Headline News Archives

Tuesday 02.14.2017

Arizona Lawmakers Propose Bill Removing State Tax On Sale Of Gold Coins

Arizona lawmakers are moving to allow residents to invest in gold coins and not have to pay state taxes on any profits they make when they sell them. Legislation awaiting a final House vote would carve an exemption in existing laws that require people to report and pay taxes on capital gains.

But Republican Rep. Mark Finchem said buying U.S. gold coins should be exempt, arguing that federal policies have made paper money "virtually worthless.''

"We pretend that it has value," Finchem said. "But every day that we go into deeper debt, that federal reserve note becomes less and less valued. In fact, since 1910 up to today, a dollar bill went from a dollar in value to less than three cents."

Those who oppose the measure believe gold hoarders elsewhere might sell it in Arizona to avoid paying the estate tax. In 2013, Jan Brewer vetoed a similar bill over concerns that its language might exempt the state from collecting income taxes on such transactions.

Valentine’s Day Spending to Top $26 Billion

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and if you don’t want to be left out of the celebration you’d better hurry and do your part to help retailers reach the expected U.S. spending total of $26.2 billion for the holiday. That’s an average of $130.70 for the 81% of Americans who say they plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year.

Of that total spending, researchers at estimate that two-thirds of that ($17.3 billion) will be charged to credit cards. Most of that spending will be used to buy gifts for two-legged friends, but 28% of celebrants plan to buy gifts for the dogs and 17% say they’ll buy gifts for the cats. Spending on pets is expected to average $25 for dogs and $21 for cats, for a total of more than $750 million.

Buying a gift for yourself on Valentine’s Day is also a growing phenomenon. According to, 27% of single people and 33% of separated people plan to buy something for themselves. Only 7% of married people plan to buy themselves a gift this year.

The gift-giving has spread even further and now includes family member, friends and coworkers. Gen Xers are the most likely group to purchase a gift for friends (55%) compared with 43% of millennials and just 28% of boomers. But in the slightly naughty department of buying a gift for a secret lover, millennials (23%) appear to be naughtier than Gen Xers (14%) or boomers (8%). Overall, 17% of gifts will be purchased for secret lovers.

Millennials Aren’t Moving Anywhere, Despite Fewer Obstacles

For many younger consumers, each new year used to bring a new address, whether that meant switching from an apartment to a house, or following their dreams across the country. But the latest generation of millennials apparently aren’t on board with that.

According to a Pew Research Center report based on Census Bureau data, Americans are moving at the lowest rate on record, with millennials moving significantly less than earlier generations.

Just 20% of consumers age 25 to 35 say they lived a different address one year earlier, the report found. Pew notes that this is a marked difference from earlier generations at the same age. For example, 27% of consumers aged 25 to 35 years in 1990 reported moving within the last year. Additionally, in 2000 and 1963, 26% of consumers who were in same age range at the time had moved in the past year.

Millennials’ apparent reluctance to move is a bit counterintuitive, Pew reports, as they are less likely than any other generation to have something — or someone — standing in the way of their mobility. Pew found that only 42% of millennials are married and living with their spouse in 2016. Conversely, in 1963, 82% of consumers of the same age were married and living with their spouse.

Jan Morgan: Trump will have a great impact on gun sales

U.S. inflation expectations at highest level since 2015: NY Fed

A measure of U.S. inflation expectations rose for a second straight month in January to its highest level since mid-2015, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of New York survey released on Monday that reinforced the view that interest rates would keep climbing.

The survey of consumer expectations, an increasingly influential gauge of prices for the U.S. central bank, found that year-ahead inflation expectations increased to 3.0 percent, from 2.8 percent in December and 2.5 percent in November.

The expectation three years out was 2.9 percent, from 2.8 percent the month before. "Both increases were fairly broad-based, but largest among younger and higher-income respondents," the New York Fed said.

Both measures were last this high in June, 2015. The survey, which started three and a half years ago, hit its lowest price levels last year. The Fed has raised rates twice in the past two years, but policymakers predict more rapid hikes in 2017 as low unemployment and expected fiscal stimulus continue to boost prices.

UK Government Grants Permission to Issue Blockchain-Based Currency

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), a regulatory body of the UK government, granted local London-based Blockchain startup Tramonex a Small Electronic Money Institution (EMI) registration, effectively allowing the launch of a Blockchain-based currency within the UK. The approval of Tramonex marks the first case of a Blockchain technology company receiving an EMI authorization from the FCA.

In 2011, the FCA released the Electronic Money Regulations to provide certain financial service providers and institutions the ability to operate as a money transmission firm and payment facilitator. To be approved by the FCA and obtain an EMI authorization, a company must be fully compliant with local regulations, security requirements and reporting and notification requirements.

In order to remain as an EMI-authorized company within the UK, a startup needs to allocate a significant amount of resources and capital to ensure none of its operations are in conflict with the regulations imposed by the FCA.

Once an EMI authorization is granted, a startup can begin to issue, distribute and redeem e-money. That means a Blockchain startup like Tramonex can issue a legal Blockchain-based currency, facilitate payments, launch applications or service on top of its infrastructure. While users can be assured of the legality of Tramonex’s Blockchain-based services and payment networks, one limitation of an EMI-authorized operator’s financial services is the lack of financial privacy.

Trump signals more drastic trade changes are coming for Mexico than Canada

President Donald Trump has repeatedly slammed the North American Free Trade Agreement, but he signaled Monday that one of the United States' partners in the deal could face more drastic changes than the other.

After Trump met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House, the leaders touted the neighbors' trade relationship, with Trudeau signaling they wanted to continue "effective integration of our two economies." Trump has repeatedly slammed NAFTA as a drag on American jobs, but said he thinks the U.S. gets a worse deal from its southern neighbor, Mexico, than from Canada.

"We have a very outstanding trade relationship with Canada. We'll be tweaking it. We'll be doing certain things that are going to benefit both of our countries. It's a much less severe situation than what's taken place on the southern border," Trump said at a joint White House press conference with Trudeau.

Trump has called for a renegotiation of NAFTA, the Clinton-era deal that helped to make Canada and Mexico two of America's crucial trading partners, saying it has harmed American workers. After his meeting with Trump, Trudeau stressed the magnitude of the U.S. and Canada's economic relationship, saying the countries "ventured into groundbreaking economic partnerships that have created good jobs for both of our peoples."

Jim Rogers: Governments ‘love’ war on cash, ‘they can control you’

The war on cash is only accelerating. In every corner of the world, there is a state or a central bank that is looking to abolish cash in the name of protecting you against criminals. Despite governments’ lies, deceit and scandal, the average person believes the reasons and the politicians get away with these policies without any consequences.

But, in the event that cash is abolished, what happens to your money when a financial crisis unfolds? Speaking in an interview with MacroVoices, Jim Rogers, the legendary billionaire investor, warned that people have to “get prepared.” Prepared for what exactly? Well, according to Rogers, the world is going to have “the worst economic problems in your lifetime and a lot of people are going to disappear.”

On the topic on the war on cash, Rogers explained that “governments are always looking out for themselves first,” adding that this has been occurring for a long time. He alluded to the recent development in India, where the government took out a majority of the currency in circulation, and in France, where you can’t use more than a certain amount of euros.

Rogers noted that governments enjoy this because “they can control you.” “If you want to go and buy a cup of coffee they know how many you drink, where you buy them etc. if they can all put it into electronic formats and they will the world is all going electronic,” Rogers stated. “My children will probably never go to a bank when they’re adults, maybe never go to a post office maybe even never to a doctor or rarely to a doctor when they’re adults.”

Media 'Grills' Obama

Parents not a 'wallet' in kid's college costs, court finds

Parents can't just be forced to hand over cash for college payments without being involved in their child's higher education decisions, an Appellate Court has ruled.

The Feb. 9 opinion on the long-simmering case between Caitlyn Ricci and her divorced parents Michael Ricci and Maura McGarvey sheds light on whether the two were legally obligated to pay for their estranged daughter's higher education.

"A parent cannot be viewed as a 'wallet' and deprived of involvement of college decision making process," the ruling states. Also at heart here, however, is when those over the age of 18 become truly independent and the circumstances surrounding such a decision.

"Once the issue of emancipation is decided, an obligation to pay college costs for an academically motivated un-emancipated child requires a two-fold analysis," the opinion reads. The first being whether the parents are involved in those choices and whether they can afford it.

Germany wants Greece in euro zone, IMF says no special deals

Germany on Monday voiced support for Greece to stay in the euro zone and the European Commission dispatched a senior official to Athens to persuade it to take on further reforms to salvage its bailout accord.

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, meanwhile, remained firm that as a lender the IMF could not cut any special deals for the crisis-hit country, which has received three bailouts since 2010.

The moves came as the European Commission forecast a large jump in economic growth for Greece of 2.7 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively, this year and next. Such economic recovery, said Yannis Stournaras, Greece's central bank chief, could be in danger without a swift agreement with international lenders. Down the road "it may be too late", he said.

