Having a Border Has Never Been a Partisan Issue

Having a Border Has Never Been a Partisan Issue

Having a border has never been a partisan issue … until now???

 Securing our border has been met with unprecedented civil disobedience over the last two weeks.  While it can be heart-wrenching to see families separated when illegally crossing into the country, that does not change the underlying requirements of sovereignty.  Fortunately, the government reversed course, and allowed children to remain with their parents moving forward.  But that is not the legal panacea one would assume, and it has not ended the threats of violence … including some from actual members of Congress.

Immigration is governed by dozens of statutes and hundreds of regulations, as well as multiple court cases including one in 1997 known as the “Flores Consent Decree.”  It was a court ordered resolution that requires children to be detained for 20 days if arriving illegally, and after that, you either deport or release them.  If an adult has crossed illegally – where do you put the child, in jail/detention with the parent?  And if the processing of the illegal crossing takes more than 20 days, then what?  Release them into the general population?  Deport only the child?

Existing immigration law assumes a due process hearing is held within 20 days, but the backlog of those being detained far exceeds that capacity and time frame.  Release them into the general population and they remain undocumented, and they usually do not return for their hearing.   So, is the solution to deport the children without the adult?   And are the adults their actual parent?  Are they a drug mule, “coyote,” or human trafficker?  Put them in the same cell as a human trafficker?  Where we can confirm the adult is the parent, the reversal of the separation policy was a humane choice and a better reflection of American values.  But media interviews designed to tug at the heart is not the majority of problems we are seeing with the surge of illegal crossings.

These are just some of the dozens, if not hundreds, of issues related to our illegal immigration problem.  But the key caveat is that it is illegal immigration we are talking about, not legal immigration.  They are also not new – as previous Democratic Administrations used most of the same policies as the Trump Administration.

This has not been a partisan issue in the past, consider the following quotes:

Former President Bill Clinton:  “…That’s why our administration has moved aggressively to secure our borders more by hiring a record number of new border guards, by deporting twice as many criminal aliens as ever before, by cracking down on illegal hiring, by barring welfare benefits to illegal aliens … We are a nation of immigrants. But we are also a nation of laws. It is wrong and ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it.”  – State if the Union, 1/24/95

Former President Barack Obama:  “Real reform means strong border security, and we can build on the progress my administration has already made — putting more boots on the Southern border than at any time in our history and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years.”  – State of the Union, 2/12/13.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY):  “…First, illegal immigration is wrong … The American people are fundamentally pro-legal immigration and anti-illegal immigration. We will only pass comprehensive reform when we recognize this fundamental concept.”  Speech at Georgetown Law School, 6/24/09

Then-Senator Obama (D-IL):  “…The bill before us will certainly do some good … it would provide better fences and better security along our borders and would help stem some of the tide of illegal immigration in this country.”  –  Boston Globe quoting a Senate floor speech, 1/27/17

Republican politicians already have a platform, and a political stance, which is for securing our border, so quotes from Republican leaders would be redundant.

 The bottom line – everyone is for securing the border, so why is there a conflict on the issue?

In a free, Democratic society, with checks and balances to prevent mob rule or the tyranny of the majority, it requires speech, debate, and persuasion to win your argument.  These were defining elements of the enlightenment, which gave birth to the Founding Fathers.  Sometimes you do not win the debate, and you must accept that freedom includes compromise.  Some basic norms of civility seem to have been lost in the age of social media.

There are numerous reasons to make sure we seal the border and require admission to be legal and accountable:

Top 5 Reasons the Borders Should be Secured:

5. “Jobs and wages”: This is obvious.  Illegal immigration takes away jobs from Americans.  While some argue that Americans would not do jobs in the farming sector, that is a subjective determination, and is not relevant.  If the country needs agricultural labor, they can extend work permits or green cards.  We don’t because it is easier for farms to break the law and pay lower wages.  But it is not just in farming – low wage service sector employment which has typically been the starting employment for minorities and teenagers is also taken up by even lower wage illegal immigrants.  The resultant flood of job seekers into entry-level labor positions depresses the pay scale even further for those most in need.

4. “Fairness to those who follow the rules”: As the public, and those coming illegally, realize the government will not enforce immigration law, it slowly begins to erode confidence in law enforcement altogether.  It is a terrible way to welcome those who arrived legally, at great cost.  How do you tell the person who did everything the right way, in America, “…sorry, this person is allowed to jump to the front of the line.”  That is inherently unfair, and not what Americans believe in.

3. “Safety requires a legal system of admission”:  MS-13 … drug cartels … sex trafficking … terrorists … according to ICE Director Thomas Homan, 10 Muslim jihadists “a day” seek entry into the US, many detained and deported to their country of origin.  You cannot protect those who pay the taxes if you don’t administer who gets to come in and when.

