Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Could've Been a Greek Tragedy...

If you caught my video "Credit Default Swaps and the European Debt Crisis", you know that those who lent to Greece had the opportunity to buy a unique form of insurance called a Credit Default Swap, or CDS... Insuring that if Greece didn't make good, someone else (generally a large financial institution) would.. At least that's how it was supposed to go down...

In addition to Greece's creditors, there was a contingent of investors (we can assume hedge funds) who speculated big time by buying CDS contracts without ever having invested in Greek debt... So-called "naked CDS"...

Now the powers that be, the so-called Troika (the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, aka the bailouters) tried desperately to screw CDS holders out of their claims by pushing for a "voluntary" default... Supposedly, had all the debt-holders volunteered to take a 50+% haircut, the CDS contracts would not have triggered...

Within the latest Greek deal the "voluntary" isn't happening, and it therefore looks as though (unless the committee that ultimately determines whether the trigger's been pulled determines otherwise) CDS buyers will indeed get paid... And I say Hallelujah!!

Here's the thing folks, bailouts are morally hazardous events... And, for the sake of our system going forward, those who make irresponsible investment decisions (in this instance the institutions that backed the debt issued by Greece, of all places!!) have got to suffer the losses... And, for crying out loud, a contract is a contract!!

During our own credit crisis, AIG, and those who bought its CDS, got away with financial murder: AIG issued $hundreds of billions of CDS (insuring mortgage-backed debt) without the capital to cover... In a real market it would have defaulted on the default swaps, leading itself to bankruptcy and the buyers of those contracts with the incentive to do some real due diligence next time around... Instead,
you and I bailed em out, 100 cents on the dollar; unbelievable!!

Excess money printing (think Greenspan in the '00s) + lack of prudence (think real estate, second/third mortgages and MBS) = a bubble every time... Like I said, going forward we have to allow the system - the profit and LOSS system - to work...

Protecting "our" children...

According to yesterday's New York Times Article U.S. Rule Set for Cameras at Cars' Rear, tragically, two children are killed and fifty injured every week by [mainly] family members backing their automobiles... Therefore, in a move loving parents would surely endorse, the government is about to mandate rear-viewing cameras in every new automobile beginning 2014...

Clearly this would be an [albeit rare] example of the good in government regulation, right? I mean the free market doesn't require anything of anybody. We can't expect automakers, of their own accord, to protect our children... We therefore must force the issue, as we have with car seats, airbags, seatbelt laws and [possibly] sugar consumption (read Food for Thought) to protect children from their parents' poor decisions...

Funny thing is, according to the article, 45% of all 2012 models come with rear cameras standard, and 23% as an option... I.e., the marketplace (i.e., consumer, as opposed to government, demand) has indeed motivated manufacturers to produce a safer product...

Now there's no question that new cars, with or without rear cameras, are safer than old ones... And of course more mandated safety measures make for a more expensive product (not to mention how constant mandating perpetuates the existence of myriad taxpayer-funded regulatory bodies)... And a more expensive product (and ultimately higher taxes) makes for a consumer who's more likely to hang onto her old car longer... Which, ironically, makes for a more dangerous roadway experience for the nation's children (note I didn't say the parents' children) than would've been without the new reg (ala Milton Friedman)...

Alright, I know, many of you aren't with me on this one, not yet anyway... Here's another angle... Think about the $3 billion (well, let's say better than $1 billion [45% already have them]) a year that'll flow to the makers of the rear camera, all the result of government regulating how you and I spend our money... Would you agree then thatthe more avenues from which Uncle Sam can forcibly direct your spending, the more special interests (and yes, corporate America is a special interest) will work to inspire (think $$$$) politicians to act in your their best interest?

And please don't get me wrong, I'm all for us protecting our children... That is you protecting yours and me protecting mine...

February 29, 2012 TV Segment

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The UAW's Latest Hit...

The UAW Choir parades a banner featuring Mitt Romney's infamous quote "Let Detroit go bankrupt" (preceded by "Mitt Romney said:"), while in route to their performance at the Republican front-runner's economic address... Their conductor (with a bullhorn) is none other than their president Bob King... They've come to debut their latest single; Thank You President Obama...

