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Farms Too Tough For The Kids By Charles Payne

Question of the Day

At what point does government oversight on things like kids working on farms become intrusive and harmful to those very kids, farms and other aspects of traditional American life?

Click here to post your answer and let Charles know what you think. He will air some on the Payne Nation radio show.

"I do not believe there ever was any life more attractive to a vigorous young fellow than life on a cattle ranch in those days. It was a fine, healthy life, too; it taught a man self-reliance, hardihood, and the value of instant decision...I enjoyed the life to the full."

- Theodore Roosevelt

The plan to break down the American can-do spirit and replace it with the notion we can only achieve as a collective overseen by the government is focusing more and more on the youth of America. When I was growing up, I used to hate our visits to Alabama for so many reasons but mostly because it was a harder life. My grandparents owned a nice-sized farm that had cows, chickens, pigs a couple of horses and an array of crops. They didn't have running water or central air and heat. Plus, you had to work. If you think the mule or horse does all the work with hand plows, you make the same mistake I made.

Man, holding that thing up and keeping it straight and in the ground is a physical challenge. I was squeamish when it came to milking cows and feeding slop to hogs. And I dreaded nothing more than having to use the outhouse. In short, it was a tough trip except for all the fun of riding the horse, picking fresh fruit from trees, and running free in the fresh open air. The older I got the more I appreciated that farm and my grandparents. They survived without government help. They lived off the land and raised a large family. I marvel at how they pulled that off in a time and place that offered brutal realities.

There is something spiritual about succeeding against all the odds because you gave it all you had day in and day out.

These days there is an attempt to kill off that kind of euphoria and replace it with a cerebral sense of accomplishment that can only be measured in the context of the collective or the collective good. You don't score the touchdown, the team does, and while it sounds great in the post game interview, the fact is the person that scores the winning touchdown reaches a higher plain of joy than his teammates. Of course, it's even deeper than that. In a strange way, we are making it so there is no joy in the winning touchdown from the player to the team to the fans.

To accomplish this innate desire to win, American traditions of can-do must be stamped out as early as possible. It means the creation of spiritual and economic eunuchs.

Can't Keep Them Down on the Farm

The Department of Labor is antithetical to its own title and will make things worse by making sure children under the age of 18 can no longer work "in storing, marketing transportation of farm product raw materials." The rules don't just stop at prohibiting 18 year olds from working in silos, grain storage bins or manure pits, they stop younger kids from participating in farm life. Moreover, the new rules would eliminate 4-H and other agricultural education programs and replace them with government run programs. Heck, children will not be able to do chores or use wheelbarrows, flashlights, or screwdrivers.

The rules are an obvious power grab in the face of America's heartland tradition and actual trends. Kids are getting physically hurt less on the farm these days. According to statistics from the National Agriculture Statistics Service, youth injuries decreased from 13.5 per 1,000 farms in 2001 to 7.2 per 1,000 farms in 2009. I understand you can't keep them down on the farm, but these new rules impact 50,000 kids and the fabric of the American ethic. The idea that this administration would continue to lure young voters by offering the kind comfort that seems conscientious isn't surprising.

Keeping people on welfare, food stamps, housing allowance, free cell phones, and those crazy checks is viewed as being kind but at some point it's cruel. There is an old saying about teaching a man to fish, which can be applied to teaching a boy to farm. Giving people all the basics and them some makes them eunuchs and not introducing hard work to children makes them lazy, unprepared, and dependent. Maybe that's the game plan after all?

Investment Allocation

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and there is also a Grinch that lives inside all of us and feeds on our poor fiscal habits.

On April 7, 2012, Virginia Fike popped into a convenience store and decided to play one Powerball and one Mega Millions lottery ticket but purchased two of the former by accident. The tickets had the same number based on her parents anniversary, age, and year they were married. According to Virginia loves jackpot games and plays when "she can afford it." When discussing her great fortune of winning the lottery twice in the same day, Fike gave advice to others looking to strike it rich via the lottery:

"Just don't give up ... it's going to happen one day."

Well, it's not going to happen one day, 99% will never win the lottery once, let alone twice in a single day. With that mindset, I worry about Virginia Fike being yet another lottery winner that ends up broke down the road. She has a GED and loves horses including her own quarter horse, Freckles. How should she and anyone with less than $3,000,000 in cash allocate their earnings or winnings?

> Old Formula- 100 minus your age gives you stock allocation and the rest goes into bonds

> Charles Payne Formula 120 minus your age gives you stock allocation, bonds (corporate) capped at 10%, Gold 10%, the rest in hard assets from land to antique watches and guitars.

We are living so much longer that you have to have investments with more upside potential and at the same time hedge against inflation. There will be times when gold is even larger, but for now it's about becoming a part owner of good companies. I'm not touting the stock market- I'm touting ownership. I'm touting putting your money to work. I'm touting living a great life and not waiting for a social security check that might not show up because the funds ran out to pay young men to sit on porches all day long while they watch the grass grow and our greatness fade.

For Virginia Fike, age 44, she should have 76% of her funds in stocks of which I would look for 20% of those stocks positioned for yield and the rest based on growth potential.

Ray of Hope

There were a lot of stocks that stood out yesterday but one that really hit me was Robert Half (NYSE:RHI). The staffing company posted strong earnings result that at one point had the stock trading at a new 52-week high. The shares settled up 5.7% for the day and hint at positive things in employment.

Permanent job placements +28.1%
Temporary job placements +19.0%

Here's the catch-the company focuses on technology, legal, administration, and creative marketing jobs. On that note, I found it odd Ben Bernanke would say 100,000 a month would stabilize the economy when it's clearly much too little even in a normal environment.

Big Ben

The Street still isn't quite sure what Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was saying, and the main thing that caught my attention was the "fiscal cliff" comment that should have made Wall Street excited. The Dow was up 41 points when the question and answer period began and almost got back to up 100 points. Yet, it was clear that nobody is really clear on the next move. Before the Q&A session the Fed increased its GDP forecasts for 2012, 2013 and 2014. Inflation expectations climbed and anticipated unemployment rates decreased. None of the adjustments were earth-shattering, and I even think were the perfect mix to green light more magic from that Fed bag of tricks.

Today's Session

It looks like an anti-climatic day after the Apple bounce and Bernanke dud. I was bracing for a revised initial jobless claims number of 400,000, but it was increased just below that number-what a relief. The 388,000 from last week is scary, coupled with all those people dropping off extended unemployment benefits. This would be a great time to announce a major tax amnesty program for repatriated money- the cash brought in by Apple alone would create 100,000 new (real) jobs. On the earnings front, Aetna (NYSE:AET) and Exxon Mobile (NYSE:XOM) disappointed setting the tone for large cap names. It's not panic time, but back to frustration and looking for signs. Tomorrow is the GDP number that is all over the place in the guessing game of Wall Street. I suspect a number above 2.0% will be viewed as a victory. There was a time it would have been viewed as mediocrity, but tomorrow it could spark a rally in stocks.