David Zeiler

Robots Taking Jobs From Every Sector of the Economy – Money Morning

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Money Morning. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission. Robots taking jobs from manufacturing workers is a trend dating back decades, but rapidly advancing software has spread the threat of job-killing automation to nearly every occupation. The technological advances, while helping businesses boost productivity dramatically, have cost…

Why You Should Hate Ethanol (Even Though the EPA Doesn’t) – Money Morning

Proving once again that the government refuses to learn from its mistakes, the Environmental Protection Agency yesterday (Thursday) again increased its ethanol mandate.

The EPA raised the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) mandate to 16.55 billion gallons for 2013, up from 15.2 billion gallons last year, while ignoring signs that the policy is doing more harm than good.

The list of problems starts with what the use of ethanol-gasoline blends might be doing to our cars.

Earlier this week, the Coordinating Research Council, a group backed by several major automakers, released a study showing that E15, which blends 15% ethanol with gasoline instead of the previous level of 10%, can damage autos.

The tests showed E15 could cause faulty fuel-gauge readings and check-engine alerts. In some cases, E15 could cause swelling and failure of auto components that “could result in breakdowns,” according to Robert Greco, a director with the American Petroleum Institute.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) last fall voiced similar concerns and asked the EPA to withdraw E15. AAA said that since only 5% of the cars on U.S. roads are approved for E15, the possibility for accidental use in vehicles is too high.

“AAA automotive engineering experts have reviewed the available research and believe that sustained use of E15 in both newer and older vehicles could result in significant problems such as accelerated engine wear and failure, and fuel-system damage,” the organization said in a press release on its Website.

These new concerns come on top of historic complaints that ethanol blends reduce a vehicle’s miles per gallon by about 27%, meaning more trips to the gas station and more money out of drivers’ pockets.

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Peter Schiff: “At some point, the dollar has to give”- Money Morning

While the U.S Federal Reserve claims it needs to keep interest rates near zero to help the economy, renowned economist Peter Schiff says there’s another reason.

According to Schiff, the Fed has little choice: If rates began to climb, the interest payments on the ballooning federal debt would explode making annual budget deficits far worse.

“We’re now so addicted to debt that the highest rate we can afford is zero,” Schiff, the CEO and chief global strategist of Euro Pacific Capital, told Casey Research chairman Doug Casey in a video interview published today.

“We pay about $300 billion a year right now in interest on a $16.5 trillion debt,” Schiff explained. “What if, in two or three years — and the debt is $20 trillion — what happens if interest rates are 5%? Well, that’s $1 trillion a year in interest payments.”

This scenario is not at all far-fetched; the historic norm for interest rates is just below 5%, and rates in the early 1980s were triple that.

Another reason the Fed fears higher rates, Schiff said, is that it would probably bankrupt most of the “too-big-to-fail” banks that the government bailed out back in 2008.

“The only justification for keeping rates so low is that the Fed knows any increase in rates will collapse this phony economy and we’ll be right back in recession,” Schiff said.

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Why Forcing U.S. Companies to Bring Cash Home is a Bad Idea – Money Morning

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Money Morning – Only the News You Can Profit From. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission. The federal government would love nothing more than to apply the 35% corporate tax to the estimated $1.7 trillion in cash U.S. multinational companies have designated as foreign investments –…

Why Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is Too Rich For the Dow Jones

Assuming the Dow Jones Industrial Average represents the biggest, most influential companies in America, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) easily qualifies.

With its massive market cap, trend-setting products, and global brand recognition, it is easy to argue Apple belongs as much or more than any of the current tech companies in the index.

In fact, Apple has superseded all of them, particularly Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT).

Yet the Dow Jones has ignored Apple while letting far weaker companies like, Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC)and Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) remain.

So what gives?…

In a nutshell, Apple stock is too rich for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Because the Dow Jones is price-weighted, Apple’s current $565 share price would simply overwhelm the index.

If included, Apple stock would account for about 25% of the Dow Jones. That’s more than double the 11.5% of current leader International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM).

“It wouldn’t be the Dow Jones Industrial Average,” Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group told the Associated Press. “It would be the Apple Plus Some Other Stuff Index.”

In this case, a price move of just 5% in Apple stock could push the DJIA up – or down – about 200 points.

Looking at it another way, had Apple been added to the Dow Jones in 2009 instead of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), the Dow would now be over 15,000.

That’s well above the Oct. 2007 record of 14,164 and 2,500 points higher than where it stands today.

With that kind of heft, it’s no wonder the Dow has shunned Apple.

How the Dow Jones Industrial Average Works

But it’s not just Apple. Other Dow candidates trade high in the triple digits as well.

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Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) Patent War with Samsung A Fight No One Wins

Like two mighty monsters in a 1950s sci-fi B-movie, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co. (PINK: SSNLF) have locked horns for over a year in an epic patent war neither can win.

Over the past year, the two tech titans have filed dozens of patent infringement lawsuits against each other in 10 countries. Most seek to block the sale of one or more of the other’s smartphone and tablet products.

The biggest case, filed in San Jose, CA, is scheduled for a July trial, which U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh is desperate to avoid. (She called the case “cruel and unusual punishment” for the jury.)

Earlier this week Koh ordered the CEOs of both Apple and Samsung to meet in mediation sessions, but nothing came of the meetings.

The mutual stubbornness makes sense when you realize what’s at stake.

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