June 2010 - Forecasts & Trends

Forecasts & Trends is much more than just investment blog posts. You need to know the "big picture;" you need to have a "world view," especially in the post-911 world; and you need more information than ever before to be successful in meeting your financial goals. Gary intends to help you do just that.

Forecasts & Trends

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  • Keep Your Healthcare Plan? Probably Not!

    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.

    This week, we will look into the many new and onerous rules, regulations and restrictions in the latest 83-page report from the Obama administration. The bottom line: If you get your health insurance through your employer, or if you are (like me) the owner of a business that provides health insurance to its employees, you need to read what follows very carefully. We've all been lied to!

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  • A Nation of Financial Illiterates

    Recent studies have concluded that a majority of Americans cannot answer even basic economic and investment questions correctly. One such study found that only 27% of people age 23 to 28 could correctly answer three very simply economic and investment questions. That means 73% of this demographic group are financially in the dark.

    The implications of this lack of financial literacy are far-reaching. From a personal financial standpoint, the studies document that those who lack basic economic and investment knowledge tend to make poorer financial decisions. Plus, how can we expect to elect fiscally responsible representatives when the majority of the electorate do not understand the economic consequences of deficit spending and spiraling national debt?

    Because financial knowledge is more important now than ever before, I have reprinted one of the financial literacy tests in this week's E-Letter. I encourage you to not only take the test yourself, but also forward this E-Letter on to your adult children and grandchildren to see how they fare. I'd also be interesting in getting feedback on how you and your loved ones did on the test.

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  • Can the GOP Take Back Congress in November?

    A week ago today, we had several key House and Senate primary elections, and now we know most of the match-ups for the November 2 mid-term elections. We have analyzed the latest poll results since last week's primaries, and we are surprised to see just how many Democrats are likely to lose their seats this November, or are in the 'toss-up' category, and how few Republican seats are likely to be lost.

    The main reason for the Democrats' dilemma is the 'anti-incumbent' fervor that is sweeping the country. And with the Dems holding large majorities in the House and Senate, they are squarely in the crosshairs of American voters who are still mad about them ramming ObamaCare down our throats. Some Republicans incumbents are in trouble too, but as the minority party, and with zero votes for ObamaCare, their losses look to be much smaller.

    This week, we will summarize the latest poll results for the mid-term congressional elections using data from the independent RealClearPolitics.com to help you get a clear picture of the election trends as they stand now. This week's E-Letter should be insightful no matter which political party you support.

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  • America's National Debt Tops $13 Trillion

    With relatively little fanfare in the media, the US national debt cruised above $13 trillion last month. The federal budget deficit for fiscal 2010 is projected to reach a record $1.5 trillion by September 30, and will be above $1 trillion in fiscal 2011 as well. President Obama's own budget projections show that our national debt will swell by almost $10 trillion more over the next 10 years.

    This out-of-control spending has caused both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) to formally call for the Obama administration to curb its budget deficits. In response, President Obama has created a 'Debt Commission' to study ways to reduce the deficits. Don't be surprised if this commission concludes that the only way to fix the problem is a 'Value-Added Tax' (VAT).

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  • Lucky or Smart? A Tale of Two Terrorist Attacks

    This week, I'm going to be discussing something that may be a bit controversial, but needs to be said. Over the span of just a few months, we have been lucky enough to escape two major terrorist attacks - one on a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day, and the other in Times Square in New York on May 1. Had either of these attacks been successful, we could have seen the loss of hundreds, if not thousands of innocent American lives.

    And luck is the operative word. Neither of these attempted attacks was thwarted by law enforcement but, instead, failed because of the poor execution on the part of the would-be terrorists. While the Heritage Foundation has documented 31 terrorist attacks that have been thwarted in one way or another by law enforcement, that was not the case in these last two botched attacks.

    This week, I'm going to explore the uncomfortable idea of what if these attacks had been successful? How might our elected officials, the media and even the markets be different had one or both of these attacks succeeded? Then, I'll discuss the most uncomfortable question of all - what if we're not so lucky next time?

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