Hillary, the DNC and the crash

Have you recently wondered why the media has been reporting everything in the economy is sunshine and flowers, that we’re out of the “Great Recession,” and that things around the country are getting better, but you can’t seem to find an actual person on the street who agrees with them?

I’m a financial nerd, so instead of listening to music while I’m in my car (which is most of my life living in the Los Angeles area), I listen to financial and market analysis podcasts. One analyst I listen to often is Porter Stansberry, who had a very good saying about determining the current state of our economy:


“If my neighbor loses his job, it’s a recession. If I lose my job, it’s a depression.”


But while those of us in the real world see just how awful the economy really is, the government keeps telling us that we’re not only on the road to recovery, but that our economy and GDP are healthy and growing, while unemployment keeps dropping and American’s are better off and happier than they were a year ago.

I’m of the belief that bubbles and crashes are a natural part of the market and economy, and know quite a few investors who make the majority of their profits in crashes. We know that the stock market is a cyclical machine, which crashes every 7-11 years based on past performance, and investors with patience and an understanding of that cycle are some of the most successful.

Every analyst worth his salt says that we should be in a crash right now, the economic numbers are grossly inflated, and it’s only a matter of time until the next crash comes. Even Steve Forbes is saying to hold gold right now, to be prepared for what comes next.

But when looking at the stock market, you can’t just look at economic data anymore to determine what’s going to happen next; you also have to look at politics.

It was a conversation between Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad, Poor Dad) and Charles Goyette (The Dollar Meltdown) that helped me to understand why the current administration is doing everything they can to manipulate economic data, put out all the stops to falsely prop the market up and keep the impending crash away as long as possible.

While Charles believes that the crash is imminent, as many others do, Robert put forth a theory that makes a lot of sense: that the DNC wants nothing more than Hillary Clinton to be elected in 2016, and knows that she’ll only be elected in a healthy market and economy.

While Charles advised to “batten down the hatches” now because the crash will be very soon, Robert believes that the democrats will do everything in their power (like manipulating economic data and using the governmental bodies to keep the dollar afloat) to keep the machine running until the next election.

I’ve heard the theories come up quite often in 2014 that the government was manipulating economic data, but the question “why” was never quite answered. Now that I’ve been given an answer by a very wise and successful investor, I almost wish I had never had.

I’ve always suspected that the game was rigged, but if Mr. Kiyosaki is correct, and the rigging goes all the way to the White House, then I am truly afraid for our future and what will come.



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Stuff or Time?

            I used to truly believe that whoever coined the phrase “money can’t buy you happiness” was a real jerk, someone who was obviously born into great wealth and never had to toil in the coal mines like the rest of us, stressing and worrying about keeping up with the Jones’s, putting food on our kids plates, money into our retirement, and paying off a bigger mortgage every few years.

And then I paid attention to my kids. It’s funny, we always think that we have all the answers as the adults, the educated, the learned ones who have grown wiser throughout our years and learned from past mistakes.

But it’s amazing the life lessons that we adults can sometimes learn from our kids and their childhood innocence, if we’re smart and patient enough to just pay attention every once in awhile.

This year I celebrated Christmas with my kids early, last weekend to be exact, and I was so spun up and stressed out throughout the week planning and preparing that I felt as if I was back in the Middle East gearing up for a mission.

Even shopping a week early was met with long lines and crazed masses trying to get to the stores early enough to buy the perfect gift for their kids, the required meal for Christmas day, and the right wrapping paper and Christmas tree decorations.

Even picking my kids up on Friday I was pre-planning distractions and diversions to keep them away from the tree, worried about how I could fill their little heads with activities so as not to be pressured constantly to open the presents before the perfect time, that crescendo of Christmas craziness after which parents can finally relax and take a deep breath.

But it never came. They saw the tree upon entering my home, and didn’t give it a second notice until it was time to open gifts. Instead, they wanted something from me that didn’t come wrapped in shiny wrappers, require batteries, or cost me a single penny. They just wanted my time.

