Economy and Trends

Georgia Insurance Commissioner: Obamacare Rates Up 57% Next Year

Premiums for individual policies sold under the Affordable Care Act could increase by as much as 60% next year. Regulators are forced to either approve the increases demanded by health insurance companies or lose those companies. “Obamacare has become even more unaffordable for Georgia’s middle class,” complains Georgia insurance commissioner Ralph Hudgens. “I am disappointed by reports that the latest Obamacare repeal has ...

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Investment Managers – Down and Out Even at Harvard

On September 19, 2017, the New York Times reported that Harvard’s $37.1 billion endowment fund, managed by Harvard Management Co. (HMC), posted a return of 8.1% for its latest fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2017. Nirmal Narveker, president and CEO of HMC, stated that the results were disappointing but that the changes he was implementing would strengthen the fund ...

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Bitcoin or Bust

While Bitcoin has been around since 2008, there is still so little we as a society understand about its value, its function, and its place in the economy. And the reason for our lack of understanding is primarily due to our inability to progress from our formal understanding of how currency works and what gives it value. See, even though ...

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Single Family Housing: Look to Vacant Retail Space

The growth of internet commerce is reducing the square footage of real estate that retailers can profitably utilize. This dynamic should help increase the supply of middle-class single family homes in some desirable markets because it will help address the dearth of buildable lots that home builders point to when discussing the small supply of affordable new single family homes. ...

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Single Family Homes – A Tale of Two Markets

The chart below depicts the percentage of new home sales that are priced below $200,000 (blue bar) and priced between $200,000 and $400,000 (orange bar). Those priced above $400,000 would be the remainder of the market, and this remainder has been where the action has been over the past few years. Since 2010 the market share of new homes priced ...

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Capital Spending Boosts the US Economy

A silver lining in the otherwise grim business of weaponry, discussed elsewhere in this issue with respect to Russia’s Zapad maneuvers, is that it contributes to capital spending on sophisticated technologies at industrial conglomerates with multiplier benefits to the overall economy. This past week the Commerce Department revised its report on second quarter US activity up to 3% from a ...

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Will CyberCrime Make the Markets Unstable?

In today’s digital age, military attacks aren’t the only one we need to worry about. It’s important to be on the defensive when it comes to cyber warfare. Symantec revealed that recent penetrations of the energy grid were deep enough that the hackers actually had control of the grid and could turn off power at will. In fact, a particular ...

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Part Time America and the Effects on Wage Growth

The September 1, 2017 jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a slight slowdown in job growth and a slight uptick in for unemployment from the prior month. Wage growth continued to putter along at a disappointing 2.5% annual rate for the fifth straight month. One reason for the lack of wage growth is that an increasing number ...

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Second Quarter Sees 3% Growth – Approaching ‘Robust’

Revised data from the Department of Commerce shows a 3% growth in GDP for the second quarter (April-June). This is a serious increase from the measly 1.2% growth we saw during Q1 and is the strongest we’ve seen since the beginning of 2015 when growth hit 3.2%. It’s also exactly what Trump promised us on the campaign trail. Data also ...

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