Archive for June, 2010

Welcome Summer

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Today is the longest day of the year, 14.5 hours of sunshine from sun-up to sun-down and with it, the official beginning of summer.

It has been interesting to observe the commericals for travel on TV this year versus the last couple of years. Travel is up and the industry is promoting travel, stay-cations may be a thing of the past.

I understand airfares are up but vacationing in Europe this year may be the best bargain in the past several years with the Euro trading at 1.23 +/- today.

Since the start of the slow motion morgage melt down in 2007, I have not taken more than 5 days off in succession but his year, if all goes well, I will be gone for 2 full weeks in July. Maybe it is a sign that things are getting better or I am just getting accustom to the ride.

Either way, when I return, the second half of this year will be under way. I believe it will be the watershed period for the economy whether it’s the big “U” slow recovery, double-dip or “V” recovery, we will know by year-end.

I may get one more blog in before my vacation, stay tuned…

California Politics

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

The June primaries are over and ballot initiatives with single interest group sponsors, (PG&E & Mercury Insurance), lost; as most single interest group initiatives have in the past.

The initiative on open primaries, which passed, will be another California election experiment in democracy; hopefully, it will be better than the unexpected consequence of the voter passed term limits. This initiative was the Governor’s way to open elections for less ideological candidates to get elected, resulting in getting Sacramento off ideology and on to good governance. We will see how this will work and what unintended consequences it fosters.

Fully expect the fall campaigns for governor and senator to be long, expensive and ugly. If you thought Whitman spending almost $80 per vote this time was obscene, that was only a warm-up for the November main event.

Finally, the Democratic candidates for all the high offices, Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, and Senator all have their roots in San Francisco with strong ties to John Burton and Willie Brown.

The Republicans my have a field day painting the Democratic candidates as San Francisco progressive insiders promoting taxes, spending, gay marriage, abortion, and pro-illegal immigrants.

If the Republicans make their case and the voters agree, a major shift in the politcal landscape of California politics will occur. If it does, expect both parties to cloak themselves in ideology and nothing will change in Sacramento.

November, politically, is a long way off so stay tuned.

Like it or Not

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Like it or not, a U.S. double dip recession or a slowdown in the feeble economic growth is a real possibility. But the crazy culprit is not the markets that have the potential to foster a double dip but the inability of state governments to manage to the new normal of lower revenues.

California needs to cut $20 billion of state spending. The legislature, so far, has been unwilling to cut program spending or raise taxes. If this continues, then real layoffs cannot be far behind. Local governments too are going to suffer the consequenses of the State’s actions or non-action with further local lay-offs.

The only thing for certain is individual citizens, whether liberal or conservative, are going to pay the price directly or indirectly and kicking the can down the road is not the answer.