The best way Americans can legally reduce taxes… without moving

Legally reducing your tax bill is the best risk-free return on investment you can make.

Investing in a completely legal tax strategy means keeping 10, 20, even 30% more of your own income.

And in many cases the solutions aren’t especially exotic. For example, if you live in California, you can slash you taxes simply by moving next door to Nevada. Doing so eliminates California state income tax, which kicks in at 9.3% for income over $61,215.

Moving even further, from Nevada to Puerto Rico, means eliminating not only state income tax, but also US federal income tax.

Puerto Rico’s tax incentives allow you to pay absolutely zero US federal tax. Instead you’ll pay a low 4% tax rate on qualifying business income, and 0% capital gains tax on qualifying investment income.

Or you could move overseas and take advantage of the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, which, in 2022, allows Americans living abroad to earn up to $224,000 (if you’re married) without being taxed by the federal government.

But for many people, moving is simply not possible— due to family, work, or other factors.

Luckily, there is another powerful tax reduction strategy that does not require a change of location: tax advantaged retirement accounts.

First, you can reduce your taxable income significantly by making pre-tax contributions to a Traditional 401(k) retirement account.

In 2022, you can reduce your taxable income up to $20,500 by contributing that amount to your 401(k). And if you’re 50 or older, you can contribute $6,500 more as a “catch up” contribution – for a total of $27,000 per year.

This means that your taxable income decreases by $27,000, potentially saving you thousands of dollars in taxes.

It’s worth noting that setting up a 401(k) is pretty inexpensive. So this strategy yields an extremely high return on investment, with the added benefit that you’re saving more for retirement.

People who are self-employed, or earn income from a side business, can increase that tax-free contribution even more by using a Solo 401(k).

This option applies to business owners without any employees, anyone who is self-employed, and even those who just earn a bit of income on the side— consulting, selling on eBay, driving for a rideshare service, or renting rooms on Airbnb for example.

In this case, your total tax-free contribution limit for 2022 rises to $61,000 (or $67,500 for those 50 or older).

And there are other benefits to using a self-directed Solo 401(k).

Most typical, employer-sponsored retirement accounts offer you a very limited range of investment options.

But with a Solo 401(k), you are able to invest in a much wider range of assets, including real estate, foreign investments, private equity, and more.

Eventually, you still have to pay taxes on the money you put into retirement accounts. Generally, this happens when you take money out of the 401(k) once you’re retired.

But since most people’s smaller retirement income puts them in a lower tax bracket, the overall tax burden is low.

I cannot overstate how beneficial it is to take steps to reduce your taxes. And here’s a simple example.

Let’s assume you have $50,000 of income each year to invest. If you did not set up a tax-advantaged retirement account, and simply invest that money through your personal brokerage account, you would owe, say, 20% tax on it first.

So realistically you’d be left with $40,000 per year to invest.

Assuming you average 12% per year, after 25 years, that original $40,000 would be worth about $680,000. That’s a pretty great return.

But now let’s imagine, instead, you put the money in your Solo 401(k). In that case, the money is tax-deferred, so there is no up-front tax. You can invest the ENTIRE $50,000.

Assuming the same return— 12% per year, after 25 years, the original $50,000 invested would be worth $850,000.

In short, you saved $10,000 in up-front taxes because you invested through a Solo 401(k). And that $10,000 tax deferral resulted in an extra $170,000 investment return.

So you can see how powerful this strategy can be.

Remember, this isn’t some exotic tax loophole that’s only available to the rich and powerful. This is a completely legitimate retirement structure that has been enshrined into law for more than 50 years.

The government wants you to save for retirement. Hell, the government needs you to save for retirement. They know Social Security is running out of money, so they’ve made it as lucrative and compelling as possible for you to set aside your own money for retirement.

There are so many options available, and these types of structures are definitely worth considering and learning more about.

(If you’re a member of our premium service, Sovereign Man: Confidential, we discuss these strategies, along with helpful contacts, in a recent alert that you can access here.)

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Align yourself with the trajectory of the world

John Adams famous wrote to his wife Abigail in the year 1780: “I must study politics and war, that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. . . in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, and music. . .”

So that their children can major in gender studies and waste their lives on Tik Tok.

OK so I added that last part myself. But I believe the quote most accurately sums up the natural decline of empire.

When enough time passes, a dominant superpower begins to lose the cultural traits that made it great to begin with. Instead of being energetic, ambitious, and hungry, the population becomes complacent.

