Economically Speaking

Common Cents & Novak Djokovic on July 19, 2019

July 18, 2019, by John Norris

This past Sunday, I watched every point of the men’s finals at Wimbledon between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, every point. This took some conviction and playing hooky from church, but I couldn’t peel my eyes away from the screen. While I will stop short of saying it was the best tennis match in history, I am not sure if I have personally seen a more gripping one. It was the longest men’s final in the...

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Common Cents & Cryptocurrencies on July 12, 2019

July 12, 2019, by John Norris

Long years ago, when I was four, my sister and I found a quarter outside a grocery/delicatessen named Browdy’s here in town. More appropriately, I saw said quarter on the ground, and my nine-year old sister pushed me out of the way to pick it up. No matter, as she bought a fistful of hard candies and bubble gum for us to share, and a candy bar for herself. At the time, I thought it...

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Common Cents & Fried Chicken on July 5, 2019

July 5, 2019, by John Norris

Not surprisingly, a fair number of people took a vacation day today in order to turn the 4th of July into a 4-day weekend. So, I thought it would be nice to provide lunch for the wealth management associates who didn’t do so. Having done this sort of thing numerous times in the past, I find it best not to take individual orders, and simply order something on which most people can agree. For instance,...

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Common Cents & Capital Gains Taxes on June 28, 2019

June 28, 2019, by John Norris

Yesterday, a few headlines reported the Administration was/is mulling a somewhat convoluted way of reducing the capital gains tax by indexing said gains to inflation, skirting a dubious Congress in the process. Nefarious stuff, that. The original source of the breaking news was a story on Bloomberg which cited, no kidding, “according to people familiar with the matter.” To seemingly add veracity to the story was the clincher: “A White House spokesman didn’t immediately respond...

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Common Cents & Question Marks on June 21, 2019

June 21, 2019, by John Norris

This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the monetary policy making arm of the Federal Reserve, met and left the overnight lending target unchanged at 2.50%. This was as expected, and Average Joe’s kneejerk reaction might be: “so what?” The so what of it all is the FOMC opened the way for lower rates moving forward. Put another way, ‘the Fed’ all but said money was going to be cheaper in the United States...

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Common Cents, the Minimum Wage, and a Lobster Roll on June 14, 2019

June 14, 2019, by John Norris

This past Wednesday afternoon, I had a conversation with a client who commented on the declining economic fortunes of Selma, Alabama, and I will spare you how we got there. They specifically mentioned the shuttered storefronts, empty houses, and crumbling infrastructure, which have been the results of a declining population base over the last several decades. Unfortunately, Selma is not alone in this regard, either in Alabama or the remainder of the Deep South. I...

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Common Cents & Border Security on May 31, 2019

May 31, 2019, by John Norris

This morning, we woke up with the news the President had announced new tariffs against Mexico for failing to curb the tide of migration through that country and up to our southern border. Perhaps interestingly, or not to some Americans, it seems the Administration is frustrated Mexico isn’t doing enough to secure ITS southern border, which ‘allows’ large numbers of Guatemalans, Hondurans, Salvadorans, and Nicaraguans to migrate up to El Norte (USA). Perhaps even more...

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Common Cents & Hyperinflation on May 24, 2019

May 24, 2019, by John Norris

This week, Wednesday night actually, my college-aged daughter asked me a number of questions on the passing scene. What did I feel about this or that? What was my opinion on thus and so? That sort of thing. Not surprisingly, she was a little more idealistic than I on some issues, but we mostly agreed and mostly in part. Laughingly, she has a lot more time to get her head screwed on straight than I...

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Common Cents & The Ballpark on May 17, 2019

May 17, 2019, by John Norris

This week, I met with some clients who asked me about inflation, namely why there isn’t any. They weren’t complaining, not in the least. They were curious: how was the Federal Reserve able to pump trillions of dollars into the financial system and keep the overnight lending target rate below 3% for over a decade without prices spiraling out of control? My response took about 20 minutes, seriously. First, I told them inflation is where...

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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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