Asset protection

When Politicians Say Fair Tax, They Only Mean More Tax

 

Politicians never seem to have much trouble telling us they want to raise taxes. It seems to come as naturally to them as breathing does to the rest of us. They do their level best to keep the spotlight on “the rich,” of course, who they say must “pay their fair share.” But what do politicians hardly ever say? They hardly ever say who “the rich” are. And when they do, they usually point to multibillionaires while meaning people with considerably less. What do they also never say? They never say what a “fair share” is. It really just means “more.” Who would’ve thought.

This leaves a problem for the class warfare class, because it is these same rich people who fund their political campaigns. And as if that weren’t bad enough, most Congressmen and Senators are rich themselves. The two who yell the loudest about taxing the rich, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, are worth $2.5 million and $12 million respectively. What are the odds that these two, and all their cronies in Congress, would bite the hands that feed them? What are the odds they would bite their own hands?

We do well to remember 1988. George H. W. Bush, in accepting the Republican nomination for the presidency made his point perfectly clear. People would pressure him to raise taxes, but when that happened he would say, he claimed, “Read my lips. No new taxes.” All things considered, that’s a pretty easy promise to make, but a much harder promise to keep. It wasn’t long before Bush broke his promise, but in doing so he only went after “the rich,” signing into law a 10 percent luxury tax on things rich people buy – yachts, private planes, and expensive jewelry.

The tax was supposed to raise more than $30 million in additional revenue, but it didn’t raise much of anything. The rich simply went elsewhere to purchase their luxuries. Entrepreneurs and the working class paid, and they paid dearly as the tax destroyed almost 10,000 jobs in the boating, aircraft, and jewelry industries. Meanwhile, foreign companies in these industries made out like bandits. And that’s the difference between the rhetoric and the reality of taxation.

We can dig deeper still into tax reality through the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which asks Americans how much they earn and how much they pay in federal taxes. Breaking down those answers by income level provides some valuable insight into who is and isn’t paying their “fair share.”

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Being A Passive Investor Has Never Been So Risky

Our friends over at Integrated Wealth Management thought our readers would enjoy this article. ~Ed “Going forward, active management of portfolios versus passive index investing in ETF’s will be more important than ever because market weighted indexes are too overweight in tech, those tech stocks are at high historical valuations and a rising interest rate environment will impact these stocks. So good stock selection will pay off for investors.” ~Andrew Ruhland, Integrated Wealth Management.

It’s no secret that money has poured into passive equity vehicles as investors seek low fees above all else. To date, that has worked out just fine since equity indexes have compounded their returns at acceptable, if not above average, rates of returns. But, the world is different now than it was 10 years ago, and the low-cost advantage of passive investing may now be outweighed by its risks.

In this quick post we’ll address three risks to passive investing that together suggest the riskiness of this strategy may well be the highest it has ever been. Click here to read more.

Big Fat Idea – Taking Advantage of the Commodity SuperCycle

Andrew Ruhland shares with Mike his strategy Core and Explore strategy – and how it offers a safe, structured and sophisticated way to take advantage of the Commodity Super Cycle.

With government printing presses running in 5th gear, massive green spending initiatives & monetary policies creating significant risk for fixed income investments… the Commodity Super Cycle presents an exceptional opportunity for investors. Join Andrew Ruhland immediately following the show at 10:05am pacific / 11:05am mountain time as he shares:

  • Opportunities created by “Build Back Better,” Money Printing & Infrastructure Spending
  • How to carefully invest in emerging opportunities in energy, metals, clean tech, agriculture and nuclear
  • How to position income generating assets to benefit from rising interest rates
  • How to shift your portfolio to take advantage of inflation

CLICK HERE to register

The Best Way To Rob A Bank Is To Own A Bank

 

I think that the collapse over the past week of Greensill Capital has a lot of systemic risk embedded within it, particularly as the fraudulent deals between Greensill and its major sponsors – Softbank and Credit Suisse – come to light. And that’s not even considering Greensill’s second tier of sponsors – entities like General Atlantic and the UK government – all of whom are up to their eyeballs in really dicey arrangements.

