A Lesson About Greed From MF Global

Dec 21, 2011, 12:29 pm EDT
A Lesson About Greed From MF Global

Capital markets are plagued with a disease called greed. Its symptoms are many, including overleverage, rogue traders and out-and-out fraud. But the end result is the same: Greed leads to a scandal, and folks lose their hard-earned money. That scandal erodes investor confidence. When confidence declines, people feel uncertain and afraid, prompting them to park their money on the sidelines. And that hurts everyone.

Greed has a cure, but the pain that accompanies this treatment is usually enough to scare off even the most intrepid caregivers.

In this column and the next few, I’m going to address the hazards of greed, and then give you some tips on how to protect yourself from the Wall Street shenanigans that greed creates. Read 

Ron Paul Can’t Win Foreign Policy Points

Dec 21, 2011, 8:15 am EDT

This past Friday, The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel wrote that “Ron Paul is, in many ways, the ideal candidate for a conservative electorate hungry for a principled GOP nominee.” She continued by saying despite this, “there is only one bar to a Ron Paul victory: Mr. Paul.”

Ron Paul is favored by many for proposing to slash $1 trillion from the budget and eliminating five federal cabinet agencies, proposing to cut the corporate tax rate (I would cut it to zero) and cutting the tax on capital gains and dividends — absolute musts in my book. He also is held in high regard by many for his plans to dump Obamacare (most Americans want this) as well as Sarbanes-Oxley — both absolute musts, too. Despite this, Strassel still writes that Ron Paul is neither timid nor inconsistent, and these characteristics “ought to” make him a star. This is false, because Paul is not merely an “ought to” candidate. He clearly is a star with any American who believes in the Constitution as written.

So where is the real rub for Strassel? It is in Paul’s “noninterventionist” approach. Read 

Beware of Europe’s Backdoor Bank Run

Dec 18, 2011, 8:00 am EDT

On Wednesday, Fitch Ratings downgraded its credit ratings on five of Europe’s biggest banks, and while that decision made headlines, it’s not the most important story to come out of Europe this week.

The real story, which the mainstream media is neglecting, is about signs of an underground run on Europe’s banks. Almost nobody’s talking about it, but there are indications money is already moving out of the EU faster than rats abandoning a sinking ship.

Not through the front door, mind you. There are no lines, no distraught customers and no teller windows being boarded up — not yet, anyway. Read 

How the Government Steals Your Freedom

Dec 16, 2011, 3:01 pm EDT

It’s been around for 220 years, but few Americans today understand what the Bill of Rights really represents.

Charles Goyette of the Freedom & Prosperity Letter, gives you the real story behind the U.S. Bill of Rights in his Dec. 15 podcast. Here, he reveals that this addendum to the Constitution is really a “Bill of Thou Shall Nots” to the government.

Click here to listen to: How the Government Steals Your Freedom Read 

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Rewarded for Ethical Failures

Dec 14, 2011, 4:58 pm EDT

I believe this story has gone too far under the radar and needs to be repeated because, as it turns out, academia has fallen to the same deplorable depths of asinine behavior as corporate America by rewarding failure. This past June, The University of Chicago rewarded Henry M. Paulson Jr.’s gross ethical failures by appointing him as a “distinguished senior fellow” at its Harris School of Public Policy Studies — which took effect July 1.

What makes this appointment by such a respectable institution even more ridiculous is that media reports from Bloomberg to Reuters now say that Paulson tipped off hedge funds about Fannie Mae’s rescue in 2008 while he was serving as the U.S. Treasury Secretary. By prostituting high-level inside information, Hank Paulson’s egregious behavior gives new meaning to the phrase “hanky-panky.”

According to legal experts, Paulson’s Fannie Mae tip was not illegal because, although he did share sensitive data, he didn’t personally profit from any trades. OK, but what about dereliction of duty by an acting U.S. Treasury Secretary? Aren’t there any laws against that? Apparently, it’s all right to be an inside traitor while at the same time it’s not alright to be an inside trader. Read 

How Much Money Makes You Wealthy? Politicans, Americans Greatly Differ

Dec 12, 2011, 3:22 pm EDT

During the past three years, the debate about what constitutes a rich household has shifted markedly from discussing the tax fate of those that make more than $250,000 annually to the much richer over-$1 million club. A new poll suggests many Americans might set the bar lower than both Republicans and Democrats.

Amid the deficit cutting hysteria that has engulfed Washington in the past year, legislators desperately have been trying to craft ways to pay for middle-class tax breaks and economic stimulus. While Republicans (until very recently) have been considering spending cuts only, Democrats have been quibbling about how to raise taxes on those at the top of the income chain. But determining the boundaries of the top income bracket has a political dynamic of its own.

President Barack Obama had been consistently drawing a line at $250,000 per year. He advocated raising taxes on households that make more than that amount during his campaign for president in 2007-08. He included a 3.8% extra tax on investment income for those making more than $250,000 in his healthcare legislation. This fall, he continued to advocate for a return to Clinton-era tax rates for this group to pay for his jobs bill and reduce the deficit. Read 

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