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Low Rates Force Hands for Pensions, Retirees

30 Jan

Pensions may be a thing of the past in terms of benefits offered by employers and governments, but they’re still very much present-tense in their liabilities and the fact that many retirees rely on them. That makes it even more troubling that they’re underfunded, meaning their liabilities are greater than the value of assets they [...]

Odd Happenings

26 Dec

Since Donald Trump was elected, a few noteworthy things have happened. For instance, the correlation between stocks and bonds is near zero. It’s almost always strongly positive or negative. When the correlation is strong, investors lose diversification. When stocks and bonds are negatively correlated (as they are now), bond yields tend to shoot up. This [...]

Taxes, Regulation and Economic Performance

19 Dec

If people were to pick which issue was most important during the presidential campaign cycle, I bet most would say the economy. After all, the economy is the backbone of American life as we know it. So in that sense, it’s interesting to view modern presidents in terms of economic performance (i.e., GDP growth). John F. [...]

U.S. Nearing NIRP?

28 Nov

Historically speaking, an average economic expansion lasts 50 months, while an average recession lasts 10 months. The Great Recession ended in June 2009, putting us in the 90th month of expansion. History would suggest we’re nearing the end of this cycle and will see a recession soon, perhaps within the next two years. This is [...]

Real U.S. Tax Rates Near Highest in World

21 Nov

Donald Trump says the U.S. is one of the highest-taxed countries in the world. Hillary Clinton says the rich don’t pay enough. Who’s right? The top American rate is 39.6 percent. Those who disagree with the U.S. being a high-rate country point to Sweden, where taxes can reach as high as 59.7 percent of income. [...]

A Path to Repatriation?

14 Nov

U.S. firms are holding $2.5 trillion in profits outside the country (“offshore”) and saving themselves from billions of dollars in taxes. And they refuse to bring the money home, also known as “repatriation,” because of our 35 percent corporate income tax rate. In other words, firms don’t want to pay a high tax rate at [...]

Obamacare’s Design Flaw

7 Nov

It’s open enrollment season, the time when many Americans choose their health care plans for the upcoming year. Regardless of what happens in the 2016 election, one thing is certain – Barrack Obama will no longer be in charge. But that’s not true when it comes to health care. See, he’ll never be too far, [...]

Data Defies Returns

24 Oct

I’ve said it before – twice actually – but I must ask again. Why is the market going up and up when the hard economic data indicates that the economy should be in or near a recession? Considering the following, the returns become even more unbelievable. For instance, private sector GDP is up a shade [...]

Start-Up Fizzle

17 Oct

There’s been a dramatic decline in U.S. new business creation – in fact, it’s at a 40-year low! A big reason we should all care is that startups create half of all new jobs annually. If these job-creating enterprises don’t materialize regularly, the logical result is fewer and fewer new jobs. Slightly fewer than 453,000 [...]

Men Leaving Labor Force in Droves

10 Oct

Here’s a surprising and disheartening statistic – men aged 25 to 54 currently have the lowest labor force participation rate than at any time since 1940. That’s when the Great Depression was ending! That runs counter to what we hear – that unemployment is under 5 percent and we’re nearing full employment. But the truth is altogether [...]