortunate that Mark Kington and Peter Kiernan remain on the outside looking in.  Both Kington and Kiernan are outstanding alums and their contributions to the University in the past merit returning these two to positions of respect at their alma mater.  I for one hope to see both Kington and Kiernan playing a major role at the University in the years ahead, as they have in the past.

There are a lot of messages in what has transpired in the past two weeks, but reflect for a moment on why the groundswell of support for Sullivan was so overwhelming.  Sullivan did the little things well.  She was kind and friendly.  She sought out all parts of the University community.  She expressed interest in everything that we do.  Thes…

Harmony at UVA

The UVA Board of Visitors voted today 15-0 to return Teresa Sullivan to her post as President of the University.  In a gesture of unity, the Board conducted a 15-0 vote of confidence for the Rector, Helen Dragas.  Truly!

These are welcome actions and hopefully now the University can address the real issues that seemed to divide the President and the Board that, heretofore, had never surfaced at a Board meeting.  It is time to talk about these things in the open and begin a much needed move to reform an ossified, bureaucratic institution, that is in much need of reform.

UVA, like other major American Universities, faces an uncertain future because, while costs have gone through the roof, the quality of education provided has stagnated.  It is time to face these problems squarely and not pretend that all is well in academia.  All is not well.

The UVA Board has corrected an egregious error and should be commended.  Removing a sitting President, without so much as a meeting or a vote or even…

Strangled by Regulation

The American economy isn't going anywhere.  Even a Supreme Court decision against the Obamacare mandate can't fix the absence of commercial and residential lending mandated by Dodd-Frank.  American business is strangling under the heavy boot of government.  Hiring is simply irrational given the political and regulatory environment.

The energy industry will do well and there will be technology shows of strength, but the broader economy is weighted down by regulatory red tape and bureaucratic mistrust of free enterprise.  All of this bodes ill for the prospects of those seeking employment.  All the rhetoric about inequality and taxing the rich simply reinforce all of the reasons why business has no interest in adding jobs.

Unless and until the political environment changes in the direction of free enterprise, the American economy will remain on its present course, sputtering along with no real sense of direction.

A Learning Process

Normally, each morning I can't wait to read the Wall Street Journal's opinion pieces, hoping to learn more about news events that may not be captured in the regular news sources.  Or, to get a point of view that you rarely see in mainstream media.  This morning, I simply passed it by.

Somehow after the lies and misrepresentations in yesterday's WSJ editorial entitled "Virginia Fracas," I don't trust the WSJ any more.  Virtually, every paragraph of the "VF" article was an apparently deliberate attempt to distort what is really happening at UVA to fit a narrow political agenda.  Shame on WSJ.  I doubt that I will have any interest in perusing the WSJ editorial page in the future.  I simply don't think the WSJ can be trusted to be truthful when they have a political point to make.

You live and learn.

Republicans Want To Own The Sullivan Ouster

The McDonnell forces, not content with a furious effort to control the upcoming board vote on Tuesday, to maintain the ouster of Sullivan, have now enticed the Wall Street Journal into one of the most astounding editorials in the paper's history.  This editorial is so full of factual inaccuracies and outright distortions as to make you wonder about the facts cited in other editorials that the Journal runs.  Read it in today's WSJ.

The conservative right is apparently vying to support Governor McDonnell's effort to claim credit for Sullivan's ouster.  They are turning this into a right versus left controversy, even though the entire episode seemed to have been originally engineered by the left.  But, maybe not.  It is becoming increasingly clear that Governor McDonnell was in on this from the very beginning as the now-famous Darden email stated.

The McDonnell forces are pulling out all of the stops to control the vote to oust Sullivan and to keep the University in a state…

New Fund: OSK-UOB Asian Income Fund

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If you have a medium risk appetite and are seeking for an investment opportunity in the Asian region, you may want to take a close look at OSK-UOB Asian Income Fund, a balanced fund which was newly launched by OSK-UOB Investment Management Berhad on 5 June 2012.

The fund is a feeder fund that aims to provide income and capital growth over the medium to long term by investing in one target fund, i.e, the Schroder Asian Income (fund's inception date: 24 October 2011 and is denominated in Singapore Dollar), which primarily invests in Asian equities and Asian fixed income securities.
More about Schroder Asian Income The Schroder Asian Income can invests in Asian high yield bonds (30% - 70%), Asian high dividend yielding equities (30% - 70%), cash (0% - 30%) or other asset classes (0% - 10%). Cash will be used if necessary to limit downside risk during adverse market conditions. Financial derivatives are also used to stabilize the portfolio of the fund by hedging the fund's exposure t…

A Reality Check from GASB

There are new rules coming out from the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) that will require public pension funds to recalculate their unfunded liability.  The new rules still retain a "wishful thinking" component, but the new rules definitely move the calculations more toward reality and away from the current fantasy rules that public pension funds now use.

