Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Will Fossil Fuel Go the Way of the Dinosaurs?

By Michelle Seiler-Tucker

For years, oil companies in the U.S. could count subterranean, untapped oil reserves as assets in their financial statements, which lead to highly inflated numbers. Now, with oil around $40 a barrel, the cost of pulling it out of the earth is greater than the sale price (at least for fracking), so the SEC is requiring companies to remove these fictitious assets from their books since investors cannot gain any value from oil that won’t be touched. With billions of barrels of oil disappearing off books overnight, already tense investors are growing more fearful of a complete oil collapse. [more...]

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

U.S. Economy Finally on Solid Ground

By Michelle Seiler-Tucker

Friday was a good day for the U.S. dollar. Jumping to a seven month high, the greenback enjoyed a notable increase in value thanks to new job data. The job report indicated unemployment is now at 5%, the lowest economically viable rate. The U.S. has not seen such data since April of 2008, suggesting America is finally finding solid ground. For much of the year now, monetary policy conversation has swirled around a possible interest rate hike by the Fed. No one is certain of a rate increase in December, but the futures market indicates a 75% chance, while financial experts range from skeptical to near certain. I wrote earlier in the year that America should wait on the Fed rate, and the country was not yet on sure footing. New job data, especially in the face of global economic conditions, suggest we might finally be back on track. [more...]

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

How to Keep China from Harming Your Stock Market Performance

The major U.S. stock market indices - the S&P 500, the Dow and the NASDAQ - each fell almost exactly 14% from recent summertime highs to August lows, culminating in a rapid spike downward on August 21st, 24th, and 25th. Each index promptly rebounded, then stabilized in a classic double-bounce chart pattern. It's important to understand several things about this stock market correction... [more...]

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

China and the U.S. Treasury Bond Market - the Investment Threat Nobody's Talking About

Chinese ownership of U.S. Treasury bonds stood at 7.2% last October with total foreign ownership of Treasuries at 34.4%. "The worst case would materialize if the largest holders decided to sell their Treasury securities at the same time," writes Mike Patton at Forbes. Let’s talk about that. There are several reasons that China might sell U.S. Treasuries; and make no mistake - such an action could cause a big bond market correction, the likes of which we haven't seen since 1994. [more...]

Fed-Rigged Stock Sell-off Foretold in Don't Bank On It!

Global equities saw their sharpest fall since the 2008 financial crisis on what's being referred to as "Black Monday" - as an 8% rout in Chinese shares sparked worldwide panic. This sudden market volatility comes as no surprise to those who have read our latest book, DON'T BANK ON IT! or any of our previous five books or ten white papers on the subject in recent years. The U.S. stock market has been "levitated" and "rigged" by the Fed's zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) as "easy money enriched many stock market speculators in the casino of Wall Street, which has gone up while the real business economy wallowed or declined. The Fed has been a pusher, willing and able to give the stock market its needed fix of easy money. [more...]

China and the Stock Market

What's going on with China? For starters, China devalued its currency recently.  That alone should not cause a stock market crash.  But, for some investors, the devaluation signaled that China's economic growth and economy might be slowing down.  Because China has such a large impact on the global economy, this action spurred fears that the entire global economy might get hit and there might be a global economic slowdown.  The Shanghai Composite in China fell 8.5% on Monday - a negative sign.  That adds to concerns for investors. How does currency devaluation impact other markets around the world?  When China has to pay more for goods and services, it has to cut back on goods and services; there is less money in people's pockets, so-to-speak.  If China, overall, buys less actual goods and services, trade revenues to other countries will decline, thereby impacting the global economy. [Go here for a complete analysis...]

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How the State-Controlled Chinese Economy Affects Your U.S. Stock Market Investments

China devalued the yuan this month - an action which significantly affects worldwide companies that seek to sell their products in China. A currency devaluation means that it will now be more expensive for Chinese companies and citizens to purchase foreign goods. All sudden economic and geopolitical changes cause stock market volatility. It’s time to circle the wagons. My suggestion is to move away from Dow-invested stock mutual funds, toward S&P 500 and NASDAQ stock mutual funds. [more...]

