70 Words
Feb
08

Fiscal Follies

The US budget deficit hit 9.8% of GDP in 2009.  It then steadily declined to 2.4% in 2015, thanks to curbs on defense and discretionary spending worked out by Obama and Republicans, ultra-low interest rates, and rising tax revenues due to an improving economy.  Last year, the deficit was 3.4% and … [Read more...]

Feb
07

Investment Increase

 One key component of GDP is corporate investment in equipment and 2018 should be good.  The combination of tax cuts, improved business confidence, strengthening global demand, high enough oil prices, a weaker US dollar, very low unemployment, and concomitantly rising worker wages, all point to … [Read more...]

Feb
06

Returning Reasonableness

After a decade of weak inflation, suddenly synchronized global growth, the fastest US wage increase since 6/09, and fiscal stimulus from the GOP tax cut have convinced investors it will become pervasive. This, they fear, will cause the Fed to raise rates more rapidly than expected and is what … [Read more...]

Feb
05

Rural Ruin

 Since 1/1/10, total employment growth has been 14% in the 53 metro areas with a population exceeding one million. In metro areas between 250,000 and one million, employment growth has been 9%, and in smaller metro areas, it’s been just 4.5%. Worse, in non-metro areas, employment growth has totaled … [Read more...]

Feb
02

Football Fanatics

 The Friday File: The percentage of adults who consider themselves pro football fans is an astonishing 60%. College football and baseball are next at 45%. NBA basketball follows at 39%, then college basketball at 35%. Pro boxing is sixth at 28%, mixed martial arts are at 25%, pro soccer and pro auto … [Read more...]

Feb
01

Reliable Remittances

 In 2016, people living abroad sent $574 billion back home. These remittances are more than three times that of official development aid and are more stable. Nepal received $6.6 billion in remittances, 31.3% of its GDP. Kyrgyzstan follows with $2 billion, or 30.4% of GDP, and neighboring Tajikistan … [Read more...]

Jan
31

Swiss Security

 While Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies are the rage for some, for others it’s Swiss National Bank shares! Shares are up 320% since 1/31/16 to 5,480 francs ($5,866). Sure, they print their own money, but private shareholders have limited voting rights, the dividend is fixed by law at 15 francs, … [Read more...]

Jan
30

Trade Trouble

 The US has a relatively large $500 billion/year trade deficit, 2.5% of GDP. While tariffs on solar panels and washing machines may slightly boost US manufacturing activity, they may also encourage trade retaliation. Think of China buying planes from Airbus, not Boeing. The only ways to reduce a … [Read more...]

Jan
29

Good GDP

 Inflation-adjusted GDP in 17Q4 grew at a realistic annualized rate of 2.6% after growing at slightly over 3% in 17Q3 and 17Q2. In 2017, GDP grew by 2.3%.  While not sizzling growth, it’s pretty good given that this recovery will, in a few months, become the second longest ever. Better yet, due to … [Read more...]

Jan
26

Beer Battle

 The Friday File: America is clearly aging. The most popular beer in the US in 2017 was Bud Light with a 15.4% market share, down sharply from 16.2% a year earlier. Number two was Coors Light with a 7.6% market share, down from 7.9% in 2016, followed by Miller Light at 6.3%, down from 6.4% in 2016. … [Read more...]