The recent all-time highs for several U.S. equity indices are evidence that markets have finally managed to put the dreary politics of the last couple of years in the rear-view mirror and renew focus on the fundamental strengths of U.S. businesses. Hopefully the upcoming debate over the debt ceiling and the federal budget won’t overshadow an economy that’s increasingly building momentum.
The U.S. has several very positive factors fueling its economic recovery. Manufacturing is expanding, driven by relatively low energy costs, improved productivity, and innovation. Some firms, like tech giant Apple have announced that they’ll be expanding their on-shore manufacturing presence – somewhat reversing decades of outsourcing that pushed jobs to low-wage countries. The housing market, a bellwether of previous recoveries, is clearing in many areas of the country. Read more
Back in November, I proposed a round of the Treasury Secretary Dating Game and put forth the two most likely candidates: Jack Lew and Erskine Bowles. Well, this week, as expected, Jack Lew landed the job. On Thursday afternoon, President Obama announced that he will replace Timothy Geithner at Treasury. Since the Treasury secretary’s signature appears in the bottom-right corner of U.S. currency, Twitter and the blogosphere grabbed onto Lew’s oddly loopy autograph on Wednesday (it looks kind of like a stretched-out spring). Here’s a bit more about the man behind “the signature.”
Remember when gold used to be a big deal? America adhered to the Gold Standard, and a musician was excited when their album “went gold,” meaning it sold more than a million units. Then, during the 1970s, Nixon abandoned the Gold Standard and gold-status for albums got downgraded to only 500,000 units and platinum-status was given to the million sellers. It’s been downhill for poor gold ever since. And now platinum’s all the rage again with everyone debating the “platinum coin” option for bypassing the debt-ceiling debate in the United States. Read more