January

While the often-wrong global financial pundits predicted a breakdown of the U.S. stock market and an attendant weakness of the dollar, just the opposite has happened after the unexpected Trump election.

What most global financial gurus fail to understand is that respect of leadership and attendant reflection of a nation’s geopolitical capability are a major component of forthcoming economic strength.

This has been especially true in such emerging nations as India, Vietnam, and even Egypt and Russia, despite their current economic difficulties. Just the opposite has been true in regards to the U.S. in the past 16 years as the presidencies of Republican George W. Bush, and especially that of Barack Obama, degraded the growing potential strength of the U.S.; in the economic areas of fossil fuels, rapid technological expansion, and a thriving population growth that moved the U.S. to the world’s third most populous.

Like it or not, the admiration for a nation’s singular leadership has an inordinate influence as to the overall respect rendered by the world’s nations. This is best exemplified by the world standing of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and even Turkey’s strong man Recep Tayyip Erdogan– all of whom have risen to the top of global notoriety, even though their nations’ economies have performed inadequately during the first part of this century.

Ironically, the potential future growth of the U.S. has risen phenomenally, as reflected by the value of the dollar that has risen to the undisputed ceiling of world currencies, formerly occupied by the euro, pound, and even the Japanese yen.

What has kept the unchallengeable overall power of the U.S. well below its overall geopolitical and global strength has been the perceived weakness of the U.S. leadership that neither President Bush, or even less, President Obama projected. Whether this has been a fair overall analysis of a nation’s global power or not, this has been how the civilized world has viewed the potential power of leading global nations.

It stands to reason that incoming President Donald J. Trump, who has already generated the charismatic aura of a Roosevelt, Eisenhower, or Reagan may cause a positive reassessment of the U.S.A.

The unexpected dollar strength, and the early surge in demand for U.S. stocks and other financial instruments may well prove the veracity of renewed American respect, as the year 2017 progresses ahead.

While the U.S. ‘s 20 million barrel-per-day oil demand has never been higher, the current maximum production levels have hardly touched half this amount, even while setting new records due to “cost-effective” fracking technology, reaching 10 million bpd. America shares that level with co-world oil production leaders, Saudi Arabia and Russia.

One would think that U.S. demand would call for even greater expansion to close the crude oil demand gap. However, the outgoing U.S. President and his potential Democrat successor made it quite clear in their joint party platforms that fossil fuel development blocked “climatological purity” objectives, to which the Democratic Party had committed as its major, world-leading objective.

This has necessitated massive imports from the Mideast, especially Saudi Arabia, as well as Venezuela and Nigeria. These have no such “climatological” concerns.

Most recently, former President Barack Obama blocked several attempts by Alaska to develop additional oil potential, discovered in that giant state’s northern reaches. What makes this disapproval especially ludicrous is that this negativity came during Obama’s “lame duck” period of the Democrat President’s last weeks in power.

Fortunately, incoming President Trump has strongly committed to real “energy independence.” This was first called for by President Richard M. Nixon in 1974, after Saudi Arabia embargoed crude oil shipments to the U.S. This action was due to America’s support of Israel in their successful defeat of an Egyptian/Syrian invasion in October 1973.

It’s estimated that the U.S. is capable of eventually nearly doubling its oil production to 16 million barrels per day. This belief was recently enforced by the huge discovery within the “Wolf shale” in the nation’s most productive oil region, the Permian Basin. This new find is estimated to contain 20 billion barrels of “crude,” the most concentrated reserve ever discovered. Its natural gas reserves are even greater, comparatively speaking.

Although the continued depressed price of oil at this time makes such a humongous discovery less exciting, it bodes well for America’s future as the world’s number one energy development center.

America is doubly fortunate in having elected a President who will encourage the nation’s fossil fuel expansion, rather than stymie it. The latter would have been a certainty under the presidency of Hillary Clinton, who had previously declared the inhibition of coal, oil, and natural gas as the target of her extremist climate control commitment.

With the current U.S. Treasury debt hitting an all-time high of $20 trillion, climbing interest rates, lower tax promises, and higher wage costs, will President Trump face an unsolvable paradox?

