Our president has said “spreading the wealth around is a good thing”. And it is … IF it’s done via the charitable heart of the individual. But when the middleman is in Washington, DC the inherent flaws of socialism rear their ugly heads. In the words of founding father James Madison, “Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government”.
I was watching television the other night and I came to the conclusion that maybe this “redistribution of wealth” policy of the current administration could be tweaked a little to make conservatives like me more amenable to it. Currently the goal is to take from those who earned their money and give it to those that have no interest in earning it. That is inherently a bad policy. It sounds all well and good but there are countless reasons why this ideology is dangerous (to say the least).
The underlying reasoning is helping those that need help and I think the majority of Americans embrace that idea. The problem is in the “method” of redistribution. Our government would have us believe that THEY can spend OUR money more wisely that WE, the people, can. If you aren’t laughing then the odds are that you’re a politician! If there was ever an oxymoron it’s “Wise Government” …
Look at the current status of our government. They spend ONE TRILLION more dollars than they bring in every year. Do you know how much ONE TRILLION dollars is? Start counting right now. It will take you 536 years to count to one trillion! Well, if you don’t stop for a breath anyway.
If the goal is to help people escape poverty then giving money earned by hardworking citizens to those who have done nothing to earn that money will not teach the lessons that need to be learned in this nation. Milton Friedman said “The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way. In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history, are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade”.
It’s about self reliance, hard work, ingenuity, honesty, integrity, and perseverance. We must stop using the tactics currently employed by our leaders. Envy, hate, and resentment hurt our society and the ultimate result of the “redistribution of wealth” achieved by those means is best described by Winston Churchill as “the equal sharing of misery”. Margaret Thatcher summed it up precisely: “Socialism is a great until you run out of other people’s money”. Now that I’m clear in my abhorrence of the redistribution of wealth, let me explain the “tweaks” to the ideology that would make it more palatable.
It all boils down to WHO we extract the money from to accomplish this grand scheme. My first criteria would be to garnish the wages of those that add no redeeming value to our society. Has anyone been watching American Idol this season? If so, I think we can agree that Nikki Minaj should start off the list of people that add nothing to our society. Well, nothing positive. She does add arrogance, rudeness, conceit, and self aggrandizement to our society. I never thought Idol would find someone more full of themselves than Simon Cowell but I guess if you dig far enough down in the barrel you can find about anything. Another addition to the list is Kim Kardashian. Do I really need to explain that one?
In the next category I think we need to add actors and actresses that access their uninformed, unintelligent minds to bless us with their liberal wisdom (another oxymoron). Does anyone really care what Matt Damon, Ashley Judd, or Sean Penn think? They are most certainly in favor of redistributing wealth (mostly other people’s wealth) so why don’t they put their money where their mouth is and pony up about 95310302f their wealth to the government so they can pass it out to those people they claim they so desperately want to help? Or do they think they can spend the money more wisely on their own?
Lastly, I would like to propose that the career politicians that so excitedly support the redistribution of wealth are added to the list along with an assurance to the American people that the legislation they write will not exempt them from their own legislation as most of their legislation typically does. In addition, those that have made a killing on Wall Street via their use of insider information should be required to be wealth redistributed FIRST. If Nancy Pelosi loves redistribution and she’s made millions due to her political ties and her access to information most traders would kill for, then let’s raid her bank account first. I’m sure she’d willingly provide access to her ill-gotten gains because she’s a real patriot, right?
Stop laughing and wipe the tears from your eyes so you can see the remainder of my list of other politicians and celebrities that should surrender their money so they look less like the hypocrites we, and they, know they are: Warren Buffett, Harry Reid, Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, George Soros, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Chris Rock, Alec Baldwin, Al Gore, Michael Moore, Ariana Huffington, Oprah, Mark Cuban, Jay-Z, Bill Maher, Michael Bloomberg, Chris Mathews, Rachel Maddow, George Clooney, Paul Krugman, Andy Stern, and Al Franken. For good measure lets go ahead and throw in all of the news media that tout the evils of capitalism; ABC, NBC, CBS, and PBS.
IF those people on the list would practice what they preach they could probably eliminate the debt, eliminate the deficit, provide free health care for those that genuinely NEED it, feed every hungry mouth in the USA, and even give us all a free Netflix membership. But don’t hold your breath. They’d rather sit up on their high horse and pretend they care about others than to actually do something about the issues that plague our country.
