Larry Kudlow Says Don’t Panic – Dan Mangru Market Commentary August 28, 2011Posted by Admin in Dan Mangru, Market Commentary.
Tags: business, cnbc, crash, crisis, dow, economy, Fox, gold, investing, larry kudlow, news, recession, silver
Larry Kudlow says don’t panic
Posted: August 10, 2011
8:19 pm Eastern
© 2011 WND
The United States has a current debt-to-GDP ratio of 100 percent just like the other Third World nations out there. It also has future liabilities in excess of $110 trillion (an amount that no other country can even fathom).
All the while, the U.S. dollar is losing strength and the cost of living and feeding a family continues to go up.
But Larry Kudlow says don’t worry.
While Kudlow points out that lower commodity prices should spur economic development, he misses out on several key factors that are needed to properly evaluate the market.
First, this isn’t a short-term pullback, this is a market correction. When the Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow) went down to 6547.05 on March 9, 2009, we were supposed to retrace the low to roughly 50 percent. What this means is that our stock market should have faced some major resistance to move beyond the 9750 mark on the Dow. Instead by 2010 we had blown by it, and with the slight exception of the May 2010 flash crash, we never looked back.
Make no mistake, speculation fueled the market. Case in point, look where we are now. When QE2 (Quantitative Easing 2) was implemented by the Fed last December, the Dow was hovering around 11,000. During April the Dow surged to 12,928. Everything seemed great.
Except it wasn’t.
With continual Federal Reserve (Fed) stimulus (low interest rates, and QE2), traders, black box traders in particular, were given cart-blanche to trade financial markets knowing that they would be flush with cheap Fed cash.
Since the cash was always there, traders didn’t care what the economic news was for the day. They were concerned with liquidity and how they could exploit liquidity to make a profit.
That’s why things such as a high debt to GDP ratio, poor housing numbers, and high deficit spending didn’t seem to register on Wall Street’s radar.
However, once the Fed pulled out their cash and ended QE2, traders started to run for the hills. They began to start dumping stocks. In fact, even sophisticated hedge fund managers such as Carl Icahn and George Soros proclaimed that they were disbanding their hedge funds, returning money to investors, and leaving the market at professional managers.
That should tell you something.
Between the top money guys leaving and the Fed pulling out cash, the fix was in. We were all fed the line that once we did the debt deal that financial markets would rally. And they did … for about an hour.
But that’s when reality hit.
Since then financial markets are starting to realize that the United States has no real end in sight to its flagrant spending ways, and astronomical long-term debt. Without Fed easy money to spur buying, investors are treating the U.S. economy for what it currently is … a sell.
Second, Kudlow points to rising corporate profits as being an indicator that the U.S. economy is still healthy. What Kudlow fails to recognize is that corporate profit guidance is being lowered for the second half of this year. Even Goldman Sachs lowered their guidance for the second half of this year.
Large corporations will see that margins are going down and that after enduring a major stock market correction, consumers are not running around the store waving their credit cards dying to spend. Consumers will not consume as much.
Savings rates are going up. The most recent data from the St. Louis Fed shows the U.S. personal savings rate is at 5.4 percent. Compare that with our April 2005 rate of 1 percent, and you can see that Americans are worried that the economy will fall and they will need their money.
That translates to economic slowdown. When individuals do not spend and start to save more, that slows down production and consumption, which in turn slows down the entire economy.
Third, Kudlow believes that there is a big overreaction going on to the problems in Europe. Keep in mind, Kudlow, along with fellow CNBCer Jim Cramer, thought Lehman Brothers was a good buy before it went bankrupt and wiped out investors.
The easiest way to understand the Europe problem is to think of economies of scale. Greece, which in relative terms is very small country, cost over $1 trillion to bail out.
One small country took all of the financial might and muscle of Europe’s top banks and governments to bail out.
Now think of Italy, the newest country on the brink. Italy’s debt crisis is 10 times the size of Greece. I’ll put it to you this way, the European Union cannot afford $10 trillion.
The entire GDP of the European Union is $16 trillion, so $10 trillion is too big to bail out. An additional problem with Italy is that a huge chunk of its debt is due within the next two years. So this isn’t a problem that can be shoved under the rug.
