Thoughts From the Frontline, February 2004

Free Trade Wars

February 27, 2004

Free trade, jobs, fairness and the economy are all front and center in the coming political debate. As politicians respond to polls, we are going to hear a lot more about them in the coming months. Most of what you hear will be VPG - Verbalized Political Garbage. It will demonstrate that most politicians know very little about basic economics, or else do understand and simply wish to pander to voters in order to get elected.

Today we will wade into the core of this debate, hoping to give you...

Barbarians at the Fed

February 20, 2004

This week we are going to visit my Worry Closet, where things goes bump in the night. There are many writers who assure us that those sounds are imaginary and I should go back to sleep. But others suggest the sounds may emanate from some real substance, and that their corpus is growing in the dark. We will review the arguments while we take a quick peep into the closet.

The Bond Uncertainty Principle

February 13, 2004

One of today's trickiest investment questions revolves around interest rates and bond investing. We are in an economic environment in history like no other, so we have few direct parallels from which to draw wisdom. Should we keep our bond investments short-term and suffer pathetic yields, or move out the interest rate curve, getting more income but subjecting ourselves to the possible ravages of inflation should it rear its ugly head? Yet, even as there may be no direct historic repetitions,...

The Unemployment Quandary

February 6, 2004

This week we tackle some rather odd discrepancies in the employment numbers - are we adding jobs or losing them? Then is there a relationship between those numbers and the stock market? Are businesses getting ready to hire and spend money? All good questions, and I will try to shed some light on them as we see if we can fit some rather disparate pieces of the information puzzle together to form a picture that we can recognize.