- A profit wave that was simply impossible a decade ago
- The election outcome that could shift billions to a niche sector
- Fire up the helicopters: Dems and GOP prepare to spend, spend, spend
- Corporate tax reform and the inflation the elites crave
- A hotel’s bald-is-beautiful discount… the lesser-known history of “Canadian Social Security”… one reader’s phenomenal retirement returns (past performance isn’t indicative of future results)… and more!
Look at the following chart closely. We made passing reference to the numbers last week. But they deserve further attention this morning.
They signal your opportunity to turn a $50 investment into $100 — perhaps in as little as the next three weeks.
The number of Americans who favor legal marijuana versus those who don’t? It’s practically a mirror image of a decade ago.
What’s more, support for legal marijuana has grown among every generation; even one out of three members of the “Silent” generation born before 1946 now favor legalized pot.
To one extent or another, marijuana is now legal in 25 of the 50 states. Ohio became the 25th in June when Republican Gov. John Kasich signed medical-marijuana legislation.
Two weeks from tomorrow, Americans in nine states will vote on ballot proposals either establishing or expanding the legal use of marijuana. And in every one of those states, those proposals are leading in the opinion polls.
The big reefer-endum — sorry, for once, we couldn’t resist the pun — is in California. The Golden State is home to 12% of the U.S. population. If it were a country, it would be the world’s sixth-largest economy.
California was the first state to approve medical marijuana, 20 years ago. This year, Proposition 64 would legalize recreational weed — as is already the case in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska.
It’s not hyperbole to say the whole world is watching. From the Israeli daily Haaretz: “Observers believe that a ‘yes’ vote on legalization, particularly in California, will be a turning point that will pave the way for making the drug legal throughout the U.S. in a few years. Most experts think that if that happens, it’s only a matter of time before marijuana is decriminalized all over the world.”
That means the next wave of marijuana profits in the public markets could hit as early as two weeks from tomorrow.
“There are dozens of marijuana businesses trading on public stock exchanges — giving you an easy way to invest in them,” says Ray Blanco of our science-and-wealth team. “And with marijuana legalization on the ballots in nine states, many of them could surge practically overnight.
“If even just half of those states vote the way we expect them to, early investors could still have a lot to gain. Buy the right companies now, before the election, and you stand to make six figures or more.”
Even if Ray is wrong, we’re confident he has the downside covered and you stand to make a meaningful gain in a short amount of time.
You see, Ray’s been researching this issue all year. Back in May, he recommended two speculative pot-themed plays for one of our pricey premium research services. He was working on the assumption the Drug Enforcement Administration would take marijuana off its Schedule I blacklist in the late summer. Schedule I means the feds believe pot has zero medicinal value.
That assumption didn’t pan out. More than one reader wrote in to give us grief.
But it was Ray’s paying subscribers who had the last laugh. Ray wanted to make sure to cover the downside — to make sure that even if he was wrong, his own readers still stood a good shot at making money.
As we check our screens this morning, one of those two plays is up 40%, and the other is up 57%. Not bad for less than six months.
Ray has taken the same meticulous approach to his next round of marijuana-investing recommendations. So even if you don’t double your money in the days surrounding Election Day, you stand an excellent chance at coming out ahead.
Even better, Ray’s latest recommendations aren’t as speculative and risky as the previous ones that worked out so well. So we’re comfortable publishing them to a larger audience in his most affordable newsletter, Technology Profits Confidential.
Eager to learn more? It’s all right here. No long video to watch, either.
To the markets today, where stocks are basking in the glow of merger-mania.
As we foreshadowed on Friday, AT&T made a bid over the weekend for Time Warner — a tie-up of media content and distribution comparable to Comcast’s purchase of NBC Universal five years ago. And this morning, TD Ameritrade is making a play for rival Scottrade. The major indexes are all up at least a half percent, the Dow at 18,243.
Treasury yields are inching back up, the 10-year at 1.77%. Gold has taken a minor hit — the bid now $1,261 — while the dollar’s holding steady. Crude is off 1%, but still comfortably above $50.
The only economic number of note is the Chicago Fed National Activity Index — a number that’s presaged nearly every recession of the last 50 years. A three-month moving average of minus 0.7 signals an oncoming recession, but the number this morning rings in at minus 0.2.
That sound you hear in the distance is helicopters firing up, ready to drop “helicopter money” in 2017.
This is a development Jim Rickards has been anticipating for the better part of a year — in which the federal government would ramp up spending to achieve the economic boost that ultralow interest rates haven’t.
“Basically,” Jim explained, “the White House and Congress would agree on massive spending programs and larger deficits. The Treasury would finance the deficits by issuing more bonds. Then the Fed would buy the bonds with printed money and promise never to sell the bonds.”
We find affirmation in this morning’s Wall Street Journal: “A growing number of investors and policymakers, seeing central banks as powerless to revive an anemic global economy, are championing a resurgence of fiscal spending. A move away from central-bank-led policy, and toward the use of the government’s taxing-and-spending power to revive growth, would end a years-long economic era and could cause upheaval in financial markets.”
We’re also getting a better idea of how helicopter money’s going to happen… and helicopter money ties in with another of our 2017 forecasts.
