Government Reform

Invest In China: Equity Markets

China’s economy may be growing at the rate of almost 10% a year but its domestic capital markets are in a dismal state, forcing the private sector to disproportionate reliance on foreign investment for capital (particularly hard currency). Its domestic bond market is underdeveloped, its banks are saddled with bad debts, and both the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets have performed poorly in recent years.

China’s stock exchanges (excluding Hong Kong’s) were originally created with the idea of raising funds for inefficient, poorly performing state-owned entities (SOEs) that the government for political reasons did not wish to abandon. In this way the stock exchanges could shoulder the burden previously borne by domestic banks (who would extend SOE loans that were often never repaid). Because of this history, we now see listings dominated by inefficient SOEs that free float no more than one-third of issued shares, thus ensuring continued government control. It also ensures that private shareholders have no say in management, leaving SOEs with fewer incentives to reform. Foreign investors are hampered by the bifurcation of shares into two types (leaving about two-thirds of shares off-limits to foreign investment) and rigid investment quotas that China imposes on overseas capital.

China is caught between two unpalatable alternatives – if it offers up its stake in the SOEs, it cedes control of to private interests and faces the possibility that those who cannot market their shares will fail (since a government bail-out would defeat the purpose of listing in the first place). This would increase already high unemployment rates and lead to unpredictable political consequences. On the other hand, as long as it maintains control of the SOEs and uses the equity markets to fund them, share prices are likely to remain anemic, depriving China’s private sector of the capital in needs to thrive at home and invest overseas. Foreign investors are hoping that China will soon take decisive action to resolve this dilemma.

Despite these difficulties, China’s equity markets have recently attracted a surprising amount of interest from institutional investors abroad who see buying opportunities in low share prices and are persuaded by government promises of reform. China has raised some overseas investment quotas recently (they are specific to each investor), and there is talk in the air of unifying the share market to allow foreign investors greater access. Many analysts predict a brisker pace of reform as soon as China’s banking sector is opened up to foreign competition in 2007 in response to China’s WTO commitments.

David Carnes
http://www.articlesbase.com/business-articles/invest-in-china-equity-markets-64109.html

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Posted by mark - August 3, 2015 at 7:29 pm

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Immigration reform

Immigration reform

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Posted by mark - July 26, 2015 at 2:08 pm

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Healthcare reform & Edwina Froehlich

Edwina Froehlich, La Leche League, self-determination and successful healthcare reform.

keywords: healthcare health government reform la leche league breastfeeding baby formula froehlich danger risk nestle sids grassroots libertarian change

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Posted by mark - June 24, 2015 at 12:28 am

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Proposals to Change Social Security Benefits

http://www.defendingthetruth.com/articles/4808-proposals-change-social-security-benefits.html

During many elections, we have heard proposals from politicians to alter or change Social Security benefits. In this paper, I’m going to research and analyze these proposals to find out whether or not they would be beneficial to the Social Security fund, how it will affect all of us in the future, and the current beneficiaries who receive Social Security.

“The key problem for Social Security is that, as the population ages, soon there will not be enough people paying Social Security taxes to provide benefits for every retired person.” (Dilulio & Wilson 486). This is why so many politicians have proposed changes to the current system. The people in my generation might not see any benefits when it’s our time to retire. “In 1950, there were 16 workers to support every one beneficiary of Social Security; today, there are only 3.3 workers supporting every Social Security beneficiary.” (White House). If Social Security stays unchanged at this rate, Social Security will be paying out more than it takes in. If we ever reach this stage we will be left with two problems, a lot of people paying into the system now will be cut off of Social Security, or the government will borrow more money to pay the beneficiaries, which will increase the national debt.

“Unless otherwise stated, payment levels apply equally to aged, blind, and disabled persons.” (State assistance programs for SSI recipients, 3) I believe that if the Social Security fund only funded beneficiaries who are aged, we would not have such a low number today of 3.3 workers supporting every Social Security beneficiary. “The Budget Enforcement Act, for example, excluded the receipts and disbursements of Social Security from the President’s budget and the congressional budget resolution. Programs that have been excluded like this are called “off-budget”.” (Collender 12)

Robert M. Ball has proposed a plan to alter Social Security while arguing against President Bush’s proposal of private accounts. One thing that Ball has proposed was, “Gradually raise the cap on earnings covered by Social Security so that once again 90 percent of all such earnings would be taxed and counted for benefits” (Ball 2). I believe the means of using tax to fix Social Security will work in the short run, but not in the long. If we do take this approach, should we gradually raise the cap on earnings covered by Social Security even more in the future when Social Security has gone further into debt? Another proposed change by Ball was, “An estate tax is a highly progressive way of meeting this cost, and dedicating it to Social Security would strengthen the contributory.” (Ball 3) Now an estate tax, or sometimes called a “death tax”, is a tax on a person’s estate depending on how much he or she was worth. Again, I see a problem with this proposal because Ball is suggesting that we use another means of tax to be paid into Social Security. I personally think it’s wrong to even have an estate tax because those who are taxed an estate tax were most likely small business owners. “More than 70% of family businesses do not survive the second generation; 87% do not make it to the third generation.” (Frequently Asked Questions about the “Death Tax”)

During the 2000 elections, President Bush was widely known for his proposals to privatize Social Security. Most of the Democrat’s are against Bush’s proposals to change Social Security, whereas, most Republican’s are for Bush’s proposals to change Social Security. In order to find out whether people would be better off under the current Social Security system or a privatized system, I researched the average returns among the current system and compared them to the average returns under a private investment or “private account”.

