We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

Sunday, August 29, 2010

What Are Your Sins of Omission?

Alexander Green is a brilliant investment director and I have followed his recommendations for years, but as he gains success in the markets, he is beginning to seek a higher level of success. Here is his latest thought:

What Are Your Sins of Omission?

I recently viewed the History Channel’s series on the Seven Deadly Sins http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Deadly-Sins-History-Channel/dp/B001NNTGF8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1282901277&sr=8-1
– that 1,600-year-old inventory of our universal shortcomings: pride, anger, envy, greed, gluttony, sloth, and lust.

I was surprised to learn that most philosophers and theologians consider sloth the single most insidious vice.

I’ve always thought sloth was one of the more amiable weaknesses. Does sitting in front of ESPN with a bag of Doritos really constitute a great moral failure?

But the spiritual meaning of sloth is not laziness. It’s apathy, hardness of heart, moral indifference, blindness, complacency, and “smallness of soul.” Poverty, injustice and suffering exist, in part, because we don’t act. Sloth is the category that encompasses everything we should do but don’t.

That’s a big one.

Few of us spend time reflecting on the ethics of inaction. We are interested in all sorts of things – friends, family, work, Angelina Jolie. But our personal moral failings? Not so much.

We already know it’s wrong to lie, cheat, kill, or conk a woman on the head and run off with her purse. Sins of commission are easy to identify. But sins of omission? That’s trickier.

For example, it’s clearly wrong to drown someone. But our legal system will not prosecute you for letting someone drown. Killing a child elicits universal condemnation. But permitting thousands of children to die each day from starvation is different.

Or is it?

As Dennis Ford writes in Sins of Omission, “Every three days, more people die from malnutrition and disease than from the bombing of Hiroshima. Every year, more people die from preventable hunger than died in the Holocaust. Somewhere along the line, moral reflection and outrage have lost their audience.”

I’m one of those missing in action. Most days I go about my business, do my work, chip away at my problems and hardly give a thought about the rest of the world’s.

But does our failure to act make us morally culpable? Is the misery of others ever the product of our own indifference? Is doing “too little” morally reprehensible? And why is it uncomfortable to even consider these questions?

No doubt it’s partly because the world is so full of problems that we’re wary of letting them drag us down. Ayn Rand once received a letter from a reader who was inspired by her writings but found the world such a mess he said he didn’t know where to begin to change it. Rand responded that if a doctor showed up at a battlefield and hundreds of soldiers lay wounded and dying, he wouldn’t despair that he couldn’t save them all and drive off. He’d identify the most urgent situation and get to work.

Yet whether the issue is feeding the poor, protecting the environment or caring for the elderly, few of us are committed enough to inconvenience ourselves for change.

Why are we unmoved? How do we sustain and legitimize our apathy?

I recently put these questions to Dr. Craig Shealy, a Professor of Graduate Psychology at James Madison University and the Executive Director of the International Beliefs and Values Institute, a non-profit organization that studies ethics and how they are linked to actions and practices around the globe.

His research reveals that our decisions about whether to act are based on a combination of upbringing, personal values and culture.

Western culture, in particular, provides a significant headwind. With Madison Avenue bombarding us daily with countless messages about what to wear, where to eat and what to drive, even the most eloquent pleas for helping others can sound shrill or preachy.

In our do-your-own-thing society, we don’t want anyone laying a guilt trip on us. Moralizing or sanctimonious appeals from “do-gooders” invariably backfire, motivating us to feel irritation and resentment, not compassion.

Ours is a culture of individualism. We come into this world with a self-centered perspective and quickly learn that we can best pursue our advantage by figuring out what is best for us, not what is best for everyone. And it works. Individual initiative and hard work generally lead to economic, material and social rewards.

As a nation of individualists, freedom is our highest ideal. But it can also mean the freedom to bully the weak, shun the disadvantaged, despoil the environment, ignore the suffering of animals, or turn our backs on the oppressed, the sick and the dying.

Our indifference is reinforced by the popular perception that “people get what they deserve.” We like Horacio Alger stories, tales of individuals rising from humble circumstances to overcome adversity and make a great success of their lives.

But that isn’t always possible. In some parts of the world, the odds are stacked against you. (And if you believe everyone in the U.S. starts out with an equal opportunity, I strongly suggest you rent the movie “Precious.” Boot-strappers will find it particularly eye-opening.)

Even if you’ve achieved your success through a lifetime of education, persistence and hard work, you may owe a bigger debt of gratitude than you realize. Nobel Prize-winning economist and social scientist Herbert Simon estimates that “social capital” is responsible for at least 90% of what people earn in wealthy societies.

