Friday, January 9, 2015

Everything is Free!

The New York Times has a headline today that says, "Obama Plan Would Help Many Go to Community College Free".  Not long ago, many were touting how Obamacare provides "free" birth control for women.   Obama has also pushed to make pre-school "free" for all children.  And he has pushed to give "free" cell phones to the poor.  When someone wants to make something free, who wouldn't like it?

Well, of course, these things aren't free.  Someone still has to pay the teachers at the community college, and someone still has to pay the drug companies for birth control pills, someone still has to pay the electricity bills at the pre-schools, and someone needs to pay for those phones.  That someone is taxpayers.  In the case of the community college plan, by some estimates that bill comes to about $34 billion per year.  But of course it isn't as appealing if you say, "Obama Plan Would Force Americans to pay $34 Billion in Community College Tuition for other Americans".

Monday, December 15, 2014

Balance in life

Some great perspective during the holidays...

Friday, November 21, 2014

Income Inequality

This should come as no surprise, but I agree completely with this article...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Balance has been restored in America, thank goodness

Last night was a great night for capitalism loving Americans.  6 years ago, Americans elected Barack Obama and gave him a filibuster proof majority in the Senate (60 out of 100) and control of the House of Representatives.  The next two years saw the biggest expansion of government and government regulations in recent history.  Last night, American officially rejected those policies.  Democrats got thumped.  Best estimates suggest Republicans will finish with 54 Senate seats and a record number of House seats, giving them significant control over the legislative agenda for the next 2 years.  Further, Republicans swept Governor elections, winning in ultra left states like Illinois, Maryland and my home state of Massachusetts, not to mention heavily contested states like Wisconsin and Ohio.  The message from Americans is clear:  we reject the statist/progressive direction the country had been taken.

Now, Republicans can still blow this, and it would not surprise me if they did.  Republicans could be bad winners and overreach.  They could focus on impeachment of Obama or investigations into Benghazi or repeal of Obamacare.  This is not what Americans want them to do.    Sure, Americans don’t like Obamacare, but everyone knows that Obama would never allow repeal while he is still in office, so trying to do so would be a waste of time.  Instead Republicans would be wise to pass a number of bills that are popular with Americans and that Obama would have a difficult time vetoing.  They have many choices.  They could pass a simple immigration bill that increased border security, increased legal immigration, and relaxed requirements for visas for those with advanced degrees.  They could pass a revenue neutral corporate tax reform bill, that lowers rates, eliminates many corporate tax preferences, and increases incentives for corporations to bring overseas cash back to the U.S.  They can pass trade bills.  They could pass modest reforms to Obamacare.  They could pass an energy bill including Keystone Pipeline.  And, if they were really clever, they could pass a bill increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit (see my blog post of January 7, 2014).  Passing a bill to increase the EITC would outflank the president on the minimum wage issue, and would be very difficult for the president to veto.    Will the Republicans do any of these things or will they overreach?  I don’t know.  But at least for today we can breathe easier knowing that sanity has returned to America.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Most Impressive Woman in American Politics

Who is the Most Impressive Woman in American Politics?  You might have it down to 2 names.  So let’s compare the two:

One rose to fame on her own merits, the other rose to fame largely because of her husband

One is a concert pianist, the other loves watching Dancing with the Stars

One is single, the other stayed married to a man who repeatedly cheat on her

One has a PhD in International Studies and graduated high school at 16, the other has a law degree

One sits on the board of directors of several businesses, the other said “businesses don’t create jobs”

One grew up as a black woman in Alabama, the other is white

One is the first female member of Augusta National Golf Club and only female member of the College Football Selection Committee, the other was the first First Lady to be subpoenaed by a Federal Grand Jury (for Whitewater)

One was Provost at Stanford University, the other gives expensive speeches at universities.

Both have been Secretary of State

Who did you choose?  Who should our daughters look up to?

(In case you didn’t figure it out, the first one is Condoleezza Rice, the second is Hilary Clinton)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

How does internet advertising compare to other industries?

Quick trivia question:  Which of these has the most annual revenues?  NFL football, the video game industry, the movie industry, Exxon Mobil, or all internet advertising?  I started looking into this because I was trying to get a sense for the internet advertising business, since so many relatively new, very large market cap companies rely almost entirely on internet advertising for their profitability (e.g., Facebook, Google, and Twitter).  I was also just generally curious about different media and which is more significant.  So the answer is, Exxon Mobil, by a long way.  Internet advertising is approximately $43 billion a year.  Exxon Mobil did $397 billion in revenues alone.  Number 2 on the list is actually the video game industry, clocking in at $93 billion a year.  Movie sales are a paltry $11 billion a year, and NFL football is $9 billion a year.  

I thought the video game industry was pretty big, but I did not expect it to be 10x larger than the movie industry or the NFL.  Also interesting, Exxon Mobil makes about 9 times more in revenue than the entire internet advertising industry, yet the market capitalization of Google is about the same as Exxon Mobil.  Of course more goes into valuing a stock than its revenues in a given year, but it is still food for thought.