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Only Sound Money Can Put a Brake on Government Spending

We’re not too far away from another government shutdown drama, as Congress continues kicking the can down the road. Neither side in the budget debate is willing to admit that government spending is out of control, just as neither side is willing to accept budget cuts to their sacred cows. Both welfare and warfare spending will continue to rise, further burdening American taxpayers. Also lost in the debate is the reality that there is only one solution that can [...]

Closed for Business logo sign

No Reason to Fear a Government Shutdown

Much of the recent news has focused on the government shutdown, the first since 2013. Not surprisingly, there has been a lot of hand-wringing about how awful it would be when the government shuts down. Those who understand exactly what the federal government does, however, realize that it’s not the end of the world. From some of the press coverage, you would think that the federal government shutting down would be disastrous. Air and water will suddenly overflow with pollutants, [...]

bank sign

Bank “Reform” Proposals Fail to Understand the Problem

Proposals to reform the US banking system pop up every now and then but often never go anywhere. It’s only in the aftermath of a crisis that legislation gets passed, and at those times it’s almost universally awful, such as the Dodd-Frank Act that was passed after the last financial crisis. What most banking “reformers” fail to understand is that the banking system that exists worldwide is fundamentally flawed and no amount of patchwork laws or regulations will work [...]

reviewing jobs report

December Jobs Report Fails to Impress

The latest employment figures reported by the Department of Labor came in well under expectations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 148,000 new jobs were created in December, well below the 190,000 that had been expected by economists. Not only was the figure disappointing in and of itself, but it was also well below the figures from November. Particularly troubling was the loss of 20,000 jobs in the retail sector, an unusual drop given the normally strong consumer retail [...]

shaking a man for all of his money

Worldwide Debt Totals Reach Record $233 Trillion

Total worldwide debt totals reached a record $233 trillion by the end of the third quarter of 2017, up $16 trillion from the end of 2016, according to the Institute of International Finance (IIF). That total encompasses total debt incurred by households, governments, and both financial and non-financial corporations. While the IIF report stated that debt to GDP levels fell due to economic expansion, the record levels of debt should still be alarming. For one thing, GDP is a notoriously [...]

gold prices going up

Gold Off to a Stellar Start in 2018

2018 has started off with a bang for the gold market. The price of gold started the year over 13% higher than last year and continues to leave the $1300 price level in its wake. With such a good start, 2018 could be a breakout year for more reasons than one. Federal Reserve Monetary Policy With a new incoming Federal Reserve Chairman, there will be many concerns about the direction of monetary policy going forward. Those in favor of dovish monetary [...]

oil drums

Oil Prices Reach Highest Level in Three Years

If you’ve noticed prices at the pump rising over the past few weeks, you’re not alone. Gas prices have recovered from their normal post-Labor Day slump and are now higher than they were just a few weeks ago, and anywhere from 8 to 32 cents more per gallon than they were a year ago. High oil prices are to blame, as oil is now reaching price levels that haven’t been seen since 2015. And with continued unrest in the [...]

house on top of cash

Trying to Prepay Your Property Taxes? Not So Fast.

With the recent passage of the tax reform bill by Congress, deductions for state and local taxes will be capped at $10,000 per year from 2018 onward. For homeowners in many wealthy areas of the country, including the Washington, DC area, that is less than the amount they pay annually on property taxes. And for those who own multiple pieces of property, their property tax bills are undoubtedly higher. The new cap has led to many homeowners trying to prepay [...]

money bag

The Hidden Tax Increase in the Tax Reform Bill

While most of the provisions of the newly-enacted tax reform bill were good ones that will help most taxpayers, there is one that has gotten less publicity that won’t benefit taxpayers. That’s the use of chained CPI rather than regular CPI. And if things continue as they have been, that could cost taxpayers down the road. Tax brackets have long been indexed to inflation to prevent “bracket creep.” If there were no inflation indexing, raises in salary that take place [...]

bursting the housing bubble

Will the Tax Reform Bill Burst the Housing Bubble?

There has been a lot of hand-wringing about the effects of the newly-enacted tax reform bill. While most households will see a significant cut in their tax payments, there will be many households who will see their taxes increase. Most of that is due to caps being placed on mortgage interest deductions and deductions for state and local taxes, including property taxes. Those who will be hit the hardest are those who own property, especially multiple houses and high-value [...]