Sounds far-fetched? Consider living in a society without modern infrastructure, communications or a reliable power supply. Imagine there is no free-market system to incentivize you, no police force to protect you, no court system to enforce contracts or protect your rights. As Warren Buffett remarked, “If you stick me down in the middle of Bangladesh or Peru, you’ll find out how much this talent is going to produce in the wrong kind of soil.”

Fortunately, we don’t have to sacrifice every day to survive. The beauty of capitalism is that it promotes the general welfare when we pursue our self-interest. (We get what we want when we deliver the goods and services others want.) But excellence at moneymaking doesn’t necessarily translate into excellence of character.

Like you, perhaps, I’m vaguely haunted by the feeling that I don’t give enough, do enough, engage enough. I suspect that I have a deplorable lack of empathy. Yet my behavior is largely unchanged. Now that’s sloth.

What’s the solution? I’m not sure there is one. However, Dr. Shealy offers this bit of advice to activists and fundraisers who would encourage the rest of us to lend a hand:

1.Understand that everyone, depending on his or her personal beliefs and background, interprets a plea for help differently.

1.Recognize that getting someone involved generally requires you to touch an emotional center, not just an intellectual one.
1.When you offer donors the possibility of making a contribution, give them the space to reflect on what you’re asking them to do. Allow them the opportunity to respond from a deep place, not just a sense of obligation.

There’s probably no cure for dyed-in-the-wool moral indifference. (At least, not one that doesn’t involve trampling people’s freedoms or making yourself obnoxious.)

It would be nice to believe that we only need someone to tickle our conscience and our behavior will change. But I’m not so sure.

Immanuel Kant said two things filled him with awe: the stars above and the moral universe within.

Yet the stars are always there.

Carpe Diem,


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Addicted to Debt? Where Do We Go From Here?

Earnings Aren't What They Used to Be

Dan Amoss
The Daily Reckoning

As Wall Street's big money players return from the Hamptons in the coming weeks, they will have to reassess the earnings power of their portfolio companies. Last week, Staples confirmed the message we heard from Office Depot and Office Max: the small business sector as a whole isn't very healthy. Disappointing earnings from Dell dampen the mood even further.

The recent economic data adds to the case that the economy is slowing rapidly. It turns out that Obama stimulus plans didn't stimulate much of anything except the budget deficit.

Yet despite all we've been through, most policymakers and commentators remain confused and frustrated because they've misdiagnosed the root causes of the financial crisis. The seeds of today's economy were sown in the credit bubble of 2000s, which, thanks to government policies and central banks, grew far bigger than it ever could have grown if a free market truly existed.

We'll hear a lot more from policymakers about how the economy is approaching "stall speed," implying that it needs another shot of stimulus fuel. They haven't taken the time to consider how the original stimulus plan might have undermined the economy's foundational strength. The economy is not a machine to be tinkered with, but a complex, uncontrollable entity that seeks to allocate capital to its most needed uses.

The endless stream of Washington's tone-deaf policies makes it almost impossible to plan. Growing regulatory burdens for small businesses is a huge problem for the labor market. I've heard from a half dozen sources in the past few weeks about soaring premiums as health insurance plans come up for renewal. Thanks to the mandates in the newly signed healthcare law, premiums will keep rising. The law had the effect of increasing the cost of hiring new employees, so we shouldn't be surprised that layoffs still exceeding new hiring - even this far into "the recovery."

As much as I'd prefer a return to smaller government - for the sake of our economy's long-run health and competitiveness - here's what I expect to happen: further weakness in GDP, employment, and the stock market will reduce the political momentum behind fiscal responsibility, and sometime in 2011, we'll have another stimulus plan. Maybe it'll come in the form of extension of the Bush tax cuts, with a political compromise resulting in rebate checks or payroll tax holidays for working class voters who aren't paying much, if any tax as it is.

Perhaps, as a flanking maneuver in its war on deflation, the Fed will finance these checks with the printing press. Further quantitative easing in the bond markets to suppress the long end of the yield curve is nothing but a giveaway to the big banks' trading desks and a subsidy for government borrowing costs. So the Fed is probably thinking about ways to more effectively get newly printed money into the hands of consumers. But the Fed needs to be very careful about such novel, creative ways to steal from savers. It could spark a crash in confidence in the US dollar. It's a giant game of chicken, and it's dangerous.

But I doubt there will be much political support for these tactics until conditions in risk assets - stocks, corporate bonds, and housing prices - get much worse. I doubt that the average voter realizes what the economy would look like without the federal deficit running continuously at 10% of GDP, like it will this year. On the other hand, a slashed deficit would be extremely painful for every single household and business - even those that have behaved responsibly - because it would translate into less business sales, less desire to hire, and lower household income.

