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Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Posted by Jack Miller at 11/15/2009 08:07:00 AM
Friday, November 13, 2009
A flood of good news is coming as sure as water flows after the ice in the mountains starts to melt. During the tight commodity phase of the business cycle, oil sheiks always get way to cocky for their own good. When prices are high, the people who live in tightly controlled societies, such as Iran, mellow out because economically times are good. When oil prices begin to fall, the people in resource rich countries lose their willingness to "go along" with "un-free" political systems.
Recently, a crack has started opening in Afghanistan. ...
Posted by Jack Miller at 11/13/2009 07:31:00 AM
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Before long, we will get the "official announcement" that the recession ended in June, five months ago. The end of the recession does not mean that we are back to old highs, but that the direction of the economy is once again up.
While the linked report from the Gallup Poll suggests that some of the bounce in consumer attitudes might only be a reflection of the Halloween Holiday Spirit, a number of improving trends have developed. Employment is the forever lagging indicator; when there is a downturn, companies try not to lay off their employees, in hopes that the recession will be short-lived; when a recovery begins, companies are slow to hire, until they are sure that business is going to continue to improve. Stock prices, a leading indicator, falls early and rises early. Stock prices are up 60% since February.
The Gallup Poll notes that there has been a reduction in layoffs. This is good! The Poll also notes that there has not been a significant pick-up in hiring, this is not good, but it is normal during this phase of the business cycle.
As business after business see year-over-year increases in sales, with fewer workers on the payroll, productivity is soaring and profits are following. Productivity growth shows up as increased profits and as lower prices for consumers. The process is directed by the Invisible Hand of Adam Smith; it is automatic. As savings accrue to consumers, they have more money to spend on other goods; causing a momentum gathering chain reaction.
We are well into the process. Indeed, the most lagging of indicators, employment, is improving. Last week, the nations official unemployment rate reached 10.2%, but the number of new claims for unemployment insurance dropped again; we are five months into lower jobless claims!
One factor holding the recovery back has been the attitude of business leaders, as evidenced by positions taken by the Chamber of Commerce. Business leaders have been frightened by the prospects of extremely higher taxes in the form of Cap and Trade and Health Care Legislation. The good news for both American businesses and American consumers is that the odds of passage of both bills has faded. So far, most Americans are not aware of how much the odds have fallen.
The odds posted at Intrade now give Health Care a 1 in 13 chance of passage this year. As it becomes clear that Harry Reid does not have the votes to pass the monster bills that have been cobbled together, the economic recovery will gather momentum. Many a business leader is ready to use funds for hiring employees, if those funds are not consumed in higher taxes.
New claims will continue to drop in the months ahead. Take away the fear of massive health care taxes and new jobs will start pushing the unemployment rate down.
"Job-market conditions remain better than they were earlier this year, but continue to reflect a reduction in layoffs without a significant improvement in hiring."
- http://www.gallup.com/poll/124064/Gallup-Economic-Weekly-Halloween-Raises-Spirits.aspx?CSTS=tagrss (view on Google Sidewiki)
Posted by Jack Miller at 11/08/2009 03:04:00 AM
Saturday, November 07, 2009
Google Voice is a powerful app; the kind that will make you look back and say, "you remember back when people had three telephone numbers, work, home and cell?". AT&T wants to keep the flow of revenue off land lines flowing but consumers will enjoy saving money and time using Google Apps.
Apple and AT&T have had a "good thing going", now it is time for consumers to be able to get great products for less.
"4. Google Voice for Mobile File this one under "outlawed on iPhone," too."
- http://www.pcworld.com/article/181630/verizons_droid_10_apps_to_get_you_started.html (view on Google Sidewiki)
Posted by Jack Miller at 11/07/2009 03:22:00 PM
The difference in cost is about $100. The difference in features is huge. Examples: the 5x versus 3.2 camera and the "extra" slide out keyboard.
Speed at every corner is a major difference. From the faster processor to the multitasking, the difference is significant.
"I want an Android phone, but if I don't think all of the bells and whistles on the Droid are worth it, I may go with the Eris, which is really nice."
- http://googlewatch.eweek.com/content/hello_android/google_advertises_motorola_droid_on_its_home_page.html (view on Google Sidewiki)
Posted by Jack Miller at 11/07/2009 03:16:00 PM
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Bishop Goodpaster is looking forward and moving up. He recently started an E-pistle. His election to president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops gives me confidence that Methodists will serve the masses of people who get their "news" off the internet. More people can be reached via the intenet than via any other method!in reference to: Our World > News > Goodpaster, Wenner win election to lead bishops - UMC.org (view on Google Sidewiki)
Posted by Jack Miller at 11/04/2009 08:24:00 PM
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Sunday, November 01, 2009
Our government is paying for one big party after another. $500,000 for a party to celebrate St. Augustine's 450th birthday. $300,000 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway. While these amounts are tiny compared to the $29 billion spent on improvements to homeland security over the past 7 years and microscopic compared to a budget of a few Trillion Dollars, they do add up and they do partially explain why there are not adequate funds available to cover our Social Security and Medicare programs. Of course, salaries and benefits to federal employees that are about double what they should be means the tax payers are paying for many other lavish parties.in reference to: Big Government » Blog Archive » Pork Report October 30, 2009: A Caboose To Nowhere Edition (view on Google Sidewiki)
Posted by Jack Miller at 11/01/2009 03:22:00 AM