Dan Gross has been one of the more bullish voices in the econoblogosphere this spring/summer, and his latest piece for Slate is sure to be controversial. In it, he explains how deficits and surpluses show up out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly…
The fiscal 2010 deficit—$1 trillion and counting—is an encouraging sign.
Let me explain. Federal tax revenues are highly leveraged to economic growth and to the performance of markets, corporations, and rich people. This means they can be volatile. When markets and profits boom, capital gains taxes, payroll and income taxes, and corporate income taxes flow like a mighty stream. As a result, it’s not uncommon for tax receipts to rise 6 percent or 7 percent in a year when the economy grows by 3 percent. This volatility works to the downside, too. When the economy contracts and markets crash, capital gains and corporate income tax revenues dry up. For example, corporate income taxes (click here and scroll down to Page 30) fell from $370 billion in fiscal 2007 to $304 billion in fiscal 2008 (down 18 percent), and then plunged to $138 billion in fiscal 2009 (down 55 percent). In fiscal 2009, a period in which the economy shrunk about 2.6 percent, government receipts plummeted 16 percent, from $2.5 trillion to $2.1 trillion. To aggravate matters, some government spending is countercyclical. That means that in good times, when tax receipts are high, less money is spent on stimulus and social welfare benefits. In bad times, when tax receipts are ebbing, more money goes out the door. And that’s why surpluses and deficits can materialize out of nowhere.
He goes on to point out how the deficit for 2009 came in below expectations as a result of asset price refaltion and other factors. Without being a fan of long-term entitlements and debt, he makes an interesting case based on the numbers for a toning down of the deficit-hawk rhetoric.
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
The head of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota – Dr. Michael Osterholm – is one of the world’s top infectious disease experts and a prominent public health scientist.
Dr. Osterholm just gave a talk shown on C-Span, explaining how to prevent the public from panicking about Ebola:
I categorically reject the idea that you can’t tell people you “don’t know” … because you’re afraid you’ll scare them.
There is a complete [scientific] literature on risk communications that says people are never frightened if you tell them you don’t ...
What do falling energy prices mean for the US consumer? Sober Look writes a brief yet thorough overview of the consequences of the correction in the price of crude oil. There are good aspects, particularly for the consumer, bad aspects, and out-right ugly possibilities. For more on this subject, read James Hamilton's How will Saudi Arabia respond to lower oil prices? In previous eras, Saudi Arabia would tighten the supply to help increase prices, but in this "game of chicken," the rules m...
The world market selloff moderated over the past week, except for Japan's Nikkei 225. The top performer in my gang of eight world indexes (and the sole gainer) was Germany's DAX, which rose 0.70%. At the bottom of the heap, the Nikkei plunged 5.02%. The S&P 500, like most of the others on the list, posted its 4th weekly loss, down 1.02%
Despite its 10.64% year-to-date advance, the Shanghai Composite remains the only index on the watch list in bear territory -- the traditional designation for a 20% decline from an interim high. The index is down 32.56% from its August 2009 peak. See the table inset (lower right) in the chart below.
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Volatility continues to increase in the stock market and many of the leaders are breaking down. In particular, semiconductors took a rather big hit when one of the bellwethers warned of weakening global demand. Nevertheless, despite the significant headwinds, I do not think this spells the end of the bull market. But the technical damage to the charts is severe, particularly to the small caps, which are in full-blown correction mode. The large caps must show leadership and rally immediately -- or it will put at risk the critical and widely-anticipated year-end rally.
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review our weekly fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten U.S. business sectors, and then offer up ...
Shares in Apple (Ticker: AAPL) are near their highs of the session in the final hour of trading on Wednesday, adding to the muted gains seen earlier in the day, following the release of the September FOMC meeting minutes and after activist investor and Apple shareholder Carl Icahn tweeted, “Tmrw we’ll be sending an open letter to @tim_cook. Believe it will be interesting.” Icahn’s tweet hit the ether at 2:33 pm ET and was met with a spike in volume in Apple shares. The stock is currently up 2.0% on the day at $100.75 as of 3:15 pm ET.
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Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely. From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so desired....buy a small amount.
First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices. Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment. Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer. For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...
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