Economically Speaking

Losing Face & Trade Negotiations on May 13, 2019

May 13, 2019, by John Norris

In graduate school, I did a case study for a marketing class on selling farm equipment in China. If I remember correctly, which I believe I do, I ultimately recommended conducting a massive charm offense on the necessary cadres, at all levels, and selling our products at their variable costs until ‘we’ had achieved some solid footing or market share. The class was not amused. What about overhead? What about profit margins? What about this...

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Is It Common Cents on June 15, 2018? We Will See.

June 15, 2018, by John Norris

This morning, the Administration imposed a 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of goods from China. To put that number into better perspective, in 2016, the US imported roughly $463 billion (excluding services) from the Chinese. So, the Administration put a 25% tariff on about 11% of US imports from that country. In terms of pure dollars and cents, this imbroglio is the proverbial mouse that roared. Then again, trade deficits are sort of like...

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A Quick Note About the Recent Sell Off

February 6, 2018, by John Norris

Is it time to panic? Unless you really don't digest any financial news, you know the stock market has been taken a beating over the last several trading sessions, a bad one. The last hour or so of trading yesterday was about as painful as it gets, almost begging the question: is this 2008 all over again? As I type this, I would answer that question pretty emphatically no. However, that doesn't mean the markets...

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Common Cents on an Ugly Day in the Markets – Groundhog Day 2018

February 2, 2018, by John Norris

Section I This morning, a client asked me whether I was nervous about the markets, particularly after the way they have behaved over the last week. He pointed out, correctly at the time, stocks were taking it on the chin here on Groundhog Day after a better than expected Employment Situation report. After all, this all but ensures the Federal Reserve will raise the overnight lending target at next month’s FOMC meeting, right? As the...

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This is Common Cents for January 12, 2018

January 12, 2018, by John Norris

Section I Today, I went to a lunch presentation on Alabama’s economy. Years ago, I was somewhat involved in the sponsoring group, and I have decided to start going again, at least occasionally. Laughingly, there are only so many economic presentations I can sit through in a given year. In case you were wondering, that is more paradoxical or oxymoronic than it is ironic. Just saying. I will cut to the quick: the presenter, who...

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Common Cents for January 5, 2018

January 5, 2018, by John Norris

Section I Everyone knows the old adage: “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” This was particularly true in the markets this week, as stocks just kept on climbing after we changed the calendar on the wall. 2017? 2018? What difference does a man-made concept like a calendar mean when there is money to be made? To be sure, there is nothing in the recent economic data to suggest anything other than...

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Some Last Minute Advice Before the End of 2017

December 27, 2017, by John Norris

Over the past week, even on Christmas Day, I have been inundated with emails detailing things people should do before the end of the year in light of the recent tax legislation. Many of the so-called recommendations would take a few weeks to hammer out with an attorney, if not months, and time is of the essence. But, you know, some of that stuff sure sounded great….really clever. However, there are still a few last...

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John Norris: Does corporate America really need a tax cut?

December 13, 2017, by John Norris

I have read numerous articles which asked the following question in a number of different ways: Does corporate America really need a tax cut? After all, big business pays a lot of people the big bucks to find loopholes and ways around paying its fair share, right? Apparently, these are the same companies which give their top executives eye popping salaries, with all kinds of perks on top of sweetheart fringe benefits. To be sure, there...

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Some Common Cents for December 1, 2017

December 1, 2017, by John Norris

Section I: Last night, I made an economic presentation to the Tuscaloosa Estate Planning Council at the Indian Hills Country Club. This group has asked me to speak 3 or 4 times over the last decade, and it always, and I repeat always, serves filet mignon. What’s more, it has the club serve me first, which obviously allows me to enjoy said steak. Frankly, this is wonderful, and kind of, if not exceedingly, rare. You...

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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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