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Strong

Nobel Prize Winner: Bubbles Don't Exist

By Doug French

No wonder investors don't take economists seriously. Or if they do, they shouldn't. Since Richard Nixon interrupted Hoss and Little Joe on a Sunday night in August 1971, it's been one boom and bust after another. But don't tell that to the latest Nobel Prize co-winner, Eugene Fama, the founder of the efficient-market hypothesis.

The efficient-market hypothesis asserts that financial markets are "informationally efficient," claiming one cannot consistently achieve returns in excess of average market returns on a risk-adjusted basis.

"Fama's research at the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s showed how incredibly difficult it is to beat the market, and how incredibly difficult it is to predict how share prices will develop in a day's or a week's time," said Peter Englund, secretary of the committee that awards the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. "That shows that there is no point for the common person to get involved in share analysis. It's much better to invest in a broadly composed portfolio of shares." [Read more...]

Federal Reserve Policy Failures Are Mounting

By Lacy H. Hunt, Ph.D., Economist

The Fed's capabilities to engineer changes in economic growth and inflation are asymmetric. It has been historically documented that central bank tools are well suited to fight excess demand and rampant inflation; the Fed showed great resolve in containing the fast price increases in the aftermath of World Wars I and II and the Korean War. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, rampant inflation was again brought under control by a determined and persistent Federal Reserve.

However, when an economy is excessively over-indebted and disinflationary factors force central banks to cut overnight interest rates to as close to zero as possible, central bank policy is powerless to further move inflation or growth metrics. The periods between 1927 and 1939 in the U.S. (and elsewhere), and from 1989 to the present in Japan, are clear examples of the impotence of central bank policy actions during periods of over-indebtedness.

Four considerations suggest the Fed will continue to be unsuccessful in engineering increasing growth and higher inflation with their continuation of the current program of Large Scale Asset Purchases (LSAP): [Read more...]

A Monetary Master Explains Inflation

By Terry Coxon, Senior Economist

[Ed. note: One of the best things about being a partner in a research firm employing about 40 analysts is that I have unfettered access to really smart people. While we have a great team with expertise across the spectrum, when it comes to monetary matters, my go-to guy is Terry Coxon, a senior editor for our flagship publication, The Casey Report.

Terry cut his teeth working side by side for years with the late Harry Browne, the economist and prolific author of a number of groundbreaking books, including the 1970 classic, How You Can Profit from the Coming Devaluation. The timing of Harry's book should catch your eye, because his analysis that the dollar was headed for a big fall was spot on. Anyone paying attention made a lot of money. [Read more...]

10 Reasons Why Obamacare Is Going to Ruin Your Medical Care… and Your Life

By Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D.

Of course you've heard of "liar loans"—in the heyday of subprime mortgages, unscrupulous lenders handed out mortgages to practically everyone with a pulse. "So you're saying you make $100,000 a year? Great, check this box titled 'McMansion.'"

We all know how this charade ended. Now Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D., an acclaimed expert on the subject of Obamacare, warns that the delay of the employer mandate by one year will force Americans into a single-payer system, raising insurance premiums and encouraging "liar subsidies" that might prove fiscally devastating. Not to mention that under the new health care system, you may well end up dead…

Dan Steinhart

Editor, Casey Research

Obamacare is a hodgepodge of new regulations, requirements, and penalties. I'd like to start by defining three terms, which, while obscure today, should begin to enter our everyday vocabulary as Obamacare continues to take effect: [Read more...]

Despite Declining Deficit, Foreigners Aren’t Bailing Us Out, So the Fed Will Keep QE Going

By Bud Conrad, Chief Economist

The basic imbalance driving our economy is the government deficit, which spun out of control as a result of the Credit Crisis of 2008/9. But the sequester, improving tax base, lower interest rate, and elimination of stimulus spending have caused the big government deficit, while still extreme, to drop to half its previously nosebleed levels. [Read more...]

A Tight Tax Leash Constrains Americans

By Nick Giambruno, Editor, International Man

Many readers are already well aware that the US government is essentially unique—and not in a good way—in how it treats its citizens living and working in foreign countries. No other country in the developed world imposes and effectively enforces as many burdens on its citizens abroad (and those who would do business with them) as does the US government.

Whether it is filing and paying taxes to both a foreign government and the US government, the reporting of foreign financial assets (FBAR and Form 8938), or saddling foreign financial institutions with extra compliance costs for dealing with US citizens (FATCA), among others, the root cause of these burdens is a system of citizenship-based taxation (CBT). [Read more...]

How to Prove Benjamin Franklin Wrong About Taxes

By International Man,

"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

– Benjamin Franklin

In most cases, Mr. Franklin's statement would be correct. However, as you will see below, there are some countries in the world where you can be certain you won't pay taxes.

With the year 2013 marking the 100th anniversary of the income tax and the Federal Reserve in the US (two of the most powerful tools the government uses to extract wealth), I thought it would be useful to look at when Tax Freedom Day occurs across the world to gain some perspective.

