Bush still plans to halve deficit

I found this article and thought it was interesting to see that what the current numbers were for our deficit. It says that by 2009 it is the goal if the President to cut the national deficit in half. They question the possibility due to the hurricanes that have been hitting the gulf coast. Even with the amount of money that will be put into the relief efforts, they say it still can be done. I think this is very optimistic, but at least they have a goal. Also is it so bad to have a deficit any ways?

Influenza Pandemic

UN Health officials reported that the pandemic could kill up to an estimated 7.4 million! Also, it was released to the press that the bird virus could easily spread to neighboring countries. The 10 member association of Southeast Asian Nations are cooperating together to compbat the disease that is said to potentially be a global issue. All I can think is that it is good to hear that when a particular region is in trouble, its nice to know that others also help. I mean, what would happen to the entire world's economy if this thing got out of hand? I think that it could cause some major problems.

Getting wasted on Sunday

Why do people act the way they do? A recent law in Waynesboro Pennsylvania says that you can now buy beer on Sundays. So what do people do? They line up for miles to buy it that very next Sunday. Why didn't they just buy it on Saturday? I doubt that they all decided they needed a twelve pack of Corona on that Sunday with reason enough to go stand in lines to buy it. Why is it that as soon as the opportunity opens up people jump on it like it is going to be short-lived?
I'm not sure this has anything to do with Managerial Economics but maybe somebody can make a connection here.
The number of sales for beer the first hour on Sunday totaled more than some entire days. I bet a lot of people were pretty wasted that Sunday. Were people really craving the taste of beer or were they just influenced by the power of medias effect on supply and demand?

Echo Boomers

With the Baby boomers winding down and Generation X being less materialistic than prior generations the market is starting to hit up Generation Y, also known as the Echo boomers. Many companies are donating series amount of expenses to this generation. Scion is spending 70 percent of its advertising towards the Echo boomers and many more companies are beginning to shift in the same direction. This is not a bad idea since last year the Echo boomers spent $170 billion of their money and their parent's money. This is definitely a great market to tap into.

Lottery Idiot

I got a kick out of this story. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/30/international/europe/30lotto.html Three years ago this guy won the lottery in England. He only recieved around $15 million, but he is living like he owns the country. Since he won the lottery he has been in court over 30 times and spent over three months in jail. He is always doing crazy things like having a demolition derby in his front yard, or throwing huge parties at his house, 0r getting thrown out of hotels for tearing down a chandelier while trying to swing from it. I am so glad that the market system works the way it does. Imagine if everybody was rewarded on the luck system. Society would be a mess, and nobody would do anything. Soon this jackass from England will be broke again and everyone can go back to normal.

05 Mustang, you want one?

What happens when demand exceeds supply? You get a shortage of the product. This is what is happening with the new 2005/2006 model of the Ford Mustang. Ford can't keep up with consumer's demand for the newly designed muscle car. With the new found demand for the Mustang, Ford will increase Mustang production to 192,000 in 2005 – 80,000 more than in 2004. An article on the Ford Mustang states that nearly one out of every two sports cars sold in U.S. is a Mustang. Demand for this extremely hot car is higher than any other car in production today. With demand being as high as it is, would Ford have legitimate cause in raising the prices of the Mustang? If not, then the market for reselling the Mustang for a premium arises. Maybe keeping production the same and raising the prices could increase revenue for Ford making the Mustang a true classic. But then again, you have to look at all the lost sales that could have resulted with increased production. When people want that V8 power that comes from the GT Mustang, they are willing to pay a hefty price. How high are they willing to go?

Adidas-Reebok Merger

Adidas and Reebok have merged in an effort to better position themselves to take over Nike as the number one retailer in sports foot wear. In the beginning this merger seems to look optimistic with both Adidas and Reebok combining concepts and strong holds on the market. Nike, on the other hand, is not worried about them and is only concerned with themselves. Nike at the moment is still the leader in athletic shoes and still has contracts with the big superstars of sports, which helps there marketing ploy. If Adidas and Reebok are relying solely on this merger to help put them over the top I'm afraid they will fail miserably. History has shown us that just because two giant companies combine doesn't necessarily guarantee them the top spot. In truth it usually ends up a failure.

Gas, even more expensive than you thought

Using your debit card at the pump can be more of an expensive hassle rather than a convenience. I learned this a while ago but was just unsure of how it works. Basically the minute you swipe your card at a prepay pump, the gas station's computer talks to the bank's computer to authorize -- or freeze -- a sum of money. When you swipe your debit card, the gas station is legally able to put a hold on your account, sometimes up to as high as $100. This enables the gas station to confirm a valid bank account. But the hold can remain on your account for a few days. Even if you were to purchase only a few gallons worth of gas, you could have a hold on your bank account for around $100. If you only have a few hundred dollars in your account, this could cause you serious grief later on. This is benefiting the gas company but is hurting the consumer. How many people using their debit cards are actually aware of this going on? My guess would be not very many. If the company is allowed to do this, it seems like a warning or disclaimer should be in place to inform the consumer about what is going on.


Just be glad your here.

