Are Better Off Today Than We Were 4 Years Ago …Part 1

Everyone is going to answer that question differently based on their own personal situation. But what I can tell you as a business person trying to look at the big picture, I don’t remember 4 years ago as being a good time for business.  As a starting point of reference, here is a reminder of what the stock market was going through in the fall of 2008

Out of the top 10 point declines in the Dow Industrials, 5 of them occurred in the fall of 2008

Oct 22nd 2008 514 pts 5.7pct

Oct 9th 2008 679 pts 7.3pct
Dec 1 2008 680pts 7.7pct
Oct 15th 2008 733 7.9pct
Sept 29th 2008 778 7pct
Is that what we liked better ?
I bring this up because I’m sick of slogan marketing of candidates.  Four years ago we were worried about whether or not our financial system would fail. We were worried about whether the auto industry would fail. We were worried about whether or not housing would drop to zero and we were concerned with whether or not it would ever come back. We were concerned with what the bottom in job losses would be and whether or not there even was a bottom.
Four years ago we were looking around and describing our situation as “The Great Recession”.  Just the fact that we are no longer saying “We are in the midst of a Great Recession” by definition means that as a country we are better off financially and psychologically than we were 4 years ago. Can we please put that slogan to bed already ?


All that said. Can we please change the discussion to – What comes next ?

What specifically can be done to create jobs ? I want to know the details of what both candidates plan to do. And please don’t tell me that you are going to “Create 12 million jobs” . That just costs you credibility. Tell me how you are going to create jobs. Specifically.

This administration has failed us in terms of transparency. Transparency , IMHO was a key feature of what I hoped for when I voted for Obama in 2008.  He hasn’t lived up to what I hoped for.  With transparency we would have a better understanding of what was working and what wasn’t working. We as citizens could participate in the process of understanding the true State of the Union. Not only did I want transparency from the last 4 years, I want transparency, not hype in what I hear from the candidates leading up to the election.
I only wish that candidates were held to the same standards of fact that CEO’s of public companies are. If CEOs were as vague, fast and loose with the facts as our candidates are, they would be in big trouble. How sad is it that our Presidential candidates are not required to hold the same levels of fact as our corporate leaders are.
Can we get a Grover Norquist type out there to get candidates to sign a George Washington Petition saying “I will not tell a lie, not even a white lie, not even a “if you look at it this way, its not a lie, lie,””
I would be the first to salute the person that gets the Presidential candidates to sign that petition !
I am just so sick of “You suck, no you suck more” politics that both sides are playing.

92 thoughts on “Are Better Off Today Than We Were 4 Years Ago …Part 1

  1. Cubes,

    If the Fed & PPT were not backstopping the market the drops you mentioned would look tiny. Look at the price of Gold, rising gold does not signal good times.

    Comment by Big E (@esebille) -

  2. Pingback: YOU DIDN’T BUILD THAT by MC ‘Bama – Hugh Atkin « proFoundComedy

  3. Obama supporters demanded to see Romney tax returns. And he did, providing the PROOF that he contributed more to charity than both Obama & Biden put together. Yet President Obama still has not released his college transcripts, his scholarship application as a foreign student, and his Social Security application from the state of Connecticut.

    NOW, let’s ALL take into account that Gov. Mitt Romney took NO salary during his term of office in Massachusetts. When he refused a salary, the State of Massachusetts insisted he must take a salary. Unwillingly, Gov. Mitt Romney then decided upon a ONE DOLLAR salary from the State of Massachusetts- per year- as a salary- only because he had to. Mitt Romney also took NO salary as head of the Salt Lake City Olympics. This is far more ethically superior, and a true business man at heart who only wants to help his fellow man, do right by his fellow man… NOT STEAL FROM THEM.

    NOW… let’s take into account our current president, Mr. Obama. He uses taxpayer dollars to subsidized his re-election campaign, uses Air Force One jets across the country campaigning, allows his wife to appoint three personal shoppers costing more than $3 million a year, The Obama family DOG handler was paid $102,000 last year, 72 the golf trips, 42 lavish vacations to Hawaii… And let’s not forget, Obama has biggest staff in history at the highest wages ever, with more than 469 senior staffers and 226 are paid more than $100,000 a year. Seventy-seven are paid as much as $172,000 per year. He also has appointed 43 “czars. The president can also vacation for free at Camp David: Each round trip made to Camp David costs the taxpayers $25,350. It’s also estimated that the combined transportation and personnel costs for a Camp David visit are $295,000 per night.

    While Americans want their president to be safe and comfortable, Mitt Romney argues that the system should be reformed to stop the amount of unquestioned perks given to the president.

    Hm, I think Mitt Romney was right in saying we need to downsize the government, that we need a smaller government. Obama’s plan is create a bigger government. He already hired 800,000 additional IRS agents to enforce Obama care. Not to mention the 400,000 (or more) additional staffers in need to foresee his Executive Order for more CONTROLS.

    We really need to CUT the Obama’s Government credit card and STOP this RIDICULOUS spending on our tax dollars!!! Obama has spent more than $7 TRILLION dollars in four years. More than ALL of our past presidents COMBINED.

    Mitt Romney has offered to take NO SALARY as President. He doesn’t need one, he is a successful business man and a venture capitalist who earns enough MONEY of his OWN, he has proven extraordinary business ETHICS. — Unlike Mr. Obammer who uses the tax payers dollars and rich people as CASH COWS to live like a KING!!!!!!!!

    Hmmmm. THINK ABOUT THAT when you go to the polls!!

    Comment by CJ Hart (@Igo4ku) -

    • CJ – thank you. Could you please provide the fact-based documentation to your comment, “He already hired 800,000 additional IRS agents to enforce Obama care. Not to mention the 400,000 (or more) additional staffers in need to foresee his Executive Order for more CONTROLS.” I’m not debating you here – just seeking the documentation. It would go well to support the rest of your piece. Thanks.

      Comment by Kevin Keithley -

  4. Very good post I enjoyed your comments on Sunday’s CNN “Piers Morgan Tonight,” with Tony Robbins, Steve Wynn, and T. Boone Pickens. While a diverse group, you all had ideas about fixing what is broken in our country, by encouraging individual responsibility and a decision process that encourages innovation to believe in oneself ,thanks for.Sports Team Websites

    Comment by Mark Derricks (@Derricks91) -

  5. Mark-
    I enjoyed your comments on Sunday’s CNN “Piers Morgan Tonight,” with Tony Robbins, Steve Wynn, and T. Boone Pickens. While a diverse group, you all had ideas about fixing what is broken in our country, by encouraging individual responsibility and a decision process that encourages innovation to believe in oneself and “keep on grinding.”

    I too believe we are better off than we were four years ago, but we have a long way to go in tapping our innovative and creative talent, before it rots on the vine. I own a disruptive, innovative technology (Google “locomotion” and my last name), which I passionately believe can help professional sports player’s performance, while reducing risk of injury, as voiced by my colleagues at Duke. How should I approach investors for commercialization?

