Brian Banmiller's blog

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 »

Pathological Gambling on Wall Street

Dr. Paul Good, Clinical and Forensic Psychologist says “pathological gambling on Wall Street an epidemic.”

Recession Reality

Here’s a news flash. We’re officially heading toward a recession, a scary term used to describe an economy whose gross domestic product declines for two straight quarters. Yesterday the government reported the world’s largest economy shrank at a 0.3 percent annual rate this past quarter, the sharpest contraction in seven years. If the U-S economy posts a second consecutive negative growth rate when this current quarter ends that will make two in a row, so experts can then officially declare the country in recession.  read more »

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The politics of interest rates

The Fed’s decision to lower interest rates a half point to 1 percent Tuesday reminds me of a political story from not so long ago.

Back when the first President Bush was running for re-election against Bill Clinton in 1991, he made a brief appearance before the Society of Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) annual meeting in Washington. The economy was in terrible shape, and the Clinton camp was making full use of its now famous line, “It’s the economy stupid.” But President Bush was busy blaming the Fed for keeping interest rates too high. (He later blamed Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan for his eventual defeat.)  read more »

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Business Cycle from Boom to Bust

A wall size chart that once hung in the lobby of the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco documented that for decades the standard and predictable business cycle lasted about 7 years from boom to bust to boom. Economy gets cooking. Goods and workers are in short supply. So prices and salaries rise. Inflation rears its ugly head. The Federal Reserve hikes interest rates to cool the economy. And we start all over again.  read more »

In The Long Run We'll All Be Dead

Many years ago while interviewing the late great economist and Nobel Laureate Milton Freidman, he recited to me a long litany of ills weighing down the stock market, housing and the overall economy. (Sound familiar?) But back during that terrible time in the 1980’s interest rates were hovering at about 20 percent. At least today they are certainly much lower, and expected to stay that way.

After we were finished, I asked the obvious question….how long will it take for the economy to recover. Without missing a beat Freidman responded, “Why worry. In the long run we’ll all be dead anyway”. It was vintage Freidman.  read more »

The Rat Pack at 45,000 Feet

Brian Banmiller takes you inside one of the first Lear Jets from 1964, owned by Frank Sinatra