The beat goes on with U.S. – China tariffs with high stakes moves to prod concessions, but foreign policy issues are now crowding the headlines. As tensions with Iran go back and forth, there's a belief the foreign hotspots are here to stay as top news. All those articles and more!
Also, it's Memorial Day weekend, a time to pause and remember those who died in active service to our country. And it is the unofficial start of summer, so hopefully there will be plenty of sun for everyone.
Enjoy The Friday Buzz and please forward to anyone who may have interest. Have a great Memorial Day weekend!
- The White House Preparing More Pressure on China: President Trump aims to keep the heat on China and create trade concessions. After blacklisting high profile Chinese company Huawei from U.S. trade due to security concerns the administration is looking at targeting other Chinese companies. Despite periodic reports and Tweets to the contrary, there are no signs of the trade war abating. Making a deal makes the most sense for both sides, but China has to realize the days of cheating and stealing of technology are over, as pointed out in this opinion piece by Thomas Friedman.
- Foreign Policy Moving to the Forefront: After a relatively quiet first couple of years for the Trump presidency, foreign issues are coming to a head. One of my favorite foreign policy analysts, Ian Bremmer, of the Eurasia Group, points out that will end with the issues of Iran, Venezuela, Syria, etc. To complicate matters, Russia is involved and opposes our interests in those countries. There are already serious fears of military conflict with Iran. The President was not elected for his foreign policy acumen, so we are entering uncharted waters on overseas policy.
- History of U.S. and Iranian Relations: Ever wonder how we got to where we did with Iran? Most Americans think our tensions started with the U.S. Embassy hostage situation, but it goes back decades before then (and the U.S. is a villain because of our actions then in the eyes of most Iranians). I found this podcast helpful in educating me on the history of the U.S. – Iran relationship. As a bonus, here's another podcast on the history of the Sunni-Shia divide in the Middle East. Also very enlightening.
- A Federal Budget Deal in the Works? The GOP took a bruising for the government shutdown earlier this year which they are eager to avoid again. Therefore talks are progressing between both parties to work out a two-year budget. Of course, a deal is much easier to muster now that budget hawks are an endangered species in D.C. and everyone wants to spend. If completed, government shutdowns and budget discussions will be off the table until after the next Presidential election.
- New Economic Models in the Works: During the last 50 years, the biggest fear for economists and central banks was high inflation. But over the last couple of decades, it has been tame. Economists are working on new models not only to explain the phenomenon but to also determine the new focus and tools for central banks. This helps explain why Modern Monetary Theory is gaining popularity.
- A New Wave of Immigrants – U.S. Citizens Moving to Mexico: I did not realize that there may be 1.5 million U.S. citizens living in Mexico. Just as Hispanics have changed the U.S. cultural landscape, these ex-pats are changing their Mexican communities. And Mexico welcomes them with open arms.
- Health Savings Accounts on the Rise: Top Health Savings Account (HSA) provider Devenir reported in their latest survey that assets in HSAs increased 23% year over year. The average balance now stands at about $14k. We love the tax benefits and flexibility of HSAs which can be used for either health spending or retirement and frequently encourage clients to contribute if their employer offers a HSA. This year individuals can contribute up to $3500 and those with families $7000.
- Don't Forget to Add Mushrooms to Your Diet: Seems like every week there is new research showing the positive effects of exercise or diet on the human condition. I found this article very interesting on the possibility that weekly consumption of mushrooms can have a large impact in warding off cognitive decline. And it seems almost any type of mushroom has a positive effect. Great news for me – I love mushrooms (though researchers may not think they are as beneficial if they are on pizza!)
Enjoy the weekend!