Fellow writers, don’t use big words!

May 16, 2017 – Fellow writers, don’t use big words!  As a man of the world, I have worn many hats over the years.  I have been a political pundit, fisherman, tourist guide, financial advisor, poet and an occasional writer.  But today for writing this article I am wearing my reader’s hat.

I hate it when writers use big words.  If you are what you eat, I must be plain vanilla.  And if you are what you read, I must be nursery rhymes.  For me, the simpler the better.  I do not like beating my brains out trying to find out what the writer means.  Every human being has an inborn desire to be heard through what they say and write.  Letting others know what’s on our mind is a basic human desire and it is a wonderful feeling when we are understood.  So what is the point of writing something that only you can understand?


“Missiles of ligneous or oterous consistency have the potential of fracturing my osceous structure, but appellations will eternally remain innocuous. “


What?!  It sounds good, but what the heck does it mean?  Who is the author trying to impress?  A reader is like a woman ready to be pursued, wined and dined.  I would like to be seduced by a writer through the use of seductive words and phrases in a language I can understand not in some foreign language.


“Judgment of any system, or a priori relationship or phenomenon exists in an irrational, or metaphysical, or at least epistemological contradiction to an abstract empirical concept such as being, or to be, or to occur in the thing itself, or of the thing itself.”


The words of the above quotation are English but they might as well be Greek.  I have no idea what the sentence means.  Colleagues, write in such a way as if you are painting a clear and simple picture.  Do not create an abstract painting.  Write simply, clearly and concisely so that your writings are not open for interpretation.  Write in grade level 10 or lower if you can.  The lower the level, the better writer you are.  The Wall Street Journal is written in Grade 12 level while the New York Times in Grade 10 and the New York Daily News in Grade 8.  Do not include words that are superfluous and unnecessary or you might just fog up what you are trying to say.  In fact there is a term called “Fog Index” which includes a formula to measure readability and comprehension of a certain text and to determine what formal education is needed to understand such text.


“From a negative light, “Politics” has the horrifying stigma associated with the vile and stealthy manipulation of others for the benefit of a selfish gain masked in fake promises.

It is because of nescience, the lack of knowledge, or the perversion thereof that we position “politics” in the realm of the taboo and elevates “values” into the pedestal of sanctity. And will values be that asymptotic horizon that lies beyond the grasp of the average?”


I am sure the author of the above group of sentences has something worthy to say.  But his message is lost in the fog, and at least for me I got a headache just reading the text.  To try to interpret the passages might give me agita so I gave up. The writer no doubt is well educated and I am sure he knows what he means.  But he fails to realize that readers who did not attain the same level of education he did will need a dictionary to get through the agonizing process of reading his work to the end.  Perhaps the writer wants to elevate the reader’s comprehension to his level and help his readers build a better vocabulary, but a column in a magazine is not the proper forum to do it.  Reading a piece should be an informative and entertaining experience and should not be as if the reader is going through a creative writing exam.  There are professor-type writers who are sincere in their desire to impart their knowledge.  But there are also vanity writers, charlatans and timewasters who think big words will help boost their reputation as a writer to the detriment of comprehension.  Hey, I can do that too.  I can write “a farrago of footlers” instead of “a bunch of lazy people”.  But why?  My job as a writer is to keep my reader interested and engaged.  If I cannot do that I do not deserve to write.


So my message to the writer who uses big words, and with all due respect:  It is not too late to change but you’re not getting any younger.  And my advice to you, again with all due respect, in the eloquent words of an anonymous college professor is:


“In promulgating your esoteric cogitations, or articulating your superficial sentimentalities and amicable, philosophical or psychological observations, beware of platitudinous ponderosity. Let your oral and written communications possess a clarified conciseness, a compact comprehensibleness, coalescent consistency, and a concatenated cogency. Eschew all conglomerations of flatulent garrulity, jejune babblement and asinine affectations. Let your extemporaneous descantings and unpremeditated expatiations have intelligibility and veracious vivacity, without rodomontade or thrasonical bombast. Sedulously avoid all polysyllabic profundity, pompous prolixity, setaceous vacuity, ventriloquial verbosity and vaniloquent vapidity. Shun double-entendres, prurient pscosity, and pestiferous profanity, obscurant or apparent.”


