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The Independent Investor: If You Are Laid Off, Read This
By Bill Schmick,
06:39PM / Thursday, April 30, 2020
As of the end of April, more than 30 million Americans have joined the ranks of the unemployed. Companies have closed, while the pandemic has forced many employees to remain at home. If you are one of the jobless victims of this pandemic, here is some advice on your next steps you might take.   First off, do not panic. If there was ever a time for this to happen, it is now. The federal government has provided you with a list of additional benefits that can help you through this unfortunate period. But the first things you want to know is will there be a severance package? If there is, the amount of  money you receive will most likely be determined on your length of

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@theMarket: Economy Craters as America Attempts to Reopen
By Bill Schmick,
03:55PM / Friday, April 24, 2020
As the economic and unemployment numbers reveal the devastating impact of the coronavirus, a struggle has developed between those who want to reopen the economy now, and others who fear the consequences of doing so. Is it truly a trade-off between economic life and additional deaths?   No one knows, but plenty of people and red-state politicians seem willing to take the chance. Those in blue states, which have been hit the hardest by COVID-19, along with the entire international medical community, want to take a more cautious approach.   As far as the markets are concerned, the roller-coaster ride that sent the averages up and down on a daily basis this week was

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The Independent Investor: When Times Get Tough, Call a Woman
By Bill Schmick,
06:58PM / Thursday, April 23, 2020
We have all seen the heart-rending photos and videos. They are of nurses, mostly. As a large part of America's frontline against COVID-19, the media has determined that nurses and other healthcare workers are now "newsworthy." But there is a deeper story here.  It is about American women in general.   Actually, it was the "Gray Lady," the venerable New York Times, that first focused my attention on the real unsung heroes of this pandemic — women. Underpaid, taken for granted, expected to work for less pay, raise the kids, take care of the parents, and when they have time, maybe sleep for a few hours.   During this pandemic

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@theMarket: Bulls Are Back in the Saddle
By Bill Schmick,
06:45PM / Friday, April 17, 2020
A spate of good news helped stocks this week battle the overriding pessimism of the last month. A possible drug to combat the COVID-19 virus coupled with a flattening of the virus curve in some regions helped the markets to gain ground. Can it continue?   It sure can, although a pause to catch our breath may be in order for next week. Gilead Sciences, the pharma/biotech company, has been working at breakneck speed to develop a drug to treat coronavirus patients. On Thursday, a report in a health-care publication indicated that its experimental drug, Remdesivir, was having some success in human trials. The indexes spiked higher on this news.   On the same day,

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The Independent Investor: Pandemic Reveals Weakness in U.S. Health-Care System
By Bill Schmick,
04:52PM / Thursday, April 16, 2020
If it is not already apparent, our health-care system needs a lot of work. There is nothing like a global pandemic to point that out. The question is, that after decades of arguments, tinkering and promises, are Americans finally willing to do something to change it?   Now, I am not talking about how much a doctor is being paid, or what a pharmaceutical company can charge, or not charge, for a new wonder drug. Those are popular headlines that, time after time, distract us from the underlying weaknesses in the system. The main problem I have identified throughout this national disaster is the nation's inability to make centralized decisions.   It seems to me

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