This is why you shouldn't get the economy addicted to harebrained schemes cooked up by economics professors in the first place. The professors espousing Keynesian stimulus are like street corner drug dealers, and they have the economy hooked to their product: stimulus injections.

As a result, the economy is still unable to produce legitimate economic growth or sustainable job creation. US stocks remain a very risky asset.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cost of Government Highest Ever in 2010

From Newsmax:

American workers spent the first 231 days of this year toiling to pay off the costs of state, local, and federal governments, leaving just 4 1/2 months to provide for themselves and their families.

Each year, the Americans for Tax Reform Foundation and its Center for Fiscal Accountability calculate the day on which average Americans have paid off their share of the cost of government spending and regulations. This year that day fell on Aug. 19, eight days later than last year and the latest Cost of Government Day ever recorded, according to Mattie Corrao, government affairs manager for Americans for Tax Reform.

"The fact that Cost of Government Day falls in the later part of August is alarming enough. It is even more harrowing that the 2010 Cost of Government Day constitutes a 34-day jump from COGD just two short years ago, when it fell on July 16," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

"This illustrates the ballooning growth of government, and should be of serious concern to taxpayers who are footing the ever-expanding bill."

The growing insolvency of state budgets, “coupled with exploding wages and benefits for government workers, continues to push the costs of state and local governments higher,” Corrao wrote for the Budget & Tax News website. “Across the nation, state taxes were raised by a net of $23.9 billion” in fiscal year 2010.

Between 1998 and 2008, the 10 states with the highest tax burdens — California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, Ohio, Maryland, Hawaii, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania — lost more than 3 million residents, who took with them $92 billion in income.

During the same period, the nine states with no income tax — Florida, Nevada, Alaska, Texas, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Washington, South Dakota, and Wyoming — gained 2.3 million new residents and $92 billion in wealth.

Corrao concludes: “Public pay and benefits remain unsustainable in many states, and spending will have to be limited if these states are to compete for the best and most productive individuals.”

Saturday, August 21, 2010

This Sums up the Economic Situation in the U.S

From the S&A Digest -

If the unemployment claims figure was not bad enough, the Philly Fed survey was even worse... I thought it was a misprint! – Legendary trader Dennis Gartman in the August 20 issue of The Gartman Letter.

The much-touted, government-led recovery seems to be stalling. The Philly Fed index measures manufacturing conditions in the Mid-Atlantic states. The index is set between +100 and -100. It has been as low as -40 at the depths of the recession and should be registering positive numbers based on the consensus view that the economy is recovering.

Instead, the print on the report read -7.7. Meanwhile, unemployment claims rose to 500,000, a level not seen since the fall of 2009. In short, the economy seems to be weakening again, despite all the stimulus... or perhaps because of it...

One more obvious sign of a weakening U.S. economy: the energy complex. Take a look at the chart (below) of the Dynamic Energy PowerShares ETF. This fund invests in a broad range of leading U.S. energy companies – everything from natural gas pipelines to Schlumberger.

Demand for energy is perfectly correlated with economic activity. Thus, watching these stocks gives us a window into the market's expectations of future demand. After rallying steadily off its lows in early 2009, this ETF fell off a cliff in early May. Interestingly, that's the exact point in time most of the government's tax credits for new homebuyers expired. I know from sources in the industry that foot traffic at new home sales centers came to a complete halt at the same time.

The cockroaches in Washington now face an interesting dilemma. The economy seems unwilling to move forward on the basis of private business. Corporations are hoarding cash. They're not hiring. And wealthy individuals are leaving the United States in record numbers – more than 700 people renounced their citizenship last year, up from 235 in 2008.

However, all of the government's efforts to spend its way out of this downturn have failed. We would have pointed out to them that bailing out the banks that got us into trouble and giving tax credits to build still more houses might not have been the best idea. We have yet to find a credit bubble in history that was repaired by borrowing more money or planting more tulips...

What will the government do? We're pretty sure it won't do the right things. Nobody seems to be in favor of vastly cutting taxes, government spending, or regulations. In fact, nobody seems to care that taxes are set to soar next year for the very people whom we need most if we're going to grow our way out of this serious economic crisis: small-business owners. Nobody seems to care that allowing capital gains and dividend taxes to soar next year will drive up the cost of capital needed to expand businesses. And nobody seems to have even noticed that adding a 55% estate tax onto the average entrepreneur's list of taxes makes it nearly impossible for most successful small businesses to be left in control of the founder's family.