In other words, say or write what you mean and DON’T USE BIG WORDS!

Don’t mix investing with politics

November 22, 2016

As of today’s closing, all the U.S. stock market major indices reached record highs.  The Dow closed above the resistance level of 19,000.  In the short run, the stock market will not have a “stairway to heaven” type of climb. I guarantee there will be dips at the slightest whiff of any bad news. Remember the first quarter of this year when the price of crude dipped below $35 per barrel? Moreover, there will be profit taking by the Gnomes of Wall Street.

The new resistance level we are looking for on the Dow is 19,500.  There may be a 10% correction before reaching this resistance level.  The climate has suddenly changed with the election of Trump.  The Gnomes of Wall Street, or perhaps we should call them the shepherds leading the flock suddenly decided that a Trump presidency is good for the economy.  Does anyone even remember that the Dow futures were 800 points down on election night as Trump started winning the battleground states one by one?  What was that all about?  Even though the market opened higher on the day after Election Day, my friend Jake got out of the market as soon as it opened at 9:30, Wednesday morning and put his entire portfolio into a money market fund. He voted for Hillary and was afraid that Trump’s victory would precipitate a global equity sell-off because he believed that Trump is an unpredictable, unstable and unqualified leader who’s the laughing stock of the whole world.  Even after the Dow gained 1,000 points, my friend Jake is still out of the stock market.  He told me last night he “cannot believe why the market keeps going up”. Don’t mix investing with politics, folks. Happy thanksgiving!!

Most Economic Indicators Pointing Upwards

It has only been over a week since the voters elected Trump and housing starts are up, unemployment claims have been the lowest since the great recession, retail sales look strong, corporate profits are up, the Dow gained more than 5% since the election. Happy days are here again?  We’ll see.  The uncertainty of the US elections kept the stock market stagnant for almost a year.  So this is a post-election bump that still has legs.  Trump’s pro-business policies of curtailing government regulations, lowering corporate, capital gains and foreign earnings taxes are meeting with great enthusiasm from the gnomes of Wall Street.  Look for a correction around Dow 19,500.  The correction could be 5-10%. Follow this blog so we may discuss the possibilities.



After the dust settled…

Wednesday morning after Election 2016, the 1,000 point drop in the Dow that many so-called experts predicted as they were watching Trump beat Clinton one battle ground state after another did not happen after all.  In fact stocks are not only in the positive territory at noontime eastern standard time but had healthy gains of 1-1.5%.  Still Myles Udland, a financial writer for Yahoo Finance says, “…don’t mistake Wednesday’s rally for an “all clear” sign from markets. The unknowns around any new presidency are considerable, and perhaps no recent administration presents more question marks for investors than  a Trump White House”.  Adam Parker, a strategist at Morgan Stanley, wrote in a note to clients on Wednesday that, “We are more bearish today than we were yesterday because of increased uncertainty.”

Frankly, I am tired of listening to these geniuses and shame to investors who blindly listen to them.  These are the same type of geniuses who led investors on the wrong path in 2008.  After investors lost 50% of their savings during the bear market that followed the great recession, these geniuses told them to get out of stocks.

Go ahead, listen to Udland and Parker.  Get out of the stock market now and you’ll be sorry.  I say this because Trump’s fiscal policy is pro-growth.  Low taxes, less government regulations, repatriation of foreign profits, possible repeal of Obamacare, infrastructure investments, etc.  Of course I am concerned about a few uncertainties such as Trump’s promise to replace Janet Yellen whom I think is doing a great job and protectionism but I don’t think Trump would act recklessly with regard to these two concerns.  He has VP Pence and other technocrats to hold his hands. So when will the stock market crash? We will exchange thoughts and ideas. Follow this blog and learn.

Consumer spending keeping the stock market up

The 3rd quarter earnings report of most of the reporting companies in the S&P 500 beat analysts’ estimates.  This is due to a combination of higher sales due to more consumer spending and reduction of expenses because companies have become more efficient.  This combination of more revenue and less expenses is giving many companies a healthy cash flow that should find its way into capital investments and stock purchase.

