Solutions To The Fiscal Cliff: Time To Start Investing?

Fiscal Cliff Of Santorini, GreeceEverybody is worried about a fiscal cliff, so what the hell is it? In a nut shell, Bernanke coined the term in Feb 2012 as a way to describe massive spending cuts and tax hikes in January 2013 if there is no budget deal in Washington DC. Because the House is still controlled by the Republicans, and the Senate is still controlled by the Democrats, there is worry no legislation will pass given what happened during the debt ceiling debacle.

If no budget resolution passes, here’s what happens: 1) Federal income tax rates increase for those in the 33% and 35% tax brackets as the Bush tax cuts expire, 2) the payroll tax holiday disappears, 3) federal unemployment benefits completely vanish, 4) reimbursements get reduced to Medicare doctors, and 5) the debt ceiling stays the same, which forces across-the-board government spending cuts, including slashes in defense spending.

The fiscal cliff could amount to some $7 trillion worth of tax increases and spending cuts over a decade. This would do wonders to balance the budget to the dismay of free-spending politicians everywhere. The problem with such budget balance awesomeness is the abruptness by which policies are implemented. Even though ALL of us have known about the fiscal cliff for years, no policitian is willing to do anything until the last moment…. or more importantly, until they win the November 2012 elections to ensure power for the next four years!

I know I sound cynical about politicians, but open your eyes already! We work for the politicians, not the other way around. It’s our job to work as much as possible to keep our politicians in power so they can live great lifestyles and make lots of money while telling people what to do. Every single politician has told me, “Screw pension reform, because that’s my money!” Sweet.

Let’s address some key bickering points.

POINTS OF FISCAL CONTENTION 

Investment And Economic Outlook Post President Obama Victory

Now that President Obama has won, I’d like for us to have a mature discussion on the investment and economic outlook for the next four years. Let’s also touch upon how we should act in public now that big government is here to stay.

In order to create wealth, we must make reasonable assumptions about the future and invest accordingly. It’s important to remove our biases from the equation given we often see what we want to see and ignore everything else. We shouldn’t harp on the fact that over $2 billion dollars of campaign spending went into this election, which could have gone to help people in need.

If you are a raging right wing Republican, sorry, but your guy lost. Get over it. I got over the fact I stopped growing in the 9th grade. Your hope for smaller government, less taxes, less red tape, less welfare, less marriage equality, and a supposed balanced budget isn’t likely going to happen!

Remember to keep an open mind because creating wealth is the name of the game. Don’t let your stubbornness blind you. Let us begin.

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK

Presidential Election Time: Policies To Win America’s Vote

Occupy The Government!The presidential election is just days away! This is when candidates start hamming it up and telling us all the great things they will do for us to gain or retain power. My favorite policies are ones that redistribute money from those who’ve earned it to those who haven’t. That rocks!

Given politicians love power, I hereby declare my wish list of things if they promise to do, will buy my vote. Everybody needs to think about what type of goodies you want from the government as well. For those of you who have the privilege of paying federal income taxes, do not let your tax dollars go to waste! You will be thrown in jail if you do not pay your federal income taxes, so it’s important to demand concessions.

Obama and Mitt, if you’re still reading my site (I see those White House IP addresses hit on occasion), think long and hard about my list of demands. Mitt, you should be especially vigilant because my crystal ball says you are on track to lose big time. Obama is doing a much, much better job convincing the middle class he will provide us more benefits. You don’t want to waste all that time and donor’s money again now would you?

TOP 10 WISHES TO GET MY VOTE 

I’ve Seen The Future And It Looks So Bright

Copenhagen Sunrise

Part of creating great wealth and happiness is anticipating the future, understanding the future, betting on the future, and adapting to the future.

With President Obama in power until 2016, he can be more aggressive with his policy initiatives given he no longer has to compete for another term. If Obama gets his way, taxes will go up for higher income citizens, government spending will go up to help care for our most impoverished, debt will increase, and more people will be saved from the perils of capitalism.

In other words, America will become more like Europe. We just need to be careful not to be Europe in its existing form where too much debt torpedoes our entire economic livelihood. But even if we go overboard, there will always be the Federal Reserves of our greatest nations to help us out. As the world police, they owe us!

Given America is becoming more like Europe, I decided to go to Europe and see for myself what our future might be like. You thought I was just going on a 2.5 week vacation to inject $10,000 into the Eurozone to help save the world didn’t you? Au contraire mon frere. My main purpose was to conduct some front lines investigative reporting to provide readers with unique, real-time insight into how to live and prosper over the next four years!

