Tax Take

During CY2017, France had the highest tax revenue as a percent of GDP among the 36 OECD (wealthy western democratic) nations at 46.2%. Denmark was just behind at just 46%, and in third was Sweden at 44%. The US was 31st at 27.1%. Ireland has the lowest tax share in Europe at 22.8%, Chile was in 35th … [Read more...]


Energy Exporter

For the week ending 11/30/18, the US exported 3.2 million barrels/day of crude oil and 5.8 million barrels/day of gasoline, refined products. Those 9 million barrels/day of exports exceeded the 8.8 million barrels/day of imports, making the US a net oil exporter for the first time in decades! US oil … [Read more...]


Decent Data

With 155,000 net new November jobs, the labor market continues to perform well, but may be cooling. The unemployment rate held at 3.7% as folks continued joining the labor force, which is great, and wage growth was unchanged from October’s solid 3.1%, suggesting wage inflation is in check. But, … [Read more...]


Egg Eating

The Friday File: In 2018, US per capita egg consumption is expected to be 279. While some wind up in cakes, souffles and sauces, many are eaten by themselves. The preferred way: it’s a tie between scrambled and fried, both chosen by 23% of egg eaters. Next comes poached at 22%, soft boiled is fourth … [Read more...]


Seeming Slowdown

Oil prices aren’t spiking (which caused the 1973 and 1979 recessions), neither are interest rates (1981 and 1983 recessions). Better yet, banks aren’t failing, nor is consumer confidence tanking (collectively helping cause the 1990 recession), nor are equity prices and corporate investment … [Read more...]


Yukky Yield

  Yesterday, rates on two-year and three-year Treasuries rose above the rate on the five-year Treasury, which probably lead to substantial algorithmic trading. While this isn’t a full-fledged yield curve inversion (YCI), which refers to the yield on the two-year Treasury exceeding the ten-year, this … [Read more...]


Tariff Talk

That Xi and Trump have agreed to a framework to guide trade talks and delay more tariffs is good. But the fundamental trade problems remain. With politically savvy hardliner US Trade Representative Lighthizer heading the US negotiating team, the talks will be very contentious, and the US will push … [Read more...]


Listless London

Superficially, Great Britain looks good despite Brexit. Unemployment is near a record low, wages are increasing at their fastest pace in a decade, and a huge budget deficit has shrunk. However, best estimates suggest UK GDP is 2% smaller than had voters chosen to Remain. Why? Labor force growth has … [Read more...]


Doing Drugs

The Friday File: During the first five days retail marijuana stores (there are just two) were open in Massachusetts, from 11/20 through 11/24, customers bought $2.2 million of pot and pot products! The average amount spent per item, such as 1/8 of an ounce of cannabis flower, was $39.33. A special … [Read more...]


Insignificant Inflation

Despite excellent economic growth, rising wages, and the lowest unemployment rate in 49 years, inflation remains quiescent. The Fed’s preferred inflation measure, core personal-consumption expenditure inflation, rose just 1.8% over the past year, and has been around that level, close to the Fed’s 2% … [Read more...]