You may have read that hackers broke into the Equifax database and stole personal information tied to 143 million people. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people. There is no reason to think that data is not for sale to criminals on the darknet who can use it to open new lines of credit or file phony tax refund requests in peoples’ names. To make matters worse, crooks usually target the wealthy because they get more bang for the effort buck.
The company compounded its public relations nightmare by sending people to a website to find out if they were affected, and then including language so that anyone signing in to get this information had to waive any right to join a class action suit against the company should their identities be stolen and financial harm come to them.
While the Wall Street Journal editorial pages are as conservative as the editorial pages of the New York Times are liberal, most of the information posted by their staff journalists is relatively unbiased. The article being posted with this blog provides the best summary we’ve found of the positions by Trump and Clinton regarding the primary financial institutions and their regulation. It’s 13 pages long but it’s a thorough and balanced overview.
Where They Stand on Wall Street
I've been refraining from posting articles or offering comments on the presidential nominees until more information was provided. As usually happens, the candidates initially say as little as possible about specifics, because it provides journalists and analysts with time to more thoroughly vet them. The article from the Wall Street Journal is the first one I've seen from this publication. I suspect that Clinton's proposed trade policies will be forthcoming shortly.
Trade policies can be particularly difficult to evaluate because common economic theory doesn't always work in practice. And there are frequent unintended consequences that are not know until they appear. In addition, the assumptions made are usually refuted. But we still need to try to predict and evaluate the proposals made by the candidates and political parties. The Wall Street Journal is hardly a bastion of left-wing radicals, so I tend to think that their reporting and conclusions should be serious considered when evaluating a conservative presidential candidate. The basic conclusion is that trade tariffs would likely produce the opposite effect of what I (and the author) believe Donald Trump intends.
When we find something pertaining to Hillary Clinton's stance, we'll post it.
Donald Trump's Tax Pitch Could Miss Trade's Strike Zone
The Economist, based in England, provides a European and British view of economic trends and data. We want to use this article to provide you with a better understanding of two economic concept and their assumptions as they pertain to the current presidential election. You will see many references to this type of analysis in the media when comparing the varying economic policies of the two political parties and their presidential nominees. Read the article and then read our explanation below.
How Clinton and Trump plan to boost wages
There are two primary economic topics in this short article: international trade and wages.
Let's begin with international trade. The Economist is assuming that, if employee productivity increases significantly then it will eventually lead to higher wages. The author is also assuming that freer trade will eventually lead to better prices for consumers. The free trade argument is based on "comparative advantage." This concept is a primary pillar of modern economic thought and philosophy. If a developed nation moves its lower skilled products and services to less economically developed nations, then it allows the developed nation to produce higher valued goods and services. For example, if the U.S. moves the production of pencils to Mexico then the U.S. can sell more information technology to Mexico. The cost of pencils in the U.S. will decline while the wages of U.S. workers will increase so they can buy more pencils. In other words, it's not a zero sum game where wage and economic gains by one country are equally offset by losses of the other country. It's assumed that both countries will gain. Mexico will employ more lowered wages/skilled workers and the U.S. will train and hire higher paid employees in technology. This concept requires both countries to continually educate and train its workforce(s) which will lead each country to higher standards of living.
Wages are a little simpler. Both candidates propose increasing the minimum wage (many Republicans would argue that any minimum wage is economically unhealthy); they only differ in how much to raise it. Clinton proposes a $12/hr rate and Trump (as of last month) supports $10/hr. The current national minimum wage is $7.25 but some states like Washington, California and Oregon have already significantly raised the state's minimum. Companies that use minimum wage workers contend that they'll simply raise the cost of good and services to account for their higher employee costs. Both presidential nominees contend that a wider base of higher compensated employees will result in the employees having more disposable income and they will then buy more goods and services. Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford Motor Company set wages for his employees high enough that they could buy the products they built. While this concept may be simple, determining the optimal level for the minimum wage is often disputed.
Donald Trump named his economic team today which should provide more examples of the varying programs and proposals from each candidate.
June is Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month. This is a difficult issue to address, but just because it's difficult doesn't mean we can avoid it. The best thing we can do is be informed. In fact, not realistically considering if someone close to you has dementia, it will compound the problem for everyone involved. Dementia can often hide the symptom during casual interactions.
Here you will find three resources on dementia & Alzheimer's kindly made available by St. Luke's:
1) An extensive & informative PowerPoint presentation
2) A list of resources for Idaho residents
3) A questionnaire to help determine if someone may need a professional evaluation
Please let us know if you have any questions.
Occasionally we like to post articles that give you some insight into how we form our opinions or stay informed.