Robbing Peter and Suing Paul

A 1600’s phrase, “robbing Peter to pay Paul,” originated when taxes had to be paid to St. Paul’s Church in London and St. Peter’s in Rome. The current idiomatic definition is something like, “To solve a problem in a way that benefits one party, but makes another problem worse, and in so doing, creates no net gain.” This principle rings true as global events unfold regarding bailouts, rating agencies and Government policy. This Newsletter will outline some of the conflicts we see in today’s financial system and why we continue to avoid the sector…

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Goodnight Chet….Goodnight David

With the advent of the Internet—and now Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the like—the role of the news media has been forever transformed. Given this, it is more important than ever to take “news,” and media-driven investment research for that matter, with more than the traditional grain of salt; and better a cubic foot sized dairy farmer’s salt lick. In this newsletter we talk of the transformation in the media business model and the implications for both investing and the American psyche—as if there were a difference between the two…

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Don’t Be Wall Street’s Chump

Investing in stocks of public companies can generate returns which exceed those of fixed income alternatives and the rate of inflation, but one must tread carefully. As we look at the thousands of public companies available to us, we divide them into three categories. First are newly minted public companies (IPOs) that have in many cases already had the “upside” …

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Thanks Skip

In the midst of the 2008 market correction, we received a note from Hans W. Wanders, the retired Chairman of Wachovia Bank. Skip, as he is more commonly known, served Wachovia from 1970-1988 when the bank had the reputation of being the strongest regional bank in the country. His comforting words came during the very uncomfortable month of October 2008 …

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Steinbrenner, Bernanke & Buffett

With debates raging about the fiscal health of our country and how best to further jumpstart a sluggish recovery, the Federal Reserve has recently grappled with renewed fears of deflation while the IRS’s “accounts receivable” took a serious hit. George Steinbrenner headed for the “great ballpark in the sky,” conveniently when the estate tax was temporarily zero, while Warren Buffett …

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