Common Cents Archive

Common Cents & September on September 25, 2020

September 25, 2020, by John Norris

One of my more favorite songs by the American punk/rock group Greenday is “Wake Me Up When September Ends.” Indeed. Next Wednesday can’t happen fast enough, even if a change in the calendar is nothing more than symbolic. This month has been one to forget, as all news has been bad news, the country seems on the brink of a civil war, and the markets have been, shall we say, disappointing. There are no two...

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Common Cents & Marriage on September 18, 2020

September 18, 2020, by John Norris

Long years ago, I asked a friend of mine from Bombay why arranged marriages were still prevalent in his native culture. While he seemed a little embarrassed by my question, I didn’t let him off the hook because I was genuinely curious. So, he told me simply: “because marriage is too important to be left to love alone.” My initial reaction was twofold: 1) I was certain he didn’t come up with that insightful rationale...

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Common Cents & Professional Sports on September 11, 2020

September 11, 2020, by John Norris

Last night, the NFL kicked off its regular season in Kansas City. I didn’t know it was going to do so until yesterday afternoon, and I had forgotten about it by the time I got to the house. As such, I didn’t watch a second of it. In fact, I didn’t turn on the television at all last night, and haven’t since at least Tuesday. What’s more, I haven’t watched a single pitch or swing...

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Common Cents & Fear on September 4, 2020

September 4, 2020, by John Norris

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the “The Employment Situation – August 2020” report at 8:30 am EDT. Frankly, it was pretty good. The BLS estimated employers added 1.371 million net new jobs last month, and the official Unemployment Rate fell to 8.4% from 10.2% in July. Secondarily, the Labor Force Participation Rate increased 0.3% to 61.7% and the Employment to Population Ratio, the percent of working aged Americans actually working, jumped...

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Common Cents & Gigs on August 21, 2020

August 21, 2020, by John Norris

How many of us have ever paid ‘cash’ to have someone perform a task, work, or job of some sort? Perhaps it was for a babysitter or the kid down the street to occasionally mow the yard. Maybe you had a person swing by the house every so often to tidy up, do the ironing, wash the baseboards, change the sheets, run carpool, take care of the pets, or just knock out those pesky chores...

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Common Cents & Big Banks on August 14, 2020

August 14, 2020, by John Norris

This past week, my daughter asked if we could watch the movie “The Big Short” at the house. Although I lived through the crisis, have read Michael Lewis’ classic book twice, and had previously seen the movie on at least two occasions, I was more than happy to do so. Anything to cast her proverbial interest net wider than musical theater! Besides, my new books hadn’t yet arrived in the mail. Watching a movie with...

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Common Cents & Job Growth on August 7, 2020

August 7, 2020, by John Norris

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released “The Employment Situation – July 2020.” It reported the US economy created a total of 1.763 million net, new payroll jobs last month. That is huge number, and would have been unbelievable in simpler times. However, no one in the business of making economic predictions and forecasts has ever seen such weird data, let alone lived in such, shall we say, ‘un-simple’ times. Yesterday, a client...

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Common Cents & Probable Case Scenarios on July 31, 2020

July 31, 2020, by John Norris

Despite this week’s dreadful economic data, the sun came up this morning. It seems a sharp reduction in US economy activity over a 3-month time frame doesn’t have much of an impact on the Earth’s rotation. I would submit it doesn’t have any impact, but I am not a planetary scientist, astronomer, or what have you. Heck, I don’t even read my horoscope. Maybe I should in order to make sense the historic 32.9% (annualized)...

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Common Cents & Wearing a Mask on July 24, 2020

July 24, 2020, by John Norris

I think it safe to say people are ‘coming around’ to the idea the economic recovery probably won’t be V-shaped. We might not be talking about a recovery, at all, without another round of some sort of Federal intervention. Further, until there is some sort of readily available vaccine or effective treatment, we are likely going to stumble from outbreak to outbreak, and potential lockdown to potential lockdown. It is all very tiresome, wouldn’t you...

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Common Cents & Opening Schools on July 17, 2020

July 17, 2020, by John Norris

Last night, as I was finishing the second section of Robert A. Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, the commentators on the television began discussing the reopening of schools. As I mentioned last week, my wife and I have gotten into something of a routine during the pandemic: I read on my end of the couch and she watches the news on the other. Fortunately, I have the ability to block out ambient (or...

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