Shares are thus the default asset of choice. But defaults of a different kind could be the big issue of 2008. If you want to mug up on jargon for the year ahead, then the business of insuring against bond defaults known as credit default swaps, or CDSs, would probably be the best place to start. [More]Estate taxes (my call is this issue will heat up BIG TIME for farmers):
Dusting off my crystal ball, here is the prediction: If the Democrats win both the Presidency and control of both houses of Congress, the compromise will be to extend the 2009 rates and exemption level: a $3.5 million exemption and a flat 45% rate. If the Republicans win both the Presidency and control of the Congress, the compromise will be a $5 million exemption and a 35% rate. While the Republicans would prefer repeal or, at a minimum, lower rates (a la McCain), that would be too expensive in terms of revenue loss. If the Democrats and Republicans split control of the White House and Congress, the compromise will still fall within this range.” [More]Weather for 2008:
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA has predicted above-average temperatures for the United States this winter. The national temperature average will be 4 percent warmer than the 30-year normal. This prediction for warmer temperatures is similar to last winter. A moderate La Niña has been detected and will continue into the first part of 2008. The La Niña effect will cause higher precipitation in the Pacific Northwest, Northern Rockies, Great Lakes and Ohio and Tennessee Valleys. There will also be above-average temperatures in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern states, continuing a long term warming trend for the region. NOAA predicts drier conditions in the Southwestern and Southeastern states, continuing the current drought conditions. [More]Transportation trends:
The coming world decline in oil production, once started, will go on for decades and each year we'll see less oil produced than was produced the year before. As oil production declines liquid fuels will become more and more expensive. Therefore the use of diesels for commuting will be a transitional phase. In the long run I expect diesel cars to be used almost solely for longer trips and for freight hauling. For people who do average commutes (less than 40 miles per day) I expect rechargeable hybrid electric and pure electric cars to become the mainstays. [More]More coming.