Obamacare may be on its way to the dustbin of history. Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy, working with Rick Santorum, have cobbled together a medical proposal aimed at replacing the Affordable Care Act. Their concept is built around block grants, which would allow individual states to craft their own plans. Individual and group mandates would be repealed. The federal government would be removed from the picture, except for directing Obamacare subsidies to the states.
Sponsors believe they have the votes to pass this legislation—but they have only until the end of this month to use budgetary reconciliation to pass Obamacare repeal with a simple Senate majority.
The importance of this development cannot be overemphasized; it is a sharp stick in the globalists’ eye. As proof, I offer a scathing article this morning against the plan from none other than Paul Krugman, my favorite contrarian news-peddler.
We should not be surprised to find that lurking in another corner, wearing black shorts, is Bernie Sanders, introducing a “Medicare for All,” single-payer bill. His slogan: “Health care is a right.” Unable to identify how his $32 trillion plan would be paid for, Bernie is clearly the underdog in this fight. His supporters want national healthcare, run by the federal government—like the UK, Canada and socialized European countries. But even Bernie realizes such a plan would bankrupt America, as he admitted in a 1987 interview.
Big test for Trump. The President is walking into a minefield by indicating he may allow some individuals without citizenship to remain in the U.S. if they were admitted through Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) temporary amnesty program. The humanitarian aspects of this complicated issue are easy to grasp, and many of those affected may be innocent bystanders, i.e. actually victims.
But these individuals are illegal refugees, and if Trump fails to follow through on his promise to deport them he’s going to lose a significant chunk of his supporters. And even immigration enthusiasts will have to admit that the best of the best of these illegal immigrants are taking American jobs from U.S. citizens.
Turning against government. On October 1, Catalonia intends to vote on seceding from Spain and becoming an independent republic. Spanish central government efforts to shut down the election have failed, with 700 Catalan mayors in open defiance. Barcelona and the rest of tiny Catalonia produce an awesome amount of Spain’s GDP, taxes, exports and new business startups. Polls show 63% of voters favoring independence.
Equifax hack, part 2. This Federal Trade Commission (FTC) white paper has a number of additional recommended steps (and references), including checking (for free) your information at the other two credit-reporting agencies. You can impose a fraud alert at these reporting sites. Review information there and for your credit cards carefully. The absence of false entries is NOT an all-clear, because with information from over 100 million accounts, it may take hackers a while to get around to you.
This in-depth Bloomberg article describes other steps you can take, including putting a “lock” or “freeze” on your data at one or all three credit reporting agencies (Experian and TransUnion are the others). There are also credit protection services, and of those that exist I’m not aware of a better one than Lifelock: their site may be worth a look just to see their perspective.
Following are some additional steps to consider, if you think your identity has been stolen: start a log, which will help you keep control. Keep records of the time you spend and your conversations, including dates, names, and phone numbers. If you itemize your taxes, you can deduct theft-related expenses, so record everything. You can use all of this information for any legal action you might take against the thieves.
Close accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Use the ID Theft Affidavit available at the FTC site when disputing new unauthorized accounts. If the account is for a credit card, also call the company’s credit line department to decrease your credit limit immediately. Change your passwords.
File a complaint with the FTC. You may print a copy of your complaint to provide important standardized information for your police report. The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act (1998) gives the FTC responsibility for receiving and processing complaints and for providing victims with materials to help them recover.
File a report with your local police. Give the police a copy of your FTC ID Theft complaint form. Get a copy of the police report (or, at least, the police report number). You may want to seek legal help, depending upon the extent of the theft.
The following sites contain an abundance of specific information on recovery from identity theft: http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/fraud/idtheft.html — Department of Justice pages with useful information on preventing and resolving identity theft. www.privacyrights.org — Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (nonprofit), especially Fact Sheet 17a, Identity Theft Victim’s Guide. www.ic3.gov — The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center, which receives, develops, and refers criminal complaints regarding cyber crime. www.nolo.com — Nolo Press site: Search for “identity theft” on the entire site (not products), and you’ll find a variety of useful articles. And here’s what your identity sells for on the dark web.
Google censorship. Here are 400 websites Google doesn’t want you to visit. To the list of Google alternatives listed in the article, I enthusiastically recommend StartPage.com (also known as IXQuick.com).
Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt received a fiery, heartfelt welcome when he took the field two Sundays ago – after raising $32 million for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
MARKETS – for the week ending September 15
Real money: Gold and silver shrunk with relaxed hurricane and North Korean concerns. Gold finished down $26 at $1325.20/ounce and silver dropped 42-cents to $17.70/oz. Jim Rickards writes here that the Fed could meet “for 15 minutes” and set the price of gold at $5,000 per ounce—thereby generating the inflation that would move the U.S. out of its financial danger zone. But they won’t do that … because they don’t want to help the U.S. out of its financial mess. Their plan and motivation is exactly the opposite.
US stocks set new records: the Dow closed up 2.2% at 22268 and the S&P finished 1.6% higher at 2500. MSCI’s index of world stocks also hit a new all-time high.
Mining stocks (the XAU Index) followed the metals down, dropping 3.6% to 88.38.
Crude oil (the WTIC Index) made another run at $50, but closed at $49.89/barrel, up $2.40. Production has rebounded from Hurricane Harvey’s impact, but the rig count continues to tumble.
Commodities (GCC Index) ticked 0.3% higher at 19.06.
Currencies. The Federal Reserve Note (= dollar, via USD Index) held its ground, closing up 0.4% at 91.65. The Fed’s next meeting is this week, and Janet is expected to announce the start of the shrinkage of its balance sheet (look for more on the subject in the next Transformation Watch newsletter).
Cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin (BTC) was battered by continuing adverse Chinese developments last week and Jamie Dimon, and plunged below $3000 [offering another great buying opportunity] before recovering to close the week near $3750, down $600.
US Treasury bonds plunged, as 10-year and 30-year yields rose 14 and 10 basis points, respectively, to 2.20% and 2.77%… Meanwhile, Austria sold the world’s first 100-year bond, yielding 2.112%. And it sold out: fund managers bought 65% of the issue, banks 19%, central banks 9% and insurers and pension funds 7%.
About the Author
Wayne Peterson is an independent Registered Investment Advisor and principal of Family Business Office, a comprehensive financial planning and asset management firm he founded in 1991. He has been publisher of the Transformation Watch newsletter since 2005. A U.S. Air Force Academy graduate, Peterson spent five years with the U.S. Marine Corps as a fighter pilot, followed by 20 years in aerospace management. For free weekly receipt of these financial blogs, subscribe here.
Peterson’s book, “But What If I’m Right?”, outlines the factors contributing to the impending global financial transformation and provides readers with recommendations to safeguard their families and their assets.