Master Financial Education

Financial and Economic Daily Commentary 2018
The  most intensive and extensive on the Web

E. F. Moody Jr.

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Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

From an adviser: It is a daily read for me. Clearly biased towards the client. Great perspectives and links to thought provoking material. Greatly appreciated.

Knowledge makes obsolete the inequities that ignorance and prejudice justify

Investor/Investing Risk of Loss: Identify, Manage and Limit Investment
Risk of Loss on Mutual Funds and ETFs

Four Phase Process that will change the investment dichotomy for 75% of Middle and Lower Income investors overall and up to 90% for 401k Investors 

Losses limited to about 12% for recessions

Patent Pending

Morality, Sexism, Ethics, Corrupt Equilibrium

Critical reference to the limited fiduciary capabilities in the planning industry (and more) and why they may/will remain as such given sophomoric DOL rules and flaccid organizational enforcement. Specific commentary to sexism and ethical and moral lapses of society impacting women. Not the standard drivel

 Target Date and Bond Funds

 Retirement Fiduciary Breach

Analysis for investors and advisers. The economic changes from the Great Recession caused major adjustments in investing. One of the major issues is the flip flop of the correlations in bond funds versus equities  coupled with a truly lower return and an increased overall risk. It will take a lot more effort to provide adequate return for those in need and the discussion will address pros and cons particularly for retirement purpose Emphasis on risk, Click for full article.

“It’s not the Fed’s job to stop people from losing money.”

Jay Powell- head of the Federal Reserve


4/19: Update on yield curve

Flattening yield curve raises alarms. WSJ's Daniel Kruger and Sam Goldfarb: "The gap between short- and long-term Treasury yields is at its narrowest in more than a decade, reflecting investors’ confidence that the Federal Reserve will maintain its current pace of interest-rate increases despite continuing skepticism about the longer-term outlook for economic growth and inflation. The difference between the two-year Treasury yield and the 10-year Treasury yield, known on Wall Street as the 2-10 spread, settled Tuesday at 0.428 percentage point, its tightest since 2007, before steepening modestly Wednesday. Two-year yields tend to rise along with investors’ expectations for tighter Fed interest-rate policy, while longer-term yields are more responsive to sentiment about prospects for the economy."

4/19: Simplified Underwriting is One Way Life Insurers Can Reach the 19 Million 'Stuck Shoppers'
LIMRA researchSimplified Underwriting - Life Insurance shows there are about 19 million “stuck shoppers” - potential life insurance buyers who start the process but never finish. To help combat this issue, many companies are implementing simplified underwriting processes to lower costs and improve customers’ buying experience.
LIMRA finds only 15 percent of all U.S. households shop for life insurance in a 24-month period. Of those, just two-thirds actually get a quote for a life insurance policy. A possible deterrent can be the time consuming and complicated nature of the full underwriting process. Fifty-two percent of potential life insurance buyers said they would be more likely to purchase life insurance if they didn’t have to go through a physical exam, according to the 2018 Insurance Barometer Study by LIMRA and Life Happens.

EFM- The 'no physical; quotes may be higher than those who will go through full medical review. Those who take the 'no physical' may be a pool of those with less than perfect health

4/19: OPM doesn’t have a contingency plan if long-term care insurance market upends
Long-term care insurance premiums rose as much as 126 percent the last time OPM re-competed its contract for the program back in 2016. The premium hikes affected roughly 264,000 active and retired federal employees, who are paying an average of $111 more per month for the same coverage they had in previous years.
With the current pace of change in the long-term care insurance market, FLTCIP participants could see even higher premiums in the future, the IG said. Premiums rose the previous time OPM re-competed its long-term care contract in 2009, but the increases weren’t as dramatic.

4/19:. The probability that the Fed will raise rates three more times in 2018, derived from prices in futures markets, rose above 80 per cent on Wednesday, up from 66.3 per cent a week ago. (FT)

EFM- I am not so sure of three time. Twice- yes.

4/19: Tracking down a lost 401k or pension plan

4/19: A global survey on the state of Investor Trust 

4/19: Far too many men

Nothing like this has happened in human history. A combination of cultural preferences, government decree and modern medical technology in the world’s two largest countries has created a gender imbalance on a continental scale. Men outnumber women by 70 million in China and India. Now both nations are belatedly trying to come to grips with the policies that created this male-heavy generation.





IMS/Marsh survey: Risk management isn't keeping up with technology risks

Survey respondents generally felt they lacked sufficient knowledge about disruptive technologies. Read More

4/18: OIL

In today’s newsletter, we will take a quick look at some of the critical figures and data in the energy markets this week. 

We will then look at some of the key market movers early this week before providing you with the latest analysis of the top news events taking place in the global energy complex over the past few days. We hope you enjoy.

Urgent: Before we take a look at this week’s data, we would like to inform you that we've just published a special report on a breakthrough technology in solar. This report along with several other reports will turn you into an expert in the rapidly growing and dynamic solar power industry. Find out how you can consistently make money from investing in renewable energy. Click here to find out more.

U.S. oil production is expected to rise by another 125,000 bpd in May, compared to a month earlier.

-    The gains will, unsurprisingly, come from the Permian basin, which is expected to add 73,000 bpd.

-    Interestingly, the number of drilled but uncompleted wells (DUCs) continues to rise, an indication that supply chain bottlenecks are causing some delays.

4/18: The bold says it all

1.   Self Confidence Spillovers and Motivated Beliefs


Ritwik Banerjee (Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, Bannerghatta Main Road, Sundar Ram Shetty Nagar, Bilekahalli, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560076 India); Nabanita Datta Gupta (Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University, Denmark, and IZA, Bonn. Fuglesangs Allé 4, 8210 Aarhus V, Denmark); Marie Claire Villeval (Univ Lyon, CNRS, GATE L-SE UMR 5824, F-69131 Ecully, France; IZA, Bonn, Germany)



Motivated beliefs, spillovers, self-confidence, competitiveness, Affirmative Action, experiment


C91 J15 M52




See the source image           Image result for trump head                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                                                       Giraffes have been a friend to fly fisherman for decades. They are comfortable, easy going and their
                                                                                                 long necks allow them to see fish that the angler couldn't.
                                                                                  Here you see the angler trying to put a  Large floating Trump fly with a 5x tippet in front of a hippo which has just risen because he heard a twitter on the water..

4/15 Capital accumulation occurs through savings, investment, and economic growth. Unless all three factors exist in sufficient quantities, a society’s ability to provide retirement benefits to older citizens declines.

Unfortunately, in the US, all three factors are moving in the wrong direction:

1.    Savings. In the 1970s, Americans saved 9% to 15% of their income. Today, we save only about 4%.

2.    Investment. In an era of near-zero interest rates, it’s a lot tougher to generate safe investment returns. When my father retired in 1981, he could buy a certificate of deposit (CD) that paid 14% interest. Sure, inflation was higher in 1981 than it is now. But his after-inflation return on investment was nearly 6% higher than it is today.

