Business News Update

In today’s update we’ve got snippets about the fiscal stimulus package circulating in Congress, the Dept. of Agriculture, Altria’s foreign tobacco operations, an example of liberal media self-parody, free trade, highly-skilled workers in shipping and heavy industry, alternative energy sources, and GDP growth.

Click the below link if you’d like to read more.

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GDP Growth — 2007

The economy grew in inflation-adjusted terms in Q4. That marked the 25th consecutive quarter of real GDP growth, which equals 6.25 years.

The quarter-by-quarter rates in 2007 of inflation-adjusted GDP growth:

Q4 – 0.6%
Q3 – 4.9%
Q2 – 3.8%
Q1 – 0.6%

Certainly not stellar. But by historical standards not too shabby, especially when completing the sixth year of a growth cycle and with enormous headwinds, e.g., high energy prices.

P.S. – It’s likely the growth rate for Q4 upwardly will be revised. Not that the media would report such a thing.

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Wyoming Eyed for New Coal-to-Gas Power Plants

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If you decide to read that article you’ll have to dodge the writer’s and editor’s “global warming” agenda. Other than that point, however, it’s worth a pretty close read. There’s a lot of interesting stuff in there.

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Shipyards Fight Shortages of Skilled Workers,
U.S. shipbuilders grapple with shortages of trained, experienced labor

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Read the whole thing. There are half-a-dozen major and connected items, ranging from macroeconomics to labor economics to H2B visas for skilled trade workers.

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Peru, Canada Sign Free Trade Agreement

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Read the whole thing.

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Proxy Fight Planned at New York Times

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Read the whole thing. You can’t even make up that sort of stuff.

What’s particularly ironic is knowing the young liberal journalism students who’ve marched off to join the Gray Lady and her ilk — “to change the world” — are clueless to the fact they’re working in a cutthroat industry in which they’re employed by huge corporations and in which they’re bought and sold — like cattle.

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Altria Gives Plans for Spinoff of Philip Morris International

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Ah, yes, Altria.

Back in the halcyon daze of 1999-2000, the Lemmings on Wall St. despised Altria so much, and were selling that company with such ferocity, it simply *had* to be purchased. Its P/E ratio was bid down to the single digits. Its share price was less than the value of the company’s *non* cigarette-related businesses. Sure enough, if you bought Altria in 1999-2000 and held on through Wall St.’s screaming and frothing you made out very, very, very well.

BTW, in 5-7 years, and perhaps much sooner, we’ll be discussing financial companies such as Citigroup in the same glowing terms as those by which we’re discussing Altria. You literally can bet on it.

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Senate Confirms New Secretary of Agriculture

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That’s a D-minus article from the AP. The key issue — over which that article glosses — is that of farm subsidies.

Farm subsidies always have been a bad idea. That the government still is paying farmers public money *not* to produce food — in a period of massive food demand and high food prices — is absurd. Hopefully new Secretary Schafer — a Republican former governor and businessman — will be able to get something accomplished on that front.

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Fiscal Stimulus Plan — The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

The Good — Tax rebates for the middle class. For reasons that are beyond obvious.

The Bad — Expansions of the public-money mortgage loan purchase agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and of FHA loans, which are insured with public money. The less of those things the better.

The Ugly — The Senate’s proposed extension of unemployment benefits. Extending someone’s unemployment benefits extends their unemployment. The general public needs a good swift kick in the ass, not a reassuring pat on the back from Uncle Sam.

Ironic Liberal Media Headlines of the Day
Choked Up