Barbara Boxer published a “Social Security to Social Insecurity calculator” (Boxer), that calculates the average return an individual will receive under the current system compared to Bush’s privatization plan. I entered many different salaries and years and at every given circumstance, Bush’s plan resulted in a loss. I found this very disturbing considering the large amounts of research I have done last year on retirement accounts.

Dave Ramsey published a ”Privatizing Social Security calculator” (Ramsey), that calculates the return you could expect depending on the type of fund you choose, your income, and your age. Compared to Barbara Boxer’s calculator, I found this calculator more accurate because you were able to choose a fund that had an average annual return, which is calculated into how much you contribute over a given amount of years. The result from Dave Ramsey’s calculator shows how much you will receive from social security and your private accounts when you retire which resulted in a much higher return than social security.

Last year I took an economics class, which covered a great deal in investing for retirement. Some people who are against Bush’s plan of private accounts state that privatizing social security is too risky for retirement. “For individual investors who have neither the time nor the inclusion to actively monitor a stock or a bong portfolio, mutual funds have an obvious appeal. Just pick a good fund and let the managers do the work for you.” (Groz 105). At the age of 19, I visited Fidelity Investments in Braintree, Massachusetts where I was able to start my own investment portfolio. They showed me many funds that ranged from aggressive growth to conservative growth funds. I then chose a couple of mutual funds that were aggressive growth because I was starting my investing at such a young age. “Many investors draw the inference that they should not invest all their money in a single stock or bond, but rather spread out their investments among a group of securities.” (Groz 106). If private accounts were an option, I would recommend people to diversify their investments into many different funds just to limit risk.

Another benefit from investing in certain types of stocks is the dividends. “Dividends, then, are a dividing up and distribution to shareholders of a portion of the corporation’s earnings.” (Groz 27). With these dividends, you can reinvest them into the stock or fund; “Compounding occurs when you get many (e.g., interest or dividends) from an investment and put it back into the portfolio, letting it grow alongside the original investment.” (Groz 183).

After doing researching and analyzing the proposals offered by many politicians, I feel that privatizing Social Security is not such a bad idea. I feel that privatizing Social Security would give people more control of their money when it comes to saving money for retirement that the government cannot touch. I understand that some people might fear the risks of investing in the stock market, but if someone diversifies and chooses funds that are somewhat conservative, there is a very small risk of having little return. Considering that Social Security today has very little return “Social Security’s inflation-adjusted rate of return is only 1.23 percent for an average household of two 30-year-old earners with children in which each parent made just under $26,000 in 1996.” (Beach), you would be better off putting your money into a savings account earning a return close to 3 percent.

“If someone’s definition of national debt excludes the debt owed to federal entities, they are not accounting for the interest on the debt owed to federal entities.” (Ruoco). Since the government’s national debt has been rising year after year which can be seen on (http://www.publicdebt.treas.gov/opd/opdhisto4.htm), why should I trust the government with my retirement money? This is why I support the idea of privatizing Social Security, or at least giving the American people the option to invest in private accounts.

Sources

Orr, Doug. “Social Security Q & A: separating fact from fiction.” Dollars & Sense 259 (May-June 2005): 15(6).

State assistance programs for SSI recipients. Baltimore, Md. : The Branch, 2002 Jan

Ball, Robert P (2005). “Fixing Social Security” The Century Foundation. 5/3/2005 http://www.socsec.org/facts/Check_Lists/checklist1.PDF

Beach, William W., Gareth E. Davis. “Social Security’s Rate of Return.” The Heritage Foundation. 15 Jan 1998. 25 Nov. 2005 .

Bogle, John C. Common Sense on Mutual Funds : New Imperatives for the Intelligent Investor . San Francisco: John Wiley, 1999.

Boxer, Barbara. “Social Security into Social Insecurity.” Social Insecurity. 25 Nov. 2005 .

Brohawn, Dawn K., Norman G. Kurland, and Michael D. Greaney. Capital Homesteading for Every Citizen: A Just Free Market Solution for Saving Social Security. : Center for Economic and Social Justice, 2004.

(Brohawn et al. 256)

Collender, Stanley E. The Guide to the Federal Budget : Fiscal 2000. New York: Century Foundation Press, 1999.

