Posts Tagged ‘Tax cuts’

Fiscally Irresponsible Friday – Proles Swallow $858Bn in Debt for $ 613 and Some Magic Beans

 
Good job Congress!

Way to bend of and take it from your new Republican Masters!  Not since Jack sold his cow for some magic beans has a deal like this been made by our "leadership" where families earning between $35,000 and $64,000 go $7,800 further into debt to get a $613 tax break while families earning between $5M and $10M get $38,590 and families earning $50M to $100M get $380,590 and families (or Corporations, of course) earning $500M to $1Bn get $3,859,000 or about 12,590 times more than the average middle class family but, then again, they deserve it because – they are that much better than you are!  

Face it, unless you are in an income category where your tax benefit has 5 digits, you are what George Orwell (who worked in England’s Ministry of Propaganda) called a "Prole."  In "1984" the Proles (proletariat) were the vast majority of the populace, the working class of Oceana.  Though the proles are the majority, they are unimportant. The Party explicitly teaches that the Proles are "natural inferiors who must be kept in subjection, like animals".  As one of the Party Leaders observes: "the relative freedom of working-class people is merely a symptom of the contempt in which they are held".  

It is not only the Party which regards the Proles as unimportant: the arch-enemy, Goldstein, dismisses them too, referring to the divisions of High, Middle and Low people, in which the Low are essentially destined to remain powerless. This attitude has much in common with the one Huxley shows in Brave New World—the lower castes are mindless enough to be satisfied with little, and can be relied on not to be troublesome.  

You’re not going to be any trouble are you?  Enjoy your $613, little people.  That’s what, about a month’s worth of gasoline and cable TV?  Congratulations on your voting acumen – you certainly have gotten the Government that you deserve!  I apologize because I had mischaracterized the tax cuts as being fairer to the Middle Class last week, when I said it was only an outrage.  I thought that families earning $50,000 would be getting $900, not $613, but it turns out that 12,590 times $287 is another $3,613,330 that could be given to a Billionaire and they NEED that money to buy stuff that might create a job while you would only
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Why America’s Two Economies Continue to Drift Apart, and What Washington Isn’t Doing About It

Courtesy of Robert Reich

America’s two economies are getting wider apart.

The Big Money economy is booming. According to a new Commerce Department report, third-quarter profits of American businesses rose at an annual record-breaking $1.659 trillion – besting even the boom year of 2006 (in nominal dollars). Profits have soared for seven consecutive quarters now, matching or beating their fastest pace in history.

Executive pay is linked to profits, so top pay is soaring as well.

Higher profits are also translating into the nice gains in the stock market, which is a boon to everyone with lots of financial assets.

And Wall Street is back. Bonuses on the Street are expected to rise about 5 percent this year, according to a survey by compensation consultants Johnson Associates Inc.

But nothing is trickling down to the Average Worker economy. Job growth is still anemic. At October’s rate of only 50,000 new private-sector jobs, unemployment won’t get down to pre-recession levels for twenty years. And almost half of October’s new jobs were in temporary help.

Meanwhile, the median wage is barely rising, adjusted for inflation. And the value of the major asset of most Americans – their homes – continues to drop.

Why are America’s two economies going in opposite directions? Two reasons.

First, big profits are coming from overseas sales of goods and services made abroad, not here. The world’s fastest-growing markets are China and India, whose inhabitants are eager to buy “American” products, and just as eager to work for the American companies that sell them. The U.S. market is barely moving.

Increasingly, American corporations are able to extract healthy gains from their global operations without adding much in the United States except executive talent.

new world finance, ponzi, too big to fail banksSecond, American businesses are boosting productivity by having U.S. employees do more work for less pay. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between the third quarter of 2009 and the third quarter of 2010, productivity rose 2.5 percent, output increased 4.1 percent, the number of hours worked was up 1.6 percent, and unit labor costs dropped by 1.9 percent.

In other words, American workers are losing even more bargaining power as a sizeable chunk of corporate profit goes into software and digital equipment that can do what people used to do – but more cheaply.

So what is Washington doing about all this?

Making the tax code more progressive so more Americans reap…
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Monday Market Movement – Mind the (Wealth) Gap!

Congratulations to 440,000 of us!

