Posts Tagged ‘tax payers’

Government for Sale: How Lobbyists Shaped the Financial Reform Bill

Government for Sale: How Lobbyists Shaped the Financial Reform Bill

By Steven Brill, courtesy of TIME 

government for sale, time

The following is an abridged version of an article that appears in the July 12, 2010, print and iPad editions of TIME.

Two weeks ago, along a marble corridor in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, I watched about 40 well-dressed men (and two women) delivering huge value for their employers. Except that we, the taxpayers, weren’t employing them. The nation’s banks, mortgage lenders, stockbrokers, private-equity funds and derivatives traders were.

They were lobbyists — the best bargain in Washington. Capitol Tax Partners, for example, is one of 1,900 firms that house more than 11,000 lobbyists registered to operate in Washington. Last year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), firms like Capitol Tax were paid a total of $3.49 billion for unraveling the mysteries of the tax code for a variety of businesses. According to Capitol Tax co-founder Lindsay Hooper, his firm provided "input and technical advice on various tax matters" to such clients as Morgan Stanley, 3M, Goldman Sachs, Chanel, Ford and the Private Equity Council, which is a trade group trying to head off a plan to increase taxes on what’s called carried interest, a form of income enjoyed by the heavy hitters who run venture-capital and other types of private-equity funds. (Time Warner, the parent company of TIME magazine, is also a client of Capitol Tax Partners.)

Since 2009, the Private Equity Council has paid Capitol Tax, which has eight partners, a $30,000-a-month retainer to keep its members’ taxes low. Counting fees paid to four other firms and the cost of its in-house lobbying staff, the council reported spending $4.2 million on lobbying from the beginning of 2009 through March of this year. Now let’s assume it spent an additional $600,000 since the beginning of April, for a total of $4.8 million. With other groups lobbying on the same issue, the overall spending to protect the favorable carried-interest tax treatment was maybe $15 million. Which seems like a lot — except that this is a debate over how some $100 billion will be taxed, or not, over the next 10 years.

And what did the money managers get for their $15 million investment? While lawmakers did manage to boost the taxes of hedge-fund managers and other folks who collect carried interest as part of their work,…
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Senator Jim DeMint: “U.S. Taxpayers Are Helping Finance Greek Bailout”

Senator Jim DeMint: "U.S. Taxpayers Are Helping Finance Greek Bailout"

Republican Senators Hold News Conference On "Senate Transparency"

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

From Senator Jim DeMint

The International Monetary Fund board has approved a $40 billion bailout for Greece, almost one year after the Senate rejected my amendment to prohibit the IMF from using U.S. taxpayer money to bailout foreign countries.

Congress didn’t learn their lesson after the $700 billion failed bank bailout and let world leaders shake down U.S taxpayers for international bailout money at the G-20 conference in April 2009. G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors asked the United States, the IMF’s largest contributor, for a whopping $108 billion to rescue bankers around the world and the Obama Administration quickly obliged.

Rather than pass it as stand-alone legislation, President Obama asked Congress to fold the $108 billion into a war-spending bill to send money to our troops.

It was clear such an approach would simply repeat the expensive mistake of the failed Wall Street bailouts with banks in other nations. Think of it as an international TARP plan, another massive rescue package rushed through with little planning or debate. That’s why I objected and offered an amendment to take it out of the war bill. But the Democrat Senate voted to keep the IMF bailout in the war spending bill. 64 senators voted for the bailout, 30 senators voted against it.

Only one year later, the IMF is sending nearly $40 billion to bailout Greece, the biggest bailout the IMF has ever enacted.

Right now, 17 percent of the IMF funding pool that the $40 billion bailout is being drawn from comes from U.S. taxpayers. If that ratio holds true, that means American taxpayers are paying for $6.8 billion of the Greek bailout. Although the $108 billion extra that Congress approved for the IMF in 2009 hasn’t yet gone into effect, you can bet that once it does Greek bankers will come to the IMF again with their hat in hand. And, if other European Union countries see free money up for grabs they could ask the IMF for bailouts when they get into trouble, too. If we’ve learned anything from the Wall Street bailouts it’s that just one bailout is never enough.

To hide the bailout from Americans already angry with the $700 billion bank bailout, Congress classified it as an “expanded credit line.” The Congressional Budget Office only…
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Swiss Cheese Recovery, More Holes Than Cheese

Swiss Cheese Recovery, More Holes Than Cheese

Courtesy of Mish

Slice of Swiss Cheese

Inquiring minds are reading the "Good News" from the Fed’s Beige Book today.

Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicated that while economic activity remains at a low level, conditions have improved modestly further, and those improvements are broader geographically than in the last report.

