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Florida Primary News: Mitt Romney’s Only Hope to Be President – The Papa Bear Strategy January 27, 2012

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Mitt Romney’s Only Hope to Be President – The Papa Bear Strategy

By Dan Mangru

Another debate is in the can.  As voters watched last night’s GOP Presidential debate in Jacksonville, they saw a different kind of Mitt Romney.  They saw a Mitt Romney on the attack, and a candidate who would not back down.  But is that enough?

Think of Mitt Romney.  Tell me what comes to mind.

For some, an image of a successful executive comes to mind.  Mitt Romney has helped numerous companies turn around including Staples, Brookstone, Domino’s Pizza, Sports Authority, and the 2002 Winter Olympics.  Romney also led an effective conservative government in the most liberal state in America, Massachusetts.

For others, a political flip-flopper comes into view.  Rudy Giuliani recently said on MSNBC that he ran against Romney and didn’t know what he truly believes.  To date, Romney has changed views on abortion, health care, labor, and gay marriage amongst other issues.

But here’s one image that probably won’t come into your mind that should: Papa Bear.

Behind the exterior of the cold, hard, shiny CEO, lies a man who loves being with his kids and grandkids.  He loves being out in nature, and horsing around with the little ones like any good granddad would.

Just look at Mitt’s Christmas card.  He’s got the grandkids on his arm, just enjoying being outdoors and spending time with his family.  Wouldn’t you want that guy to be your granddad, your ‘Papa Bear’?

When Sears introduced their advertising slogan, “Come see the softer side of Sears”, their sales shot up 30 percent.  That’s nothing to sneeze at.

Do you think Mitt Romney could use a 30 percent boost in the polls?

Absolutely.  Mitt Romney has been largely aloof in an overexposed GOP primary.  He has even shied away from interviews with conservatives like Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly of Fox News.

The only Romney that we know is that guy in the suit at the debates, making the speeches, collecting the campaign contribution from wealthy donors.

But there is more to that than what meets the eye.  Mitt Romney has kept his private life private and his public life public.  Now is the time for him to let America into his private life.  Here is a man who loves his wife, has a beautiful family, and who seems to be an all-around great guy.

Romney’s campaign has always said that Republican voters have been dating candidates like Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich but in the end they will marry Romney.  If Romney wants to be the candidate conservatives marry, they need to see him as a real person and not someone who is cold, hard, shiny, and plastic.

When George W. Bush was elected president, people felt like he was a guy you could go bowling with and have a beer.  When Barack Obama was elected president, people felt that he was a family man who was in tune with popular culture.  Through popular culture, Americans began to relate to Barack Obama.

Part of the appeal of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is that he’s made mistakes, and has asked for forgiveness.  We’ve all made mistakes and can identify with that.  Part of the Mitt Romney image is that he’s figuratively never made any mistakes or done anything that a working class Floridian or American can identify with, for the most part.

America has not related to Mitt Romney, at least not yet.  Still some 60-75 percent of voters (depending on which poll you read) believe that another candidate not named Mitt Romney is best to lead this nation.  After five years of campaigning, that should speak volumes.

During his tenure as Massachusetts governor, Romney turned around a state that was heavily in debt so much that by the end of his term as governor, he had amassed a rainy day fund of over $2billion.  That’s the record that Romney brings to the table.

Voters know that this election counts.  President Obama has driven America off the cliff with over $15 trillion in debt.  The economy is showing signs of a double dip recession.  Unemployment still remains around 9 percent (although the last figures came in at 8.6 percent for November).

There is a lot on the line for this election, and after 19 debates the GOP still hasn’t decided who their flag bearer will be.

Mitt still has a chance.  As quick as they rise is as fast as they fall.  Mitt can make a major move literally overnight with just one simple strategy: Papa Bear.  Give us a glimpse into Mitt Romney the man, the husband, the granddad, the human being, and America just might give you a glimpse into the Oval Office.

Top Headlines: November 5, 2010 November 5, 2010

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A Candid Appraisal of the Recovery – John Browne Commentary October 1, 2010

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A Candid Appraisal of the Recovery

By John Browne

Over the last two weeks, seemingly good economic news offered some shreds of optimism to a stock market that was desperate for a pick-me-up.

The week before last, the National Bureau of Economic Research declared that the US recession had ended back in June 2009. At the beginning of last week, news came in that month-on-month retail sales had risen by 0.4 percent. Combined with successful government debt auctions in the eurozone, increasing expectations that Republicans will take back the House (thereby blunting the leftward drift of Washington), and hopes that a new round of quantitative easing will pump up growth, mainstream analysts are developing a feeling of near-euphoria.

