First, I have to say in my almost 30-year career I have never seen such enthusiasm and positive public sentiment among my entrepreneur clients and overall positive consumer confidence.
Please remember, I am simply commenting on how the national and international issues of the day are impacting my clients and families at the street level. Some readers were triggered simply by seeing the words Trump, and reading some of the subjects I discuss below. This saddened me as ideas and opinions, even if they are different from someone’s owns, should always be respected and protected as Free Speech under The First Amendment. And I always welcome passionate discussions with everyone, especially those who have a differing opinion or outlook.
Again, my memos are simply unbiased analysis with no underlying judgment.
I grade President Trump in ten subject areas.
1) Immigration Policy
The president’s controversial immigration stance has seen a reduction in illegal immigration here in the tri-state area of New York Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In fact, I’ve seen a reduction in the illegal alien population as many are returning home.
This is having a great impact at the street level, especially for lower income U.S. citizens, who were previously unemployed due to illegal workers filling jobs for less than minimum wage. And as more legal employment goes up from those jobs being filled, the unemployment numbers go down, even without more jobs having been created.
I support all immigrants and I have the utmost respect for immigrants who come here illegally. They are some of the hardest working, most God-Fearing and family-oriented people that I have ever met. Most Americans don’t understand that.
The illegal immigrants that I’ve worked with have the mentality that the founding fathers and mothers had. They have American, free market and Judeo-christian values. They are entrepreneurial and have the pure American Business mindset that this country needs.
But my memos are about street level reality and not ideology.
Illegal immigration significantly hurts lower-income citizens of the United States. There are many jobs that the unemployed lower-income citizens would take but for illegal immigrants taking those jobs and working under the table for less than minimum wage.
This is not a complaint or an indictment, just facts based on my real world experience for almost three decades working with businesses day in and day out.
I have done much work within the lower income and inner-city communities so I can speak firsthand about this. I have the benefit of dealing with street level business and unemployment in different areas. If illegal immigration was ceased and the illegal immigrants were forced to leave, almost all of those jobs can be filled by U.S. citizens. Now, these unemployed lower income citizens are on welfare and other public programs, which leaves them in debt to the democrats for their subsistence, and so their votes are guaranteed to be cast for the democrats. This has been the case since the 1960s when the entitlement programs were invented. Entitlement programs have enslaved tens of millions of Americans of all colors and they need to be abolished, at least at the levels they are at today. I believe in a social safety net, but today’s entitlements foster helplessness of the recipients and deep divisions within the country.
I have the utmost respect for illegal immigrants. If my home country was as dangerous as some of theirs, and had no true opportunity, I would be the first person to cross the U.S. border illegally to try to make a better life for me and my children.
I believe they are needed here, but we need to put the unemployed U.S. Citizens first, and then have a controlled, monitored and most importantly safe, immigration system.
The border wall is a great idea so we can control employment within our economy. It is not racist at all. NOT having a border wall disrespects ALL people impacted by that fact.
So let me give you a brief analogy that explains how we should be thinking about the border wall.
When Hurricane Katrina hit there was severe flooding in New Orleans. Now let’s say that you lived right up against the Levy when it failed and you suddenly had 12 feet of water in your living room.
When the waters receded The Army Corps of Engineers came in to a city council meeting to tell you about their plan to mitigate future flooding. You are all ears because no one is more vulnerable than you as you live within a few feet of the Levee that just broke.
But now imagine that the Army Corps of Engineers director stands in front of you and tells you that his plans will not include a levy at all.
Now you would look at that person and say it is impossible to control the water without a levy. Now the director tells you that a levy is racist and we cannot build one.
Of course you look extremely confused at this person and you should. Of course a levy has nothing to do with race and it is the most important component to any flood mitigation plan. Without it everything else is totally useless.
The same applies to Illegal immigration at the border. We cannot have true control over our economy without control over the pool of employees that are available. Just as we cannot control the water flooding into your living room without a levy being built.
In fact to go along with my flood analogy, we needed to replace the old broken levy with an even larger and stronger Levy now after Katrina!
That’s why the border wall needs to be stronger than any other wall we’ve had. The human cost of people trying to come in this country illegally is horrific. Rapes, murders, human trafficking and sex slavery are just a few of the things that await people attempting to illegally cross the border.
It is truly a sin that is ignored by the left.
After this podcast, take the time to independently review what some of these people go through to get here illegally. I think you will quickly become a border wall advocate.
