Chicago is America’s Dark Financial Star

The Windy City is famous for a lot of things, including the biting winter breeze off Lake Michigan and blowhard politicians. Whether Chicago got its pet name from one or the other doesn’t really matter, since both fit. But soon, the place also called the Second City will be known as something else: The municipal black hole. It’s only a matter of when, not if, Chicago will consume itself financially, and will start sucking in the wealth of anyone and anything connected to it, just as black holes in space eat the energy of nearby stars. It’s easy to lay […]

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On the Search for Buried Treasure… You Have to Know Where to Look

I earned my scuba diving certification 30 years ago, although I don’t use it very often. It’s not that I don’t like diving, it just takes a lot of time and planning. Still, during our family’s years in Florida we took the occasional East Coast trip to dive some of the numerous shipwrecks that aren’t too far off the coast. And after my younger daughter got certified at 12 years old, we made a trip off of Venice, Florida, where we searched for prehistoric shark teeth. To find them, you had to know where to look. Local dive captains guard […]

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Pot is the New Alcohol: A Money-Making Business

Pot is what alcohol used to be. It’s an industry ready to take off, but one that’s still finding its way, and one whose progress is not exactly encouraged by the federal government. It’s a little bit like Prohibition 2.0. The alcohol industry – now eight decades after states ratified the 21st amendment and ended prohibition – generated $ 475 billion in economic activity and $ 110 billion in wages in 2014. Across the United States, more than 4.5 million people work in alcohol-related jobs. Alcohol production, distribution, sales, and service is one of the biggest industries in the country. […]

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How to Pick Winners in the New Space Race

In the pre-dawn hours of Saturday, October 12, 1957, a cold north wind blew through the streets of Baltimore. The temperature hovered around 40 degrees, but many of the people standing outside weren’t concerned about the chilly air. They trained their binoculars on the sky. A small, glowing object streaked through the darkness and changed their world forever. Footage shot from down below by a local TV cameraman ended up on the national news. The Russians, just a few days earlier, launched Sputnik 1, Earth’s first artificial satellite. It circled our planet every 98 minutes, traversing the United States seven […]

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Is The Grass Getting Greener?

There are so many game-changers on the horizon that sometimes it’s difficult to keep up. Artificial intelligence. Self-driving cars. Virtual reality. Breakthroughs in energy storage. All of these can upend the status quo and change our daily lives for the better. But cannabis, the plant from which marijuana is derived, is in a class by itself. It already exists. We have the compound in a useful form. It doesn’t need enhancements, tweaks, or new formulations. Its potential simply needs to be unleashed. I’m not talking about recreational pot, where people try to decide if they’d like to smoke, vape, or […]

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Saying Goodbye to the Hotel California…

Not everything about my recent move from Florida to Texas was tough. I didn’t enjoy the packing and cleaning, or the unpacking and more cleaning. But there was one thing that made me smile. I kicked my storage unit to the curb. Five years ago we decided to downsize. There was no way to put 4,000 square feet of furniture into 2,100 square feet of space. We made tough decisions on what to keep and what to give away or sell, but in the end we had a few items that had no home in the new house, but we […]

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The Declaration of Independence is Nothing… and Everything

The Declaration of Independence wasn’t signed on the Fourth of July. The Second Continental Congress declared independence from the British Crown two days earlier, and John Adams, one of the contributors to the document that made it official, thought that July 2 would be the day of celebration for years to come. He wrote as much to his wife in a letter. Congress approved the Declaration’s final text on July 4, and so we celebrate today, yet the document wasn’t signed until August 2, 1776. There are a few dates on which we could gather every year to set off […]

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Spare Me the Fed’s Latest Data-Driven Drivel

In this hyper-tense, polarized nation where words now count for more than deeds, we need a running list of who is offended by what so we can steer clear of landmine nouns, adjectives, and titles. I guess millennials keep a checklist on their phones. Maybe there’s an app for that. On my iPhone, I have the “Hey Siri” function. The phone is always listening for those two words in short succession, at which point she asks how she can help. I bet I could make an app that’s always listening for offending words. When one hits the airwaves, the phone […]

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The Deregulation Revolution Is Real, But Is It Enough?

I’m not much of a fast-food guy. I’ll pull into McDonald’s for an Egg McMuffin when I’m traveling, but typically I stay away from such fare… except for Chick-fil-A. Occasionally, I’ll lose restraint and drive through the Chicken Shack, but I think that’s part of my DNA. The combination of fried chicken and friendly service is a weakness for most people raised in the South. But, several years ago, I gladly drove through a nearby McDonald’s for lunch. I wasn’t drawn in by a promotional campaign or the seasonal McRib sandwich. I was lured by a protest. The Service Employees […]

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The Plusses and Minuses of Bitcoin and Blockchain

In October 2015 we held our Irrational Economic Summit in Vancouver. The weather was awesome, and the conference went well. Part of the final session was a Q&A with Harry Dent, myself, and Dr. Lacy Hunt. At one point, an attendee asked about bitcoin. I told the audience in no uncertain terms that bitcoin was effectively dead. Whether it died a quick death or lingered for years, the cryptocurrency could not survive because governments would not allow it. As I spoke then, one bitcoin cost $ 250. As I write now, bitcoin trades for $ 2,601. If bitcoin is dying […]

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