Money $marts: Getting the best credit scores requires careful spending
Published 05/09/2012 at 2:21 p.m.
Consumers seem to be getting back in the borrowing game. Coinciding with the advent of the recession and lasting through most of 2010, consumers shed household debt by the billions, paying down and closing credit card accounts, delaying big ticket ...
Money $marts: That which never was will never be
Published 05/02/2012 at 10:48 a.m.
Recessions are officially defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth; in other words, reported Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expressed as a dollar number, actually declines. Recovery, therefore, begins when the GDP number increases.
Money $marts: The student loan albatross
Published 04/25/2012 at 12:40 p.m.
Fifty years ago I received my acceptance letter for admission to the City University of NY (CUNY), along with notice of the tuition due for the first semester — $24. Yes, that’s right, $24 per semester ($48 annually) was the ...
Money $marts: Power and the art of the definition
Published 04/18/2012 at 10:17 a.m.
Words have explicit meanings, sometimes many. Look up the word “run” in the Oxford dictionary. There are 12 definitions of “run” as a verb and 13 as a noun. But even with 25 possibilities, the specific meaning is usually understood ...
Money $marts: Ignorance of the law is no excuse
Published 04/11/2012 at 11:51 a.m.
There are many reasons to be upset with a federal government that has made a mess of just about everything — energy, healthcare, homeownership, taxation, immigration, deficits and debt, the economy, etc.
Money $marts: These are indeed taxing times
Published 04/04/2012 at 10:32 a.m.
Unfortunately, it’s that time again. There’s less than two weeks left before you have to file 2011 tax returns. Of course, you can ask for an extension and it will be normally granted without any problem. But if you owe ...
Money $marts: A slippery slope to…jail?
Published 03/28/2012 at 10:56 a.m.
The slippery slope metaphor is often used as an argument against a specific action because the action can lead to subsequent related actions, each with less similar facts until actions ultimately have little to do with the intent of the ...
Money $marts: What the frack?
Published 03/21/2012 at 11:56 a.m.
Ever since the short lived 1974 Arab nation embargo on oil sales to the U.S. and the internal disruptions it caused — rationing, quadrupling of gas prices and long lines at the filling stations — every sitting president and candidate ...
Money $marts: Jobs by the numbers
Published 03/14/2012 at 11:27 a.m.
Consider an auditorium with 1,000 people. On stage a speaker asks everyone in the audience to raise his hand if they are currently unemployed; 120 people (12 percent) raise their hands. Now the speaker asks those who are no longer ...
Money $marts: Rudy the Repairman so similar to the Fed chairman
Published 03/07/2012 at 11:12 a.m.
Some five decades ago, the late great comedian Jackie Gleason had a weekly television variety show in which he often appeared as different characters in short funny skits. One popular character, Ralph Kramden, a bus driver, was spun off into ...
Money $marts: Even the president’s power is limited
Published 02/29/2012 at 10:46 a.m.
The presidency of the United States is often described as the most powerful job in the world. And in many respects that’s true. After all, the president does have the power to unleash nuclear weapons, start undeclared wars, dispatch SEALs ...
Money $marts: The real ruling class takes over
Published 02/22/2012 at 10:18 a.m.
True stories: There’s a town in the U.S. in which local authorities have a rule that says any football team defeating another team by more than 50 points is automatically disqualified; it’s not nice to make the losing team feel ...
Money $marts: Credit scores and debt
Published 02/15/2012 at 10:27 a.m.
Credit scores and debt issues are plaguing consumers these days. For example, credit scores, with more restrictive lender guidelines and confusion over calculation, are resulting in fewer mortgage approvals and homeowners unable to take advantage of record low refinancing rates. ...
Money $marts: It’s time for the Fed to ‘undo’ the low interest rates
Published 02/08/2012 at 10:31 a.m.
Recently, at Starbucks, I overheard a conversation between an elderly gentleman and his friend, apparently also a financial advisor. The elderly guy was complaining about how Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his cohorts were killing him with low interest rates. ...
Money $marts: The global warming energy follies
Published 02/01/2012 at 10:14 a.m.
Global warming, also known as climate change, is the theory that the earth is warming rapidly (in relative historical terms) due to the growing concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases emanating from mankind’s burning of fossil fuels — coal and oil ...
Money $marts: Get ready for the muddying the facts
Published 01/25/2012 at 9:41 a.m.
It’s the campaign season. The modus operandi for those seeking political offices and their supporters is to vilify, castigate, accuse, embarrass, denigrate and marginalize the opposing party’s candidates.
Money $marts: A community organizer or a CEO?
Published 01/18/2012 at 9:55 a.m.
After retiring from politics, ultraliberal Sen. George McGovern, who lost the 1972 presidential election to Richard Nixon by a landslide, fulfilled his dream of opening a small bed and breakfast inn in Vermont. But hammered by rules and regulations, the ...