Ask yourself the obvious question: Why would anyone take the risk of starting (or growing) a business when the government is going to take a total of 70% of the upside and leave you holding the bag if it doesn't work out? Why would anyone be surprised more businesses than ever are moving jobs overseas and taking the best and brightest of this country with them? If you want the rest of America to look like Detroit, just keep on trying to tax and spend our way out of this recession.

I'm concerned about these problems for one reason: There's almost no chance any of the proper policies can be passed by Congress. No one is going to vote for sensible policies because more than half of all Americans no longer pay any federal taxes on a net basis. The mob is now living at the expense of the Treasury.

That's a big problem in a democracy. America is becoming a new type of fascist state, where government employees, unions, and everyone else on the dole constitutes the largest voting block. It's not communism because the government doesn't directly control the means of production. But true private property doesn't exist in America anymore. If you don't pay taxes on it, you don't own it. And if the government decides you're not using your property the right way, it'll take it away from you. I don't know what to call this kind of regime... but I know damn well where it will lead.

How We Get Through This Mess - Thoughts From The Frontline - InvestorsInsight.com | Financial Intelligence, Advice & Research / Investment Strategies & Planning for Individual Investors.

How We Get Through This Mess - Thoughts From The Frontline - InvestorsInsight.com | Financial Intelligence, Advice & Research / Investment Strategies & Planning for Individual Investors.

ObamaCare: the Burden on Small Business

Michael F. Cannon is director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute and co-author of Healthy Competition: What’s Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It.

Glenn Beck - Current Events & Politics - ObamaCare: the Burden on Small Business

Financial Reform or Government Takeover - Forecasts & Trends - InvestorsInsight.com | Financial Intelligence, Advice & Research / Investment Strategies & Planning for Individual Investors.

While I very much agree that we need serious financial regulatory reforms, I don’t believe we need a huge new government bureaucracy with over-reaching authority, in addition to the maze of regulatory agencies we already have. The agencies we have now just need to do their jobs!

Financial Reform or Government Takeover - Forecasts & Trends - InvestorsInsight.com | Financial Intelligence, Advice & Research / Investment Strategies & Planning for Individual Investors.

A Nation of Financial Illiterates - Forecasts & Trends - InvestorsInsight.com | Financial Intelligence, Advice & Research / Investment Strategies & Planning for Individual Investors.

A major part in making over America was the dumbing down of the masses. How else could one sell such completely wrong ideas in an election and actually win?

A Nation of Financial Illiterates - Forecasts & Trends - InvestorsInsight.com | Financial Intelligence, Advice & Research / Investment Strategies & Planning for Individual Investors.

Keep Your Healthcare Plan? Probably Not! - Forecasts & Trends - InvestorsInsight.com | Financial Intelligence, Advice & Research / Investment Strategies & Planning for Individual Investors.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama promised that, if elected, he would press for some form of nationalized healthcare. Time after time, he assured Americans: “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it; if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” Many in Congress promised the same thing as they crafted the sweeping healthcare legislation that ultimately passed in March.

Yet on June 14 the Obama administration released an 83-page document which indicates that over half of all employer-provided health insurance plans will be effectively eliminated between now and 2014 because of the new healthcare law. For small businesses, it’s even worse. The Obama administration’s own estimates indicate that 66% or more of small businesses will abandon their healthcare insurance plans by the time ObamaCare kicks in on January 1, 2014.

Angry yet? Read on!

Keep Your Healthcare Plan? Probably Not! - Forecasts & Trends - InvestorsInsight.com | Financial Intelligence, Advice & Research / Investment Strategies & Planning for Individual Investors.

Why It's Too Darn Hot by Alan Caruba

Thankfully (?) the Mosque and the lack of jobs has drawn attention away from the temperatures this summer, but there are rumors of a kamikaze attack by the Dem's during their lame duck session in December to push through every last "promise" they made to their constituents, including the Carbon Dioxide tax.....

Why It's Too Darn Hot by Alan Caruba

Friday, August 20, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Is This What You Want to Get From Your Vote in November

I just received an email stating the platform for "conservative" candidates in November, does this resonate with you when you think about elected officials?

Balance the Budget — Congress must be forced to cut spending. SCF candidates will support a constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget without raising taxes.

Repeal ObamaCare — President Obama's health care takeover is set to destroy American medicine and bankrupt our country. SCF candidates will support legislation to repeal it.

Stop Government Bailouts — Bailouts for taxpayers to reward failure and punish success. SCF candidates will stop bailouts altogether and force corporations to compete.

Ban Earmarks — Congressional earmarks are a gateway drug to higher spending. SCF candidates will ban earmarks and break Washington's addiction to pork.

