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Friday, November 22, 2013


There were two historic events yesterday, and today is the 50th anniversary of a tragedy, the kind that you remembered what you were doing at that moment.  This is Friday, November 22, 2013.

For the first time since the creation of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, it ended above 15,999, jumping 109 to 16,010.  Why?

  • The inflation rate is at 1%.
  • Banks therefore are benefited, for they can make money borrowing at short rates and lend at longer rates.  Thus, Bank of America jumped 3% to $15.59.
  • The number filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected.
  • Producer prices dropped, indicating that inflation pressures remain muted.
  • The government shutdown and payroll tax increase did not negatively impact our economy much.
  • The Federal Reserve keeps saying (both incoming Chairwoman Janet Yellen and board members) will keep buying bonds to prop up the economy until it can stand on its own.  When will this be?  Look for a significant correction when this actually happens.
The Dow for the year:

The Dow since the beginning:

The second historic event yesterday was the U.S. Senate restricting filibusters.  Hard to believe, but Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Bush the Elder did not have to contend with even one filibuster.  Clinton had 9 and Bush the Younger 7.  Barack Obama?  72!  That's Majority Leader Harry Reid pointing out this nonsense.  Until yesterday, anything in the U.S. Senate could be stopped if the majority party did not have 60 votes.  Now, only a simple majority of 51 can pass legislation.  Well, not quite, as the Democrats made this change only for Senate confirmation of presidential appointments.  The minority can still filibuster for other issues.  While the Republicans were pissed, I guess Democrats are confident that they will remain in control of the Senate and White House for the foreseeable future.  Sure they can rescind this move later after passing through all those judges, but eschewing the notion of this being a gentlemen's club, the nuclear option was finally used, and Republicans can now do whatever they want when they someday get back into power.

It was around 9AM in the morning of 22November1963 when I was walking to the Hawaiian Agriculture Company sugar factory when someone told me that President John F. Kennedy had been shot.  I was not all that much interested in politics in those days, but do remember the shock and my grief.  That was exactly half a century ago.


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