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Dawn J. Bennett Calls 2016 ‘The Year of Tribalism’

The well-known financial planner and radio show host Dawn J. Bennett recently wrote an article titled, “2016: The Year of Tribalism.” In the article she says, “In the rise of both Bernie Sanders’ progressive populism and Donald Trump’s nationalist populism, we are increasingly seeing voters choosing a new sort of Internet-era tribalism, banding together in communities so like-minded that they serve as echo chambers for shared hopes and fears alike.”

According to Bennett, this new tribalism is enabled and intensified by the Internet and technology. The Internet and technology allow smaller groups to have a larger voice, resulting in political institutions that have become “increasingly fractious coalitions of polarized factions.”

“The Democratic Party tries to coalesce Bernie’s socialist tribe, the mainline Clinton progressives, environmentalist groups, groups defined by gender and race, and more,” says Bennett. “The Republican tent holds mainline fiscal conservatives, the Tea Party, Trump’s nationalist populists, religiously motivated groups, and several flavors of libertarians. It’s messy, much more gray area than the clearly drawn lines we wish existed to make our choices easier.”

Bennett says there’s a dark side to tribalism. Tribalism can produce an “us versus them” feeling— “If you’re not with us you’re against us, and if you’re against us you’re the enemy.” This feeling has been present since the election, with group demonstrations against Donald Trump’s victory, as well as an increase in individual physical and verbal attacks that are motivated by the election’s outcome.

There are also benefits to tribalism, according to Bennett. “With such commonality of purpose and belief, these tribes can be very passionate, enthusiastic and creative and compelling,” she says. “They produce leaders like Trump, who are willing to take risks, to challenge what has gone before, and to inspire others to do the same. And if that energy can be harnessed and not allowed to run amok, I think we actually have the potential to meet our challenging global future.”

She continued, “My advice in this time of change boils down to this: gather your own information, listen to many viewpoints, and in the end make your own decisions. Protect your wealth, protect your future. By doing so thoughtfully, you will of necessity be engaging beyond your own tribes, and your voice will have a chance to contribute to the conversation that must take place to lead our country into the future.”

Dawn J Bennett Weighs in on the 2016 Presidential Election and the Impact on Financial Markets

Dawn J Bennett, host of the national radio program Financial Myth Busting, and CEO and Founder of Bennett Group Financial Services, shared her thoughts on the 2016 Presidential Election and the impact on financial markets in an October article titled, “Of Purse Strings and Presidents.”

As the presidential election approached, Bennett asked people who they were going to vote for on November 8. Many responded with a simple “no one,” despite America very much needing the active participation of the people in governing the nation.

Understanding the dissatisfaction of the candidates Americans were left to choose between, Bennett wrote, “…it’s as if we Americans are being held hostage to a poorly written TV show, watching the race for the highest office in our land become a race to the bottom.”

Bennett stressed that Election Day couldn’t come soon enough to end the international embarrassment that the election was. Merrill Lynch had said, “Despite the descent of politics, the subjects having little bearing on financial markets, its stench nonetheless permeates everything.” Bennett agrees.

Money is the driving force in the future of American politics, and for far too long have fundamentals been disregarded. Bennett wrote, “Fundamentals have too long been ignored: a poor and unstable economy; a lack of consumer liquidity; employment and income savaged by many elements, particularly poor-quality trade agreements, shifting wealth off shore. The financial system is no longer a free market system in anything but name, operating outside of reasonable norms and controls.”

Despite the election results, the U.S. financial markets and the U.S. dollar are likely to experience near-term turmoil.  While many would assume it would trigger a flock to gold, Bennett believes the Federal Reserve is concealing the price so it appears that our economy, markets, and political system are stronger than they really are. This is something the Federal Reserve did back in September 2011, in which gold hit a peak and then dropped 400 to 500 points. This year, gold is up by roughly 17% year-to-date and silver is up 25%. 

Bennett states that this is the key reason why so few investors actually expect a decline in U.S. stock markets. Investors are under the assumption that the Fed has their back. But in the last eight years, the Fed has controlled the stock and bond markets, and the practice of buying the dip has been successful, and will likely continue to succeed unless members of the Fed’s Board of Governors change. This is only likely to happen if Donald Trump is elected.