    Thanks, Dr. Jim Solinsky

    Comment by plethy -

  6. The “j” is not necessary.

    Comment by alexlogic -

  7. I remember your blog post. Thanks for providing wisdom and confidence.

    Comment by darryl3 -

  8. In regards to whether or not we are better off than before: We are not better off – the problems and rhetoric have changed. The dollar is still plummeting (both against its own history and the market), the Fed just announced today more stimulus, more countries have and are facing near-bankruptcy than before, housing, while it may have hit rock bottom is still at the bottom, and unemployment has been relatively stagnant.

    Jobs: The President does not create jobs, and using this rhetoric only impacts the expectations of the average citizen who thinks the President waves a magic wand, and jobs are created. The President does, however, propose, push and pass legislation that supports job growth. So for any candidate to say they can create jobs, to me, is a loss of credibility, because it will never be an accurate prediction. It’s based on the market.

    Transparency: I did not vote for Obama ’08 (nor McCain), however, I was also championing the President in his promises of transparency. The President has failed miserably in this category, as will probably anyone who makes it to the Oval Office, because it takes selling your soul to get there, especially if you want to stay there.

    Presidents being held to the same standards as CEOs: Capitalism. This is why it works.

    Lies: Again, I don’t believe this is possible for those who have gotten to the point of the Presidency. The corruption, back door deals, politicking etc. that goes on at the county and state level would make your stomach turn. What happens at the national level would turn your world upside-down.

    Comment by J.Smith (@JaclynLibrtaryn) -

  9. AMEN….

    Comment by AccountabilityFactor (@Accountable731) -

  10. We are no longer saying that “[W]e are in the midst of a Great Recession” because with record government deficits and unemployment rates we are actually in one. Both Republicans and Democrats should get out of the business of business and allow American entrepreneurs (like Mark) to rise again.

    Comment by Equality 7-2521 (@seven2521) -

  11. Pingback: Are Better Off Today Than We Were 4 Years Ago …Part 1 « blog … | House Foreclosure Credit

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  13. There’s a cultural divide between the educated and the religious.
    If you make your money doing smart things – there’s money to be made.
    But if you make your money selling bibles, times are certainly getting harder.

    Comment by Sanders Kaufman Jr. -

  14. Thanks for that post, Mark. Sad that the GOP’s Goebbels-esque disinformation strategy has been so successful (and/or a sizable segment of our population so stupidly and easily led) that so much time and effort needs to be spent calling attention to and debunking the surreal incongruity with reality…instead of, as you point out, focusing the discussions on what specifically can be done to make things less broken.

    That was actually the one thing I really wanted to hear Obama talk about at the DNC – what is his plan for moving us forward against a deliberately and proudly obstructionist GOP caucus in control of Congress? Don’t waste time substantiating the factual reality that such opposition exists and will behave in this manner; tell me how you plan to work around it, because THAT is your biggest challenge for the next four years.

    Comment by Christopher D (@vmWareWolf) -

    • Christopher, I think Republicans were being obstructionist because Obama’s first moves in the white house were to create momentum for a second term. Winning a noble peace prize, why did Obama even apply, he hadn’t done anything yet? Going to Europe along with his wife and Oprah to lobby for the 2016 Olympics for Chicago. A stimulus package that would also help out his supporters, all acts of narcissim that put his own ego ahead of the country’s benefit.

      Yet throughout all of this, Mother Jones reported in 2010 that Obama’s HAMP program was a failure from the get go, and that the white house knew it. Why would a populist president put out faux mortgage modification programs that won’t help his supposed base? Why would a president claim that parallel foreclosures are legal when they are clearly constitutional and federal hobbs act violations, extortion under the color of right.

      That’s right, the White house has allocated taxpayer money to the HAMP program, even though banks will parallel foreclose on a majority of homeowners who apply for HAMP!

      I would suggest that with Romney we KNOW we are getting a banker president, whereas with Obama we have a populist president who has fooled his followers into thinking is he for the people, Obama is a covert banker president.

      I wanted, and still want Hillary Clinton for president. However the George Soros progressive led coup of the democrat party has ruined this country.

      Comment by dailypuma -

  15. If we are all in this together as we are told, then perhaps some of the blame lies with us and this needs to be pointed out more often
    Political suicide seems to be telling the truth. The truth is our planet is rapidly getting over populated and pollution, wars and poverty for many are a daily reality. Should a candidate decide to really tell the truth it. is likely people wont want to hear it, not because they don’t care, it’s partly becuase they don’t feel they can do anything about it.
    Certainly some of the health care crisis responsibility must lie with we the people. We are a country that consumes way more than its fair share while being one of the unhealthiest with one of the most dysfuncitonal healthcare systems in the world.
    In 2008 I felt Obama dropped the ball when he had the opportunity to say, it is many of our own habits, both financial and healthwise that have created these problems. It is we the people who need to be honest with ourselves and realize at least part of the responsibility lies with us.
    As FDR did in World War 2, he made the threat of Nazi Germany and Japan, facing a war on two fronts out to be the threat it was. He asked for and got a united effort because people will respond to the truth and transparency when they hear it. Unfortunatley, our biggest enemy, ourselves, and what is currently happening on the planet are afterthoughts during an election and day to day politics.
    If you want a united effort then people need to believe in the need for action. We need to be told, we are both part of the problem as well as the solution while being clear about what the problems are and at least, where some of the solutions lie. This is a characteristic of a great leader, not necessarily a great manager.

    Comment by suttonsbaydoug -

  16. As this string is about the facts…I thought this link by the Bureau of Labor Statistics would be helpful. Obama’s first day was January 20th, 2009.

    Comment by Alex Mooradian (@readyajm) -

  17. Hello Marc,

    I would offer that President Obama is doing the best that he can with the partnerships that he has. Corporate America, communities, government agencies, and the American People all have to share in on the change of hope and destiny such as Corporate America investing in the retraining of older Americans to work with laboratories, technology centers, etc. We are not in the economic conditions by change but it was by purpose driven by the Administration for the past eight (8) years. There are levels of responsibilities that we cannot blamed all on this President.

    As point of reference, four (4) years, massive people were being evicted from their homes due foreclosures and loss of jobs. I am “thankful” that the President, having to enter into an already chaotic system, reacted immediately to help all of those that he could through tiers of programs. Moreover, I hope that we can agree that there are CEOs (and government officials) that are/were vague, fast, and loose with the facts and that is why the American People are suffering from many of their actions such as the Ponzi schemes and foreclosures.

    Marc, I agree that there is still much to do. And, I have decided that I would rather move forward with a President who still has “Hope” and “Commitment” to moving the American People forward from where they were to a destiny of options to do better.

    I am taught to pray for the strength of those in leadership along with sharing in the responsibility of making a change.


    Comment by Seretha George -

  18. Mark,

    For someone like you asking if you are better off today than 4 yrs ago would not be a valid question. For one your choice of investment vehicles and income sources would be far greater than the normal person and the opportunity to invest in alternates would be better than those of us in the middle class.

    For those unfortunate people who are still unemployed or underemployed it would be a valid question and very relvent. Those who’s houses are under water or having a diffiicult time making the house payment this would be a valid question.

    It is difficult for those in your postion to understand the how the middle and lower class are having to live. Let’s take gas, this has taken a larger portion of the family budget and it’s a have to spend because they have to be able to get to and from work to home or if they are out looking for employment.