I know that a lot of people have done their blogs on gas prices and hurricane Katrina, but I'm just going to do one more. I was reading an article on cnn.com about the gas prices affected by the hurricanes, and the different prices from different places. People here in Utah think that the gas prices are rediculous, but all I can say is that just be greatful that you don't live in Georgia right now. Many of the people there were not personally harmed by the hurricanes, but the gas prices there affected them. At one point after the hurricanes hit, the price of gasoline was up to six dollar a gallon. It all has to do with the whole supply and demand thing. People there thought that the supply of gas was going to decrease, which it did, making the price increase. Basically we are pretty lucky to only be paying three dollars a gallon.

Can't Even Afford Bankruptcy

What do you do when you finally decide to file for bankruptcy and you can't afford to do so. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which wiped out jobs as well as homes, are expected to add significantly to the number of filings. The filings will rise 50% faster in those areas. According to research by University of Nevada professor Robert Lawless, the bulk of the cases will file 12 to 36 months after the event. That gap between shows the borrowers' desire to find other ways to take care of their problems, but in turn they are using all of their cash and credit. This is why they don't have anything left to file for bankruptcy. Liz Pulliam Weston says they sould stop paying some bills, sell non-exempt property or ask family and friends for money. I think that some people try their hardest to be current on their bills, but when I see someone file bankruptcy to pay for a Hummer H3 it really bothers me. >http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/Banking/bankruptcyguide/<

Canada is Next!!

I guess it is now Canada's turn to sue the tobacco companies. The article states that over the next few years, there will be lawsuits against the tobacco companies to help pay for the medical costs associatied with smoking. I think that this stuff is a joke. If a consumer chooses to smoke then let them face the consequences, or another possibility is to just outlaw tobacco entirely. Of course this will never happen because goverments make too much money off of the taxes that tobacco generates. How many other products that when used as intended result in death are allowed to be sold on store shelves? In my opinion, this is nothing more than the government having their cake and eating it too.

'05 Setback, '06 Rebound

With the two recent hurricanes hitting the US in its most vulnerable spot — our carbon fuel supply, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that there are going to be some cutbacks and as well as setbacks. There will probably be a rise in unemployment in the short run. I am sure that this will somehow be blamed on Bush and his magical powers that he uses to control hurricanes, but that is a different subject. So, there will be setbacks in the short run, but there will be a rebound. Jobs will be created due to the reconstruction process, and those affected will have the ability to get back on their feet. Hopefully the growth that was predicted before the hurricanes will only be postponed and not eliminated. It's interesting to look back in history and see the effects of natural disasters. For the most part, there are immediate setbacks and growth is hampered in the short run, but the market bounces back and usually will compensate for the loss and will reverse itself shortly thereafter. What do you guys think?

American Deficit

According to an article that I read the government deficit for 2004 was a record high of $480 billion and is estimated to go up to $1.4 trillion over the next decade. What are we going to do? In my opinion I think that the government is not alone when it comes to deficit. There are millions of Americans who spend more than they make. Many Americans buy houses and cars they cannot afford and are so far into debt they can't see out. So what do these people do? They take out bankruptcy. How are these people getting so far into debt? Why don't people just buy things that they can afford? Same goes for the government. I can understand some of the government debt is very legitimate, but $1.4 trillion, for what?

Is the "Fair Tax" fair?

Rep. John Linder of Georgia has proposed a thought provoking solution for the nation's tax problems. It is an amazingly simple plan. Basically, all taxes including federal income taxes, death taxes, capital gains taxes, and payroll taxes will be abolished and repalced with a national retail sales tax. The fair tax will be a 23 percent sales tax on all final goods and services. Intermediate goods will not be taxed. Social Security and Medicare will be paid from fair tax revenue. The tax burden will be placed on all individuals making purchases in the United States. Illegal aliens will be taxed, individuals being payed under the table will be taxed, and rich and poor alike will be taxed. Individuals would not have to worry about filing for tax returns, businesses would only be concerned with sales tax returns, and the 20,000 page book of IRS regulations would be done away with. This plan will automatically create incentives to personally save money because tax dollars will be derived from spending. Although the fair tax is recieving record breaking support it probably won't pass. However, its proposal may spawn other creative solutions to our tax problems. It may be to simple and basic to be perfect, but man, it sure sounds good!


A million reasons not to move to New York

What does a million dollar house look like? Three car garage, 6,000 square feet, pool in the basement, and an included chef that will cook you lasagna anytime you want it? Well thats what I would want if I paid a million dollars for my house. What about a million dollars for a one bedroom apartment in Manhattan? I can't even imagine forking out that kind of dough for the bare minimum. According to a recent Census Bureau survey shown in this article, over a million houses in the United States are now selling for over a million dollars. These are not all opulent houses that you would expect in the Hamptons or in Laguna Beach. A one bedroom apartment in downtown New York is going for a million dollars. Sure location is everything when it comes to Real Estate, but a million dollars? This is more of a FYI article than anything. I just can't believe that the price of certain locations with respect to real estate is going up as high as it is. In order to live a decent lifestyle in certain locations, you are going to have to have a pretty hefty bank account.

