The World Health Organization reports (as of March 13, 2020) that there have been 132,758 cases of COVID-19, with 4,955 deaths. The virus has spread to 123 countries. It certainly looks scary, and it is scary for those directly affected. But consider: The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that so far this [Learn more…]
Trade Deficits And Tariffs And Trade Wars, Oh My!
International trade, and especially US international trade deficits, have been a large part of the news recently. President Trump has seized on trade deficits and the impact of globalization on US jobs and US businesses as central political issues. International trade plays an increasingly important role in the US economy. The chart above shows exports [Learn more…]
Inflation Assumption Updates And Your Financial Plan
To improve our recommendations, we are re-evaluating the economic assumptions in our financial plans. We will be rolling out newsletters and white papers on each assumption. In this article, I will discuss our new methodology for inflation and its effect on our recommendations. What is Inflation? Rarely a day goes by that we do not [Learn more…]
Is Passive Investing Bad for the Economy?
In August, Inigo Fraser-Jenkins of Sanford Bernstein published “The Silent Road to Serfdom: Why Passive Investing Is Worse Than Marxism.” Since the note was for AllianceBernstein clients only, I can’t quote from it. I can’t even read it! The comments that follow are necessarily second hand, based on the responses of several commentators who somehow [Learn more…]
Greek Crisis Avoided — For Now
One cannot open a newspaper or listen to news on the radio without hearing about Greece, Greek default, and the possibility of “Grexit” or Greece exiting the Eurozone. The new bailout deal does not change the fact that Greece and Europe have multiple issues, all inter-related, and none easily soluble. Here is a high level [Learn more…]
Peering Over the Fiscal Cliff
We’ve been hearing about the fiscal cliff ever since Ben Bernanke coined the term back in February. It sounds pretty scary. If the economy goes off the (fiscal) cliff, it might shatter on the rocks below. That is, if the fall is far enough. And if there really are rocks. And if the economy really [Learn more…]
Greece, Europe and the US
The financial crisis in Europe, with a focus on Greece, which we’ve been discussing for the last two to three years, appears to be coming to a head. I’ll provide a brief summary of past events, then describe some potential outcomes. How did we get here? Greece has very poor economic infrastructure. The public sector is [Learn more…]