Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Americans are paying 174% more for heatlh care in just 6 years!!!

According to a Bloomberg article titled, U.S. Pays $2.5 Trillion for Care Costing $912 Billion, Americans are paying outrageous amounts of money for health care. I have put some excerpts below.

"The last time a president tried to overhaul U.S. health care, Americans were spending $912 billion on the system and 40 million were uninsured. Today they’re spending $2.5 trillion and almost 50 million lack coverage."

"Health-insurance premiums for families have risen 119 percent since 1999, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a Menlo Park, California-based policy-research firm. Inflation has risen 28.5 percent over that period, according to the Labor Department."

"Health reform could not be more critical," Mike Duke, president of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation’s largest private employer, said in a letter last month to Obama. “Reforming health care is necessary not just to improve the health of all Americans, but also to remove the burden that is crushing America’s businesses."

"If we don’t fix the spiraling cost of health care, it will have such a destructive impact on our economy that every sector of the economy will deteriorate"

U.S. Pays $2.5 Trillion for Care Costing $912 Billion
July 28, 2009

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Did You Know?

Did you know that US Senate Re-election rates for 2008 were 94% and the US House Re-election rates for 2008 were 83%? Also, did you know that based on data released by the FEC on July 17, 2009, incumbents from the Senate and House of Representatives (combined) raised $904,714,843 and challengers raised $338,662,867?

Consider the large amounts of money that US politicians are raising for their campaigns. Is it any wonder that re-election rates for incumbents are so high when so much money is involved? Also, consider where that money is coming from? Do you think its coming from regular hard working Americans each donating a little money to their favorite candidate? Did you know that 70.8% of all contributions comes from Business. I think most people have heard of the saying "Follow the money." Is this the type of political system we want?

All data from Money in Politics -- See Who's Giving & Who's Getting

Monday, 27 July 2009

Weekly Wrap: Your source for stock, stock market, and stocks info

Weekly Wrap: Last week was another amazing week as the S&P 500 marched up another 4.13%. The S&P 500 is comprised of 500 of the top American companies so it is a broader reflection of the overall markets rather than the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA). A myriad of stocks broke to new 52-highs. We had a huge short covering day again on last Thursday. I would think after two strong weeks up that we would get a sideways to down move this week. I believe that you have to be a contrarian to successfully pull money from the markets, so always leaning against the crowd is what I opt for. I do think the market has a little more legs to it, although I think the rally of the past two weeks has been ridiculous. We are going to close out the month of July this week and head into August. I don't think August will really be all that exciting. I do think that this fall is going to see some volatility come back into the markets. If you take a look at the VIX (Volatility Index), it closed at 23.09. That is the lowest close since September of 2008. There is just too much complacency from investors and traders that the economy is now on the rebound. I expect volatility to explode this fall. I think maybe the rally could last until the beginning of 2010. A lot of people try to predict market and tell you when something is going to happen. It is extremely difficult to predict the time that something is going to happen, and that isn't just for the stock market. I think that applies to everything. I think formulating a scenario (or several scenarios) about what could happen in the future by taking current events and deducing what the future trends will be is more advantageous. I think having a view (whether bullish or bearish) and then waiting for the right opportunity to trade/invest on that view will make you more successful. For example, people who are jumping up and down about the stock market's rise from the March lows proclaiming that they see "green shoots", the economic recovery is right around the corner, and the "worst is over" should not just jump in and start buying stocks recklessly. Wait for a correction to accumulate positions rather than buying stocks that are moving up fast. And for people who are stubbornly bearish who have the idea that these green shoots are weeds, the economic recovery is not going to happen, and the worst is yet to come should not start shorting or selling stocks yet until there is further evidence that the bear market rally is coming to an end. I think having a view either bullish or bearish is paramount first, but then waiting patiently to trade/invest that view will actually make you money. Look at all the bears who starting shorting in April and May, they got beat up and slaughtered in June and July. The bears might be ultimately right in the end if the market breaks the March lows and heads even lower next year, but for now they are wrong. Being right at the wrong time is still being WRONG.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Friday, 24 July 2009