Outrage Over Abu Ghraib Sentencing!!

The sentencing for the female soldier involved in the Abu Ghraib scandal was handed down yesterday. As the article points out, there are many people who are upset with the 3 year sentence. Though her actions were repulsive, consider what happens to American prisoners in Iraq. I guess that according to some, humiliation and decapitation are on about the same level. The coverage that this story received was vastly overblown when you consider the coverage that Americans receive when they are tortured and killed. If these actions were against an American, it would probably be out of the news in a day or so whereas this story stayed around for months. It is amazing to me the amount of people in the US that enjoy hearing how terrible Americans are .

Free Abortions For Hurricane Evacuees

In Little Rock Ark. a doctor has offered to perform free abortions for hurricane evacuees. The doctor says it may be to dangerous if they wait until they can return home. Dr. Jerry Edwards says he has already performed six free abortions. I don't agree with abortion and I don't agree with this article. I think if anything, after being in the hurricane, these women should realize that life is so much more important, and that babies have a right to be born. If you don't want them at least have them and give them up for adoption. I think this doctor is just adding to the trauma that has already taken place.

Where is the money going to come from?

In the wake of the recent hurricanes, many people are calling on the government to fork out billions of dollars to help rebuild the devistated south. That is something that is necessary, but my question is where is the money going to come from. In an address to the nation, President George W. Bush asked congress to approve $200 billion to help with the rebuilding effort. The only problem is that there is no more money to go around. With the United States involved in so many different efforts, there is no money in the budget for such a cost. Right we have troops in Iraq which has cost us close to $200 billion. President Bush has also asked for aid of close to $400 billion to sustain his new medicare reform. Not to mention numerous other ventures that are planned and the country is in need of. Sure the U.S. can get the money, but how long will we have to support a national deficit in order to do such. There is no question that the government needs to help the refugees in the south, but the government also needs to begin to think about the decisions they make and the costs the American public will have to assume to support them. If the deficit continues to increase then the means by which we pay the deficit (i.e. taxes) will also have to increase. All I am suggesting is that we begin to think about the decisions we are making before we make them.


Unemployment Rate and Disaster Clean-up

The government takes credit where it deserves and often times where it does not deserve. I am curious about what kind of impact the recent hurricanes Katrina and Rita will have on our society concerning the unemployment rate. The unemployment rate nationally was doing well shortly before the hurricanes hit (unemployment statistics). Now, there are masses of people heading down to the coast to perform contract work for the government. We all know that these jobs are temporary, but will the government give praise to itself for "creating" these jobs? If so, will it only be in effort to counteract the drastic number of people who have lost their jobs in the southern region? What is even more interesting to me, is how will these hurricanes affect the national unemployment rate? Granted they (hurricanes) left a dent in our economy, but is our economy's "airbag" sufficient to withstand the blow? I believe it is, so long as we all do our part, especially the government!

Nuclear Threats in Iran May Not Be a Threat

As we continue our war in Iraq critics seem to be losing any credibility in going to war over a hunch that a country may have nuclear weapons. Iran has become a suspicion and there are actions being made in trying to control their ability to enrich uranium. In a recent article printed in Newsweek, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9454837, Iran offers their side of the story of purpose of having these nuclear reactors and their reason for mining and enriching uranium. From the article it states that they are developing the use of uranium in order to begin using it for energy such as electricity. This usage is becoming more and more known worldwide. They state that recent jumps in oil prices show the reality of the limited resource of oil and that someday we will need alternate ways of producing energy in mass quantities. They state that they are putting their efforts soley in this purpose. Although the hunch of Iran using their efforts in a terrist way is there, there is no proof of any development of war heads or even the components thereof. This article made me ask myself what if the energy crisis solution lies in a smaller country rich in uranium such as Iran and not in a country known to be more technologically advanced like the US. And why shouldn't we allow them to develop this energy source at the expense of their own country and resources. By all means the threat of nuclear war should not be overlooked, but also shouldn't the fact that we may need such an energy source to supplement oil. Maybe we should focus our efforts worldwide in controlling nuclear threats and allowing countries to develop it in the strive for new ways of producing power. It could be for the good of their people and possibly to world to develop this unlimited power source.


Gas prices to go down?

Rita didn't cause the damage that was expected and some industry analysts have forcasted a significant decline in crude oil prices for the future. In fact, they say that we will not see oil prices at this level in the next five years. Peter Beutel, president of Cameron Hanover, is the leading analysts making these predictions. According to Beutel, if oil prices were to continue to be as high as they are now, they would spark a global recession which would eventually reduce oil demand significantly. Although these predictions sound great, and they provoke a positive image of the future, can we believe them? Crude oil traded at $68 (per barrel) last wednesday, Beutel is predicting oil prices to fall between $25 and $35 in 2006 and 2007. Do these numbers seem far-out to you or is it just me? Simple, economic, explanations and very risky, future, forcasts seem a little to shakey to believe!