The breadth equity market has fallen in recent weeks, which doesn’t usually end well for stocks. Typically, the indexes follow breadth. These divergences have been rare since 1990, and have generally been bad for investors. As Bennett explained, “In the seven instances that occurred before this year, all but two actually portended further losses. December 1990, February 2000, and October 2008 are notable examples. After 2008, equities ended up erasing half their value over the next two years. It should be clear that our markets have no connection with reality. Earnings and revenues have dropped substantially widely across the S&P and Dow constituent stocks, and even the Russell 2000.”

The Dow fell 508 points on Black Monday in 1987, which is a 22.61% drop. The 1929 stock market crash resulted in a 24.55% drop. Some analysts believe we could be facing a similar situation due to the collapsing breadth of the market and our increasingly weak and unstable fundamentals. In today’s market, that could be as much as 400 points.

While the 2016 Presidential Election has passed, when voting in future elections Bennett stresses that you  take into account your income, your investments, and your future. Protect them and be ready when things go downhill.

 

Dawn J. Bennett Interviews David Stockman About Trump’s Candidacy

Dawn J. Bennett, host of Financial Myth Busting and founder and CEO of Bennett Group Financial Services, recently interviewed David Stockman, a bestselling author and former director of the Office of Management and Budget, on her show.  In the interview, they discuss Donald Trump’s candidacy for President.

In Stockman’s latest book, Trumped! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin… And How to Bring it Back, he argues that Trump’s candidacy can be directly credited to the increasing notion that the American economy is rigged and only helping those at the top. He notes in his interview with Bennett that Trump is currently capitalizing on the Populist wave because “the rubes are in revolt”.

“They’re treated as rubes by the Washington/Wall Street bicoastal elite and they’ve had enough and I think Trump’s phenomenal rise is reflective of that,” he said. “Now, how that translates into fundamental change in policy… that’s a huge, open question.”

On Trump’s economic policy plan, Stockman says he thinks the three things Trump needs to address are:

  1. The Fed and how we can basically launch a campaign that says 2% inflation targeting has to go because that is a mortal threat to purchasing power or wages throughout America.
  2. Zero percent interest rate or interest rate pegging has to go because that is savaging millions of retirees and savers.
  3. We don’t need an activist Fed intervening massively in the market day in and day out, we’ll need to go to a much more restrained, passive liquidity provision system, but the heart of it would be let the free market, let interest rates do their job. If we had flexible or mobile interest rates both in the money market and across the yield curve, this market would begin finally to reorient itself and heal itself from this tremendous bubble distortion and malinvestment that’s occurring today.

“We need something different and we need to pay for it with spending cuts, and that’s probably an area where a lot work needs to be done on the Trump program if it’s going to make a difference assuming he’s elected,” said Stockman.

While Stockman is not a Trump supporter, he believes he is a preferable to Hilary Clinton and the third party candidates.

“Hillary represents a 30-year old bag of deplorables. I’m not talking about her supporters like she did with Trump. I’m talking about her ideas,” Stockman said. “She has never seen a war she didn’t like. She is a hundred percent behind this whole bubble finance regime at the Fed. She thinks Janet Yellen is some kind of superhero. She thinks that we can make the economy prosper by even more meddling and intervention and control from Washington and obviously we have 30 years now proving that because the economy after this limp recovery is now grinding to a halt.”

He continued, “I think we’re near the edge of a recession, and think about it – it means that in the last 16 years the average growth rate has been 1.6% or less than half of what it was historically, and that’s only if you credit the inflation measures used by the Washington statistical mills. If you have an honest measure of inflation, I doubt the real economy for most of America has grown at all over the last period.”

Dawn J. Bennett and Curtis Ellis Discuss ‘ObamaTrade’

Dawn J. Bennett, founder and CEO of Bennett Group Financial Services, recently interviewed Curtis Ellis, the executive director of the American Jobs Alliance, on Financial Myth Busting with Dawn J. Bennett. The American Jobs Alliance is an activist group leading the opposition against Obama’s proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP), also known as “ObamaTrade.” Ellis is also a former writer and producer for Lou Dobbs Tonight, CNN, NBC News, Fox News, as well as a former reporter for Associated Press radio.

