The American’s for Tax Reform Foundation’s Cost of Government Day Report is a mindbender. Amongst the data it crunches, it finds that …
The Cost of Government Day (COGD), the day of the calendar year on which the average American worker has earned enough gross income to pay off his or her share of the spending and regulatory burdens imposed by government on the federal, state, and local levels, is now August 19, the latest date ever recorded.
In simple language, it means that the average American must work 230 days, or 63% of the year, to pay for the full cost of government.
That’s pretty darn amazing. And frightening. It essentially means that 63% of your labor output belongs not to you and the loved ones you care for, but to Washington.
Here’s how it breaks down:
Federal spending: The average American worker has to labor for 104 days just to pay for federal spending, which consumes 28.6% of national income.
That compares to 90 days in 2008, a 15.5% increase. The chief increase in costs were the bailouts of the financial crisis. The bailouts cost the average American 14 days of worth of work to pay for them.
State and local spending: This is also costing us all, big time. In 2010 the average American had to work 52 days just to pay for state and local government expenditures.
That’s up from 42.5 days in 1999. A whopping 22.3% increase in costs.
The regulatory costs of the federal government: Another shocker ― the average American worker must labor 48 days just to cover the costs of federal regulations.
And then there’s …
Another 26 days you must toil to pay the costs of state and local regulations.
I don’t know about you, but the cost of government is insane. 63 out of every 100 hours you work is to pay for government?
You get to keep only 37% of your labor?
It’s high time we got rid of big government. That ratio needs to be inverted, at a minimum. We should keep at least 75% of our labor.
Government should cost far less, way less. Less than one-quarter of our labor output, in my opinion.
I’m hoping and praying the current budget battles in Washington will get us all somewhere. I wouldn’t even mind if they didn’t raise the debt ceiling and Washington started to live within its means. Yes, it would be painful. But we have to start somewhere, no?
Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone in Washington has the guts to do anything but agree on more smoke and mirrors. Which is precisely why right now …
There’s a Fog Over the Markets …
I’d say that better than 80% of the time I have a pretty darn good feel for what’s going on below the surface in the markets; skills I honed in the more than 32 years I’ve been trading them.
The other 20% of the time, there’s a fog over the markets so thick that it’s nearly impossible to figure out where they’re headed, short term that is.
Your indicators tell you there should be some signposts ahead, and you know roughly where they are. But you have to grope to find them.
Right now, the U.S. markets are in one of their worst fogs in a long time.
Economic data suggest sharply weakening economies in the U.S.
Technical and cyclical indicators suggest weakness in the U.S. (and European equity markets).
Summer seasonal influences suggest weakness in precious metals.
And yet, what we’re seeing is almost exactly the opposite: Explosive moves higher in U.S. equity markets; and another rally in gold and silver, commodities in general.
So what’s really going on? From past experience with market fogs, I can tell you this …
First, markets always give clues about their intermediate- and long-term trends, even when the short-term is very foggy.
Right now, I believe what the markets are telling us is that the long-term trends I’ve been forecasting are right on the money.
Gold’s reluctance to decline is a sign of its incredible longer-term bull market. Ditto for silver, copper and other metals like platinum and palladium.
Ditto again for agriculturals, and oil and energy prices. Their inability to decline as they should be right now is simply a symptom that long term they are headed MUCH higher.
And ditto for the stock markets. As far as I can tell, I’m one of the only analysts forecasting a long-term bull market in stocks, with the Dow Industrials more than doubling over the next five or so years.
The strength in stocks that we’re seeing now — in defiance of short-term bearish indications — is telling you the same thing: That as ugly as the fundamental underpinnings of the markets may be, they are a heck of a lot stronger than most would like to believe.
Second, markets always seek to inflict the most pain on the most investors.
One way they do that is by setting up foggy, sideways trading ranges.
Another way they do it is by doing pretty much doing the opposite of what most think they will do. By getting the majority of investors bearish, for instance, just before exploding to the upside.
Or, by getting the majority bullish, just before tanking to the downside.
Right now, I believe the markets are taking the latter course. Sucking in lots of investors, trapping them in a bullishly-biased fog if you will.
Meanwhile, they have not fulfilled their short-term downside destiny. Gold has not tested long-term support levels. Neither has silver. Neither has oil, the Dow Industrials, or the S&P 500.
Don’t get me wrong. I am long-term bullish on all of them. But with the exception of Asian markets, which I believe are bottoming …
I won’t be getting aggressively long any of the above markets until they either test important support levels, or, they truly breakout to the upside in new up trends.
One more thing about short-term market fogs like we’re seeing now …
Third, there’s almost always something very serious afoot when markets are caught in a fog.
Typically, most investors think that markets like we have right now are choppy trading affairs, and that the markets can’t make up their minds, so they just bounce around.
But in my experience, nothing could be further from the truth. Markets like we have right now are almost always a sign that something serious is afoot.
Something that’s brewing beneath the surface, something that will seemingly spring out of nowhere down the road, and shock nearly everyone.
So what could the markets be telling us right now?
I’ll take it full circle now: I believe they’re telling us the cost of government is going to continue to soar. That’s why they’re showing subtle signs of their long-term underlying strength.
Simply put, at least in the markets you have a chance to protect and grow your wealth.
The government, on the other hand, simply consumes your wealth.
Keep that in mind going forward. It’s going to become a hot topic, and drive lots of markets.
Best wishes, as always …
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