Oil Refining: Minimal Damages from Rita

Many news articles are stating that because of a shift in hurricane Rita's pattern from a direct line into Huston with a movement more towards the eastern portion of Texas, our nation has been saved from another massive increase in gas prices. The United States Coast Guard preformed and aerial assessment of the refiners in the gulf and determined that there was no severe damage done to the refineries. According to the MSNBC article by John Schoen the longest period of any refinery being shut down is one month and many of the others will be up in running in less than two weeks. Even thought the refineries will return to normal production soon there is still predicted to be a slight increase in gas prices once again for a short period of time. Bush stated that more oil reserves can be released if needed and I hope that all measures are taken to lower gas prices or keep them the same as what they are currently until the impacts of Rita are reconciled.

Rivals partner up

Palm, Inc. just announced a version of its Treo smartphone that runs Microsoft software. These two rival companies have created a partnership in hopes that Palm will be able to reach new customers. The article states that the phone will be available through Verizon Wireless early next year. This seems like a pretty good move on Palm's part. Their earnings have dropped in the last few months, and I think by partnering with Microsoft they will have the ability to largely increase their technology. This is also a good move on Microsoft's part because they will also be able to expand their technology. I think this partnership will be beneficial in the long run for both sides.

Gas Prices - an Example of Arbitrage

I read an article from the California North County Times, and came across a real life example of arbitrage. The article states that currently, the gas prices in California are lower than other parts of the country, due to local oil refineries. Now with refineries out of commission in Louisiana and Texas, refiners in California have the opportunity to ship gas from California to the Gulf Coast, creating an arbitrage.


"Storm Cars"

It's bad enough that there are people robbing those effected by Katrina, but now selling their water damaged cars? In the article i read it says that thousands of cars that were damaged by the hurricane are expected to re-enter the market in the next few months. While trying to sell these vehicles I'm sure the retailer will forget to mention to the unsuspecting customers that these were the cars that were under water just a few months earlier. I don't think this is honest, or ethical. These so called car salesman will go gather up these broken cars, fix them so they will run for a month, and rip off these innocent car buyers, all in the name of money.


Anti-War Demonstrations

Yesterday, on October 23, 2005, anti-war demonstrators gathered throughout the Globe to voice their opinions against the war in Iraq. According to: Anti-war demonstrators, In Washington alone, nearly 100,000 banded together to get their message across. Despite Bush’s absence, people waved banners, and shouted their exclamations against the war. In Rome and London, many asserted that the war should end. While there were small groups "protesting the protestors" the majority of those in attendance were all there to support a common cause---pulling out of the Iraq war. Personally, I praise all those that were involved in protesting the war, especially those that did so in Washington. I knew a young man who was shot in the head and killed in Iraq, and the torment that his family, and young, widowed bride are enduring is unbearable. When will enough be enough? I believe Bush needs to demonstrate some positive leadership and attempt to pull out our troops and end the war in a careful, and efficient manner. All the billions of dollars that are being flushed down the toilet could be used to invest in something with immeasurable returns – "humanity". Over 15% of the people in the United States have no health insurance, yet Bush continues to approve spending for the Iraq war. Millions are disabled and are living on small, fixed incomes, yet once again Bush forks out the Americans’ hard earned tax dollars for the "almighty" Iraq war. My deep concern and question is: When will Bush wake up and realize that people in this country are desperately in need of his support? When will he start investing in the American people that he supposedly represents? Unfortunately Bush’s term of office won’t end until 2008, but in the mean time, I hope people throughout the World continue to protest the war and terrible crimes against humanity that are occurring as a result.

Read the Fine Print

As everyone knows, Hurricane Katrina caused property damage that has never been witnessed before in America. One would assume that insurance companies would really be in a state of panic with all of the claims that have or will arise by homeowners. However, this article suggests that this is most likely not the case. This is the case because very few homeowners are covered for flood damage beyond an optional Federal $250,000 policy that is available by the government. In most cases the insurance policy states that the homeowner is covered for rain and wind damage. The problem is that most of the damage is caused by flooding even though the rain and wind are the perils of the situation. As the article states, insurance companies may be able to escape 15 billion in payouts based on this wording in their policies and prior contract law outcomes. With this knowledge, it is nice to know that the premiums being paid by millions of homeowners are safe earning interest in the insurance companies investments.


Get Paid For Being Overweight

The US is one of the most unhealthy countries in the world. With fast food restaurants on every corner and Krispy Kreme doughnuts offered in many gas stations and convenient stores it’s no wonder that our country has a problem with obesity. We have become a fast-food nation, always on the run, and usually looking for something quick and convenient. Obesity has become a major problem for businesses, schools, families, government, and includes people of all ages. There are more kids with diabetes under the age of twelve than ever before, and in a majority of those cases diabetes was followed by obesity. What really concerns me is the government’s involvement in allocating Social Security to people who suffer from obesity. If you are obese, you may be entitled to disability payments from the Social Security Administration (SSA)! According to the SSA, $77 million are paid monthly to approximately 137,000 persons who met obesity requirements for disability. http://www.obesity.org/subs/disability/ Are we really drying up our Social Security because people are overweight? I realize that some people are born with bad genetics or have suffered injury that don’t allow them to be active, but after seeing the crowded lines at McDonalds and Krispy Kreme everyday during lunch time I am convinced that many obese people can prevent or help themselves from being obese. I have a good friend that has been working out with me five days a week for about 8 months now, who has changed his diet, and has dropped from 285 pounds to under 250 pounds. He will be the first to admit that he used to be lazy and had a poor diet, but now he is doing something about it.