So if the liberal progressive legislators want conservatives on board for redistribution of wealth … there’s the plan. By the way, one final word from Thomas Jefferson …
“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”
The Next Generation of Sin Stocks to Ride Out a Bear Market
While the recent stock market rally has technically pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average out of a bear market, many investors aren’t convinced it will last.
They expect that once the euphoria surrounding the $2 trillion stimulus plan wears off, the market will resume its slide downward as the economic impact of the coronavirus takes hold in the next few quarters.
Sin stocks, so named because they are things that we should go without but can’t seem to part ways with, are historically a great investment during downturns.
The added stress and uncertainty means an uptick in business for the companies producing these sinful indulgences.
Things like alcohol, cigarettes, weapons and gambling all fall under the umbrella of sin stocks, so companies like Altria (NYSE:MO), Diageo (NYSE:DEO), Sturm Ruger (NYSE:RGR) and MGM Resorts (NYSE:MGM) are all widely considered to be sin stocks.
And while they can make great investments during times of uncertainty, there’s a new breed of sin stocks that could generate even larger returns over the coming months as Americans turn to their (new) favorite vices.
Here’s a short list of “next gen” sin stocks that we expect to do very well.
While this is by no means a “new” vice, it is only in the last few years that it’s been possible to directly invest in companies that produce and sell marijuana. That wasn’t possible during the 2008 financial crisis, so it will be interesting to see how the major players do during their first economic downturn.
Just like smoking, we expect demand to hold up very well, if not increase, during times of turmoil.
Consider the larger companies like Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC), GW Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:GWPH) and Cronos Group (Nasdaq:CRON).
Being a “gamer” is a lifestyle now, with livestreaming on YouTube and Twitch and professional Esports leagues formed around the most popular titles like Call of Duty and Overwatch.
Video games are big money now, and the larger production studios will continue to generate massive revenues as the culture grows in the years ahead.
Look at the big studios with strong franchises like Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq:ATVI) which has the Call of Duty and Overwatch franchises and Electronic Arts (Nasdaq:EA) which has the Madden, Battlefield and FIFA franchises.
Social Media Platforms
If you have a child or grandchild under the age of 30, you are probably very aware of the effort it takes to get their attention away from their phones and all the social media apps or platforms that they are using.
Tik-Tok, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are all designed to keep users engaged and spending as much time as possible on their platforms. The publicly traded ones are Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and Facebook, which also owns Instagram (Nasdaq:FB)
While there are no guarantees when it comes to investing, as the coronavirus causes more people to spend time at home, they’ll be spending more time using the products and services of these next generation sin stocks, and that should translate to more revenues and higher profits for the companies.
Dow and S&P Post First Back-to-Back Gains Since February
While it may be a small victory, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 managed to post their first back-to-back positive days since February.
The Dow closed 2.39% higher, gaining 495 points to close at 21,200. The S&P was up 1.15%, closing 28 points higher at 2,475.
The Dow was helped by a massive 24% rally in Boeing shares and a 9.2% gain for Nike stock.
The Nasdaq slid 0.5% yesterday as the tech-heavy index saw Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet all close in negative territory.
Stock gave back part of their gains right before the market closed when Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said he was ready to “put a hold” on the $2 trillion stimulus bill currently working its way through the Senate.
Sanders is looking for tighter restrictions on companies receiving aid from a taxpayer pool of $500 billion.
While the market has used the likely passage of the stimulus bill as a catalyst for the massive rally over the last two days, at least one investor says the stimulus is reassuring Wall Street, not Main Street.
“What the fiscal and monetary stimulus has done is to allow the market to recover,” said Justin Hoogendoorn, head of fixed income strategy at Piper Jaffray in Chicago. “It’s not because the main street community is coming back. It’s the institutional crowd being able to say, ‘the world isn’t falling apart’.”
Others are worried that the euphoria over the stimulus bill is driving the market higher in the same way it originally drove the market down.
Adam Crisafulli, founder of Vital Knowledge, said in a note:
“The stimulus measures will continue acting as equity tailwinds as they seep into corners of the credit market presently locked.”
But he added that the market “is clearly moving much faster than underlying fundamentals and just as sharp declines on prior sessions exaggerated economic conditions, the rebounds will too.”
On Wednesday, former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said that he expects the U.S. economy will have a quick rebound after a “very sharp” recession.
“If there’s not too much damage done to the workforce, to the businesses during the shutdown period, however long that may be, then we could see a fairly quick rebound,” Bernanke said while appearing on CNBC’s Squawk Box.
