Friday, January 06, 2012

Knight Vision

I started reading The Kiplinger Letter when I was in middle school. Seriously. My father was a loyal subscriber. A household of seven kids allowed for very little downtime to take in the big picture. Once a week, in four pages of short paragraphs, with key thoughts underlined, the Kiplinger editors provided him their take on everything he needed to know about national and global business, politics, and economics in order to be a good salesman.

As a kid, I remember being impressed that Austin Kiplinger himself signed every issue. I also liked that Mr. Kiplinger addressed my dad as “Dear Client.” I imagined that he actually knew my dad.

After my father passed away, my mother continued to subscribe to Kiplingers. She shared the newsletter with me after she’d finished. When I went away to college, she even mailed me her old issues. The news may not have been as fresh but this was in the pre CNN years so fresh was relative.

Needless to say I still subscribe. So do at least two of my sisters. So when Jim Peacock offered me a seat at his table for the Maryland Bankers Association Fifth Annual First Friday Economic Outlook Forum in Baltimore today, I took him up on it. The keynote speaker was Knight Kiplinger, son of Austin Kiplinger and the guy who is signing my newsletter these days.

Readers will mostly acknowledge that The Kiplinger Letter has a tendency to always be upbeat, even when things appear gloomy. As such Knight’s talk, which followed an otherwise downbeat panel of economists, left the audience of bankers and accountants feeling at least a little hopeful. His editors predict a 2.3% growth in the GDP this year.

He also said that Mitt Romney will be the GOP nominee but, unless something really bad happens like a total Euro meltdown, he will not be president.

Knight Kiplinger believes that if the economy stays on this 2.3% growth track through late summer and the unemployment rate does not get any worse, Barack Obama will win a second term. His win will be based on the perception that things are getting better, if only marginally.
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