Monthly Archives: March 2020

Archive of posts published in the specified Month

Thoughts on Buybacks

When CEO bonuses were paid in 2008 after the bailouts America was justifiably outraged and it is reasonable to include conditions to avoid this outcome again.  It is equally outrageous and irresponsible to load this bill with unrelated political swag and enforce long term changes in corporate governance and other purely political agendas in order to address a very short-term set of problems.

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Covid-19 Saves the World

In the meantime, we will achieve long sought goals of dramatically reducing our carbon footprint, inequality, and even DUI’s and simultaneously realize they were far less important than we thought.  We will also hopefully learn to appreciate institutions, forces, and fellow citizens and workers we took for granted and even criticized a few months ago that are now critical to our survival.

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Financial Risk and Political Risk

We will never know if we overreacted. If the threat turns out to be less than predicted, we will assume our actions were merited and responsible. It could be a dry run for a contagion that is far more lethal. Our agencies and professionals will always error on the side of overestimating an unknown threat to public health. Outrage and fear are hard risks to mitigate.

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An Addiction to Low Interest Rates

It seems that this can go on indefinitely because we cannot envision the central banks losing control of interest rates, but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Believers in Modern Monetary Theory mistake this trend for a true principle. Central banks will remain active in controlling interest rates because the debt is so large that any spike in interest rates would be disastrous. We are stimulating a zombie economy reliant on low interest rates provided by a central government even more dependent on low interest rates.

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True Power

We have taken a detour on Hayek’s Road to Serfdom; we have managed to cede more power to the central government while retaining much of the individualism of the Constitution.  This is a unique outcome in political evolution attributed to the genius of the Constitution itself combined with a unique American political culture that shrouds it. At its best progressivism expanded the promise of political equality into the economic sphere, assuring equal economic opportunity if not results; at its worst it was seduced by the false confidence of the historicists shared by its technocratic sisters in Europe.

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Long Term Effect of the Kung Flu

The Corona virus may succeed in realigning the balance of trade better than any of Trump’s tariffs or negotiations.  The Chinese market is still so large that it cannot be ignored, but it also can no longer be depended on to be a consistent and secure source of supply of critical components for American manufactured goods.

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