Now imagine a time where illegal immigration is stopped, but they can come and work in America safely. We need them to work here, but imagine now we have systems in place where they can legally and safely cross the border for a certain period of time. They will have safe places to live, as mandated by immigration policies. They can come out of the shadows, work legally, and then return home.
Having the border wall is much more humane. Okay that’s enough on the border wall and immigration. So I give president Trump and C- on this topic as he has backed off his initial campaign promises and it seems only a watered down version laced with double speak is what we will get.
But, if we were to build a complete border wall as he promised, there would be nothing but benefits for the country, the lower-income US citizens and the potential illegal immigrants as well. It is a win-win-win.
2) Health Care Reform
The next subject has to do with Health Care reform. Obamacare has caused more medical bankruptcies in my middle class families than any other time of my career.
Now I want to start out by saying that I don’t see the current plan that Trump is endorsing as being any better. I am saying that Obamacare has been a disaster for the middle class so dismantling it or changing it is necessary.
I believe that Obamacare was a good-intentioned idea and President Obama wanted to help people and it has in a few cases.
But the entrenched interest are still in control of the hospital and medical Industries even with President Trump. How can you try to legislate Insurance on an industry when there isn’t transparency and full reporting to us, the people? Can you imagine if that happened with other Industries.? Imagine if you went to get your car repaired and you really had no idea what the underlying costs were of the services you’re paying for? And other people got different prices based on the class of person they are? We would rightfully think that’s discrimination and illegal business practices. We would believe this was undemocratic and definitely not how a free market should work, and we would be right.
So we need to First completely dismantle the health insurance industry and its stranglehold over the Healthcare System. Very little money and profit should go into the health insurance companies’ hands. So I’m calling for a national law that forces the health insurance companies and healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, just as utility companies do, to have complete transparency with all of their costs and then institute a cost plus model based on that full transparency with a slight profit afforded them.
If that happens then hospitals that are not performing well and are not managing cost well will go out of business very quickly.
Also, all citizens must bear some of the cost of their healthcare, even a very small one. Without this, there is no incentive to for the healthcare industry to manage costs at all, right? If everyone had some skin in the game, then they will be very conscious of the prices they are paying and they will shop for the best one. That is human nature.
For example let’s say that I have a pain in my side and I get picked up by an ambulance to go to the hospital. If I have to bear some of the costs of my healthcare, then where I get treated matters!
So, the ambulance driver might say Mr. Whalen, you should go to hospital A because they’re average appendectomy is $20,000 where Hospital B is $35,000 dollars. Now, I may have only a slight portion of that bill to pay, let’s say even 1%, but that is enough for me to want to get the best price.
I believe we should eliminate covering costs outside of the hospital for doctor’s visits and testing. The moment that an individual has some personal cost for every health related expense that is when we will have true competition in the healthcare industry.
Can you imagine if you needed an MRI and there was transparency? You could go online and find the specific MRI you want and see which provider had the best cost just as you do for a pair of shoes? Think how insane it is that you can’t do that today!! For our most expensive personal expenditures!!
Eliminating insurance for out of hospital medical costs is how it should be. This will force transparency on medical providers. Then that will bring free market forces to bear on them and the best price and quality will prevail.
Inefficient and costly doctors and testing companies will go out of business.
It will also reduce insurance rates dramatically.
Competition and transparency is how my business works and all free market business needs to works. This should be implemented immediately in the healthcare industry. Again, even the lowest income person can have some Financial obligation or responsibility for every medical transaction they execute. No matter how small that percentage the mentality will still be there that they need to save money and economize.
We need to collectively rise up and demand these things. So on the health-care front Donald Trump gets an F as he has recognized that Obamacare needs to change but he is looking to give us more of the same without any systemic changes. President Trump shows his allegiance to the banks, health insurance companies and the globalists interests on this one well above the American people.
The next subject I’m going to talk about his nationalism. I believe nationalism is extremely important and it needs to be preserved and fostered. Nation states maintaining their sovereignty and their unique cultural values are one of the most significant topics that we need to fight for today.
President Trump gets an A++ in Nationalism.
Multiculturalism, from a street level business perspective, is a disaster. It only erodes a culture and nation’s Heritage and strength, and definitely hurts business.
I do believe that a country can have citizens and immigrants from diverse backgrounds, BUT having a population with unified national, business, spiritual and family values are necessary for national success. This is a country with a national identity. Going from town to town anywhere in a healthy country looks familiar, even with people from different backgrounds and of different colors and religions.
Our country was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs and they are the foundation for our greatness. I believe they need to be maintained at all costs.