In order to accommodate this seemingly impossible objective, it will probably require “executive orders,” supported by a compliant GOP Congress. That is one big advantage Trump will probably be able to count on. But the following hard-fisted steps will have to be taken:

  1. An immediate mandate to bring home the nearly $1.5 trillion of U.S. corporate monetary liquidity, which America’s biggest conglomerates have stashed overseas. This will not only take a special enticement tax, but a permanent tax rate for all future overseas profit generations.
  2. A severe reduction of U.S. Government agencies that have practically doubled in the past decade, together with the bloating of regulations that have especially tormented the so-called “small businesses.” That is why more independent businesses have closed shop this year than have been created.
  3. Practically all Obama presidential executive orders that have become stumbling blocks to business expansion, without Congressional approval, should be cancelled. Only those that facilitate additional utilization of America’s affluent resources, such as fossil fuels and infrastructural upgrading should be maintained.
  4. Inheritance taxes should be eliminated, as they stand as a roadblock to maintaining independent businesses. Wages and overtime should reflect productivity, and the professional nature of their positions. A creative tax structure, last updated during the Reagan Administration, should balance a federal budget that will preclude annual deficits.
  5. Export/import contracts must be based on benefits generated for America and by Americans, and its natural resources, technology, and potential energy independence. These should come first and foremost.
  6. Cancel all “climatological purity” support agreements that don’t favor the United States. No other of the world’s countries are denying their self-interest, but instead are letting the U.S. “carry all the freight,” as they laugh behind our backs.
  7. Foreign policy should have America’s “first and foremost” written across each agreement. Otherwise, no sale.

If President Trump maintains such policies, he will become the “magic wand” president that Ronald Reagan turned out to be in the 1980's.

Saturday, 28 January 2017 14:24

Why did Pre-Election Pollsters get it so Wrong?

Written by

With two weeks left before the November 8, 2016 presidential election, Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton was widening her vote margin substantially. It was no longer a question of her winning a majority, but what the degree of her landslide victory would be. The Democrat recapture of the Senate seemed assured, and the Democrat recapture of the House of Representatives appeared to be a growing possibility.

Despite the revival of the e-mail scandal, and FBI Director James Comey's confusing exposure of more Wikileaks findings, the electoral college predictions of the Oct. 28 Kiplinger Letter awarded Mrs. Clinton 294 electoral votes (270 needed) with the possibility of a Democrat rout capturing even "red" Arizona a possibility, and a long shot Texas capture not impossible.

Even the most die-hard Republican couldn't conceive a chance, as the West Coast (California, Oregon, Washington) with 94 electoral votes, Illinois with 20, New York with 29, plus a solid "blue" for New England and Virginia put the Clinton candidacy over 300. As late as election day itself, pundits gave Trump a maximum of 180, including the few states leaning his way.

Then came the late-night election bombshell that saw the highly controversial Trump capturing 290 electoral votes, 20 more than needed. All the pollsters and Democrat partisans alike were left shaking their heads in disbelief.

What happened was what this columnist had predicted on his ongoing "World Report" TV show, the "Reagan Miracle," in which the silent majority then was repulsed by President Jimmy Carter's inability to stop the runaway inflation, dismissing the sale of the Panama Canal to a Hong Kong company, soon to come under Chinese government control, and a call for downsizing; while ignoring the Iranian captivity of 300 U.S. Embassy personnel. This turned a 30% Reagan deficit into a presidential victory, and the shining decade of the 1980's, and its unanticipated U.S. recovery.

While last minute revelations of Obamacare's failure are partially to blame for Hillary's loss, the American nation, as a whole, quietly, but effectively, voted its belief. It affirmed that a dramatic presidential and supportive Congressional leadership were needed to put America back into the "right" direction, to make America the world superpower it once was.

The “free education,” which became a major plank in Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton’s platform, has proven its bankruptcy by the near trillion dollars of debt. This is owed by hundreds of thousands of university student graduates, unable to pay the loans incurred by “government-supported” financial institutions.

This concept drove many future job aspirants to the dead end of a “liberal arts” diploma, which has proved almost worthless, especially in the increasingly tight job markets that erupted during the “great financial recession,” and have only improved grudgingly in the past seven years thereafter.

Although it’s questionable as to how this debt will ever be paid off, as the majority of these “liberal arts” graduates are coming off the “government dole” or living with their parents, even greater damage has been generated by shutting down many hundreds of secondary technical "high schools" that prepared its graduates for the nation’s hard-pressed mechanical crafts, such as plumbing, electrical repairs, plastering, lathering, and the ability to provide the many skills needed in the huge “maintenance and repair” industry that is currently providing a major growth factor throughout the nation.

It’s not surprising that a shortage of truck drivers has developed recently, for which many companies are willing to pay close to five figure salaries. No wonder that many of these “liberal arts and science” students were marching in protest against the election of President Donald J. Trump, who is determined to reverse the “free education” dreams of the hundreds of thousands yet waiting to be graduated.

