HERE IS SOME CLEAR GUIDANCE DURING THESE CONFUSING TIMES!

March 30, 2020.
“Confusion” that is the word that I am using to describe the stock market today.  Things are making no sense to me with the way people are investing right now.  It is apparent that the Coronavirus impact on the economy will be much more dire than anyone originally thought.  I am now hearing the impact could be 25% plus downward pressure on GDP.  Despite this the DOW soared 700 points today which is normally a forecast prediction of what is happening in the economy 6 months from now.  Obviously, there are large institutional players who believe we will see market recovery.   Or maybe the Fed is involved, behind the scenes, taking all the action it can to ensure stock buying happens?  I think we could start seeing, in short order, the Fed Reserve passing new regulations that allow it to buy ETFs – thereby supporting the stock market.  It is already buying asset back securities, at book value, where the asset is not worth nearly the amount the Fed is paying for it.    Who else would buy Municipal Bonds now except the Fed – at full paper value?  Of course, we as tax payers (as always) are on the hook.

I think this is possible … that the Fed could print money continuously at levels no one ever would have imagined in the coming weeks and months.   I think we could see $10 trillion or more in stimulus – and much of this is due to the Fed’s fear of deflation.  No politician will ever step in the way of government spending as they don’t get reelected and – like the Share Buy Back Program – everyone loves it until the unintended consequences happen.   The American day of reckoning will occur when interest rates rise and one day they will and almost all tax dollars are used to pay for the debt and there will be no money for healthcare, infrastructure, defense etc etc etc.

I am starting to think that a good strategy is to devalue the dollar by printing endlessly and therefore 30 trillion in debt is worth much less because the dollar is worth only a fraction of its previous value.   The US dollar is the Reserve Currency and the economic system would collapse if the US dollar collapsed; however, the Fed is fighting against Deflation at all costs and will print money in an unprecedented way to ensure the battle is won.   Also, there are too many stakeholders, around the world, that will ensure the US dollar does not collapse.

As Americans I am sure we should not hold all our money in US dollars – but, other than Gold and Silver, I am not sure where else to diversify at this point – but will keep you posted.  Other Fed Reserve Banks are always printing non stop to prevent a deflationary cycle but, all combined, not even close to the US Federal Reserve.

Although the Saudi Arabia/Russia oil negotiation breakdown had an effect on oil, it is not the sole cause for oil to be at under $20 a barrel today.  This is an 18-year low and the oil market is behaving more like what we would expect and that is the fact that – there will be a massive decline in oil demand due to a predicted Deep Recession by the oil market.     The oil market is behaving like we are going into a very deep Recession and the stock market is behaving like “this is a bad snow storm” – that will pass quickly.

Shockingly, despite all the bad news about the Corona Virus that includes nations around the world (that will not be able to mobilize to fight against it – because they have no budget to do so) or countries like Brazil where the President said, “People will die but we are not shutting down the economy”. We saw gold and silver show weakness today.  Again, this makes no sense – but I can tell you that the last thing the Federal Reserve Bankers around the world want to see is the price of gold skyrocketing as that would mean a total lack of confidence in Fiat Currencies and a possible total breakdown of the economic system.

So, what to do.  I stick by what I have been saying:

  1. Hold at least 25% in cash.  CASH IS KING RIGHT NOW!  The asset bubble is likely to blow up unless the fund keeps flooding unlimited dollars – which it intends to do.   Not sure what will happen but those buying Real Estate, stocks or any other asset right now are playing a high risk/reward game.
  2. Make sure gold and silver constitute 5% plus of your total portfolio – as an insurance hedge.
  3. Don’t jump into the stock market because there are few economic indicators available (and investors are buying blindly with no updated economic information) It is possible the stock market could continue to make gains as the Fed runs the printing press nonstop – but we could also see a massive sell off on the DOW again – of a few thousand plus points or more.   No one is saying it, but if the Fed does not win against Deflation, we could see a DOW under 15000.   I don’t like these odds of investing in the stock market right now – as there are not economic indicators. This is the reason investors should sit on the sidelines, in cash, until we have more information.