Now let's look past Romney's poor choice of words and consider his statement within the context of the law... In fact let's offer this tone-deaf victim of foot-in-mouth disease a little help and re-state it to something [perhaps] a tad less exploitable:

"Let a U.S. company that can't pay its bills go bankrupt... Let it reorganize, if it can (GM could've), and emerge leaner and more competitive... If it can't (maybe Chrysler couldn't have), liquidate it... Let the better-run companies within that industry (Ford and a host of non-US firms [with U.S. plants]) benefit from their leaders' foresight and good management... Let's not fashion a monster, legally-questionable, bailout (born under Bush then expanded 5-fold under Obama), only to later allow a Chapter-11 in a style that breeches bankruptcy law, and the Constitution, to win a union's political favor..."

Let them try and stick that on a banner!

Friday, February 24, 2012

If he only looked like Mitt...

I'm afraid I'm going to step on a couple toes here... One, for this reactionary critique of the Tea Party... Two, for not having truly delved into the whole Tea Party message (I imagine we agree on many of the eight toes remaining)... I'll say first that I sympathize passionately with what I believe to be their message; which is Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government and Free Trade, right?

I was therefore perplexed when I witnessed, the other evening on Fox Business News' Cavuto program, a young Tea Party co-founder mightily ripping Constitutionalist Ron Paul's candidacy, while promoting Rick Santorum's...

My respect for Ron Paul, and my belief that he'd win the coming general election hands-down (think Independents, Vets and college kids), doesn't earn me much respect amongst my pals... That said, the fact that the Tea Party isn't embracing him (he eats, sleeps and poops their message), I find troubling...

The problem as I see it is two-fold: One, Mr. Paul has no shot (if he only looked like Mitt)... And two; the Tea Party has itself morphed into a political party; subject to all the glad-handing and wink-winking: "Yes, Rick, we've seen your voting record; multiple yes votes on raising the debt ceiling (supposedly anathema to the Tea Party), etc., but you have a shot and we want a horse in the race. Never mind your core fiscal principles, we'll mold ya..."

Alas, whether we're talking Tea Partiers or the Occupiers; organize your efforts, elect officials, raise funds and before you know it, you become what you supposedly abhor, a life-source for your own rent-seeking leadership...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Capitalism and Trade; the best foreign policy...

I gotta tell ya, if you think for a minute that trade ("free" or unilateral) is somehow, on net, bad for the U.S., you have another think coming...

Just consider these two headlines from this morning:

1: "HP, Dell Watch China Labor Costs for Apple"... Last week Foxconn (they assemble all three's products) raised worker pay 16-25%... The third increase since 2010...

"If Foxconn's labor costs go up, their product cost to us will go up", says HP Chief Meg Whitman... "Then we have to decide how much do we pass on to our customers versus how much cost do we absorb."

Now imagine how much you'd pay for an Apple, Dell or HP product if they had to pay U.S. labor costs... And imagine what that would do to U.S. labor in the U.S. industries currently benefiting from your discretionary income...

2: "Chinese Court Says Apple Can Sell iPads in Shanghai"... Rejecting a request by a Chinese technology firm that the sale of Apple's iPads be halted across the affluent Chinese city (a battle over the iPad trademark in China)...

Wow! Who would have thought that a Chinese court would rule in favor of a U.S. company - over a Chinese company?

In Thomas Friedman's fascinating book The World is Flat, he claims that no two countries, after having opened McDonald's restaurants, have ever gone to war with one another... I.e., if you want to make peace with other countries, introduce them to capitalism...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Times are tough, right?

Yeah I know, things ain't what they used to be. And according to "experts" like Robert Reich, Paul Krugman and a host of other economists, columnists and politicians, not only is life not what it used to be, it's far worse. That is for everyone except those fortunate few who find themselves in the upper single-digit percentile(s).

