The Power to turn the US Economy – Financial Policy Council

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People keep asking me what would I do if I had the power to turn the US Economy around given my 25 year experience on Wall Street

Well here’s my 2 cents…. Fasten your seat belts.

I believe the first thing to be done is to abolish the Federal Reserve. It is owned by and operated for the benefit of the biggest banks in the world. Its sole purpose has been to enrich the few at the expense of the many through its insidious use of inflation and debt issuance. It has been around for less than 100 years and has debased the USD by 96%. The U.S. Treasury has the authority to issue the currency of the country. It did so from 1789 until 1913.

The 2nd thing to do would be to reinstitute the Glass-Steagall Act because Wall Street cannot be trusted to manage their risk properly. This would separate true banking activities from the high risk gambling that brought the economic system to its knees. Privatizing the profits and socializing the losses is unacceptable.

The FASB would be directed to make all banks and financial corporations value their assets at their true market value. This would reveal the mega Wall Street banks and corporations like GE to be insolvent. An orderly bankruptcy of all insolvent financial firms involving the sell-off of their legitimate assets to well-run risk adverse banks that didn’t screw up would ensue. Bondholders and stockholders would realize their losses for awful investment decisions. The economic system would be purged of its bad debt.

The currency of the US would be backed by hard assets. A basket of gold, silver, platinum, uranium, and some other limited hard commodities would back the USD. If politicians attempted to spend too much, the price of this basket would reflect their inflationary schemes immediately.

The 16th Amendment would be repealed and the income tax would be scraped. It would be replaced with a national consumption tax. The more you consume, the more taxes you pay. Wages, savings and investment would be untaxed. The tax code is the source for much of politicians’ power. Its demise would further reduce Washington DC control over our lives.

A downsizing of the US Military from $1 trillion to $500 billion annually would be initiated through the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, Iraq, Germany, Japan and hundreds of other bases throughout the world. Policing the world is bankrupting the empire.

All corporate, farm, education, and social engineering subsidies would be eliminated. All Federal employees would have their pay slashed by 10% and the workforce would be reduced by 20% over 5 years. Federal health benefits and pension benefits would be set at average private industry levels.

The Social Security System would be completely overhauled. Anyone 50 or older would get exactly what they were promised. The age for collecting SS would be gradually raised to 72 over the next 15 years. Those between 25 and 50 would be given the option to opt out of SS. They would be given their contributions to invest as they see fit if they opt out. Anyone entering the workforce today would not pay in or receive any benefits. The wage limit for SS would be eliminated and the tax rate would be reduced from 6.2% to 3%.

The Medicare system is unsustainable. It would be converted from a government program to private market based program. The Federal mandates, rules and regulations would be eliminated. Senior citizens would be given healthcare vouchers which they would be free to use with any insurance company or doctor based on price and quality. Insurance companies would compete for business on a national basis. Doctors would compete for business. The GAO would have their budget doubled and they would audit Medicare fraud & Medicaid fraud and prosecute the criminals without impunity.

The healthcare bill would be repealed. Insurance companies would be allowed to compete with each other on a national basis. Tort reform would be implemented so that doctors could do their jobs without fear of being destroyed by slimy personal injury lawyers. Doctors would need to post their costs for various procedures. Price and quality would drive the healthcare market.

The entitlement state would be dismantled. The criteria for collecting welfare, SSDI, food stamps and unemployment benefits would be made much stricter. Unemployed people collecting government payments would be required to clean up parks, volunteer at community charity organizations, pick up trash along highways, fix and paint houses in their neighborhoods and generally keep busy in a productive manner for society.

A free market method for stabilizing the housing market would be for banks to voluntarily reduce the mortgage balances of underwater homeowners in exchange for a PAR (Property Appreciation Right). The homeowner would agree to pay off the PAR to the Treasury (and administered through the IRS) out of future price appreciation on the existing home or subsequent property. The homeowner would be excluded from taking on any home equity loans or executing any “cash out” refinancing until the PAR was satisfied. The maximum PAR obligation accepted by the Treasury would be based on the value of the home and the income of the homeowner.