Combine this with a sluggish Euro and a European Union that is dealing with a global economic slowdown and the recipe is not good. With all of the weakness in Europe, the EU’s stronger countries (Germany and France) should start to see some of their strength erode as they are continually forced to bail out smaller players. By the EU charter, the EU guarantees all of the debt of its member nations. Hence, Germany and France will end up paying the bill for Greece, Italy, Spain, and all of the other countries who have overspent and are nearing bankruptcy.
Finally, Kudlow fails to point out several key ticking time bombs in the United States. First is the real estate market. With shadow inventories and foreclosures, home inventories should skyrocket to all-time high levels in the United States.
Second, student debt in America is at an all-time high. Fueled by government loans, universities have been charging students higher rates every year, regardless of what the stock market or the economy is doing. Current student debt in this country is estimated at $1 trillion. Just so you know, that was the amount of money that was needed to bail out our banks.
Third, municipal debt is a major issue. If cities and states start to go bankrupt, all hell could break loose. Remember, less than a year ago, California (the world’s 9th largest economy) could have gone under. The effects of a default of that size would cripple the domestic and global financial economy.
So Mr. Kudlow, in times like these, while panic may not be the right feeling, all is not well. Investors should be very concerned. They should be safeguarding their assets against a major stock market drop and planning for the future.
But then again, maybe that message isn’t one that the talking heads want to hear or give.
Dan Mangru on What It Means to Be Free – The Mangru Moment – The Mangru Report on Fox Business February 7, 2011Posted by Admin in Interviews.
Tags: dan mangru, economic, economy, financial, Fox Business, freedom, government, liberty, mangru report, news, peter schiff, rights, steve forbes, talk, tv
At the conclusion of The Mangru Report’s coverage of Freedom Fest, Dan Mangru sits down for an introspective look on what it means to be free and how Americans should be exercising the right that so many gave their lives for.
Steve Forbes FreedomFest Interview:
Pie in the Sky – John Browne Commentary January 27, 2011Posted by Admin in Market Commentary.
Tags: debt, deficit, economy, federal spending, Fox Business, freeze, john browne, mangru, obama, president, report, state of the union, white house
Pie in the Sky
By John Browne
Following the huge gains made by Republicans in the midterm elections, it was widely expected that President Obama would use the State of the Union address to signal a major policy shift toward the center of the political spectrum. On the surface, at least, he appeared to do just that, hinting that he took budget management very seriously and that Americans should be prepared for shared sacrifice. However, as the final applause still echoed in the House chamber, many astute pundits were left trying to make sense of the many contradictory policy prescriptions the President proffered.
Classical political maneuvering dictates that when clouds are grey, politicians must offer good news, tell jokes, and remind us warmly of our childhood (or in Obama’s version, America’s triumph over Russia in the Space Race). Disclosure of specific measures should be avoided at all costs. President Obama followed these tactics closely.
While he did address plans to cut non-defence, discretionary federal spending – a small fraction of the overall budget – the President also announced his intention to increase spending on several existing and new initiatives. The scope of the new initiatives will surely eclipse the modest cuts pledged.
The President was careful to refer to all his spending plans as “investments.” The word is used in order to illicit a pleasant feeling among voters who instinctively favor capitalism over socialism, not because any thinking person expects these resources to be better allocated than they would have been by the market. Governments don’t make investments because they aren’t subject to profit-and-loss feedback. Governments provide public goods for which no profit can be measured or expected – or else we would just have the private sector take care of it. This disingenuous use of the word investment disguises the fact that the President simply intends to borrow even more money to spend on public-sector jobs.
The essential point is that while jobs in the private sector create wealth, public sector jobs actually consume wealth. When I was a Member of the British Parliament, I represented a county that spent the least amount per pupil on education of anywhere in the entire country. Yet, the achievement level of the students was by far the highest. It was vivid proof that it is not the amount of money that is crucial to success, but the quality of the spending. If the President were to lower taxation, cut the number of government regulations, and replace a political atmosphere of uncertainty with one of certainty, he might stand a chance of reviving wealth creation.
More seriously, the President made no mention of the massive debt problems facing US state governments, such as California and Illinois. The potential eruption of these debt and currency problems could well dominate investment strategies for 2011.
Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office issued a highly embarrassing assessment that the federal deficit for 2011 would rise from the previously projected $1.1 trillion to $1.48 trillion. At a stroke, this nullified the President’s debt reduction plans. The CBO also pointed out that Social Security posted a $45 billion deficit in 2010 and will bleed more than $600 billion over the next ten years. I assume these estimates to be conservative. It is clear that the President, and the rest of Congress for that matter (with the possible exception of Congressman Paul Ryan whose austere recommendations have been ignored by most of his fellow Republicans), are dancing around the bonfire of our sovereign credit and hoping that their twirls will distract us from the conflagration.
Also yesterday, the Federal Reserve’s policy statement claimed that its massive stimulus plans are working, and that it will maintain both QE II and near-zero rates well into 2011. If the economy were indeed improving, as Messrs. Bernanke and Obama claim, why would the Fed and the Treasury need to keep administering life support? Clearly the White House and the Fed have little confidence in their own assertions; so, how should average investors react to more promises which are highly unlikely to be kept?
Rather than buying into Washington’s scripted recovery propaganda, investors should focus on the bottom line. Low interest rates are distorting the value of money and the key investment relationship between risk and reward. One side effect is that investors are being incentivized to favor equities over fixed income. A lack of viable alternatives has likely played an unsung role in supporting the current stock market rally.
Investors would be well-advised to retain a jaundiced view of all political statements, especially those of central bankers and politicians positioning themselves for the next election. In 2011, investors should focus their eyes not on the sky, but at the brick wall our Union is fast approaching.
John Browne is a Senior Market Strategist at Euro-Pacific Capital. He’s been a member of English Parliament, an advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and currently serves as Lead Panelist for The Mangru Report. You can view all of his commentaries by CLICKING HERE NOW.
Why real-estate quagmire stays, and stays, and stays … – Dan Mangru WND (WorldNetDaily) Exclusive Commentary November 10, 2010Posted by Admin in Market Commentary, News.
Tags: America, bernanke, economy, Foreclosure, housing, markets, mortgages, obama, real estate, recession, subprime, treasury, underwater, United States
Why real-estate quagmire stays, and stays, and stays …
By Dan Mangru
Posted: November 09, 2010 5:37 pm Eastern
We live in an instant society.
Want to watch your favorite movies any time of the day? We have Instant on Demand.
Didn’t think that Terrell Owens got both feet in for his touchdown on Monday Night Football? No worries, we have instant replay.
We have instant popcorn, instant pudding, and pretty much instant everything.
So with all the advances of modern technology, what is taking so long to clean up the real estate market?
We have all of the tools to fix the market.
Want to start selling foreclosures? We can use the power of the Internet to do massive online foreclosure auctions as opposed to gathering on the old courthouse steps.
Want to gather investors? Start an investment group on Facebook. It’s really that simple.
Yet despite all of the tools available to us, the real estate markets remain a disaster.
National home prices have changed -5.0 percent quarter-over-quarter. In fact, looking at national home prices since their mid-August peak, price declines are even more dramatic, changing -6.8 percent.
Roughly 1 out of every 4 homeowners has negative equity in a home (meaning that their home is worth less than their mortgage).
And just last month, all of the major banks halted the sale of foreclosed properties.
So what has been the government’s response to all of these problems?
A tale of two housing busts: Why is California recovering and Florida still struggling? November 6, 2010Posted by Admin in Market Commentary, News.
Tags: builders, busts, california, construction, economy, florida, Foreclosure, housing, judge, judicial, los angeles, market, miami, mortgages, real estate, san francisco, speculators, tampa
Many experts say the difference is California’s simpler foreclosure process, which doesn’t involve the courts.
California and Florida had a lot in common during the housing industry’s last boom-and-bust cycle.
Both were overrun by buyers hooked on high-risk mortgages, speculators who helped push prices to historic peaks and builders who didn’t know when to stop. When the bubble burst, the two states became leaders in mortgage defaults, price declines and tracts of unsold new homes.
But in the last year or so, California’s housing market, though still weak, has begun recovering, while Florida’s remains on the critical list.
There are several reasons for the difference, but many experts say a key one is the approach to foreclosure.
