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Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment Technology Investor.

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9:00 AM EST, Wednesday, November 12, 2008: My friend sent a note to his kids. "The economy is in toilet. Your father is earning less. We need to learn the difference between a want and a need. If you need it, buy it. If you want it, don't."

His gorgeous daughter replied, "What about my beauty treatments?"


Cowed, he emailed, "Clearly, they're a need."

How bad is the economy? Quipped comedian Bill Maher, "The only thing keeping the economy from total collapse is Sarah Palin's shopping sprees."

Best Buy this morning dropped its estimated 2009 profit range sharply lower, citing 'uncertainty' in consumer spending. Pick a retailer (except Wal-Mart). They're all going to do worse. Stay away from beauty treatment providers. Todd's daughters will keep them booming.

Yesterday's favorite short was Google. It fell $11.18 yesterday. It's going lower, as companies advertise less. Today's favorite short is Barnes & Noble (BKS). Books aren't necessary. You can read everything you want -- and more -- on the Internet. BKS is going lower. Ditto for Coach (COH).

How fast do things move? Oil fell below $60 yesterday for the first time since March 2007. Oil is now down 59% from its peak of $145 earlier this year. This is an amazing chart:

Prices don't change this fast in the real world. Except that they now do.

Surprise. Surprise. The $700 billion TARP (Trouble Asset Relief Program) won't be enough. It will have to be increased to meet the "phenomenal" demand for government bailouts, according to Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid.

Heck, what did you expect? Goldman Sachs became a bank. It wants money. American Express is about to become one. It wants money. GM, Ford and Chrysler want money. ... The easiest way to "make" money in today's world is to beg Washington for a handout. You need a hangdog expression and a high number for all the people who'll lose their jobs if you don't get the money. I'm very familiar with the process. For years I wondered why our phone companies never innovated. Simple. They simply begged the local regulatory agencies for rate increases. Same process.

Timely New Yorker cartoon:

Muni Bonds. Yesterday I wrote: New York State and New York City will shortly increase their income tax rates. It won't be popular but they have no choice. Many states and cities which levy income tax will follow. The investment implications of this are ultra clear: Buy muni bonds, which are triple tax-free -- free of federal, state and city taxes.

Today, longer-term muni bonds are yielding over 5%. Which is extraordinary. That is equivalent to earning over 8% pre-tax. That rate will "rise" as local state and city income taxes rise. You cannot get muni bond safety and this high return anywhere else. Trust me.

The theory among my New Yorker friends (yes, I have a few) is that you ought to own sufficient muni bonds such that the interest from them will pay for your life.

Giving pussywhipped a whole new meaning.
When everyone on earth was dead and waiting to enter Paradise, God appeared and said, 'I want the men to make two lines. One line for the men who were true heads of their household, and the other line for the men who were dominated by their women. 'I want all the women to report to St. Peter."

Soon, the women were gone and there were two lines of men.

The line of the men who were dominated by their wives was 100 miles long. There was only one man in the line of men who truly were heads of their household.

God said, 'You men should be ashamed of yourselves, I created you to be the head of your household. 'You have been disobedient and have not fulfilled your purpose!

'Of all of you, only one obeyed. Learn from him.'

God turned to the one man, 'How did you manage to be the only one in this line?'

The man replied, 'My wife told me to stand here.'

Trouble with this site: The idiots at my web hoster, called, are messing with this site. I'm about to switch web hosters. If you can't get on the site, please email me .

This column is about my personal search for the perfect investment. I don't give investment advice. For that you have to be registered with regulatory authorities, which I am not. I am a reporter and an investor. I make my daily column -- Monday through Friday -- freely available for three reasons: Writing is good for sorting things out in my brain. Second, the column is research for a book I'm writing called "In Search of the Perfect Investment." Third, I encourage my readers to send me their ideas, concerns and experiences. That way we can all learn together. My email address is . You can't click on my email address. You have to re-type it . This protects me from software scanning the Internet for email addresses to spam. I have no role in choosing the Google ads on this site. Thus I cannot endorse, though some look interesting. If you click on a link, Google may send me money. Please note I'm not suggesting you do. That money, if there is any, may help pay Michael's business school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.