One other important point is the volatility index is over 30.  That is sky high and buying stocks today is a “crap shoot”.   At the very least if you are buying stock ensure you have stop losses in effect as things can turn very quickly.

So, waking up tomorrow we could just as easily see the DOW up 1000 points as down 1000 points.  I live in Vegas and even I don’t like those odds.   Govern yourself carefully!

WHY WE WILL NOT HAVE A GREAT DEPRESSION? THE KEY WORD IS MUTATION.

Members,
I believe the (most) material update over the last few days is the fact that the coronavirus is showing no signs of being able to mutate quickly.  My greatest fear was that – over the next year to 18 months a vaccine is created but the virus mutated to a point where that the vaccine does not assist us and we are back to step one again with a new pandemic and a much deadlier mutation.
All viruses evolve over time, mutating as they replicate (imperfectly) inside a host’s cell in tremendous numbers and then they spread through a population, with some of these mutations persisting through natural selection.  More good news is that the virus appears to be the same as when it started in China.     Therefore, it appears a developed vaccine would be a single vaccine, rather than a new vaccine every year like the flu vaccine.   However, we are (according to all scientists) at least a year – before a vaccine is developed.
It is likely the high number of deaths in Italy is because of situational factors, such as an older population, hospitals being overwhelmed, shortages of ventilators etc. rather than a mutation.   This is heartening news, especially given that other viruses can be quick to mutate – such as the common flu – which is why a new vaccine is required every year.

This information was not available during the last economic guidance I released and therefore I would like to update:
– due to the fact that the virus will not mutate I am confident we will not enter into a Depression.  If the virus could mutate, I believe the economic system would shut down again and all the economic stimulus (by the Feds) would have been to no effect and we would have an economic collapse without the Feds in a position to assist. With no liquidity we would see a Depression that no one alive has experienced unless you are approximately 95 years old / plus. 
– I did say hold 50% in cash a few days ago and that is still a conservative approach but now with the confirmation that the virus is not mutating it is ok to lower the cash holding but at the very least I would hold 25% in cash and remember “US DOLLARS” are a prudent holding at this time.   I believe we are definitely going to see a Recession and the big question is how long will it last?
– I still believe members should hold 5% in gold and silver.   Physical gold and silver are very difficult to buy and I have now verified this with a few people in the industry – so you are stuck with buying stock. To keep it simple – buy sliver and gold ETFs.   Again, if the economy rebounds and we don’t see another business lockdown in the coming months it is likely gold and silver will “go nowhere” but at this point you are only buying it as an insurance hedge for your entire portfolio. 

I believe eventually we will see a positive turn around due to the fact that the Fed is throwing unlimited stimulus at the economy.   The big question will be the impact of massive unemployment and huge numbers of corporate bankruptcies.    For sure we will see a Recession even with all the Federal stimulus and if you did not capture the huge gains over the last 3 days be wary to jump in thinking we will quickly move up to the stock market highs of a month ago.    I think it was obvious that Boeing and the airlines would skyrocket with a bailout and told many people this; however, right now the risk reward scenario is too high to “jump in” without having more economic data.

Remember most of the economy is still shut down (India has 1.3 billion people under lockdown). All of this will have huge consequences on the earnings of large corporations especially those who have a large export segment to their revenue.

P.S. I am having difficulty understanding social distancing.  Today I drove to my local grocery store on Farm and Durango in Northwest Las Vegas. Along the way Loews was packed (more packed then I have ever seen it – is everyone doing home improvement projects?) and the daycare center which is exempted from lockdown had at least 30 young children playing outside with several adults watching them.   Then last night I went to the park with my son Conrad and the park was closed until further notice.   A park is an area where you CAN maintain social distancing.  Where is the logic to all of this?  You can’t go to an open air park but you can go to a packed Loews Home Improvement store?

P.P.S. As well – I am not sure how the virus will be contained in the months ahead when many poorer nations have still taken no steps to contain the virus and don’t have the financial resources to do so.   America, over the months ahead, will get control of the virus but how will they deal with international direct and indirect flights from countries where there are no safeguards in place.  Again I think it is far to early too think we are through this – but the stock market sure is behaving like the “party is back on”.

MARKET GUIDANCE DURING THIS CRISIS!

