As expected, the dramatic drop in crude oil prices is having a deep impact on the American Oil industry. As prices for Brent Crude dropped to $44.13 on January 13th, daily industry reports began to reveal the bleak picture for producers and related companies. Despite prices seeming to recover and level off around the $60 range throughout February, the reports of losses, layoffs, and CAPEX cutbacks continue.
As a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, I, like everyone else working here, is cheering that we are finally going to get Net Neutrality. The question I have is this: why do Silicon Valley businesses, companies that depend heavily on the internet, care so much about Net Neutrality, and why is Fox News and many vocal republicans, so adamantly against it?
The new Congress has come ready with some fresh ideas for immigration reform. Freshman Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said in a recent interview, “We have to start with a secure border, we have to start with a guest worker program.” Gardner is right to link border security with a guest worker visa program. The former cannot be achieved without the latter.
The lame-duck Congress suffered through its usual year-end brinkmanship before avoiding a government shutdown. Horrors! What would people do if politicians weren’t able to legislate, regulate, and dictate in the “public interest”? The traditional notion of government is that the state does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. That’s typically seen as the framework of a free society — police, courts, defense, health and safety, “public” goods which otherwise wouldn’t be provided.
One of the defining economic events of 2014 has been the dramatic decline in crude oil prices over the last six months. Prices have fallen 45 percent to their lowest levels in 5.5 years. This precipitous decline, which was unexpected as oil prices stabilized around $100-$110 a barrel during the three years prior to mid-2014, will have global, political and economic ramifications for consumers, governments, industries and central banks.
A number of factors are putting downward pressure on the American economy. At the same time, various trends are giving economic growth a boost. This interplay, which often is reflected in the stock market’s level of volatility and vast swings, has left many confused and unsure of what’s next. Surprisingly, a number of driving factors and trends reveal much about where we are headed.
William McChesney Martin, former chair of the Federal Reserve Board, famously stated that “the job of the Fed is to take away the punch bowl when the party is still going.” A quote from the 1960s, but very relevant today as the Fed voted in October to end the third quantitative easing (QE3) program. What is the impact?
Steve Jobs’ death was a sad and traumatic event for Apple. His ability to drive marketing and product design was truly amazing. It was unheralded the way he was able to see the market for the MP3 player, drive a better design, and use this product to move a niche computer company to unimaginable heights. Yet, Jobs also held the company back.
The recent story of a Liberian man in Dallas who had Ebola sparked a political conflagration around travel restrictions for countries where there are Ebola cases. The virus does not appear to have spread from him to anyone that did not come into direct contact with him in the Dallas hospital.
China’s university system is growing. However, the People’s Republic of China still lags behind the U.S. and other Western nations. Chinese students increasingly are heading to America for higher education. While recently playing tourist in Beijing I spoke to a number of young Chinese. They were bright and inquisitive, ambitious and nationalistic. They worried about finding good jobs and were irritated by government restrictions on their freedom.
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