Monthly Archives: January 2011

State of the Union Calls for More Gov’t Not Less

As always, I am struck by the “compassionate” sound of Obama but, alas, who will pay for all of this? As a parent, it might sound great to hear that government wants every child to receive an education through their college years. However, the question remains, why does the government need to create the programs (ie: provide the dollars) to make this happen? After all folks, how the heck does the government make its money? Actually the government does not “make” anything, they confiscate the money. They take it from us! Those of us who work. Any government program is merely another tax on you, me, us! Wake up people! The only thing that made sense is when Obama said he is freezing salaries and cutting government spending but, alas, he simultaneously is creating more programs.   We MUST stop looking to the government to solve anything. As such, I recorded much of the hour speech in bullet form and most of what is written is verbatim of what Obama said short of the underlined headers. You make the call as to what you think but in my assessment, Obama wants MORE government and not less and, therefore, I can NOT support him.   Opening: Stock market is thriving The economy is strong But we measure success by if our people are working Thanks to the tax cuts we passed in Dec, Americans have a bit more in their paycheck Biz can write off investments that they make this year The rules have changed, technology has changed how we live, work and do business. China and India realize that they can compete Competition for jobs is real America still has the largest and most prosperous economy in the world No workers are more productive than ours Home to the world’s best colleges and universities We are the first nation to be founded on an idea – that we can shape our own destiny The future is ours to win but to get there we can’t just stand still. Requires sacrifice and struggle Out innovate, out educate and out build the rest of the world. We have to make America the best place Have to take responsibility for our deficit and reform America How? 1st – encourage American innovation Govt makes research possible because private enterprise can not fund it We are at a sputnik moment We will invest in bio-medical research, clean energy technology, Goal = 1M electric vehicles on road by 2015 Eliminate billions of $ that are given to oil companies By 2035 80% of electricity comes from clean energy sources   2nd – must win race to educate kids Every child must have a chance to succeed Responsibility begins in our homes “Race to the Top” most meaningful reform we have seen in a generation – replaces no child left behind – show results, you see money Reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones 100,000 new teachers prepared to replace the baby boomers Higher education must be within reach of every American – subsidies that went to banks now go to higher ed. By end of decade America will have the highest proportion of college grads in the world 100s of 1000s in schools are not American citizens – therefore – need to take on illegal immigration so that quality citizens do not live in the shadows of deportation – stop expelling those who can enrich our nation   3rd – rebuild America Most reliable ways to move people and information Infrastructure grades at a “D” Re-double efforts that began last year to pay for rebuilding 80% of Americans should have access to high speed rail within the next decade Must knock down barriars: lobbyists have rigged tax code so that some do not pay taxes but others pay the highest corporate taxes in the world – therefore – simplify the tax code and lower corporate tax rate Double exports by 2014 so pass legislation to increase imports Will only sign deals that promote American jobs Reduce barriars to investment so do away with regulation that prohibits   Healthcare needs to correct bookkeeping burden on small business Government “Streamlining” : Freeze annual domestic spending for next 5 years (12% of budget) Federal salaries cut Defense cuts No cuts on the backs of most vulnerable citizens Medicare and Medicaid cuts Medical malpractice reform to reign in frivolous lawsuits Strengthen social security for future generations Can not extend tax cuts for wealthiest 2% Simplify tax code 12 different agencies that deal with exports 5 deal with housing policy Government needs to be re-organized and will submit to get it passed Need website to show exactly where tax dollars being spent Should know when congressmen meet with lobbyists “I will veto a bill if it has earmarks inside” Military Comments: Iraq war is coming to an end – American commitment has been met Conviction that American-Muslims are a part of our American family In July we will begin to bring our troops home. We will not relent. We will not waver. And we will defeat you. Our nation is united in supporting our troops and their families – provide with equipment they need, care and benefits No citizen will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of whom they love Open college campuses to military recruiters and ROTC

