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The Independent Investor: Will We race to the Bottom?
By Bill Schmick,
04:22PM / Thursday, August 08, 2019
Financial markets are in turmoil. President Trump's trade war is escalating, and with it, fears that both China and the U.S. will employ a new weapon, currency devaluation, to win the war. Is that a wise move?   The last time the country devalued the dollar outright was on Dec. 18, 1971, when President Nixon took the country off the gold standard. Since then, there have been times when various administrations have nudged the dollar down, but most American presidents have maintained a strong-dollar policy.   However, over the course of the last two years, President Trump has increasingly complained that the United States is at an unfair advantage versus other

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The Independent Investor: Brexit: The Never-Ending Story
By Bill Schmick,
05:06PM / Thursday, August 01, 2019
Back in 2018, the government of the United Kingdom and the European Union reached an agreement on exactly how the British exit (Brexit) would occur. Since then, despite countless meetings, discussions and votes, the UK Parliament has failed to approve that process. The new date for an exit is Oct. 31. Will this really be the end of the story?   The October extension was really a compromise negotiated by former Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain's Conservative Party. Some European countries were offering a much longer delay for as much as one year.  However, Emmanuel Macron, the French President, insisted on a much shorter time period.    Macron

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The Independent Investor: Make Vietnam Great Again?
By Bill Schmick,
05:10PM / Thursday, July 25, 2019
Funny things happen when our government starts tinkering with the economy in a big way. Unpredictable results, unintended consequences, and confusion often result. U.S. tariffs on China is a case in point.   Now to hear it from the White House, slapping tariffs on imports from China is going to change the entire equation of how companies do business. As it becomes more expensive to import from China, Donald Trump promised that other foreign countries were going to flock to the U.S. creating more jobs, more tax revenues, and generally become a big part of "making the U.S. great again."   So far, the president is half right. Over 50 multinational

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The Independent Investor: Paid Family & Medical Leave Overdue
By Bill Schmick,
04:28PM / Thursday, July 18, 2019
Paid family and medical leave are long-overdue in this country   What do the United States, Papua New Guinea and Oman have in common? Those are the only three countries in the world that do not legally obligate employers or taxpayers to pay for maternity leave.   Many American businesspeople will hide behind a knee-jerk response to the above statement: "We are a free-market society," they will argue, "and paid leave is paramount to just another form of socialism."   Good try, but that old argument is no longer based in facts. Free markets have given way to corporate socialism in this country, while corporations are now legally

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The Independent Investor: Home Equity Can Pay for Long-Term Care
By Bill Schmick,
04:54PM / Wednesday, July 03, 2019
A home equity conversion mortgage (HECM) might simply be a fancy term for a reverse mortgage, but there are an increasing number of advisers and planners who are using them for an entirely different strategic planning purpose.   If you ask most couples in their 60s and beyond what is one of the greatest fears for their future, I'm betting that going bankrupt and/or losing their home and life savings as a result of nursing home bills would be right up there near the top.   We all have horror stories to tell of how one or both spouses needed to go into a nursing home and the costs drained all their assets and then some. Before they could apply for Medicaid,

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