Blogs

  • Uncle Sam Seizes Children’s Tax Refunds To Pay Parents’ Debts

    Today, millions of Americans will file their 2013 income tax returns, and many are expecting to receive a tax refund from the IRS in a few weeks. Many income tax filers expecting a refund already have plans for how that refund check will be spent. But what you may not know is that the government can and does seize tax refunds from the children of parents who are deemed to owe the government money.

    The government is now going through old records to see if it overpaid Social Security benefits to people in the past. If it thinks it did, it can now seize the IRS tax refund checks of the children of those people it thinks it overpaid. Uncle Sam can seize your refund without your knowledge or consent, even without proof or exact details. It has been doing this for the last three years, confiscating hundreds of thousands of Americans’ tax refunds. It has already confiscated $1.9 billion in tax refunds this year alone.

    Worst of all, much of this supposed debt is over 10 years old. The Social Security Administration says it has identified over 400,000 children of deceased parents in an effort to collect billions in overpayments of benefits in years past, including $714 million that is over 10 years old. The SSA says it will start proceedings against all of those people by this summer.

    This is critical information that all Americans should know! Feel free to forward today’s E-Letter to anyone who can benefit from this knowledge.

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  • Every Central Bank for Itself

    For the last 25 days I’ve been traveling in Argentina and South Africa, two countries whose economies can only be described as fragile, though for very different reasons. Emerging-market countries face a significantly different set of challenges than the developed world does. These challenges are compounded by the rather indifferent policies of developed-world central banks, which are (even if somewhat understandably) entirely self-centered. Argentina has brought its problems upon itself, but South Africa can somewhat justifiably express frustration at the developed world, which, as one emerging-market central bank leader suggests, is engaged in a covert currency war, one where the casualties are the result of unintended consequences. But the effects are nonetheless real if you’re an emerging-market country.

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    Posted to Thoughts From The Frontline by John Mauldin on 04-14-2014
  • The Ghost of John Connally.

    In This Issue.

    * Currencies take a breather.

    * IMF talks renminbi as reserve currency.

    * Aussie Unemployment drops! .

    * Chuck tries to sing like Bill Medley.

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    Posted to Daily Pfennig by Chuck Butler on 04-11-2014
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  • The Latest Debt Crisis – Student Loans Top $1 Trillion

    A new report from the Federal Reserve released on Monday showed that Americans racked up less credit card debt in the 4Q of last year, as compared to the 3Q. That’s a good thing. However, total household debt actually hit a new record in February...
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  • Escape the Toy Trap

    By Dennis Miller The toy trap: we all have friends who’ve fallen in. I received a wave of emails after publishing Debt: The Last Social Taboo? , all sharing similar sad stories. Author Dave Ramsey summed up the problem best: “We buy things...
    Posted to Casey Research by Doug Casey on 04-10-2014
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  • Oops Did We Say That Out Loud?

    In This Issue.

    * Another dollar rout on Fed Minutes.

    * Time to board the Love Train.

    * Gold reaches 2014 high! .

    * Consumer Debt an unintended consequence.

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    Posted to Daily Pfennig by Chuck Butler on 04-10-2014
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  • Risk On, Regardless

    In today’s excerpt from Gary’s quarterly INSIGHT letter, he tackles head-on the shift in sentiment and economic performance that has ensued since then. He steps us through the ebullient headlines and forecasts that dominated at year-end, and then remarks...

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    Posted to John Mauldin's Outside the Box by John Mauldin on 04-10-2014
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  • Peter Schiff Goes to Puerto Rico

    By Nick Giambruno It’s been a little over a year since I sat down with Peter Schiff at his house in Connecticut to discuss the importance of international diversification. Since then, the options available to take protective measures have declined...
    Posted to Casey Research by Doug Casey on 04-09-2014
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  • How High-Frequency Trading Benefits Most Investors

    A controversial new book came out in late March that lambastes so-called “high-frequency trading” on the major stock exchanges and claims that such computerized trading robs retail investors of good executions and profits on their stock orders. The book, “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt,” was written by former bond salesman turned author, Michael Lewis, who appeared on CBS’ 60 Minutes on March 30. Since then, his book has stirred up quite the controversy among stock market investors.

