Sunday, October 26, 2008
The American Voter... Dollar Cost Averaging Revisited... Cha-Ching... Letter from Senator Voinovich...
Sheldon Adelson could be thinking about the $13.5 Billion dollar hit he took. At this rate, Adelson could fall off the Forbes 400 List!
The American Voter...
In approximately one week, it will all be over. We will have elected a President. House and Senate races will be over, state and local elections will have been decided, and various issues will have received the thumbs up or thumbs down vote from constituents. I am curious as to what events are really influencing the American Voter this election? I put together a list:
1. The economy...
2. The economy...
3. The economy...
4. Everything else...
Nothing short of cardiac arrest hit voters at month's end when 401 K statements were opened, and people realized that at least the last five years of saving had been cut by half or more! What to do... What to do??? What to do!!! For some, the ghost of job loss is haunting them worse than any Halloween Goblin. Economic slow-downs mean job loss. Housing prices... sure people have seen a good portion of their home equity disappear over the past two years as well.... These people are stuck in investment plans who have always "bet" that the market will only go up. Downward trends only mean that stocks are on sale right?
Dollar Cost Averaging...
Invest for the long-term... throw your money into a fund and forget-about-it... These were the battle cries of financial advisers (salesmen) since the 1950's. As a matter of fact, one interviewee in the Cleveland Plain Dealer said that "They are not going to wait these financial markets out." (1) Personally, I have stopped any further auto-deduct program into 403B plans, or even direct purchase programs as I had for D and WMT. D is probably one of the last companies in the United States that I am worried about, but it does not make a lot of sense to chase stocks that are losing value. At the end of the day, no one will take care of your money like you!!! Case in point, a family friend called her "financial adviser" regarding her account balances... The Raymond James representative said your are down 25%, consider yourself lucky!!! That 25% equals $125,000 to you and me!!! Evidently this adviser has a different agenda...invest when the market is good... invest when the market is bad... If you are out a bundle of money... sorry. And these people call themselves professionals!!!
It was two short years ago that Sheldon Adelson was number three on the Forbes list of richest Americans. Adelson's Las Vegas Sands gambling empire positioned him near the top, with momentum enough to become the world's richest man in a year or two. His net worth was an estimated $20.5 Billion dollars! That was then, and this is now. From August 29 to October 9 Adelson's net worth declined $13 Billion dollars. (2) that is not to mention that LVS shares have moved from $149 per share to $6. Adelson may well fall right off Forbes' List this year. The next time you're feeling a bit beat up when the market is not treating you right, just remember it is always worse somewhere else! Evidently, this is one bet the house lost. (2) Since Trump and Adelson have already gone into the tank, consider Steve Wynn as the new whipping boy. WYNN 3/30s are looking quite attractive at this point!
1. The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Business, Sunday
Letter from Senator Voinovich
GEORGE V. VOINOVICH OHIO
524 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING (202) 224-3353
TOD (202j 224-6997 hltp:l/voinovich .senate .gov
United States Senate
WASHINGTON. DC 20510-3504
October 14, 2008
Thank you for contacting me regarding the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. I appreciate hearing from you on this important matter.
I believe we are at a turning point in our economy. Recently, we have seen numerous major financial institutions come under tremendous stress. As a result of this stress, basic financial transactions are at a halt. I have spoken with Ohio employers large and small who will have to make choices like laying off workers because they cannot get money from banks to make payroll. I have spoken with manufacturers, auto dealers, farmers, municipalities, and community banks who are already having trouble conducting business because credit is disappearing. I cannot sit back and allow this to happen. I believe this is affecting not only Wall Street, but Main Street and my street, and we must do everything we can to calm the markets by restoring confidence in the credit system.
Ohioans depend on credit to buy a home, drive to work, and send their children to school. The possible ramifications of doing nothing are staggering: businesses laying off workers or closing completely because they cannot make payroll; a dramatic loss of retirement funds; an inability to get a loan to pay for college, a car or a house; cities unable to float bonds to build hospitals or schools; and home prices plummeting further. As Congress considered how to address these issues, I set forth four criteria for any legislative solution. First, it must protect the taxpayers to the maximum extent possible. Second, it must stabilize home prices and reduce foreclosures. Third, it must deny companies' executives golden parachutes if they want to participate in any fix. Fourth, it must restore confidence in the credit markets.
On October 3, 2008, President Bush signed into law the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of2008 (PL. 110-343). I voted for this legislation with a heavy heart. I have spent my entire career focusing on eliminating debt at the local, state, and federal level so we do not pass it on to our children and - - grandchildren. While deciding to vote for a package of this magnitude feels like being punched in the gut, the thought of what would happen to average Americans if we did not do this is much more painful. While I am pleased to see that any profit the federal government may make off this deal will be used to pay down the national debt, our work cannot stop here. We must make a full-court press to stabilize the housing market, pass fundamental tax and entitlement reform, and become energy independent. These issues all relate to each other: the crushing debt burdens on homeowners, financial institutions, and the federal government; the declining value of the dollar; and the massive transfer of US. wealth that occurs as America buys Middle Eastern oil and Chinese goods, all feed on each other and threaten our prosperity.
The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 allows the Secretary of the Treasury to purchase up to $700 billion in troubled assets from companies, including mortgage-related and other assets. When the Department of the Treasury buys assets directly, the selling institution must observe standards limiting executive incentives, including golden parachutes, for as long as Treasury holds the asset. Institutions must also provide warrants for future shares of stock, so taxpayers can share in future profits. The sale of any assets must be used entirely to reduce the federal debt, and may not be used to increase government spending.
Under this legislation, the Treasury must also create a plan to maximize assistance for homeowners. To the extent the Federal government owns, holds, or controls mortgages, mortgage-backed securities, and other assets secured by residential real estate, the government must implement a program to help distressed homeowners by reducing interest rates or loan principal, or making similar modifications. This legislation also strengthens the Hope for Homeowners program to increase eligibility and improve the tools available to prevent foreclosures, and extends my Mortgage Relief Act for another three years, from 2009 to 2012, which excludes from taxable income any mortgage loan forgiveness provided by a lender on a principal residence. My legislation relieves families of a tax burden when they work out a deal with their lender that helps them avoid foreclosure and stay in their home.
The Department of the Treasury will also establish an insurance program, where financial institutions could pay in premiums to receive a government guarantee of their troubled assets. Finally, Congress will conduct extensive oversight to ensure taxpayers' money is invested wisely - including the establishment of a Special Inspector General housed at Treasury, which I requested be created in a letter I wrote to Treasury Secretary Paulson.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is also given the authority to suspend the mark-to-market accounting rule, which requires companies to value assets on their balance sheet at their current market value, even though this amount may be significantly lower than the value of the asset when it is eventually sold. Additionally, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation will temporarily increase deposit insurance from $100,000 to $250,000 for both banks and credit unions until December 31, 2009. The insurance amount for retirement accounts will maintain at its previous $250,000 level.
Thank you again for contacting me. I appreciated the many Ohioans who wrote, called, and visited my office to share their ideas and concerns. As a fellow Ohioan, I genuinely appreciate hearing from you. Please feel free to contact me again regarding this or any other issue that concerns you.
George V. Voinovich United States Senator
Posted by at 4:27 AM