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Archive for the ‘Money and Finances’ Category

The Carpenter Comeith!!!Little by Little the “coffin” is being exposed……via e-mail to admin/capecoral

In Banking, Business, Business/Political Trends Worldwide, currency, Money and Finances, Offshore accounts, personal and business, Political parties, Taxes on July 22, 2011 at 4:56 pm
This is CRAP!!!! 
It is just like everything in this administration.
Too bad we didn’t kick out enough of Obama’s idiots from the Senate as well.Watch for this AFTER November elections; remember
this BEFORE you VOTE in case you think Obama’s
looking out for your best interest.1% tax on all bank transactions HR 4646This government just cannot think of enough ways
to hurt the American people!This Bill must die
FORWARD THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW!

1% tax on all bank transactions
HR 4646 ANOTHER NEW OBAMA TAX SLIPPED IN WHILE WE WERE ASLEEP.
Checked this on snopes , it’s true! Check out HR 4646.  (see below copied from Snopes)

President Obama’s finance team is recommending a
one percent (1%) transaction fee (TAX). Obama’s
plan is to sneak it in after the November
elections to keep it under the radar.

This is a 1% tax on all transactions at any
financial institution – banks , credit unions ,
savings and loans , etc. Any deposit you make , or
even a transfer within your account , will have a
1% tax charged.

If your paycheck or your social security or
whatever is direct deposit , it will get a 1% tax
charged for the transaction.

If your paycheck is $1000 , then you will pay
Obama $10 just for the privilege of depositing
your paycheck in your bank. Even if you hand carry
your paycheck or any check into your bank for a
deposit , 1% tax will be charged.

You receive a $5 , 000 stock dividend from your
broker , Obama takes $50 just to allow you to
deposit that check in the bank..

If you take $1 , 000 cash to deposit at your bank ,
1% tax will be charged.

Mind you , this is from the man who promised that ,
if you make under $250 , 000 per year , you will not
see one penny of new tax. Keep your eyes and ears
open , you will be amazed at what you learn about
this guy’s under-the-table moves to increase the
number of ways you are taxed.

Oh , and by the way , you receive a refund from
the IRS next year and you have it direct
deposited or you walk in to deposit that check ,
you guessed it. You will pay a 1% charge of that
money just for putting it in your bank. Remember ,
any money , cash , check or whatever , no matter
where it came from , you will pay a 1% fee if you
put it in the bank.

Some will say , oh well , it’s just 1%. Are you
kidding me? It’s a 1% tax increase across the
board. Remember , once the tax is there , they can
also raise it at will.. And if anyone protests , they will just say ,
“oh , that’s not really a tax , it’s a user fee”! Think this is no
big deal? Go back and look at the transactions you
made from last year’s banking statements. Then add
the total of all those transactions and deduct 1%..
Still think it’s no big deal???     Vicki

In which square hole does your round Peg fit?????

1. snopes.com: Debt Free America Act ⤢⤢⤢
Is the U.S. government proposing a 1% tax on debit card
usage and/or
banking transactions?
…It is true. The bill is HR-4646 introduced by US Rep Peter
deFazio D-Oregon and US Senator Tom Harkin D-Iowa. Their plan is
to sneak it in after the…
…moved beyond proposing studies and submitted the Debt Free
America Act (H.R. 4646) , a bill calling for the implementation of
a scheme to pay down the…
…[2010] by Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.). His “Debt Free America
Act” (H.R. 4646) would impose a 1 percent “transaction tax” on
every financial transaction…
Tue , 12 Oct 2010 11:26:37 GMT
http://www.snopes.com/politics/taxes/debtfree.asp

Sovereign Man Notes from the Field Date: July 21, 2011 Reporting From: Split, Croatia

In Business, Business/Political Trends Worldwide, Continental Travel, currency, Expatriation, Food and Staples, Government, History, Money and Finances, Offshore accounts, Opportunity, Personal, Sovereign Man, Taxes, Travel on July 21, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Sovereign Man

Notes from the Field

Date: July 21, 2011
Reporting From: Split, Croatia

Print. Lie. Borrow. Deceive. Deny. These are a the principal tenants of the Greek restructuring plan that were released today from Brussels… it’s as if EU policymakers put it together after shaking a Magic 8-ball.

The whole world knows that Greece is bankrupt and has been living bailout to bailout for over a year. Deep in debt and devoid of cash, the country has completely forsaken its sovereignty in exchange for becoming a ward of the European Union; Prime Minister George Papandreou is now a hapless stooge awaiting instructions from Germany.

It’s ironic that the Greek proposal released today calls for a ‘Marshall Plan’ of investment across Europe… given that the last time Greece was being controlled by Germany was during the country’s occupation by Nazi forces after being vanquished by Hitler’s 12th Army in April 1941.

And so, with limited debate and even less fanfare, Europe has just officially signed on to destroy its own currency. Utterly worthless, quasi-defaulted Greek debt will become perfectly acceptable collateral, much in the same way that the US Federal Reserve took every scrap of toxic paper it could find off banks in 2008 and 2009.

