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Points of View

Rossoff & Company’s Points of View is a forum for industry experts, leading finance professionals and senior Rossoff & Co. professionals to provide insights and commentary on current news stories, financial market themes and industry dynamics.

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Recent blog posts

The Russia Issues We Don't Talk About

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Talk this week is all about the Russian hacking and its effect, or lack thereof, on the election. Democrats and hawkish Republicans condemn the Russian actions and demand strong sanctions. Trump, alone as usual, attempts to discredit the intelligence and move past the controversy. The primary motives for these positions are not hard to discern. Democrats wish to undermine Trump’s legitimacy, and hawkish Republicans want to maintain their hardline stance against Russia. And nobody—save Trump—want...
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Indian Gaming and the M&A Market

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Indian Gaming got its start in bingo halls in the 1970’s and the industry as we know it today—with state-of-the-art casinos, hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues—has been in operation for almost twenty years. From humble beginnings, Indian Gaming has grown to become a major national industry, with revenues of over $30 billion, generated by over 460 establishments operated by 240 federally-recognized tribes. Many Native American casinos are major resorts, generating hundreds of millions i...
Tagged in: gaming M&A tribal gaming
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What's Wrong With Nationalism?

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For more than a century, politics in the Western world has largely been a battle between liberals and conservatives. Now, that seems to be changing. Increasingly, the opponents are globalists and nationalists – and the groups cut across the old liberal vs. conservative lines. In the United States, Hillary Clinton and Paul Ryan are globalists; Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders (at least partly) are nationalists. In Great Britain, David Cameron and most of the Labor MPs were for staying in the EU (a...
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The Three "I" Issues

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If you are following the 2016 election closely—as I am—you might wonder if there are any issues at stake. Most of the commentary among political pundits seems to be about personalities and temperament. We hear a lot about how Trump voters are angry or Sanders voters are idealists. The Establishment candidates (Hillary and Kasich) stick to their party lines: Supreme Court nominees, paid family leave, equal pay for women for Democrats and lower taxes, less regulation, repeal of Obamacare for Repub...
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SYRIA PARSED

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        The events surrounding the war in Syria and global terrorism unfolded last week as if they had been choreographed. French President Hollande announced that he was visiting Washington to consult with President Obama and then would visit Moscow to see Putin, in an effort to create a united front against ISIS. Just hours before the Hollande Obama meeting, two Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian fighter jet, and Turkey claimed it had violated Turkish airspace – for 17 secon...
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THE SYRIAN DILEMMA

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         The Obama Administration’s strategy in Syria keeps shifting. Last week, John Kerry announced that Iran would be included in Syrian peace talks in Vienna and that the UnitedStates would not insist that Bashar Assad step down as a condition of a peace settlement – both moves represent serious shifts in the US position. At nearly the same time, the Defense Department announced that 50 US Special Forces troops would be dispatched to northeastern Syria to aid Syrian ...
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THE WORLD ACCORDING TO STIGLITZ

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Joseph Stiglitz is, along with Paul Krugman, one of America’s foremost liberal economists. He is a Nobel Prize winner, a former head of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors under Bill Clinton, former chief economist at the World Bank and professor at Yale, Stanford, Oxford, Princeton and now at Columbia. Although a staunch liberal – and as we know, economists, like judges, come in either liberal or conservative flavors – Stiglitz normally maintains a civilized demeanor in debate with his...
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MUNICH OR REYKJAVIK

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When Netanyahu spoke before Congress to denounce the deal that the Obama Administration is negotiating with Iran, he made the inevitable comparison to Munich. In September of 1938, Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of Great Britain, and other Western powers negotiated a deal with Adolf Hitler that gave Germany major portions of largely German-speaking Czechoslovakia in return for Hitler’s promise of peace in Europe. Chamberlain returned to Great Britain declaring that he had achieved “peace fo...
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ELIZABETH WARREN

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        Is there any doubt that Elizabeth Warren is the most interesting and exciting figure in American politics today? In the land of the bland (Mitch McConnell), the boring (John Boehner), the cranky (John McCain), the self-involved (Barak Obama), the grating (Hilary Clinton), the creepy (Ted Cruze), the weird (Rand Paul) and the bombastic (Chris Christie) she stands out. Her message is simple and straightforward – the system is rigged against the average Joe and Washingto...
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WASHINGTON AND WALL STREET - A BROMANCE

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        Two seemingly unrelated news stories, publicized in the last couple of weeks, have highlighted the symbiotic relationship between our government and our major banks. In one, it was reported that whistle blowers were paid a total of $170 million for aiding in the recovery of $16.65 billion from Bank of America in a settlement announced last August in connection with offenses related to pre-2008 mortgage financings. The Bank of America recovery figure is roughly equal t...
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NET NEUTRALITY: PART 1

