(Washington)

Whether or not you are a supporter of Elizabeth Warren and her aggressive tax plans, one has to worry about the recent arithmetic that is coming out of her campaign. In particular, what is emerging is that many wealthy Americans would have tax rates over 100%. In many cases they would be as high as 158%. The reason why is a combination of the tax rates Warren favors, but critically, also her goal to tax unrealized gains. That means taxes would need to be paid in cash on investments that have not realized cash gains.


FINSUM: In our view, this is little more than divisive and punitive, not to mention rife with bad logic that will create unintended consequences. We are not in principle against the idea of some moderate level of redistribution to help strengthen the country and economy, but this is highly unfair.

Published in Wealth Management

(Washington)

It has an air of inevitability now that it has happened. President Trump has requested the Supreme Court to block a subpoena that is seeking to obtain his tax returns. The effort is coming from New York, which previously scored a victory in New York courts. Trump’s argument, which he is seeking the Supreme Court to affirm, is that a sitting president is immune from all stages of prosecution. “If the president were prosecuted, the steward of all the people would be hijacked from his duties by an official of few (or none) of them … We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will grant review in this significant constitutional case and reverse the dangerous and damaging decision of the appeals court”, says an attorney for Trump.


FINSUM: Two angles occur here—either Trump does have something to hide, or he is an incredibly sharp political strategist. Consider the scenario of Trump battling to block the release, him ultimately losing, and then prosecutors finding nothing suspicious in his returns. Nothing would prove his witch hunt argument more strongly. It would be a brilliant strategy.

Published in Politics

(Washington)

There is a currently a great deal of anxiety over the election. It is not just political either—a Democrat or Republican win would create drastically different economic environments, which will lead to very different returns. One prominent hedge fund manager commented on the whole situation, saying “I think we all wish that we could kind of go back to thinking about investing without political risks”. Despite this longing, it is clear that we will not go back to that era anytime soon. Accordingly, check out these stocks, which should thrive no matter if Trump or a far-left Democrat wins the bid. Healthcare and tech look like big risks, but interestingly, large oil companies may be a good bet. If Warren wins and bans fracking, oil prices are likely to rise, helping large integrated oil companies. Another approach is to focus on stocks that will benefit from government plans that are already happening, such as those related to state infrastructure spending, legalized sports gambling, and shipping fuel standards.


FINSUM: We are still a year out from the election, but it is certainly worth thinking about how to position the portfolio, as polls leading up to the big day will move markets a lot.

Published in Eq: Value
Wednesday, 25 September 2019 11:40

Bernie’s Big New Idea

(Washington)

Bernie Sanders is struggling to keep his positon as the third most popular candidate in the Democratic primary. Elizabeth Warren seems to have taken a lot of his platform and delivered it more succinctly and less cantankerously. However, Sanders is trying to one-up her and has just announced his own wealth tax plans. Bernie goes further than Warren with a tax that aims to cut net worth of America’s richest by half in the next decade. Sanders further commented on his plan, saying “billionaires should not exist”.


FINSUM: Whatever you think of this plan, we don’t believe this is ultimately going to help Bernie or the Democrats win the general election, as this is likely just too radical for most Americans.

Published in Politics
Friday, 20 September 2019 13:21

Elizabeth Warren is Scaring Wall Street

(Washington)

Elizabeth Warren is currently the only candidate that is really rising in the polls, and that is terrifying Wall Street. The far-left candidate has the most comprehensive plans to change the status quo of the financial system and she is gaining traction with voters. That is making Wall Street very nervous. Famed investor Leon Cooperman said he expected a year-plus long bear market with losses of 25% or more if either Sanders or Warren wins the election. Biden currently still leads Warren, but the gap is close, with his advantage down to 31% to 25% of Democratic voters.


FINSUM: Our own feeling on this is that Warren may have the momentum to win the bid, but that it will likely prove quite hard for her to win the general election, as her policies are very progressive for middle-of-the-road voters.

Published in Politics
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