Given the favorable market reaction, European politicians must be feeling pretty proud of themselves. The euro is up. The stock market is up. Oil is up. Well, never mind about oil, they’ll blame that on evil speculators… just like food prices.

And the proposal is so deliberately vague, they can go back home and tell constituents whatever they want. Angela Merkel can tell German voters that the French are paying for it, and Sarkozy and tell French voters that the Germans are paying for it. Win, win!

The European sovereign default SOP has just been set. When Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Ireland’s time of insolvency arrives, it will be handled just like this: Print. Lie. Borrow. Deceive. Deny.

Every day it becomes more and more obvious that the financial system as we know it is breaking down. The United States and European monetary union, whose currencies comprise nearly the entirety of the world’s fiat reserves, have both signed up to debase their currencies as rapidly as possible.

This is going to kick inflation up another notch as anyone holding on to Greek debt is going to trade out of it as quickly as possible. All that money has to go somewhere… and it’s a sure bet that a lot of it will feed rising commodities price (which translates into more inflation).

If you haven’t found a safe haven for your savings yet, it’s time to start. Now. No more excuses. A few you could consider:

Swiss franc, Norwegian krone, Singapore dollar, Chilean peso: These four currencies are generally regarded as safer, stronger, and managed by less obtuse central banks. In a world of fiat, these are among the least worst of the bunch.

Unidad de Fomento (UF): This is a special unit of account used in Chile that was set up during the hyperinflation days of the 1960s. The UF is designed to keep pace with inflation and it’s possible to establish a bank account denominated in UF in Chile. I’ll be telling SMC members how to do that in an upcoming issue.

Agricultural Property: Nothing hedges your risk against rising food prices like being able to produce your own food. This idea underpins the concept for the resilient community we’re planning in South America.

Precious Metals: Portable, divisible, durable, and scarce, precious metals are the classic hedge against rising prices. Gold and silver aren’t going to go up in a straight line, and gold in particular is due for a correction, but in a world ruled by an economic magic 8-ball, it’s a much safer store of value than a government IOU.

High quality equities: If my only two options are Apple stock and a bank account earning 0% interest, I’m going with Steve Jobs. The chief problem with equities is that the more money that central banks print, the more money flows into equities… pushing valuations up to dizzying (and unsustainable) levels.

Firearms and ammunition: Weapons and ammo serve a dual purpose of providing better home security, as well as a reasonable store of value. Unfortunately, they can also serve a third purpose– putting you on some government agency’s radar.

This list is by no means exhaustive… but if you have the majority of your savings just sitting there wasting away, it’s time to act.

Until tomorrow,

Simon Black
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com

This article appears courtesy of SovereignMan.com: Notes From The
Field
, a free newsletter dedicated to individual freedom,
internationalization, asset protection and global finance. For a
complimentary subscription, visit http://www.SovereignMan.com

Sovereign Man Notes from the Field Date: July 20, 2011 Reporting From: Split, Croatia…..”Take Heed America” added by Admin/floridabusinessportals.com

In Business, Business/Political Trends Worldwide, Continental Travel, Expatriation, Government, History, Interesting places, Money and Finances, Offshore accounts, Opportunity, Personal, Sovereign Man, Taxes, Travel on July 20, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Sovereign Man Notes from the Field

Date: July 20, 2011

Reporting From: Split, Croatia

Bruce Lee, a long-time hero of mine, died 38-years ago today, and in tribute to his intellect and philosophy, I wanted to blow the dust off an old quote of his that seems quite prescient:

“Those who are unaware they are walking in darkness will never seek the light.”

Each day it becomes increasingly obvious that there are essentially two kinds of people in this world– those who are unaware that they walk in the darkness, completely oblivious to the real dangers in the world, versus those who understand reality and seek the truth. The former group comprises the vast majority of society.

This is your voting electorate and mainstream media audience, and they’ll buy every bit of propaganda that’s sent their way… whether it’s support for the war(s), ruinous economic programs, child molesting TSA policies, or just plain old fear and hate. In its latest effort to spread fear and hate, the Ministry of Love, also known as the Department of Homeland Security, has produced an Orwellian new video intended to encourage Americans to rat each other out.

If you’re not in a place to watch the video right now, I’ll summarize briefly. First of all, it’s one of the most pathetic attempts at filmmaking in the history of motion picture; the average shampoo commercial has better acting and production quality… and is much more subtle in its message.

In the world of Homeland Security, terrorists all drive unmarked full-size vans, wear hooded sweatshirts, and deposit backpacks in conspicuous public places. They might as well have had a cackling James Bond villain twirling his moustache in the corner.

At its core, the video is filled with scenes of ordinary citizens spying on each other and alerting the authorities to their compatriots’ suspicious deeds. In my favorite scene, a woman calls the police after snooping over the shoulder of a young man typing away on his smartphone. Naturally, it’s all for the common good… for everyone’s safety and security. In fact, everyone shares in this responsibility according to DHS, so we should all be on our toes to rat each other out at the first sign of suspicious activity.