That’s how many people became Millionaires in the past 12 months (ending in June).  According to a new survey from Phoenix Marketing International’s Affluent Market Practice, the number of American households with investible assets of $1 million or more rose 8% in the 12 months ended in June. The survey says there now are 5.55 million U.S. households with investible assets of $1 million or more.  That follows two years of declines and brings the Millionaire count back to 2006 levels. Of course, that is still below the peak of 5.97 million in 2007 and the current growth rate is well below pre-financial crisis levels, when the Millionaire population increased as much as 35% a year

Still, the numbers offer further evidence that the wealthy may have decoupled from the rest of the economy, as we expected would happen in "A Tale of Two Economies," my 2010 outlook. The study’s authors say high salary growth, rather than investments, are the main drivers of the Millionaire expansion.  As we who play the markets are painfully aware, $1M in assets doesn’t leave a lot of room for investments.  The very wealthy, on the other hand, had a much better year than the mere Millionaires. The population of American households with $5 million or more in investible assets surged 16%. The population of those with $10 million to invest increased 17%.  The rich have never been getting richer than they have been in 2010!  

Of course, in order for someone to get rich, someone has to get poor and, this year it took 4M Americans falling below the poverty line ($22,000 for a family of 4) to provide the cash for our 440,000 winners.  That’s pretty much right in line with the numbers I’ve been citing over and over again – it takes 1,000 poor people to make one rich one!  

The Census Bureau found that the fraction of Americans living in poverty rose sharply to 14.3% in 2009, up from 13.2% previously. This is the highest level since 1994. In total, 43.6 million Americans were living in poverty last year.  Even the median family is getting the shaft in America with 2010 inflation-adjusted salaries barely keeping pace with 1980 inflation-adjusted salaries – making 3 full decades without improvement for the average American family.  According to the WSJ, the bottom 40% (120M people) have dropped from having 14.5% of the nation’s income in 1980 to having 12% in…
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David Walker With Jon Stewart: “There Is No Party Of Fiscal Responsibility In Washington.

David Walker With Jon Stewart: "There Is No Party Of Fiscal Responsibility In Washington." (Daily Show Video)

Courtesy of The Daily Bail 

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
David Walker
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

 

Video:  David Walker with Jon Stewart

Originally aired in January, but it has never been posted here before.  Walker is the former Comptroller General of the Untied States and is now President of the Peterson Foundation.

  • "There is no party of fiscal responsibility in Washington."
  • "When the statutory budget controls expired in 2002, Washington lost total control.  Unfunded tax cuts, unfunded war costs, expansion of entitlement benefits.  And we are where we are today."

David Walker Says US Government Immorality Will Lead To Bankruptcy (60 Minutes)

David Walker: "The United States Is On The Same Path To Bankruptcy As Greece" (VIDEO)

Daily Bail Exclusive Interview With David Walker: "Young People Wake Up, Ignorance And Apathy Make For A Toxic Mix"

Movie Trailer For ‘I.O.U.S.A.’ America The Bankrupt

PBS Frontline Explores The National Debt: ‘$10 Trillion And Counting’


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Why You Can Blame Bush For The Fact That His Tax Cuts Are Expiring In The First Place

Why You Can Blame Bush For The Fact That His Tax Cuts Are Expiring In The First Place

Courtesy of Joe Weisenthal at Clusterstock 

President George W Bush

Here’s a question you’ve probably had: Why are the Bush tax cuts expiring in the first place? 

Clive Crook at the FT has the answer:

What a commentary on the US approach to tax policy. The tax cuts are due to expire in the first place only because the Bush administration was cooking the books. The idea was to disguise the cuts’ long-term cost, which is colossal. Making them permanent would cost nearly $4,000bn over 10 years. The Republicans always wanted the changes to be permanent. The sunset provision was just a feint to make them look affordable.

Democrats are no better at playing budget games, notes Crook:

Democrats deplored the tax cuts as reckless – which they were – yet want mostly to preserve them. The middle-class part of the tax cuts, which they like, account for roughly three-quarters of the forgone revenue. Talk about having it both ways. Barack Obama organised his election campaign around this position. He complained of fiscal irresponsibility with one breath, then promised even lower taxes for most Americans – households making less than $250,000 a year, some 97 per cent of the total – with the next.

A similar contradiction might be seen with the healthcare bill, and the Democrats’ promise that it would be a budget reducer, a goal accomplished by pushing other decisions down the road.

