Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year!

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
--T. S. Eliot
I don’t know how significant it is that the New Year has begun with a certain focus on mortality, with an oxymoronic mix of personalities meeting their Maker at the end of 2006.

Just before the turn of the calendar we lost the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, and the man many believed to be the Devil incarnate, Saddam Hussein, finally swung from the end of a rope. Sadly, the world lost former President Gerald Ford, who’s mark upon history was indelible, while sometimes invisibly wrought.

Many of you are listening this morning for the first gleams of light for charting your path for 2007. We at the BizRadio Network continue to carry the torch for the union of people using their brains to get a better deal.

Today marks the first 13-hour broadcast day, with two new daily shows in our line-up: The Vince Rowe Radio Showe returns to BizRadio this morning at 11am for a daily pulse check on how to best trade the markets…

...and tonight at 6pm, City of Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace will present his unique perspectives on the yin and yang of the markets and the political forces that push and pull on them daily.

These next paragraphs and a dollar will get you a Coke in most vending machines…but from the For What it’s Worth Dept., I expect Oil to toil in the $60-$70/bbl range this year, holding out the caveat of hurricanes and geopolitical interruptions creating pricing bubbles built on speculative momentum and fear.

Housing will continue to flirt with economists and the Fed, teasing regional markets with depressed prices, and frustrating lenders managing rancid portfolios of mortgage loans souring from weak underwriting during the boom times.

I will not begin to guess what the Fed is going to do. Suffice it to say the Presidential cycle is now a factor in decline, but only for a time. Watch the rhetoric begin to heat up again towards the end of 2007, as the usual suspects—and some surprise candidates—wade into the water with predictable ripple effects.

And what of the War in Iraq?
We begin 2007 with an estimated 3,000 dead in this conflict which has now raged longer than WW-2, but still costing a fraction of the lives lost in that conflagration. The war for Freedom has a different complexion than past campaigns in which this country has involved itself. How surreal that an administration that was so resolute and clear-eyed in the days following September 11, 2001 is now tentative at best in its final two years of power. The 20-20 hindsight so many politicians have embraced has done little more than to cloud the visibility as we move towards moving out of the Middle East as an occupying force.

The War will be a catalyst for growth in two areas: industrial production and energy independence. The end results will not be completely realized in 2007, but a key to disentanglement from Iraq, and the oil fields in that part of the world, will be increasing domestic production sufficiently to buy time to develop alternative energy resources. And as the US Armed Forces ultimately withdraw from Iraq, the replacement of the machines of war will continue to occupy factories and manufacturers.

We won’t be beating our swords into ploughshares anytime soon; in fact, a sub-catalyst in technology will be applications to enhance domestic security and international intelligence as the War on Terror metastasizes onto new battle fronts.

Xenophobia and Isolationism will continue to nip at the heels of immigration and global trade issues. Education will play a key role in preparing for and maintaining the US as a competitive player in the global economy that now is the way the world works.

Economic solutions to political challenges will supplant 20th Century methodology—and perhaps instead of ploughshares, those swords will be beaten into chips, nano-tools, and educational utensils for a future in which water is more precious than oil, and communication at the speed of thought enlightens and overcomes centuries of hatred and repression.

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