Dump Trump

…and those who support him. The website #grabyourwalltet identifies all the companies that contribute in someway to the Trump family wealth.

Wikipedia indicates that Trump’s stock portfolio is valued somewhere between $33.4 million and $87.9 million . Public stock investments within his portfolio include General ElectricChevronUPSCoca-ColaHome DepotComcastSanofiFordConocoPhillipsEnergy Transfer PartnersAlteraVerizon CommunicationsProcter & GambleBank of AmericaNikeGoogleApple Inc.Philip MorrisCitigroupMorgan StanleyWhole FoodsIntelIBMBristol-Myers SquibbJohnson & JohnsonCaterpillarKinder MorganAT&T and Facebook. His financial market investment accounts are kept at JPMorganBarclaysDeutsche Bank and Oppenheimer. His Barclays account includes investments in 32 entities and cash worth between $49,021 and $396,001 and having stock in two accounts at Deutsche Bank that contain cash, treasury bills, and stock in 173 entities. His investment account with Oppenheimer contains cash and has 31 positions worth between $10,380,031 and $33,301,000. His account with JPMorgan contains stock in 60 firms valued between $1,251,008 and $2,617,000.

Trump has also invested $1 to $5 million in Advantage Plus, $1 to $5 million in AG Diversified Funds, $2 million in MidOcean Credit Opportunities, $4 million in Paulson & Co., and around $5 million with Angelo, Gordon & Co.. Trump’s biggest fund holding has been in Black Rock‘s Obsidian Fund, where his stake is estimated to be between $25 million to $50 million. Nearly all of Trumps’s open end mutual fund investments are concentrated in Baron Capital Management, a mid-sized mutual fund family headed by mutual fund mogul Ronald S. Baron.

The easiest to avoid will be anything with the Trump name on it and boy are there a lot.

Trump Financial, Trump Sales and Leasing (residential sales), Trump International Realty (a residential and commercial real estate brokerage firm), The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative (a for profit business education company, formerly called Trump University), Trump Restaurants (Located in Trump Tower and consisting of Trump Buffet, Trump Catering, Trump Ice Cream Parlor, and Trump Bar), GoTrump.com (a former online travel search engine), Select By Trump (a line of coffee drinks), Trump Drinks (an energy drink for the Israeli and Palestinian markets), Donald J. Trump Signature Collection (a line of menswear, men’s accessories, and watches), Donald Trump The Fragrance (2004), SUCCESS by Donald Trump (a second fragrance launched by the Trump Organization and the Five Star Fragrance Company, released in March 2012), Trump Ice (a line of bottled water), the former Trump Magazine, Trump Golf, Trump Chocolate, Trump Home (home furnishings), Trump Productions (a television production company), Trump Institute, Trump: The Game (1989 board game with a 2004 re-release version tied to The Apprentice), Donald Trump’s Real Estate Tycoon (a business simulation game), Trump BooksTrump Model ManagementTrump ShuttleTrump MortgageTrump Vodka, Trump Steakhouse[117][128] and Trump Steaks. In addition, Trump reportedly receives $1.5 million for each one-hour presentation he does for The Learning Annex. Trump also endorsed ACN Inc. a multi-level marketing telecommunications company. He has spoken at ACN International Training Events at which he has praised the company’s founders, business model and video phone. He earned a total $1.35 million for three speeches given for the company amounting to $450,000 per speech.

Finally Kushner Industries as owner Jared Kushner lead Trump’s campaign.

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What Do Banks Produce?

Bernie Sanders says banks have assets equaling sixty percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Bloomberg says banks are bigger than the GDP. But what is GDP? Well, according to Investopedia “The gross domestic product (GDP) is one of the primary indicators used to gauge the health of a country’s economy. It represents the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a specific time period. You can think of it as the size of the economy.