Image: Wikimedia

 


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Four Deformations of the Apocalypse

Here’s an interesting article in the NY Times that has been making the internet rounds.  David Stockman writes about how the Republican party destroyed the American economy. – Ilene 

Barry Ritholtz made this comment in summarizing the article: 

In short, the party became more focused on Politics than Policy.

I bring this up as an intro to David Stockman’s brutal critique of Republican fiscal policy. Stockman was the director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. His NYT OpEd — subhed: How the GOP Destroyed the US economy — perfectly summarizes the most legitimate critiques of decades of GOP economic policy.

I can sum it up thusly: Whereas the Democrats have no economic policy, the Republicans have a very bad one.

Four Deformations of the Apocalypse

money printing By DAVID STOCKMAN, NY Times 

Excerpts: 

This approach has not simply made a mockery of traditional party ideals. It has also led to the serial financial bubbles and Wall Street depredations that have crippled our economy. More specifically, the new policy doctrines have caused four great deformations of the national economy, and modern Republicans have turned a blind eye to each one.

The first of these started when the Nixon administration defaulted on American obligations under the 1944 Bretton Woods agreement to balance our accounts with the world. Now, since we have lived beyond our means as a nation for nearly 40 years, our cumulative current-account deficit — the combined shortfall on our trade in goods, services and income — has reached nearly $8 trillion. That’s borrowed prosperity on an epic scale.

[...]

The second unhappy change in the American economy has been the extraordinary growth of our public debt. 

[...]

The third ominous change in the American economy has been the vast, unproductive expansion of our financial sector. Here, Republicans have been oblivious to the grave danger of flooding financial markets with freely printed money and, at the same time, removing traditional restrictions on leverage and speculation. As a result, the combined assets of conventional banks and the so-called shadow banking system (including investment banks and finance companies) grew from a mere $500 billion in 1970 to $30 trillion by September 2008.

But the trillion-dollar conglomerates that inhabit this new financial world are not free enterprises. They are rather wards of the state, extracting billions from the economy with a lot of pointless speculation in stocks, bonds, commodities and derivatives. They could
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Citi’s TARP Repayment: The Downside for a Troubled Bank

Citi’s TARP Repayment: The Downside for a Troubled Bank

Citi - TIME By Stephen Gandel, courtesy of TIME

Can Citigroup survive without a government safety net? Some analysts aren’t sure.

On Monday, Citigroup said it had worked out a deal to repay $20 billion in government bailout money and terminate a loss-sharing agreement the bank had with the government for Citi’s riskiest assets. Citi CEO Vickram Pandit said the moves were signs that his company was returning to financial health. The deal would also remove much of the government’s pay restrictions on the bank. "These actions move us closer to ending a very difficult period for our company," wrote Pandit in an internal memo to Citi employees.

But analysts say Citi’s rush to repay the assistance it got through the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) will make the bank weaker, not stronger. The move will reduce Citi’s capital ratios and hurt earnings; it may also accelerate a retreat of foreign investors from the company’s shares. Worse, the government is demanding stricter terms from Citi than it did from Bank of America on the repayment deal it struck just a week ago. The different treatment shows that the government remains more concerned about Citi’s finances than those of its rivals.

Veteran analyst Richard Bove of Rochdale Securities, who had been recommending Citi’s shares since the summer, downgraded the stock on news that it was going to repay TARP from a "buy" to a "sell" rating. "What does it do for the company? Management can increase [executive] salaries," says Bove, referring to the fact that Citi will now be free of the government’s compensation rules. "What else? Nothing."

Indeed, Citi’s shares fell on the news that it was repaying TARP, down $0.27, or nearly 7%, to $3.68 a share.

Citi’s deal to pay back the government was reportedly hashed out over a week’s worth of marathon negotiations following Bank of America’s repayment last week of $45 billion in government assistance. Citi did not want to be one of the few remaining big banks still using the government’s crutch.

Citi’s effort to repay the government will remove some of the stigma surrounding the firm that has evolved since the start of the financial crisis. Treasury officials say Citi will no longer be considered one of the companies that have received "exceptional assistance" from the government. That means pay czar Kenneth Feinberg…
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Phil's Favorites

Identifying a fake picture online is harder than you might think

 

Identifying a fake picture online is harder than you might think

If you know how photo editing works, you might have a leg up at spotting fakes. Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Mona Kasra, University of Virginia

It can be hard to tell whether a picture is real. Consider, as the participants in our recent research did, these two images and see whether you think neither, either or both of them has been doctored.

...



