Monday, January 02, 2017

In 2016, the rich got richer. It happened in the Fourth Quarter.

January 3, 2017
In a year when populist voters reshaped power and politics (click here) across Europe and the US, the world's wealthiest people are ending 2016 with US$237 billion ($242b) more than they had at the start.
Triggered by disappointing economic data from China at the beginning, the UK's vote to leave the European Union in the middle and the election of billionaire Donald Trump at the end, the biggest fortunes on the planet whipsawed through US$4.8 trillion of daily net worth gains and losses during the year, rising 5.7 per cent to US$4.4 trillion by the end of December 27, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The gains were led by Warren Buffett, who added US$11.8 billion during the year as his investment firm Berkshire Hathaway saw its airline and banking holdings soar after Trump's surprise victory on November 8. Buffett, who's pledged to give away most of his fortune to charity, donated Berkshire Hathaway stock valued at US$2.6 billion in July.
The US investor reclaimed his spot as the world's second-richest person two days after Trump's victory ignited a year-end rally that pushed Buffett's wealth up 19 per cent for the year to US$74.1 billion....

There will be two oil prices that will hurt OPEC.

In the closing months of 2016 OPEC held a meeting that set oil prices. Wall Street was happy, but, the meeting may prove to hurt OPEC countries. The non-OPEC oil producers will most likely be selling oil at a far lower price than OPEC because of the glut on the market. The non-OPEC countries can then draw in new customers and increase their market share, if they are able to produce sufficient quantities.

If OPEC continues to hold to the fixed price it will lose customers and force it into a fiscal emergency their as market share shrinks significantly.

The nominated USA Secretary of State will be engaging all the oil sources, including new supplies from Russia. Perhaps. The Arctic Ocean is still the Arctic Ocean. The Russian burgeoning oil supplies have yet to be realized.

When Russia begins it's partnership with Exxon that will increase the global supply and OPEC's oil will be less attractive to consumers. Basically, it will be a price and capacity war between OPEC and non-OPEC countries.

January 2, 2017
By Oil and Company News

...The OPEC-Russia deal’s vulnerabilities (click here) were evident before it was signed. A simple roll call of its parties showed that the agreement lacked four of the world’s 10 leading oil producers: China, Canada, Brazil, and the U.S.

Between them, these four produce one-third of the 10 leading producers’ output. That is besides the deal failing to recruit smaller, but still sizable, oil-producers Norway and Britain. Even more tellingly, when the deal was done, it turned out that OPEC member Indonesia had opted out.

Added up, the deal’s non-signatories represent a critical mass whose increased production as prices rise will compensate for a good portion of the quantities that OPEC and its partners have promised to remove from the markets.

This is besides that experience shows the deal’s signatories are likely to cheat each other.

As data compiled by Goldman Sachs and Commerzbank show, OPEC members have historically violated their own production caps steadily and systematically. Such a scenario is even more realistic now, because there are 11 non-OPEC parties to the deal besides Russia, from Bolivia to Brunei....            

Teacher Unions should be conducting their own research and presenting it to their local Boards of Education.

Teachers are professionals that can bring greater understanding to local school boards through academic studies specific to local school boards. The state wide testing does not indicate local public school issues.

Through local specialization of testing the school board can make better decisions regarding it's budget and addressing trouble spots.

In eliminating state wide testing in public schools there will be better sourcing of education and more money to spend on local educational issues.

It is time for teacher's unions to improve the quality of education at the local level and end generalized conclusions that do not apply to all school districts.

Federal dollars to any state usually doesn't exceed 15 percent of the entire state budget. 

“Charter schools started off as an innovative idea. They were designed as an entrepreneurial model that emphasized experimentation and innovation. The idea was to see what might be applied to public schools as a whole.”

December 24, 2016
By TJ Pyche and Brian Dusape

...“Parents have become much more interested (click here) in having a voice in where their child is educated,” said Eldridge, who calls herself a proponent of school choice, which ties into the growing popularity of charter schools.

One thing about charter schools that Eldridge said is important: school board governance.

“There is a lot to be said for a school board monitoring the situation in charter schools.”

A majority of the area’s the charter schools — 11 of the 20 — are in Alachua County. Marion County, the region’s largest county, has three; Putnam County has three; and Madison and Columbia counties each have one. Six of the region’s eleven counties do not have any charter schools.

Similar to the trend statewide, seven of the charter schools saw a drop in the school grade. Four charter schools, all in Alachua County, bumped up grades.

Charter schools in the area, as a whole, fared better: half of the charter schools received A or B grades, compared to 32 percent of traditional public schools.

A school is required to test 95 percent of its students to receive a grade, so two of the charter schools and five of the traditional public schools did not receive grades after not testing enough of students....