I’m sure there are many more solutions which non-captured, intelligent, reasonable citizens could put forth to save this country. None of these ideas would be acceptable to the country’s owners. They would reduce their wealth and power. What these oligarchs do not realize is that we are in the midst of a Fourth Turning. Those who experienced the last one have died off. The existing social order will be swept away. It is likely to be violent and bloody. Good people and bad people will die. When the Crisis reaches its climax we will have the opportunity to implement good solutions. There is also the distinct possibility that our increasingly ignorant populace will turn to a messianic psychopath that promises them renewed glory. Decades of delusional decisions will lead to a future that will not be orderly or controllable.

The Banks must be restrained, and the financial system reformed, with balance restored to the economy, before there can be any sustained growth and recovery. If the suffering becomes great enough, change will inevitably come, but it may not be orderly or as controllable as the moneyed interests often like to think.

I just hope all those prescriptions will not go unheeded although they certainly go far, long-term, in fixing a system which is quite dysfunctional and broken.

Draining the swamp of our present economic morass will certainly require drastic action tantamount to a real revolution in both thought and practice.

The Old Order has gotten us into this mess, and cannot, or is unwilling, to get us out. It is past time for them to go.

Quick fixes to jump starting a moribund economy would include: blowing another bubble of some sort, and/or promoting a policy of economic growth driven by technological innovation (not likely due to policy constraints and dearth of investment in technology in this country); reduction in interest rates and/or taxes (interest rates cannot be further reduced because they are already close to 0%, and a tax reduction is not permissible in an environment of planned government expansion); stabilization of a tax code which promotes savings and investment (a real hot potato in a society guided by elites who are staunch supporters of egalitarianism for the masses); debasement of the dollar to stimulate export growth (with serious inflationary implications); and austerity (where the gains of the malefactors who profited in the economy’s demise will stay in guilty hands, and the ever-shrinking middle class which generally attempted to do the right thing will become progressively pauperized).

Nothing much in a positive, productive sense can be accomplished under our government, as presently constituted, as it has devolved into a Fascistic, crony-corporatist construct.

Government is where the real change must occur. Our venal Solons should be term-limited to a maximum of two terms per position and have to live most of their lives as common citizens in the legal environment they have helped create. Campaign contributions should be tightly restricted and controlled (no more obscene, billion dollar campaigns). Congressional retirement should be provided only via Social Security or other funds which are open to all persons who choose to join – no more special congressional sweetheart programs. And health insurance would be afforded either privately or within the same public health program available to everyone else – no Obamacare exemptions.

Until those who govern are forced to experience outcomes consistent with those experienced by the governed, I am afraid the Republic will drift ever further away from the establishment principles envisioned by those rebellious Founders, who were intoxicated upon the fumes of liberty, fraternity, and equality of opportunity.

Now you know

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My Thoughts Regarding Wealth Redistribution

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Much of the rhetoric we’re hearing in the media today talks about the huge gap between rich and poor. Politicians on both sides discuss this issue, but neither seems to get to the root of the problem.

It’s true that the gap between the richest 10 percent of the country and the remaining 90 percent is growing, but from that point on, most politicians get it wrong.

The issue isn’t a matter of “wealth redistribution”, nor is it about protecting current tax rates. The real issue at hand is that most Americans just don’t understand the rules of personal finance. They believe what they hear from friends or people selling them products. It comes down to a lack of financial education.

Schools are turning out students who are not fully prepared for the real world. They might know the basics of history, science, math, and English, but there is no real teaching of money in school. I majored in economics and finance and I spent 25 years on Wall Street honing my skills, so I know firsthand how boring the topics can be. But I’m not talking about the heavy theory or detailed rules. I’m talking about simple personal finance — the money issues that will come up for people in the real world.

It is a sad fact today that when students they break out on their own, they are left unarmed when sellers of credit come calling. To be clear, it’s not that people are dumb — the sly and ingenious credit card companies make handling credit seem easy. But either way, the new consumers don’t see or know that taking on debt at a young age is killing their financial security. Saving at a young age is critical. Simple facts about personal finance are not taught and thus bright people are caught making financial mistakes.