Although it hard to begrudge the punch drunk for grasping at a little hope, investing is a dispassionate endeavor that calls for close and realistic analysis. In that spirit, let’s dig deeper into the recent ‘good news.’

First, the single month’s rise in retail sales was a blip on what has been a long-term downtrend. Furthermore, retail sales in August typically get a large boost from seasonal ‘back to school’ spending. This year, retail sales were boosted further by temporary tax incentives and vendor discounts.

Second, the successful auction of debt from worrisome eurozone countries, like Ireland, only served to further camouflage the ongoing risk of sovereign default by these states. None of them have committed to a comprehensive program of austerity and market liberalization – Ireland maintains a ‘too big to fail’ doctrine while Greece is on the verge of riots from its so-far modest efforts at privatization. None of the PIIGS would have had successful bond sales if Germany hadn’t been pressured into becoming a ‘sovereign of last resort’ for the whole currency area.

Apart from health of the weakest nations, a more important issue is understanding how sovereign debt is analyzed by investors in the first place. Those who consider buying government debt have for many years relied on backward-looking measurements such as debt-to-GDP to analyze the investment quality.

But that’s only half the picture, and oftentimes it’s even less than that. It does not include off-balance sheet items such as unfunded pensions, social security payments, or health obligations. For the US, I estimate this total debt amounts to some $134 trillion – nearly ten times the ‘official’ figure.

On a deeper level, using the public debt-to-GDP ratio to assess sovereign solvency implies that governments have access to the entire annual production of their economies. In reality, they have access only to that portion which is taxable. As taxes increase, there are natural limits imposed by increasing inefficiency and avoidance behaviors. Therefore, ‘net GDP,’ the portion available to the government for debt service, is significantly smaller than the gross GDP of the nation.

With real government debts, including off-balance sheet items, far larger than officially recognized and net GDPs far smaller that top-line GDP, the solvency of many sovereigns should be considered dubious at best.

For example, the debt-to-GDP ratio of the United States is currently 65 percent, which puts the country towards the solvent end of the debt spectrum among developed Western nations. However, the real debt-to-net GDP ratio is a staggering 358 percent, making the US the most insolvent nation in the group, behind even Greece!

In the interest of brevity, I will only touch on the fact that the above number is actually still an underestimate. It does not account for the portion of gross GDP claimed by state and municipal governments to service their debts. After all, all levels of government tax the same base. So, the effective portion of GDP available to the US federal government is even smaller still.

The third problem with the late round of ‘good news’ is that while a GOP sweep of House races looks likely, it is unlikely to make a large impact on policy. It is doubtful that the small number of freshman GOP Representatives will be able to win over their more mature, big government-minded colleagues. Any pending GOP ‘small government’ revolution will be heavy on talk and short on accomplishments.

It should come as no surprise that the Republicans’ “Pledge to America” lacked specific commitments for cost-cutting. Republicans are terrified of becoming the party of austerity, and the next Republican President will want to avoid being seen as ‘Hoover 2.0’. Therefore, any structural changes will come slowly – and perhaps too late.

Finally, whatever actions the Fed takes in the name of further stimulus will have the same unintended consequences as all previous stimulus efforts. Long-term sustainability will be sacrificed in favor of a short-term boom. Since World War II, the underlying strength of the US economy has allowed the central bank to get away with this strategy, as the economy simply outgrew the inefficiencies caused by monetary manipulation. But what happens when we are in a period of secular decline?

So we see that Wall Street is again playing the part of Pangloss. Unfortunately, their purported inklings of a renewed rally in the US markets do not stand up to candid appraisal.

John Browne is the Senior Market Strategist for Euro-Pacific Capital and a featured panelist on The Mangru Report on Fox Business.  To view his previous commentaries please click here.

Marco Rubio One-On-One With Dan Mangru – The Mangru Report – Episode 8 June 22, 2010

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Rising political star and 2010 U.S. Senate Candidate from Florida Marco Rubio chats with Dan Mangru in this edition of the Mangru One-On-One.  In what is becoming classic Mangru style, Dan Mangru questions Rubio on his strong alliegiance to Israel, his support for a hard balanced budget amendment, whether he has a real jobs plan or not, his Jeb Bush connection and why a Tea Party that dispises Washington D.C. lawyer-turned-politicians can trust this lawyer-turned-politician.