All Posts Tagged With: "Economy"

Die Law Schools, Die!

law schools 2Law school applications are declining sharply according to the New York Times, which is reporting a projected 38 percent decline from 2010 application levels.

When they failed to find jobs, law graduates took to the internet in droves to spread the word about their predicament, and finally the American Bar Association demanded more employment information from law schools. Before that, schools could count a graduate working part-time as a janitor as “employed,” and could thus report a 91 percent employment rate for their law school graduates.

No longer. The ABA now demands information regarding the type of employment; full-time or part-time, practicing law or not, law-related or not, and the numbers are terrible.

In response, law schools have shown about as much sympathy as one …


Fake jobs numbers…. again

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Reports, Numbers, Charts, GraphsThe White House this morning, is serving up fake jobs numbers… again. And they read like a fairy tale. 7.8% unemployment. But notice… the U6.. the real unemployment number… isn’t listed in the reports we all see… It stood at 14.6% as of last month. That’s a fact that has not moved substantially, for months. Here’s the breakdown from the BLS.GOV website.

Measure Not seasonally adjusted Seasonally adjusted
Sep ’11 Aug ’12 Sep ’12 Sep ’11 May ’12 Jun ’12 Jul ’12 Aug ’12 Sep ’12
U-1 Persons unemployed 15 weeks or longer, as a percent of the civilian labor force 5.2 4.3 4.2 5.3 4.6 4.6 4.5 4.4 4.3
U-2 Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, as a percent of the

College, Politics, and Wagnerian Opera

Upon realizing that the carnality which he desired was beyond his reach, the grubby, dwarfish Nibelung named Alberich cursed love itself in order to steal from the Rhine maidens the magical Rhine gold, which he fashioned into a ring which granted to its wearer the power to rule the world. Thus, the Ring of the Nibelung became an object of envy and the obsession to obtain it became the quest of heroes and gods.

To the baby boom generation, a college diploma was the Ring of the Nibelung; a mystical object which granted you the power to rule your world. It was something to be quested for; sacrifices along the way would be proven worthwhile in the end.

Then, it all changed. The problem is, …


Politicians, Bailouts and Bank-Owned Houses

Around the corner from my former apartment in Newton was a house that was taken in foreclosure. The “For Sale” sign had been there for a very long time, the lawn wasn’t mowed regularly and the shrubs had died in the winter but hadn’t been removed.

Walk around your own neighborhood and see how many houses are for sale. Sometimes the sign openly states that it is bank-owned, other times you might have to search on the county assessors website. There are plenty of bank-owned houses in Iowa; there are many, many more in California, Nevada, Michigan and Illinois.

The point is this: With such a large supply of bank-owned houses, of course houses will continue to fall in price. When a store has excess …


2010 US State Of The Union Preview

Tonight
Art will be a featured guest at the Des Moines Register’s web site tonight during the President’s speech in an online chat. You can join us at this link starting at 7:45 PM Central Time.

Well, friends, tonight could well be one of the most anticipated State Of The Union Addresses in many years.  In a period of disappointment following the grand illusion of hope put forth by the President and Congressional Democrats, tonight’s speech may well a pivotal driver to the 2010 Congressional Elections.

Health Care

Look for President Obama to sound confident and yet cautious on this topic.  He may well fire barbs at the Republicans in Congress, but the fact is that House and Senate Democrats had the ability to make …


It’s About Freedom

row-of-us-dollar-signsArthur Brooks, at  The Wall Street Journal suggests that there’s a bit of a culture war going on about the future of capitalism.  The headline suggests that “The Real Culture War Is Over Capitalism “

There is a major cultural schism developing in America. But it’s not over abortion, same-sex marriage or home schooling, as important as these issues are. The new divide centers on free enterprise — the principle at the core of American culture.

I dare suggest Brooks in this quote, has this exactly backward.  He’s pointing at a symptom and labeling at the root cause. Not that I blame him, really.  It’s been so long since we’ve dealt with things on the level of principle that even the more learned among …


Spreading The ???

As I’ve been listening to and contemplating the whole discussion around “spreading the wealth”, it’s occurred to me that when the wealth is being spread, there’s more than just wealth that gets spread.

That’s right, the poverty gets spread too.

Of course, calling it “spreading the poverty” might seem too severe, but here’s the thing: people have poverty, wealth, or something in between. If you spread one, you spread it all.

My preference now is to think of it as “spreading the mediocrity”.  As we discussed in the past, providing equal access to economic resources (“spreading the wealth”, or “wealth redistribution”) is going to lead to a society that is motivated to meet the status quo, to do just enough to get by, to …


Are Things Looking Up?

The Dow had it’s record highest point gain today up almost 940.  Although it was up a bit today, Oil prices have been retreating and have been steadily below $90/bbl for several days.  And have you noticed the price of gasoline has also been declining?

Of course, we all know it’s not over yet, but it’s good to see some positive signs.  Unfortunately, the price of diesel fuel has not come down with trhe price of gasoline, apparently due to supply issues worldwide.  And this will keep the price of consumer goods general higher.  Seems like this ought to be a priority, and not just now but for the long-haul, that is to ensure that the availability of fuels needed to transport goods (diesel being …


Panic

My mother called me this morning.  “I’ve been worried about you.  Are you okay?”, she asked.

I told her that I was fine; that you only lose when you sell.  Which got me thinking…What rules should investors employ in this market?

  1. You only lose when you sell.  The same fundamental reasons for investing in the first place should apply.  No one subscribes to a “buy high, sell low” philosophy.
  2. Stock-based investments are now on sale.  Everyone one loves a sale.  I tell my wife that “sale” is my favorite four-letter word.
  3. A bear market is defined as a decline of 20% or more from a market high.  See #2 above.
  4. Since 1900, a bear market has occurred once every 3 1/2 years on average and

Market Panic

All right, perhaps panic is too strong a word, but my goodness, it certainly does feel like one.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 5% today and is now down 30% since January 1.  The S&P 500 is down 33.7% year to date and the NASDAQ is off 35.6%.  This is indeed a bear market, but there is nothing rational about it whatsoever.

The sell off appears to be about nervousness investors are feeling about the future, the global economy, the bailout, corporate earnings.  I try to keep a cool head, but the Dow is down 800 points in two days and even I wonder where it’s going to end.  Then I remember what Warren Buffet said:  “It’s never as good as it appears and …