With that said, I cannot understand why people would put money into gold when they can buy oil at a huge discount. As I type this, WTI oil is pricing at $80.91 per barrel. We haven’t seen this level since Feb. of 2009. That was the midst of the biggest financial crisis our generation has seen. Guess what, since then our economy has improved. I know it may not feel like it, but it has. Matter of fact, usage is up since January where oil was trading well over $100 per barrel. It is a fact that most oil production companies and countries cannot make a profit selling oil below $80 per barrel, so it is in their best interest to keep the prices at these levels. Believe me when I tell you that they have the power to do so. The only exception to this rule is Saudi Arabia. They can make money all the way down to $70 per barrel.
I don’t want to confuse this situation too much. The real comparison is to gold. Gold traded up to about $2k per ounce and has since traded back down to the $1,600 level. That is a potential of 20% upside from here and will really only materialize if the dollar falls off a cliff with that of the Euro. Remember though, that is the only real catalyst for gold… hell breaking loose. As for oil, there are many factors that can contribute to it going back over $100 per barrel which is a 25% gain. U.S. growth, improved employment numbers, a resolution of the “Euro crisis,” any strife in the middle East, or the upcoming trade embargo with Iran can shoot prices back up. I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking if I have to pay $4.00 at the pump I would rather have at least made some money on its climb in prices.
July 1st is the deadline for the Iran situation. Any lack of complete agreement with them will result in a trade embargo which will significantly decrease the world’s supply of oil. I honestly hope that things don’t deteriorate, but it is a catalyst that can raise prices. If someone would like an idea of how to play it, one could buy the ETFs USO or UCO. UCO is trading at $25.63. It is a leveraged ETF and should return to $40 per share if oil trades back up to the $100 range giving you a 56% increase if you hold it that long. USO is trading at $30.49 and was trading at $40 plus when oil was in the $100 range. That would give you an approximate of 33% should oil trade back up to $100 levels. The beauty of all this is that there is a pretty damn good chance that oil will return to $100 per barrel at some point. I wouldn’t bet against it!
Again, so that no one tries to sue me, this is not an advice piece. You should consult your advisor before making any decisions based on this information.
As we close in on Memorial day, my mind drifts to images to two soldiers dug into a fox hole sharing a lucky strike. One has a bit of a Bronxified Italian accent, the other has a the diction of a news reporter. They talk about the girls from back home they want to take to a drive-in picture show. For the moment there doesn’t seem to be any immediate danger of a Nazi soldier sneaking up on them even though you can hear the shells landing in the not-too-far-off distance. Later the conversation drifts to the Yankees and Joe DiMaggio. Neither one of them are old enough to buy a beer, but both enjoy another cigarette.
Almost every ten years we go to war. Men and women die; we remain free. I don’t mean free as in, I’m not an in shackles free, but something much more than just that. I can wake up on Sunday and go to any kind of church I want. At the beginning of the work week, I can mop floors or study at the university of my choice. If I feel disenchanted with the government, I can voice my opinion at the top of my lungs, and go out to vote. I can blog about it, update my Facebook status, or shoot out a tweet. Bottom line, as long as I am not stepping on someone else’s rights, I can do just about any damn thing I like.
These freedoms have been paid for with blood, someones son, daughter, husband, wife, grandson, lover, etc. There are no words to explain the gratitude, just an understanding of what it has taken to get here. The problem is that we are not holding up our end of the bargain. Soldiers have died on our behalf to uphold our freedoms and we are allowing a failing government to ruin what our forefathers intended us. Our nation has become bought and sold. Our lawmakers campaign and fundraise the vast majority of their political lives. While in office they fight for the people who put them there, their campaign donors.
Our veterans and those that we have lost did not fight to protect the corporatocracy of USA, they are fighting for the U.S.A. and our democratic values we are slowly, but surely, losing. We owe it to them to research the people we vote for. A thirty-second commercial does nothing to tell you about a candidate. Look up their voting record. Write a letter to your local congressman or woman about the stupidity of campaign finance and existence of Super PACs. Do something to hold up our end of the deal we made with our sons, daughters, husbands, and mothers that fight for our rights!
There are several different kinds of PAC’s (political action committee). You have your connected PAC, un-connected PAC, Super PAC, and Leadership PAC’s. They all boil down to one thing: raising and then throwing money at a particular issue or political campaign. For the purposes of this article, I will focus on the campaign type of PAC. In theory they are an avenue for people of like mind to support their favorite runner in a campaign. The thought behind this is that it is a form of free speech. “By donating my money to this Super PAC that supports (insert potential candidate here) I am voicing my support for him or her.” Leadership PAC’s are very similar but they allow for spending on “non campaign costs” and the party or elected official can start this up themselves. They can spend said money on traveling, paying administration staff, and setting up the party for which they fundraise. So, a presidential runner might have a leadership pack to pay for everything not directly related to campaigning and a Super PAC that pays for all advertising. The major difference is that they are not supposed to coordinate with their Super PAC.
Lets examine the idea of “coordination.” The Webster’s dictionary defines “coordination” as 1. the act of coordinating, 2. the harmonious functioning of parts for effective results. So to put it in political terms. A politician is not allowed to speak with his Super PAC to achieve a common goal of ultimately winning an election. Let’s take that a step further. Would showing up to a Super PAC fundraiser be coordination? As the law is defined, it is. Also, have you ever heard the end of a political commercial where they say something along the lines of, “PAID FOR BY WINNING OUR FUTURE, WHICH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONTENTS OF THIS MESSAGE, NOT AUTHORIZED BY ANY CANDIDATE OR CANDIDATE’S COMMITTEE. WWW.WINNINGOURFUTURE.COM.” This is at the end of a commercial attacking Mitt Romney for his Bain Capitol involvement. The committee is supporting Newt Gingrich by attacking Romney. It is their “free speech.” It is run by Becky Burkett and Ricky Tyler. Tyler is his former Press Secretary and Becky Burkett was his Chief Development officer for his 527 called American Solutions for Winning our Future. 527’s aren’t allowed to expressly campaign for one candidate or against another. Weird how their names are virtually identical. In the above picture you will see Newt with his staff. Two feet behind him is Ricky Tyler, but they are NOT coordinating. That would be absolutely wrong, not to say illegal. I would never imply that Newt’s staff includes a manager of his Super PAC. I could be held liable for slander so I will not imply that he would do such a thing. I’m sure that Tyler just happened to walk into Newt’s staff office accidentally. While there, he didn’t speak to Newt about where his campaign was going or what messages he was trying to get across. They certainly didn’t discuss that they should put out more commercials attacking Mitt Romney about Bain Capitol. Again, that would be illegal and unethical.
What am I getting at here? Super PAC’s are simply an avenue to dump unlimited amounts of money on a campaign. There is no way of proving coordination unless we tap their phones. Is Newt any worse than the other candidates? No, he is playing the game in front of him. It’s time to change the game. The only free speech is that coming from the candidates. The only difference is that they can get untapped donations to voice their political agenda. You might say, so what… It’s free speech. Is it really? Understand that campaign donors are being rewarded for their donations. As these donations get bigger, so do the favors they expect in return. Just look at what donations of $2500 to $5000 are getting donors: http://thelobbyisteffect.com/2012/02/28/earmarks-are-a-microcosm-of-how-government-works/ Casino owner Sheldon Adelson has donated untold millions towards Gingrich’s election bid. Does anyone really think he wants nothing in return? It goes the same for all the Presidential candidates. Our government is for sale and the price is only getting bigger. Money is NOT speech.