This past week the news came out that the United States has fired the first salvo in what looks increasingly like the start of the trade war with China. Monday the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) office announced that America will assess two new duties on foreign imports. These will be 30 percent tariffs on solar equipment and 50 percent tariffs on washing machines which are imported. While the measures are not directly aimed at China, that country is the largest producer of some of these items. This long feared trade war between the United States and China reminds you why you… Read More

This past week the news broke that Japanese investors unloaded on their huge holdings of American government debt (better known as Treasuries). This happened for the second consecutive month in November. Normally this might not be such a big deal. Several factors make it different this time. China and Japan are by far and away the largest holders of U.S. government debt. In fact China remains the largest foreign owner of American government bonds. Yet the data revealed a more disturbing and deeper trend. Both China and Japan's aggregate shares of American Treasuries declined significantly. They dropped to around 36… Read More

Social Security has always been among the biggest, most crucial pension systems since it was created. Today tens of millions of Americans rely on it for their retirement. In fact a stunning 62 percent of its members obtain half or more of their retirement income from the program, per the Social Security Administration. Besides this, over 22 million American retirees would live beneath the official poverty line without its contributions, according to the CBPP Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. This means that any significant reduction in the program would lead to disastrous consequences for millions of Americans. Yet the… Read More

This past week you saw yet another Greek parliamentary vote on financial reforms demanded by their international creditors in lieu of additional bailout money. A worrying sign that had not been seen in a while were large scale and violent protests outside the parliament building. This Greek tragedy has continued for eight years now. Over the course of that time it has threatened to bring down other peripheral nations and major banks throughout the EU which were exposed to Greek debt. Economic problems in even smaller nations of the EU can potentially endanger the stability of the global economy. It is a… Read More

Unless you have been ignoring the news completely, you can not help but have noticed that the Dow Jones Industrial Average stock market index just made another all time high last week. It blew past 25,000. In fact it took only 23 trading days for the market to roar from 24,000 to this latest round number. This represented a new record for fewest number of days. The NASDAQ similarly broke 7,000. To say that the prices of stocks have never been so on fire would be an understatement. Yet it is important to keep something in mind amidst all of the… Read More