The bottom line issue is how to "value" the future payments that pension beneficiaries are expecting to receive.  Current methods have absurdly low valuations on these future payments and, as a result, the employer contributions to these funds have always been absurdly inadequate.  It has long been in the interest of politicians and board members to downplay the miserable funding status of these pension funds and to hope and pray that their inevitable blow-up will occur on someone else's watch.

Some states, Utah in particular, have dealt with these obligations in a straight forward fashion and enact…

This is McDonnell's Decision

In a close vote on a state governing board, all eyes look to the Governor's mansion.  If Sullivan is not reappointed, then it should be obvious to everyone what really happened here and who is responsible.  Politicians change after they get elected.  Their inner circle quickly descends to a small group of political hacks and the super rich.   These folks usually have a very different agenda than the voters who elected the politicians and often are diametrically opposed to the views of the political party that the politician represents. 

Members of governing boards, both governmental and corporate, usually have only one agenda -- to stay on the boards.  Thus, they look to those who control reappointment in times of crisis.  Not all, but most.  Check the political contributions that board members make in the months leading up to a reappointment decision and you will find a clear pattern.  This is human nature, not some evil conspiracy.  That human nature is playing out now at the Uni…

Whatever Happened to Due Process?

While noting that the ouster of President Sullivan was done without transparency and proper procedure, Virginia Governor McDonnell has decided to make up his own rules.  He says that if no decision is reached by Wednesday, he will replace the entire Board of Visitors: "If you fail to do so, I will ask for the resignation of the entire Board on Wednesday."

What is the statutory requirement for the Governor to remove a Board member?  The only grounds permitting the Governor to legally remove a Board member are "malfeasance, misfeasance, incompetence, or gross neglect of duty."  There is nothing in the code of Virginia that says that disagreeing with the Governor constitutes grounds for dismissal.  The Governor's threat, if carried out, changes the clear intention of the Virginia Code.  It would permit any sitting Governor, any time they disagreed with a Board action, to simply remove the entire Board.

The Governor's behavior in all of this comes as no surprise.…

McDonnell Wades In

The Governor of Virginia has finally said something of substance about the ongoing tragedy at the University of Virginia. Apparently, the Governor finds fault with all parties and demands quick action. He will, he says, remove the entire Board of Visitors if they do not emerge from next Tuesday's Board meeting with a decision and an explanation and, interestingly, "unity."

One suspects that the Governor is not happy about the very fact of a called meeting to "reconsider" President Sullivan's employment. He would have preferred to "move on" with the new leadership. Never mind that nearly 100 percent of faculty, student and alums seem uncomfortable with the manner of Sullivan's ouster. The Governor seems to think that speed and decisiveness are the answer as opposed to due process and sound judgment.

The Board needs to make a decision one way or another. The Governor should have called upon the Board to meet and make a decision last week not…

Hopeful Signs at UVA

A meeting of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia has been scheduled for next Tuesday at 3PM for the express purpose of revisiting the ouster of Teresa Sullivan.  BOV members Hunter Craig and Heywood Fralin spent the better part of the week lining up what they think are a majority of the BOV in support of returning Sullivan to her post.  This is truly good news for the University and could spark a renewal of the sense of community that UVA has made its trademark.

While tempers have flared and some things have been said and done that one might wish had not, by and large, discourse between those who disagree has been remarkably civil.  One hopes that if Sullivan is returned, then a process of healing can begin that would include olive branches to Helen Dragas, Marc Kington, and others who are seen as central figures in this drama.  The University needs all of its alumni, not just those who might end up the winners in this tragedy.  Forgiveness, reconciliation, and goodwill…

New Fund: PB Dynamic Allocation Fund

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Another new fund for the month of June, Public Mutual launched PB Dynamic Allocation Fund which allows the investor the opportunity to participate in tactical asset allocation strategy where instruments are allocated between the difference asset classes of equities, fixed income securities and money market instruments based on a flexible investment mandate. The fund may capitalize on potential investment opportunities if the market outlook is positive while reducing its equity exposure when weakness in the equity markets is expected.