What is fueling consumer spending?  It seems that Americans are resigned to a Hillary Clinton presidency and they think it won’t be so bad.  There also has not been any terrible news lately. In addition to the good earnings reports, oil is holding at about $50 per barrel and copper price has been hovering around $2 per pound. The doom sayers are wrong again about the big stock market crash that they predicted would happen before the U.S. presidential elections.  The BIG CRASH will happen but it will not be before November 8.  Folks, it may not even happen until 2018.  I see the road to the next recession as a slow bleed not a heart attack. We are due for a 10-20% correction since the last correction was in the middle of February this year.  We will discuss this on the next blog.  Stand by.

10% Unemployment not enough to derail recovery

When I wrote my article entitled “SLUGGISH RECOVERY, GOOD FOR INVESTORS” in July before I went on my summer vacation, many “gloom and doomers” thought I was crazy.  In fact I was bold enough to predict an 11,300 Dow for the end of September.  That was on July 21 when the DJIA closed at 10,120. We are not quite at 11,300 yet but the DOW closed up at 10,860 last Friday, September 24, 2010.

The direction of the market is really not hard to predict.  Now that the NBER has ruled out a double dip recession, stock prices will keep going up unless there is a new recession.  Yes there will be days when stocks will go up, down and sideways but investors will continue to be bullish if the economy is still expanding.  1% to 2% GDP growth is good enough to continue an upward trend in stock prices.  This statement is easily proven.  In the beginning of the year, many economists predicted the economy to grow 4% to 5% this year.  The projection had been revised downward several times and stocks tumbled each time the lower projection was announced.   The knee jerk reaction of investors is to dump equities in favor of bonds and tangible assets upon hearing a lower growth rate.  Then investors become accustomed to the sluggish growth, after which they start buying stocks again.  The bullish trend will not stop unless there is another recession.  Even if there is negative growth in one month, 2 months or even in an entire quarter if the economy recovers again in subsequent months to show growth in GDP, the market will come back.  There will be fluctuations and corrections in the market but the sophisticated investor will remain invested in equities unless signs point to another recession.  At the risk of repeating myself, commodity prices are up, corporate profits are up, many publicly held corporations including numerous financial institutions have resumed paying dividends because of their huge profits, many publicly traded stocks of companies in a wide assortment of industries have hit a 52-week high.  These are not signs that there is another recession just around the corner.  Another proof is that inflation is back.  It means that the deflationary period is gone and the economy is starting to heat up again.  Foreclosures are up and housing starts are down, but this is a normal cycle after homeowners enjoyed double digit increases in home prices for many years.

The not so rosy sector of the economy is the high unemployment rate.  1% to 2% GDP growth will only make a small dent in the unemployment.  We need 8% GDP growth like in the Reagan expansion years to reduce unemployment to 5%.  Many economists are of the opinion that the reason for the high unemployment rate is the reluctance of small businesses to invest and expand because of the uncertainty in taxes and new regulations.  I disagree with their opinion.  In a free market economy like ours, the desire to make money is so intense and the chance of success is so high compared to a government controlled economy that most smart entrepreneurs will not postpone their plan for growth and expansion just because of regulations and a few percentage increase in taxes.  However, I agree with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc) that keeping the Bush Tax Cuts and reducing spending will accelerate business investments.  Paul Ryan who is a ranking member of the Congressional Budget Committee and Ways and Means Committee is a Reagan conservative who is touted as a rising star in the Republican Party and possible nominee for the 2012 presidential election.

Now that the “great recession” is over, it is wise to review what caused it.   The NBER, a historical recorder of past events declares the recession started in December 2007 and ended in June 2009.  The “great recession” was caused by the consumer who stopped spending, caused by worries of the stability of the banking and financial system, caused by massive default of derivatives issued by the financial institutions, caused by the housing bubble burst, caused by massive default of homeowners in payment of their mortgages, caused by increase in mortgage rates and high fuel prices. What could be so simple?