Sex On The First Date

In this year’s first edition of “Stanford,” my university’s magazine for alumni, an article “Separation Anxiety” addresses the unintended consequences of a world that is increasingly dependent on technology and, specifically, the impact this instant access to information has on what we perceive as “factual” and, thus, assume to be the “truth.” A case in point is the degree to which we believe we “know” someone because we have read their Facebook profile, seen their professional photo on a corporate website and engaged in hours of “honest” and “deep” personal email exchanges. When you have so much data, we are led to believe that we have everything we need to know to make a good decision. The article points out that “a study published in 2007 by researchers at University of Texas School of Public Health showed that nearly one-third of adult women engaged in sexual activity during their first face-to-face meeting with men they had met online and 77% of these did not use condoms…even though most had been clear in their online communication that they did not intend to meet to have sex and were wary about sexually transmitted diseases.” The illusion of knowledge is the unintended consequence of a society that has instant access to data which because it comes from a perceived-to-be “unbiased” source – the internet – we delude ourselves into thinking we have all the information we need to make a good decision. We believe we have done quality research when we have found articles that support or deny the query we have posited. But the internet is not fact. It is merely a collection of opinion about other information none of which the individual himself has vetted to determine the validity of the subject in question. You have not engaged in research because you have consulted the opinions of others online. For example, if the technological access to information we have today existed in the 1400s the consensus would lead one to believe through his “exhaustive research,” that the world was flat…..and the illusion of knowledge and delusion of truth would have continued. The “Stanford” article quotes another author who argues that “the digital onslaught that makes us better at skimming information is eroding our ability to concentrate and contemplate.” The quest for the truth remains an individual endeavor and while one should consult external sources, if you have not personally proven the truth to yourself via live, personal research, you are merely another follower of someone else’s dogma. If you want to begin to explore the truth about the financial tools which impact your overall family and business economy, truth that is based in macro-economic principles that remain constant whether the principle is applied at the international level or at the level of an individual, Epiphany Financial is a ready to be your Wealth Coach.

Read – The Pirates of Manhattan

A book study member commented that Barry James Dyke, author of Pirates of Manhattan, is a whiner. I had to chuckle because, indeed, he is NOT a fan of any financial tool except whole life insurance. In fact, Dyke says point blank, “A main purpose of this book is give the consumer ample evidence that shows we live in a shark-invested financial services economy and that permanent life insurance is a safe and secure financial oasis for your savings.” (p.21) But one not need read that far into the book to know Dyke’s bias because in the acknowledgements even before the introduction he thanks Bob Castiglione, “you are a brilliant man. The development of an economic model for financial planning is a chassis everyone needs. Your application of universal mathematics proves that most financial products, other than life insurance, are all subject to the ravages of inflation, taxation, lost opportunity costs, and loss of control and utility for the consumer.”(p.,xi) And in the introduction he states, "Economics, in the final analysis, is the study of how what limited resources we have are allocated. Our decision concerning our economic purchases should be to maximize the benefits we receive with our purchases, and the benefits received should exceed the amount we paid for something. In  regards to financial products, permanent life insurance maximizes economic benefits better than any other product in the marketplace. Unfortunately, this is something mainstream America has forgotten.” (p.xv) Of course, if you have never been exposed to the powerful asset that exists in this oldest of financial products, it doesn’t even sound inviting to read more of the book. However, if you are a student of economics or politics or history (that pretty much covers anyone who is intelligent) then it behooves you to read this book and learn the history of political decisions that have been made to favor a very few but with negative repercussions for the vast majority. Dyke points out that “Many financial products and concepts sold to the American consumer simply do not work over an extended period….They are not promoted because they work over the long haul for the consumer, but because they are extremely profitable to the financial institution that manufacture and market these products.” (p.xvi) He goes on to talk about A.L.W Williams who coined the phrase and help create blind belief in the strategy that one should “buy term and invest the difference.”  While Williams is now one of the richest men in America, he promoted a concept which does not work over the long haul. I especially value Dyke’s clear definition of the Federal Reserve System which he points out is neither federal nor does it have any reserves. It is a private corporation owned by commercial banks, it reports to no one and has never been audited. “The Federal Reserve System is an economic cartel of commercial banks as much as OPEC is a cartel for oil-producing countries.” (p.xviii) Dyke reminds us that the vast expansion of money and credit by the Federal Reserve cased overspeculation and the Crash of 1929, and the Fed’s subsequent contraction of the money supply during the 1930s caused the Great Depression.” Dyke rightly concludes that the Fed has actually operated as a bailout mechanism for Wall Street speculators.” (p.xvii) Finally, Dyke wants us to understand that if we do not take the time to learn about how the system has functioned over time, if we don’t study the history, the facts, and begin to comprehend what this means for us individually, then we will continue to ask questions such as, “Is this institution backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)?” not realizing that the FDIC backs failed banks and it is the taxpayer who supports the FDIC. Thus, really, do you want the protection of the FDIC? Is that the question that matters? Bottom line, keep reading the book and join us on the 27th in Dallas if you can. Otherwise, post your comments!