Members,
I want to guide members to be very careful in the markets.  The last few days are a result of optimism over the stimulus package that has been communicated by the White House and Fed as:
“We will throw everything at the economy to restart it” .

It is very possible we could return to another secular bull market that lasts for many more years and we could see new highs.  However, what happens if we throw all this stimulus into the market and in the Fall we have another breakout of the coronavirus and have to shut down parts of the economy again or shut down the economy entirely?  That means the stimulus was a waste of taxpayer money and the country will have a debt that we will never be able to pay our way out of. We go 100% into a Depression as the Fed has no more tools.  If they flood with more stimulus then we are starting to look like Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
This will become a whole new level of fiat currency.

My guidance to you is – it is ok to play/invest in the market but do it with a much smaller part of your portfolio.    The markets are not reacting in a manner that indicates the asset bubble has blown up; however, that may be the case.   Make sure to own, as an insurance for your portfolio, at least 5% in gold and silver and if possible own physical gold and silver. If not simply buy the ETFs of SLV and GLD.   As I said on the webinar last night I am getting reports investors are finding it very difficult to buy physical gold and silver.   If they can find physical gold and silver they are paying a premium over the spot price in the market.

If you really want to be conservative and be prepared for risk then own 50% of your portfolio in cash.    US dollars despite the nonstop printing by the Feds is still the best currency to remain invested in.

The battle in the market is the Bulls versus the Bears.  Over the last 2 days the Bulls are winning.   The Bulls believe unlimited funds flooded to buy all asset backed securities and municipal bonds, bailout out small and large businesses and throwing all levels of financial assistance to the American worker – will keep the party going.

I am siding a little bit more towards a Bearish outlook that the coronavirus is not going away any time soon and once earning reports hit, unemployment skyrockets to the millions and other countries are not buying American goods because they are in lockdown we will see another major sell off in the market.  I certainly could be wrong but don’t get too confident in the last 2 days of market euphoria.   Take some of your money off the table especially if you have made profit in the last 2 trading days.

Investment Club of America (ICOA) unanimously demands Congress to cease bailouts.

Investment Club of America (ICOA) unanimously demands Congress to cease bailouts. While the economic effects of COVID-19 are not lost on anyone, those effects are especially not lost on ICOA. To date, this group of primarily accredited investors has invested over $30M in over a dozen small businesses, all of which are currently being harmed by the virus that has decimated the global landscape. It is from the perspective of those harmed that we demand Congress to cease any discussion of a bailout to any airline that has participated in share buybacks for the past five years.

The Big Four Airlines
The main offenders to the above proposition are Delta, American, Southwest, and United Airlines, collectively spending $39 Billion on share buybacks to artificially increase their share price, triggering millions in executive compensation and bonuses. These businesses took part in informal collusion to keep their cash positions low (97% of all earnings were used for share buybacks or dividends), knowing that if the market took a drastic turn, their elastic industry would be the first to take a hit. The purposeful nature of keeping low cash positions in an elastic sector was not one of negligence. Airlines know that they will be bailed out by a government that fears their power over the consumer. ICOA urges Congress to understand what the airline industry is doing and allow the free market to replace these business practices.

The Worst Offender – Boeing
If we accept the rational position that the big four airlines cooperated in something between deliberate manipulation and negligence, there is no room for a counterargument from the worst offender Boeing. Boeing is standing on the following proposition for their request for a bailout: Do not touch our dividend or executive payment structure because we would much rather use bailout money.

Boeing is conducting an internal Ponzi scheme, and the Fed gets to fund it.
Within the lack of transparency regarding Boeing’s current request for a $60 billion bailout, Boeing has made one thing abundantly clear; they will not be cutting their dividend. Boeing is borrowing against their high credit rating to support their unsustainable dividend, which in turn supports Boeing’s unrealistic share price (multiples compared across the industry), which, finally, in turn, supports Boeing’s staggering pension fund. Operating in this fashion is akin to building a financial house of cards. Over the last six years, Boeing has returned over $60 Billion to their shareholders and executives through share buybacks and dividends but now expects the American taxpayer to pick up the tab when they have failed to create value for any party involved.

