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  • On QE3: Buy Oil And Gas, Sell Obama Re-election Odds [View article]
    Unstable, do you also use the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, elves and unicorns as predictors of future events?

    Since **I** as a "normal" US citizen must be prepared to offer valid ID to any police officer who asks for it, or risk being jailed, WHY is it seen as some kind of unreasonableness or conspiracy theory to ask for those who VOTE to produce a valid photo ID?

    This is a liberal red herring, and gets as old as those who constantly play the race card any time someone points out that they are disappointed in Obama's performance vs. so many empty promises he made.
    Sep 1, 2012. 05:41 AM | 35 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Great Recession Is Over: Time To Back Up The Truck [View article]

    "The spark plug that ignites the new boom economy is that Congress finally decided to do their jobs with regard to tax and spending legislation, which, of course, is their domain under the constitution."

    Did their jobs? SPENDING legislation?


    At least they actually did some things with taxes like the income tax, getting rid of the AMT, making people pay their SS payroll taxes for a change, and actually compromising on the estate tax.

    So while not raising nearly enough income -- OK, they DID do something (cough) on taxes.

    But spending? If doing a gigantic can kick (and Obama claiming that the ACA is a giant spending cut while raising taxes to pay for it -- just amazing) is "doing their job" on spending, OK. (If you believe in unicorns, I guess you'll believe that too).

    They scraped by with a mini-deal, which lasts until the debt ceiling crisis arrives in 6 weeks or so. Then the GOP will insist on meaningful spending increases, and Obama has insisted he WILL NOT NEGOTIATE about that (as though anyone believes what he says any more).

    If I had "done my job" like this, I'd have been fired 50 times during my career in private industry (where real results are required), and deserved it.
    Jan 2, 2013. 01:16 AM | 25 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • On QE3: Buy Oil And Gas, Sell Obama Re-election Odds [View article]
    showme: No, show ME since you make such baseless assertions. Go ahead -- prove there is "no voter fraud". Such a blatant statement with no basis in fact is just silly.

    I have personally had someone working at a polling place try to con me into not voting, based (in my opinion) on my looks.

    No, I am not a minority. I'm an average looking white guy. I lived in a lower middle class neighborhood what was about (as I recall) 98% democrat, and probably over 95% non-white at the time. I arrived (in my IBM mandatory white shirt and tie) a full 20 minutes before the polls closed. (I was saving lots of money. You know, that personal responsibility ethic you liberals hate so much). This female poll worker tried to tell me I was "too late" and the line was "too long" and I wouldn't have time to vote.

    (Luckily, I'm not taking that without asserting my rights). I saw a county deputy (hat/uniform) across the floor, and raising my voice considerably and speaking in his direction said "What do you MEAN I can't vote?" Well, it was pretty comical. The lady all but tried to cover me up, and then said "of COURSE you can vote" as the deputy approached. (I wonder how many "GOP looking" people she disinfranchised that day, and in other elections? I wonder how many hundreds of thousands of times things like that happen across the country -- by BOTH parties' reps.)

    Get over it. There IS voter fraud, perhaps massive voter fraud. Just because your leftist sensibilies say that people who are "poor" bear NO personal responsibility doesn't make that a reasonable position.

    (Remember 2000 and all the crying the democrats STILL do about George Bush winning, including about "voter fraud"?)

    How does THAT square with your assetion of NO voter fraud now?


    Its nice to see though, in the rest of your completely unrelated rant how "fair and balanced" you are. What color is the sky in your world?

    (By the way, I am a moderate libertarian, and dislike the antics at the extreme of BOTH parties).
    Sep 1, 2012. 01:01 PM | 24 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Invidious Reach Of Personal-Finance Snake Oil [View article]
    Sorry Felix, but I have to fundamentally disagree with you on this one.

    As a self-made financially independent person who did it all by disciplined saving and investing, and living WELL below my means from the week I graduated from college (at 22 in '81) -- I have to tell you, it can be done, but not by whining or lack of effort. (And it doesn't even hurt, once you get used to the mental discipline).

    My main concern is you seem to overgeneralize.

    First, as commentor Qniform said, Dave Ramsey is all about living within your means, and saving the difference. He's about priorities and self discipline. I opine this from listening to his radio show (obviously costing me nothing) from time to time. He's absolutely right. I can't speak to most of the others (Suze Orman makes me ill just listening to her), but lumping all the personal finance celebrities into the same category is unreasonable.

