We have been borrowing more and more money, and the amount that we have borrowed has grown significantly compared to the total goods and services we make in this country.
I recall a few years ago talking to people who were buying and selling homes. I asked them how they could afford such big, expensive houses. I thought maybe they had rich uncles. But they were just taking out interest-only mortgages and the banks were lending them 95% of the value of the houses or more.
When the CEO of Walmart says that inflation is coming, we best be on the lookout. As head of America's largest retailer, Bill Simon is in a unique place to see inflation traveling all the way through the supply chain.
Walmart's (WMT) advanced computer systems are the some of the largest and most advanced computer systems in the world -- on par with computers the U.S. military uses. Every product and purchase is tracked to get stores resupplied as quickly as possible, usually just in time. As a retailer, Walmart is going to be keeping track of costs and profit margins very closely. Managers all across the company are carefully watching the reports.
In a recent letter to the governor of Illinois, Doug Oberhelman, CEO of heavy machinery maker Caterpillar (CAT), outlined his concerns about new state taxes that could force the Illinois-based company to move operations to another state. Reportedly, Wisconsin, Indiana and New Jersey are all courting the company.
With 23,000 Caterpillar employees in Illinois, the stakes are high. Hopefully, Governor Pat Quinn and Oberhelman will be able to work something out.
Movie theaters don't want you to know how many calories are in the popcorn and that's why they are resisting FDA attempts at requiring disclosures. If the FDA required scales in front of the popcorn counters, or that all popcorn be sold with free carrots, I might side with the theaters, but requiring one of those small nutritional information panels on the back of the popcorn bucket -- eaten in a darkened theater -- hardly seems oppressive to me.
I'm all for free choice and I don't want to take away anyone's jumbo popcorn as they go to the movies -- unless, of course, I get to eat some of it.
I was a bit amused to hear Omaha Mayor Suttle unrolled the idea of a toilet paper tax, but I am not so sure he really thought this tissue through. At first glance, the tax of 10 cents per roll to pay for sewer projects seems like a fair user tax; but I think the politicians really should have contemplated this a little more. Is it really fair to women?
While certainly my heart goes out to politicians trying to balance spending all that money without the pesky things called taxes; but I don't think this idea is going to ... float. But I think it is important to give the politician partial credit for productivity; as I imagine they thought up this idea while in the john.
Teams have been preparing their game plans and it's time to see which of the 60 teams will win. No, not the Packers or Steelers -- Go Pack! -- but PepsiCo (PEP), Anheuser-Busch (BUD), General Motors (GM) and all the other companies competing for the best spots in one of TV's most expensive marketing moments, costing an estimated $3 million dollars per 30 second spot.
For those not into football, the ads in the Super Bowl game can be more amusing than the game itself as advertising teams compete for attention, show their best efforts and even get rated by numerous online sites. Last year, Doritos (owned by PepsiCo), and E-Trade (ETFC) did well, and Anheuser-Busch seems to always have a Clydesdale horse in the running.
It seems incomprehensible that any politician would steal toys from children, but the move effectively does just that unless the meal meets certain health requirements. I understand that childhood obesity and proper nutrition are important issues, but it seems to me that parents are more qualified to handle them than a city's board of supervisors.
We are one of the richest and freest countries in the world. We have freedom of speech, press and religion. Economically, we are very well off. While with the weak U.S. dollar we may not be the richest country in the world anymore, we are far from poor.
To put things in perspective, here is a select list of some of the countries in the world and their 2009 gross domestic product based on purchasing-power-parity per capita, according to IMF data:
Many have compared the current economic situation to the Great Depression, but even today economists do not agree on what caused the Great Depression. While the crash of 1929 gets universal credit for setting events in motion, some argue that it was protectionist anti-trade trade policies enacted after the crash that truly caused the Great Depression to last so long and be so much worse than previous depressions. Some economists argue the policies of the New Deal ended the Great Depression, while others argue that World War II spending really deserves that credit.
Some analysts were a bit worried about credit card debt after the housing crisis; if you are unemployed, it can be easy to run up large debts on credit cards and then default on them.
I am sure there are some out there who think that consumers need to go out and spend more money to stimulate the economy, but that logic is not always good depending on the purchases.
It seems as if everyone is worried about the economy going into a double-dip recession these days. Worry in and of itself can be very destructive, both to your mental state and to the economy overall. Besides pulling out your hair, causing acid reflux and other health problems, worry can actually become self-fulfilling prophecy and cause the very thing you are most afraid of.
A number of years ago when I read Dale Carnegie's book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, one method he suggested was just to accept the worst case scenario and then move on with life from there.
So accept it: THE ECONOMY IS DOOMED! it's going to be 10 years of economic nightmare!
According to recent news reports out of the World Bank, China is now the world's number two economy, passing Japan.
China's fast-growing economy has been moving forward at more than 10% a year for many years and is likely to become the world's largest economic superpower, bypassing America by 2025, or maybe even as soon as 2017 as I pointed out recently.
"Ya'll oughta try some of this here fried chicken; you ain't gonna believe it!" "Xie-Xie!" (pronounced "she-she") That is Chinese for thank you. From the hills of Kentucky, the Colonial Sanders secret recipe has made a splash in China. While it is well known a lot of the stuff you buy at Walmart (WMT) is made in China; what you may not know is that China is crazy for KFC.
You may not think anything of going out for Chinese with your friends and practice eating with chopsticks; when the Chinese go out with their friends to practice eating with a fork; KFC seems to be a popular option.
With the unemployment rate hovering near 10%, bad news on the TV and job prospects dwindling, it can be tempting to retreat to a nice beach somewhere until the economy turns around. Some people are actually doing it! Rather than sitting around and moping until the economy recovers, you can go see the world and have the trip of a lifetime.
Out of work and taking a vacation? You probably want some of what I am smoking? Well, listen up!
In the year following Bush's dividend tax cuts, the Dow Jones rose 16%. When the tax cuts expire in a few months, will the market drop?
One method of evaluating stocks is that they are worth the present value of all the future cash flows. This can make dividend stocks particularly attractive to investors because they get paid rent or a dividend for holding a company. If conditions change and those future dividends are no longer expected, a stock can suddenly be worth a lot less. This is a large reason why we see stocks drop suddenly at earnings announcements or when companies revise outlooks.