2. “Freedom, democracy and representative government require an actual border”: You cannot have democratic and representative government without a border.  The body politic is willing to pay taxes, and support lawful uses of their money, because they know it represents THEIR VOTE and THEIR INTERESTS.  If the voting population is constantly changing, then the actions taken by government officials do not necessarily represent the will of the people, or the one’s lawfully paying for those services.

1.  “Costs exceed the benefits”: Families who work hard and assimilate represent the American dream and are an example of the greatness of America and how we take in ALL kids of immigrant groups.  And yes, illegals often pay taxes – whether through fake social security numbers or sales taxes, any number of taxes not related to whether you are a citizen or not.   The total is approximated at $12 billion.   But hold on – illegals cost the government close to $123 billion, dwarfing the revenue they pay by a 10-to-1 ratio!   Illegals immediately can claim such benefits as WIC, free/subsidized lunch, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), food stamps, Medicaid, and Limited English Proficiency (LEP) education in public schools.  The dollar amount in emergency room bills that go uncollected is nearly a third of that total.

In the end, all decent Americans want an immigration system that has secured our border … but that also allows people who wish to immigrate to this country legally to become Americans and give them the opportunity to do so.  It would be a system that also treats people fairly and humanely.   That used to be  a non-partisan issue.

Immigration is one of many issues creating conflict, division, and therefore – risk in the marketplace.  Call now to learn about principal protection products! (877) 912-1919

Downward Pressure on Stocks

Downward Pressure on Stocks

The last few weeks we have discussed geopolitical chaos and their impact on the market.  This week is no different. What is unique about the era we are living through is that social media and 24-hour news cycles have not made things more transparent, but in fact quite the opposite – more confusing and harder to understand.

But what is not hard to understand is that you can manipulate the market with government intervention, but ultimately, what goes up must come down.   At some point, supply will exceed demand, and “risk appetites” become “risk aversion.”

Three major variables remain in play that can hurt US markets.  Everyone knows there are not just three  variables impacting markets, and many other positive events remain in place.  But when considering safety of principal once you have a sizable portfolio to protect, any variable that increases market downside risk has to be weighed heavily.

I. 3 Major Variables That Will Put Downward Pressure on Stocks:

  1. “Trade War with China is brewing”: This week stocks were weakened by threats from President Trump to levy 10% tariffs on more than $200 billion in Chinese imports, substantially upping the ante from the original 10% tariff on $50 billion in Chinese imports.  One US trade official stated in Reuters that “China was vastly underestimating the President’s belief in stopping unfair trade practices.”
  2. “Tech regulations are tightening”: The FANG’s—Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google—have driven the market for several years now.  Many analysts believe things are about to change.  While the current administration has regularly cut regulations across the board and have been credited with much of the deregulation helping with economic expansion, that has not been the case for the tech stocks.  Aside from record earnings, there is an expected flurry of regulatory action with the tech giants, especially with the most recent issues regarding personal privacy.  Many are advising caution for the investing public.
  3. “Political uncertainty here and abroad”:  Southern border crisis … rising gas prices … German government in turmoil … Italians voting for conservative government … failed states in Latin America … aside from the trade wars listed above, the world in chaos remains a constant risk for markets here in the US.  Portfolio’s tied to US multi-nationals run the risk of quick downturns, but most likely, stocks will continue to fee downward pressure thanks to a combination of all of these events.

Stock prices have been immune to geo-political events for years now … or have they?

Fourth quarter of 2015 was particularly gruesome for markets thanks to Chinese currency manipulation.  There were major drops in the spring of 2010, the fall of 2011 and the fall of 2013 … we need not revisit the three major corrections over the last 20 years as examples we have discussed so many times.

There are some positive trends.  We have mentioned them previously and they include things like extraordinary earnings reports, full employment, and record revenue.  The market, while having a tough week, remains at unprecedented highs!

But when you review the data and take Fed rate hikes into account, there is significant downward pressure on stocks. It would also be wise for investors to consider principal protection as a responsive strategy to such pressure.  The fact that there is so much news pointing in both directions confirms the point:  we don’t know when to grab the falling knife.  Trying to time the market has a predictable outcome, and it is usually bad.

Call now to speak with a Ty J. Young advisor about protecting your portfolio from market losses. 877-912-1919

Global Diplomacy: Trump & Kim Jong Un

Global Diplomacy: Chaos Never Looked This Good

In keeping with the theme of a planet in chaos, watching this past week with two major global summits was something to behold.  Yes, the planet is in disarray, but for America, chaos never looked so good.  Thriving markets … full employment … growing economy … and now, we could see peace on the Korean peninsula.

Not so fast!  We have seen this movie before.  North Korea has made lots of promises over the years and simply been lying the whole time.  Rising GDP could be impacted by trade conflicts with allies and partners.  On the surface we see progress, but we also could see disruptions occurring as well.