I went to a party last Saturday night.  The state of the economy became the dominant subject of conversation because many of the guests were sophisticated entrepreneurs and economists.  I found that the adage “ask 10 economists a question and you will get 10 different answers” is really true.  Most of them disagreed on the state of the economy and how to “fix” the nation’s economic problems.  However, the wife of the CEO of a popular restaurant chain offered her solution in the form of a question in between sips of mimosa.  She asked “why doesn’t Obama give every American citizen, man, woman, child $100,000 each?  If the population of America is now 350 million, wouldn’t one hundred thousand dollars for each person cost much less than the new stimulus of 50 billion dollars the Obama administration had been dangling about? “It suddenly became quite, although some of the party goers dismissed “her solution” with some condescending remarks.  I quickly excused myself, went to the men’s room, locked myself inside a stall and pulled my new iPhone which has a calculator. Lo and behold, $100,000 x 350 million is indeed $35 billion…less than the $50 billion Obama stimulus package. When I came out of the men’s room I was surprised that most of the guests continued to discuss and debate her solution.  A CFO of an oil refining company said her idea is great because those who deserve the money will find a way to legally take the money away from those who do not deserve it. To me, the idea of this lady, a trophy wife who is relegated to ribbon cutting ceremonies and home decorating made as much sense as ideas from her husband and the other guests.

This article is not intended to provide financial advice.  Please consult your financial advisor before acting on any advice provided herein. Any opinions and views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the writer

A tale of Two States

Although Election Day is not until November 3, 2009, the gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey are just about over.  Republican candidate Bob McDonnell will win in Virginia and Democrat Jon Corzine will be re-elected in New Jersey.

Virginia is the only state in the union which limits the governor to a single four-year term.  Tim Kaine, the incumbent would have been re-elected easily.  Instead, the office is being contested by Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat Creigh Deeds.  Bob McDonnell holds a 7% lead and I believe he would hold on to that lead until Election Day.  The Washington Post cited a White House Official for “throwing Creigh Deeds under the bus”, by distancing Obama from Deeds.  The unnamed official reportedly said “Creigh Deeds is bad for Creigh Deeds. Period” meaning that a Deeds’ loss is not a harbinger of doom for Obama.  My opinion is that Deeds made a big strategic mistake from the beginning of his campaign. In a traditionally Republican state, he attempted to distance himself from Obama so as to allay the fears of certain white rural voters who still retain some prejudice against African Americans.  In the process he managed to estrange himself from a large percentage of the Democrat voter base.  I would consider it a small miracle if Creigh Deeds manages to pull it off and win the election on Tuesday.

New Jersey is the highest taxed state in the nation if you combine property taxes with state, sales and business taxes. Just to give the reader an idea, the real estate tax on a house that is valued at $500,000 in some NJ municipalities can be as much as $18,000 a year (source: http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2009/09/_new_jersey_has_the.html). 

New Jersey has the highest automobile insurance premiums in the nation.  New Jersey is also considered one of the most corrupt states in the union.  The arrest of several NJ public officials in July 2009 proves the point.  Corzine increased the sales tax from 6% to 7%; suspended homestead tax rebates;  limited the real estate tax deduction to $10,000; tripled the deficit which his office projects to be 10 billion dollars next year;  and the most recent data indicates unemployment rate has increase to 9.7% (source:  http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2009/09/nj_unemployment_matches_us_rat.html)

But why will the voters return Corzine back into office?  Because more than anything else elections are about personalities.  Issues take a back seat to style and charisma of the candidates.  Jon Corzine does not have much of charisma or style but Chris Christie has even less.  Even though Christie has been a tough prosecutor his name alone denotes some kind of an effeminate weakness.  In campaign spending, Corzine has been outspending Christie 4 to 1.  Corzine’s attack ads portray Christie in negative light, from being in bed with insurance companies to being a fat slob.  The negative ads have taken their toll.  Christie was up 16% in some polls last month but the most recent polls show Corzine pulling ahead with a 2 point lead.  If charisma and style make elections, the Republican Party is in such a sad state of affairs in New Jersey.  The two candidates who competed in the GOP primary were obese Chris Christie and legally blind Steve Lonergan who appeared in several debates like he was wearing part of a squirrel for a hair piece.  This discussion will not be complete without mentioning independent candidate Chris Dagget.  There is no question Dagget would take votes away from Chris Christie.  I would consider it a major miracle if Chris Christie can eke out a narrow victory over Jon Corzine on Tuesday.

