Year: 2021

The Bear’s Lair: A re-focus on dividends

U.S. corporate earnings and the stock market in general have become divorced from reality, with corporations increasingly ignoring stockholders in favor of a politically correct “woke” agenda. This is dangerous for society and it is not capitalism. The solution is for stockholders, investment analysts and designers of tax codes to focus laser-like on dividends. Actual […]

The Bear’s Lair: Brexit may re-kindle global innovation

Peter Thiel is not alone in wondering where all the major technological innovations went. From the other end of the political spectrum Chicago professor Robert Gordon wrote a best-seller “The Rise and Fall of American Growth” speculating that U.S. productivity growth is slowing to zero. Yet if you look back, from the Industrial Revolution until […]

The Bear’s Lair: Economic ineptitude reaching 1690s levels

There is no question the quality of economic policymaking peaked under Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool (1812-27) and has gone into sad decline ever since. But hills have two sides. So, the question is: how far back must you go to find economic policy as bad as that in today’s United States, to […]

The Bear’s Lair: Is Cold War optimal on a crowded planet?

Back in the days of sailing ships, when it took months to get to India, there was no question of a global government – communications were not good enough. Thus, countries preserved their freedom independently, worrying little about the ideology and governance of any but their near neighbors. The world is now much smaller, and […]

The Bear’s Lair: Return of the Whig Economy

The Industrial Revolution was a Tory Story! It began with the scientific exuberance of the Tory-dominated Restoration period, then slowed as the Whigs diverted the country into war and financial excess from 1689 to 1720. Even though the key inventions of the steam engine and coke-fired ironworks came during that period, they were not developed […]

The Bear’s Lair: Kleptocracy beats Communism

Recent reports suggest that the Venezuelan economy has enjoyed a modest uptick after its collapse due to its following Presidents Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro’s Communist economic policies from 1998-2018. Russia and China also have benefited, not from a move to democracy, but from a move from Communism to Kleptocracy. The lesson is clear: a […]

The Bear’s Lair: The revenge of the bond market

“I used to think if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the President or the Pope or a 0.400 baseball hitter. But now I want to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate anybody,” said James Carville at the start of Bill Clinton’s Presidency in 1993. Since that time, the […]

The Bear’s Lair: The lost Arcadia of 1938

What if the Munich Agreement of 1938 had worked? I was led to this speculation by watching a wonderful British movie “Q Planes” made in that year in which British technology reigned supreme and there was no sign of any Great Depression. (With Laurence Olivier and Ralph Richardson, it’s well worth catching up with!) But […]

The Bear’s Lair: We might as well be serfs!

The Federal government’s rental evictions moratorium has now been extended until March 31, and there is every prospect it will be extended further. This yet again weakens the property rights of landlords, eroded steadily since World War II. With shareholders also attacked by the ESG movement and interest rates going negative in many countries, no […]

The Bear’s Lair: Back the bros against the hedgies

“Bros” connecting through the social media forum “WallStreetBets” last week staged a massive rally in the shares of GameStop (NYSE:GME) causing huge losses to a hedge fund that had shorted the stock. Most commentary suggested this should be a rare occurrence, as the hedge fund was a professional investor performing a valuable market function, while […]