    My 18 yr old son, looked for well over a year for a job, he applied everywhere before he was able to get a job. He has a friend that has been looking for over 2 yrs and still hasn’t found a job.

    So, this question really depend’s on each person’s life experience and the opportunities that are presented to the individual and the risk they are willing to take. As I have grown older I am less willing to take less risk because of my age and as I get closer to my hopeful retirement age it just does seem worth it.

    This is what many in the both parties have seem to forgot that everything they do affects us. So, if they increase taxes on those small business owner my view is that it’s going to affect me with increase cost, a drop in service, or worse both will occur. This is just another cost of doing business that is passed along to the consumer for those will plenty of income you just don’t feel it but those of us in middle it could hurt our budget.

    I am not trying pit anyone against the other, but explain the reality of being in the middle. You have your wealth as a save guard, the poor have the government, and for those of us in the middle we have ourselves.

    Think of this, my kids would love to go to college, but the government looks at my income and says I should be able to contribute $ X to there education. But, I was one of many that went to college later in life in fact in my 40’s getting both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees, which required me to finance my own education. You would think this being a known fact the government would look to see if a person has there own student loans that need to be paid back, but nope not at all. So with the new law my oldest can only get her own student loans with them looking at my income at the age of 24, silly isn’t it.

    You need to try and look at it from a different perspective before you put the question down.

    Comment by Dan Rogers (@Luv2cmp) -

  19. To a degree, If the government were managed by the smartest and most capable America has to offer, you (MC) would be doing it. Right? It takes a certain type of mentality to work in politics and I do not mean that to be complimentary. I’m by no means a libertarian, however, like with a girlfriend who is bad sh*t crazy, at some point you either have to learn to put up with the BS or move out of dodge. She ain’t gonna suddenly grow a brain and start making sense. (Carrying this analogy forward because its perfect) Trying to rationalize and make her understand logic is what akin to the “you suck, no you suck” spitballing debates we are all sick of hearing.

    Comment by Cj Werley -

  20. Pingback: From a businessman’s perspective, Mark Cuban says, we’re definitely better off than 4 years ago « countusin

  21. Hey mark just discovered your blog and read nearly all of them. Great insights.

    I agree with you 100%. Im studying finance right now in business school and one thing you hear again and again is that past performance does not guarantee future performance. Stop telling us what you did or didn’t do and who is to blame. We want to hear detailed solutions to the problems of the future.

    Hope you make posts more frequently in the future. Its good reading between classes.

    Comment by federer9 -

  22. Candidates will stop lying when the media starts to hold their feet to the fire. Unfortunately, the media is now composed of two groups (across parties).

    (1) A group that has discovered that by playing to a subset of people that hold particular views, regardless of truth, and using adrenaline as a drug, you can make a lot of money (Fox, MSNBC, etc). In practice, this looks a lot more like entertainment than news and

    (2) A more traditional group that has seen their market share disappear to group #1, and is trying to compete by merging news and entertainment and skirting the two sides, trading in false-equivalence, and fear of disenfranchising their diminishing market.

    20 years ago, we all were excited with the new media (cable, sat, etc, and eventually the internet) – we used to say ‘It’s great! eventually everyone will have their own channel!’. We have that now. What it means in practice is that everyone lives in self-reinforcing communities that have no vested interest in truth.

    Comment by Peter Santangeli -

    • You saw how well Bill Clinton spoke with an extremely heavy heart at the democrat convention. The Republican moderates and democrat moderates have been shut out when it comes to reporting stories from their perspective. The Clintons are liberal moderates and the democrat party was taken over by progressive billionaire George Soros, disenfranchising millions of reasonable democrats in the process.

      Neo Conservaties and Progressive Liberals each have a channel (Fox and MSNBC), moderates have nothing to view. If you followed the Wisconsin budget battle, Gay marriage, and Pension controversies via the news, we never got intelligent, researched information. Instead we just got ammunition news designed to frighten both republican and democrat moderates to pick a side.

      Until someone steps in and starts reporting news in a way that shows the inner workings of how pension problems started, or the issues never covered in the gay marriage debate, or issues such as home foreclosures and unconstitutional practice of parallel foreclosure, nothing will change.

      Comment by dailypuma -

  23. Amen! Brutha!

    Comment by Jon Drake -

  24. Mark, long time reader, first time responder. Whereas, I know you’re busy, I would appreciate a response to my question(s). For whatever reason, perhaps because we are digital natives, I’ve come across news of your patronage of politicians, in this case President Obama. I get his appeal. What I don’t get is entrepreneurs’ preoccupation with pandering to the State. Correct me if I am wrong, but the State has never solved a functional problem in human history; entrepreneurs have. I would even go so far as to say that pure entrepreneurship is antithetical to statism because the State is by its very nature the concentration of power, and resource, and authority through the use of arbitrary legal construct, the creation of unnatural monopolies, and unlimited resources a la “the people” to capriciously prosecute extra legal innovation that disrupts the hierarchy. Sure, that was a mouthful, but it’s direct and says it like it is.

    Look at the Federal Reserve. 16.2 trillion in general loans to bail out the global banking system between 2007-2010 alone. Only 800 billion of which Congress enjoined via TARP. Citi and Goldman operating with a safety net. Complete and total currency manipulation, top-down. Is it any wonder the exit multiples have dwindled?

    Look at the ABC enforcement agencies. Any of them. IRS, FTC, SEC, USADA, FDA, FCC, et al. ad nauseum. Prolific laws and statutes protecting and enforcing unnatural monopolies.

    Entrepreneurs the world over walk the tight rope with no net below through uncertainty, blood, sweat and tears and we do not even enjoy the “blessings” of due process. And yet, entrepreneurs (both developed and emerging,) angels, private equity investors, VC’s, and corporate execs extol the virtues of the State. Why? From fear? For protection? The lure of crony connections and access to mailbox money? Valuing social liberties above economic, despite the fact that you can not have the former without the latter? I just don’t get it. In almost every deal you’ve ever made you consciously divorced yourself from emotion, sentiment and rhetoric and yet, when making investment decisions as citizen you go the other way?

    As time goes on, the State injects itself into every aspect of life. Think about it… you do not even need leave your home to be regulated now. This unnaturally inflates costs, unnaturally inhibits free choice, unnaturally inhibits innovation and quality of life. Why is this necessary? Have we not sufficiently come out of nature and created the opportunity to efficiently solve functional problems in society and community on our own?

    We have slowly and unwittingly submitted to a culture of dependency. In almost every sense of the word, we are slaves. Our decline was not inevitable but occurred when the instruments of State expansion were transformed into an institution—that is, when social arrangements that met real social needs were transformed into social institutions serving their own purposes regardless of real social needs.

    But I am hopeful. The call to entrepreneurship is grace. Perhaps even Providence. History demonstrates this, daily: Despite adversity, entrepreneurs solve functional problems… I just wish our ilk would not vote and donate for/ to the same tired, staid candidates and policies that make the private solution to problems exponentially more difficult.

