Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Natural-Born Failure

Yesterday, President Barack Hussein Obama released his full "long-form" birth certificate, proving that he was born at the Kapiolani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4, 1961 at 7:24 PM, making him a natural-born citizen of the United States of America.

Indeed, the "birthers" were wrong, and the President made them all look like fools today. We knew the President would be wise to release the full birth certificate, and wrote so last month. Unlike Donald Trump, we won't claim that the President's actions were our doing, but we applaud him for his actions.

Unfortunately for the country, President Obama's birth certificate doesn't help the economy, nor does its release prevent President Obama from failing the country. If anything, the American people can simply be reassured that a natural-born American is the one who wants to hike taxes, won't make job creation a priority, has no problem with $4/gallon gas, doesn't mind inflation, and wants to force you to buy health insurance. Should President Obama fail to change his policies, he will be remembered as a natural-born failure.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Royal Wedding and Marriage Thoughts

The world is excited with the upcoming "Royal Wedding" between Britain's Prince William and his wife-to-be Ms. Katherine Middleton. The marriage will be watched on TV by millions, and the economy of the United Kingdom has been helped by the buzz and travel around the wedding.

Why is it then, that in the United States, the government discourages marriage, putting those who are married at a disadvantage and sucking more tax dollars out of them? People getting married helps the economy. More marriages mean more business for wedding planners, facilities to hold a wedding or reception at, and more business for hotels and airlines as people travel to weddings or take honeymoons.

Yet, getting married has negative effects on a couple. Their income will be combined when the government looks to give welfare and other aid to the children. If an unmarried woman or man only made $15,000 a year on her own, her/his kids would get free lunch and free healthcare, and he/she would receive government aid such as food stamps. However, if married, the income is combined together and so a higher value is used. Many married couples would financially be better off if they had never gotten married. Further, marriage results in paying higher taxes for many couples. This marriage penalty, combined with the way that government aid programs work, disincentives marriage.

The disadvantages of marriage carry over to same-sex couples as well. If same-sex couples are given the same rights of marriage as opposite-sex couples, they also will be given the same penalties. For many homosexuals, getting married doesn't make financial sense, just as it doesn't make sense for non-homosexual couples.

The United States economy will be better off if marriage is encouraged, rather than punished. To do this, the marriage penalty should be eliminated, and government aid programs should be structured to either consider only one parent, or consider both parents, regardless of marital status.

Back to Britain: The Report wishes Prince William and Ms. Middleton will have a happy marriage that will last until one of them should die. After all, the vows say "'till death do we part."

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ending DUIs

Frequently on the news, we read or see cases of idiots driving ridiculously drunk and causing deaths or injuries out on the road. We suggest that there is a better way to solve the problem of drunk driving: simplify all the DUI (or OUI, DWI, etc.)  laws into one law that makes it a capitol offense to cause injury, death, or damage as the result of driving drunk. Further, the execution should be public and used as a deterrent to those who think about drinking and driving.

If someone drives drunk and doesn't hurt anyone, then "no harm, no foul" should be the policy. But, if they do cause injury, death, or damage, they're publicly executed. Most Americans wouldn't want to take the risk, and after the first few are executed for taking the risk and causing injury, death, or damage, then more Americans will realize drinking and driving is a bad idea.

Some would say there are other crimes that should get the death penalty, such as rape, before drunk driving that causes injury, death, or damage. They're right. We should execute violent rapists to ensure they don't rape again. However, this isn't a situation where one or the other should be made a capitol offense: both crimes should be made a capitol offense.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Betting Against President Obama

Gold has been in the news lately. The University of Texas disclosure that it has been buying gold as part of its endowment investment put gold in the news. Further, the news of gold futures breaking the $1,500 an ounce mark put gold in the news, as did reports that investors were looking to gold due to the weakening of the U.S. dollar and the Standard and Poor's downgrade of the United States fiscal outlook to negative.

Why invest in gold? Gold is considered a safe-haven for investors. When the dollar weakens, when uncertainty rises, and when the economy weakens, the price of gold tends to rise. Essentially, the worse the financial situation becomes in the United States, the more valuable gold is. The same applies to silver and other precious metals.