China's War on America - Devaluing the American Economy

Markets reeled last week as China doubled down on its latest attack on America. Embroiled in a currency war in effect that cost the U.S. GDP $430 billion in just the last 12 months, China upped the ante and conducted their strongest attack on America yet by breaking international law and performing the largest currency devaluation in two decades – all in just two days. Economic reports for the month of July 2015 revealed that China's exports were down by $10 billion.  To counter that loss, China has illegally interfered with foreign currency markets, artificially dumping the value of its currency, (the Yuan).  Already devalued by nearly 40%, this latest currency manipulation make it nearly impossible for American products to compete against artificially cheapened Chinese products. [more...]

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Social Security Turns 80... Its Days May Be Numbered

Today Social Security and its related benefit programs, Medicare and Medicaid, are running short of money – and are in real trouble. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is expected to run out of money in 2016.  President Obama's administration relaxed its qualifications, and SSDI beneficiaries increased by 50 percent, to more than 10 million. This is almost as many as have full-time jobs in all of manufacturing. Social Security was supposed to keep Americans safe from old age poverty – but Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare are rapidly running out of money.  Its rising taxes on younger workers might soon drive them into poverty and leave millions unable to retire. [more...]

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Greece - €86 Billion Euro Later

After 17 hours of negotiation, Greece accepted a bailout plan to the tune of €86 billion euro. The settlement set forth by Greece's three creditors, "the troika," is harsh, but it needs to be. European Commission, IMF, and ECB officials are wary of Greece's commitment to repaying debt, and structured a deal which left very little room for Greece to wiggle out. If Greece avoids its required payments, or deviates from the settlement, near-automatic spending cuts will be activated. Greek parliament votes on the settlement this week - the three creditor institutions will then formalize and institute the plans. Here are the key points to the settlement package: Greece must simplify its tax code and expand its VAT. To mitigate the negative effects of widely increasing taxes, €35 billion euro from the EU will become available for economic stimulus. [more...]

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Trade Agreements Must Address Currency Manipulation

As the United States Senate prepares to call a vote on granting President Obama Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority to finalize the Trans Pacific Trade Agreement, (TPP), the Coalition for a Strong America submitted a strong warning to Congress that currency manipulation must be addressed in any trade agreement: "The Obama Administration's refusal to address currency manipulation is stunning, considering most of the TPP partners are IMF currency manipulation violators.  If TPP does not address currency manipulation, there is simply no way TPP can honestly be called a free trade agreement" said Michael Bowen, the organization's National Co-Chair and Reagan Committee inductee. The Coalition letter will be circulated to Members of Congress this week as Congressional leadership attempts to bring Fast Track Trade Authority to a vote. [more...]

Did Greece Vote "NO" on its Future?

Have the Greeks just manipulated democracy to commit suicide - or to kill the Euro currency, destroy a united Europe, and undermine America's economy as well? On Sunday, July 5, Greeks voted "no" by roughly 61 percent in a national referendum to, as the New York Times put it, "reject bailout terms in rebuff to European leaders." In fact, European leaders had said that their offer to rescue a Greece drowning in debt would automatically end at midnight on June 30 if Greece failed to make a required debt payment. The ruling radical leftist Syriza Party called for this strange vote on a European bailout offer that had already been withdrawn five days earlier. By voting "no," Greeks could have been voting either "yes" or "no" to accept a conditional European bailout. And to further tilt the outcome, Syriza violated the traditional ballot order in yes-no votes by making its preferred "no" the first, not customary second, box to check on Sunday's ballot. [more...]

Cash-strapped Chicago Desperately Seeks Revenue by Taxing the Cloud

The Windy City has done the Beatles' "Taxman" lyrics one better by going after streaming concerns, which happen to include Netflix, Spotify, Xbox Live and Apple Music, among others. As brick-and-mortar retail outlets are on the decline and costs of online services are on the rise, cash-strapped municipalities burdened with upside down financial statements have been eyeing the Internet for some relief. Chicago appears to have taken the lead with its virtual raising of the price of cloud services via a new tax assessment. Since the city is facing a massive budget shortfall, largely due to pension payment obligations, the financially troubled city in an expansion of its "amusement tax" is imposing a nine percent tax on any activity that involves "watching electronically delivered television shows, movies or videos" (Netflix), "listening to electronically delivered music" (Spotify, Apple Music), or "participating in games, online or otherwise" (Xbox Live). [more...]