California keeps things less complicated and largely outside the courtroom, making it easier for banks to seize and resell homes. Like 22 other states, Florida requires that repossessions be approved by judges, which some argue provides extra protection for homeowners but can delay the process for months.
“The California process is very efficient, and that allows the state to work through the foreclosure morass much more quickly, and the result is a more stable housing market and economy,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Economy.com.
“Florida, in contrast, because of the process being so mucked up there, they still have a long way to go in working through their problem loans, and so their housing economy remains under significant pressure,” he said.
Home prices in the two states tell the tale.
California home sales and prices have tapered off since the boost from federal tax credits for buyers vanished in July, but home values are up considerably from the worst days of the bust. The median price for town homes, condominiums and single-family houses in September was $265,000, up 20% from the bottom in April 2009, according to MDA DataQuick.
In Florida, prices in much of the state have struggled to find a bottom. The median price of a single-family home in Florida was $133,400 in September, a 48% decline from its June 2006 peak, according to data from the Florida Assn. of Realtors. Condominium prices have seen an even bigger plunge, with the statewide median hitting $83,400 in September, a 61% drop from its June 2006 peak.
Another closely watched indicator, the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index, shows prices in Los Angeles up 10% from their bottom, San Diego up 14% and San Francisco up 21%. In Miami, home prices have remained relatively flat, up 2% from their bottom, and Tampa-area prices have yet to stop falling.
The different types of foreclosure systems have come into focus in recent weeks after major lenders acknowledged that in some states where a court order was required to seize a home they had employed so-called robo-signers, who attested to the accuracy of foreclosure documents without reading them.
Those improprieties prompted some major banks to halt foreclosure proceedings temporarily, sparked investigations by state and federal agencies and led to calls for a national foreclosure moratorium, which the Obama administration has resisted.
The paperwork fiasco brought to light a cold fact: Calling in a judge slows the repossession machine.
The average borrower in default lost the home after failing to make mortgage payments for 25 months in Florida and the other states where court approval is required for repossessions, according to a study by Amherst Securities Group. The average is 19 months in California and other so-called nonjudicial states.
The process could be even faster in states like California, but banks have been slowed by moratoriums, loan-modification programs and their own efforts to manage the number of properties reaching the market.
Such interim restrictions, as well as the slower court process, may be more fair to borrowers who were hustled into risky loans they didn’t understand and more merciful to those who temporarily fell behind in their house payments because of short-term financial problems.
But harsh as it sounds, experts said, failing to foreclose on borrowers who can’t afford to stay in their homes only delays a recovery for housing and the general economy.
“Trying to get the volume of foreclosures that you need to take place is difficult,” said Sean M. Snaith, director of the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness. “As long as these homes are in foreclosure purgatory, we haven’t completed that process, and it is hard to talk about stabilization.”
Though California’s system may be more efficient, it isn’t particularly compassionate or free from error, said Maeve Elise Brown, executive director of the Housing and Economic Rights Advocates in Oakland. Her group has helped several homeowners who say their lenders wrongfully foreclosed.
She said there are clear problems with the way lenders are conducting repossessions in the state, but “we don’t have the benefit of a judicial process.”
California’s foreclosure wave began in 2007, triggered by falling home values and resets on adjustable-rate mortgages, and peaked in the summer months of 2008. Since then the pace of foreclosures has dropped considerably, and bank seizures dropped 44% in the third quarter compared with the peak two years ago, according to data from RealtyTrac Inc. in Irvine.
Florida remains jammed with a huge backlog of troubled loans. The state set a record for bank repossessions just last month, with more than 13,200 homes seized by lenders, according to RealtyTrac.
Faster foreclosures are only one factor boosting California’s housing market. The industry has been buoyed by the state’s more diverse and dynamic economy, and the coastal cities didn’t get the kind of unrestrained development that Florida’s beachfront cities saw.
“The enormous amount of speculation that occurred in Florida certainly contributed mightily to the decline, whereas in California you never had quite the tremendous supply of condominiums, and certainly there weren’t as many along the water,” said Lewis M. Goodkin, president of Goodkin Consulting Corp., a real estate research and advisory firm in Miami.
“Prices jumped dramatically, and now people are buying for 50 cents on the dollar, and I still don’t think it’s a bargain,” he said.
