Showing posts with label Economy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Economy. Show all posts

May 11, 2020

Stock Market Pinocchio Style


Look folks, Pinocchio's nose is getting longer by the minute.

The market continues on a tear, even while the economy is heading in the other direction. 

I know people have been conditioned to buy on the dips, but I'm not sure that applies while we're in the middle (or maybe still just in the beginning) of a pandemic that has claimed 286,000 lives in just over 2 months (and that's with a global shutdown)!

Somehow, there is a notion that when things start to reopen that all the problems will just magically go away, including the $3 trillion we just added to our national debt, all the bankruptcies being declared, and all the job losses that are becoming permanent. 

If you believe this, perhaps you'd like to buy the Brooklyn Bridge.

The greater fool theory is alive and well.  ;-)

(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 6, 2020

Lockdown In Coronavirus

This photo is sort of what it feels like to be in lockdown during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

You're stuck inside, but still have to keep everything moving anyway!

As we enter the next phase with people itching to go back out and "restart" life and the economy and the second wave where more people unfortunately get sick, we are really as they say:
Stuck between a rock and a hard place. 

And that's where bad things can happen (G-d forbid) and it's never a good place to be. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 26, 2020

Count Your Blessings

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Count Your Blessings."
I just wanted to share a short reflection with everything going on in the world these days with coronavirus and the economic shutdown: I see people are scared and confused, under lockdown and feeling financial strain, and many are getting sick and dying. But I remember the words of my dear father who used to say: "Count Your Blessings!" And he was so right. There are so many things, literally every moment of every day, for us to be grateful for:

Certainly, we all face extreme difficulties or challenges at times in our lives, but things can always be so much worse, and there is still so much for us to be grateful for. Therefore, truly thank you G-d with a hundred blessings—and more—for every moment of every precious day. And we affirm that surely the L-rd who created us will continue to sustain us, and that ultimately all will be for the good.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 22, 2020

Free COVID-19 Cure

This sign was just too great. 

Advertisement with the little slips at the bottom to tear off. 
Free Cure for COVID-19.
Please take an information strip below

And what do the strips say:
Stay the F**K at home

I wonder why no one took any of the strips? LOL

Like every meaningful issue, we have people on both sides of the aisle fighting it out what is the right thing to do. 

And when it comes to life and liberty, passions certainly run high. ;-)

(Credit Photo to my son-in-law Itzchak for sharing this with me from his friend in California)
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April 14, 2020

Plan To Restart The Economy WILL Look Something Like This

What will restarting the economy after Coronavirus look like?

Well Israel has a well-thought-out 4 Phase Plan (pending approval) and I would imagine that the U.S. plan will look something very much like this:

- Phase I: Tech and Finance, some Import/Export industries, 50% of Public Sector, and Preschool

- Phase II: Commerce/Retail Stores, Elementary School (ages 6-10)

- Phase III: Cafes, Restaurants, and Hotels, and most of the rest of the Education system

- Phase IV: Leisure and Entertainment: Culture, Sports, Large Shopping Malls, and Flights

There are 4 additional key provisions to this plan:

- 2 Week Buffer between phases to review and evaluate success before moving forward with the next phase. 

- "People over 60 and at-risk populations will not resume normal activity throughout the four phases."

- Resuming these activities occurs with the exercise of continued caution (e.g. social distancing, testing, etc.)

- Expect 2nd outbreak in the Fall and therefore continue to build up healthcare capabilities in preparation for this. 

This sounds like an excellent plan as a basis to reopen and one that we can and should build upon. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal and thank you to my sister for sharing this with me)

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April 12, 2020

Reopening The Country WITHOUT Endangering The Masses

I understand the absolute need to reopen the country from this Coronavirus. 

We can't shelter in place forever and watch our economy go into the toilet and our national debt bankrupt us!

Therefore, once we have the mechanisms to control the deadly spread, we must open up offices and stores again gradually to get people working and our economy going again. 

At the same time, I am pissed by those corporate executives that actually have the chutzpah and are pushing for us to open up crowded theaters, stadiums, and other such entertainment or other venues that are NOT critical and pose a greater risk for contagion to masses of people. 