    Mr. Lewis has joined other critics who say that the booming high-frequency trading field, in which computers buy and sell stocks at lightning speed to take advantage of minute changes in prices, has essentially rigged the market against small investors. Lewis and other critics charge that high-frequency traders are essentially “front-running” investors’ orders – a practice that is otherwise illegal.

    Today, I will make the counter-argument that high-frequency trading is actually good for retail investors in that it greatly increases trading volume, narrows “bid-ask” spreads and enhances trade execution for most of us. I’ll cite a recent example wherein the Toronto Stock Exchange restricted high-frequency trading and overall market volume plunged by 30%, thus resulting in worse trade executions for most individual investors.

    As a result of the latest high-frequency trading controversy, these groups are being investigated by the FBI, the SEC, the New York Attorney General and of late, the Justice Department, and I’m all for that. There probably are some abuses that need to be eliminated. Yet I hope the regulators will not make the assumption that all high-frequency trading is bad for retail investors, as Mr. Lewis concludes.

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    Posted to Forecasts & Trends by Gary D. Halbert on 04-08-2014
  • The Lions in the Grass, Revisited

    I’ve come to South Africa a little bit ahead of my speaking tour next week to spend a few days “on safari.” Which is another way to say that I am comfortably ensconced in a game lodge next to Kruger Park, relaxing and trying to get some time to think. We’ve been reasonably lucky on the game runs: besides the usual lions, rhinoceri, water buffalo, etc., we’ve seen both cheetah and leopard, two animals that avoided my vicinity on every other trip to Africa. I’m here at the end of the rainy season, so everything is lush and green, and you have to get a little lucky to find the animals in the dense bush.

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    Posted to Thoughts From The Frontline by John Mauldin on 04-07-2014
  • The Market Leaders Are Being Distributed!

    I just posted a timely article talking about how the market leaders (groups/sectors) which lead the stock market higher have been met with strong selling. All of March we saw some distribution selling but the past few weeks it is clear that the big guys...
  • Bullard Throws A Cat Among The Pigeons!

    In This Issue.

    * Rate Differentials to narrow? .

    * Gold sees attempt to recover fade.

    * Chuck's kiss o 'death is still alive .

    * ECB meeting to disappoint once again?.

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    Posted to Daily Pfennig by Chuck Butler on 04-03-2014
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  • Hollow Men, Hollow Markets, Hollow World

    I’m sitting in the British Airways lounge at Heathrow terminal 5, or in other words in my usual office, and trying to catch up on my reading. I was particularly intrigued by my good friend and economic philosopher Ben Hunt’s latest Epsilon Theory post, which he calls “Hollow Men, Hollow Markets, Hollow World.” As he points out, an increasingly smaller portion of trading in the markets is between individuals looking to actually own a fractional portion of a public company for the long term. Instead, trading is gravitating to machines competing with each other in milliseconds and for a profit of milli-cents.

    In today’s OTB, Ben Hunt doesn’t really focus all that much on high-frequency trading but rather on the fact that so much of economics and investing itself is hollow. Our job, he says, is to find the signal amidst all the noise. This is an Outside the Box that you will need to think through as opposed to merely read.

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    Posted to John Mauldin's Outside the Box by John Mauldin on 04-02-2014
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  • Thin Your Waist to Fatten Your Wallet

    By Dennis Miller My doctor told me to lose weight. … I lost 10 lb. … I gained 10 lb. I’ve said those words to my editor Ann all too often over the last two years. Last month when I proudly announced that I’d bought new walking...
    Posted to Casey Research by Doug Casey on 04-02-2014
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  • Waiting for Friday.

    In This Issue.

    * Currencies trade in tight ranges .

    * Gold attempts to gain back losses.

    * Kiwi sees profit taking .

    * Yen losing safe haven prop?.

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    Posted to Daily Pfennig by Chuck Butler on 04-02-2014
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