So, what is the good and the bad that we can gather from the G7 meeting in Canada, followed by the historic summit between President Trump and the leader of North Korea – Kim Jong Un?

At first glance, the media has painted the conflict between the US and our trade partners as existential, and the President’s uncouthness as a roadblock to more agreeable negotiation.   As for the North Korean summit – hard to put that one in a bad light, but also more difficult to believe North Korea can be trusted to keep its word on anything it agrees to.

So, the good and the bad, the pros and the cons, of two very important global meetings with America’s friends, and a dangerous longtime enemy …

I. The good results from this week’s global diplomacy:

  1. “We stood for fair trade”: “Tariff” has become a prominent search engine term in the last two years, and it dominated the discussions at the annual G7 summit in Quebec. Most of our allies do benefit from protecting their domestic industries at the expense of US producers.  We do not have a free trade market between our allies – we have a protected market for some, and an open market here in the US.  The imbalance may not be as burdensome as Trump claims, and America protects some of its own industries, but our position of “fair trade” is the right one even if the messenger is not well liked.
  2. “Zero-tariff offer was a masterstroke”: Offering a “zero-tariff” trade regime was a masterstroke, even if few countries will agree to it.  And that is the rub –  protecting domestic industry is the primary political objective of our allies, NOT trading freely.  Ironically, if the other G7 countries took us up on it, they would benefit greatly, since tariffs are not a significant benefit to our allies as non-monetary barriers to the marketplace.  The Europeans, Canadians and Japanese benefit far more from quotas, environmental regulations and other forms of restrictions than just slapping a tariff on a US car.  If they agreed to our offer, they would still hold the upper hand while giving the US some political wiggle room.  It is not our President, but the other G7 countries, who do not seem to be making the most intellectually honest decisions when it comes to global trade.  That is not what you will read in the mainstream media.
  3. “North Korea comes to the table”: Decades of threats, negotiation, more threats, less negotiation … ALL came to head as the President met with the leader of North Korea.  It was the first time since the cease fire ending the Korean War that the leaders of these two countries have met.  North Korea may be backwards, the supplicant to China, and no bigger than the state of Mississippi – some of the many reasons previous administrations would never have granted a meeting.  But now they are a nuclear power, and the playbook has changed.  Denuclearize the peninsula, or even better, pull the North from their client status with China, and you are talking about globally historic events on a grand scale with few modern parallels.  It was just a meeting, but the perhaps the first positive steps to very big things in the near future!

 II. The bad results from this week’s global diplomacy:

  1. “Fighting with Allies may not help us long-term”: Yes the Canadians changed the terms of the communique without advising us, and yes there is a global trade imbalance between America and her allies, but when you’re the “biggest bull” at the table, you don’t have to publicly respond to every slight … it can be seen as a sign of weakness. Furthermore, the trade imbalance is oftentimes a reflection of our ability to consume more than everyone else, which is not a sign of weakness, but of strength.  In general, you don’t need to be in public fights with allies while facing a resurgent Russia and adversarial China.  We have bigger fish to fry.
  2. “Zero-tariff offer is a non-starter for the G7”: As shared above, despite his verbose nature, and un-diplomatic way of treating friends, his underlying position is correct:  we do not exist in a world of free trade, we live under a managed trade system that is balanced against US interests.  In 1945, it made sense as rebuilding the world to be an effective bulwark against global communism was the highest priority.  That world ended in the early 1990’s.  Our allies will not accept a zero-tariff regime since it would hurt them more than it would hurt us.
  3. “North Korea got a concession but offered nothing much new in return”:  Saying they are committed to a denuclearization of the Korean peninsula – which would also mean South Korea – is nothing new.  And to have Trump unilaterally end US wargame exercises without anything in return was not, on the surface, a win for US interests.  Yes, we got three prisoners released, which was a welcome moment for family, friends and the entire country, but there is not much “there, there” to what Trump obtained from the summit.

There are several steps critical to success in North Korea – and they are Reaganesque in nature:  1)  Any agreement will require a “trust but verify” process;  2)  That process would include American inspectors with unfettered access to disclosed – and undisclosed – sites, basically the opposite of what took place in the JCPOA (Iran deal);  3) the historical record of where any fissile material, plutonium, scientific data….any and all records of where nuke info and material has been transported outside the county;  and, 3) written assurances to improvements in the human rights conditions for the people of North Korea.

Global diplomacy went in some surprising directions this week.  Trade will go on, but the Korean peninsula will be a long-term fix … if it is fixable.  Most interesting is that markets seemed unaffected by all of the news.  Fed rate hikes are probably a greater threat than the “global chaos” we see around us.

Either way, it sure is better to be protected from market downturns than exposed to market risks.  Call Now to speak with an expert Advisor at no cost or obligation! 877-912-1919