Welcome to Rutledge Capital

For 35 years, Dr. John Rutledge has traveled the world advising governments, corporations, pension funds and individual investors on how to create, grow and manage wealth.

We invite you to look around the website to read more about how Dr. Rutledge views the world, see what he thinks about today's issues, and better understand the important economic, financial and political forces that shape our lives and determine the value of our homes and stock portfolios.

Featured Posts

You don’t Use Interest Rates to Control Cabbage Prices: China February CPI +2.7% will Not Trigger Policy Tightening.

China CPI – February 2010 (The charts below are courtesy of Andy Rothman at CLSA. Andy is by far the most knowledgeable person I know on Chinese inflation issues.) The worry that rising inflation in China will provoke the government to tighten sharply, which would slow growth and push commodity prices lower is unfounded. China’s February CPI was up +2.7% from a year earlier after showing deflation for most of 2009. As the chart below shows, however, it’s all food prices. 2.06% of the 2.7% headline number came from food. Another .44% came from residence expenses, which were pushed up by a one-time increase... [Read more]

Pelosi’s Sunday House Health Care Non-Vote Will Not Survive Constitutional Challenge

The vote is scheduled for Sunday, when most people are not watching the news–I wonder why? This weekend, House Speaker Pelosi is going to try to end-run the Constitution to pass the largest piece of legislation ever enacted–multi-trillion dollar healthcare reform–without a vote. My friend and constitutional law and health care scholar Betsy McCaughey  has written two books on the Constitution. Betsy says the Pelosi gambit won’t survive a constitutional challenge in the Supreme Court. You can read Betsy McCaughey’s analysis by clicking here. A number of House Democrats do not want to go on... [Read more]

Using ETFs to Play China—New Article on Forbes.com

I recently sat down with Wallace Forbes to discuss investing in China and other emerging markets—the interview is now up on Forbes.com. The text of the article follows below: Using ETFs To Play China Wallace Forbes 03.01.10, 5:00 PM ET John Rutledge, founder and chairman of Rutledge Capital, discusses with Wallace Forbes investments in China and other emerging markets. Rutledge: Needless to say, this is a tricky time for people trying to forecast the economy since there are so many policy changes in the wind. I think what we’ve got to realize is that last year, 2009, was really dominated by an undervalued... [Read more]

Arizona’s Transparent Government Finances: now online for all to see

You have to see this. My friend Mark Swenson, Arizona Deputy Treasurer, has shown me their new website. Arizona State Treasurer, Dean Martin, has put Arizona’s financial system online for all to see. Dean’s purpose was to provide Arizona taxpayers with a searchable, user-friendly website that discloses all revenues and expenditures for Arizona State government. The site has daily cash balances the the entire state government (the figure above is from today’s front page) plus detailed information on all outlays and revenue sources as you can see below. It is the most transparent government site of any kind I have... [Read more]

China Is Not Going To Sell Their U.S. Securities

Whether China will continue to own/buy our bonds or not is a story that shows up in the media every few months. It makes good copy but most of the people who write about it have little direct knowledge of the situation. Bottom line: China is not going to stop buying U.S. securities but they have become our biggest creditor–too big to ignore what they are thinking. I have spoken with the Chinese leaders personally about this issue in recent months. They are concerned that the U.S. government is spending too much money, that our budget deficits are too big, that our debt is growing too fast, and especially that the Fed... [Read more]

Housing Market Worse Than Government Reports Show. We Need Pro-Growth Policies Now!

New reports from S&P and Moody’s indicate housing crisis has 3 more years to run, that Obama’s HAMP loan modification program has been a flop and will drive down home prices by 8% this year, and that 70% of the modified loans will re-default. This is one more reason why we need pro-growth policies–not phony stimulus spending plans–now. The “shadow inventory” of bank-repossessed properties, as well as distressed mortgages facing foreclosure, will take nearly three years to clear at the current sales rate, according to a report from the credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P). The... [Read more]

Banana Republics Need Compliant Central Banks

Banana Republics Need Compliant Central Banks

I hope you read Mary O’Grady’s great piece in today’s Wall Street Journal Argentina Seizes the Central Bank. When you read it, think of the parallels with recent events in the U.S. I bet you feel a chill up your spine just like I did. Argentina’s nut-job President, Cristina Kirchner (wife of former president Nestor Kirchner) decided she didn’t want to use the tax money in the treasury to pay foreign debts but would simply seize the reserves of the banking system for the purpose. Martin Redrado, President of the central bank, refused to hand over the keys so she fired him last week. In his place,... [Read more]

Today’s Fed and Treasury Action Could Actually Jump-Start Small Business Lending

I don’t often write about government policies that I like. It’s not that I’m crabby; it’s because they are so scarce. But today I will make an exception. Today, the Fed and the Treasury, along with several other financial regulators, correctly identified the cause of the small business lending problem–themselves–and took steps to fix it. It’s about time. Today the financial regulators passed the grown man test by “manning up” to what we have known all along; banks have been effectively redlining loans to small businesses due to fears of regulatory reprisal. You can read... [Read more]

Jobs Week

Jobs Week

This week is jobs week. Not Steve Jobs–last week was his, with blowout Apple earnings and the announcement of the slick new iPad. Real jobs–remember those? Where people actually get to go to work and earn a paycheck. This week’s data include the ADP report, today’s initial unemployment claims number and Friday’s payroll employment report along with several other reports (ISM manufacturing, ISM non-manufacturing, and factory orders) that give further color on the subject. Add them all together and what do you get? Blah! Positive but crappy growth–not enough to meaningfully increase employment.... [Read more]

“We have excluded lobbyists from policy making jobs” Really? Then who are these 40 guys working for you?

“We have excluded lobbyists from policy making jobs” Really? Then who are these 40 guys working for you?

Interesting article today. More than 40 former lobbyists work in senior positions in the Obama administration, including three Cabinet secretaries and the CIA director. Yet in his State of the Union address, Obama claimed, “We’ve excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs.” You can see a list of the hires and who they lobbied for by clicking on this link. The reporter asked the White House if he chose his words poorly, but the media affairs office defended the president’s statement: “As the President said,” a spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail, “we have turned away lobbyists for many, many... [Read more]

China’s GDP Growth Mostly Home-Grown

Cool chart from my friend Andy Roth at Sinology Contrary to Popular Belief, China's GDP is Mostly Home-Grown The National Bureau of Statistics has just released a detailed breakdown of China’s 2009 GDP growth. Overall GDP rose 8.7%, with 92.3% of growth (8 ppts) from gross capital formation; 52.5% of growth (4.6 ppts) from final consumption; and a negative 44.8% (-3.9 ppts) contribution from net exports. What does this mean? 1) China’s stimulus program last year–mainly spent on infrastructure and other investment projects–was much more effective than ours, which was mainly made up of handouts. 2) China... [Read more]

Obama’s War on Capital Caused the Market Meltdown

Obama’s War on Capital Caused the Market Meltdown

(2/1/10) U.S. stock prices have dropped like a stone over the past two weeks. Total market capitalization of U.S. stocks was $13.1 trillion at yesterday’s (1/31) close, down $885 billion from its $14.02 trillion peak on 1/19. Some analysts think it was China’s monetary tightening that caused the drop in stock prices. Some think it was Obama’s announcements of new taxes and new regulations on banks. Some think that investors have simply lost their nerve. It was Obama’s war on capital that caused the meltdown. The numbers below show total U.S. market capitalization–the total value of all stocks... [Read more]