Ellis recently wrote a report titled “Obama Strikes Again,” in which he states Obama said he would push the TTP in a lame duck session of Congress and Donald Trump is unfit for the presidency. In his interview with Dawn J. Bennett, he discusses these statements further.

Ellis said Obama is unfit for the presidency for the simple reason that he said he would push the TPP in a lame duck session of Congress.

“Now as someone who said he is a professor of constitutional law, Mr. Obama should know that the Constitution was amended in 1933 with the 20th amendment, the so called Lame Duck Amendment, because it was the sense of Congress, and the various states that approved the amendment, that nothing but routine legislation should be considered in a lame duck session,” Ellis said.

He continued, “Something as important as this sweeping 12 nation international regulatory pact that will affect everything, every bit of commerce that is carried on within this country, which will affect our laws including immigration, energy and everything else, is not routine legislation, and that should not be considered in a lame duck session of Congress.”

Major trade agreements are a hot button issue in Trump and Clinton’s campaigns. Recent polls suggest many Americans are not in favor of free trade agreements, and both Trump and Clinton have expressed that Obama’s proposed trade policy is not the way to go. Trump has clearly stated that he is against the TPP and would repeal it if he was elected president. Clinton, who actually helped negotiate the TTP, says she’s not in favor of it but has not provided information on what her alternative trade program would look like.

“She [Hilary Clinton] helped negotiate this Trans-Pacific Partnership. She helped negotiate it. She called it the gold standard of agreements,” said Ellis. “But then when she came under pressure from Bernie Sanders in the primaries, and from Mr. Trump, and looked at all the polls and saw how widely unpopular it is, she reversed course. In a very carefully parsed statement she said ‘I am opposed to it in its current form’.”

Ellis also noted that this was the same articulation used by Bill Clinton when he was in office. During his campaign for the presidency he said he was opposed to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Ellis explained, “But once he won the election he said well, we’re going to change it a little. He got some side letter agreements, which were really non-binding and toothless, and said okay, now it’s fixed, and now I can support it”

He continued, “Add to that the fact that her [Hilary Clinton] closest confidant, Terry McAuliffe, who is now the governor of Virginia, when he was asked about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Hillary Clinton shifting positions on it, he said, and this was during the Democratic National Convention, he said, don’t worry, once the election is over she’ll come around, and she’ll support it. We’ve got to build the global economy.”

Ellis said if Clinton were to win the election, we can expect the TTP to be run through Congress.

“Hillary Clinton will stand on the sidelines, publicly take no stand, but behind the scenes will be, probably, whipping for it,” he said.

Brexit Vote Revives Movement for Texas’ Seccession

 

Grunge state of Texas flag mapBritain’s startling decision to exit the European Union (EU) has sparked the possibility of other countries leaving too. Since the decision, there has been talk about France, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy making their exit as well. As the implications of Brexit unfold in Europe, the decision has also sparked the revival of secessionist movements in the United States, particularly in the Lone Star State.

Dubbed “Texit”, support for Texas’ secession exploded on social media in the wake of the Brexit decision. The use of the hashtag #Texit increased by nearly five times and saw almost 2,000 tweets between 7 and 8 a.m. London time, or after 1 a.m. in Dallas.

According to a 2014 Reuters/Ipsos poll, nearly a quarter of Americans are open to their states leaving the union. For Texas, the move toward secession is being powered by the Texas Nationalist Movement, which is formerly calling for the Texas government to support a vote similar to that of the British. The group believes the state would be better off as a sovereign nation.

Texas was an independent country from 1836 to 1845, after it seceded from Mexico. In her article “Opting Out”, financial expert Dawn J. Bennett notes that “as of 2014, if Texas were a sovereign nation, it would have had a GDP of nearly $1.7 trillion and been the 12th largest economy in the world, barely behind Canada and ahead of Australia and South Korea. Texas and Switzerland gross about the same from exports each year.”

