• Judge Judy

    The Friday File: Since starting in 1996, Judy Sheindlin will have adjudicated roughly 12,750 cases when her last show airs on 6/8/21. Judge Judy has had the #1 first-run show in syndicated TV for 11 straight years, and is on track for a 12th, with an average of 7.8 million viewers. That is why her … [Read More...]

  • Pool Problem

    The Friday File: In addition to semiconductor, chicken wing, and lumber shortages, you can add chlorine. When Covid-19 first, hit DIY handwashing solutions often recommended adding chlorine powder. Add to that a surge in the demand for pools, and a fire in a chlorine manufacturing plant, and … [Read More...]

  • Monetary Machinations

    The Powell Fed has made it clear it will continue purchasing Treasuries and MBS for the foreseeable future and keep short-term rates at rock bottom levels, but will not counter rising long-term rates. This is because financial conditions are loose, and liquidity is plentiful. Moreover, the Fed sees … [Read More...]

  • Asset Appraisals

    Through 20Q2, the value of US farmland was $2.6 trillion, and investment grade bonds (BBB rated debt and higher) were valued at $6.4 trillion. That pales compared to Treasury bonds which were worth $19.9 trillion, and US commercial real estate at $20.4 trillion. Equities were almost double that at … [Read More...]

  • Moving Matters

    In 2020, Idaho enjoyed the highest percentage of net migration, with 70% inbound and 30% outbound, a net of 40%. SC followed at 28%, then OR at 26%, AZ and SD at 24%, and AL, FL, NC, and TN at 20%. AR was 10th at 18%. CA at -18%, CT at -26%, IL at -32%, NY at -34% and NJ at -40% struggled most. … [Read More...]

Jun
11

Costly Claptrap

The Friday File: An Italian artist just had an immaterial sculpture, an artwork of literally nothing, auctioned for $18,300. In February, the same artist exhibited another immaterial sculpture in Milan demarcated by a square of tape on a walkway. Since, he’s installed Afrodite Cries in NYC, … [Read more...]

Jun
10

Chinese Children

China’s 2020 population hit 1.41 billion. While up slightly from 1.34 billion in 2010, it has peaked and will now start falling. China’s working age population has been declining since 2011. The percentage of the population over 60 has risen from 10.4% in 2000, to 18.7% in 2020, and is projected to … [Read more...]

Jun
09

Energy Expenses

In 1959, US household energy spending was 7.3% of after-tax income. It then steadily declined, and outside the 1973 and 1980 Arab oil shocks when it peaked at 9.5%, it bottomed at 4% in 2002. At the height of the last commodity boom it hit 7%. Then came the Housing Bust and it steadily fell to an … [Read more...]

Jun
08

Inappreciable Inflation

Inflation, as measured by the CPI, is up 4.2% Y-o-Y. However, a year ago Covid-19 had our economy reeling and the prices for things like oil and car rentals collapsing. To bypass the impacts of Sars-Cov-2 on prices, compare to what they were two years ago. On average, prices have risen 3.5% … [Read more...]

Jun
07

Loving Labor

Employers created 559,000 net new jobs in May, dropping the unemployment rate to 5.8%, its average rate since modern data collection began in 1948. From 1980-1999 the average was 6.5%, from 2000-2019 it was 5.9%. Prior to Sars-Cov-2 it was 3.5%, and the jobs deficit remains 7.6 million short of the … [Read more...]

Jun
04

Judge Judy

The Friday File: Since starting in 1996, Judy Sheindlin will have adjudicated roughly 12,750 cases when her last show airs on 6/8/21. Judge Judy has had the #1 first-run show in syndicated TV for 11 straight years, and is on track for a 12th, with an average of 7.8 million viewers. That is why her … [Read more...]

Jun
03

Incomplete Inflation

Fed purchases of Treasuries drives down rates and drives up the price of financial assets like stocks/bonds and real assets like houses. If banks are reluctant to lend, as they currently are, the money the Fed pays the banks for Treasuries isn’t lent. Thus, increased demand for goods and services by … [Read more...]

Jun
02

College Conceit

To enhance diversity (and cope with Covid-19), many colleges no longer require SAT/ACT scores from applicants. Unfortunately, admission counselors must now rely more on other aspects of applications like essays, which also advantage the wealthy. Even extra-curricular activities are biased. Poorer … [Read more...]

Jun
01

Spending Shift

In 1/20, prior to Covid-19, annualized US household spending on goods was $4.59 trillion/year. Last month, spending was a staggering $5.45 trillion, up 18.7%. Conversely, during 1/20, annualized spending on services totaled $10.29 trillion, it’s now at its post-pandemic high of $10.11 trillion, … [Read more...]

May
28

Solemn Soldiers

Originally known as Decoration Day, as Americans would decorate graves of Civil War soldiers and celebrated on 5/30, Memorial Day became an official national holiday, and its date was changed to the last Monday in May effective 1971. This year, 37.1 million Americans will travel, up from 23.1 … [Read more...]