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Zero Hedge

Shocking Before & After Photos Reveal Awful Truth About Widespread US Crop Failures In 2019

Courtesy of Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse

Torrential rains have been hammering the heartland of America for months, and at this point vast stretches of farmland in the middle of the country are nothing but mud.  As a result of the endless rain and unprecedented flooding that we have witnessed, millions of acres of farmland will have nothing planted on them at all in 2019, and that is a major national crisis.  But most farmers were able to get seeds planted in the deplorable conditions, and now they are desperately hoping that something will actually grow.  Unfortunately, on farm after farm what is coming out of the ground looks absolutely terrible.  Even if we get ideal weather conditions for the rest of the summer, there is no way that many of t...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Wilshire 5000 Creating A Triple Top? An Important Breakout Test Is In Play!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

The stock market has been on fire of late, rallying up to the edge of price resistance on several indexes. Today, we look at one of those stock market indexes: the Wilshire 5000.

The Wilshire 5000 tracks all of the stocks in the US market, so it is a broad-based index that carries significant importance when gauging the health of the overall US stock market.

Looking at the long-term “weekly” chart above, it is pretty clear that the index is at an important price juncture.

The Wilshire 5000 spent the last 25 years trading within a rising price channel (1)...



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Insider Scoop

Jefferies Upgrades Deere, Cites 'Significantly Improved Farmer Income Outlook'

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Farmer buying power will remain pressured for 2019, but this will change for the better next year and will help support Deere & Company (NYSE: DE), according to Jefferies.

The Analyst

Jefferies' Stephen Volkmann upgraded Deere from Hold to Buy with a price target lifted from $150 to $190....



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Chart School

Formula for when the Great Stock Market Rally ends

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

When valuations for the boring water company or the boring electric company is trading like your Facebook, Apple, Amazon or Netflix or Google (ie FANG) you know something is wrong.

This is when a seriously over valued market is screaming at you.

Of course the reader must understand in a world where money printing goes super nuts (Zimbabwe style) the stock market may go hyper inflationary and picking a time frame for a top is never a good idea, but we are not there yet. There is no Ben Bernanke helicopter money to the masses yet (ie MMT). 

To see when water company's (and such like) are nearing the crazy FANG like valuations a review of the Dow Jones Utility Index channel shows us how history can repeat. The c...

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ValueWalk

The "Tesla Killer" Car Is Nowhere In Sight

 

The “Tesla Killer” Car Is Nowhere In Sight

By Jacob Wolinsky, ValueWalk

Here’s some catnip for the Tesla bulls on this email list: my analyst, Kevin DeCamp, a longtime TSLA shareholder and car owner, took a test drive of the Jaguar I-PACE and, while it “looks great and is fun to drive… it is lacking in a few areas where Tesla really shines.” He concludes that “Tesla may end up killing itself, but the “Tesla killer” car is nowhere in sight.”

The Tesla Killer Hasn’t Arrived Yet: My Test Drive of the Jaguar I-PACE

By Kevin DeCamp

As a long-time, devoted Tesla...



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Digital Currencies

Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream - the battle is on to bring them under global control

 

Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream – the battle is on to bring them under global control

The high seas are getting lower. dianemeise

Courtesy of Iwa Salami, University of East London

The 21st-century revolutionaries who have dominated cryptocurrencies are having to move over. Mainstream financial institutions are adopting these assets and the blockchain technology that enables them, in what ...



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Biotech

Consumer genetic testing customers stretch their DNA data further with third-party interpretation websites

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

 

Consumer genetic testing customers stretch their DNA data further with third-party interpretation websites

If you’ve got the raw data, why not mine it for more info? Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Sarah Catherine Nelson, University of Washington

Back in 2016, Helen (a pseudonym) took three different direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests: AncestryDNA, 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA. She saw genetic testing as a way...



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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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Mapping The Market

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

A good start from :

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

Excerpt:

The threat to America is this: we have abandoned our core philosophy. Our first principle of this nation as a meritocracy, a free-market economy, where competition drives economic decision-making. In its place, we have allowed a malignancy to fester, a virulent pus-filled bastardized form of economics so corrosive in nature, so dangerously pestilent, that it presents an extinction-level threat to America – both the actual nation and the “idea” of America.

This all-encompassing mutant corruption saps men’s souls, crushes opportunities, and destroys economic mobility. Its a Smash & Grab system of ill-gotten re...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

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

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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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:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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