Investing in gold, essentially, is a bet against President Obama or the Congress taking action that will greatly improve the United States economy. When President Obama suggests hiking taxes, doesn't want to cut spending enough, won't eliminate unneeded regulation, and continues to side with big unions instead of trying to create conditions that will create jobs, grow the economy, and grow revenues, it's a sign that the future of the country's economy is at risk. An economy at risk means that investors look to buy safe-haven investments. Gold has low risk, because it has intrinsic value. Unlike buying stock in a company, there's no risk of gold going bankrupt. You can't make something out of stock. On the other hand, with gold, you could make jewelry or decorations. Some people even have replacement teeth made out of gold.

Were the United States to have its Aaa rating cut or default on obligations, economic havoc would take place. Stocks would decline in value, the dollar would weaken, and then we would see job loss and greater unemployment leading to a cycle of economic slowdown and progress away from prosperity instead of progress towards it. Meanwhile, the price of gold would go up. If the United States dollar were to weaken by 10 percent today, another $150 an ounce would be added to the price of gold making it worth around $1,650. In our recent interview with a middle class American who has invested in gold, she alluded President Obama's failure to stop the weakening of the United States dollar:
The Report: Some say President Obama is weakening the dollar and that sends gold higher and stocks lower. Do you agree?

Nicole: I bought gold when we were seeing a price of $1,000 an ounce and I still have the gold investment. I could make a profit of over $400 an ounce right now. Barack Obama doesn't seem committed to stopping it. However, the economy is recovering and so my strategy is to have stocks and to have gold because I think both will go higher.

Investors who are hoping to earn a profit by buying gold now and selling it later are essentially expecting President Obama to fail, and the price of gold to go up as a result, earning them a profit. So far, they've been right. When President took office, gold was under $1,000 an ounce. An investor who bought gold on the day of President Obama's inauguration could sell it now for a 50% profit. Betting against President Obama worked for over two years, and there's a good chance that it will continue to work for the remainder of his term in office.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Balance It Now

While Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) has good intentions in proposing a balanced budget by the year 2040, his plan would simply balance the budget too late. The country cannot continue to operate for 29 years by spending more than it brings in.

Yesterday's announcement by Standard & Poor's that it was cutting the United States fiscal outlook from "stable" to "negative," should be a wake up call to Congress and every American that the country cannot continue to operate as it has in the past. Major budget cuts must be made, and tax reforms must be made to provide for growth, and thus a greater collection of tax revenue by the government. The Report is no fan of tax hikes, of course, but we understand that you can collect more tax revenue with lower tax rates and a simpler tax code. Collecting, for example, 35% of $1,000 gives you $350. If you lower that rate to 20%, but increase the amount of money to $2,000, you'll get $400. Earlier this year, we wrote about how even President Obama seems to somewhat understand the concept. Unfortunately, his recent proposal to hike taxes shows that he is allowing the far-left to push him towards making bad decisions for America.

Standard & Poor's downgrade of the United States' fiscal outlook was made, in part, because the firm believed that the United States has a 1-in-3 chance of having its debt rating cut from the top Aaa rating by 2013. This cut would be devastating for economic growth. To prevent such economic damage, it is imperative that Congress take action to pass a balanced budget this year, to take effect in 2012. Starting in 2012, the government must not spend more than it brings in. "Less is more," is the way to achieve the balance -- through less spending, less regulation, and a less complex tax code.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I Wanna Be A Billionaire...

Do you want to be a billionaire? Great news! You can now be considered a billionaire by earning just $250,000 a year. That's right, earn 0.025% or 1/4000th of a billion dollars and President Obama will lump you together with the billionaires and charge you the highest tax rates!

When he's acting more moderately, President Obama will simply lump you in with the millionaires for making 25% (1/4th) of a million dollars.

Last time we checked, a millionaire was defined as someone with at least one million dollars and a billionaire was someone with at least one billion dollars. The majority of Americans who are "thousandaires" don't deserve to be lumped in with millionaires and billionaires, nor do they deserve tax hikes.

Luckily, President Obama's ridiculous proposal to hike taxes doesn't affect your tax filings/payments due to the IRS today, so have a happy Tax Day and hope that Congress will not allow him to damage the United States' economy with tax hikes that were previously rejected by the American people.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Interview: Bulls Make Money, Bears Make Money...

Nicole is a 29-year-old woman living in Florida. Married in 2009, Nicole and her husband are expecting their first child this summer. While many Americans have a negative view of Wall Street, Nicole has made over $30,000 from Wall Street in the last two years. She plans to use the money to help her and her husband pay off their mortgage ahead of time, and also to set aside money so her child can attend college. In our first original interview, we asked Nicole a few questions about her success and how someone who is just an average American can make money off Wall Street.