According to stats proffered by the Reich's and the Krugman's, your everyday American household has sat idle these past 3 or 4 decades while the upper class has grown ever-more upper class. The problem with these real-life household stats however is that they don't accurately reflect real-life households. I.e., those who'd have you believe the upper 1% is made up of some elite resource-hoarding fraternity would prefer you not think about who occupies your typical U.S. household these days.

Think in terms of the divorce rate since the '70s. Think in terms of last Friday's New York Times article titled For Women Under 30, Most Births Occur Outside Marriage... Bottom line; the number of households has expanded substantially, relative to growth in population. I.e., simply looking at "households", as opposed to the lives of those who comprise them, distorts the facts in a way that favors the politician who'd have you feel the victim.

If you're believing the politically-inspired tale of the moribund middle-class, consider the following (as they come to my mind) shortlist, in terms of the invention, or improved quality, of the creature comforts today's middle class enjoys:

Heated seats
Memory foam
The Internet
Blue Tooth
Cable/Satellite TV
Satellite radio
Cell phones
Electronic games
Skis, Ski boots, Ski bindings
Gyms (spin, yoga, Pilates, etc)
Athletic shoes
Road bikes
Sleep-number beds
Remote controls
Fish finders
Golf clubs
Golf balls
Pain management
Dental care
Stadium seating (movies)
High def

While I hope that twenty years from now this exercise will produce equally eye-opening results, the pace of innovation going forward faces one major impediment: Today's popular notion that simply raising taxes on production, as opposed to spending within our means (btw 2007's federal budget would be balanced against today's revenue), is the answer to unchecked government borrowing that, at current pace, will make us very Europe-like in the not-too-distant future...

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Life and Wisdom of Thomas Jefferson...

While you and I consider Thomas Jefferson's insights to be utterly profound, I suspect he considered them to be utter commonsense... A friend forwarded me the following:

At 5, began studying under his cousin's tutor.

At 9, studied Latin, Greek and French.

At 14, studied classical literature and additional languages.

At 16, entered the College of William and Mary.

At 19, studied Law for 5 years starting under George Wythe.

At 23, started his own law practice.

At 25, was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses.

At 31, wrote the widely circulated "Summary View of the Rights of British America and retired from his law practice.

At 32, was a Delegate to the Second Continental Congress.

At 33, wrote the Declaration of Independence ..

At 33, took three years to revise Virginia's legal code and wrote a Public Education bill and a statute for Religious Freedom.

At 36, was elected the second Governor of Virginia succeeding Patrick Henry.

At 40, served in Congress for two years.

At 41, was the American minister to France and negotiated commercial treaties with European nations along with Ben Franklin and John Adams.

At 46, served as the first Secretary of State under George Washington.

At 53, served as Vice President and was elected president of the
American Philosophical Society.

At 55, drafted the Kentucky Resolutions and became the active head of Republican Party.

At 57, was elected the third president of the United States .

At 60, obtained the Louisiana Purchase doubling the nation's size.

At 61, was elected to a second term as President.

At 65, retired to Monticello ..

At 80, helped President Monroe shape the Monroe Doctrine.

At 81, almost single-handedly created the University of Virginia and served as its first president.

At 83, died on the 50th anniversary of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence along with John Adams

Thomas Jefferson knew because he himself studied the previous failed attempts at government. He understood actual history, the nature of God, his laws and the nature of man. That happens to be way more than what most understand today. Jefferson really knew his stuff. A voice from the past to lead us in the future:

John F. Kennedy held a dinner in the white House for a group of the brightest minds in the nation at that time. He made this statement:
"This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to gather at one time in the White House with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."

"When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe ." -- Thomas Jefferson

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." -- Thomas Jefferson

"It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world."
-- Thomas Jefferson

"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the
government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." -- Thomas Jefferson

"My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government." -- Thomas Jefferson

"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." -- Thomas Jefferson

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the
blood of patriots and tyrants." -- Thomas Jefferson

"To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." -- Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson said in 1802:

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our
liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow
private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by
inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property - until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."

A very short list (you could fill a library) of Government-Related Perverse Incentives...

