Posts Tagged ‘states’

One Reaction to the Obama State of the Union Address That Made Sense

Courtesy of Jesse’s Americain Cafe

It amazes me that the discussion on change centers on ‘improving competitiveness’ when the crisis was caused by a massive financial fraud and political and regulatory failure that goes largely unresolved and unrepaired, sucking the life out of the real economy and spreading corruption of thought and action. Slogans and code words are the substance of the public policy discussion in the US and Europe, and I think with the intent to deceive, a propaganda campaign. The mainstream media in the States is owned by a handful of powerful corporations. But fewer and fewer turn to the mainstream media anymore.

"In addition, any economist will tell you that when the free market fails a black market emerges. The blogs are the black market of information." 

David B. Collum, Cornell University

As for competitiveness, the current global trade regime is underpinned with and founded on a fraud, a set of managed currencies pinned to the US dollar and under the control of a banking cartel. There is no real free trade, only an illusion of such, promoted by the rapacity of multinational corporations and their partners in authoritarian governments.

The only real competition I can see is the race to destroy the middle class and reduce the public around the world to the least common denominator of slavery, serfdom, and servitude, with the dollar and the jackboot as their weapons.

From Mark Thoma:

"Eliminating regulation: The idea is that removing unnecessary regulation will improve our ability to innovate, and this will help the economy create new, good jobs. However, it wasn’t lack of innovation or lack of competitiveness that got us into this mess, it was an out of control financial sector. 

The President talked about eliminating unnecessary regulation, but far too little was said about the need to implement new regulations where they are needed. In addition, by focusing so much on helping business, the president risks sending the message that what is good for business is necessarily good for the nation. (Risk? As the risk of sounding snarky, that is the reason for the season. It was the corporate FIRE sector that caused the financial crisis in the first place. – Jesse)

Businesses need the right environment to thrive, but we must not lose sight of the fact that it’s the skills of the people that work at businesses that matters most. Our ultimate goal is the best possible life for


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State Bankruptcy Option Is Sought, Quietly – NYTimes.com

A Path Is Sought for States to Escape Their Debt Burdens

By MARY WILLIAMS WALSH, NY Times

Policy makers are working behind the scenes to come up with a way to let states declare bankruptcy and get out from under crushing debts, including the pensions they have promised to retired public workers.

Unlike cities, the states are barred from seeking protection in federal bankruptcy court. Any effort to change that status would have to clear high constitutional hurdles because the states are considered sovereign.

But proponents say some states are so burdened that the only feasible way out may be bankruptcy, giving Illinois, for example, the opportunity to do what General Motors did with the federal government’s aid.

Beyond their short-term budget gaps, some states have deep structural problems, like insolvent pension funds, that are diverting money from essential public services like education and health care. Some members of Congress fear that it is just a matter of time before a state seeks a bailout, say bankruptcy lawyers who have been consulted by Congressional aides.

Continue here: State Bankruptcy Option Is Sought, Quietly – NYTimes.com.


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Inside the Dire Financial State of the States

Inside the Dire Financial State of the States

By David von Drehle, courtesy of TIME 

Ellen Weinstein for TIME 

In New Jersey, taxes are high, the budget’s a mess, government is inefficiently organized, and the public pension fund is blown to kingdom come. Which makes New Jersey a lot like most other states in 2010. What makes the state unusual is its rookie governor, a human bulldozer named Chris Christie, who vowed to lead like a one-termer and is keeping his promise with brio. He has proposed chopping $11 billion from the state’s budget — more than a quarter of the total — for fiscal year 2011 (which starts July 1). He’s backing a constitutional cap on property taxes in hopes of pushing the state’s myriad villages and townships to merge into more efficient units. He’s locked in an ultimate cage match with the New Jersey teachers’ union. It may be the bitterest political fight in the country — and that’s saying something this year. A union official recently circulated a humorous prayer with a punch line asking God to kill Christie. You know, New Jersey humor. And in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Christie didn’t talk about the possibility that his fiscal initiatives might be compromised or defeated; he pictured himself "lying dead on State Street in Trenton," the state capital. Presumably that was a figure of speech.

The tone of the New Jersey budget battle may be distinctive, but many of the same notes can be heard in state capitals across the country. From Hartford to Honolulu, once sturdy state governments are approaching the brink of fiscal calamity, as the crash of 2008 and its persistent aftermath have led to the reckoning of 2010. Squeezed by the end of federal stimulus money on one hand and desperate local governments on the other, states are facing the third straight year of staggering budget deficits, and the necessary cuts will cost jobs, limit services and touch the lives of millions of Americans. Government workers have been laid off in half the states plus Puerto Rico. Twenty-two states have instituted unpaid furloughs. At least 28 states have ordered across-the-board budget cuts,…
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Padded Pensions and What to do About Them

Padded Pensions and What to do About Them

Courtesy of Mish

The New York Times article Padded Pensions Add to New York Fiscal Woes has been making the rounds. At least 20 people sent me the link. Let’s take a look at few snips, then a look at a followup Times article on addressing the problems.