GDP is the size of the economy. Why would banks representing 60 percent or more than 100% of the economy be important? Well, the economy is the total dollar value of goods and services produced over a specific period of time. If GDP is used to gauge the health of the economy then it should follow that if banks are bigger than the economy then their health reflects the health of the economy. Anything that negatively affects banks negatively affects the economy. We felt that effect in the 2008 recession.

When you think of banks, what goods and services do you see them producing? The only thing tangible I ever see coming out of a bank is money. But banks don’t produce money, the federal reserve does right? That is partially true. The federal reserve prints paper money and the treasury mints coins. So the banks don’t physically produce anything. But how can they represent more than the GDP?

That’s where things get interesting. Again, according to Bloomberg banks are not required by U.S. accounting standards to record the full amount of derivatives and mortgage backed securities on their balance sheets. If they were required to then they would be twice as big as they are because derivatives and mortgage backed securities are considered assets. That’s where we may get to the difference between Bernie’s assertion and Bloomberg’s. Bernie might just be looking at what is recorded on the balance sheets and Bloomberg is looking at the additional securities that are not recorded.

What are derivatives and mortgage linked securities and why are they so important to the health of our economy? A derivative is a contract between two or more individuals based upon a specific asset. It’s total value is determined by the price of that underlying asset and has absolutely no ownership interest in that asset. So you have an asset like JPMorgan which closed at a price of $78.83 this last Friday and you have a derivative of JPMorgan. Let’s say the derivative is a call option at a strike price of $79 with an expiration date of December 2, 2016. The last traded value of that option was $.63. Now that call option gives me the right to buy JPMorgan stock for $79 and it costs me $.63 to buy that option. It’s cheaper to me to buy the option than it is to buy the stock but if the stock goes down then I lose my $.63. In order for me to make money the stock has to go above $79.63.

But why would anyone buy an option like that? Say the stock went to $80. If I bought the stock I would have made a dollar. If I bought the option I would make $.37. Not that great of a deal right? But if you look at it in terms of the return on my investment, investing in the option has afforded me a greater return, 58.7% vs 1.2%. In order to buy that option you have to pay JPMorgan’s market maker $.63.

So you have the stock’s intrinsic value and you have the value of the derivatives of that stock. To give you an idea of how large that derivative market is let’s look at just JPMorgan’s call options. The strike prices available range from $50-$115 in increments of $.50 for a total of approximately 120 different strike prices. Multiply that by 15 different expiration dates and you have 1800 different options you could invest in.  Now consider that JPMorgan can offer 50,000 of each of these 1800 different options for sale and you have significant amounts of money being gambled on the price of JPMorgan stock alone. Now multiply these numbers by 3831 which is the number of optionable stocks and you begin to see that Bloomberg is probably right when they say banks are bigger than the US economy.

But what does that mean for you and me? It means that as long as we invest in any of those 3831 optionable stocks there is a chance that once again our investment could be halved by a recession. My suggestion? You’ve heard it before buy local, buy used, compare prices, give yourself a raise, do your research and change the world by directing where your money goes.

 

Your Spending Drives the Economy

Economics, specifically microeconomics is the study of how consumers and producers make their decisions. This includes three major players: the consumer, business and the government. All three of these players are important in making the economy run smoothly and efficiently. When one or another of these players does not spend money the economy comes to a halt. This happened in 2008 with the real estate bubble. Because banks had not reflected the true value of their real estate assets the market crashed and consumers saw 1/3 of their wealth evaporate. With this reduction in wealth consumers couldn’t spend. That left it to business or the government to spend money. In 2008 businesses did not step up to the plate and spend the money that needed to be spent in order to keep the economy rolling. That left it to the government. If the government had not spent the money they did at the time, then the economy of the entire globe would have come to a screeching halt. You remember this right?

Business could have spent the money. Banks could have spent the money. They didn’t. The bailout money the government gave them to help spur the economy, they kept. All this is said to emphasize what power the consumer has to direct the economy. Where we spend our money. Where we keep our money. These decisions affect the direction of the economy. Why do you think you get ads on your computer, on your FB page, in your email, on your phone, on the radio, on billboards? It’s because businesses are vying for your money. They need you. If you don’t spend your money they don’t survive. So spend it wisely.