    Comment by Jason Stoddard (@JasonStoddard) -

  25. Pingback: Tit4Tat (part 1) | ideyaman

  26. Mark, you and I are disappointed with what the presidential candidates (and most candidates for major public office) offer and how they offer it because WE ARE NOT THE TARGET AUDIENCE. The economically educated (educated not just in schools, colleges, and universities, but in real-world business experience) are not the people candidates need to sway in order to win elections. Our presidential candidates are a reflection of what the DASVs (dumb ass swing voters) buy into. Politicians have recognized over the years that swaying that middle 10%… The idiots that haven’t figured out free markets and our founding principles REALLY work.. the idiots that have no comprehension of cause and effect… Those are the people the candidates are marketing themselves too, not you and I.

    Comment by wisconsincarry (@wisconsincarry) -

  27. I totally agree, Mark. I think you can be the guy that you ask for at the end, as you’re the most visible that would be listened to by everyone.

    As for what started you off, I’m definitely NOT better off than I was 4 years ago, and I do look forward to what comes next under a new administration. I would hope that continuing to make contacts online and off would eventually fund my small business under a more favorable economy where people are more likely to invest and take acceptable risk.

    Comment by Matches Malone -

  28. The issue with universal suffrage is that soundbites and character attacks are better way of getting votes than policy. It’s incredibly difficult for voters to devote enough time to studying the issues, looking at various candidates positions on those issues, and voting in a truly informed way. Which is why most people stick the their brand blue/red or get swung on small things like “feeling that the candidate is a good guy”.

    I’ve heard suggestions of going with a “sample suffrage”. It would be similar to jury duty. A random selection of voters would be required to stop work for a period, learn about all the issues, and then cast a vote at the end of it. Apparently with a population of about 300m, a sample of 100,000 voters would be enough to be statistically significant to a really high level of confidence.

    I reckon that would be a massive improvement on the current system. The other positive offshoot is that you wouldn’t need millions of dollars for advertising, so the lobbyists would have one hell of tough time influencing policy with their dollars!

    Comment by Richard Marshall -

  29. For those who haven’t done so already I would strongly encourage you to read “Republic, Lost” by Laurence Lessig. It makes a pretty compelling case that campaign contributions are at the root of almost everything as the dependence on them prevents real, big change.

    Comment by Mads Buch Stage -

  30. That doesn’t account for the effects of QE2 on the stock market.

    Comment by Matthew H Smith -

  31. They say it is the economy, stupid, but I want a candidate that will support and defend the U.S. Constitution for a change. Which candidate would that be?

    Comment by cnystrom (@cnystrom) -

  32. What specifically can be done to create jobs ?
    Very little. The forces of outsourcing, offshoring and ever spreading automation are eating jobs far faster than replacement jobs can be created. IMO, it is doubtful if this juggernaut can be slowed down in the future.

    Where is all the “innovation” that politicians and business leaders have been talking about since at least the 1980’s that was supposed to produce the excess of new jobs for displaced people to fit into? The number of new jobs created by “innovation” has been far less than was promised.

    Consider a relative new technology like cloud computing that was supposed to increase jobs by making it easier and cheaper to start companies. But not many people have the means otr ability to start companies. So overall, cloud computing is actually a net job loser because centralized, consolidate data centers require far fewer technical people to run than a plethora of individual data centers. And remember, these technical jobs in data centers were some of the type of jobs that workers displaced in other fields were supposed to retrain for and aspire to. Oops.

    This is the big picture that almost no one is paying attention to! Our only hope is that we (the human race) expand off the Earth and out into the universe.

    Comment by joea99 -

    • joea99, Digital job creation probably means creating two 100,000 dollar a year jobs instead of five 40,000 dollar a year jobs. The same amount of payroll is generated, but less people get it. That’s my theory and I’m sticking with it.

      Now, is it possible that the two 100,000 dollar a year job will retrickle that to three others in the form of blue collar work? Probably not since they are so well versed on the computer they will figure out how to either do it themselves, or find someone else to do it super super cheap, even possibly at less quality.

      Comment by dailypuma -

  33. You don’t address that it took $30+ trillion in Congressional and Federal Reserve stimulus (still happening in the form of QE3 and other programs), to buoy the economy and kick the can down the road a few years, just like the real estate stimulus staved off the dotcom bust recession a few years in exchange for the bigger 2008 bust. None of the imbalances in the economy (such as high debt levels and disproportionately large service sector) have been corrected since then, and most have worsened. We could go a lot lower than we did 4 years ago. The big picture politicians won’t face is that the balance between the engineer in Asia who makes $8k/yr and $15k in Brazil and the one here who makes $80k will eventually be reached, and for a while at least they’ll probably get richer and we’ll probably get poorer. Politicians are too concerned with winning the next election to tell Americans that truth and let the deep and painful structural changes our economy needs to do well this century happen.

    Comment by Pat Clements -

  34. Last sentence hits it on the head. I don’t accept “Oh but look what HE did!” from my SIX YEAR OLDS. And that’s all we get at ALL LEVELS of politics today.

    Comment by gregc00 -

  35. Mark thanks for the reply – Havent all the companies you mentioned not only been investigated, but fined or worse ?

    Some have and some like Angie Mozilo are still free and a whopping 40M dollars poorer from fines. Of course he accumulated a net worth of near 600M at Countrywide/IndyMac.

    From the Matt Tabbi articles in RS – – I still don’t see any of the the players in jail yet. Dick Fuld – outright lied – Joe Cassano same thing.

    All of the minor fines and yes sometimes worse( Dennis Kowsloski) etc and still CEOs are cheating and lying. I just don’t see it as the shining example to tout.

    To resolve this we need to have an SEC that has it’s staff paid for by the fines they capture – with the agreement that they can never work for another law firm or private firm for the rest of their life- if a Supreme Court justice can commit for life no reason these guys can’t – most would retire pretty well off if this were the case.

    It’s stuff like this or we should start teaching poor kids to stop robbing banks and own them instead.

    We need to stop the revolving door between government and private sector. Pay government workers larger sums, give them major bonuses for coming in under budget, give them huge pensions – but never allow them to work for the Pentagon and then go to Lockheed as an example. Government workers need to be incented/focused to work in the peoples interest and not on their next job.

    Regarding transparency – I’d like to hear/see your thoughts on how one emerges from the negotiation phase to a transparent phase. That seems to be a tough one for the sides in this never ending battle. In a complex issue, like the Health Care Act debate, that seemed to be a tough time to be completely transparent – very much like a business negotiation.

    Comment by Drew Ingersoll -

  36. Glad to hear your opinion on the election, Mark. I totally agree about Obama not being as transparent as he promised and also about how we are much better off now than 4 years ago. The do-nothing congress is the problem here, not the current president IMO.

    Comment by Mobile App Tycoon (@MobileAppTycoon) -

  37. I would focus my attention on consumer debt. How do we lower consumer debt without just waving the debt forgiveness magic wand?

    I would implement the pay 2% of what one owes every month, and half of that amount would be applied towards principle reduction, and the other half would be respend money.

    Yes, zero interest rates for consumers who PAY DOWN MONTHLY their consumer credit card and student loan debts My goal would be to pay down the 2 to 3 trillion in consumer debt to around 500 billion. This would take anywhere from 4 years to 10 years to achieve.

    Yes, that’s right, even if consumers were no longer charged interest on their student loans and credit card debt, it would still take from 4 – 10 years to deleverage to 500 billion dollars of credit card student loan debt.