Highlights

  • Consumer spending: The recent 2009 holiday season was modestly greater than in 2008 for eight Districts, although as retailers in the Philadelphia and San Francisco Districts noted, 2008 sales were so low compared with 2007, that the relatively small 2009 gains did not represent a significant shift in trend.
     
  • Nonfinancial Services: Districts reporting on nonfinancial services generally indicated an upward trend in activity, although in some areas reports were mixed.
     
  • Manufacturing: Manufacturing activity has improved since the last report in six Districts.
     
  • Residential: Homes sales increased toward the end of 2009 in most Federal Reserve Districts, except San Francisco, where demand for housing has been steady, and Kansas City, where residential real estate activity has eased since the last Beige Book. In New York, Richmond, and Atlanta, residential real estate activity was described as mixed across areas of the District. In the Atlanta District, existing home sales increased, but new home sales decreased. In all Districts, sales of lower-priced homes tended to increase proportionately more than sales of higher-priced homes, due at least in part to the first-time buyer federal tax credit, according to real estate contacts. In several Districts real estate contacts reported that the original expiration date for the credit boosted sales in November and led to a more than usual slowdown in sales in December.
     
  • Nonresidential: Nonresidential real estate conditions remained soft in nearly all Districts. New York, Philadelphia, Kansas City, and San Francisco reported further weakening in demand for commercial and industrial space.
     
  • Employment, Wages, and Prices: Labor market conditions remained soft in most Federal Reserve Districts, although New York reported a modest pickup in hiring and St. Louis reported that several service-sector firms in that District recently announced plans to hire new workers.
     
  • Loan Demand: Loan demand continued to decline or remained weak in most Districts. St. Louis, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco noted general declines or soft


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California Asks Rest of Nation’s Taxpayers to Help Pay for Its Unbalanced Budget

California Asks Rest of Nation’s Taxpayers to Help Pay for Its Unbalanced Budget

Courtesy of Trader Mark at Fund My Mutual Fund

I have not had time to post some recent data on the growing chasm between public and private worker pay in the US, but I still plan to do it as this is a theme we’ve been pounding the table on since blog inception in 07… [Dec 16, 2007: California in a State of Fiscal Emergency - Coming to a Theater Near You]  Much like many of its people who have spent far more than they take in, the politicos at the state level act no different than the politicos at the federal level.  Spend what you have today, and never assume a rainy day in the future.  Since the state and city level budgets cannot be solved by more and more borrowing, there is only one ultimate solution.  Full subsidization by the federal government, who not only is running massive deficits of its own – but in the end game, will be the vessel for states to run deficits.  [May 5, 2009: Federal Aid Surpasses Sales Tax as Top Revenue Generator for States]  We are now officially at that point as some of the states have run out of accounting gimmicks to paper over deficits.

I tried to be generous in the title of this specific piece since it’s the holiday season, but it really should be something akin to "private workers of country asked for bailout to subsidize early retirement and generous benefit packages for public workers of California."  Or "taxpayers in Idaho asked to pay for imbalances in California."  In LA alone, pension payment will be sucking up 1 in 3 (yes, you heard that right) of all revenues in half a decade.  Leaving the other 2/3rds for minor things like… running the 2nd largest city in the nation.  [Aug 11, 2009: LA Times - Amid Cost Cutting, Los Angeles City Pensions Continue to Soar]  These are the type of things the nation is being asked to subsidize via these "stimulus plans" and whatever the Governor is asking for now.

  • •"We should never, ever design a pension formula that provides more for a person when they


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Tale of Two Economies

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Tale of Two Economies

Courtesy of Mish

How well corporations have fared in the recovery depends largely on two factors.

1) How much cash on hand they had and how conservative there were heading into the recession

2) How much Uncle Sam (taxpayers) bailed them out

The Wall Street Journal has the story in Halting Recovery Divides America in Two.

The U.S. recovery is a tale of two economies.

At one extreme of Corporate America is a cadre of companies and banks, mostly big, united by an enviable access to credit. At the other end are firms, chiefly small, with slumping sales that can’t borrow or are facing stiff terms to do so.

On Main Street, there are consumers with rock-solid jobs — but also legions of debt-strapped individuals struggling to keep their noses above water.

This split helps explain the patchiness of the recovery that appears to be taking hold after the worst recession in a half-century.

The split between companies that can borrow and those that can’t shows the extent to which any recovery depends on reviving the nation’s ailing banks and squeamish credit markets. Until that happens, the vigor of the economy will remain in doubt.

