Borrowers plan repayment boycott

David MoonBlog

A recent survey conducted by think tank asked student loan borrowers how they plan to deal with the almost four-year suspension of student loan payments that is set to expire next month. A whopping 62% of those surveyed said they are likely to boycott making loan payments. I never knew that ignoring a contract was an option, at least not without consequences. In about a two-week period in March 2020 we collectively discarded hundreds of years of established societal norms and tried to reconstruct a world that could withstand the unknowns of the emerging pandemic. Whether intentional or not, … Read More

NCAA seeks help in restraining trade

David MoonBlog

Each fall, I welcome the start of college football season by writing about one of the 3 most morally corrupt organizations on earth: the NCAA. This year, I have the unique opportunity to include one of the other two immoral organizations in my annual kickoff column, as the U.S. Congress has decided that college athletics needs the type of well-oiled moral leadership that only a group Washington politicians can provide. Proposed legislation in Congress would create laws regulating the name image and likeness (NIL) money that college athletes are allowed to earn and receive. Since the U.S. Supreme Court exposed … Read More

Deep dive into CPI data

David MoonBlog

When I recently wrote that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) had increased 17.5% since before the pandemic, I received emails from readers challenging my data; they explained that their expenses had increased a lot more than 17% in the past 3.5 years. So, I checked my figures. From January 2020 through June 2023, the CPI increased 17.5%, so my data was accurate. But while I reported the correct data, depending on how you spend your money, it may have been terribly misleading. I looked a little closer at the CPI calculation, to see which components have experienced the biggest and … Read More

Rent controls raise overall housing costs

David MoonBlog

As irresistible as it is for some people to blame skyrocketing Knoxville housing costs on greed, homeowners and landlords are not the culprit – nor is the solution some naïve government mandated rent control or subsidy program. This problem took years to create, and it will take years to correct it. Following the financial crisis of 2007, developers dramatically curtailed new home construction. We have a massive mismatch of housing supply and demand, and the only two things that can solve that problem are an increase in housing supply or a reduction of demand. Based on population trends, Knoxville isn’t … Read More

Living standards mirror energy access

David MoonBlog

A recent study from the Centre for Integrated Energy Research at the University of Leeds concluded that within 30 years the world could reduce its energy consumption by 40% and still provide a decent living standard for the world’s population. Forgive me for not always accepting the suggested conclusion, but I decided to read the actual report, paying particular attention to the definition of “decent standard of living.” Deep in the report was the answer: all basic human needs such as mobility, food and hygiene are met, while also having access to healthcare, education and technology. I’m sure some will … Read More

White House misspeaks on wage claim

David MoonBlog

When White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre recently claimed that “the CPI data [showed] that wages have increased,” I assumed her reference to the CPI (consumer price index – that is, inflation) was accidental, as the reality is that wages have not experienced any increase when adjusted for inflation. Not since pre-pandemic, the election of 2020 or since President Biden took office in January 2021. But when the official @POTUS Twitter account claimed that real wages are higher now than pre-pandemic, I realized how widespread is the misunderstanding of some basic economic concepts – because surely no politician would ever … Read More

I’m a Taylor Swift fan

David MoonBlog

I’m a Taylor Swift fan, and I highly recommend you consider becoming one, too. My admiration has nothing to do with her music. I’m a fan of Taylor Swift the businesswoman. People have long praised Swift’s marketing acumen, particularly in managing a genre shift from country to pop. What impresses me even more is her attention to detail, especially with legal and investment matters. Multiple sources report that Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX were in negotiations with Taylor Swift for a sponsorship deal worth $100 million. The deal reportedly fell through when Swift refused to endorse the cryptocurrency exchange or attend … Read More

David with Hallerin Hilton Hill

David MoonBlog

David sat down with his old friend Hallerin Hilton Hill to discuss the current state of the economy. They quickly wandered off topic, eventually discussing health, independent thinking, self-selection, Covid, risk, and the time David was fired from his job. The hour-long interview can be heard here: Hallerin Hilton Hill and David Moon, July 18, 2023

2023 Q2 letter

David MoonUncategorized

July 2023 Dear clients and fellow shareholders: The 15% S&P 500 increase during the first half of 2023 caught most pundits off guard – a fact that likely says much more about pundits than the stock market itself. (In December, the median forecast of 41 strategists polled by Reuters was a 6% return for the S&P 500 for the year.) It serves as a reminder of the substantial risk long-term investors assume when they try to predict short-term movements in stock prices – regardless of whether their forecasts are based on politics, the economy, underlying business fundamentals, the Federal Reserve … Read More

Hollywood unions battle tech threat

David MoonBlog

I don’t fault union officials for doing everything possible to save the jobs of their members, but I have bad news for the writers and actors unions currently on strike: if technology can effectively and efficiently replace a human, it will. In May, 11,500 movie and television writers went on strike, followed by the 160,000 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) members on July 14.  (Disclosure: I am a former SAG member.) In addition to a renegotiation of residuals from streaming media, the unions are seeking guaranteed minimum employment protection from artificial intelligence and computer generated/enhanced on-screen background extras. As an industry … Read More