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  • Parsing Draghi's QE Gambit [View article]
    Over the past 20 years governments, government spending, and debt has grown ever larger sucking capital out of the private sector in Europe and the US. Simultaneously, wages and quality of life for the middle classes have fallen. When a US government agency is tasked with reducing expenses, does the agency downsize? Yes, a little. But the people who are really hammered are the private contractors.

    European socialism has not created a future for its children with unemployment rates still sky high for 20 and 30 year olds. There are too many rules keeping those who are employed in their jobs, and those who are unemployed, out. Slowly, we are seeing the same thing happen in the US, but for different reasons, chiefly having to do with a mismatch between education and businesses' needs, and the high cost of complying with endless government regulations which quashes employment.

    Business formation in the US is at its lowest level in 35 years, despite low interest rates.

    Governments in the developed world have become toxic to economic development. Until they are reined in, nothing will change.
    Jan 24, 2015. 03:34 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • What Really Caused Crude Oil Prices To Collapse? [View article]
    With the fall of Yemen, the Saudis are now surrounded by Iran backed terrorists. Further, if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, the balance of power shifts permanently in the Mideast. Further, Iranian mullahs believe they should control Mecca, not the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia. Seems to me that these theocratic fascists will stop at nothing to get their way.The only way the Saudis can slow them down is to bankrupt Iran.
    Jan 24, 2015. 03:13 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • 3 New Red Flags Waving [View article]
    During the past 90 years, Greece has been in default 50% of the time, bested only by Venezuela. I was in Europe when discussions about the Euro were underway. The elites shoved it down people's throats. When Greece was allowed to join despite their credit history, I knew that the experiment was ill-conceived. So now the Germans, who were great proponents, will get to eat Greece's debt. That is, unless George Soros, who I believe always wanted to run a country, can eat it and take over. Only kidding. What reforms are the Greeks to make? There is nothing there but pretty scenery, lovely beaches, olive oil and a populace that does not like to pay taxes. They should be annexed to Germany as a vacation destination.
    Jan 21, 2015. 11:43 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Market At Its First Major Inflection Point Of 2015 - Part I [View article]
    I would like to see an estimate of how much ever growing government regulations and reporting has added to business costs over the past 20 years. I am beginning to feel like we live in France. Surely, costs of compliance have resulted in far slower job creation among small businesses than one would expect. People like to blame off shoring and trade agreements for stagnant wages. But I am beginning to think that government has become a huge drag that will not be easy to turn around. How many presidents have promised to reduce the size of government, but then did not do it? They lacked the skill. Romney had the skills to right size, but blew his campaign. Further, the constant picking of winners and losers via taxation and the constant uncertainty over the costs associated with Obamacare have thrown a damper on an appetite for capital investment. Then add in the peril at the banks that have become ATM machines for the government. What are they doing with that money?
    Jan 20, 2015. 10:51 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Linn Energy, LLC: Why There's More Downside To Come [View article]
    They also want to bankrupt Iran, who stopped talks on nuclear program on Nov. 24. Iran is Saudi Arabia's greatest foe in the Mideast.
    Jan 17, 2015. 03:42 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • David Van Knapp Positions For 2015: True Income-Focused Strategies Trump Oil Trends, Market Volatility And Interest Rate Fears [View article]
    Right. That is why some retirement planners suggest 1/3 in stocks, 1/3 in bonds, and 1/3 in cash. But with today's low interest rates, you would have to have a great deal of money to make ends meet with that allocation. You'd need about $3 million to generate $40,000. Bogle, on the other hand, suggests that SS can be viewed as an annuity and a partial substitute for fixed income. Whatever allocation allows you to sleep at night is probably the best answer. Since retirement income is unnecessary at the moment, I took my profits and will await a correction to allocate for future years. In the meantime, I will buy one stock at a time as opportunity arises. My objective is a portfolio of low cost/high yield DG blue chips.
    Jan 8, 2015. 11:36 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Crash In Oil Prices Raises Questions And Opportunities For A Lifetime [View article]
    By continuing to pump, the Saudis protect their market share and take out many American frackers, punish the Iranians for refusing to persist with nuclear talks and for supporting Assad, Hamas and Hezbollah, and hammer Putin for his support of Assad and associated terrorist groups.

    After protecting market share, I think that their most important secondary goal is to bankrupt Iran.
    Jan 6, 2015. 06:00 PM | 29 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Investors Always Get Killed At Cycle Tops, Small Caps Look Like A Trap, And It's Way Too Early To Buy Energy Stocks [View article]
    MT: Thank you for helping me remain firm in my conviction that cash is the place to be right now. I have made money over the past five years via trading, not holding for long, as a means of risk reduction in a chaotic world. If I make money, I take it. I am fortunate that at the moment retirement income isn't needed.

