My Brief Thoughts on Gross Output, Cybersecurity, Private Equity and Education

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“Gross Output, long advocated by Mark Skousen, will have a profound and manifestly positive impact on economic policy and politics.”

–Steve Forbes, Forbes magazine (April 14, 2014 issue)

I am at the Investment U conference in Carlsbad, Calif. (the Hyatt Aviana Resort). Here’s an update on several issues:

1. Steve Forbes has just published a powerful endorsement of Gross Output (GO), the new national statistic that I have advocated for a quarter of a century. Read his op ed.

The federal government will begin releasing GO every quarter along with gross domestic product (GDP) starting on Friday, April 25. Read my original article on the subject.

As Mr. Forbes says, “GO rightly puts investment and business in their rightfully large places.”

2. We had an important panel discussion on cybersecurity and the increasing dangers of cyber attacks on banks, Wall Street and your personal financial information. Financial institutions are being bombarded daily with these threats, and most investors are unaware of them because the banks, credit card companies and brokerage accounts ordinarily protect us from losses. But the threat is very real from foreign and domestic invaders. That also includes the U.S. government, such as the NSA. Alex Green, investment director at the Oxford Club, recommended several companies that both specialize in protecting people and are good investments, such as Check Point Software Technologies (CHKP).

We are planning several major sessions on this topic at our big show in Las Vegas July 9-12, where our theme is “Big Brother.” I encourage you to join us: www.freedomfest.com. Steve Forbes says it is a “must” conference where the “best and the brightest ideas are made.” He’s our official ambassador and will attend all three days.

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3. I talked about the benefits of investing in private equity stocks, such as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and Main Street Capital (MAIN). I called it “Romney’s Revenge.” I showed several graphs demonstrating that since these private equity firms have gone public, they have all outperformed the market handily. Get my latest newsletter for specific recommendations.

4. My wife Jo Ann made the New York Times this week (see link below) about the Sing Sing education program we are involved in. And Mercy College is hosting a special event on the HBO program on that subject that airs on Monday, March 31, at 9:45 pm. Mercy College is showing the 40-minute documentary early, starting at 6 pm, Monday, March 31. This event is open to the public. Jo Ann will be part of a panel discussion after the showing of this HBO documentary, “University of Sing Sing.” Also on the panel will be our son Tim, the moviemaker who made the documentary. Read Jo Ann’s letter to the New York Times.

You Blew it! This is What United Airlines Calls First Class?

Last Friday, I flew nonstop on United Airlines from New York to California on a first class ticket. I paid the bellman a nice tip to handle my bags that were labeled “priority.” I arrived an hour and a half before my flight, so there was plenty of time to get my luggage onboard. The flight was delayed half an hour to allow for passengers with connecting flights to make it on our flight, along with their luggage.

But alas, when I arrived, my two bags were nowhere to be found. After numerous telephone calls to their lost luggage claim center during the next 24 hours, talking with people who clearly spoke with a foreign accent (I was never allowed to speak to the baggage claim people in California or New York) I still could not locate my luggage. Finally, my “priority” bags arrived the next night at 10 pm. United Airlines refused to offer me a hotel voucher or any other compensation for my trouble.

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For years, I have liked to travel on United Airlines. Thirty years ago, I well remember the time I missed my flight back home and was stuck in Chicago, and the United ticket agent handed me a first class ticket for my trouble. I will never forget his act of kindness.

I guess times have changed.

I did notice that in both my bags there were slips of paper from the TSA indicating “Notice of Baggage Inspection.” Maybe the TSA is the culprit for the delay on my bags, but United Airlines never said.

In case you missed it, I encourage you to read my e-letter column from last week about how the market bulls beat the bears. I also invite you to comment in the space provided below.

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