Posts Tagged ‘politics’

A look at our nation’s most elite team through the life of one man: This week on Your Financial Editor.

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Our nation’s military has always been a vital aspect to our country. They have been a non-stop topic in the news and in everyday life: their sacrifices, their heroism, and their bravery. Join me this week as I talk with author Eric Blehm about his book FEARLESS and the unrelenting courage of one man, Adam Brown, as we discuss the elite Navy Seal Team Six.

Listen from anywhere, by logging onto and clicking the listen live button!  Saturday morning @ 8am on AM 930 WFMD.

About this week’s guest:

Eric Blehm is a bestselling and award-winning author of nonfiction books. In 2006, he won the Barnes & Noble Discover Award for The Last Season (HarperCollins)a gripping account of the disappearance of legendary National Park Service ranger Randy Morgenson; The Last Season was also named by Outsidemagazine as one of the ten “greatest adventure biographies ever written” in 2009. Blehm’s next book, New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller The Only Thing Worth Dying For (HarperCollins, 2010), was hailed by former congressman Charlie Wilson, of Charlie Wilson’s War, as a “must read” among books about the current war in Afghanistan.

In 1999, Blehm became the first journalist to accompany and keep pace with an elite Army Ranger unit on a training mission. His access into the Special Operations community and reportage set an important milestone for American war journalism two years before reporters began to gain widespread embedded status with the U.S. military in the War Against Terror. Blehm’s immersion with the Rangers is what led him to the previously untold story of an elite team of eleven Green Berets who operated in the hinterland of Taliban-held Afghanistan just weeks after 9/11 (The Only Thing Worth Dying For), as well as to his current book: Fearless (Waterbrook/Multnomah; Random House). On sale in May 2012, Fearless is the heartrending and inspiring story of Naval Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Adam Brown, who overcame tremendous odds in his rise to the top tier of the U.S. military: SEAL Team Six.

Blehm is the founder of Molly the Owl Books, the independent publishing company behind Molly the Owl—his popular nonfiction children’s book about a barn owl and her family—which won the 2011 Nautilus Award and the 2011 San Diego Book Award. Currently, he is working on his next nonfiction book, which takes place during the Cold War era.

Blehm lives in Southern California with his wife and children.


The Missing Conservative Voice. This week on Your Financial Editor.

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

With the exception of a few outlets, the conservative voice of the people is largely missing in American media.  How can conservatives reach out and connect and find information from those who agree with and support their values and ideals?  Join me this Saturday @ 8am on 930 WFMD, and find out!  My guest Dr. Carol M. Swain and I will explore why the conservative voice and opinion is often ignored in the media.

Listen from anywhere, by logging onto and clicking the listen live button!

About this week’s guest:

Meet Dr. Carol M. Swain

  • Professor of Political Science and Law at Vanderbilt University
  • Creator and Host of ‘Be the People’, a half-hour talk show that looks at political, social and cultural issues from a conservative perspective
  • Expert in the fields of politics, campaigns and elections, Congress, race relations, immigration and more
  • Frequent guest on Hannity, Lou Dobbs Tonight, Fox and Friends and the Tom Hartmann Show
  • Author of ‘Be the People: A Call to Reclaim America’s Faith and Promise’


For more information, visit


Do Presidential Elections Affect the Stock Markets?

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Presidential Election Cycles as a Predictor of the Stock Markets

By Michael Binger, CFA – Senior Portfolio Manager

The stock market goes up and down in cycles. Over the years there have been many attempts to correlate the cycle of the stock market to certain events in the world and its economies. Serious market researchers attempt to correlate stock market movements to a variety of economic data in their predictive models. Market technicians will try and correlate price patterns to stock market cycles. But there are also a multitude of offbeat theories in predicting market behavior such as the Super Bowl winner, skirt lengths, aspirin production and moon phase theory.

Surely these offbeat theories are pure poppycock, or are they?

