Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Obama Recovery Continues

In the financial news, Tiffany & Co. reported its third quarter earnings today,

In the three months ("third quarter") ended October 31, 2013:
  • Worldwide net sales increased 7% to $911 million. On a constant-exchange-rate basis that excludes the effect of translating foreign-currency-denominated sales into U.S. dollars (see "Non-GAAP Measures"), worldwide net sales rose 11%, and comparable store sales rose 7% due to growth in all regions.
  • Net earnings rose 50% to $95 million, or $0.73 per diluted share, compared with $63 million, or $0.49 per diluted share, a year ago.
Meanwhile, over Bentonville, Arkansas Walmart reported,
  • Consolidated net sales reached $114.9 billion, an increase of $1.8 billion, or 1.6 percent, led by Walmart U.S. with $67.7 billion in net sales. On a constant currency basis, consolidated net sales would have been $116.2 billion.
  • Consolidated operating income was $6.3 billion, an increase of 3.6 percent. Walmart U.S. grew operating income by 5.8 percent. Sam's Clubgrew operating income, without fuel, by 9.4 percent. On a constant currency basis,1 International increased operating income by 8.0 percent.
  • Walmart U.S. comp sales declined 0.3 percent in the 13-week period ended Oct. 25, 2013. Comp sales for the Neighborhood Market format rose approximately 3.4 percent. Walmart U.S. again gained market share in the measured category of "food, consumables and health & wellness/OTC.
And the Dow Jones Industrial Average opens today from a record high of 16,072. This regime has the interests of the ordinary citizen at heart. Carry on fawning supporters, carry on.
Tiffany's pummels Walmart


  1. Simply put you are WRONG in the largest context possible. I used to refer to Ronald Reagan as the "Great Ronald Regan". I truly loved that man. But the inescapable fact is that as the percentage increase of debt compared to GDP soared under Reagan and Bush its trend diminished under Clinton to the extent that it even dropped at the end of Clinton's presidency. Then it once again soared under Bush II to the extent that the rate of growth for 2008, the last year of Bush's presidency it was at its highest rate ever, HIGHER THAN ANY YEAR FOR OBAMA. Yes, the percentage increase for the first year of Obama's presidency was near the high, but the last two years are similar to Bush's presidency. What does this mean? In my opinion it means that with respect to fiscal responsibility, Obama is no worse than the Bushes or Reagan, which of course is God Awful. The solution is to raise taxes on the upper income earners, and since my income now and going forward dwarfs what you ever made, I truly have moral authority to make such a pronouncement.

    1. The above comment is by my brother Scott Foster. Cherry picking a year here and there aside, the facts are that debt, however measured, has risen dramticially faster under the Obama Presidency than under any other President not named Roosevelt and that taxing people like him more, no matter how much money he makes, is not enough to shut the country's current systemic deficits or to begin to pay off debt.

  2. There was a wonderful sociologist named Pierre DeVise who ranked Chicago suburbs for their socio economic status in the 1960s. The suburb where you grew up, Morton Grove was ranked 25 out of 166 in 1969. (I am certain of those numbers, because I did a statistical analysis for my math course at NU that garnered me the second highest grade out of 400+ students in the class. [The highest grade was gotten by a 45 year old woman who was a returning student at NU. She had been a national class swimmer, who dropped out of NU to try out for the 48 Olympics, failed, and then raised a family in Winnetka, while her husband ran a second generation electronics firm. By her own admission, she had a LOT of help writing her paper. You surely remember her--Susan Owen Breuer. We sat next to each other in class and gossiped on occasion about GVC members.} I did an analysis of NU student's home towns compared to the population compared to DeVise's rankings, and not surprisingly, the upper class towns sent a disproportionate number of students to NU. But to my point. Morton Grove was an upper class suburb at the time. We had ONE bathroom, two full time bedrooms (three if you count the den that became a bed room at night), and ONE car. Our father was such a big time Republican, that I still have pictures of him with Ogilvie. (Pictures w Nixon are gone.) He truly was a force. Other than the 20 hockey games we went to every year, we had a very modest life style. So my point is while the middle class has NOT grown the way it has in past decades, it truly has just stagnated, which is not really that bad a deal. (Part 1)

  3. (Part 2) I am tired of Lucy being bullied at her school by some African American punks. (Although she now posts quotes about bullying on her class blog, and the class has shifted its sympathies to Lucy, leaving the moms of the girls to complain to me about being racist. (One of my friends just got a job as marketing director for NASCAR--the first African American Executive they have ever hired.) But I just looked at a house on McVicker one block away from our old house. It is the same size as it was 50 years ago, (and yes I absolutely remembered chickening out on a make out dare from Bobby Phelan to make out with Rhonda Wiczer in the very same den). The place was very affordable in the low 200s. My daughter could go to the same school as we went, play ball at Mansfield, and yes loop at GVC for the same relative income ratio (actually less) than what we had. . How and why has the gap between rich, middle class and poor grown? Two reasons. The first is lower tax rates put in place under Reagan, and the second is the law of unintended consequences of which there are two parts. Part One: When we grew up, there was ONE breadwinner for an upper class family, and that was the father. But when I went to NU, there were a huge number of supergirls who went on to amazing careers,( some of whom I dated and most likely would have married.) These woman as a group married males who were equally talented, and as a result the gap between rich and middle class increased significantly. You need to stay married to accumulate wealth or not have children as was your case in your first marriage. At the same time, we had in succession, the Civil Rights movement, and the Women's movement. One collateral result in both instances was fewer marriages as well as far more divorces. As a result, these groups have suffered over time as well or more accurately not made the progress that would have otherwise been made. That is not a tragedy, that is a CHOICE. And of course, these people are now a disproportionate group of the NEW "moaner class" . So this gets to moral authority and breaking the deadlock between Repubs and Dems. I am a Republican. I say my side taxes its side at a higher rate. That gives us moral authority to tell the other side to get its collective act together by prudently limiting entitlement programs. But to this day, we have simpletons such as yourself doing a lot of finger pointing rather than seeking solutions that are in the best interest of this great country.