Apparently this is yet another obligation that comes with citizenship. For the majority of people who watch this video, their chests will swell with pride in the knowledge that they now have a role to play in their country’s security. These are the folks walking around in the darkness, unaware. You can’t talk to them about things like personal liberty as they’ll just regurgitate the propaganda they’ve been spoon fed since birth. These are the same folks who take their shoes off at the airport and proclaim, “Whatever it takes to keep us safe,” or “I have nothing to hide!”

Truthfully, real criminals aren’t back alley types, but rather the policymakers who spread fear and paranoia in the name of justice. They cloak their crimes in good deeds while building a brainwashed class of future Thought Police. If Orwell had written a prequel to 1984, this would all be part of it. It seems the boiling frog is getting just a bit warmer..

. Until tomorrow, Simon Black Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com

SIMON FINDS NUMBERED ACCOUNTS FOR DEPOSITS AS SMALL AS $8,000 Not yet a Sovereign Man: Confidential subscriber? This edition could have been a double issue. Here’s what you’re missing in what may be the best month yet: * This country may be a small country wedged in between two European powerhouses, but it checks just about every box for Simon. Hint…it’s NOT Switzerland. From safety, lightning-fast Internet, low taxes and minimal government intervention, this country should be on the top of your list for places to visit. Simon shares where to stay and how to fly in and out. For a land-locked location, it may be one of his favorites! * Simon proves this country isn’t just a tourist spot. He’ll show you how to get residency for an relatively small investment . Find his contact to get it done quickly. He also highlights the most difficult documentation requirement and how to be sure you have it covered. * Privacy in offshore banking? YES, this stable, European country still has private, numbered accounts AND will do business with US Citizens. Simon will share the different banks and even has negotiated a discount for Sovereign Man: Confidential members. You won’t want to miss this. * Ever-opportunistic, Simon will give some easy entrepreneurship opportunities in an emerging frontier, Kosovo. These options are the equivalent of “selling shovels to gold miners”. * Mark Nestmann also returns to go further in depth for those interested in expatriation with an honest assessment of the worst-case scenario. * Tim Staermose also offers his actionable insight from his most recent China trip. You need to have an understanding of the social and financial implications of the coming bust. To learn more about SMC and get access to the archive, click here for more information.


This article appears courtesy of SovereignMan.com: Notes From The
Field
, a free newsletter dedicated to individual freedom,
internationalization, asset protection and global finance. For a
complimentary subscription, visit http://www.SovereignMan.com

Election November, 2010…It was Memorable… What has happened????? Admin/CapeCoral

In Business/Political Trends Worldwide, Constitution of The United States, Government, History, Money and Finances, Political, Political parties, Taxes on July 14, 2011 at 2:59 pm

November 2010, The election cycle that was planned to be the beginning of change in the right direction….Yea, the nation voted, the results were published, the songs were sung and accolades were issued.

6 months down the crooked road and the whole terrain has changed again.

Fear has become the by-word, even our President has instilled the worst fear into our folks, the loss of our Social Security benefits along with other things. The interview on CBS news was sickening to view, especially since the President knew in his heart that there was enough money to write the checks to cover SS needs.  I was at a small gathering this PM with some folks and gradually the topic of conversation turned to the debt crisis, this after exhausting commentary by all regarding the Casey Anthony case which is a whole another story..Some Folks seem to believe that the President has the right to do what he wants without Congressional approval, this train of thought is to me, rather alarming. Is this what has happened to a good portion of our society, a real dumbing down as to how this government really works, has the Liberal Press really gained such a foot hold in the turning of peoples minds, the losing of the teachings of how a Republic really works??? It was scary for me to listen to some of the comments.

The November electorate needs to stand fast, make the peoples word heard in those hallowed halls.

This nation cannot stand another rise in the Debt Limit. The repayment plans offered cannot even get a handle on the immense dollars and cents involved. The behind closed door negotiations (Where is the TRANSPARENCY) that are being used by a small number of persons is not what we bargained for. What happend to the Democratic cry of [pay as you go], was that not a part of their platform???

These words are no longer used, the words now are (Pass the Bill first and then you can Read It)…..How does that fit on your plate and can you really digest that statement without gagging!!!!

Why have we let ourselves become so easy to lead down a garden path with just words – “Hope and Change” Man O Man, where does this end????

America, wake up before we have nothing left here to hang onto and the “Friends” who led and have “shown” us the way are long gone and living the high life on our backs…

STOP   STOP   STOP  this progression. It will eat you alive!!!!!

God Bless America……….

One Nation Under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for ALL……..

Sovereign Man Notes from the Field Date: July 8, 2011 Reporting From: Sofia, Bulgaria

In Banking, Business, Business/Political Trends Worldwide, Constitution of The United States, currency, Jobs in Cape Coral, Local news and Opinion, Medicine, Offshore accounts, Personal on July 8, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Sovereign Man

Notes from the Field

Date: July 8, 2011
Reporting From: Sofia, Bulgaria
Folks… you just can’t make this stuff up.On July 6th, just two days ago, at least a dozen busybody Congressmen sponsored the introduction ofHR 2411, the “Reduce America’s Debt Now Act of 2011.” They always come up with fantastic names for these pieces of legislation… and rest assured, the better/more patriotic the name, the more ominous the bill. This one follows the pattern.

