I've got some more Q&A for you today.
Remember, you can share your own comments and questions with me by posting them to the bottom of any article, or emailing them to email@example.com. I may not be able to respond to everybody, but I read everything you have to say.
Let's start with your very interesting response to "How Our Markets Got So Politicized." A lot of you offered solutions.
Q: To me, there's one answer and one answer only. A tax revolt, no taxes being paid to any level of government. And it has to be led by someone knowledgeable like you, Shah, along with others with courage and credibility. ~ Art
A: I love that you're a revolutionary, Art. But I don't think stopping the wheels of government and commerce by cutting off the government (including state and municipal governments) is in all our best interests. We'd be more disrupted than we can handle.
However, we definitely need a tax revolt! I'm 100% with you there. The problem, maybe the biggest one we face, is the inequity inherent (on purpose) in the tax code. There's a reason the tax code is as thick as it is; all those rules and regulations are there to be manipulated. The more rules we have, the more loopholes there are to be created. That's the game. That's why "the strong seem to get more, while the weak ones slave."
A flat tax is the way to go. It can be a flat and progressive tax. I like federal rates of 5% on gross income of less than $20,000, 7% on gross between $20K and $30k , 9% on gross between $30k and $40k, 11% on gross between $40k and $50k, 13% on gross between $50k and $75k, 15% on gross between $75k and $1m, and 17% on anything greater than ordinary income of more than $1m. I like a flat corporate rate of 20% after expense deductions. I'd like to see dividends be allowed to be 100% deducted as an expense to any company paying them and have dividends taxed at half everyone's ordinary income rate.
That's my starting point to what would be a long discussion. The rest of it would be all about limiting the growth of government spending and having balanced budgets… or else.
Q: If you want to reduce the problem in this situation, you don't need to re-write or amend the Constitution. Instead, you need to follow it. This would result in elimination of the Federal Reserve and the abolition of legal tender laws. These two steps would result in the end of control of the money-men on our society. ~ Kevin B.
A: Right on, Kevin! Especially eliminating the Federal Reserve ring around our necks!
Q: The only answer is to limit all elected officials, including the President, to one term only in order to attract individuals who will make fair and honest decisions and not waste time and our money on re-election issues and campaigns. Let's bring back "Throw the Bums Out" on Election Day. Unfortunately for the few good ones, they have to go too. It's time for them to get another job like the rest of us. ~ Linda
A: On the surface, as a kindred revolutionary, I like your thoughts. But there are some good people who get into government for the right reasons and do the right things. Granted, I don't see too many of them these days. While it sounds reasonable to turn over the soil regularly when planting future expectations, it would be incredibly disruptive to have all new people learn what has to be done, how to do it, and get it done in a single term. Term limits sound better to me.
And we should definitely take the money out of electioneering. Corporations should be limited to what they can give to any candidate, maybe something like $25,000 at most. And if any corporation gives to any candidate who wins, any legislation that that elected official has anything to do with that serves any of their corporate benefactors, should be disclosed as to what benefit the corporation (or any business, for that matter) derives from it. Individuals should be able to give up to the same $25,000. We should have a $5.00 tax on all tax filers (with a flat, progressive tax) to pay for campaigns. The collected amounts should be equally distributed to all candidates, who can only draw on the money for defined expenses. What isn't spent gets redistributed to candidates still in the race after certain expiration dates. Sure, this plan needs work, but you get the idea.
Q: Forget the politicians and head to where the real problem is, and that is Wall Street! The pols are puppets, and it won't matter who is in there. A little vigilante pressure on the "movers and shakers" who actually run this country may be the answer to their self-serving ways. We need to stand up for ourselves, not expect some elected official to do it. ~ R.
A: I agree that pressure on the "movers and shakers" is absolutely necessary. If you want to kill the snake, you cut off its head. The head is without a doubt the Federal Reserve System. You're going to hear a lot more from me on the Fed. It is the problem. The Federal Reserve System is the scamming mechanism by which the banks are afforded their cover. It covers them when they blow themselves up in pursuit of their greedy games and completely distort free markets by eliminating moral hazard. The Fed deserves to be dead. If we cut off the head of the banking cartel, the movers and shakers have to resort to slithering around where we can see them – and stomp on them, as they deserve.
Q: Everyone is still chatting about one more patch on the old ship. If we look at the current Arab Spring and the fall of most previous empires, we should understand that the new "power structure" will have few of the same participants as the old one. The rich and powerful are targeted and replaced, and it can happen very fast. Think about 150 to 200 million gun owners without food. Even if you want to run, there is already a refugee camp where ever you want to go. It is decision time. ~ Ed
A: Ed, if it comes to the public waging war on our military, because they back the government, we're going to lose, all of us, the whole nation, the whole American experiment. We need the armed forces to demand the Constitution be upheld. We need their leaders and ours to face open tests of honesty, integrity, and be accountable to the rule of law that we're all supposed to obey.