*In the early 1960's Europe (attempting to bolster its poultry industry) tariffed (added a tax to) U.S. chickens... President Johnson retaliated with a tariff on Europe-made commercial vans... Both tariffs are still on the books... Today, there's a Ford plant in Turkey that affixes rear-side windows and back seats to what would have been commercial vans (i.e., transforming them into consumer [duty free] vehicles)... They're then shipped to America, where they're stripped of their rear-side windows and back seats (materials shredded and sent for recycling) and voil

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Food for thought...

Letter to Robert H. Lustig, Laura A. Schmidt & Claire D. Brindis with regard to their article in the Scientific Journal of Nature titled Public health: The toxic truth about sugar.

Dear Mr. Lustig, Ms. Schmidt and Ms. Brindis,

In your thoughtful piece regarding "the toxic truth about sugar", you state the obvious - and I would agree; the average Joe needs to be aware of the health risks in forever satisfying his sweet tooth. And I'm assuming you'd agree that lack of exercise contributes as well to the ills you've associated with sugar consumption*. Right?

We part ideologically however where you suggest that government should control sweeteners like it does alcohol. For starters, you'd only be addressing part of the problem; i.e., they'd be regulating sweets but completely ignoring sweat. And, more importantly, if we allow government to penetrate that far into our personal decisions, or, more accurately, our options, where would it stop?

What if ten years after achieving, through legislation, a 50% reduction in average Joe's daily sugar intake we see no marked improvement in his overall health. You think maybe you intellectuals would then offer up the empirical evidence showing inertia to be the ultimate culprit? And wouldn't you then, given that you clearly possess the audacity, propose that government impose restrictions on access to, say, television programs (save, of course, for PBS programs), game consoles and home computers? Perhaps require that all home electronics be engineered to play for one hour, then shut down for three, 24/7? I mean, hey, you might one day control the world if you just take it one step at a time. 

I say we leave producers free to load up the sugar if that's what the market demands. And, out of respect for our fellow adults, leave folks free to choose what they and their children eat. Besides, we have bigger fish to fry (I mean bake, or broil, or boil).

Marty Mazorra

*P.s. I am guessing you mentioned exercise in your piece. I honestly didn't read it, as I refuse to pay your $199 subscriber fee, or the one-time $32 to obtain your original article (not complaining, I'm a capitalist too). I only caught the teaser stating that you advocate controlling sugar like alcohol.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Little Philosophizing...

Nothing beats philosophizing with your kids... My oldest, a senior finance major at Fresno State and full time PWA staff member, is intuitively alert to the structure of the institutions, like the NBA, that peak his interest...

During a recent session we both marveled at how the system continues to work, how products and services (and entertainment) are produced, sold and distributed throughout the world... How we feel relatively safe and optimistic while the world's leaders, its so-called policymakers, seem so desperately inept... While coercion and collusion are so readily evident in the policymaking process...

A daunting query (how indeed our system works) for sure... The answer, however, as I once again counseled young Nicholas (and you frequently herein), is wonderfully simple... No PhD in economics is required to understand what glue, secularly speaking, holds this crazy world together... It would be, as Adam Smith so wonderfully put in his 1776 masterpiece An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations;

"....and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it."

Think about it, think about what motivates you to action... Not purely, or even primarily, in a financial sense, but in terms of in whose interest [in every sense] you're ultimately motivated... It is indeed a paradox... For we forever act in our own interest - yet - whether we're talking parentally or professionally, truly pursing our own interest, without exception, means acting in the best interests of others...

What we need therefore is freedom unfettered. I.e., maximum options - opportunities to pursue our own interests... Now I'm not talking anarchy; in fact I would argue that we do need government to adjudicate situations where confused, and/or corrupt, individuals deem harming others to be in their personal interest... We "need" government to handle those things we determine would be best handled collectively... Those things, however, would be substantially fewer in number than our policymakers would have us believe - and therein lies our greatest challenge going forward...

