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Portfolio > Economy & Markets > Fixed Income

Random thoughts

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Down on the farm

There’s lots of talk about giant corporations taking over the U.S. farming business, and so I was surprised to discover, in this month’s Fortune, that there are about 6 million members of 4H clubs. When I was a kid, in the 1950s, there were just over 1 million. Wow! That’s a lot of farm kids. Maybe things have not changed as much as we think — the family farm must be alive and well, yes?

New taxes

The new “hidden” taxes on Social Security, Medicare and healthcare are about to hit — is anyone worried? If you make more than $200,000 (single) or $250,000 (married) in 2013, you will be paying almost an extra 1% into healthcare reform. Good luck with that. And, for that matter, there will be a new 3.8% tax on investment income to go to Medicare. Yep. And the term “investment income” is inclusive of capital gains, dividends, interest income, annuities, royalties and rents. While most payroll taxes are going up for everyone, they are really going up for the rich, and rich — at least defined by this administration — seems to be that $200,000/$250,000 threshold. Gee, I hope that natural gas drilling partnerships surface again soon. Gas prices have cycled to dismal for a few years, but the 90% deductions are nice, and there’s enough price to pay at least some dividends. For the long-term, Roth IRAs are looking better all the time, aren’t they?

Country corn

We got our last ears of sweet corn yesterday at the farmers’ market. Boy is it good. It always seems that summer is on the wane when the corn is gone, but the heat this year says otherwise. In Tulsa, we’ve had something like 45 days of record-breaking heat, and it’s been 100 degrees-plus (the big Chrysler 300C registered 107 degrees one day last week) forever. The next two weeks look like no rain and successive days of over 100 degrees.

Barnes & Noble

I had to shift to B & N. Borders is gone in Oklahoma. Only one store, 130 miles west, remains, and from the news, it doesn’t look as if that one will last much longer. Reorganizations are one thing, but annoying thousands of members of a company’s customer base is galactically stupid.

Have a wonderful week, and try to stay cool, okay?

For more on Richard Hoe and Borders, see:


iPad vs. laptop

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