Common Cents Archive

Some Common Cents For Friday November 17, 2017

November 17, 2017, by John Norris

In case you didn’t pick up the November 7th copy of Pravda, you might have missed the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. This was ultimate act in a year of great turmoil within Russia which resulted in even more years of civil strife and decades of economic mismanagement. While Lenin and his proletarians were passionate and idealistic, it is safe to say they didn’t completely understand economics. Apologists for the former Soviet government tend...

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Some Common Cents for October 27, 2017

October 27, 2017, by John Norris

Although I don’t consider myself a codger, I have recently found myself saying things like: “when I was a kid” or “I am old enough to remember when.” You know, the sort of stuff that makes you an old-timer whether you care to admit it or not. This week, I was rooting around in a plastic pumpkin full of candy in our office building looking for something good to eat. Specifically, I was looking for...

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Some Common Cents for October 20, 2017

October 20, 2017, by John Norris

One of my wife’s co-workers recently turned us onto a PBS Masterpiece series entitled ‘Poldark.’ As an aside, in case you didn’t already know, Masterpiece is a code word for: 1) originally produced by and aired on the BBC well before PBS got ahold of it, and; 2) a dramatic piece of historical fiction set in the United Kingdom at some point prior to, interestingly enough, television. ‘Poldark’ is no different. Without going into exhaustive...

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Some Common Cents for October 6, 2017

October 6, 2017, by John Norris

I started in this industry working on a buy-side bond trading desk, as well as managing money market and municipal bond funds. My employer in Baltimore had some pretty strict credit standards, and, as a result, we were not big buyers of Puerto Rican debt. This was a little unusual in the industry since the stuff ALWAYS had insurance which meant, at the time, it carried a triple-A rating. Further, due to favorable treatment from...

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Some Common Cents on September 22, 2017

September 22, 2017, by John Norris

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the monetary policy making body of the Federal Reserve, met this week, and very people were concerned about what it would decide to do with the overnight lending target rate between member banks. This would be highly unusual but for the fact EVERYONE wanted greater insight regarding the hotly anticipated “unwinding” of the quantitative easing the Fed did during the aftermath of the financial crisis. In case you missed,...

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Some Common Cents for September 8, 2017

September 8, 2017, by John Norris

The Science Channel has a new program called “The Planets” which airs on Tuesday evenings. I missed the first episode on Jupiter, but I found the second one on Venus to be absolutely riveting. Where do these people come up with these crazy hypotheses? Have they nothing better else to do? For instance, who would have thought the proximate cause for the inhospitable climate on Venus was/is a collision with a more minor planet during...

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Some Common Cents for September 1, 2017

September 1, 2017, by John Norris

Recently, someone said to me: “with everything that is going on in the world, I bet there is no shortage of things for you to write about.” To be sure, it seems as though we are tearing ourselves apart at the seams, with Mother Nature lending a helping hand. However, there is a difference between headline stories and what actually impacts how we live our lives and conduct business. There are times when living in...

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Some Common Cents For August 25, 2017

August 25, 2017, by John Norris

Earlier this week, someone forwarded to me a link to an old video clip of a debate, if that is the right word, between Milton Friedman and Phil Donahue. The issue at hand was greed. Donahue’s argument was the, presumed, inherent greed within capitalism leads to an unfair distribution of resources. Depending on how you view the world, Friedman’s response was either completely misguided or analogous to the virtuous killing of a mosquito with a...

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Some Common Cents for August 11th, 2017

August 11, 2017, by John Norris

During a conference call on Monday, I told our wealth management associates the markets were/are as boring as I had/have seen them in my career. A steady diet of modest economic growth and acceptable, if unremarkable, earnings will do that. Further, there is really nothing on the foreseeable horizon to suggest any significant change. Yesterday, the stock markets sold off, and a number of people have asked me whether this is the start of something...

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Norris: Income inequality is about to accelerate

July 26, 2017, by John Norris

The other day, I saw an advertisement on the television for a company which delivers snacks to your house. While I doubt executive management would put it like that, that about sums it up. My initial reaction was: “Are are we really so lazy we can’t even go to the store to stuff our face between meals?” My second one was wondering where the pretzels and ranch dressing were. What was this with all the...

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