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Mastery of Margin

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009, by

Have you talked to anyone who has applied for bank credit in the past year or so? The pendulum has swung wildly to the other side now…and what was once the no documentation loan is now the all documentation, all the time, loan. It’s nice to know that you have alternatives. I’ve long advocated that […]

The Company Store

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009, by

Younger readers will not be familiar with the term. In years past, small factory or mining towns, dominated by one major employer, would often pay the employees in scrip redeemable only at the company owned store. Of course, they abused their monopoly pricing power, and held the hapless employees in thrall to their meager, overpriced […]

Working Both Sides of the Balance Sheet, Part II

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009, by

Picking up on our theme of intelligent debt applications, it might help if we examined the ramifications from being a borrower in a world about to be engulfed in inflation.We have just this past year concluded a remarkable bull run in the bond markets, that began in the early 1980s, and finally reached bottom when […]

Working Both Sides of the Balance Sheet, Part I

Monday, July 13th, 2009, by

It’s high time that someone pointed out the perpetual blind spot that most investment professionals…and their clients…overlook. As any introductory course in accounting will teach you in the first lesson plan… There are two sides to the balance sheet of any going concern… …be it a business or a family. On the left side we […]

The Barricades Have Been Breached

Monday, June 15th, 2009, by

The genius of James Madison’s construction of the U.S. Constitution was in the intricate checks and balances that prevented either the Executive, Legislative or Judicial branches from running roughshod over the others. And it was a nice idea while it lasted. Now we know what happens when you combine a lawless Executive, with a clueless […]

Debunking Debit Cards

Friday, May 8th, 2009, by

Solid proof that consumers have been scared witless by the crushing recession… Debit cards are overtaking Credit cards as the plastic of choice. See the Wall Street Journal article, “Debit-Card Use Overtakes Credit,” by Robin Sidel (4/30/09, page C1). And who can blame them?  Instead of racking up unpaid balances that accrue double digit interest […]

U.S. vs China Smackdown

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009, by

In which we compare and contrast the pragmatic tax policy of a world class economy with the ideologically driven tax policy of another such economy. Both China and the U.S. stock markets tanked last year, but this year China has come roaring back to life….while we continue to tank in response to the incoherence of […]

Financing in Pricey Markets

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009, by

Loyal subscriber Johannes Grad has challenged me to explore financing options in very expensive housing markets, such as the San Francisco Bay Area where he plans on becoming a first time buyer. Even though the national median house price has dropped to the $170,000 range…that is little comfort in a market where the median price […]