    Second, clearly all 23 year olds in NYC are NOT in anywhere near the same income cohort. Many will certainly be struggling. But there will be some young Wall Street pros or Lawyers, etc. who WILL have income sufficient to allow them to save a significant amount. (Whether they are WILLING to save is another story. You making excuses for them doesn't help them).

    So, if you want to eat out a lot -- fine. (I did -- it was my one consistent luxury as a bachelor who hated to cook). What I did NOT do was eat out a lot AND travel a lot AND have new cars every few years AND have a fancy house AND AND AND. It's about prioritizing and SELF DISCIPLINE. (Something the vast majority of American adults need to learn about, considering what goes on financially in this country).

    I was lucky. Both of my depression era parents pounded these principles into my head as I grew up, and they stuck. Far too young adults get this kind of input these days (instead they get excuses and inducements to think "I can't do it. It's not my fault" -- as you appear to be doing).

    The first 5 years or so I tracked EVERY expense to the nearest dollar, and kept a weekly log. This made it rather easy to see where I was wasting money and adjust. It also made it easy to create a realistic budget over time, and stick with it.

    Once I'd been doing this about 5 years, it was no longer necessary, but I still kept an eye on the big picture.

    Now why does this matter? Well, I was able to comfortably retire at age 48, once my employer and I disagreed about what was reasonable about my work parameters. They couldn't use money as a lever against me. (They were flabbergasted -- I was just happy).

    So, if you want to discredit the Suze Ormans of the world, fine. I'm right with you. But if you want to excuse every 20-something from saving, since it might be inconvenient -- I'm 100% against you on that.

    Getting ahead financially requires something along the lines of:

    1). Saving early and substantially -- and investing that prudently for the long term. (I used diversified mutual funds. Today, there are many more choices).

    2). Sticking with the saving, and ramping it up is essential. In the good old days, say pre-1995, professionals used to get regular raises. I pretended mine was only a third of what I got, and added the difference to my savings/investments.


    Now, in this era where raises and jobs are far less reliable, and things change much faster, and defined pension benefits are largely gone, it's going to generally be more difficult to do this. I realize that.

    However, complaining that it can't be done, and not making the effort most certainly will NOT get it done. (This is my problem with your citation of Elizabeth Warren and all politicians of her ilk. They use whining and claims that life is unfair as an all purpose excuse for wealth confiscation to try to "fix" everything. 50 years of "The War on Poverty", and we have more poverty than ever. WHEN will people ever learn?)

    How many self made millionaires do you suppose there are, via welfare and food stamps? How many job creators? How many who can simply comfortably retire without major financial worry?

    There is a way. But you're advocating against it. IMO, it's not a bad thing to take (practically) every spare dime and save it for the first several years. Those dimes can pay dividends for many decades.

    I highly recommend "The Millionaire Next Door". It lays out many principles and methods to become financially successful. And they won't yell at you for eating sea urchin.
    Jan 14, 2013. 10:55 PM | 20 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Has Paul Krugman Gone Too Far This Time? [View article]
    Charlie: Or to add to untrusting's comments below, simply try:

    1). Personal responsibility -- cut ALL programs, including the redistributionist programs for able bodied people who will only work if forced. This includes the pet programs of the right like military gadgetry the pentagon DOESN'T EVEN WANT.

    2). Personal responsibility -- raise EVERYBODY's taxes, a bit. We're all in this boat together, and we ALL need to work together to bail out the excess water we've taken on by borrowing too much.

    3). Personal responsibility -- have SERIOUS penalties for repeated or flagrant violations of key regulations, instead of constantly expanding government with more and more regulations which are too complex to understand (like the tax code, Obamacare, pending Dodd Frank banking regulations, etc. etc). If the BP clowns had expected JAIL TERMS for the flagrant safety violations and to have inspectors ALL OVER THEM for their terrible safety record, the Mocando blowout and things of that ilk could have been prevented 90+ percent of the time.

    4). Personal responsibility -- speaking of the Mocando well BP incident. make government workers and especially agency head mangement RESPONSIBLE for ethical and efficient behavior. Firings, loss of pension, and jail would be strong incentives (depending on the type of infraction) to have regulators actually REGULATING, instead of having drug and sex parties while a blatant serial safety offender like BP is destroying the marine life in the GOM.

