“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act” George Orwell.
I believe the Financial Industry has not allowed the public to be aware of the risks of stock market investing, with false advice that “on the long term, the stock market will always recover. Keynes has a famous quote that states ” in the long run, we will all be dead.” During the period between 2000 and 2008 the stock market went down more than 50% twice, which was devastating for people who were retiring or sending their children to college during that period. In full disclosure, the Financial Industry should tell investors that investing in the stock market is dangerous and that most people should treat stock market investing only as a speculation and not as a form of savings Most people should not gamble with their savings.
Currently the Central Banks, throughout the industrialized nations, have interest rares close to zero. ( THAT HAS SINCE CHANGED 9/29/2022) Low interest rates have forced investors into the stock market, as an the only alternative and in my opinion is like feeding anchovies to the sharks. This is another effort by Wall Street to take more equity away from the public into fewer and fewer pockets. In 2008, Wall Street used CMO’s to take the equity away from middle class homeowners and the Big Banks repossessed 12 million homes from our middle class citizens. This time I believe a stock market crash (which I explain in my Lone Bear Letters), will take the remaining wealth from the middle class.(also see Death of the Stockbroker. and ISL #736)
The financial industry approves of the Efficient Market Hypothesis Theory (EMHT), which proposes that it is impossible to beat the market by trading in and out and that investors should at all times be fully invested in the market in the aggregate, by owning an allocation of mutual funds, because in the long run the market will go up. The dangerous beauty of this theory is that accordingly, your goals will always be achieved sometime in the future. If you just ‘hang in there’ long enough you will make your money back. This gives investors a false sense of contentment. Everyone I talk to is not worried. That makes me worry! They are all said they are going to ride the decline out the Spring 2020 sell-off, (See ISL #736)) because ‘the market always bounces back.’ This time they were right, the market did bounce back. Trained like Pavlov’s dog by the Big Financial Industry, to just hold while professional short the market, some investors may not outlive this new Bear Market or a long economic recovery period! The Dow in 1998 was 9,000 and was still at 9,000 in 2009, eleven years later. Not everyone is positioned to ‘buy and hold’.
I suggest, that the Federal government sponsors a ‘Retirement Savings Fund’ that guarantees a 3 ½% return for retirement accounts. (The rate will go up if the Fed fund rate goes higher). The Federal government sponsored ‘Retirement Savings Fund’ will help the average American with their saving planning and keeps the ‘average investor’s’ retirement funds out of the dangerous stock market. This will make retirement planning a lot easier and safer.
I believe political stagecraft, through skilled manipulation of facts, has given the public the perception and the illusion of power, rather than participation in real power. Public opinion has been manipulated and nullified. We have only ourselves to blame. Like Pogo said “We have seen the enemy and it is us”. My fear is that, this process has Big Corporations and the top 1%, dominating the financial industry and has left small businesses and the investing public very vulnerable. The general public, in my opinion, has become so weakened, that it is powerless to stop a crisis from progressing. I believe we have already begun new era of great decline in economic equality in America, where the poor get poorer and ‘the oligarchy’ turns into a ‘kleptocracy’ and takes it all.
As stated above, my greatest fear in this country is that America will be turned into an oligarchy and then into a kleptocracy, similar to Russia. In an (Oct 22, 2016) Economist Magazine they describe Putin’s domestic policy to reduce competition to favor his oligarchs. They describe a system he developed which Kirll Rogov, a Russian political economist describes as “soft legal constraints.” To quote from the Economist Magazine, “It involves writing the rules in such a way that to observe them is either prohibitively expensive or downright impossible to follow, then handing out licenses to break those rules to the oligarchy.” Doesn’t this sound exactly like what has happened in our financial industry? The SEC and FINRA have made the rules (compliance) to run an independent financial firm as either prohibitively expensive or downright impossible to follow. My small brokerage firm suffered from annual audits from the SEC, FINRA, the State of Illinois and my own required audit so often, that it infringed on my ability to do business. The over regulations of the Regulators has resulted in no small banks and no small brokerage firms. In this way, the SEC and FINRA have eliminated independent competition and has turned over the entire financial industry over to the Big Banks, Walll Street and large financial institutions. In my opinion they allow Big Wall Street firms to break the rules for the cost of a small fine, as compared to the large profit that they made in breaking the rules. I believe that intentionally or unintentionally, in this the way, the SEC and FINRA guards Wall Street’s monopoly.
In Orwell’s novel 1984, class warfare came come to an end, as the oligarchy eventually dominated with class hierarchy at 2% upper, 13% Middle and 85% poor. It was George Orwell who said: “Anyone who challenges the prevailing authority can find himself suddenly silenced.” Examples: Giordano Bruno burnt at the stake in 1600 for saying the earth revolves around the sun and more recently, anyone speaking out today in every tyrannical countries such as Russia, Hungry, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong etc.
There has been a major effort to silence me and my negative opinion about the Financial Industry. Of course, as a lone individual facing such a huge power structure, I got crushed! In 2011, I got ‘barred’ after ‘appealing’ a minor $25,000 fine and 90 day suspension. I lost my business, my largest asset, my retirement from 12b1 fees and my reputation. I also lost my access to being quoted (once a month) by such media as The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s Magazine and Reuters International News service. I found out a little to late, that ‘Questioning their Decisions” at the SEC, is not tolerated. Like Goldman Sachs does, one is suppose to pay the fine and move on. I was ‘not’ on the ‘team’ and had to be tossed off. The financial industry was not through punishing me, because I got sued by the SEC for fees, my bank JP Morgan canceled all my accounts and cancelled my charge cards. Faced with this tyranny and censorship, it is important to still speak out. As Tom Freeman said in a 7/30/2020 PBS interview on Amanpour “if the ‘rule of law’ continues to be in jeopardy in the United States, we will not only loose our freedom, but also our prosperity.”
Therefore, I will continue to speak out about what I believe to be the TRUTH! I will continue to write, because I feel that there is a need of an independent voice outside of the massive and powerful US Financial Industry, to warn investors of a view that the Regulators (FINRA & SEC) and the Financial Industry would rather have silenced.
Carl M Birkelbach
I am resting, on the beach, out of the river’s flow
It still flows, but without me
On the beach, Mondays and Sundays are the same
In the flow, I was painfully tossed about
There I cried out in a voice almost moaning
Who am I and where am I going
On the beach, there is stillness and peace
I have been here once or twice before
But only for a while, then tossed back in the flow
Where I become immobilized, without control
Battered and disabled by ambition, now I see
Into the flow and over a cliff in a waterfall
In painful agony I cried out, yes I can
Yes I can do what, control the flow?
You only control the flow in your dreams
The flow controls you, not the other way around
On the beach, I can just watch the flow
Danger! I can feel the flow pulling me back in
Stay calm, take a deep breath
The flows movement is temporal, stillness is reality
I have come a long way to achieve this beach
Out of the frozen tundra I have come
How long can I stay in a state of grace on the beach?
This is what it is like to live without stress
Maybe I can just dip a toe in the flow
Oops! I am being swept up by the current
Ambition and desire are sucking me back in
No rise above, Rise above, Rise above!
Here, I am above the flow, even above the beach
Here, the veil of Maya and Neith are finally lifted
Here, I am connected, this is fulfilling, I have arrived
Here, there are not even days or nights
Here, time ceases to flow with the flow
Here, movement and stillness have no meaning
Here above the flow, we are One.
Wow! Look at that river flow
The flow is turning wheels and the wheels are turning lives
It is just a game, but people think it’s real
In the flow there is no rest, there is no winning
There is only the flow, ever onward
But from here above, it looks so silly
Being above the flow, I rest!
Still, many are in the flow, some as tears
If I were to return, it would be different for me now
The new me, would be eager to teach what I have learned
Should I take another trip down the rapids?
Maybe I should try and reach higher instead?
Actually, Here there is no higher
Here upward and downward have no meaning
The sirens of the flow beckon me back
Why? To make the world a better place?
Maybe I can ease the burdens of others?
There are no easy answers, but I can help, I can try
This time I am better prepared to enter the flow
This time I have seen it from above, I understand
Look out. Here I come again!
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST
Mr Birkelbach does not offer investment advice, but merely his own personal opinion. This report has been prepared from original sources and data we believe reliable but make no representations as to the accuracy or completeness. Mr.Birkelbach , his affiliates and subsidiaries and/or their officers and employees may from time to time acquire, hold or sell a position in securities. Past performance is no guarantee of future success. Upon request, we will supply additional information. CarlBis@aol.com