At the very Least Take an Equity Position
If Congress goes through with the various bailouts, ICOA urges the Federal Government to make the offer in the way of a position that is convertible to an equity stake. Not only would this position allow the taxpayers to profit off of the money they are bailing the airlines out with but would also enable the government to establish a precedent that there is a monetary price to pay for treating the American citizen
like a bank account.
Sincerely,
Investment Club of America

For an response, inquiry, or rebuttal please respond to the Mike Lathigee (Chairman@highmarklv.com)
or Evan Dotta (Evan@VentureFit.com)

You can bet 100% that Lobbyists on Capital Hill are working around the clock to ensure their needs are met.

Members,
You can bet 100% that Lobbyists on Capital Hill are working around the clock to ensure their needs are met.    They are putting enormous pressure on their Congressmen (Lackies) – (whom they have promised jobs when they retire)  – to do what they say.
You can imagine this institutionalized corruption will come at an enormous cost to small business in America – they getting only a fraction of what is necessary – to survive.

I am betting once again the larger focus of career politicians will be on keeping those companies happy that pay for their re-election – and all other interests are secondary.    After the bailout these executives will get to keep their private jets and beach homes with this massive injection of bailout money and continue the system they control and abuse.

I hope we have enough non corrupted politicians on Capital Hill to put Small Business first on the bailout package but unfortunately I see, in the end, an outcome that we, as taxpayers, will be again outraged by the “well connected” coming in first place.

Look – I am writing a prediction before the bailout package is released but remember I also talked for 90 minutes at the January Club Meeting about a Recession in 2020 and how it could occur.
I did not hear or read anyone else talking about that either.
I said in January — sell off your stock positions heavily as we are in an asset bubble – some listened and some did not.

Once again – I am just preparing members for what I think will happen.
If you want to “Make America Great Again” then outlaw lobbyists and
throw them all in prison.

Members,
As taxpayers we must be outraged at what is happening with the bailouts that are about to occur.  Please post this link to your social media site as it calls for specific action steps that we as taxpayers demand

https://docs.google.com/document/u/2/d/e/2PACX-1vQGK7toNi8L-sthEFDFkSo_KtYD5IcqD3J3P6HLvW–0tx_RBJXJjZz338vpsHHkllsUeijl9OnXuVB/pub

One of our club members, Brett Gordon, has written an essay about the coronavirus to share with members.

One of our club members, Brett Gordon, has written an essay about the coronavirus to share with members.  He did this on his own and he provides a unique prospective that is thoughtful and not being discussed.    We may vary in our opinion with what Brett writes however, it is important that we consider all angles as we come to grips with the changing reality of what is going on.

I want to personally thanks Brett for doing this as he did it solely to assist members during these harsh times.  The club is “my tribe” and members like Brett care about “the tribe”.

Pandemic of Virus or Pandemic of Fear

Why are we reacting like the sky is falling?  Why are governments reacting so violently to this Coronavirus?  Is this pandemic fact based or fear based?  Is it hype or reality?  It’s all a matter of perspective.

Early on in the history of this Coronavirus (COVID-19) (SARS-CoV-2) or “THE VIRUS” each mass media player presented some facts and then hyped the stories into warp speed to ensure they got to the audience before their competitors.  Then as more information and data came out, scientists began publishing experiences and reports.  Then statistics from China and Italy were tallied and compared and with death tolls rising, the “Pandemic” came to life.  March madness, without the basketball.

The entire world is now in a frenzy.  Ok, there is no doubt the virus spread fast, but not as fast as the media coverage.  Now the world is in a panic.   Whoa, lets slow down, review what we know and compare to some numbers of the influenza outbreak that we experience every year.

This paper pulls together facts from public and published sources and organized in a way to make things a bit easier to understand.

Executive Summary

The United States president and other world leaders are taking unprecedented actions and creating massive economic and societal stress based on estimated death tolls and actions outlined in Imperial College COVID-Response Team, 16 Mar 2010 report, “Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID-19 mortality and healthcare demand”.

Now that we are getting more real numbers, we need to re-look at death toll numbers attributed to “The Virus” and compare them to the flu.  Based on the numbers and looking at death rates by population versus death rate of only those symptomatically identified as having the virus, the projected death toll in the U.S. drops from the estimated 2.2.million indicated in the study to a more manageable 109,230.

