Bangalore’s public infrastructure has lagged woefully behind the pace of private sector investment. Every Bangalore IT company has to have a private generator and uninterruptible power supply to cope with the daily power failures of the grid.
Give to charity, but do so directly not on calls from telemarketers. Find some good charities. Charity navigator provides statistics and ratings of charities based on how much of the funds raised go to doing the work of the charity versus paying fundraisers, etc.. Telemarketers profit doing charities’ work:
Then he asked the caller how much money goes to the charity and the caller replied that all of it goes to the charity’s fund, which is technically true. The money is required to be deposited in charity’s bank account – which is how states track charity fundraising – then the charity pays the company’s share back to them. “It’s so deceptive,” he said. “People aren’t going to know that.”
Borochoff said that nationally, groups that hire telemarketers keep about a third of the money they solicit. The rest goes to the telemarketers, which incur the expense of compiling caller lists, hiring employees, maintaining calling facilities…
If you want to pay people to call you at home while you are eating dinner, feel free to do so, but if you want to give to charity you should give directly to the charity.
Both of these still understate the size of the deficit. The Bush administration has been adamant about keeping certain costs out of the budget figures. Spending on the war in Iraq, for example, has been included not in budget resolutions but in special emergency spending bills. They are “off budget” in the language of Washington. That spending, estimated by the Congressional Budget Office at $360 billion overall and $95 billion in the fiscal year that ended in October 2006, aren’t in either of these two budget figures. And Iraq funding for fiscal 2007 won’t be included in the budget the president will introduce next month, either.
Stop Picking Stocks—Immediately! by Henry Blodget. I don’t agree totally with his conclusion but the article is a good read. Definitely the kind of information investors need to know. I do agree that most of the time for 90%+ of the population stock picking doesn’t turn out to be the best financial move. Three counterpoints for why it can make sense: 1) tax smart investing (for buy and hold) 2) investor education (if you pay more attention by buying some individual stocks as part of an entire investment strategy) 3) the Peter Lynch buy what you know small cap strategy (buying companies that you understand better than “wall street” – as a part of an investment portfolio). From the article:
There is also clearly a savings glut in the oil exporting countries. Lahart – drawing on work by Higgins, Klitgaard and Lerman of the New York Fed – notes that the oil exporters saved about ½ the surge in their oil export revenue over the past few years. The result: the current account surplus of many oil exporters surged to over 30% of their GDP.
The oil exporters seem to have gotten noticeably less frugal over time. They were very frugal in 2004. A bit less frugal in 2005. And even less frugal in 2006.
As usual a good post by Brad Setser. The details of understanding the “savings glut” get complicated but essentially the idea is that huge savings from China, OPEC countries… create huge sums looking for investments (and fund the huge USA debts – public and private). And to some economists create the market for the debt (for example, without the savings glut their belief is there would not have been money to finance the huge questionable mortgage market over the last few year). As stated in, The Global Savings Glut:
And nearly all economist agree the “savings glut” creates the very low interest rates we have seen the last few years around the world.
Related: The Global Saving Glut and the U.S. Current Account Deficit by Ben Bernanke – Savings Glut (The self-serving explanation for America’s bad habits) by Daniel Gross – Global Savings Glut Revisited – The Savings Glut
It does seem many people lose focus on happiness and instead focus on buying more things. This is something that I believe is a problem.
The Washington Post really doesn’t like Social Security … by Brad Setser
This is not the way the story is normally told. Social Security is actually in good shape for at least 30 years. That doesn’t mean it is not a big problem after that but Brad Setser makes a good point that the huge increase in the rest of the debt has really made that problem seem minor. The main point? We need to fix the rest of the budget mess, and while I still think Social Security needs adjustment really that is not as important as fixing the rest of the spending money the government doesn’t have.
Related: Estate Tax Repeal
the state’s major business lobby, the Association of Washington Business, is no longer fighting the minimum-wage law, which is adjusted every year in line with the consumer price index. “You don’t see us screaming out loud about this,” said Don Brunell, president of the trade group, which represents 6,300 members. “It’s almost a no-brainer,” Mr. Brunell said, that the federal minimum should go higher. Association officials say they would like to see some flexibility for rural and small-town businesses, however.
No kidding. Other effects are a bit trickier but that one is not tough to figure out.
It is true jobs can be lost but at low rates that effect is very small. As the unemployment rate rises the job losses would increase with similar raises in the minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage to $7.25 now is a good idea – it should have been raised earlier.
I make $6.50 an hour. Am I poor? by Karen Datko:
I am no longer proud.
Pride should not be tied to how much money you have. It is, often, but it shouldn’t be. If you act foolishly or you waste money or you act irresponsibly being ashamed is possibly reasonable. When you have extra money, you can waste some and not feel ashamed because you have some to waste. But when you are doing your best you should be proud no matter how much money you have. Buying more pairs of shoes, or fancy coffee or a new video game or the full cable TV package… is not what you should take pride in.