Pelosi Shows Why We Need Term Limits

Nancy Pelosi just showed us that we are in dire need of term limits on politicians. She demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that she has forgotten that she works for the people, and that the people she is supposed to serve are more important than anything else.

Continue reading “Pelosi Shows Why We Need Term Limits”

Pandemic: Reality vs. Perceptions of Reality

One of the crazy things in the crazy year that is 2020 is how a health issue has become so politicized.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected the whole world. It is unprecedented in our lifetime and, indeed, in the last one hundred years. How to deal with this new virus was totally unknown at the outset and even now we don’t completely understand it and are still finding data that is seemingly inconsistent. How to react and address it was always a judgment call and Thinking Man can completely understand widely different perspectives, from concerns about health and deaths to concerns about economic devastation and the lives of millions of people thrown into crisis by unemployment and a crashing economy, and everything in between. Simple organizational behavior tells us that people speak from their perspectives and so it’s not surprising that medical people will always tend to err on the side of health and preventing even one death if they can. Business people and economists will tend to err on the side of concern about a contracting economy, high unemployment and the impact of job losses on individual households. Notice the background of the person giving an opinion and more times than not you know their perspective without even knowing what they are going to say.

Any action, anywhere on the spectrum of choices is a judgment and an attempt to strike a balance between a number of bad choices:  health, economic and individual financial outcomes. What I can’t understand is people who view anyone with an opinion other than their opinion being bad or evil or unconcerned. In a problem with so many unknowns, to take that view is, frankly, purely emotional and simply doesn’t make much sense. Unfortunately, however, that is the world where we find ourselves.

Below is a link to an article by the Chief Investment Officer at Franklin Templeton Fixed Income. A PhD, she worked with the Gallup polling organization to compare actual medical data on the pandemic with people’s perception of the pandemic.  That research group then took the demographic data of the people polled to show how perceptions are very different from reality in many cases by various segments of the country. And, as would be important for an investment firm, she draws some conclusions on how all that may impact the economic recovery. An important note: she does not debate the data, but uses the data to project some possible outcomes. For example, people are willing to pay for increased safety measures. How much they are willing to pay has implications for inflation.

The article’s sub- title “They Blinded Us From Science” speaks to how far from the medical are perceptions about the actual medical situation.

https://www.franklintempleton.com/investor/article?contentPath=html/ftthinks/en-us-retail/cio-views/on-my-mind-they-blinded-us-from-science.html

Is California Becoming A Third World State?

One of the hallmarks of modern governments in the developed world is the ability to provide certain basic services to citizens. A basic responsibility of government is that there is a certain level of things that a government does for its people as part of the ‘social contract’, as part of the people allowing the government to run its lives. In California, cracks are starting to appear in that arrangement. Continue reading “Is California Becoming A Third World State?”

While Democrats and Republicans Have Their Conventions, Americans Suffer

Last week and this week, the major political parties held their conventions to formally nominate their candidates for President. While the professional politician class of both parties are preparing to spend record amounts on political campaigns this year, a large part of the rest of American is suffering. Continue reading “While Democrats and Republicans Have Their Conventions, Americans Suffer”

Maybe Bipartisanship Isn’t Totally Lost

Recently, 60 members of the House of Representatives promoted a framework for budget reforms.

The group led by Representatives Scott Peters (D-CA) and Jodey Arrington (R-TX), released a letter to House leadership  calling for future budget reforms to help address the rising national debt once the public health crisis has passed and the economy starts to recover.

The letter, signed by 30 Democrats and 30 Republicans, recommended several steps to be taken to address the critical debt issue.

The greatest threat to the prosperity of the next generation will be the national debt. It’s a small sign of hope that a bipartisan group of lawmakers is looking ahead to plan on what needs to be done.

The Arrogance of Illinois Gov. Pritzker

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has asked for a bailout from the federal government to help with the state’s debt and high spending, saying that the current pandemic has put them in a financial crisis. To be blunt, that’s simply not true. Continue reading “The Arrogance of Illinois Gov. Pritzker”

LA Lakers, Harvard University and Others Get Government Money–and Why That Should Be An Example

We have seen natural disasters, perhaps some of us have been affected by ones in the past. However, none of us have seen anything like the current pandemic. It has been more than 100 years since we have seen a health crisis in the world like this, or any other natural disaster.

Such a tragedy could not have been foreseen. And no one would argue that the government needs to help limit the devastation as much as possible, to individuals and businesses that provide jobs but have been shut down. And the Federal government passed laws to give over $2.5 trillion in help.
A key part of that funding is help targeting small businesses who would struggle to keep from going bankrupt. But we are finding that money isn’t always going where needed or intended. Continue reading “LA Lakers, Harvard University and Others Get Government Money–and Why That Should Be An Example”

St. Louis Federal Reserve Says 30% Unemployment Possible

The President of the St. Louis Federal Reserve says that the US unemployment rate could reach 30%.

That would be higher than the financial crisis, the dot com bubble or…even the Great Depression. The article below below summarizes comment made by James Bullard, a professional economist who heads the St. Louis Fed, in a recent interview. In it, he predicts a much worse economy than anyone has yet predicted.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/unemployment-could-reach-30-in-the-us-says-st-louis-feds-bullard-2020-03-22

Headlines Remind Us of Other Threat

Here is a sample of headlines from today’s newspapers:

–“Jobless Claims Top 17 Million in Past Month”

–“America’s Largest Bank Prepares for A Massive Round of Defaults”

–“Goldman: Downturn Will Be Four Times Worse Than Housing Crisis”

–“Next Wave of Layoffs Hit Staffers Working At Home As Sales Plunge”

–“Second Round of Layoffs Has Begun. No One Is Safe”

–“Mayo Clinic forced to cut $1.5 B in pay, as it projects $3 B in losses

–“Shutdown Could Kill More Americans Than Covid-19”

–“Government Mandated Shutdowns Are “Going to Kill Small Town America”

–“US GDP Projected to Fall 6% in 2020”

As we continue to battle this pandemic, we must soon start to ask the question about the balance between trying to protect against health impacts and economic devastation, which at some point becomes just as critical to people’s lives.