WHAT AMERICA WILL BE LIKE

Growing Up As A Republican Black Woman In America Today

Mia Love Mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah

Mia Love Mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah

In a Presidential Election year, it’s important we all discuss, understand and get involved. It’s irresponsible not to have a view when so much of our future is at stake. The popular vote is divided down the middle, where many are unwilling to see the other side of the story. It is my pleasure to highlight a unique viewpoint from an old friend. Hope you gain some perspective, no matter which side of the party line you are on. Having perspective makes everything better. S

I’m going to tell you a little secret, which is rarely spoken in the African American community. There are some of us who live in fear because we went to college, found good jobs, and do not fully support President Obama. Because I am black, everybody just assumes that I support him. Although I think he is a magnificent orator who is much more entertaining than all others, the fact of the matter is that I do not support his policies that expand the ever growing powers of government. I’m sorely disappointed by the racial and socio-economic divide he has perpetuated since coming to office.

In an earlier post Sam asked, “Why Isn’t President Obama Considered White To The World?” The reason is, he doesn’t speak of or identify with a full 50% of his ethnic heritage. He says he’s black and that’s that. Forget about his Caucasian mother and her heritage. He is one of us, and no matter what, my community has to support him. He’s deemed courageous because he denounces his white half. As someone who is majority black, there’s no way I can go against him.

I knew after reading Sam’s post that I had to speak about my consternation as a black woman in America today.  Perhaps I can clear up some misconceptions that not everything is as “black and white” as it seems. I hope you’ll spend the time to read my story and share your thoughts below.

GROWING UP IN THE SOUTH

Going John Galt And Protesting Government Waste

Grim Reaper As John GaltJohn Galt is a fictional character in Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged (1957).  The phrase, “Going John Galt ” or “Going Galt” is used to describe “productive” members of society cutting back on work in response to the projected increase in U.S. marginal tax rates, increased limits on tax deductions, and the use immoral or inefficient use of tax revenues.

I’m not sure if I was a more productive member of society when I was working. I just got into the office regularly around 5:30am-6am to try and learn and do as much as possible before my superiors got in. The result of working more was simply earning more than the median pay. Not a big deal nor a surprise that working more gets you paid more.

As someone who has now forsaken his day job for more freedom, in a large way, I’m “Going Galt.” I’ve been a big opponent of Big Government for a long time because politicians have a history of lying, pandering only to their supporters, saying one thing and doing another, abusing power, and wasting money. You can spend your money much more efficiently than the government.

If you’ve paid a couple hundred thousand in taxes one year, and the city is unwilling to fix their broken water main pipe underneath their sidewalk outside your house, you will be pissed!  If it takes 11 months to finally get the City to fix a clanking manhole cover after you’ve called 38 times, you will be agitated beyond belief. If the Federal Government uses your tax dollars to fund a war you don’t believe in, and kill thousands of innocent civilians, you will be despondent. When your property’s value goes up $280,000 during the worst economic recession just so the State can collect more property taxes, you are going to riot!

The only way you can cut off the head of the beast is by sharpening your samurai sword with knowledge and never feeding the beast another morsel of food again. The more money the government gets from you and me, the more they are going to abuse their power.

MAKING LESS FEELS SURPRISINGLY GOOD

The Best States For Unemployment Benefits: Would You Work If You Could Make $1,800 A Month Doing Nothing?

Surfing Dog In HawaiiWhy work if I make $1,800 a month in unemployment benefits?” was a question asked to me by someone I met in the hot tub last year.  At 28, Julie has been on unemployment for over 52 weeks.  Her old job was as a designer for Billabong USA.  During her time off, she’s been selling some of her paintings via Facebook where she posts her portfolio.  Of course, all her art earnings are not reported, otherwise, her $450 weekly benefits will start getting garnished after the first $25 dollars of income earned.

We’ve stayed in touch over the year and she’s been generous enough to give me some insights into the unemployment process.  She’s planning a two month trip to Jamaica with her friends, and she wants to do the right thing by suspending her unemployment benefits for that time period because she won’t be looking for work.

Despite her good intentions, she could not get through to the California Employment Development Department (edd.ca.gov) after calling 58 times.  That’s right, 58 times!!

So guess what?  She’s going to Jamaica for two months and will have her friend back in California fill out her bi-weekly continued claim form.  One of the questions she will have to answer is, “Did you look for work during the week?”  She will answer, “No.”, but undoubtedly, her unemployment benefits will still hit her Bank of America debit card like clockwork.

WOULD YOU WORK IF YOUR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS EQUALED HALF YOUR EARNINGS?