The Report: Can you give us a little background on your education and what got you into investing?
Nicole: I graduated in 2004 from the University of Florida. I was a biology major and now work in corporate communications. I got into investing as a kid when my parents opened a savings account and I realized that I could make more money by saving up and collecting the interest. What got me into more investing in stocks, though, was when I saw that the stock market had fallen so much and I thought that there could be an opportunity just like how people made lots of money in the boom after the 1980s recession.

The Report: So you had no formal education in finance or business and didn't work on Wall Street?
Nicole: I took a college math class that involved some finance, but that was all. I lived in Florida my entire life.

The Report: You made $30,000 in two years. How did you do it?
Nicole: People sold out of their stocks during the recession and I think the average person kept hearing on TV about the bad things the Wall Street bankers were doing and about how the economy was terrible. I felt like it might be a chance to make some money.

The Report: How did you know what stocks to buy?
Nicole: I felt like the successful companies would be ones that kept people buying during the recession. People cut back on travel and eating out so I avoided airlines and food companies. But I saw that iPods and iPhones were flying off the shelves. So I took around $5,000 and bought shares of Apple stock at around $100 in 2008. I also noticed people were getting more into being fit and exercising, and Lululemon was a company that fit into that boost and so I bought shares in 2009 for $8 a share. I sold off at $85. I've made some mistakes, though, and taken some losses, but overall I've made money.

The Report: You oct-tupled your money on a stock?! 
Nicole: I did. I bought 250 shares at $8. That cost around $2,000 and then when it hit $85 I sold it and the profit there was $15,000. Apple I sold off at $200 a share, so I made $5,000 on it. I should have kept it, because I could be up over $10,000 that way.

The Report: Why do you think many Americans look at Wall Street as evil and blame economic problems on big banks?
Nicole: Investing can be scary. A couple months after buying Apple, the shares were down over 10%. I held onto the shares thinking it would go up later. Really, I should have bought even more. What Americans need to do is read into investing and learn what they can do. Watch CNBC and FOX Business Network. Read the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times. Look at the public reports companies file. Our government forces public companies to file reports and you can get them on the internet and learn about the company's finances. Wall Street bankers are making money while you're sitting back missing out, so instead of missing out get into investing.

The Report: Some say President Obama is weakening the dollar and that sends gold higher and stocks lower. Do you agree?
Nicole: I bought gold when we were seeing a price of $1,000 an ounce and I still have the gold investment. I could make a profit of over $400 an ounce right now. Barack Obama doesn't seem committed to stopping it. However, the economy is recovering and so my strategy is to have stocks and to have gold because I think both will go higher.

The Report: Many of the big Wall Street investors are able to buy thousands or millions of shares. How can an average American have an advantage without lots of money?
Nicole: One strategy that I started to use last June was options. You basically pay a fee to control 100 shares and have the arrangement to be able to buy the 100 shares in the future at an expiration date and a set price. A stock that costs $50 a share, 100 shares would be $5,000. But if you can pay 10 cents a share for the right to buy that stock at $51 in 3 months, and the stock goes up to $52, you'll make a 90 cent profit on the 100 shares. That's $90 in profit without having to put up the $5,000 for the stock. So using options lets you control a lot more in terms of shares with less money.

The Report: You suggested we title this post "bulls make money, bears make money." Why?
Nicole: One of the shows I watch is Mad Money with Jim Cramer. There was a phrase he says of "bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered." It means that you can make money when the market goes up, make money when it goes down, but if you are greedy you'll lose.

The Report: Gordon Gekko tells us greed is good. But greed will make you lose money?
Nicole: It certainly can. A stock that you buy for $10 goes up to $15. You could sell it and profit $5. But if you get greedy thinking it'll go to $18 and you can make $3 more a share, you'll might end up a loser if the stock falls instead of going up. It's better to take a small profit than a small loss when you invest.

The Report: What do you say to those who claim that Wall Street is a sham, rigged so that the rich get richer. Have you heard of Michael Moore's war on Wall Street and capitalism?
Nicole: I don't listen to Michael Moore because I don't think he understands how the world works. Wall Street isn't a sham. It's just that people think it's too complicated or too elite for them when it's really not. You don't need millions or billions of dollars to make money.