He added “This is a very different animal from the Great Depression” which he said “came from human problems, monetary and financial shocks. This has some of the same feel, some of the feel of panic, some of the feel of volatility that you’re talking about. It’s much closer to a major snowstorm or a natural disaster than a classic 1930′s-style depression.”
In order for the markets to avoid a “snowstorm” turning into a recession, Peter Oppenheimer, chief global equity strategist at Goldman Sachs, said there are four “components” needed for stabilization:
″(i) A sign that the policy intervention is sufficient to prevent severe second- and third-round economic shocks; (ii) A sign that the infection rate is reaching a peak; (iii) A sign that the economic downturn may be slowing; and (iv) Cheap valuations,” Oppenheimer wrote in a note to clients. “In reality, we believe it will be a combination of these, and in some cases there are already signs these are in place.”
Stimulus Checks: How Many Months Until Payments Go Out, and What Could You Receive?
Millions of Americans will receive direct payments from the federal government thanks to a $2 trillion federal funding package that was agreed to early Wednesday morning.
The bill, which could be signed by President Donald Trump later Wednesday, is in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has shuttered non-life sustaining businesses nationwide and led to thousands if not hundreds of thousands of new unemployment claims.
Here are the details you need to know about when, and how much, you might receive.
When will the money go out?
According to CNN, relief may still be a couple of months away, as the outlet reports that checks or direct deposits might not go out until May.
“First, the IRS will have to calculate each person’s payment amount,’ CNN writes. “Then, it will need the correct direct deposit information or mailing addresses.
“To get the money to people who don’t usually file tax returns, it might have to request that information from the Social Security Administration or Veterans Affairs. In 2008, those people were required to file a return anyway in order to get their rebate.”
That, of course, will take time, and keep in mind that the IRS is still receiving tax filings, as well, even if the federal government and also Pennsylvania, among many other states, have pushed back the deadline to file.
For those looking for an optimistic timeline, mid-April seems to be the absolute earliest that checks could go out.
More: Pa. unemployment claims skyrocket to 540,000 since statewide coronavirus shutdown, shattering records
How much will I get?
Here is what the New York Times says:
“A $1,200 payment for each adult — and $500 per child — in households that earn up to $75,000 per year for individuals or $150,000 for couples. The assistance phases out for people who earn more.”
CNN has more details on what the phase-out threshold might look like.
“The payments would start to phase out for individuals with adjusted gross incomes of more than $75,000, and those making more than $99,000 would not qualify at all,” CNN writes. “The thresholds are doubled for couples.
“Qualifying income levels will be based on 2019 federal tax returns, if already filed, and otherwise on 2018 returns.”
What happened the last time this happened?
This package marks the third time since 2000 that the federal government has approved payments to citizens based on special circumstances.
As CNN notes, it took six weeks for checks to go out under a 2001 plan for tax rebates that were authorized by then-president George W. Bush. Checks during the ‘Great Recession’ of 2008 didn’t go out for three months, however.
Experts believe that an increase in electronic tax filing and the use of direct deposit for refunds could lead to expedited payments this time around, and those who have that set up are likely to receive their money faster than those who will be waiting on a check.
More: These central Pa. businesses are still open during the coronavirus pandemic
Where is the money coming from?
Syracuse.com has details:
“Taxes, essentially,” its Geoff Herbert writes.
“CNBC reports it’s unclear whether the money will be considered a loan or a gift, in which case some of it may have to be paid back.”
Why only one check?
Previous proposals that were discussed as the spread of COVID-19 continued to hurt the economy mentioned the possibility of two checks being sent out, but the agreement reached Wednesday calls for just one. It’s possible that a second round could go out, however, if schools and businesses must remain closed into the summer.
How will businesses be helped?
This part of the package is still being finalized, but Yahoo reports that the Small Business Administration will handle some requests while a new, still-to-be-named agency will handle others, likely for larger businesses and corporations. It was referred to as ‘a big credit facility’ by Pennsylvania senator Pat Toomey over the weekend.
“The facility will have two components: One will be administered by the Treasury Secretary with direct loans for a short list of “seriously distressed and absolutely essential companies,” likely including airlines,” Yahoo writes.
“The second component will be much bigger and be “a broad-based credit facility that will be available across categories, across sectors and industries.” Toomey said this program will give loans that will have to be repaid. “None of this is grant money,” he said.”
More of PennLive’s coronavirus coverage:
Why social distancing works, as demonstrated with Skittles
Pa. school districts prepare for possibility of students not returning to classrooms
Governors, still trying to flatten the coronavirus curve, balk at Trump’s Easter Sunday timeline
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