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Doug Casey: "America Has Ceased to Exist"

By Doug Casey, Chairman

“America is a marvelous idea, a unique idea, fantastic idea. I’m extremely pro-American. But America has ceased to exist,” says Doug Casey. Watch him in this fascinating interview with Reason TV’s Nick Gillespie discuss the political, social, and economic challenges the US must conquer as well as lessons we can learn from failed states.

A severe economic and/or political crisis can sneak up on you before you know it. Learn from the three harrowing stories of international crisis survivors—and the insightful comments of experts like Doug—how to recognize a crisis in the making. You may need those skills soon because it can, and will, happen here… Watch Meltdown America, a 30-minute free documentary that predicts the economic and political unraveling of the US.

 

The article Doug Casey: “America Has Ceased to Exist” was originally published at caseyresearch.com.

Minimum Wage, Maximum Stupidity

By Doug French, Contributing Editor

The minimum wage should be the easiest issue to understand for the economically savvy. If the government arbitrarily sets a floor for wages above that set by the market, jobs will be lost. Even the Congressional Budget Office admits that 500,000 jobs would be lost with a $10.10 federal minimum wage. Who knows how high the real number would be?

Yet here we go again with the “Raise the minimum wage” talk at a time when unemployment is still devastating much of the country. The number of Americans jobless for 27 weeks or more is still 3.37 million. And while that’s only half the 6.8 million that were long-term unemployed in 2010, most of the other half didn’t find work. Four-fifths of them just gave up.

So, good economics and better sense would say, “make employment cheaper.” More of anything is demanded if the price goes down. That would mean lowering the minimum wage and undoing a number of cumbersome employment regulations that drive up the cost of jobs.

But then as H.L. Mencken reminded us years ago, “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” Which means the illogical case made by Republican multimillionaire businessman Ron Unz is being taken seriously.

We Don’t Want No Stinkin' Entry Level Jobs [Read more...]

You Can't Shoot Fish in a Barrel Without Ammunition

By Dan Steinhart, Managing Editor, The Casey Report

FOMO.

I heard this acronym on a podcast last week. Having no clue what it meant, I consulted Google.

Turns out it stands for "Fear of Missing Out." Kids use it to describe their anxiety about missing a social event that all of their friends are attending.

It struck me that investors experience FOMO too. And it usually leads to bad decisions.

From Prudent to FOMO

In the comfort of your home office, investing rationally is pretty easy. You think a bull market might be emerging, so you invest in the S&P 500.

But you're not stupid. No one really knows where the stock market is headed, so you keep a healthy allocation of cash on the side to deploy the next time stocks trade at bargain prices. A prudent, rational plan.

But leave the house and things start to change. You notice that others seem to be making more money than you. First it's the "smart money" raking in the dough—those who had the foresight and fortitude to buy during the last panic, when everyone else was retreating. You’re OK with that. Investing is their full-time job. You can’t expect to compete with them.

But as the bull market charges higher, the caliber of people making more money than you sinks lower. The mailman starts giving you stock tips. And your gardener's brand-new Mustang, parked in your driveway just behind your sensible, 2011 Toyota Corolla, starts to irritate you.

Your brother-in-law is the last straw. He thinks he's so smart, but he's really just lucky to somehow always be in the right place at the right time. I mean, just last month you had to pick him up from a NASCAR tailgate after security kicked him out for lewd behavior—and now he's taking the family to Europe with his stock market winnings?

If that guy can make $30,000 in the market in six months, you should be a millionaire.

Now you feel like a sucker for holding so much cash. Why earn a pitiful 0.5% interest when you could be making… hang on, how much did the S&P 500 gain last year? 29.6%?

Some quick extrapolation shows that if you invest all of your cash right now, you can retire by 2023. Factor in a couple family trips to Europe, and we'll call it 2024 to be safe.

Cash Is Trash… Until It’s King

Such is the (slightly exaggerated) psychology of a bull market. FOMO is a powerful motivator and causes smart investors to do stupid things, like go all-in at the worst possible moment. Which is no small concern, since it undermines one of the most powerful investment strategies: keeping liquid cash in reserve to invest during market panics. [Read more...]

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.

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