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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A Straightforward Approach to Investing

Pardon my language, but moving sucks. We recently relocated from Florida back to Texas. My native Texan wife is ecstatic. And I’ve got to admit, the weather has been awesome for the past two months. But almost nothing about the move was enjoyable, including the process of settling into our new home. It’s not that we don’t like it. The house is fabulous. But there are things she – I mean, we – think need to be updated or remodeled. That’s where the fight starts. Not between the two of us, but between me and inertia. And I don’t always […]

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A Healthy Economic Fear of China

There’s an old adage in finance concerning borrowing and lending: If you owe the bank $ 1 million, you have a problem. If you owe the bank $ 100 million, the bank has a problem. It’s all about scale. When it comes to countries and markets, there is no scale, and therefore no problem, like the Middle Kingdom. China is the land of the “biggest.” General Motors now sells more cars in China than it does in the States. The country boasts more than 1.3 billion registered cell phones, the most of any nation, and basically one for every citizen. […]

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One Approach to High Healthcare Costs

In 2015, I thought my healthcare renewal statement was wrong. The premium for my shrinking family of three (two adults and one child) was increasing by more than 30%, to $ 1,454 per month. My earnings place me out of the subsidy bracket, so these are real dollars out of our budget. There were plenty of insurance companies to choose from. Shrinking availability was not a problem. It was just breathtakingly expensive. Or so I thought. In 2016, my premium jumped to $ 1,733 per month. The galling part is that I had no control. I’d kept tabs for years. […]

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Profiting from the Unexpected

Every weekday morning I roll out of bed just before 5 a.m. I sleepwalk to the kitchen, where my coffee-maker on a timer has just finished brewing, and reach for a much-needed cup. Then I flip on the television, and switch between local news and either CNBC or Bloomberg. As I hate myself every single day for rising so early to exercise, I take note of the weather, any craziness that happened overnight in the Houston area, and the current trends in futures and interest rates. There’s one thing I typically disregard: whatever the market pundits are discussing. I don’t […]

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The Fed Fudge Factor in Treasury Yields

I hate taxes. I don’t begrudge paying for a functioning government, it’s the dysfunctional favoritism that ticks me off. This amorphous blob in Washington sucks dollars out of my wallet and then tells me not to worry about how it’s spent, even as I watch the government hand my dollars out like candy. I’m still beside myself about General Motors. The common version of events tells us that the company went bankrupt. Right. Tell that to the investors that owned GM bonds backed by physical equipment. They were told to go to the back of the line. Instead, union pension […]

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Pick Your Neighborhood Carefully

To make good on a promise to my wife, a native Texan, we just completed our move from Florida back to Texas. When we left the Lone Star State in 2005 (on her birthday, no less), she told me she’d like to move back when the kids had left the house. With the youngest now a freshman in college, it was time. We could live anywhere, since my work doesn’t require a geographic center. So last fall we narrowed the search for a new home by considering climate, natural beauty, proximity to a major airport and health care, and travel […]

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Calling B.S. on Central Bankers

I’m a fan of the Marvel Comics movies, like X-Men and Iron Man. My lovely wife often catches me watching tidbits of the Avenger films when I sit down in front of the TV to relax for a few minutes. I’ll flip around until I find one, watch just 20 to 30 minutes, then move on to another project in the house. It drives her nuts! I know the ending. The characters use their skills to better the world. They have clear goals, choose their targets, and execute. These are nice, neat packages, which is completely unlike the real world. […]

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