Fed Hike No.11

Again we see economics at it's best, at least according to Alan Greenspan and the Federal Open Market Committee. Despite doubts of yet another interst rate hike, due to Hurricane Katrina, the FOMC today has again raised interest rates. The last time rates were this high was August 2001 . It is interesting to me the approach the Committee is taking by saying it will continue it's rate increases throughout the year. Inflation is the word of the day, month and entire year of 2005. Working for a new start-up bank in our growing community, I have sat in several meetings lately where interest rates are set according to the market, and it has been interesting to see the effect these types of changes have on the everyday consumer as well as businesses that are looking for investment opportunities as well as funding. Interestingly enough and obvious to most people is the fact that everyone would love to get an extra few basis points on there CD or Money Market account, but few want to see their mortgage rate or variable consumer loan rates, like credit cards increase. It must be said, you can't have your cake and eat it too. As the rates continue to increase I think it will become increasingly more difficult to satisfy the masses, consumers and businesses alike. At least oil prices decreased for a short period (while the fed was meeting of course). It's too bad the committee couldn't have stayed in session longer, or at least until I had filled my gas tank.


Inflation from Katrina

The economic effects of Hurricane Katrina are still showing up. As the total displacement from the storm becomes understood, with 68,000 unemployment claims so far which will likely be absorbed by the inviting states of the refugees, the aggregate unemployment effect on the economy should be minor. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal highlights the current economic condition resulting from Katrina’s inflation after math. The real effects to inflation will be coming from the increasing energy costs that were taking effect before the storm hit, and which now are becoming realized with inflation hitting 3.6% from a year ago, which I think will touch the brakes of an already slowing economy and will pause the Feds rising of the short-term federal-funds rate. As we transition in to the winter months, we will likely see even more price increases in energy, bringing manufacturing and the economy to a slight slow down and possibly bringing inflation to the mid four percentile. On a more human note, hopefully this disaster has made it clear how important it is to hedge our selves against a local micro economic shut down, and good luck to the people that stay and rebuild.

Minimum Wage, Max Mistake!

Terrific, some states are considering raising minimum wages. What happened to capitalism? Why are we trying to disrupt the very economic system that our country was founded upon? We discussed price floors in class the other day, minimum wage is a price floor, if you remember, price floors have the potential to cause surplus. Well, what is a surplus of employees called? UNEMPLOYMENT. And aside from unemployment, to compensate for the increase in labor costs, businesses raise the price of their products and everyone making above minimum wage is worse off! Why can't we let the natural laws of supply and demand run their course? In the long-run we would be so much better off. Oh, I forgot, in the long-run we die, give me a break! If we continue to mess with the system, we may be dead long before the long-run!

Torture kids out of love?

I am disgusted by the amount of child abuse that is going on in the world. An Ohio couple kept their children in cages at night, saying that their children were out of hand. While a Florida couple was charged with five counts of aggravated child abuse for yanking out their children's toenails with pliers and torturing them with an electric cattle prod. Their twin fourteen-year-old boys both weighed less than 40 pounds, yet the father pleads, "It was never any intent to harm them." Both of these families were adopted children. I'm not blaming the adoption agency for picking bad parents; I just want to know how someone can see nothing wrong with the situation. If parents are adopting kids, these kids should be given a chance to be raised in a somewhat functional home since they were taken out of a broken home, they shouldn't be worse off. If the parents can't handle raising children, if it's too much responsibility for them to handle, there is a solution. It’s quite simple really, they should not adopt children.

Asteroid insurance

I found this to be pretty interesting. Most people have insurance on their homes and automobiles. What about insurance on if an asteroid hits the earth? Will you be ready for destruction that a 100 meter wide asteroid can create? Well this article is saying that you should really consider purchasing asteroid insurance for the chance that one will hit. What the hell for? If an asteroid hits the earth, we will pretty much all be dead. If not dead, we might not have any legs or arms left over to work with. Don't waste your money on something as ludicrous as this. Instead, go buy a boat or maybe even a gym membership. Speaking of a gym membership, thats the real problem people should be worried about; everyone is getting fatter.

Earthquake closer to home

When we see on the news that 800 people die in an eartquake in Japan we say to ourselves wow! and then we turn the page to see who one the Dodger game. The truth is that something like this could be ready to happen a lot closer to home. An Earthquake of a magnitude around 6.7 is estimated to hit southern Califonria within the next decade. If it does, it could cause 18,000 deaths and $250 billion in damages. I just hope that people do what is needed to cause the least amount of destruction. If and when it happens I hope we all don't just turn the page.

A Big Mac from India? What the hell?

