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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Writer's Life 6/27 - Econ 101

The following items were gleaned from today's NY Post: John Crudele devotes his business column to the fall in the price of gasoline, attributing it to both high supply and a slow worldwide economy. I have one thing to say: Drill/Frack, baby, drill/frack... An op-ed piece by Joseph Strasburg reveals numbers that wouldn't surprise the few conservative New Yorkers there are, such as myself. 162,000 residents who have an annual income of $100,000-$$150,000 live in rent-regulated apartments, while 172,000 families who have an income of $25,000 or less can't get in. To me, that's government in a nutshell... A blurb informs that in July of 1986 57% of those 16-19 had summer jobs. Last year it was 36%. Does that reflect laziness or politicians' insistence on job-killing high minimum wage - or both?... Speaking of which: an article reveals analysis done by the University of Washington. Since Seattle raised its minimum wage to $13 per hour, there has been a 9% reduction in hours worked, a 6% drop in pay. Workers are taking home an average of $125 less per month. 5000 jobs have been lost. For those folks, the minimum wage has become zero.

I've suffered reverse stock splits in the past. AIG and CITI both did it during the banking crisis. I have only five shares left of the former, but it's back to even for me. I sold the latter at a loss of $1400. Now Xerox has done a one-for-four reverse, leaving me with 61 shares. The value remains the same. I'm down a little less than $2500, factoring in the 48 shares of the Conduent offshoot I picked up when the company sold part of itself. I'll keep it for now. Xerox has paid dividends regularly, despite the depressed price. What is the strategy behind a reverse split? According to, "... usually driven by an underlying motivation to avoid being de-listed from a major stock exchange, to avoid being removed from a stock index or to avoid the general negative impression of being a penny stock."

It looks like the Democrats and networks are giving up on the Trump-Russia collusion angle, realizing it's not working and may be damaging them. Also, since they determined to open the can of worms, the party's own people, Lynch, Pelosi, Obama, Clinton, Wasserstein etc., may be be drawn into the line of fire. I'll say it again: Find a viable candidate, rally behind him/her, enumerate policy. Of course, as a fiscal conservative, the left seems to me to have only one policy: More "free" stuff, deficit be damned.

As for the business of the floating book shop, things improved dramatically today. My thanks to the kind folks who bought, donated and swapped books, especially my Tuesday benefactress, who showed up with five pictorials, several hardcover novels, and a few works of non-fiction. She asked for a copy of Rising Star, which I gladly surrendered, as she has put so much money in my pocket the past two years. Two gentlemen asked if I wanted to buy books. I declined, stating that people bring them to me all the time and ask nothing in return. Many even refuse my offer of free books as a thank you. One guy was understanding and picked my brain on the endeavor in case he succumbs to the madness of giving it a try. The other guy was rude, huffing that I was eschewing guaranteed profit, which is no doubt true but beside the point. My main objective is to sell the books I've written. Everything else is gravy. Whenever an extended slowdown occurs, I question whether the operation is worth it and consider curtailing it significantly.
Vic's Sixth novel: 
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