Economic Progress

 

It’s not uncommon to hear people wish that we could return to the “good old days,” when the world seemed more prosperous. Of course, depending on how far you go back, the “good old days” might cover a time when the world was poised on the edge of a nuclear precipice, when the […]

Puerto Rico – Statehood or Bust

You’ve probably read about the troubled finances of Puerto Rico, the U.S. territory in the Caribbean that has issued more than $70 billion in municipal bonds, with no visible way to pay out the interest, much less the principal. Now Puerto Rican have overwhelmingly voted that they want their island territory to become the 51st […]

Pictures That Tell a Story

They say a picture speaks a thousand words, and that means, to an economist, that sometimes it’s easier to communicate something complicated with a chart or a graph rather than a lot of explanatory text.

So it is with three charts and a picture, selected for the eye-opening perspective they offer. The first, in […]

Global Debt Overhang

You haven’t heard much about the U.S. government’s debt, in part because, as a percentage of the economy, the growth of our national debt has slowed dramatically. (See chart) But measured on a global scale, the world’s $152 trillion of debt—from consumers, corporations and governments worldwide—is more than double the balance at the start of […]

Structural Struggle

 

Why has the American economy grown so slowly since the Great Recession? This year, GDP growth will fall somewhere in the 1.5% to 1.8% range, below the 3% growth rate that is considered a sign of robust economic health. Critics have blamed everything from China’s slowdown to globally outsourced manufacturing to fiscal fights in […]

Whither BREXIT?

More than three months after British voters elected to extricate their economy from the European Union, Brexit still hasn’t actually happened. What’s going on?

Apparently nothing more than a careful process designed to minimize damage on both sides of the English Channel. British Prime Minister Theresa May recently announced a target of late first quarter […]

Money in the Foreign Bank

 

You might have been reading worrisome comments in the financial press that corporate profits have come down from their highs, in part because unemployment is coming down and the labor markets are getting tighter. None of this is really bad news, or particularly surprising, despite the breathless spin in the financial press and cable […]

2015 Investment Report: Dare to Believe?

 

Looking back on 2014, people are going to say it was a great year to be an investor. They won’t remember how uncertain the journey felt right up to the last day of a year that saw the S&P 500 close at a record level on 53 different days. Think back over a good […]

How Do the Markets Really Work?

 

We all do it. But what do we really know about investing? A recent post about investing wisdom features a lot of interesting (and often overlooked) facts and figures, plus some insights from Warren Buffett, Jeremy Siegel, William Bernstein, Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman and a few economists you may have heard of.

Regarding market […]

Should We Fear—Or Cheer—Plunging Oil Prices?

 

Chances are, you’re celebrating today’s lower gas prices. AAA reports that the national average price of gas is $2.60 today, the lowest since December 2009. The result: an estimated $70 billion in direct savings for U.S. consumers over the next 12 months. At previous prices, the average American was spending about $2,600 a year […]