In Yonkers, more than 100 retired police officers and firefighters are collecting pensions greater than their pay when they were working. One of the youngest, Hugo Tassone, retired at 44 with a base pay of about $74,000 a year. His pension is now $101,333 a year.

It’s what the system promised, said Mr. Tassone, now 47, adding that he did nothing wrong by adding lots of overtime to his base pay shortly before retiring. “I don’t understand how the working guy that held up their end of the bargain became the problem,” he said.

According to pension data collected by The New York Times from the city and state, about 3,700 retired public workers in New York are now getting pensions of more than $100,000 a year, exempt from state and local taxes. The data belie official reports that the average state pension is a modest $18,000, or $38,000 for retired police officers and firefighters. (The average is low, in part, because it includes people who worked in government only part time, or just a few years, as well as surviving spouses getting partial benefits.)

Some will receive the big pensions for decades. Thirteen New York City police officers recently retired at age 40 with pensions above $100,000 a year; nine did so in their 30s.

The Times article is 4 pages long so please give it a closer look.

Legal Theft

Undoubtedly Mr. Tassone is not as stupid as he sounds. He knows full well he gamed the system, but it was legal.

Tassone argues he held up his end of the bargain. Excuse me for asking what end is that? Public unions are legalized mobs. They coerce votes from corrupt politicians willing to buy there patronage.

There is no "public end" because there is no one working on the public’s behalf. Indeed the public in general has been crucified with never ending tax hikes to support union thugs who pack every school board in the country, and promise Armageddon if police or firefighters get laid off.

The public is


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32 States Borrow $37.8 Billion Total to Make Unemployment Payments

32 States Borrow $37.8 Billion Total to Make Unemployment Payments; CA Tops List at $6.9 Billion; Bill to Extend Benefits Until DEC in Congress

Courtesy of Mish  

Inquiring minds are reading the Economic Policy Journal for clues on how much states are borrowing to make unemployment insurance claims.

The totals are not pretty. As of May 20, the total balance outstanding by 32 states plus the Virgin Islands is $37.8 billion.

The CINN Group accounts for $14 billion of it.

California $6.9 Billion
Illinois $2.2 Billion
New York $3.2 Billion
New Jersey $1.7 Billion

The worst 4 grouping accounts for $17 billion, nearly 45% of the total.

California $6.9 Billion
Michigan $3.9 Billion
New York $3.2 Billion
Pennsylvania $3.0 Billion

Other Notables

Florida $1.6 billion
Indiana $1.7 billion
North Carolina $2.1 Billion
Ohio $2.3 Billion
Texas $1.0 Billion
Wisconsin $1.4 Billion

I bet the entire amount is forgiven. Any takers?

Note that the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) Extended to June 2, 2010 is about to run out.

But Wait! More Free Money Cometh

The Public Policy Examiner reports Unemployed must wait for Congress to preserve benefits.

A vote on a new end for unemployment benefits will not come until next week. On Thursday morning, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI) proposed amending H.R. 4213 to extend benefits until December 31, 2010.

The amended bill, American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, would extend COBRA health benefits until the end of the year.

Other plans accompany the benefits extension effort. Rep. Bob Filner (Dist. 51) plans to help San .Diegans in economic trouble by passing George Miller’s Local Jobs for America Act. Filner says the city would get 3,263 jobs, with more jobs expected in the other county communities. The bill targets communities with high unemployment.

Rep. Susan Davis (Dist. 53), on Wednesday, was one of three legislators introducing the COBRA Health Benefits Extension Act, H.R. 5324. The unemployed could receive COBRA benefits past the standard 18 months, as long as they needed. At least until Obama’s health exchanges arrive.

Damn, I am sure glad there is a nascent economic recovery. Otherwise, who knows how bad this could get.


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Aha, Here’s Why Half Of America Doesn’t Believe In The Rebound… Because Half The U.S. Is Still In Recession

Aha, Here’s Why Half Of America Doesn’t Believe In The Rebound… Because Half The U.S. Is Still In Recession

Courtesy of Vincent Fernando at Clusterstock/Business Insider 

This explains why many Americans have yet to believe that the U.S. economy has rebounded. It’s because while the U.S. as a whole may have rebounded, many individual states are still in recession according to an analysis of the Philly Fed coincident indicators by Calculated Risk.