In their minds, the stuff under the tree was of no real importance…I realized the only person who had worked themselves into a frenzy about making sure everything was perfect was me.

The greatest gift I gave my kids this Christmas, and the one I now realize was the one they cherished the most, was time with dad. And when the wrapping paper was thrown away and batteries were installed in all of the toys, it was the only gift that they will remember, and the only one that really matters.

Please take that to heart, ladies and gentlemen. I’ve found myself over the past year pushing my schedule to the absolute limits working on the various projects I’m involved in, which in my mind was all for my kids, so I can one day send them to the best colleges and ensure they never want for anything.

But they don’t care about that; all they care about is our time, and that’s the gift that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.

Merry Christmas everyone, give your kids an extra hug for me this year, and I promise it will do you much better than any material gift on any store shelf.


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Too Broke to Stop Spending

What made you the most upset about the recent passing of our $1 trillion spending bill?  It seems the only thing that can be agreed upon by everyone is that it’s unliked and a very bad idea.  Interestingly enough, it seems to be hated equally from both sides of the political aisle, as well as the American public….you know, the people whose money is actually paying for the  thing.

 The part that struck me as the most odd and quite frankly made me upset was the defense appropriation.  The lobbyists, I mean politicians (is there any difference at this point) decided to give the Pentagon twice as much as they asked for in the defense budget.

 Here’s why this makes me very upset.

 Yes, I am a combat veteran, and yes I’m saying giving the DoD too much money, especially more than the Generals and staff who know better than the politicians what the military needs, is a very bad idea.

 But why would I want to keep money from the Pentagon and leave our nations finest and bravest without the funds to buy hot meals for the troops, bullets, body armor and adequate housing?

 I had the benefit of finishing my undergraduate business degree before entering the military, so I looked at many of the processes I witnessed during my service through that lens.  The absolute waste ingrained into the system made me furious, and this is exactly why.

 For those of you without any governmental budgeting experience, here’s a quick tutorial; I hope it makes you as upset as it does me.  My experience was on the military side of the house, but many sources from other governmental agencies tell me it’s the same all around.

 Let’s say I’m the commander of Unit X (sounds like a cool unit, doesn’t it?).  My unit is given a budget of $1,000,000 this year to spend on things that I need.  If i’m smart I’ll even ask for more, because one of the bullet points on my military resume is how much money I commanded while in charge.

 Throughout the course of the year I buy the things my unit needs: MRE’s, training, gear, etc.  But when the end of the fiscal year comes around, I find that I have $250,000 left over.  In private industry I’d be commended for keeping overhead low, but in government that is considered a very bad thing.

 You see, if I have money left over in a military unit, the budgeting overlords look at it as if I was given too much, and they’ll decrease my budget next year.  So what am I to do?  I do an “end of the year buy.”

 This is where most soldiers and units get their warehouse full of sunglasses, new boots, knives or things they don’t really need (or already have), but the logistical soldiers know can be purchased quickly and used to ensure that no money is left at the end of the year.

 On top of this culture of waste and punishing commanders who spend efficiently, we have programs with massive waste like the F-35.  The Pentagon is already planning to spend almost a trillion dollars on these fighters (purchasing 2,443 for $382 billion with an operation and maintenance estimate of $650 billion).

 These are the same fighters, mind you, that Canada refused to buy because they “add no edge over other fighters” for their forecast of planned engagements.

It reminds me of a joke I once heard: an astronaut and cosmonaut are on the space station together.  The astronaut is bragging about his pen, which NASA developed for $20 million and can write underwater, in zero gravity, upside down, rightside up, and every which way.  The cosmonaut listens intently, laughs, and says that Russia gave him something that can do all of the cool tricks his $20 million pen can: a pencil.

Our culture and education system do an abysmal job of teaching our children anything about money.  It falls on us as parents to do everything we can to teach our kids fiscal responsibility, but when they see our politicians doing the exact opposite and spending their future away right in front of their eyes, what lesson do you think they are learning?

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