“Frequently Asked Questions about the “Death Tax”.” DeathTax. 29 Mar 2001. The Seattle Times. 25 Nov. 2005 .

Groz, Marc M. Forbes Guide to the Markets : Becoming a Savvy Investor. New York: J. Wiley, 1999.

Hubbard, Glenn. “Happy 70th, Social Security.” Business Week August 08 2005.

Ramsey, Dave. “Making the Case for Privatizing Social Security.” Social Security Reform. 25 Nov. 2005 .

Ruoco, James. “The Impact of Social Security on the National Debt.” JustFacts.com. 1 Sep 2001. 25 Nov. 2005 .

United States. A blueprint for new beginnings : a responsible budget for America’s priorities. Washington, D.C: U.S. G.P.O., 2001.

United States. “U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of the Public Debt.” Historical Debt Outstanding – Annual. 25 Nov. 2005 .

White House. “Strengthening Social Security for Future Generations.” Strengthening Social Security. The White House. 25 Nov. 2005 .

Jonathan Kingsbury
http://www.articlesbase.com/politics-articles/proposals-to-change-social-security-benefits-87503.html

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Posted by mark - June 20, 2015 at 10:12 pm

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Presidential Candidate Imperato, Reform Party Frontrunner, Calls on the American People Once Again on Iraq Oil Legislation

"Once again I call on the American people to recognize the request that I have been making for over one year. I have asked for our administration to cease fire in Iraq, pull back the troops to our bases, and to renegotiate with Nouri al-Maliki on behalf of our taxpayers, and our American soldiers."

Imperato supports an Iraqi oil discount program in order to offset the cost of Iraq’s liberation and reconstruction that has been incurred by the United States.

On Monday Night, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador in Baghdad, announced that the Iraqi Cabinet had approved a national oil revenue sharing plan that would involve the Sunnis, the Shiia, and the Kurds.

"Today I call on what I believe is a two sided coin. Zalmay Khalilzad has welcomed a deal that Iraq has approved, in draft, concerning oil legislation. This is great. The Iraqis approve a draft oil legislation that needs to be approved by the Iraqi Parliament identifying the split up of oil revenues in three groups, basically protecting the Sunnis, the Shiia, and the Kurds."

It was unclear what concessions led to the compromise, and the precise terms of the deal were not immediately available. The United States has been exerting considerable pressure on Iraqi leadership for months to reach the accord, and one Sunni politician said Monday night that the deal had been brokered by Khalilzad himself.

The deal also opened the door for what the Los Angeles Times called, "a bonanza for foreign oil companies", through international investment provisions in the Iraqi oil industry.

However, there was one group that Imperato felt was left out of the new Iraqi oil deal.

"Guess What. They forgot America. I stand up today to request our administration to demand an inclusion of the draft oil legislation agreement. Iraq must include the missing link, the fourth party to its oil deal, the United States of America and its taxpayers. The taxpayers must be paid back the $400+ billion it has invested in the Iraqi government.
This must be done before the parliament can even consider bringing this piece of legislation to the table. The American people need to yell loud and clear, and the administration needs to listen."

In Washington, White House spokesman Tony Snow called a new oil law the "key linchpin" in Iraq’s recovery because it gives "everybody a shared economic interest in working together."

There was no comment from Snow as to why the United States taxpayers were not involved in the deal.

"It is the perfect time for our President to negotiate a payback structure for the United States while the parliament of Iraq is considering approving this legislation. I cannot believe that our administration and the people of the United States are allowing our administration to lead us down a rosy path of darkness with no repayment plan in sight. This is unacceptable."

Imperato concluded his remarks with the following, "That’s why I should by your next president. I will protect the people of the United States first. I will draw the line in the sand with leaders of countries who have enjoyed the help from America and to date have not returned the favor. It’s time the American people are paid back for their help. It’s time that the American leadership negotiates in good faith with the world on behalf of the people of the United States of America."

Lilian Rodriguez
http://www.articlesbase.com/politics-articles/presidential-candidate-imperato-reform-party-frontrunner-calls-on-the-american-people-once-again-on-iraq-oil-legislation-110581.html

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Posted by mark - June 9, 2015 at 11:40 am

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What caused people to want to reform government and society in the late 1800s?


Which government? I presume the British government, there was lots of discussion about the role of the Queen, House of Lords and the ability of the House of Commons. Due to the success of other forms of government, most prominently, the American Constitution.
The problems the British government had was:
The lords of the house of lords didnt turn up, they voted by proxy.
The Prince was a drunken yob.
Lots of calls for expanded democracy
Rotten Boroughs
Weighted votes.
Plus more.

A good book to read or at least read about is the ‘English Constitution’ by Bagehot. He is the best known writer of the period and he is still taught today.

If you have any more questions about history come to:
www.historystudentforum.co.uk

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Posted by mark - May 31, 2015 at 7:32 am

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