The Report: What was your biggest loss in investing?
Nicole: I bought 300 shares of Borders for over $4 a share and the company went bankrupt. Had I realized book sales were shifting to online and e-readers, I would have bought Amazon stock.

The Report: What are your political leanings?
Nicole: I like a hands-off government. The American people are smart and resilient, we don't need people telling us how to run our own lives. I'm a big fan of the Tea Party movement's agenda of cutting back taxes. If people have more money due to paying less tax they can invest more into American business and make more money. In 2004 I voted for George W. Bush, but then in 2008 I voted for President Obama. I didn't think John McCain could represent younger voters as well. I'm registered as an independent.

The Report: We recently wrote about how President Obama is losing independent voter support and many who voted for him in 2008 regret it. Do you regret that vote?
Nicole: I don't. I think Barack Obama had a tough situation, but I don't agree with everything he has done. I would like to see good candidates run against him in 2012 and I will vote for whoever will be best for the nation.

The Report: Any final tips for our readers?
Nicole: Don't be afraid to invest your money. The possible gain is far more than what a savings account or savings bonds will give you. Start off small to build your confidence. That wasn't really something I did, but you can start off by buying your stocks in small lots. Something like Citigroup, 20 shares can be purchased for under $100, for example. The Wall Street bankers got rich because they weren't afraid to take risk and they invested their money into stocks while most Americans just put theirs in the bank with an interest rate so small that their money was losing value because of inflation.

The Report: Thank you for taking the time to chat with us. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Taxing Their Imports: Could It Bring China In Line?

Potential Presidential Candidate Donald J. Trump has suggested that a huge problem for the United States is that China has taken away jobs and manufacturing, while gaining an economic advantage over the United States through abusive practices such as currency manipulation. China is a nation that has engaged in oppressive conduct, including censorship, socialism, and restrictions on academic freedom. Before Trump, many have brought up concerns with China taking jobs away from America and sucking money out of the economy.

Trump's solution, which he voiced in an interview this week, is to slap a 25% tax on all Chinese imports if China were to not get in line. But would this work?

The answer, likely not. China would likely be able to maintain cheaper prices than American manufacturers even with a 25% price hike caused by an import tax. In China, a factory can operate without worrying about adhering to strict occupational safety standards, environmental regulations, or even paying a decent wage to employees. For the price of one minimum wage American worker, a dozen or more can be had in China. Further, the country's movement to embrace more free-market capitalism has led to new entrepreneurship and investment in China while the United States makes the mistake of moving backwards towards the socialist concepts that failed in the Soviet Union.  Further, the Chinese would likely figure out methods of tax evasion. A Chinese company might send products to a company in Canada, and then the Canadian company would take advantage of free trade agreements to bring the product to the United States.

What can the United States do? Part of the answer, but not the complete answer lies in spreading freedom and democracy, education and immigration reform, and the American consumer.

If the people of China were to stop working for such low wages and demand pay in line with what American or European workers get, Chinese companies would no longer have a labor cost advantage over American companies. The United States should make effort to help the people of China advance, thereby weakening their own country's economy.

Many young Chinese come to the United States to get an education -- and then they go back to China and help grow its economy. The United States should adopt a policy of giving students who graduate with at least a Bachelor's Degree the option of remaining in the United States and instead of working for a Chinese company, working for an American company and helping grow the American economy. Enable these students to work for a few years and then obtain citizenship and become supporters of American freedom and democracy for life. Additionally, the higher education industry in the United States needs to stop giving scholarships and admissions to Chinese students while turning away American students. By educating the Chinese, the United States loses competitive advantage.

Finally, the American consumer must stop buying from China. The reason the Chinese make money is because they put their products in American stores and Americans go out and buy them. Instead of buying Chinese-made products, American consumers should buy American-made products. If a Chinese company can't sell its product, they won't be able to hurt American business and kill jobs in America.

What is the complete answer to China? The Report knows the complete answer is very complex. It's a solution that will require much thought, the support of the American people, strong leadership, and an understanding of the large number of players, conditions, and variables. One thing that is NOT the solution to the China problem is to maintain the status quo. If the status quo is maintained, then the United States will find itself no longer the world's strongest economic power and the situation shown in this video could become reality.

