The Beginning of the End? J.P. Morgan Chase and Co. to Charge Fees on Deposits

Posted by Jim Hoft on Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 7:55 AM at

Guest post by Joe Hoft

Cold Hard Cash

(Google Images)

What economists have feared has now officially begun – a US bank has announced it will begin charging fees on deposits.

According to the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch,

“J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. is preparing to charge large institutional customers for some deposits, citing new rules that make holding money for the clients too costly, according to a memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and people familiar with the plan.”

The article mentions that J.P. Morgan Chase and Co., which is “the largest U.S. bank by assets, is aiming to reduce the affected deposits by billions of dollars… to discourage certain deposits due to new regulations and low interest rates”.

The overall concern is related to the negative impact of negative interest rates. If it is cheaper to hold money rather than pay a bank for holding your cash, individuals will begin to hoard their cash. This will result in the US Government having to print more money to meet the need for cold hard cash. This in turn may lead to a run on the bank or hyperinflation or any number of unintended consequences – only time will tell but most scenarios are not good.  The uncertainty of what this means may impact the markets the most.

Al Jazeera’s Angry NYC Gitmo Attorney says ‘American Sniper’ Ranks Lower “Than a Meal of Broken Glass”

Posted by Jim Hoft on Thursday, February 19, 2015, 10:03 PM at

Guest post by Joe Hoft

American Sniper

An Al Jazeera opinion hit piece by radical NYC Gitmo attorney Ramzi Kassem states that the movie American Sniper is “a racist, self-involved apology for jingoism and military occupation dressed up as a B-movie”. Kassem goes on to call the movie “garbage that all too often passes for art or entertainment in this country.”

Ramzi Kassem

Ramzi Kassem says that American Sniper is about a Navy SEAL who “shoots his way through US-occupied Iraq, wasting people by the dozen without even pausing to contemplate whether Iraqis might have good cause to resist a foreign occupying force. They are simply “savages”, hell-bent on evildoing.” Kassem then calls Kyle and his “comrades-in-arms” savages and states that “almost every Iraqi who appears on screen confirms that verdict”.

Kassem clearly doesn’t want to believe many facts now evident about Iraq-

  • The US government obtained executive and congressional approval for the action to enter Iraq. (The Obama administration has bombed Libya and Syria as well as Iraq and Afghanistan. Also, the current administration is responsible for numerous drone attacks in other countries. Has the current administration requested congressional approval for any of these actions? Where is Kassem’s outrage?)
  • Although twisted by the media, the central reason for entering Iraq was Saddam’s obstinate refusal to comply with promises made emanating from the first Iraq War. His kicking inspectors out of Iraq multiple times during the Clinton years had to end after 9-11. Saddam was given an ultimatum to comply or else, and he chose not to comply.
  • The argument that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was never the focal point of the argument to enter Iraq. However, the fact that weapons of mass destruction were found has now been verified and still ignored and twisted by Kassem and the Left.
  • American soldiers were warriors in Iraq (and Afghanistan). They protected the Iraqis while killing the terrorists trying to kill them and create chaos. The terrorists were not good people protecting their homes as Kassem states with many of the terrorists found to be from countries outside of Iraq.
  • When Bush left office in 2008 Iraq was stabilized with insurgents being brought to the attention of US forces by the Iraqi people themselves. Iraqis knew the US soldiers were the good guys. Kassem does not.
  • Obama’s actions to remove the good and powerful US troops from Iraq have led to the beheadings, rapes, enslavement and other atrocities on a massive scale in Iraq. Where is Kassem’s revolt?

Al Jazeera notes that the hit piece does not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy. (But if it doesn’t agree with the piece it wouldn’t have been posted.)

Ramzi’s bio touts how he is “Associate Professor of Law at the City University of New York where he directs the Immigrant Refugee Rights Clinic.” He also is proud to represent Gitmo detainees “before US federal district and appellate courts, as well as before the military commissions at Guantanamo.”

Additional shocking news is that “before joining the CUNY law faculty in 2009, Professor Kassem was a Robert M. Cover Teaching Fellow and Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School, where he taught in the Civil Liberties and National Security Clinic.” He “also previously served as Adjunct Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law, where he taught in the International Justice Clinic”. Kassem is a graduate of “Columbia College and holds law degrees from Columbia Law School, where he was a Senior Editor for the Columbia Law Review”.

