Global Economy

Column: Norris: Alabama’s economy is underperforming

April 4, 2017, by John Norris

According the St. Louis Federal Reserve, the Gross State Product for Alabama in 2015 was $178.566 billion, in constant 2009 dollars. That is a fancy way of saying when adjusted for inflation using 2009 as the base year. Using that same technique, it estimates our GSP was $171.723 billion in 2005. The good news is we have increased our economic output over the last decade. The bad news is we haven’t increased it by very...

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Some Common Cents for January 27th, 2017

January 30, 2017, by John Norris

This morning, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its first stab at 4Q 2016 Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Since the BEA estimated the economy grew at a 3.5% annual rate for 3Q 2016, no one was expecting a huge number (or shouldn’t have). However, the 1.9% figure the BEA gave us was less than the so-called ‘consensus’ estimate of 2.2%, but it wasn’t surprising. In fact, it was the somewhat gaudy 3Q estimate I...

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Some Common Cents for December 23rd, 2016

December 27, 2016, by John Norris

Since the election, I have had more than one person ask me a variant of: “how are we going to pay for everything Trump says he is going to do?” This is ordinarily more rhetorical than an actual desire to know the answer, which is understandable. There has been no shortage of so-called experts predicting fiscal rack & ruin over the next 4 years. It always seems to go something like this: “Based on what...

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Some Common Cents for December 9th, 2016

December 12, 2016, by John Norris

If every year in the future flies by as quickly as 2016 has for me, I am going to go buy a burial plot and cheap suit for Christmas. Outside of 2008, it has been one of the craziest years I can remember in my career. I suppose I can blame a somewhat bizarre Presidential campaign for part of it. The mealy mouthed Federal Reserve also gets some blame. Finally, I have two teenagers, and...

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Some Common Cents for September 30th, 2016

October 3, 2016, by John Norris

It has always been prudent to choose your words wisely and avoid inflammatory issues when writing newsletters and newspaper columns. However, in the past, it was more difficult for readers to reach out to you with their opinions. This disconnect, if you will, between the writer and the reader probably engendered a more constructive flow of actual information and opinion. I started writing the precursor of Common Cents in 2001, I believe, and a weekly...

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Some Common Cents for September 23rd, 2016

September 23, 2016, by Lindsey Owens

This week, I made a presentation to an estate planning group in Mobile. The speaker prior to me either wasn’t aware of his allotted time or didn’t care, as he went extremely long. So, I truncated my prepared remarks by about 10 minutes to keep the conference somewhat close to on schedule. No worries; when you make as many talks as I do, you learn to make adjustments on the fly. Obviously, you can’t adequately...

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Some Common Cents for September 16th, 2016

September 16, 2016, by John Norris

Last Friday afternoon, I made a 3.5 hour long economic presentation to a group of CPAs who had waited until the last minute to get their continuing education credits for the year. You could say I was their penance, if not punishment. While I would like to think I am a decent public speaker, it is nigh impossible to keep everyone’s attention for that long on, admittedly, pretty dry stuff. Unless someone asks an extremely...

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Some Common Cents for September 2nd, 2016

September 2, 2016, by John Norris

This week, the European Commission (EU) ordered Apple, Inc., to pay the Irish government $14.6 billion in back taxes it claimed the company owed. Interestingly, the Irish weren’t asking for the money, quite the opposite. They were actively arguing otherwise. However, the powers that be, and in Europe there are a lot of them, determined a tax deal the country made with Apple amounted to an illegal state subsidy, and, therefore, was anti-competitive. Make no...

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Some Common Cents for August 19th, 2016

August 19, 2016, by John Norris

I have watched the Olympics with some regularity over the last two weeks, and will be sorry when they are over this weekend. It has been a nice break from what passes as prime time entertainment these days, even if NBC makes it a nightly habit of serving up heaping helpings of schmaltz. However, you can’t please everyone. One of the things that fascinates me is the individual economic impact of winning a medal. For...

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Some Common Cents for July 15th 2016

July 18, 2016, by John Norris

The cover of The Economist for the first week of November 1997 is one of my all time favorites. Here it is, and a quick note to the good folks at the magazine: I am not making a dime from this, but thanks: If you are reading this on your phone, you might have a hard time reading the captions. On the far left, a broker is telling a client over the phone “I’ve got a...

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