Spend your money at those businesses that support your values, that support your community, your region of the country. You want to know why the Rust Belt voted for Trump? It’s because he identified with the reality that nobody is spending money in those regions. No businesses are spending money in those regions. You want your region to come back economically? Quit waiting for someone else to fix it. Take the money you have and spend it in your community. Quit shopping at Walmart, they’re based out of Arkansas. You want your money to go to Arkansas? Quit buying Budweiser. That money goes to St. Louis. Quit buying from Amazon. That money goes to Seattle. Get to know your community. Drive around. Stop in those businesses. Find out what they sell. Buy from them. Don’t shop online.

Top Reasons to Buy Local

The biggest benefit I see to buying local is that, compared to an online retailer, you return almost fifty times the amount of money back to your community. This increases the wealth of everyone in the community. It decreases taxes because it puts less of a strain on infrastructure. It employs more local people. It fosters choices more in line with the values of the community. It creates a more cohesive community which leads to less crime. It is healthier because with the increased cohesiveness there is the tendency to address health problems more effectively and the food is better for you.

Buying local also increases the unique characteristics of your community which increases tourism. When you go on vacation do you eat at a chain restaurant or do you sample the local fare? Do you shop at Walmart or do you try the local shops who have a more unique selection? Do you engage in the cultural activities that only your destination has to offer or do you choose the same types of entertainment you can find in every major city? You choose the local color of course. Otherwise, why would you go on vacation? Encourage others to enjoy a richer cultural experience when they come to your town. Support your local businesses.

If you want to increase your wealth and the wealth of your community get  involved with your local business alliance. They can help.

 

Supporting Local Business

Supporting local business means not giving our hard earned cash to the one percent. To do that we need to know who the one percent are and what companies they own. Today we focus on Monsanto. Hugh Grant is CEO of Monsanto. According to Forbes his total annual compensation is $26 million and five year cumulative compensation is over $157 million. Here are the products Monsanto makes. If you want to keep your cash out of Hugh Grant’s pockets, don’t buy these products.

Next on our list is Warren Buffet. Forbes puts his net worth at $66.4 billion. Here are the companies he either owns outright or is invested in through his investment company Berkshire Hathaway.

warren_buffett_holdings

But we also need to become aware of alternatives for those products. I found this video on my Facebook feed. It’s about a guy out in Lone Pine California who makes guitars. He’s not an alternative for Warren’s or Monsanto’s products but if you could use a guitar you might look up David Lorah. Just a thought.

Food

 

cookbook_logo_b&wThe Occupy Cookbook is a “do it yourself” program that shows you how to keep your hard earned cash out of the hands of the one percent.

Today we’re going to look at food. We all know that good nutrition is essential to our health and well being. In fact, a good healthy diet coupled with exercise can contribute to a healthy heart, stronger bones, an increased sense of well being and lower health costs. Exercising lowers our risk for many types of diseases including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and lung disease, just to name a few. It also has been proven to reduce depression as evidenced by a study done by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Now many people think that eating healthy is more expensive. It is. A study done by the Harvard School of Public Health puts that added cost at $1.50 per day or almost $550 per year. But, if you craft a good wellness program for yourself a study done for the Harvard Business Review shows that for every dollar you spend on a wellness program you end up saving $2.71. So, by eating healthy and exercising regularly you actually save $1.21 per day or over $440 per year.

But what does eating healthy look like? After watching leading experts in the fields of health and healing at the Seeds of Doubt conference in 2014,  I have to say it’s not eating genetically modified foods.

From 1997-2002 there was a doubling of peanut allergies. In 2006 one in seventeen kids had a food allergy. In 2014 it was one in thirteen. The CDC reported that from 1998 to 2008 there was a 265% increase in the rate of hospitalizations due to food related allergic reactions. This 265% correlates to the first ten years of the introduction of genetically modified foods.

