Some clear thinking about Amazon’s ‘shocking’ tax incentives

Amazon made big headlines yesterday when it announced it was walking away from its plan to build a new headquarters in New York City.


The company was under intense pressure from the media and politicians who were angered that New York City’s local government was giving away too many tax incentives, purportedly worth around $1.5 billion.


(Including the state government, the total tax break was around $2.8 billion.)


People had some ridiculous idea that NYC[...]

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World’s largest pension fund loses $136 billion

Things keep getting worse for pensions…


If you’ve read Notes recently, you know the pension fund crisis is one of our major themes. Simply put, these giant pools of capital responsible for paying out retirement benefits to workers are BROKE.


According to the World Economic Forum, pension funds around the world are short around $70 TRILLION. State, federal and local pensions in the US are $7 trillion short… and a recent report by Boston College[...]

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Could you handle losing half of your life savings in a few weeks?

The market’s last hope is faltering…

By July of last year, just three stocks (Amazon, Netflix and Microsoft) were responsible for 71% of the S&P 500’s returns.

Through the third quarter, tech stocks were responsible for 95% of the S&P’s gains.

Amazon alone was responsible for about one-third of the index’s move.

And we long warned about the follies of blindly investing your capital into these incredibly popular and often overvalued[...] Click here to continue reading

The next recession will sweep the Socialists into power

What I’m about to say may sound totally crazy at first. But keep reading, because I think you’ll agree that it’s dead-on accurate.

There’s a recession coming.

No, that’s not some Chicken Little “The Sky is Falling” statement. Far from it. It’s just a fact: economies and financial markets always go through boom and bust cycles.

There are good years and lean years, up years and down years.

(This is perhaps[...] Click here to continue reading

Exhumed remains of Karl Marx to run for US President

Earlier this morning, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker became the latest socialist to throw his hat in the ring for the US Presidency…

He announced his candidacy with a new website and two-minute video full of the usual collective hoopla.

Bear in mind that Booker raised taxes by 20% while serving as mayor of the City of Newark, and as Senator he has been vocally in favor of everything from nationalized healthcare to[...] Click here to continue reading

These billionaires are issuing terrifying warnings about global debt levels

We write a lot about global debt levels at Sovereign Man.

In fact, the very first Notes from the Field I ever wrote, in June 2009, was about how broke the US was… and the severe consequences that eventually face a nation that recklessly spends money it doesn’t have.

And debt has been a major theme in this publication ever since.

As you know, since the Great Financial Crisis in 2008, debt[...] Click here to continue reading

Mexico is starting to look like Venezuela

Mexico is in the midst of a crisis again.


And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the border wall that caused the US government to be hopelessly deadlocked for more than a month.


Or the economy. Or murders and violence. Or drug trafficking. Or bird flu.


Nope. Mexico is battling an enormous problem with its oil pipelines.


In a way that almost sounds ridiculous.


But oil thieves have been drilling holes in[...]

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The mother of all government data breaches is happening right NOW

It’s been more than a month since the federal government shut down.

We all know the familiar story of the 800,000+ workers, and the millions of contractors, who are not receiving paychecks.

(Plus there are millions of other workers and small businesses in the private sector whose incomes depend at least partially on the government-- and they’re all suffering as well.)

But now the shutdown is starting to affect cybersecurity.

Because[...] Click here to continue reading

Get Ready– they’re coming for your money

Every so often throughout history, the peasants grab their pitchforks and come for the elite. It happens when the wealth gap grows too extreme… when people feel like they are getting left behind, with no opportunity to advance.

Central banks around the world have printed trillions of dollars over last decade, and pushed interest rates to zero, and sometimes below. And all of that stimulus went directly into the pockets of the wealthy.

[...] Click here to continue reading

Potential US presidential contender thinks YOUR money is in the “wrong hands”

Grab your wallets. Bill de Blasio, the Mayor of New York City, may be lining up a presidential run. And in his State of the City speech last Thursday, he gave us a peak of what the future could have in store…
“Here's the truth. Brothers and sisters, there's plenty of money in the world. There's plenty of money in this city. It's just in the wrong hands.”
Brothers and sisters? In the wrong hands?[...] Click here to continue reading

Man bills the US government for his Corvette. This is how they responded…

Last week I decided to use my tax savings to pay the rent for US government workers affected by the shut down. Emails keep coming in from furloughed federal employees having a tough time. And money keeps going out.

As I’ve been highlighting over the past week, the government shutdown affects many more people than the 800,000 furloughed government workers. Some contractors and subcontractors might not even know their salary ultimately stems from government[...] Click here to continue reading

The rise of Socialism: Standing on the shoulders of morons

I’ve spent the last several days in this quaint Colombian city near the Venezuelan border (though I’m presently at the airport, en route to Chile for a board meeting).

As I’ve discussed several times in the past, Colombia is great. It’s naturally gorgeous, incredibly cheap, and full of interesting opportunities.

