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The Independent Investor: Why the Tax Cuts Are Unpopular Among Americans
By Bill Schmick,
04:12PM / Thursday, April 19, 2018
Despite spending big money and all the marketing they can muster, the Republicans are still not able to convince most Americans that the tax cut benefits anyone but the rich and the corporations they own. Maybe, we are not as dumb as they think we are.   An April poll by Gallup indicated that 51 percent of Americans disapproved of the tax cut, versus 39 percent who approved of the cut. Another poll, conducted by NBC News/Wall Street Journal, found that 36 percent of the people they polled thought the tax cut was a bad idea, while only 27 percent believed it was a good idea.   Normally, you would think that a tax cut that benefits "all Americans" and

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The Independent Investor: The Facebook Fallacy
By Bill Schmick,
04:47PM / Thursday, April 12, 2018
After a grueling two-day inquisition before both houses of Congress, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, has left the building. The question is how much did anyone really learn about the privacy issues of this social media behemoth?   As most readers are aware, the present controversy erupted when it was revealed that a Trump-campaign related firm, Cambridge Analytica, harvested personal data from millions of Facebook users. It spawned a huge controversy over privacy, cybersecurity and Big Data companies in general.   I watched as much of the hearings as I could stomach. What was clear to me was most of our so-called legislators had no idea how Facebook

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The Independent Investor: Free Trade Vs. Fair Trade
By Bill Schmick,
04:50PM / Thursday, April 05, 2018
In today's world, talk of tariffs is part of daily news headlines. Politicians use terms like "free" and "fair" almost interchangeably in discussing trade to justify their position for or against tariffs. Maybe it's time to review the difference between the two concepts.   While they may sound similar, free trade and fair trade are often at opposite ends of the pole. Free trade is a world where the gloves are off. It allows international cut-throat competition where the marketplace can drive the cost of products way below the price where anyone can make any money. Free trade makes things cheaper including the money we earn to produce those

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The Independent Investor: Financial Planners Held to Higher Standard
By Bill Schmick,
04:13PM / Thursday, March 29, 2018
The Department of Labor's fiduciary rule looks "iffy" at best, thanks to a March court ruling. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals says the agency exceeded its authority in insisting that financial services firms act as fiduciaries when giving advice to most tax-deferred savings accounts. However, some financial advisers are ignoring the courts and are going the extra mile for their clients anyway.   Over the last couple of years, I have written several columns on this issue. A "fiduciary" is someone who puts your best interests above his own and that of his company's. It is a concept that the financial community does not want to see implemented and

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The Independent Investor: Medicare Premiums and Your Income
By Bill Schmick,
04:04PM / Thursday, March 22, 2018
We all know that Medicare is not free. Once we enroll in Part B and D, we start paying monthly premiums. What many consumers fail to realize is that how much you pay depends on how much you make.   For most of us, this is a moot point. We assume that we will be retiring at 65 years old (at the same time Medicare kicks in) but that assumption is no longer accurate. The reality is that Social Security, retirement, and Medicare can happen at different times in your life.   Take, for example, Social Security benefits. Every year the target date for full retirement creeps higher. It used to be 65, but now, for many, it is edging up to almost 67 over the next few

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