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  • Is the Debt "Super Committee" Doomed to Fail?

    The so-called congressional "Super Committee" that was set up during the debt ceiling battle back in August is charged with finding $1.5 trillion in federal spending cuts over 10 years, and the deadline to do so is November 23 - just over a month from now. If the Super Committee fails to come up with $1.5 trillion in cuts, then some nasty triggers come into play to automatically cut spending across-the-board at the beginning of 2013.

    Obviously, the Super Committee has a gargantuan task ahead of it and on a very short fuse (i.e. - Nov. 23) to find $1.5 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years. Will the 12 committee members (6 Republicans and 6 Democrats) be able to reach such a historic agreement in time before the mandatory triggers and spending cuts go into place? Frankly, I doubt it.

    The mainstream media has been largely silent in recent weeks on this looming controversy. So, in today's E-Letter I will succinctly get you up to speed on the pertinent issues surrounding the Super Committee and the challenges it faces. This is definitely something you need to know about and understand as the debate in Washington unfolds in the weeks just ahead.

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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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  • Fannie & Freddie - The Unnecessary Disaster

    Earlier this month, mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac requested an additional $19 billion in government bailout money just to stay afloat. Since Fannie and Freddie were taken over by the government in September 2008, the government has poured $145 billion in taxpayer money into these mortgage agencies. These quasi-government agencies have been out of control for decades, and I will argue that they were largely responsible for the housing bubble, the financial crisis that followed, and the Great Recession. The Bush administration tried to reform these agencies for years, but the Democrats blocked all such efforts. Why? Because Fannie and Freddie were huge political contributors. You will definitely want to read this week's E-Letter, and you will probably want to share it with others. Feel free.

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  • Biggest Political Gamble of the Decade

    Last Wednesday, President Obama implored Congress to pass his latest healthcare plan, even if by only a majority vote (51) in the Senate - the process known as 'reconciliation' - despite the fact that a majority of Americans oppose the plan. Democrats appear willing to pass the sweeping healthcare plan even though polls show they could lose their majority rule in the House of Representatives in the November elections. President Obama doesn't seem to care either.

    This week, we look at the details of Obama's latest healthcare proposal and ponder why he and the Democrats in Congress believe they are smarter than we Americans are, and why they are willing to risk everything to pass their government-run healthcare plan, when they really should be focused on the economy and creating jobs. And I've got some great poll results on healthcare - such as 57% think it will 'hurt the economy' and 61% want Congress to 'start over' - and a really good editorial at the end.

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  • Healthcare Reform Designed to Fail

    The Senate is set to vote on its version of health care reform, possibly as early as Christmas Eve. If they do, it will be the worst Christmas present ever for the American taxpayer. The last-minute negotiations to obtain enough votes to prevent a Republican filibuster have transformed the bill from an ill-conceived attempt to reform health care to a horribly complex piece of legislation laden with exemptions, special deals and downright payoffs for certain states.

    The current push to pass a health care reform bill - any bill - has exposed the seedy underbelly of American politics. However, this is nothing new. What bothers me most about these health care bills being jammed down our throats despite public opposition is that whatever is in the final bill, it is bound to fail. In fact, you might say it's been designed to fail.

    This week, I'm going to reprint two very good articles, one from Accuracy in Media (AIM) and one from Dick Morris that discuss the major problems with the current healthcare bill before the Senate. Note that these articles were written prior to the late-night negotiations (or, more accurately, bribes) that occurred this past weekend, but they still paint an accurate picture of the health care debate.

    Since this is the last E-Letter before Christmas, I also want to take this opportunity to thank all of my loyal readers and clients and wish you a very Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah.

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  • Obama's Assault on the Poor

    During the 2008 presidential campaign, then-candidate Barack Obama promised he would cut the taxes of 95% of working Americans. Most agree that he delivered on this promise with the 'Making Work Pay Tax Credit' (part of the $787 billion stimulus bill), which gave most individuals a paltry $400 refundable tax credit or $800 for working families. So, a question that naturally comes to mind is, how's that tax cut working out for you?

