The $15.00 Minimum Wage – Part II

It has recently come to my attention that a large, convention oriented hotel in Florida has offered guests, staying more than one day, a voucher in the amount of $5.00/day in exchange for opting out of housekeeping services.  This means that you will have to act as if you were at home, make your own … Continued

The Advent of the $15.00 Minimum Wage

Recently, the nation’s second largest city, Los Angeles, voted to increase its minimum wage from $9.00 to $15.00 per hour by 2020.  L.A. joins Seattle and San Francisco in enacting a $15 minimum wage with similar levels currently proposed in New York City, Washington D.C., and Kansas City, MO. Whether this proves to be a … Continued

Time to Take off the Shackles?

Much has been written about the tepid economic recovery of the past several years.  GDP growth has been comparatively weak versus past recoveries.  As a result, employment growth has been similarly soft and many pundits conjecture that this is why discouraged workers have simply given up looking for jobs and dropped out of the labor … Continued

Interest Rate Head Fakes

We have seen significant sell-off in the bond market over the past few weeks as the markets try to get their arms around future Fed actions.  These sharp moves in yields can cause one to be uneasy about what could happen.  The fear is that interest rates project upward causing large losses in bond portfolios.  … Continued

Interest Rates as a Shock Absorber

The US Federal Reserve Board (Fed), headed by Chair Janet Yellen, significantly influences interest rates in the US.  As the economy has steadily improved over the past several quarters, the Fed has been signaling that interest rates would be allowed to rise.  That is, until Gross Domestic Product statistics were released several weeks ago.  The … Continued

Managing Fluctuation

Fluctuation is the norm.  Markets fluctuate.  Rainfall fluctuates.  Tax collections fluctuate.  Fluctuation is real but can be managed if recognized and dealt with in a disciplined manner. It is obvious that discipline is the problem.  Many public sector pension funds are still distributing so called “13th checks”, reflecting the manager’s willingness to distribute the results … Continued

S&P 500 First Quarter Earnings Decline?

Consensus estimates for first quarter 2015 S&P 500 earnings suggest that we are likely to experience the first negative quarter since 2009.  Price/earnings ratios are often material in projecting future stock prices.  Should we be worried? Perhaps, but the outlook over the next 12 months may be more encouraging, and many investors put more weight … Continued

Whiskey’s for Drinking, Water’s for Fighting

Generally attributed to Mark Twain, this is just as true to day as it was in the 1800s.  Consider California and its increasingly onerous restrictions on water usage. Water is an essential ingredient of life, and businesses require reliable and economic supplies of water in order to operate. California’s apparent inability to effectively manage its … Continued

Several Companies to Raise Minimum Wages

In recent months, three large retailers including Wal-Mart, Target and T.J. Maxx have announced an increase in the minimum wage paid to their employees.  Other retailers who also pay above the minimum wage include The Gap, Costco, IKEA, REI and Whole Foods, to name a few.  For perspective, the current minimum wage is $7.25.  Wal-Mart, … Continued

Fed Watching

As we have seen, ad nauseam, over the last several days, the Fed watching is a game that anyone can play.  The almost endless, and widely diverse, opinions and predictions put forth by CNBC’s staff and commentators probably generated more heat than light.  In the end, the results of the Fed’s latest meeting were essentially, … Continued

The Automobile of the Future

Falling gasoline prices, mandated fuel economy standards, media coverage of low volume, innovative vehicle power trains and concern over the environmental impact of fossil fuels, has raised questions regarding the future of gasoline powered motor vehicles. Most car buying decisions are probably based on the purchaser’s requirements relating to affordability (both initial cost and continuing … Continued