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Greek Time Bomb

Saturday, Greek officials walked away from debt negotiations and announced a referendum vote for July, 5th on the proposed debt repayment plan. In the interim week, Athens imposed strict capital controls. Today, Greece is due to pay the IMF 1.6 billion euro; however, default here seems likely. The Greek appear to be divided on accepting the EU's bailout plan: with it will come a salvaged economy, albeit with increased taxes and cuts to their much-loved pensions; but without it, Greece could be forced off the euro, and possibly out of the EU itself. Monday, with news of shuttered Greek banks, markets across the world opened in the red. Investors in U.S. markets were only slightly cooled by Greek worry, with the Nasdaq, Dow, and S&P 500 all opening about .7 percent down. European indices faced losses greater than the U.S., (2-3 percent declines) but overall, no major economic turmoil.  In this time of economic worry, investors are moving away from volatile equity markets and parking assets in stable U.S., UK, and German bonds, all of which have seen an increase in price, and inversely proportional drop in interest rates. [more...]

The Truth about Fast Track TPA

Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) is a piece of legislation that transfers Constitutional negotiation powers from Congress to the President who may use this power to negotiate any international trade agreement with any partner he chooses over the next few years (including Iran and Cuba) and to negotiate the agreements in any way the President sees fit.  Under TPA, Congress agrees to give up in advance the ability to change any existing or future trade agreement, even before Congress has actually read the agreements.  Instead, TPA requests the President consider 150 'negotiating objectives' on which Congress would like the President to 'make progress.'  The President is not required to actually accomplish any of these objectives and may ignore those requests at will.  In fact, the 2015 TPA bill makes clear that failure to achieve or make progress on any of the negotiating objectives shall not be cause for Congress to revoke trade authority from the President. Worst of all, by giving up its ability to amend or change any related laws and regulations, the President and the World Trade Organization decide to impose on the U.S.; Congress is also transferring its law-making powers to world courts. [more...]

Say NO to ISDS - Vote NO on TPP

I recently wrote about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement's Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision, in a letter to the Colorado StatesmanSay 'NO' to ISDS: Vote 'NO' on TPP. ISDS represents an unprecedented ability for foreign companies to sue U.S. states and municipalities in global courts, completely bypassing the U.S. justice system. Now that we've seen the U.S. Supreme Court's willingness to trample states' rights via their recent decision on gay marriage, the reality of potential ISDS lawsuits trampling U.S. sovereignty becomes bone-chilling. Don't let the Obama administration throw Anytown U.S.A. under the bus! Tell Congress to vote "NO" on the TPP. [more...]

Obama's Terrifying Agreement with World Leaders Could Spell Disaster for Millions

Greece, the Euro currency and Europe's entire economy may be slipping into chaos and dragging us down with them. After a fearful weekend that emptied the cash from almost half their nation's ATM machines, Greeks on Monday morning found their stock exchange and banks CLOSED and their accounts inaccessible (except for €60 per day ATM withdrawal starting Tuesday). Greece may have just reached the breaking point to which we are headed in the U.S. – a once-free market nation where banks are now required to report you to the government for making any unusual withdrawal; where banks may now refuse to let you withdraw your account in cash; and where carrying more than a small amount of cash might lead to government confiscation of your money via asset forfeiture laws. [more...]

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The U.S. Dollar vs. the Euro

The recession of 2008 greatly impacted economies across the world. In the seven years following the crash, markets lifted themselves back towards prosperity with varying degrees of success. One of the fastest recovering globally significant economies is that of the United States, and while there still remains years of work, we are faring much better than certain European counterparts. One of the hardest hit and slowest to recover is Greece, which is an anchor weighing down the recovery of the euro zone. As a result of the United States’ success and Europe’s sluggishness, the U.S. dollar is rallying against the euro, coming within a few cents of parity. [more...]

CASH AND CARRY - It is Now Against the Law to "Almost" Break the Law

How much cash can you now withdraw from your bank and carry in America without risk of being arrested, or of having your assets seized, merely for possessing money in this liquid form? The ominous answer is that carrying even one dollar in cash might give the government a pretext for such actions. Once upon a time, this question usually mattered only at the border. People were required to declare if they were carrying more than $10,000 in cash or negotiable instruments when entering or leaving the United States.  Failure to make a truthful declaration to U.S. Customs can result in the forfeiture of the money a person is carrying. Today, because of anti-racketeering RICO statutes and the 2001 Patriot Act, your bank is required to notify the federal government if you deposit or withdraw $10,000 or more in cash. In effect, your bank is required to spy on your financial life in this way for the government. [more...]