Multiculturalism, though, is not what I described above. It is extremely important to know the true definitions of terms we use. Multi-culturalism is not the diversity I describe above. Multi-culturalism is when there are distinct and separate countries within the borders of a nation. When you travel around a multi-cultural country, things can seem unfamiliar from town to town, or region to region.
You see this in Western Europe where there are NO GO zones. Multi-culturalism, as opposed to diversity, is a cancer for any nation.
With multiculturalism, moral values, language and traditions can be extremely divergent from place to place. Quite often the host country’s entire history, culture, and laws are ignored and even vilified.
Diversity is a strength with Nationalism being at its heart.
I have never seen multi-culturalism be a strength in my 30-year career. In fact, multi-culturalism hurts commerce significantly.
Again, President Trump gets an A++.
4) National debt
This far into the Trump presidency, I am extremely concerned about the national debt increasing. On this subject he gets a D- from me.
The rhetoric he has espoused regarding future estimates of deficit reduction and debt reduction based on increased tax revenues are the same old stories we’ve heard for decades. Most of these stories never become reality.
We need to have a balanced budget with 0 increase in debt as the law.
Right now for each person in America we have over $60k of national debt. We need a balanced budget amendment that is permanent.
Our elected officials still say things like “Our estimates over the next decade show how our current deficit spending will lead to future reductions in debt!”
Think about that. This means we are increasing our debt with a certainty that our future debt will be reduced!!!
That is like me saying that the two ice cream sundaes I am eating everyday will actually reduce my weight in the future!
That is insanity and this hurts people at the street level more than anyone, especially our children. The amount of debt on our children’s shoulders is a national disgrace. All parents listening to this podcast, who sit there and do nothing to stop this, are responsible for the erosion of their children’s future.
5) Tax Reform
This leads to my next topic which is income taxes and this comes right after the national debt conversation and that’s important. The president has discussed tax cuts. I agree our tax rates are much too high and government is much too big.
But tax cuts without spending reductions is reckless and I believe it should be illegal. The tax cuts would further increase our deficit to levels never seen before. I have researched and reviewed so many reports and projections from all sources, republican and democrat and independent ones, and not one of them reflects a reduction in our deficits or our debt with Trump’s proposed tax plan.
Many remember President Reagan and say a tax is going to increase our Revenue. This situation is much different. If we look at the most optimistic Revenue increases based on Trump’s proposed tax changes, these increases are much too small to reduce the deficit and much too small to reduce our debt.
So we have to be very careful to listen to what our leaders are saying and to independently verify the details. Again, balancing the budget is the most important thing to preserve our future. If this isn’t part of Trump’s tax and fiscal plans, then I am afraid that our debt will exponentially increase.
So for the tax cuts proposed I give President Trump an A+ as this will help the average family, but I’d give him an F overall for the country’s future and the national debt debacle this will cause and that our children will have to pay.
6) Stock Market
I believe the stock market is overvalued. I am a firm believer in owning hard assets, rental real estate, commodities and currencies as well as having some investments in the market. That is true diversification.
If you have all of your investments in the markets know that you are not diversely invested. Even if you are invested in some conservative and some risky investments, Wall St is only one tiny microcosm of possible investment opportunities. So if your portfolio is invested in the financial markets, you are far from diversely invested.
Now, many financial planners do not make money on assets you don’t have under their care, and so they rarely recommend true diversification although they ethically should.
But you need to have an advisor who puts your interests first, above his making commissions or fees. Find someone open to true diversification.
Again, the markets are just one small universe to invest in.
So what are stocks worth? I get this question everyday.
Many years ago stock values were based on the company’s balance sheet and how strong it was.
For example, what are the assets minus their liabilities? Let’s say a company has a balance sheet showing $5 Million in cash and a building that cost $10 million, and they owe out $4 Million on an outstanding mortgage on that building. With some quick math we can see the company is extremely healthy, with $5 Million in cash plus $6 Million in equity on the building or a total of $11 million.
This is called net assets. As an exercise, find the balance sheet of some of your largest investments and truly see what real factual value they hold. You will be surprised. Take a look at the an account called retained earnings. Is that number negative? That shows the company has had accumulated losses and not profits. Something to be very worried about.
Today many of the values that we see are based on future earnings speculations or, in other words, using a crystal ball. That sounds very risky to me and I would be hard-pressed to recommend anyone invest in a stock that didn’t have true a net asset value that is tangible.