Let's keep going…
Q: A revolution in this country would require staggering unemployment in the 30-50% range. It's going to require families not able to feed their children or care for their loved ones. It's going to require massive failure of the infrastructure and distribution systems long established in this country because of our exclusive access to very cheap oil. This doom and gloom just may be coming. ~ C.S.
A: I don't see it that way, C.S. While I share your frustration, I believe we can have a public revolt, a real revolution that scares our corrupt government into believing that they won't be protected from public arrest and public trials – which would be conducted openly under the justice system, as flawed as it too may be. We need a public mechanism to vote to indict who we believe to be government criminals. How about something like that?
As far as staggering unemployment, I'm not sure where you're getting that notion. A real revolution to clean up our government and bridle back corporations and the oligarchs that run them and the government can be accomplished. We the people would have to ask the armed forces to protect us from the corrupt government and corporate rogues that step on us all for their own good and greed. Given the makeup of our military, I'd have to believe they would consider their role as protectors of democracy to be more important than protectors of a system that uses them for commercial gains. War, in case you don't know, is big business…as is the biggest business in the world.
Q: I would join a third party if there was a good leader to organize it. However, I fear that anyone smart enough to lead the country back on the right path would soon get arrested and thrown in jail. If a true leader was strong enough to make himself/herself heard, it would not be long before our present leaders would feel threatened and make him/her disappear. This has become a fascist oligarchy where the police force in every state has been militarized and is there to protect the banks, corporations and the rich. This is the kind of country we now live in. ~ Maxine D.
A: Sadly Maxine, I have to agree with you that the powers that be wouldn't tolerate real free speech if they were the target of the truth about what they're doing. But if enough of the public were behind and protected the rights of pacifist revolutionary heroes, and gathered en masse everywhere to demand their voices be heard and changes made… we would get to where we need to go. It wouldn't be easy. I, myself, by even espousing this kind of approach, am subjecting myself to what you fear. But if I can't stand up for what I believe, I might as well lie down before they try and put me down.
Q: The only way to stop our politicians from destroying this country at this point is to have secession and another civil war. That is truly something I don't want to see, but this country is too far gone to save. We are on the path to a third world country and I don't see anything stopping it ~ Vernon T.
A: Vernon, be a cause in the matter, as you are by voicing your thoughts here. If you continue to stand up and be heard, our collective voices have a chance of shouting down the crooks who otherwise shut us up by their schemes and diversionary tactics.
Now here are some responses to "Who Says Money Can't Buy You Love? Not the Banksters."
Q: The duplicity of our politicians is mind boggling. The idea that the average voter has control over our government is becoming increasingly absurd and Mr.Gilani seems to be flagging it with increasing frequency. There ought to be no doubt "we've got the best government money can buy." Thanks Shah for the public service. ~ Mike O.
A: Mike, you're right, of course. The duplicity is mind-boggling! It's all about money and power, because power leads to money.
Q: How about John Corzine? The democrat. Expound on him someday soon I hope. ~ B.P.
A: I'm working up a big piece on our dear Democrat friend; he's not escaping us unscathed.
Q: I guess you do not write this blog in order to make money…? A bit hypocritical, aren't we? ~ Ralph A.
A: I don't get paid to write this blog, Ralph. I do get paid when some of you become subscribers to my Capital Wave Forecast. But I write this blog because I'm sick and tired of what I see and because of you, all of you who read it, and especially those of you who comment here, who are sick too. That's reason enough. You're reason enough. America is the best reason.
Q (Re: "Why America is in Trouble Now"): [The embassy attack] is not about the video; it was just reported that there were NO DEMONSTRATIONS. Rather, suddenly there were two groups of terrorists who attacked the embassy from two different angles at the exact same time….so U.S. officials were using the video story to cover up their own ineptness at protecting their own employees against terrorist attack. ~ Susie A.
A: As we find out more about the attacks on our embassy and embassies, we are learning that our friends aren't always our friends, that we don't always know the difference between the friends we buy and the friends who sell us down the river. Sometimes they are the same friends.
The Mideast is a problem we can't seem to fix. Maybe we need to take a fresh look at what we're doing there, who we're backing, and why. If it's all about oil, which it has been, maybe we need to address that issue and whose interests we are really looking out for there. It's complicated. But if we don't lay bare the facts, we are doomed to keep the fires of fundamentalism using the American flag and democracy as tinder. Is oil the reason for Islamic fundamentalism? I don't think so. But I think it plays a big part, historically.