1981 inflation rate: 10.3%

1981 three-month CD interest rate: 14%

Net return on investment: 3.7%

2018 estimated inflation rate: 2.38%

2018 three-month CD interest rate: 0.75%

Net return on investment: -1.63%

  1. Economic growth. In the 1970s and 1980s, there were six years in which the economy grew at a rate of 9% or higher. Since then, the growth rate has exceeded 5% in only a handful of years. In 2017, the economy expanded at only a 2.3% rate.
The confluence of these factors forces retirees – and anyone thinking of retirement – to save a great deal more money to supplement Social Security and pension income they receive or expect to receive

Best audience I ever had.
Rapt with attention

4/18: SS

The proportion of people paying into the Social Security system to beneficiaries is now at a historic low. And in the next 25 to 50 years the ratio will go even lower. In 1960, the worker-to-beneficiary ratio was 5.1:1. In 2005, it was 3.3:1. In 2020, it will be about 2.6:1. It is projected to be 2:1 by 2060.


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Disability Resources For College Students -

4/17: In a new international comparison, the United States health care  looks a lot like ...........

Findings  In 2016, the US spent 17.8% of its gross domestic product on health care, and spending in the other countries ranged from 9.6% (Australia) to 12.4% (Switzerland). The proportion of the population with health insurance was 90% in the US, lower than the other countries (range, 99%-100%), and the US had the highest proportion of private health insurance (55.3%). For some determinants of health such as smoking, the US ranked second lowest of the countries (11.4% of the US population ≥15 years smokes daily; mean of all 11 countries, 16.6%), but the US had the highest percentage of adults who were overweight or obese at 70.1% (range for other countries, 23.8%-63.4%; mean of all 11 countries, 55.6%). Life expectancy in the US was the lowest of the 11 countries at 78.8 years (range for other countries, 80.7-83.9 years; mean of all 11 countries, 81.7 years), and infant mortality was the highest (5.8 deaths per 1000 live births in the US; 3.6 per 1000 for all 11 countries). The US did not differ substantially from the other countries in physician workforce (2.6 physicians per 1000; 43% primary care physicians), or nursing workforce (11.1 nurses per 1000). The US had comparable numbers of hospital beds (2.8 per 1000) but higher utilization of magnetic resonance imaging (118 per 1000) and computed tomography (245 per 1000) vs other countries. The US had similar rates of utilization (US discharges per 100 000 were 192 for acute myocardial infarction, 365 for pneumonia, 230 for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; procedures per 100 000 were 204 for hip replacement, 226 for knee replacement, and 79 for coronary artery bypass graft surgery). Administrative costs of care (activities relating to planning, regulating, and managing health systems and services) accounted for 8% in the US vs a range of 1% to 3% in the other countries. For pharmaceutical costs, spending per capita was $1443 in the US vs a range of $466 to $939 in other countries. Salaries of physicians and nurses were higher in the US; for example, generalist physicians salaries were $218 173 in the US compared with a range of $86 607 to $154 126 in the other countries.

Conclusions and Relevance  The United States spent approximately twice as much as other high-income countries on medical care, yet utilization rates in the United States were largely similar to those in other nations. Prices of labor and goods, including pharmaceuticals, and administrative costs appeared to be the major drivers of the difference in overall cost between the United States and other high-income countries. As patients, physicians, policy makers, and legislators actively debate the future of the US health system, data such as these are needed to inform policy decisions.

4.17:  But in another study the U.S. was not that bad at all.\

When it came to many of the measures of health system function, the United States was in the middle of the pack, not an outlier, as Dr. Jha had expected. Many analysts have called for the country to shift its physician training away from specialty care and toward more primary care medicine, for example. But the study found that 43 percent of U.S. doctors practice primary care medicine, about typical for the group.

It’s often argued that patients in the United States use too much medical care. But the country was below average on measures of how often patients went to the doctor or hospital. The nation did rank near the top in its use of certain medical services, including expensive imaging tests and specific surgical procedures, like knee replacements and C-sections.

The data are consistent with other evidence that health care systems are beginning to converge, as information and technologies spread around the world among doctors and administrators.

4/17: Evictions 2016

4/17: Venezuela: the other humanitarian crisis
A generation ago, it was the wealthiest country in Latin America. Now, following the implosion of the economy, thousands of desperate migrants are fleeing into Colombia and Brazil daily. At the current rate, over 5 per cent of Venezuela’s population will depart this year.

EFM- I gave up on South America a long time ago.. So much is in conflict that it will take two decades to- at a minimum. 


county natural change map

4/17: Overdose deaths from heroin, synthetics like fentanyl, and prescription painkillers, reached 42,000 in 2016

4/16: Estimates put the number of Amazon Prime members at 65 million.

4/16: Occupational living will and senile dementia

This is  a medical advanced directive but expressly intended for one’s professional life.

Depending on the stage of the disease and the degree of disruption of brain systems important for self-awareness, patients have widely varied insight into their predicament and appreciation of the impact of their neurological disease on their work.

This lack of self-awareness was disturbingly evident in the case of a professor in her mid-60s who continued to give lectures, supervise students and even consult, despite being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease of mild to moderate severity.

(EFM- someone must step in to 'correct' the situation due to, among other things the liability exposure of causing harm to others. That said, a lot of employees may not want to take action because  the person is a superior. Even if not, there still is the element of getting fired because it was not your job, not every one would agree (enablers) etc.

"When strong cognitive-testing evidence of her deteriorating mental status and examples of her difficulty carrying out professional responsibilities were brought to her attention, she insisted that her problems were only minor. "

EFM- Studies also show that the person may have absolutely no clue to their situation and refuse to receive any feedback on their condition. I had thought that most people- certainly in  'higher functioning' positions - would know something was going wrong from the beginning of dementia- was simply wrong.

"It is estimated that 15 to 20 percent of adults who are 65 years and older suffer from mild cognitive impairment and 10 percent from dementia.

Handling the decline

No blueprint exists to guide me in this process, so I have broken down this seemingly overwhelming task into manageable steps:

1. Crafting a written document articulating advanced directives for work that represent a personal commitment to how, depending on my cognitive status, I would want to comport myself in the future.

2. Sharing the document with others I trust, who can support me through this process.

3. Recording a video that communicates my wishes and can be used to speak to my future self.

4. Identifying a few peers or colleagues I can confide in, who can access my work and make a fair and reasonable assessment of my functioning.

5. Explicitly empowering these individuals to share their observations with me.

6. Finally, if concerns are raised, having a plan in place for evaluating — via formal assessment by a cognitive neurologist or geriatric psychiatrist — whether my decline exceeds the bounds of normal aging and is truly worrisome."