Instead of these CEOs understanding the need to hold off on this pending a vaccination or adequate disease control measures, these greedy corporate chieftain seem to care little to nothing about the health of their customers, and only about lining their fat pocketbooks with more ticket sales. 

I think it's criminal type behavior to push our government to open prematurely and irresponsibly those venues that are of greatest risk to potentially millions of people to get sick or dead in order for them to profit from it!  ;-)

Note: It's reported that COVID-19 compared to the flu in 22 fewer days infected 11x as many people and killed 60 times as many

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 7, 2020

The Grass Still Needs To Be Mowed

Even with Coronavirus and the associated lockdowns and social distancing, the grass still needs to be mowed.

These two are doing the work but also look like they could be playing some bumper cars too! 

So it is: Life goes on; the world is not (yet) ending. 

Unfortunately, there are people suffering and dying. 

And we need to help them and try and save their lives. 

Also, not forget their families and those out of work. 

But as far as the world is concerned, the grass still keeps growing. 

The living will go on living as best they can. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 5, 2020

The Covid-19 Graph -- No One Wants To Confront

This is the Coronavirus chart that I don't think anyone wants us to confront. 

Rather than the typical chart we are shown with one high and then it tapers off and all is well...

There could be scenarios where there are multiple curves and peaks. 

For example, if we send people back out to (work, school, etc.) and stop the social distancing too early--while there are still Coronavirus carriers around us and we don't have an effective vaccine--then the contagion can start all over again. 

Further, even with a vaccine, if the virus mutates (and could become more virulent) then this infection can go on spreading and killing with multiple peaks. 

In short, this is the chart that speaks to cases where businesses are closed and people out of work much longer than expected, and where the recession takes hold and does some potentially real and lasting damage above and beyond what's perhaps already priced in. 

Again, let's hope and pray that we don't stop the social distancing prematurely and that our doctors and scientists get the vaccine for us sooner rather than later. 

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 22, 2020

We Just Magically Found $2,000,000,000,000

It's amazing how we can magically find $2 trillion for a Coronavirus "Rescue Plan."

This after we already wasted over $6.4 trillion (and thousands of our dead and wounded) through 2017 in unexplainable and endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with no known or lasting benefits to this country (while archenemy, Iran continues their pursuit of nukes unabated). 

And for decades, we haven't been able to find money for:

- Decent healthcare for all Americans.

- Ensuring our national security, including adequate planning and disaster preparedness for things like Coronavirus, cybersecurity, WMDs, EMPs, and for critical infrastructure protection. 

- Repairing our aging roads, bridges, and infrastructure

- Fixing our broken public education system.

- Helping our countless of homeless and needy lying the streets of our nation. 

- Restoring our space program to get a man on the moon again or put another shuttle into space. 

When politics are in play, there is plenty of money to go around. 

But when the nation needs proper care and feeding, there are no adults in the room. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 29, 2020

A Jewish Scorecard: Trump vs. Sanders

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "A Jewish Scorecard: Trump vs. Sanders."

In nine months, we will go to the polls again to elect the next President of the United States. Right now, it's looking like it will be Donald J. Trump versus Bernie Sanders. What is the scorecard of these two men when it comes to the State of Israel⁠—the Jewish homeland that we have returned to after 2,000 years of exile, persecution, and deep yearning, and where the majority of the world's Jewish people currently reside?

In the end, no candidate is perfect, and each has their own critical flaws. However, you, as the voters will need to tally the score for yourselves and decide who will be President in 2020 and what that means for this country as well as for the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

(Photo: Adapted from Flickr post by The White House (Public Domain) and Linda Sarsour's Twitter account profile picture)

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August 17, 2019

Copy Any Key

Thought this was pretty cool in Safeway supermarket.

A automated key copy machine. 

You insert your key. 

And out pops a duplicate for you. 

Home, car, business, whatever.

What is happening to that guy who used to work the key copy machine at the local locksmith?

Who says automation and robotics isn't taking and going to take away jobs. 

I still remember that key machine--where the locksmith would put the key on one side and a blank on the other, and the machine would copy the surface grooves of one unto the other. 

