Blogs

  • Calling Into Question

    A note has been circulating among economists, calling into question the wisdom of another group of economists who wrote an open letter to the Federal Reserve a few years ago suggesting that one of the risks of their quantitative easing program was increased inflation. Since we have not seen CPI inflation, this latter group is calling upon the former to admit they were wrong, that quantitative easing does not in fact cause inflation. To no one’s surprise, Paul Krugman has written rather nastily and arrogantly about the lack of CPI inflation.

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  • How Can There Not Be a Currency Crisis?

    By Casey Research The Fed claims that signs of economic stress are very low, but savvy investors feel otherwise. With geopolitical unrest expanding and central banks doing the opposite of the right things, is a currency crisis barreling toward us? See...
    Posted to Casey Research by Doug Casey on 10-16-2014
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  • How Over-Regulation Hurts Us - Some Eye-Popping Numbers

    Today we'll look at a recent study which quantifies just how much over-regulation hurts the US economy each year. The numbers are incredible! The US economy would be almost double what it is today were it not for the maze of costly regulations that hinder big and small businesses alike.

    Reducing harmful and unnecessary regulations should be a top national priority, but hardly anyone in Washington talks about it. Name me one national political figure that has run on scaling back government regulation in recent years. It’s hard to find one. Presidents John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were effective at limiting regulation, whereas President Obama is rated the worst of all time.

    Over-regulation has been a main contributor to the decline in the growth rate for worker productivity. Historically, worker productivity has grown by 2.5% per year. Last year, however, productivity grew by only 1.1%, and it actually declined by 3.2% in the 1Q of this year.

    According to a recent report, the government has implemented almost 90,000 new regulations over the last 20 years (an average of 4,500 per year), and many of these new regulations decrease worker productivity and increase costs for just about everything we buy.

    If that weren't bad enough, the US has seen its "economic freedom" ranking plunge from being in the top ten a few years ago all the way to #12. In fact, the US is the only developed nation to see its economic freedom ranking fall for seven straight years! When it comes to free trade, we've fallen all the way to #36. And I have even more stats on this as we go along today.

    Let's jump right into what should be a very interesting, although discouraging, letter. But we need to know these things.

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    Posted to Forecasts & Trends by Gary D. Halbert on 10-14-2014
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  • More Older Americans Are Working, But Why?

    As you know, I write frequently about the economy and specifically about the unemployment rate, as I did in my E-Letter on Tuesday. While the official unemployment rate fell to a six-year low of 5.9% in September, I emphasized that the “labor force...
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  • The Currency War Of All Currency Wars?

    In This Issue.

    * Currency rally gets turned around.

    * Fed members fire the first shots. .

    * Petrol currencies get double whammy.

    * Chuck on his soapbox again!.

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    Posted to Daily Pfennig by Chuck Butler on 10-10-2014
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  • The Broken State and How to Fix It

    By Casey Research The United States of America is not what it used to be. Unsustainable mountains of debt, continuous meddling by the government and Fed to “stimulate the economy,” and the US dollar’s dwindling status as the world’s...
    Posted to Casey Research by Doug Casey on 10-10-2014
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  • The world’s greatest stock picker? Bet you sold Apple and Google a long time ago.

    My good friend Barry Ritholtz, famous for launching The Big Picture blog (and since graduating to being a regular Bloomberg columnist as well as writing a weekly column for the Washington Post), is well-known for being a contrarian. Barry is a regular dinner partner when I get to New York, and he also participates in the annual Maine fishing trip. We frequently trade information … and barbs. The word colorful affectionately comes to mind when I think of Barry (and maybe opinionated would work).

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    Posted to John Mauldin's Outside the Box by John Mauldin on 10-08-2014
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  • Unemployment Dips Below 6%, But Incomes Stagnate

    Last Friday’s unemployment report came in better than expected. The headline unemployment rate fell more than anticipated, from 6.1% in August to 5.9% last month. The number of new jobs created last month was also better than expected at 248,000.

    Given that the unemployment rate is now below 6%, and given that 2Q GDP expanded by 4.6%, you might think the economy is finally off to the races. But what is becoming increasingly clear is that wages for most Americans have been stagnant or falling since before the Great Recession began in late 2007.

    As we will see below, this trend of stagnant income has actually been with us since the early 2000s. Without rising incomes, there’s little reason for people to feel like their financial lives are getting better or for the economy to grow at a faster rate.