Worth a full reading

4/15 Australia nailed it          pay attention to the comments

  • Australia's central bank is concerned riskier assets such as stocks and high-yield corporate debt could be set for widespread losses if there is a sudden increase in government bond yields.
  • The bank warns current asset valuations, which are reliant on global bond yields staying low, are "elevated relative to history."
  • In addition, it says returns for holding many risk assets have fallen to record low levels.

bond yields

The RBA cautions that a sharp increase in long-term government bond yields toward historically normal levels "could result in widespread asset price falls if it is not accompanied by stronger growth".

"Valuations for fixed income securities could fall sharply if interest rates rise substantially because of higher realised or expected inflation, while valuations for assets more broadly could fall if risk premia return to historically more normal levels."

This chart from the RBA shows how riskier assets performed during the "taper tantrum" of 2013 when US bond yields spiked as the Federal Reserve announced that it would begin reducing monthly asset purchases as part of its quantitative easing program.

asset of total returns

4/15: The History Of The Modern Portfolio

Nice simple overview so give it a shot.

But my issue with this and all other risk identification for the last 60 years is this .......article led people to the conclusion that risk, not the best price, should be the crux of any portfolio. Furthermore, once an investor's risk tolerance was established, building a portfolio was an exercise in plugging investments into the formula.

Risk for an investor dealing with retirement or some other specific goal ends up being some type of superficial and sophomoric 1) drivel of simply asking the investor. And broker dealer firms questionnaires back up what the investor state by asking how much experience have you had in the market. Rubbish. Being in a 401k for 20 years does not make sophistication. What about the agent/broker> On what basis will the expertise come from. Not from licensing training where you do not have to know how to use a financial calculator. Not from software- many now extolling their value because they include behavioral elements. Nope. Better maybe(?) but still subjective. So as repeated here (maybe too often I admit) is to break down the various investments to how much they can lose. Admittedly the analysis can only estimate for the worst case situation (recession) for mutual funds and ETFs (with track records) so that the range of numbers can be delivered to the client with the statement. "this is how much you will probably lose in a recession. Is that acceptable/" As to what range that loss is in (conservative, moderate, etc. here is a link to a Linkedin article explaining the first phase of the Preliminary Patent Process noted above.

4/15:Relocation Stress Syndrome

Over the past decade, medical professionals have increasingly been diagnosing and treating seniors with relocation stress syndrome (RSS), also known as “transfer trauma.” The syndrome is characterized by a combination of symptoms – including anxiety, confusion and loneliness – that often present themselves after a move to a senior living.


4/15: Just another heads up

US yield curve flattens as investors brace for rate rises

4/15: .Slowing down?

A series of downbeat business surveys in the eurozone, plus an unexpected third successive monthly fall in industrial production in February, have cast some doubt on the robustness of the European recovery. Employment in the US has been weaker than expected, as has Japanese consumer spending and wage growth, meaning Japan is likely to remain below its 2 per cent inflation target for some time to come. Activity in the Chinese economy, meanwhile, also appears to be soft. Overall, the global economy is performing below expectations: Citigroup’s economic surprise indicator, which measures actual data relative to predictions, has turned sharply down. More policy-induced risk, especially from such an erratic source as US President Donald Trump, is precisely what the world does not need.

bad news should remind policymakers that the world economy remains in uncharted territory. Wage and price inflation have manifestly failed to respond as normal to years of sustained growth. Expectations that economies are at or close to sustainable capacity and that prices are just about to take off have repeatedly been confounded. Even in the US, wage growth remains weak. Perhaps the most dangerous idea in modern policymaking is that of normalisation: the belief that the world economy went through a time-limited period of extraordinary weakness following the global financial crisis, but that it will necessarily return to the status quo. The reality is that the growth in sustainable output may have slowed indefinitely since before the crisis across many of the advanced economies. And even so, given that the monetary policy pedal is still pressed close to the floor in some economies, particularly Japan, it is far from clear that policymakers can sustainably maintain domestic demand expansion sufficiently to fill the output gap.

EFM- I have had and continue to have a rather a bleak attitude toward the world economy. With a potential trade war, Syria, North Korea and a raving mad President, it may be possible to get through 2018 but a lot of bad stuff will through the world out of spin in 2019. Should be pretty bad with Trump.

Fake News?????

4/15: Statistics:

One way to understand China is to look at the statistics. Real income per person has increased nearly tenfold since 1990. Since the early 1980s, the number of extremely poor people in China has fallen by more than three-quarters of a billion people, more than half the population of the country. China consumed more cement in a recent three-year period than the US used in the entire 20th century.

Some will be tempted to dismiss the statistics as irrelevant book-learning, and declare that only personal experience matters. There is certainly something in that, especially when a situation is fast-moving or contains soft, hard-to-quantify details. As the Nobel laureate economist Friedrich Hayek remarked, the “knowledge of the particular circumstances of time and place” is important and often neglected.

HR McMaster — who before he was US president Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, was a counterinsurgency pioneer in Iraq — had a similar concern. He once told me the army used to wrongly believe that “situational understanding could be delivered on a computer screen”. It would be convenient if that was possible, but as Gen McMaster and his colleagues learnt the hard way, it is not. Sometimes you have to be there to understand
A new book by the late Hans Rosling and his family, Factfulness, advocates the merits of understanding the world both through the data and through personal experience — not of news stories or tourist traps, but of the everyday lives being lived all over the world. “Numbers will never tell the full story of what life on Earth is all about,” wrote Rosling, despite being the world’s most famous statistical guru. But the story they do tell matters. In statistics, as elsewhere, hard logic and personal impressions work best when they reinforce and correct each other.

4/15: Financial literacy:

The need to increase financial literacy “seems like an obvious solution,, but “like many obvious solutions, upon closer inspection it’s clear that financial education alone hasn’t worked — and perhaps it never can.” She suggests that this is because “the way our brains are wired to process information typically works against us when it comes to making sound financial decisions, and changing behavior takes more than a single class.”

EFM: But ....The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) shares that view, Menard points out, citing a 2016 NPR broadcast in which the CFPB said that, “There’s no clear link between taking personal finance classes and saving more, paying off debts or raising your credit score.”My issue when hearing of financial literacy covers investing, mutual funds et al. What is really disconcerting the fact that the issue of savings et al is done at the grade school- certainly high school- level. I can do the instruction for people who have had some basic' knowledge of the world.' But an instructor for the schools noted that the students did NOT learn- or at least retain- what they were taught and it would not work unless and until there were real life examples to validate the learning. He then said that the school coursework was a failure.  As to that level of knowledge, it is next to impossible for my effort to succeed.