Bennett explains that the secessionist movement is being fueled by many of the same issues and discontent that led to Brexit, such as “feelings of interference from the federal government, stagnant wages and weak labor markets, and a general dissatisfaction with the dismal political and economic landscapes we face.”

Despite Texas’ strong economy, Reuters reports constitutional scholars claim a U.S. state cannot secede. While there have been numerous secessionist movements throughout American history, no state has been created by seceding from another since 1863 when West Virginia was formed during the Civil War. And that involved seceding from another state, not from the union.

Will this time around be different? We have to wait and see.

 

Dawn J. Bennett & Niger Innis Discuss the Likelihood of President Trump

Financial advisor Dawn J. Bennett recently interviewed Niger Innis on her show Financial Myth Busting with Dawn J. Bennett. Innis is the national spokesperson for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), as well as an MSNBC commentator and political consultant. In the interview, Bennett and Innis discuss a common question many Americans have: Is it inevitable that Donald Trump will be the next president?

Innis says he thinks Trump being the next president is a real possibility. Innis, who is also the Chairman of Tea Party Forward, said, “We’re [Tea Party Forward] not quite sure just yet about Donald Trump, we’re all supporting him now, now that Ted Cruz has dropped out, and we certainly prefer Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, but we’re certainly not sure if Donald Trump is going to be a Constitutional Conservative or could he very well be a big government Conservative.”

He continued, “So that even if he makes the choices that we would like, how he executes those choices, through executive orders or through running roughshod over Congress and not recognizing the separation of powers, is something that would concern us, that wouldn’t concern us as much with a Constitutional Conservative like Ted Cruz. On the flipside though, what thrills the Tea Party about Donald Trump is his ability to confound the media, his ability to not only circumvent the media, the establishment media, but to actually shape and confront the media and get them to talk, to say his talking points as opposed to him playing from their song sheet.”

Despite his chokehold on the media, Trump has been more unpopular with minorities than past Republican candidates. In order to win the minority vote, Trump would need to undo the damage that’s been done. Innis thinks he’s already begun and could appeal to the Black community.

According to Innis, “I actually think where Trump has the ability to again confound conventional wisdom is actually in the black community. I think his talk of building a wall, the economic American nationalism that he promotes, it’s something that would appeal greatly to a number of black Americans. Particularly, we hear in this election and we see it and we often say that it’s a reflection of angry white males—Trump’s popularity. But the little hidden story is that is not talked about as much is that there are a lot of black males and Latino males that are angry too, that are unemployed or underemployed and want an opportunity to earn a living and be breadwinners for their family.”

Innis also notes that Trump has reached out to Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, Head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and a good friend of his. The organization represents around 30 million Latino Evangelicals nationwide. Trump addressed them recently, said Innis, and “gave a very conciliatory message.”

“He didn’t contradict himself in things he had said before. He just said that his message and my agenda of bringing jobs back into the country is going to be something that uplifts the Hispanic community,” Innis told Bennett.

So will Trump take over the White House? Only time will tell.

For more exclusive interviews, visit Financial Myth Busting with Dawn J. Bennett here.

What Will Happen to Our Market Bubbles?

Financial expert Dawn J. Bennett recently wrote an article titled, “Forever Blowing Bubbles”, in which she describes how central bank driven monetary policy and market manipulation will likely cause asset bubbles to explode dramatically and cause major collateral damage.

There have been numerous signs over the past few weeks that suggest this will occur soon. In the Financial Times, Mark Spitznagel, a billion dollar hedge fund manager said, “Markets don’t have a purpose anymore. They just reflect whatever central planners want them to.” He goes on to say, “This is the greatest monetary experiment in history. Why wouldn’t it lead to the biggest collapse?” The article also quotes bestselling author and Universa advisor Nassim Taleb, who said, “Being protected from fragility in the financial system is a necessity rather than an option.”

