Boltwood Capital Management | Weekly Reads: 01/04/2019
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Weekly Reads: 01/04/2019

The Week’s Best Articles: Week of January 1st, 2019

Economy: How Estimates Of The Gig Economy Went Wrong – click here
One of the major byproducts of the recession was the rise of the “gig” economy.  These non-traditional jobs (i.e. Uber, Lyft, etc.) transformed many lives and provided an alternative way to make money when traditional jobs were hard to find.  This report by the WSJ looks at a recent study that shows estimates of the gig economy’s impact on the economy was perhaps smaller than originally thought.

Energy: More Coal Plants Have Closed Under Trump Than Obama During First Term – click here
With the election of President Trump many feared that the environment would be under attack.  While that may still be true this report indicates that more coal-fired power plants have closed during Mr. Trump’s first term than President Obama’s.  While surprising there is no doubt that some of the legislation Mr. Obama put in place trickled over and came to fruition during President Trump’s first term.

Politics: When Mueller Issues A Report, Trump May Try to Suppress It – click here
One of the lingering clouds over the Trump Administration has been the Mueller investigation.  While Mr. Trump feels that it is a witchhunt he does himself little favors in the eyes of the public when he tries to suppress information.

Politics: Trump Renews Dig At Fed, Longs For Lower Interest Rates – click here
President Trump has made it clear that he wants lower interest rates.  In his mind, the lower interest rates of the last 10 years were vital to pushing the stock market and economy higher.  It seems he believes that by keeping rates lower the stock market will continue to rise and his chances of re-election go up.  In our view, this is a selfish view and one that should be ignored by the Fed.

Politics: An Emergency Power Grab Would Only Add to Trump’s Problems – click here
The government is operating without a budget because of a divide over how to deal with security at the US – Mexico border.  Mr. Trump has been unable to garner enough support to fund the building of a wall.  Recently, reports are surfacing that he may evoke emergency action protocols to fund the wall.  While this may accomplish his goal it would do more to undermine his standing in the eyes of politicians and the public.

Etiquette: Should You Tip Your Flight Attendant? Frontier Airlines Is Encouraging It – click here
While providing tips to service providers is a common practice globally it isn’t as common in the United States outside of a few types of businesses.  Frontier Airlines, which has challenged many of the norms of airline travel, is now challenging one more.  They are encouraging riders to provide their flight attendants with tips for a job well done.

Energy: America’s Electric Grid Has a Backdoor, And Russia Walked Through It – click here
If you have ever heard an expert in homeland security/national defense speak many of them cite the vulnerability of America’s energy infrastructure as one of the most glaring areas for attack.  This article by the WSJ examines how Russia, via unknowing and small contractors, has infilitrated parts of the US energy grid.  While nothing catasrophic has occured yet it presents several concerns going forward.