Money $marts: Flat or vat tax?
Published 01/11/2012 at 10:21 a.m.
“Our federal income tax system is senseless…and infused with complexity and uncertainty brought on by lobbyist influences, politically expedient compromises, social engineering objectives, industry promotion policies and punitive reasoning.”
Money $marts: The circus is coming to town
Published 01/04/2012 at 9:54 a.m.
The next 10 months will be ones of posturing, campaign slogans, slanted commercials, lies about the state of the union, promises that will not be kept, TV pundits opining on everything, Democratic talking points, Republican talking points, selections of candidates ...
Money $marts: 2012 will be an interesting year
Published 12/27/2011 at 3:44 p.m.
A previous column (Dec. 18, 2009) predicted that 2010 would be an interesting year, reflecting an old Chinese curse that says “may you live an interesting life” (or something like that). The word “interesting” is, of course, a subtle description ...
Money $marts: The SUV is dead, long live the SUV
Published 12/21/2011 at 10 a.m.
Just a few short years ago, Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) appeared to be consigned to the dustbin of used car lots in America. Gas prices were through the roof (above $4.25 per gallon) and the global warming Armageddon crowd had ...
Money $marts: Taxation without rationalization
Published 12/14/2011 at 9:11 a.m.
Our federal income tax system is senseless, devoid of any singular rational objective (e.g. raising revenue, promoting economic growth, etc.) and infused with complexity and uncertainty brought on by lobbyist influences, politically expedient compromises, social engineering objectives, industry promotion policies ...
Money $marts: The inequality gap
Published 12/07/2011 at 10:01 a.m.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently released a report on U.S. household income distribution from 1979 to 2007, finding that the share of income received by the top 1 percent of earners grew from about 8 percent to more than ...
Money $marts: College degree still worth it, but less so
Published 11/30/2011 at 10:01 a.m.
I was surfing YouTube the other day and I caught a clip from the Ellen show. She was giving money to a needy couple that was living with the wife’s parents because they couldn’t afford a place of their own. ...
Money $marts: The oxymoronic view
Published 11/22/2011 at 12:51 p.m.
One of the great literary inventions is the oxymoron: basically two contradictory words together or in a phrase that communicates a new meaning devoid of contradiction; jumbo shrimp is a simple example.
Money $marts: The slow walking economy
Published 11/16/2011 at 9:54 a.m.
Throughout modern history, with the exception of the Great Depression, the economy has proven resilient, bouncing back from downturns to often soar ahead in the years following. The 80s and 90s are prime examples, each decade beginning with recession but ...
Money $marts: Guns and derivatives don’t kill, but certain people do
Published 11/09/2011 at 11:04 a.m.
“Guns don’t kill people; people kill people” is a well-known aphorism. There is no denying the literal truth of the statement. A person has to pull a trigger to do harm. But, the anti-gun crowd says, if guns didn’t exist, ...
Money $marts: How many for dinner?
Published 11/02/2011 at 9:55 a.m.
A popular marketing ploy used by many charities as well as for profit companies is to note how many times something bad happens in one second. For example, something like: “In America three children are diagnosed with ‘X’ disease every ...
Money $marts: The dismal ditsy science
Published 10/26/2011 at 11:02 a.m.
Thomas Carlyle, a 19th century Scottish writer and historian, coined the term “dismal science” to describe economics. Supposedly, he was inspired by economist T. R. Malthus’ gloomy prediction (in his book “On Population”) that population would always grow faster than ...
Money $marts: Pointing the finger at the wrong villains
Published 10/19/2011 at 10:04 a.m.
Everyone, it seems, hates bankers. The president refers to them derisively as “fat cats.” The general public disparagingly wants to know why bankers got bailed out while it didn’t. Movies invariably depict bankers as cold, callous, greedy and uncaring — ...
Money $marts: Creative destruction, literally
Published 10/12/2011 at 9:32 a.m.
In 1942, Joseph Schumpeter published “Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy,” one of the seminal works of 20th century economic thought. In that book Schumpeter coined the term “creative destruction” which he used to define “the process of industrial mutation that incessantly ...
Money $marts: The tax reform imperative
Published 10/05/2011 at 12:46 p.m.
Our tax system is a mess. And not because the wealthy aren’t paying enough — they pay way more than they should; or the average income tax rate for the middle class is higher than that for a billionaire — ...
Money $marts: You are not entitled
Published 09/27/2011 at 3:54 p.m.
There are defined citizens “rights” in the Constitution, not the least of which are those contained in the Bill of Rights, like free speech and the right to bear arms. The following are not included: the right to privacy, the ...
Money $marts: A dose of economic reality
Published 09/21/2011 at 10:23 a.m.
