In watching the Sunday morning talk shows and reading financial journals over the weekend, I always seek out news and trends that impact our country and our industry. Here are three examples:
We have seen a number of news articles about cyber attacks and product piracy emanating from China. While most Americans hear about the Chinese copying just about everything from movie DVDs to designer clothing, few Americans realize that the Chinese have also counterfeited rare coins and bullion coins, probably including recently reported counterfeit American Silver Eagles and Engelhard 1 ounce silver rounds. I have been interviewed recently by NBC News and industry publications on this issue, since I taught authentication for the American Numismatic Association over two decades.
China owns a lot of U.S. debt, which puts our authorities in a somewhat compromised position when cracking down on these counterfeits. Further complications come from rising concerns for Congress about restrictions on communications over the Internet. In addition, some counterfeit coins come through online auction services. Even though some of these services have made positive changes, some bad products still get through, and some of the auction houses do not take responsibility for authenticating products being offered.
Coin buyers need to buy from dealers and auction houses with extensive experience in identifying counterfeits. Customers need to rely on an expert who knows how to detect counterfeit gold and silver coins and bullion.
Why We Work in Texas:
Texas has no state income tax and often has common-sense regulations. That’s why so many more businesses are setting up operations or moving to Texas rather than states with high income taxes and oppressive regulations, like California. In the latest election, California raised its top state income tax rate to 13.3 percent, plus 39.6 percent in federal taxes, for a 52.9 percent total tax rate.
Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, which owns the Carl’s Jr. franchise, said that it costs $250,000 more to build a new California restaurant than one in Texas. It also takes up to 16 times longer in California than in Texas to get permits to open a Carl’s Jr. restaurant. We’re talking about a hamburger stand here — not a nuclear power plant!
I have personally noticed that the state bureaucracy is much easier to work with in Texas than on the federal level. When I noticed a simple factual error on the state’s website regarding precious metals, I e-mailed the Texas regulators and they made the change the next day.
When I helped make a similar request on the national level, they stalled and then responded: “We stand by the contents of our website,” despite its factual errors.
If we do get universal background checks for all gun sales I hope it is done with Texas, not California, efficiency. I also hope we improve on our 2010 prosecution rate of only 44 of the 76,000 individuals that provided bad information on gun background checks, with only 13 being punished. Otherwise, this is a political not a practical exercise.
“Do As I Say, Not As I Do”:
Politicians talk a lot about compassion and giving, but some seem to focus on how other people should contribute more money. In their own personal lives, they often give a pitiable amount to charity. In the decade before he became vice president, Joe Biden gave an average of only $369 per year (0.2 percent of his income) to charity. That’s barely $1 per day. As a fellow Catholic and a member of many Catholic boards, I say “Joe, that’s not enough.” I would challenge Biden to lead more by example in this area.
Biden is not the only miser who served as vice president. In the 2000 campaign, it became known that Al Gore’s 1997 tax return showed only $353 in donations to charity. Too many politicians only “care” with other people’s money, while many American’s sacrifice greatly of their time, talent and treasure to support their fellow human beings in need. I see that simply as a bad example of giving in proportionality by our high-profile leaders. We should expect more real compassion in all areas from our leaders when no one is looking.
About the Author: Mike Fuljenz
Mike Fuljenz is a member of the Moneynews Financial Brain Trust. Click Here to read more of his articles. He is also the editor of the NLG award winning Michael Fuljenz Metals Market Weekly Report. Discover more by Clicking Here Now.
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