It takes great effort to keep this machine finely tuned and well-oiled

Ideally, our economy runs like a finely tuned, well-oiled machine. While we may loathe the word bureaucracy, it is bureaucrats that measure the output of our economy and advise those responsible for governmental policies and operations on what our economic engine needs to continue running smoothly. During the recent pandemic many of the gears and belts on our economy ground to a screeching halt, and we went into a sort of override mode with government stimulus taking the place of ordinary commerce. Pandemic override mode flooded the economy with money which masked problems that needed to be addressed. In addition, the lack of face-to-face communication made running our economic machine more difficult, because data could not be collected. Like any machine left unattended for a long time, it takes a fair bit of maintenance and fine-tuning to get it running properly again. The stock market is not the economy, but it often reflects economic measures reported by various governmental authorities. Every day the news tells us about one report or another and we see the market react to unemployment numbers, or interest rate changes, or fluctuations in the inflation rate. If you would like to learn more about how our government works to keep our economy on an even keel, you may wish to visit the Briefings page.

Check out the economic glossary. I will be adding more terms as subjects arise. This glossary adds to the annotated investment glossary and the glossary of investment professional designations. There is also an interactive quiz that helps you determine what kind of account is right for your purpose. You can also find the first quarter 2023 market commentary, which explains some of the issues behind the failure of silicon valley bank. All previous market commentaries are also available. There are also articles about buying a car and buying a house, plus some money-saving tips. All of these are available to you and your family members at no cost. A few articles for young people were written by my daughter Katherine Starrett. My son, Paul, provided illustrations. But most of the content I wrote myself in response to questions from clients. Since many of you have the same concerns, I thought publishing this material on my website would allow you to learn about these subjects in plain English without a bunch of jargon.

Just as the economy’s data is important, protecting your personal data is important. Many of you are finishing up your tax returns and have piles of now unnecessary confidential, personal documents cluttering your homes. It’s time to shed and shred, so Catt Wealth Consulting and Baker Wealth Management, my office of supervisory jurisdiction, are holding another shred week. Your invitation is included here. We hope you can join us!

High cost of groceries in our post-pandemic world has focused our attention on food. What we may have taken for granted in the past may be a source of anxiety now. We are all members of our community. Many of you volunteer at food pantries and you have told me about the increase in traffic at your locations. During the pandemic, congress increased the benefits available under the supplemental nutrition assistance program (snap), but those extra snap benefits have sunset now even though food prices are still high. That is why I will donate a dollar for every pound of food collected to each of Loaves and Fishes, and Second Harvest of Metrolina, and a third dollar to Ukrainian relief. So, when you bring in a pound of packaged food, each pound will do four times the duty!


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