The Super Bowl theory is based on whether the National Football Conference (NFC) or the American football Conference (AFC) wins. If the NFC wins stocks are likely to close up for the year. If the AFC wins the market is more likely to close down for the year. Don’t laugh; it’s been accurate 82 percent of the time since the first Super Bowl in 1967. I’ll bet many quantitative staffs would be duly impressed with an econometric model that had an 82 percent history of success. Over the years this and other theories have had varying degrees of predictive power. The problem with these theories is that most believe no logical reason can be forwarded for why they have worked other than pure coincidence. Let’s look at another popular and timely market theory that seems to have historical precedent. This is the Presidential election cycle and its correlation to stock market returns. Historically, there has been a distinct trend in stock market returns of the different years of the presidential cycle. The theory goes as follows: Years one and two of the incumbent President’s term usually have given us lower than average Standard & Poor’s 500 index returns. Year three produces significant outsized returns while year four is again above average. To take this even further, the theory proposes that year two provides the most opportune buying points in the market and late in year four the best selling point. Let’s first look at the historical return data before we start to analyze if this is pure coincidence or if there is some merit to this pattern.

Below are the average and median annual returns for the S &P 500 for each year the Presidential cycle dating back to 1900.

 A clear pattern certainly emerges, but how has this pattern held up in recent decades? Here’s a look at the median returns for each of the four years in presidential terms since 1946, or the end of WWII.

The return data of the last 100 and 50 years both point to a predictable pattern over history. Finally, let’s look at the number of years in which the stock market had a positive return during each year of the presidential cycle.

Clearly the data points to years one and two producing substandard returns with years three and four being better. If you really want to profit off this theory year three would be the investment choice with median returns around 17 percent and positive returns occurring 94 percent of the time.

Is this presidential election pattern purely coincidence or can we build a case for why these returns emerge. I believe a rational explanation can be put forth for this correlation between politics and the stock market.

 The predominant theory for this pattern is that incumbent Presidents want to be reelected. Washington can play an active role in influencing the economy and since most voters tend to vote with their wallets it behooves a President approaching reelection to implement policies that will stimulate the economy and boost the stock market. The administrative branch can do this with fiscal policy (think Keynesian economics) by lowering taxes, increasing spending and curtailing regulation. All of these are generally good for corporate profitability and the stock market. On the flip side, Yale Hirsch of the Stock Trader’s Almanac has found that wars, recession and bear markets tend to start or occur in the first half of a Presidents term. The anemic first half, strong second half S&P 500 returns of the Presidential cycle have been fairly predictable and investable over the previous century. 

The Presidential cycle stock market theory has historically worked over time, but is certainly not bulletproof every time. We only need to look at George Bush’s second term and the first three years of Barak Obama’s Presidency to see that the trend is not perfect. Bush’s last two years, 2007-2009, gave negative returns while Obama’s first two years were strongly positive return periods. This is exactly opposite of what history would tell us, proving that this theory has merit, but like all statistical studies, past predictability is no guarantee of future success. 

Since we have been looking at the Presidential term year cycles it would also be interesting to see the correlations between political parties and stock market returns. Who does the general stock market prefer, Democratic or Republican Presidents? The data may surprise you. Over the last 50 years the Dow was up twice as much when Democrats were in office versus Republicans. Over the last 110 years, dating back to 1900, the market still performed better when Democrats controlled the Oval Office versus Republicans. For Democrats, the Clinton years were really strong, while the George Bush Jr. years of the 2000 decade were fairly weak for the S&P 500. 

2012 is an election year. What can we glean from history as to who will win this year? We should all watch the S&P 500 closely between July 31 and Oct. 31. Historically, when this period has a positive return the incumbent has been reelected 89 percent of the time. When this period is negative the incumbent loses 86 percent of the time according to data compiled by the Standard & Poor’s. Finally, no modern President has ever been reelected when the unemployment rate is above 7.2%. And we all know where unemployment stands today.

