Musings & Insights

Some Common Cents for July 14th, 2017

July 14, 2017, by John Norris

The other night, I dreamt a massive meteor hit the earth. Since I typically dream in comedy and am not prone to worrying during waking hours, this was both a departure from the norm and somewhat disconcerting. After all, not much good will come out of a cube with 1 mile edges hurtling into the earth from deep space at what could only be described as a very rapid rate of speed. Perhaps my dream...

Read More : Some Common Cents for July 14th, 2017 - Full Article

Some Common Cents for July 7th, 2017

July 10, 2017, by John Norris

I have recently written about the potential for some form of consolidated government in the Birmingham metropolitan area. For those not in the know, many, if not most, of our suburbs have incorporated themselves over the last 70+ years. The endgame has been a relatively diminished ‘center city’ surrounded by fully functioning municipalities with their own unique identities. Tens of thousands of people, if not hundreds of thousands, in the metro area might not even...

Read More : Some Common Cents for July 7th, 2017 - Full Article

John Norris: Creativity should matter more in Alabama’s economy

June 26, 2017, by John Norris

Years ago, I had an internationally recognized economist tell me it didn’t matter if the U.S. physically manufactured a single thing. After all, the value added proposition of many finished products, if not most, is in the design, engineering and technology. In her way of thinking, the production process is a means to an end, and people don’t really pay for it. They pay for the creativity behind the product or service. If this seems a...

Read More : John Norris: Creativity should matter more in Alabama’s economy - Full Article

Some Common Cents for June 23rd, 2017

, by John Norris

This is sort of part one in an intermittent series. Recently, I received an email with a link to a study about the need for a consolidated form of government in the Birmingham metro area (MSA). For those of you not familiar with Birmingham, most of the suburbs have incorporated themselves. All of them have their own fire and police departments, and the larger, wealthier ones have their own school systems. Some of these cities/suburbs,...

Read More : Some Common Cents for June 23rd, 2017 - Full Article

Norris: Federal Reserve is walking a tightrope

June 20, 2017, by John Norris

Last week, the Federal Reserve raised the overnight lending target rate between member banks by 0.25 percent, and said it wants to remove some of the stimulus it provided with its quantitative easing programs. Put another way, it wants to take some of the excess cash out of the banking system over time. To do this, it will sell some of its bond holdings, or simply not reinvest them as they mature. The cash it...

Read More : Norris: Federal Reserve is walking a tightrope - Full Article

John Norris: Media outlets give readers what they want

June 6, 2017, by John Norris

We seem to have entered the news doldrums, where our choices are: 1. an endless barrage of so-called analysis of the Administration’s perceived foibles and follies, or 2. stories which are the journalistic equivalent of delivery pizza. They might be tasty going down, but are ultimately forgettable. While folks might bemoan what passes for news these days, the media is simply giving us what we want. Every news organization has the ability to track user reading patterns better...

Read More : John Norris: Media outlets give readers what they want - Full Article

Some Common Cents for June 2nd, 2017

June 5, 2017, by John Norris

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released The Employment Situation report for the month of May 2017. I will cut to the quick, and tell you it might be one of the more boring releases of its type I have ever read. So much so, I felt sorry for the folks who had to compile the data by the time I finished reading the thing. In a lot of ways, I found it...

Read More : Some Common Cents for June 2nd, 2017 - Full Article

Some Common Cents for May 26th, 2017

May 26, 2017, by John Norris

This week, a reporter friend of mine asked my thoughts on the prospects of traditional banks and credit unions getting into, what can only be called, the payday lending space IF the Administration’s regulatory reform proposals get through the Congress. It seems some banks have made overtures about doing just that, but this is very anecdotal and far from the norm. Frankly, I am kind of professionally ambivalent on the matter, but I still gave...

Read More : Some Common Cents for May 26th, 2017 - Full Article

Norris: Corporate America can’t hit snooze button on economy

May 24, 2017, by John Norris

Recently, a reporter called to ask my thoughts about the ongoing scandal in Washington surrounding former FBI Director Jim Comey, the Russians and the White House. Is it enough to cause the stock market to crash? In so many words, my response was simple: “only if it causes a slowdown in economic activity and a corresponding drop in corporate profitability. Absent that, long-term, no.” Obviously, his follow up question was whether the turmoil would put the...

Read More : Norris: Corporate America can’t hit snooze button on economy - Full Article

Some Common Cents for May 19th, 2017

May 19, 2017, by John Norris

This week, I had a brief discussion with a very bright individual regarding future economic growth and potential investment opportunities in the United States. His comments were in complete alignment with my thoughts: moving forward, there will be two types of companies which will matter: 1) disrupters, which are companies providing technologies, products, and/or services which fundamentally change our lives and how we conduct business, and; 2) base, which are those providing the essentials of...

Read More : Some Common Cents for May 19th, 2017 - Full Article