"If you’re not making money, you need to borrow money," says John Graham, a finance professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. But "you need to be creditworthy in order to borrow, and if you’re not making money, you’re creditworthiness isn’t very strong."

Mr. Graham, who oversees a quarterly survey of CFOs, says more companies are doing better than they were a few months ago. Still, he estimates, one in four is in "dire straights due to lack of profits combined with not being able to borrow."

Companies big enough to bypass banks and go directly to capital markets are finding a warmer reception. That’s because the markets are showing more willingness to make risky loans: In January, only eight of the 56 companies that sold bonds were rated below-investment-grade, or "junk," according to Dealogic. In August, by contrast, 24 of the 60 deals had junk ratings.

Since the start of the year, companies have been increasingly turning to the bond markets to raise money. Through August thus far, companies have issued $395.4 billion in bonds over 512 deals, according to


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Phil's Favorites

Here's how airplane crash investigations work, according to an aviation safety expert

  Here's how airplane crash investigations work, according to an aviation safety expert

Courtesy of Daniel Kwasi Adjekum, University of North Dakota

The fatal crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 has resulted in the worldwide grounding of Boeing 737 Max aircraft. Investigators are probing the crash and ...



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Zero Hedge

Nomura: "Event Risk" Has Become A Joke

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

For a brief period yesterday, it seemed the stock rally may stall just as the market settled into its comfortable, pre-FOMC melt up. To be sure, there were numerous catalysts to fade the current 5 month high with Nomura listing 6 reasons why stocks may fade as we enter the "pullback window." Traders were additionally spooked by yesterday’s "spot up, VIX up, VVIX up" combo, which as Charlie McElligott notes, "always raises an eyebrow from market bystanders" although in retrospe...



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ValueWalk

When Preserving Capital Is Wiser Than Growing It

By Michelle Jones. Originally published at ValueWalk.

When it comes to investment performance, slow and steady generally wins the race when stretched out over long-term horizons. Even though this practice may not seem glamorous, one hedge fund explained in its year-end letter for 2018 that preserving capital is a wise move during times of extreme volatility.

NjoyHarmony / PixabayMaverick preserves capital

In his 2018 letter to investors, Maverick Managing Partner Lee Ainslie said when they wrote their first letter more than 25 years ago, they stated that the fund’s objective was to &...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Financials About To Let Down The Bull Market Again?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

If the saying So Goes The Banks, So Goes The Broad Market is true, what message are we receiving when financials have lagged the broad market for over a year?

This 2-pack looks at the XLF/SPX and EUFN/XLF ratios over the past couple of years.

The XLF/SPX ratio has created a series of lower highs for the past 12-months after peaking at (1). The EUFN/XLF ratio has created a series of lower highs for the past 18-months after peaking at (2). These falling trends look to be sending a negative divergence message to the broad markets if one believes that banks are important for bull markets.

Each ratio is near falling resistance at ...



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Insider Scoop

A Peek Into The Markets: US Stock Futures Climb Ahead Of Fed Meeting

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Pre-open movers

U.S. stock futures traded higher in early pre-market trade. The Federal Open Market Committee will begin its two-day policy meeting today. Data on factory orders for January will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 103 points to 26,072.00, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures gained 11 points to 2,852.00. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 index rose 27 points to 7,388.75.

...



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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Mar 17, 2019

Courtesy of Blain.

A very good week for market bulls as the prior week’s selling was all reversed.  Last week we asked how many times can we rally on the same Federal Reserve juice.  It seems indefinitely.  Jerome Powell went on ’60 Minutes’ and talked dovish – that sparked a big rally Monday and it continued all week.  The only down day all week was Thursday when the progress on the U.S. – China trade deal seemed to hit a delay.

A meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will be delayed until at least April, Bloomberg News reported, indicating that a bilateral trade deal will n...



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Biotech

Marijuana is a lot more than just THC - a pharmacologist looks at the untapped healing compounds

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

 

Marijuana is a lot more than just THC - a pharmacologist looks at the untapped healing compounds

Assorted cannabis bud strains. Roxana Gonzalez/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of James David Adams, University of Southern California

Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states as of November 2018. Yet the federal government still insists marijuana has no legal u...



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Digital Currencies

Facebook's cryptocurrency: a financial expert breaks it down

 

Facebook's cryptocurrency: a financial expert breaks it down

Grejak/Shutterstock

Courtesy of Alistair Milne, Loughborough University

Facebook is reportedly preparing to launch its own version of Bitcoin, for use in its messaging applications, WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram. Could this “Facecoin” be the long-awaited breakthrough by a global technology giant into the lucrative market for retail financial services? Or will...



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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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Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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