(I) Sales Up, but Confidence Down - Here's Why It Makes Sense
[5 min video]
- A strange economic trend appears to be emerging with American consumers. Retail sales have been trending higher while consumer confidence is at a 30-year low. Retail sales grew 1.1% in September, the fastest pace since February, we learned on Friday. Even excluding strong auto purchases, the figures were better than expected. All this, even in the midst of stock market tumult and fears of another recession
- Meanwhile, those same economic concerns are still weighing on confidence. Consumer confidence plunged more in October than expected, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index. It's now at the lowest measure since May 1980.
- Howard Davidowitz, president of Davidowitz & Associates says it's simple. "We have got a bifurcation that keeps getting bigger and bigger," he explains to Aaron and Henry in the accompanying clip. What accounts for the increase in sales is the top earners in the country are doing fine. "Ten percent of the consumers account for 40% of the spending," he says. This group is primarily made up of college graduates who are not suffering from massive unemployment. In fact, unemployment for that segment of the population is under 5%.
- But, there's another larger group that's struggling to get by, which explains the consumer worry. "Eighty percent of consumers are in a depression," says Davidowitz. It's this growing gap between the haves and have-nots that is responsible for the Occupy Wall Street movement, says Davidowitz.
(II) Occupy Wall Street Uprising a Response to "Bought and Paid For Politics"
[6 min video]
- After a month in lower Manhattan, Occupy Wall Street is going global.
- "Social unrest goes with bought and paid for politics, which is what we have," says Howard Davidowitz of Davidowitz & Associates. "Everybody is a bold-faced liar - Republicans and Democrats."
- The real cleanup needs to be in and of Washington D.C., Davidowitz says. "If we can only get these guys to do a little bit of honest work, I'm telling you this mess can be cleaned up," he says, suggesting America could once again use a man like Ross Perot -- a third party candidate who focused the nation's attention on the deficit.
- Indeed, one goal of the movement I've observed, which has been under-reported to date, is campaign finance reform.
- No fan of the movement -- which he compares unfavorably to the Tea Party -- Davidowitz believes Occupy Wall Street is a reaction to a corrupt, dysfunctional political system and "a massive unfairness and criminality in everything we're doing."
- Henry, meanwhile, believes the problem is more fundamentally about economics, as detailed in a recent post on Business Insider: "The problem in a nutshell is this," he writes. "Inequality in this country has hit a level that has been seen only once in the nation's history, and unemployment has reached a level that has been seen only once since the Great Depression. And, at the same time, corporate profits are at a record high."
- "In other words, in the never-ending tug-of-war between 'labor' and 'capital,' there has rarely—if ever—been a time when 'capital' was so clearly winning."
(III) Here is Why Herman Cain's Popularity Boost Won't Last
[5 min video]
- Former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain has taken the lead in the Republican polls for President. His popularity has jumped 22% in six short weeks, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.
- "I think he is a real person and that is why he is ahead in the polls," says Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates. "He is not a robot."
- The big question on the minds of many is whether Cain's popularity will wane as fast as it surged, just like it did for Perry and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), while the Republican party tries to find a candidate who is NOT Romney, but who can win against President Obama.
- Davidowitz is not convinced Cain is the candidate who can beat Obama for two reasons:
- 1) He does not have enough money in his campaign coffers …
- 2) and as a result his staff is too small and not as organized as others.
- The way Davidowitz sees it, even though "the Tea Party is not in love with Mitt Romney," he is the one person who can — and will likely -- beat Obama.