And yes, I fear I have brought into this world yet another fanatic for free markets... My son has developed uniquely (for his age) keen senses... He continually points to the ills of central planning... To the root causes of what ails our country; essentially the perverse incentives born in the hearts of pandering politicians... For my part I must continue to point him to the basic good of the individual... To take heart in the reality that all things (even populous and political trends) flow within their own seasons... That he is to seek opportunity wherever it may lie, opportunity to serve others... And to simply look around... To look at this wonderful world, study its history, and see, here and now, how far we've come...

Fire the Earmarkers...

Let's say Joe Broker manages your money on a discretionary basis... Meaning you've signed over all of your investment decision-making to him... And Joe just bought shares in Loogie, a fledgling internet search engine, for his personal account... He then proceeds to take all of your (and his other clients') capital and buys you Loogie, forcing up the price...Joe hocks his Loogie the next day, for a handsome (albeit slimy) profit...

Risky, blatantly unethical and entirely illegal (not to mention gross)!! In short, Joe'd be toast... But what if he hadn't started out in the investment business? What if, with his gift of gab and lack of conscience, he ended up in DC instead... Where he could spend your money, to his profit, and remain in a nice two-piece suit, as opposed to an orange jumpsuit...

In the investment business it's called stock manipulation, in Washington they use a more benign term; Earmarking... It works like this:

The Majority Whip teeters at the very edge of one of two plush leather guest chairs in Joe's office, pleading for a yes vote on the $400 million bridge to Neverland - a project that'll create union jobs galore - and one the Whip and his fellow appropriators need badly (and Joe knows it)... Joe's at his desk, tapping his fingers, slowly moving his head back and forth horizontally while staring at the ceiling and humming Iz's version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow... Twenty minutes later commitments are exchanged and everybody's happy... The taxpayer forks over $395 million to the union, and $5 million to fix up the beach that hosts Joe's vacation cottage...

I'm with you; fire all the earmarkers! Here's a few dozen to start with... Washington Post Investigation...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Sperm Has Better Odds...

I know you know this already, but allow me nonetheless to state the obvious with regard to the Catholic/contraception issue...

According to
; "Under the new plan announced by Obama, religiously affiliated universities and hospitals will not be forced to offer contraception coverage to their employees. Insurers will be required, however, to offer complete coverage free of charge to any women who work at such institutions."

The last sentence suggesting complete free-of-charge coverage is an insult to any thinking adult's intelligence... I.e., all of the insurers' insureds, religiously affiliated employees and otherwise, will pick up the tab (in their premiums) for the Administration's politically-critical compromise...

And I can't pass up Harry Read's statement: "I strongly support the rule announced today because in the year 2012, women should not be denied access to contraception. ... Whether women choose to use contraception should be their decision, not the decision of their employers or politicians in Washington."

Say what? Women have every right to use contraceptives... I think all drug stores carry them... The only decision their employers [should] have the right to make is whether or not to pick up the tab...

Find me an industry where rising government intrusion doesn't correlate with rising costs... Don't bother looking; a sperm of a man wearing a condom has better odds of finding an egg in a woman on the pill using an IUD...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Letter to Clint Eastwood...

Letter to Clint Eastwood...

Dear Mr. Eastwood,

I just watched a replay of your controversial Super Bowl Halftime Chrysler commercial - and read your comments during a CNBC interview yesterday... You said "the average man and woman on the street took the message exactly for what it was. And it's the core message for America. It's halfway through the recession. Let's work our way out of it. It doesn't mean anybody's endorsing anyone or any particular product or particular philosophy." That you're "surprised that the people who are supposed to be intelligent have interpreted it otherwise."

Well Mr. Eastwood, I think myself average and of reasonable intelligence, yet I have indeed interpreted it otherwise... And I don't imagine, given your intellect (I presume), that you'd be so naive to think your message wouldn't take aback those who might have a little insight into the truth behind Detroit's recent success...

You stated in your 2-minute Chrysler-funded spot; "Detroit's showing us it can be done." And, what's true about them is true about all of us."

Oh come on Clint, you're making my day... You gotta be feeling lucky to think you could get away with that garbage... What the UAW has shown us is that when years of mismanagement would've, in a free market, brought your demise - if you're politically connected enough (even in the midst of run-wild government debt and budget deficits) - your donatees will breech the constitution, and bankruptcy law, to redistribute enough taxpayer capital to keep your gravy train on the road... Truly you couldn't have picked a worse example, save for perhaps Greece, to compare "all of us" to...

