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OPINION

Giving Away Prosperity

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Well, Syriza won big in Greece, setting the stage for a serious showdown that will test the nerves of lenders and borrowers. Germany has a lot to lose if Greece defaults on bonds and bailout obligations. But, it could lose more if it allows the debtor nation to dictate terms that will only dismantle previous arrangements; it would bring back the kind of profligate spending that got them in trouble in the first place.

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Giving Away Prosperity

It's the message of Washington, D.C. these days that prosperity can be given if we ditch free markets for a system of fairness that sprinkles cash around. This would be based upon the needs of the recipient rather than skill or the farfetched notion of return on investment. Studying history and considering the nature of mankind, this battle will go on forever, until one day, we plunge into a system that spreads the wealth. Of course, no one will be there to bail America out, not even the Fed and its magic printing press.

Showing True Love

I don’t hear people talking about it much these days, but when Bush was president, many of my black and some of my liberal friends would complain that we were still due our “40 acres and a mule” or the cash equivalent. Many pointed to Bush’s dislike of blacks as the reason this economic injustice was being upheld.

My reply: If the president really hated black people, he or she would pass out those checks.

If the amount was $50,000 one year later, more people would be in debt, broke, and families would be ripped apart. This has nothing to do with race and everything to do with humans. Without the right kind of training and preparation, giant windfalls are, more often than not, squandered. This is why more than half of all professional athletes in history have ended up financially bankrupt. Yet, what if the cash came in nice and slow... like a steady stream?

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If people don't have to work for it, don't save up for it, and don't think it will ever end, that kind of windfall is eventually squandered.

Case in point: when the Supreme Court of the United States gave the green light to casinos on Indian reservations, it was hailed as an economic godsend. It’s been anything but, as poverty has risen twice as fast at reservations that give out cash from casinos directly to members than reservations that don’t.

The problem is obvious, but it sounds better coming from a Native American like Ron Whitener, law professor, tribal judge, and a member of the Squaxin Island Tribe: “These payments can be destructive because the more generous they become, the more people fall into the trap of not working.”

Message of Market

It's been a wild year of ups and downs- very manic action that's obviously unsettling as if the market is grappling for direction and guidance.

Let's talk about the message of the market; last week, airlines were the best performing industry for obvious reasons, but how do we explain gold and employment agencies? Gold moving higher as an alternative to other currencies is not a great sign for the world, but some of the move is technically based on traders jumping on the bandwagon. The good news could be employment agencies performing well- we need them to become market leaders.

Best Performing Industries
Week end Jan 23
Airlines11.9%
Gold6.7%
Employment Agencies6.1%

On the other side of the coin, delivery stocks were walloped following the lead of a big earnings miss at United Postal Service (UPS). Kimberly-Clark (KMB) hurt as personal products brought in less revenue and steel was simply crushed.

"I do not mind lying, but I hate inaccuracy."

-Samuel Butler

In 1863, Samuel Butler wrote a series called "Darwin among the Machines" which prophesized that machines would eventually surpass mankind in supremacy making us inferior.

I bring this up not only out of my robot paranoia, but the quote perfectly sums up where we are with respect to our political leaders and maybe the second class status of mankind. According to Cringely.com, IBM is preparing to lay off 100,000 people under a reorganization called Project Chrome.

So, upon further review, which statement says more about the economy: cherry picked stats used in the State of the Union and, really, by politicians in general, or one of the mightiest companies in America laying off 26% of their workforce?

Of course, the irony is, maybe this is all inevitable.

Oxford has already written a great white paper noting almost 50% of current jobs will be replaced by software and robots, but it's not supposed to happen this month. There's a greater current issue of the economy and the uneven recovery that's plaguing the middle class and holding poor people back. Of course it's easier to be held back if we accept the blue pill of goodies. IBM is open in the model portfolio, although we are not asking new subscribers to buy yet, or older subscribers to add (it's not bold on the Portfolio Approach- for more on information on how it works, contact your rep or research@wstreet.com), but this is the kind of news Wall Street loves.

It's also the kind of news that reinforces the notion that our elected leaders have no trouble lying as long as it's accurate.

Below are some of the companies that reported Monday morning. The list is relatively light this morning, however the week will be full of more releases.

CompanyEPSConsensusRevenue ($M)EPS GuidanceEPS Consensus
DHI0.390.34$2,253-FY15 1.81
NSC1.641.63$2,870-FY15 6.39
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