Monday we lost a great world leader in Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of the United Kingdom. Her no nonsense, blunt approach to addressing the problems of the world – and England – are legendary. We could use more like her in the world right now. Rest in peace Iron Lady….

Economy Loses Momentum

Those hoping that the economy was on the threshold of a major ramp-up of economic momentum were chagrined by the March jobs report. Some of the steam from the Hurricane Sandy rebuild simmered down. Meanwhile, the new personal income tax increases for 2013 are beginning to bite….and it hurts. In general, fears directly related to the Affordable Health Care Act (what a misnomer), or Obama Care, is acting like a wet blanket on job formation and hiring. Employers are reducing hours to keep employees from “full time employment”, hiring part time workers etc., all in an effort to avoid fines and excessive costs.

On Wednesday this week the president will release his budget for fiscal year 2014. According to early discussions, the president will propose some changes and cuts to entitlement programs and several new tax increases. A White House official said the president would accept changes to entitlement programs only if members of Congress pass legislation to raise revenues. More on this later as the actual budget is released and digested. I can tell you this: there should be no increase in revenues to the federal government. The elimination of waste should be the goal of the budget. So much money can be generated by eliminating waste, fraud and theft. It is everywhere in government, they need only open their eyes….and stop stealing it.

Steel Production Notes

US raw steel production jumped 2.1 percent last week from the previous week as mills operated at an average capability utilization rate (ACUR) of 77.6 percent. In the corresponding week last year, mills operated at an ACUR of 80.9 percent.

Mills so far this year have produced 25,441,000 tons at an ACUR of 75.8 percent, down from the same period last year when the ACUR was 79.7%

Week’s End

Well, it’s Friday afternoon, and the Masters’ golf tournament is on this weekend in beautiful Augusta. I hope all who watch will enjoy the competition.

The North Koreans have not yet launched a missile though intelligence now says they may have developed a small nuclear warhead capable of being loaded on a ballistic missile, though it is not considered to be reliable. Hopefully it will explode in North Korea, preferably on that little rat’s house…. with him in it.

Gold has lost its luster for many investors, today dropping to $1500/troy ounce (bear market territory) before bouncing back above that level. Not sure where it is as I write this….busy watching the Masters.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got folks. Have a great spring weekend. I hope it is warm and dry where you are, unless of course, you need or want rain…..or snow.

God Bless America