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2015: More Investment and Profits, Higher Rates, Dollar and Stocks

January 15, 2015

Contrary to popular opinion, business investment is a key factor behind the current recovery. Productive investments have boosted profits to record highs and, in turn, those profits have driven stock prices to record highs. They should continue to do so.  Analysts have missed this surge in investment and profits for three reasons. First, many look at “nominal investment” – before adjustment for inflation. Second, spending on “structures” has been very weak. And, third, many analysts confuse real GDP growth with the health of corporate America.  It is true that real GDP (inflation-adjusted gross domestic product) has increased at an annual rate of just 2.3% since bottoming in Q2-2009. It is also true that nominal investment is lower today, at 12.8% of GDP, than it was in 2008 when it was 13.5% of GDP.  But, tablets and phones that cost a few hundred dollars today have capabilities that cost millions just 20 years ago. Shale oil drillers are successful on most of the wells they drill versus much lower percentages of success in the days of wildcatters. 3-D printing reduces prices, while increasing flexibility in production. Low cost apps, websites, and the cloud undermine the need for brick and mortar investment.

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A View of Health Care from Around the World

August 13, 2014

The United States health-care system has been impacted by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But how does delivery of health care in the United States compare to that of other nations? And where does the United States rank with respect to the cost of health care per capita and as a percentage of gross domestic product?

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Dollar Ain’t Losing Its Reserve Status

July 2, 2014

A staple of the doomsday crowd is the idea that the US is on the verge of losing its “reserve currency” status. It’s held that prominent financial position since the end of World War II. But, now, the doomsday crowd argues the US economy is in a bubble, the Fed is printing money like crazy, government spending and regulation on the rise, so it’s just a matter of time.

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My parents can’t manage alone anymore. What should I do?

May 21, 2014

Are one or both of your parents having health problems, suffering mental lapses, or just slowing down with age? Do you find they can't manage on their own anymore? If so, you'll want to consider the various living arrangements that are available to older individuals. Before you begin, however, you'll want to talk to your parents and siblings.

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