Some Common Cents for August 28th 2015

August 28, 2015, by John Norris

Not long ago, my father and I were talking about McDonald’s, and the reasons for that company’s declining market position, or at least the perception of it. He threw out the oft-given explanations, things like changing American consumer patterns and more flexible competition, and there is a lot of truth to that. However, I said the core reason is much simpler: everyone else simply caught up. By that I meant, McDonald’s single biggest comparative advantage...

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How worried should you be about the stock market?

August 27, 2015, by John Norris

The stock market has been acting crazy recently, mostly in a bad way. Should investors be worried, and why? When the S&P 500 fell apart from 2000 to 2002, in hindsight it was easy to see what had happened: due to Y2K and some easy money, investors put unrealistic growth assumptions on so-called “new economy” stocks. When everything went south in 2008, we knew it was because of problem loans and debt securities made out...

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Some Common Cents for August 21st 2015

August 24, 2015, by John Norris

I started and stopped this newsletter several times today, as I would write a full paragraph; read it, and then delete it for being, I don’t know, redundant. There is/was no shortage of other similar commentary available on the Internet, so why reinvent the wheel? After each deletion, I would go back to the stock ticker, and get a sick feeling in my stomach. Sure, this job can be fun when the markets are making...

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Fast food, high wages equals mixed results

August 17, 2015, by John Norris

I know you have written on the topic in the past, but New York recently passed a law mandating a $15-an-hour minimum wage in the fast food industry. Will this gather steam across the country, and will it be good for workers? Gov. Andrew Cuomo skirted parliamentary procedure, and appointed a wage board to make such a recommendation to the acting commissioner for labor. In turn, this person will authorize it for the fast food...

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Some Common Cents for Aug 14th 2015

August 14, 2015, by John Norris

This week, I read a column written by a man by the name of Cass Sunstein. This man is very much a political policy wonk, and let’s just say I don’t ordinarily agree with what he has to say, scratch the ordinarily. We simply have differing world views, and, you know, that is okay. However, I read differing opinions when digesting news, so I can have a better understanding of what other people think. In...

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Clinton tax plan IS as bad as it sounds

August 6, 2015, by John Norris

Last week, Hillary Clinton announced a proposal to dramatically increase capital gains taxes if she wins the Presidential election. From what I can tell, virtually everyone has criticized it. Is it really that bad? Any tax or regulation which inhibits the free flow of capital to its highest and best use is generally not in anyone’s best interests, even Washington’s. As such, Clinton’s plan should be dead on arrival on Capitol Hill if she ends...

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Some Common Cents for July 31, 2015

August 3, 2015, by John Norris

  This week, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced the US economy grew at a 2.3% annualized rate during 2Q 2015. It made all sorts of revisions to previous estimates, bringing up 1Q 2015 GDP to 0.6% from negative territory, and taking 2013 down to 1.5% from 2.3% among other changes. While the numbers might have changed, the story didn’t: the US economy has been growing at a tepid rate for a pretty long...

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