As such, its equity content may range between 30% to 98% of the NAV of the fund. The balance of the fund's NAV may be invested in fixed income securities and liquid assets which include money market instruments and deposits.
Investment Strategy Although the fund is actively managed, the frequency of its trading strategy will very much depend on market opportunities. The fund employs both the top-down and bottom-up approach to evaluate its investments. Fo…

Wow!

The University of Virginia Board of Visitors laid down the gauntlet by naming McIntire Business School Dean Zeithaml as the "interim President."  It is hard to see this appointment as anything but a thumb in the eye to the University faculty and student body, concerned that outside financial interests have taken over University governance.  There was no vote taken on the resignation and/or termination of President Teresa Sullivan, avoiding the hard question of who does or does not support her removal, not to mention the haunting question of why.  As has become normal operating procedure for this Board of Visitors, all relevant activity took place in secret under the cloak of "executive sessions," further arousing the suspicions of those who view all of this as a massive conspiracy.

This sets the stage for a protracted battle between virtually the entire University of Virginia community and the school's governing Board and raises serious questions about where fut…

What is Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Local Participant?

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Recently, Bursa Malaysia launched its Derivatives Local Participants Recruitment Drive to have more derivatives traders, so that a more vibrant and dynamic derivatives market can be seen in Malaysia. Anyway, what is it actually? I guess many of us, either yourself or investors or traders, also doesn't know the exact answer...

Again, it's time for Finance Malaysia to do Bursa Malaysia a favor to educate the public. A Local Participant (Locals) is a professional derivatives trader who trades for his/her own account. In essence, a self-employed trader. With the recent easing of entry requirements, those who aspire to be a Local Participant are not required to pass the licensing examination, show the relevant academic qualification and industry experience.
What is the benefits of being a Locals? Locals have grown alongside the Exchange over the years, both in terms of numbers and trading participation in derivatives products. As a proprietary trader, they have unlimited trading poten…

UVA Board Facing a Tidal Wave

They should have seen this coming.  Major large donors are now abandoning the UVA Board in its effort to defend its decision to sack President Terry Sullivan.  The current Provost John Simon added his voice of protest to that of former President John Casteen over the board's yet-to-be-explained removal of Sullivan.  More than 800 faculty, staff and onlookers convened quietly in the Darden School auditorium last night to watch the Faculty Senate endorse a resolution expressing "no confidence" in the University's Board.  UVA's Student Honor Council weighed in with its own letter expressing views that can't be encouraging for the Board.

Who's left?

Within the next 24 hours, I would expect some major changes in board composition as well as some change of course by the Board itself in the Sullivan ouster episode.  The Board simply does not have the horses at this point and it is time to sound the retreat.  Having the authority to fire Sullivan is just not enough…

UVA Crisis Morphs Into a Political Issue

It's a great irony that two Democrats have created a growing problem for a Republican Governor.  Both the Rector and Vice Rector (translate to Chairman and Vice Chairman) of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors (i.e. Directors) were first placed on the Board by Democratic governors.  But Governor McDonnell has embraced both, reappointing one and quietly giving assurances of reappointing the other.  So McDonnell will now be widely seen as responsible for their actions, even as he makes every effort to distance himself.

The problem is that the Rector and the Vice Rector have led the charge to remove one of the most popular university presidents in the country -- Terry Sullivan, until last week, President of the University of Virginia.  Apparently, there is no constituency, outside of the Board of Visitors itself, that seems happy with Sullivan's dismissal.  And, the Armada is assembling.

Strongly worded petitions are garnering signatures expressing a "lack of confiden…

The Ultimate Destination of "Affordable Health Care"

Greece was the model -- a national health care system that was both affordable and universal.  Candidate Obama chided Americans for being the only developed country in the world unwilling to provide "affordable" health care.  We now see where the "Affordable Health Care Act" is taking us.

Karolina Tagaris spells it out in a special Reuters report today:

"Greece's rundown state hospitals are cutting off vital drugs, limiting non-urgent operations and rationing even basic medical materials for exhausted doctors as a combination of economic crisis and political stalemate strangle health funding."

The 'rundown state hospitals'  did not become rundown overnight.  It took some time to destroy the medical system in Greece, but we are there now.  I wonder if no health care is better than free market health care.  Greece is about to find out.

