Economically Speaking

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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John Norris: When it comes to business, fairness is relative

September 12, 2017, by John Norris

While he wasn’t the first to bring up the idea, Karl Marx was known for saying: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” The thought process is the strong will carry the weak, until it is their time to be weak. That sounds fair, and isn’t that the way it should be? Some months ago, my daughter and I had a conversation about economics. When I gave her my thoughts...

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Some Common Cents for September 8, 2017

September 8, 2017, by John Norris

The Science Channel has a new program called “The Planets” which airs on Tuesday evenings. I missed the first episode on Jupiter, but I found the second one on Venus to be absolutely riveting. Where do these people come up with these crazy hypotheses? Have they nothing better else to do? For instance, who would have thought the proximate cause for the inhospitable climate on Venus was/is a collision with a more minor planet during...

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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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John Norris: When it comes to shopping, know what you’re paying for

August 29, 2017, by John Norris

The other day, I went to a local grocery to buy a couple of helium balloons for my wife’s birthday. A small sign on the counter at the floral department directed me to the customer service desk for attention. I waited there a few minutes before a relatively young employee sauntered – a good word choice – over to ask how they could help. I told her, and she ambled over to another employee no fewer than five aisles...

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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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John Norris: Country’s tax code is beyond ridiculous

August 22, 2017, by John Norris

Years from now, if not after next year’s elections, historians may wonder how the GOP squandered a wonderful opportunity to pass meaningful tax reform. While I am not privy to all the back door machinations in Washington, outward appearances certainly suggest the ruling party is kind of disinclined to work with itself, let alone those on the opposite side of the aisle. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. While no one really likes...

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