When youre watching late night television and you get the sudden urge to order Winsor Pilates or maybe even College Girls Gone Wild 17, you expect to be able to understand the operator taking your order. Unfortunately this isn't always the case. More times than not you will get a lady from India whose accent is heavier than a sack of dirt. It makes me want to just hang up and try to get an American. No offense to any people who have accents, but I just can't understand you. So what am I really getting at here? McDonalds is now trying to outsource their drive-thru ordering process. Next time youre there you might be hearing someone with a New Jersey accent. Kind of a cool idea if as long as you keep it in America. I don't know where they are finding people who are willing to sit at a computer and take McDonalds orders all day long. But I guess someone has to do it, just not me.


Rebuilding New Orleans

We all know that rebuilding New Orleans will cost the U.S. a fortune. Estimated costs are already up to $200 billion and we haven't even started yet. My question is that if everyone in New Orleans knew that the levies could only withstand a category three hurricane why did they stay when they knew that it was a category five. I know that some were unable to leave, but if that was you and you were able to get out wouldn't you? Also, why weren't the levies ever repaired to withstand a category five? For years people have been talking about this disaster happening. Why weren't we better prepaired? http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/sep2005/nf20050913_8975_db082.htm
Price gouging is when the price of a high demanded good is rising and rising until it is so high that it is ridiculous to buy. So is price gouging immoral? I think yes, when you are taking advantage of your customers. Price gouging is economically efficient and it will maximize your profit, but not for long. When the demand of the good is lowering, so will your profit. This is because when you take advantage of your customers, they will remember that for a long time and will find a more reliable and honest company to but that product. You will lose your long term customers. (http://www.truckandbarter.com)

Credit Card Debt Mounts for Victims of Hurricane Katrina

For many affected by the devastating impacts of Hurricane Katrina, basics such as food and shelter are top priority. However, with many people's places of employment having been completely washed away, money is tough to come by. In fact, since the hurricane, many individuals in transition mode have racked up hefty credit card bills, and are now facing the dilemma of trying to pay them off. With many Americans out of work and without food and shelter, credit cards have been bridging the gap between having a meal and hotel room, and going hungry on the streets. Also, in addition to mounting credit card bills, some are left to pay for losses, or mortgages on their homes, etc. leaving them in even harder financial times. That being said, some credit card companies are offering Katrina victims a little bit of grace. According to http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/09/14/katrina.credit.ap/index.html, credit card companies will be offering a little bit of relief to victims through providing periods of time without late fees, etc, with one company mentioned in the article even offering victims two months of grace before having any fees assessed. While some may think that is not enough grace time, I am personally amazed that credit card companies are offering any slack at all. Although it's not much time, perhaps victims will be able to get the financial counseling, or help from loved ones that they need, to shift things around for a while, before getting back on their feet. Until then, my thoughts and prayers are with the victims.

Disaster to boost companies image, right or wrong?

I recently came across an interesting article about private businesses philanthropic efforts to the katrina disaster. Over $312 million, and still growing, has been donated to the relief efforts by private corporations. Aside from cash donations, many companies have contributed their expertise to water and sewer treatment, electrical shortages, medical supplies, and temporary housing needs, to name a few. Their charitable contributions are welcomed with open arms, but in many cases their motives are questioned. Similar corporate charity was displayed during 9/11 as well as the tsunami situation, but businesses are becoming more strategic in their relief efforts. They seem to be using this disaster as a way to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Openly donating millions of dollars and countless other contributions is a strategic way of building positive public opion for the company. Positive public opinion will in turn pay grand dividends in the future, possibly, and hopefully to the company, more than the relief investment. Is there anything wrong with this? Is it unethical to use a disaster to bolster company image? Well, ask the naked katrina victim who was clothed by Levi Straus, or the mother who can now clean and diaper her baby thanks to Wal-Mart, or the cancer patient who is recieving treatment from Amgen, or the disaster victim who recieved $1,000 into their savings account from Emigrant Savings Bank, or the hungry family munching on Papa Johns pizza. I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. It is critical aid, is it not? Then who cares what the motives are!


Utah Hosts Guests From Katrina

Its good to know that even though times aren't very good right now in the U.S., as Utahns we are being true to what we believe and helping wherever we can. Communities throughout Utah are taking families into their towns, finding them places to live, jobs to support their families, and being the friends that they need. Not only will this enrich our lives, but it will also enrich our economy. By having these new comers in our community we will be allowing our kids to see some of what is on the other side of Utah borders, and bring in some cultural diversity that we have been in need of. In New Orleans 67 percent are black, while only 1.9 percent of Salt Lake's population is, according to the Utah Census Bureau, and Angie Welling of the Deseret Morning News. By having people come and stay here, and having them see that Utah is not so bad, might help prompt them to stay here and start a new life, while bringing in needed revenue. I think that Katrina will help bring Americans together just like 911. http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,605153807,00.html

Stocks or Real Estate?

