Today is the day companies are like Superman kissing Lois Lane, making employees forget their 2013 1.9% wage increase (real increase of 0.6% because inflation was 1.3%) by delivering free Dairy Queen Blizzards to cubicles across the country and hosting a donuts-n-coffee table in the lobby entrances everywhere. We’re easily bought off by Blizzards and donuts, so we appreciate the gesture.
There are two things we don’t appreciate, no two things we don’t really care about today:
Yawn! These sound as exciting as Katy Perry growling to auto-tune. We may be showing our age, but both of these are attracting more wall-to-wall coverage than they’re worth. They grab reader’s and viewer’s attention like a cat to a laser light. We think eventually, like the cat, we’ll find out there’s not much there there (intentional or artistic repetition).
Hey, Barack Obama! Mitt Romney’s 80s called and they want to know if you’re finally interested in their foreign policy. Sarah Palin may have a porch on which you can read War and Peace or even The Brothers Karamazov to get up to speed on all things Russia.
If not handled correctly, the Ukraine situation will affect American’s wallet in a way Bitcoin or even vodka can’t help. This had a temporary affect on the stock market, but as we have learned the U.S. stock market is made of Teflon or that stuff that Cher uses. Clearly not that stuff Kim Novak uses.
While the reasons for the market’s response to everything are questionable, as we continue to say week after week, the U.S. economy is seeing slow and steady improvement. Like a humble person at The Oscars, you have to really look for it.
Earlier this week, the Institute of Supply Management’s manufacturing index reported an increase to 53.2 from 51.3. Anything above 50 suggests expansion. Consumer spending was also up due to higher energy costs from that pre-Ukraine condition called winter.
While the ADP Research Institute reported that U.S. companies added 16,000 fewer jobs than expected in February, the percentage of Americans 60 or older who are delaying retirement dropped 8% since 2010 and the average auto loan increased in the fourth quarter of 2013 from the fourth quarter of 2012. Used car loans increased $345 and new car loans increased $739.
The Teflon stock market was up today after the Department of Labor’s jobs report for February showed 175,000 added on top of January’s 129,000. The unemployment rate did rise to 6.7% from 6.6% and the participation rate remained steady at 63%.
While the flat jobs market is either because of cold weather or because you’re stupid or both, business leaders are upbeat about the future of the economy. That’s likely do to their plans to cut health insurance. And, hell, if business executives listen to this guy they can stop paying employees altogether. The free-market apparently isn’t dictating an increase in wages and, as this example doesn’t suggest, it would hurt the economy.
While we agree that our education system needs improvement, we don’t think the government is up to the task and we hold business leaders accountable for not bringing quality jobs back to the U.S. and shooting themselves in the foot as Sir James Goldsmith predicted decades ago.
Free-market capitalism, hopefully true free market capitalism, had a good week this week in Lego Land and leading business schools across the nation. This is a good sign. Maybe millennials have seen through today’s crony-capitalism and will be tomorrow’s business leaders.
Rethink the way you bank and manage your money. Bank fees are increasing, ATMs will be unsafe if U.S. banks don’t do an upgrade by next month and branded credit cards are becoming less valuable for those of us who take advantage of the perks. We have Puerto Vallarta on the brain.
At the end of the day, it’s your money and your vote. You vote every time you enter any transaction with any company and every time you walk behind that blue curtain. Vote in ways that will benefit you and not continue the status quo.