HR 2411 states that every worker in America should be able to voluntarily have a portion of his/her wages automatically withheld and sent directly to the Treasury Department for the purposes of paying down the federal debt.

“Every employer making payment of wages shall deduct and withhold upon such wages any amounts so elected, and shall pay such amounts over to the Secretary of the Treasury…”

That’s right. Uncle Sam is so broke that he wants to give all the good little Americans out there the opportunity to contribute an even greater portion of their paychecks to finance government largess.

Desperate? Hmmm…. Don’t worry, it gets better.

Obviously, if an employee feels so compelled and should elect to have a portion of his/her paycheck withheld, the onus of responsibility is now on the employer to make it happen. The employer has to do all the paperwork, withhold the money, send the payment to the Treasury, maintain the account records, and probably submit to all kinds of new filing requirements.

You can imagine that, if passed, the bill will result in a host of new IRS regulations, complete with a battery of penalties for employers who don’t fill out the paperwork properly, submit filings on time, or make some administrative mistake.

Think about it: if a small business owner has one single employee who is dumb enough to think that it’s his patriotic duty to pay down the debt and decides to contribute $1/month, that owner will have the responsibility for all kinds of new forms and filings, plus submit to new ‘debt reduction audits.’

But don’t worry, it gets even better.

So let’s say there are millions of sheep out there who elect to donate a portion of their toil and sweat so that the Chinese and big financial institutions don’t have to worry about an American default. How does Congress plan on rewarding its most patriotic citizens? By sticking it to them on their taxes, of course.

HR 2411 stipulates that any contribution made to the Treasury in order to pay down the federal debt IS NOT TAX DEDUCTIBLE.

“The [Treasury] Secretary shall include. . . a reasonably conspicuous statement that any amounts deducted and withheld from wages. . .  are not deductible as charitable contributions for Federal income tax purposes.”

Imagine this scenario: You make $100,000/year. In a fit of complete insanity, you decide that you want to withhold your entire annual salary to pay down the debt. Hey, you can always move in with mom for the next year, right?

Well guess what– Uncle Sam will gladly take your money… and then STILL expect you to pay taxes on the $100,000 that you earned, so you’d have to come out of pocket with an additional $40,000 or so.

Don’t worry, though. The Social Security and Medicare wages are reduced by the amount that you withhold, making you only liable for state and federal taxes. Seems like a good deal, eh comrades?

There are so many things utterly wrong with his piece of legislation, it’s hard to know where to begin other than by saying that such intellectual and philosophical perversion is only capable of springing from unprincipled sociopaths whose sole capability is the destruction of value.

There’s a great quote from Atlas Shrugged that comes to mind which sums this all up:

“[W]hen you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing; when you see that money is flowing to those who deal not in goods, but in favors; when you see that men get rich more easily by graft than by work, and your laws no longer protect you against them, but protect them against you. . . you may know that your society is doomed.”

We’ve discussed the story of the boiling frog so many times before– a frog, when put into a pot of water and slowly brought to a boil, doesn’t realize that he’s in danger until its too late. I think the boiling frog just got a little hotter. Have you hit your breaking point yet?


Until tomorrow,

Simon Black
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com 
This article appears courtesy of <a href="http://www.sovereignman.com">SovereignMan.com: Notes From The
Field</a>, a free newsletter dedicated to individual freedom,
internationalization, asset protection and global finance. For a
complimentary subscription, visit <a href="http://www.sovereignman.com">http://www.SovereignMan.com</a>


Sovereign Man Notes from the Field Date: July 5, 2011

In Business, Business/Political Trends Worldwide, Continental Travel, Expatriation, Money and Finances, Political, Political parties, Taxes, Travel on July 5, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Sovereign Man

Notes from the Field

Date: July 5, 2011
Reporting From: Sofia, Bulgaria

Do you remember those days, 25+ years ago, when the Olympic games were an extension of the Cold War? We heard stories about these Soviet athletes who were groomed, practically from birth, to become champion athletes, taken from their families at a young age to live and train nonstop for the glory of the Communist Party.

Bulgarians historically excelled at summer sports like boxing, wrestling, track & field, and rowing, and today I worked out at a gym that used to house the country’s up-and-coming athletes during Soviet rule.  It’s in a neighborhood of old Soviet-era apartment buildings, all built in that concrete shoebox style that defined Communist architecture.

Such neighborhoods are a constant reminder of the days when they allowed their society to descend into a totalitarian police state. A lot of Bulgarians I’ve encountered seem embarrassed by these Communist remains, brushing the entire period off as ‘experiments in socialism.’

They’re looking to the future now, and they’re cautiously optimistic.

