U.S. fiscal policy has become unmoored, and it will be difficult to steer it safely back to shore.
I am a traditionalist when it comes to outdoor cooking: wood and charcoal are the only suitable fuels.
It is said we should be careful what we wish for, because we just might get it. Beginning late last week, stocks finally stepped back. Market declines of 5% and even 10% occur with some regularity, even in the midst of long bull intervals
For several years, the U.S. economy has produced a “Goldilocks” combination (neither too hot nor too cold) of solid growth with limited inflation. The absence of price pressures, even at very low levels of unemployment, has surprised many observers.
Given the events of a decade ago, 2018 promises to be a year filled with reminiscence. Chroniclers will recall the signs of the gathering storm: falling U.S. house prices, rising mortgage defaults and spreading institutional failures.
For more than a year, the U.S. Dollar (USD) has been losing value relative to most other currencies. When asked about this trend this week in Davos, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin seemed unconcerned, and even supportive.
Most central banks have targets, too. And judged solely by the numbers, monetary policy would be assigned a substandard rating.
In sum, while there are certainly signs of excessive risk-taking in some areas, we feel that they are not systemic risks such as we saw in 2008. A healthy tailwind to corporate profit growth aided by the recent corporate tax rate cuts means that we will not likely see signs of economic weakness for a few years.
We’ve been doing some de-cluttering at my house, adapting to life as empty nesters. During a review of some long-forgotten storage bins, I found the very first tax return I ever filed. It listed income of less than $2,000, earned lifeguarding and shelving books at the campus library.
As it is for people, so it is for business cycles, which can become more vulnerable as they continue. This theory will certainly be tested in 2018. The global economy enters this year with considerable momentum and lots of policy support.