They aren’t the only ones with this view. Dawn J. Bennett notes, “The Bank of Japan, acknowledging the violence being done to the yen by years of quantitative easing, said recently that they are setting aside money to prepare for losses on their huge holdings of Japanese government bonds which were put together and purchased through their printing of fiat currency once they are finally forced to stop monetary easing. Easing is a vortex that has sucked in the central banks over the last eight years, forcing them to continue blowing bubbles to follow bubbles to follow bubbles. Indeed, there have been calls even for our own Federal Reserve to go beyond QE to ‘helicopter money’, essentially going beyond interest rate manipulation and money printing by injecting ‘permanent’ money directly into private sector. Could this be why China is establishing a yuan-denominated gold benchmark for trading, in order to start backing their currency with real assets instead of academic theories?”

Among the biggest bubbles is the U.S. derivatives market, which is worth $1 quadrillion dollars by some accounts— about 20 times the value of the entire world economy. This is sheer gambling, says Bennett, not only with equities but also physical commodities.

Bennett points out a lot of evidence to support the poor fate for asset bubbles. The majority of asset classes are flat to negative year-to-date, and initial jobless claims recently spiked to 278 million after being up for two weeks. There’s continued weakness in corporate earnings, as well as increased layoffs, manufacturing data and wages. The recent FOMC meeting showed a possibility of increased interest rates, causing the June rate hike odds to move from 4% to 30% and the July odds from 20% to 50%

“What will happen to our market bubbles then? Many hope that the Fed will continue printing money, but that option continues to degrade our currency and economy,” Bennett says. “Something will eventually have to give.”

The Year of the Fire Monkey

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2016 is the year of the Fire Monkey, which, according to Chinese astrology experts, represents volatility, chaos and mischief.  Coincidentally, the characteristics of the Fire Monkey are synonymous with the major problems financial expert Dawn J. Bennett forecasts for the remainder of the year in the equity markets: volatility.

This year is set to be the most volatile year since 1938, and investors need to be well aware and prepared, Bennett says.

According to Bennett, “One thing to be particularly aware of is the so-called ‘blackout period’ that will be beginning soon. Companies tend to stop or sharply reduce buybacks during the first month following the end of a quarter, as earnings are tallied and reported. Especially in a market where nearly everyone else is selling due to macro fears and concerns about oil and China, this blackout period can have an amplified effect on volatility.”

She continued, “Liquidity is increasingly scarce, looming large as junk bond liquidation problems present the leading edge of a rapidly approaching wave, a harbinger of the bursting of the asset bubble that central banks have been artificially inflating since 2008 and 2009. It seems as if we are truly returning to the scene of the crime, but the damage that threatens will be far, far worse this time around.”

Not to mention, the Federal Reserve still has no clue what’s going on or what to do. The National Archives recently released the records of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission that was created in 2009 to investigate the 2008 crisis. The records, which include meeting minutes, routine business and extensive interviews of key players, show that everyone was puzzled by what caused the crisis and how it could have been prevented. Today, the situation is no better, and if anything, it’s worse, Bennett says.

Bennett recommends Americans be ready for the Fire Monkey and the volatility and mischief that lies ahead. Diversify your wealth and think for yourselves, she advises.

 

 

Dawn J. Bennett Interviews Amity Shlaes, Author & Chairwoman of the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation

Dawn J. Bennett, CEO and founder of Bennett Financial Services and host of Financial Myth Busting, recently interviewed Amity Shlaes, New York Times bestselling author and chairwoman of the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation, an organization dedicated to advancing the ideas of former President Calvin Coolidge. Shlaes is also an acclaimed newspaper and magazine columnist who writes about politics and the economy. She has written for Forbes Magazine, Bloomberg, and the Financial Times, and previously served as a member of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board.

In her interview with Dawn J. Bennett, Shlaes discusses free trade and the presidential candidates’ views on the subject, including Donald Trump’s plan to impose large tariffs on Mexican and Chinese imports.

“They’re not just not economists; they’re politicians,” said Shlaes. “So they say what they think will please people in the very short run.”

Trump’s proposed tariffs could be as high as 35% for Mexico and 45% for China, and he claims the two counties are taking advantage of the U.S. and manipulating their currency to make it cheaper. Shales said, “When China keeps its currency at a certain level, that is to say when China makes things cheap for us, China makes things expensive for its own people. So they can’t buy a lot, or at least not as much as they could, if their currency is cheap, right?”