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Trust, Verify and Diversify

One way to avoid losing money is to diversify, and not just in the type of stocks you own. I am invested in the stock market, real estate, and many different businesses. Even within my different investments, I maintain diversity. Whether you choose to invest in yourself through your business or in the market through an advisor, be sure to trust but verify. You should be able to have complete confidence in either your advisor’s expertise or in your own knowledge about the workings of your business. After all, the only way to combat uncertainty in your investments is to have a good understanding of your markets and spread out your assets. All routes of investment have great potential for success, but no one investment is worth the risk of losing everything, however lucrative it may seem. I detail more pertinent business tactics in my award winning and best-selling book, "Sell Your Business For More Than It's Worth." [more...]

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Our "Flash Crash" Economy

On May 6, 2010, the New York Stock Exchange suffered what came to be called the "Flash Crash," when the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted unexpectedly by nearly 1,000 points in only minutes. A single Sell order valued at approximately $4.1 billion purportedly set off a cascade of computerized buy-and-sell programs around the world that are designed to respond immediately, and without consulting human beings, to key changes in market prices. As each major trading computer reacted, it could have triggered programmed reactions in similar computers. Some want to believe that enough circuit breakers have been added to stock trading to prevent an economy-shattering crash like the one that cost traders more than a trillion dollars in only a few minutes five years ago. But a violent sell-off in stocks on February 29, 2012 was in its own way even more frightening – because evidence suggests that it was driven by a powerful intelligence that was not human. [more...]

Friday, May 15, 2015

The April Jobs Report is a Bernie Madoff-Like Scam

What Obama is doing to the economy, jobs, free markets, capitalism, and the greatest middle class in world history is a crime so vile it makes Bernie Madoff look like a small-time, amateur pickpocket.

The economy is a disastrous mess. But you wouldn't know it from the headlines released by the mainstream media. For instance, take the jobs report that came out on Friday. This could be the biggest case of fraud and misrepresentation since Obamacare. Let's pick Friday's jobs report apart, piece by piece. [more...]

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

States Resort to Suspending Licenses in Effort to Collect Student Debt

The student loan bubble has ripened to such an extent that over 7 million debtors were in default as of mid-2014 and they're holding on to over $100 billion in outstanding debt. Consequently, both private and federal lenders are exploring a variety of tactics to collect outstanding payments. Those payments, after all, represent forecasted revenues that never arrived. One such tactic employed by the Education Department is engaging private debt collectors to bring in borrowed money. While they often rely on unethical (and illegal) pressure tactics to coerce borrowers to start paying, these glorified bounty hunters have earned over $1.6 billion in commissions and bonuses from 2010 – 2013. Still, when engaging debt collectors just doesn’t cut it, many states resort to other, more punitive means. 22 States have passed litigation that permits them to suspend professional and/or driver's licenses of student loan defaulters. [more...]

Tax Day - It's Not What You Make, It's What You Keep

Your U.S. Federal taxes are due. The average work week is over 40 hours now, and the IRS has decided to veer from its job description and play the role of U.S. job creator as well, after requesting funds for 9,000 new positions that would work to enforce Obamacare regulations. These additional jobs will count as added Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which means more people working on taking rather than making something useful like a service or product, which means someone - you, a U.S. citizen - will be taking on the burden of financially covering the expenses via heightened taxes. Each year the IRS makes changes to the tax code, and this year is no exception. One out of every four businesses will be affected by the Affordable Care Act. For those businesses or individuals that do not offer private insurance, market insurance, or any type of qualifying insurance at all, they will be required to pay the dreaded fine. However, despite proposals for ongoing increased costs, there are ways to bypass and cash in on the ultimate tax refund. [more...]

Government's Next Tax Target - Your Bank Account

Tax Day, April 15, reminds us of just how overtaxed we have become and how a circular cage of taxes on earning, spending, investing and saving is being created to snare us. If you earn money to live on, you face income taxes nationally as well as from 41 of the 50 states. If you buy anything, you face sales taxes in all but five states – and some local sales taxes in those five. In D.C., politicians now talk enthusiastically about imposing a national European-style sales tax, an easily-increased Value-Added Tax (VAT) to soak both companies and consumers. If you invest what little money you have left after paying all your other taxes, get ready to pay capital gains taxes, which the current administration aims to increase. [more...]