Meanwhile, hard-working rivals become wealthier by the day… rising, ascending, and eventually eclipsing the declining superpower.

History has been witness to this natural cycle over and over again, from the ancient Greek conflicts between Athens and Sparta, to the decline of France and rise of Great Britain in the 1700s.

The United States is the modern superpower that is now in obvious decline; we write about this all the time at Sovereign Man, so this should hardly be a controversial statement. As former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers once said, “There is surely something odd about the world’s greatest power being the world’s greatest debtor.”

And he’s right. The economic and financial data are clear: the US has enormous debts, huge deficits, awful inflation, and insolvent pension funds (like Social Security). The social divisions are palpable. Trust levels in institutions, government, and corporations are at historic lows.

It’s true that the US has been divided before. And the US has also seen its share of financial crises.

But simply put, America has never been battered simultaneously by so many debilitating trends. This is truly new territory for the world’s dominant power.

Now, it’s important to not get emotional about US decline. We’re talking about facts and doing our best to make a rational analysis.

And one of my conclusions is that we may be experiencing the end of an era.

For the past several decades, the US was the undisputed global superpower. And there was a great deal of peace and prosperity in the world.

After all, so many countries– China, India, Russia, etc. were getting rich selling their products and resources to the United States. Who would possibly want to screw up that balance?

We’ve seen this same cycle over and over again throughout history: peace and prosperity go hand and hand.

But things are different now. Other countries are stronger than they used to be. The US is much weaker. The power dynamics have been disrupted… and the cycle of peace and prosperity is being displaced by chaos and conflict.

This is our topic for today’s podcast.

We start in ancient Rome and discuss how the unparalleled dominance of the Roman Empire in the early 1st Century brought an unprecedented period of stability, peace, and prosperity to the western world.

Frankly it’s quite similar to what we enjoyed for the past 30 years.

But the Pax Romana, as this period is known, did not last. Neither is the Pax Americana.

We see chaos and conflict all over the world now… much of it due to the decline of the US, much of it due to bonehead incompetence from the supposed ‘experts’ who run the show.

And this new era of chaos and conflict has some pretty serious implications.

Don’t worry– it’s not the end of the world. In fact, there are some really interesting opportunities for anyone with the independence of mind to look at these facts and trends rationally.

And we discuss some of these in today’s podcast, including things like real assets, and investing in neutrality.

I explain, for example, what today would be the equivalent of having a Swiss passport in 1935. Or which specific asset classes are extremely relevant in a world where resource nationalism is a real possibility. And how cryptocurrency fits in to a cycle of chaos and conflict.

These big picture trends are all very clear– it’s the obvious trajectory of the world right now. And it makes a lot of sense to align yourself with that trajectory of the world.

You can listen in to the podcast here.

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How to earn 9.62% during stagflation

It all started innocently enough.

It was July 2, 1997, and the Prime Minister of Thailand had just announced that their currency– the Thai baht– would no longer be pegged to the US dollar.

Big deal, right? It doesn’t seem like a boring press conference about an emerging market currency in Southeast Asia would even be noticed by too many people, let alone ruffle any feathers.

And yet this announcement kicked off one of the biggest global financial crises in modern history.

Today we call it the Asian Financial Crisis. But its effects quickly rippled across the world, wrecking havoc as far away as Brazil, Russia, and the United States.

The basic plot was that foreign investors had been shoveling money into Asia’s “Tiger Economies” for several years; stock markets in places like Thailand and South Korea had soared. And investors were confident that their money was safe, in part because of the Thai currency’s peg to the US dollar.

But underneath the high-flying financial markets, these Asian economies had serious cracks… including rapidly growing mountains of debt.

When Thailand abandoned its currency peg, the fantasy of magical stock market returns quickly vanished, and investors yanked their money out of the region.

Economies across Asia crashed almost immediately, and a severe recession took hold. Thailand’s currency went into freefall, dropping an unbelievable 55% over the next several months. This triggered nasty inflation in Thailand that quickly surpassed 10%.

In short, it was stagflation: a deep economic contraction, coupled with steep inflation.

But it was actually much worse than that.

Because in addition to economic contraction and retail price inflation, Thailand also experienced asset price deflation.

In other words, while food, fuel, rent, etc. were becoming more expensive, assets like stocks and real estate were quickly losing value.

