National Economy

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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Some Common Cents for October 27, 2017

October 27, 2017, by John Norris

Although I don’t consider myself a codger, I have recently found myself saying things like: “when I was a kid” or “I am old enough to remember when.” You know, the sort of stuff that makes you an old-timer whether you care to admit it or not. This week, I was rooting around in a plastic pumpkin full of candy in our office building looking for something good to eat. Specifically, I was looking for...

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Some Common Cents for October 20, 2017

October 20, 2017, by John Norris

One of my wife’s co-workers recently turned us onto a PBS Masterpiece series entitled ‘Poldark.’ As an aside, in case you didn’t already know, Masterpiece is a code word for: 1) originally produced by and aired on the BBC well before PBS got ahold of it, and; 2) a dramatic piece of historical fiction set in the United Kingdom at some point prior to, interestingly enough, television. ‘Poldark’ is no different. Without going into exhaustive...

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John Norris: When making financial decisions, look to the past

October 16, 2017, by John Norris

A few years ago, my daughter asked me some detailed questions regarding the Vietnam War. Let’s just say I wasn’t as knowledgeable or detailed as she would have liked. So much so, I had to defend myself with something along these lines: “I was too old for it to be in my history books, but too young to remember what actually happened.” Perhaps as a result, I greatly enjoyed the recent documentary on PBS by...

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Some Common Cents for October 6, 2017

October 6, 2017, by John Norris

I started in this industry working on a buy-side bond trading desk, as well as managing money market and municipal bond funds. My employer in Baltimore had some pretty strict credit standards, and, as a result, we were not big buyers of Puerto Rican debt. This was a little unusual in the industry since the stuff ALWAYS had insurance which meant, at the time, it carried a triple-A rating. Further, due to favorable treatment from...

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John Norris: Warren Buffett’s long-range Dow prediction is hogwash

September 25, 2017, by John Norris

[caption id="attachment_2759" align="alignleft" width="259"] (Photo Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)[/caption] Last week, famed investor Warren Buffett boldly predicted the Dow Industrials will be over 1 million in 100 years. On its face, that would seem to be a pretty robust outlook. Dow 1 Million? Wow. If only, huh? The problem with such seemingly outlandish statements is they are hogwash, and I mean complete and utter rubbish. So much so, I will go Buffett one step farther and...

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Some Common Cents on September 22, 2017

September 22, 2017, by John Norris

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the monetary policy making body of the Federal Reserve, met this week, and very people were concerned about what it would decide to do with the overnight lending target rate between member banks. This would be highly unusual but for the fact EVERYONE wanted greater insight regarding the hotly anticipated “unwinding” of the quantitative easing the Fed did during the aftermath of the financial crisis. In case you missed,...

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John Norris: Which came first? The consumer or the product?

September 18, 2017, by John Norris

My daughter will periodically declare herself a vegetarian for a number of different reasons, none of them dietary in nature. This will last for a few days or until the next time we have spaghetti for dinner, whichever comes first. It seems her convictions are no match for a good Bolognese sauce. A couple of weekends ago, she came home from college and we all went for a hike at one of the parks here...

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Some Common Cents for September 1, 2017

September 1, 2017, by John Norris

Recently, someone said to me: “with everything that is going on in the world, I bet there is no shortage of things for you to write about.” To be sure, it seems as though we are tearing ourselves apart at the seams, with Mother Nature lending a helping hand. However, there is a difference between headline stories and what actually impacts how we live our lives and conduct business. There are times when living in...

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Some Common Cents For August 25, 2017

August 25, 2017, by John Norris

Earlier this week, someone forwarded to me a link to an old video clip of a debate, if that is the right word, between Milton Friedman and Phil Donahue. The issue at hand was greed. Donahue’s argument was the, presumed, inherent greed within capitalism leads to an unfair distribution of resources. Depending on how you view the world, Friedman’s response was either completely misguided or analogous to the virtuous killing of a mosquito with a...

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