    As far as I am concerned, the Fed is very good at blowing bubbles, first in housing and now in financial assets. I remain chilled by the comment Greenspan made following the financial crisis. He said that he was shocked, just shocked!, that so many people and institutions were involved in sub-prime financing. Then Bernanke follows up by saying that he didn't foresee a spillover of the securitized loan debacle into the larger economy. That does not inspire confidence.

    Further, using money for share buybacks rather than R&D, seems short-sighted.

    I know that I am an outlier on SA, a lonely place to be. But I am waiting for a low cost/high yield opportunity on very good companies to hold through retirement. The market is a long way from offering many opportunities.
    Jan 2, 2015. 11:27 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Secular Stagnation Or Regular Recession? A Summary, Investment Implications And Paddle Boats [View article]
    Reinhart and Rogoff say that their research shows that it takes a decade to recover from a debt blow up. We are half way there. However, if you factor in the Boomers, their demands on the national balance sheet, and their decreasing productivity, one wonders if full recovery will be years off, as the author suggests.
    Dec 31, 2014. 08:11 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • My New Years Resolution: Balance My Risky Portfolio [View article]
    If you want an education in investing for a secure future, read Bob Wells, David Fish, and Chuck Carnevale here. Subscribe to FAST Graphs and make that the starting point for any investment decision. If you want risk, buy a small cap value ETF and a small cap growth ETF. At your age, due to the beauty of compounding, you should be cooking the main course with carefully selected, diversified dividend growth stocks. Risky small caps are the dessert. Cook that last and later.

    But congratulations on your interest. The sooner you start building a 401K and an IRA, the better off you will be.
    Dec 31, 2014. 07:26 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 2015 Outlook: Pain [View article]
    Thank you for this well reasoned article.
    Dec 31, 2014. 06:53 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • My Predictions For 2015 - Part I [View article]
    Despite the fact that Congress continues to defer the 20 +% cut that the SGR demands, Medicare continues to cut and bundle reimbursements, regardless of what Congress does. In a 2011 AMA survey of more than 5,700 physicians representing 17 medical specialties, three-fourths of the doctors had seen reimbursements rates for consultations drop by 5% (3% of respondents) to more than 15% (30% of respondents). Some specialties have seen cuts up to 29% for a variety of services and testing. Nursing homes, hospitals and rehabilitative services also have been cut.These cuts continue every year and have made private medical practice almost impossible. You cannot run a business when you have fixed costs and almost no idea what you will be paid from year to year.

    Just ask any doctor.

    Hospitals have mitigated some of the cuts by charging facilities fees that have jacked up the cost of outpatient visits by as much as three times.

    Further, the cost of providing care to Medicare patients has increased at least 25% since 2001 and reimbursements rates have risen 4% overall. That is why many doctors have to limit the number of Medicare patients they see. They can't cover their overhead costs.

    As for the $716 billion, some say these savings will be achieved by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse. That the money was not taken from Medicare. Aside from shocking cases of fraud, I have yet to see a figure placed on waste. This is speculative. However, there is no doubt that physicians' and other health care providers' reimbursements have been cut and will continue to be cut, thus reducing access for seniors. After 10 years, we will see how reimbursement cuts have added up since 2010.
    Dec 23, 2014. 12:39 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • My Predictions For 2015 - Part I [View article]
    I grew up in Chicago where everybody new that multiple generations of the same families have made careers of defrauding Medicaid, SS disability, and other anti-poverty programs. And the government enables it.

    By contrast, in our state, middle class and upper middle class families, who have children with serious, life long disabilities, have to fight tooth and nail to get any help for their children, and often have to hire an attorney to file as many as three times for help.

    Furthermore, the Boomers have paid Social Security and Medicare taxes since the 1960s,yet are deemed burdens. It's not their fault that the government continues to steal from these programs, as Obama did in taking $716 billion from Medicare to fund the ACA. People are getting fed up. Taxpayers are being reamed at every turn.
    Dec 23, 2014. 09:24 AM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • My Predictions For 2015 - Part I [View article]
    Another source of grave demographic concern is the ever increasing number of children born to single parents -- about 70% of black children and 40% of white children. Has anyone ever tried to calculate how much these kids are costing taxpayers? When did it become OK to have kids outside the economic safety of marriage? The public health department in our state calculates that 70% of these kids and their mothers will live in poverty.

    Last week I watched a TV show about incarcerated kids. A seventeen year old, who was trying to get his life together, already had two children.

    Something about our 52 federal anti-poverty programs is enabling and rewarding this behavior. And it must stop. It's hard to consider punishing the innocent kids, but their irresponsible parents have to be reigned in somehow.
    Dec 23, 2014. 09:07 AM | 21 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Dividend Growth Investor's Version Of 'A Christmas Carol' [View article]
    IQT mentions the number that are undervalued. Then they give a list of the best blue chip choices. There also is a long list of undervalued but rising stocks, like CVS for instance. Not too long ago, it was undervalued and on the best list. Then there is a list of over valued stocks which has prevented me from buying some utilities.
    Dec 21, 2014. 11:35 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment