November Publication Schedule

The Lehmann Letter (SM) The economy is teetering on the edge. Its upward momentum could stall at any time. Some indicators remain strong, e.g. auto sales, while others are lifeless, e.g. business capital expenditures. We’ll see what the indicators tell us in November. ECONOMIC INDICATOR PUBLICATION SCHEDULE  November 2015  Source (* below)……Series Description……Day & Date  Quarterly Data  BLS……….Productivity………….Thu, 5th BEA……….GDP & Profits…..……Tue, 24th Monthly Data ISM..Purchasing managers’ index…Mon, 2nd BEA.New-vehicle sales.(Approximate).Wed, 4th BLS………….Employment…………   Fri, 6th Fed. Consumer credit..(Approximate).Fri, 6th Census………….Inventories………. Fri, 13th BLS…………Producer prices……. Fri, 13th Fed……….Capacity utilization……Tue, 17th BLS……….Consumer prices.….. Tue, 17th Census………Housing starts…….Wed, 18th NAR………Existing-home sales….Mon, 23rd Conf Continue reading

The Fed Runs Out of Room

The Lehmann Letter (SM) Yesterday the Federal Reserve said it would continue to assess the economy’s progress before raising interest rates: http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/monetary/20151028a.htm “…To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee today reaffirmed its view that the current 0 to 1/4 percent target range for the federal funds rate remains appropriate. In determining whether it will be appropriate to raise the target range at its next meeting, the Committee will assess progress–both realized and expected–toward its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation…..” This morning the Bureau of Economic Analysis announced that GDP’s growth had slipped Continue reading

Lackluster Economy

The Lehmann Letter (SM) Analysts are waiting to see whether or not the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates when it reports this afternoon. The conventional wisdom: Probably not. Inflation is not high and rising and the economy has not gained significant strength. Both retail and wholesale prices fell according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest report. Only new-vehicle sales are strong among the economic indicators. Manufacturing, housing, business capital expenditures and consumer confidence are flat. Why would the Fed raise rates in such a climate? Questions or comments? Contact Mike Lehmann at lehmannm@usfca.edu. (To be fully informed visit Continue reading

Israel

The Lehmann Letter (SM) Some nations, such as the US, are born rich. Plenty of good land per person guaranteed its farmers high per-capita income and wealth from the beginning. Canada, New Zealand and Australia were similarly blessed. Most nations, however, must struggle with meager resources. Little good land per person means scanty income and wealth for farmers. These nations – China, for instance – have the monumental task of pulling their people out of poverty. It’s a struggle. Others appear rich because of resource endowments. But that does not necessarily mean they or their people make real progress. Think Continue reading

Petra

The Lehmann Letter (SM) It took us half a day to journey to Petra, Jordan from Eilat, Israel. Then we hiked down a narrow canyon to the Treasury of Petra. The site is unique because it looks like a temple, but is carved into the rock. It appears to require the columns that extend from floor to ceiling but, of course, does not. It’s been a UNESCO World Heritage site for 30 years, and deservedly so. Truly remarkable. Questions or comments? Contact Mike Lehmann at lehmannm@usfca.edu. (To be fully informed visit http://www.beyourowneconomist.com/) © 2015 Michael B. Lehmann       Continue reading

Masada

The Lehmann Letter (SM) King Herod was a busy man. He built Caesarea, the ancient port on the Mediterranean coast, and the Second Temple. Around 30 B.C. he also built a vacation home at Masada, on a perch high above the western shore of the Dead Sea. Approximately 100 years later, at about 70 A.D and the time of the destruction of the Second Temple, during the Jews rebellion against Roman rule, a number of Jewish families captured the site and barricaded themselves in it. The Romans decided to make them an example of the futility of resistance to Roman Continue reading

Old City

The Lehmann Letter (SM) Mao Tse Tung said, “You are not a hero until you have climbed The Wall.” You are also not a hero until you have toured Jerusalem’s Old City. Our tour began at the Western Wall. But most of us are not aware that this is not the Western Wall of the Second Temple. Rather, it is the Western Wall of the Second Temple’s foundation. King Herod constructed a massive (quarter-mile square?) platform on stone arches shortly before Christ’s birth. This supported the Second Temple, also built by King Herod. (The Babylonians had destroyed the First Temple Continue reading

The Golan Heights

The Lehmann Letter (SM) Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day War (1967). The Golan was of strategic importance to Israel because Syria bombarded Israel from up above down onto the plain below. Syria attacked Israeli positions in the Yom Kippur War (1973) during a fierce tank battle that Israel now commemorates in a documentary entitled, “The Valley of Tears.” Israel prevailed and counter-attacked, driving out the Syrian forces. We stood at the site of this battle and also at an observatory that UN troops use today in order to keep the peace and monitor the activities Continue reading

Our Kibbutz

The Lehmann Letter (SM) We stayed at a kibbutz hotel in northern Israel, near the Lebanon, Syrian border. About 15-20% of Israelis live on a kibbutz today. They began slightly more than a century ago as socialist collectives: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. Eastern European families from a cold, wet climate attempted to cultivate the arid soils in a subtropical climate. Men worked the fields collectively while women raised the children collectively. The socialist ethic is mostly gone today. The kibbutz has become a cooperative enterprise that pays its residents wages. One way Continue reading

Antiquities

The Lehmann Letter (SM) We drove north along the Mediterranean coast after visiting Tel Aviv. Caesarea was our first stop. King Herod established a magnificent port, outdoor amphitheater and hippodrome here during the reign of Augustus Caesar. The port and its breakwater are gone, succumbing to earthquakes and storms over the centuries. But the theater and hippodrome survive, and one can imagine the stage plays and chariot races. Unfortunately conquest by the Arabs (c. 600), the Crusaders (c. 1100) and the Mamelukes (c. 1200) finally drove the residents away. It is no more than an archeological site today. Next we Continue reading