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Thursday, 4 August 2011
Thoughts on the Correction and Debt-Ceiling Agreement

Hello Friends!  Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting my blog, Stock Picks Bob's Advice!  As always, please remember that I am an amateur investor, so please remember to consult with your professional investment advisers prior to making any investment decisions based on information on this website.

With the market turning in an awful performance I felt it would be negligent if I didn't at least comment on this turn of events even if I cannot claim to have any sort of answer on how to deal with it.

Today the Dow dropped a little over 500 points representing an approximately 4% loss, and the NASDAQ did even worse dipping over 5%.  This evening, the Asian Markets responded with 3-4% losses as I write. 

For specifics on how I am responding to this correction, you can check out my Covestor Buy and Hold Model or my Covestor Healthcare Model that I have been utilizing to monitor my own holdings and to develop and document the results of my own strategy for investing.  Although less than stellar, I have continued to sell portions of my holdings and even full positions at times as I have shifted from equities into cash based on the weakness of my own holdings.  I have not been quite as disciplined regarding exact percentages to determine these sales.  And in fact, have been whipsawed with yesterday's 'dead-cat bounce' into timidly putting my feet back into the water only to have my toes slammed shut on the door of the ongoing bear correction.

When dealing with an entire portfolio that is behaving poorly, as has been my experience, I have chosen to shave shares off of all of the individual holdings.  When added to the sales of a couple of the weakest positions, this has moved me from under 5% cash to over 40% cash over the last two weeks.  

In general I have avoided much political discussions on this blog, choosing rather to emphasize some investment rules for identifying stocks.  However, with what appears to be such a poor result on the debt-ceiling extension as a result of intense efforts by Tea Party Congressmen to hold the line on the debt ceiling, I feel it necessary to add my own 2 cents to the mix.

First of all, the debt ceiling, which has been raised numerous times under both Democrat and Republican Administrations is not the place for a confrontation over the level of spending.  The debt-ceiling is just an arbitrary 'credit limit' that limits the amount that this nation can borrow to pay off its current obligations.  That is, this debt-ceiling represents an artificial limit that restricts out nation from borrowing by issuing bonds and other debt instruments to pay off the existing agreed upon spending.  

The place to argue about spending is in appropriation bills not in debt-ceiling limits that just endanger our very economy and threaten default on our obligations.

Second, nobody likes paying taxes.  Yet they represent the income that government incurs to go about its business whether it be in defending this nation with our military, or helping to make sure that our Seniors stay out of poverty with Social Security and Medicare payments.  We can afford to take care of our elderly and our needy in this, one of the richest nations in the world.

As negotiations dragged on due to the apparent inability of Republicans to consider closing loopholes because one unelected Grover Norquist had convinced these Representatives to sign a pledge not to raise taxes, the fact seemed to escape most Americans that our tax burden was actually the lowest in sixty years.  We were not a very heavily taxed nation when compared just to ourselves let alone other Western nations.  

When our President proposed letting the Bush Tax Cuts expire for those earnign over $250,000, the cry rang out of "class warfare" against those who would target the wealthy.  However, somehow nobody noticed that there has already been class warfare the past 25 years in America as wealth migrated from the lower and middle class to the top 1% and even to even smaller portions of the very wealthies of Americans.

Not only would taxation of the wealthy be a great source of income to help reduce our deficit, but funding infrastructure projects that provided jobs for the middle class would also fuel out economy and increase the chance of recovery.

Simply put, austerity in the midst of a deep recession is madness.  It amounts to putting the patient on a calorie restricted diet when they are already starving to death.

Maybe I am naive, but I do not believe that once I have paid my taxes, a patriotic duty and responsibility, I am the victim of theft or that the government has 'my' money as President George W. Bush liked to state. Nor do I believe that "Government is the Problem" as President Reagan stated. 

I do not believe as Grover Norquist has suggested that "Our goal is to shrink government to the size where we can drown it in a bathtub."