Calculated Risk:

In the past month, the indexes increased in 21 states, decreased in 22, and remained unchanged in seven for a one-month diffusion index of -2. Over the past three months, the indexes increased in 18 states, decreased in 25, and remained unchanged in seven for a three-month diffusion index of -14.

[While the recession ended for the nation in July 2009] ‘just over half the country was still in recession in February according to this index.’

Economic activity in any state colored from light pink to dark red is still contracting according to this analysis of the Philly Fed data:

 

chart
 
Note (thanks GlassHammer for posting in the comment section):
 
There are four economic statistics comprising the Index of Coincident Economic Indicators: 

Number of employees on non-agricultural payrolls. 
Personal income less transfer payments. 
Industrial production. 
Manufacturing and trade sales." 

-wikipedia


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States have $5.17 Trillion in Pension Obligations, Gap is $3.23 Trillion; State Debt as Share of GDP

States have $5.17 Trillion in Pension Obligations, Gap is $3.23 Trillion; State Debt as Share of GDP

Courtesy of Mish 

As the jobless yet supposedly nascent recovery plods on, states are finding it increasingly difficult to ignore their fiscal woes and pension deficits. The New York Times has some details in State Debt Woes Grow Too Big to Camouflage.

California, New York and other states are showing many of the same signs of debt overload that recently took Greece to the brink — budgets that will not balance, accounting that masks debt, the use of derivatives to plug holes, and armies of retired public workers who are counting on benefits that are proving harder and harder to pay.

California’s stated debt — the value of all its bonds outstanding — looks manageable, at just 8 percent of its total economy. But California has big unstated debts, too. If the fair value of the shortfall in California’s big pension fund is counted, for instance, the state’s debt burden more than quadruples, to 37 percent of its economic output, according to one calculation.

Unstated debts pose a bigger problem to states with smaller economies. If Rhode Island were a country, the fair value of its pension debt would push it outside the maximum permitted by the euro zone, which tries to limit government debt to 60 percent of gross domestic product, according to Andrew Biggs, an economist with the American Enterprise Institute who has been analyzing state debt. Alaska would not qualify either.

Professor Rogoff, who has spent most of his career studying global debt crises, has combed through several centuries’ worth of records with a fellow economist, Carmen M. Reinhart of the University of Maryland, looking for signs that a country was about to default.

“When an accident is waiting to happen, it eventually does,” the two economists wrote in their book, titled “This Time Is Different” — the words often on the lips of policy makers just before a debt bomb exploded. “But the exact timing can be very difficult to guess, and a crisis that seems imminent can sometimes take years to ignite.”

Some economists think the last straw for states and cities will be debt hidden in their pension obligations.

Joshua Rauh, an economist at Northwestern University, and Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago, recently recalculated the value of the 50 states’ pension


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Massive Layoffs Coming in NYC, Nevada, California, Colorado, Arizona, Everywhere

Massive Layoffs Coming in NYC, Nevada, California, Colorado, Arizona, Everywhere

Courtesy of Mish  
Miniature Businessman Walking Across Newspaper Stock Page With Briefcase

Cities, states, and municipalities are sinking by the minute. And unless unions agree to concessions (which they won’t) massive layoffs are coming everywhere you look. New York City is a prime example.

Please consider NYC May Lay Off 19,000 Workers If State Cuts Aid

New York City will have to lay off more than 10,000 public workers, in addition to 8,500 teachers, if the state legislature approves the $1.3 billion of cuts the governor proposed in his deficit-closing budget, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Monday.

The mayor, in a speech to the legislature, estimated 3,150 police officers would be cut, reducing the force’s "operational strength" to 1985 levels.

About 1,050 firefighters would have to be let go, along with 900 correctional officers, and the city would have to cut its daily inmate population by 1,900, he said. The number of at-risk children that service workers monitor would fall to 2,700 from 9,000, Bloomberg said.

The mayor, an independent, said Governor David Paterson’s budget "utterly fails the test of fairness." He told lawmakers: "You can’t lose control of the streets in terms of safety or cleanliness. You can’t lose control of the streets in terms of an ambulance or a firefighter showing up."

NYC mayor: State budget would force city layoffs

Check out the spin in this version of the same story: NYC mayor: State budget would force city layoffs 

The proposed state budget would force thousands of layoffs and could reduce New York City police staffing to the level of 1985, before the city emerged as a terrorism target, Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned legislators Monday.

