BALTIMORE – The Dow popped back up over 20,000 on Friday.
Federal debt approaches $20 trillion.
And Donald Trump claimed to have saved $600 million on Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet program. (Did he take out the seat warmers or the A/C?)
We don’t know what’s ahead for the Dow. But the direction of federal debt is known to us all.
Current projections – with no extra Trump deficit spending – will put it up by another $10 trillion over the next 10 years.
Sometime this year, the number of people retiring will reach 10,000 a day.
More of us are becoming geezers, drawing on Social Security and medical benefits. And age-related spending – most of it healthcare related – accounts for 55% of government spending in the U.S.
This is why an ominous headline over the weekend reads “White House, Senate Republicans Headed for Budget Confrontation.”
But pretty soon, Donald Trump’s proposed tax cuts and spending increases will come into focus… along with the debt ceiling.
Guns and Butter?
This is the same problem every welfare state faces: more old people and fewer young people to support them.
But the U.S. has an extra problem: a stretched-out empire with troops in more than 100 different countries. (Last year, they dropped more than 26,000 bombs.)
How can it afford to continue with so many people also asking for pills and pensions?
“Guns or butter?” someone is sure to ask.
We’ll come back to that… and explain why the welfare-warfare state is doomed… But let us return to the story we promised last week, “Confessions of an Illegal Alien.”
The mice in the pantry wouldn’t have noticed anything unusual. Nor would the pigeons on the chimney tops. To the animal kingdom, including bipeds, we looked normal. But we had a dark secret.
In 1996, we crossed the border on a tourist visa waiver allowing us to stay for three months.
We didn’t “go legal” until a decade later.
For 10 years, we lived as “undocumented” residents. Illegal aliens. No green cards. No visas. No nothing.
We had an apartment in Paris and a house in the country. We lived there together – husband and wife, a mother, an aunt, and six children – and not one of us had a proper visa.
We raised a family. We started a business. We hired dozens of people. We filed taxes in both France and the U.S. and paid both governments millions in sales, income, and social charges.
“If you would bring your publishing business to [the little village where we were living at the time],” a neighbor joked, “we’ll put up a statue of you in the town square.”
“How big?” we wanted to know.
We bought an apartment and two derelict chateaux. We fixed them up… at a cost of millions. We bought a warehouse on the outskirts of Paris. We paid taxes, insurance, and renovation costs on all of them. We hired people to fix the roofs and cut the grass.
We were audited by the “fisc” – the French tax people. We put our children in Catholic schools. We got stopped for speeding. We used the French socialized healthcare system on several occasions. We met French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin at a garden party. We went to weddings and funerals. We sang in the church choir. We buried our aunt in the town cemetery.
We bought one magazine and started up another. We gave speeches. We published books. We invested in one of the oldest book publishers in France – the largest (and… ahem… perhaps the only) publisher of the Latin and Greek classics in their original language.
It had a fusty bookstore on the Boulevard Raspail and had been losing money since 1919. When the owner retired, we bought the company… and it’s still losing money!
“Thank God,” says the manager. “Otherwise, we’d have to pay French taxes.”
We often lost money in France. But we acquired a taste for wine that sticks with us.
And never once, as far as we can remember, did we kill or rape anyone. We didn’t even litter.
One time, however – it’s time to make a clean breast of it since we are in a confessional mood – we were parked beside the road. Someone’s overhanging apple tree tempted us. We looked around. No snake in sight. Like Eve, we succumbed. We ate the fruit and drove away in the dusk.
That may or may not have been a punishable offense. In any case, we were never apprehended by the gendarmes… and, happily, never deported.
But one by one, our children grew up and returned to the homeland. When the last of them was ready to go home, we followed.
Why didn’t we get our papers in order?
No one ever asked us to.
By Teeka Tiwari, Editor, The Palm Beach Letter
Editor’s Note: As a former hedge fund manager, our friend Teeka Tiwari’s beat is money. And in today’s Insight, he tells us about the next game-changing – and fortune-making – technology on the horizon.
When I told my clients about Apple in 2003, they thought I was crazy…
At that time, Apple was trading at the same price it had been in 1982. The stock price had done nothing in 21 years.
But I knew Apple had a new technology in the pipeline…
It was the iPod.
Up until then, you could only use the iPod on an Apple Mac. In 2002, Apple announced that it was finally rolling out a PC version.
This was a huge shift…
All of a sudden, the hottest music player in the world would be available to the biggest pool of technology buyers in the world. This was a no-brainer investment.
Why didn’t everyone jump on it?
The reason is simple: Apple was deeply misunderstood.
People saw the iPod as a niche product.
I saw the iPod as the next generation’s Walkman. (The Walkman was a personal cassette player made by Sony. It dominated the 1980s.)
Over the next decade, a $10,000 investment would have ballooned to nearly a half-million dollars.
The iPod was once a disruptive technology. It almost single-handedly killed off the compact disc (CD).
