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Pie in the Sky – John Browne Commentary January 27, 2011

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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.

New Poll: Should Hillary Clinton Run Against Obama in 2012? November 8, 2010

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Obama Dances with Indian Children – Video of the Week November 7, 2010

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New Poll: Who is the leader of the Tea Party? – CLICK HERE TO VOTE

Download The Mangru Report App for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch

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Lou Pritchett’s Open Letter To Barack Obama October 3, 2010

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AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA
(Be sure to watch Lou Pritchett today on The Mangru Report at 5:30 p.m. on Fox Business Network.)

Dear President Obama:

You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and unlike any of the others, you truly scare me.

You scare me because after months of exposure, I know nothing about you.

You scare me because I do not know how you paid for your expensive Ivy League education and your upscale lifestyle and housing with no visible signs of support.

You scare me because you did not spend the formative years of youth growing up in America and culturally you are not an American.

You scare me because you have never run a company or met a payroll.

You scare me because you have never had military experience, thus don’t understand it at its core.

You scare me because you lack humility and ‘class’, always blaming others.

You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned yourself with radical extremists who hate America and you refuse to publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail.

You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the ‘blame America’ crowd and deliver this message abroad.

You scare me because you want to change America to a European style country where the government sector dominates instead of the private sector.

You scare me because you want to replace our health care system with a government controlled one.

You scare me because you prefer ‘wind mills’ to responsibly capitalizing on our own vast oil, coal and shale reserves.

You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist goose that lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of living in the world.

You scare me because you have begun to use ‘extortion’ tactics against certain banks and corporations.

You scare me because your own political party shrinks from challenging you on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals.

You scare me because you will not openly listen to or even consider opposing points of view from intelligent people.

You scare me because you falsely believe that you are both omnipotent and omniscient.

You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on everything you do.

You scare me because you demonize and want to silence the Limbaughs, Hannitys, O’Relllys and Becks who offer opposing, conservative points of view.

You scare me because you prefer controlling over governing.

Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years.

Lou Pritchett

(Be sure to watch Lou Pritchett today on The Mangru Report at 5:30 p.m. on Fox Business Network.)

The author, Lou Pritchett, is a well-known public speaker who retired after a successful 36-year career as the VP World Sales for Proctor and Gamble.

Lou Pritchett is one of corporate America’s true living legends- an acclaimed author, dynamic teacher and one of the world’s highest rated speakers. Successful corporate executives everywhere recognize him as the foremost leader in change management. Lou changed the way America does business by creating an audacious concept that came to be known as “partnering.” Pritchett rose from soap salesman to Vice-President, Sales and Customer Development for Procter and Gamble and over the course of 36 years, made corporate history.

Be sure to watch Lou Pritchett today on The Mangru Report at 5:30 p.m. on Fox Business Network.

Another Stimulus – The Mangru Report – Episode 14 August 25, 2010

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Just when you think you’ve seen one stimulus too much… the White House and their crew of cronies are now calling for even more government spending in the form of a new stimulus.  Watch as The Mangru Report Panel of Experts led by John Browne of Euro-Pacific Capital, Anthony Pulieri of United Bullion Group, Alan Stone of Wall St. Research, and Jim Whelan of The James R. Whelan Agency.

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 trading…” at www.firsthourtradingtv.com

Missouri voters reject key provision of health care law August 4, 2010

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Here’s an interesting article about Missouri and Obamacare…

Mo. voters reject key provision of health care law

By DAVID A. LIEB (AP) – Aug. 3, 2010

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly
rejected a key provision of President Barack Obama’s health care law,
sending a clear message of discontent to Washington and Democrats less
than 100 days before the midterm elections.

With about 70 percent of the vote counted late Tuesday, nearly
three-quarters of voters threw their support behind a ballot measure,
Proposition C, that would prohibit the government from requiring
people to have health insurance or from penalizing them for not having
it.

That would conflict with a federal requirement that most people have
health insurance or face penalties starting in 2014.

Tuesday’s vote was seen as largely symbolic because federal law
generally trumps state law. But it was also seen as a sign of growing
voter disillusionment with federal policies and a show of strength by
conservatives and the tea party movement.

Legislatures in Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana and Virginia have
passed similar statutes, and voters in Arizona and Oklahoma will vote
on such measures as state constitutional amendments in November. But
Missouri was the first state to challenge aspects of the law in a
referendum.

Federal courts are expected to weigh in well before the insurance
provision takes effect about whether the federal health care overhaul
is constitutional.

The intent of the federal requirement is to broaden the pool of
healthy people covered by insurers, thus holding down premiums that
otherwise would rise because of separate provisions prohibiting
insurers from denying coverage to people with poor health or
pre-existing conditions.

But the insurance requirement has been one of the most contentious
parts of the new federal law. Public officials in well over a dozen
states, including Missouri, have filed lawsuits claiming Congress
overstepped its constitutional authority by requiring citizens to buy
health insurance.

The Missouri Hospital Association spent $400,000 warning people that
passage of the ballot measure could increase hospitals’ costs for
treating the uninsured, but there was little opposition to the measure
from either grass-roots organizations or from the unions and consumer
groups that backed the federal overhaul.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Grover Norquist One-on-One – The Mangru Report – Episode 3 May 18, 2010

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Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, talks with Dan Mangru of The Mangru Report and debunks some of the common myths associated with Obama’s tax agenda. Norquist reveals why a VAT tax will never replace any existing tax, how healthcare wasn’t even scored properly by the CBO before it was passed, why Americans can’t afford Obama’s healthcare, comments on Carly Fiorina’s jobs plan, and which taxes to lower in order to boost job creation.