The article noted,

“One of the problems with financial education,” says Menard, “is that it can become obsolete in a relatively short span of time,” adding that “new financial products are engineered and introduced more quickly than organizations offering financial education can keep up with them.” She argues that “old rules of thumb” are not sufficient now. Other problems, she says, are:

  • a cognitive bias to lend more importance to present needs and wants than those in the distant future;

  • overconfidence;

  • a tendency to hold on to the first bit of information one acquires as a baseline for comparison;

  • a bias toward new information that confirms preconceived notions, and to ignore evidence that contradicts them; and

  • loss aversion.
  • EFM- I submit that loss aversion is a key element but my recent work pretty much changes that concern. However, it may never be recognized by the industry since it changes the status quo of investing. In essence even though one builds a much better mouse trap, no one may know about it if the powers to be want it squashed. I do not have the power- read lots and lots of money- to force the system to adhere to a fiduciary duty. I know what I have done and it will keep major losses to about 12% in a recession. No liquid alternatives, hedging, futures, derivatives, yada, yada, yada. Simple. Another issue is the new financial products ARE growing like weeds. Certainly with all the indexed offerings which seem to come out each week. . But different than Menard's comments above, the industry never has been that astute anyway, They cannot grasp (as a whole) new products because they do not have the requisite skills to begin with. Pundits and advisors have railed at this for a long time but the simple fact is that no broker, registered investment advisor or insurance agents has been required to know how to use a financial calculator. You  CANNOT do financial  'whatever' without some skills in what the numbers represent. Purchased software does not include formulas or lessons to work in the real world. I mean, a life insurance agent able to grasp the nuances of a new indexed annuity without running pertinent numbers on a calculator??
  • Here are further comments: The CFPB also offers some ideas, Menard says. She cites a 2017 CFPB report in which it sets forth five principles of financial education that can lead to greater success:

    Principle 1: Tailor information to individuals’ specific circumstances, challenges, goals and situations.

    Principle 2: Provide timely information that is relevant and that can be used to address a specific situation or meet a specific goal.

    Principle 3: Build general skills such as knowing where to obtain reliable information and how to process it.

    Principle 4: Build individuals’ confidence regarding meeting financial goals and support their ability to focus on their standards and values, and to persevere when challenged.

    Principle 5: Help create habit and systems that make it easy for individuals to implement their decisions.

    Menard suggests that employers and retirement plan professionals that are pondering instituting a financial education program may find the following considerations helpful:
  • What does the financial education look like? Will it work for our organization?
  • EFM- who is doing it?? What background? Has done education for how long? Does it include insurance ,(life and disability), long term care, life settlement ( as applicable)

  • Does the program offer access to human coaches or advisors?
  • EFM-  Only for large companies. Can get expensive

  • What problems will the program address? How does it help employees to address their financial needs and set goals?
  • EFM- Everything starts with risk. Which is not taught for investing in the real world

  • Is there mechanism that encourages employees to be accountable about their financial decisions?
  • EFM- An ongoing budget which many hate to do. Monthly or quarterly newsletter (though must be simple)

  • Does the program include a way for employees to estimate their income during retirement?
  • EFM- it can be done without too much difficulty.But must consider RISK of LOSS first and foremost. Most practitioners will screw this up if employee may not have enough .
4/15: Frankly I do not believe that consumers recognize just how far AI and automation will go. AI et al will take over many/most functions of humans by 2050. We may become 'unnecessary" 

Office automation is about to lead to a 'massacre of the Dilberts'

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney's comments come in the same week that EY warned 330,000 jobs in London alone are at risk of automation.

Boy, am I happy!!!

4/13: Inverted Yield Curve

An inverted yield curve remains a powerful signal of a looming recession and that is still the case even if the current ultra-low level of U.S. interest rates are taken into account, according to fresh research by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

A negative curve, where the return to investors on shorter-dated securities is above that on longer-term bonds, has predicted all nine U.S. recessions since 1955, with a lag of six to 24 months. Some have argued that this time is different, because interest rates are so low and a flattening yield curve doesn’t necessarily mean the U.S. economic expansion is heading for trouble.

The findings, published Monday in the San Francisco Fed’s regular Economic Letter, show that the term spread, or the difference between short- and long-term interest rates, is as good today as it’s always been at spotting problems ahead. But there’s no urgency just yet. While relatively flat, the current yield curve doesn’t signal a high risk of a downturn even though the U.S. economic expansion is already the third longest on record.

“Forecasting future economic developments is a tricky business, but the term spread has a strikingly accurate record for forecasting recessions,” study authors Michael Bauer and Thomas Mertens, who are both economists at the San Francisco Fed, wrote in their analysis. “While the current environment appears unique compared with recent economic history, statistical evidence suggests that the signal in the term spread is not diminished.”

“While these hypotheses have some intuitive appeal, our analysis shows that they are not substantiated by a statistical analysis that incorporates the suggested factors into the type of predictive models we use,” they wrote. “An extensive analysis of various models leads us to conclude that the term spread is by far the most reliable predictor of recessions.”


he Brookings Papers on Economic Activity (BPEA) is an academic journal published by the Brookings Press twice a year. Each edition of the journal includes five or six new papers on a range of macroeconomic topics currently impacting public policy debates.

Technology and the farmer

4/13: a San Francisco Fed Economic Letter outlined the value of the yield curve as an economic forecaster and how an inversion has preceded every recession in the last 60 years. Although the authors agree with the notion that the current flattening may not mean what it has in the past, they conclude that the yield curve remains a valid and formidable predictor.

The concern is the extra supply of bonds and other upward pressures on longer rates even as the Fed hikes, keeping long-term yields from falling below short-term yields. The ballooning budget deficit that will exceed $1 trillion next year and debt held by the public will rise from the current 74.3 percent of gross domestic product in coming years to more than 90 percent in 2026 — and that doesn’t include the impact of the recent tax reform. Debt-to-GDP was barely 40 percent at the end of the Reagan administration. The deficit has to be financed, and I suspect that will mean ever-higher rates, which will curb economic growth, to attract overseas buyers because we don’t have enough savings on the domestic front to do it on our own.

(EFM- we end up with a bunch of bozos who vote for a 1.3 trillion dollar budget and nary a one had read the 2,200 page summary. It had only been put together the night before. Actually  this is a fine example of what Congress does- it attacks a number of critical areas/errors (such as Facebook) that may deserve additional scrutiny but where there own kitchen is dirty. Facebook will hurt a number of people whose background was stolen. Every person in America is going to get creamed by the deficit blowing up on us due to incompetency by Congress. )

It’s not only about government debt. Corporate debt stands at a record 45.3 percent of GDP, and companies will face massive refinancing needs — at higher rates — as that debt matures over the next few years. All I ;lhear is that the money saved from lower corporate taxes and the overseas cash — mostly held in Treasuries, by the way — that can now be brought back to the U.S. will be used for more share buybacks and M&A activity, not to reduce debt. Again, a source of upward pressure on rates.

