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June 25, 2020

Saving and the Shutdown

A report from First Trust Advisors, L.P.: Turning off the global economic light-switch, and then turning it partially back on, has sent shockwaves through economic data that, while anticipated, have been jaw-dropping in both directions. For example, US retail sales plunged a combined 21.8% in March and April, before rising 17.7% in May. Manufacturing production fell 20.0% in March and April, before gaining 3.8% in May. Non-farm payrolls shrank 22.1 million in March and April, followed by a gain of 2.5 million in May. The savings rate surged to 33% in April, the highest rate ever recorded with current metrics. […]
June 18, 2020

The Fed is Committed to Low Rates

The one key takeaway from last week’s Fed meeting is that monetary policymakers are set to keep short-term interest rates near zero for as far as the eye can see. Not forever, but at least until 2023. Keep this in mind in the week ahead, as we get more reports confirming the economic recovery started back in May. The Federal Reserve conveyed that commitment in a few different ways. First, and most important, was the quote from Wednesday’s post-meeting press conference with Fed Chairman Jay Powell that the Fed is not even “thinking about thinking about raising rates.” In other […]
November 27, 2019

The “Good Family” Blessing… Happy Thanksgiving!!!

The “Good Family” Blessing It has become common practice to refer to our Thanksgiving holiday as “Turkey Day.” For some people, that name is truly accurate. Not only is it mildly amusing, but if you don’t believe there’s any power beyond yourself that you ought to be thanking, it’s also more honest. If you’re a skeptic, being honest about it is good. When it comes to Thanksgiving, I’m not among the skeptics. So, I’d like to share with you a daily meal blessing that’s been used by four generations of a family I know named Good. You might want to […]
November 21, 2019

Income Inequality, Taxation, and Redistribution

One of our favorite economic parables is the Fish Story, from Paul Zane Pilzer’s 1990 book, “Unlimited Wealth.” It is an excellent tool for thinking about wealth creation, inequality and redistribution. Imagine 10 people live on an island. Each day they wake up, catch two fish, eat them, and go back to bed. Its subsistence living at the most basic level. There are no savings – no stored or saved wealth. If someone gets sick and can’t fish, there’s no way to help them. No one has any extra. Now imagine two of these people dream up a boat and […]
November 14, 2019

No Recession on the Horizon

Since the earliest days of the current economic expansion, there have been naysayers asserting the US was on the brink of another recession.  Remember all the fear about another wave of home foreclosures, or a disaster in commercial real estate, or the Fiscal Cliff, or Greece potentially leaving the Eurozone, or German bank defaults, or even the inverted yield curve earlier this year?  The list goes on and on. One by one, the pessimistic theories have been proven wrong.  Yes, the US will eventually fall back into a recession.  But we don’t see it happening this year or next, and […]
August 6, 2019

Women and finance: Staying involved

In 1809, Mary Kies became the first American woman to hold a U.S. patent in her own name for her original way to weave straw with silk.    In 1825, Rebecca Lukens became the first female CEO of an industrial company in the United States, and was inducted into the National Business Hall of Fame in 1994.    In 1839, Mississippi passed the Married Women’s Property Act, which gradually strengthened women’s claims to ownership and financial independence.    Just think, this was all before women were even allowed to vote!    Women have been more than involved in business and […]