Big Ideas Fall Apart

The dust continues to settle after the Brexit earthquake. US markets stabilized today, but it appears to be a “dead cat bounce” or a technical upturn as short positions are covered. It comes from the saying that even a dead cat will bounce up one story after falling off a ten story building. It certainly feels like that kind of week, especially if you think about whatever dead animals might account for the ridiculous hair of Donald Trump and/or Boris Johnson.

Then again, it hasn’t been a week yet.

For all the comparisons between this vote and the Trump phenom, they still don’t do this situation justice. People all over the world are recoiling from opening up markets and generally moving closer together. The threat to the EU is far from done as “euroskeptics” on the continent will certainly be emboldened – as will globalskeptics around the world. What has gone wrong?

Continue reading

Brexit Blowup

The vote went for Brexit. The hounds of chaos have been unleashed. Is this a harbinger of a Trump victory in November? Political trends in the US have first shown in the UK before, with Margaret Thatcher predating Ronald Reagan and Tony Blair arriving before Bill Clinton. More importantly, the polls were as wrong on Brexit as they were on Cameron’s big win in the last Parliamentary elections. Is this a sign?

The short answer is “Yes”, but the long answer is “No”. This has a long way to play out before the US votes, and we don’t yet know what will happen. There will be a lot more anarchy in the UK and the final lesson is far from written.

Continue reading

About this EU Thing …

I’m sitting here watching the BBC site as the results of the Brexit referendum pour in. It’s not looking good for the EU right now, and that has to give us all pause. The EU is absolutely essential, in some form, but the bureaucratic mess that has resulted isn’t necessarily helping anyone. The UK never went all in, keeping the Pound, so their view has always been a bit askance.

For far too many, it comes down to an interesting revelation. Did Germany actually “win” after all? Signs point to yes, they did. But how? What does this mean to other industrialized nations? Is there something we should all learn? Is Britain right for possibly wanting to go it alone?

Continue reading

Dump Trump?

There is little question that Trump will not be elected President. The only question remaining is how terrible the damage will be to the Republican Party. It’s a big question because in order to limit that damage the odds that Trump will not survive the convention in July are increasing daily.

It’s not just the horrifically bad poll numbers. It has nothing to do with his campaign manager being fired – that may have been a good thing. Skip over Moody’s analysis that he’d throw us into recession.  It has everything to do with his May campaign finance report which demonstrates that there is no functional campaign. There is no money, and a fifth of what was spent went to Trump related businesses.

If there was ever any doubt that this guy is a total fraud, it’s been erased.

Continue reading

Risk Aversion

The economic news out of most of the world points to a continued, if not new, slowdown. Japan is going nowhere, Europe may be shrinking, China is bleeding capital, and the rest of the world is hanging on. The only place there is good news is here in the US where … there was a net slowdown in the number of jobs gained in May. None of this looks good.

For everyone outside the US, it doesn’t. But most of that money from China is coming to the US – or, more accurately, coming back. Why aren’t things looking up?

Global instability doesn’t help anyone, which is why the Fed stopped raising rates. We can’t go it alone anymore, not in this inter-connected world. It spooks everyone to see this much risk. Yet there is still reason to believe that the US, alone, will see a period of higher growth by the end of the year. It’s all about that money coming back – and when it gets put to use.

Continue reading

“Brexit” Turns Violent

Jo Cox, MP, was killed today in Birstall, West Yorkshire. She was leaving a “surgery”, the British term for what we in the US call a “town hall”. The attacker was reported to have shouted, “Put Britain first!” a reference to the referendum in one week on whether the UK should leave the European Union (EU).

If you were thinking the whole world has gone mad, you are right.

While we in the US are shaken by a horrific attack on ordinary citizens, the UK now has to contemplate political violence – something it has not seen since the end of the IRA’s campaign in 1990. There is no comparison between terror inflicted on the public and on the political system, as each is horrible in its own way. But we can reasonable expect there will be more of each until something dramatic happens.

Continue reading

Common Sense Gun Laws

In the wake of the Orlando shooting, the inevitable cry for new gun laws has arisen. Can’t we keep guns out of the hands of crazies? Why does anyone need an AR-15? How do people like this keep getting guns?

In order to break the logjam, I want to add my support to a modest step that may be very effective. It’s been proven in 15 states to reduce gun deaths and is certainly constitutional. More importantly, it helps us to move past the infatuation with guns and focus on people.

I believe that a national law requiring a permit to own a gun, which displays both credibility and competency, is both passable and implementable. Call it a “Common Sense Gun Law” if you like.

Continue reading