Plans to redistribute wealth take money from those who know what they’re doing financially and give it to people who don’t know basic financial principles. The subprime mortgage crisis was a perfect example of that. Hardworking taxpayers were paying to bail out banks and individuals who made negligent transactions. People who were financially ignorant were allowed to take big loans from equally ignorant (or in some cases, criminal) mortgage brokers. Greed from Wall Street made it worse. Had more people known about simple financial principles, this would not have happened, nor would we be arguing about how to pay for it.

It’s not a matter of fiscal theory or taxation. It’s all about education. I’m not a fan of big government, but this is one place the government can step in and help. If there were mandatory programs for graduation that included personal finance, our economy could be on the right track in a generation or two.

While no politician is doing much to solve the real issue here, I think that we as entrepreneurs can begin to fix this problem. Have lunch with your staff and teach them about personal finance. If you’re not up to teaching the class, bring in an expert. Make sure the expert isn’t selling something or else you could be adding to the confusion. Refer them to the Financial Policy Council and start attending our events.

If we start by educating our staffs, we can work to build a financially intelligent country and get back on track at the same time. Plus, isn’t this a great benefit to give to the people who make your company work? If you invest in their financial knowledge, I’m sure it will help your bottom line.

I strongly believe any redistribution of wealth by the government, in either the executive, legislative, or judicial branches, has no place in a free, democratic society.

Some of our politicians reach for all the favorite conservative buzzwords. But they fail to cite any evidence to refute the simple, and I think quite obvious, assertion that the marketplace works most efficiently when entry of new businesses is a realistic possibility and predatory pricing is outlawed. That’s what the antitrust laws are supposed to accomplish. And business people who compete fairly and squarely need not worry about them for a moment.

You know you are capitalism’s ideal puppet when winning the lottery is your only chance to realizing financial freedom.
Want to change the outcome and start truly learning the process? The Financial Policy Council is the place to be. See for yourself.

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Wealth Takers v/s Wealth Creators Some food for thought

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The natural state of our economy is prosperity. Freedom guarantees that. The only force capable of undermining it is government. It is high time to realize that all important fact.

It is clear that we are still stuck today in the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression. Despite all the disinformation and market manipulation out there, our economic weakness has now become a top national security threat.

Did the market fail or did the government fail? If so, how? I have made my business career by asking the right questions. Are we working on the right problem? Do we have the right people? Are we close enough to the action? My strong suit is to ask questions until the bottom line is found. Are you asking yourselves these questions or taking at face value all what you’re being fed by our supposed “economic and market gurus” out there?

I believe even the most well-meaning government policies have unintended consequences that have harmed the economy. If government policies were held accountable the way private businesses are, the scoreboard would say government is failing to help people. What do you say?

In my humble opinion, there are few problems in the world that economic prosperity cannot help solve. Yet the engines of that prosperity are under fierce attack. The forces that seek power over others have gained the upper hand against those that seek freedom. By harming wealth creation, they cause even more strain on society. Historically, this is nothing new. State domination over its subjects has roots that connect statism, totalitarianism, communism, and socialism to more modern-day variants of liberalism and progressivism. It is a constant fight and we must win.

It is a fact that the forces against wealth creation accelerate when the Progressives are in power. More recently, they forced “Obamacare” and “Dodd Frankenstein Financial Deform” upon us. We now face a perfect storm. One only needs to observe the unrest across the world to imagine what life will become here if we don’t get our economy turned around very soon.

But how? It is not as though people lose sight of simple principles in a complex society as much as it is a Progressive tactic to confuse people. For example, if the world consists of two farmers, and one is paid government benefits, who pays? Exactly. The other farmer pays. Redistribution is a negative-sum game, and people understand that. In another example, if one farmer raises cattle and the other grows vegetables, they are both better off through voluntary trade. Making other people better off is the only way to satisfy your needs. Is it bad that some people make many people better off? Do you deserve a special attack by government if you make millions of people better off? Voluntary exchange is a positive-sum game.

After all, trade and wealth creation is not all upside. It is failure, too. Failure is a necessary component to growth and success. Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times but also hit 714 home runs. We need to let failing entities fail. Only then will successful people turn these enterprises back into wealth-creating vehicles again. “Too big to fail” is a concept that perpetuates failure and saps vitality from the rest of the wealth creators to do so.