Now even that is gone. 

I guess we're lucky still to have keys (for now).  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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March 1, 2019

North Korea - No Deal!

This is sort of what I feel happened with North Korea and the U.S. at the Summit in Vietnam this week. 

We went into this thinking that the enticement of moving from war to prosperity, like with Vietnam, would set the stage for North Korea to see that truly, peace is the answer! 

But when there is no real trust between the people negotiating, then you get a lot of gesturing, but no real determination to make a commitment--like getting rid of those crazy nukes!

For now from North Korea's perspective, "one in the nukes is worth two in the prosperity"...and they aren't going to disarm so easily and give away what they consider their ace in the hole.  

High hopes, lots of drama, confusion and blame, and ultimately a big let down.

If North Korea would give up their nukes, and Iran would give up their pursuit of nukes...WOW, WOW, WOW, oh what a world that would be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 21, 2019

-25,000 Jobs NYC

While some politicians are hard at work to create jobs, revive our manufacturing, and expand our economy...

...Others like NY Representative, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are busy destroying jobs from her city. 

After a grueling competition for the Amazon HQ2 with 200 cities offering incentives to land one of two 2nd Headquarters for Amazon, the winners were Arlington, VA and Long Island City, NY.

These lucky cities were to divide 50,000 new jobs and $5 billion in investment by technology and e-Commerce behemoth, Amazon. 

Instead of thanking G-d for their good fortune and celebrating their win under the political savvy of New York's Governor, Andrew Cuomo and NYC's Mayor, Bill de Blasio, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez railed against the "corporate welfare" and basically killed the deal. 

What should be critically noted is that incentives for Amazon were based on meeting their performance benchmarks for NYC and Arlington and were not corporate charity or handouts. 

What Socialist, Ocasio-Cortez failed to understand is that Capitalism is successful precisely because of competition and incentives for performance, and that capital is ideally allocated to where it can get its highest return. 

In short, New York and Virginia weren't giving away the farm, they were competing for great jobs and investment in their cities--and that's what 200 cities recognized from Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. 

Aside from AOC's blatant bigotry and Anti-Semitism so far, she has goofed with a Green Deal that promised income security (socialist handouts) to those "unwilling to work" and sought to get rid of everything from "farting cows" to Airplanes, and now she's lost 25,000 jobs in NY. 

Voters in NY and Democrats in Congress should be paying attention to their new Socialist champion and one of its extremists in chief. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 27, 2019

Impotency of our Democracy


The U.S. democracy is severely broken. 

We are supposed to be "one out of many," but instead we are many out of one.

There is a tearing at our nation's fabric. 

Resistance.  Obstruction.  Polarization.  Gridlock.  Shutdown.  Identity Politics.  Hating on each other.  Can't get anything done. 

Legislatively we're at an impasse.

It's not just the border wall...

- No full year (let alone multi-year) budgets for all Federal agencies.

- No Healthcare Fix

- No Immigration Reform

- No Education (STEM) Improvement

- No USA Infrastructure Bill 

- We are losing our edge to a resurgent Russia and a China taking world stage militarily and economically. 

Executive Branch has its hands tied. 

Special Counsels.  Congressional Inquiries.  Judicial injunctions.  Media Lynchings.

Alone.  Thwarted.  Unable to lead or act. 

Presidential hand tied by mommy Pelosi and Daddy Schumer.

State of the Union cancelled. 

Presidency is compromised in the eyes of every national competitor and demagogue in the world. 

Without a strong leadership reestablished and permitted to act, we are running a very strong risk of losing our superpower status and becoming just another has-been nation.

Don't think it can't happen.  

The three branches of the government should be working together and helping each other to strengthen our nation's survival, prosperity, and success.

If we don't stop the madness, then we will implode and it won't be a pretty or a happy day for anyone--Democrats or Republicans. 

Last chance for E. Pluribus Unum.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 26, 2018

Tired Of All The Whining About China

I don't know about you, but I am so tired about all the whining about China. 

- They are stealing our intellectual property. 

- They are hacking into our systems. 

- They are unfairly forcing us to transfer technology to them.

