congress

2015 State of the Union Address: 7 Topics That Matter to Investors

2015 State of the Union Address

The 2015 State of the Union Address has investors across the country awaiting President Barack Obama's new tax policy, without question the biggest issue tonight. He's looking to raise an additional $320 billion in taxes.

This is the first time President Obama will deliver the speech to a Republican-controlled Congress, so he'll likely hear less applause from Congress than in previous addresses.

Here are the top seven things for investors to watch in the 2015 State of the Union Address...

D.C.'s New Bosses Start to Pay Back Wall Street

wall street

Wall Street is about to get paid back by D.C.'s new bosses. Because all politicians are snakes. And some of them are rattlesnakes.

On Jan 14, the House of Representatives passed an act providing banks an additional two years to comply with the Volcker Rule. What does this mean?

It means that extra time will make the 1% richer. Here’s how it works…

The Biggest Fallacy of the Keystone Pipeline Approval Fight

keystone pipeline

The battle over the Keystone pipeline has become one of the foremost issues in Washington today.

That's the problem.

The great fallacy of the Keystone XL pipeline is that whether it gets built or not is much less important than craven politicians in Washington would have you believe. Both Republicans and Democrats have turned up the rhetoric on the Keystone pipeline mainly to serve selfish political interests.

It's amazing they can keep a straight face when they're saying these things...

Congress Said What?! The Ten Most Baffling Congress Quotes of All Time

congress quotes

Congress quotes: Nearly all members of Congress raked in salaries of $174,000 per year (not including outside contributions) since 2009, according to a Dec. 30, 2014 report from Congressional Research Service.

But according to popular opinion, these folks don't deserve six-digit compensation...

Public approval of Congress averaged 15% in 2014, and a record low 14% in 2013 according to Gallup.

One reason for such high disapproval of our nation's lawmakers: the things they say...

Here's a look at ten of the most infuriating, baffling, and even amusing quotes by congresspeople that have made America sour on the legislative body...

Congress in 2015: What President Obama Can Expect from the GOP

Congress in 2015

The 114th Congress is now in session. U.S. President Barack Obama for the first time faces a Congress that has Republicans running both chambers.

What President Obama can expect from the GOP Congress in 2015 will matter to investors. Many issues on the agenda, such as corporate taxes, trade, and a higher minimum wage will impact stocks.
Given the gridlock of recent years, the easy assumption is that nothing will get done. But the two sides have more incentive to work together in 2015.

Here's look at what will be on Washington's plate this year...

Congress, BNP Paribas, and IRS Give Us New Standards for Outrageousness

BNP Paribas

Last Thursday, you were all shocked (not) to consider the possibility that members of Congress might be making money by dishing out dirt on legislation they're brewing up, this time to traders who profited from leaky pipes in the Senate or House.

I'm going to tell you what the feds and the courts are trying to do here. I expect a full-on, separation-of-powers battle royale.

Read all the ugly details, in addition to scandals with the IRS and BNP Paribas, here…

Congress Just Played a Trick on American Taxpayers

capitol

After the debacles of 2008, you'd think that Congress would be looking for more ways to restrict Wall Street's excesses. But for some reason, the House just passed a bill that does the exact opposite - it actually reduces restrictions that were put in place to try to prevent a repeat of the nightmares of 2008.

You won't believe why they thought this would be a good idea...

Why Congress Is Still the Best Club in the World

Oh, to be a Washington insider...armed with "inside information," the kind that moves markets.

Not that anybody in Congress would ever use their position as crafters of law or disseminators of dollars to special interests to make a few dollars.

No way!

But members of Congress and their staffs were caught with their insider hands open last year, forcing Congress to pass legislation slapping their own wrists if members trade on "congressional knowledge."

It was designed to prevent insider trading among lawmakers.

Any guesses on how well that worked...

To learn more about Wall Street's and Washington's shenanigans and opportunities, and to subscribe to Shah Gilani's free newsletter Wall Street Insights and Indictments click here...

How the Richest Members of Congress Made Their Fortunes

Uncle Sam's hat

Capitol Hill is brimming with millionaires, but if you think that most of the richest members of Congress got that way from working hard, guess again.

When you browse through the list of the richest members of Congress, one of the most common themes is that many of them married into wealth, regardless of gender.

The best-known beneficiary of spousal wealth is former Sen. John Kerry, D-MA, who recently left the Senate to serve as Secretary of State in the Obama administration.

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Debt Ceiling Bill Nothing More Than a Band-Aid

We have a short-term debt ceiling fix - with emphasis on short term.

U.S. President Barack Obama Monday night signed into law a bill suspending the debt ceiling, a move that allows the government to avoid default-at least until August when Congress will again have to act to prevent such a scenario.

The new law lifts the current debt limit through May 18, allowing the federal government to continuing borrowing to pay its bills until then.

But Congress does have more leeway than the May 18 deadline. The Treasury can use "extraordinary measures" to access funds, which will give it until August before the risk of default comes up again.

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Are Steep U.S. Spending Cuts Inevitable?

Credit card cutting small

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the chairman of the House Budget Committee, is adamant Republicans will resist any further tax increases - a staunch GOP stance that makes steep spending cuts almost certain.

Ryan, the 2012 vice president nominee, told NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that the $1.2 trillion worth of automatic spending cuts will take effect because "Democrats have opposed our efforts to replace those cuts with others."

In the NBC interview, Ryan took aim at President Barack Obama.

"I don't think that the president actually thinks we have a fiscal crisis," Ryan said. "He's been reportedly saying to our leaders that we don't have a spending problem, we have a healthcare problem. That leads me to conclude that he just thinks we ought to have more government-run healthcare and rationing."

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Will the Debt Ceiling be Good for Gold and Silver?

Investors preparing for Washington's budget battle need to know: Will the debt ceiling be good for gold and silver?

Thanks to recent legislation passed in the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday, the debt ceiling could be extended until May 19. The bill now moves onto the Senate where it is expected to get the green light, then should be signed quickly by U.S. President Barack Obama.

That gives investors time to prepare for what any budget decision - or indecision - out of Washington will do for their investments.

While the bill leaves the government without a long-term budget strategy, investors ought to have a plan in place.

One thing they can plan on is higher silver and gold, and here's why.

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Debt Ceiling Bill Includes Controversial "No Pay" Plan

Republicans will vote tomorrow (Wednesday) on a debt ceiling bill that will give Congress nearly four months to make some major budget decisions - or risk losing out on pay.

The bill aims "to ensure complete and timely payment of the obligations of the United States Government until May 19, 2013," according to a release Monday from the House Rules Committee. Exactly how much the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling will be lifted hasn't been discussed.

In a significant shift in GOP strategy, the legislation does not include specific spending cuts, like previously when Republicans have requested dollar-for-dollar cuts to match the debt ceiling increase.

What it could include is a requirement for both the House and Senate to pass a budget by as early as April 15 or have Congress members' salaries held in escrow until one is passed - what the GOP has coined a "no budget, no pay" rule.

"[I]f the Senate of House fails to pass a budget in that time, members of Congress will not be paid by the American people for failing to do their job. No budget, no pay," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-VA, said last week.

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