Thailand’s stock market dropped a whopping 75% during the crisis. Bond prices fell. Property prices fell. There was no shelter from the financial anywhere in the country– pretty much the worst economic conditions imaginable.

Although much less severe, these are similar conditions to what the West is facing today.

On one hand, we have a recession. And yes, the ‘experts’ in the federal government, all the way up to the President of the United States, have thus far refused to use the word “recession”.

They don’t care if you think we’re in a recession. You’re not entitled to an opinion. Only the “experts” get to make that decision. But let’s just pretend for argument’s sake that a recession is coming.

Then we have this inflation nightmare– which has been brought on by the experts’ incompetence in dealing with a public health crisis, combined with other experts’ incompetence in worsening a geopolitical crisis, further combined with yet other experts’ incompetence in engineering an energy crisis.

Another win for the experts!

The two of these together– inflation plus recession– is stagflation.

But like Thailand in 1997, it’s worse than that, because we’re also seeing asset price deflation.

The S&P 500 stock index is down 17% from its peak last year. And frankly stocks probably still have a long way down from here.

Economic conditions today, for example, are obviously much weaker than they were in early 2020, just prior to Covid. But today’s stock prices are still about 15% higher than they were back then, when the economy was still strong.

So there’s an easy argument to be made that stocks can easily go down from here.

Bond prices are also falling as interest rates rise (bond prices move inversely to interest rates, so as rates rise, bond prices fall).

Real estate prices are in decline; data from Redfin and Zillow show that US home prices peaked in May at about $430,000; they’re now down about 5%. And with mortgage rates rising, there’s a good chance that home prices will keep falling.

A lot of commodities are down. Alternatives like crypto, gold, and silver are down (for now). And even holding savings in a bank account pretty much guarantees that you will lose more than 8% per year to inflation.

This is quite unusual. Typically, even in an economic decline, there’s at least one asset class that’s a safe haven, i.e. stocks go down but bonds go up. Or bonds go down but commodities go up.

Now it seems that most major asset classes are falling in tandem. It’s exasperating. But here are a few ideas to consider.

First, one of the major effects we’re seeing right now is a rapid loss of confidence in central banks. And this is a really, really big trend.

Investors have long believed in the infallibility of central bankers– that these unelected bureaucrats, these ‘experts’, can flawlessly manage their economies and financial markets to perfection.

This fantasy is quickly unraveling. And the sheer incompetence, neglect, and ignorance of central banks has been exposed for all to see.

After all, if central banks were actually good at their jobs, inflation wouldn’t be 8% right now. And they would have predicted it long ago.

People are starting to realize there are major problems in the world. Energy problems. Food problems. And they recognize that central bankers are powerless to do much about it.

Central banks cannot print more food, or create more energy through quantitative easing.

But people can. Businesses can. And it makes sense to consider investments in these types of real assets, especially important resources that the world really needs, including food, energy, and productive technology.

Second, there are still plenty of great businesses and great investments out there. But what worked in the past is not necessarily the right approach today.

For the past several years, investors could throw money into some random index fund and expect a decent return. That was because, at the time, pretty much everything was rising in tandem (which was also unusual).

But index investing is a bizarre concept when you think about it. An index fund invests your money in everything, regardless of price or quality. When you invest in an index fund, you’re essentially buying shares of the WORST performing businesses, right alongside the best ones.

That might not be as wise an approach today. In this environment, it may be more sensible to consider shedding the worst performers… and only focusing on the best, highest quality, and most undervalued investments.

Third, the benefit of so much fear and paranoia right now is that there are plenty of undervalued assets, whether it’s a commodity like uranium or carbon, or shares of well-managed businesses. There are plenty of energy and agricultural firms whose share prices are down right now. Fertilizer businesses are dirt cheap, if you’ll pardon the pun.

Last, there are alternatives for cash.

Your bank probably pays no interest, or some ceremonial 0.2% rate.

But you can buy a 2-month T-bill right now that yields more than 3% on an annualized basis. The six-month T-bill pays nearly 4%.

And the Treasury Department’s “I-Bond” series currently pays 9.62%.

I-bonds (technically “Series I Savings Bonds”), like most US Treasury securities, can be purchased through the government’s website TreasuryDirect.gov.

I-bonds have a limit of $10,000 per person per year, so it’s small change. And you have to hold them for at least one year before you can redeem.

But they’re definitely worth learning more about as a more attractive way to save money.

