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Five Things You Need to Know: American Companies Have Billions In Cash Trapped Overseas


Given our weak and asymmetrical economic recovery, a one-time tax break on overseas cash balances isn't quite as far-fetched as it seemed six months ago.

4. Barbecue Staples Up 6.6%!

While you were out in the sun messing around with the chimney starter yesterday, Bloomberg's Chart of the Day took a look at how much all those grilling supplies cost you this year. Retail prices for seven key grilling foods rose 6.6 percent year-over-year. Ground beef was up nearly 10 percent year-over-year, and white bread was up 8.2 percent.

The Bloomberg chart below shows prices for barbecue staples dating back to 1992. The index includes ground beef, white bread, American cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, ice cream, and potato chips.

Personally, I prefer chicken wings anyway and am far more concerned about rising beer costs. Below is the Bloomberg Georgia Dock Chicken Ready-to-Cook Wings Spot Price Index. I'm completely serious. Good news, wings are down nearly 30 percent year-over-year, despite rebounding in late May after a WEEKLY DeMark TD Buy Setup.

5. Myth: Everything Is Terrible and Only Getting Worse

In the Weekend Financial Times I read a great interview with musician/producer Brian Eno. I've long been an Eno fan. He was one of the founding members of Roxy Music as well as a solo artist and producer of David Bowie's so-called "Berlin Trilogy," much of U2's best early work, including The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree and some of the best of the early Talking Heads albums, including my favorite Remain In Light. Anyway, near the end, the direction of the interview took a surprising twist when Eno was asked about his most recent release, a far more optimistic work than his prior effort.

"Even the Earth-themed Small Craft on a Milk Sea had a downbeat ending, Eno's electronics twinkling into nothingness as he imagined our planet being irrevocably altered by mankind's rapacity.

"That kind of marks the change I've felt in the past year or two. I wouldn't end an album like that now," he says. Drums Between the Bells has a loose, funky feel; it ends with the words, "Everything will be all right". Eno's new-found positivity – partly sparked by eco-thinker and Eno friend Stewart Brand's book Whole Earth Discipline and popular science writer Matt Ridley's The Rational Optimist – boils down to a belief that we've never had it so good.

"Cultures have a tendency to be pessimistic. The whole of the history of humanity is people going, 'It's all going to fall apart, my God it's looking terrible, we're not going to survive for another 20 years.' But, in fact, on average things have actually been getting better for thousands of years. It's like you're playing roulette in the casino and you keep winning and you think I've got to stop, this is not going to carry on. Well, it has been carrying on, by and large. Most of us in this country live a hundred times better lives than we would have done 100 years ago. So things are getting exponentially better for us, and we can't believe our luck, so there's a tendency to say, 'It can't go on'."

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