    My next goal would be to keep consumer credit card debt and student loan vascilating from 500 billion to NO MORE than 1 trillion combined. Once consumer debt deleveraging has occurred, all credit card and student loan programs would focus on interest rate reductions the more a person pays back each month.

    I would change credit card laws so that they would incentivize the paying back of more than the 2% minimum due.

    Payback 15% of the credit card debt that one owes every month, ZERO PERCENT INTEREST. Payback 12% of what one owes every month, pay 2% in interest. I would create a descending interest rate scale for those who pay more than the 2% minimum due and those who only pay 2% of the monthly minimum would pay the highest interest rate of 15%. If over time I saw more and more people only making the minimum payment, I would take corrective action.

    There are people out there who have paid off their homes, even million dollar homes, but are now out of work and cannot take out a dime because they don’t have income, that is patently ridiculous.

    I would also relax home equity rules for those who actually paid off their home and now need to slowly tap money out. However, to prevent abuse, I would limit how much a homeowner could take out each month and WOULD NOT base withdrawal on whether or not the homeowner could repay the equity taken out, but rather on never approaching the danger point of taking too much equity out to the point that reselling the home will cause a loss to the banks.

    Thirdly, I would make it a law that all american pension funds MUST reinvest 80% of their money on american soil and american businesses, and I would offer an incentive to any state that sets up their own state bank.

    I would also offer state banks the opportunity to be an income tax collection site and give them a miniscule percentage for every resident who sends in their payment via the state run banks, as an incentive. This would help the banks sustain themselves without having to come up with crazy investing schemes like securitizations that most of the time don’t add anything but another arm reaching into an already functioning business to take their cut, up front.

    None of these topics will ever be discussed by either political group out of fear they will upset either their wall street investment supporters or unions.

    Comment by dailypuma -

  38. Mark, I’m in the same space you are: Show me the Plan to create jobs. This morning I saw this link to Obama’s Plan:

    It’s dated 9-12-11 and the Press Release to the American Jobs Act (above link) states, “To create jobs, I am submitting the American Jobs Act of 2011 — nearly all of which is made up of the kinds of proposals supported by both Republicans and Democrats, and that the Congress should pass right away to get the economy moving now. The purpose of the American Jobs Act of 2011 is simple: put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans. And it will do so without adding a dime to the deficit.” – President Barack Obama

    BTW, my sending the President’s Jobs Act to you is not a political statement – it’s just passing along information. That said, I know I’d like to see each candidate’s plan for education. Politicians don’t create jobs – education does. Everyday Americans exchange their knowledge for compensation albeit greeting people at Walmart, writing computer code or figuring out a way to Mars. Education (within the context of your previous posts) is key to economic growth.

    Comment by Kevin Keithley -

  39. .the media is our intermediary…. we cant change the media they do live in the world of ratings…..Everything changes the moment some media leader says to a candidate “that is a lie”…when they don’t mince words and use terms like over reach and misstated to excuse political liars. here is the real problem the moment they hold the political folks accountable they will be cut off from access to them again…and there goes their ratings…all we can do is pray that some media folks will find backbone and courage and then be rewarded with a bigger audience who wants and deserves to hear the truth

    Comment by Jeff Greene -

  40. The dow industrial index is based on stocks that frequently change meaning that the stocks that make up the index today may not be part of the index tomorrow or next comparisons of the indexes’ rise and falls is not a good comparison or a reflection of economic conditions

    Comment by mayormckinney -

  41. I think there is a clear distinction between President Obama and Romney. President Obama believes in income distribution as one of his founding beliefs. Take from one group and give it to another group. Romney is more like Mark Cuban, he believes in working hard and creating an asset which can be sold for a large sum of money and then take that money and buy/create another larger asset that creates more wealth which then will sustain the owner of the asset in the lifestyle that best fits his personal tastes. In the process of this wealth creation, many people earn some very nice incomes, right Mark? So, it all begins with one’s core values, income distribution or wealth creation. All the rest are details which congress will work out based on the President’s core beliefs. Of course there needs to be more congressman who shares the same beliefs as the President to make the changes. That has been working for President Obama and when it doesn’t he issues an executive order. Smart guy, huh? OK, that leaves us with the financial situation in 2008, without getting into all the details how we got in that situation, I want to say everything worked as the 7 men at the secret meeting on Jekyll Island envisioned it to work in such a banking situation back in 1913. I happened to be reading the book by G. Edward Griffin, “The Creature from Jekyll Island, A Second Look at the Federal Reseve” in 2008 and was amazed how smart those 7 men were. Simply amazing. What about jobs that creates products? Those companies will need more customers, right. Why doesn’t the United States create more customers like some direct selling companies do? Create trade agreements with more countries. Amway and USANA do that. Amway has trade agreements with 60 countries and their sales were 9.2 billion in 2010 and in 2011 they were 10.9 billion. That is an increase of 1.7 billion dollars in sales in one year. USANA has trade agreements with 16 countries and growing. Can you imagine how small Amway and USANA would be if they had simply looked for customers in the United States?

    Comment by Duane Spears -

  42. Pingback: Are Better Off Today Than We Were 4 Years Ago …Part 1 « blog maverick | Amer's Blog

  43. You can’t hold your candidates to high standards if you won’t hold yourself to high standards. And when I say “yourself” I’m talking about you and me and everybody, whether you are poor, rich on foodstamps – whatever!

    Comment by Heather Buen (@dallassinglemom) -

  44. Politicians don’t create jobs; government only creates public sector jobs. These are not the jobs most people look to acquire. Government can tweak regulations and the economy in small ways but to do so dramatically only leads to speculation and instability as seen from the boardroom. Corporations can influence economic well being and, therefore, elections by waiting just four years to expand payroll. I think that’s what’s happening now.

    Comment by R.James Olson -

  45. Right on. I don’t think politically a lot of things will ever happen (nationalized health care?). For example, a lot more could have got done if it wasn’t the Republican strategy to gain a political advantage instead of doing what needs to be done. I know a lot of people don’t want bigger gov’t, but at the end of the day, health care needs to be reformed via the gov’t, as the private sector isn’t handling it.

    I hope Obama fixes the transparency issue at some point, definitely would hold people more accountable and would certainly clear up a lot of the grey areas.

    Comment by patjk -

  46. Um, Jason, no:

    Public sector jobs are down under Obama.

    The tech sector is flourishing under Obama. It barely moved under Bush. Did very well under Clinton.

    Jesus fucking christ on a pogo stick people seem to be fact resistant.

    Comment by Aaron Erickson -

  47. Hey Mr. Cuban, We have finished prototype car built by major industry engineers: 2 times more efficient than Prius and can prove it. Top worldwide awards won, and key differentiating technology internationally patented. We have distribution lined up for up to 7500 units per month. Need small amount of funds to execute orders. Please contact me:

    Comment by isaacbarham -

  48. The government in and of itself can not create jobs. Unless you’re working for the government, which coincidentally is seeing job growth! Not the kind of job growth we really want.

    You wish Presidents were more like CEOs. Romney has corporate experience–a decent deal of it. Yet that’s not enough and some how his success in the private sector is reported as corrupt and inadequate. True CEOs in politics don’t seem to work well. Ask Meg Whitman.

