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The Key to U.S. GDP Growth

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To the Editor:
I understand that consumer spending is important in that one person’s spending is another person’s income. In other words, if we all cut back on spending it could lead to job cuts and a deflationary spiral (“Retailers Are Expecting Unpredictable Holiday Sales. These Companies Will Come Out On Top,” Cover Story, Nov. 18). However, in my view, I don’t see endless mindless consumerism as a path toward America remaining an economic and technological leader. Gross-domestic-product growth in the long run is determined by productivity growth. Thus, in this country, we need to focus on raising the educational achievement and skill set of our citizens for a bright and prosperous future.

Chris Bentsen, On Barrons.com

To the Editor:
At Walmart on Nov. 17, there were few customers and only two cashiers. I went two days earlier to Costco Wholesale. The store was full, and customer service was incredible, as usual. Costco wasn’t mentioned in the article, but from an anecdotal standpoint, Costco is thriving. Yes, I own the stock.

David May, On Barrons.com

To the Editor:
The article correctly points up that inflation is 7.7%, so if consumers spend 7% more this year, they are simply buying the same number of items. Think “units sold” versus dollars spent.

One confusing point that was mentioned here and elsewhere is just how “healthy” family balance sheets are. Yet credit-card debt has just exploded to all-time highs. If everyone has so much savings in the bank, why are they borrowing at 19%?

Ray Noack, On Barrons.com

Popular Delusions

To the Editor:
Randall W. Forsyth’s Up & Down Wall Street column (“Fed Tightening Is Having More Impact Than You Might Think,” Nov. 18) perked my interest with its mention of Charles Mackay’s Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. It’s the best book ever written on crowd psychology. It requires patient reading, but its relevancy is readily apparent because, were we to fast-forward two centuries, an updated version would certainly include new chapters, such as “Dot-Com Crash” (2000), “Subprime Mortgage Meltdown” (2008), and “Crypto Collapse” (as we speak), along with such original gems as “South Sea Bubble,” “Tulipmania,” “Alchymists,” “Fortune Telling,” “Witch Mania,” and “Popular Admiration of Great Thieves.”

Rob Suthe, Bethesda, Md.

The 60/40 Crowd

To the Editor:
July 16 was the date when goods inflation, as measured by the Dow Jones Commodity Price Index, fell decisively below 1100. Since that time, it has meandered from 1000 to 1100, with a recent uptick in November from 1025 to 1040. Combined with Megan Cassella’s excellent portrayal of difficult-to-predict services inflation (“Inflation Is Easing—or Is It? The Fed’s Next Headache,” The Economy, Nov. 18), it should give the 60/40 portfolio-composition crowd peopled by champing-at-the-bit fixed-income managers pause to consider that the time may not be quite right to “go long” fixed income for their clients’ portfolios.

Mike Meehan, Bradenton, Fla.

Investing in India

To the Editor:
In “13 Ways to Invest in India, the World’s Fastest-Growing Major Economy, According to Our Roundtable Pros,” Nov. 18), what shines through in the comments of the panelists is their belief that the India investment thesis is 1) an environmental arbitrage play against an increasingly stringent China (whose clean-energy chops are themselves highly debatable), 2) an energy arbitrage play due to its morally compromised alignment with Russia on the purchase of oil, and 3) a consumer play without addressing the need for a 350 million middle-class (or 1.4 billion total) population to leapfrog the growth stages of Western economies into a greener way of spreading and sharing a better way of life.

Left unsaid is the authoritarian tilt of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government (which has repeatedly said that India’s environmental responsibilities can rightly be deferred because Western countries developed without that burden) and abuse of non-Hindu populations. As an investment idea: No thanks.

Matt Polsky, Avalon Net Worth Group, New York

To the Editor:
I have investments in Bharat Forge, Asian Paints, and Dharamsi Morarji Chemicals. As the U.S. transitions from China to India in the next few years, India will benefit from about $150 billion to $200 billion worth of annual imports in the areas of metals and chemicals, etc. Almost any India-based exchange-traded fund will also see above-average returns in the next two to five years compared with the larger S&P 500 index.

Jim Kroner, On Barrons.com

Safety First, Lucid

To the Editor:
With the electric-vehicle market becoming populated with many car manufacturers entering this promising market, Lucid Group has to concentrate on safety if it wants to succeed in this competitive industry (“Lucid’s High-End EV Is Drawing Safety Complaints. Another Problem for the Stock?” Nov. 18). The Lucid Air will need more than power, range, and luxury to get consumers to buy. What it needs is customer reassurance that safety complaints are corrected.

Martin Blumberg, Melville, N.Y.

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Credit: marketwatch.com

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