    The answer, unfortunately, is that it's not working out very well at all, especially for those in lower-income households. While the stimulus bill did provide some modest temporary payroll tax cuts for most working Americans, other Obama administration initiatives may effectively negate that relief by increasing taxes and/or the costs of goods and services. These tax and price increases are among the most regressive I've ever seen, meaning that they will hit the poor a lot harder than any other demographic group.

    You won't see this analysis in the mainstream press, so read on to see what kind of change Obama is really bringing about.

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  • Stratfor: Odds of War with Iran Spiking

    In just the last few weeks, we have learned several disturbing new things about Iran's nuclear capabilities. First, we discovered that Iran has a large secret uranium enrichment facility inside a mountain south of Tehran that we didn't previously know about. Second, shortly thereafter, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. nuclear oversight group, said that Iran is much more advanced in its nuclear program than the IAEA had thought previously. According to the report, Iran now has all the data needed to design a nuclear weapon.

    Third, was a revelation in the first days of October by the Times of London which reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Moscow on September 7 to charge that Russian scientists and engineers are working directly with Iran on its nuclear weapons program. This intelligence suggests that Iran may be much further along in developing nuclear weapons than the international community previously believed.

    To give us insights on these latest revelations about Iran and its nuclear ambitions, we turn to our good friends at Stratfor.com this week. Please read what follows very carefully.

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  • Healthcare Reform or Government Takeover?

    President Obama addressed a rare joint session of Congress on September 9 when he spoke at length about his desire to substantially reform America’s healthcare system. Whether you are among the apprx. 56% of Americans who now oppose the healthcare reform bill in the House, or you are among the apprx. 43% who support it (latest Rasmussen poll), it is important to know the facts - a number of which the president failed to address or misrepresented in his speech.

    While I have refrained from writing at length on the healthcare reform debate, I feel the issue is just too important, and too politically charged, not to speak out. In the pages that follow, we will delve into some of the biggest problems and challenges with the House healthcare bill, H.R. 3200 - America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009. Given that there is so much misinformation on healthcare reform out there, on both sides, maybe this will help.

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  • Support Wanes For Obama's Huge Stimulus Plan

    The Senate finally passed its version of President Obama's near $1 trillion economic "stimulus" package. But as Americans saw that this so-called stimulus package is loaded with pork-barrel spending and does not include nearly enough in tax cuts and direct incentives, public support for it plummeted. The Republicans' alternative plans that proposed more in tax cuts were ignored (of course). I have numerous problems with the giant stimulus program, especially regarding the "protectionism" elements as you will see. Finally, earlier today Treasury Secretary Geithner announced a new plan to spend $2-$3 trillion to bail out banks, buy troubled assets, unfreeze the credit markets, etc., etc. I will have more to say about this as the details become available....
  • Obama's Tax Policy: None Dare Call It Welfare

    We have recently learned the details of President-elect Obama's massive income tax overhaul, and the plan is much worse than we had anticipated. Obama's liberal tax plan would give annual tax rebates to millions of Americans who already pay NO income taxes whatsoever. Giving government tax rebate checks to those who already pay zero income taxes is nothing short of expanding the welfare state (or socialism as I prefer to call it). Worst of all, if Obama gets his massive tax plan approved, it will mean that a majority of Americans will pay little or no income taxes, while the so-called "wealthy" will foot the rest of the bill. If we reach such a point, there will be little to no chance of true tax reform for the foreseeable future. Read what follows very carefully....
  • Economic & Investment Outlook For 2009

    As we kick off the New Year, let's review the latest dismal economic and financial data and the consensus views of what lies ahead in 2009 for the economy, the credit crisis and the markets. As you might expect, most of my trusted sources believe that the recession will be with us for a while, but there is hope that the economy will begin to bottom out sometime late this year - aided by more huge government bailouts that President-elect Obama has in store for us....