Instead I believe that in America, there is no other better vehicle for dealing with those without health care, those without jobs, those who are hungry or homeless, or those who cannot take care of themselves than the assistance of the government to deliver that help. 

Keynes wasn't wrong. Our ability to emerge from this recession will take a strong stimulus that will also simultaneously address our crumbling infrastructure from bridges to highways, to schools and yes even to building high speed rail lines across America.  

When instead of seeking to heal the ill patient that is the economy we discontinue our intervention and try to let nature run its course, we shall find that the course that nature directs us is not a pleasant or happy one.  We shall once again scrape bottom in manufacturing, in job creation, and in delivering health care to the ill and the elderly.  

Some have suggested that the GOP has chosen to undermine the economic recovery as a poor economy would improve their electoral chances in 2012.  I refuse to be so cynical.  I believe that they truly trust benign neglect to solve problems that require active intervention.  

Thanks for bearing with me as I get this off my chest and review the injuries to my portfolio that I believe are due to a nation that has placed fiscal handcuffs on its leader in order to shelter the loopholes and tax liabilities of the wealthy, of the beneficiaries of wasteful largesse, and of the corporations who would prefer to operate without regulatory restaint regardless of what is best for individual Americans.

Yours in investing,

 

Bob

 

 

 


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 11:13 PM CDT | Post Comment | View Comments (5) | Permalink

Friday, 5 August 2011 - 12:20 AM CDT

Name: "Adios"

You just lost a subscriber. I am removing your blog from my rss reader. If I want to read about about politics, I'll find a political blog and subscribe.  I don't need an investing blog pontificating about politics unless it relates directly to investment decision. Good day.

Friday, 5 August 2011 - 6:00 AM CDT

Name: "Robert Freedland"
Home Page: http://bobsadviceforstocks.tripod.com/bobsadviceforstoc

I am sorry to see you go.  I hope that my entries on stocks have been informative and useful for you in your investment pursuits and that you will consider continuing to read and participate on this website.

After 8 years of blogging, I hope that many of you are also wiser and maybe richer from my contributions to your understanding.  I hope I have not led any of you in the wrong direction in investing.  

But who I am includes a political hat that I wear from time to time.  I cannot divorce my blogging from my political views occasionally that do include compassion for those less financially well off and politically well connected than myself.

The bulk of this blog shall continue as before with occasional (not frequent enough) posts on investment observations.  Occasionally you shall hear from me as well--I do not mean to offend anyone but I am passionate about more things than just a stock price and portfolio ideas.

Wishing all of you a successful day in whatever you plan to do.

Yours in investing,

 

Bob

Friday, 5 August 2011 - 3:38 PM CDT

Name: "Jon Jameson"

There are times when politics and financial investment become inextricably linked. For me, this is one of those times and I find your summary to be an honest, factual account of this difficult turn of events. Having only recently come to know you and your blog, I suspect that even when discussing investment strategy you gain and lose followers. I lean a bit more to the adventurous side of investing but I welcome your insight and experience wholeheartedly. As you may recall, we recently discussed and agreed upon the fact that a debt ceiling needs debt walls and debt shag carpet! :-)  Perhaps others see your political recourse as inappropriate here but, as I am in agreement with your viewpoint, I fail to see the problem. For me, there are some opportunities for a little lower-priced risk-taking just now so off I go. I look forward to following your blog and perhaps we shall tweet again sometime soon! Best Regards.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011 - 6:41 PM CDT

Name: "Signs Plus "
Home Page: http://www.signs-plusrc.com

Great informative post! Very well established with excellent data! Keep the great work up!

Sunday, 11 September 2011 - 5:42 AM CDT

Name: "Sanjoy Samanta"

Profit & loss Both are closed to each-other , no one can stay without other , so better not to go away from them because one brings another. what we have to do look forward, as i do by following http://www.forecastfortomorrow.com/

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