Yes there will be higher death tolls, possibly 2-3 times higher than other flu seasons, but is the “Treatment” worse than the Disease?  Are the consequences of the current actions of isolation, social distancing and shutting down the U.S. economy worth a potential loss of some lives?

We have put the lives of our military on the line many times and lost more lives to protect our economy and freedom.  Should we not consider this a war that the world wages to protect the future of our global economy and global society?

These are the questions our President, our politicians and our country must make now before it’s too late.  “The only thing we have to Fear…Is Fear itself” – Franklin D Roosevelt

I have likened some of the current situation to the Abbott and Costello “Who’s on First” skit, not to make light of the issues, but to lighten our spirits as we contemplate our future.

Coronavirus – What is it?

Coronavirus is a general term for viruses that have a lot of points sticking out with knobs on top that resemble the top of a king’s crown.  It is not the specific virus affecting us today.  The strain of the virus is  SARS-CoV-2 “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2”, named by some international committee that makes up names for viruses, or COVID-19, meaning the Coronavirus Disease discovered in 2019 named by WHO, (No not the WHO from the Abbott and Costello skit “WHOs on first and WHATs on second…”), the World Health Organization.

Not only is this a Coronavirus, but it is a novel Coronavirus (No not because they’ll be writing books on this forever), but because it a new type of coronavirus that humans have never encountered in the past.  Why is this important?  Because scientists say the human being has no specific antibodies from past exposures to fight off this virus.  Therefore, this virus can spread faster than Usain Bolt can run the 100m dash.  All the body has to combat this virus is its normal, powerful immune system which defeats most illnesses AND cancers throughout a person’s life.

How fast and strong is the Coronavirus?

OK, we know it moves fast, it got around the world in about 80 days (hey I think Phileas Fogg and Passepartou did that in a hot air balloon) and is continuing to infect more and more people every day.  Well how did it travel so far and infect so many so fast?  Well, most people that have “The Virus” don’t even know they have it.  Why?

“The explosion of COVID-19 cases in China was largely driven by individuals with mild, limited, or no symptoms who went undetected,” says co-author Jeffrey Shaman, Ph.D., professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University Mailman School.

In fact, in most people (80% or so) it will be defeated by their natural immune system and if they get physically ill it appears a lot like a cold or the “normal” flu, so they treat it like the flu and move on with their lives and pass it on to other people.  Also, people may have “The Virus” from 1-14 days before showing any symptoms, if they show any signs at all.

There is, however, a difference in who is more likely to get seriously ill or have a greater risk of dying from Covid-19. While 80% of people will have mild (or even no) symptoms, it’s thought that about 20% will get seriously or even critically ill. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, high-risk groups include older adults along with people who have serious chronic medical conditions.

Now some people’s (20% or so) immune system is not too strong and they will get further complications like pneumonia and possibly more severe respiratory problems that put them in the hospital.  Even so, most of these will recover, but some will die (maybe as low as around 1% – more than 3%, the jury is still out as to the real mortality rate).  So now we know why it’s fast and can be strong.

What are the numbers?

Well even though scientists and statisticians use numbers to support their positions, sometimes the numbers are fuzzy, SWAGS (Scientific Wild Ass Guesses), or just not really known.  There can be wide ranges of estimates of the numbers of people that get the flu or might get “The Virus”, but here are some those numbers.

The CDC estimates 3%-20% of the United States population gets the flu every year.

The commonly cited 5% to 20% estimate was based on a study that examined both symptomatic and asymptomatic influenza illness, which means it also looked at people who may have had the flu but never knew it because they didn’t have any symptoms. The 3% to 11% range is an estimate of the proportion of people who have symptomatic flu illness. (Source: CDC Website)

The numbers for “The Virus” are more like WAGS (Wild Ass Guesses) since there is not enough solid data to even scientifically guess how many people have or will have “The Virus”.  (These numbers are like Abbott and Costello’s “I Don’t Know” is on third base)

Why? (“WHY” is the player in left field and some of the numbers you see in the media and reports are also from left field)  Remember many if not most of the people with “The Virus” won’t show any signs or will think they have a cold or the normal flu and never go to a doctor.  That stated you might hear that anywhere from 20%-80% of the population will get “The Virus”.