Why is this man any where near our children?


Happy Chinese New Year of the Ram…er… Sheep

The following was posted by Jim Hoft on Thursday, February 19, 2015, 7:44 AM at

(Guest post by Joe Hoft)

Year of Sheep Year of Goat


China welcomes in the Chinese New Year by saying goodbye to the year of the Horse and welcoming in the year of the Ram… or is it the Goat… or the Sheep??? Apparently it is all three. Certainly the Ram and the Sheep are the same because a Ram is a male sheep, but the goat is a different animal, isn’t it? Perhaps the ancient Chinese liked both goats and sheep and didn’t want to slight either?

Shanghai Tallest Bldg

Regardless, China today has some of the world’s greatest skylines and a massive population enjoying growing prosperity.   It has done this with social program costs that are less than 1/30th of those of the US on a per capita basis.

So while the US is being set up for a future trying to figure out how to pay off massive debts, China will continue to celebrate more years of the Ram… er… Goat…er… Sheep.


Two Months After Terrorist Attack, Sydney’s Lindt Café Remains Closed

Posted by Jim Hoft on Monday, February 16, 2015, 7:17 AM at

Guest post by Joe Hoft in Sydney

Lindt Cafe Closed


It’s been more than two months since a terrorist closed down Australia’s Lindt Café at gun point. The Sydney establishment remains closed.

Mufti Sheik Haron

The gunman who took hostages at the Lyndt Cafe in Martin Place was known to police. The Islamist wanted officials to deliver an ISIS flag to the cafe. He also said he wants to speak with Prime Minister Tony Abbott. The hostage taker in Sidney, Mufti Sheik Haron, killed two Aussies during the seige. The Islamist previously sent hate mail to Australian war widows.

The Islamist took and killed hostages before being eventually killed himself. The Lindt Cafe was known for its great chocolates before last December’s horrendous attack brought the store on Martin Place international attention. The cafe is just up the street from the iconic Sydney Opera House.

The building is still under repair to fix the material damage resulting from the horrible event. God bless the people of Sydney.

Another Obama Fail – Iran Is Now Regarded as Iraq’s Number One Ally

Posted by Jim Hoft on Tuesday, January 13, 2015, 10:45 AM at

Guest post by Joe Hoft

The Foreign Policy of an Incompetent Liberal

Yesterday it was reported,

In the eyes of most Iraqis, their country’s best ally in the war against the Islamic State group is not the United States and the coalition air campaign against the militants. It’s Iran, which is credited with stopping the extremists’ march on Baghdad.”

So much for the US lives lost in Iraq building a democratic ally in the Middle East. After pulling US troops out of Iraq, Obama created a quagmire full of death, rape and barbarism leading Iraqis to regard the terrorist state of Iran its number one ally. The future implications of a radical Iraq along the same mold as Iran are absolutely frightening.

Obama’s foreign policy has been shocking at best. His fraudulent and paltry bombing of ISIS allowed ISIS to continue its rape and slaughter of Kurds. He sided with Al Qaeda in Libya when bombing Gaddafi. He supported the Muslim Brotherhood Islamists in Egypt when they ousted US ally Mubarak.

His domestic policies are not any better, with Obamacare, the ‘Stimulus’, open borders, massive spending and more, all leading the US quickly in a downward direction.

Has anyone in US history has done more to destroy this country than Barack Hussein Obama?



Hong Kong’s Tax System: The Backbone of a Free Market

The following was Posted on on Thursday January 1, 2015


by Joe Hoft1 Jan 20150

The Hong Kong protests ended in mid-December, but the protestors vowed that they would be back. The protests in Hong Kong in 2014 were in reaction to China’s move to reign in on democracy in the region by mandating that candidates for future elections of the Chief Executive (Hong Kong’s top leader) be vetted first by China.

The protestors asked fellow Hong Kong citizens to support them in making life more difficult for the Hong Kong government by delaying tax payments to the last day possible and other activities that will prevent the government from having another surplus year. Already, the government is complaining that the protests cost the region much in cleanup expenses.

