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The Retired Investor: How Populism Will Impact Economy & Society
By Bill Schmick,
04:26PM / Thursday, May 23, 2024
  "Income Inequality: The Trend is Not Your Friend," Bill Schmick, Oct. 26, 2012   The country is divided. Immigration and the economy are leading election issues. Inflation has soured attitudes. Labor unions are on the rise. Students are demonstrating and demanding we divest U.S. holdings in Israel. If I said that all the above issues are related and have a common economic cause, would you believe me?   We have seen all of this before. Maybe not in the exact same way but in the 1930s and 1960s dissatisfaction, unrest, what's fair and what's not led to conflict, assassinations, changes in economic and social policies and

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@theMarket: Have Odds Improved for a Fed Rate Cut?
By Bill Schmick,
03:50PM / Friday, May 17, 2024
This week's inflation data heartened investors. Equities and commodities rose while bond yields and the dollar fell. The question is whether the data will convince the Fed to relent on keeping interest rates higher for longer.   If we take a long-term view, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) change was minuscule. For April, inflation gains slowed from 3.5 percent to 3.4 percent, while core inflation increased over the last 12 months by 3.4 percent compared to 3.5 percent in March. That's no big deal, and yet, the numbers did break the trend of warmer CPIs over the last three months.   The cooler inflation announcement caught investors by surprise since most

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The Retired Investor: Tariffs Rarely Work, So Why Use Them?
By Bill Schmick,
04:41PM / Wednesday, May 15, 2024
Tariffs are a form of tax applied on imports from other countries. The costs of these tariffs are mostly passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices for the targeted goods. In an inflationary environment, tariffs simply make things worse. Tell that to the candidates.   Historically, tariffs have been used to protect domestic industries like steel or aluminum manufacturers. They can and have often been used to strike back against other countries' unfair trade practices. They often lead to reduced trade, retaliation, and higher prices.   In today's political landscape, those economic findings have fallen on deaf ears. Both candidates for president

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@theMarket: Markets Flirt with All-Time Highs
By Bill Schmick,
03:18PM / Friday, May 10, 2024
Like birds on a wire, stocks wobbled early this week neither moving higher nor lower. Higher jobless claims and an okay Treasury auction nudged the indexes towards the goal line with the S&P 500 Index above the 5,200 level for the first time in a month.   However, there is still a lot of indecision out there. Growth seems to be slowing. Inflation remains sticky. Consumer confidence is falling, and the Fed is on hold. Countering those negatives, there are some positives. Corporate earnings have been good. Yields remain in a range and the dollar has pulled back from highs. Neither the bulls nor the bears have enough data to end this stalemate. This week should resolve the

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The Retired Investor: Chinese Stock Market on a Tear
By Bill Schmick,
04:16PM / Thursday, May 09, 2024
A combination of anti-business government policies, worsening U.S.-Sino relations, and several draconian actions by Chinese authorities have cast a pall over foreign investment and the Chinese stock market. Chinese equities have lost $7 trillion since the market's peak in 2021. That interests me.   On Wall Street, the Chinese stock market is now considered "uninvestable." Main Street and the politicians who represent them are just as negative. Anti-China rhetoric and U.S. actions, from the attempt to force a sale of TikTok to forbidding Chinese nationals from buying land here, is just the tip of the iceberg.   It is as if we are already at war with

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