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Don’t Drop the Baton!

February 11th, 2015

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Did you ever drop the baton in a relay race? On my high school swim team, I jumped into the pool too soon, before my teammate touched the wall. The referee poked me in the head with a gaff pole they use on crazed sharks. The Jersey Shore was a tough place to grow up. Too much spare fishing tackle.

Right now the U.S. economy is trying to pass a fragile baton. As I explained on TV with Maria BartiromoContinue Reading →



Does the January jobs report live up to the hype?

February 8th, 2015

Does the January jobs report live up to the hype?

Click on the image to see the video… Continue Reading →



Pass the baton: Consumers should take advantage of cheap gas

February 8th, 2015

Pass the baton: Consumers should take advantage of cheap gas

Click here to see the videoContinue Reading →



Mullahs without Moolah

January 14th, 2015

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Look at the bottom left corner of this photo of oil prices. Last April, when oil traded above $100 per barrel, I argued that oil would collapse to $50. Now that we’ve seen $45, it’s time to ask, “Will this ignite another Arab ‘spring?’”

What an irony! Usually riots break out when people complain that prices are too high! Rock-throwing Tunisian and Algerians protesting high sugar and flour prices incited the 2011 Arab spring. In 2007-2008 food riots burst out … Continue Reading →



Is the Dragon Back in China?

December 8th, 2014

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With China’s property glut threatening to turn into a Bruce Willis disaster movie (where’s Hans Gruber?), Chinese leaders are jittery about growth. No surprise that the central bank slashed interest rates in November. Look for more cuts in 2015. With Europe slipping into deflation and oil prices plunging, Chinese leaders are far more worried about a Great Recession than a Great Inflation.

What about the dollar/yuan exchange rate? The Shanghai equity market has soared to a 3-year high, catapulted higher … Continue Reading →



Attitude Beats Latitude

November 25th, 2014

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After I delivered a lecture, a droopy-eyed student wearing a Harvard sweatshirt staggered up to me. He asked if I could give him a memorable economics lesson in just three words. His attention span was shot and so was, apparently, his supply of Adderall. His challenge presented a tough task, since so many economics principles come accompanied by Latin phrases like ceteris paribus. I thought for a moment and then replied, “Attitude Beats Latitude.” Countries and cities that discourage … Continue Reading →



Grassroots Branding

November 6th, 2014

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Despite banner ads, billions of research dollars, and more focus groups than you could stuff into Madison Square Garden, actual paying customers constantly confound marketing executives.  Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that Disney execs are stunned that Frozen’s snow queen Elsa outsells her warmer sister Anna two-to-one.  My educational software firm Sproglit features cartoon kangaroos and a patented matrix called the Math Arrow to teach kids math.  We were thrilled when a Bay Area teacher sent us a Halloween … Continue Reading →



Does the White House Know About Canada?

November 3rd, 2014

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I don’t often answer questions, “I have no idea!” but that was my response when Maria Bartiromo asked me on TV about White House policy on the Keystone Pipeline. Here’s the key point: Canadian oil will be exported to the world. The only question is whether it stays on our continent and aids North America’s energy independence, or whether it crosses the Pacific to find a welcome home in China. Canada is tired of waiting for the … Continue Reading →



Are Corporate Campaign Contributions Protection Money?

October 30th, 2014

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Corporations are shifting their campaign dollars to Republicans.  In the first half of this year, Democrats received 61%.  That number dropped to 42% over the summer.  Firms are betting on a GOP takeover in the Senate.  Why would a firm suddenly swap allegiance from Democratic to Republican?  On television I explained to Maria Bartiromo’s viewers that corporations often must contribute for defensive reasons.  Giving money buys access.  If they do not have access to the chairman of a powerful … Continue Reading →



Why Doesn’t Putin Wear a Shirt? All About Oil

October 16th, 2014

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I’ve been arguing that oil prices could plunge to $50 a barrel, as fracking spreads across the globe, OPEC infighting gets bloody, and Elon Musk proves that electric cars can be swift, smart and sexy. The 20% plunge in oil prices since June has pummeled currencies closely tied to oil, driving the Norwegian Krone and Canadian dollar to four and five-year lows. Meanwhile, the Russian ruble is evaporating under the added pressure of Ukraine sanctions. Why does Vladimir Putin prance … Continue Reading →