Friday Five – December 27

dreamstimeextrasmall_3980647Here are some things I learned from this week. First, it didn’t take a research study to show that teaching kids to be thankful is a good idea. Gratitude necessarily precludes other attitudes, such as the ever-prominent sense of entitlement. Perhaps we should just be grateful that they did the study to validate common sense.

Secondly, while I don’t condone what Edward Snowden did, I do agree that technology has led to our loss of privacy. It seems we can’t go anywhere without technology following us – and keeping track of us. Freedom necessarily requires anonymity when needed. Technology has taken that anonymity away from us. Not good.

Thirdly, increased oil production is leading to a drop in prices – further confirming that when demand remains constant and supply increases, the price will drop. The national average retail price in October was almost 40 cents lower than last year’s price. Investing in our oil production infrastructure is a good thing – as we supply more oil, the price will drop and that will have ripple effects in all sorts of verticals in our economy. In spite of the significant drag the national debt has on our economy, that might be more than offset by the stimulus of the expanding energy sector.

Fourthly, speaking of the national debt – our total Federal debt now stands at $17.2T (learn all about our debt here). I’m told – though I can’t swiftly find it on the treasury’s site – that roughly half of the debt is money that we owe to ourselves and the other half is owed to foreign investors. We have a $14T economy and (apparently) owe ~$8.5T to foreign investors. One wonders at what point the dollar will no longer be considered the safest investment in the world. I realize that for now, we still have the healthiest economy in the world, but IMHO, that’s tantamount to saying we’re the best looking horse in the glue factory.

Lastly, even though small business revenue is up more than larger-sized business, they are creating new jobs at the slowest rate. This HBR article explains the nuances in which small business isn’t hiring. It’s a good read.

Bill English, CEO