Most people today when asked where they would rather invest their money answer real estate. This seems to be the better investment if your looking at the short term. But, let's face it, real estate is a long-term investment. Everyone knows that the real estate market is 'booming' right now, people who have the means see this as an opportunity to buy and make some money. When in actuality it's a better time to sell. Most booms in any market end in a bust (major price declines). Who wants to be stuck with a high loan balance while the value of their home is going down faster than they could catch up? You'll end up selling because of fear of bankruptcy and have alot of out of pocket payouts. On the upside, this boom may result in a period of stagnation and the family income could catch up with prices causing the market to slide back into equilibrium. Comparing real estate with the stock market over a long term period you'll see that, for example, the S&P 500 has actually stomped the real estate market. A quote from frobes.com in a recent article said, "From the start of 1980 to the end of 2004, home sale prices increased 247%. A pretty sweet deal, it would seem. Over the same period, however, the S&P 500 shot up more than 1,000%." So should we be discussing our investment opportunities with our real estate broker or our stock broker? You tell me........

Will gas prices ever go down?

With gas prices so high most of us have asked the question, "when will gas prices go down?" I am afraid to say that the answer may be not for a very long time. John W. Schoen of MSNBC, seems to think that we are in for a long and bumpy ride. His response to a question that many of us have, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3403854/, states that instead of wondering when gas prices are going to go down, that we change our driving ways or suck it up and expect these prices. I hate paying 3 dollars a gallon for gas, as does everyone, but, with the recent natural disaster and demand for gasoline so high, we should expect these prices. Even with the demand falling as we head into winter there is still not enough oil to cause prices to drop. As long as the demand exceeds the available supply the prices will stay high.

Consumer Spending

As gas prices increase and in wake of the destruction of hurricane Katrina many experts have predicted consumer spending to be down for the upcoming holiday season. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3683270/ . In turn the merchandise may increase somewhat to cover the shipping cost, which has increased to cover the gas increase. Even though nothing is for sure of what the post-hurricane Katrina status will be like it's likely to say this holiday season we will either have to spend more or buy less materials.



There are thousands of people losing hope on a daily basis of receiving necessary organs that will prolong their mortal life. Scientists are working on the process of transplanting organs from animals to humans. Currently there are five times more patients needing organs than there are organs available (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/09/10/nba10.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/09/10/ixhome.html). The concern of ethics may be brought up. Personally, I feel that if the patient is in such dier need and is willing to risk the chance of becoming infected with various animal viruses then the individual should be able to make that decision. However, my concern is whether this will lead to an increase in the cloning of animals in order to produce prime organs for humans. This is where science needs to draw the line. Research and development is key in any organization. In fact billions of dollars are spent each year in this category and we benefit greatly from that. Yes, I appreciate new innovations, but I do not think we should start altering animals in order to make a "preferred match" for a transplant patient.


With the rate of college tuition rising faster than the rate of inflation, students are relying more heavily on loans or other forms of borrowing to get that degree we've heard is so important our whole lives. Tuition bears a majority of the cost that college students pay, but another cost that recieves the lesser attention is college texbooks. Congress has began to show concern over the rising costs of textbooks by commisioning a study done by the Government Accountability Office(GAO). The GAO reported that the price of textbooks have tripled since 1986 bringing the average increase per year to six percent- twice as much as the rate of inflation. This year I would have only saved about $60 by purchasing my books online. I spent over $600 for six books. That is about one-third of what I paid for tuition. Textbook publishers claim that the CD-ROMs, study guides, and other supplemental materials are accounting for some of those costs. If my memory serves me correctly, I can only recall two classes in four years that I actually used any of those additions that created higher prices. And how many times can you revise a history book that is based on a certain time period. I say forget gas prices, I want a discount on my books!

Medical Alternatives

There are over 40 million Americans that do not receive the medical attention that is required due to various reasons such as being unable to afford health insurance and being uninsured to name a few. CBS news aired a program on sixty minutes that informed me of a increasing alternative to medical care in the United States. As I researched deeper I went to Bumrungrad's Hospital web sight, they are located in Thailand and have more foreign patients than any other hospital in the world. So what does one do if they can not afford an medical treatmentor can not get the treatment they need? Due to cheaper labor costs, lower medical malpractice insurance, and positive exchange rates Americans are able to receive medical treatment for 10 percent of the cost in the United Sates cutting rates one-third to one- half for many surgeries and treatments. As they interviewed previous and current patients they were asked about the accommodations, surprisingly I found that they rated the facility's five star as if they were in a hotel room rather than a hospital. The credentials on the websight stated that many of the doctors and nurses had studied or practiced in the U.S. At some point people are going to have to take a stance against our country's current form of medical care, and I would say this is a great option regarding the citizens that for one reason or the other cant receive adequite medical attention. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/04/21/60minutes


Where's Our Relief ?

A long awaited disaster that all New Orlean citizens knew would eventually come. After affects of the hurricane show that a country so equipped in technology and military support can hit ground zero and closely relate to a third world country in seconds. People are starving, there is contaminated water, sewer in the streets, looters, rapes, killings, and much more. So where is our relief? It seems to be that after days of no sign of any kind of relief in New Orleans sends signals that we may not have what we need to protect our country. While we have one of the strongest military support systems in the world, it sure seems strange that when a disaster at the scale of Katrina hits that we are a little under supported here where we need it the most. Chaos in a disaster is expected, but the extent of third world chaos is unacceptable and should be prevented. Of course the people of New Orleans are acting the way they are, they are starving. Looting or killing to protect theirselves is the only way to survive. This all seems far off from what it should be when we are supposed to be living in a country where we take care of our citizens. MSN news has many news reports on the disaster and the chaos that is going on in New Orleans. www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9160453/ Lets just hope that this is an eye opener so that we might conscentrate a little more on protecting our own butts here in the US instead of out saving the whole world.