Secure the Borders — The federal government has failed to enforce our nation's immigration laws. SCF candidates will seal the borders and oppose all forms of amnesty.

Defend the 2nd Amendment — The 2nd Amendment protects our ability to keep and bear arms. SCF candidates will oppose all efforts to eliminate or restrict this right.

Protect Human Life — Human life is precious and it must be protected. SCF candidates will stop all taxpayer funding for abortion.

Establish Term Limits — Our country is being destroyed by career politicians. SCF candidates will support a constitutional amendment establishing congressional term limits.

Are these principles or are they actions? There is nothing here about upholding the Commerce Clause or the 10th Amendment. Do we need more Constitution, or do we need to follow what has been written?

Federal Workers Make Twice That of Private Sector - Forecasts & Trends - InvestorsInsight.com | Financial Intelligence, Advice & Research / Investment Strategies & Planning for Individual Investors.

Aside from the military (understanding that police, fire fighters and teachers are State workers). How many of these jobs are really necessary for our society to exist?

Federal Workers Make Twice That of Private Sector - Forecasts & Trends - InvestorsInsight.com | Financial Intelligence, Advice & Research / Investment Strategies & Planning for Individual Investors.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Exposing the Hollow Men

Exposing the Hollow Men

CBO: U.S. Debt Crisis On The Horizon - Forecasts & Trends - InvestorsInsight.com | Financial Intelligence, Advice & Research / Investment Strategies & Planning for Individual Investors.

CBO: U.S. Debt Crisis On The Horizon - Forecasts & Trends - InvestorsInsight.com | Financial Intelligence, Advice & Research / Investment Strategies & Planning for Individual Investors.

The Stimulus is Dead - Long Live the Stimulus

Signs of a failure are everywhere, look at the 4G IPhone and compare those actions to the Fed's....

The Stimulus is Dead - Long Live the Stimulus

The Gulf Oil Spill Disaster - Thoughts From The Frontline - InvestorsInsight.com | Financial Intelligence, Advice & Research / Investment Strategies & Planning for Individual Investors.

Whether you think it was intentional to further an agenda or just plain incompetence, this is another clear example of why the decision making must be kept as close to the source of the transaction as possible. Whether it is health care, education or dealing with a disaster, the further removed the decision-making body is from the problem, the greater the liklihood of absolute failure. The founders knew it, we must wake up to it...

The Gulf Oil Spill Disaster - Thoughts From The Frontline - InvestorsInsight.com | Financial Intelligence, Advice & Research / Investment Strategies & Planning for Individual Investors.

I Want Your Money

Coming this fall...whether you want it or not.......

I Want Your Money

Monday, August 16, 2010

Doug Casey - MUST read bit from Doug Casey on unemployment

From Conversations With Casey:

The government is saying the unemployment is around 10%, but that’s a fraud.

They don’t count things the same way as they did then, not even as they did in the recession of 1982. Furthermore, they should count many government employees among the unemployed, since relatively few of them produce anything that anyone would voluntarily pay for.

I’m not talking about police, garbage collectors, judges, and the like. The market would employ many of them in their current jobs even if the state were to disappear. But many of the apparatchiks filling offices not only don’t serve any useful purpose, but they actively destroy, and prevent the creation of, wealth. These people are worse than just unemployed...

Doug Casey - MUST read bit from Doug Casey on unemployment


Note in the chart provided in the article, as Big Government progresses, the job creation post recession becomes flatter and flatter. When I tell people that we have taxed and regulated the good economuy boosting jobs out of the economy, I get the eye roll....well people, if the government makes it to expensive to do business in Amerika, this is what you get...


America Via Erica

An incredibly well written speech by someone who obviously refused to drink the Kool-Aid for 17 years.....

Her parents should be proud and the left should be very afraid.....

America Via Erica

Sunday, August 08, 2010

The Problem with Pensions - Thoughts From The Frontline - InvestorsInsight.com | Financial Intelligence, Advice & Research / Investment Strategies & Planning for Individual Investors.

Government employees cannot simply expect that their retirement income will come out of future taxes that are supposed to be paid for current year obligations......everyone must contribute to their own nest eggs or the system will collapse under it's own weight.....

The Problem with Pensions - Thoughts From The Frontline - InvestorsInsight.com | Financial Intelligence, Advice & Research / Investment Strategies & Planning for Individual Investors.

An August Surprise from Obama? | Analysis & Opinion |

You may want to sit down and have a stiff drink before you read this. Then apologize to your children for doing nothing while their futures are robbed blind.....

An August Surprise from Obama? | Analysis & Opinion |

Ready to Say ‘Adios’ to the U.S.?