It was one of those rare opportunities to make a fortune on a truly groundbreaking idea.
My friends, I don’t recount this story to brag… I want to show you why it’s so important to get into a revolutionary idea as early as possible.
The results can be life-changing…
The next game-changing technology I see breaking out is called the blockchain.
The blockchain is the backbone of the cryptocurrency industry. It tracks the transactions of digital money like a traditional ledger tracks bank transactions.
Here’s why the blockchain will be so revolutionary…
Today, it’s the transaction system for the burgeoning digital currency industry…
But soon, you’ll be able to conduct all kinds of other transactions on the blockchain – from trading stocks to buying real estate.
And you’ll be able to do it in a fraction of the time and cost that it takes to do it today.
For example, just last month the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) announced that it would start replacing its databases with bitcoin-based blockchain technology because it is faster and more secure. (DTCC is a major Wall Street clearinghouse and handles nearly $11.7 trillion in credit swaps.)
But not everybody recognizes it yet. Just like they didn’t recognize how disruptive the iPod would be.
The mainstream media hasn’t picked up on the blockchain yet. And few in the public even know what it is. (Ask your family and friends if they’ve ever heard of it; the answer is likely “no.”)
So now is the perfect time to get in: when the technology is about to take off… but right before the herd comes storming in.
If you wait too much longer… you’ll be too late.
The writing is on the wall, my friends. The blockchain is rapidly becoming a reality.
Soon, the mainstream media and public at large will be hip to it. But by then, the upside will be gone… So the timing is urgent.
And that’s why I’ll continue to pound away until you realize this opportunity… just like I did with my clients back in 2003 until they saw the light about Apple.
If you’d like to play this trend, I recommend you buy a small amount of bitcoin. Many of the blockchain technologies arising today are based on Bitcoin’s technology.
But Bitcoin isn’t the only blockchain I’m currently bullish on. There’s another one that’s poised to become the “next Bitcoin.”
It runs on a new blockchain – a “blockchain for everything” – created by a former Bitcoin programmer. And major tech titans IBM, Samsung, and Microsoft have just bought in (Microsoft “greenlighted” millions of developers to work on it).
You can claim your free copy of my “next Bitcoin” report here… where I’ll even show you how to collect some of this new digital currency for free.
– Teeka Tiwari
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Bill spent most of last week exploring whether President Trump’s deals are win-win or win-lose. (Catch up on the latest here.) It’s definitely gotten readers thinking…
Good piece today, Bill. There is one thing I disagree with: There are things that we actually know. For example, it is a fact that illegal, mostly Mexican immigrants in California are net contributors to the state economy. It is a sad characteristic of Trumpism that all facts and data are “debatable.” This is NOT the case, and rational people should not succumb to this nonsense.
– Thomas T.
With regard to your comments on the Iran sanctions, President Obama tried for a win-win deal, but that has not turned out so well. When win-win seems impossible, are we automatically expected to accept a win-lose outcome? Sanctions are meant to force (yes, force) Iran back to the possibility of win-win.
– Mark B.
Mr. Trump can’t make America great by putting others down. That is a win-lose proposition. And it helps no one – not even the winner, who is then hated for his actions. They will then want to get revenge in some manner, even if it’s in little things. Those add up, over time.
– Chuck B.
One question about the recent win-win, lose-win conversation: If I have a cow and can shoot the neighbor who covets it, why would I need to roast the cow? Until I have more covetous neighbors than bullets, I suppose!
– Karl G.
I find it difficult to get through my day without my daily injection of Bill. It pains me therefore to have to ask why he has not (as far as I can see) taken Donald to task for not banning Saudi Arabians from entering the U.S. After all, they are about the biggest menace to the West as extreme Islamists.
– Bob H.
I am a Canadian and a faithful reader. Your approach regarding win-win versus win-lose decision-making is too simplistic, too short-term.
I would argue for more humility. It would take a great deal of confidence (or arrogance) to make decisions thinking that everything has been thought out and weighed completely, that the impacts and consequences are known, that everyone to be impacted is sitting at the table and their interests have been considered.
At the levels of government decisions, there are generations not yet born who have no chance to speak, decide, or vote. The Iroquois Constitution says it best: “In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation… even if it requires having skin as thick as the bark of a pine.”
– Martin L.
Meanwhile, Bill continues to cause readers to hit the unsubscribe button by exploring sensitive topics such as the recent Navy SEAL raid in Yemen.
I think you went way over the line with your comment “Now they got the daughter, too… with a bullet to the 8-year-old’s neck.”
How could you for one minute think, let alone put in writing, that our SEALs and highly trained fighting men and women would knowingly target a child? That comment is not only outrageous, it is despicable!
No wonder so many are getting tired of your constant attacks and dropping your service. I had been a big fan of yours, recommending you too [sic] many people, and now I regret ever doing so! Count me as one more that will not renew any services with Agora.
– Jeff D.