Back in April, we noticed bipartisan support for an overhaul of the corporate income tax code — a byzantine system that’s prompted U.S.-based corporate giants to park $1.4 trillion in offshore tax havens. Some estimates run as high as $2.5 trillion.
Assume for the moment that Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, the Democrats win the Senate with Chuck Schumer becoming majority leader and the Republicans hold onto the House with Paul Ryan remaining speaker.
Last week on CNBC, Sen. Schumer identified common ground among the three: “We’ve got to get things done… The two things that come, that pop to mind — because Schumer, Clinton and Ryan have all said they support these — are immigration and some kind of international tax reform tied to a large infrastructure program.”
[Notice how Schumer spoke of himself in the third person? He’d better be careful lest he become a running Saturday Night Live joke — like a previous Senate majority leader, Bob Dole…]
“International tax reform tied to a large infrastructure program” means corporate tax reform and helicopter money to fund roads, bridges and other public works.
In other words, big corporations would “bring their profits home”… and the proceeds would fund presumably shovel-ready projects.
We know Mrs. Clinton likes the idea because she said so in one of those speech transcripts she refused to release but which WikiLeaks did. “A number of business leaders have been talking to my husband and me about an idea that would allow the repatriation of the couple trillion dollars that are out there,” she told the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers in 2014. “And you would get a lower rate — a really low rate — if you were willing to invest a percentage in an infrastructure bank.”
Key point: Jim Rickards believes helicopter money is one way the powers that be will finally get the level of inflation they crave. We’ll continue to keep our eyes open…
And now another 5 business travel alert… and for once, it’s not about the security theater at the airport.
Bald or balding travelers are now entitled to a discount at Tokyo’s Kitakyushu Hotel Plaza. Not much of a discount — 500 yen, or about $4.80, a night. Then again, judging by online booking sites, a room runs only $60 or so to begin with.
According to the Rocket News 24 site, the hotel instituted the policy strictly out of business sense: Seems the cleaning staff was complaining about too much hair in the drains.
The peculiar thing is that if you’re not completely bald, the person at the front desk will judge whether you’re balding at a sufficient rate to earn the discount.
We can only imagine the litigation that would ensue if an American hotel ever tried this…
“The Canada Pension Plan as originally set up was a source of cheap loans to the provinces,” a Canadian reader writes with some background about Canada’s version of Social Security.
“Prime Minister Chrétien changed it to where it became an investment fund, saying the pension fund is for the people, not the government.
“I am conservative. He is a liberal. But I can still praise him for a job well done on the pension fund. Maybe my praising a political opponent is an example of one of the differences between the U.S. and Canada.”
The 5: Thanks for the insight. We only wish American politicians could exercise the same kind of smarts. Until they do, “piggybacking” the CPP is the only way to go…
“All this talk about a cashless system reminds me of the ’60s when I was working for IBM in New York and the computer age was dawning,” a reader writes.
“The idea then was that this new system of data processing would lead to paperless offices, thereby saving businesses great amounts of money through fewer materials purchases and time expenditures. Actually, it was a boon to the paper industry, as those computers generated tremendous amounts of printed reports and ‘hard copy’ backup documents.
“Electronic digital transactions are exactly that. Electrical. When the power grid goes down or the devices just fail, batteries die or BURN, and we will always need a hard currency of some kind to transact business when those little plastic cards or smartphones won’t do. No. 1 rule in electronic processing: backup! Cash or coin is not going away soon, and has been around for centuries.”
“Now the bankers are whining because post-2008 bank regulations have hurt their ‘lending capacity’?” a reader responds to last Friday’s episode. “That’s a real heartbreaker!”
“They sure have a tough lot in life, don’t they? They extract money from everything and everyone. They contribute nothing to productivity or growth. They finance value-destroying activities and saddle us with debt, creating all sorts of distortions and drags on the economy.
“Imagine how bad things would be for them if our banking regulations had any teeth or weren’t being repealed.
“Banks’ (and other companies’) boards of directors could choose to eliminate senior managers’ conflicts of interest and structure their incentives properly. But that would take all the fun out of the whole corporatism/cronyism game. The grand fleecing of everyday citizens must go on, to profit shareholders — including those C-level officers, of course — at our expense.
“Leave it to a mainstream media rag like WSJ to publish a story about a banker pissing and moaning. Screw ’em all and the horse they rode in on…
“Love The 5!”
One of our regulars weighs in on the subject of retirement income, after our musings last week about Social Security’s paltry 0.3% cost-of-living adjustment for 2017…
“Since retiring in 1997, I have spent about $114,000 on health insurance (Blue Cross Blue Shield Federal Employee program) and Medicare.
“However, they have paid somewhere well over $300,000 to providers — and Northwestern Mutual predicts I have 18 more years to live and my wife has 27 more years.
“That is a better return than the 7.5% CDs I bought to have in retirement, which now pay 0.004%.”
The 5: Eighteen more years to live? We figure 20 max before something in the U.S. medical system breaks down catastrophically; otherwise, health care spending will consume half the federal budget.
The 5 Min. Forecast
P.S. Please note: One of our more recent and potentially lucrative profit exposés comes offline tomorrow night at midnight. We’d hate to see you miss out, so we direct your attention to it right now.
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