The country has recently emerged from decades of civil war. And the rebuilding efforts will have a profound impact on the economy… most[...] Click here to continue reading

Debt, dope and casinos: Chicago is circling the drain

While the federal government is slowly careening toward permanent, fiscal disaster, many state governments (which don’t have the power of the printing press) are already staring into the abyss…

Take Illinois, for example. It’s the most broke state in the US with nearly $250 billion in debt. And it only brings in enough in taxes each year to cover 92% of its expenses… so the problem is getting worse.

Good thing Rahm “you[...] Click here to continue reading

The government shutdown is far worse than we even imagined

Last Thursday, I published a Notes article saying I would use five-to-six figures of the money I saved last year in taxes to pay rent for furloughed government employees.

And so far, the response has been amazing.

We’ve already sent money out the door to help these people during the government shutdown.

And we’ve also received some interesting feedback that gives us a bit more insight into what’s happening to the 800,000+[...] Click here to continue reading

The SIX dumbest and most absurd stories of 2018

Every week we send out an alert to our premium subscribers highlighting important news that often goes overlooked…

We scour through recent court cases, laws moving through congress, whispers in the government and various, international news sites to find the latest things happening that could infringe upon your freedom… or that just make us laugh and cringe due to the never-ending stupidity of governments around the world.

If we had to pick one,[...] Click here to continue reading

Your tax dollars at work: Govt officially forgiving student debt

When all the tribes of Israel still lived in their holy land, they practiced something called the Jubilee.

According to the Book of Leviticus, the Jubilee existed because the Israeli land actually belonged to their god Yahweh…. and the current owners were just borrowing it (sounds like land ownership today – try not paying your property taxes and see who really owns your land).

So every 49 years, the Israelites would celebrate by[...] Click here to continue reading

It’s official: the Federal Reserve is insolvent

In the year 1157, the Republic of Venice was in the midst of war and in desperate need of funds.

It wasn’t the first time in history that a government needed to borrow money to fight a war. But the Venetians came up with an innovative idea:

Every citizen who loaned money to the government was to receive an official paper certificate guaranteeing that the state would make interest payments.

Those certificates[...] Click here to continue reading

The boogeyman is coming for you… no matter where in the world you are

The anti-terrorism unit suited up.

This was an international affair… a deal between the USA and New Zealand, two members of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance.

Helicopters, tactical suits, high caliber firearms—the whole shebang. They busted in the doors and successfully raided the multi-million-dollar compound.

What was this… capturing the next in line after Bin Laden? Busting an international human trafficking ring?

Actually, elite New Zealand law enforcement was acting at[...] Click here to continue reading

What do the Paris riots and Japan’s lack of sex have in common?

The thick black smoke… the smell of burning rubber… overturned smoldering cars.

Looters smashed out shop windows and took whatever they could carry away. Ancient landmarks were desecrated.

Soldiers patrolled the wreckage as tanks are parked on the street corners.

Have aliens attacked? Was a third world dictator deposed? Did the government demand the sacrifice of the first born of each household?

Nope. France increased taxes on gas by a few[...] Click here to continue reading

I thought this deal was ABSURD, but pensions are piling in…

We have been talking about the pension crisis for years now. It’s without a doubt one of the biggest, financial disasters.

These pools of capital, responsible for paying out retirement benefits, are terribly underfunded. So anyone depending on a pension in their retirement years should seriously consider a Plan B – and sooner rather than later.

We aren’t alone in sounding the alarm on pensions.

The World Economic Forum reported that in[...] Click here to continue reading

This banking scandal is awful… even for Wells Fargo

I guess none of this should surprise me anymore.

Our old friends at Wells Fargo are involved in yet another banking scandal. And this one is really bad… people wrongfully lost their homes and ended up on the street.

But before I get into the details of this particularly atrocious mishap, let’s have a quick recap of Wells’ “greatest hits.”

Back in April, Wells was hit with a $1 billion fine for[...] Click here to continue reading

Lenin would be so proud

Several years ago back in 2004-2006, if you had a pulse, you could borrow money from a bank to buy a house.

In fact, bank lending standards were so loose back then that there were some infamous cases of people who DIDN’T have a pulse who were still able to borrow money.

That’s right. Some banks were so irresponsible that they actually loaned money to dead people.

Of course, it turned out[...] Click here to continue reading

Government now wants to seize your car for going 5 MPH over the limit

[Editor's note: While Simon is traveling today, other members of the Sovereign Man team penned today's missive.]

We’ve discussed this on and off for several years now. Civil asset forfeiture is a legal process that allows the government to seize assets and cash from citizens without any due process or judicial oversight.

You don’t even have to be charged with a crime. You are assumed guilty unless you can somehow prove your innocence.
[...] Click here to continue reading

Three strikes against Social Security’s already dismal batting average

[Editor's note: While Simon is traveling today, other members of the Sovereign Man team penned today's missive.]

