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Author: mungofitch Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Winner! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 213731  
Subject: Re: U.S. economy and markets Date: 10/7/2012 9:47 AM
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I love the term "noted buffoon". Something for me to aspire to.

Some of the things he suggests would indeed drive the market higher.
But one should first ask, with broad US equities around 40% overvalued
compared to their long run average, why on earth would you want to do that?

Skipping dividend tax is not obviously an improvement to the economy.
Simpler and more consistent would be be eliminating corporate tax and
taxing dividends as ordinary income since the income of companies is
really just the income of the shareholders anyway, but I'm not in charge.

There is certainly very cheap natural gas in the US, and for many years
to come plentiful natural gas, but there isn't plentiful cheap natural gas.
Once people get used to this idea the bonanza will seem rather more muted.
The all-in cost to bring incremental supply on line for a while is
$7-8, so natural gas $2.50 to $3.50 (or $4 or $5 or $6) can't last.
Plus, the gas itself won't last forever. We're just in a small
countertrend blip in a very long run trend away from cheap energy.
There isn't any shortage of energy and never will be, just less and less cheap stuff.

One might argue that some of the policy things might remove some
fear from the market which is having unpleasant effects.
It's a bigger problem that firms aren't building factories than it is
that their stock prices are too low. The fiscal cliff is scaring
a lot of businessmen, so that is certainly the sort of nonsense that could be fixed.
My own suggestion: get people to agree that the deficit must be cut
to some percentage of GDP (2%? 3%? 0%) either through spending cuts
or tax rises or some combination. If you don't ask them to pick one
of those methods it might be possible to get that agreement.
Then, institute a national sales tax set each year at a level that would
in the prior few years brought the deficit down to that level.
Everybody hates the idea of such a tax despite its obvious necessity,
so those who wish to could see the goal as eliminating it by eliminating any need for it.
The politicos can then argue and grandstand and filibuster all they
want about whether to let the sales tax stand or cut spending or
increase other taxes or some combo, but during the decade that they do
so the global economy would not collapse from a US bond&currency panic.
Businesses would know that even though there are no adults at the
Capitol there is at least a babysitter for the time being and they
would no longer be afraid to build factories and buy tools and hire workers.
One side effect is that sales tax encourages saving relative to
consumption which would reduce the weighted average cost of capital
of US firms which would increase their value (not just their prices).

Jim
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