The issues of the 2012 presidential election debate have been defined: the economy, taxes, jobs and the intertwined elements of federal government deficits and debt. There will be a lot of pontificating, posturing, sloganeering and lies. But the economy has ...
Money $marts: The scientific method and global warming
Published 09/14/2011 at 9:57 a.m.
Believers in global warming, err… climate change, have the earth warming up as their first conclusion and human usage of fossil fuels being the causal factor as their second. They claim there is a preponderance of evidence for these conclusions ...
Money $marts: This will create jobs? In your dreams
Updated 09/07/2011 at 9:25 a.m.
I am writing on Tuesday, two days before President Barack Obama gives his “jobs” speech to Congress. It doesn’t matter what he says. I am not dismissing the president, but unless he completely reverses his positions and statements of the ...
Money $marts: Luck be a lady for Florida... for now
Published 08/30/2011 at 3:49 p.m.
“Luck be a lady tonight” is a line from a great Frank Sinatra song about a gambler calling for luck as he throws the dice in a craps game. Luck is a lady when the gambler wins.
Money $marts: Killing us softly with his song
Published 08/24/2011 at 9:34 a.m.
When it comes to the economy, the Federal Reserve (the Fed) is the most powerful government institution in the America. It answers to no one, not the president, not the Congress.
Money $marts: Moving toward cheaper, lighter ‘stuff’
Published 08/02/2011 at 4:23 p.m.
“You Can’t Take It With You” is a comedic play, set in the 1930’s, essentially about a dotty family that believes life is only about happiness, love and not conforming to expected or even required (e.g. paying income taxes) societal ...
Money $marts: The smell of mendacity
Published 07/25/2011 at 5:48 p.m.
In the movie, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” Burl Ives plays the role of “Big Daddy.” a powerful patriarch of a wealthy southern family. A large physically impressive man, Big Daddy built his empire from nothing and rules over ...
Money $marts: Forget stocks, trade currencies
Published 07/19/2011 at 5:28 p.m.
One day in the early 1970’s as an economist with a major global bank in New York, I was called to the executive vice president’s office to discuss the movements of the German mark/U.S. dollar exchange rate.
Money $marts: The home seller squeeze
Published 07/13/2011 at 10:22 a.m.
Buyer profligacy, banker minimal credit standards and government home ownership promotional policies combined to create the housing bubble that burst two years ago, devastating the economy. The housing sector wreckage remains a huge drag on the recovery with little that ...
Money $marts: Choosing a financial adviser
Published 07/06/2011 at 10:35 a.m.
“Trust, but verify” is how Ronald Reagan defined his position on global arms treaties. When choosing a financial adviser, the same imperative holds. While the vast majority of advisers are honest professionals, there are often conflicts of interest that can ...
Money $marts: Emperor Nero fiddled while Rome burned
Published 06/29/2011 at 9:53 a.m.
The country is in an economic mess. That’s not a term from the textbooks, but a mess it is. The unemployment rate stands above 9 percent almost two years after the recession officially ended. This anemic recovery is predicted to ...
Money $marts: Who wants to live forever?
Published 06/22/2011 at 10:37 a.m.
“The Highlander” is a movie about a small group of immortals who must duel each other with swords until the last one standing (with his head still on) wins “the prize,” which, as it turns out, is mortality.
Money $marts: A portfolio of shoes
Published 06/15/2011 at 11:43 a.m.
At a sports bar the other night, some friends and I were having a conversation when the topic of shoes came up. Lisa is a tall, smart pulchritudinous blond who’s in the high end retail clothing business. Clothes and accessories ...
Money $marts: The reasons behind the stalled economy
Published 06/08/2011 at 11:13 a.m.
The economy has apparently retrenched, slowing to below expectations and more optimistic forecasts. Unemployment has risen above 9 percent again. Economists and pundits point to previous recessions and state that this should not be happening. Previous recoveries in all the ...
Money $marts: Keep on going and going and ...
Published 06/01/2011 at 9:48 a.m.
In the bookstore the other day my eye caught the headline on a cover of a major business magazine: “How to Retire Early,” with a picture of a smiling couple sitting on a beach somewhere. That’s everybody’s dream, right? Get ...
Money $marts: Postponing reality not a good idea for today’s youth
Published 05/18/2011 at 12:44 p.m.
The process of raising children has an inevitable cycle. They are born, and ultimately they move out to be on their own. The end has its negatives for parents (the empty nest syndrome) but also its positives (more freedom and ...
Money $marts: Used cars getting more pricey than some new cars
Published 05/11/2011 at 10:38 a.m.
On one level, car buying compares the price of a new vehicle with a used one. As a rule, the latter is always cheaper than the former because of what bean counters call “depreciation.”