Mainstream Media | timiacono.com - Part 2

There was an absolutely fascinating discussion about the nation’s student loan dilemma on Friday’s PBS Newshour in which you get a good sense of what is to come in the opening seconds of the panel discussion where the conversation is immediately diverted from rising student loan interest rates to these loans enabling out-of-control college costs.

Watch Presidential Push to Stop High Student Loan Interest Rates on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

I have a new sympathy for “Generation Debt/Opportunity” and wish them well.

There are obviously a lot of very smart and ambitious twenty-somethings in this nation but, unfortunately, they drew some bad luck when it came to the timing of their births.

The precious metals commentary offered up by the mainstream financial media is getting more interesting by the day. Just this morning, this Bloomberg story lamented the loss in value incurred by central banks since the gold price peaked back in 2011.

The World Gold Council says they added 534.6 metric tons to reserves in 2012, the most in almost a half century, and expects purchases of 450 to 550 tons this year, valued now at as much as $25.3 billion.Central banks are the biggest losers, with about $560 billion of value erased since gold reached a record $1,921.15 an ounce in September 2011.

Well, yeah, since central banks are the biggest holders of gold, they’re the biggest losers over the last couple years, but they’re also the biggest winners over the last decade or so as the price rose five-fold from under $300 an ounce. But, the implication here is that recent buying of the metal by emerging market central banks was kind of dumb since many of those purchases were made at higher prices.

Well, here’s what was really dumb – Western central bank gold sales over the last decade at much lower prices (chart via the World Gold Council and average prices via Kitco):

Central Bank Gold Purchases

Later, the authors write:

The timing of the rout is surprising because the events that sustained the bull market in the last several years are still unresolved.

Yeah, it kind of makes you wonder.

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MSNBC Most Opinionated

I guess this isn’t too surprising given the evolution of MSNBC in recent years – a recent survey from the Pew Research Center titled State of the Media showed that MSNBC offers up more opinion than any other cable channel.

Like many other Americans no doubt, a little more than a year ago (just as the election was heating up) I stopped watching political cable channels completely (save for a little Comedy Central) and I don’t think I’ll ever go back. For some time prior to that, I’d try to catch some shows on MSNBC and on Fox – just to better understand how opinions were being shaped, but, it just became unbearable after a while.

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Was 2011 a Good Year for Stocks?

Much was made of the major U.S. stock market indexes finishing in positive territory for the year, however, it was a very different story elsewhere in the world as indicated in red below via the December 31st print edition of the Wall Street Journal.

While the S&P500 and Nasdaq indexes both finished slightly in the red, the widely held ETFs that track them produced modest gains while the big stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average saw a 5.5 percent improvement or, an 8.1 percent return including dividends.

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