We invite our readers to comment on what they think the solution is to the China problem by posting a comment on this post. Remember, The Report has comments enabled on all of its posts. We do not censor comments, unless they are blatantly spam, pornography, or attempts to "flame" others, in which case we may remove them.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Banned in Boston

In the early 20th century, the term "Banned in Boston" was applied to works that were prohibited from being sold, performed, acted, etc. in Boston, Massachusetts due to unconstitutional censorship and abuse in the city. Today, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, a liberal Democrat has brought the banning back to Boston with a plan to ban beverages from city property. We're not talking about banning people from drinking liquor on the job, rather the ban is on the sale of "non-diet sodas, pre-sweetened ice teas, refrigerated coffee drinks, energy drinks, juice drinks with added sugar, and sports drinks." The Mayor has moved forward on this ban with the issuing of an executive order, meaning there was no democratic process or ability for the people of Boston to object.

What Mayor Menino is doing is blatantly attacking the right of the American people to make their own choices and decisions. While it is known that eating/drinking excessive amounts of sugar, whether in beverages or elsewhere, can lead to taking in more calories than recommended which can lead to weight gain or even obesity in the long-run, the choice on what to eat or drink should be left to individual Americans.

Drinking sports drinks or a soda in moderation doesn't lead to obesity. At a gym, you'll see many people who drink a sports drink while exercising. Some of them are obese, trying to get in shape, but many are not. Likewise, many who drink refrigerated coffee drinks, energy drinks, or non-diet soda aren't obese. Some are, but that's because of their own personal choices and bad decisions, not because the government allowed the sale of food and beverage with sugar in it.

Canned and bottled beverages contain nutritional data, including the amount of sugar/carbohydrates and calories on the bottle. Many even prominently feature this information on the front as a result of a movement by the beverage industry to make it easier for Americans to make their own decisions on what beverages to buy or drink. Unfortunately, the Mayor of Boston thinks that he should be able to decide what Bostonians can drink instead of allowing individuals the freedom to make their own decisions.

If you want to let Mayor Thomas M. Menino know that Americans are smart enough to make their own decisions, you can contact the Mayor's Office:

Mail: Mayor of Boston / 1 City Hall Square, Suite 500 / Boston, MA 02201-2013
Phone: 617.635.4500
Fax: 617.635.2851

Friday, April 8, 2011

Are We Overtaxed?

The question often comes up: Are the American people overtaxed? Well the answer, according to the American people themselves, is yes. In a new poll by Rasmussen Reports, 64 percent of Americans believe that the people are overtaxed. The poll reiterates 2010 findings that a majority of the American people feel that they are overtaxed.

The Report has written many times before about taxes. We've written about how fewer than one in five Americans want taxes to go up. We've also written about how President Obama has talked about using supply-side economic theory to actually generate more revenue for the government with lower taxes.

Unfortunately, it seems that all the talk has yet to amount to any actual tax reform or tax cuts. Could President Obama be holding off on pushing tax cuts until just before November 2012 with the hopes of gaining back the independent voters and the Obama Republicans? Many independents and even some Republicans voted for President Obama enabling his 2008 victory of Sen. John McCain. However, the President's support with independents and Republicans has fallen. Many who voted for him now regret that decision, and without their support he cannot win in 2012.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Eliminating Oppression in Higher Education

As the debate continues over allowing students, faculty, and staff at institutions of higher education to protect themselves from criminals, the Huffington Post has a slideshow highlighting a few things that should be allowed on college campuses before firearms. Some of the ridiculous prohibitions colleges and universities in the United States have had:

  • Christmas Trees: A ridiculous prohibition that infringes on a student's ability to freely express their religion.
  • Lobsters: An absurd prohibition that prohibits people from cooking fresh seafood.
  • Snowball Fights: An absurd prohibition on clean, relatively-safe fun.
  • Bubble Machines: Another absurd prohibition on clean, safe fun.
Some other institution of higher education have come up with almost oppressive student codes of conduct. At some schools, students are prohibited from drinking under the age of 21, even if they are in a country where it is legal. Others curb free speech, and some even try to curb sexual activity amongst their student body.

It is pretty clear these these restrictions go against the American ideals of freedom and democracy. They restrict personal choice and are an attempt to indoctrinate young American voters into the idea that they can and should be told what they can and can't do without due process or proper representation. 

In order to stop colleges and universities from these ridiculous, left-wing practices, the government should mandate that no school that engages in these practices will be considered eligible for federal funding of any sort. This includes research grants, but also would prohibit financial aid or loan funds from the government to be used towards attending these institutions. Schools would either need to change their policies, or they would find students transferring away to places where they can use federal financial aid and loan money.