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“Chestfeeding People” is the New Gender Inclusive Term in UK Hospitals

Are you ready for this week’s absurdity? Here’s our Friday roll-up of the most ridiculous stories from around the world that are threats to your liberty, risks to your prosperity… and on occasion, inspiring poetic justice.

Chestfeeding People” is the New Gender Inclusive Term in UK Hospitals

The Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals are part of the UK’s National Health Service network.

In a recent bulletin, the hospitals lay out their new policy on “Gender Inclusion Language Guidance in Maternity”.

“For us, a gender-additive approach means using gender-neutral language alongside the language of womanhood, in order to ensure that everyone is represented and included.”

Apparently the term ‘breastfeeding’ is now offensive according to our social warlords. And it’s even more offensive to refer to a mother who’s nursing as a “breastfeeding woman,” because that terminology is not gender-inclusive.

So the hospitals will therefore begin referring to such people as “chestfeeding people”.

The hospital cites precedents set by the British Medical Association which “recognises that a large majority of people who get pregnant and give birth are women however some may be trans men or non-binary people.”

Therefore, the term “pregnant people” is more politically correct than “expectant mothers”.

Click here to read the bulletin.

Getting the right answer in math class is White Supremacy

A recent update from the Oregon Department of education encourages math teachers to sign up for an online course meant to “Dismantle Racism in Mathematics Instruction.”

The course tells math teachers, for example, that “White supremacy culture shows up in math classrooms when… [t]he focus is on getting the ‘right’ answer.”

Other white supremacist math practices include tracking students’ progress, and requiring students to meet academic expectations.

Click here to read the material.

Google Offers “Black-Owned Business” Label to Online Retailers

Google now allows Black-owned online retailers to add a label which says a business, “identifies as black owned.”

However, there does not appear to be any proof required to change your business identity to black-owned.

We wonder whether Google will eventually have to start auditing some entrepreneur’s claims… or how they’ll set up an adjudication process if someone identifies as Black, but consumers dispute the claim.

In case you’re wondering, Google has no labels for businesses owned by trans, non-binary, Native American, disabled, queer, etc. individuals.

Click here to read the full story.

Singer Fined €3000 for Singing With his Son

A Bavarian court fined a German folk singer €3000 for violating child labor laws.

His crime: allowing his then four year old son to sing a song with him on stage in 2019.

The father and son sang “What a Wonderful World” while the rest of the family, and audience, watched. The German government considered this “employing” the child for the half hour or so he was on stage.

If this had occurred between 8am and 5pm, no crime would have taken place. But because German law prohibits children from from performing after 5pm, the 8pm concert violated the child labor law.

So the German government is treating this dad as if he sent his son down into the coal mines.

Click here to read the full story.

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This free gift from the government is going to expire in a few years

In the early first century AD, in the final years of his reign, the Roman emperor Augustus imposed a new tax on his subjects called the vicesima hereditatium.

In Latin this means literally “twentieth of inheritance”, and in effect it was a 5% tax (i.e. 1/20th) on money and property that was inherited after someone died.

Augustus exempted close relatives from paying the tax– so someone’s children, for example, didn’t have to pay. But everyone else had to fork over a piece of the action to the Roman state.

Subsequent Roman emperors modified the law; Trajan, a second century AD emperor, created a ‘floor’ for the tax, so that anyone who inherited below a minimum amount wouldn’t have to pay.

And, as you can imagine, the tax rate rose over time.

Rome wasn’t the first civilization to come up with an estate or inheritance tax; there’s evidence going all the way back to ancient Egypt that the Pharoahs taxed the property of the dead.

And these days, estate and inheritance taxes remain a perennial favorite of bankrupt governments who are in need of cash.

To them, the only good wealthy person is a dead wealthy person, and there’s nothing they love more than stealing the assets of dead rich people.

After all, the political consequences are minimal: dead people don’t cast ballots (unless they’re voting for Joe Biden.)

The mere concept of a death tax is pretty offensive when you think about it. They tax you when you earn. They tax you when you save. They tax you when you spend. And they even tax you when you die.

But like all taxes, there are always ways around it.

There are steps you can take, for example, to dramatically reduce your income tax (i.e. the taxes you pay when you earn). You can maximize tax efficient retirement contributions, move to a lower tax state, take advantage of Puerto Rico’s extraordinary tax incentives, etc.

You can take steps to reduce taxes when you save– for example, establishing a robust retirement account like a solo 401(k), or a foreign structure like a Maltese pension plan.

