Author Archives: Lew Spellman

America’s Exorbitant Privilege is Skating on Thin Ice

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The willingness of the rest of the world to hold a block of its assets denominated in the U.S. dollar means that U. S. asset prices are enhanced and the U. S. is able to sell a substantial portion of its government debt to foreign holders at cheaper interest rates. This is known to foreigners are U.S. “Exorbitant Privilege.” But that privilege is being squandered by short sighted U. S. policies and plans are underway to switch reserve currencies. Continue reading

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Financial Price Discovery Postponed for the Duration

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At the moment, financial market prices float detached from the anxieties of market investors because the same anxieties drive the central banks into large scale asset purchases. As a result, risks that trouble investors instead of being translated into lower prices are being translated into high prices, a condition equally true for bonds and stocks. Continue reading

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The Robin Hood Reflex Once Again Confronts Capitalism

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Thomas Piketty, a name you are not likely familiar with, is a French economist who has given voice to the notion that the rich are getting richer at a faster rate than others. His recent book skyrocketed to first on the Amazon best-selling list immediately. And of course, what follows is the Robin Hood reflex to redistribute. Don’t dismiss the political ramifications that Piketty-mania is having and the costs to society from adopting redistribution. Continue reading

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On Saving the Economy: Plan B

The antidote to a troubled macro environment since Keynes wrote the book in the 1930s Depression has been the dual demand-side sledgehammers of government deficit spending and monetary expansion. This has been Plan A to address a beleaguered economy and other things needing fixes. Having not worked miracles, governments at all levels across the globe are on to Plan B. Continue reading

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Bill Gross and the Rise and Fall of Bond Market Nirvana

Bonds are fun to own when interest rates are very high and then bond prices start to rise. That makes for favorable income and capital gains simultaneously. Such was the opportunity bond investors in U.S. markets enjoyed commencing in 1981 …and then for three following decades. It was bond market Nirvana, which unfortunately for bond investors is fading into the rear view mirror. Continue reading

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Economic Direction as Seen Below the Radar

The economy has been in a growth rut for six years with one large shock after another. But there is also a cyclical component to GDP growth that lives a life of its own and can drive an economy. The very low levels of plant and equipment spending since the tech boom of the 1990s leaves the US with aging physical plant and rising labor costs. This should stimulate business capital investment and keep the cyclical ball rolling but at reduced profit margins and a tinge of inflationary pressure. Continue reading

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An Ode to George Bailey, Credit in a Banking-less World and How Much QE Is Enough

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Though financial regulation has taken the friendly local loan officer (George Bailey) out of the credit equation, the Fed’s Quantitative Ease is creating credit at close to record rates of growth. The credit generation is not in the usual ways, but in amounts sufficient to generate an economic expansion. Read about the creative market response to increases in the monetary base when banks are handcuffed to Dodd-Frank. Continue reading

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The Writing Is on the Wall: There Will Be Wealth Taxes

What is a government to do, when a slowdown in population growth occurs after it has committed itself to age related entitlements? In this case, inter-generational income redistribution from the young to the elderly will not be sufficient to cover the costs. The answer is to find another tax base, which this time looks to be a wealth tax. Indeed, it has already arrived. Learn more about financial diversification consistent with this reality. Continue reading

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The Writing Is On the Wall: Wealth Protection in Today’s Environment

attheader 300x91 The Writing Is On the Wall: Wealth Protection in Todays EnvironmentMany Americans have a sense that the financial distress of the US government is no longer an issue to be thought about later. We have brought together for one evening experts from law, global investment and financial planning who can provide you with important background to implement your own wealth preservation plan. To learn more and reserve your seat now for this important event, click here.

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The No Mo or Mighty Mo Forecast and Harry Truman’s Quest for a One-Armed Economist

At the end of World War II, lore has it that Harry Truman’s economists facing a wide range of possible economic outcomes advised him that “on one hand this, and on the other hand that”. Truman eventually had enough of the uncertainty and asked for a “one-armed economist”. Much is the same today with mega forces pushing and pulling the economy. The net balance will determine whether it is to be a No Mo or Might Mo economy. Continue reading

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