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Build Your Business to Sell

Entrepreneurs dream of the day they can call themselves business owners. They want to grow their ideas into tangible results, be their own boss and obtain financial freedom. However, the reality is that many of these individuals end up creating another job for themselves in which to work, rather than a business that works for them. The biggest mistake business owners make is that they do not plan their exit strategy. Most business owners decide to sell upon the occurrence of a catastrophic event, in which case their business is typically trending downward. The BEST time to sell is when your company is thriving, not dying. [more...]

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Congress’s Budget Proposal to Slash Student Aid

The recent Republican budget proposal to slash student aid by $150 billion represents an egregious elimination of vital support for our higher education system.  The United States faces $1.3 trillion in outstanding student debt, a three-fold increase in tuition cost over the past 30 years, and an increasingly competitive labor market for college graduates.  These variables have created an environment in which a college education is increasingly necessary in order to achieve the "American Dream," now that a college education is becoming less accessible than ever before.

The higher education system is evolving, yes, but cutting off access to the lifeblood of our economy and workforce at this pivotal inflection point may cause irreparable harm to our rising generation of producers and creators.  The recent proposal in Congress includes cutting Pell Grants by $90 billion, slashing in-school interest subsidies by $34 billion, and eliminating benefits and safety net programs for borrowers by $27 billion.  To establish the severity of these proposed cuts, the Pell Grant used to cover 80% of college costs in 1975, and is projected to cover only 20% by 2025.  It helps put 9 million students through school each year.  That means that while the purchasing power of the Pell Grant is already organically deteriorating based on inflation and rising tuition costs, the government is accelerating its extinction by actually reducing the size of the Pell Grant fund itself.  That alone is like a double whammy hit to college accessibility.

We cannot sit back and allow this to happen.  These programs are integral to the success of our nation.  Education is a portal to achievement and fundamental to our people’s evolution.  We must put an end to these proposals and unite in support, not abandonment, of our nation’s students.  If you agree, please show your support by signing the Student PIRGs petition: bitly.com/helpsavestudentaid. [more...]

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Fed Just Made a Big Move That's Great for Big Business, But Awful for You

How did political appointees take control of our economy? Can we ever find our way back to free markets and honest money? Would the Federal Reserve keep a key interest rate at or near zero, continuing to give free money to the biggest corporations and banks, the casino known as Wall Street, and the growing federal government? Business networks counted down to the economy-shaking Fed announcement: the easy cash will keep coming until at least June – and perhaps until 2017. [more...]

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

In the End, the Government Wins Again... if You Let Them

When it comes to wills, most people procrastinate.  They say, "I’ll get to that later," "I don’t have enough money to worry about," or "It’s way too expensive."  Most recently a colleague of mine quoted an appalling statistic - appalling because for over 30 years I have been calling out to America through radio, television, newspapers, seminars and the Internet, to get their legal/financial affairs in order. The statistic he quoted was that in 2014, 72% of all the deceased in America passed away without so much as a simple will.  Was he accurate?  I have no reason to believe he wasn’t but if even only half of his statistic was true, the number is stunning. The reality is that procrastination is a decision - to allow the government, the courts and attorneys to determine the what, who and how of the distribution of your assets and even the guardianship of your children. [more...]

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Create Your Own Economy

A few things are certainly true today: President Obama is finally seeing approval ratings teetering around the 50/50 level recently – which is great for him. This is worth about as much as saying that progress is underway in the fight against poverty in third world countries – which is true, it’s just happening excruciatingly slowly; and it depends on who you ask or where you go to obtain that information. Complicated problems aren’t they?  And by the end of the day, it all feels like a bunch of smoke and mirrors. Instead of betting on policy changes, luck, or the existing plan working to perfection thus necessitating no changes of any kind, perhaps alternatives should be considered. My alternative is to create your own economy. [more...]

From Multiplier to Domino

The reality of falling gas prices has finally hit home. It is not 1973 when the bulk of every dollar put into the tank went to a Sheik who could care less about the well-being of the American public. It is now 2015 when about 80% of gasoline fill-ups stay in the continental United States and the Sheik be d____d. Being energy self-sufficient is a wonderful thing and will probably be touted by the President in his SOTU address. Unfortunately self-sufficiency brings the need for a profit margin to sustain the business AND everything else that has grown up around it. $45.00 oil doesn't cut it. [more...]