The protests, which made world headlines in 2014, did not stop commerce from taking place in the world’s top financial center and the country named tops in the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom produced by the Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Foundation. Hong Kong is known for its fiscal soundness, small government size and sound tax regime.

When one compares Hong Kong to the US in its tax regime only, one can see that Hong Kong is going to make it fiscally through any challenges the protests caused in 2014. Hong Kong has a total corporate tax rate which is amongst the lowest in the world and is well known for its simple tax system. Hong Kong’s total tax rate on corporations is 23%, with numerous incentives for corporations to reduce their tax rates further. Out of more than 170 economies researched and included in the World Bank/PWC’s 2012 study of corporate and business taxes, the average total tax rate was 44.8% of profits. The total tax rate includes all taxes imposed on a business. Hong Kong is well below the global average at 23%. The US on the other hand, has a reported total tax rate of 131%, well above the world average and Hong Kong’s 23% rate. This study shows that the total taxes the US places on corporations (e.g. payroll, property, income, etc.) are 131% of the net income reported by these same entities.

In addition, Hong Kong tax system is administratively simple, while the US tax system is complex and costs individuals and companies millions, if not billions, every year in compliance. As tax systems become more complex, they become more costly for governments as well. The comparison between the administrative costs of the US IRS and Hong Kong’s IRD for collecting tax revenues is staggering. The US IRS employed 94,000 individuals and incurred US$12.3 billion in costs in 2011. The Hong Kong IRD employed 2,818 individuals in fiscal year 2011, which was the same number of employees as the prior four years in a row, and incurred HK$1.2 billion (US$156 million) in costs in 2011. The US has a population of 310 million and Hong Kong has a population of 7 million. Based on these numbers the cost per capita for collections of revenues in the US is US$40 and the costs in Hong Kong for tax revenue collections is US$22. The cost of collecting tax revenue in Hong Kong is half as much as the cost for tax revenue collections in the US on a per capita basis. Note that this calculation doesn’t include the additional costs incurred as a result of the more than 16,500 new IRS agents being hired for the implementation of Obamacare.

Based on these numbers, the country that may be challenged fiscally by protests, and will certainly be challenged by its tax regime in 2015, will be the US, and not Hong Kong.

For more information on Hong Kong and US tax regimes and other challenges facing the US, get the book Falling Eagle – Rising Tigers. See for information about the author and how to order your own copy of Falling Eagle – Rising Tigers.


ISLAMIST TAKES HOSTAGES IN SYDNEY- Gunman Storms Cafe, Hangs Islamic Flag in Window

The following was Posted by Jim Hoft on Sunday, December 14, 2014, 8:10 PM at


AUS Lindt Hostages

An Islamist flag is seen in the window of the cafe.

The chocolate cafe is in the business district in Sydney.

Hundreds of police officers have sealed off Martin’s district in central Sydney.

At least 13 people are being held hostage in a central Sydney cafe Monday afternoon. The suspect is wearing a headband covered in Arabic. The Daily Mail reported:

At least 13 people are being held hostage by terrorists who stormed into a central Sydney cafe with a gun and forced crying women to hold a black Islamic flag up to the window.

Witnesses described how a man wearing a headband covered in Arabic walked into the Lindt cafe in Martin Place and produced a shotgun from a blue bag at around 9.45am.

Shortly afterwards hostages were seen with their hands pressed against the windows holding up the Shahada flag belonging to the extremist group Jabhat al-Nusra, which is fighting the Assad government in Syria.

There are claims that the terrorists are also armed with a machete and may have explosives but this has not been confirmed by police.

One of the hostage-takers has made contact with officers saying that he has ‘devices all over the city’ and ‘wants to speak with the prime minister live on radio’, according to Ray Hadley, from 2GB.

Armed police have sealed off streets around the cafe and Martin Place station is shut. Planes have been diverted away from the city centre.

Police have handcuffed a man 200m from the cafe with reports an officer has hit foot on what appears to be a small black handgun.

The incident began just hours after a 25-year-old suspect was arrested in a terror raid in Sydney.

AUS Lindt Police

Police have surrounded the area.

My brother ate at the Lindt restaurant twice in August during a business trip to Sydney.

