Celebrate Labor by Not Working

Posted by Brad McMillan, CFA, CAIA, MAI

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This entry was posted on Aug 31, 2012 12:52:09 PM

and tagged Europe, Politics and the Economy

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Politics made the front pages again, but Isaac got moved back. “Romney Vows to Deliver the Country from Economic Travails” and “A Suitor Makes the Case for Divorce” in the New York Times (NYT) and “Romney Vows to ‘Restore’ US” and “After the Celebrating, the Race Moves to Battleground States” in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) pretty much sum up the political news, while “Storm Weakens But Still is Wreaking Havoc in the South,” (NYT, p. A20) and “Reckoning With Isaac” (WSJ, p. A3) are pretty self-explanatory. The Financial Times (FT) passed on Isaac completely but did have political analysis on page 2, with “Health insurance scheme for elderly rises to top of agenda” and “Parties prepare for tightest of votes in Florida’s bellwether area.” You can see the transition from the convention coverage to the race coverage, from hype to real analysis. Should be a very interesting fall. Once again, I recommend Nate Silver at the NYT as an excellent political analyst.

Europe is the other major meta-story. The deadline is coming near for many European issues, with “Judgment Days Arrive for Euro Crisis” in the WSJ (p. A16) and “Eurozone banks facing sweeping regulation” in the FT (p. 1). In the next two weeks, we have several critical events scheduled in Europe. On September 6, the European Central Bank meets and is widely expected to announce a bond-buying program to support the government bond markets; on September 9, Greece presents its latest attempt at budget cuts; and on September 12, Germany’s constitutional court rules on the legality of the bailout fund and Dutch elections take place, which will probably result in a change of government. I have no doubt I will be hitting all of these issues here in the blog, probably at length.

There are also several other stories worth a look. An interesting study was reported in the NYT, “Majority of Jobs Added in the Recovery Pay Low Wages, Study Finds” (p. B1). Many lower wage jobs are harder to offshore—food service, for example—and many middle jobs are getting easier to offshore, leading to lower average wages overall and especially for new jobs. This is definitely a trend to keep an eye on. We have more cracks emerging in yet another financial market. “Plague of Broken Contracts Frays Cotton Market” in the WSJ (p. A1) shows more problems emerging and being resolved. Protectionism shows up again in “Merkel urges diplomacy to resolve solar panel trade battle with Beijing,” in the FT (p. 1).

Looking forward, we have Ben Bernanke’s Jackson Hole speech, which I will certainly be discussing, as well as an interesting article on page 1 of the FT, “Mideast energy companies come under attack from computer virus.” Cyber war is here, and the targets are economic. Stuxnet was just the first wave.

I am cutting it a bit short, as I prepare to celebrate Labor Day by not working, along with most everyone else in the country. I wish everyone a safe and wonderful holiday weekend with family and friends.

Have a great day!

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