Now add in tariffs, which can raise prices inefficiently, thus giving an upward tilt to inflation that is not based on demand. In the case of steel and aluminum, the U.S. produces far less than it uses. The consulting firm Trade Partnership put out a report saying the Trump administration’s proposed tariffs would eliminate a net 179,000 jobs, overwhelming any gains enjoyed by the U.S. steel and aluminum manufacturers. And, we don’t even know the impact of any retaliatory tariffs by other countries or if certain countries decide to respond by purchasing less U.S. debt. Either way, this again points to upward pressure on yields rates for reasons unrelated to actual growth or demand-based inflation.

Foreign ownership of U.S. Treasuries. Source: Bloomberg

Need more? Consider that real income gains remain tepid and consumption that has been fueled by a lower savings rate, which fell to a 10-year low of 2.7 percent in the fourth quarter. Presumably, borrowing at higher interest rates will prove at least somewhat problematic to consumers. Oh, and the Fed said last month that American households’ outstanding debt climbed to a record $13.1 trillion in the October-December period. (EFM Just look at the margin debt right now, Way out of whack.)

U.S. davings rate drops to lowest since 2007. Source: Bloomberg

The change in the structure of U.S. deficits, the ownership of debt, and influences from the likes of tariffs and stimulus well into an economic recovery suggests the path to a yield curve inversion will be harder than before. Looking at recessions before the 1950s, only about half were preceded by an inverted curve.

This is all to say we may not need an inverted yield curve as the final arbiter of a recession. I could see it as a late 2019 event, just before the 2020 elections.

4/13: Flood danger greater than currently identified:  41 million Americans are at risk from flooding rivers. That’s more than three times than the current estimate of 13 million people.

“Because climate change may cause so-called ’100-year’ floods to occur more frequently, even more people may be exposed to flooding in the future. All of this highlights the critical need for comprehensive floodplain and flood risk management planning,”

4/13: Annuity rates- I know the FED wants to keep raising rates but I am  not sure the global markets will hold up.

   •   3 year surrender period guaranteeing 2.50% for all 3 years

   •   5 year surrender period guaranteeing 3.60% for all 5 years

   •   7 year surrender period guaranteeing 3.85% for all 7 years

4/12: Alzheimers and difficult behavior. READ THIS

4/12:Participants Prefer Workplace Plans, Want More Employer Help

Have Americans accepted a shift in responsibility for their own retirement security? A new study by MetLife seems to indicate that they have. … READ MORE

EFM-I understand why employees- or just about anybody- wants additional help.with investing (and more). Very few people of average income can afford to lose another 50%+ in this next recession. Problem is their employer has no idea who is best utilized in providing solid risk education with mutual funds.  Ergo, education will help in certain areas but will continue to be woefully inadequate in preparing for retirement (and other goals) but few . It starts with risk................... 

4/12: Not a bad idea- Companies should fund pension plans, not pay big dividends, Pensions Regulator says

Thinking about you at lunch today

4/12: Global debt levels have hit another record high.

  • Global debt levels rose by $US21 trillion last year to $US237 trillion, the highest level on record.
  • 80% of the increase in global debt levels over the past five years has occurred in emerging markets.
  • With nominal GDP growing faster than debt in 2017, the global debt-to-GDP ratio fell to 318%.

global debt levels rose by a further $21 trillion last year (US dollars), leaving total outstanding debt at $US237 trillion, the highest level on record.

All sectors recorded an increase in debt loading from the end of 2016, lifting by $4.5 trillion, $6.5 trillion, $4.5 trillion and $5.5 trillion respectively for households, non-financial corporates, governments and the financial sector.

IIF debt loading by sector 2017IIF

IIF debt and debt to gdp
IIF debt and debt to gdpIIF

In contrast, total debt in mature markets rose by a smaller $4 trillion over the same period to $174 trillion.

However, while overall debt levels increased sharply last year, it was actually slower than the increase recorded in nominal GDP, seeing the global debt-to-GDP ratio fall to 318%.

"With world GDP growth running above potential, the debt-to-GDP ratio continues to decline," the IIF said.

"With global financing conditions still relatively benign, the risks of such a rapid increase in the debt burden remain largely under the radar."

Over the past past five years, the debt-to-GDP ratio for mature markets fell from 387% in 2012 to 382% in 2017, partially offsetting an increase in the ratio for emerging markets which surged to 210% from 171% over the same period.

The IIF said Argentina, Nigeria, Turkey and China recorded the largest buildup in debt ratios over the year, the latter fueled by ongoing growth in indebtedness of households and the nation's finance sector.

"While China's total debt growth slowed notably in 2017 with a drop in the non-financial corporate debt-to-GDP ratio largely offset by rising household and financial sector debt," the group said.

And while most emerging market debt continues to be issued in local currencies, the IIF said that foreign currency denominated debt issued in these nations swelled by $800 billion last year to a record high of $8.3 trillion.

4/12: Alzheimers  

If you are old, expect to get old, know any old people- pay attention to the impact of alzheimers on the patient him/herself and the impact on caregivers. A most terrible disease and one that I do not see pharmaceuticals getting a cure. Large firms have recently canceled trials AND the effort to continue since none of the new drugs worked.

She raised her hands, exasperated. “They don’t have my yogurt!”“Is there some other brand you could eat?” I prompted.“I can’t get back here to the store. I’ve got a sitter taking care of my husband who is crazy! Crazy! You don’t know,” She shook her head as if clearing visions that she wanted to forget.

“You’re probably right,” I agreed soothingly. She took a deep breath and tried to read the names of the other brands of yogurt.

“I like low-fat yogurt,” she said. “With peaches. Not this custard stuff.”

“Have you tried the custard stuff?” I asked gently. “Because it’s pretty good.”

“I just want my yogurt.” She almost stamped her foot. I didn’t blame her. When a caregiver’s life has gotten way out of her control, she wants something simple, like her flavor of yogurt, and it doesn’t seem fair to that she can’t have it.

“I know,” I said, reaching past her for the custard stuff.

“I don’t usually look like this,” she said waving a red rough hand at her outfit.

It wasn’t pretty. She wore an old jogging suit, and the top didn’t match the bottoms. Her walking shoes were dirty, and the cuffs of her pants were covered in red dust.

“I’ve been for a walk, and I really needed that walk. I’m trying to live.”

I nodded, positioning my buggy to leave, but the nervous lady stopped me. “My husband has Alzheimer’s disease, and I’ve hired a new woman to sit with him so I can take a walk and buy my peach low-fat yogurt, and I won’t be able to get back until I don’t know when.”

I nodded silently.

“He’s my second husband. We haven’t been married very long, just two years. I’ve placed calls to his oldest son, but he doesn’t return them. I need help!” She said the words as if she thought I’d argue otherwise.