If you don’t invest this way then you are simply risking your money. Atlantic City and the lottery have better odds.
There is no scientific way to know what to invest in. If there were everyone would be rich and there would never be winners and losers correct?
So I believe the stock market is significantly overvalued and I thought it was overvalued even before Trump was elected.
I urge you to speak to your investment advisors and review your investments and make sure you have a hedge against some of the potential downturns that could happen. Remember the more unrealistic and valuation of a stock, and the more unrealistic base is used for that valuation, the more of a swing to the negative or lowering of price there can be. I just want my listeners to realize that.
So for the stock market president Trump gets an A+. As the gains that the stock market has seen since he was elected are unheard-of. This has propped up pension plans and individuals Equity Accounts at a time when it was really needed. I just hope that many people cash out and invest a little bit more conservatively as this increase in the stock market can be a huge bubble ready to burst.
7) Federal Reserve
The Federal reserve should be abolished. I have believed that since I first read about it at 11 years old. The most important thing they control are interest rates. Interest rates are almost non-existent and this services the large Banks and Global interests and hurts us here on the street level.
There is no incentive to save when interest rates are so low. This also allows large corporations and globalist to get almost interest-free loans which makes them speculate even more. We need interest rates to rise as soon as possible to bring back the incentive to save but also bring back risk management to those that are borrowing that money. The large corporations and globalists have had their way with our banking system for decades now and have stripped the wealth from the middle class methodically. We need to wise up and start a mass movement to retake control of the banks and our fiscal policy.
This can start with dismantling the Federal Reserve completely and eventually going back to a gold standard. Right now we have a fiat currency.
I don’t want to go into that too much but our currency is backed by nothing.
Our currency, the U.S. Dollar, has been supported artificially by the fact that it is the reserve currency. This means that many international transactions must be transacted in U.S. dollars. This will not last forever and once the U.S. dollar is removed as the reserve currency, then its artificial high can come plummeting down similar to the stock market.
I believe that the value of the U.S. dollar is simply another bubble that is waiting to burst.
Also our currency not being backed by gold means the federal reserve can print trillions of dollars further diluting the value of every dollar you are now holding! This should be illegal.
While campaigning, President Trump had harsh words about the Federal Reserve and seemed to want to abolish it. But, those words were false and he has developed a very cushy relationship with the Fed at this point.
He gets and F on the Federal Reserve.
The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reflect that the number of employed Americans — which set records in February, March and April — set another record in June, at 153,168,000 employed.
President Trumps gets an A+ for stimulating job growth from outside the country and from within. The employment numbers speak for themselves.
9) SJW, Black Lives Matter, Antifa and College Unrest
Since President Trump was elected we have seen an upsurge in groups like Black Lives Matter and civil unrest on college campuses. The images and videos of these groups cannot be avoided on the news and internet.
What impact is this having on Main Street America?
Unfortunately, these groups and activities are having a severely negative impact on the employability of their own members and supporters. In my anonymous information gathering amongst my client base, this trend is not only continuing but increasing in severity.
Entrepreneurs are seeing applicants who may fit in one of these extremist molds, as a great threat and future liability. So, white men, who many of these groups focus their fury against, are reaping the benefits in the job market.
Employers around the country are taking a much closer look at these issues when vetting job candidates.
President Trump’s Grade on this subject: A+, as he continues to ignore these groups as they seem to be marginalizing themselves. From an employability and business standpoint, they are hurting themselves and their own supporters without the President commenting.
10) Overall Consumer / entrepreneurial confidence
President Trump gets an A+ in this category.
Since president Trump was elected the number of client meetings that I have taken for people researching starting a new business or expanding their existing business has quadrupled over my average in my entire career.
There is no doubt that in my daily work I have seen an exponential increase in consumer confidence and most importantly entrepreneurial confidence.
Overall the president has been hampered getting some of his promised changes enacted. I believe he has had a learning curve going from a Board Room environment where he can rule with an iron fist with zero dissension to the Presidency where there are many other powerful people who can use their power to stifle the President’s agenda. This is how the country is supposed to work.
President Trump’s overall grade, midyear 2017 is a B+.
Thank you so much for reading. I hope you found this memo informative.
Please reach out to me without hesitation with any tax, business or accounting question, and to schedule a consultation.
Tax Laws are complex.
It is very easy to make mistakes that can incur penalties.
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“If We Aren’t Working For You, Then You Aren’t Working At Your Best”
Chris Whalen, CPA
79 Oak Hill Road
Red Bank, NJ 07701