Today's jobs report is lifting stocks to new heights. The Dow Jones Industrial Index crossed its historic high on March 5th and is now 200 points, or 1.4% beyond its high last reached in October of 2007. The total US Stock market as measured by the Vanguard Total Market Index is 2.3% above its October record and crossed that mark on February 8th. The S&P 500 has just under 2% to go before it makes a new high.

Perhaps you know the saying, 'if March comes in like a lion, it will go out as a lamb.' As the Washington tragedy continues with its latest act entitled 'Sequestration', the audience seems increasingly disinterested by the day. Stocks are up and life goes on as usual.

In one week less a day sequestration is set to go into effect and neither President Obama nor Congress seem willing or able to avert it. Left unchanged the policy mandates $85 billion in automatic, across-the-board government spending cuts to begin March 1st.

After six long years US stocks, as measured by the S&P 500 index, are poised to reach new heights. The last record high was set October 12, 2007 at 1,561.80, on the eve of the financial crash and Great Recession. After rallying 123% from its low of 683 set March of 2009, the index looks ready to make some fresh tracks. Our VTI, which represents the Total US Stock Market Index, reached its new high on February 1st of this year.

Every person you admire, living or dead, achieved their esteemed position through a series of decisions, readjustments, recalculations, restarts, and a fortuitous helping of what we call ‘being in the right place at the right time.’ Each one undertook a journey, but before the first measurable step was taken, they asked a question – what if . . . ?

Last weekend I received an email from a client expressing concern about the US Treasuries we hold in her account. She had seen some dire warnings about bonds and particularly Treasuries in the recent media. Given the importance of Treasuries to our portfolio strategy and the rising concerns being stirred by investment gurus and financial media, it seemed appropriate to address Treasuries' unique qualities that are largely ignored by today's financial services industry.

Investors face a myriad of challenges today, including record low interest rates, stagnant growth in developed economies which are increasingly burdened by entitlement promises and growing debts, instability in the Middle East, and a level of uncertainty over tax and regulatory policy which is virtually unparalleled in history. But as daunting as these challenges are, they are not even close to their greatest threat. The most debilitating investment challenges lie within, and are compounded by the very financial  services industry they seek for guidance, an industry that is all too eager to capitalize on those weaknesses.

Note: Our office and markets will be closed on Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Day.

Trends suggest direction, tendency, and strength of forces driving events or conditions we consider important enough to observe and track. As we embark on a new year, perhaps it would be useful to check in on some of the major trends impacting our lives and investments.

Economists disagree about how much uncertainty Washington, Europe and other factors have cost the US economy in potential, but most would agree the cost has been significant. As the Federal Reserve has all but exhausted its stimulus measures, Ben Bernanke, Simpson and Bowles, and so many others continue to plead with Washington to strike a bargain and help ignite this economy, only to be answered with mere band aid solutions.

The opening salvos of the deficit war of 2013 have landed with only modest economic and political damage inflicted so far. Mitch McConnell and Joe Biden met under a white flag in the waning hours of 2012 to craft a brief truce to avoid tax hikes that would have crippled the economy. The vast majority of Americans, 99% of them, will keep their current tax rates, though all will see their payroll taxes rise by 2% after a two-year holiday. Unfortunately though, nothing was done to address the nation’s biggest threat – the deficit. The US government still borrows 36 cents of every dollar it spends, at a rate of $1 trillion a year. Those who would change that are ready for a fight.