Quote of the Day

Without the negative, we would have no capacity to differentiate the positive, so that the negative is a necessary precondition to the existence of the positive and our perception of it. So it follows absolutely that one is compelled to take a positive view of the negative. Ipso facto, the negative is positive due to its positive effect in allowing us discriminate the positive from the negative. Therefore, the negative is positive. So stop whining, shut up and think positive.
-The Sage, I. Tarius
(i.e. Prepare yourself for the worst (economically and socially), so that when it comes it will not be such a big deal or even have no efffect because you have already been preparing. In fact, making provisions should be seen as a positive by affecting your own outcome positively when the storm blows in. It's all a matter out perspective about what separates negative from positive.)


We know where all the pain is being felt.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Americans Saving Again

This post is a follow up to a previous post about Americans saving again. Here is a chart of the Americans' personal savings rate.

Propaganda & Lies

I get about 10% of my news from the mainstream media. Why? Because it is all propaganda and lies. If you are trend follower like I am, then it doesn't matter what direction things are moving. I do think it is funny to hear the media talk about "green shoots" and recovery because it's just not what is happening in the majority of average americans' lives. I think this clip I just saw right now that embodies what the mainstream media has become. Wake up.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Americans Repaying Debt Most Since ‘52 Spurs Savings

Found an article on Bloomberg today. Maybe now they are starting to getting the idea about debt. Here are some excerpts:

"For the first time since Harry S. Truman was in the White House, Americans are paying back their debts..."

"While the proportion of consumers without jobs rose to 9.5 percent last month, household borrowing fell to 128 percent of the average family’s after-tax income in the first quarter from a record 133 percent a year earlier"

"We’ve never seen a pullback like this....We are seeing an adjustment, and it’s very painful and there’s a lot of collateral damage."

"Corporate America is going through debt rehab,” said Lonski, who’s based in New York. “The focus right now is on improving financial health and that probably will be at the expense of capital spending and hiring activity. Nothing will discourage capital spending or encourage cutbacks in staff more than much lower-than-expected sales."

"You are not going to buy a new pair of jeans if you don’t have a job yet"

Consumers "understand what they are spending more than ever," Mike Duke, chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., told employees and suppliers July 16 in Bentonville, Arkansas, where the world’s largest retailer is based. "This has brought on a new normal of how consumers view consuming, shopping."

Bloomberg News

Obama Approval Ratings Dip?

I came across an article today. The article talked about Obama's slipping approval ratings. Obama's Approval Ratings Dip? Really? Am I surprised, definitely not. I am not interested in the inner workings of politics. When politicians try to tinker in the world of finance and economics it is never a good idea. Obama was elected because the people were more concerned about the economy. If the people were more concerned with the war in Iraq and Afghanistan , John McCain would be our president today. So I am not surprised Obama's approval ratings are sliding, but my reasons have to do with social mood. I believe that social mood dictates the events in society, and not the other way around. So the fact that Obama became president at a time when society's overall mood was declining is evidence (to me) that the eventuality of his presidency will be thought of with contempt and disdain for all his actions and policies. Am I the only one who thinks what Obama has done and plans to do is completely detrimental to the US? Well, apparently not. Check out the link below. Read the article. Then take the poll at the bottom of the article. See what average Americans think about Obama's actions and policies. I think the article may not have even been giving the true feelings of people. I saw strongly disapprove of 70% on most of the poll results. You can't make this stuff up, or you could. But a poll is a poll. Nothing more, nothing less.

AOL News

P.S. - For more information on Obama, check out the movie, The Obama Deception.
Just watch the video below.