When you survey the various countries in the former Soviet bloc, it’s a truly mixed bag. East Germany, for example, enjoys a lavish economy after being successfully reunited over 20-years ago thanks to an incredible amount of aid and support from the West.

Slovakia has spent the last two decades creating a manufacturing powerhouse for the rest of Europe, and its citizens today enjoy a much higher standard of living than before.

Estonia built a very successful knowledge and services economy by establishing a limited, low-tax, business-friendly government. When Mart Laar took over as Prime Minister after Estonia’s independence in the 1990s, the only economic text he had ever read was Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose. It’s fortunate for his country that it wasn’t Keynes.

Belarus descended even further into totalitarianism; Aleksandr Lukashenko, the country’s first democratically elected president since the fall of the Soviet Union, has remained in power ever since, effectively seizing dictatorial control over every aspect of the economy and society.

Ukraine continues to vacillate between revolution, corrupt cronyism, and economic collapse… yet the country still has a lot of potential thanks to its resource wealth and talented young work force.

Bulgaria, from where I write this letter, is an interesting case. As the poorest member of the EU, there is a lot of opportunity at face value. Labor is dirt cheap. Property is dirt cheap. Living costs are a joke. English is widely spoken and is, in fact, more prevalent than Russian in the capital city.

More importantly, the government is finally beginning to privatize some of its state-owned companies, as well as make some business-friendly decisions related to taxes.

Now, this is not a part of the world where tax compliance is particularly strong. The immediate post-Soviet years turned the entire region into a veritable Deadwood, and devoid of any functioning tax authority, people got used to dealing in all cash and keeping 100% of their earnings.

Several governments, including Russia, Ukraine, and Bulgaria, have tried to make compliance easy by slashing tax rates. At just a 10% flat rate for corporate, individual, and capital gains, and just 5% on dividends, taxes in Bulgaria are now so low that some people might actually pay.

For foreigners, it’s a boon. Bulgaria has an extensive network of tax treaties with countries acrossWestern Europe, Canada, and the United States which ensure foreign-owned Bulgarian companies are only subject to the 10% rate.  Using this ‘tax rate arbitrage,’ multinationals keep a large part of their earnings offshore in lower tax jurisdictions.

At present, a number of multinationals have set up overseas headquarters and manufacturing facilities in Ireland to take advantage of that country’s low tax rate of 12.5%.  Given Ireland’s pending bankruptcy, however, the government is under pressure to raise this rate… and I expect that this will drive a number of companies to move operations to Bulgaria.

Given the country’s low tax rates, cheap minimum wage of just $185/month, and business-friendly policies, Bulgaria is a reasonable alternative for companies that want to stay within the EU’s customs union. Bulgaria is, after all, an EU member… though they likely fabricated their financial statements to gain entry in the same way that Greece did.

Simply put, Ireland’s decline will be Bulgaria’s gain, and the influx of foreign investment will be of great benefit to this economy and asset prices.

Meanwhile, entrepreneurs and investors looking to capitalize on offshore tax treaty advantages, cheap talent, and a cost effective European base may want to consider Bulgaria for their needs.


Until tomorrow,

Simon Black
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com 

Sovereign Man Weekend Edition Date: July 2, 2011 Reporting From: Roissy, France

In Business, Business/Political Trends Worldwide, Continental Travel, currency, Money and Finances, Opportunity, Personal, Political, Political parties, Sovereign Man, Taxes, Travel on July 3, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Sovereign Man

Weekend Edition

Date: July 2, 2011
Reporting From: Roissy, France

I imagine that travel used to be quite glamorous back in the 1960s… when airline captains were accorded same social status as mid-rank diplomats, and stewardess (as they were known back then) were little more than Vegas cocktail waitresses.

Today is a bit different. It seems that most legacy carriers are still employing the exact same flight attendants that they did 40-years ago, and nightmare delays are commonplace.

In addition, there are now so many ridiculous fees involved in flying.  Just the taxes alone can add an additional 30% on top of the ticket price– another example of Thursday’s note about how taxation is just another form of inflation.

Then they tack on extra fees for the fuel. The ground service. Checking luggage. Checking in. And my all-time favorite, the “payment fee” where they actually charge you to pay them. This is very common inEurope, and if you’ve never experienced this before, don’t worry– it’s coming soon to an America near you.

Anyhow, I got waylaid here in Paris (not a bad place to be stranded) for a day on my way to Eastern Europe. After finishing up my business in Bulgaria, I plan on putting boots on the ground once again inGreece (what’s left of it). Hopefully the default will occur when I’m there… I do love a good crisis.

Speaking of PIIGS, earlier in the week I wrote a piece about my most recent observations in Spain– including remarks about some small villages in the north of the country that have been using the Spanish peseta once again (Spain’s pre-euro currency). This is certainly a sign of Europe’s post-euro future.

Remember, Europe is a continent with over a thousand years’ history of tribal warfare, genocide, inquisition, and marauding invasions. Sure they’ve been playing nice for the last 20-years, but it’s foolish to think that a German hairdresser is willing to take on greater taxes, inflation, or public debt so that a Greek hairdresser can retire at age 50. More to follow on this.

