Nov
03

Soccer Souls

 The Friday File: The smallest nation to ever qualify for the World Cup is Iceland, which, with a population of 335,000, will play in 2018. Prior to Iceland, the smallest nation to contend was Trinidad and Tobago, which competed in 2006 and has a population of 1.37 million. Before them, Northern … [Read more...]

Nov
02

Fed Figure

 For the first time since 1978, a first-term president hasn’t reappointed the incumbent Fed chair. Instead, President Trump will appoint existing Fed governor Powell. He will continue the process of gradual rate rises established by outgoing chair Yellen, but offer a lighter regulatory touch. As … [Read more...]

Nov
01

Poor Pendings

 Pending home sales were flat in September and that was the highlight of the report. The index is at its lowest level since 1/15, and has declined Y-o-Y in five of the last six months. Moreover, in the Northeast the index is down 2.4% Y-o-Y, and is down 2.5% Y-o-Y in the Midwest. In the South, … [Read more...]

Oct
31

Wasted Witches

 Between 1300 and 1850, 80,000 people were tried for witchcraft in Europe. Half the trials and executions took place between 1560 and 1630, during the Protestant Reformation. On a per capita basis, Switzerland held the most trials, 980/100,000 people, and killed over 6,000 witches, 60% of those … [Read more...]

Oct
30

Good GDP

 The US economy easily shook off the effects of recent hurricanes and GDP in 17Q3 rose by 3% following a 3.1% rise in 17Q2, the best two-quarter performance since mid-2014. That said, Y-o-Y GDP growth is still just 2.3% and inflation remained weak, with the Fed’s preferred measure rising at a rate … [Read more...]

Oct
27

Sweet Sap

 The Friday file: It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup, and each tree produces 15 gallons of sap/year. 72% of global maple syrup comes from Quebec, down from 82% in 2003. Trees can only be tapped when nighttime temperatures fall below 32°F but are above that during the day. Due … [Read more...]

Oct
26

Awesome Abodes

 New home sales in September came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 667,000, the highest level since 10/07! Sales were up 18.9% from August, the largest monthly percentage gain in almost 28 years. While some of the 26% sales rise in the South to 405,000, representing 61% of all new home … [Read more...]

Oct
25

Entitlement Examination

The latest report on the nation’s major entitlement programs, accounting for 42% of all federal government spending, are sobering. The Social Security trust fund will be emptied in 2034 and Medicare (Part A, hospital care) in 2029. 50 million Americans receive SS and 57 million receive Medicare Part … [Read more...]

Oct
24

Total Taxes

 In 2015, the top 1% of individual filers, those with AGIs (adjusted gross incomes) of at least $480,930, earned 20.65% of total AGI and paid 39.04% of all federal income taxes. The top 5% had AGIs of $195,778 and paid 59.58% of total income taxes and the top 10%, with AGIs of more than $138,030, … [Read more...]

Oct
23

Deteriorating Deficit

 In FY2017, the federal deficit widened to $666 billion or 3.5% of GDP, up from $586 billion or 3.2% of GDP in FY2016. The deficit has averaged 3.1% over the last 40 years. While receipts rose to $3.315 trillion, up from $3.267 trillion in FY2016, expenditures hit $3.981 trillion or 20.7% of GDP, up … [Read more...]