“You do need help. You can’t do it alone,” I assured her. “No one can.”

She focused on me, her face pale, the skin tight with tension, no laughter in her eyes at all. Not even the memory of it. I knew that look. I used to wear her expression and a version of the same outfit she had on.

“My father had Alzheimer’s,” I said softly. “It’s hard. Keep calling his son, and hire all the help you can. You really can’t do it alone.”

She inched closer, as if I had forgiven her of some trespass. “Could I ask you something horrible?”

“Yes,” I said.

“It’s an awful question,” she warned me fiercely.

“Ask it,” I said.

“My husband… husband,” she repeated the words emphatically, “propositioned the lady who was taking care of him before. I got an emergency call on my cell phone, and she was yelling hysterically. I hurried home and asked my husband what he had done. He drew back and said clear as a bell, `Obviously I was mistaken about her intentions. She was being awfully fresh with me though.’ How could he do that? How could he talk like that—so normal and do something so, shocking?!”

“Alzheimer patients can do shocking things and sound normal too,” I agreed. “And he has cursed people. He knows curse words I’ve never heard! Who did I marry?” She screeched. Other shoppers heard her and scurried away.

“You married a man who was probably already sick and is getting sicker,” I said gently, because I remember that it was hard to hear other people talk to me. I didn’t think anyone understood anything at all about the way it is to live with an Alzheimer patient. In order to survive, one must try to understand what it’s like in the alternative reality of the patient: what dementiaville must be like. One must be able to navigate it while not taking up citizenship there. Tough duty. “My daddy had Alzheimer’s. I took care of him,” I say.

“And your Daddy said awful, awful things?” she asked.

“Sometimes,” I said. “It was a stage that passed. Another stage took its place that was shocking in a different way.” At the time it all felt traumatic. Shocking and heartbreaking. Now, when I remember those days I see that they were really more messy than tragic. One more mess after another to clean up.

“That’s good to know,” she affirmed. “It helps.”

We pushed our buggies toward the checkout where the woman got right in front of me without apology and reached aggressively for a couple of packages of cigarettes. Yogurt and cigarettes. I could see how she needed them both.

She answered the cashier’s routine questions quickly, her eyes darting toward the door. She was already headed home; she just wasn’t in the car yet. I knew that focus: that sense of urgency that is suspended and then suddenly returns like a fever that spikes because you’ve left your patient at home and he might need you to protect him from others—to protect him from himself. Or herself.

When it was my turn to check out the cashier said, ““That was nice of you to let her go first. A lot of people come in here--they are in such a hurry.”

“I see them,” I said, as I watched the woman who was like the old me get in her car and peel wildly onto the street. The caregiver thought she was invisible—that people only saw her sick, shocking husband, but I saw the newlywed caregiver and I could see the future and how she would be again, and I wanted to call after her, “You’re not the only one it’s happening to, and you really will be all right again.”

4/12 The oceans' circulation has not been this sluggish in over 1,000 years

The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC)  has declined in strength by 15 percent since the mid-20th century to a “new record low,” the scientists conclude in a peer-reviewed study published in the journal Nature. That’s a decrease of 3 million cubic meters of water per second, the equivalent of nearly 15 Amazon rivers.

The AMOC brings warm water from the equator up toward the Atlantic’s northern reaches and cold water back down through the deep ocean. The current is partly why Western Europe enjoys temperate weather, and meteorologists are linking changes in North Atlantic Ocean temperatures to recent summer heat waves.

the AMOC has slowed over the past 150 years and similarly found that it is now weaker than at any time in more than a millennium.

“The last 100 years has been its lowest point for the last few thousand years.

So what you say?

a strong warming off the coast of the eastern United States, paired with a cooling south of Greenland, which sometimes been called the cold “blob”:

The research finds that the odd alignment, which has produced regions of record cold and record warmth right next to one another, has been developing since the 1950s and closely matches what a very high resolution climate model predicted would occur.

that has had major effects on fisheries. The Gulf of Maine, for instance, has seen a giant boom in the local lobster industry and crash of the cod fishery.

“A lot of these changes are happening relatively fast, and our fisheries management is unable to keep up,” Saba said. “We’re trying to figure out how to deal with some of these species shifts that we’re seeing.”

It’s not just fisheries: If the slowdown trend continues, it is expected to drive strong sea-level rise against the Eastern Seaboard. Previous research has already shown that from 2009 to 2010, sea level in the region suddenly shot up five inches, thanks in part to a brief slowdown of the circulation.

predicts the circulation will only weaken further as climate change advances. It may not be slow and steady: There is great fear that there may be a “tipping point” where the circulation comes to an abrupt halt.

“I think in the long run … Greenland will start melting even faster, so I think the long-term prospect for that ocean circulation system is that it will weaken further,” Rahmstorf said. “And I think that’s going to affect all of us, basically, in a negative way.”

EFM- Add this to AI, population explosion of 1.5 billion more by 2050, lack of food production and distribution, diversity/animosity of race and religion. a complete disruption of water supply,  pollution of the oceans and finality of fish,  faster loss of land due to melting ice, obesity, opiods, etc.,  and mother earth might give us a swift kick in the pants send our civilization on its way

I'm not kidding.  Getting to 2050 will be a major where I don't believe we will make it with current global policies.


This paper documents a strong association between stock-bond (SB) correlations and monetary policy regimes for a sample of 10 developed markets. Negative stock-bond correlations are associated with periods of accommodating monetary policy, but only in times of low inflation. Irrespective of the inflation and/or growth regime, stock-bond correlations are always positive when monetary policy is restrictive. Pure inflation and growth regimes instead have little explanatory power for stock-bond correlations. Our findings are consistent with recent theoretical research that attributes an important role not only to the cyclicality of inflation but also to monetary policy stance for understanding the dynamics of stock-bond correlations.


Client risk tolerance has deteriorated sharply, according to the latest Retirement Advisor Confidence Index – Financial Planning’s monthly survey of wealth managers. The component tracking risk tolerance plummeted 20.8 points to 37.2, the biggest monthly drop since the index was launched in 2012. Readings above 50 indicate an increase, while readings below 50 indicate a decline.

Advisors report they are frequently reviewing risk positions with clients, with a particular focus on those nearing or in retirement. “We’re having discussions about moving some funds to annuities” to preserve future income, one advisor says.

Some advisors say the volatility has reinforced expectations for a deep correction in stocks and that clients are braced for more pain. The slide in stock prices following the highs set last year “serves as a reminder that the markets can pull back,” one advisor says.

The freefall in the risk component was the biggest factor behind a 7.1-point drop in the composite RACI to 50.9 – also the largest retrenchment in the history of the index. The composite tracks asset allocation; investment product selection and sales; client risk tolerance and tax liability; new retirement plan enrollees and planning fees.

