Take the Deal, Donald

Donald Trump hints that U.S. debt might be renegotiated. I’ve got a better idea. I’ve been imploring the Obama administration to issue super-long term debt, 50 or 100-year bonds. Both The Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily have published my plea. Today I’m delighted to report that – Ireland has decided to follow my advice. …
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Castro, Cruises and Beach Reads

Cuba welcomes the Carnival Cruise ship Adonia today. It sure beats a raft for escapees. Back in 2008, I penned a novel called The Castro Gene, which featured a young boxer and a megalomaniac hedge fund manager who manipulated financial markets. He bought up shares of Carnival Cruise Lines when he figured out that the …
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Gender Fluidity and Disney’s Real Magic

Disney has once again performed a marvelous trick – as good as any magic Mickey ever pulled off while donning a wizard hat and waving his wand. The new Jungle Book movie raked in over $100 million in a weekend, more than the opening numbers for the mega-blockbuster Frozen. So what’s the trick? In both cases, Disney …
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Branding Genius

When Grf Andrs sailed to America from Hungary in 1957 he was so poor he couldn’t afford an extra vowel in his name. Before immigrating he first had to escape the Nazis, who threw his father into a forced labor camp, and then the wicked Soviet invasion of 1956. In the U.S., the brave and …
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Peak Beer, Cars, and Football?

The Super Bowl ends when two grinning players sneak up behind their winning coach and dump a vat of Gatorade on his head. But the televised Super Bowl extravaganza runs on paid advertisements for beer and cars. In 2015, for example, car companies bought 12 separate commercial spots at a cost of $4.5 million for every …
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Does Homeland Matter for Working Women?

Does culture matter in economics? Of course! Some people care about racking up overtime hours; others care more about getting home to watch ESPN. Some families and some countries encourage women to get a job; others urge them to stay at home. An intriguing new study by Cornell’s Francine Blau shows that women who immigrate to …
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Which Way Does the Curve Bend?

Healthcare inflation has been tame in recent years. The White House salutes Obamacare, and chief economic adviser Jason Furman argues that the program “bent the cost curve” down. Critics credit the weak economic recovery: it was hard for doctors and hospitals to jack up prices when the economy was lumbering through the Great Recession. Spending …
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The Roar of the China Bear

Today’s brutal attack on the equity markets is made in China.  The over-hyped Chinese economy is wobbling badly and therefore all commodity sellers are suffering horrendous losses.  The Federal Reserve Board adds to the stress by warning of a series of interest rate hikes.  Back in November I suggested the Fed take a different tack …
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Pandas and Power in Asia

China’s crumbling economy is stirring (or sinking) financial markets. We should not be surprised — much of the world economy has been leveraged to the alleged miracle orchestrated by Beijing. I just returned from two weeks in Southeast Asia. Here are three key findings:   China’s neighbors stay up late at night worried that China’s …
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Popular culture does not know how to handle scientists and inventors. Some books and movies portray them as “mad scientists,” for example, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs. Others trumpet their clever tricks, for example, Revenge of the Nerds, Mr. Robot, and a dozen television shows depicting code-breaking kids in hoodies. …
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