Bottom Line: Wealth creation is not a business suited to those whose skill set consists of voting “present.” It requires decision making, risk taking, hard information, discipline, insight, and intelligence.

We have clearly gotten away from the 10th Amendment. The only equal outcome for all that can be achieved by the federal government is misery for all. It is not that people shouldn’t be helped. It is that in most cases, it is not the role of the federal government to do so.

After all is said and done, in whose hands should you place your trust for improving the economy? An entrepreneur, whose job it is to solve problems for a profit? Or a bureaucrat, whose job it is to cause problems for a profit? I know where I put my trust, and I’m sure 90 percent of us agree.

We outnumber them, so let’s act like it. After all, the American Dream isn’t a house, or any property, or the consumption of any good. It is to be productive creating wealth.

It is real sad that the very people whose policies unleashed the attacks on our economic foundation are today waging a full-blown assault on the true wellspring of business formation, innovation, and job creation: the wealth creators.

When you see how the Washington–Wall Street corridor, which I call the “Chaos Industry”, profits at the expense of average Americans, what are you waiting for to take action?

The turnaround must come from outside of the Washington establishment. It must come from us.

Battle lines have been drawn. On one side of the battle are the fakers and takers. On the other side, all of the wealth creators. Who offers you more opportunity?

The Founding Fathers did their job. I strongly believe we must be the “Defending Fathers”. What do you say?

One of my favorite political lines on the campaign trail comes from former U.S. Senator Everett Dirksen. He once said, “When they feel the heat, they will see the light.”

Share your thoughts….

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Why do we still listen Economists when Vast Majority Forecasting Wrong?

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I have always been appalled with highly paid Ivy League economists and central bankers who sit in their Ivory Tower and pontificate what they think will happen to the economy…. From Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke and Paul Kruger down the list.

They are treated with the reverence the ancient Greeks bestowed on the Oracle of Delphi and project this aura of such smartness despite the fact that they keep erring again and again.

If they were such smart asses, why they wouldn’t be making millions and hundreds of millions of dollars building, financing and trading companies than selling us a completely empty bag of goods? …. Go figure.

It looks in fact like there’s no overestimating the hubris of both central bankers and economists….And I am not just picking in here on Bernanke but on all central bankers who think they’re infallible. The Bank of England has had by far the largest QE program relative to the size of its economy (though the Bank of Japan is about to show it a thing or two). It also has the worst forecasting track record of any bank, and the worst record on inflation.

When most people think of economic forecasts, they almost always think of recessions, while economists think of forecasting growth rates or interest rates. But the average man in the street only wants to know, “Will we be in a recession soon?” And if the economy is actually in a recession he wants to know, “When will it end?” The reason he cares is that he knows recessions mean job cuts and firings.

Let’s remind ourselves what a recession is and how economists decide that one has started. A recession is a downturn in economic activity. Normally, a recession means unemployment goes up, GDP contracts, stock prices fall, and the economy weakens. The lofty body that decides when a recession has started or ended is the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research. It is packed with eminent economists – all extremely smart people. Unfortunately, their pronouncements are completely unusable in real time. Their dating of recessions is authoritative and more or less accurate, but this exercise in hindsight comes long after a recession has started or ended.

To give you an idea just how late recessions are officially called, let’s look at the past three. The NBER dated the 1990-91 recession as beginning in August 1990 and ending in March 1991. It announced these facts in April 1991, by which time the recession was already over and the economy was growing again. The NBER was no faster at catching up with the recession that followed the dotcom bust. It wasn’t until June 2003 that the NBER pinpointed the start of the 2001 recession – a full 28 months after the recession ended. The NBER didn’t date the recession that started in December 2007 until exactly one year later. By that time, Lehman had gone bust, and the world was engulfed in the biggest financial cataclysm since the Great Depression.

The Federal Reserve and private economists also missed the onset of the last three US recessions – even after they had started. Let’s look quickly at each one.

