Common Cents Archive

Common Cents & Gift Horses on March 27, 2020

March 27, 2020, by John Norris

Everyone probably already knows the old expression “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” The meaning is pretty simple: don’t question or be otherwise be ungrateful when receiving something for free, as in a gift. It is extremely poor form, even if I am certain most people have been disappointed by a gift at least once in their life. My sister still thinks it funny to recall my obvious displeasure upon opening a belt...

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Trading Perspectives Podcast #81: The Effect of COVID-19 on Businesses

March 24, 2020, by Sara McPherson

The Effect of COVID-19 on Businesses As the COVID-19 pandemic sets in the United States, many businesses are being forced to close their doors.  How is the pandemic effecting the local pizzeria versus the Airlines?  Outside of grocery stores and pharmacies, what qualifies as an essential business and who decides which businesses are worthy of a bailout package?     Listen here:  http://tradingperspectives.libsyn.com/ Don’t have an iOS device?  We are also available on most major podcast...

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Common Cents & The Cure for What Ails Us on March 20, 2020

March 20, 2020, by John Norris

“I’m recovering from a cold. I’m so full of penicillin that, if I sneeze, I’ll cure someone.” Tommy Cooper   Maybe you have heard the expression “the cure is worse than the disease.” This is a way of describing a situation when the proposed solution to a problem produces a worse result than the problem itself. You can think of swatting a fly with a sledge hammer. Sure, you might kill the fly, but the...

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Common Cents & Public Speaking Engagements on March 13, 2020

March 11, 2020, by John Norris

Yesterday, March 12, I made a presentation to a group of people here in Birmingham about the macroeconomic impact of COVID-19. More correctly, I was one of three speakers in a brief morning seminar. As such, they gave me 25-30 minutes to make a few remarks and field a few questions. Obviously, this isn't my standard economic speech, which I can practically recite in my sleep after 20 years. So, I had to actually draw...

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Common Cents & Hysteria on March 6, 2020

March 6, 2020, by John Norris

"When you live in hysteria, people tend to think emotionally." John Mellencamp   While the stock market gets most of the headlines, the recent price action in the bond market has been breathtaking. To most people, the bonds are both boring and obscure. Bonds? Shoot, invest your money; collect your interest, and get your principal back when the thing matures. Right? In a lot of ways, I suppose that really is about it, at least...

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Common Cents, Lies & Statistics on February 21, 2020

February 21, 2020, by John Norris

"Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics." Attributed to Mark Twain   This morning, at 5:30 am ET, the Wall Street Journal dropped an article by a Jon Sindreu on its website entitled: “Inequality Isn’t Shareholders’ Fault, But They Can Help Fix It.” The subtitle was: Increase in wealth gap seems to have more to do with managerial pay than corporate profits, creating opportunities for do-good investors. But, hey, we already knew that already, right? We have...

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Common Cents & Cow Killing on February 14, 2020

February 14, 2020, by John Norris

“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” Margaret J. Wheatley   A few weeks ago, I wrote about how well-intentioned actions can have unintended economic reactions, usually negative. This was in response to the ‘eliminate fossil fuels now’ approach climate change activists, like Greta Thunberg, have adopted. Since the US Energy Information Administration estimates US energy expenditures reached 5.8% of GDP in 2017, most...

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Common Cents & Boring Things

February 7, 2020, by John Norris

"I Like Boring Things" Andy Warhol Long years ago, I was in a group conversation which ultimately led to the following question: “if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?” While I don’t remember all the answers, I do recall a couple of folks saying filet mignon and twice-baked potatoes. Someone else said lobster with drawn butter, and there was at least one response for Italian...

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Common Cents Catches the Flu on January 31, 2020

January 31, 2020, by John Norris

“Panic causes tunnel vision. Calm acceptance of danger allows us to more easily assess the situation and see the options.” Simon Sinek   According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 1.5 million people worldwide died from tuberculosis in 2018, and an additional 10 million individuals contracted the disease. Also, in 2018, WHO data suggests there were 228 million new cases of malaria worldwide, resulting in around 405 thousand deaths. Each year, anywhere from...

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Common Cents & Fossil Fuels on January 24, 2019

January 24, 2020, by John Norris

“One of the things that we have to realize is we cannot get off gas, we cannot get off oil, fossil fuels tomorrow – it’s going to take a few decades. maybe we can shorten it, but there’s going to have to be a transition time.” Justin Trudeau   This week, Geneva-based World Economic Forum held its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. The official invite list included close to 3,000 of the world’s wealthiest, most...

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