Currently 1 in 68 children have autism, 1 in 10 have asthma and 1 in 3 have allergies, ADHD, autism or asthma. And cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in American children. Rates of autism have increased 30% from 2012 to 2014. The CDC estimates that of the kids born in the year 2000, one in three Caucasion kids, and one in two Children of Color will be insulin dependent. Now I’m not saying that all of these things are caused by genetically modified food but if by eating healthy and exercising regularly we can save money, be happier and live healthier lives I think it pays to stay away from GMOs.

But, trying to figure out which products are made from GMOs and which aren’t isn’t easy, especially when according to Nation of Change.org  in 2007 Monsanto owned 87% of the world’s genetically modified seed and spends billions of dollars lobbying to avoid GMO labelling. So why don’t we have someone else do that work for us.

Enter your local food co-op. Food co-ops around the country focus on providing healthy local food. As for carrying non-GMO food they are probably the leaders in the food industry. A study commissioned by the National Co-op Grocers shows that co-ops generally carry 82% organic compared to 12% at conventional grocers. Organic produce has to fight disease to survive as compared to chemically supported produce which needs chemicals to survive. That means that organic produce is healthier. So you’re more likely to get healthy food at a local co-op than you are at a conventional grocer.

Unlike conventional grocers food co-ops are owned and governed by their members. Which means they serve and benefit their local communities more than conventional grocers. For every dollar spent at a co-op thirty eight cents is returned to the community versus twenty four cents for conventional grocers. Food co-ops are almost always regionally based. They invest in local farmers at a rate of 2.4 times that of conventional grocers.

When you look at produce, local produce is going to be fresher and provide you more nutrition. A study done through the University of California at Davis,  shows that fruits and vegetables are the most health promoting when harvested close to peak maturity. In North America produce can spend up to five days in transit after harvest. Produce grown in the southern hemisphere may take a few days if shipped air freight or several weeks if transported by refrigerated ship. At the retail store produce may spend 1-3 days on display before purchased and up to seven days before consumption.

The longer produce is separated from the plant the more nutrition it loses. In some instances produce is harvested prior to reaching it’s full nutritional value then loses more of it’s nutrition in transport. This is all to say that the most nutritious produce is, that which you pick in your own garden, bring to the table and eat right away. The next most nutritious is that picked at a local farm that morning. And when you consider the value of nutrition lost from farm to supermarket (2-55%) those non-organic, early harvested, transported products actually cost more.

Now we’ve shown you that eating healthy doesn’t have to be more expensive. And that local produce is more nutritious. But there are other costs here that we tend to ignore. One of those is the carbon footprint of food grown out of state compared to that grown locally. Food grown out of state has to be trucked in state. That requires labor and transportation costs. Locally grown food has lower costs in both of these categories. Buying from the big guys means you’re contributing to global warming more than if you buy local.

Another advantage to buying at the food co-op is the recycling factor. At a co-op you can buy in bulk and reuse your own containers. And co-ops recycle 96% of their cardboard versus 91% by conventional grocers, 74% versus 39% of food waste and 81% versus 29% of plastics. So you cut down on waste, which again decreases your carbon footprint.

Well, there you have it. Shopping at a food co-op saves money, increases your health through better nutrition, supports your community, keeps you away from doctors, the medical industrial complex and keeps your hard earned cash out of the hands of the one percent. And many food co-ops pay you a dividend at the end of the year. They figure how much money they’ve made and spread it out amongst their members. Crazy, huh?

That’s it for this version of the cookbook. In our next blog we hope to show you how to supercharge your nutrition for pennies on the dollar by growing your own micro greens.

Jim Sea holds a Masters in Divinity from the Iliff School of Theology, a Masters in Social Work from the University of Denver, was a registered investment advisor and a residential realtor.