[As an aside, I also wrote about the growing police presence in Spain… and I would not characterize them as friendly. Writing from Santiago, Chile on Friday, Dr. John Cobin filled in for me to talk about how Chilean police actually treat people with courtesy and respect.]

Meanwhile, our Asia-based partner Tim Staermose has his boots on the ground in China once again. He’s tired of all the ‘economic puff pieces’ talking about how Chinese demand is going to save the global economy and promise endless sunny days, especially for commodity exporters like his nativeAustralia.

It seems that these optimists have a very short memory and have forgotten the hard lesson that all booms bust. They seem to think, instead, that ‘this time is different …,’ the four most expensive words in finance.

Last, I want to mention that we held our monthly premium teleconference for Sovereign Man: Confidential members this week; this live Q&A call is something that we do especially for SMC members at the end of each month, and this call was full of great questions.

We received a lot of questions about the plans for our resilient community project, as well as details about the property we’ve selected in central Chile. I have so much to say on the topic, I was practically bursting at the seams.

We also had a lot of questions about moving and storing gold, some great places to bank overseas, how to establish a business offshore, what to do with a US-based retirement account at/near retirement age given so many threats to pension funds, and more.

The monthly teleconference is just one of the benefits of SMC membership; members also receive a monthly letter that’s packed full of actionable information from our boots on the ground around the world– internationalization strategies, investment opportunities, time-sensitive deals, contacts, and more.

You can think of it as your personal intelligence service.

Then there’s our members’ only website, where people within the community can connect, build relationships, discuss their ideas, and trade experiences. This site is a fantastic way to build a strong network of like-minded people, and it’s been my privilege to interact with so many members using this tool.

If what I’m describing sounds like it would add value to your life and help you to prepare and thrive in the tumultuous times ahead, I encourage you to read more and sign up for our no-risk membership. You’ll receive instant access to past issues, as well as the teleconference we just conducted.

Have a great weekend.

Simon Black
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com 

This article appears courtesy of SovereignMan.com: Notes From The
Field
, a free newsletter dedicated to individual freedom,
internationalization, asset protection and global finance. For a
complimentary subscription, visit http://www.SovereignMan.com

Sovereign Man Notes from the Field Date: June 29, 2011 Reporting From: Cercs, Northern Spain

In Business, Continental Travel, Government, History, Money and Finances, Political parties, Taxes, Travel on June 29, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Sovereign Man

Notes from the Field

Date: June 29, 2011
Reporting From: Cercs, Northern Spain

I’ve stopped briefly for a quick lunch en route to Andorra, which is a scenic three hour drive due north from Barcelona. The spot that I picked to stop and write to you is absolutely stunning.

When I first started traveling years ago, I fell in love with Barcelona and the Catalan region of Spain. Part of it is the beauty, and part of it is the area’s staunch independence.

In a way, Catalonia is much like Quebec in relation to Canada– these people have their own language, their own culture, and they don’t take kindly to those bureaucrats in Madrid telling them what to do.

I tend to pass a fair amount of time in Spain and usually find myself here for odds and ends business matters. The last time was almost precisely a year ago when Matt and I were attending the most fantastically bizarre function at a remote, mountainous monastery in Catalonia.

The rest of the group consisted of Russian gangsters, sycophantic European businessmen, jet set playboy types, African royalty, and senior leaders of splinter Christian and Muslim sects.

Supposedly it had something to do with diplomatic positions for a government in exile, though to this day I have no idea how the costumes, chanting, and rituals fit in. Think ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ without the sex.

Anyhow, since I arrived to Spain a few days ago from London, I’ve been sniffing around to get a sense of how Spain’s crisis is unfolding. We see the news clips and YouTube videos of protests, of governments collapsing, of soaring unemployment, but I wanted to see for myself how feels on the ground, and how things have changed over the last year.

The most startling change that I’ve noticed, without doubt, is the inflation. Literally everything I’ve looked at– food prices at the local market, restaurant tabs, local electronics, highway tolls, raw material construction costs, mobile phone tariffs, taxi fare, etc. are much more expensive, to the tune of 10% to 25%.

So much for the theory that an economic slowdown would decrease prices.

John Maynard Keynes, who is consistently held up as the father of modern macroeconomics, suggested in his General Theory that keeping interest rates low and government spending high in order to sustain a boom (or get an economy moving again) would likely NOT result in inflation.

This has been the underpinning economic theory behind worldwide government efforts since the Lehman collapse… it’s the old “spend your way out of recession” play. Politicians and central bankers alike seem to believe, as Keynes did, that inflation is a low risk consequence.

Spain is one of many examples that proves this theory to be utter nonsense. Everyone on the ground knows that inflation is high; local newspapers are even running stories about how to best deal with inflation and preserve your savings.

As an aside, I should mention that I read one such article in a popular newspaper called Money Market in which the reporter interviewed several top fund managers and asked each of them how individuals should preserve their savings.