    You, and others in the private sector, create real jobs. When’s your next company launching? Would you start a company today compared to starting one 4 or more years ago? If Obama wins, will you start a company in the next four years?

    Comment by Jason Thompson (@jgthomp) -

  49. Agree with you Mark. Would LOVE to see a “Norguist-type” have the same level of influence surounding the whole area of TRUTH, but that is noooooooowhere near a sexy as lying about not raising taxes, yet voting to allow an increase in ones own pay and benefits etc.

    But counter to a couple posters here, I would not support you as President. There are MUCH better things you could do with your Time and Skills and Connections to make Effective Difference.

    Comment by Neil Evansan -

  50. Surely you jest on your comment of “If CEOs were as vague, fast and loose with the facts as our candidates are, they would be in big trouble” The list is long as the day when it comes to CEO’s who have played fast and loose with “facts” – Enron?, Bob Diamond/Barclays?, Standard Chartered? hell the all the players in the financial system in the 2008 debacle? , BP with Horizon? – even today what about transparency with regards to fracking fluids? And as for “big trouble” – a little slap on the wrist fine is not big trouble- it’s just a part of doing busness. Just the tip of the iceberg if you ask me. I agree we need more transparency – but please lets not hold up our ethically challenged CEOs as the leaders down this path.

    From MC> Havent all the companies you mentioned not only been investigated, but fined or worse ?

    Comment by Drew Ingersoll -

  51. Yes, 2008 was a very good year for me. But I’ve actually been glad for the recession because it made me take a hard look at my business and restructure it for the “new normal,” a business environment that has been turned on its head by social media, mobile commerce and so much more.

    What people forget is that economic ups and downs are cyclical, often having nothing to do with who’s in office.

    Comment by Heidi Thorne (@heidithorne) -

  52. Pingback: Are Better Off Today Than We Were 4 Years Ago… « Matt Gorski

  53. One concrete suggestion:

    Get rid of ZIRP and raise the interest rates. Not much — just to 2%-3%.
    Enough to put money in the pockets of savers, which will enable them to be
    spenders, which will stimulate the creation of new business.

    Also, I wish you would rerun these posts because they’re timely (QE3 anyone?
    Tax cuts for the rich?) and they’re some of the smarter things I’ve read on
    the economy in the past few years:

    Comment by kimscheinberg -

  54. When there’s a single player in a market, it’s a monopoly. When There’s only two players but they are both controlled by the same interests- the same people and organizations who contribute to both parties- it’s still essentially a monopoly. That’s what we have in our political system. Basic econ tells us how monopolies work out for customers- we the People.

    Comment by Adam Matar -

  55. If we had no government, the people who were best at providing others goods and services would rise in power, as it should be, rather than through popularity contest which quickly descends to “who will give me more stuff paid by other people’s money?” In a sane world, we wouldn’t have politics, we’d have complete freedom, and everyone would buy what they want. Businesses would pay for roads that bring customers to them, or form networks to build and maintain the highways used for transport. Dispute resolution would be determined by arbiters agreed upon by both sides. Reputation would matter as an indication of trustworthiness. There are no better regulators of a business than the customers, but consumer-protection agencies would pop up like Consumer Reports to inform us of problems or breakthroughs. We are already highly networked and have the means to achieve this completely free society, with feedback ratings. It’s just a matter of getting others to opt out of the voting process, stop empowering people who use violence (politicians), and start empowering the real movers and shakers in the world, those who provide goods and services for voluntary-paying customers. Government’s role as a monopoly service provider allows it to force its customers to pay a premium for an inferior product.

    Comment by Steve Pender -

  56. Mark…a SOX type requirement (which they all swear is required to the get the truth about the corporation) on every statement from every politician with real penalties like those for the corporate officers…starting with presidential candidates would finally make the political discourse relevant.

    Comment by Jeff Greene -

  57. We have moved from an economy based on financial engineering to one based on “engineering engineering”. The transition was needed, but it isn’t pretty. But it is better than the abyss we were staring into 4 years ago.

    There are also a lot of people with a vested interest in Obama failing. And they are loud. But you know what, if the past guy left you with a carcass of an economy, it is probably a good idea to say so. Facts are facts. It really was in a tailspin. And it really did get as corrected as viable with our current political system.

    Now onto transparency. I am as disappointed as the next guy, but realistically, I have a hard time seeing how this kind of thing gets changed overnight. Personally, I wish I could see every line item in the Federal Budget, down to the last nut and bolt, on a giant spreadsheet for all of us to look at. At least we could start helping people understand that the math doesn’t work out for the idea that if we only cut entitlement programs, we could somehow cut taxes 15% and still reduce the deficit, much less the debt.

    Comment by Aaron Erickson -

  58. Commenter spanwart mentions “compromise.” The problem, as I see it, and as a couple other commenters alluded to, is that the American voters keep compromising: Choosing either the Republican or the Democratic candidate, instead of paying attention to third-party candidates with realistic platforms and goals that will help the United States regain its self-respect, and respect from other nations. Of course, the problem is, the national media focus on just two candidates. (How many American’s even know, for example, that there is a Libertarian Party, much less who that party’s nominee is?)

    Comment by Steve Hall (Kestrel) (@_steve_hall) -


    Comment by Patrick Downs -

  60. Nice piece Mark, but CEO’s don’t play fast and loose w/the fact ? Come on.
    The question I want answered is how bad do things have to get before both
    parties compromise. I think whats going on is a war of wage destruction, how low
    can concessions be squeezed out of workers before employers hire again.

    Comment by spanwart -

  61. I like the tenor of this post. “Are you better off?” is a bad dichotomy to get into. For many people it’s yes, and for many it’s no. Let’s talk about something real. Transparency, for instance, would definitely be a wonderful change of place…

    However, I do think we will start hearing more about the plan to create jobs (specifically) during the debates. The RNC wasn’t the place for that yet… and if you look at the majority of the content of the RNC, it was positive and not just mudslinging. Critics said that no one bashed President Obama enough during the convention. I found that refreshing and exciting.

    Comment by aptessmann -

  62. The issue is Federal takeover of local issues.

    Now EVERY single decision is made at National level, so the really hard core single issue voters, who really care about one main thing…. they suddenly have to concern themselves with 535 races, and they have to align themselves with one party and now defend every single other issue.

    Peace an quiet lies in sending most decisions back to the states and cities. Keep the taxes at home, and let everyone shop with their feet.

    It was normal to have pro-union Republicans in steel towns and pro-life Democrats in the Bible belt.

    This localized politician was more apt to cut deals and horse trade.

    If politics is going to be for all the marbles at the national level, we’re doomed to cycle through this insanity for a long time to come.

    Comment by Morgan Warstler (@morganwarstler) -

  63. mark, think back to the time when you were eating ketchup and mustard sandwiches. back then, were you more concerned about stock prices or about the price of ketchup and mustard? food, energy, and housing prices have gone up noticeably since 2008. the people living in extreme poverty — defined as 50% of the poverty line — has grown. the wealth gap is widening and this is not good.

    the “great recession” is not over. this is great depression 2.0 and anyone who understands market cycles and real economics understood the inevitability of this years ago. honest politicians are needed, but so is a citizenry capable of being honest with itself.

