Explaining Southern California's economy

Reportings: Machine trading; Broadcom buys NetLogic; Greek doom; Countrywide bankruptcy

Irvine-based Broadcom is dropping $3.7 billion to buy NetLogic Mircrosystems, in an all-cash deal. Who says there's no tech juggernaut in SoCal (with deep pockets, to boot)? This is the LA Times' David Sarno on Broadcom earlier this year: "With nearly three-quarters of its 8,300 employees devoted to electrical engineering, the company has been able to storm markets where it had little experience, often dominating them within a few years." (Bloomberg, LAT)

 

Blame Germany for all this stock-market volatility? With a Greek debt default looking inevitable, the big question is whether the country stays in the Euro. And if it exits, what's next for Italy and Spain? (Bloomberg)

 

Blame the machines for all this stock-market volatility? Hmmm…not sure. But automated trading now accounts for 60 percent of "daily turnover" in four major markets. (NYT)

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Weekly Roundup: Boomer Bubble; Bartz got fired; live-blogging the GOP

It was a short week but a lively one. I kept myself busy blogging about everything I could find that was relevant to the SoCal economy. In case you missed anything, here are some highlights from this week's DeBord Report. Enjoy!

 

• Live-econoblogging the Republican debate in California

 

• Boomer Bubble: How Baby Boomers plan to spend all their money now and wreck the stock market for decades

 

• Why Yahoo should leave Silicon Valley and call Santa Monica home

 

• How to save the U.S. Postal Service: bank the 'unbanked'


 

 

 

 

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Infrastructure Beat: As borrowing costs fall, investment opportunities rise

The President called for increased infrastructure spending in his speech last night, pointing to the many construction workers who are currently unemployed and, among other things, the need for upgraded schools. It's unclear how much of his $447-billion jobs bill would go toward this objective. But the argument for investing in infrastructure and investing now is strong. Here's the Washington Post's Ezra Klein:

Because of the recession, construction materials are cheap. So, too, is the labor. And your borrowing costs? They've never been lower. That means a dollar of investment today will go much further than it would have five years ago -- or is likely to go five years from now. So what do you do?

Invest! I should reveal that Ezra made this recommendation almost a year ago, when the yield on the 10-year Treasury note was a 2.7 percent — quite a bit higher than today, when the yield fell to a record 1.89 percent before edging up to 1.93 percent.

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Solyndra bankruptcy suggests that governments aren't investing enough in solar energy

The Solyndra bankruptcy has taken a vaguely criminal turn, as the FBI in recent days has raided the company's Fremont, Calif. headquarters and paid a visit to the homes of the CEO and founder. Opponents of President Obama's enthusiasm for green jobs have seized on Solyndra's woes as evidence that alt.energy is an economic bust. This is from the LA Times:

"The FBI raid further underscores that Solyndra was a bad bet from the beginning and put taxpayers at unnecessary risk," Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Cliff Sterns (R-Fla.) chairman of its Oversight and Investigations subcommittee, said in a joint statement. "President Obama's signature green jobs program went from a darling of the administration to bankruptcy to now the subject of an FBI raid in a matter of days."

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Is Jerry Brown's tax deal a win for small business?

At Fox & Hounds Daily, John Katabeck of the National Federation of Independent Business thinks so:

California's tax policy currently rewards out-of-state corporations for selling their goods in California but keeping their manufacturing and employee bases elsewhere. These companies can play games with their taxes year after year robbing the state of critically-needed funds and denying hard-working families of good-paying jobs.

Small business desperately needs all the help it can get during these tough economic times to ensure they can keep their doors open and operate in their communities. This measure puts California on a level playing field with other states like Texas and New Jersey where similar policy was put in to place by Chris Christie and Rick Perry.

There is however a legitimate question about whether small businesses are actually going to become the engines of job creation that everyone seems to think they can be. This post from Business Insider is fairly mean-spirited, but it makes some solid financial points:

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