In September 1789, a 32-year-old Alexander Hamilton had a problem. As the newly appointed secretary of the treasury, Hamilton was responsible for overseeing the nation’s finances and making sure that it could pay its bills. The Revolutionary War had left the country millions of dollars in debt, with little revenue. To address the problem, Hamilton negotiated to borrow $19,608.81 from the Bank of New York and the Bank of North America. Thus began the United States’ national debt under the new Constitution.

Today, the national debt is over $27 trillion, which equates to about $82,000 per citizen. It is a…

In the mid-1970’s, the song “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper quickly became the anthem to my third-grade fantasy. With the promise of “no more pencils, no more books,” and school being “out forever” it is easy to understand the song’s appeal. With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year, what was once a forgotten childhood memory quickly turned into a parent’s worst nightmare! If there is one lesson to be learned from the coronavirus pandemic, it is how quickly the world can change.

In his popular book, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference

Each December, the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance hosts its Annual Economic Forecast Breakfast. For as long as anyone can remember, Jay Bryson, an economist at Wells Fargo, has been the featured speaker. Bryson is known for offering a carefully crafted presentation. This year, Bryson offered his standard economic review. However, at the end, he broke from routine and gave a criticism that was telling of just how much things have changed during the Trump administration.

At the end of Bryson’s monologue, an audience member asked him when he thought President Trump would resolve the ongoing trade issues with China. Bryson…

(Authors note: I wrote this piece in 2016. In the article, I made a bold prediction . . that interest rates would not rise for the foreseeable future. The reason . . .dis-inflation. As the Fed has (once again) lowered rates, it is apparent that this article is still relevant and that we need another solution to economic growth.)

Several years ago, I acquired a dilapidated Marshall catboat, which seemed fitting for a middle-aged man with four children. Of all the boats in existence, the catboat may be the least nimble. Heavy and fat, they were made for fishermen who…

New England Summer — Craig Hafer

In the Caribbean sits the tiny island of Nevis. With a dormant volcano and black sand beaches, Nevis played a role in the growing of sugar cane and production of rum that was part of the British Empire’s Triangle Trade. However, one of the island’s most famous “exports” was Alexander Hamilton. While Hamilton is often considered the father of American capitalism, few men of his time could have foreseen how the capitalism he endorsed would end up facilitating many of the freedoms that we enjoy today.

The life of Hamilton was captured in Ron Chernow’s superb biography, Hamilton, and his…

It is easy to understand why most Americans do not view trade with China favorably. For over 30 years, it has been a lopsided affair. Since 1986, the U.S. trade deficit with China has grown an astounding 25,079%, leading many Americans to question the U.S. policy of supporting “free-trade” agreements. For investors, the outcome of this debate is critical. Will the U.S. become protectionist and reverse three decades of political support for free-trade agreements? Will the Chinese economy collapse as a result of decades of government manipulation of its currency to encourage exports?

In the 1950’s, most Americans favored free…

How an unknown economist may provide insight into today’s world economy.

Image: Craig D. Hafer. All rights reserved.

Imagine a country with no laws to regulate business. No environmental laws. No labor laws. No consumer protection laws and little-to no taxes on income and property. The only “law” was that a market would regulate itself (laissez-faire capitalism.) You do not need to imagine such a world, however. Simply read about Victorian England, or the United States during the early Industrial Revolution. During these times, both nations experienced robust economic growth with little regulation and government involvement.

It is during this time in Victorian England that one of the most loathed economists lived — his name was John A…

Craig Hafer

Craig D. Hafer is an investment professional who writes on the market, the economy and current events with a focus how these stories may impact investors.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store