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  • The Boom-and-Bust Fed's Rental Society

    Now, as during World War II and up to 1951, the US Federal Reserve practiced what is now called quantitative easing (QE). Then, as now, nominal interest rates were low and the real ones negative: The Fed’s policy did not so much induce investments as it allowed the government to accumulate debts, and prevent default. Marriner Eccles, the Fed chairman during […]

    Marriner Eccles, former Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve.
  • TSA Boondoggles: High Costs, Low Effectiveness, But It's Only Your Money

    Milton Friedman often observed that no one spends other people’s money as carefully as he spends his own.  You don’t need to be an economics professor to understand that – it’s simple human nature. Regulatory agencies provide an endless stream of examples to prove Friedman’s point. Let’s take a look at one of America’s least favorite agencies, the Transportation Security Administration. The […]

    Photo by Yoon S. Byun / The Boston Globe via Getty Images
  • The Underlying Causes of Last Week's (Exaggerated) Sell-Off

    How bad can this sell-off get (Friday’s rally notwithstanding)? Let me answer it this way.  At this exact point three years ago the S&P 500 was coming off two months of (a) A United States Treasury Credit DOWNGRADE for the first time since Alexander Hamilton was Treasury Secretary; (b) The "up until midnight" threat of a full-blown government shutdown and […]

    Trading on the Frankfurt stock exchange.
(Photo by Frank Rumpenhorst/DPA/Corbis)
  • A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to Raising Rates

    It wasn't too long ago that the stock market was busy celebrating a "great" September jobs report. There were 248k net new jobs created and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent. Janet Yellen, Ben Bernanke, and the rest of Washington D.C.'s central planners deemed it a great time to take a Keynesian victory lap, basking in the delusion that […]

    John Williams, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
(Photo by Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle)
  • Long-Term Investors Have Been Waiting For This Sell-Off

    Ebola, ISIS, Europe, China, Russia, retail sales, manufacturing. Take your pick. Wednesday’s sell-off in the market is being blamed on all of them. But it doesn’t really matter what you blame it on. The bottom line is that the sell-off in stocks is just a return to normal. It is normal to see the market sell off by about 10% […]

    A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
(Photo by Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

More Commentary

Marriner Eccles, former Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The Boom-and-Bust Fed's Rental Society

Now, as during World War II and up to 1951, the US Federal Reserve practiced what is now called quantitative easing (QE). Then, as now, nominal interest rates were low and the real ones negative: The Fed’s policy did not so much induce investments as it allowed the government to accumulate debts, and prevent default. Marriner Eccles, the Fed chairman during […]

Read more ›
Photo by Yoon S. Byun / The Boston Globe via Getty Images

TSA Boondoggles: High Costs, Low Effectiveness, But It's Only Your Money

Milton Friedman often observed that no one spends other people’s money as carefully as he spends his own.  You don’t need to be an economics professor to understand that – it’s simple human nature. Regulatory agencies provide an endless stream of examples to prove Friedman’s point. Let’s take a look at one of America’s least favorite agencies, the Transportation Security Administration. The […]

Read more ›
Trading on the Frankfurt stock exchange.
(Photo by Frank Rumpenhorst/DPA/Corbis)

The Underlying Causes of Last Week's (Exaggerated) Sell-Off

How bad can this sell-off get (Friday’s rally notwithstanding)? Let me answer it this way.  At this exact point three years ago the S&P 500 was coming off two months of (a) A United States Treasury Credit DOWNGRADE for the first time since Alexander Hamilton was Treasury Secretary; (b) The "up until midnight" threat of a full-blown government shutdown and […]

Read more ›
John Williams, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
(Photo by Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle)

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to Raising Rates

It wasn't too long ago that the stock market was busy celebrating a "great" September jobs report. There were 248k net new jobs created and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent. Janet Yellen, Ben Bernanke, and the rest of Washington D.C.'s central planners deemed it a great time to take a Keynesian victory lap, basking in the delusion that […]

Read more ›
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
(Photo by Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

Long-Term Investors Have Been Waiting For This Sell-Off

Ebola, ISIS, Europe, China, Russia, retail sales, manufacturing. Take your pick. Wednesday’s sell-off in the market is being blamed on all of them. But it doesn’t really matter what you blame it on. The bottom line is that the sell-off in stocks is just a return to normal. It is normal to see the market sell off by about 10% […]

Read more ›
State seal of North Carolina.

Why The Legal Profession Says LegalZoom Is Illegal

Competition – everyone loves it, except when it’s competition in your particular business or profession. Then it’s dangerous and must be controlled if not eliminated. Back in August, I wrote about the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners case, which involves the legality of efforts by that body to stop anyone who is not a licensed dentist from offering teeth whitening […]

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(Photo by Martin Wimmer / Getty Images)

Q3 Earnings Horror Show

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has downgraded its global growth forecast for both this year and next, highlighting (among other things) the threat of weakening demand in the Eurozone and a slide into deflation. This comes after consumer price growth in the Eurozone slipped again in September, coming in at just 0.3 percent. There's absolutely no sign of growth in […]

Read more ›