Wednesday, October 29

OUTLYING PRECINCTS

Hendrik Hertzberg, New Yorker - Sarah Palin, who has lately taken to calling Obama "Barack the Wealth Spreader," seems to be something of a suspect character herself. She is, at the very least, a fellow-traveler of what might be called socialism with an Alaskan face. The state that she governs has no income or sales tax. Instead, it imposes huge levies on the oil companies that lease its oil fields. The proceeds finance the government's activities and enable it to issue a four-figure annual check to every man, woman, and child in the state. One of the reasons Palin has been a popular governor is that she added an extra twelve hundred dollars to this year's check, bringing the per-person total to $3,269. A few weeks before she was nominated for Vice-President, she told a visiting journalist-Philip Gourevitch, of this magazine-that "we're set up, unlike other states in the union, where it's collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs."

The first-year total annual returns for the S&P 500 have tended to be higher when a Democrat is sent to the White House, according to a nearly 60-year analysis of S&P 500 returns by members of the Zero Alpha Group. Since 1948, the S&P 500 Index has gained 16 percent under a Democratic president as compared to 11 percent with a Republican in the White House. In fact, six of the seven first full years after the election of a president since 1952 to have had negative returns featured Republicans in the White House starting a first or second term in office. However, any value for investors associated with this "White House effect" is less clear when additional information is added to the equation. For example, four of the seven "down" first years for Presidential terms took place when Democrats controlled Congress.

Barack Obama
will make his fourth appearance as a guest on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" on Wednesday, October 29 at 11:00 p.m. (ET/PT

ar crimes with the government in Tbilisi.

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