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The Biggest New Story of 2017


“A wise trader never ceases to study general conditions.” — Edwin Lefevre The media highlight the biggest new stories at the end of each year. Among the key events are President Donald Trump’s first year in office, two major hurricanes, the North Korean threat of nuclear war, the national anthem controversy, sexual harassment exposés, the […]

Will Tax Relief Send Stocks Higher in 2018?


Tax cut fever already has propelled the stock market higher as we finish up 2017. Now that the tax bill will become law on January 1, 2018, will Wall Street enjoy another banner year? Or will the maxim, “buy on the rumor, sell on the news” be more appropriate, especially given that the market has not suffered […]

Update on Bitcoin — Separate the Wheat from the Chaff so You Don’t Get the Shaft


“Don’t be that Fool. Bitcon is a bubble and it will end badly.”  — Gary Smith, Professor of Economics, Pomona College Alabama voters this week rejected the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Roy Moore, and saved themselves an embarrassment. Even though that choice will make it more difficult to pass legislation, voters made the right decision. The results were […]

How to be a Scrooge Investor During the Holidays


“Save your money, nephew! Pennies saved today are dollars in your pocket tomorrow!” — Uncle Scrooge McDuck Today, I appeared on CNBC with Rick Santelli to talk about the economy, the Santa Claus rally and Bitcoin euphoria. Watch the three-minute interview here. One of the traditions during the Christmas holidays is to read Charles Dickens’ famous book “A Christmas Carol,” or […]

Are Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies for Real?


“If you’re stupid enough to buy Bitcoin, you’ll pay the price for it one day.” — Jamie Dimon, CEO, J.P. Morgan Chase “Bitcoin should be outlawed. It serves no socially useful function. It’s a bubble and when the government starts regulating it, it will collapse.” — Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia University Famous last words! Like many of […]

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Ben Franklin’s Politically Incorrect Telling of the First Thanksgiving


Did you know that the day we celebrate as Thanksgiving was supposed to be a fast? It took one politically incorrect farmer to change the course of history. When the government tried to impose a fast, he called for a grand feast — thanksgivings — so that Americans could celebrate their bounty and nourish their […]

Is Wall Street another Las Vegas? 


“Although it’s easy to forget sometimes, a share of stock is not a lottery ticket. It’s part ownership in a company.”      — Peter Lynch, “One Up on Wall Street” Every other year, I teach a course in “financial economics” at Chapman University. I’ll be teaching again in the spring. In the class, I hold up a […]

The Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Triumph of Democratic Capitalism


“The state that emerges at the end of history is liberal insofar as it recognizes and protects through a system of a law man’s universal right to freedom, and democratic insofar as it exists only with the consent of the governed.”        — Francis Fukuyama, “The End of History?” (1989) Today commemorates the collapse of […]

Slowdown in Economy Won’t Last


The federal government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) today released its second- quarter 2017 gross output (GO) report, and I was surprised that adjusted GO grew only 2.9% in nominal terms and only 1.7% in real terms. Not only is this figure less than gross domestic product (GDP) growth, which was a robust 3.1%, but […]

What Happens to the Stock Market When the Communists Take Over


Look at the chart below. Which of these two countries was the better investment? The chart shows the returns on the St. Petersburg Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange from 1865 to 1917 (the data is in U.S. dollar terms and excludes dividends). During that period, Russia clearly outperformed the United States. Russia […]

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