The well-spring of opposition to President Trump’s election has come from many of these “ultra-liberal” inspired students, anticipating a free ride from Hillary Clinton, whose eventual election was thought to be a foregone conclusion, according to most professional pollsters.

To overcome the “false promises” of the last decade will be a major hurdle that will have to be overcome by President Trump and his team of “implementers.” It may, unfortunately, become one of the most difficult, overriding tasks ever faced by an incoming president.

When America’s founding fathers shrewdly balanced the demands of 13 individual states with the newborn USA combine, they made sure that states’ rights were preserved, as a means of assuring unanimity in the new nation’s final birth.

In doing so, America’s original architects demanded a percentage of voting rights procedure to become a permanent building block of the still venerated U.S. Constitution. The resultant “electoral college” is based on a U.S. Government census, providing a total of 539 units. A presidential winner every four years is declared, based on a majority of those electoral votes.

The magic number (270) designates who will be the forthcoming President-elect, no matter if this is supported by the eventual popular vote majority total or not. In fact, both George W. Bush (No. 43) and recently-elected Donald J. Trump would have had to yield the presidency to former Vice President Al Gore, and one-time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, if the popular vote total were the deciding factor in choosing the next President.

The wisdom of maintaining the electoral college is magnified by the righteousness of individual 50 states’ existence. Although the U.S. Senate originally received the benefit of “two Senators” each, whether massively populated California, or small-numbered Rhode Island, it’s the electoral college that retains all 50 states’ importance in both the primaries, as well as the presidential Super Bowl election every four years, on the second Tuesday in November.

If the popular vote total of today’s 330 million U.S. population (100 times that which existed in 1783), were eventually constituted, presidential elections would be won or lost by total U.S. citizens. This would assure a permanent majority dictated by densely populated Democratic Party-dominated states, such as California, Illinois, and New York. Only Texas would be assured as a Republican alternative, based on past voting experience, while smaller states would eventually be ignored.

It still remains a matter of uncanny historical fact, that the great thinkers that organized the world’s outstanding economic superpower, came together at one time to establish the Constitution, by which this incredible nation is still governed today.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017 13:21

Is Alternative-Right an Anti-Left Reaction?

Written by

It may come as a shock to rational political observers that the unruly dissatisfaction and petulant violence after Trump’s election has come from mainstream left-wing participants. They not only refuse to accept Trump’s presidential legitimacy, but have already warned against acceptance of such forthcoming mandates as sanctuary city elimination.

As has been sadly learned historically, it is that extremism on one end of the political spectrum normally results in similar reactions on the other. One has to only recall the birth of homicidal Fascism. It owed its genesis to counterpoint Communism in Italy first, with the rise of Mussolini’s Fascism, and then in Germany, that led to the success of Hitler’s Nazism.

The current outburst of extremism on the current far ends of the political spectrum represent a fast-growing reaction to the Islamist victims’ flight to Western Europe, especially Germany, and the fear of a similar floodtide to the U.S.

The Alt-right term itself was given birth by the fast-rising “Alternative Action Party” in Germany, which has already shot up the electoral scale in provincial elections. It had been preceded by the ultra-right “LePen Movement” in France, as the ISIS-inspired outrages have found increasing numbers of French citizens rejecting the usual centrist alternatives, whether Social Democrat or “Christian Socialist” as in Germany.

In the U.S., the warnings of political change first came from the surprising voting strength of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who received remarkably strong backing in the Democrats’ primaries. America’s active Conservatives, first heard from in the Tea Party uprising of early 2012, were quickly squelched by Internal Revenue de-legitimization. This turned many of the conventional right-wing activists into the search for a de-politicized leader, around which to rally in the 2016 presidential election.

Although President Donald J. Trump gained approbation by right-wing extremists, he personally rejected their stringent philosophy; but has incorporated their emphasis on immigrant exclusion, sanctuary city elimination, and climate control softening, as part of his forthcoming platform.

Unfortunately, the aggressive posturing of both left-and-right wing extremism will not end as President Trump sets his “Make America great again” policies in motion. This means that the “U.S. divisiveness,” which has gotten worse in the past eight years, will not heal, even as economic improvement objectives give hope for substantial improvement this year.

It’s almost a given that the “Alt-Right” Conservative approach will gain substantial strength in the upcoming German and French elections.

