Brian Banmiller's blog

Lower oil prices may not be cause for celebration

Oil prices have dropped from a July high of $146 a barrel to $56 a barrel yesterday. And some experts predict the price could drop to $45 a barrel, even if OPEC decides to cut back production. You may think this is great news, since you’ve been filling that gas-guzzling SUV for a sticker shock price well above $4.00 a gallon. Now with prices at the pump well below $2.00 a gallon in many markets, it acts as a big tax cut for American consumers and businesses.

But oil prices are dropping like a rock for a reason. Demand for the liquid commodity that greases businesses world-wide is off dramatically. Once booming economies in countries such as China, Russia and Brazil are in free-fall. That indicates a severe global recession is under way. And it could last a long time.  read more »

Iran’s oil problem may create opportunity for Obama

Come January, President-elect Obama will inherit a host of domestic and international problems. But he may already be getting a big break in dealing with one world trouble spot. Iran.

Oil prices have cratered, down from a high of $147 to around $60 a barrel. Such a rapid collapse in the price for Iran’s most precious commodity may cause Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to focus more on keeping his job at home than spending time ranting against America. And continued UN sanctions could finally bring Iran to the negotiating table over nuclear weapons development.  read more »

Obama wins: media now losing.

After almost two years of non-stop political news coverage and advertising, television viewers finally get a break. No more negative advertising, screaming matches on talk shows, and pontificating pundits pretending they know more than you do about how the world turns.

But while you may feel more relaxed in front of your TV set, those behind the screen are not. The money has stopped flowing. This political campaign was a cash cow for local television stations across the country. A record $250 million dollars was spent just by the Obama campaign on local, cable and network television in just the past five months. All political advertising in this presidential election year is estimated at a record $2.5 billion dollars.  read more »

Obama: Pick staff based on ability, not just political ideology.

Back in 1980 I had the opportunity to work with J. Lynn Helms, then Chairman of Piper Aircraft, on a campaign to convert the former Hamilton Air Force base in Marin County, California into a general aviation airport. I was at the time running mostly republican political campaigns in California. But as a private pilot and former Air Force officer, I thought it vital we make the best use of this vital aviation asset. So I was actively seeking help from general aviation companies such as Piper.  read more »

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Hitting bottom before bouncing back

The weak economy is hitting people hard, and some are not handling it well. Clinical and forensic psychologist Dr. Paul Good says that gambling was a factor in Wall Street’s downfall and folks on main street are also at risk. Dr. Good says that typically when gamblers have a big loss they throw more money into the pot and chase their loss.  read more »

Will President Obama be good for business?

Analysts are predicting that with a democrat in the White House companies that create solar and wind power and more fuel efficient cars will see more government support and financing. Despite opposing the war in Iraq, Obama knows the world is a dangerous place, so U-S defense contractors will still benefit, specifically companies with long term contracts building military hardware such as fighter jets, bombers and missiles.
But perhaps the biggest question for voters is how the new president will cure the sick economy. Analysts say that with Obama in the White House and a democratic majority in the Senate the pendulum will shift toward helping out bank customers, pressuring banks to renegotiate mortgages and curb or lower credit card fees.  read more »

Is a Democratic President good or bad for stocks?

Pundits love to pontificate about which political party in the White House is best for Wall Street. If you ask the average voter, they most likely will say a Republican President is best, because that party is considered more “pro-business” in its ideology.
It is true that republicans are more prone to lower corporate taxes and push for less government regulation. But history dictates the Dow Jones Industrials have posted bigger average returns under Democratic Presidents, according to The Stock Trader’s Almanac.  read more »

Who will pay for change?

The good news is the election is finally over. The bad news is our economic problems are not over, and will not be for some time to come. It took a long time for us to get into this mess, and no amount of campaign rhetoric promising simple or quick fixes will work in the short run.
The biggest danger now is to think government is the solution to the crisis it helped create. Simply throwing taxpayer money at the problem without accountability could bankrupt the country. And it raises the very real danger that both citizens and companies will find it easier to rely on a government bailout than on their own abilities.  read more »

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Bailout giving gamblers chips on Wall Street

Clinical and Forensic Psychologist Dr. Paul Good talks about the government bailout just providing another opportunity for gamblers addicted to the action on Wall Street to "get more chips into the game". It is a scathing indictment of a financial system gone wild, and includes his own recommendation. You should never bail out family members who have a gambling problem. So neither should you bail out Wall Street workers who have a gambling problem.

Voting based on labeling, not leadership

On this day before a historic vote for President, my memory takes a step back to the year 1976, the year that marked my baptism into politics. Former President Nixon aide Bob Finch was running in the California Republican primary against S. I. Hayakawa, and I signed on as an unpaid aide for Finch in northern California. Finch was considered Richard Nixon’s closest friend, so I assumed his primary victory was a “no brainer”.  read more »