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Unusual Times require Creative Solutions

November 21, 2008

Next week is Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving is a great time to catch-up with friends and family, but I am worried that this year’s big point of discussion is going to be the economy and the stock market.  In this volatile time I wanted to provide you with some objective and analytical data that will help you think of the current situation more rationally. I also wanted to open a dialogue with my listeners on what could help solve some the financial problems that we are facing.

The Powerful and Successful Money Guy audience:
I am always amazed at who listens to the Money Guy show. You guys are the Do’ers (if that is a word) of society.  We have educators, technology executives, successful entrepreneurs, financial advisers, and even people who work directly with some of our national leaders. I want this show to be a fresh voice in a movement to change the way people look at their personal finances. The more I look around me at what is going on, I feel this is the time to take action.

Let’s see if we can make a difference:
I have been feeling like much of what has been going on in Washington recently to deal with the financial crisis is to reward people who have made bad decisions.  I understand that with every new policy there will be some winners and some losers, but it would be nice if policy aligned with what has made this country great. If our leaders continue to reward bad behavior those of us that live below our income, save for the future, and take risks to start small businesses are going to wonder why we are swimming up stream? Two of my listeners have provided me with emails that I thought were brilliant.

Mark in Colorado – Email on Providing money to banks through Mortgage Principal Deduction:
Mark provided a suggestion that I am having a hard time finding a problem with.  He suggested the following… A tax deduction for those who pay extra principal on home loans.  If one million Americans were able to pay an extra $1,000 dollars in principal, that would be $1 billion of capital released from stagnant savings accounts or declining investments. What if $10,000 could be free from the same number of individuals or more people were able to find extra money to apply to their debt? This may not significantly effect federal tax receipts since much of this money is sitting in low interest savings account of which the federal government will only receive a low percentage as interest income tax.

Tim in Atlanta – Op-Ed… Letter to the New President:

Focus on the economy. Job One is to get the economy moving in the right direction:

  • Do not over-tax entrepreneurs that take risk, innovate, and create value and jobs.
  • Reform corporate taxation: lower taxes, while closing loop-holes
  • Do not over-regulate. Regulation begets regulation. Regulation often creates complexity, which creates loopholes, inviting waste and abuse. Pursue light and prudent regulation
  • Keep low the cost of capital to business. Re-evaluate your positions on capital gains taxes.
  • Strive to keep America competitive. For example, maintain neutrality on unionization efforts
  • Focus on equality of opportunity, not equality of outcomes, for all Americans.

Tim closes out his Op-Ed piece with the following statement… Recognize government’s limitation and its dark side. Government cannot solve all that ails us, nor should it. Often, government makes matters worse.  Remember the words of George Washington: Government is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

If any of this discussion motivates you please consider taking action by contacting your elected officials.  That is everyone… our President-Elect Obama, Your Senators, and Congressional Leadership and your Representative. If you are unsure who represents you or you need a physical or email address than use the following site: www.votesmart.org to determine who to contact.

I close out the show with a few thoughts on what happened in the markets this week.

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