    Fortunately, not all the news is bad. While the vast majority of Americans believe that we’re either still in a recession or the country is headed in the wrong direction, pessimism in the business community is lifting. Companies are investing more in capital assets. After years of sitting on their hands, companies are beginning once again to build their businesses.

    Finally, recorded versions of our recent webinars with Potomac Fund Management and YCG Investments are now available on our website at www.halbertwealth.com. Both managers explain in detail how their investment strategies work. I encourage you to watch these videos to see if their strategies are a fit for your portfolio.

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    Posted to Forecasts & Trends by Gary D. Halbert on 10-07-2014
  • The Wayback Machine Birthday Tour

    Today, in the spirit of the wisdom the Cheshire Cat offers Alice, I would ask how you can know where you are now and where you’re going if you don’t know where you came from. You and I have lived through the first nearly 14 years of this topsy-turvy new century together, and many of its details as well as its overarching themes deserve to be recalled. But rather than offering you a dry, plodding recap of recent history, I’ve come up with a different and hopefully more fun way to revisit the past decade and a half.

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    Posted to Thoughts From The Frontline by John Mauldin on 10-06-2014
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  • “King Dollar” Is Back – Or Is It?

    The US Dollar has surged higher since the middle of this year. Yet most Americans pay little attention to the fluctuations in our currency, even though most of us get paid exclusively in dollars and spend exclusively in dollars. Since most of us don’t...
  • The Single Most Important Lesson from the Casey Summit

    By Louis James, Chief Metals & Mining Investment Strategist At our San Antonio summit, Rick Rule gave a talk that, as always, was well reasoned, packed with facts, and powerfully cogent. His message was simply that bear markets are for buying and...
    Posted to Casey Research by Doug Casey on 10-03-2014
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  • A Jobs Jamboree Friday!

    In This Issue.

    * Currencies give back most of their gains from Thursday!

    * Proving Chuck correct! .

    * Draghi to buy less than investment grade bonds.

    * Lagarde says countries need to take "bold polices", Really?.

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    Posted to Daily Pfennig by Chuck Butler on 10-03-2014
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  • Why the Fed Is So Wimpy

    I’m in Washington DC today at a conference sponsored by an association of endowments and foundations. They have a rather impressive roster of speakers, so I have found myself attending more sessions than I normally do at conferences. Martin Wolf and David Petraeus headline a very thoughtful group of managers and economists, accompanied by an assortment of geopolitical wizards. I’ve learned a lot.

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    Posted to John Mauldin's Outside the Box by John Mauldin on 10-01-2014
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  • How High US Corporate Tax Rates Hurt the Economy

    The US corporate tax rate is the highest among developed nations at 35% at the federal level. Tack on state and local taxes, which can add 5-7%, and US corporations are looking at a 40%-42% income tax burden. But the US takes it even another step further, unlike any other country in the developed world.

    Uncle Sam demands that American companies with offshore operations pay US taxes on all income earned abroad – if those profits are repatriated to the US – even though taxes have already been paid to the countries where the income was actually generated. Think of it as double taxation on profits.

    No wonder then that more and more US corporations with offshore operations are keeping those profits outside the US in order to avoid this double taxation. It is estimated that up to $2 trillion of those foreign profits are parked outside the US. That is a ton of money which, if brought home, could result in lots of new projects that could create many new jobs.

    With an obligation to their shareholders to maximize profits, large US corporations are increasingly taking additional steps to minimize taxes owed to the Treasury in a process that has been coined “tax inversion” as I will explain below. This involves US firms moving their corporate headquarters overseas to countries where the tax burden is lower.

    Today, we’ll explore how the extraordinarily high US corporate tax rate hurts the economy and why more and more large American corporations are moving their headquarters offshore. And we’ll look at why the Obama administration is trying to stop it – when all it would take to fix it is the US lowering its tax burden to a more reasonable level. But no, Obama wants to raise corporate taxes even more. This should make for an interesting E-letter.

    But before we get into that discussion, let’s take a quick look at last Friday’s third and final report on 2Q Gross Domestic Product.

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    Posted to Forecasts & Trends by Gary D. Halbert on 09-30-2014
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  • 2 Ways to Write the IRS Out of Your Will

    You can protect your money many different ways. Investors (including me) can focus so hard on protecting their portfolios that they sometimes overlook a costlier potential danger … That is, the confiscation of everything you've worked for,...
    Posted to Uncommon Wisdom by Tony Sagami on 09-30-2014
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