    5). Personal responsibility -- offer financial common sense education, like simple money management. (If you're "poor" and on government transfer programs (or just poor and not working hard or much), you should be taking the bus, living in simple housing, and eating cheap healthy food, and paying NECESSARY bills -- NOT doing expensive and often self-destructive things like smoking, drinking, driving a gas guzzler, having multiple pets, all kinds of fancy electronic gizmos AND the expensive data plans that come with them, fancy furniture, etc. etc. etc. The VAST majority of the poor people who I've tried to help (you can't really help -- poor people WILL NOT save any money 99% of the time -- they just expect more because they "need it"), AND outfits like PBS' "working poor" documentaries showcase -- do most or all of this stuff, and yet the only solution the LEFT offers is MORE redistributionism.

    6). I could go on, but by now hopefully the pattern is clear.

    Of course, the redistributionist left NEVER talks about this concept in a serious way (Obama used to say the word out the right side of his mouth while funding more such programs out of the left, but that was a charade.) We are broke, and our credit line has limits. It's time to buck up and act like adults -- ALL of us.

    But I know, now I'll be called "mean" and "unfair" even though I've provided more help to the poor, more jobs to help the unemployed for work I didn't even really care much about having done, and more money to (researched, deserving, small local) charities than 99% of the "nice" left wing folks who will hate me for daring to speak the truth. Have a nice time -- meanwhile the 50ish year "war on poverty" is an abysmal failure. We now have more poverty than ever, so clearly leftist redistributionist tactics ARE NOT WORKING and will never work. It's about character and education, not stealing people's money, and calling it "contributions from those who can afford it".
    Nov 13, 2012. 09:37 AM | 20 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Next 10 Years: Much More Misery [View article]

    You said (context being America I presume from the last word in your comment):

    "We have done nothing to raise the skill level of the average american over the last 50 years".

    If you made the timeframe shorter, I could agree with this. I clearly remember, for example, Reagan cutting the graduate school Fellowships my professors were eagerly encouraging me to look into my senior year of college - in '81. (This kind of investment tends to pay for itself in lifetime taxes and productivity many times over, if made prudently).

    Also, until about 15-20 years ago, many large companies kept their employees well trained and re-trained, to keep a dynamic and competitive workforce. Only more recently was it deemed "better" to just fire a great worker since it will be "cheaper" for the next quarter or so. IBM, where I worked and witnessed the change, was a classic example. Wasting dollars to save pennies, and destroying the morale of a generally great workforce. Stunningly stupid, by any measure.

    Maybe I'm just naiive, but as I grew up, things like employment and education seemed to be generally getting better. Then, for the next 15 years or so, they seemed to (roughly) plateau -- at least as far as ongoing education for adults and for college. (K-12 has been an unmitigated disaster for a long time). But again, it's really just the last decade-plus, IMO, where things have been clearly disintegrating at an alarming rate.

    Sadly, aside from empty political promises, there seem to be no real answers or even efforts. Unlike in Europe and Scandanavia (Cite: Recent Fareed Zakaria GPS Special: "Putting America Back to Work" where a number of terrific alternatives are working well in places like Germany and (I think it was) Denmark.

    (Disclosure on my perspective. I'm 53. My parents helped me get through college, but expected hard work, good grades, etc. from the time I was 10 -- which I think was a very good thing. Competence, vs. liberal arts, seemed to be the agenda then.)
    Oct 20, 2012. 09:49 AM | 18 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Sum Of All Money Market Fears [View article]
    As a responsible taxpayer and patient investor for decades, I give a big "frownie face" to markets (and their participants of all stripes) who want to skate by, via putting the risk on someone else's back.

    Since the mid 80's, I deliberately invested in treasury based money market funds with my capital -- in order to preserve such funds from risk when an event like the 2008 debacle occurred.

    I readily accepted the lower interest rate I received, as the price for the increased safety and stability of the backing for those funds (vs. potentially questionable commercial paper in prime money funds, if the economic hammer should come down).

    So what happens? 30+ years later when the hammer DOES come down, ALL the irresponsible or ignorant investors are bailed out 100%, on taxpayers backs.

