Economic Analysis

Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds

Outside the Box

March 22, 2017

You and I are both rational beings who let facts drive our thinking, but it seems our fellow humans are not so thoughtful. Or at least that’s what the research says. It turns out that behavioral psychologists have been undermining the bastions of human reasonability for decades, starting with some nefarious characters in the Stanford University psych department back in the ’70s, whose devilishly clever experiments were then taken a frightening step further at that equally suspect institution...

Angst in America, Part 1: Aimless Men

Thoughts from the Frontline

March 19, 2017

“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”

– Harry S. Truman

“Unemployment is a weapon of mass destruction.”

– Dennis Kucinich

“Ever since 2000, basic indicators have offered oddly inconsistent readings on America’s economic performance and prospects. It is curious and highly uncharacteristic to find such measures so very far out of alignment with one another. We are witnessing an ominous and growing...

Is Mr. Market Playing the Role of Pavlov’s Dog?

Outside the Box

March 15, 2017

David Rosenberg is one of the most respected voices in the investing world. His Breakfast with Dave goes out to thousands of appreciative subscribers nearly every business morning. He has also been the leadoff hitter at my Strategic Investment Conference every year for several years running – and this year will be no exception. He is always one of our top-rated speakers, and his energy gets the conference up and rolling.

To everyone’s surprise, Rosie turned bullish in a big way at SIC six...

Tax Reform: The Good, the Bad, and the Really Ugly—Part Five

Thoughts from the Frontline

March 7, 2017

“A tax loophole is something that benefits the other guy. If it benefits you, it is tax reform”

– Russell B. Long

“Corporate tax reform is nice in theory but tough in practice.”

– Andrew Ross Sorkin

“I hold it that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people, which have produced them. An observation of this truth should...

Tax Reform: The Good, the Bad, and the Really Ugly—Part Four

Thoughts from the Frontline

March 1, 2017

“The values to which people cling most stubbornly under inappropriate conditions are those values that were previously the source of their greatest triumphs over adversity.”

– Jared Diamond, Collapse, 2005

Tax reform means, “Don’t tax you, don’t tax me. Tax that fellow behind the tree.”

– Russell B. Long, Democratic Senator from Louisiana, longtime chairman of the Senate Finance Committee (and a strong believer in capitalism who was a champion of tax breaks for businesses)...

“Trump-O-Nomics”—An exploration of the proposals

Outside the Box

February 22, 2017

As readers know, I have been doing a multipart series on the proposed tax reforms for the last three weeks in Thoughts from the Frontline. My intention is to finish this week. In part two I talked about what I like about the Better Way proposal, and in part three I pretty much eviscerated the border adjustment tax (BAT), which I think has the real potential to create a global recession. You’ll need to read the series to see why, but a lot of it has to do with simple game theory, which the...

Tax Reform: The Good, the Bad, and the Really Ugly—Part Three

Thoughts from the Frontline

February 19, 2017

“We have a system that increasingly taxes work and subsidizes nonwork.”

– Milton Friedman

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

“Real change requires real change.”

– Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich

Fed Up

Outside the Box

February 15, 2017

Today’s Outside the Box is a special treat. My good friend and fellow Texan Danielle DiMartino Booth’s new book, Fed Up: An Insider’s Take on Why the Federal Reserve Is Bad for America, was out officially yesterday, on Valentine’s Day, and already there are dozens of reviews all over the internet.

Ten years ago, Danielle left a trading gig on Wall Street to work directly for Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher. She helped him gain insights into the economy and aided in crafting his...

Tax Reform: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Part Two

Thoughts from the Frontline

February 12, 2017

“Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society.”

– Mark Skousen

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

– Ronald Reagan

Hoisington Quarterly Review and Outlook—4Q2016

Outside the Box

February 8, 2017

Longtime readers of Outside the Box know that I am a fan of Dr. Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management. Lacy and his partner, Van Hoisington, produce a quarterly letter that is a must-read for me, as it reliably informs my thinking in a world drowning in conventional economics – economics that seem to continually miss the mark.

It almost goes without saying that Lacy will be speaking at our Strategic Investment Conference again this year, and he’s just one of a long (and...