October 1, 2016
Letter from the Chairman . . .
By Charles W. Fish, CEO/Chief Investment Officer
“The secret of science is to ask the right question, and it is the choice of problem more than
anything else that marks the man of genius in the scientific world.” 1
The quote was authored by Sir Henry Tizard2, one of the greatest of the little known (to Americans) heroes of World War II. The importance of what he did and when he did it is impossible to overstate.
Read the quote again, but this time substitute “politics” and “political” for “science” and “scientific”. It has been painfully obvious for years now that the Fed has no magic pill. If we are to achieve “escape velocity” from this stagnation in economic growth and the absence of profit incentive continues to paralyze the private sector, the government(s) must step in. With the world awash in liquidity, interest rates at record lows, our infrastructure in dire straits and the long lead time required for massive public projects, is there any justification for delaying action? The absence of fiscal policy is the problem, and the right question is “where is it?”
While we’re at it, where are corporate tax reform, pension reform and all the other things that both sides of the political aisle say they favor? “Politics as usual” perpetuates the impenetrable swamp and nothing gets done. Our pleas for honesty and political courage are all too often answered with duplicity and hypocrisy. This is clearly reflected in those states and political subdivisions that have done a poor job of managing their finances. Balancing a budget by significantly underfunding pension liabilities and making absurd performance forecasts only compounds the problem and places a much greater burden on future generations. States can’t print more money like the federal government; so the inevitable consequence of overspending today is one less fireman tomorrow, then fewer teachers, fewer police officers, shortening the hours the library can stay open and then closing it altogether.
Fortunately, municipal bond analysts can recognize this behavior. We may be powerless to correct it, but avoiding such credits keeps our clients from becoming victims. Hopefully congress won’t need another crisis like World War II to find the courage to act. So, if you see any Sir Henrys on your November ballot, please vote for them.
“Occasionally words must serve to veil the facts.”
1C.P. Snow, A Postscript to Science and Government 1962 (Oxford: Oxford University Press)
2Sir Henry Tizard, Chief Science Advisor to the British Ministry of Defense during World War II, succeeded in persuading Winston Churchill to share virtually all their scientific military secrets with the United States 15 months before Pearl Harbor, in the midst of the 1940 Blitz. These included the just invented cavity magnetron, as well as self-sealing fuel tanks, plastic explosives, superchargers, gyroscopic gun sights, sub–detection equipment and much, much more.
Sharing our Strengths - Just the beginning
Many thanks to all of our contributors and volunteers during our LIFEvest Financial Literacy Program. CFI is proud to support the Center for Investment and Wealth Management’s annual LifeVest Financial Literacy Program. Our Director of Business Development, Susan Munson, is a member of the steering committee and program volunteer. “Being with the kids is inspiring, of course” Susan reports, “but I am also privileged to work alongside members of the financial community that are so gracious with their time and expertise. The gratitude expressed by the students, in their words and their smiles, is priceless.”
The contents herein are for informational purposes only, and under no circumstances are they to be construed as a recommendation of a solicitation. The information and opinions herein are subject to change without notice and CFI does not undertake to advise the reader of changes in opinion or information.
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Charles Fish Investments, Inc. (CFI) founded in 1984, is a Registered Investment Advisor with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the Investment Act of 1940 and notice filed with the California Department of Business Oversight. The firm, which is wholly-owned by its employees, is not affiliated with any broker/dealer. CFI's revenues are derived exclusively from the fees received for the investment advisory and/or management services provided.