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The Retired Investor: Tariffs Can Only Do So Much
By Bill Schmick,
05:40PM / Thursday, July 11, 2024
Tariffs in America have been used to accomplish specific goals throughout history. Until the Civil War, tariffs were a revenue generator for the government. After the Civil War, they were used to protect U.S. industries and during the Great Depression, tariffs evolved as a negotiating tool between nations, especially after World War II.   In the postwar years, tariffs built stronger trade relations between nations. Reciprocity rather than protectionism or revenue was the guiding principle behind our trade negotiations with other countries and economic regions. That idea still holds sway under certain circumstances, but tariffs have become an offensive policy tool as

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The Retired Investor: Tariffs Are Simply Another Form of Taxation
By Bill Schmick,
03:44PM / Thursday, July 04, 2024
In this era of populism, tariffs have become as American as apple pie. Politicians are bending over backward to out-tariff their rivals. Voters are applauding the effort, and yet it is the consumer who will pay higher prices as a result.   I can understand how voters might disagree, given that party politicians continue to deny the obvious. "The notion that tariffs are a tax on U.S. consumers is a lie pushed by outsources and the Chinese Communist Party," declared a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee.    I am neither an outsourcer nor a Chinese Communist, but I am convinced that tariffs are a tax on all of us.   When

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The Retired Investor: Key to America's Future Lies in Its Past
By Bill Schmick,
04:11PM / Thursday, June 20, 2024
This is year three of a 15-year period where change will occur throughout America. It won't be an easy time for any of us. Stress, conflict, dissatisfaction, economic and political turmoil. It all lies ahead, but there is a silver lining.   In the case of regime change fueled by populism, American history may not repeat itself, but it does come damn close. Throughout our history, we have seen the pendulum swing from right to left and back again as discontent and bad times (the absence of fairness, equality, and equity) alternated with boom times and capitalism (winner-take-all mentality).   The only time the pendulum broke down was during the Civil War and

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The Retired Investor: Why Protectionism Is a Close Cousin to Populism
By Bill Schmick,
04:43PM / Thursday, June 13, 2024
The number one issue on voter's minds in this election year is immigration. That may come as a surprise to some, but it makes a lot of sense if one believes that we have entered a period of populism.   Sixty-two percent of registered voters nationwide support a program to "deport all undocumented immigrants," according to a CBS News poll over the weekend. On June 3, 2024, President Biden signed an executive order that would ban migrants who cross the southern border illegally from claiming asylum to defuse this election issue. Faith-based charities, like Catholic Charities, which have a long history of providing shelter, food, and clothing to migrant families

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The Retired Investor: How Top-Down Economic Policies Pushed Country Over the Edge
By Bill Schmick,
04:33PM / Thursday, June 06, 2024
The Federal Reserve Bank's smoothing of the business cycle, which started in the 1990s, was meant to ensure price stability and the health of the labor market. It's top-down policies of reducing interest rates through the banking system and into the hands of the largest corporations was meant to benefit the whole economy.   The problem is that corporations and the minority of Americans that control them are not the whole economy. What did that matter, argued supply-side economists. This group, who championed Reaganomics in the 1980s and beyond, assured us that the benefits of the Federal Reserve Bank's policies would ‘trickle-down' throughout the

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