Remember, the Presidential Cycle theory is just that, a theory derived from a historical return pattern. Many other things are constantly affecting the stock market at all times in addition to the year of the Presidential term. It is wise to take them into account when making your investment decisions.

Current Law vs. Alternative Fiscal Scenario???

Friday, February 10th, 2012

I’m a member of the National Economists Club , and Dr. Douglas Elmendorf, Director of the Congressional Budget Office attended our meeting this week.  I found this very interesting considering the former Budget Director of the CBO, Peter Orszag, attended a meeting of our NYABE club in Manhattan last year. 

It’s amazing to hear how differently things are presented from a current cabinet member of the administration than from a former cabinet member.  Dr. Orszag (now Vice Chair of Global Banking at Citigroup), was much more relaxed and frank. 

That was not quite the case for Dr. Elmendorf this week.  The Director was kind enough to walk us through about 17 slides of the past, current and future budget and economic data.  However, when it was all said and done, one theme (or disclaimer) dominated the hour long discussion; The differences between baseline projections (based on current law), and the alternative forecast were at times like night and day.  It’s almost like looking at things how they really are (baseline), and what you hope they turn out to be.

Of course, most of that divide lies (no pun intended)with politicians.  Let’s face it, if discretionary spending is not brought under control, we’re going to spend ourselves into chaos.

Some other comments by Director Elmendorf that caught my attention included: “We are only halfway through the downturn, we haven’t had such a high unemployment rate for so long since the Depression, economic recovery is quite weak and will continue to be so, and America’s problems can be solved if lawmakers take drastic action”.

No disrespect intended, and I mean that, but how ’bout we start with paring down the Congressional Budget Office that has 250 government employees, and a $45,000,000.00 annual budget!

That’s right, not a one time payment of $45,000,000.00…but every year!!!

Why We Need The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But The Truth – this week on Your Financial Editor.

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

The noise from both Washington and the media is deafening, the deeds of our lawmakers alarming. America needs a break from the posturing and the politicking. We need information: how we got here and where we are headed. My guest this week,Catherine Crier, one of the most respected figures in television journalism, presents an incisive, unbiased analysis of America’s political crisis.  Join me this week, and she’ll deliver a message we cannot afford to ignore.

Join me this Saturday morning at 8am on AM 930 WFMD, or listen from your pc by logging onto WFMD’s website and click the listen live button.

About this week’s guest:

An Emmy and duPont-Columbia Award-winning journalist, and the youngest state judge to ever be elected in Texas, Catherine Crier is now a managing partner in Cajole Entertainment developing television, film and documentary projects.

Crier, a native of Dallas, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and international affairs from the University of Texas and received a Juris Doctor in two and a half years from Southern Methodist University School of Law. She began her career in law in 1978 as an Assistant District Attorney then Felony Chief Prosecutor for the Dallas County District Attorney’s office. From 1982 to 1984, Crier was a civil litigation attorney with Riddle & Brown, handling complex business and corporate matters. In 1984, she was elected to the 162nd District Court in Dallas County, Texas as a State District Judge. During her tenure on the bench, Crier also served as Administrative Judge for the Civil District Courts and worked extensively with the ABA, National Judicial College, and Texas Legislature on legal issues. Shortly after her reelection (unopposed) to a second term on the bench, a chance meeting with a television news executive led to a dramatic career change.

In September, 1989, Crier was hired to co-anchor the premiere evening newscast on CNN. Additionally, she co-anchored Inside Politics, all election coverage, and hosted Crier & Company, a talk show covering news, politics and international issues.

Crier joined ABC News in 1993, where she served as a correspondent and as a regular substitute anchor for Peter Jennings on ABC’s World News Tonight, as well as a substitute host for Ted Koppel’s Nightline. She also worked as a correspondent on 20/20, the network’s primetime news magazine program. Crier was awarded a 1996 Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for her work on the segment “The Predators” which examined nursing home abuses throughout the United States.

