It’s true. The United States government is a broken machine. It feels like just yesterday when the Democrats and the Republicans could not agree on a budget, and the government was shut down. But it wasn’t yesterday. It was 2013, and the suits in Washington promised they would never do it again. But it looks like never again is coming sooner than we think.
Once again, it appears Congress can’t agree on a U.S. Budget by the deadline that is the start of the 2016 fiscal year. If they shake hands and get past their difference, the government will not shut down. The blame game has already started in Congress, and while they are throwing stones at each other, economists are shaking their heads in disbelief. How could a group of educated Americans be so short-sighted when it comes to agreeing on how to spend the trillions of dollars that pour into the treasury every year? That is the question economists like Christian Broda on valuewalk are asking and for good reason. Broda a former economics professor at the University of Chicago and managing director of Duquesne Capital Management thinks the economic ramifications of a shutdown will be felt next year.
Christian Broda studies situations that impact investments and the economic well-being of the country, and he and other economist think the Obama is correct when he says sequestration is hurting our domestic economy. Sequestration is the automatic spending limits set by Congress that stop spending if it is exceeding the limits. Obama wants to stop those cuts, but the Republicans want to keep them. Another issue, according to Broda is the funding for Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is the health provider that provides services, and one of those services is abortion. Obviously the Republicans are making a political issue out of funding for Planned Parenthood, and they will risk shutting down the government to prove their point. That sort of leadership is schoolyard leadership at its best, according to Broda and other economists.
In 2011, a special committee was set up to find ways to reduce spending, but the committee couldn’t agree, so caps or limits were placed on military and domestic spending. The Budget Office claims spending will increase more than $980 billion by 2025 if those limits are lifted. Some Republicans want to get rid of the limits especially on military spending, and some Democrats want to get rid of them too, but the consensus is the limits help keep Congress in check when it comes to writing checks for unnecessary expenditures.
The main issue with shutting down the government now is the fragile global economy. The United States can’t afford another glitch in their economic future. Most economists like Christian Broda think Congress should be finding ways to increase our economic position in the eyes of the world, not reduce it.
Highland Capital Management has led the way in terms of honest and pioneering investment banking. The company has garnered a reputation for being disciplined, bold, and experienced. Along with numerous business awards won in the name of their practices, Highland Capital Management has also received a fantastic report thanks to the customers that they serve. The Highland Capital Management team and their affiliates boast an impressive 21 billion dollar current management of assets. Numerous business journals have noted that Highland Capital Management is among the most experienced companies when it comes to investments and capital management. Highland Capital Management’s specialities include: long-only funds and separate accounts, credit strategies, distressed and special situations private equity, credit hedge funds, and CLOs, otherwise known as collateralized loan obligations. Highland Capital Management doesn’t just focus on standard investment practices. They offer their clients a wide range of alternative investment options. Natural resources, emerging markets, as well as long term and short term equities are available. Highland Capital Management has an extended list of clients that they cater to. That diverse client base includes: corporations, public pension plans, endowments, foundations, fund of funds, high net worth individuals, governments, and last but not least, financial institutions. Highland Capital Management can boast such an impressive resume thanks only to the men and women who helped to foundation the company to become what it is today. Unquestionably, one of those hard working men is James Dondero.
James Dondero on jimdondero.com is the president of Highland Capital Management. Along with making sure that the day to day processes of Highland Capital Management are up to par, Dondero is also credited with founding Highland Capital Management with his business partner. Mark Okada is credited with founding the company with Dondero and the two have never looked back. Dondero has worked in investment marketing for more than 30 years. The time that he and Okada spent working for clients in the credit sector would later pioneer new investment opportunities such as the Collateralized Loan Obligation otherwise known as CLO. Before Dondero made Highland Capital Management his home, he worked diligently for Protective Life’s GIC subsidiary. During his time with that firm, Dondero was credited with managing and raising more than 2 billion dollars in funds and assets for the company and their clientele. Between the years 1985 and 1989, Dondero worked for the American Express company. During his time at American Express, Dondero managed more than 1 billion dollars in fixed incomes. With a degree in Finance and Accounting, Dondero has done more than enough with his concentrations to prove that he knows how to get business and manage it accordingly. His peers designated Dondero as the Certified Managements Accountant of the firm as well as the Chartered Financial Analyst. MGM Studios and American Banknote can boast that Dondero serves as the Board of Directors for both companies. Even with so much on his plate, Dondero has managed to positively affect the lives of those that he regularly serves. Dondero’s personal website is full of reviews from those who he has helped most. It is encouraging to see that a man who is so business minded has not forgotten the most important part of his job, the individuals that he serves.
Bruce Levenson on time.com is best known for being co-owner of the NBA team Atlanta Hawks, but Levenson has accomplished so much more in his life before his days as a basketball team owner. Levenson began his career as a journalist and wrote for the Washington Star and Observer Publishing. Levenson’s first business endeavor began in 1977 when he co-founded United Communications Group (UCG) with business partner Ed Peskowitz. UCG began publishing newsletters in regards to the oil industry. UCG was a small company that was managed out of Levenson’s apartment. As UCG began growing, the company turned into a data information company that focuses on everything from healthcare to technology to mortgage banking.
In 2004 Levenson and his business partner from UCG, Ed Peskowitz, became majority owners of the NBA team Atlanta Hawks, Phillips Arena and former NHL team Atlanta Thrashers. The purchase for all three entities totaled $250 million. Levenson and his business partners sold the Thrashers in 2011 for $170 million. Levenson sold the Atlanta Hawks to billionaire, Anthony Ressler, and his team of investors which include retired NBA player Grant Hill. Ressler and his group purchased the team from Levenson in 2015 for $850 million.
Levenson is currently the director of TechTarget, which is a trading company that acts as a crossing for technology investors. Levenson is also a co-owner of GasBuddy, which is an app to assist people with finding the lowest gas prices in their area. GasBuddy was developed by Levenson’s United Communications Group. Currently the mobile app is being used by over 45 million people. Levenson is obviously a big fan of technology that focuses on making people’s daily tasks more cost and time efficient, which led him to co-found DOT. DOT is a state-of-the-art cooking device that conveniently toasts bread in three seconds.
It is clear that Levenson is a successful businessman and entrepreneur, but that should not overshadow the philanthropy work he has incorporated in his life for the past 40 years. Just to name a few of Levenson’s philanthropic organizations which include; Bringing Lessons Home, “I Have A Dream,” PeacePlayers and the Seed School. Aside from Levenson’s personal organizations, Levenson along with his wife, Karen, also started the Center for Philanthropy and Non- Profit Management at the University of Maryland. The Center is focused on giving the next generation the knowledge they need to carry out philanthropic lives, which is a passion of Levenson’s.
Bruce Levenson is a successful businessman and philanthropist who has put hard work and dedication into the technology field and non-profit organizations for the past 40 years, and he does not show any signs of slowing down in the near future.