AUS Lindt Receipt


(This fine restaurant is famous for its wonderful chocolates and coffees.  I visited the Cafe a couple of times on a business trip to Sydney recently and enjoyed the chocolates and coffees.  Unfortunately it will now be known for something other than its fine chocolates.)

Hong Kong Healthcare System Makes US System Look Like Third World Nightmare

The following was Posted by Jim Hoft on Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 6:30 AM at

obama sig

Obama’s Signature on the PPACA

As noted in new book Falling Eagle – Rising Tigers, there have been many comments and arguments against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as Obamacare, but when compared to Hong Kong’s health care system, the implications of Obamacare are even more atrocious.

Obamacare was a massive bill that significantly changes healthcare in the US. It does not add a single doctor to the US healthcare system and its costs are astronomical. The program was very unpopular because it was pushed by one party (the Democrats) without even attempting to address the concerns of the people let alone those of Republicans. Eventually it was passed in Congress without a single Republican vote and the 2nd tag along bill never was passed in the Senate by the 60 member vote necessary for such legislation.

On the other side of the globe, the Hong Kong healthcare system is not free but public subsidies cover around 95% of care costs and virtually all in-patient care costs. Most of Hong Kong’s in-patient admissions are in public hospitals while the vast majority of outpatient consultations are provided by private doctors.

The US, with a population of around 310 million, spent $408 billion on Medicare in 2012 and $246 billion on Medicaid, or $2,100 per capita on public healthcare for just Medicare and Medicaid alone. Hong Kong has a population of around 7 million and set aside a budget for public healthcare spending of $5.8 billion in 2013. Based on these numbers, Hong Kong’s costs are only $800 per capita on public healthcare. The US therefore spends more than 2.5 times or 250% on public healthcare per capita than does Hong Kong and this amount is an understatement as the public healthcare in this measure only includes the costs for Medicare and Medicaid in the US and not Obamacare and other US federal, state and local government healthcare programs – and Hong Kong’s public healthcare is virtually free to the individual!

Hong Kong has been working on a health program, called the HPS, to deal with rising medical costs. Obamacare and the Hong Kong HPS are totally different. With Obamacare the law requires US insurance companies to create healthcare premium rate scales where the premiums on older members cannot exceed three times the lowest premium rates in the plan. Obamacare encourages insurance companies to charge more to younger members in order to pay for the reduction in premiums on the elderly, and then mandates that younger individuals obtain healthcare coverage or pay a fine (tax) to the government. The HPS is voluntary for insurance companies and individuals alike, no mandates are necessary and fines are not assessed on individuals who decide they don’t want to pay for health insurance at the current time.

Obamacare is bad, and when compared to Hong Kong, it is even more clear to see.

For more information on Obamacare and the challenges for the American people get my book Falling Eagle – Rising Tigers.

See for information about the author and how to order your own copy of Falling Eagle – Rising Tigers.


The US Social Security Program Is Broke But Australia Has a Plan That Works

The following was posted by Jim Hoft on Monday, October 27, 2014, 6:30 AM at

SS Baby


In 1935 US President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) signed into law the Social Security Act. The law created a social insurance program designed to pay retired workers age 65 or older a continuing income after retirement. Progressive politicians love this program and talk about its virtues, some real and others made up, like they did about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two social programs that ultimately led to the 2008 worldwide financial collapse. As explained in my new book Falling Eagle – Rising Tigers, Australia has a program in place to assist their citizens in their old age too, which has many advantages over the US Social Security system.

Over recent years the demographics that made the US Social Security program affordable have reversed and today the program is crashing. Estimates were that in order to break even, US Social Security needed at least 2.9 workers to pay taxes for each retiree who receives benefits. The current ratio has been near this and dropping because the baby boomers produced fewer children than their parents did and now the baby boomers are nearing retirement.

There are many criticisms of Social Security. It is an archaic program which some call a “Ponzi scheme” and therefore fraudulent. Funds have not been set aside or invested by the federal government to offset the future promises. This would be illegal if it were done in the private sector. These promises are estimated to be more than $20 trillion. The maximum amount of taxes to fund the program has exceeded original maximums promised by politicians. If calculated, the returns the government provides on the taxes paid by individuals for their retirement incomes through Social Security are dismal. And now over the next 20 years, 10,000 individuals in the US will retire every day.