In October of ’96, Crier became one of the founding television anchors for the Fox News Channel, with her prime time program, The Crier Report, a live, hour-long nightly show, during which she interviewed the leading newsmakers of the day.  Additionally, she co-anchored the evening news, election coverage and Fox Files, a magazine news show aired on the parent network.

Catherine joined Court TV’s distinguished team of anchors in November 1999.  She served as Executive Editor, Legal News Specials, in addition to hosting Catherine Crier Live, a fast-paced, live daily series, covering the day’s “front-page” stories, until joining Cajole Entertainment in 2007.

Crier released her first book, the NYTimes bestseller, The Case Against Lawyers in October, 2002.  Her second book, A Deadly Game: The Untold Story of the Scott Peterson Investigation became a #1 NYTimes bestseller and was followed by Contempt—How the Right is Wronging American Justice, and Final Analysis:  The Untold Story of the Susan Polk Murder Case.  Her fifth book, Patriot Acts—What Americans Must Do to Save the Republic, is scheduled for publication on November 1, 2011.


Friday, January 6th, 2012

Happy New Year! I hope you had a nice Christmas and New Year’s holiday! On a personal note, my hope and prayer for you is that your year will be filled with good health, increasing wealth and a strong family!

As far as the economy and financial markets go, 2012 won’t start off much different than where they ended. Unfortunately we still have the following issues right in front of our faces going into this new year:

1.  America has a huge pile of debt, some $15 trillion and the number grows higher.

2.  The Europeans seem to be frozen by indecision as their problems worsen.

3.  China’s actual economic stability and growth rate remain suspect.

4.  The Super Committee was a huge failure, and our prospects for reigning in government spending are dim.

5.  Unemployment continues to be extremely, and I might add, unacceptably too high

6.  The political battles are being planned for this election year…with the real losers (or should i say casualties) being the hard working silent majority in this great country.

Taking all of this into consideration you have a decision before you, a choice to be made.  You can either act or re-act when it comes to your personal situation.

On a different note, many of us have made New Year resolutions to improve our health this year. I thought you may enjoy the following article from the Wall Street Journal entitled “The 27 Rules for Conquering the Gym.”

“To Tell the Truth”.

Friday, November 18th, 2011

I’m a member of the New York chapter of the National Association of Business Economists.  A few days ago we had our monthly meeting for November at the Harvard Club in New York City.  Our guest speaker was Dr. Peter Orszag, who is currently the Vice Chairman of Global Banking at Citigroup.  Prior to accepting his position at Citigroup, he worked in the Clinton Administration and also served as a cabinet member for the Obama Administration.    His was the Director of the Office of Management and Budget from January 2009 until July 2010.

In between taking a couple of shots at economist, John Taylor (Mr. Taylor was on the short list to replace Alan Greenspan), Dr. Orszag admitted that the current administration has not focused enough on the U.S. housing sector.  His estimate is that there is some one million more homes in inventory than normal.  Obviously, that is a huge excess of inventory and will continue to have a negative impact on the U.S. economy unitl properly addressed.

Dr. Orszag also pointed out that private sector borrowing imploded in 2008, down some 45% from normal levels and has yet to return to normal.  He also said that even though the administration wanted $1.2 trillion instead of the $800 billion stimulus/spending package that was passed, the additional $400 billion would not have improved our economy at all.  Think about that…we were almost scared into another $400 billion of spending and the former Director of the Office of Management and Budget admitted that we wouldn’t be in any better shape!

Lastly, when asked about banks not lending, Dr. Orszag said that big companies are awash in money and have no problem getting loans, however, that is not the  case for small businesses.  He said small businesses continue to have problems securing loans because of the risk involved based on the economic and financial uncertainty that exists, and the difficulty of small businesses’ ability to function in the current environment.

It’s amazing what you can learn from a high-level politician once they are no longer a politician and all of the pork, payback, spending, etc they supported and helped pass is behind them.