Gov. David Paterson’s proposed 2010-11 budget would cut $1.5 billion in funding to the city, Bloomberg said — forcing layoffs of 9 percent of the city’s police officers; layoffs of 1,050 firefighters and the closing of some firehouses; and 8,500 teachers as part of what Bloomberg says is a $500 million cut in school aid.

In addition, aid for other services such as soup kitchens, homeless shelters and transit cards for students will be sapped with no way for the city to make up the funding.

"This executive budget would have devastating effects on essential services in New York City," Bloomberg said.

Pointing The Finger

It appears mayor…
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Union Battles In Las Vegas, Simi California, Hawaii, Massachusetts

Union Battles In Las Vegas, Simi California, Hawaii, Massachusetts

Courtesy of Mish

Union battles over benefits are starting to appear all over the place. Here are a few stories from the past two days.

USA, Nevada, Las Vegas, The Strip at dusk, elevated view

Las Vegas: City firefighters launch campaign against cutbacks

Las Vegas’ firefighters union has taken a hard stance against the city’s budget cuts, alleging that reductions will hurt emergency responses along with fire insurance rating for homes and businesses.

City officials, meanwhile, said the union is engaging in irresponsible “scare tactics” at a time when the city is facing economic difficulties.

The back-and-forth comes as the city readies for a series of town hall meetings scheduled from January to March to hear resident feedback on what city services are most important.

It also comes as the city is considering back-to-back 8 percent salary rollbacks and freezes for all employees, including firefighters, although a union official declined to comment today on the union’s positions on these wage proposals.

The union has created a Web site as well as a radio advertisement warning that cuts could increase response times, result in fewer people on duty, reduce the city’s ability to respond to disasters and hurt the city’s fire insurance rating, which is at the highest level.

This discussion is just one part of the ongoing wrangling over the city’s budget, which has seen an ever-widening deficit since the economic downturn began.

The city has already cut operating costs, eliminated vacant positions and announced some layoffs. City management has also proposed an 8 percent wage rollback in each of the next two budget years to avoid layoffs, a proposal being evaluated by the unions that represent city workers.

My recommendation to Las Vegas is to declare bankruptcy and let the unions see what they can get in court.

Simi California: Simi, police union agree to contract

The Simi Valley City Council on Wednesday approved a new agreement with the Simi Valley Police Officers’ Association for an 18-month employee contract that includes a 3 percent salary decrease for sworn police officers and sergeants.

The unanimous approval came after the council went into a closed session meeting late Wednesday afternoon with attorneys and representatives from both the city and police association.

Significant provisions of the MOU approved Wednesday include:

For fiscal year 2009-2010, the base


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10 States In Deep Fiscal Trouble

10 States In Deep Fiscal Trouble

Courtesy of Mish 

Dropping tax revenue, rising unemployment and yawning budget gaps are wreaking havoc in states from Arizona to Wisconsin, a new report shows.

CNNMoney reports 10 states face financial peril.

The same economic pressures that pushed California to the brink of insolvency are wreaking havoc on other states, a new report has found.

The 10 most troubled states are: Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.

Other states — including Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, New York and Hawaii — were not far behind.

The list is based on several factors, including the loss of state revenue, size of budget gaps, unemployment and foreclosure rates, poor money management practices, and state laws governing the passage of budgets.

In a separate study released Wednesday, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that states will likely have to make steep cuts in their fiscal 2011 budgets, which start next July 1 in most states. That’s because the critical federal stimulus dollars will run out by the end of 2010.

These cuts could take nearly a percentage point off the national gross domestic product and cost the nation 900,000 jobs, the study found.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal research group, says the states need additional federal fiscal relief to avoid budget cuts that will hurt both the economy and people. State and local spending accounts for about one-eighth of the GDP.

And in California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Tuesday that his state is facing a budget gap of up to $7 billion. The state will likely announce across-the-board spending cuts in January.

"So we just have to hang in there, tighten our belts and live within our means," he said.

The center would like to see the federal government allocate another $50 billion, while economist Mark Zandi said about half of that would be needed. Congress should pass the additional aid now since states are currently crafting their fiscal 2011 budgets.

Budget projections show that states could face deficits as large as $260 billion in 2011 and 2012 after stimulus funding is exhausted. State economies usually take up to two years longer to recover after the nation’s fiscal health begins to improve.

New budget cuts and tax increases "will be a serious drag on the economy at just the


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Zero Hedge

"I'll Die For Hong Kong": Students Transform Campuses Into Armories As Protests Rage For 4th Straight Day

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

The situation in Hong Kong went from bad to worse on Thursday, as the unprecedented weekday protests - a violation of the tacit agreement between the pro-democracy movement and the business community not to disrupt weekday commerce -continued for a fourth day on Thursday.