Now let’s talk about mortality rate.  So, the CDC has lots of numbers and data for the mortality rate for the flu.  Each year from 2010 – 2019 the number of deaths in the U.S. range from around 12,000 to over 60,000 with illness numbers ranging from 9.3 million to 45 million.  See diagram below from the CDC’s website.

The higher numbers come from the H1N1 pandemic in 2009 where the CDC estimated 60.8 million symptomatic cases (range: 43.3-89.3 million), with around 12,469 deaths in the U.S. (range: 8868-18,306) and between 151,700 – 575,400 deaths from flu/pneumonia worldwide.  The greatest number of deaths between 2010 and 2019 was in the flu season of 2017-2018 where the CDC estimated about 45 million symptomatic illnesses and around 61,000 deaths due to flu/pneumonia.  The overall U.S. population in 2010 was approx. 306 million and in 2020 approx. 330 million.

The approximate death rate due to flu/pneumonia ranges from  0.0038% to 0.019% when compared to the total U.S. population.

Now let’s look at the numbers for “The Virus”.   In the Imperial College COVID-Response Team, 16 Mar 2010 report, “Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID-19 mortality and healthcare demand” the study predicts 81% of the U.S. (and Great Britain(GB)) population will be infected during this pandemic.  They also predict the death rate in the U.S. to be 2.2 million (510,000 in GB) if nothing is done to slow the rate of infection across the populations.

Unmitigated epidemic scenarios for GB and the US.  Projected deaths per day per 100,000 population in GB and US.

Why are the U.S. and State Governments shutting down schools and businesses? 

The death rate in the report is predicted to be extremely high and will be compounded by the hospitalization numbers being 30 times higher than the critical care bed capacity in the nations.  To reduce the number of deaths, the study recommends several courses of action to reduce the spike in hospitalizations the demand for critical care beds.

The U.S. and State governments are implementing the actions recommended in the report to include: Closure of schools and universities, Isolating anyone that shows signs of “The Virus”, Household Quarantine and Social Distancing, as well as combinations of those actions.  The results of the different actions are predicted to flatten the curves as indicated in the diagram below.

As indicated in the Figure 2 above, the more severe the restrictive actions, the flatter the curve.  That stated, the red line at the bottom of the figure shows the surge critical care bed capacity.  Every scenario indicates demand far exceeds the capacity and that by implementing the most restrictive recommended actions, the impact of “The Virus” on society and the economy extends until February 2021.  As indicated in the report, “Since the aim of mitigation is to minimise mortality, the interventions need to remain in place for as much of the epidemic period as possible.”    The report does state, keeping the most restrictive actions in place for the extended timeframe is unlikely since it means locking down businesses, schools and the population for over 11 months.

The Study estimates versus reality?

  1. Let’s look as a few more numbers before we make decisions.

Based on the actual numbers being reported, the death toll in Wuhan, the initial epicenter of “The Virus”, per NBC News reporter Elizabeth Chuck in the article “Wuhan study offers new insight into fatality rate of Coronovirus” published 19 March 2020, the total rate of the people symptomatically identified as infected is 1.4%.  That stated, the death rate compared to the population of Wuhan is currently is only around 0.0099% (2169 deaths/22 million population).

Now let’s look at Italy.  As of 19 March 2020, there are 3405 death attributed to “The Virus” which when compared to the population of Italy, the death rate is 0.0056% (3405 deaths/60.55 million population).  Yes, there will be more deaths, so let’s bump the number of deaths to 20,000.  At 20,000 deaths the death rate compared to Italy’s population would be 0.033% (20,000 deaths/60.55 million population).

Now let’s compare that to the death rate from the Imperial College COVID-Response Team, 16 Mar 2010 report.  The study estimated 2.2 million deaths in the U.S.  That would mean the death rate is 0.66% (2.2 million deaths/331 million population), which is 20 times greater than the exaggerated death toll of 20,000 deaths in Italy.  If we apply the .033% to estimate to the U.S., the fatality toll will be 109,230 deaths which is magnitudes less than the study’s estimate of 2.2 million.

