We are doomed

Harold Black, PhDBlog

The President has just released his Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal. Since every budget proposal from every president is usually proclaimed “dead on arrival” by the opposition party, the question is “why?” and he answer is “because he has to.” The president is mandated by law to produce a budget annually but there is no law mandating that congress must pass one. In fact, it is increasingly rare that a budget is ever passed. Rather hundreds of employees at the Office of Management and Budget must waste their time preparing the president’s proposal. Then, my former colleagues at the Congressional … Read More

The coming failure of Amazon

David MoonBlog

In a November 2018 speech, the CEO of one of America’s largest companies predicted the demise of Amazon. “I predict one day Amazon will fail. Amazon will go bankrupt.” The speaker was not some uneducated simpleton. He is/was the CEO of an international behemoth with 800,000 employees and a market value of more than a trillion dollars. Who said that Amazon would go bankrupt? Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. Critics of big business argue that it is impossible for small companies to compete against behemoths like Walmart and Amazon. In a sense, they are correct. A local general merchandise … Read More

Coronavirus is real economic threat

David MoonBlog

We’ve always known that the U.S. and Chinese economies were interdependent and that a slowdown in one would likely affect the other. Trying to dissect China’s reported economic figures is mostly a waste of time, however, for one simple reason: the figures are fantasy. At best, Chinese officials guess at them. At worst, they intentionally lie about them. We shouldn’t be shocked if the same thing is happening with respect to the impact of the coronavirus. The economic fallout from the coronavirus is more significant than a reported slowing of China’s GDP growth rate. The dozens of provinces that have … Read More

A Look at Variable Annuities

David MoonBlog, Uncategorized

Read our white paper, “A Look at Variable Annuities,” before locking away your money in a product that is regularly misunderstood, misrepresented and mis-sold. Download our white paper: A Look at Variable Annuities

Personal satisfaction at record high

David MoonBlog

A recent Gallup poll finds that a record 90 percent of Americans are satisfied with their personal lives. Sixty-five percent of Americans report being “very satisfied”, also a new all-time high. Gallup didn’t poll any specific issues related to life satisfaction, instead asking the respondents one simple question: “In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in your personal life at this time?” There were five possible answers: (1) very satisfied, (2) somewhat satisfied, (3) somewhat dissatisfied, (4) very dissatisfied and (5) no opinion. How does someone have no opinion on whether or not they … Read More

Suit: Annuity language intentionally misleading

David MoonBlog

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) won’t like this next paragraph, but read the entire thing, not just the tantalizing “promises” in the first sentence. If you hire me to manage your money, I promise to always outperform the market, never lose money and that you will never be fat. You just have to let me define the terms “the market,” “outperform,” “lose money” and “fat.” As the old lawyer joke reminds us, you can name any price you want in a transaction, as long as I get to define all of the terms. Don’t email me or report me … Read More

Might as well spend taxpayer money

David MoonBlog

If you’ve ever built or renovated a house, you likely learned that the three most expensive words in any construction project are “might as well.” It’s the reason most building projects run over budget. And Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander just demonstrated it’s one reason the federal government will almost always operate at an annual deficit. Assume you are finally replacing those 1970s-era kitchen countertops your wife has never liked. “While the kitchen is an unusable construction zone, we might as well replace the cabinet hardware, too.” Or you are building a house from scratch. “While the framers are here, we … Read More

What are these investors smoking?

David MoonBlog

I didn’t need anyone to tell me that the marijuana investment craze was foolishness, but my waiter at dinner a few weeks ago provided confirmation when he spent about 20 minutes telling me about a cannabis stock that was going to make him rich. I don’t mean to pick on him; I’ve had the same conversation with plenty of people, including business owners and PhD engineers. Curiously, I haven’t had that conversation with any farmers. There are multiple facets of the marijuana investment theme, including retail sales, medical cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD oil), branded pot and hemp biomass. Bluntly, money is … Read More

Warning: Experts declare no recession imminent

David MoonBlog

On January 6, ten well-known investors and economists sat down with editors from the financial newsweekly Barron’s and reviewed their 2020 outlook for the economy and financial markets. The good news is that the experts were unanimous in their assessment that the U.S. economy would not slip into a recession this year. The bad news is that the experts were unanimous in their assessment that the U.S. economy would not slip into a recession this year. Call me a contrarian, but when the experts are unanimous about something, I examine their conclusions more carefully. Their opinions diverged on topics related … Read More

War drums offer little investment insight

David MoonBlog

Less than 24 hours after a U.S. drone strike killed Iranian General and Republican Guard head Qasem Soleimani, the phrase “World War 3” began trending on Twitter. It is generally awkward to discuss money in the context of war and death, but it doesn’t stop anyone from doing it. But unless you are going into the bomb-making business, geopolitical conflict doesn’t offer much help in making investment decisions. This is especially true with respect to Iran, which has been in an almost constant state of war with someone since at least the 7th century BC. Whether it’s fighting the Scythians, … Read More