Go With the Flow?

Over the last several weeks, there have been several articles discussing Google’s autonomous cars’ penchant for being involved in an above average number of accidents.  According to Google, none of these accidents have been the fault of the autonomous car.  If Google’s claims are correct, we have an interesting paradox, Google’s cars have more accidents … Continued

It Is Important to Understand Cycles

Recently, The Wall Street Journal published an excerpt by John Steinbeck, who wrote about California’s Salinas Valley, where he grew up, in the novel “East of Eden” (1952). “I have spoken of the rich years when rainfall was plentiful.  But there were dry years too, and then they put terror on the valley.  The water … Continued

Free Market Capitalism

Larry Kudlow frequently advises viewers of CNBC that, “free market capitalism is the best path to prosperity.”  On the whole, he has a point.  Unfortunately, this is a concept that is difficult to explain in a sound-bite.  Even worse, it tends to require a significant degree of political and individual effort and discipline to implement … Continued

The Importance of Focusing on the Long Term

The following paragraphs, relating to long term investing, are excerpted from Warren E. Buffet’s most recent Berkshire Hathaway Inc. letter to shareholders. “The unconventional, but inescapable, conclusion to be drawn from the past fifty years is that it has been far safer to invest in a diversified collection of American businesses than to invest in securities … Continued

Involuntary Part-Time Work

The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data indicated that the February unemployment rate was 5.5% while labor force participation was 62.8%.  At 5.5%, the unemployment rate appears to be a positive, although it doesn’t adequately reflect underemployment.  The labor force participation rate of 62.8% is near record lows and would seem to reflect an … Continued

Staying Alive

Yahoo Finance penned an article last week titled, “Five ways your financial adviser can screw up your retirement, legally.”  This coincided with an announcement by US Labor Department Secretary Thomas Perez, indicating that he was sending the agencies’ “conflict of interest” rule to the Office of Management and Budget, which means that the timer is … Continued

Walmart, Wages and The Fed

Walmart, the largest private employer in the country, recently announced that all its U. S. workers would earn at least $9 per hour by April and at least $10 per hour by next February. In the opinion of the author, this is the right thing to do.  “The workman is worthy of his hire”. This … Continued

Don’t Bet the Farm

Two recent articles suggest that we may be seeing a return to riskier home financing.  Friday’s Wall Street Journal carried an article by Anya Martin asking “Tempted to Put Home Equity to Work?”  Sunday’s Detroit Free Press included a commentary by JC Reindl highlighting the return of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac insured mortgages featuring … Continued

Thunder, But No Lightning?

I don’t take lightly the 3+% move in the markets over the past two days.  And, be assured, down days in the market leave a much more lasting impression in my mind than big up days (which is why I was able to cite below the date and statistics of events 27+ years ago without … Continued

Housing Prices, A Good Consumer Barometer

Home price growth slowed in October and the question that lingers is whether the recovery from the slump in pricing that began with the Great Recession in 2008-09, is coming to an end.  This is an important consideration because price growth provides the accumulation of equity that typically allows homeowners to “trade up.”  The cycle … Continued