Starting with the 1990-91 recession, let’s see what the head of the Federal Reserve – the man who is charged with running American monetary policy – was saying at the time. That recession started in August 1990, but one month before it began Alan Greenspan said, “In the very near term there’s little evidence that I can see to suggest the economy is tilting over [into recession].” The following month – the month the recession actually started – he continued on the same theme: “… those who argue that we are already in a recession I think are reasonably certain to be wrong.” He was just as clueless two months later, in October 1990, when he persisted, “… the economy has not yet slipped into recession.” It was only near the end of the recession that Greenspan came around to accepting that it had begun.

The Federal Reserve did no better in the dotcom bust. Let’s look at the facts. The recession started in March 2001. The tech-heavy NASDAQ Index had already fallen 50% in a full-scale bust. Even so, Chairman Greenspan declared before the Economic Club of New York on May 24, 2001, “Moreover, with all our concerns about the next several quarters, there is still, in my judgment, ample evidence that we are experiencing only a pause in the investment in a broad set of innovations that has elevated the underlying growth rate in productivity to a level significantly above that of the two decades preceding 1995.”

Charles Morris, a retired banker and financial writer, looked at a decade’s worth of forecasts by the professionals at the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, the crème de la crème of academic economists. In 2000, the council raised their growth estimates just in time for the dot-com bust and the recession of 2001-02. And in a survey in March 2001, 95% of American economists said there would not be a recession. (John forecast it in September 2000 in this letter). The recession had already started that March, and the signs of contraction were evident. Industrial production had already been contracting for five months.

You would have thought that failure to forecast two recessions in a row might have sharpened the wits of the Federal Reserve, the Council of Economic Advisers, and private economists. Maybe they would have tried to improve their methods or figured out why they had failed so miserably. You would be wrong. Because along came the Great Recession, and once again they completely missed the boat.

I am afraid it looks like they are becoming more stupid than ever at every recession/crisis and we seem to never learn they are clueless and keep believing their crap more than ever.

Share your thoughts.

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How stupid does Wall Street think we all are? – Financial Policy Council

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While the big boys try to sell the “dumb money” on a recovery under a “greater fool” theory, the smart money knows the score.While the snake oil salespeople at the retail investing level selling financial channels have been saying for years that we’re in a “recovery” (albeit a slow one), we all know that nothing has changed and that we’ll soon have another crash.

Why am I so confident this crash will happen sooner than later and is inevitable?

  1. It is because the causes of the previous financial crisis haven’t been resolved and the government hasn’t done anything to fix the basic problems in our economy.
  2. It is because we still have a quadrillion dollar derivative overhang which dwarfs the size of the total global GDP by a factor of 10 to 1
  3. It is because derivatives still haven’t been regulated and are still growing strong.
  4. It is because creditors and investors are still at the behest of a central bank (Federal Reserve) and policymakers that are robbing them of their money every day.
  5. It is because complacency is coming back and we are losing momentum every passing day.
  6. It is because regulators and lawmakers who needed to impose rules so failing banks could be shut down, allowed those incompetent banks to operate indefinitely with taxpayer support. They clearly have taken all the wrong steps in terms of the structural underpinnings of our capital markets.

In the meantime, Utah has declared gold and silver to be legal tender – with the value of the coin determined by the weight of precious metal it contains.

The law is the first of its kind in the United States. Several other states, including Minnesota, Idaho and Georgia, have considered similar laws.

Although textbooks may view gold as the old money, markets are using gold as an alternative monetary asset today.

Now if all currencies are moving up or down together, the question is: relative to what? Gold is the canary in the coal mine. It signals problems with respect to currency markets. Maybe central banks should pay closer attention to it.

On the same note, China just recently edged out India to become the world’s largest buyer of investment-grade gold products, according to a World Gold Council report.

In the first quarter, Chinese consumers purchased 90.9 metric tonnes in gold bars and coins, valued at $4.1 billion.

That’s more than double the amount Chinese consumers were buying a year ago.

With virtually all of the world’s countries printing money like mad, it is not gold – but rather fiat currencies themselves – which are in a bubble. In that light, maybe gold is not really overpriced as some Wall Street analysts are leading us to believe.

So maybe it is time to stop listening to the supposed “Wall Street gurus”, since all that we’ve been hearing from them, for a decade now, is disinformation, stupidity and ideas that only fit their narrow agenda and bottom line.

Your feedback as always is greatly appreciated.

Thanks much for your consideration.

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