“The Worst President in My Lifetime”, Howard Davidowitz on Obama

President Obama is having a rough go of things lately. As noted here last week, for the first time in his presidency, more Americans disapprove of Obama (48%) than approve of him (45%), according to the latest WSJ/NBC poll. And 62% say the country is headed in the wrong direction.“The American people are right,” says Howard Davidowitz of Davidowitz & Co. A critic of Obama’s, from the start, Davidowitz refers to him as the “worst” President of his lifetime, even worse than of Jimmy Carter, based on: * — The War in Afghanistan: Davidowitz doesn’t see the point. As far as he can tell, after 7 years, hundreds of billions spent, and thousands of U.S. lives lost, the Afghans still can’t defend against the Taliban. Plus, the Afghan government is stealing billions in aid from the U.S. The WSJ reports, $3 billion in U.S. aid has been loaded onto planes by corrupt officials and flown out of the Kabul airport since 2007. “If they can’t be trained, if they’re stealing all our money, all our soldiers are dying. I don’t understand how any of this is logical,” proclaims Davidowitz. * — Out of Control Spending: Davidowitz thinks Obama has wasted time and taxpayer money pushing ‘Obamacare’ into law at a time when the debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to hit 62% by year’s end. “We’re going broke because of Medicare, Medicaid and everything else. He added another benefit, health-care. Can you explain that to me?” * — BP Oil Spill: “It could destroy the country,” he says. Davidowitz fears the continued loss of hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day will drive gas prices higher, further choking and already struggling consumer. Meanwhile, he questions why the President waited 50 days to contact BP executives. Davidowitz recognizes Obama was handed a difficult hand upon entering office, and admits the political system is dysfunctional. Actually, in the many times Davidowitz has appeared on Tech Ticker he’s rarely had a nice thing to say about any politician, regardless of party. What he’d like to see is a return to fiscal responsibility, lacking these days. “Ross Perot did a huge service to this country when he ran because all he talked about was the budget and what was going on and it forced Clinton to deal with it,” Davidowitz says.

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The Days of “Buy and Hold” Are Over, says John Mauldin

The economy is still the pits yet stocks are on a tear. What’s an investor to do in these confusing times?John Mauldin, president of Millennium Wave Advisors, admits the average investor doesn’t “have as many good choices” as in the past.Contrary to what “experts” have told the public for years, now is not the time for buy and hold, Mauldin says. “You can be a trader. You can ride the wave, I’ve got no problem with that but I don’t think you want to buy something and hold it for five years.”That’s because he thinks another correction is coming in the not so distant future.Mauldin, who writes the Thoughts from the Frontline e-letter, does think there’s money to be made in real estate. With prices so depressed in many markets, he says buying property on the cheap and renting it “is a prescription for making money.”

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Where the $200,000+ Crowd Lives

Where the $200,000+ Crowd Lives

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by Paul Toscano
Friday, February 27, 2009
The White House’s budget for fiscal year 2010 calls for tax  hikes on wealthy Americans.  In this case, that means couples making over $250,000 a  year and individuals $200,000 a year. Under the budget plan, these households  (about 3 percent of the total) would experience tax increases of $318 billion over the next 10 years.  Here’s a look at the states that will be most affected by the tax hike and how they voted in the last presidential election.

Source: US Census Bureau (Housing Data), MSNBC (Election Data)

1. District of Columbia

% of Households Earning $200K+: 8.4%
Total Households: 251,039
Median Income: $50,318
Households Earning $200K+: 21,194

Election Results:
Obama: 93%
McCain: 7%

2. Connecticut

% of Households Earning $200K+: 8.0%
Total Households: 1,320,714
Median Income: $64,158
Households Earning $200K+: 105,433

Election Results:

Obama: 61%
McCain: 38%

3. New Jersey

% of Households Earning $200K+: 7.5%
Total Households: 3,149,910
Median Income: $65,249
Households Earning $200K+: 235,278

Election Results:
Obama: 57%
McCain: 42%

4. Maryland

% of Households Earning $200K+: 6.9%
Total Households: 2,082,458
Median Income: $65,552
Households Earning $200K+: 142,694

Election Results:
Obama: 62%
McCain: 37%

5. (Tie) Massachusetts

% of Households Earning $200K+: 6.2%
Total Households: 2,449,133
Households Earning $200K+: 152,348
Median Income: $57,681

Election Results:
Obama: 62%
McCain: 36%

5. (Tie) California

% of Households Earning $200K+: 6.2%
Total Households: 12,200,672
Households Earning $200K+: 757,411
Median Income: $56,311

