Explaining Southern California's economy

Live-econoblogging the Republican debate in California

ANOTHER UPDATE: President Obama has pitched his jobs plan to Congress and the public and I've got a quick reaction. Some intriguing ambiguity about whether we'll get an infrastructure bank, a subject I've blogged about. An I-Bank would have some definite benefits for Southern California, where the infrastucture is a-crumbling and there are thousands of unemployed construction workers.

UPDATE: As promised, I took a closer look at Perry's argument that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme, and here's why.

And so it ends. On the economy, the frontrunners — Mitt Romney and Rick Perry — promoted their own jobs records and attacked each other. On balance, Romney provided a more focused message on the country's future global competitiveness, which makes sense given his experience with Big Finance. This should resonate with Southern California, given the region's exposure to international trade. Perry stuck to his guns on Social Security and his insistence that it's a Ponzi scheme (which it isn't). This was a risky move, but one that should please his base. However, it also created a distraction from Topic A, which for many Americans is unemployment. "A monstrous lie to our kids" Perry called it, while if what he really wanted to do was talk about reforms to entitlement spending, he could have avoided this radical argument (although he's been on the record with this one for a while). 

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Why Yahoo should leave Silicon Valley and call Santa Monica home

Carol Bartz is out as CEO of Yahoo, reportedly fired by phone call yesterday. Bartz was brought in to turn the Web pioneer around and redefine its identity after founder Jerry Yang and his board failed to sell company to Microsoft in 2008 and former Warner Bros. executive Terry Semel failed to turn Yahoo into a kind of full-service online media machine.

Back in 2008, when the Microsoft deal fell through, I wrote about how Yahoo, the key company of the Web 1.0 era, hooking up with Bill Gates and all that was definitely not of the Web 1.0 world was the only hope we had of beating back Google and its total dominance of Web 2.0. But that was before Facebook achieved critical mass. 

Now Yahoo looks even more desperate and confused — even as observers acknowledge its still-massive Web presence. The company's identity crisis — which Bartz, a Silicon Valley veteran, tried to cure by returning Yahoo to its core as a tech firm — took root during the Semel years and culminated in 2006 when an executive wrote a scathing memo now referred to as the "Peanut Butter Manifesto."

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Actually, the economy will self-correct, but we don't have time to wait. So should we start investing?

An interesting comment came out of Gov. Jerry Brown's biotech mini-summit in San Diego yesterday, where he predicted that he'd be able to win over enough Republicans in the next three days to pass his "jobs-and-taxes proposal." This is from the LA Times PolitiCal blog:

"We all know this economy is not going to self-correct," said David Gollaher, president and chief executive of the California Healthcare Institute, a trade group for the biomedical industry. "San Diego and the U.S., we have the talent ... but it's going to take creativity on the part of our political leaders."

Actually, given enough time, the economy — nationally and regionally — will self-correct. The problem is that the nature of the financial crisis and its aftermath would drag out the process so much that the American Way of Life would be completely changed. We've endured what economists call a "balance sheet recession," in which businesses and consumers have to reorganize, renegotiate and rid themselves of debt. That's why we have such high unemployment. That's why why the stock market is so unstable. That why the yield on 10-year treasuries is below 2 percent. Everyone is too busy dealing with the debt orgy of the past 30 years to be able to concentrate on reviving demand.

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Reportings: Yahoo for sale; JOBS!; Cordray versus Congress

Henry Blodget says that Yahoo, now that's it's axed CEO Carol Bartz and pretty much admitted that it's for sale (again), should buy Business Insider and hire "us" as CEO. We're going to assume that by "us", Henry means "Henry." He you have it: "We offer to allow Yahoo to buy Business Insider Inc., for $150 million.  And we offer to allow Yahoo to then appoint us acting CEO of the company…Once we have been appointed acting CEO of Yahoo, we will implement our plan." (Business Insider)

 

"How to bring the jobs back." The New York Times goes big, big, BIG on the Opinion page, serving up four provocative solutions to the unemployment crisis. (NYT)

 

According to Jay Carney, Obama's $300 billion jobs package "would be "paid for," not financed through deficit spending." (LAT) 

 

The battle over the confirmation of Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has begun. Who's Richard Cordray? He's so not Elizabeth Warren. (LAT)

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

Ah, Baby Boomers… soon they'll begin retiring in force, straining Medicare and Social Security. And according to recent reports and studies, they'll also be spending every dime they've socked away, forgetting about leaving an inheritance to their children and…dooming the stock market to pitiful returns for years to come as they withdraw their gains. Talk about the Big Chill!

The LA Times checked in on Boomer plans to enjoy their golden years — and enjoy them to the max:

Upending the conventional notion of parents carefully tending their financial estates to be passed down at the reading of their wills, many baby boomers say they instead plan to spend the money on themselves while they're alive....In a survey of millionaire boomers by investment firm U.S. Trust, only 49% said it was important to leave money to their children when they die. The low rate was a big surprise for a company that for decades has advised wealthy people how to leave money to their heirs...."We were like 'wow,'" said Keith Banks, U.S. Trust president.

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