    Comment by kidmercury (@kidmercury) -

  64. Pingback: Are Better Off Today Than We Were 4 Years Ago …Part 1 blog maverick | Lync News

  65. Are we better Off? Speaking for myself – no – my family is not better off than 4 years ago. And for the country there is only one way to go when the you hit rock bottom and that is up. It will take a long time but the country will bounce back.

    I will agree that I am tired of hearing a President that blames everything on the previous President. Hello Obama – you got elected and promised to make it better…..did you do that? No. So now all he can do is point the finger at the President before him. Same old over used statement to try and get re-elected.

    Comment by Bill Preston -

  66. Hi Mark,

    First off, just as a rough start, how would it turn out if the US government were to raise import taxes majorly and at the same time, grant tax breaks to all employers of domestic manufacturing companies?

    In broad perspective, it really can help produce jobs simply because the only thing people care these days is “Money”. If companies have an incentive to create more jobs, they will, just as long as the “money” factor will still be the main focus.

    Of course people want to create jobs and hire people, but in turn, if it minimizes company profits, who in the right mind would “volunteer” so to speak, to hire people.

    Please share your thoughts and let me know what you think.

    Thank You,
    Daniel Tebele

    Comment by dtebele -

  67. Passionate and compelling rant (which we’re big fans of) – but this one’s a little misguided. Here’s why:

    As everyone knows, one of the big/bigger/biggest issue facing the country – and by extension these candidates – is healthcare. As the line from “No Country For Old Men” suggests – “It’s a mess.” And of course, Tommy Lee Jones deadpan retort – “well if it ain’t – it’ll sure do ’til the mess gets here.” Healthcare is on tap to suck 18% of GDP – right off the top. It’s $3 trillion per year – growing at about 6% per year (for as far as the eye can see). It costs the average family of four – about $20,000 – per year. In effect – every family of four is buying a new Chevrolet Cruze – every year – without financing – just for healthcare. What color is yours? – Healthcare Hits $3 Trillion – Annual Family Healthcare Costs Surge Past $20,000

    Now – as bad as all *that* is – and I’m just warming up the stats – D.C. is an ever bigger systemic threat to our Democracy. How? Two words – Campaign Financing. That’s THE BIGGEST SINGLE THREAT TO OUR DEMOCRACY – and no one is talking about it. Why? Simple. It threatens the entire ecosystem of legislation – and how D.C. actually works. What we see from the outside is almost meaningless – irrelevant. The Patient Privacy and Affordable Care Act (PPACA for short)? Best we could get through the legislative process – but the only (and best way to categorize it) is “legislation around the edges.” Way too many special interests – and lobbying for “hands off my revenue” for it to be any thing else. It’s becoming – if it isn’t already – the biggest sow trough ever built. It’s also conveniently circular – and self-perpetuating.

    I like to say I’m working to move the needle in healthcare before it jams one in me – but even as big a problem as it is – there’s bigger one. The way we elect those that truly represent us – the people – and then govern us.

    Lawrence Lessig wrote a *great* book on this – called simply: Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress–and a Plan to Stop It. Well worth a read – and then even bigger rants!

    Comment by Dan Munro (@danmunro) -

  68. Agree, I was trying to ask Obama on Reddit his reaction to my same feeling of disgust but couldn’t get on. However, it is our responsibility to get from the candidates truth, openness, and whatever else we want. Somewhere that part of our democracy is falling apart. I think there are 2 possibilities:

    1) People who think as we do are a minority. Most voters want the kind of discussion on the kinds of topics that we get. As members of a democracy we will just have to accept that our concerns aren’t popular enough. People like the message that the other guy is causing the problem, if you vote for someone else there’s hope, if you vote for the party against “thing” you are more American or more Holy. To them voting is about defining themselves.

    2) There is a breakdown in how information flows between politicians and the people. That interface is “the media” (by definition). There are lots of people (many of them part of that media) who currently blame it, but I don’t mean it in the same way as they do (they believe bias in political thought is the problem). The problem is in the ratings and reward system. The media today’s master is polling and ratings. The assumption is that those two measures correctly indicate what people care about. I think this is flawed reasoning. If I have to watch a 30 second news item, my choice is probably something scandalous, light-hearted, celebrity-based, etc. It doesn’t mean that’s what I care about, it’s just what corresponds to the vehicle I’m receiving it. I don’t want hot coffee from a plastic cup, I don’t want Shakespeare in a comic book, I don’t want an action movie on a small mobile phone….
    Polls are probably even worse, if you ever answer one (I’m not sure who it is that even chooses to answer them) try to tell them an answer that isn’t one of their choices and see what happens. They don’t want your opinion, they want you to choose from their opinions AND they’ve already decided the subject you supposedly care about when they selected the question. It’s a measure of the poller, not the pollee.

    I will be voting for a third party and encourage all others who feel the same to please SHOW UP to vote and register your indignation by doing the same. It is too easy to write off non-voters as people who do not care.

    Comment by monstimal -

  69. you guys, it’s not “top 10-point declines,” it’s the top TEN (ranking on a list) point declines… as in, the highest drops in points. The ten biggest drops. If you click the link, you would see that…

    and that’s not even the point of the post.

    Comment by shane train (@molecularlevel) -

  70. I appreciate your points and agree with your concern and frustration with how much finger pointing is going on between both parties. In my opinion, it shows a lack of confidence by both candidates and constituents.

    What I’m really frustrated about as well is how all the political attention has shifted to the Presidential election. It seems we are electing a sovereign King in November.
    In my limited understanding and perspective, Congress has shown us how limited the President can be in pushing his own agenda. I know the President is our “leader” and has a lot of influence, but our whole government is founded on the idea of checks and balances to make sure he’s not the end all. Having said that, Congress is made up only of Democrats and Republicans who have become stagnant, arrogant, and largely ineffective in leading us.

    It seems Congress is all too willing to have us focus on the Presidential election so we won’t notice that they, as a whole, are not providing effective and positive solutions for our country.

    I’ve been very frustrated and disillusioned with all of the “you suck, no you suck more” politics going on. A month ago, I would have never imagined that I would have found inspiration and relief from your thoughts and comments in this blog and in recent posts on Twitter in regards to the current politics of our country. Candidly, I had just written you off as the rest of arrogant America. Although I don’t agree with all of your comments, I’m more than willing to admit I was wrong in my assumptions and ignorance about you and I’m looking forward to reading more from you.