Australia’s superannuation program may be the answer to the US’s Social Security quagmire. Australia implemented an innovative retirement system based primarily on mandatory private savings in plans called ‘superannuation funds’. This system became known as the ‘Superannuation Guarantee’ and has since been modified and expanded over time.

Australia’s superannuation is a mandatory retirement savings scheme for employees. It mandates that employers contribute 9% of eligible employee earnings, similar to FICA taxes in the US Social Security program, into a fund owned by the employee. The worker cannot generally access the superannuation funds until retirement or disability. There are very few governmental restrictions on the funds as well as governmental investment asset requirements and the beneficiary selects who will oversee their funds and what investments will make up their own portfolios.

In addition to fund performance, the superannuation funds may add disability or life cover to the plans they manage. These benefits provide the individual additional coverage should an unfortunate event occur and have created a very large market for these types of insurance products for not just insurance companies but reinsurers as well. The incentive for individuals to obtain insurance coverage also benefits the country by having fewer individuals to care for under its welfare and disability programs. The Australia Superannuation Guarantee is an example of how a sensible and smart social program in a country can have a positive impact on other social programs in that country.

Overall the results of the Australia superannuation program to the Australian economy are positively staggering. The Australian markets are liquid and growing. Results from a global pension assets study produced by Towers Watson & Company in early 2013 noted that the Australia pension fund assets are the fourth largest in the world – not so bad for a country of a little over 20 million people. It is clear that the Australian superannuation scheme ‘works effectively’ while the US Social Security system does not.

For more information on how the US would greatly benefit by replacing Social Security with a superannuation scheme get my book Falling Eagle – Rising Tigers.

See for information about the author and how to order your own copy of Falling Eagle – Rising Tigers.

Shock Report: US Spends 30 Times More on Welfare Benefits Per Person Than Communist China

The following was posted by Jim Hoft on Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 9:23 AM at

Guest post by Joe Hoft

US in Red China w Stars

When Deng Xiaoping took over China in the late 1970’s, China was a very poor country. One of the first things that Deng did was to allow individuals to acquire and maintain property. This capitalistic approach started one of the greatest economic transformations in world history. More people in China have been lifted from poverty in a shorter span of time than ever before in human history. Half a billion Chinese citizens have risen out of poverty due to China’s economic swing to capitalist policies!

China still has its problems, but while the US is moving more and more towards a welfare state, China is moving more and more towards prosperity. Deng (Xiaoping) rejected any possibility of importing the welfare state into China. He insisted that the enhancement of welfare should be coordinated with the development of production. Other Chinese leaders have reiterated Deng’s approach. Today China’s welfare spending is low but it is increasing.

According to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of the People’s Republic of China, the total amount of outflows for China’s social programs in 2011 was $287 billion USD. On the other side of the Pacific, the US spent somewhere between $1.7 and $2.1 trillion USD in 2011 on health, welfare and pension (old age) benefits.

When comparing the US numbers to China’s the results are very clear. The US spent nearly seven times as much on social programs in 2011 than China. According to the World Atlas as of 2010, China had a population of 1.3 billion people and the US had a population of 310 million. Based on these numbers, China had more than four times the number of people living within its borders than did the US in 2010. The result of this comparison is to point out that the US conservatively paid 30 times more per capita to its citizens in the form of social benefits than did the socialist country China in 2011.

When we think of an example of a socialist country we probably think of China based upon its recent history with communism and when we think of a capitalist country the US is probably the first country that comes to mind. However, if the definition of a socialist country is primarily based upon the amount of dollars spent on social programs, then the US is clearly the socialist country and China is the capitalist country. Even if you do not agree with this, it is hard not to see that the line between what is a socialist country and what is a capitalistic country has become blurred.

Today communist China is becoming more capitalistic and the US is becoming more socialist. As a result, socialist China is becoming more prosperous and the US is approaching a fiscal cliff. Poverty is being reduced in China and poverty is on the rise in the US under Barack Obama.

* * * * * * * *

See more on the differences and similarities between US and China and solutions for the US from Asia Pacific in new book Falling Eagle – Rising Tigers. See also for information about the author and how to order your own copy of Falling Eagle – Rising Tigers.