Collapse of the European Union – An Insider Perspective

One of the advantages of being a professional scientist is you meet people from all over the world. In the lab this week we have a visitor from Italy.

Me being me I was curiuos about the speculation seen here about the demise of the Euro. I had a previous post in which I predicted it would die off due to all the bailouts. This appears to not be the general thought in Europe. They will want to keep it but they are thinking that what would be best is some intergovernmental controls on what other folks can do.

Interestingly they want to take the same approach as is done here in the United States. One country fifty states.

Odd how they like our approach of 50 pseudoindependent govnerments with one unifying group at the top. INDEPENDENT states with some control of what goes on between them. NOT one massive thing at the top dictating all.

They like the model. I wonder what they think of our modern day execution of that model.

I shall try to find out and get back to my faithful readers.


The European Union and Bailouts

Let us not forget that debt issues with nations are not new. Many countries of used debt as a way to finance various things, wars, roads, etc. Never before in history has it been used as a method of sustaining the ‘normal’.

I think we need look no further than Europe to see our future if we don’t adjust the steering on the ship that is the United States. There are talks now about several other countries needing bailouts. The first after Greece and Ireland being probably Spain. They are having some really bad budgetary problems and they are just hoping that deep spending cuts will fix it. Deep spending cuts normally means more people on various forms of ‘assistance’ which is a different budget column no one ever cuts. I’m sure Spain isn’t counting for what will be the increased spending there and in my opinion as a result will be asking for a HUGE bailout from the rest of the EU as they all share a currency (the Euro).

The issue is normally when a country gets in this predicament they just cause inflation therefore the money is worth less than it used to be and the level of debt doesn’t seem so bad. We are toying with that here in the US (doubt me? Wait six months then let’s talk). Here is the problem….Germany….They are the biggest bank account over there to go take from and bail out other countries. The challenge is they aren’t in THAT great a shape on their own. So after bailing out Greece and Spain what happens? I think the Euro as a currency will go away, or stupidly the US will try to bail out all of Europe.

Now that being said what happens next? The world resorts back to gold? I’m really not sure what happens next but it doesn’t appear like it will be pretty economically speaking. What I am saying is that as the world economy becomes more and more connected we may not be out of the recession woods just yet. I think it gets worse before it gets better due to lack of economic leadership that makes sense anywhere. When I say makes sense I mean like as in a world that understands ENORMOUS debt is BAD!!!!


Don’t forget to remember what is important – The Holidays and Family Forget Politics Wikileaks, Korea, Dem Vs. Rep.

I want everyone to remember what is really important not just this time of year but every time of year. Family, friends, and loving your life whatever that life is. Enjoy what you have and never be jealous of what someone else may have that you don’t. I think that last one is what causes more problems in this country and around the world than anything else. Jealousy is just silly.

On that note I went to the mall with the wife and kid today for some obvious Christmas stuff. Such as pictures with SANTA!


Financial Advisors – Huh?

I tune in to talk radio often. If you listen on Saturday or Sunday there a wide array of financial advisors on the radio. The conversation is always the same.

How much do you make?

How much have you saved?

Do this…(Usually followed by call my office and become a client).

Somewhere in there they say debt bad, savings good.

Do they not understand the point is to try to teach people things not just instruct?

I have managed my own portfolio for a while. I will say this….With a little bit of homework on your investments beating the market isn’t difficult.

Mutual funds can tie the market, some even beat it and that works if you want to invest and hide your head in the sand. But if you like taking care of business yourself here is my advice. Read 4-5 books, do your homework on each company and go for it. I a mere scientist made over 80% last year and am up over 30% this year.

Financial advisors by the way usually charge either enormous hourly fees so if you make money or not they don’t care…Their other option is a percentage of every sale if you made money or not.


The West Wing Season 1 Episode 6 – Mr. Willis of Ohio

I liked this Episode. It showed the back door dealings that goes on during the budget process.

The one thing I think is interesting here is that they show the amendments to get one thing you want on a bill that has nothing to do with the bill in question. Its a crap way to do things but that is politics.

I think two things should happen in the government at this level. There should be a highly restrictive amendment process. It should be a congressional rule.

There should also be a way to say that the government can’t spend more every year. I know in times of crisis you need to debt spend. I know that. But everything isn’t a crisis.

I am a firm believer in Pay-Go. If you increase spending one place…Cut it someplace else. I do it at home!

The other interesting bit to this episode to me was political families. It demonstrated one worry a real parent would have if they were in politics. That is what happens to their kids. If someone were to come after my kid I know I would be pissed. Now also I would think that if I were in daily life like this in the public eye it would be dangerous to my kids. I would want secret service agents that were 7 foot tall and 3 foot wide around my kids…

But that’s just me.


The West Wing Season 1 Episode 5 – These Crackpots These Women

I have to say I really think this episode was just all about character introduction and evolution. It seemed like filler to me in many ways. Not sure what else to say about it other than Mandy just started to not appear to fit in with the rest of the cast (could be why they cut her after season 1).

The West Wing Season 1 Episode 4 – Five Votes Down

I think this episode was particularly interesting. It shows something we all knew but displays it very well. That politicians will do anything for a personal victory. It has way less to some of them doing the right thing than it does to advancing their career and being owed political points.

I’m sure not all politicians think like this but how much legislation has been past, how much money has been spent to advance a career rather than help our country.

I for one hope that things such as Health Care wasn’t done just for these types of reasons.

It also shows something that I knew a long time ago but displays it very well. People in demanding jobs really do give up much of their personal life in order to have those jobs. In other words White House Chief of Staff is not just a job you go home from. It is what you do from the moment you get up until the moment you go to sleep from exhaustion. You have to be passionate about your career to do this. I’m not sure I could do that I love being with my family too much.