Is the “Treatment” worse than the disease?

If the death toll rate of deaths compared to the population of Wuhan and Italy are correct, the impact on the U.S. will be orders of magnitude less than the death toll projected in the “Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID-19 mortality and healthcare demand” report,  109,203 deaths compared to 2.2 million.  This is a huge difference on society and would make the years 2020 a terrible year for flu and virus related deaths, but it is nowhere near the loss of over 2 million people in the United States.

Now I ask, are the governments of the United States and the world, overreacting to the perceived threat of “The Virus”?  Is it worth putting the entire world’s economies into the worst global recession or depress in the history of mankind?  Do we risk potential violence, turmoil and rioting that could erupt as the dis-ease of modern society grows to a boiling point.

Maybe we should reconsider the current direction now and re-examine the foundation of the decisions being made namely, the death toll projected in the Imperial College COVID-Response Team, 16 Mar 2010 report.  We have already rocked the core of our economic system, but we can reverse course before it’s too late.

“The only thing we have to Fear…Is Fear itself” – Franklin D Roosevelt

Let’s put GIVE A DAMN at short stop, and ask our left fielder WHY and not just accept the answer from our Center fielder BECAUSE, in order to enable our catcher TODAY to throw the ball back to our pitcher TOMORROW so he can throw the curve ball to win the World Series. 

THE DAMAGE OF SHARE BUY BACKS AND WHAT I HAVE SAID WOULD HAPPEN FOR YEARS! #2


Members, I said at many club meetings over the last 3 years that the party in the stock market would continue until the share buy back programs had more scrutiny.  That is now occurring and companies will be much more reluctant to buy back shares with the sole purpose of enriching stakeholders but providing no economic value. 

I am closely following a new story that US Members of Congress were given advanced notice of the economic impact of the coronavirus and dumped their stock holding before American Citizens were notified on equal grounds.   So you are aware “insider buying” is not illegal with Members of Congress.  I will keep you updated as I find out more – as this story just came out minutes ago.

In follow up to my last opinion letter – I must update members regarding another bailout request from Boeing.   Again, all taxpayers should be outraged as the executives of Boeing did massive share buy backs and the compensation packages for Board members and high level executives was in the tens of millions.
After this poor use of money (on share buy backs) – where money was diverted away from expansion, equipment replacement, new products, service development and cash reserves (in the event of something like what is occurring currently) – the executive team is now requesting at least a $60 billion in bailout.
Why should these executives keep large homes, fancy cars, and in some cases private jets and then ask the taxpayer to bail them out? Is it so they can continue to run the company – despite their poor decisions?
Small business owners pour all their personal capital into their companies and if the company is successful they become wealthy and if it is not they become poor.  With the current system these executives can poorly manage a company and grow enormously wealthy even if the company they manage does not perform well.

Please send a comment to our State Senators and tell them – ‘No bailout for Boeing’ unless the management team is fired, the management team returns all personal gains from their share buybacks and the tax payer takes ownership of Boeing. 

PLEASE POST THIS NOTICE ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA IF YOU AGREE.

Boeing’s spent $43.44 billion over 10 years on share buy backs. It has  received government assistance in the past during tough times so these billions should have been placed as reserve funds.
WE AS TAXPAYERS MUST BE OUTRAGED!
Boeing is well aware that it needed to keep cash on hand. Last week it called  in all its credit lines from banks but most Americans are not aware that the day after Boeing did this – many banks cancelled credit lines or denied access of everyday American businesses to their credit lines.  The reason is banks did not want the exposure of more companies doing what Boeing had just done.  So this was another situation where Boeing created damage, albeit unintentionally in this case – but profound nonetheless.
Bailout money must go to small businesses where the entrepreneurs bet everything on the company’s success.

