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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Don't listen to the hype about the Baucus Bill

S. 1796, the 1,502-page America's Healthy Future Act bill (aka the Baucus Bill) has been excreted from the Senate Finance Committee. And the hysteria about its length has already begun. Oh my, the table of contents alone is over 12 pages!
What you will not hear, however, is that all such bills are issued in "markup" format. They are double and triple spaced. They only use up the middle third of the page. This leaves room for Senators, staff & lobbyists to mark up the bill to render it totally contrary to its purpose, I mean, to be sure all interests are taken into account.
If you cut and paste the bill into Word, take out most of the spacing, and use 2/3 of the page instead of 1/3, the bill shrinks to 439 pages, about the size of the average trashy novel. So it is short enough for anyone to read and understand. Anyone. You can do it yourself at:
So if your Congressperson bloviates about this bill being too huge to read, you might help him or her find another career when the next election comes around.
I would hope the bill is as long as it needs to be to be sure no one ever again goes bankrupt because of our health care system, that everyone is covered, and that our costs are reduced by 1/3. I'll let you know after I finish reading the bill. But of course by the time the mark ups are done it will be unrecognizable from its current form.
I guarantee you one thing though: this is a momentous moment in our country's history. Health care reform will only be as good as what is demanded by each and every American. I wish I could remember who first said this: the best measure of our humanity is how large a circle we have to draw to include everyone we think of as "us". On this issue, let's draw a circle large enough to include every citizen.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Economy is Recovering

I circulated this article in one of my client e-letters back in April. I still contend that it is a myth that our economy will "recover", whatever that means. The key idea here is WE DON"T WANT IT TO GO BACK TO THE WAY IT WAS. Our economy was (and still is to a large extent) based on fluff, fantasy, unsustainable excess, magical thinking and unrealistic expectations.

You might find it helpful to peruse an excerpt from General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt's speech, delivered in Toronto on February 11, where he discusses the concept of "reset".

"If you think this [recession] is only a cycle you're just wrong. This is a permanent reset," he said. "There are going to be elements of the economy that will never be the same, ever. Smart businesses are the ones that are going to hunker down in the cycle, which you've got to do, but that also understand we're going to come out of this in a different world."

This is what I've been saying for over a year now. And this is why cycle theorists like Harry Dent (chief economist for AIM funds) had been wrong over and over again. The media tend to discount such "negativity" as they keep propagating the "optimistic" myths that Wallstreet keeps feeding the investing public:

"This is just a cycle. Things will bounce back.", "Everyone has lost money.", "No one can predict the market.", "We're doing the best we can.", "We've hit bottom. The market can only go up from here.", "Things will bounce back.", "Don't lock in your losses by selling out now." etc. ad nauseum. None of those things are true! Here is what is true:

You can protect your money from the future market declines that are on the horizon without missing out on gains if and when the market recovers. But only if you take action. Take the Wealth Index questionnaire as a first step. It is free. It takes 20 minutes. It helps me assess the best course of action for you. Here's the link: WEALTH INDEX