- They aren't opening up their market to us. 

OMG stop the complaining already!

If you don't like what they are doing, then do something about it. 

Tariffs are a start, but just a small one. 

Seriously, if you can't incentivize them to stop the harassment and unfair trade practices by adding them to the World Trade Organization, investing in them, and partnering with them, then you need to actually compete with China. 

- They steal our sh*t--you help yourself to a generous serving of theirs.  

- They break into our systems--you find your way into their systems.

- They try to unfairly take away our markets and jobs--you take away theirs big time.  

Everyone knows that to deal with bully, you must fight back!

The more we are scared into inaction, the worse it gets.

This doesn't mean that we should get into a military exchange with China, but we do need to get into a confrontation over what economic and global partnership should mean and look like. 

China is an old and truly great nation and their people should be highly respected.

However, the USA should also be treated right, and if that means it's time for a heart to heart and some evening up of the playing field then that is what has to happen. 

We have to restore respect to America, not by becoming bullies ourselves, but by standing up to them when we are being taken advantage of.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 30, 2018

Don't Take Away The Breadcrumbs

So today it was announced that they want to cancel the meager cost of living adjustment (COLA) increase that federal workers were slated to get for 2019. 

A mere 2.1% increase in federal pay (compared with a more than 4% projected increase in private sector pay for 2018) is basically just enough to cover inflation for 2018 forecast at 1.9%.

In effect, without the cost of living adjustment, about 2 million federal employees end up with a net decrease of 2% in their standard of living because of inflation and no pay increase to offset. 

This is on top of the fiscal year 2011 and 2012 federal pay freeze that President Obama prior enacted. 

Why are we picking on the federal workforce when:

1) The U.S. economy is booming at an annual 4.1% increase
2) Of the $10 trillion tax cuts, 20% is being showered on the wealthiest 1%.

Le's just call a spade a spade--the pay freeze (i.e. cut after inflation) is really being driven to downsize government by driving employees out

Many of these are good people, hardworking people, and those that not only serve their nation but also sacrifice for it. 

With midterms around the corner and another Presidental election coming in a couple of years, why would you want to alienate 2 million workers instead of getting respect and even greater dedication?

As was written on this simple pair of blue jeans:
"Don't beat your croutons, you'll get breadcrumbs."  
In this case, don't beat up your federal workforce by taking their meager breadcrumbs, to begin with. 

Instead, let's show our appreciation for federal employees service to their country. ;-)

(Full disclosure: I am a federal employee and am proud to serve.)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 6, 2018

A Three-Party System

Yeah, these signs say a lot about our two-party system of government. 
"Republican: Because everyone can't be on welfare."

"Democrat: Because everyone can't be greedy."

Sort of the age old story of competing interests. 

Certainly also a good dose of Fear vs. Greed. 

And where the rich get richer and the poor get welfare.

It's good to have the 2 extremes of the political thinking spectrum, because it shows us perhaps where the middle is. 

Neither extreme is good, but rather it's a balancing act. 

We can't have more than 50% of the wealth owned by the top 1% of the people. 

And we can't have everyone on entitlements where no one is working, innovating, and producing. 

Yes of course, some people will have more than others and some people will need help. 

There needs to be motivation to "get ahead" and there must be a social safety net for when bad things happen. 

This is life.

But the to extent that we can have the most people in respectable jobs earning a reasonable (true living) wage and that there is equitable prosperity to go around for everyone--this is ideal.

Really 2-parties is not enough, because extremes tend to get more extreme--this is the momentum of polarization and politicization until the extremes tear us apart. 

Instead we need a strong centrist party (or parties)--that can not only play to, but also execute the middle of the road approach. 

It's not all or nothing, but rather compromise to a logical and reasonable solution on every issue. 

No, we don't want to get rid of ICE, and we don't want open borders. 

No we don't want entitlements that bankrupt the nation, and we don't want people down on their luck going needy. 

No, we don't want women who have been raped or incested or otherwise can't raise their children being forced to have them, and we don't want babies being murdered in the late stages of pregnancy. 

No we don't want to blow up the planet, and we don't want our enemies besting us. 

