Burdens Felt From Offshore

Burdens Felt From Offshore The European Union (EU) stands in contrast to our recently buoyant US economy.  The US shows a healthy 236,000 jobs created, unemployment down to 7.7%, a 10-year T-bill near 2%, retail sales up by 1.1%, and we expect growth in the 1.5% range despite fiscal cliff injuries.  There are worries, but […]

The Debt: Government vs. Households

Households are wary for their future due to a cluster of assaults on their pocketbook and sanity; harsh unemployment and underemployment over the last 5 years, high-stakes partisan bickering, energy prices, health care prices, and promises of new taxes.  For many, sources of credit have dried up and loans are available only to those who […]

Tax Reform is the RX (Fiscal Cliff Part 4)

Congress and the President need to extend all of the prior administration’s tax cuts and do this immediately.  Given the current teetering economy, an increase in dividend, capital gains and income taxes will only reduce consumer disposable income and harm the economy.  For this piece, however, let’s begin reform of the tax code …. A […]

The Fiscal Cliff—Part 1

The fiscal cliff we approach is a rotting pile of Washington’s unfinished business.  When we slip over that cliff, taxes due will escalate because: the “Bush Tax Cuts” (reauthorized by President Obama) will expire; the temporary payroll tax cuts will expire; and protections from the Alternate Minimum Tax will expire.  As we fall from the […]

Lighting the Euro Zone’s Christmas Fuse

For those who value apolitical conversation starters for seasonal parties, we offer a few notes on the Euro Zone “mess” which may go pyrotechnic within a few months.   The Substance:   Twenty-six European Union (EU) members voted to balance their nations’ fiscal budget within 0.5%, enforced by EU-imposed penalties.  Today, all but 3 countries […]

Exclusive — Europe’s Role in Your 401(k) Slump

Europe is relevant to consumers tending a retirement account.  After wild 500-point Dow swings in early August, US Stock prices stabilized somewhat. We can attribute that to many reports of good earnings and a few large mergers.  Price levels are suppressed partly by the dismal US outlook and partly by fears of European Union troubles.  […]

Emperor’s New Clothes – An Independent Assessment

Reminiscent of a Stasi leg-breaking, Argentina persecuted economists for publishing inflation estimates that exceed the banana republic’s official estimates.  Encouraged by those soul-mate vaqueros, Italian politicians started a regulatory shootout with S&P and Moodys for publicly saying a downgrade may result from Italy’s excessive levels of sovereign debt.  The spaghetti western ended a few days […]

Where are Greek and Other European Debt Problems Headed?

Greece has been in debt-default for 50% of the last 179 years.   Although its debt and low productivity grab headlines, its GDP of $305 billion is a small part of the European Union (EU) countries using the Euro.    Greece is headed for bankruptcy on its $500 billion in debt despite bailouts from the EU and […]