Recognizing that Florida’s foreclosure backlog remains a major impediment to the state’s recovery, the Florida Legislature this year approved $9.6 million to hire judges, magistrates, case managers and clerks to handle the foreclosure caseload in the state’s 20 circuit courts.
The state also sought to clear its big pile of bad loans faster by employing a special system of rapid court hearings that sometimes last less than a minute — a process that earned the nickname “rocket docket.”
“It would move much faster if the banks and the attorneys would get their act together,” said Orlando lawyer Matt Englett, who represents borrowers. “Most people, they don’t go hire lawyers and contest them. Most people don’t do anything.”
Top Headlines: November 5, 2010 November 5, 2010Posted by Admin in News.
Tags: aig, America, Auto, barack, Congress, economy, election, GOP, health care, jobs, may, obama, president, republican, sales, sarah palin, toyota, U.S.
The One-Sided Compromise – Guest Commentary By John Browne October 29, 2010Posted by Admin in Market Commentary.
Tags: Capital, china, currency, dan mangru, Dollar, economy, Euro-Pacific, g20, geithner, global, john browne, mangru report, reserve, secretary, south korea, treasury, United States, yuan
The One-Sided Compromise
By: John Browne
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Last weekend, the G-20 finance ministers met in South Korea to find areas of agreement in preparation for the main G-20 gathering in November. The Chinese rebuffed renewed American pleas for them to revalue their yuan. They rejected Secretary Geithner’s suggestion of a four percent cap on current account surpluses. However, in return for accepting America’s continued dollar debasement, the Chinese did agree to “look into” a revaluation of the yuan and the management of trade surpluses. They also agreed to an international self-policing regime to curb currency manipulation. This ‘one-sided’ compromise was hailed in the Western media as a triumph for Mr. Geithner. The US stock markets and dollar rallied. All looked good for the election season in November.
Unfortunately, compromises are never one-sided; they are only construed as such. Though the reporting failed to emphasize it, Mr. Geithner actually agreed to a massive shift of monetary power in exchange for China’s empty concessions. The shareholdings and board composition of the huge and powerful International Monetary Fund (IMF) have now been shifted. China will now become the third largest shareholder of the IMF and the developing economies will get a six percent larger voting share. Two European states will lose their seats on the IMF’s board in favor of developing countries.
Meanwhile, China, supported by Russia, India, and even Brazil, continued to lobby hard for the US dollar’s privileged role as the international reserve currency to be replaced by a wide basket of currencies and gold. To this end, the IMF has recently been given additional “emergency” lending facilities. These could be used in a coming sovereign default crisis to ‘bail out’ Western countries, at which point they would be unable to resist global economic governance under the guise of the reformed IMF.
In short, Secretary Geithner’s “victory” at the G-20 was one only King Pyrrhus could love.
But the blame cannot be laid entirely with Mr. Geithner. The fact that he left the meeting at least saving a bit of face for his delegation is a monumental achievement, considering the dismal condition of the US economy.
Fed Chairman Bernanke appears desperate to flood the United States with another round of quantitative easing (QE-2). In a $13 trillion economy, a release of anything less than $1 trillion would not be seen as effective. Remember, the Fed already injected over $1 trillion after the credit crunch – and we are still in recession. How much will it take to right this listing ship?
When Geithner pledged to China a “gradual” debasement of the dollar, it is astonishing that they didn’t laugh him out of the room.
If he were to make good on his pledge and convince Bernanke to cut QE-2 to, say, $500 billion, the US GDP and stock markets would almost certainly begin to contract. This would threaten the banking system with a second crisis borne out of the ashes, or toxic assets, of the first.
For a frame of reference, the US home mortgage market is valued at some $10.6 trillion. Indeed, foreclosures and past-due loans amount already to some 14 percent of the market, or about $1.5 trillion. Of this staggering figure, the loans delinquent or in foreclosure to which the top three banks (Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan) are exposed amount to more than $600 billion, an amount roughly equal to the original TARP bailout fund.
At the same time, thanks to falsely low interest rates, the banks’ net interest margins, or the difference between what they earn in loan interest and what they pay to their creditors, are being squeezed severely, while their non-interest earnings are falling, due to lower economic activity and the prohibitions contained in FinReg.
Finally, there is the murky question of how exposed the banks are to the massive derivatives market, a house of cards with a shaky foundation.