Still, at just above 50, the composite remains in expansion territory. Advisors say they remain confident in the fundamental strength of the economy and that, while they have had to coach some clients not to stray from long-term plans, many have taken higher stock volatility in stride.

4/11:CMT and old feet

What is CMT? | Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association
The foot of a person with CMT. The lack of muscle, a high arch, and claw toes are signs of this genetic disease. Structural foot deformities such as high arches and hammertoes are common. ... Poor tolerance for cool or cold temperatures is typical and many people have chronically cold hands and feet.

Foot abnormalities and difficulty walking are common problems for people with CMT. Having the right shoes can make a huge difference! The right pair of shoes can make walking and balance easier and far more comfortable. But how do you know what type of shoes to look for?

What kinds of problems do people with CMT experience with their feet?

People with CMT develop feet with increasingly high arches and lateral instability (the outside of their feet roll out). This makes it increasingly difficult for their feet to adequately fit into shoes, adding to a feeling of greater instability during stance and in gait; this can lead to ulcerations, ankle, knee and hip disturbances, balance problems, postural weakness, and long term deterioration.

What are common kinds of concerns that people with CMT should have when looking for shoes?

Beyond the usual concerns of style, color, etc., people with CMT should think of their shoes as an appliance or device to aid them to improve stability and balance while standing and walking. This should include the amount and type of support they receive, particularly along the lateral side of their feet. They should focus on finding something that the foot fits into and allows for necessary modifications to improve balance and gait.

What does a pedorthist do?

A pedorthist is a footcare pharmacist, providing shoes and related devices to help improve balance, alignment, posture and gait. Pedorthists are trained to properly fit people with shoes and orthotics, ready-made and custom-made. Pedorthists fill footwear prescriptions from physicians. He or she is trained in anatomy, biomechanics, foot pathology, and the use of shoes and orthotic based approaches to help people suffering from mechanical problems that occur in the foot and ankle. A pedorthist is trained to proactively alleviate pain and imbalance and help people lead more active lives.

Do people with CMT need custom shoes?

Depending on the degree of deformity, some people require custom shoes to accommodate their needs. Each case must be individually assessed and evaluated. Often people with CMT do best with ready-made shoes that are customized to their needs.

Can people with CMT get modifications in their old shoes as their conditions change?

Absolutely! People with CMT know that their condition is progressive. Their shoes should be modified to slow down the progression and provide improved balance, alignment and gait each step of the way. Also remember that shoes wear out; they should be repaired on a regular basis. This will also improve wear life. And, at a certain point, it is best to start with a fresh pair.

Are any shoes already designed with extra room to fit braces, without having to get them modified?

There are many brands of ready-made shoes called Extra-Depth Shoes. These are shoes designed and manufactured with extra room to specifically meet the accommodative needs of braces. Also people should consider a shoe that goes above the ankle and a removable insole.

Can good shoes prevent further foot problems? Can it reduce the future severity of walking difficulties?

We can’t stop the progression of their condition. We can help slow it down by helping them improve their body balance. Proper footwear can aid in ambulation and accommodate their feet, ankles and legs.

Are there any insurance plans that would cover part of the shoe?

You would have to check with your insurance provider. This is something that varies considerably from policy to policy.

How can I find a pedorthist to set up a consultation?

Go to the website to locate a pedorthist or pedorthic facility in your area.

A special thanks to Robert Schwartz, President, CEO Eneslow Pedorthic Enterprises, Inc., Dr. Justin Wernick, Sarah Goldberg and Bart Sherwood for providing us with the answers to these questions.

Courtesy of



4/11:  Life settlements

U.S. seniors over age 65 lapse or surrender more than 250,000 policies with a combined face value of more than $57 billion back to life carriers each year.

EFM- Certainly owners can simply stop making payments. But those over 70 have a significant opportunity to sell the policy in many different ways. That said,  I still believe the policy should be shopped to  more than one company.since the offerings can vary widely. 

4/10:Life expectancy calculator “About one out of every four 65-year-olds today will live past age 90, and one out of 10 will live past age 95,” according to the Social Security Administration.

Roughly $1.3 billion was spent in 2016 on outpatient treatment, according to Kaiser, with the average expense coming in at $4,700 and employees paying $670 of that bill. Some $911 million went toward inpatient care, which cost $16,100 on average. Workers were responsible for a little more than $1,600. Prescription drugs used for treatment cost $435 million.

4/10 I feel so inadequate

By chance I ended up watching a Japanese kid juggle (yes juggle in the air) three Rubik cubes and get them all correct in 5 minutes and 20 seconds. The hand eye coordination was unbelievable



Lifetime Income Calculator


Workers participating in defined contribution plans, like 401(k) plans or similar savings plans, are responsible for managing their retirement savings while employed and during their retirement years.

Showing participants their retirement plan account balance as level monthly payments for their lifetime will help them assess their retirement readiness and plan for their retirement. As described in an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), the Department of Labor is considering proposing a rule that pension benefit statements include the participant's account balance as a single sum as well as an estimated lifetime income stream of level payments using both the participant's current account balance and the projected account balance at retirement. For married participants, the statement also must include joint and survivor lifetime income payments.

Using assumptions described in the ANPRM (noted below), this calculator illustrates an annuitization approach to estimate the monthly lifetime income streams based on both the participant's current account balance and on the projected value of the account balance at retirement. For both balances, the calculator develops two level lifetime payments: one for the life of the participant (with no benefits to any survivors) and the second for the joint lives of the participant and the spouse with a fifty percent survivor's benefit for the spouse's lifetime.

This calculator uses a simplified computation (e.g., annual contributions, mid-year retirement). Depending on the comments received in response to the ANPRM, the next version of the calculator may provide a more precise computation (e.g., monthly contributions, retirement in a specified month).

4/10: The top 1% is getting even richer. The world's richest 1% of people will control close to two-thirds of all global wealth by the year .

EFM- maybe so- but the world will see massive changes till then (and thereafter). The global divide between rich and poor will destabilize many countries (including the U.S.). The pattern will probably get worse after 2030 and a major confrontation along with massive changes in the weather (as we are seeing right now) plus a virulent strain of some virus will cause a breakdown of civilization by 2050

Lava dome in ocean in Hawaii. 

The world’s major economies started to pick up steam together last year, in a break from years of sluggish post-crisis growth in which the U.S. often seemed like the lone bright spot. Global output expanded by 3.7% in 2017, up half a point from 2016, according to International Monetary Fund estimates. The return of higher growth abroad gave investors hope that the long bull run could keep going, even as U.S. economic expansion entered its later stages.

But recently, the global economic comeback has been in a bit of a rut. In the U.S., gauges of manufacturing and services activity have been pulling back. Retail sales have fallen for three straight months, construction spending decelerated at the start of the year, and auto sales have largely plateaued. On Friday, government data showed a sharp slowdown in U.S. jobs creation last month, reversing some of the labor market’s recent momentum.