Election Results:
Obama: 61%
McCain: 37%

7. Virginia

% of Households Earning $200K+: 5.7%
Total Households: 2,932,234
Households Earning $200K+: 165,998
Median Income: $58,950

Election Results:
Obama: 53%
McCain: 46%

8. New York

% of Households Earning $200K+: 5.6%
Total Households: 7,099,940
Households Earning $200K+: 399,014
Median Income: $49,267

Election Results:
Obama: 62%
McCain: 37%

9. Hawaii

% of Households Earning $200K+: 4.5%
Total Households: 439,685
Households Earning $200K+: 19,876
Median Income: $63,104

Election Results:
Obama: 72%
McCain: 27%

10. Illinois

% of Households Earning $200K+: 4.4%
Total Households: 4,759,579
Households Earning $200K+: 208,385
Median Income: $51,279

Election Results:
Obama: 62%
McCain: 37%

11. New Hampshire

% of Households Earning $200K+: 4.2%
Total Households: 501,505
Households Earning $200K+: 20,899
Median Income: $65,652

Election Results:
Obama: 54%
McCain: 45%

12. Colorado

% of Households Earning $200K+: 4.1%
Total Households: 1,859,965
Households Earning $200K+: 76,216
Median Income: $59,209

Election Results:
Obama: 54%
McCain: 45%

13. Washington

% of Households Earning $200K+: 4.0%
Total Households: 2,501,509
Households Earning $200K+: 99,636
Median Income: $57,178

Election Results:
Obama: 57%
McCain: 41%

14. Texas

% of Households Earning $200K+: 3.9%
Total Households: 8,244,022
Households Earning $200K+: 313,681
Median Income: $45,294

Election Results:
Obama: 44%
McCain: 56%

15. Minnesota

% of Households Earning $200K+: 3.8%
Total Households: 2,062,681
Households Earning $200K+: 77,772
Median Income: $57,932

Election Results:
Obama: 54%
McCain: 44%

Economic Update – March 9,2008

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  • Housing Foreclosures hit an all time high of 0.83% of all mortgages nationwide.

  • Over 5.8% of homeowners were behind in their mortgage payments, the largest number in more than two decades.

  • House prices lost a staggering 8.9% in 2007 – and they’re still dropping.

  • The supply of unsold houses rose to 4 million, or to over a 10 month’s supply.Homeowners’ equity fell below 50% for the first timesince 1945, hitting a new low of 47.9%. As Barry Ritholtz expressed, never before have banks and other various and sundry lenders owned more of the average American’s house than they do.

  • For February 2008 – the economy lost 63,000 jobs. That means 63,000 people lost their job in one month. Actually, the number was 101,000 people who lost their jobs in February, but the government hired 38,000 just to make the numbers look better.

  • In January 2008 – the consumer price index, the widely reported statistic used to measure inflation, rose 4.3% from January 2006.

  • According to John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics, he comes up with a reading of 11.8% inflation for the January CPI calculation. With oil at $106-a- barrel and every kind of commodity up 30% or more (aluminum, oats, silver-hit a 27 year high recently), and double-digit gains in other commodities such as, coffee, corn, wheat, zinc, etc. This just makes more sense than the economic statistics given to us by the government.

U.S. Salaries Are The Most Unequal Since 1928

Salaries in the U.S. are the most unequal since 1928.

The median household income has been stagnant since the economic recovery began in 2001.

Adjusted for inflation, the wages of nonmanagement employees are 10% below their levels in the early 1970’s.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household income is now only slightly above where it was in 1973.

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What a new Federal Minimum Wage means for the states

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With the recent passage of a federal minimum wage bill, the first national minimum wage increase in over a decade is imminent. This bill will provide a wage boost for 12.5 million workers. Under the legislation, the first step of the minimum wage increase—from $5.15 to $5.85—will go into effect on July 24, 2007, 60 days after the president signed the bill. The minimum wage continues to rise annually for two years under the legislation, reaching $7.25 in 2009.

The interaction between the federal minimum wage and state minimum wages varies. Currently, 33 states have passed minimum wage laws establishing higher wage floors than the federal $5.15 level. Several of these states are in the midst of phased-in minimum wage increases of their own, and some index their wages to inflation. The federal phased-in hike will in some cases surpass state minimum wages and in some cases not. By September 2009, the number of states with minimum wages above the federal level will be down to 12, with several states tied with the federal rate of $7.25.

The table below shows how the federal increase will impact minimum wage workers state-by-state. The dates do not necessarily reflect effective dates of change (which vary), but rather show what the operative minimum wage in the state will be on the date specified. Values that are in bold are wage rates that will increase due to the federal increase. This table only describes the effective minimum wage rate for workers covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Effective minimum wage rates for workers covered by FLSA