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The Independent Investor: Can We Afford 4 More Years of Trade Wars?
By Bill Schmick,
08:02PM / Thursday, January 16, 2020
The Phase One trade deal with China was signed with a great deal of pomp and circumstance this week. While happy that trade tensions on both sides have been reduced, the vast majority of Wall Street players saw the deal as a win for China.   After almost three years of threats, bluster and on-again-off-again tariffs, we are right back where we were before Donald Trump was elected. Yes, China has agreed to purchase an additional $200 billion in U.S. goods over the next two years, but the trade deficit was always the wrong metric when comparing our overall trade with China.   Trade imbalances are caused by capital flows. Don't take my word for it, just ask any

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The Independent Investor: China's role in Iran
By Bill Schmick,
04:40PM / Thursday, January 09, 2020
The de-escalation of the potential conflict between Iran and the United States sent markets higher this week. It could have turned out much differently. The question is why did the situation  defused so rapidly, and who really is responsible for that outcome? I'm thinking it was China.   Taking out the number two guy in Iran, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, in a U.S. drone attack last week was a highly provocative move. The world expected push-back from Iran and feared a tit-for-tat escalation on both sides. That didn't happen. Sure, the Iranians did lob a dozen-plus missiles at two military bases across their border into Iraq, but relatively little damage resulted

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The Independent Investor: Why Is Inflation so Low?
By Bill Schmick,
12:14PM / Friday, January 03, 2020
The inflation rate has not been a cause of concern in this country for well over a decade. On the contrary, economists have been worried that the opposite might occur, a bout of deflation.   Throughout the last decade, inflation has averaged no more than 1 1/2 percent, which is well below the Federal Reserve Bank's targeted inflation rate of 2 percent. Historically, that is highly unusual, given how economics are supposed to work. Central banks around the world (although they don't like to admit it), have no idea why the inflation rate is as low as it is.  Neither do global economists, or Wall Street strategists.   World economies continue to grow,

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The Independent Investor: Investors Ignore Impeachment
By Bill Schmick,
04:47PM / Thursday, December 26, 2019
Abuse of power, obstruction of Congress; these are accusations that ordinarily evoke sharp emotions among Americans. Yet, the financial markets have barely blinked, if they have paid attention at all. Why?   The short answer is that investors have done the numbers and calculated that Donald Trump has less than a snowball's chance in hell of being impeached by the U.S. Senate. For those who don't follow the actual political process of impeachment, once the Congress voted to impeach the president, the next step is up to the Senate. They are required to hold a trial to decide whether to remove him from office. A two-thirds majority is required to convict and then remove

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The Independent Investor: Business of Santa Claus
By Bill Schmick,
05:29PM / Thursday, December 19, 2019
As we approach that most joyous of holidays, the image of Santa Claus greets us in every nook and cranny. From television commercials to internet greeting cards, "Jolly Old St. Nick" is a ubiquitous figure. What you probably didn't know is without American business there probably wouldn't be the Santa Claus of today.   Santa and business go back a long way, but before you ask, the answer is no, Coca-Cola did not invent Santa Claus, although they will celebrate their 100-year anniversary in 2020. This modern-day, cherry-cheeked, fat elf of a figure has been best buds with the owners of many U.S. enterprises. Montgomery Ward, Macy's, F.W. Woolworth,

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