Healthcare – double the inflation rate is unsustainable

I’m reading Stiglitz and Bilmes’ new book – The Three Trillion Dollar War. It sets out to show the cost to the USA of the Iraq war, and they go to lengths to be conservative in their calculations (the end number goes over $5bn, but I have not got there yet). But that’s not the …

Blogging for $35 billion – Expensive Tankers

So you lose a $35 billion deal to a competitor that you have been keeping away from your major customer for years. What do you do? Well if you are Boeing, the customer is the US Government (Airforce), the competitor is Airbus and the product is refueling tankers, then you start a blog. and launch …

A tale of two friends – the impact of South African flight

This is an article written by Charl du Plessis – a buddy of mine from business school in the USA. He is an expat South African, and is writing about the flight of talent from South Africa. They still have not found equilibrium there, whereas in NZ it seems the flow just might begin to …

Real Estate is falling – what happens next?

The housing crash is cascading around the world, and the dire predictions are coming true. Here’s the latest chart from The Economist – check out Ireland on the bottom. That’s a crash, not a “balanced slump”. Meanwhile Trade Me just surpassed 70,000 property listings, on the back of signing up one of the last few …

Ham-fisted intervention in markets is dull thinking

Score one for protectionism, and minus several ranks of the economic freedom index for New Zealand, after the Government intervenes to prevent a Canadian fund from buying into Auckland airport. When the market drops by 2% after a new protectionist law is created it should be obvious to everyone the impact of ham-fisted interventionist Government …

The sage of Omaha speaks

Warren Buffet’s yearly missive is out. Essential reading for anyone interested in investing. Here are some tasty snippets: “You only learn who has been swimming naked when the tide goes out – and what we are witnessing at some of our largest financial institutions is an ugly sight. It’s better to have a part interest …

one in 99 USA adults is behind bars

Not only are US Prisons terrifying, . , but now we hear that 1 in 99  of the US adult population is behind bars. “Incarceration rates are even higher for some groups. One in 36 Hispanic adults is behind bars, based on Justice Department figures for 2006. One in 15 black adults is, too, as …

Hope: Si Se Puede Cambiar

Like Bill Clinton, from Hope Arkansas, Barack Obama is bringing positivity to his first campaign for president. This video is stunning. Si Se Puede Cambiar is the US Spanish translation of Obama’s “Yes We Can Change”. I you have not seen Obama in action, then here’s a 2 minute snipet: Below the fold are the …

Judgment Day is here: negative housing equity

SST reports on several stories of negative equity situations happening in Auckland. That’s when the value of a house is less than the money owed to the bank. “One home had mortgages to ASB for $723,000 and Finance Assist for $150,000. It sold for $535,000. … “The mortgage was to Property Finance Securities (in receivership) …

Lights on or off – Safety versus Environment

Does the safety of turning your lights on during the day outweigh the cost? According to Hamish Piercy – no. Apparently lights on increases fuel consumption by 2%, which is a huge number. (Frankly I dispute it, and want to see the evidence) and Hamish’s research says that: “However, on closer examination he said there …

Big Deals: Microsoft and Yahoo

OK – so I’m almost always picking the bearish side for investments, but this one seems pretty clear. It’s a case of a lousy company buying a lousy company. First let me explain what the implicatons of that are, and secondly lets breifly look at why Microsoft and Yahoo will be a hard combination to …