    Comment by stuart cameron (@sacameron) -

  71. WHEN it comes to the stock market and currency trading , it all comes down to understanding how to read the numbers, and as a Numerologist. Thats what I do best . USING NUMEROLOGY CAN HELP YOU SEE BIG JUMPS AND FALLS IN THE MARKET AHEAD OF ALL THE SO-CALLED EXPERTS
    For a example I will expose one of the Elites secrets – History show us Whenever it’s the 11th/29th ( of the month) or a 11 day in total Example example 1-7-2001(1+7+2+0+0+1=11 1+1=2) the stock market is in trouble
    EXAMPLE the stock market crash that started the great depression happen on 10-29-1929 ( the 29th)

    link -> List of the Largest daily point losses in the Dow Jones History

    1.ON 9-29-2008 market FELL −777.68 IT HAPPENED ON THE 29TH(2+9=11 1+1=2)
    3.ON 9-17-2001 MARKET FELL −684.81 HAPPENED ON 9+1+7+2+0+0+1=20 2+0=2
    5. ON 10-09-2008 MARKET FELL −678.91 HAPPENED ON 1+0+9+2+0+0+8=20 2+0=2
    6. ON 8-8-2011 MARKET FELL −634.76 HAPPENED ON 8+8+2+0+1+1=20 2+0=11
    7. on 4-14-2000 market fell −617.77 happened on 4+1+4+2+0+0+0=11)

    Gary the Numbers guy

    Comment by Gary the numbers guy (@Numerologynow) -

  72. Ha. To two of the commenters, The “Top 10” point-declines. Not the Top “10-point” declines 🙂

    Comment by Darren Hundt (@darrenhundt) -

  73. I feel very similar Mark. I want to hear specifics, not listen to someone hyping up 12 million jobs. I couldn’t agree more on the trasnparency point as well. Obama started off well by talking to us often, but that quickly fell by the wayside. I hate having to vote for worse v. worser type situation, tbh, I wanted Ron Paul to get the nod, thanks for your thoughts.

    Comment by Miles J. Stoner (@StockHollywood) -

  74. One more thought. it’s easy to see what needs fixing. Unfortunately it means getting rid of the people who decide for us.
    1. cut politicians in 1/2 across country and states
    2. get rid of the Golden Fleece plan that pays all politicians a salary the rest of their lives.
    3. Nothing happens unless the people vote on it and it can NEVER be over turned by a judge in any state.
    4. all laws have expiration dates so we can revisit and improve.
    These things would start the healing of our great nation. They will never happen.

    Comment by jakatak4 -

  75. Ok, I agree with you Mark, now after you have ranted, what is your solution. You have a big microphone here.

    We’d all like transparency, yes things are better than 4 years ago. HOw are we going to get to the 12million jobs???? I am in that business but no one will listen.

    It’s not hard

    1. Gov’t gives tax breaks where they want intelligent growth. That will make big biz invest in those areas.

    2. banks need to lend- BofA took TARP, built up their reserves, now are not keeping their promise to lend. Yes the pendulum has swung too far the other way, but banks need to lend, intelligently.

    3. Replace the entire senate and congress. In their place put 9th-11th graders with a ‘B’ GPA or better. Put them in for 1 year only and then replace them. Get rid of the lobbies. Yeah it will never happen but they’d get more done in 12 months and at least try something.

    These are the first 3, I can go on forever.

    The economy is getting better, not as fast as everyone wants, but it is getting better. .

    Small & mid-size firms are leading the way and large companies will get run over by their lack of being able to get things done.

    I cannot tell you how much pent up demand we see out there.

    Also, manufacture intelligently, in the USA when you can. I could take you and the Shark Tank show to task by wanting to offshore every bit of manufacturing.

    Comment by Alan Fluhrer (@afluhrer) -

  76. I think having some kind of accountability for truth and high discussion of real issues, rather than gimmicks, slogans, and emotional persuasion is monumentally important and is in the long term best interests of the nation. Would it be possible to form a bipartisan coalition of CEO’s and wealthy donors to demand simple things like transparency with the threat of boycotting campaign donations? Something similar to the Buffett Rule? The Idea was sparked by Lawrence Lessig’s commentary about congress’ dependence on corporate money to function in Republic Lost, and a deep sense of political disillusionment given the “you suck, no you suck more.”

    Comment by Marcus Miller -

  77. “…both sides…”

    There your problem right there. The red/blue duopoly. The US is long overdue for a political realignment that breaks up the current clusterhump and replaces it with something more reflective of reality, instead of accidental groupings of special interests. Ideally, the next 5 to 10 years should see 3 to 5 functioning, national parties all competing for votes and offices. In fact, I do not see how America qua America survives without that process.

    Comment by Jeff A. Taylor (@TheFree_Lance) -

  78. Thank you for an unbiased view of things. I hate sides of politics. As long as we are split we will never EVER get on top of things and fix them. it’s really sad. Keep writing logical stuff like this. We need more thinkers in the world.

    Comment by jakatak4 -

  79. As Phil notes, using the number of 10 point Dow declines as a measure seems strange. Why pick that particular standard, which I’ve never before seen used in that way?

    Comment by Dean Jameson (@JustDeanJameson) -

  80. I was just having that same discussion with my family. It seems the candidates are attacking one another but no one is talking about our future. At this point I do not believe they really care about creating jobs at all. The world would definitely be a better place if the candidates where held to a higher standard….it would be great to see a president held to that standard as well. I feel that the people are so far removed from what the government is doing these days, and they do not much care about our opinions anymore. We need someone who wants to rebuild america not spend more money on issues that do not even concern us….I try and keep hope but these last 8-12 years have been let down after let down politically.

    Comment by markriza -

  81. Really? Better off financially? Hmmmm. Sounds like a billionaires version of better off.
    Unemployment rate is up from 7.6% to 8.3% it hit as high as 10% and has averaged over 9%.
    Number of unemployed is up 24%.
    Real median incomes are down from 4 years ago.
    Food stamp recipients are up 35%.
    Number receiving unemployment up 22%.
    Long term unemployed up 146%.
    Those living in poverty up 9.5%.
    National debt is up 35%.

    Comment by Mark Hensel -

  82. Agreed, I know personally from seeing threat levels and fear of the unknown alone things are different. Financially, I know I feel more confident than when I saw banks and markets, nervous as hell that a death sentence was coming in the form of bank failures. We, collectively are better and will be better once we stop beating each other up.

    Comment by Keni Thomas (@k5dgn) -

  83. I second that. Two other things that are concerning. Why would the Republicans even ask such a stupid question? Of course things are not as bad today as they were 4 years ago. It seemed that the world was about to come to an end in September of 2008. Imagine GM going out of business or Citibank closing its doors. But why didn’t the Democrats have a quick response to the question? The question and the response leads us to believe that neither party has their head in the game. Mark you and Mayor Bloomberg would make a great independent ticket. Is it too late to through your names in the hat?

    Comment by frankschwall -

  84. Mark, signing an “I will not lie” petition is meaningless, and I’m fairly certain you’re smart enough to realize that. As someone who voted for Obama in 2008 but who shares many of the same concerns (or at least one major one) that you’ve raised I believe (even though it always seems to lack the critical mass needed to actually foster “real” change) that the only viable, logical place for moderates to go is to the available third party candidates (Libertarian, Green, take your pick).

    Comment by Robert Matusevich -

  85. Solid post. It seems like both parties do not provide any information on how they will get things accomplished. They use catch phrases to get individuals excited and this excitement does not get anything done. I would back the petition. For the upcoming debates it would be enlightening for the candidates to give specific steps on how they will accomplish (i.e. economy, foreign policy, etc.) instead of vague/canned answers that attack the other party. Looking forward to part 2.

    Comment by Rob Velarde (@FanFootballKeep) -

  86. Number of 10 point Dow declines? That is a ridiculous yardstick.

    Comment by Phil Bak (@philbak1) -

  87. I would vote for your ass….get in the race. 2020! With media the way it is and your background you won’t need an official party. Do it.

    Comment by roykeely (@roykeely) -

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