    It would have been one thing to put a floor, say at 95%, under such funds -- to prevent panic in the system. But people should have paid a real price if necessary -- to understand and respect the risks they are taking.

    Instead we have the gigantic banking lobby, which already receives ridiculous amounts of government largesse, crying that they and their constituents can't deal with reality.

    Too darn bad. Financial stress is here. The easy times are gone for the short run, while the system adapts to realities like the impact of automation on jobs, and the need to maintain the infrastructure on the economy. The banks and their ilk need to deal with this economic reality, right along with the rest of us.
    Oct 8, 2013. 01:15 PM | 16 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Safe Cash Cow With A 5.25% Yield And Growth Potential [View article]
    Mike, was this your title? (or did the editors change it?) If the title were something like "A highly speculative stock with..." instead, then that would be completely accurate.


    For the long run, a portfolio of top quality dividend growth stocks is probably safe, as long as you can handle the volatility.

    An index like the S&P 500 -- same deal.

    A single stock like GRMN with a growing payout ratio and lots of new competition in a rapidly evolving industry -- safe is NOT the right word.
    Jun 9, 2013. 03:33 AM | 16 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is It Possible the Jobs Cavalry Will Ride to the Rescue? [View article]
    Companies have been learning to garner higher profits by utilizing less resources to produce "X" output. Not a formula for hiring, aside from specialized skills. This has been an accelerating trend since the post Y2K recession.

    Lately, automation fueled by advances in electronic tech. have helped spur mass elimination of jobs or new potential jobs. For example, in green tech (i.e. solar), factory production may be doubled and redoubled by greatly enhancing automation with little change in labor needed. Long term, it's all about saving money. Why? Competition from the third world, such as the Chinese green industries. So much for the major green tech. jobs boom.

    Job skills are a huge issue for J6P and high school grads. When basic tech. and math and English and instruction following skills are lacking for moderate pay jobs -- employers tend to pass on the hiring. This can not be fixed quickly.

    You cited Bernanke telling the administration to eliminate the deficit. Fat chance. Even after the angry anti-spending election results, you have Obama calling for more government "investment" and even the GOP playing word games to back away from their MERE $100 billion spending commitment - which only scratches the surface of $1.4T projected near term deficits.

    The ongoing weak employment, general spending, and housing spending all feeding each other as the article mentioned -- will likely persist, even as GDP and company profits rise. With huge deficits, serious government aid for better education, etc. to fix this macro trend seems highly unlikely, given the political mood that dominates the populace over Federal spending trends.

    I think the article title perhaps should have been something like "Will profits calvary continue to ride despite the jobs calvary being mostly missing in action?" (My answer is - probably).

    I think the economic gap between the top and the bottom will continue to widen. And it's not a conspiracy or the fault of a given political party. It's a major trend spurred by technology AND the lack of long term thinking by both government and companies -- brought on by demands of an idiotic general populace".
    Feb 6, 2011. 04:56 AM | 16 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Stocks Remain Poised for Steep Decline [View article]
    You gotta love these self touting technicians. Say they're right 90% of the time, but gotta hawk newsletters for < $200/year instead of just becoming wildly rich with their 90% great calls.

    Common sense begs to differ.
    Feb 6, 2011. 11:01 PM | 13 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Make 40% A Year With Math And Without Shorting [View article]
    Whenever I see stuff like this, I think "Why don't the "geniuses" who devise these systems simply invest, say, half their money in them, and grow wildly rich as their 40% returns amass huge returns?" (Instead of writing these articles, selling books, and running investment advisory firms, per the profile)?

    And then the answer, of course, is "because the risk-adjusted return, in the real world, without the benefit of cherry picked hindsight for the backtesting, is highly unpredictable, and in some cases disastrous".

    But 40%! I'm sure claims like that attract a lot of clicks. Obviously mine was one.
    Jun 2, 2014. 04:38 PM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Amazing Returns: Velti, Alcatel-Lucent, Alpha Natural Resources [View article]
    When you can show fully audited results that meaningfully beat a COMPARABLE (i.e. appropriately correlated) underlying index by a wide margin, with trading expenses figured in, for over 10 years, then I'd want to hear all about it.

    Until then, not so much. Results shorter than 90 days are pure noise.