As we have described for several years, the US economy is virtually locked into a long arc of decline. There are no politically palatable solutions to this quandary. Until Americans are ready to take their lumps and accept a steep drop in their standard of living, the US government will have no leverage with the creditor nations and no ability to keep its promises. Therefore, we should celebrate when China even gives our Treasury Secretary an audience.
If China does manage to topple the US dollar from its perch as the international reserve currency, our economy will very likely move into free fall as decades of inflation come pouring back into the country. We will be forced to live within our means or face hyperinflation. Losing a few votes at the IMF is a small cost to delay this eventuality, but it also puts us one step closer to it.
John Browne is a Senior Market Strategist at Euro-Pacific Capital. He’s been a member of English Parliament, an advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and currently serves as Lead Panelist for The Mangru Report. You can view all of his commentaries by CLICKING HERE NOW.
Tags: America, Anthony Pulieri, Apple, asia, business, china, commentary, discussion, domestic, economic, economy, euro-pacific capital, finance, foreign, foxconn, india, Jim Knight, jobs, john browne, knight group, kroger, news, outsourcing, production, Small Business, talk, United Bullion Group, wages, walmart
As election season is in full gear, and politicians ramp up the political rhetoric on how outsourcing has killed jobs in America, The Mangru Report Panel of experts takes a hard look at whether outsourcing is a negative or a positive thing for America.
The Mangru Report Panel of Experts composed of Anthony Pulieri (Joseph Glenn Commodities), John Browne (Euro Pacific Capital), and Jim Knight (The Knight Group) discuss the differences in wages in foreign countries, the influence of unions, unfair government subsidies from foreign nations, the difference in technical skills between the U.S. workforce and countries like China & India, backwards tax incentives that keep U.S. jobs overseas for fear of high U.S. taxation, the influence of cheaper goods and it’s effect on the U.S. standard of living, and why companies are moving more of their operations overseas.
This segment was sponsored by First Hour Trading, you can download their FREE Report, “How to make enough money in the first 59 minutes of the market” by CLICKING HERE NOW.
Healthy School Lunches – Taxation By Representation – The Mangru Report on Fox Business October 12, 2010Posted by Admin in Panel Discussion.
Tags: analysis, Anthony Pulieri, Capital, cell phone radiation, commentary, Congress, dan mangru, discussion, economic, economy, education, educational, Euro-Pacific, finance, government, government spending, Healthy School Lunches, house, HR 5504, Improving Nutrition for America's Children Act, interviews, Jim Knight, john browne, low income, news, pelosi, physical fitness, politics, Representation, representatives, talk, taxation, taxes, television, The Knight Group, The Mangru Report, United Bullion Group
As Congress continues to debate a new bill to implement healthy school lunches across the country (HR 5504, Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act), The Mangru Report panel of experts composed of John Browne (Euro-Pacific Capital), Anthony Pulieri (United Bullion Group), and Jim Knight (The Knight Group) discusses the merits of the bill and whether this is solving an epidemic problem or just more government spending.
The panel also weighs whether the healthy school lunches should be income based as opposed to being distributed to all students, whether food stamps should be cut to pay for it, whether physical fitness programs should accompany the healthy lunches, and whether the government should be intruding further into our lives.
Former NFL Player Kerry Parker Interview with Dan Mangru on New Orleans, Katrina & BP Oil Spill October 11, 2010Posted by Admin in Interviews.
Tags: 50/5 program, BP, British Petroleum, commentary, dan mangru, discussion, economy, finance, government, hurricane, interviews, kansas city chiefs, katrina, Kerry Parker, National football league, New Orleans, NFL, oakland raiders, oil, rebuilding, Saints, Small Business, spill, talk, The Mangru Report, tv
Former NFL Player Kerry Parker (Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders) sits down with Dan Mangru to discuss what’s going on in New Orleans, five years after the events of Hurricane Katrina. Parker, a participant from the NFL Alumni Association with the 50/5 program (50 homes in 5 days), shares with Mangru how the government has failed in rebuilding Katrina, why private people need to step up in the community, whether small businesses are still waiting for money from BP & the government, and what he’s doing in the community to help kids, the homeless, and those in need to become better citizens of the world.