Any opinions and views herein are the sole responsibility of the writer.

The Labyrinth of OBAMACARE

The House Bill on Health Care Reform also known as the ‘‘America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009’’ which I affectionately refer to as ObamaCare is a mess.  It is an intricate labyrinth of legalese mumbo jumbo which I am sure Obama has not read.  If anyone has the time and patience to read this complex cat’s cradle bill, here is the link:


The following is a sample of what you will see page after page of this 1,008 page Bill:

(b) REQUIREMENTS FOR QUALIFIED HEALTH BENEFITS PLANS.—On or after the first day of Y1, a health benefits plan shall not be a qualified health benefits plan under this division unless the plan meets the applicable requirements of the following subtitles for the type of plan and plan year involved:

1) Subtitle B (relating to affordable coverage)

2) Subtitle C (relating to essential benefits)

3) Subtitle D (relating to consumer protection).

What the hell does it mean?  This is an abomination which Obama and the Democratic majority is asking us swallow.  The AMA supported it without reading it due to pressure from the White House.  I have a feeling that I have read more of this Bill than Obama, Pelosi, Rham Emmanuel and Harry Reid combined.

In my brief examination of portions of the Bill, I note that there will be a “Commissioner” to oversee ObamaCare.  It is not clear if this is a cabinet level position requiring congressional confirmation or simply a Czar type position requiring nothing more than a blessing from “THE ONE”.  No matter, the Commissioner will have enormous power over our well-being because he will have a free reign in oversight and enforcement.

The following excerpt is from page 94 of the Bill:

  1. ii) EXCEPTION FOR IMMINENT AND SERIOUS RISK TO HEALTH – Clause (i) shall not apply if the Commissioner determines that a delay in termination….would pose an imminent and serious risk to the health of individuals…..

WHAT THIS MEANS FOLKS is that the Commissioner can decide on your well-being instead of you and your doctor.  So the commissioner might be enjoying a 5 course dinner with his girlfriend while you are waiting for his approval for a life-saving operation in your doctor’s office.

(a)(1)(A) Parag.7, page 91 states:  CULTURALLY AND LINGUISTICALLY APPROPRIATE SERVICES AND COMMUNICATIONS - The entity (health care provider) shall provide for culturally and linguistically appropriate communication and health services.

Simply put, WHAT THIS MEANS is that there may be sanctions or penalties imposed on say, non-Spanish speaking health care providers who provide care to Spanish speaking patients.

Everyone including illegal aliens and visitors to this country will have access to health care under this bill.  Younger individuals who had previously chosen not to have health care insurance will be forced to buy health care insurance if they can afford it or will be provided for by the state or by their employers.  This massive government takeover of health care would be initially financed by a 5.4% tax increase on couples earning a million dollars or more a year and 1% on couples earning $350,000 or more.  A portion of the capital gains tax would also go towards financing this boondoggle. This would be bad for the economy and this is only the beginning. Obama and the Democratic majority who are trying to shove this Bill through our throats do not know what they are talking about.  If the government is going to give 40 million previously uninsured people health care, there will be a greater demand on health care providers.  This may lead to health care rationing.  You may have to wait 3 months for a hernia operation.

Fortunately, the novelty of the Obama presidency is starting to wane.  His job approval rating has been steadily falling.  His performance during his last news conference which was dominated by questions about his health care proposal has earned him the title of the “Great Mis-Communicator”. His comments that the Cambridge Police acted “stupidly” in arresting his friend Professor Gates made him look like a fool.  So there is very little chance of passage of this Bill before the August recess or even this year.  The Blue Dog Democrats are starting to show their fangs even in the face of tremendous pressure from the White House and from Pelosi.

