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Thursday, April 28, 2011

 

5,000 Hits!

If 3000 hits is a sure fire ticket to baseball's Hall of Fame, I doubt that 5000 blog hits qualifies for much other than perseverance, or maybe just a big mouth. Whatever, thanks to all loyal, and even occasional, redwavemusings readers for taking our weekly blog to a new milestone. And still, there's lots more to say!
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Thank goodness, that birther controversy is resolved! We were all on tenterhooks for that solution. Imagine, it took a lowlife like Donald Trump to embarrass the President into requesting the long form certificate from Hawaii to finally put that nonsense to rest.

So the question is begged, why did Mr. Obama keep us waiting two years to do something that could have been done in days, if not hours. And the answer, like everything else that this incompetent administration does, seems to involve a political calculus. As long as the GOP lunatic fringe and the Tea Party folks were intent on keeping the issue alive, Obama's handlers calculated that it was helping him. However, they became concerned that a full-fledged windbag like Trump might make Romney and other serious candidates look reasonable by comparison. Once that concern emerged, the decision was made that the issue was becoming a liability and needed to be terminated. So the birth certificate was promptly produced.

This just adds to the growing perception that the President and his advisors have little if any interest in anything beyond holding power, and will do whatever is politically expedient. That continues to translate to poor poll numbers for a president whose connection to the people is remarkably poor considering his rhetorical gifts.
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A good example of political expedience over substance is the characterization of the Ryan Plan by the President, particularly with respect to the MediCare proposals. In blatant demagoguery, the President has played the Mediscare card, characterizing Ryan's Plan as a dismantling of MediCare. In fact, MediCare is already dead as a real health program, as anyone knows who has tried to help an aged parent negotiate the minefield that has become geriatric medicine. You get what you pay for, and since doctors are so poorly paid by medicare/medicaid, it is showing in their services, if you can get them to see elderly patients at all.

More to the point, ObamaCare does basically the same thing as the Ryan proposal, except that it rations care through MediCaid (to where it shunts most Medicare patients) using state and federal bureaucracies, while RyanCare rations through private insurance gatekeepers. The difference is that RyanCare has the potential to control costs while ObamaCare will inevitably balloon them.

The point is that to get effective care, people will have to spend their own money outside the government directed program, as Canadians do today. But even if you have those resources, this will be illegal under ObamaCare. At least private options will be available under RyanCare. Also, under RyanCare, government won't be perpetrating a hoax.
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The Bernanke press conference yesterday made history since for the first time, the Federal Reserve Chairman sidestepped questions asked directly by the press, revealing nothing new, just as he does in his quarterly reports to Congress. No matter the mode of disinformation, the Federal Reserve continues on its path of debasing the U.S. dollar, choosing inflation over a sound currency, and perpetrating the myth that we can achieve full employment and a vibrant economy by means of monetary policy tools. In fairness, the Fed will never do the right thing as long as Congress forces the dual mandate of full employment and low inflation on it. Bernanke seems to have settled on an inflation target of 2% annually as ideal for achieving the employment goal. But this locks us into halving the dollar's value every 36 years, or at least twice during the average life span. I don't call that low inflation, and it won't buy us much employment either as long as we have an administration and Congress that pursue stupid fiscal, trade and regulatory policies. The Phillips curve was dead and buried long ago.

Professor Milton Friedman had it right. The best "Fed" would be a computer that used open market operations to grow the money supply at a reasonably low fixed rate year in and year out. Next best solution would be (as proposed by Steve Forbes) for the Fed to peg the price of gold or a basket of commodities. As long as we populate the Fed with "geniuses" who think they can manage the economy, we will have a pendulum that swings from boom to bust. Very few can achieve the record Alan Greenspan did, and frankly, he left the Fed with a mess waiting to happen.

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The report is that Fatah and Hamas are making peace so Palestine can proceed to become a state. However, all the hard negotiations still have yet to begin. One thing for sure - there can be no Palestinian state without a commitment to Israel's right to exist, and we're not hearing that yet.
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Seemed kind of surprising,, but in these parts there was as much or more excitement generated by the first round of the NHL playoffs than the NBA playoffs. This even though all the local teams safely made quick exits. But the hockey series were uniquely exciting for first rounders.

Of course, once baseball starts, that captures my attention, especially when the Mets start playing like humans. We can only hope it lasts.
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You may recall from our last post that we sold 100 shares of the Genesee and Wyoming RR (GWR) on 4/21 for 59.58. We had paid 25.70 on 11/29/06. On 4/25, we sold 100 shares of Littlefuse (LFUS) at 59.99, for which we had paid 25.63 way back on 11/13/2000, before this blog was a twinkle in my eye. The next time someone tells you capital gains tax rates are too low, consider how much of the gain on this trade was merely inflation. Yesterday, we sold 100 shares of Ceradyne (CRDN) for 47.92 from the IRA, after paying 15.96 on 11/3/09. Triples within 18 months are great inflation fighters. For this one, I can thank Full Service Broker who made the recommendation.

We'll return to the buy side, however, briefly, tomorrow.

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