In February of this year the S&P 500 closed above 2,100 for the first time in history. If you bought the S&P 500 same index on January 1st of last year you would have made 12% by the time you rang in the new year and if you had listened to Warren Buffet when he wrote his op-ed titled “Buy American. I am” in October of 2008, you would have more than doubled your money by now. It is safe to say that we have left the Great Recession behind and good times are ahead, but in 2006 many were saying the same thing. The market has a way of fooling even the brightest minds in Washington and on Wall Street, and it has made that fact clear countless times in the past. The only thing we can do is to pay attention and be prepared to take action if crisis occurs.
The best way to prepare ourselves is to learn from past mistakes. Every economic environment is unique in its own ways but there are also always similarities. Right now the Federal Reserve is dealing with the low interest rates created by the subprime mortgage crisis recover efforts. Now that the financial markets have recovered it is time to change our mindset from recovery to sustainability. The financial crisis hurt everyone, but the recovery left low and middle-income individuals behind as the income inequality gap continued to grow. In order to achieve a truly sustainable economy the Federal Reserve needs to stop giving Wall Street preferential treatment and help the masses. Now that quantitative easing is over, the Federal Reserve needs to use its monetary stimulus powers to create real wage growth on Main Street. At the same time, regulatory measures need to be taken to keep history from repeating itself in the form of another government bailout. Americans deserve to believe in the American Dream, and it is time to take steps to make that happen.
Our society’s modern mobility started off with public transportation in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Urban and intercity railways became the regular mode of transportation for the growing middle class. The twentieth century was when investments in the improvements of roads increased allowing motor buses to serve less affluent and smaller communities off of main routes. Continue reading LEARNING TO LOVE MASS TRANSIT IN A CAR OBSESSESD SOCIETY
There is a general pattern seen in the world of finance: giant corporate fraud or scandal, resulting government investigation that inevitably is unable to prosecute those responsible, followed by lengthy governmental legislation attempting to prevent the fraud/scandal from ever happening again. In the early 2000’s this pattern played out in the form of multiple scandals such as Enron and WorldCom with resulting legislation in the form of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
SOX is said to be the most sweeping piece of legislature regarding financial reform since FDR’s Securities Act of 1933 and Securities Exchange Act of 1934. It attempted to restore confidence and transparency to companies’ financial statements and therefor the market as a whole. SOX was for the most part able to accomplish this goal, but not without substantial costs to public companies and the market. Compliance costs were grossly underestimated by Congress and the regulatory agencies leaving public companies with no choice but to take the hit. Additionally, there have been substantial declines in the United States’ competitive edge in the global capital markets.
This report is concluded with three suggestions to help accomplish several goals of SOX that have not yet been achieved as well as an overall answer to the question of whether or not the costs of SOX outweigh its benefits.
For almost 30 years after WWII, family incomes grew at a steady pace, doubling by 1973. Then, as a result of multiple economic factors, including “Reaganomics tax cuts,” the momentum shifted. Since then, real income has actually started to decline, with relative income inequality greater than any other point in American history, even when you factor in slavery. Continue reading Income Inequality in America: A Call for Action and Effective Policy
Millennials are one of the largest generations to date. 77 million strong, they make up a quarter of the US population. With members spanning from adolescents to young adults, they will have a significant impact on the future of our country and of our planet. To meet some of the world’s biggest challenges, they will have to utilize their diversity, youth, and technological capabilities to enact change. Continue reading Sharing vs. Caring: How Millennial Smartphone Addiction Can Better Serve Society