I have done over thirty radio interviews recently, but just had my first television interview. I was on Comcast’s CN8 last July 15th, regarding the buyout of the American icon Anheuser-Busch and how to find products made in the USA. The broadcast was from Maine to North Carolina and here is a link to the interview on YouTube.com:
Please view and let me know what you think. Also, the more people who view it and rank it five stars, the more YouTube will raise its ranking – meaning the more folks will have the chance to hear about where to find American made products.
The dollar has significantly weakened against currencies that trade freely in the past year. The biggest factors were significant reductions in U.S. interest rates compared to foreign countries and the economic situation here compared to other countries.
When Bernanke and the Fed realized the real estate bubble was bursting and cut rates to try to stem the tide, other countries, particularly the European Community, left their rates high. As our rates dropped and other countries rates stayed high, it makes the U.S. dollar less appealing, as people/companies/countries can earn more interest in British Pounds, European Euro’s etc.
We as a people should also keep in mind that lower interest rates are in effect a tax on anyone with more assets than debt. For example, a retiree with $100,000 saved was earning $5000 per year on those savings at 5%, but is only earning $3000 per year at 3% — a painful sudden cut for many. The relative silence on this issue from groups like the AARP, etc. surprises and disappoints me.
The weak dollar has spawned some good news, like a factory featured in The Wall Street Journal in Wisconsin re-opened recently. I am never going to complain when we get ANY good news, but if a 10% shift in the dollar can spark such and opening, what will happen with the dollar eventually shifts back the other way?
Also, several of our biggest trading partners, particularly China, do not let their currency trade freely against the dollar. In effect, the weaker dollar against the Euro has also weakened China’s currency against the Euro too, as their currency is tied to ours. This is a huge trade advantage the Chinese have that our government does nothing to try to make the playing field equal.
Thus, the gains in manufacturing here from the weak currency will only be temporary unless we make further real changes.
Free trade needs to be modified to take into account artificial advantages of other countries – like a fixed currency or their lack of environmental pollution controls.
In my many years living abroad, I never saw “free” trade going both ways. It is always wide open shipments to the USA, while many barriers shield our so called partners.
What can we do? Here is a start:
1) Encourage investment in manufacturing, research, and renewable energy in the USA through very low taxes.
2) Force the government to deal with these trade issues.
3) Hold retailers accountable for dangerous products they import.
4) For goodness sake, we as a people need to care about where the stuff we buy comes from. It is either made by our neighbor or in China…
Please join me in making America strong again.
Hundreds of American made products available at www.MadeinUSAForever.com. For example, tools at http://madeinusaforever.com/totforgu.html.
Ironically, I projected the housing price decline in my book, Achieving Prosperity, a couple years ago, but was too early. Indeed, the party was just getting started.
What caused this bizarre situation and in turn those at the banks and Freddie Mae and Mac, and even threatens the foundation of our economy? As usual, it not black and white, but here is a few key reasons:
1) The false claim that real estate “never goes down” was pushed so hard by the industry, that folks, banks, etc. felt little risk.
2) In truth, many people knowingly agreed to borrow much more than they could afford to pay.
3) Some banks, real estate agents, mortgage companies, etc. let, even encouraged, folks buy too much house.
4) Bizarre loans, like for 100% or more of the appraised value, etc. Even now with the meltdown in full swing, I saw an ad recently offering to let people “Move in Now and Get Cash with a 103% Loan”.
5) Some people don’t feel tied to the mortgage or house like they used too, and are walking away from negative equity situations, though it severally damages their credit rating. Meaning some people default when they realize their loan is more than their equity, and this in turn pushes down neighborhood values as the house is priced low to sell immediately.
How can we fix this situation? The politicians would love to sell us on a silver bullet, but there just is no easy answer. In the meantime, no one should be able to borrow more than 90% of the value of a home at move in, proof of income and/or assets should be concrete before loans are given, and buyers expectations about rising home values needs to come back to earth.
It will take time, and could get significantly worse in some local areas before it gets better.
A few months ago my wife mentioned several near misses with Nissans while driving. She declared them to be the “Rudest Drivers”. I agree to have seen numinous rude Nissan drivers, but were they really the worst?
I decided to do my own not very scientific poll. For the last few months on and near I-5, I have keep informal track of rude or strange driving, like sudden cutoffs, near misses, etc.
My findings were startling – of the ten incidents FIVE involved Mercedes Benz drivers. Nissan was indeed bad, coming in second with two, and Honda, Ford, and Chevy having one incident each. It is not uncommon to see Mercedes cars, but that is so vastly beyond what it should be statistically, it really has me wondering. Do these particular drivers not care? Is there something wrong with the car itself, like drivers sliding down that slick seat leather, which makes them unable to see others cars? Are they more often senile, given the very advanced age of most Benz drivers?
Also interesting to note is that though roughly half the cars and trucks in the area are made right here in the USA, they were way down the list statistically. Meaning, at least in my neck of the woods, American car and truck drivers are much more polite than average, and vastly more so than Granny in her Benz.
Watch out Benz drivers we are on to you now! Don’t forget your glasses, and for goodness sake if you have forgotten how to drive, please don’t!
I am joking, except that I truly did see breakout by car maker noted above this Spring…
I was honestly shocked how Anheuser Busch folded against the takeover wooing of Belgium’s Inbev. They did not even put up a fight. Inbev had offered $65 per share, Bud yelled once, Inbev offered another $5 per share, and Bud tossed them the keys.
How many 156 year old, iconic companies do we have? Not many. Over the generations, Bud had become more than just a brewer. They had become a part of our culture and identity. Unfortunately, the latest generation of founders spawn proved to be the weakest yet (proving again greatness marrying beauty eventually runs bad – think Hilton, worse Paris Hilton).
This is also bad for our economy in several ways –
1)A large swath of employees and middle management will lose their jobs. Not just at Bud, but also their suppliers, and as this move sparks consolidation even other brewers.
2)Local charity (of which Bud actually did tens of millions) and marketing spending will be curtailed.
3)Biggest of all – billions of dollars in profits that had gone to over a million American shareholders will now be transferred to Europe annually.
Therefore, we are giving up a piece of our culture and economy. It’s a sad situation.