Expatriation: Not Just for the
Ultra-Rich Anymore

From the Soveriegn Society...

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said in a speech this week that keeping current tax levels -- even on a short-term basis -- “would hurt economic recovery by undermining confidence that we are prepared to make a commitment today to bring down our future deficits.”

The U.S. Treasury estimates that allowing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to expire could add nearly $700 billion to the economy over the next decade.

But at what cost, in the meantime, as the country stands to lose more and more of its high-income earners and investors who are seeking refuge outside the United States?

What Will YOUR Next Tax Bill Look Like?
“Soak the Rich” is the theme du jour. From the United States to Athens, big-spender governments are scraping for tax dollars. And they’re looking to “New Deal- style taxation to fill in the deficits.

America’s rich are facing their biggest tax hikes in history come Jan. 1, 2011.

But that’s not all…

We’re also looking at an assault on the middle class.

Average Joes struggling to pay increasingly unaffordable mortgages on homes worth less than they owe … unable to save for a rainy day or kids’ college funds … concerned they may not have a job tomorrow … are also facing their biggest tax hikes in history.

Soak the Rich;
Squeeze the Middle Class
If the “Bush tax cuts” expire at the end of the year, tax rates for every bracket will increase. It’s not just the wealthy who will be impacted -- the middle class will find itself being squeezed as well.

Tax on dividends will jump from 15% to 39.6%. Capital gains, 15% to 20%. And the death tax will be given new life at 55%.

The child credit shrinks and the marriage penalty gets worse -- war on the average American family?

If you work hard -- whether you’re a billionaire, a small-business owner, or a cashier -- the U.S. government wants to squeeze everything it can out of you.

At worst everyone will suffer tax increases.

And at best, they’ll extend the cuts for households earning less than $250,000 per year but let the cuts expire for those earning more. And this is still an assault on your average middle- to upper-middle class family.

If you run a small business earning $250,001, you’re taxed the same as a movie star making $25 million a film!

There’s just no difference between the hard-working middle- to upper-middle class family and the very rich in the eyes of your government.

So what’s an average American to do?

Fair Weather Patriots
Well, I know that many Americans are scandalized at the thought of anyone surrendering their U.S. citizenship – that’s unpatriotic, they say.

If you’ve been a reader for long, you know there are very substantial tax savings for wealthy U.S. citizens who are prepared to end their citizenship.

In 1962, the late John Templeton, respected international investor, businessman and philanthropist, surrendered his U.S. citizenship to become a citizen of The Bahamas. This saved him more than US$100 million when he sold the well-known international investment fund that still bears his name, not to mention millions more in U.S. estate taxes.

But increasingly, regular folks are choosing to make this move as well, and not just for tax purposes.

I know from experience that many Americans see ending U.S. citizenship status as the means to escape government tyranny. Tyranny in the form of unconstitutional violations of our rights, constant surveillance, destruction of personal and financial privacy.

And certainly, increasing taxes to finance bankrupt spending policies and the welfare state is now a more compelling reason than ever.

Adios, America!
According to a recent Financial Times article, the U.S. Embassy in London has a large and growing waiting list of Americans wishing to relinquish their citizenship. They are seeking shelter from the IRS.

The waiting list has Americans on hold until February, when the earliest appointment is available. This is because an unprecedented number of Americans living in the UK are looking to end their U.S. tax responsibilities abroad once and for all, ahead of the huge tax hikes now in the works.

But it’s not just the U.K. Embassies across the globe are swarmed with Americans hoping to begin the same process.

Taxation Without Representation?
We all know the phrase. A slogan that originated during the 1750s and 1760s and one of the main causes of the American Revolution. Americans believed that a distant government taxing them from afar was unconstitutional. You still see it on the license plates in Washington, D.C.

Now, almost alone among the nations of the world, American tax law imposes income taxes on U.S. citizens and resident aliens ("green card holders") no matter where in the world they actually live and without regard to where their income is earned.

The United States is unlike most countries which enjoy territorial tax systems -- meaning taxes are imposed only on income earned within their national borders. Thus a Canadian or an Englishman can move out of their home country and legally avoid most domestic taxes.

That underscores a major point we repeatedly explain here at The Sovereign Society – the only legal method by which U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens (green card holders) can end their U.S. tax obligations is to end their status as U.S. persons – a process called expatriation.

What About You?
Whether you are in the highest tax bracket, or somewhere in the middle, your government is planning to squeeze you for all that they can.

You can fight back. But there’s only one legal way to do it.