Why don’t they use common sense to solve the so-called health care crisis?  There is already a system in place called Medicaid for those who cannot afford health care.  Additionally, it is illegal for hospitals to refuse admission to patients even if they have no insurance.  Either Obama lied or he does not know what he is talking about when he said during the news conference that 14,000 are losing their health insurance every day because of job loss.  I cannot find such statistics and besides even if true, those who lose their jobs can be covered by Medicaid if they cannot afford continuation of coverage through their former employers’ group plans (COBRA).  If they can afford it, why not let them pay for it themselves from their savings instead of asking me to pay for it.  What gives Obama and the rest of these socialist leaning politicians the right to my earnings?

Unlike many fellow conservatives, I do not believe Obama is lacking in intelligence.  He is purported to have the highest IQ of all the previous Presidents and I’ll take that for what it’s worth.  Therefore my last parting comment to Team Obama is:  “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive."

Any opinions and views herein are the sole responsibility of the writer.

The Obama Recession

According to the Wall Street Journal, there have been 11 recessions in the United States since World War II.  These recessions lasted between 8 months and 2 years, the longest being the Carter-Reagan recession.  This Bush-Obama recession has a potential for lasting longer than that.  I believe this because the Obama Administration appears to be in a state of chaos.  It is sending mixed messages and appears to be playing it by ear, making adjustments as it stumbles along.  If Obama is having problems dealing with the economic crisis, I shudder to think how he could deal with an international crisis if one develops.

If Obama allocated the bulk of the $800 billion stimulus package to tax cuts and in rebuilding infrastructure and schools, as I thought he would, consumer confidence would have gone up.  Instead, a big chunk of the stimulus package is going towards pork barrel spending.  To make matters worse, the Obama Administration is talking about taxing the rich, those making over $250,000 by removing the taxable income limit for Medicare Tax and limiting the mortgage and charitable contribution deductions.  Geithner does not even have a deputy secretary yet.  He appears to be working alone, formulating policy and making anti free market suggestions that the Administration will increase taxes on capital gains, corporate profits and foreign investments.  There is no doubt in my mind that the stock market plunge of over 3,000 points in the Dow since the election is a direct result of investors’ lack of confidence in the Obama Administration.  When retirement accounts lose 50% of their value, consumers get scared and postpone spending.  It so ironic that China, a communist country has no capital gains tax which must be the primary reason their stock market has recorded the highest gains this year.

When will the left wing radicals learn that taxing the rich will hurt the poor people more?  The rich are the ones who eat at expensive restaurants, go on vacations, buy luxury items and employ people.  I am not rich but I do not envy the rich because my goal is to get rich myself.  We all have an equal opportunity to acquire wealth in this country provided the government does not stand in our way.

Our free market economy will recover despite Obama.  Recessions are part of a normal economic cycle.  Soon consumers will come back and resume buying necessities such as refrigerators, TVs, computers, cell phones, furniture and cars.  42% of stocks in the S&P 500 gained since the beginning of the year.  Energy costs have only increased a little bit since sinking to their lowest level last December.  According to the Los Angeles Times, the highest concentration of foreclosures and decline in property value are in 5 states; California, Nevada, Florida, Michigan and Ohio.  90% of homeowners are still paying their mortgages on time.  The dollar has recovered nicely against major foreign currencies which means anything we import is costing us less.  Still, stumbling and uninspiring Obama can prolong this recession by talking down the economy.

If Obama and his cabinet members are listening, I have a sure fire way of ending this recession immediately.  Geithner has no plan yet on how to use the $300 billion allocated to fix the banking system.  So these are my suggestions.  1) Announce the formation of RTC2 (Resolution Trust Corporation) to take over toxic assets from ailing banks.  This move is similar to what solved the Savings and Loan crisis of the early 90s.  This will restore confidence in our banking system.  2) Announce the reduction of the capital gains tax from 28% to 7%.  This will attract local and foreign capital back into the stock market which would increase the value of stocks.  3) Announce the reduction of corporate tax from 34% to 10%.  This will stimulate business activity and companies will start hiring again.

What are the chances that the Obama Administration will follow my advice?  I will not hold my breath.  They are a group of ideological left wing intellectuals who have their own agenda of equal wealth distribution and of government intrusion into our lives.  Therefore let us prepare ourselves for more pain and say hello to the Obama Recession.