Black Friday Hits All-Time Record of $3.34 Billion

Black Friday sales hit an all-time high record of $3.34 billion or 21.6% growth year-over-year. Mobile accounted for $1.2 billion of those sales, a 33% increase from the previous year. TechCrunch writes

Combined with yesterday’s $1.93 in online sales on Thanksgiving, the two days are expected to close out at nearly $5 billion in sales. Top-selling toys included Lego Creator Sets, electric scooters from Razor, Nerf Guns, DJI Phantom Drones, and Barbie Dreamhouse.

The Doctor Of Common Sense says about the major indices hitting all-time highs, “Do you believe that this is a coincidence? I’ve been telling you everything that liberals do their whole policy with their communist and social policies, they never work. All you have to do is look at how bullish the market is.” The Doctor Of Common Sense also uses Black Friday’s record sales as proof of failed Democrat and liberal policies although he fails to logically back that claim up. Check out what Doctor Common Sense has to say in the video below.

Nothing against The Doctor Of Common Sense but this is what I was afraid of. When everyone is coming out declaring how great Trump is and how bad liberals have been and citing the spike up in the stock market as proof, that’s when the market is most likely to take a turn down IMO.

This Trump Rally is mostly nonsense and hype IMO. Trump hasn’t even taken office yet. The P/E on the S&P 500 has moved higher since the election and is not supported by anything fundamental.

On the chart above, the gold line is the P/E ratio of the S&P 500 which is at a troubling high of 25.46. The red line is earnings, and the blue line is the S&P 500.

If you thought the market was overvalued before the Trump election, you must be freaking out over this latest spike up.

The stock market going up is not proof of failure by Obama and Democrats. The stock market is going up because there are more buyers than sellers and from short covering. From a market psychology perspective, greed is prevailing over fear right now. That’s it. Assigning stock market direction as proof to justify your personal political bias will result in the rapid demise of your trading account.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m a Trump supporter as you already know. But let’s be real about market valuations. Chasing markets higher because of Trump mania is a dangerous game IMO. I think a lot of amateur traders and investors have the potential to get hurt from this Trump rally when it finally comes to an end.

Can I Just Say It, Autonomous Driving Is Stupid To Average Consumers

Autonomous driving is dumb. In my surveys of asking family members and friends, there’s a whole ZERO percent interest in autonomous self-driving cars.

Most Americans don’t even want a chip on a credit card let alone a car that drives itself.

Technology companies think they are smarter than consumers. Tech companies believe that once they wow us with the reality of self-driving cars, we’re all just going to go out and buy one like a bunch of sheep, sheep led to the slaughter like this guy.

Josh Brown, a Navy Seal who served on Seal Team 6 (the unit that killed Osama Bin Laden), died from autonomous driving technology.

The big news last week was that Intel announced that it would be joining the push to create fully autonomous vehicles, investing over $250 million in the next two years to facilitate this development.

Tech gone wrong is tech that develops without much concern for producing what the public wants. Reality check: the average person doesn’t care about autonomous driving and believes it’s downright dangerous.

How are autonomous cars going to respond to an ambulance racing through an intersection? What about an electrical component on a circuit board in the autonomous driving car going out? Are you going to have about 2 seconds to grab the wheel to take control before a crash occurs?

Capitalism sometimes gets out of whack where you have greedy geniuses running around trying to force the public on a ‘fantastic’ new technology. Remember the tech wearables market that was supposed to explode higher? The only thing it did was implode. Intel is laying off a major portion of its wearables group.

Technology bloggers like to write about new technologies like autonomous driving cars. Mainstream media groups like to report on autonomous driving cars because it’s something interesting that people like to read about in horror and fascination. But where the rubber meets the road is what consumers want. In all the self-driving car hype, I see little evidence that consumers are willing to spend thousands of more dollars on a self-driving car.

I see billions of dollars being spent on autonomous driving technology and I see tepid consumer interest at best. That’s a dangerous combination for investors, and I think we could see the autonomous driving car fad die out after tech companies finally realize that most of the public doesn’t trust or want self-driving cars.

Rising Wages and Rise of the Machines

As wages rise, more and more business owners are turning to machines instead of human labor. President Obama and Democrats have spent the last 8 years replacing high-paying jobs in the manufacturing sector with low-paying jobs in the services and health care sectors. But in all fairness, both Republicans and Democrats are to blame for outsourcing, offshoring, and the elimination of good-paying manufacturing jobs. Both Democrats and Republicans have demonstrated how not to build up a middle class that will support the economy.

Technology is a rising threat to jobs as more robots are used in the workplace. Since wages began rising in 2015, there has been a significant increase in the implementation of robots, starting with the fast-food industry.

In my home state of California, Zume Pizza has replaced its human chefs with robots, cutting labor costs in half. TechCrunch visited Zume Pizza for a tour of their robotic pizza factory.

In response to recent minimum wage hikes, Wendy’s is now replacing fast food workers with robots. The fast food chain announced it would start automating all of its restaurants by installing self-serve kiosks in 6,000 locations by the end of the year. Although McDonalds has already been experimenting with kiosks, Wendy’s announcement is the largest roll-out to date and will likely spark a trend leading to fully robotic restaurants.

Uber is experimenting with using self-driving cars in parts of America, and there’s a push to start using self-driving trucks for long-distance deliveries.

Research firm Forrester reports that robots could eliminate many positions in customer service, trucking and taxi service which amounts to about 6% of the U.S. job market.

Robots are slowly making their way into every industry. ICICI Bank Smart Vault now offers customers the ability to access their valuables 24 hours a day while reducing their labor costs to provide such a service.

Royal Bank of Scotland recently announced that it would soon unveil Luvo — a “human” AI that can answer questions online and mimic human empathy. This robot will be able to serve customers 24 hours a day, reduce the workforce and cuts costs.

A Swedish bank plans to use the robot Amelia for customer services. And companies in China, Japan, and Taiwan have already implemented Softbank’s Pepper robot.

Previous technological revolutions over the centuries have mainly focused on enhancing human productivity. My concern with the robotic revolution is that its goal is increasingly that of replacing human productivity.

Alex Tabarrok and Tyler Cowen of George Mason University, who had a significant impact on my life through their International Trade course, debate the issue of whether machines will take our jobs. Tyler Cowen agrees with me that the robotics revolution is one of the leading causes of concern for the future of the US economy. Alex Tabarrok’s “don’t worry, be happy” argument is the same one we heard regarding international trade in the 90s and about how it was going to create so many jobs in the US. After 20 years of economic data, we can now say that international trade was not so good for the US economy. Economists underestimated Game Theory and the “cheat” motivator regarding currency devaluation and government intervention in the free market.

Here is the debate between Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok in its entirety and you can decide who you agree with more.