70 Words

Senatorial Selections

The Friday File: The late Robert Byrd (D-WV) cast 18,689 votes, more than any other senator. The late Strom Thurmond (D,R-SC) follows with 16,348, then the late Daniel Inouye (D-HI) at 16,300. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) follows with 16,007 and in a year should pass Thurmond and Inouye. Charles Grassley … [Read more...]


Tariff Transition

From 1992-2014, Canada was our top trading partner, but its share of total US trade steadily declined from 21% to 16%. At the same time Mexico’s grew from 7.5% to 14% and China’s from 3.5% to 15%. From 2015-2018, China was the top trading partner with a 16% share, Canada followed at 15%; Mexico at … [Read more...]


Poor Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s population peaked in 2004 at 3.8 million. It’s declined steadily since. Worse, the rate of decline has continually worsened. In 2009-2010 the population declines were just 4,000 and 7,000 respectively. From 2011-2013 they were 53,000/year; from 2014-2016 they were 65,000/year. In … [Read more...]


British Bargain

With new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushing for a hard Brexit on 10/31/19, the pound is approaching a 35-year low! Since April, every ten-percentage point swing in the chances of a hard Brexit result in a 3-cent change in the value of the pound. At that rate, a hard Brexit will push the … [Read more...]


Wishy-Washy Work

The US economy created 164,000 jobs in July, bringing the average YTD gain to 165,000/month, down from 227,000/month through 7/18. The unemployment rate held at 3.7%, and wages grew a respectable 3.2% Y-o-Y. And, the broadest measure of unemployment hit 7%, its best since 12/00! But the workweek … [Read more...]


Super Sanctions

The Friday File: Bernard Tomic, who lost a best of five first-round Wimbledon match in a lickety-split 58 minutes, is being fined $56,000 for “not playing up to professional standards”. This is brilliant. We could do the same for pitchers who get lit up, politicians who never show up for votes, late … [Read more...]


Tariff Troubles

The latest unsuccessful round of the endless US-China trade negotiations has caused President Trump to announce a new round of 10% tariffs, starting 9/1/19, on the remaining $300 billion of non-tariffed Chinese imports. Commodities, interest rates, and equities tumbled. This surprise announcement … [Read more...]


Rate Reduction

Earlier today, the Fed did what markets expected; cut rates by a quarter-point. However, the Fed was very sloppy in elucidating why. I might call its explanation “coalescing around some convenient potential rationales” like global slowing. Thus, Powell was utterly unable to explain to markets what … [Read more...]


Good GDP

19Q2 GDP came in at 2.1%, which, while a big decline from 3.1% in 19Q1, is in line with the 2.3% average over the entire record-breaking 121-month recovery we are enjoying. Business spending was negative, the first time since 16Q1, and exports declined due to trade tensions, slowing global growth … [Read more...]


Data Disturbances

While markets were calm today, the rest of the week, maybe not. Tomorrow, the Fed’s favorite inflation measure (core personal consumption expenditure inflation) comes out, on Wednesday the Fed probably announces a quarter-point cut in rates (first time since 2008); on Friday, July job growth is … [Read more...]