What people buy when they’re worried. Of course, worried people buy gold and silver, which goes a long way toward explaining why the two precious metals have outshined all other asset classes over the past 10 years. But an alert reader reminded me of something else people purchase when they’re nervous about the future: guns. Check out the growth in shares of gunmaker Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. (RGR). It looks like their business is doing even better than gold.
Now here’s a terrible return on investment. Since 1980, the U.S. Department of Education has plowed through more than $1 trillion in taxpayer funds. That’s right, more than a trillion bucks. And what have we gotten for our money? Last week, the College Board reported that SAT reading scores for graduating high school seniors reached the lowest point in nearly four decades. Please note that’s how graduating seniors did. Don’t even ask about the millions of teenagers who drop out of school before they get their diploma.
This is no way to increase jobs. Five days after Barack Obama asked Congress for $447 billion more money to promote job growth, Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) released a report noting that the Federal bureaucrats had issued more than 600 new rules and regulations just in the month of August. The Senator says all the new paperwork will cost businesses (and, thus, consumers) more than $10 billion a year.
When the Chinese go to the movies. One thing they don’t do is watch such international blockbusters as the Harry Potter series. The new “Transformers” movie broke box-office records when it opened in the United States over the Fourth of July weekend. It’s also smashing attendance records in many of the 110 other countries where it’s showing. But not in China, which has forbidden movie theaters to import such U.S. fare. Instead, they’ve been ordered to show such propaganda as “The Beginning of the Great Revival,” a glowing tribute to Chairman Mao and the birth of the Communist revolution in China. There’s no mention, of course, of the estimated 100 million victims of communism there.