By the time you read this Brief, I will be in the ‘Mecca of Elvis,’ Memphis, Tennessee, along with 70 to 100,000 faithful pilgrims. In the unlikely event you haven’t heard, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the King’s death is today. It just happens to coincide with my taking my second daughter Emily, to school at Ole Miss. The University of Mississippi lies in the quaint town of Oxford, Mississippi, one hour south of Memphis. As it is difficult to fly to Oxford, Memphis is the gateway by air. But even Memphis may become a tougher destination for Elvis pilgrims and Ole Miss students if the current descent of commercial aviation continues.
Think back to March of 2000 and you might recall those strong the public statements that were bandied about by the government’s Microsoft trustbusters. Their tone of retribution was the impetus, in the opinion of many, that launched the first phase of the ‘great bear market of 2000 to 200?.’ The question that keeps me awake at night is this; could the bear be prolonged indefinitely as our congress and administration posture to ‘reform’ securities laws, and in so doing, drive away investors and CEOs who fear that the new regulations will be too restrictive to promote effective capital formation or excessive penalties? It is plausible that the markets are not so worried that every company is crooked as they are that Washington will overreach in addressing a problem that is not as widespread the big-government proponents would have us believe.