Q (Re: Our March Toward Economic Socialism"): The bankers have to keep up a steady stream of new credit. So what new tricks are up the bankers' sleeves? Mortgages are done. So are student loans. Sub-prime auto loans next? How can we incur more debt just as Boomers are retiring, saving, and paying down debt? Or are they going to crash the market in order to buy equities at a discount? How broken are credit markets that the Fed must add 16% of its current balance sheet per year? Great article, Shah. ~ Rick B.
A: We'll see what the banks are up to soon enough, Rick. I'm sure we can imagine them now rubbing their hands in their vault-like laboratories, mixing potions and conjuring up spells. Are they going to crash the markets again? If they do, they are done.
They may, in fact, have already have blown up the next bubble with their never-ending bank bailout schemes that are designed to re-capitalize the banks, keep them from imploding from pending litigation charges and costs, and prevent them from being dismantled, because they are SO important to America, don't you know? NOT. Break them up, cut off the head of the snake (the Fed) and set the free markets free. America will prevail if untethered from the maypole the banks make us swing around.
Q: Shah, this is why I love your writing. All of my conservative publications rant about how the country is moving more and more toward socialism, but not once have I read anywhere the idea that the bailouts and the QE by the central banks are forms of socialism. Not once. And I would be willing to bet that they will never say that. In those publications, the term "socialism" is reserved for things like Social Security and Medicare. Maybe I should have figured it out, but sometimes it takes someone like you to whack me upside the head in order to straighten out my thinking. But I am learning. Please keep on sharing your wisdom. ~ Charles
A: Thanks for the kind words, Charles. I hope that bump on your head is your expanding brain.
The mechanisms that turn the wheels that drive a socialist model are manifest, but they are too often too subtle for us to see clearly in our capitalist democracy – or what's left of it. It is becoming increasingly clear that the cloak of invisibility and the utter bastardization of the truth behind the existence of the Federal Reserve System is finally coming to the surface. The Fed is one of the principal wheels grinding us down the path of economic socialism. It's the protector of the banking cartel in the U.S., with its quasi-governmental feel (which it isn't a part of) that leads the public to think they're all about the public good (price stability and full employment).
Kill the Fed. Free capitalism to bear the slings and arrows of free markets, creative destruction, and American prosperity.
Q: Wouldn't "economic fascism" be a better description? Socialism implies at least support for common people. This system is for the 1% über-rich bankers. ~ R.
A: R, you are 100% correct. Thank you for pointing out the proper term for where we're heading, if we're not there already. I probably won't use that correct term on account of the likelihood that too many people won't know exactly what it means. But, you are right, it is economic fascism!
Q: Fascinating! And would you now PLEASE inform us as to what, in your educated view, is now the best and wisest way for America to extricate itself from the desperate crisis, at the least possible cost to the taxpayer. ~ Michael M.
A: Here it is again: First and foremost, eliminate the Federal Reserve System.
Second, make banks buy deposit insurance from private companies that are transparently rated and exceedingly well capitalized (maybe limit their profit margins like a utility). Third, break up all the big banks and let the smaller banks (not too big to fail) syndicate large loans (like reinsurers serve insurance outfits). Fourth, balance the federal budget over the next 15 years. Have tests for recipients of social welfare are they working, can they be put to work for the free money they get, sensible and non-discriminatory types of means testing. And term limits.
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About the Author
Shah Gilani boasts a financial pedigree unlike any other. He ran his first hedge fund in 1982 from his seat on the floor of the Chicago Board of Options Exchange. When options on the Standard & Poor's 100 began trading on March 11, 1983, Shah worked in "the pit" as a market maker.
He helped develop what has become known as the Volatility Index (VIX) - to this day one of the most widely used indicators worldwide. After leaving Chicago to run the futures and options division of the British banking giant Lloyd's TSB, Shah moved up to Roosevelt & Cross Inc., an old-line New York boutique firm. There he originated and ran a packaged fixed-income trading desk, and established that company's "listed" and OTC trading desks.
Shah founded a second hedge fund in 1999, which he ran until 2003.
Shah's vast network of contacts includes the biggest players on Wall Street and in international finance. These contacts give him the real story - when others only get what the investment banks want them to see.
Today, as editor of 10X Trader, Shah presents his legion of subscribers with the chance to earn ten times their money on trade after trade.
Shah is also the proud founding editor of The Money Zone, where after eight years of development and 11 years of backtesting he has found the edge over stocks, giving his members the opportunity to rake in potential double, triple, or even quadruple-digit profits weekly with just a few quick steps.
Shah is a frequent guest on CNBC, Forbes, and Marketwatch, and you can catch him every week on Fox Business's "Varney & Co."
He also writes our most talked-about publication, Wall Street Insights & Indictments, where he reveals how Wall Street's high-stakes game is really played.