Hey! Amazon! How About Michigan?

It is well known that Amazon is seeking a location for a new major investment.  Not so well known is the progress that Michigan has made since the Great Recession ended in 2009.  The recently released 2017 Michigan Economic Competiveness Study confirms that Michigan is making great progress at the state level. Consider: Michigan’s economy … Continued

Cash is King?

The concept of “cash is king” has often been associated with investment strategies.  It now appears that the importance of cash as an incentive is becoming a larger factor in attracting business investment. For example, at first glance, it would seem that Wisconsin’s successful bid for Foxconn’s first major U.S. manufacturing facility was smaller than … Continued

“Que Sera, Sera”

“Que Sera, Sera” is the title of a song made famous by Doris Day in 1956.  Investors might note the song’s chorus.  “Que sera, sera, whatever will be will be, the future’s not ours to see, que sera, sera, what will be, will be.” Despite the seemingly never ending prognostications, by “experts”, both bulls and bears, … Continued

Do Costs Determine Prices?

Conventional wisdom generally suggests that when costs rise, price increases follow.  Most of the time, this may be accurate.  However, investors should investigate carefully before jumping to a conclusion.  Sometimes costs adjust to reflect prices rather than the other way around. An interesting case in point is the oil industry’s reaction to a major decrease … Continued

Are Real Wages Finally Firming?

We have previously commented on the issue of lackluster U.S. economic growth.  (See our blog from  Jul-12)  Among the possible causative factors, relatively modest gains for real wages has been highlighted by many economists. We have seen unemployment steadily decline to near record lows.  At the same time, we have not seen much in the … Continued

Infrastructure

Infrastructure is defined by the “American Heritage Dictionary” as the basic facilities, services, and installations needed for the functioning of a community or society, such as transportation and communications systems, water and power lines, and public institutions including schools, post office, and prisons. Historically, politicians have tended to give infrastructure spending short shrift while favoring social … Continued

Accounting for Retiree Benefits

It is probable that states and cities will soon be recording the full cost of health care promised to public employees once they retire.  New Government Accounting Standards Board principles urge officials to record all health care liabilities on their balance sheets instead of pushing a portion of the debt to foot notes.  Most states … Continued

Consumer Spending and Economic Growth

The U.S. economy is generally believed to be substantially consumer driven.  Accordingly, trends in consumer spending are closely watched by investors and economists.  With an economy that is largely dependent on consumer spending, it is important to recognize that an individual consumer can spend only so much. Recently reported retail sales figures have been disappointing.  … Continued

Single-payer Healthcare

Healthcare remains a headline issue with a wide range of proposals.  The discussion is highly politicized and generally tends to emphasize benefits while glossing over costs.  Inevitably, there are comparisons with other national systems and recurring comments, from advocates and critics, without much clarity as to what actually comprises single-payer healthcare. Wikipedia defines single-payer healthcare … Continued

The Uneasy Bull

At any given moment, investors are faced with a multitude of uncertainties.  For example, we see geo-political risks both here and abroad; the threat of war with North Korea and the senseless massacre in Las Vegas can shake anybody’s confidence in the market.  Storms have destroyed cities in Texas, Florida, the Caribbean and Puerto Rico … Continued

ZEV Mandates

The Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program is a California state regulation that requires automakers to sell electric cars and trucks in California and 9 states on the east coast.  The exact number of vehicles is linked to the automaker’s overall sales within the state. While the ZEV regulations include plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell … Continued

Value-added Taxes

A value-added tax (VAT), known in some countries as a goods and services tax (GST), is a type of general consumption tax that is collected incrementally, based on the surplus value, added to the price on the work at each stage of production.  Unlike sales taxes, which are added to the selling price at the … Continued