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Outside the Box, January 2012

American Gridlock

January 31, 2012

How do we resolve the current political gridlock over healthcare, the economy, and a myriad of other problems? It is clear that there are no easy solutions, and putting off making choices will just make the ultimate cost we pay that much more expensive.

This week for our Outside the Box we deal with just this question, in a piece from a master of logic and reasoning and one of my favorite writers. I absorb everything I can get my hands on from Dr. Woody Brock. He has written...

Working Out of Debt

January 24, 2012

This week we look at a report called “Working Out of Debt,” about debt and deleveraging, from the McKinsey Global Institute. This is a well-done summary of their longer paper, which has been updated, called “Debt and deleveraging: Uneven progress on the path to growth.” I discussed the original paper both in my regular letter and in Endgame. It is one of the best, most definitive pieces on the topic I have read. For those trying to understand how the deleveraging process will affect their...

Hoisington Quarterly Review and Outlook

January 17, 2012

The "Quarterly Review and Outlook" from Hoisington Investment Management is one of the most significant pieces that crosses my desk – I try and drop everything else as soon as possible. This quarter's is no exception. The authors, Dr. Lacy Hunt and Van Hoisington, get right down to brass tacks with their opening sentence: "As the U.S. economy enters 2012, the gross government debt-to-GDP ratio stands near 100%." They cite an influential 2010 historical study of high-debt-level economies around...

2012 Investment Themes

January 10, 2012

As my good friend Gary Shilling says, in leading off his piece on 2012 investment themes, which is this week's OTB, "This year is just the first step in the long-run journey that will continue to be dominated by The Age of Deleveraging" – which also just happens to be the title of Gary's latest book. Whether you call it that or call it the End Game, as I have, it shapes up as a profoundly different and challenging era for all of us. Gary identifies 9 causes of slow global growth in the years...

Things That Make You Go Hmmm… – December, 2012

January 3, 2012

For whatever deeply embedded psychological reason – and your humble analyst is profoundly guilty – we humans seem prone to picking out a particular point in our space-time continuum (read: the New Year) to think about the future and new beginnings, rather than running the exercise every week or month. Maybe so much introspection and thinking is just too exhausting, so we only do it on an annual basis. I am deep in my reading as I research my annual forecast issue, which I will write Friday. I...