Other financial markets also have started to reflect a more pessimistic view of the economy. The differential between short- and long-term U.S. Treasury yields, which tends to grow and shrink alongside the economy’s prospects, was recently at its smallest in more than a decade.

Manufacturing activity was down in March from the previous month in 21 of 30 countries, led by declines in Asia and Europe, according to Bespoke Investment Group. Though there’s little fear of an imminent global recession, the less-than-stellar numbers are forcing investors to consider that the global growth surge may be turning into a synchronized stall.

Citigroup Inc.’s global surprise index tipped below zero on Friday for the first time since August, indicating that economic data in aggregate are missing economist forecasts rather than beating them.

For U.S. investors, much of the economic outlook hinges on trade. A trade war could have massive repercussions, such as posing new challenges for production of American goods or sparking decline in foreign demand. Even a prolonged threat could cause some companies to hold off on investment until they have more clarity.

4/10: Fixing depression-
people who improved their diets showed significantly happier moodsthan those who received social support. And the people who improved their diets the most improved the most. . A second, larger study drew similar conclusions and showed that the boost in mood lasted six months.

Depression has many causes—it may be genetic, triggered by a specific event or situation, such as loneliness, or brought on by lifestyle choices. But it’s really about an unhealthy brain, and too often people forget this. “When we think of cardiac health, we think of strengthening an organ, the heart,” says Drew Ramsey, a psychiatrist in New York, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia and author of “Eat Complete.” “We need to start thinking of strengthening another organ, the brain, when we think of mental health.”

A bad diet makes depression worse, failing to provide the brain with the variety of nutrients it needs, Dr. Ramsey says. And processed or deep-fried foods often contain trans fats that promote inflammation, believed to be a cause of depression.

So what should we eat? The research points to a Mediterranean-style diet made up primarily of fruits and vegetables, extra-virgin olive oil, yogurt and cheese, legumes, nuts, seafood, whole grains and small portions of red meat.

EFM- You really REALLY must look at 10 yr minus 2 years. If the short term rates end up higher  than long term rates, a recession may be next. With such rates now so close, how could the FED end up raising rates again??? Short term rates would rise but not necessarily long term.

 10-Year Treasury Constant Maturity Minus 2-Year Treasury Constant Maturity (T10Y2Y)


2018-04-05: 0.53   
Updated: Apr 6, 2018


Not Seasonally Adjusted


1Y | 5Y | 10Y | Max
10-Year Treasury Constant Maturity Minus 2-Year Treasury Constant Maturity
Thursday, Jan 9, 2014: 2.53

4/9:Looks like they should be reversed.  As Germany goes, so goes the EURO.

Industrial Production
Feb. 2018: 1.5%
In line with our expectations, industrial production increased 1.5% m/m in February thanks to solid energy production amid the unusually cold weather over the month.

Industrial Production
Feb. 2018: -1.6%
German industrial production disappointed in February, dropping 1.6% m/m following a revised 0.1% gain in January

EFM- This is noted because it is another element of senile dementia.  Good article

4/9: Syria used chemical agents again.  At least 42 people died and more than 500 others exhibited “symptoms indicative of exposure to a chemical agent,”

EFM-Will we do anything? We should/must. It will strain the relationship with Russia further. If nothing is done, it is just another line in the sand where we were gutless to respond previously.

4/8: What is the future of food:
A rising global population coupled with a warming planet will lead to increasingly scarce water and energy resources — what Sir John Beddington, formerly the UK’s chief scientific adviser, has called a “perfect storm”. Demand for food and animal feed is set to at least double by 2050. Rural populations are moving to cities and arable land is being degraded. As our climate changes, green revolution technologies will become riskier, costlier and more demanding on the planet. We will need not one but several solutions to transform agriculture so that it nourishes us without diminishing the natural resources on which we all depend

In his Nobel Peace Prize speech “Peace and Humanity”, Borlaug described the green revolution as: “A temporary success in man’s war against hunger and deprivation; it has given man a breathing space.” Fifty years later, this space is running out. To “breathe”, we need to diversify agriculture beyond a few crops grown intensively as monocultures. For “space” we need to cultivate more complex urban landscapes, such as roof surfaces and gardens, to encourage city dwellers to contribute to a new kind of agriculture.

Our global diet — energy rich and nutrient poor — is linked to an increase in diet-related diseases such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. The double burden of over and undernutrition is especially evident in emerging economies, where active rural communities are rapidly becoming sedentary urban dwellers.  Not only are there now more obese than underweight people on the planet but, in both cases, their diets are impoverished. More than 1.5 billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies caused by monotonous, calorie-rich diets; this is known as “hidden hunger”. Supermarkets may stock thousands of food products but they use the same ingredients again and again, often blended into processed products that are transported across the world.

EFM- In the end, will new innovations feed another 1.5 billion people by 2050. NOPE. More and more money will be dedicated to the military.
Sure, some successes will be noted but not to stare off  starvation and all the civil plights that accompany agricultural global genocide.


4/8: Male ego, arrogance, old 'habits' and a large dose of stupidity

Women Barred From Sumo Ring, Even to Save a Man’s Life

The ejection of women trying to help a politician who had collapsed was seen as a metaphor for how poorly women are regarded in Japan.

4/6: No more interest increases for awhile??

Fed's Bullard warns against continued rate increases

The Federal Reserve's benchmark rate is near neutral and should not be increased much further, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said Wednesday. Bullard has said continued rate increases could make monetary policy too tight.

4/6: Older Americans' rising debt jeopardizes retirement The increasing amount of debt carried by US seniors is endangering their ability to retire. Debt of families headed by an individual 75 or older averaged $36,757 in 2016, up from $30,288 in 2010,


Cablemover : Get a Better Deal on Cable TV and Internet

If you're moving or just looking for a better deal on cable and/or internet, visit CableMover. CableMover is a non-profit marketing organization that helps people find cable and internet providers and connects them with current promotions. Seeing what is available in your area is easy. Simply fill out the form on their site to see special offers.


Our monthly market valuation updates have long had the same conclusion: US stock indexes are significantly overvalued, which suggests cautious expectations on investment returns. In a "normal" market environment -- one with conventional business cycles, Federal Reserve policy, interest rates and inflation -- current valuation levels would be a serious concern.

The suicide rate for veterans has gone up 35 percent since 2001, in part because of increases in post-9/11 veterans killing themselves.

In 2013, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs released a study that covered suicides from 1999 to 2010, which showed that roughly 22 veterans were dying by suicide per day, or one every 65 minutes.

 For just $750, I could buy 100 grams of the drug, which would be shipped to me “overnight by discreet courier.”

Carfentanil is 100 times more potent than fentanyl, another synthetic opioid that has already hit the streets, and 10,000 times more powerful than morphine.