Here is the update on airlines share buy backs after my last opinion letter.  
Southwest, Alaska, Delta, United, American, JetBlue have bought back 49.175 billion in stock.  
They are asking the tax payer to bail them out now for
$50 billion.    
The airline industry is well aware of the fact that – in Recessions the airline industry must have a “reserve fund”; however, any such reserve fund was blown on share buy backs with the primary goal of compensating executives.    If you look up the executive’s names and cross-reference their compensation packages some of them are paid thousands of dollars an hour
every day of the week.    
How can it be right that the executives of these large companies hold massive mansions with private jets, summer vacation homes and then receive bailouts with the likeliness that they will do the same thing all over again if given the opportunity.   
“Yes”, to small business bailouts but  “No” to uncontrollable destructive greed that we as taxpayers must pay for.

Finally on a local level Jim Murren is the CEO of MGM Resorts in Vegas.
He joined the company as its CEO in 2015 and has decided to step down as its CEO during the coronavirus crisis and is receiving a compensation exit package of $32 million.
This is while MGM employees are being laid off in large numbers. Is it just me or is there something wrong with what is happening?
I understand what capitalism is but – what is this?

AGAIN, IF YOU AGREE WITH THIS NARRATIVE –
PLEASE SHARE IT WITH OTHERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

THE DAMAGE OF SHARE BUY BACKS AND WHAT I HAVE SAID WOULD HAPPEN FOR YEARS! #1



Members
The 4 biggest airlines, Delta, American, Southwest and United collectively spent $39 billion on share buybacks
to enrich their executive team – to date. These executives took massive bonuses even if their particular stock was underperforming in the industry.

Now these executives have squandered over 97% of all the monies they had on share buybacks and they want the taxpayer to bail them out. 
This is exactly why I am against share buybacks.

I have expounded at length on why we had to do away with share buy backs at countless meetings – this shows exactly why.
This is $39 billion that could have been used to save these companies from another bailout. Instead it was used for no reasonable economic purpose. The chief motivation was to ensure executive bonuses and keep shareholders happy.
In my opinion, the executives of these companies should sell the assets they now personally hold – as a result of the options they cashed in on – from share buybacks & then (and only then) should the American taxpayer consider a bailout. 

These companies had a chance to build up cash reserves on behalf of the companies they are supposed to be responsible for  – instead they blew it on share buybacks.  Airline executives are well aware that airlines are one of the hardest hit industries in a Recession but executives were overcome by greed instead of business prudence. 
(This is why share buy backs are much more restricted in other countries).
 
Perhaps we taxpayers, now on the hook for this bailout, should take over the 4 airlines and fire the management teams
of these companies.  

I wrote an opinion letter to our State Senators today and encourage you to do the same. Nationally, we now have $23 trillion in debt and after this crisis I am sure we will get to $26 trillion.   If we see high interest rates – there will be no money to pay for any government services except the debt.  
Tell the airline executives they must set personal examples before we as taxpayers bail them out. Please forward this email to as many outraged taxpayers are possible.

Members,
My biggest worry right now is that the corona virus is possibly mutating into a stronger virus that can also have dire consequence for younger healthier people and not simply the older people with pre-existing conditions. 
We are seeing reports coming out of France and Italy reflecting that some younger people are getting seriously ill and that was rarely the case in China where the virus originated
a few months ago.   

In no way am I stating that the disease is mutating but for now – it has to be the highest concern.  

  

Finally, since Friday I have heard money manager after money manager stating the reasons they are buying heavily in the stock market. 
If you followed their advice you would be getting killed and your wealth eroding away. 
There is a reason why 96.7% of money managers underperform the market index
I remain convinced of what I have said many times publicly,
“Money managers are the most overpaid, undertalented, class of workers in the marketplace”.  

Be careful!

US Government is out of control! In many ways America has become a POLICE STATE!

At the Econosummit prior to introducing a speaker, Mike did a passionate presentation of what it will take to “Make America Great Again” but not in the Trump Context.   This is a “must watch” for all club members who have concerns about many aspects of our Federal Government.   These are subjects that Mike has been talking about for years and it is not a message the Government likes being conveyed. The Framers and ForeFathers of America put safeguards in place that were not adhered too and unfortunately we have a Federal Government that is completely out of control.    With surveillance laws now in place from 911 that were only supposed to be temporary America’s are now part of a State where our Privacy and Personal Liberty are compromised as America continues down the path of further control over all aspects of America’s lives.