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The Retired Investor: How Populism Will Impact Economy & Society
By Bill Schmick,
04:26PM / Thursday, May 23, 2024
  "Income Inequality: The Trend is Not Your Friend," Bill Schmick, Oct. 26, 2012   The country is divided. Immigration and the economy are leading election issues. Inflation has soured attitudes. Labor unions are on the rise. Students are demonstrating and demanding we divest U.S. holdings in Israel. If I said that all the above issues are related and have a common economic cause, would you believe me?   We have seen all of this before. Maybe not in the exact same way but in the 1930s and 1960s dissatisfaction, unrest, what's fair and what's not led to conflict, assassinations, changes in economic and social policies and

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The Retired Investor: Tariffs Rarely Work, So Why Use Them?
By Bill Schmick,
04:41PM / Wednesday, May 15, 2024
Tariffs are a form of tax applied on imports from other countries. The costs of these tariffs are mostly passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices for the targeted goods. In an inflationary environment, tariffs simply make things worse. Tell that to the candidates.   Historically, tariffs have been used to protect domestic industries like steel or aluminum manufacturers. They can and have often been used to strike back against other countries' unfair trade practices. They often lead to reduced trade, retaliation, and higher prices.   In today's political landscape, those economic findings have fallen on deaf ears. Both candidates for president

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The Retired Investor: Chinese Stock Market on a Tear
By Bill Schmick,
04:16PM / Thursday, May 09, 2024
A combination of anti-business government policies, worsening U.S.-Sino relations, and several draconian actions by Chinese authorities have cast a pall over foreign investment and the Chinese stock market. Chinese equities have lost $7 trillion since the market's peak in 2021. That interests me.   On Wall Street, the Chinese stock market is now considered "uninvestable." Main Street and the politicians who represent them are just as negative. Anti-China rhetoric and U.S. actions, from the attempt to force a sale of TikTok to forbidding Chinese nationals from buying land here, is just the tip of the iceberg.   It is as if we are already at war with

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The Retired Investor: Unions Make Headway Across Nation
By Bill Schmick,
04:01PM / Friday, May 03, 2024
The number of U.S. workers who claimed union membership increased ever so slightly last year from 14.3 million in 2022 to 14.4 million. However, as a share of the American workforce, union membership hit a new low. Today only one in 10 workers in America wear the union badge.   Back in 1983, union membership was as high as 20.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet, every day we hear of some effort to unionize workers across a wide spectrum of companies and industries. Starbucks, CVS, and Amazon come to mind. In 2023, the United Auto Workers (UAW) occupied headlines for months as they negotiated new contracts with General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis

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The Retired Investor: Real Estate Agents Face Bleak Future
By Bill Schmick,
04:49PM / Thursday, April 25, 2024
It has been a month since the National Association of Realtors (NAR) was forced to scrap a system of broker fees that has been in place for a generation. A federal court still must approve the change in June or July, but if it does, it could alter the way Americans buy and sell homes for decades into the future.   The change was precipitated by a series of class action lawsuits from home sellers that accused Realtors and the Realtors Association of keeping agent compensation artificially high. In October 2023, a federal jury in Kansas City found the NAR and some of the largest brokers in the country guilty of colluding to inflate real estate commissions.   The

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