Most of them responded with the same dangerous herd mentality– buy stocks. How many recommended gold or silver? Zero. This is a bullish sign for precious metals.

Among other things I have noticed is the decline in service. Part of the reason Spain’s unemployment rate is so high is because it is so costly and bureaucratic to keep employees. Payroll taxes are quite high, so businesses have laid off their workers en masse.

You notice it instantly when you try to buy something at a retail shop or restaurant; there may be one person working for dozens of customers, and it takes forever to get anything done.

The other thing that has me quite concerned about Spain is the police presence. I don’t think I ever went 5 blocks in Barcelona without seeing a cop on the street. What’s more, they don’t just stand there waiting for something to happen, they’re actively going around harassing people.

My assessment is that the government is intentionally having the police turn up the heat on their intimidation tactics in hopes of squashing any future rebellion before it happens. They want to instill a sense of fear in the society to keep everyone quiet.

On that note, the most interesting part of this trip so far has been passing through small towns outside of Barcelona that are starting to circulate pesetas again– Spain’s pre-euro currency.

Apparently quite a few people have woken up to the euro’s fundamental weakness and begun circulating an alternative within their local, internal economies. The post-euro future is already here in Spain, it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the continent catches up.

Overall, the situation in Spain is not as dire as in Greece, which is literally burning at the moment. But Spain is running out of cash quickly, and its Keynesian bubble deflating rapidly. There will be a time, probably this year, when the country will need to secure emergency funding just to keep the lights on, and that’s when things will really start to fall apart.

Until tomorrow,

Simon Black
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com

This article appears courtesy of SovereignMan.com: Notes From The
Field
, a free newsletter dedicated to individual freedom,
internationalization, asset protection and global finance. For a
complimentary subscription, visit http://www.SovereignMan.com

Sovereign Man Notes from the Field Date: June 24, 2011 Reporting From: London, England

In Business, Business/Political Trends Worldwide, Expatriation, Government, History, Interesting places, Money and Finances, Offshore accounts, Personal, Political, Political parties, Taxes, Travel on June 27, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Sovereign Man

Notes from the Field

Date: June 24, 2011
Reporting From: London, England

A few days ago, I met with a brilliant young geneticist who has been able to devise a unique, cost efficient way to test for the presence of particular genes.

He wants to offer a service to test for CCR5-delta 32, a particular mutation of a gene found in Northern Europeans (and those of Northern European descent) that has shown resistance to Smallpox, HIV, and West Nile virus.

Among people in high risk groups for such infections, demand for getting test is strong, and his method has been able to reduce the cost of testing by up to 90% with no increase in error rate.

Rather let the idea fester in academia for the next several years, he’s decided to go into business… and I’m considering making an investment in the venture.

Another entrepreneur I met with has a website that sells electronic cigarettes in the UK. If you haven’t heard of this, it’s a device that looks, feels, and tastes like a cigarette, but produces water vapor instead of smoke.

It also gives the user complete control over the amount of nicotine s/he wants to ingest, making it a great tool for people who want to gradually wean themselves off the chemical.

This particular entrepreneur noted that a large number of Brits who currently smoke are trying to quit. The British economy is weak, and faced with declining income, Brits are cutting spending wherever they can, especially expensive habits like smoking.

Even in this weak economy, he is doing brisk business and sales are growing.

I’m telling you these short stories because I want to address an important point: even in dismal economic conditions, opportunities abound as long as you can still find a way to create value. These are just two examples.

On to this week’s questions. First, KC asks, “Simon, at a recent conference I asked a famous expat personality about buying and storing gold in the southern cone of South America (Chile, Argentina, or Uruguay). He and his associates could not provide specifics and suggested that I ask you. Any thoughts?”

Of the countries you mention, Chile is the best option for buying gold. In downtown Santiago, some of the money exchange houses (casas de cambio) display placards with “moneda de oro” (gold coins). Because they sell informally, they are not required to collect any VAT, and premiums can be as little as 1% over spot price.

There is no set figure, so it’s best to shop around from place to place and negotiate your own deal.

Private storage options in Chile are limited, though, and it’s difficult to open a safety deposit box at a bank without residency.

Of the other countries, Fort Box in Punta del Este, Uruguay is a good storage option but if you travel to Uruguay you have to declare any gold that you bring in. As for buying in Uruguay, I saw several Indumex locations that had inventory to sell when I was in the country recently, though prices are much higher than Chile.

I wouldn’t trust Argentina for either buying or storing; the government is just too crazy, and asset seizure is a distinct possibility there.

Next, Rob asks, “As far as Chile and all the positives you have brought to light, how would you address the recent volcanic eruption?”

I’ve addressed natural disasters in Chile a few times, and it’s not something that I want to be cavalier about… but the truth is that the safest place to be when a Chilean volcano erupts is in Chile. Argentina is screwed, but Chile moves along without a wince.

This is because the prevailing Pacific winds generally blow from west to east, towards Argentina. In fact, most of the post-eruption ashfall photos that were circulated in the press a few weeks ago were actually from Argentina.