Tax Freedom Day (TFD) is the day of the year that the average person has in theory earned enough money to pay his or her annual tax bill.

If TFD falls on January 1, that means you are a milk cow for ZERO days out of the year for the government. If it falls on June 30, it means you are working 181 days each year to pay off your taxes.

Unfortunately, most of us will spend some time during the year acting as a milk cow in some fashion for a government.

Below is a table showing when TFD hits in the countries within the EU.

The government of Hungary, Belgium, and France are the worst offenders in the EU, keeping their citizens in tax servitude astoundingly until around August each year.

If you are unlucky enough to be in the suffocating grasp of a high-tax jurisdiction, you will likely have only a couple of months of salary (if even that) out of the year that can be potentially utilized as savings after essential living expenses are met.

In the US, TFD comes around April 17. Of course, individual circumstances will vary, and TFD in the US can come a lot later than April 17 for many Americans.

Whether you are American, European, or any other nationality, it doesn't have to be this way. You do not need to be working for the government for a good portion of the year.

It is possible to take steps to internationalize and legally reduce the number of days the government milks you of the fruits of your labor.

Some countries do not have an income tax or essentially any other type of tax that could hit the average individual.

TFD could come on January 1 for you if you have no external obligations and fall under the jurisdiction in any of the countries in the table below.

Countries With No Personal Income Tax
Andorra
Anguilla
Bahamas
Bahrain
Bermuda
British Virgin Islands
Brunei Darussalam
Cayman Islands
Kuwait
Maldives
Monaco
Oman
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
St. Kitts & Nevis
Turks and Caicos
United Arab Emirates
Vanuatu

There are many ways to internationalize and legally structure yourself and your business around these and other low-tax countries.

One possibility could involve an American citizen obtaining a second citizenship, then becoming a resident of one of the countries above, and finally renouncing US citizenship in order to obtain a tax-free existence. Of course, this is but one possibility. There are many options with varying degrees of protection.

You could prove Benjamin Franklin wrong – taxes are not necessarily a certainty.

It is still legal and practical to take steps to internationalize, but if history is any guide, it won't be so forever... especially as governments (particularly in the West) become more desperate.

Moving your assets abroad is the most effective way to protect what's rightfully yours from your home government… but most people have no idea where to begin. That's why Casey Research has put together a special web event, Internationalizing Your Assets. Featuring New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and other experts on international diversification, it premiers April 30 at 2 p.m. EDT and is must-viewing for anyone looking for ways to legally shield wealth from greedy politicians. Get more information and register today.

Doug Casey on Second Passports

By Doug Casey, Chairman

Louis James: Doug, a lot of our readers have asked about getting a second passport. I realize this is a large and complex issue – several issues, actually – but would you care to go over the basics of where to go and what to do? And for those not already thinking about this, why?

Doug Casey: Sure. We've talked quite a bit about the increasing urgency of getting some of your assets out of your home country, especially if it's the United States. We've talked about having stores of precious metals in safe places abroad, and setting up bank and brokerage accounts abroad as well. I've said that safest way to store wealth abroad is to buy property, which can't be seized by your home country without an act of war. The purchase of real estate solves several issues all at once.

But that's all about protecting assets; to protect yourself, getting a second passport is unfortunately very important. [Read more...]

Does the Fed Think Old People Are Really that Stupid?

By Dennis Miller

The Federal Reserve is, of course, a bank. So after it has a meeting, it issues a statement outlining the discussion – a "bank statement." Hmm... Now that I think about it, that must be where the acronym "BS" comes from.

Notwithstanding what we read and hear, when Congress established the Federal Reserve as a central bank 100 years ago, its primary purpose was to protect the banking system. The Federal Reverse shifted risk from the private sector to the public, and through the slow devaluation of the dollar, the cost of this shift fell on the average Joe rather than on banking tycoons. Today, an entire generation is paying for this system with a good portion of their life's savings.

I pride myself on explaining complex financial situations in everyday language. However, when it comes to the Federal Reserve, I readily admit that I am sometimes befuddled. I used to watch Alan Greenspan testify before Congress when he was Chairman of the Fed, and I often ended up asking myself, "What did he just say?" The Fed's code and doublespeak is Greek to me, as it is to most folks. [Read more...]

When Should You Take Social Security? 62 or Full Retirement Age?

My wife, Jo, started receiving Social Security as soon as she could. When she wondered aloud how much larger her checks would have been if she'd waited, I said, “It makes no difference! You are already four years ahead of the game.”

When we applied at the local office, the agent kept reminding her of the big raise she would get if she waited until full retirement age, or better yet until she was 70. Stop with the hard sell; she wanted it at 62, period!

Why did she take it early? To illustrate, I did a little investigating on the Social Security Administration's website and used its retirement planner. [Read more...]

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