Where’s the Melody?

What’s that song in the air?  Wasn’t it just a perfect day on Saturday?  Nearly eighty degrees, no wind and clear skies. The type of day to take Freckles, our Cocker Spaniel down to Atkinson Park for a long romp.

Ah, the tune just came to me, “Happy Days are here Again,” the Democrat theme song so well crafted for today and tomorrow. The President and his team are beginning their final push.  Like the siege at Dien Bien Phu, which was designed to once and for all crush the French and drive them out of Indochina, the Democrat plan is to take back the House of Representatives and leave any remaining Republicans in a permanent retreat.

The first step is to convince the public that happy times are indeed here or just around the corner.  With the coming of spring it’s a perfect time to outline how things have improved.  Car sales are up and Americans are beginning to borrow against their new home equity after four years of a down market brought about by the Bush Depression.

Well, the President and his supporters may feel that “Happy Times” are indeed here given their record of rolling the Republican House and Senate  leadership, but the economic facts are seriously quite the opposite.

Although the Dow Jones Industrial Average is maybe at its all time high and many Americans have benefited, the reality is the markets can be moved just as easily down as up. For those who think the market is not rigged you might read Bloomberg Businessweeks’ January 17, 3013 article titled, “On the trail of SAC Capital’s Steven Cohen.”

One  paragraph says it all when a former trader was asked what the word “edge” meant to him.  “He laughed and said that from  the day he started at Galleon to the day he left, it was probably the most commonly used term around the office.  It was such a priority, that if you didn’t have it, you’d be quickly left behind.  It meant you knew something that others didn’t.”  Another trader involved in an insider-trading investigation was asked if he knew of any hedge fund that didn’t traffic in illegal information. “No,” the trader answered, “They would never survive.”

The majority of Americans missed out on Wall Street’s gains because they’ve lost trust in the system.  They were burned in the 90’s with Dot Com recommendations for all sorts of companies that had no revenue, let alone net income.  Poor federal oversight and wrong-headed policies killed the real estate world ten years later, and with it, many Americans’ only tangible equity.

All that has left confidence among American consumers in a funk. The University of Michigan’s sentiment index fell in March to 71.8, and the gauge based on press hype was expected to jump to 78.

The economy and hiring are going nowhere. The January tax hike and sequester has slowed spending. What car sales there are can be traced to replacing washed out autos from Hurricane Sandy not new sales.

Fuel costs are out of line given economic forces. With an improving dollar the price of crude should drop below $85.00 a barrel. Retail sales are such that Target and  Wal-mart shoppers  are now going to Dollar General and Dollar Tree to make ends meet.  The world economy has slowed, and we in America owe too much. You can hear war drums in the distance.

There are still millions of Americans not working or unemployed. The sequester is expected to cut unemployment benefits and beginning in 2014 healthcare insurance costs could double for the average American family.

Today is not the time to splurge. “Happy times” are not here and won’t be until President Obama is gone or Republicans get a backbone and give up jocking for dinner invitations from the President.

 

 

 

 

 

Daniel Keating is President of Summit Consolidated Group, a national brokerage and insurance company with offices in Oklahoma, Texas, Connecticut and Louisiana. Mr. Keating grew up in Tulsa graduating from Cascia Hall. He holds a B.S. degree from Tulsa University and a MBA from the University of Oklahoma. Following college, Keating joined the United States Marine Corps and completed Officer Candidate School. Daniel Keating served a thirteen-month tour with the Fifth Marine Regiment in Vietnam and later retired from the Marine Corps Reserve with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Daniel Keating is a past president of Valley National Bank in Tulsa where he presently serves on the Bank’s Board of Directors. In 2002, President Bush appointed Mr. Keating to the Board of Advisors on Tribal Colleges and Universities. Daniel Keating has been a delegate to three Republican National Conventions. He was also appointed by Oklahoma’s Speaker of the House to the Cigarette and Tobacco Tax Advisory Committee and was later elected its chairman. Mr. Keating also serves as Chairman of the City of Tulsa’s Transportation Advisory Board, and is a member of Oklahoma Wesleyan University Foundation Board of Directors. In 2012 Governor Mary Fallin appointed Mr. Keating to the Tulsa Community College Board of Regents. He is also the President Pro Tempore’s appointee to the Professional Responsibility Commission. Daniel and his wife, Kathy have two sons, Matthew and Bryan.

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