The future of Greece's multi-billion-euro financial aid program is contingent on Athens concluding a second review of progress in its economic reform obligations. But months of wrangling over changes to labor and energy markets have been compounded by differences between the IMF and Greece's European lenders over fiscal targets for Greece, struggling to emerge from years of recession.

Americans Say Trump Keeps Promises, Is Strong Leader

Majorities of Americans believe President Donald Trump keeps his promises, is a strong and decisive leader, and can bring about changes the country needs. Trump scores worse on other characteristics and qualities: Less than half of Americans perceive him as honest and trustworthy, able to manage the government effectively, inspiring confidence and caring about the needs of people like themselves.

These results are based on Gallup interviewing conducted Feb. 1-5, updating Americans' views of Trump on seven presidential qualities and characteristics, including five that Gallup assessed during the presidential campaign.

Trump begins his presidency with a majority of the public believing that he keeps his promises, is a strong leader and can bring about needed changes. These traits fit well with his steady stream of sometimes controversial executive orders that have reflected what he said he would do during his campaign, continuing to exemplify a "bull in the china shop" style and persona.

At the same time, Americans' acknowledgment of Trump's dynamic leadership style and keeping his promises has not translated into the same level of overall approval of his performance as president, either because of these style considerations or because Americans disagree with the substance of his policy decisions. Overall, it appears that one of Trump's most significant challenges will be to convince Americans that his hard-charging leadership style is ultimately going to be good for them and for the country.

Europe Eyes Sweeping Cash Ban: Are Gold & Silver Next?

The global war on cash continues. The cabal of bankers seeking more transaction fees, busybody political leaders, and central bankers who want to experiment with negative interest rates recently threw India into turmoil by eliminating the two largest denomination bank notes.

Now they are preparing a similar assault on Europeans’ ability to transact privately and without giving bankers a cut. European Union officials just published a “Proposal for an EU Initiative on Restriction on Payments in Cash.”

Predictably, the restrictions are being sold to citizens as a means of fighting terrorism – much like a host of other privacy and liberty-destroying power grabs in recent decades. This despite a telling admission contained in the proposal: “There remains the lack of readily available and solid evidence on legitimate versus illegitimate cash transactions.” Ban the use of cash first, ask questions later.

Officials may, however, come to regret the timing of their proposal. Many European citizens will have trouble reconciling why leaders are willing to clamp down severely on cash, but not on the flood of refugees pouring in from the Middle East. Can they really be serious about terrorism? Anti-EU movements are surging across the continent, with important elections coming this year in both France and Germany. Anger and frustration is already threatening to tear the EU apart. Now EU officials are floating another measure that promises to be controversial.

Mexican building US wall: It's a job - BBC News

Dodd-Frank hurt middle America

Middle-class Americans may not realize how much President Donald Trump helped them last week when he cast aside many regulations from the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law. The media may not tell them that. By and large they don't understand it. But your banker will, particularly if you live in a small town like Paducah or Murray.

The United States was fortunate that when the Financial Crisis erupted in 2007-2008, Ben Bernanke was chairman of the Federal Reserve. Bernanke is one of the nation's leading scholars on the history and causes of the Great Depression.

The Depression is generally considered to have been triggered by the stock market crash of 1929. But many economists -- the late Milton Friedman foremost among them -- believe that event would have resulted in an ordinary recession but for grave mistakes made by the Federal Reserve.

Specifically the Fed raised interest rates, increased reserve requirements for banks, and choked off the money supply. These policies led to runs on banks and a wave of failures. This lack of credit triggered a massive contraction of business activity. When the Financial Crisis hit, Bernanke did not repeat the mistakes of the 1930s. He slashed interest rates to historic lows and kept them there. He flooded the banking system with cash and began a bond-buying program. Those moves allowed many corporations to refinance their debt at very favorable rates.

This Banking Giant Says Take Hold of Gold in 2017

Hold on to that shiny safe haven asset in your portfolio, banking giant UBS says. The price of gold was at $1,228.76 Monday, a near 7% rise year to date, as President Donald Trump's bumpy first few weeks in office have spread jitters through the investing world, and led to doubts about the three interest rate hikes the Federal Reserve had projected.

That's at least part of the reason why UBS's commodity and Asia-Pacific commodity head, Dominic Schnider says the precious metal could reach $1,300 this year in a CNBC interview.

"There's plenty of uncertainty out there," Schnider told CNBC Monday. "Inflation is going to accelerate faster than the Fed is going to hike rates; that's good for real assets. On top of it, we are looking for a weak dollar on a broad basis; that combination has a good tendency to boost prices."