“You thought you were in an arm’s length arrangement where all your fellow investors had a pure financial interest,” he said. “Imagine you then found that, in fact, some of your co-investors were funding themselves.”

This is the first Big Fraud I’ve seen in 13 years with the sheer heft and star power to ripple through markets in a systemic way. Not since Madoff.   

Full Story

 

 

Is Hong Kong a harbinger of what is coming to the US?

With speculation growing in the US that in the aftermath of the Robinhood scandal, the Biden administration may pass a transaction, or “Tobin Tax” demanded by progressive democrats (according to a 2018 CBO estimate, a 0.1% tax on stock, bond and derivative transactions could raise $777 billion over a decade) and targeting HFTs and other “market makers”, overnight Hong Kong showed how it’s done when in a shock announcement, Hong Kong unveiled its first stamp-duty increase on stock trades since 1993, sparking a furious selloff in the $7.6 trillion market and sending shares of the city’s exchange to their biggest plunge in more than five years.

As Bloomberg reports, the plan for a trading-tax hike to 0.13% from 0.10% is part of a raft of new measures announced in Hong Kong’s budget on Wednesday that included increased spending and cash handouts (in the form of coupons) to help residents weather the pandemic. Even as the city’s economy has plunged over the past year, stock prices and trading have surged amid a global market boom.

The news sent local stocks tumbling, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closing 3% lower, led by a 8.8% tumble in Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing.

The plunge was especially awkward as it came after the bourse operator reported record annual earnings on Wednesday. Mainland-based funds sold a record $2.6 billion worth of Hong Kong stocks through exchange links with Shenzhen and Shanghai. That comes after 38 days of net purchases from north of the border.

The news was as shocking to the exchange as it was to everyone else. Calvin Tai, HKEX interim CEO said in an earnings call that the he wasn’t consulted by the government on its decision to hike the stamp duty.

“The impact will be significant,” said Kingston Lin, managing director of the asset management department at Canfield Securities in Hong Kong, ahead of the announcement by the city. “The market is doing very well and, of course, it will bring more revenue to the government. But higher transaction costs will be a concern for the exchange.”

And in a true Robinhood twist, an exchange spokesperson said that “whilst we are disappointed about the government’s decision to raise stamp duty for stock transactions, we recognize that such a levy is an important source of government revenue,” adding that “HKEX looks forward to continue working closely with all its stakeholders to drive the continued success, resiliency, vibrancy and attractiveness of Hong Kong’s capital markets.”

According to local media including Apple Daily and NowTV, the trading tax hike will be launched on Aug. 1 and the government expects it to generate an extra HK$12 billion a year. In the 2019/2020 fiscal year, the duty contributed HK$33.2 billion in revenue.

That said, the move risks damping a trading boom that has gripped the city and propelled earnings at the exchange. The bourse on Wednesday reported that profit rose 23% to a record HK$11.5 billion in 2020, helped by a 60% jump in stock trading. Its shares have surged about 150% from a low last year, making it the world’s biggest by market value.

Analysts at Citigroup Inc. estimated that the increased stamp duty will raise trading costs by 6% to 15%, pressing down trading volumes and crimping the exchange’s earnings per share by 3% to 7%.

Separately, the government announced spending measures of more than HK$120 billion ($15.5 billion) to alleviate economic hardship for city residents struggling after a two-year economic recession.

While Hong Kong has been an outlier when it comes to taxing stock transactions, with major markets such as the U.S. and regional rival Singapore refraining, HK’s action may prompt more politicians into acting to transfer some capital from the financial sector to the people. Indeed, talk of implementing a tax on financial transactions has recently been rekindled by some Democrats in the U.S. after the recent trading frenzy in GameStop Corp. shares.