If you think expatriation could be for you, the first step is to choose a new jurisdiction and apply for citizenship. There are a number of ways one can gain citizenship. You can contact the embassy of your country of choice, or check out my Passport Book, a complete guide to each citizenship option for 80 desirable countries.

If you don’t like the ever-increasing tax rates that big government is forcing upon you, you can join the many Americans who are voicing their opinions loud and clear by voting with their feet.


Five Most Crime-Ridden Court Districts All on Mexican Border

From Newsmax

The five U.S. judicial districts where the most criminal defendants were charged with federal crimes last year are the five districts that border Mexico.

There are 94 federal judicial districts covering the 50 states and U.S. possessions, including the South District of Texas, which covers a stretch of border from Brownsville past Laredo. The U.S. attorney’s office filed criminal charges against 8,801 individuals in fiscal 2009, the most for any district, according to an annual report released by the Justice Department.

That number is more than four times higher than the 1,959 persons charged in the Southern District of New York, which includes Manhattan and the Bronx, CNSNews.com Editor-in-Chief Terry Jeffrey notes.

The second most crime-ridden district is the Western District of Texas, which covers the rest of the border. U.S. attorneys filed charges against 8,435 individuals there last year.

Completing the top five are the Southern California District — which includes the San Diego border area but not Los Angeles — where 5,554 defendants were charged, and the districts for the border states of Arizona (5,155) and New Mexico (3,769).

In comparison, the district covering the entire state of Colorado charged 585 defendants, and New Jersey charged 910.

The Justice Department report is “just more evidence that our government is not doing its job of defending our nation’s border with Mexico,” Jeffrey observes.

“According to the Justice Department’s own numbers, federal crime is dramatically disproportionate along that border compared to the rest of the United States.”

The report also discloses that 33 percent of all federal convictions last year were in immigration cases.

Security Going Broke This Year

So my first question after reading the following is.......is it "fair" to expect someone who has squandered all of their money and is only able to use social security in retirement to be forced to work until the age of 73, or later....? Or should those of us who worked hard and saved be forced to subsidize an early retirement for them? Think carefully about your answer, why try to accumulate wealth if it is simply going to be taken away from you and given to the less responsible?

By Dan Weil

The Social Security system will pay out more in benefits than it gathers in tax receipts this year for the first time since 1983, according to a new report from the Social Security Board of Trustees.

The deficit is estimated at $41 billion.

The program will remain in the red through next year, go back into the black for 2012-14, and then return to deficit territory every year until the Social Security trust fund is exhausted in 2037, the report estimates.

While experts have been foretelling the downfall of Social Security for years, the Great Recession that began in December 2007 hastened the process.

The recession has put millions of people out of work, thus cutting the revenue from Social Security payroll taxes.

Workers pay a 6.2 percent payroll tax on their wages below $106,800, and then that total is matched by employers.

“The impact of the current economic downturn continues to be felt by the Social Security Trust Funds,” Michael Astrue, commissioner of Social Security, said in a statement accompanying the report.

“The fact that the costs for the program will likely exceed tax revenue this year is not a cause for panic, but it does send a strong message that it’s time for us to make the tough choices that we know we need to make.”

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said, “We must continue to make progress addressing the financing challenges," referring to both Medicare and Social Security.

The retirement of 78 million baby boomers will keep pressure on Social Security, as these people will stop paying into the system and start taking money out.

After 2015, the government will have to dip into its Social Security trust fund to dole out the difference between benefits owed and taxes paid, the report says.

The trust fund consists of bonds backed by the government’s “full faith and credit” but not by any assets. Already some of the bonds have been used for other areas of government in past years, leaving the trust fund at $2.5 trillion.

To actually redeem the trust fund bonds for cash, the government will have to borrow money through the bond market, just as it does when issuing Treasury securities.

Doing so will deplete the entire trust fund by 2037, the trustees say. To be sure, at that point enough money will still be coming in from Social Security payroll taxes to fund 78 percent of retirement benefits, the report says.

More than 53 million people receive Social Security, and retirement benefits average $1,100 a month.

President Barack Obama has created a bipartisan commission to come up with recommendations on government finances, including Social Security.

Experts have proposed a wide range of remedies, from increasing the retirement age, to giving less Social Security benefits to the wealthy, to imposing payroll taxes on wages above the current $106,800 limit.

Those who favor an increase in the retirement age from 66 say it is justified by our lengthening life spans.

"The full retirement age would have to increase to 73 for adults to have the same expected years of remaining life in retirement today as in 1940," Urban Institute senior research associate Melissa Favreault and senior fellow Richard Johnson wrote in a recent report.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Defeat and Replace the Left Wing Radicals

Not a big Gingrich fan, but he makes several good points here...


