Explaining Southern California's economy

GOP's Frank Luntz: The first rule of capitalism is you do not talk about capitalism

Check this out: the Occupy movement is changing the way that GOP strategists are telling people to talk about the protest phenomenon. Or more accurately, not talk about it.

At Yahoo, Chris Moody captures a series of talking/not-talking points dispensed by Frank Luntz at a Republican governors' gathering in Florida. Here are my two favorites (there are 10 total, plus a bonus, which agues that "bonuses" shouldn't be called that):

1. Don't say 'capitalism.'

"I'm trying to get that word removed and we're replacing it with either 'economic freedom' or 'free market,' " Luntz said. "The public . . . still prefers capitalism to socialism, but they think capitalism is immoral. And if we're seen as defenders of quote, Wall Street, end quote, we've got a problem."

[...]

8. Out: 'Entrepreneur.' In: 'Job creator.'

Use the phrases "small business owners" and "job creators" instead of "entrepreneurs" and "innovators."

Read More...

November Jobs Report: Not as bad as the California weather

Mercer 12966

Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Unemployed father of two, Michael Lopez waits for work outside a temporary labor office in the Southern Californian town of El Centro, a town of 50,000 people where 30.4 percent of the work-age population are without employment, on October 28, 2010.

As many of you know, our California weather took a zany and destructive turn on Wednesday, with 60-80 mph Santa Ana winds whipping down from the desert and decimating the urban treescape of places like Pasadena. It was the worst wind anyone had seen in years. 

The BLS jobs report, on the other hand, didn't look too terrible for November. The country added 120,000 jobs last month, which was a lot lower than than the 206,000 the ADP report predicted earlier this week. But still, better than the revised October number of 100,000 (up from 80,000). 

The unemployment rate dropped from 9 percent to 8.6 percent, a surprising downward trend (subject to revision, of course) that could bode well for something like a 7-percent unemployment next November. In other words, good news for President Obama's re-election chances, even though the White House isn't predicting 6-percent unemployment rate until 2017.

Read More...

Your Economy: The Andy Dean treatment

My latest appearance on "America Now with Andy Dean," this time to talk about yesterday's relatively positive economic news, which caused the Dow to rise almost 500 points. As always, a lot of fun to go back and forth with Andy and a good chance to summarize my DeBord Report post from Wednesday about the eurozone crisis, central banks, the impending jobs report, housing data, and whether China will be able to hold its own economy together.

I'm on at about the 31:00 mark. Enjoy!

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter.

Read More...

Commenting on the commenters: Bitcoin

Mercer 21196

Mark Scott

I've been getting a fair number of comments on my Bitcoin post from a few days back, itself a response to Fred Wilson's Bitcoin post. Most think I'm completely wrong about Bitcoin and its future as a form of currency. Some commenters are particularly upset by my assertion that Bitcoin is illiquid — by which I mean its value isn't predictable enough for it to function as a ready medium of exchange (although it's not that simple because liquidity is a cryptic concept, used commonly in finance in a sort of metaphorical sense, but ill-defined and misunderstood, really reverse-engineered from its features, one of which is predictability of price).

Here's a sample, from MoonShadow:

The true irony of this article is that Bitcoin is nearly perfectly liquid, even though it's ultimately deflationary. I know what liquidity is, liquidity is the ability of economic actors to engage in exchange rapidly and with as few intervening steps as possible.  This is why cash is very liquid and real estate is not.  Bitcoin is very much like cash in this respect.  Go try and tell Bitcoin users that Bitcoin is illiquid, and they will laugh at your ignorance. The only people for whom Bitcoin is not liquid are those who don't have any.

Read More...

VC in SC: A panel discussion at KPCC

CFF VC Panel

Venture Capital in Southern California panel. From right, KPCC's Matthew DeBord, Rustic Canyon Partners' Nate Redmond, Idealab's Alex Maleki, and Ben Kuo from socalTECH.

Last night, I sat down with Nate Redmond of Rustic Canyon Partners, Ben Kuo of socalTech, and Alex Maleki of Idealab's newly formed New Ventures Group to talk VC in SoCal.

We enjoyed a lively and informative 90 minutes of discussion at the Crawford Family Forum with plenty of good questions from the full-house audience (Thank you, KPCC community!)

I'm going to post some outtakes from the event, but one of things that struck me, for whatever reason, was a recent grad who asked the panel about how to break into venture capital as a career. This got my attention because VC is a relatively new option in professional finance (dating back to the late 1960s and early 1970s) and because, well...most young people seem to want to start companies, not fund them.

That said, in my experience VCs, at every level, are interesting people, glad to share their knowledge and committed to the idea of entrepreneurship, innovation, and a positive future. I wasn't surprised that Nate Redmond's advice was simple but insightly. 

Read More...