The whole process of simply paying employees has become increasingly politicized with competing agendas shifting the focus away from the fundamental idea of a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.  We have advocates for a higher minimum wage, federal, state and local versions, for a competitive wage, for a living wage and so on.  … Continued

Just Tell Me What the Rules Are

Humans are generally not constructed to deal well with uncertainty.  Investors need predictability in key areas such as accounting, regulation, taxation and political whim, to mention a few.  While no system is perfect, investors in U.S. based companies enjoy a relatively greater degree of consistency than is the case for many other jurisdictions.  The most … Continued

Supply, Demand and the Great TP “Crisis”

Supply and demand theory postulates that the relationship between supply and demand determines pricing and capacity adjustments.  This is true, but more likely to develop over the long term.  Supply/demand imbalances can have many causes and it is incumbent on investors to understand the underlying factors. For example, the early 2020 apparent lack of TP … Continued

International Travel and Covid-19

With the development and gradual deployment of effective vaccines, travelers, the hospitality industry and investors are thinking about what should be required before a restart for widespread international travel.  Any attempt to look forward must, at least for now, recognize that border crossing requirements vary widely for most countries.  Travelers should also realize that it … Continued

“Happiness Is a Warm Puppy”

Thank you Charles M. Schulz and Snoopy.  Anecdotally, it seems that a number of my neighbors have taken this advice as Covid-19 forces more of us to remain house-bound. On a more serious note, while it is well established that older people tend to be happier than they were when they were younger, a recent … Continued

Big Pharma: Saviors or Profiteers

This is clearly a very complex and controversial issue.  It is equally clear that big pharma, with considerable help from government, both financial and regulatory, has created an exceptional response to the dangers of Covid-19.  Development and distribution of the Covid-19 vaccines represent a constructive example of what can be achieved by public/private partnerships. The … Continued

When They Make It, Will We Take It

It is clear that the world is racing to develop coronavirus vaccines.  While pinpointing a date is speculative, it is likely that substantial progress, and perhaps FDA approval, will come during the first half of 2021, with widespread availability before the end of 2021.  The big unknown is, to what extent people will step up … Continued

Herd Immunity

As the world struggles to identify potential solutions to Covid-19, herd immunity appears to be the most promising opportunity to mitigate some of the worst effects of the pandemic.  According to Wikipedia, “herd immunity is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a large percentage of a population has become immune … Continued

Understanding Financial Modeling

Financial modeling has long been used by financial analysts and corporate executives in an effort to organize historical data in a manner that can be helpful in projecting possible outcomes for future events.  Models are also used as a method of assessing the impact of recent events on potential developments in the future.  Models relating … Continued

Productivity: The Key To Economic Growth

Productivity describes various measures of the efficiency of production.  There are many different definitions of productivity.  Perhaps the most common, and probably the easiest to understand, is an aggregate labor productivity measure, such as GDP per worker.  In other words, how much economic benefit is derived from the contribution of each worker. In order for … Continued

Small Business and Covid-19

It is generally accepted that small business is a significant driver of job growth in the US.  While precise data is not available, it has been suggested that, historically, startups have accounted for approximately 20% of job creation. Currently, small businesses appear to be suffering more than larger concerns, probably due, at least in part, … Continued

“If we make it through December”

This is the title and first line of a Merle Haggard song.  The second line is, “Everything’s gonna be all right I know”.  Thinking about the message in the song, which was written in 1973, and looking at where we are now, provides some food for thought.  By the end of December 2020, the election … Continued