We don't want pollution in our air, water, and streets, and we don't want to strangle the economy with endless and mindless regulation. 

And on and on. 

It's high time to move to the center where common sense reigns.

It overdue to have a legitimate 3+ party system that talks real solutions to the people. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 21, 2018

1-2-3-4 Open Up The Government's Doors

1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

     5-6-7-8 Let our nation operate


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

     5-6-7-8 Fix our broken directorate


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's Doors

    5-6-7-8 Better for us to negotiate


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

    5-6-7-8 Get things done for Goodness sake


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

    5-6-7-8 We have no more time to cogitate


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

    5-6-7-8 Get the employees back to progress the state


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

    5-6-7-8 Blaming each other only exasperate


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors


    5-6-7-8 Democracy means we must work it out


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

    5-6-7-8 Polarized politics destroys our clout


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors
   
    5-6-7-8 The people are sick and tired of this useless way


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

    5-6-7-8 Terms limits are needed to sway


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

    5-6-7-8 Dysfunctional government can't continue unabate


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

   5-6-7-8 We're sick and tired of ignoring realpolitik


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

   5-6-7-8 Grow up and show some unifying leadership


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

    5-6-7-8 Finally put people's needs first


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

    5-6-7-8 Stop playing with our country's fate


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

    5-6-7-8 National security and our economy depend on it


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

    5-6-7-8 It's time to get things done and not wait


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

    5-6-7-8 Serve the people and cut out the hate

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 30, 2017

@Sawgrass Mills Mall










Thought these alligators were pretty cute at Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise, Florida. 

Sawgrass with over 300 stores and outlets is the 10th largest mall in America. 

And much of it is very upscale--apparently, the economy is very good for some people.

By the time, we got out of there, my head was spinning with sampling the stores and merchandise.

It was a delightful retreat to pass some nice outdoor eateries by the Colonnade with these creative and colorful alligators. 

Remember most of this place was built on Everglades swamp, so there are plenty of real alligators to go around. 

My favorites from these:

#4 - Forever Glades

#7 - The colorful blue, pink, and orange gator.

#9 - Relax and Rejoice

What are yours?

Not sure, why I took #1--the watermelon alligator--in the other direction, but it adds effect and I hope you enjoyed these. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 6, 2017

Begone With Daylight Savings Time

Daylight saving time is one of those ideas that should be relegated to the dustbin of history. 

It serves no functional purpose and is actually a negative for society overall. 

Originally devised to have longer daylight in the Summer months by moving the clock forward an hour, it was also thought to save electricity by having more daylight.

However, research on the energy savings have had at best mixed results and the extra hour of sunlight in the evening in Summer with sunset extending to after 9 pm is necessary why???

Let's face it...it is stupid to move the clocks twice a year "springing forward" in the Spring and "falling back" in the Fall. 

Aside from the nonsense of actually having to move the clocks, it is disruptive and unhealthy to our sleep and other bodily patterns--was anyone else up too early for work this morning and hanging around until it was actually time to go in?

And it's not only people's bodily cycle that gets messed up, but animals too. One of my colleagues complained this morning about their dog needing to go out for their walk early this morning--apparently, the dog didn't get the message about daylight savings time. 

Time is not something to mess with--it should be stable like the other natural cycles of good 'ol Mother Nature--that we depend on as the "Laws of Nature!"

We don't change the number of days in December from 31 to 32 (taking it from perhaps October, which we can easily cut back on to 30 or 29 days) to extend the joyous holiday and  the shopping season which is good for economy.

We also don't mess with the number of days of the week--perhaps, for example, we should shorten the week from 7 to 6 days, so that we can have a more frequent rest cycle and rejuvenate our bodies and minds more frequently. Who wouldn't vote to get rid of Mondays and just start the week with Tuesday instead. 

Change is a good thing when it actually has a net benefit to society and it is more than negligible, but continuing to move around the dials on the clock, just because someone woke up one day with another cockeyed idea is not something to keep repeating.

It's time to recognize the bad idea for daylight savings time for what it is and restore stable time like a tick-tock that we can all set our watches consistently to. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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