70 Words

Election Elucidation

This is the 59th US presidential election. The first and only one to be held in an odd numbered year saw George Washington defeat John Adams in 1789. Adams, Jefferson, and Madison followed. Those were candidates! The Adams’ were the first couple to live in the White House. President George H.W. Bush … [Read more...]


Overwhelming Outlays

The FY2020 (10/1/19-9/30/20) budget deficit of $3.1 trillion more than tripled from $984 billion in FY2019. As a share of GDP, the deficit rose from 4.6% to 15.2%, the largest since 1945. Revenues totaled $3.4 trillion, down just 1% from a year earlier, as revenues from Oct-March rose 6% due to … [Read more...]


Safety Seats

Since 1977, and especially since the mid-1990s, states have steadily raised the age for which a child must sit in a car safety seat. These laws have saved 60 lives/year. So few because seatbelts are as safe as child car seats for children over two. These laws have, however, reduced births by … [Read more...]


Carbon Contraction

In 2013, Exxon’s market capitalization was $415 billion, and it was the most valuable firm in the world. Today, it’s worth $180 billion. In 2008, energy comprised 13.3% of the S&P 500, today, it’s 2.5%. Recently, the Dow Jones Industrial Average bid adieu to Exxon, the longest tenured firm in … [Read more...]


Postal Processing

Postal Processing In 2005, the USPS handled 25 billion pieces of first-class mail and periodicals, and 25 billion pieces of marketing mail, which includes flyers, circulars, advertising, newsletters, bulletins, catalogs, and small parcels. Since then, first-class volume has fallen by 56% to 11 … [Read more...]


Glittering Gold

With its recent rapid romp to over $1,900/oz, gold has easily surpassed the 2011 peak of $1,815/oz. In real terms, gold remains 5% below its 2011 high, and almost 50% below its 1980 peak. Why the melt up? Low interest rates, inflation fears as the Fed’s balance sheets skyrockets, a weakening dollar … [Read more...]



For the week ending 3/18/20, home equity loans outstanding rose $2.3 billion to $317.2 billion. Outside of an increase during the last government closure, this was the first increase in home equity loans since the week ending 2/1/12, when they rose $4.7 billion to $553 billion. This is identical to … [Read more...]


Frequent Flicks

The Friday File: 8% of American who were recently surveyed considered “binge-watching” to consist of watching two straight episodes of a show. 27% thought three back-to-back episodes qualified as binge-watching, and 22% thought four episodes is what is needed. 13% thought it was five episodes, 5% … [Read more...]


Mortgage Money

While interest rates on Treasuries have hit all-time lows, mortgage rates have fallen, but not as much. There are at least three reasons. First, if rates keep falling, prepayments will increase, hurting mortgage investors. Second, lower rates suggest the economy is weakening and that can boost … [Read more...]


Overwhelming Ovechkin

The Friday File: Last Saturday, 34-year old Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals scored his 700th NHL goal, placing him 8th on the all-time list. More amazingly, he is currently 3rd in goal scoring this year, and at his current pace (and he shows no signs of slowing), in four years he’ll … [Read more...]