She continued, “So I wouldn’t even look at it that way. The world is never fair, right? And if we have to make our exports more competitive, that’s probably good, because no matter where the currency is, they will have to be competitive in future. One way to look at this is, ‘Am I doing it now or later?’ What those who advocate tariffs are saying is, ‘You don’t have to do it now,’ whatever it is, get an education, make your goods more competitive. ‘You can do it a little bit later,’ say, after the election. ‘But not really never; you certainly will have to educate yourself more as a country, United States.’ So politicians play on timing. They offer stimuli now, and the effects of the stimuli—the inflationary effects or the effects upon our currency—are later, not on their watch. But our lives are not the same as the period of political life of a politician; our lives are long. So we live with what politicians promise us.”

Shlaes also notes that the U.S. has manipulated its currency since before World War II, and other counties manipulate their currency when currencies are not on a true standard. But, is weakening a currency a viable economic strategy?

According to Shlaes, “Weakening a currency, in the short term, allows you to export more. That’s what it does. Supposing, though, you export something that is no longer needed, such as fax machines, you set up eight factories to make fax machines; because of your wonderful low currency, other people buy your fax machines. Then all of a sudden, they go to the internet, and you have eight fax factories. And you’re not nimble, because you, because of this currency, were lulled into thinking that you could always and forever sell fax machines to the world. That’s the problem. If it’s really favorable, it gives you a feeling of certainty that is counterproductive. That’s what happened to Japan; think of that. If you make yourself a total export engine, some export countries re-tool, and suddenly they make computers instead of fax machines, but that’s harder to do in practice. I think the better thing is to not look at the currency at all, and to look at what you can make better than other countries.”

To view Dawn Bennett’s full interview with Amity Shlaes, visit http://www.releasewire.com/press-releases/dawn-bennett-host-of-radio-show-financial-myth-busting-interviews-amity-shlaes-author-and-chairwoman-of-calvin-coolidge-memorial-foundation-675671.htm.

Americans Need to Start Taking Finance into Their Own Hands

There’s no question that the last few years have been hard on Americans financially. The recession wreaked havoc on people’s savings, decimated the housing market, and has contributed to the narrowing of the middle class. But who’s to blame for these developments?

Of course, the banks are liable for lending money indiscriminately, and the Fed obviously contributed to this by artificially lowering interest rates, which then left many people out in the cold (sometimes literally) when the rates had to be raised in the face of the financial crisis. However, such an argument ignores the fact that individuals in America should be handling their finances more responsibly.

financeAccording to Google Consumer Surveys, 21% of Americans have no savings set aside, and 62% have less than $1,000. This amount of money won’t buy most Mac Books, cover a down payment on a car, pay for a complex pet procedure, or handle taking down a dangerous tree. And many people have a lot less than $1,000; those with only $150 in savings will be in serious trouble when they get a parking ticket and need a new washer at the same time.

By and large, the 83% with limited or no savings are spending their money on the here and now. Of course, some of these individuals are living paycheck to paycheck and simply have nothing to spare for savings. But many Americans have been caught by the lure of consumerism and the “get something for yourself” culture that discourages any self-denial in the face of instant gratification. In fact, consumer debt has grown by a factor of 10 since the 1980s, and the average per capita debt has jumped from $9,300 to $65,200 in the same period. While some of this can be attributed to things like student loans and salaries that have not risen with the cost of living, much of it is to do with personal spending habits.

That’s not to say that people shouldn’t be treating themselves once in a while and buying things – after all, expendable income is one of the biggest things fueling the economy. Nonetheless, reckless spending can make it impossible for individuals to handle unexpected costs, and ultimately hurt the economy anyway when they can’t afford anything but necessities.

In addition, with monetary policy and interest rates potentially working against them in the future, it behooves any responsible person to investigate smart savings options or investments and actually contribute something to them. According to financial analyst Dawn J. Bennet, the Fed is considering adopting a Negative Interest Rate Policy, which would mean that people with retirement accounts would no longer earn interest, but be paying it to the government for holding their money. If this actually happens, average citizens will be losing money that they will dearly need later in life to fund the government’s missteps now. A smart person would start saving independently of those avenues.

What savings options have you investigated and how are they working for you?