Common Cents Archive

Common Cents for December 7th 2012

December 10, 2012, by John Norris

All the debate over the fiscal cliff has masked some real problems in our nation’s economy. We are so focused on short-term economic growth, you could argue we are failing to see the forest for the trees. Will either political party’s taxing & spending proposals really permanently drive the US economy back into the Middle Ages, or even worse, the 1970’s? Not hardly likely. Tax rates alone won’t do that, nor will spending cuts. However,...

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Common Cents for November 30, 2012

December 6, 2012, by John Norris

Yesterday, I read an article on CNNMoney.com by a certain Emily Jane Fox. The headline caught my eye: “McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King Workers Protest in NYC.” I love reading about a good protest as much as the next person, if for no other reason than to wonder at the thought process behind it. Not surprisingly, it seems fast food workers want to make more money in New York. But, who doesn’t want to make more...

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Common Cents for November 23, 2012

, by John Norris

One of the bigger business headlines this week has been the liquidation of Hostess Brands, Inc., the company which heretofore made Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Wonder Bread, a host of other snack cakes and breads. As you can imagine, there was some measure of discomfort about the iconic Twinkie brand, a symbol of all that is both right and wrong in the United States, vanishing. What is the world coming to these days? Can the US...

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Common Cents for November 16th 2012

November 26, 2012, by John Norris

The election is finally over, and the market has fallen apart since. What in the world is that all about? Aren’t stocks supposed to rally after a Presidential election? If so, why is this time different than the past? Well, this go around, we have something everyone is calling the fiscal cliff looming at the end of the year. This is when all the various tax breaks and credits end, and automatic spending cuts kick...

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Common Cents for November 2, 2012

, by John Norris

The Employment Situation report is arguably the most important economic release. So, I was surprised when I read an article on Bloomberg this week imploring potential voters to not base their vote for President on this morning’s number. But, if the economy is the largest political issue, how could the payroll number NOT impact at least a few people? What are folks supposed to do? Ignore it? Pretend it doesn’t matter? I suppose the thought...

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Common Cents for October 28th 2012

November 1, 2012, by John Norris

By now, you have probably heard something about the so-called ‘fiscal cliff,’ which we are due to fall off on January 1, 2013. Simply put, taxes are set to increase, and mandatory government spending cuts are due to take hold. Oh, the humanity! Not surprisingly, a lot of people are worried about the economic impact of this fiscal cliff, with some of the more hyperbolic among us forecasting rack & ruin. However, we need to...

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Common Cents for October 12th 2012

, by John Norris

Last night, I watched the Vice Presidential debate until I couldn’t take it any longer. If that was a debate, I don’t know what an argument is. While I understand Joe Biden’s desire to be assertive, and even aggressive, at one point during the proceedings, a scene from “This is Spinal Tap” came to mine: “This one goes to eleven.” Certainly, members of either party will applaud their candidate’s performance, and deride their opponent’s; however,...

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Common Cents for October 5th 2012

, by John Norris

Frustrating; that was the word a client used this morning to describe the United States and its economy today. Things aren’t lousy, and things aren’t great. Things are frustrating, largely because so many people in our society don’t understand how the world actually works. One of the best things about starting Oakworth, and working for a small, but growing firm, has been the light bulb that went off and continues to burn. I get it;...

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Common Cents for September 28th 2012

, by John Norris

If you read the news enough, you could conclude the world increasingly doesn’t understand the very basic risk/reward paradigm. Essentially, the amount of reward you receive is commensurate with the amount of risk you take. To businesspeople, this makes perfect sense; it is how it should be. That is how you create wealth: you take risk. It helps if you are insanely brilliant and devilishly attractive, but, where the rubber meets the road, the common...

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Common Cents for September 14th 2012

, by John Norris

Yesterday, the Federal Reserve another round of what it calls ‘quantitative easing.’ This is an academics way of saying: “buying bonds with money the Fed created as though out of thin air.” Obviously, the former sounds a little more sophisticated and mysterious than the latter. Shoot, if Larry the Cable Guy were to describe quantitative easing, he would say something along the lines of: “You see, it’s when these guys buy up all this stuff...

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