Whether this yet unorganized group of right-wing extremists may actually succeed in the U.S., depends on the success of forthcoming positives emanating from the “Trump” leadership.

While aspirant presidential campaign promises prior to election day tend to wither as new Administrations gain their footing, President Donald J. Trump’s focus on domestic economic expansion will almost surely fulfill its maximum objectives. In fact, that aspect of “Trumponomics,” that will most likely match President Reagan’s surge, will focus on an economic breakthrough.

While foreign policy, Obamacare restructuring, immigration limitation, and inner city upgrading, etc. will get their due attention, it’s the economic breakthrough on which the Trump Administration will focus their most urgent attention. According to insiders, the following represent the major objectives to be attained:

  1. A gross domestic product of goods and services increase of three to four percent in calendar 2017 is expected to be achieved. This compares to eight years of the Obama Administration that fell short of a total 2% annual average, a puny level only reached in a handful of months.
  2. Special attention will be given to the instigation of new “independent businesses” that lagged the shutdown of existing ones in 2016. This will be accomplished by encouraging more startup companies to get moving than ever before. Indigenous to such ambitious objectives will be a reversal of Dodd-Frank regulations, and putting a halt to the free-wheeling EPA mandates, as well as reversing those that are not absolutely necessary.
  3. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-controlled financial entities, will be instructed to favor “small business” retention and startups with special loan incentives.
  4. Multi-billions of government dollars will give domestic business “startups and retention” primary access to U.S. Government loans, while placing new, severe restrictions on major U.S. corporations shifting production facilities offshore. Companion legislation will be put into place to severely cut back on U.S. government agencies, considered marginally unnecessary or totally so, by Trump Administration experts.
  5. While a broad spectrum of tax innovations will likely be passed for completion by year’s end, the U.S. corporate $1.5 trillion monetary reserves, festering in foreign nations, will be enticed to bring these “home” with special tax incentives. These would likely be ongoing, rather than just a one-time deal. “Made in U.S.” will be heavily promoted by the Trump Administration, while all trading deals will be revisited to make certain that the U.S. is not short-changed.
  6. Supplemental unemployment support, which now represents two-thirds of Treasury Department spending, as opposed to one-third in the 1990's, will act as a target on new jobs, such as finally opening the Canadian Keystone pipeline, massive infrastructure development of roads, highways, railroad tracks, bridges, dams, and renewable energy facilities that are adjudged to be profitable in the long term.
  7. A major restructuring/expansion of the nation’s military capabilities to again make America the military superpower it was at the turn of the millennium.

This ambitious program will likely prompt America’s investment community to shift much of the funds previously committed to finance emerging nations. This will make domestic manufacturing equities much more attractive, consequently attracting billions previously invested offshore. This will also strengthen emerging nations’ business, depending on U.S. monetary input. How effectively this super-ambitious program is implemented will be revealed in future columns.

While protesters and critics alike have joined to debate the Democrat defeat in the recent presidential and Congressional elections, one has only to view the GOP takeover at national, regional, and state levels since January 20, 2009.

At the end of George W. Bush’s two-term presidency, a Democrat solidity in both Senate and House of Representatives made the 2008 election of Democrat Barack Hussein Obama inevitable.

Despite the uninspiring two-term interlude of the George W. Bush presidency, the Democratic Party had already gained an indefatigable 60-40 majority in the Senate and a comfortable double digit lead in the House of Representatives.

Furthermore, Democrats, while increasingly at the short end of state governorships nationally, they controlled such major states as California, Illinois, New York, all of New England, and a majority of the Midwest.

The question as to who would take over the White House in 2008 was resolved in the Democrat primary, that saw Hillary Clinton edged out by Barack Obama. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) the Republican nominee, was saddled with the “great financial recession,” and even the charm of Alaskan VP candidate Sarah Palin made little difference in the November elections.

What has gotten lost in the media misinterpretations of the underlying GOP strength in the past eight years, is the fact that the Republican Party had become increasingly dominant in state governorships, Senators, the House of Representatives, and the most voluminous dominance in state legislatures since the mid-1920's, when prosperity reigned throughout the nation.

The bulk of America’s major media had forgotten that the short-lived Tea Party inspired movement had, nevertheless, generated a majority in the Republican House of Representatives, and shrunk the gap in the Senate. This further strengthened the GOP’s future opportunities.