After a squad of HK police officers earlier this week raided the campus of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, but purportedly found nothing, protesters accused them of unjustly harassing students, many of whom are simply trying to get through the semes...



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Phil's Favorites

Disney Did In 1 Day What Took HBO 4 Years: 10 Million Streaming Subscribers

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

Somewhere Netflix and Amazon video are sweating.

Disney announced today that Disney+ has reached a stunning 10 million plus subscribers just 24 hours after its launch yesterday in the U.S., Canada, and Netherlands; the figure surprised analysts who had expected a much slower rollout for Disney to reach that level, although let's just ignore that most of the new "subs" are only there thanks to one of the various free streaming offers (perhaps someone should launch WeStream).

Separately, Apptopia reported 3.2 million mobile app downloads in the first 24 hours, with an estimated 89% of mobile downloads in the U.S., 9% in Canada, and 2% in the Netherlands. In just one day, users spent 1.3 million hours watching it, Apptopia said, more th...



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The Technical Traders

Great Cycles Article PG 9 in TradersWorld Mag - Free

Courtesy of Technical Traders

  1. How to Use Price Cycles and Profit as a Swing Trader
  2. Geodetics and the Affairs of Men – USA, and China
  3. Cosmological Economics
  4. Time Machine
  5. Trading Means Pr...


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Digital Currencies

Is Bitcoin a Macro Asset?

 

Is Bitcoin a Macro Asset?

Courtesy of 

As part of Coindesk’s popup podcast series centered around today’s Invest conference, I answered a few questions for Nolan Bauerly about Bitcoin from a wealth management perspective. I decided in December of 2017 that investing directly into crypto currencies was unnecessary and not a good use of a portfolio’s allocation slots. I remain in this posture today but I am openminded about how this may change in the future.

You can listen to this short exchange below:

...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Silver Testing This Support For The First Time In 8-Years!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Its been a good while since Silver bulls could say that it is testing support. Well, this week that can be said! Will this support test hold? Silver Bulls sure hope so!

This chart looks at Silver Futures over the past 10-years. Silver has spent the majority of the past 8-years inside of the pink shaded falling channel, as it has created lower highs and lower lows.

Silver broke above the top of this falling channel around 90-days ago at (1). It quickly rallied over 15%, before creating a large bearish reversal pattern, around 5-weeks after the bre...



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Insider Scoop

Analysts Upbeat On Skyworks' Fundamentals

Courtesy of Benzinga

Skyworks Solutions Inc (NASDAQ: SWKS) reported better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter earnings and revenues, but the stock is slipping in reaction to the year-over-year declines in both metrics.

The Analysts

Bank of America analyst Vivek Arya reiterated an Underperform rating and $92 price target for Skyworks shares. (See his track record ...



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Chart School

Gold Gann and Cycle Review

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Gold has performed well, golden skies are here again. In fact it has been a straight line move, and this is typically unusual and a pause can be expected.

It seems the markets are happy again, new highs in the SP500, US 10 year interest rates look to re bound, negative interest may soften. The US FED has reversed their QT and now doing $250BN (not QE) repo. The main point is the FED has stopped QT, and will do QE forever. The evidence now is the FED put is under market risk and the possibility of excessive losses do not exist. 

Point: If in future if there is market risk, the FED will print it's way out of it.
Subject To: In this blog view. The above is so until the amount required rocks confidence in the US dollar as a reserve currency.&n...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Today's Fed POMO TOMO FOMC Alphabet Soup Unspin

Courtesy of Lee Adler

But make no mistake, if the Fed wants money rates to stay down by another quarter, it will need to imagineer even more money.

That’s on top of the $281 billion it has already imagineered into existence since addressing its “one-off” repo market emergency on September 17. This came via  “Temporary” Repo Man Operations money, and $70.6 billion in Permanent Open Market Operations (POMO) money.

By my calculations that averages out to $7.4 billion per business day. That works out to a monthly pace of $155 billion or so.

If they keep this up, it will be more than enough to absorb every penny of new Treasury supply. That supply had caused the system to run out of money in mid September.  This flood of paper had been inundati...



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Biotech

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

Reminder: We are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

Courtesy of  , Visual Capitalist

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

As evidence of cannabis’ many benefits mounts, so does the interest from the global pharmaceutical industry, known as Big Pharma. The entrance of such behemoths will radically transform the cannabis industry—once heavily stigmatized, it is now a potentially game-changing source of growth for countless co...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

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About Phil:

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