by: Mark Skousen
“Bears make headlines, bulls make money.” — Old Wall Street Saying
Every year, one of the financial experts at my conference predicts doom and gloom in the stock market. Not surprisingly, in 2008, he forecast a collapse in the market, and he was right. But what about the massive recovery and bull market since 2008? He says he has made money for his clients, and yet every July, at FreedomFest, he predicts another collapse.
It reminds me of the old Wall Street saying, “Bears make headlines, bulls make money.”
Historically, stock prices are more likely to rise than to fall, by a two-to-one margin. That’s why I prefer to be on the side of the bulls.
Steve Forbes is a born optimist. At last year’s FreedomFest, our theme was “Are We Rome?” Many historians and political pundits argued that we were headed for disaster, just like ancient Rome. Steve demurred. He contended that there’s still a lot of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the good ol’ USA. Steve will be back as our first speaker at our opening ceremonies at FreedomFest on Wednesday, July 9, on the subject of how to fight “big brother” — and maybe even win.
Now more good news! Joel Stern, the professor of finance who holds the record for teaching at more top schools than any other (Columbia, Carnegie-Mellon, Chicago, University of Capetown, University of Singapore, Universidad Francisco Marroquin (UFM) in Guatemala, etc.), will speak on “Expect 4% Real Economic Growth This Year — in the United States!” He’s quite bullish, as am I, given the easy-money policies being pursued under the new Fed Chair Janet Yellen.
Joel’s talk will be followed by Investment Director of the Oxford Club Alexander Green, who will speak on his new book, “An Embarrassment of Riches.” You can order the book from Amazon. He will explore all the new technological breakthroughs we are now enjoying or will enjoy shortly. And he puts his money where his mouth is. Alex’s stock recommendations in the Oxford Club have beaten the market consistently during the past 10 years. Come and hear what he’s recommending now.
Alex also will moderate the blue-ribbon financial panel luncheon we have prepared for Thursday, July 10, with some of the top money managers in the business: Donald Smith (hedge fund manager in New York); David Norcom (money manager in Dallas); Adrian Day (money manager in Maryland); and Peter Schiff (president of EuroPacific Capital) — hey, even bears can make money! For more information, go to www.freedomfest.com.
You Blew it! IRS Puts Taxpayers on Hold Indefinitely
April 15 is a few weeks away, and I’m already depressed.
Have you tried calling the IRS lately to deal with an outstanding bill or just to ask a question? It is impossible to get through. I had a dispute with the IRS and after waiting more than an hour on the agency’s 800-phone number, I gave up. My son had a disagreement with the IRS and called, too. Just for kicks, he left the phone off the hook for 12 hours and still never got a response.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen recently told Congress the agency won’t be able to answer 18 million phone calls this year, nearly 40% of the calls it receives, and that the wait time for those who do get through will be about 25 minutes, up from 10 minutes in 2010. More than half of the letters taxpayers send to the IRS this filing season will take longer than 45 days to answer, he added.
“In the last few years, I’ve seen more delays, ill-founded IRS positions and outright bad behavior than ever before,” said Andy Biebl, a CPA who oversees tax audits for CliftonLarsonAllen in Minneapolis.
Of course, the IRS blames the 87% decline in the IRS “training budget.”
“Give us more money” is always the agency’s solution.
IRS administrators never seem to think of improving their management skills. For example, I always give the IRS my phone number to call me directly to deal with any issue that might arise. But do agency officials ever call me? Never. Sometimes it’s a simple mistake that could be cleared up in a minute on the telephone. Instead, the IRS sends me letter after letter demanding payment, etc. The IRS is a joke… an expensive, unproductive one at that.
In case you missed it, I encourage you to read my e-letter column from last week about how the use of gross output enhances measuring the economy. I also invite you to comment in the space provided below