Do You Believe We're In Recovery?

John Edwards was correct when he spoke of two America's. While Edward's intent was to divide the middle class against itself, the truth is that the other America, which he is part of has now bestowed upon themselves trillions of dollars of taxpayer money. Pelosi and Co. are even coming back from August recess to try and grab a few more billion while everyone else is busy trying to wrap up their last days of summer.

At what point is blantant theft and embezzlement my our elected officials a criminal act?

Do You Believe We're In Recovery?

Turbo Timmy’s Christmas Eve Coup

Fannie Mae just registered another quarterly loss -- three straight years of losses, if you’re keeping score at home. Thus, Fannie is headed back to the well at Treasury for another $1.5 billion in aid. Make that $86.1 billion in total aid that Fannie has vacuumed up from the U.S. taxpayer to date.

There is little evidence the money Treasury is pumping into Fannie is accomplishing anything. It won’t repair or rebuild a single home. It won’t help a strapped homeowner avoid foreclosure. It won’t help a solvent homeowner build equity.

The Fannie bailout is like a neutron bomb -- destroying paper wealth, but leaving physical structures intact. You want some bigger black hole numbers?

• AIG has sucked up $118 billion so far -- with another $64 billion to go
• General Motors got a $49 billion bailout .

All told, the Fed and the U.S. government have lent, spent or guaranteed $8.2 trillion in taxpayer money to keep the financial system on life-support. They could have cleaned up ‘the worst oil spill in history’ over 254 times with the money that’s been spent on bailouts, backstops and boondoggles. BP, a publicly traded company, is, as they should, promising to take responsibility and foot the whole bill.

Turbo Timmy’s Christmas Eve Coup

Friday, August 06, 2010

"Too Big to Jail" - How Big Banks Are Turning Mexico Into Colombia

"As if the megabanks hadn't done enough, fresh evidence shows their hand in making Mexico a narco-state."


Gov't outrage: White House admits healthcare bill is a "tax"

Hopefully this will be viral by November, we must elect people who will repeal this obamanation ....


Healthcare - "Democrats have launched America on the most reckless policy experiment in its history"

From Bloomberg - I wonder if they checked with the Mayor of NY before publishing this.....

Healthcare - "Democrats have launched America on the most reckless policy experiment in its history"

Mother Nature just doing her thing....

From the Agora 5 Minute Forecast -

According to the feds, 74% of all the oil leaked into the Gulf has already been removed. “Much of the rest,” The New York Times summarizes a government report released today, “is so diluted that it does not seem to pose much additional risk of harm.”

Nearly half -- 41% -- of the oil simply “evaporated, dissolved or dispersed” -- taken care of by Mother Nature herself. That’s a larger share of spill containment than all of BP’s burning, skimming, recovery, dispersing and plugging efforts… combined.

The report estimates about a million barrels of crude oil remains floating in the Gulf.

Of course, it's not good to blow out your oil wells, but we can be thankful that nature has oil-eating bacteria out there. Add oil to the seawater, with heat from the sun, and sunlight, and stir it up with wind and wave and you see that the oil is going away faster than many people expected.

“In a normal environment, oil-eating bacteria are in equilibrium with their surroundings. If there's not much oil in the water, the bacteria are few and far between. But if you add oil to the mix, the bacteria bloom.

“As the bloom progresses, more bacteria eat more and more of the oil. They eat the oil until it's mostly gone. When the ‘oil food’ is gone, the bacteria die off. The result is much less oil, and much more microscopic biomass in the water.”

So the question you have to ask is....if the environment can deal with the worst oil spill in the history of the planet, then why don't we believe that the environment will deal with "excessive CO2" with equal effectiveness? Answer - because if we believed that, we couldn't be taxed for the air we breath and Washington wouldn't be able to keep it's boot on our throats!

Arizona, Borderlands and U.S.-Mexican Relations - John Mauldin's Outside the Box - InvestorsInsight.com | Financial Intelligence, Advice & Research / Investment Strategies & Planning for Individual Investors.

A very interesting history of Mexican-American relations.....

Arizona, Borderlands and U.S.-Mexican Relations - John Mauldin's Outside the Box - InvestorsInsight.com | Financial Intelligence, Advice & Research / Investment Strategies & Planning for Individual Investors.

It's Time to Keep America From Becoming Just Another Banana Republic

We are at a cross road and they path we choose will determine the future for our kids and grandkids. Once the disease of an elite oligarch is entrenched, it will become almost impossible to remove peacefully. We must take action to prevent such a horrible situation.

It’s Time to Keep America From Becoming Just Another Banana Republic