  4. Wow!!! I just had a twenty five minute conversation with Susan Breuer (who is around 86). What a truly amazing woman. Chris is a big time potter. Linda owns a refugee center for big birds. And she just retired October 1st as a clinical psychologist. Why? Too much paperwork. But she as I believes that Obamacare will eventually be a huge success.

  5. No. It is not Cherry Picking. Look at the numbers. Until Regan came along the deficit relative to the GDP decreased. Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter. SIX Presidents. And then along came Reagan with his "Trickle Down". It simply did not work. It started the division between Rich and Poor as it is not merely anecdotal that the disappearance of America's middle class began then--a problem that was hastened by farming out manufacturing jobs to other countries. What were the great MBA programs in the 1980s? They were either about finance or marketing. What was the preeminent manufacturing MBA program? Carnegie Mellon, which ranked about 20th overall and was hardly the first choice of MBA applicants. Obama just reflects the overall American culture, which is that one additional financial trick will save us. Half of the good agents in my business are Monetarists who believe that the Fed is there to serve their needs. There is no question that the debt is killing this country. Household debt under Obama has dropped a trillion, and public debt has increased about four. So we are worse off. But the problem goes beyond politics and gets to the core of American society. And until American culture changes, we go nowhere.

  6. I find your assertion about Obama debt (while horrific) to be more than a little bit disingenuous. First, the percentage growth in debt relative to GDP was higher in the last year of Bush's presidency than any year in Obamas. Second, you are making Obama responsible for the mess he inherited in the first year of his presidency. Excluding that year, and one sees a downward trend. Currently at the beginning of Obamacare, we are at 17% of our GDP for spent on medical care. We will see where we are at in ten years. It says here, bet the ranch and the back forty that ten years from now, it will be lower. Moreover, since 1971 when the "Not Really that Bad" Richard Nixon proposed a form of national health insurance, we have had 25 years of Republican Presidents, and 17 years of Democrat Presidents. In those 25 years, NOTHING was accomplished. (I understand that Teddy Kennedy obfuscating the process had something to do with this.) Finally, 38 years after Nixon first proposed national health insurance, we got a law that required such. So if the Republicans are complaining about the law, they have only themselves to blame. And to repeat, we could not get any health insurance for my beloved Halina simply because she was in two automobile accidents, neither one of which she was at fault. Had we been able to get such, she would almost certainly be alive today. But the premiums for profit system that we had in place would not allow it. That is beyond the pale of a decent society.

  7. But since our beautiful and blessed country is a world of not just second chances, but third and fourth chances, we will of course be just fine simply because by 2025 we will be energy self sufficient, and by 2030, we will be the largest exporter of energy to the world outside of a free and politically stable Irag, which should give us enough revenue to pay down our debt. And at the same time, we can comfortably support the new "moaner" class--people who I am familiar with on a day to day basis as these people whom you belittle are my clients, people you never encountered during your entire career in Washington as a government supported employee working for an organization that could never even come close to breaking even. Let me give you some examples of how my clients got to where they got.

  8. Client 1: Worked for 25 years in customer support for American Airlines. Was a well regarded supervisor. Job was farmed out to an American owned Indian firm. A complete failure. But he never got his job back. Client 2. Laborer. Won award for being the best worker in Laborer Union's Local. Can barely walk. Cursed me out this morning in a text, but we will get the second of his three short sales done so that his disability is not impacted as Illinois is a recourse state. Client 3: Was a state class golfer and the best tool and dye maker among 65 others at a company. Company was bought. New manager came in from Scotland. Cut 32 workers and disappeared for a few months. Process repeated to 16 workers, then 8, and then 4 where he and the others were told that they would be consultants. So they put together all of their expertise and were first by new owners who of course were Chinese. Manager was fired as well. Had no social skills, so he addressed envelopes for me. Began drinking heavily just before he was about to leave his property. But felt a better day was coming. Lived with his mother who "is driving me crazy". Serving time for punching out his mother.

  9. Client 4: Far too many self employed businessmen who were in the wrong business at the wrong time. A big factor in many of these people's lives was the lack of health insurance. Client 5: Small investors who bought into George Bush's screed about the housing market being strong. Client 6.a Phd who is still a manufacturing consultant. And guess what ALL OF THESE CLIENTS TROUBLE BEGAN BEFORE BARACK OBAMA WAS PRESIDENT. I am a Republican, and I am allowed to eat my own. George Bush was a terrible President who oversaw the destruction of America's middle class without saying even a word. So you can say whatever you want about Obama verbigerating "middle class", the fact is that he is cognizant of it.

  10. And speaking of GVC members who have not checked in for a while. I just got a call from Bye Upham. Perhaps you can give her a call. Also, Lucy wants to know why you have suddenly chosen to acknowledge me as your brother since there is no such person on your Facebook page. But since you are such a hard nosed tough guy conservative, tell me why my wife should have been denied health care coverage under the existing health insurance rules of our great country. Tell me why it made economic sense to do such.