It should be noted that bullion slipped slightly Monday after the dollar strengthened against the yen, partially due to the smooth meeting between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday.

Why The Next Large Market Correction Will Cause Record Gold Demand

Precious metals investors should be prepared that the next large market correction will likely cause record gold demand with much higher prices. Once the Great Hyped Trump Rally runs its course and the lousy fundamentals are allowed to kick in, the broader stock markets are going to experience one hell of a correction.

And with that correction, we will experience another big surge in Retail Gold ETF demand, just as we did back in Q1 2016. Even though Gold ETF demand is paper driven market, it is instrumental in pushing the gold price considerably higher.

This is exactly what took place last year when the Dow Jones Index corrected by more than 2,000 points during the first quarter of 2016:

This chart shows the difference in Gold ETF flows during Q1 2009 when the Dow Jones fell 25% to a low of 6,470 points. Investors who thought the world was coming to an end as Jim Cramer on CNBC was telling his viewers that “NO END TO THE CRASH WAS IN SIGHT” were flocking into Gold ETF’s in a big way. During the Q1 2009, a record 465 metric tons of gold (supposedly) flowed into Gold ETF and Funds.

US Visa Uncertainty Directing Foreign Tech Workers Toward Canada

Thousands of foreign technology workers in the United States are job hunting in neighboring Canada to avoid unemployment if the Trump administration shuts down temporary work visas.

Nearly 42% of searches with regard to jobs abroad are directed at Canada, reported Huffington Post, citing data released by the U.S. job board Reportedly, there has been a sudden increase in the number searches since Trump won the election.

This is good news for Canada where technology workers are in high demand. The country’s Information and Communications Technology Council, recently recommended that the government create 182,000 more skilled ICT workers by 2019.

Meanwhile, the Canadian tech community is pressing the country’s federal government to relax immigration laws and absorb foreign workers that are likely to be displaced by the U.S. executive order.

We went inside a Sears and saw why the company is dying

Sears Points Out It Is Still Technically Selling Trump Merchandise

Sears Holdings said on in Monday that it continues to sell the Trump brand on its site via third-party sellers, in a move clearly aimed at avoiding the controversy that has swirled around chains like Nordstrom (JWN, -0.62%) in the last week for dumping products bearning the name of the president or his daughter.

Over the weekend, several media outlets reported that Sears and sister company Kmart discontinued online sales of 31 Trump Home items, days after Nordstrom ended up on the receiving end of a Twitter lashing from President Trump for dropping his daughter's products from its stores. The Nordstrom move, which was echoed by Neiman Marcus and T.J. Maxx among others, led to calls by Trump admirers, including 1970s television actor Scott Baio, for a boycott of the upscale department store.

In a blog post on Monday, Sears recognized it had removed "a very small number of Trump products" from its e-commerce site as part of its standard practice to refresh its online assortment and noted that many Donald or Ivanka Trump items were still for sale on its site, part of which functions like eBay's and Amazon's marketplaces. On such sites, the host provides the web infrastructure and takes a commission, but doesn't choose what is sold nor take possession of it. Sears never sold Trump products in its stores.

"We, like all retailers, constantly add and remove products from our offerings," spokesman Chris Brathwaite said in the blog post. "But, any fair observer who searches for Trump or Ivanka Trump on would find hundreds of products available for purchase ."

Oregon looks to fund education budget with a proposed coffee tax.

A Democrat-sponsored bill in Oregon that would tax coffee has jolted caffeine lovers in the famously java-friendly Pacific Northwest. The legislation would impose an excise tax of 5 cents per pound on wholesale transactions of coffee beans and ground coffee in order to fund education programs, but so far criticism of the bill has been scalding.

“There are a lot of things Oregonians like with their coffee — a tax is not one of them,” House Republican Leader Mike McLane in a statement. “This proposal is regressive, it is poor public policy, and it deserves to be shelved just as quickly as it was introduced.”

The response on social media was similarly heated: A Portland Tribune reporter described House Bill 2875 as “political suicide,” while Oregon environmental attorney Nicholas Caleb intoned, “These are dark, dark times.” “Taxing caffeinated beverages is a dicey proposition, as the British learned in 1773,” quipped the Willamette Week’s Nigel Jaquiss, who estimated the bill would bring in about $2 million annually.

Still, desperate times may call for desperate measures in Oregon, where Democratic Gov. Kate Brown and the state legislature are casting about for ways to address an estimated $1.8 billion budget shortfall over the next two-year cycle.

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