This doesn’t make front page news… But it should.

Every year, cost of living adjustments increase Social Security benefits.

Over the past decade, payouts have increased by an average of 1.66% per year, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA).

But for 2019, the increase will be 2.8% to keep pace with inflation.

[...] Click here to continue reading

Local government foils evil terrorist entrepreneurs once and for all

Tens of thousands of years ago, humankind was practically an endangered species.

Our early proto-ancestors had little means to protect against the harsh elements or defend against terrifying predators.

And finding enough food was a constant challenge.

Tribes of humans would roam from place to place, foraging for whatever they could eat until they had exhausted nature’s resources… and then be forced to move on to a new location.

And the[...] Click here to continue reading

Trouble brewing in Hong Kong

Hong Kong has for decades been one of the most stable places in the world.

When the British took Hong Kong over in the late 1800s, it was nothing more than an irrelevant backwater made up of fishing villages and illiterate fishermen.

But after a few decades, it became one of the most prosperous places in the world.

And that wasn’t an accident. Hong Kong allowed unbridled capitalism to dominate and it[...] Click here to continue reading

Want a free $100K a year? Quit your job and move here…

According to the latest jobs report, averages wages for US workers increased 3.1% - the strongest growth since 2009.

 Median individual income in the US is now around $31,000, which means the typical American put an extra $1,000 in their pocket last year.

That’s solid extra cash.

But if you really want to see your wages grow, quit your job and become homeless.

 Just be sure you move to San Francisco.
[...] Click here to continue reading

Here are all the ways inflation is happening today

Something strange happened in the markets last month that signals trouble ahead…


When stocks fell from their September highs, you would have expected investors to run for cover in the world’s safe-haven asset – US Treasurys.


But that’s not what happened.


While stocks were plunging, Treasurys also fell. Yields on 30-year Treasurys increased to 3.4% from 3.22% (and yields have already more than doubled from their 2016 lows).


It’s a sign that the market is[...]

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Detroit police murder a family’s dogs in their own home

This one is pretty disturbing.

In January 2016, Detroit police were tipped off that someone was selling small quantities of marijuana out of their home.

Given that the City of Detroit’s murder rate exceeds that of Mexico, you’d think that the Police Department would have had bigger fish to fry.

Apparently they didn’t. So the cops obtained a search warrant and went over to the house.

They knocked, waited a moment,[...] Click here to continue reading

How the government uses its giant facial recognition database

In July 1996, flight TWA 800 exploded in mid-air, 12 minutes after taking off from JFK International Airport in New York. All 230 passengers on board were killed.

It would be four years before an investigation concluded the likely cause of the explosion was a short circuit in the plane’s fuel tank.

But at the time, President Clinton felt the overwhelming need to do something.

People suspected terrorism. So Clinton issued new[...] Click here to continue reading

What a bunch of idiots

Tell me this isn’t crazy--

A few days ago the creator of the most famous consumer ‘credit score’ in the United States announced a major overhaul in how it rates borrowers.

Consumers live and die by this ‘FICO score’. A high FICO score means that it’s easy to obtain loans at lower interest rates.

And a bad FICO score (in theory) means that you have a history of not paying your debts…[...] Click here to continue reading

Is Netflix being run by the United States Congress?

Shares of Netflix soared today on news the company lost a record $859 million in cash in the third quarter.

Why are investors applauding this egregious destruction of capital?

Well, it’s because investors only look at one number when Netflix reports earnings – subscriber growth.

And on that metric, the company outperformed, adding 6.96 million subscribers, bringing the global total to more than 137 million.

At 137 million subscribers, Netflix has[...] Click here to continue reading

These international borders have become “no rights zones”

On June 15, 1215, King John sat in a field in Runnymede, England, surrounded by angry nobles.

His Barons—the big landowners throughout England—had rebelled and seized London, forcing King John to sign an agreement guaranteeing certain rights to the people of England… and restrictions of his power.

This agreement was called the Magna Carta. And it would become one of the most important documents in history.

Centuries later in 1678, Charles II[...] Click here to continue reading

How’s this for crazy: Tesla is still worth more than HONDA

Earlier this year I quoted Chicago-based hedge fund manager John Thompson of Vilas Capital Management-- who has been incredibly vocal (and blunt) about Tesla.

Back in March, Thompson said that he thinks Tesla is going to crash . . .

“. . .partially due to their incompetence in making and delivering the Model 3, partially due to falling demand for the Model S and X, partially due to the extreme valuation, partially due[...] Click here to continue reading

With corruption like this, it’s no wonder so many pension funds are insolvent

Last week, the head of a New York state pension fund found herself a new job.

Vicki Fuller, the former head of New York’s $209 billion fund, now earns $275,000 per year working part time for a natural gas group called The Williams Companies-- good work if you can get it.

It’s noteworthy that when Ms. Fuller ran her state pension fund, she invested $110 million of taxpayer money to buy bonds issued[...] Click here to continue reading