What is the lesson?  Contrary to Candidate Obama's loose talk, no nation can 'afford' "Afforda…

New Fund: AmConsumer Select - Capital Protected

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AmInvestment Bank is launching a new capital-protected fund and it is optimistic of a good take-up rate for this RM100mil new fund. According to its CEO, the launch of the fund is timely in view of the current macroeconomic uncertainties. Since it is capital protected, the fund offers a safe haven for risk-averse investors looking to hedge against the uncertainty in the global market, she adds.

The Fund is a close-ended fund which aims to provide regular income with an investment horizon of 2.5 years (30 months) whilst providing capital protection on Maturity Date. The Fund seeks to achieve its objective by investing in ZNIDs and/or MGS and an over-the-counter option linked to the price movement of a basket of five (5) consumer related stocks.
For the purpose of the Fund, consumer related stocks refer to stocks of companies that produce products/services that are consumed by individuals. Selection of consumer related stocks is based on fundamental strength of the companies through inter…

The Greek Vote Doesn't Matter

The only sense in which the Greek election on Sunday matters is as a time marker.  Whoever wins cannot possibly follow through on the austerity program and, regardless of the outcome, Greek is headed for a Euro exit.  It's just numbers now.  Greece is gone.

The real news is what is happening in Spain and Italy.  Yields on sovereign debt are rising quickly in both countries.  They are past the point at which either country has any real shot at making it through this.  Germany does not have the resources to rescue the situation, nor does the US and/or Britain.  It is over for the Eurozone.

The failure to permit workouts and bankruptcy, which is what should have happened here, as well as in the US in 2008, is going to exact a huge price on the Eurozone.  Massive unemployment, surging inflation, and collapsing GDP represent Europe's near term future.  It is really far too late now to avoid catastrophe.

Hopefully, other countries will learn something from Europe's coming agonies. …

Unrest Grows at UVA

The University of Virginia is in crisis.  There can't be any doubt about it.  There seems to be remarkable unity among those who question the Board of Visitor's recent decision to request the resignation of UVA President Teresa Sullivan.  I suspect part of that unity is fed by the personality that Sullivan exposed to the community during her two year tenure at the University.  Sullivan exudes happiness and optimism and seemed to immerse herself in all aspects of UVA from the moment of her arrival.

With a history of experience with very large universities and a research background in sociology, Sullivan's selection in 2010 was initially widely viewed with skepticism by many parts of the University community -- me included.  But Sullivan took steps to meet and greet with all parts of her constituency and soon became a familiar and welcome figure around grounds.  She held meetings with different employee groups, gave frequent talks in small settings, engaged groups that had ne…

Chaos Ahead and Soon

The Greeks will vote on Sunday. The election is probably going to install a far(ther) left political party that intends to renounce the austerity program that has been forced upon them by their richer European neighbors.  That means the end of the Euro for Greece.  Greece will then descend into utter chaos and likely political anarchy.  If you were plotting a visit to the Acropolis this summer, it might be best to seek a refund before its too late.

So, Greece will be gone.  Then what?  Spain and Italy are already gone, but no one is yet willing to admit it.  Yields on 10 year government debt in both Spain and Italy are rapidly moving to the 7 percent level.  At debt levels of more than 120 percent of GDP (that's Spain's debt level, if you correct for last week's bailout), Spain and Italy are now past the point of no return.  Their debt levels are not sustainable.  It's over for Spain and Italy.

Meanwhile, check out Germany's situation.  The impact of the bailout adds…

IPO: Gas Malaysia

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Gas Malaysia Berhad (GMB) was established to sell, market and distribute natural gas and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). GMB is also responsible for the construction and operation of the Natural Gas Distribution System (NGDS), which is a system comprising 1,800km of gas pipelines and stations within Peninsular Malaysia owned by GMB. NGDS is connected to the Peninsular Gas Utilisation (PGU), which is the gas transmission pipeline across Peninsular Malaysia owned and operated by PGB.

GMB’s core business to sell, market and distribute natural gas to industrial, commercial and residential customers in Peninsular Malaysia via NGDS. In other words, GMB purchases natural gas from PGB and sells to GMB’s own customers at a profit margin. There are currently two players in Peninsular Malaysia’s natural gas distribution industry, comprising GMB and PGB. However, both serve different sets of customers, whereby GMB’s customer base consists of users that initially consume less than 2 MMScfd, whereas …

UVA's Sullivan Steps Down

With a little nudge from the University's Board of Visitors, University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan resigned yesterday after not quite two years in office.  Few know, in any real detail, why Sullivan was eased out so early in her tenure, but the background noise suggests the usual headaches.