The Obama Deception

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Gerald Celente Interview 18 July 2009

Weekly Wrap: Your source for stock, stock market, and stocks info

Weekly Wrap: You can see that this week was a resounding attempt at reviving the continuation of the bear market rally. We had basically a three month period where the S&P essentially was flat. I had anticipated a moderate pullback because of how far and fast the market had risen from the March 6th lows, and put on a couple of short positions. A few of them got stopped out, and I covered some of the others because the market wasn't doing what it was supposed to if we were going to experience a decline. I think this week was a turning point in the this bear market rally on sentiment. A lot of well-known and staunchly bearish pundits and analysts (Nouriel Roubini and Meredith Whitney) turned quite bullish. Whitney said Goldman Sachs was a buy and Roubini predicted the end of the recession this year. I was really surprised by both of their statements, and they happened in the SAME WEEK. I respect both of their opinions, but ultimately I think they will both be wrong down the road. Just give it time. There is another thing about analysts and economists. Both have made a name for themselves (even becoming celebrities in the financial world) in the past 2 years by being bearish on companies and the economy. If the economy does have somewhat of a crack-pipe, stimulus-induced rebound because of fake money printing by the Fed and US government, they can't afford to continue to be bearish when stocks are rising and the economy gives the APPEARANCE of recovering. So, i don't blame them for turning bullish, but when the market begins to fall again. I don't think either of them will want to ingeminate their current stance when that happens. I expect a sideways to down week, next week, after a 6.97% rally for the week. Personally, I think the market move this week was rather unwarranted because the economic data isn't particularly compelling. There are some whispers that last week was options expiration and that next week the market will collapse. The idea is that the reversal to the upside this week was actually deceptive. But I heard rumors last year that the COMEX market was going to shut down because market players were going to ask for physical delivery. Didn't HAPPEN. So I tend not to put much credence to such baseless conjecture. The chart of the market will tell you everything you need to know. Look at a 5-year chart of CIT Group Inc. (CIT). All the talk this week was are they going to go bankrupt or not? Is the government going to bail them out or not? Well, it didn't start going down yesterday. It has been going down for 2 years. Bankruptcy?! Methinks, YES.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

This is what i am talking about

I saw this video and I had to post it. So you can really see the "recovery" mantra that is being touted by quasi-financial experts.
(By the way, Peter Schiff is one of the guys who said the bubble is going to burst before it actually did. I would love for the guy who said 4th quarter recovery on Sept. 30th to see his own video when we get there. The audacity to say that the economy is going to recover on Sept. 30th is just ludicrous.)

U.S. video game sales post largest decline since 2000

Reuters reports U.S. video game sales post largest decline since 2000. Go look for yourself. Video games are supposed to be bulletproof when it comes to recessions. But what the pollyannas don't seem to realize is that this economy is in real trouble. The facts are all over the place. I get tired to trying to refute the belief that the economy is stabilizing and will start to recover later this year. These people can't keep saying later this year, or second half of '08, or the back half of the year we will experience a pickup in the economy because in just a few months we will be there.(We're in the middle of July. The meat of the second half of the year is not that far away). To me, it's obvious that the economy is sputtering downwards, but I guess not everybody can see what I see. (or want to)

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Commentary: Your source for news, commentary, and stock info

Stocks Comeback

In the last five days, we have seen a phenomenal comeback in stock prices. Yesterday was a tremendous short covering day. It was pretty obvious because I can only remember one day in the last 20 months like it. That day was November 13th for those that remember. It was pretty much an identical type day. Stocks opened strong and continued to move higher the entire day. I am sitting back in amazement at the apparent ability of the overall market (i.e. DJIA, S&P & NASDAQ) to magically levitate at these levels. It just doesn’t seem to want to go down, and I was one of the eager bears who were salivating at the anticipation of a moderate price decline in stocks. But this week’s market action is clearly pointing to something else. Being a trend follower means going with the direction of the market, and it is obvious by the actions of the major players in the market that the market isn’t ready to come plunging back down just yet. Maybe, we weren’t able to go down because that’s what everyone was expecting. The market has a way of doing the opposite of what the majority believes will happen. So, anticipate higher stock prices over the next several months. I am not sure how high it is going to go (obviously, no crystal ball), but I think 1000-1100 on the S&P is a reasonable estimate. At that point, I will definitely be looking to go short the market because I think people will realize by then that there will be no recovery. Stocks will have to come down to discount the highly overvalued levels.

