200808.28
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2nd Quarter US GDP Report (Revision)

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, US gross domestic product – the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States – accelerated at a pace almost double of what was previously reported. In the latest quarter, GDP stood at 3.3%, upwardly revised from a 1.9% annualized pace. The…

200808.26
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FOMC Minutes

The Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Open Market Committee on Tuesday released the minutes of the Committee meeting held on August 5, 2008. Here is an excerpt: The information reviewed at the August meeting indicated that the economy expanded at a moderate pace in the second quarter, but recent financial market developments highlighted some of…

200808.25
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The Worst Tax

Richard Rahn has an article posted at the Cato Institute about the corporate income tax: Rank the following taxes from best to worst: individual income taxes; payroll taxes, corporate income taxes, sales or consumption taxes, and residential property taxes. The vast majority of economists would rank the corporate income tax as being worst and the…

200808.25
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The Root of the Housing Problem

Amity Shlaes has an article at Bloomberg that takes a different view of the housing problem: Aug. 20 (Bloomberg) — Everything will be all right if we just fix the housing problem. That was the hope investors clung to as they watched Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac crumble this week. The presidential campaigns reflect a…

200808.21
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August Market Report – Commodity Bull Gore?

Is the commodity bull market over? After a recent decline of more than 23% in the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index, that question is on the minds of many investors, like us, who have benefited from higher commodity prices. Oil is down from $147 to about $114 in the last month, natural gas down 40%, corn…

200808.19
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How to Kill a Recovery

Amity Shlaes, author of The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, lays out the non monetary mistakes made that turned the Crash of ’29 into the Great Depression. They sound a lot like Obama’s economic platform: Giving in to protectionism – In Herbert Hoover’s time, Sen. Reed Smoot and Rep. W.C. Hawley…

200808.15
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A Strong Dollar will Reduce Oil Prices

I have a new article up at RealClearMarkets.com: In less than one month, oil prices have fallen nearly 22%. That drop happened during a period when our leaders in Washington accomplished exactly nothing of importance that could account for the fall. Sure, President Bush lifted the moratorium on offshore drilling, but that action will have…

200808.13
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Retail Sales

Retail sales, which account for about one-third of gross domestic product, have weakened further in July, as most of the tax rebate checks have been distributed and used. Retail sales dropped 0.1% in July, slightly ahead of expectations. Excluding a 2.4% decline in automobile purchases, sales were up 0.4%, the slowest since February. Excluding gas…

200808.12
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The View from Here

Last week, Wall Street lost it’s most erudite spokesman when Michael Metz, the longtime market strategist at Oppenheimer & Co., passed away. Mr. Metz was best known as a bear on Wall Street, especially during the internet bubble, but for those of us who had the privilege of Mike’s counsel as Oppenheimer employees, he was…

200808.11
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A Real Energy Policy

In less than one month, oil prices have fallen nearly 22%. This drop happened during a period when our legislators accomplished exactly nothing of importance that could account for the fall. President Bush lifted the Presidential moratorium on offhsore drilling but that action will have no effect unless Congress follows suit. Most likely the fall has nothing to do with…