Home 2017-07-28T13:07:05+00:00

It’s the People

By | January 5th, 2018|

Why does US healthcare cost so much? Photo: Norbert Kaiser. Source: Wikimedia People complain about healthcare costs all the time. And it’s shocking when you look at what a routine medical procedure costs, whether your Medicare pays, or your insurance company pays, or you’re on your own. And compared with other countries, the US is in a league of its own. We devote about 17% [...]

Bitten by the Bits

By | January 4th, 2018|

Is bitcoin a bubble? Source: Bloomberg In 2008 a man named Satoshi Nakamoto posted a research paper on the web that described his design for a new digital currency he called bitcoin. There had been various attempts at digital currency over the years: eCash, bit gold, b-money. But none of these got off the ground. They foundered on the notion of a centralized ownership registry. [...]

Songs and Circles and Cycles

By | January 3rd, 2018|

Can Joni Mitchell teach us something about investing? Photo: Earl53. Source: Morguefile 45 years ago, Joni Mitchell wrote “The Circle Game,” a lyrical epic about a young man’s gradual coming of age. The refrain repeats its central lesson: “We can’t return, we can only look behind from where we came / and go ‘round and ‘round and ‘round in a circle game.” Circles and cycles [...]


By | January 2nd, 2018|

What effect does cold weather have on the economy? Low temperature forecast for 1-2-18. Source: Weather.gov Temperatures across the country are bitterly cold. We haven’t seen an extended cold-snap like this for several years. And some sectors of the economy will be hurt: construction spending and retail sales come to mind, while utilities, fuel-oil sales, and auto repairs will do better. The trend away from [...]

On the Horizon

By | December 29th, 2017|

What does 2018 look like? Photo: Dave Meier. Source: Picography On its face, next year looks a lot like this year, just starting from a higher level. The economy – already growing well – should accelerate. A coordinated global expansion is currently underway. This will lead unemployment to fall and wages to rise. That will push inflation marginally higher, but not too high. The Fed [...]

Making Records

By | December 28th, 2017|

What kind of year was 2017? Vinyl record-cutting machine. Photo: JacoTen. Source: Wikipedia Looking back, it was a year of records. The stock market is closing at or near its all-time high; the Dow hit a record level 69 times this year (so far). And for the first time in a long time, the US wasn’t the strongest large market in the world. While the [...]

Do You Hear?

By | December 20th, 2017|

Have you heard the music this year? G.F. Handel by Philip Mercier. Source: Wikipedia The lights dim, the audience hushes. The notes of the overture begin. As the symphonic introduction winds down, anticipation builds. Soon the words to the first air ring out: “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people. Speak comfortably to Jerusalem and cry out that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is [...]

She Sells Sushi Made by What?

By | December 19th, 2017|

Are sushi robots coming? Photo: Alpha Lau. Source: Wikipedia Sushi is everywhere: in sushi restaurants, in grocery stores, even in gas stations. And it’s easy to see why. The bite-sized rice-and-fish combinations are convenient and savory. By virtue of the rice, vinegar, and soy sauce used in it, sushi is rich in the “umani” taste, one of the five major taste sensations. Sushi is low [...]