At Berkeley, Inc. we have been surprised by the muted volatility following the election of Donald Trump. As noted during our semi-annual presentation in January, President Trump’s heated rhetoric during his campaign should have resulted in at least a little stock and bond market turbulence. In the weeks and months following the election numerous articles have been written in the nation’s leading newspapers, typically with the same perplexed curiosity as ours. Where is the usual market reaction to changing economic and political turmoil?
Below is a link to view the slides from our client presentation. Each slide has accompanying commentary. Please contact us if you would like to discuss any of these topics further. We will see you in July!
Berkeley, Inc. Semi-Annual Presentation January 2018
The New York Times today addressed the current proposal to lower taxes for corporations. The White House and the Republican controlled Congress are arguing emphatically that corporate tax rates need to be reduced because the U.S. has the highest tax rate among the seven most developed economies in the world.
Yes, they are correct that the U.S. has the highest marginal rate, but U.S. corporations do not pay the most taxes. As seen below, and as reported by the White House and the Treasury Department in 2016, U.S. companies pay the fifth highest as measured by the effective rate. If the same tax breaks and financial loopholes remain AND their maximum tax rate declines from 35% to 20% U.S. corporations will be near the bottom. Why does this matter? Because of the United States government’s current budget debt of $20,496,092,622,812. Yep, it’s a lot…mucho grando. If a plan isn’t put into action to reduce it soon it may lead to economic trouble ahead.
You may have read that hackers broke into the Equifax database and stole personal information tied to 143 million people. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people. There is no reason to think that data is not for sale to criminals on the darknet who can use it to open new lines of credit or file phony tax refund requests in peoples’ names. To make matters worse, crooks usually target the wealthy because they get more bang for the effort buck.
The company compounded its public relations nightmare by sending people to a website to find out if they were affected, and then including language so that anyone signing in to get this information had to waive any right to join a class action suit against the company should their identities be stolen and financial harm come to them.
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