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The Retired Investor: Moderates Winning on Tax Debate
By Bill Schmick,
04:57PM / Thursday, September 16, 2021
For months, wealthy U.S. taxpayers and corporations have been living with the specter of higher taxes under the Biden administration. It is a pretty good bet that taxes will go up, but not as much as you might expect.   Throughout the week, Democrats in the House and the Senate have been horse-trading over the amount of spending versus the amount of taxes necessary to pay for President Biden's $2.3 trillion budget plan. Republicans are already on record that they will oppose any new tax hikes at all.   Since the Democrats hold such a slim majority in both the House and the Senate, any legislation will need to accommodate both moderates and progressives

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The Retired Investor: Japan Is Worth a Look
By Bill Schmick,
02:27PM / Friday, September 10, 2021
It has been 30 years since the Nikkei 225 last touched the 30,000 level. However, many investors look beyond this island nation and focus instead on its Chinese neighbor. That may prove to be a mistake.   To some investors, it is the epitome of value investing. Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway made some sizable bets on several Japanese trading companies last year. Japan's stock market is cheap compared to many other markets. But deservedly so, say the bears, since investors have had to put up with years of sluggish growth and perennial deflation.   Japan is home to many well-known companies, (think Sony and Toyota) that have balance sheets flush with

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The Retired Investor: Non-Fungible Tokens Come of Age
By Bill Schmick,
04:21PM / Thursday, September 02, 2021
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have been around since 2014, but I'll bet you haven't heard of them until this year. As part of the crypto craze, these NFTs are commanding millions of dollars in spending and expanding into everything from original art to tacos.   NFTs are digital assets. For those like me, who are old enough to be grandparents, and may still read the newspapers, the concept of a digital asset may not be all that intuitive. "Non-fungible" means that it is a unique asset that can't be replaced with something else.   NFTs are bought and sold online (usually with a cryptocurrency), and stored and encoded in the same way. The

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The Retired Investor: Corporate Activism Comes of Age
By Bill Schmick,
04:14PM / Thursday, August 19, 2021
For decades, corporations stuck to their knitting, while letting Washington and the voters decide how to deal with social and political issues. But times are changing as companies become bigger and more powerful.   Corporations are speaking out on issues from LGBTQ rights to gun control. To some politicians, managements and their boards are throwing their weight around in ways that make elected officials uncomfortable. At first, I dismissed much of their actions as simply rhetoric, or just good public relations, but more companies are speaking out frequently on many issues.   Take the gun control issue. U.S. politicians on both sides of the aisle

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The Retired Investor: Back-to-School Season
By Bill Schmick,
01:27PM / Friday, August 13, 2021
It is not an easy decision. On one hand, consumers want to go out and shop for their children's upcoming school year. But at the same time, they are concerned that if they do, they might catch the coronavirus. There is no easy answer.   This 2021-2022 school year was supposed to usher in a new beginning. As such, retailers are still expecting sales of clothes, school supplies, and college dorm décor items to increase by 5.5 percent from last years' depressed COVID-levels. Even so, that still won't match 2019's 6.7 percent increase, but it is getting close, or was until the Delta variant arrived.   I thought that parents have the extra cash

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