Real Estate: will it ever cool down?

I'm sure that you have noticed, especially you home buyers out there, that the cost of homes have gone up drastically over the last year. Even here in our own little Cedar City, UT, although it is not as small as it once was. Cedar City has seen many families, mostly from California and Las Vegas, move into our its area. They sale their homes there, and make a profit, move here and buy all of the homes or just build to suit. With the high demand for new homes here in Cedar City, even the smallest and oldest houses are up in the $150k range. According to www.msnbc.com the U.S. home prices increased by an average of 13% just in the last year. I sure hope that the demand for homes here slows down, because soon people are not even going to be able to afford to live here anymore and people who grew up here won't be able to stay. Maybe people from California should just stay there. Maybe. Just a thought.


Internet Taxes?

While looking for a topic to blog on, I ran across an article that could affect millions of people everyday. The article I found concerns states who are pushing for sales tax on internet purchases. As stated in the article, Utah is one of the states that is likely to implement this plan if possible in the next five years. Though a piece of legislation like this might help out the small businesses that are unable to conduct business online, in my opinion the losses that result elsewhere will outweigh the gains. Companies such as Amazon will be hurt the most because what is the point of buying from them when consumers will now have to pay sales tax and shipping. From my experience, not having to pay sales tax is one of the benefits that pursuades me to shop on the internet. What are your opinions on sales tax for internet purchases?

Perseverance, is this the Key?

Intrigued by our class discussion on what produces business success and the amount of a disscussion that followed, I decided to research the topic further. I found an interesting article that prescibed all success to "Perseverance." A women named Helga opened her first jewelery store only to have it fail. Undaunted, she continued to try, "persevere," and now is the owner of three successful stores. Supposedly, her success came through perseverance. What is perseverance? The author of the article calls it, "stick-to-itiveness." Well, what is that? Stick to what - the unsuccessful business plan, the poor location choice, and the unreachable market? Sure, she persevered and opened three other stores which are now successful, but was it persevarnce alone? NO! She obviously evaluated her failure, made important ramifications to her business plan, decided on different locations, and probably targeted her market more effectively the second time around. "Perseverance" is an extremely broad answer to success. Those who use it probably can't logically describe in specifics what has actually made their businesses successful, maybe no business owner can. understanding trade-offs, oppertunity costs, marketing, and management are all important, and even crucial to business success. To put is simply, one word answers to the question just don't answer the question!


Oil reserves

President Bush is releasing oil reserves in hopes that gas prices will go down (http://www.mytelus.com/news/article.do?pageID=cbc/business_home&articleID=2017980). Will that really help? The nation is in panic over an energy crisis, meaning that demand is soaring, and we will pay high gas prices and high heating costs this winter. Although the price per barrel has been dropping since the release of the reserves, we are at the mercy of the oil companies, who have increased their profits to over 50%. Will the people see any relief in gas prices, or will the oil companies keep it all? There is only one way to decrease demand: increase prices.



last wednesday I fueled my car knowing that if I waited another day to do it I would have ended up paying several dollars more. Everyone has noticed the price of gas has continued to go up the last couple of years, the lastest jump due to Hurricane Katrina. The price of regular unleaded is rapidly approaching $3 per gallon and is expected to exceed that in the next few days, but what is more alarming to me is the price of diesel fuel which has been over $3 per gallon for a couple of weeks and still continues to rise. The increase in diesel fuel increases the cost of logistics in the United States, if the cost continues to rise then the cost of regular consumer goods will soon follow. Therefore the cost of living in the U.S. will increase leading to inflation. The worst part is that most working students and staff at the university will probably not be properly compensated to match the higher cost of living. For more information on the rising gas prices please visit

Who Needs the French???

I find it interesting that when there is some sort of disaster around the world that the U.S. is the first to respond and offer aid. Now that we've been hit with a devastating storm, the countries around the world are dragging their feet. Not that we need their help, we are the lone superpower, but I think a real genuine offer would be nice. The Saudis have said they would try to increase the supply of oil (but I'm sure not by much) and now the French said they are trying to mobilize aid. Honestly what are the French going to do? I don't mean to sound pessimistic or unthankful from those who genuinely want to help, but this help from the French seems forced and only offered to make themselves look good. They are quick to criticize us on everything but slow to offer their very limited help. Its also suspicious that they would offer this help when Louisiana is the one affected. This is territory that they used to own and probably still think they do. I can't recall them every offering aid when Florida has been hit by one of these hurricane monsters. They have offered no real help, only opposition to our efforts since 9/11. There's just something about the French that I can't stand, something that makes me want to look the French in the eye and tell them we don't need nor want their help. That's just my opinion, what do you guys think?