This is a Political Event with Financial Implications

Friday, July 29th, 2011

As I write this at 5:30am, there is still no clear sign that Congress will agree and act on the debt ceiling issue. 

There’s a big surprise…politicians no getting things done that need to be done.

Our country is over-extended.  If the debt ceiling is raised and the additional spending approved, the United States of America will have doubled our debt in just 5 years to the tune of $17 Trillion +/-. 

We deserve to have our rating downgraded (even though the rating companies don’t have much respect these days).  We are upside down on our spending vs. revenue ratio.  Could you or I run our household or business with the type of monkey-math that the United States government uses?  Of course not.  What would happen if you couldn’t make your mortgage payment because you didn’t have the money and called the bank for a loan?  They would deny your request and they’d probably want their free toaster back they gave you when you became a customer!

As the title of this post implies, this is a purely political play right now.  The Administration wants a couple of trillion dollars in spending to get it through the election next year, and the Republications and Independents don’t want to offer up the blank check.  Now, the repercussions of the political wrangling comes at a very bad time.  The U.S. economy is stuck in the mud and citizens, consumers, investors, small businesses and corporate America are all dealing with a train load of uncertainty.

Having said all of that, I think this “out in the open” fighting and debate is a good thing.  It allows Americans to access where the country is today, and more importantly, where we want to go.  Do we want to return to a country of the highest standards, morals, and financial strength of the past, or do we want to continue to live beyond our means and drift to the bottom of the fish tank.

As a wealth manager, I am frequently asked how I handle this type of political event, with all of its financial implications.  As this scenario plays out, and in order to combat the volatility and weak economic environment, my firm employs conservative and diversified strategies for the wealth that our clients have entrusted to us.  We will continue to offer an unparalleled level of service, sophistication, tools, strategies, and models to provide consistent protection and the pursuit of growth that our clients expect.

Tune in to Your Financial Editor this Saturday at 8am on AM 930 WFMD to hear more as the debate rages on!


Friday, May 13th, 2011

President Harry Truman said “There is nothing new in the world except the history y0u do not know“.  Socialism, Communism, Marxism, Leninism…you get the picture.  All of these society structures are failed. 

It’s not worth debating.  These forms of government were tried and they didn’t work, close that book.  But now, some radical leftists and elitists are trying to say that the financial crisis proves that capitalism is wrong, and that we should take America down one of those old, failed concepts.

I say American capitalism (just like the U.S. legal system), is far from perfect, but it’s the best in the world.  If our politicians can ever paste enough popsicle sticks to give them a backbone, then capitalism, along with great leadership, will take this country and its citizens where we want and need to go…the top!

See this article about business confidence.

Governor Gary Johnson set to make a major announcement in New Hampshire – this week on Your Financial Editor.

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Gary Johnson, former Republican Governor of New Mexico will hold a news conference on Thursday, April 21st at 9:00am EDT at the New Hampshire State Capitol Building in Concord (location: Capitol front steps: 107 North Main Street, Concord), to discuss his plans for the 2012 election.

He joins me this week to talk about his views on the hot-button issues in our nation – national debt, illegal immigration, our involvement in Libya and even legalizing marijuana. 

Join us this Saturday morning at 8am on AM 930 WFMD, or listen from your pc by logging onto WFMD’s website and click the listen live button.

About this week’s guest:

Governor Johnson, who has been referred to as the ‘most fiscally conservative Governor’ in the country, believes the highest priority for America is a balanced federal budget. He calls the national debt  ‘the greatest threat to our national security.’

 Since launching the OUR America Initiative in late 2009, Governor Johnson has traveled to 38 states, participated in hundreds of media interviews and addressed a wide range of organizations all across the nation. He is vocal in his opposition to U.S. involvement in Libya, and has called for an end to American military involvement in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He supports marijuana legalization and advocates common-sense immigration reform.