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America’s Lost Decade in Equities

America’s Lost Decade in Equities

 

Jesse's Americain Cafe Courtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain

For the first time since the 1930′s this decade represents negative returns for the SP500. Remarkably this chart represents nominal total returns.

Adjusted for the weaker dollar and inflation, the ‘buy and hold’ philosophy, especially for those nearing their retirements, has been a disaster. But it has been great times for speculators and insiders and the productive economy.

Part of the problem is with the 401k concept as a supplement if not replacement for pensions and savings, as well as portfolios for educational purposes. Their implementation offers too few choices for the average person. Do you wish to buy corporate stocks or corporate bonds? Or money market funds where the value is not guaranteed? Short term Treasuries, if you are fortunate.

The piling into corporate bonds in the US today may be in part driven by this lack of genuine choice, the seeking for ‘conservative choices’ and is setting up the many for staggering losses in the event that stagflation does indeed occur. Bond funds are no safe havens.

Two tax reforms, or at least stimulus, that the US might consider is increasing the annual allowance of $3,000 which the taxpayer may claim from prior capital losses against current income. The amount has been the same for many years, and an increase would help the average person clean their books up a bit. A second program might be stimulus, in allowing the average person to take for example $10,000 out of their IRA or 401k tax free for one time.

The Reformer will not do anything that does not benefit Wall Street, but if the US wishes to obtain some serious reforms in its financial system there is a rich ground to sow the seeds of renewal, given the neglect and abuse of the last twenty years.

The banks must be restrained, and the financial system reformed, and balance restored to the economy before there can be any sustained recovery.


 


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