Category Archives: Economy

Trump’s Animal Spirits

161205animal spirits

James Fallows, in the October Atlantic, says Jane Goodall told him that Donald Trump reminds her of a chimp:

In many ways the performances of Donald Trump remind me of male chimpanzees and their dominance rituals,” Jane Goodall, the anthropologist, told me shortly before Trump won the GOP nomination. “In order to impress rivals, males seeking to rise in the dominance hierarchy perform spectacular displays: stamping, slapping the ground, dragging branches, throwing rocks. The more vigorous and imaginative the display, the faster the individual is likely to rise in the hierarchy, and the longer he is likely to maintain that position.”

Animal Spirits

The elite made a monkey of Trump before the election. But since then he’s released the stock market’s animal spirits. Oil and the dollar dig The Donald too.

Many 401-k investors are bullish because stocks have hit record highs. But Clinton Foundation investors – not so much.

Well, at least one Clinton supporter has done ok. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is up 8% since the election.

 

Global Elite and USA Brexit

161111global elite

The year hasn’t been kind to the global elite.

Curiously, that made many Americans ashamed of their country. They’re resorting to violence because they don’t accept Tuesday’s election results. The same election they feared Donald Trump wouldn’t honor if the results were reversed.

To their credit, President Obama and Hillary Clinton gracefully accepted the voter mandate.

Others, however, are embarrassed because people are laughing at us. Many of whom live under the undemocratic rule of progressive experts. The European Union for example. The EU features strangling regulation, low growth, high unemployment, and negative interest rates.

The Brits had enough of that and voted to exit the E.U. – Brexit. Those voters too were laughed at by their enlightened betters who were embarrassed for their country.

Global Elite

The Obama agenda gave America eight years of increasing regulation, low growth, high unemployment (90 million outside the workforce), and near zero percent interest rates. Hillary Clinton promised to make us even more like France.

So American voters pulled a Brexit and elected Trump. The major media and pollsters missed both the U.K. and U.S.A. revolts entirely.

And that left the global elite shocked and dismayed.

 

ObamaCare Death Spiral

161025 death spiral

Forbes defines a health insurance death spiral as “adverse selection” which happens when only high risk people buy insurance:

If only people on their death beds buy life insurance, the insurance company would quickly go out of business. Equally, if only sick people buy health insurance, the math will not work…

To reduce the risk of adverse selection, the Affordable Care Act created a penalty for people who do not enroll in insurance. However, the penalty for not having insurance in 2016 was the higher of $695 per individual  or 2.5% of income. Although $695 is a lot of money, it is still cheaper than health insurance policies offered on the exchange.

Death Spiral

That’s because ObamaCare rates are going up an average of 25% next year. And, according to the Wall Street Journal, that’s just “for the mid-level insurance plans that are performing the best, not the average increase of all ObamaCare coverage.”

In Arizona premiums will go up 116% next year. Big insurance companies are pulling out of the exchanges.

That same WSJ editorial says President Obama took a victory lap for ObamaCare in Miami last week. He bragged about “all the progress we’ve made in controlling costs.”

CNN says ObamaCare woes will linger long after he’s gone.

 

Thrill Of Victory, Agony of Debate

161020agony of debate

The thrill of victory was followed by the agony of debate last night.

Thrill of Victory

The Cleveland Indians won the American league pennant, shutting out the Toronto Blue Jays 3-0. Rookie Ryan Merritt went 4 1/3 scoreless innings in his second major league start.

Merritt got the nod because starting pitcher Trevor Bauer was the victim of a drone strike. A strike of his own drone. Bauer has always done things his own way, and this came as no surprise to anyone around here. So they sewed up his finger and sent him out to the mound for game three.

Bauer’s a gamer, but his sutured pinkie opened up like the elevator doors in The Shining. He never made it out of the first inning. No problem. Mad Manager Tito Franco stitched together a bullpen game and the Tribe won 4-2.

Back to Ryan Merritt, hero of Northeast Ohio. Someone found out he’s getting married, so fans bought everything on his wedding registry. But you could still get him a pillow last I checked.

Agony of Debate

Unfortunately all good things come to an an end and the final presidential debate was about to begin.

Moderator Mike Wallace asked about Supreme Court nominees. Hillary Clinton said the court should stand up for women and transgender bathrooms but not late term babies about to be aborted. She also said the court should overturn  Citizen’s United (a Supreme Court case that said it’s okay for a company to make a movie critical of Hillary).

Trump said, “The Supreme Court – it’s what it’s all about.”

The clear winner … Chris Wallace.

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf’s Last Stand

160923-wells-fargo

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf resigned on Wednesday and Elizabeth Warren finally got the scalp she wanted. Bank employees opened about two million unauthorized customer accounts on Chairman Stumpf’s watch. The scam led to bonuses for the employees and extra fees and overdraft charges for the unsuspecting customers.

Stumpf will get no severance package and he has  forfeited $41 million in unvested equity. Also, the bank has fired 5,300 employees and agreed to pay a $185 million dollar fine.

Additionally the former CEO will be tied down naked in the desert over a termite hill.

I made up that last one. Stumpf’s not exactly losing the shirt off his back. He earned about $120 million during his career at Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo Thrived After 2008 Crisis

A WSJ editorial says that, despite the scandal,  Stumpf has been “one of the most successful American CEOs of recent times:”

Our colleague Dennis Berman reports that in nine years he produced some $149 billion in profits and saw an increase in market cap of $124 billion. Wells Fargo tried to turn down the government’s rescue funds during the 2008 financial panic because it didn’t need the help, only to be forced by Treasury to take the money.