Foreclosure Filings at Record

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Bear Market Musings

Inflation or deflation? There is a lot of debate right now about which one we are going to experience in the next several years. Because here is the thing: Whether its inflation or deflation doesn't really matter that much. What really matters is being prepared for either outcome, and then if you are wrong be able to reverse your stance as quickly as possible without losing too much accumulated wealth in the process. Personally, I am a deflationist, and that's because I listen to people who have been right about this whole economic downturn. I mean, people who were talking about it years before it actually happened. These guys had the prescient wisdom to see what was coming before anybody else. People like Bob Prechter, Peter Schiff, Marc Faber, Gerald Celente, David Tice and Jim Rogers. And none of those guys particularly agree on every issue. Bob Prechter believes in deflation and Schiff/Faber believes in hyperinflation. But that is beside the point. The guys were RIGHT. And I don't mean a little right. They were immensely RIGHT. It's like seeing the iceberg poking out of the water BEFORE the Titanic hit. I made a blog post earlier about an article I read exhuming the absolutely foolish statements from our so-called financial dignitaries, media pundits, and our quasi-government incumbents. I mean, in retrospect, these guys were just fantastically wrong about everything and they continue to be wrong 21 months into this current bear market. So why is anybody still listening to these people? Because these Harvardites, Yalies, and Princetonites that walk the prestigious halls of power are supposed to know how to fix things I presume. Well, their record says that they don't and they can't. So we really should stop listening to people who keep getting it wrong. Now, I am gonna tell you what I think. I don't think there is gonna be a recovery, and that's because the people I listen to are telling me that what we are experiencing now is a massive contraction of credit. What you need to realize is that the entire financial system is based on the expansion of credit. Credit expansion equals economic growth. You can't have one without the other the way this system is set up. With corporations and individuals colossally overleveraging themselves, their creditors have realized that they won't be paid back. When those loans go bad, more loans get called in and credit begins to contract. This contraction is in the trillions. Trillions have now entered into the lexicon of financial discussion. Trillions? Do you have any idea how much a trillion dollars is? And the United States is indebted to the rest of the world in double digit trillions. So, there won't be any recovery because the balance sheet of America is still jacked up. Bernanke and Obama want to expand even MORE CREDIT to fix the problem of too much CREDIT. Not going to work. That's just common sense. So I am preparing myself for deflation. This being a scenario in which the price of everything comes down, and the US dollar, paradoxically, increases in purchasing power. When Bernanke and Obama are finished shooting even more heroin into the veins of the American financial system, there might be a little jolt to the economy. But when it ends, asset prices will collapse to their true values, Interest rates will rise substantially, and those people with cash will be able to buy everything at depressed levels. So, I wouldn't buy into the whole “green shoots” idea to much. Another thing: Understanding human psychology and sentiment is indispensable to being able to invest and trade in financial markets. When the peak comes (which I believe to be this fall or in early 2010), you must expect that consumer sentiment and overall social mood will be optimistic, and even giddy. It will be ubiquitous. And that's precisely the moment when you will want to exit. Being a contrarian is extremely difficult but can be extremely lucrative.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Commentary: Your source for news, commentary, and stock info

Adrian Salbuchi: I came across Adrian Salbuchi a few months ago while I was scouring Youtube for market information. I have since added him to my personal list of people that I follow. I have put a group of his videos together. He says alot of good things and provides an interesting point of view.

Did You Know?

The state of Texas "is home to more Fortune 500 companies than any other state—64 compared with California’s 51 and New York’s 56."

The Economist
America's future
July 9, 2009

Friday, 10 July 2009

Commentary: Your source for news, commentary, and stock info

All of these supposed experts couldn't be more wrong

Here is a great excerpt from an article, 2004-2009 Pompous Prognosticators Revisited, by Nick Barisheff from Bullion Management Group. These are the people we are supposed to listen to, and who are going to fix things. They are all clueless.