Even though President Barack Obama’s second term was largely unchallenged by Mitt Romney’s lackluster campaign, and his rejection by millions of Christian Evangelists, who sat out the election, due to Romney’s Mormon identity. The Democrats, weakened nationally by an intra-party squabble with Socialist Bernie Sanders (I-VT) depended on a relatively unpopular Hillary Clinton and her political baggage. This resulted in the GOP’s presidential success, as well as in the House and Senate.

Looking forward to the 2018 mid-term election, substantially more Democrat Senator seats will be up for grabs than Republicans, likely adding to the GOP Senate majority. If President Donald J. Trump does a creditable leadership job on all fronts in the meantime, an already shrinking Democrat majority could add to its embattled status for some time to come.

It is a well-known fact that Berkshire Hathaway’s CEO Warren Buffet was both a major financier, as well as enthusiastic supporter of presidential aspirant, Hillary Clinton.

While the political thrust by major industrial/commercial companies have nominally favored the GOP, and its more business-friendly agenda over the years, the Omaha-based founder of the largest stock in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index’s final sector was also an enthusiastic supporter of President Barack Obama; and practically all his major policies, reviled by the nation’s major conglomerates. No matter that business interests were generally at odds with the paragons of the Democrat Party.

But despite the “golden touch” that has typified the Warren Buffet/Berkshire incredible professional success, the Omaha “investor supreme” never varied from his personal preference for political liberalism.

But being humanistic and a roaring financial success have not been as much at odds as it may seem. Readily acknowledged as the world’s shrewdest independent business tycoon, and economically savvy mega-corporation investor, the Omaha wizard has followed some basic “down home” principles.

  1. He has never been interested in businesses as a whole, or as a major component investor, if he did not understand the industry sector in which the company thrived. This included becoming personally knowledgeable of the key executives or owners responsible for their overwhelming success.
  2. He was late in the game of securing his first foreign acquisition, an Israeli specialty tool company, with branches in 45 world locations. He also displayed the personal courage of meeting the owners as Hezbollah rockets were flying over his head while in Haifa, during a periodic martial dust-up.
  3. He was quick to buy Burlington Northern Railroad in 2012, once the Obama Administration ignored pipeline development and the then rapidly expanding oil production became dependent on “locomotives.”
  4. He has always made sure that the massive business he founded and still runs, always had plenty of cash on hand to allow rapid reaction for immediately available buys, such as the dominant Kraft/Heinz food world leader.
  5. When Wells Fargo ran afoul of its cross-selling business practices, Buffet realized that this world’s largest banking institution would weather the storm, presenting him with a timely additional shares-buying opportunity.

To sum up the uniqueness of this combination humanitarian/business tycoon, he has been able to be true to his obviously liberal personal outlook, while shrewdly continuing to pile success upon success in building his multi-hundred billion dollar equity empire. Only the ripe old age of 86 may eventually stem the tide of the most successful independent business giant ever recorded in business history.

Saturday, 21 January 2017 12:37

Will President Trump Become one of the Greats?

Written by

When historians in the future (as they did in the past) focus on the U.S. Presidential “Greats” among the “45" to date, they tend to consider unique personal leadership characteristics during a crisis period, in which these “giants” were able to keep the “ship of state” upright. Only a handful, such as George Washington, James Monroe, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan, for instance, combined their personal qualities with the capability to overcome seemingly ineradicable situations.

Incoming Donald J. Trump’s presidency potentially befits both the characteristic of individuality, as well as occurring during crises on both domestic and foreign policy fronts.

With no politically limiting experience, a somewhat quixotic personality, and an unusual ability to magnetize large followings, Trump possesses a background of business successes (and failures) that defined such unique forerunners as Lincoln, both Roosevelts, and Ronald Reagan.

In each case, these incomparable Presidents were responsible in providing the personal leadership and vision to overcome a nationally destabilizing disaster.

Trump possesses the supreme advantage of personally capturing his party’s imagination, and developing a “cult” following to defeat a far more seasoned opponent. When closely examining Trump’s background, there are no obvious paybacks for “services rendered” to any individual or groups.

As an apparently strong 70 years old, his manifest business comprehension, as well as an unusually powerful persuasive capability, Trump will need all of these to overcome the litany of growing U.S. employment problems and production shrinkage, foreign trade disputes, a failing national insurance manifesto (Obamacare), and increasing population divisiveness and despondence.

But most of all, his powerful stature will telegraph to both foreign friends and potential foes that he best represents the “superpower status” that America inherited in the latter part of the Twentieth Century.

Events now unfolding domestically, as well as in foreign policy, will soon determine whether President Trump’s potential greatness becomes reality.

Page 1 of 3