There are a handful of tiny villages in Chile that are settled at the foot of some volcanoes, and a few of these were evacuated in case of lava flow.

Last, L.T. writes “I am a subscriber to Tim Staermose’s 4th Pillar service. My US-based broker will not allow me to buy one of his recent recommendations because it’s an online gaming company. Do you have any suggestions?”

Yes. Take your money and your business elsewhere. What an absolute farce.

Will your broker let you buy Philip Morris? A weapons manufacturer? Casino stock? Booze purveyor? Things must be loopier than I thought in the financial system if brokers have to approve your orders.

If I were in your shoes, I’d look offshore to a broker that works for YOU, not the other way around.

I’ve made a number of recommendations in Sovereign Man: Confidential, and Tim has done the same in his 4th Pillar service… which, if I may brag, delivered yet another winner to its subscribers this morning, closing out a low-risk, 13.6% gain in just 30-days with the successful takeover of Territory Resources (ASX:TTY).

Until tomorrow,

Simon Black
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com
This article appears courtesy of SovereignMan.com: Notes From The
Field
, a free newsletter dedicated to individual freedom,
internationalization, asset protection and global finance. For a
complimentary subscription, visit http://www.SovereignMan.com

Sovereign Man Notes from the Field Date: June 21, 2011 Reporting From: Oxford, England

In Business, Continental Travel, Government, History, Interesting places, Jobs, Money and Finances, Political, Political parties, Travel on June 21, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Sovereign Man

Notes from the Field

Date: June 21, 2011
Reporting From: Oxford, England

One of the reasons I love southern England in the summer time is because the days are so long. At 5:16pm British time (12:16pm Eastern) today, the earth will reach its maximal inclination toward the sun, marking the day of the year with the longest period of daylight in the northern hemisphere.

(conversely, this is the day of the year with the least amount of daylight in the southern hemisphere…)

All over the world, and especially in Europe, today is celebrated with holidays, parades, and festivals to commemorate the earth’s renewal to a season that brings warmth, light, and growth.

It is no small irony that the ill fated Greek government is facing a vote of [no] confidence today, potentially representing a renewal itself. The vote is essentially a referendum on Prime Minister George Panandreou’s plans to implement severe austerity measures in a country that is literally running out of cash.

Greece’s cash position can now be measured in weeks. If the vote fails and the government is ousted, it is highly unlikely that the rest of Europe, the ECB, and the IMF will maintain their financial support, and a Greek default would be imminent.

If the vote succeeds and the government stays, it is still highly unlikely that they would be able to see through all the necessary austerity measures to trim the budget.

Here’s the underlying problem– the Greek government is so heavily involved in the economy that direct public spending accounts for nearly half of Greek GDP. Deep cuts are going to shake the foundation of Greece’s economy, including its generous entitlement benefits.

If recent history is any guide, it’s pretty safe to presume that most Greeks simply won’t allow that to happen. They’ll protest, they’ll riot, and they’ll cry out, “why should we pay for the political mistakes of the past?”

As such, even if the current government passes this no confidence vote, Greece will only be kicking its problems down the road. The deep austerity measures that are truly needed to reduce its debt are simply unrealistic in a society that has become accustomed to such generous public spending.

Quite literally, the financial system as we know it may hinge on how Greek voters turn out in the polls today. If they vote against the current government (and effectively against austerity), a Greek default will set off a financial chain reaction.

Greek banks would become insolvent. Many other banks with significant Greek exposure across Europe, especially in Germany and France, would suffer catastrophic losses. Even the European Central Bank, which has over 50 billion euros of exposure to Greek debt (and rising) would suffer terrible losses.

Other weak nations in the eurozone would likely follow the Greek example and default, not only causing another wave of losses to be realized, but also putting pressure on the fate of the euro itself.

Needless to say, political leaders in Europe will stop at nothing to ensure this doesn’t happen. So far they’ve managed to rob taxpayers, inflate the currency, and outright lie to the public. They all understand the consequences of default, and no one wants to be the guy in charge when the music stops.

They’d rather keep robbing taxpayers and throwing good money after bad to keep the party going. The wealthier nations in Europe, however, are getting sick and tired of supporting the debtors (not to mention US taxpayers are still the largest contributors to the IMF).

As their support fades, the long-term prospects of Greece emerging from this crisis without defaulting go to zero.

For the sake of Greece, Europe, and the rest of the world, we should all hope for failure in today’s vote. The sooner this system collapses, the sooner it can reset itself and be renewed.

Otherwise, this ridiculous soap opera could drag on for another 2-years, resulting in billions upon billions being flushed down the toilet of a foregone conclusion.

Precious metals, particularly when short against the euro, remain an excellent speculation… until, that is, it becomes illegal again. More on that later.

Until tomorrow,

Simon Black
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com

This article appears courtesy of SovereignMan.com: Notes From The
Field
, a free newsletter dedicated to individual freedom,
internationalization, asset protection and global finance. For a
complimentary subscription, visit http://www.SovereignMan.com

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