Money and its allocation form the main issues in the modern University.  Elaborate fund raising operations have grown up in the modern elite schools, a group in which UVA claims membership.  Athletic programs have profitability issues front and center.  Witness the reshuffling of athletic conferences, which is completely driven by monetary issues.  Compensation for administrators and successful fund raisers far exceed their equivalents in the private sector.  Meanwhile, the education quality at elite schools has eroded dramatically over the past four decades.  The only measure that seems to be improving in the elite schools in the US is the quality of the incoming student.  By any oth…

Throwing Good Money After Bad

Spanish banks have been thrown a (temporary) lifeline by the European Union.  The Spanish banks now a have a $ 125 billion loan (?) from the EU to prevent a collapse of the entire Spanish banking system.  Spanish banks got in trouble lending heavily in the Spanish residential housing boom.  But, their big trouble now is that the Spanish government has coerced the banks into buying Spanish government debt.  That practice, no doubt, will continue.  So Spain sells more government debt, the Spanish banks buy that debt, and other European nations underwrite the Spanish banks.  To spell out the obvious, the EU has just bailed out (temporarily) the Spanish government.

Within a week or two the Greek bailouts will probably come crashing down and Eurozone will begin the process of unraveling.  The $ 125 billion is intended as a firewall to keep Spain from going down with Greece.  All this $ 125 billion will do is keep Spain from making the decisions necessary to slow the rapid disintegration of …

Obama Outs Himself

"The big challenge we have in our economy right now is state and local government hiring has been going in the wrong direction."  Moments earlier, Obama uttered the now famous remark: "The private sector is doing fine."

So, now we have it.  Basically, the President is saying that the private sector is an irrelevancy.   All that matters are government workers.

We knew all along that the President really didn't like free enterprise, but yesterday's comments truly say it all.

Even thought the President made an effort later in the day to to "clarify" his remarks, the remarks speak for themselves and explain a lot about the economic policies and the economic results of the Obama Administration.

Jackson Jr Promotes More Job Losses

Jesse Jackson Jr, a Congressman from Illinois, has a new idea to kill off some more jobs.  He wants to raise the minimum wage from its current level, $ 7.25, to $ 10.  As if unemployment, especially among youth, isn't high enough!

Remember what a $ 10 minimum wage law says.  It says that it is against the law to hire anyone that you intend to pay less than $ 10 per hour.  It outlaws a transaction between employer and potential employee.  Basically, it makes criminals out of employers who offer jobs.  So, why offer jobs anyway?

Jackson, of course, is among America's wealthiest individuals, which is typical of people that propose things like this that cut the legs out from under the poorest amongst us.  What does he care if another million or so join the ranks of the unemployed?  Might give him another voter or two.

If you want more apples, make it against the law to buy one for less than $ 10 apiece.  That should do a lot for the consumption of apples!   That's the Jesse Jacks…

Francois Hollande is Deluded

Like Scott Walker, Francois Hollande is delivering on his promises...unfortunately.  His first real proposal is to lower the retirement age for social security back to 60 from 62, reversing the move, instituted by Sarcozy, from 60 to 62.  This is really not as big a deal as it looks, since no one under the age of 50 will receive any benefits anyway, whether they retire at 60 or 62.

But, it does reveal the clear direction of Hollande's thinking.  Like many French politicians who preceded him, he thinks France is rich and can afford to fund more than half of its population in a life of leisure.  It turns out he's wrong, like many French politicians who preceded him, but if he can just fool enough people before he leaves office then I think he'll be happy.

France has been trying to slide into total decadence and chaos for several generations. Only the strength of the world economy has kept this sick puppy afloat.  But, the world economy isn't likely to oblige this time arou…

Euro 2012 Football Championship: Poland's Economy Scores

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It's football season again. This round we have EURO 2012 Championship which will kick off on 8th June 2012. Are you ready? Before that, let us look at the championship from financial perspective. Don't care who will win the championship, Poland already emerged as the winner financially. Why?


The UEFA European Football Championship has taken place every 4 years since 1960. For the first time in history, Poland and Ukraine have scored the chance to co-host the Euro 2012 Football Championship. Despite high set-up costs for the two emerging economies, both countries are likely to experience long-term economic benefits.
The Statistic and Requirements:
Estimated 670,000 football fans will pack into the new stadiumsAround 1.5million spectators at fan zones onlyMinimum requirement capacity of 30,000 to 50,000 spectators for infrastructure and modern stadiumsSufficient parking possibilities, hospitality facilities, luxury hotels and training facilities was neededRequired transportation in…