Obama's Unbelievable "Statist of the Union" Speech Promises a "New Foundation" for U.S. Economy

In his "State of the Union" speech, President Obama recalled his campaign promise to "rebuild our economy on a new foundation." He offered few specifics Tuesday night, promising instead to "in two weeks... send this Congress a budget filled with ideas that are practical, not partisan." In previous years he had spoken of his plan to "fundamentally transform" the United States, and to "Joe the Plumber" of his belief that America works best when we "spread the wealth around." White House media allies reported that Mr. Obama has been planning to increase federal expenditures by at least 7 percent, despite a national deficit that has grown by an astonishing $7.5 trillion since he became president in 2009. As with Obamacare, "Doc Barack" apparently still believes in the collectivist progressive notion that government can create health, wealth and happiness by prescribing ever-greater doses of the hallucinatory, addictive drugs of taxing, spending and borrowing. [more...]

How GOP Can Destroy the Myth of the Obama Economy

Everywhere we turn in the media, we hear the lie that the Obama economy is in "recovery." Now it appears that Hillary has bought into this great lie. The word is that Hillary is about to tie her presidential campaign to Obama’s economic policies. Why? Because for the first time she believes the economy is in "recovery." She is no longer afraid or embarrassed to support Obama’s policies. Where are the GOP leaders to rip this narrative to shreds? Are they so blind, deaf and dumb that they have no idea there is no recovery for the middle class? There is only misery and poverty. Do Republican leaders believe the lies and propaganda spewed by Obama, his socialist cabal and the biased leftist media? It’s so easy to attack the lies and rip the "good news" to shreds. [more...]

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

If We Increase Taxes, We Decrease America's Standard of Living

More taxing and more spending is precisely the wrong strategy to take in this anemic recovery with over 92 million people who are not working.  I might add that the administration's third leg of their strategic policy triad, namely a whole lot more regulating of the American economy, is also counter-productive and a boat anchor on economic growth. Increasing capital gains tax rates is a roadblock to economic growth.  In examples throughout the last century, we know that lower capital gains tax rates act as an incentive to capital formation and investment, new business formation, new products and services, and new jobs.  Ultimately and ironically, even government revenues get a boost with a more robust economy with lower marginal capital gains rates. [more...]

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Is Cable on its Way Out?

A new era is upon us.  Recently Dish Network announced their newest project that will be cutting ties with cable lines. The new Internet streaming service is called Sling TV, which will give users programming from a package of channels, including ESPN, for $20 a month. The appeal of watching live sports is what keeps many in the loop with pay TV. But that was then and this is now. Although CBS and HBO have recently also cut their ties with cable contracts, Sling TV is the first service from an actual cable - technically satellite - company to get in the game. Better watch out Netflix. It looks like it’s time to up your game. Netflix may have a great thing going for them, but only cable providers such as AT&T U-Verse offer on-demand accessibility to the box office’s most recent movie releases. [more...]

Why Raise Rates?

Inflation, whether determined by core, headline, or the feds' own internal measurement, is not approaching the cyclonic days of yesteryear. As a matter of fact, the world in general, and the U.S. in particular, cannot even get the rate to a paltry 2%. That's paltry by the '70's standards. Mortgage origination is at all-time lows. Oil has dropped 55% in 6 months. The housing market's post '08 bubble now seems to have sprung a leak. The only jobs being offered are minimum wage. Mainstream media says rates will rise by mid-summer. The economic gang of 68 (those who unanimously predicted 4% 10-year treasuries by the end of 2014) say increases could be sooner. Even the fed heads are saying "lackluster inflation won't prevent a rate hike." So, why raise rates? [more...]

Predictions for the Economy in 2015

Although the consumer sentiment in the U.S. alone appears to be on the rise, Thanksgiving and Christmas retail sales were lackluster at best and the season was carried by online sales at best.  Unemployment is down and the stock market up.  It all looks good for 2015. But wait... the world is uncertain due to the withdrawal of American leadership abroad.  If you think Greece caused a worldwide panic, wait until sanctions in Russia really take hold and the imminent backlash there.  Buy beltway bandits or defense stocks with a focus on cyber security - they will do well. [more...]