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Choose Your Own Economy

If you’re a parent or grandparent, you may know of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” storybook series. Written in second person, they make “you” the hero. The reader makes choices as the story unfolds, leading to one of several possible endings. That format is...

After Jamie Dimon warns of market ‘rebellion’ against $34 trillion national debt, Fed’s Jerome Powell says it’s past time for an ‘adult conversation’ about unsustainable fiscal policy

With the United States’ national debt closing in on $34.2 trillion, some of the biggest figures in the world of finance have been speaking out. But few expected Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to address the issue—at least until this weekend, when Powell spoke...

Industrial Size Surplus

Modern economies, even small ones, are unfathomably complex. The number of variables is far more than any human can comprehend or any model can track. It’s really no wonder so many forecasts are wrong. In my 2024 forecast letter I predicted “A Muddle-Through Year.”...

Going Bang!

In thinking about the 2020s, I often find myself looking back to the 1920s. That decade began with a deep recession/depression and ended with a stock market crash. While we now see the 1920s as a kind of “in between” period, people at the time didn’t know another...

Next China: Stock Market Meltdown

Stocks have become the topic to avoid at dinner tables in China these days. The new year has seen anxiety over China’s slowing economy flare spectacularly in its giant stock market, with Shanghai dethroned as Asia’s biggest equity market and Hong Kong, where I’m...

Clashing Crises

“Two is better than one” is a nice saying, but it really depends on what you’re describing. Two hurricanes or earthquakes aren’t better than one. Just one disaster at a time will suffice, thank you very much. The same holds true for man-made crises like the debt...

No Way Out

Having now spent almost six months describing the historical cycles and massive debt that surround us, I find myself looking for an “easy” exit. Maybe one exists, but I haven’t found it yet. I think we’re stuck. The building will have to collapse around us before we...

A Muddle-Through Year

First, let me wish you the best for the new year. I look forward to exploring it with you. It’s forecast season again, the time when people like me tell people like you what will happen this year. Sadly, we are often wrong. It turns out predictions are hard,...

Looking Back and Forward

Should auld acquaintance be forgotand never brought to mind?Should auld acquaintance be forgotand auld lang syne? -Robert Burns It's that time of year when we start thinking about the old and envisioning the new. This has always been a special season for me, perhaps...

Time to Consider a VAT?

First, let me wish you Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or your favorite personal form of greetings for this time of year. I realize as you read this you are more focused on Christmas and the approaching New Year and family, so this will be a shorter letter than...

Sell Cash, Buy Stocks As Powell Pivots?

A recent warning by YahooFinance warns investors to sell their cash and buy bonds and stocks now as the Fed pauses. To wit: “Get out of cash now. Take advantage of some of these incredible things in the fixed-income markets, especially in the belly of the curve. Take...

Finding Revenue

If you really want to reduce the federal debt, you don’t have to convince Congress of anything. You can just write a check. The Treasury Department gladly accepts gifts from anyone so inclined. Few are, apparently. So far this year, donations totaled less than $1...

Fair Shares of Debt

Don’t Tax You. Don’t Tax Me. Tax That Fellow Behind the Tree -   Attributed to Senator Russell B. Long, Louisiana ~1930s One thing you learn when writing about the debt problem, as I have been in recent weeks, is that many people think it’s not a problem at all. They...

Socially Insecure

If you get beyond the political rhetoric [and assembled a group to solve Social Security] it would take them 15 minutes. It would take them 15 minutes only because 10 minutes was used for pleasantries. —Alan Greenspan, Speech to the Commercial Finance Association on...

Walmart CEO says food deflation may come soon

New YorkCNN — Lower grocery prices may soon be coming for shoppers. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said Thursday that the US food industry may be heading into a period of deflation after three years of punishing price hikes that have caused sticker...

What Could Go Wrong?

Exploring federal budget data is a journey through endless rabbit holes, some of which are eerily close to Alice in Wonderland insanity. Countless variables interact in unexpected ways. Seemingly small changes can cascade into billions of dollars within a few years....