Some Common Cents for June 30th, 2017

June 30, 2017, by John Norris

I am able to track how many people who directly receive Common Cents actually go to the trouble to open it. Last week, I apparently touched on a subject of particular interest, because the number of ‘click throughs’ was significantly higher than it has been in, quite literally, months. If you didn’t read it, it was about the discussion surrounding a consolidated form of local government for the Birmingham metropolitan area (MSA). More specifically, the debate...

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John Norris: Creativity should matter more in Alabama’s economy

June 26, 2017, by John Norris

Years ago, I had an internationally recognized economist tell me it didn’t matter if the U.S. physically manufactured a single thing. After all, the value added proposition of many finished products, if not most, is in the design, engineering and technology. In her way of thinking, the production process is a means to an end, and people don’t really pay for it. They pay for the creativity behind the product or service. If this seems a...

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Some Common Cents for June 23rd, 2017

, by John Norris

This is sort of part one in an intermittent series. Recently, I received an email with a link to a study about the need for a consolidated form of government in the Birmingham metro area (MSA). For those of you not familiar with Birmingham, most of the suburbs have incorporated themselves. All of them have their own fire and police departments, and the larger, wealthier ones have their own school systems. Some of these cities/suburbs,...

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Norris: Federal Reserve is walking a tightrope

June 20, 2017, by John Norris

Last week, the Federal Reserve raised the overnight lending target rate between member banks by 0.25 percent, and said it wants to remove some of the stimulus it provided with its quantitative easing programs. Put another way, it wants to take some of the excess cash out of the banking system over time. To do this, it will sell some of its bond holdings, or simply not reinvest them as they mature. The cash it...

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Norris: Get ready for massive changes in Alabama’s economy

June 13, 2017, by John Norris

In a recent letter to clients, I wrote how the investment industry will likely have to reassess how it defines industry sectors. For instance, Google (Alphabet) is obviously, and correctly, classified as a technology stock. However, Tesla gets lumped in with the rest of the automotive group, and Amazon is considered a consumer discretionary company just like, say, Tractor Supply Co. We can discuss the merits of these classifications, but do investors really buy Tesla...

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John Norris: Media outlets give readers what they want

June 6, 2017, by John Norris

We seem to have entered the news doldrums, where our choices are: 1. an endless barrage of so-called analysis of the Administration’s perceived foibles and follies, or 2. stories which are the journalistic equivalent of delivery pizza. They might be tasty going down, but are ultimately forgettable. While folks might bemoan what passes for news these days, the media is simply giving us what we want. Every news organization has the ability to track user reading patterns better...

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Some Common Cents for June 2nd, 2017

June 5, 2017, by John Norris

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released The Employment Situation report for the month of May 2017. I will cut to the quick, and tell you it might be one of the more boring releases of its type I have ever read. So much so, I felt sorry for the folks who had to compile the data by the time I finished reading the thing. In a lot of ways, I found it...

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