Information about finance, the economy and business. Entertaining and informative. Seeking Alpha Certified Mark Sunshine Chairman & CEO
  1. Gold Bugs Beware Of Fed Extermination

    Today I heard it again on the car radio — an adver­tise­ment claim­ing that since gold has topped $1,500 an ounce it’s a “must buy” for every respon­si­ble saver.

    If only it were true that I could pro­tect my fam­ily from eco­nomic Armaged­don by buy­ing gold.

    Unfor­tu­nately, the hard facts are that increas­ingly since 2000 gold has been the oppo­site of an infla­tion hedge. Even worse, when inter­est rates rise in response to infla­tion, gold will fall in value, and maybe by a lot.

    The his­tor­i­cal rela­tion­ship of gold to infla­tion, i.e., that it is a hedge, is no longer true. Gold has been “finan­cial­ized” by Wall Street and its price is being dri­ven by insti­tu­tional spec­u­la­tors that buy it by bor­row­ing money at near 0% inter­est. As long as inter­est rates remain low, the cost of bet­ting on gold is very low and money flows into the gold market.

    As gold prices soar indi­vid­ual investors need to beware. One day inter­est rates will start to rise and gold prices will plum­met. Inno­cent vic­tims that buy gold because of a mass mar­ket sales pitch will be sorry.

    My strong advice to read­ers is don’t be a gold bug. It’s only a mat­ter of time before the Fed exter­mi­nates you. [read full story]

    Posted in: BLS, commodities, CPI, economy, Federal Reserve, Finance, Gold, Inflation, Investments, monetary policy, Public Policy
  2. Congressman Ryan, I Don’t Want To Be A Lab Rat

    Dear Con­gress­man Ryan,

    Please explain your Medicare plan to me and my wife. We are in our early fifties and are con­cerned about how your changes to Medicare will affect us. We know that Wash­ing­ton can seem dis­con­nected from the real world but, for peo­ple of our age, your plan to do away with Medicare is very real.

    Get­ting rid of Medicare feels like a free mar­kets exper­i­ment to us and nei­ther of us wants to be a “lab rat” for a social and eco­nomic exper­i­ment gone awry. Lab rats are usu­ally expend­able and we don’t want to be part of a dis­carded gen­er­a­tion. [read full story]

    Posted in: Finance, Fiscal Policy, Forbes, Medicare, Politics, Public Policy, REGULATION
  3. Does $100 Oil Kill All Business Activity?

    High oil prices tend to trig­ger a so-called “neigh­bor­hood effect” where selected man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­nesses that are located closer to their cus­tomers get a price advan­tage over com­peti­tors that are located far away. That is because local busi­nesses have lower trans­porta­tion costs than their out of town, or out of coun­try, com­peti­tors. [read full story]

    Posted in: economy, Energy, Oil, Public Policy
  4. LIBOR Manipulation Redux" rel="bookmark">LIBOR Manipulation Redux

    Back in 2008 my very first blog entry was about LIBOR and whether or not it was a real or imag­i­nary inter­est rate. Since that time I wrote another six arti­cles on the topic and got sin­gled out by the British Banker’s Asso­ci­a­tion, the pub­lish­ers of LIBOR, for spe­cial treat­ment and crit­i­cism. Start­ing about two weeks ago it […] [read full story]

    Posted in: BANKS, Finance, LIBOR
  5. The Inflation Monster Is Tame

    Despite the quick run up in gaso­line prices, the U.S. econ­omy isn’t about to be eaten by the infla­tion mon­ster. While it is a good bet that some­time in the next few years the Fed will have to deal with ris­ing infla­tion, now isn’t the time to change mon­e­tary pol­icy in an effort to slay […] [read full story]

    Posted in: CPI, Deflation, Economic Statistics, economy, Finance, Inflation, M2, Monetary Policy, Oil, Public Policy
  6. Renminbi to Replace the Dollar as King of Currencies? Not Likely

    There is a lot of spec­u­la­tion that the dol­lar is los­ing ground to the Chi­nese ren­minbi and that sooner or later the Fed will share the global stage with Chi­nese mon­e­tary author­i­ties. Chi­nese gov­ern­ment offi­cials and Jere­miad west­ern eco­nomic fore­cast­ers who claim that the ren­minbi will replace the dol­lar as the world’s pre­mier cur­rency cer­tainly […] [read full story]

    Posted in: China, Economic Statistics, economy, Finance, M2, Monetary Policy, Money Supply, Public Policy, Seeking Alpha, Trade, Trade Finance
  7. SBA Policy Restricts Small Business" rel="bookmark">28-Year-Old SBA Policy Restricts Small Business

    It’s tough to explain why the Small Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion favors banks over non-banks in its flag­ship SBA 7(a) loan pro­gram. For the last 28 years, the SBA has refused to license a sin­gle new non-bank lender and has restricted the abil­ity of exist­ing non-bank 7(a) lenders to finance their port­fo­lios. [read full story]

    Posted in: BANKS, Credit Crisis, economy, Finance, SBA, Small Business Lending
  8. Obstacles To Small Business Lending

    On Jan­u­ary 13th I attended the FDIC Small Busi­ness Forum titled Over­com­ing Obsta­cles to Small Busi­ness Lend­ing and got an extra­or­di­nary glimpse into why many small busi­nesses are miss­ing the recov­ery.  Even though the forum pan­elists agreed that “what’s good for small busi­ness is good for Amer­ica”, they had few ideas about how to ener­gize […] [read full story]

    Posted in: BANKS, Bernanke, Credit Crisis, economy, Finance, Public Policy, REGULATION, Regulatory Reform, SBA, Small Business Lending