Now, if Ford had paid for your prime-time kudos to Detroit; if you had said "what's true about Ford is true about all of us", you would have left nothing open to misinterpretation - and you wouldn't need to insult the intelligence of "the average man and woman on the street" with the lame riposte that you're not "endorsing anyone or any particular product"...

Martin L. Mazorra


Pardon, once again, my cynicism, but I can't resist... Here's an, alas, apt characterization of today's politician... Think of this in the context of the Senate recently voting down an amendment (59-40) that would have permanently outlawed earmarks: political humor poster:

"I want either less corruption or more opportunity to participate in it"

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Currency Manipulation (video)...

If you've wondered what precisely the politician means when he accuses a country of currency manipulation, watch the following:

The Consitution; An Incovenient Document...

So let's say I instruct my employees to conduct their every function as if their desks were lined with the butts of our clientele... I.e., "there is absolutely no task whatsoever, no break-room conversation, no nothing that takes place within these walls that we wouldn't be willing, even eager, to have our clients witness"... What then would I do with an employee who was overheard saying, "eh, that sounds great but it's unrealistic. I like MF Global's model better. Besides, what clients don't know won't hurt em."? Of course I'd have to commit the taxpayer to another $50k+ (assuming the two full years) as my ex-employee joins the ranks of the unemployed...

So what do we do with a Justice of "the guardian and interpreter of the Constitution" (the Supreme Court) who, when visiting Egypt last week says "I would not look to the U.S. Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012."? Who instead recommends looking to the South African Constitution, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom or the European Convention on Human Rights (none of which I've read by the way)?

I know, I'm short-sighted, dogmatic, old fashioned, yada yada yada... But I'm thinking thetruth of the matter is, for a big-government advocate, be she a politician or, in Ms. Ginsberg's case, a Supreme Court Justice, the Constitution (the document "limiting the powers of government") is an inconvenient document indeed...

Friday, February 3, 2012

That Top 1% (video)...

If you defend your political bent with religious conviction, this'll either provoke table-pounding vindication or utter dismissal... If however, you seek the truth - if you refuse to be manipulated by statistics presented ex-underlying [real world] data, this'll make you think...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Today's Market, the Fed and the Wounded Patient (video)

This is just me thinking out loud...

First; a couple corrections:

*I say "fair value" (should've said "fairly valued" or "trading at the historical p/e") when referring to the market of March 2009... "Fair value" on Wall Street refers to the equilibrium value of a futures contract...

*When referring to the $5 trillion additional national debt, I say "that's how much the debt has gone up this year"... Meant to say "the past three years"...

Also: If the employment trend of the past couple of months continues (this morning's number was substantially better than anticipated), the threat of QE3 (unless Europe implodes) abates considerably...

Thursday February 2, 2012

Want to make big bucks on Wall Street?

Want a Wall Street job? Want to make big big bucks? Start out in Washington and get as close as you can to Treasury, the Fed, fiscal committees, etc.  Once you’re in, once you’re known to be working close with say Geithner for example, you’re a shoe-in for a job at a major firm… Like Goldman Sachs…

I caught the tail-end of a Bloomberg segment yesterday where the host summed up the discussion regarding Goldman hiring Richard Siewert with the word “brilliant”… Here’s what I found on this morning:

“Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) may hire Richard “Jake” Siewert Jr., a former counselor to U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, to manage the bank’s communications department, according to three people familiar with the situation.”


“Hiring Siewert may help bolster Goldman Sachs’s links with the Democratic Party in the U.S., which controls the Senate and the White House under President Barack Obama.”

According to Jeffrey Sachs, 2011 saw $30+ billion spent on lobbying in Washington… Wow! Like I said Monday, how great would it be to have that money circulating, creating, multiplying in the private sector? Make no mistake; big government = big lobbying! I.e., the more influence the government has over business, the more incentive there is for business to influence government…