2004-2009 chart of Pompous Prognosticators


1. “The ability of lending institutions to manage the risks associated with mortgages that have high loan-to-value ratios seems to have improved markedly over the past decade.” – Alan Greenspan [February 2004]


2. “Home sales are coming down from the mountain peak, but they will level out at a high plateau, a plateau that is higher than previous peaks in the housing cycle.” – David Lereah, Chief Economist, National Association of Realtors [December 2005]


3. “I don’t know, but I think the worst of this may well be over.” – Alan Greenspan, [October 2006]


4. “We have a very strong global economy… and I feel very comfortable with the global economy.” – Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson [March, 2007]

5. “The impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime markets seems likely to be contained.” – Ben Bernanke [March 28, 2007]

6. “In today's environment, it is virtually impossible to violate rules." - Bernie Madoff [November 2007]


7. “Over the next few months, existing-home sales are expected to hold fairly steady as indicated by pending sales activity, then rise later in the year and continue to improve in 2009.” –National Association of Realtors [January 2008]

8. “Although recent data suggest that the probability of a recession in 2008 has increased, CBO does not expect the slowdown in economic growth to be large enough to register as a recession.” – US Congressional Budget Office [January 2008]

9. “I don't think we're headed to a recession.” – President George W. Bush [February 2008]

10. “I don't anticipate any serious problems of that sort among the large internationally active banks that make up a very substantial part of our banking system.” – Ben Bernanke [February 28, 2008]

11. “No! No! No! Bear Stearns is not in trouble.” –Jim Cramer, CNBC commentator [March 2008]

12. “Later this year, I expect growth will pick up.” – Henry Paulson, just after Treasury had mailed out 130 million economic stimulus cheques [May 2008]

13. “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are fundamentally sound. They're not in danger of going under.... I think they are in good shape going forward.” – Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee [July 2008]

14. “My own belief is if we were going to have some sort of big crash or recession, we probably would have had it by now.”– Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper [September 2008]

15. “We're probably somewhere pretty close to a bottom.” – Fund manager Barton Biggs [September 2008]

16. “The fundamentals of our economy are strong.” – US Senator John McCain [Sept 15, 2008]

17. “We remain committed to examining all strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value.” – Lehman Bros. CEO Dick Fuld, shortly before Lehman went bankrupt [Sept 2008]


18. “It’s a huge bull market rally.” – Jim Cramer, CNBC [June 2009]

Just as Seymour’s Pompous Prognostications proved devastating for those investors who remained complacent due to those false assurances, today’s investors would be wise to educate themselves on the real risks and vulnerabilities they face today. In order to preserve their wealth over the coming years, investors need to make wise, informed decisions, stop being complacent, and avoid following the false assurances of politicians and financial experts. With countless risks and vulnerabilities facing the world, the next 20 years will not be the same as the last 20 years.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Economic Expectations

David Tice, please tell these pollyannas what's really going on!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Down, down, down ....

Great graphic I got from Barry Ritholtz's The Big Picture blog. It is interesting to see what is really happening in this depression. The data tells the story. That's why I am such a believer in technical analysis over fundamental analysis. Charts can tell you what's happening today. The rate of decline in job losses may be weakening, but the trend is still down. It will stay in a downtrend until it isn't anymore. That's the nature of trend following. I will say the recovery is on its way when that REDLINE start to turn up. The stock market will probably turn well before jobs, but to say RECOVERY is on the way for the average American without that redline turning up is just disingenuous.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Is it over?

I am getting tired of seeing people and financial articles saying the "recession is easing". I looked up that exact phrase on Google and got 1,610,000 hits. Hmm, lotsa optimism out there. I am not buying it. With the magnitude of the problems out there, why do some people believe it will have gone away in 17 months?

Not the "News"

Bloomberg healine reads U.S. Companies Cut June Payrolls by 473,000, More Than Estimated, ADP Says. Now is that good news? I don't think so. But so far this morning markets are up. That should make people think twice about the "NEWS" moving market. Prices move first, news comes second. Not the other way around like most people believe.

Did You Know?

"Last year, countries outside the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development collectively used more energy than developed countries for the first time in history.

Averaged over the past eight years, energy demand among non-OECD countries grew 5% a year, according to data from British Petroleum and Morgan Stanley Research. Demand among OECD nations held effectively flat."

Oil's New Center Of Gravity
Posted 06/26/2009 07:04 PM ET