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Few issues will impact the tech industry more over the next several years than the controversy over net neutrality. Simply defined, net neutrality is the regulatory requirement that internet providers must treat all internet traffic equally – like telephone calls over our telephone lines. No internet content may be given preferential treatment. President Obama came out in favor of net neutrality last summer, while the FCC, under its commissioner Tom Wheeler, has come out against it--sort of. Wha...
Tagged in: FCC Internet Politics
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What Obama Should Do Now

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When the Democrats got thrashed (my word) in the midterm elections two weeks ago, there was much speculation about how Obama would react. Now we know that he has responded mostly with defiance — choosing to challenge the Republicans by threatening to issue significant executive orders regarding immigration. But it’s early days, and he may yet modulate his tone and seek compromises. If I were asked for a presidential to-do list, laying out an agenda for his final two years in office, here is what...
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REALISM IN FOREIGN POLICY

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Henry Kissinger, age 91, has just published his 17th book, World Order.  The book lays out a case he has made many times before; an effective foreign policy should be guided by a realistic assessment of national interests and aim to preserve a stable balance of power.  Idealism and morality must be promoted, but always tempered by the demands of realism–otherwise, idealism is likely to do more harm than good. In addition to this literary offering, we have the good fortune of hearing Ki...
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Big Apple Pay

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While the announcement of Apple Pay may seem big for the Tech World and Apple fans, it will have huge impacts beyond the tech world and could move the needle on global GDP as a whole.  Wait a second, Global? Yup, global! And that is not just because there is a cool new way to shop (OK yeah it is cool) not just because it is fast-one click on your phone with instantaneous approval, not just because it offers a radical leap in security and privacy not even perhaps because  Apple has par...
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With somewhat predictable frequency, the media, telecom and communications industries go through waves of consolidation every few years. Typically, such seismic events occur when interest rates are low, technology is changing rapidly (or even discontinuously) and valuations reach historic highs. Recently, a new wave has begun; a wave, however, unlike any in the past. The current wave involves the very biggest companies in the communications industries; and the logic behind the transactions range...
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Financialization and Its Discontents

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What do we talk about when we talk about financialization?  Wikipedia defines financialization as a “term sometimes used in discussions of financial capitalism in which financial leverage tended to override capital (equity) and financial markets tended to dominate over the traditional industrial economy and agricultural economics.”   For a further gloss, Wikipedia adds that financialization is a “term that describes an economic system or process that attempts to reduce all value t...
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The sudden collapse of Northern Iraq has come as a shock to Americans – and that seems to go for just about everyone, from the common person right up to the President.  The question of what, if anything, we should do about it has produced mostly handwringing among the same group, especially including the President.  Perhaps the only clarity has come from General Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  When asked by a Senator what our interests were, he said, “It is in our...
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INCOME INEQUALITY – DOES IT MATTER?

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Income inequality is much in the news. Democratic politicians are decrying it and economists have discovered it. Both groups have been given ammunition by the recent work of economists Emmanuel Saez of the University of California, Berkeley and Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics. Piketty’s book, Capital in the 21st Century, recently translated into English, sits near the top of the best-seller list. Saez and Piketty claim to prove, through an examination of IRS records, that income ...
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WHITHER THE WEALTH EFFECT?

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Five years into an economic expansion, the Federal Reserve continues to maintain interest rates at historically low levels. The ten-year Treasury Note, our current bellwether, has remained stuck at a yield of 2.6% for almost a year and prior to that was marooned at a yield of 1.6%. The jump from 1.6% to 2.6% occurred suddenly and dramatically last summer after Bernanke hinted that the Fed might be ready to begin tapering its bond buying program. The move down to 1.6% was itself a product of dras...
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NOT EVERY WAR ENDS IN PEACE

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The current crisis in the Ukraine is worrisome and more than a little annoying.  Didn’t we settle those Eastern European borders in the early 1990’s when the Soviet Union collapsed.  We won the Cold War, right?  There might not have been a peace treaty, per se, but there was a pretty clear understanding and a number of agreements.  The Soviet satellites – Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, the Baltic states, et al – were set free and many of the Soviet republics, including Ukra...
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“Dare to be great,” a phrase that denotes both vision and hubris, gained currency in the eighties and nineties but seemed to fade in the early 21st century.  Well, not really, as it turns out.  Comcast’s recent agreement to acquire Time Warner — a deal that took most industry observers by surprise — suggests that size is still a goal. Yet, this assertion, however quietly whispered in corridors and cubicles of Comcast’s gleaming Philadelphia headquarters, still inspires fear among con...
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