President Beth called the meeting to order promptly at noon, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, accompanied by a Four Way Test slide.
Mike Regan saved us 15 minutes over last week by giving a short and sweet invocation.
“Double Duty Juli” Niemann led the choir in a rousing rendition of “We’re In The Money”, giving us a glimpse into her report on the economy.
President Beth canvassed the crowd for January birthdays. Apparently everybody is very busy in April, because there weren’t any.
Amie Bossi let us know that our Annual Trivia night will be February 24th. We still don’t know where it is going to be, which prompted a suggestion that this could be the first Trivia question.
Marcia Barber announced that Community Service grant requests are now being accepted.
Michelle Goad spoke on RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards). Applications are being accepted through January 31st.
SAA Motown Mike introduced numerous visiting Rotarians and guests. Mike likes to showcase new Club Members during this time, but explained that new member Mary Lee Block didn’t want to come up to the podium because she has stage fright. After that announcement, she now has angst over just being in the audience. Seriously, welcome Mary! We are very glad to have you in Club 11!
Juli Niemann returned to the podium. She turned on her overhead projector. It made some noises. We waited for the light. President Beth made a filler announcement about something. Now it was humming, and yes, it was working!
Juli claims the projector is only 8 years old, but I think she was referring to the bulb. And when that burns out, she might as well retire, because there is not a replacement for it anywhere on the planet.
A word of advice to future scribes: If you are asked to document a presentation from Juli Niemann, call in sick that day. There is not a single thing she says that isn’t worth reporting. You will be so busy scribbling notes that you can forget about eating your Kale salad. But here are the highlights, distilled as precisely as possible.
We are in the longest Bull market in history. Somehow Juli attributed this to the Grateful Dead, but I failed to see the connection.
We are experiencing steady, albeit somewhat slow, growth, with very low inflation. This is a good thing, as the Federal Reserve could kill this by raising interest rates. An added benefit is that the rest of the world is recovering right along with us.
The recent tax cut was ill advised timing, and only substantially benefits the upper 1% of our population. We have about the same number of those people in our Club as January birthdays.
Corporations are going to be making lots more money, so look for an increase in Mergers and Acquisitions, and corporate stock buy backs. These increased profits will be good for those with 401(k) plans, IRA’s etc., so there is some good news for those of us in the lower 99%.
Juli applauds the relaxation of regulations (at least in terms of its positive impact on small business), stating we were in “regulatory overkill”.
Unemployment is at a very desirable 4.1%, but future jobs are going to be greatly affected by technology. Unfortunately, hourly wages have barely kept up with inflation.
The U.S. is now essentially energy independent. We are now exporting a good amount of our energy resources. Juli sees oil settling in somewhere around $55/barrel. Still cheap. Major reason is we have a glut of inventory. There are even a bunch of ships sailing around in circles in the world’s oceans waiting for someone to tell them when to dock and unload their cargo. Can you imagine what shore leave is going to be like when those crews hit port?
Fracking is a major reason there is such a huge surplus of oil. Plus it causes earthquakes in Oklahoma, which in my book beats the hell out of the tornadoes they have. Also, apparently there is someplace in Pennsylvania where you can set your tap water on fire. Did anyone read the warning labels on these fracking machines?
But not all the news was wine and roses. Juli sees a few threats to our economy and general well-being. The biggest being the proverbial Red Button. However, I fail to see how Staples could have that big of an impact on our economy.
Juli engaged in some political commentary as well, characterizing both Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un as “unstable”. If this presentation had been given in Pyongyang, this probably would have been the end of the meeting, working projector bulb or no.
Cyber terrorism is a threat. Trading these days is done by computers in literally nanoseconds, which can lead to glitches known as a Flash Crash. Juli’s advice is DON’T PANIC, especially if the economy is healthy. Corrections will also occur, but she advises to ride these out.
Here are Juli’s recommendations on what to do:
- Risk mitigation
- Do your homework
- Put a LOT of money into your retirement accounts
Thank you Juli for your always entertaining and insightful presentation!
Meeting adjourned at 1:15pm.