    So if you invest for a week or a month and have a return of 1% and the SPX has a return of .001%, do you write an article advertise beating the SPX by 1000?

    How is this "keeping it to yourself", as regards results in your profile?

    It looks to me like you are trolling for potential future clients or book sales. If you, like 99% of the self promoters here, need to scrape up dimes from S.A. articles to survive, since you "retired early" per your profile, how financially successful can you be?

    If you're going to write a book, I sure hope you get a good proofreader, after reading your profile.

    I wish you well -- just wanted to offer some perspective on this "achievement" for new investors to ponder.
    Jan 5, 2013. 01:15 PM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividend Investors Should Get Ready To Load Up [View article]
    Right Elle. To the young author's credit, though, I point out that he is not making any predictions. He simply says (I paraphrase), if the opportunity presents itself due to the current madness that is Capitol Hill, I will avail myself of the opportunity.

    To me, if the stock punditry class gave advice like this, instead of (things like) making absurd precise predictions based on the religion of chart patterns, they might actually be worth listening to.
    Dec 30, 2012. 12:33 PM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gold $2000? Are We Joking? [View article]
    Elliot wave analysis? Yeah, right. One of the best proofs that technical analysis is somewhere between babblespeak and religion.

    All one has to to is take a long term objective look at one of the most "revered" Elliot Wave gurus, Robert Prechter's performance to get an idea of how badly Elliot Wave newsletter writers do. Guru Grades, which does long term objective statistical analysis on many "top" supposed market guru's has Bob near the bottom for long term calls on the market around 22%. (One can easily Google search this to confirm).

    The range of performance for such folks, unsurprisingly is a wide band comprising a nice bell curve around 50% (currently at 49%) -- or pure guesswork. Kind of puts some perspective on how newsletter writers do as a class, eh?

    I would use your last sentence as a telling example. "So, no matter how we slice it, the manner in which gold will act within the next week will be very telling for its near term pattern".

    Absolutely brilliant analysis! Congratulations! Gold will go up, down, or sideways, and what it does near term will be very telling (i.e. highly correlate) with that. And later you can write at some point that you "called" the direction in gold. Your subscribers will be SO happy!

    Right. And wet streets highly correlate with rain, but weathermen (who actually use science with at least SOME predictive value) don't use wet streets to forecast precipitation.

    Disclosure -- I have no relationship with Guru Grades aside from being a reader. I am a scientist who strongly prefers using models with actual predictive value when trying to analyze the world around us.

    Disclosure on my precious metals long term strategy: 1). I hold some physical gold and silver "forever" -- since I started investing about 30 years ago, as a hedge against fiat currencies / long term inflation. 2). I do some trading long term, on precious metals proxies on their relative strength. Lately, I have been slowly moving my GLD position to GDXJ, since GDXJ has moved MUCH further down than GLD. Since I want to be long some proxy for precious metals long term, I like to buy what's cheap. (Just common sense like for buying say, shirts or pickles).
    Jun 3, 2012. 05:47 AM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tim Cook's Improbable Victory In Washington [View article]
    Michael Nau:

    First: If the tax code were ANYTHING like REMOTELY fair, you might have a point.

    Since all it does is arbitrarily take earnings from productive entities, to be wasted in whatever arbitrary way the current power clique in congress wants -- the concept that the 70,000ish bizarrely complex tax code is "fair" is laughable.

    Second: Why should the US collect income tax on earnings from outside the US? It's not enough that they collect $billions from companies like Apple which provide lots of jobs and technology to help the US economy -- they want to take everything they can get, for no logical or remotely valid reason. And that's "fair"?

    It sounds like your version of "fair" is confiscating all the wealth you can, deserved or not, via legal thuggery. I beg to differ.

    Actually, corporate tax rates should be zero anyway. Corporations don't pay taxes -- individuals pay taxes. Corporations pass the expenses they incur from paying income taxes on to their customers. We should end that charade, tax people on ALL their earnings (and I mean ALL -- zero deductions aside from a standard deduction which would protect the truly poor) at a low rate, live within our means, and be done with it.

    Of course, that can't happen because it implies we get most people to behave like adults (i.e. responsibly). That isn't how votes are bought from the masses these days. (And then we wonder why this country is in financial trouble).
    May 22, 2013. 05:35 PM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment