Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My decision is made - #Obama2012

If you've read any of my blog posts,  you'll know that I'm a moderate Republican.  Most importantly,  I'm a capitalist who firmly believes in free markets.  Unlike most in the GOP,  I think we need more oversight in many aspects of our financial markets.  The Wall Street thieves continue to rape us on a daily basis.  We need referees on the playing field,  we need more regulatory oversight of Wall Street.  We need for punishment to be doled out to those who screwed our economy.   We need a large number of bankers to be dressed in orange jump suits and be made to bunk with Bubba.

I lean conservative,  but pragmatic,  on fiscal issues.  We need to balance our budgets.  But it needs to be done thru a mix of increasing taxes,  and aggressive budget cuts.  However,  the rich in our country pay far too little,  and our budget knife needs to fall hard on defense spending.  On social issues, I am significantly more liberal.   Women need to be in charge of their own bodies,  not our government,  and certainly not bible thumping nut jobs.  And gays should be left alone to live their own lives as they see fit.  My over-riding philosophy is that every American has a right to live life based on their own moral values,  as long as how they live, and what they do, does not bring bodily harm to anyone else.

Up until 2004,  I had voted a straight Republican ticket, for over two decades.  After four years of George Bush,  I thought him the moron he wound up being.  I was early to recognize just how much damage he would do to our country.  So,  I held my nose and voted for Kerry in 2004.  By 2008,  I was an ANGRY Republican,  so disgusted by the inept actions of my party that I eagerly voted for Barack Obama.

President Obama has been a disappointment,  on a number of fronts.  But my disappointments differ greatly from those of most Americans.   I am angry that President Obama is so docile.  I am angry that he has not taken Wall Street to task for destroying our economy.   I am angry that he sits back and allows Republican politicians to mouth off at him and continue to tell such egregious lies that it insults the intelligence of those of us who really read, research and understand what's happening in our economy and with our nation's fiscal situation.   I am angry that President Obama hasn't cracked down on the lying, SOB Republican politicians to the point of shaming them out of office for the immense damage they have done to our nation.   I am one hell of an angry Republican,  angry at my own party,  and angry at a docile President who refuses to call bullshit on the GOP.

So, how do I vote?  Well,  I have two choices.  Either I stay home,  or I vote for President Obama.   Until yesterday,  I wasn't sure which it was going to be.   I've made up my mind.  I'm voting again for Barack Obama.   And I'll lay out my thinking in a couple of future posts.   But,  now that I've made up my mind,  I'm throttling back on my blog posts.   I don't want to think about politics much more.  It makes my blood boil.  And it takes my attention away from trading and investing,  which is what I do best.

President Barack Obama has my vote in the coming election,  and there is nothing that will sway my opinion.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

@SenatorBurr - Have you seen the Senator's latest official photo?

Official United States Senate photo of North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr, lap dog for Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell:

We love our US Senator, he goes where no US Senator has gone before .... up under his desk to fall asleep, while the real work in Washington DC gets done by others.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

@SenatorBurr - I appreciate the fact that your stupidy has made me significantly more wealthy. Thank you.

Originally from October 2010:

There's a really weird situation unfolding here. I don't care for Richard Burr. The man's an absolutely terrible choice to represent North Carolina in the United States Senate. He's just plain stupid. Did you watch those debates? Elaine kicked Richard's tail. I'm really shocked Richard didn't just tuck his head between his legs and slink off the stage. On the other hand, I guess it took guts to stay up there after being humiliated like that.

It's significantly worse than just his stupidity though. He's a follower, not a leader. When has this man ever been on the forefront of any major action in Congress? Never. In fact, he's been in Congress for 15 years and has absolutely ZERO accomplishments from which North Carolina can have a sense of pride. And there's that big issue of his honesty. I firmly believe he sold his Bear Stearns stock based on insider information. In my eyes, the man's a crook. So, what has Richard done that deserves re-election? I'm at a loss.

But, Richard Burr is making me wealthy. Like I said, it's a really weird situation.

I'm having a fantastic year financially. Normally, I'm a very active trader. But this year I've been executing on a strategy I've termed the lazy man trade. My capital is parked in high yielding assets that the terrified investing public won't touch. And I'm borrowing money at dirt cheap rates and re-investing it at significantly higher yields. It's just a matter of sitting back and collecting all the dividends and interest rolling in the door.

It's even better than that though. Because our nation is in such a mess, interest rates are being pushed through the floor. As interest rates fall, the value of my investments rise. So, I'm collecting a nice, regular stream of cash, and banking some really significant appreciation off my assets as well. It's been a very good year.

Why is that? Republicans like Richard Burr. They screwed up this country royally, enabling me to borrow massive amounts of money at 1% interest. They screwed up this country so much that the investing public is absolutely terrified and fleeing to assets yielding nothing. That leaves the investing environment wide open for me to own high yielding assets at great prices. Republicans also tied the hands of Congress to such an extent that good fiscal policy wasn't executed. And they're going to clamp down so hard on fiscal policy that the only avenue left for solving our nation's economic problems lies with the Federal Reserve Board. The FED is now forced to use monetary policy aggressively to compensate for the anticipated failure of a Republican controlled Congress. The FED will be printing money and buying assets. Those moves are making me wealthy.

Are you growing more wealthy? Are you increasing your income in this economy? Why not? By electing Richard Burr, you're sure putting good money in my pocket, and the pockets of others who hold significant investment assets.

Thank you for voting for Burr. Thank you for voting for the idiot Republicans who are making all this wealth flow to asset owners, while workers get nothing. If you're not getting your fair share, then you're clueless as to what the Republican party means ...

Republicans make wealthy people even more wealthy, at the expense of the middle class, at the expense of the unemployed, at the expense of most Americans.

North Carolina deserves better than Republican Senator Richard Burr.

Friday, September 7, 2012

@SenatorBurr @DougKass - Doug was right.

From October 2010:

Doug Kass is a hedge fund manager who writes informative articles and appears on financial shows frequently. He's a very respected person in our nation's investment circles. Doug has a knack for taking the complex and making it simple. In this article, Doug does a better job than I could ever do in expressing a credible opinion as to what will unfold in our economy as a result of Republicans coming back into power in Washington DC.

A few key excerpts:

"After spending like drunken sailors during the Bush administration, Republican legislators have acknowledged that it will block even the most sensible stimulus programs, and the Democratic administration and its legislators have lost the will to fight their adversaries. As a result, the responsibility for turning around the domestic economy now lies squarely on the shoulders of the Fed."

"The implementation of QE 2 by the Fed [Quantitative Easing - printing money and injecting liquidity into our economy] during the first week of November is now a virtual certainty. The general belief in its efficacy has vaulted stock markets around the world considerably higher."

"As I have written previously, I don't believe QE 2 will meaningfully move the needle of domestic economic growth and will only have a limited impact on:
  • the jobs market, which is plagued by structural unemployment;
  • housing, which that is haunted by a large shadow inventory of unsold homes and in which mortgage credit will likely be further reduced by the moratorium on foreclosures; and
  • confidence, which is still mired in uncertainty regarding regulatory and tax policy (and that is undermined by high unemployment)."
"We are not on a road to the stagflation of the 1970s, but we may very well be on the road to screwflation. Screwflation, like its first cousin stagflation, is an expression of a period of slow and uneven economic growth, but, its potential inflationary consequences have an outsized impact on a specific group. The emergence of screwflation hurts just the group that you want to protect -- namely, the middle class, a segment of the population that has already spent a decade experiencing an erosion in disposable income and a painful period (at least over the past several years) of lower stock and home prices. Importantly, quantitative easing is designed to lower real interest rates and, at the same time, raise inflation. A lower interest rate policy hurts the savings classes -- both the middle class and the elderly. And inflation in the costs of food, energy and everything else consumed (without a concomitant increase in salaries) will screw the average American who doesn't benefit from QE 2."

Doug believes as I do, as I have written previously in this blog (here and here). With Republicans back in control, the only alternative left to fix our economy will be for the Fed to print money. It's a mistake to vote for Republicans right now. They'll shut down fiscal spending. Our Executive and Legislative branches of Government will be taken totally out of the effort to repair the economic damage done by the Republican Bush Administration. The Federal Reserve Board will be our only hope, our last hope. The Fed will be forced to print massive amounts of money in an effort to inflate our way out of this mess. Middle class America, the elderly, savers, and the unemployed will be the losers. But our nation's wealthy will grow even more wealthy.

Middle class America are preparing to flood to the polls and vote the very party [Republicans] back into power that laid this crappy economic situation on our doorsteps in the first place. Middle class America are preparing to flood to the polls to vote the very party back into power who will kick middle class America in the teeth and shove them off the cliff.

Welcome to America, the land of the free, the home of the brave, the nation of ignorant, naive voters.

North Carolina deserves better than Republican Senator Richard Burr.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

@SenatorBurr - Enjoying my favorite Republican humor.

@SenatorBurr - Pub hopping in the UK on the taxpayer dime?

So,  you weren't on the golf course after-all?  You were actually pub hopping in the UK,  on the taxpayer dime, eh?   That's OK Senator.   While you were drinking warm beer in the mother country,  Bill Clinton was back here in the US kicking our sorry GOP asses all over the playing field.

Today's GOP?  A bunch of 'effing losers,  like our worthless golfing,  pub hopping Republican Senator Richard Burr.

North Carolina deserves better than Richard Burr.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

@SenatorBurr - GOP, the party of old people

With Paul Ryan running around the country promising to cut the living hell out of every federal expenditure ... but not touch benefits to anyone over the age of 55 (the very crowd who laid $16 Trillion in debt on our doorstep) .... is this graphic any wonder?

It boils down to this ... if you're over 55,  you're going to vote GOP so you can keep all your medicare and social security.   You're going to go to your grave knowing that you pulled the wool over the eyes of your children and grandchildren by underpaying your taxes by the tune of $16 Trillion.   You're selfish,  greedy old bastards who care more about yourselves than those around you.   You deserve today's GOP.   They deserve you.

@SenatorBurr - Take a knife to federal spending, watch unemployment soar.

Note to our idiot Republican US Senator Richard Burr - go ahead,  bring on austerity.  Watch unemployment soar to heights unseen,  ever.   This bullshit about drastic cuts to spending,  even more tax cuts into the pockets of the super wealthy,  and a better economy ahead .... is just that .... BULLSHIT.  It's a road to economic ruin ... and soaring unemployment.

We need balance.  We need tax increases,  and spending cuts.  We need for Republican politicians to get off their sorry asses and compromise.  And we're just tired of all the bullshit flowing from the mouths of the likes of Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney.   They don't have the answers.  They are among the mass of the clueless Republican politicians who are reeking havoc on America.

North Carolina deserves better than our idiot Republican Senator Richard Burr.

@SenatorBurr - Are we better off? Hell yes. And it's all in black and white. Look for yourself.

This question of "Are you better off?" is front and center in this political silly season. There's not a uniform answer that applies to everyone. For the wealthy who hold investment assets, the answer is largely, YES. The S&P 500 has returned over 65% during the Obama administration, after losing over 40% during the Bush years.

But, for a large number of Americans who have almost all their net worth tied up in their home, the answer is largely, NO. Housing prices are down appreciably. And for most Americans with little to nothing in assets or savings, the answer is assuredly, HELL NO. They need jobs.  But, what of our entire nation, taken as a whole? Are we better off? Are we more wealthy as a nation?

The answer is YES,  we are better off as a nation. There's an easy place to look to confirm this answer. Look at the quarterly report issued by the Federal Reserve Board ... the Flow of Funds report. It's a massive document. But, buried there, on page 113, in schedule B.100, you'll find the definitive answer.

Our assets are far more valuable in 2012 than in 2008.  At $76.3 Trillion, we have $8.6 Trillion more in assets now than in 2008. About $10 Trillion of that new wealth comes from an increase in our financial assets, largely stocks, bonds and pension fund assets. And we have more liquid assets too, $500 Billion more sitting in banks, savings and money market funds.  We got kicked in the tail though in our real estate, losing about $1.3 Trillion. But, net/net, we have more, $8.6 Trillion more in 2012 than we had at year-end 2008.

While we have grown the value of our assets,  we have held our personal debt in check.   We're carrying about $13.4 Trillion in personal debts.  That's down from over $14 Trillion back in 2008.

The net result is a higher net worth in 2012 than we had in 2008.   Bottom line,  our personal households are $9.3 Trillion better off now than we were when President Bush left office.  We have $8.6 Trillion more in assets and about $700 Billion less in debt.   We are a richer nation.

But,  while our personal wealth grew,  our nation's debt also increased.  When George Bush left office we were $10 Trillion in debt.  That debt level just recently blew past the $16 Trillion mark.  So,  as a nation,  we owe $6 Trillion more now than we did in 2008.

Net/net though our nation is $3.3 Trillion better off today than in 2008.  Our personal households added $9.3 Trillion in net worth, while our nation is $6 Trillion more in debt. That nets out to being $3.3 Trillion better off now than in 2008.
All the detail is there for you to examine,  lines 1 thru 50 in schedule B.100,  page 113 of the Federal Reserve Board Flow of Funds report.

What baffles me is that we're focused on the wrong issue.  The issue is not whether we are better off.  We are,  by $3.3 Trillion,  and it's all there is black and white for anyone to see.  The bigger issue is who's better off?  Are all the riches falling into the pockets to the top 2%?  Yes. People with stocks, bonds and pension funds are making out like bandits, while the rest of America suffers.  There's a massive wealth shift going on.  The rich are getting richer.   Is this fair?   If that's the case,  can we really afford to put a Republican administration in place that will magnify that shift even more?   Hell no.

Ask our idiot Senator what he thinks.   We know his net worth has grown more than 44% since 2008.  He's a winner.   So we know what he thinks and what he wants done.  Senator Burr wants to reward the rich,  reward the bankers,  reward the corporate chiefs,  while kicking the middle class in the teeth and shoving them over a cliff.   But if you're not better off,  and want to know why .... ask Richard Burr to explain why it is that the uber wealthy are the only winners in our economy,  and why he wants to shower them with even more riches.

North Carolina deserves better than Republican Senator Richard Burr.

@SenatorBurr - You, and Paul Ryan, can kiss my ass.

LOL.  I stumbled across a post from April 2011 about Paul Ryan and his unfair proposals to protect the benefits of the very people who screwed America.  Paul and Richard can both KISS MY ASS.  Their proposals make absolutely no sense.   What makes sense is a sacrifice from all Americans.   That's how we need to fix our problems.   Read,  and see if you agree ....


Yet one more example of why it is that I deplore my current Republican Politicians - I'm tired of listening to Paul Ryan. Once again, he's coming out with grand budget plans that exempts anyone 55 and older. Paul's just plain wrong. It's the 55+ crowd that caused our nation's problems. When Paul Ryan wants my attention and support, he'll propose programs where everyone sacrifices. Until then, Paul Ryan can kiss my ass.

Posts from the past where I addressed the issues of how Americans 55+ screwed our nation:

July 24, 2010:

It's the 55+ generation in this country that really F'ed up America. These people had everything handed to them on a silver platter. They are the reason our country is in debt up to its eyeballs:

80s - Entering their peak earnings years, they weren't happy about paying taxes, so they elected Reagan. Their income tax rates were drastically slashed. This was the beginning of massive debt being piled on the shoulders of the rest of the nation.
80s - Wanting ways to save for retirement tax-free, they were handed IRAs and 401Ks.
80s - As child-care became an issue - they were given company benefit plans to set aside tax free child care funds.
90s - Having invested heavily in housing, they weren't pleased about being taxed on this key asset, so sales of their primary residence were deemed tax-free.
90s - Entering a period where they started buying stocks heavily, they weren't happy about capital gains taxes, so they had those slashed drastically.
90s - Wanting to pay for their children's college educations without being taxed - they were handed 529s and Coverdales.
90s - As medical costs started to become an issue - they were handed medical flex plans.
00s - Approaching old age, they weren't pleased with estate taxes, so they had the ceiling on taxable estates substantially raised.
00s - Not happy with the thought of paying for medications, they pushed through a plan for free drugs in their retirement.

55+. This generation bugged out on paying their fair share. In their peak earnings years, they avoided their tax obligations. When they piled up housing equity and stock gains, they avoided taxes. For child-care and medical costs, they were handed ways to pay these tax free. For retirement savings and college costs, they were given tax-free rides. When estate taxes and drug costs stared them in the eyes, they got free rides there too. At each key step of their financial evolution, they avoided paying income taxes on their key earnings streams and assets. Earnings, housing, retirement, child care, medical costs, college costs, pharma in retirement, estates. Each key piece of legislation that made these income streams tax advantaged happened when the 55+ generation entered that stage of their lives. They were subsidized. As a nation, we borrowed money, over $14 Trillion, to subsidize this free-loading generation of 55+.

And the real teeth kicker? They are the only generation who will likely retire with both a pension, and tax free assets in IRAs and 401Ks. Just about everyone behind them can kiss the pension good-bye.

The reality is that the 55+ generation screwed everyone younger. They got a free ride. We got saddled with their debt. And we have $14 Trillion in debt to prove it. Message to the 55+ crowd - just shut the hell up. Stop complaining about taxes. You haven't paid your fair share. Free rides don't last forever. And your time is up. Pay up, or shut up.

July 25th, 2010:

I thought more about the post I made yesterday about the 55+ generation in America. At each stage of their economic lives, they were handed income tax benefits that allowed them to avoid paying their fair share of income taxes. Read the post. Think about it. It should become clearly evident to you that the 55+ generation screwed America. We have $14 Trillion in debt because the 55+ generation were handed tax benefits left and right.

A more important thought came to mind this morning. There's talk in Congress now about limiting Social Security, changing our nation's retirement plans. While I'm in favor of doing something, it needs to be fair. Notice that the talk is all centered on allowing anyone over 55 to keep their current benefits? Anyone under 55 must take a hit. See what's going on here? The 55+ generation screwed us at each step of their financial lives by passing income tax benefits that protected their key earnings and expense streams. Now, they're going for the kill. They'll keep their social security, while the rest of us must sacrifice. Just how fair is that?

What we should be talking about in this country is stripping anyone over 55 of their social security. The outcry would be intense. But the reality is that this is the ONLY fair move to make from an inter-generational standpoint.

Republicans caused this problem. Old Republicans. The 55+ generation. While Senator Richard Burr isn't in that group, he's close enough. More important, he was in Congress, voting yes on these income tax benefits that piled debt on our shoulders. He needs to get the boot. He needs to answer for $14 Trillion in debt.

Addendum Sept 2012 - Oh shit,  that $14 Trillion in debt is now blowing past $16 Trillion.  The longer we wait to solve this problem,  the worse off we're going to be when the solutions get applied.  And Paul and Richard can do nothing but stand around screaming ... No, No, No.  Paul ... Richard .... you can kiss my 'effing ass if you think I'm going to vote for a Politician who proposes even more benefits for the very people who screwed our nation.   It's way past time for the 55+ crowd to feel the pain of the rest of America.

Addendum November 2012 - I'm not the only American fed up with all the bullshit coming out of the mouth of Republican politicians.  We showed up at the polls.  And we'll show up again, and again, and again ... until we rid our country of idiots like Ryan and Burr,  who want to reward the very generation that caused all our financial problems.   It's time for shares sacrifice.

@SenatorBurr - It's nice that you're better off, while average Americans suffer.

I'm really stunned that Republicans would be so 'effing stupid as to raise the issue of whether citizens are better off under the Obama Presidency. Why bring attention to the fact that Republicans and the wealthy are the biggest beneficiaries of the recent policies coming out of the White House? It couldn't be more obvious. The Democratic base, the working class, have a net worth largely comprised of their homes.  We know how they're doing financially.  Bad.  Real bad.  But, Republicans are largely the owners of our nation's investment assets. Under President Obama, the S&P 500 has increased 65%! So, who's better off?  Republicans.  So shouldn't Republicans be backing Barack Obama if they had any common sense?  Yep.

Come to think of it, how would our idiot Senator answer that question? Well, look for yourself. Republican Senator Richard Burr's net worth has increased 44% from 2008 - 2012.  So,  I take it that our idiot Senator will be voting for President Obama?

Speaking of Republican Senator Richard Burr, has anyone even seen the man recently? Oh, there he is, working hard to better the lives of the people of North Carolina:

North Carolina deserves better than Republican Senator Richard Burr.

Blast from the past - Worthless politicians

Originally from June 26, 2011:

In-between an enjoyable time spent with my daughter this weekend working on myriad projects in my yard, I had my normal weekend reading routine. I need to stop reading. The articles are getting significantly more depressing by the hour.

The world's wealthiest (defined by those with at least $1 M in liquid investments, not including RE) are now richer than they were before the crises. This is extremely upsetting to me. So many Americans are suffering financially as a result of home values plunging. And a very significant number can not find employment. Yet, the rich grow richer.

I am fortunate and count my blessings every day. I am among those who have benefited greatly from this financial turmoil. Like everyone else, my real estate prices are lower. But my equity investments far more than made up for losses in Real Estate. My net worth is significantly higher than in 2007, 2008. But, its not right. Its not fair. Most Americans are getting the shaft. And our political leaders are largely too blame - especially Republicans.

Think about this - long and hard. In an environment where the vast majority of Americans are suffering financially, the rich grow richer. Given this inequity, how can we morally support a political party who proposes a budget that cuts $4 Trillion from programs aimed at middle class America, and gives an additional $1 Trillion in income tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans? How? Are you really that heartless? This is what Paul Ryan's (Republican Congressman) proposal does. This is the budget plan Republicans support. How can you then support Republicans? If you are among the very wealthy, yeah, maybe you're a loyal Republican supporter. But ignorance can only explain why a middle class American votes Republican right now. I simply can not support a Republican Party that continues to kick middle class America in the teeth, while rewarding the wealthiest. It is NOT morally right.

I suspect most Americans as just plain ignorant to this unfairness. Many likely have a niche interest that attracts them to the Republican party. They like Republicans because of the abortion issue. Republicans make them feel comfort in their ability to own guns. They like Republicans because they are old, white men who look good in business suits. What ever reason it is, its minor to the most important issue facing our nation right now. That issue is how Republicans are shifting the wealth in our nation. The rich grow richer. The middle class get the boot in the mouth. And most Americans are ignorant to just how rapidly this is happening.

There are other articles bothering me. China appears ready to blow up economically. That will take the world economy down too. The situation in Europe is significantly worse than in America. Europe's problems will hit the fan long before America's, and it will cause significant financial difficulties for the entire world. And an article that I can not share because it is paid research, spells out how US banks may wind up losing up to $100 Billion when they have to pay on the CDS insurance of Greek Debt. When Ireland, Portugal or Spain default, it has the potential to wipe out our banks, right along with the European Banks. We're headed into another economic storm. This one will make 2008 look like a rain shower.

We have a mess on our hands. Our mess is a direct result of the extremely poor economic planning done by our country in the last decade. And it wasn't Democrats and Obama who were in control. It was Republicans. They controlled the White House. They controlled Congress. And if they had done a decent job back then, we wouldn't be in this hot water now. Republicans are too blame for this mess. North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr is to blame for this mess.

North Carolina deserves better than Republican Senator Richard Burr.