Similarly, you can take completely legal steps to ensure the government doesn’t confiscate your assets once you’ve passed away.

And frankly now is the best time to think about doing this if you’re in the Land of the Free.

This isn’t just for older people. In fact, thinking about estate tax is especially true right now IF YOU’RE YOUNG!

First– some background.

Just like the Roman Empire under Emperor Trajan, the US federal government has a wealth limit, below which your ‘estate’ is not subject to any tax after you pass away.

But those limits vary from year to year.

2001, for example, was a terrible year to die.

That’s because the estate tax exemption back in 2001 was just $675,000. And the net value of your estate over that amount was taxed at a whopping 55%.

Over time, the exemption went up. And after the tax reform of 2017, the estate tax exemption is now $11.7 million per person, $23.4 million per couple.

Let’s be honest: that’s a lot of money. And most people will think, “Big deal, I’m worth less than $23.4 million, so I don’t even need to think about estate tax.”

But just remember that the $23.4 million exemption is set to expire in 2026, at which point the exemption drops back down to $6 million per person.

Again, though, you might think, “But I’m worth less than $6 million, so I still don’t need to think about estate tax.”

But consider the following:

A) The Bolsheviks who have invaded the media and political establishments LOVE the idea of taxing dead people.

And as the US national debt continues to rise, and the Bolsheviks continue spending unbelievable amounts of money on everything from the Green New Deal to Universal Basic Income (aka ‘Covid Relief’ in disguise), they’re going to need more funding sources.

So it’s totally possible they could whip the estate tax exemption back down to a MUCH lower level.

B) States also have estate and inheritance taxes

Even if the federal exemption level doesn’t change, bear in mind that states have different limits and taxes too.

For example, Rhode Island’s estate tax exemption is much lower– around $1.5 million. Washington state’s estate tax maxes out at 20%, and Nebraska’s top inheritance tax rate is 18%.

C) This matters even more if you’re young.

If you’re a broke 20 year old, you might think that making a few million bucks sounds impossible. Don’t underestimate yourself. Life is long and full of opportunity. And as crazy as the world is, talented people of integrity will always be able to create value and build wealth.

I know it’s a difficult exercise when you’re young, but if you think 70+ years down the road, you could easily find yourself having achieved far more financial success than the estate tax exemption.

So taking steps now while the exemption is high makes a lot of sense.

And that’s the entire point: right now the exemption is far greater than most people’s level of wealth, which makes it a golden opportunity to think about estate planning.

For example, setting up a properly structured domestic trust is a great option to consider.

Through a trust, you could still essentially retain control over your assets, but move them out of your taxable estate forever.

Here’s an example: Imagine you’re starting a new business. On day 1, your business is essentially worthless. So you set up a perpetual, revocable trust in a South Dakota and move, say, 40% of the shares into your trust.

In time, your business becomes successful and ultimately worth $15 million.

But since 40% of it is held in the trust, at the time of your passing, you -personally- would only own 60% of the shares, i.e. $9 million.

Depending on what the exemption level is at that time, hopefully many decades from now, you may or may not owe estate tax.

But the 40% of the shares that your trust holds, worth $6 million, is completely free of estate tax, presuming the trust is properly structured.

This is one way to shield at least a portion of your assets from estate tax.

It makes sense to consider moving appreciable assets into a trust. You might want to think twice before putting depreciating assets (like a car) into a trust.

But putting shares of a well-managed business, cryptocurrency, or real estate, into a trust, means that as those assets appreciate in value, ALL of it can be shielded from estate tax.

Again, even if you’re well below the exemption level, it makes sense to think about doing this. Because the Bolsheviks could decide tomorrow morning that they want to yank the exemption back down to a much lower level.

Right now, for most people, the current $23.4 million is enormous. They’ve given everyone the opportunity to move (in practical terms) virtually unlimited assets out of our taxable estates.

We know this opportunity is set to end in a few years. And they could change the rules and end this exemption much sooner than that.

So it really makes sense to think now about the future while the window of opportunity is wide open.

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This simple Plan B option can make an enormous difference

One of the most important lessons that a lot of people learned the hard way last year was how important it is to have OPTIONS.

Nearly everyone on the planet suddenly experienced, almost in unison, an astonishing loss of freedom, practically overnight.

Local public health officials went from being little-known bureaucrats to being totalitarian warlords with the full power of an entire police state at their disposal.

Before Covid hit, they about as much authority as the local dog catcher. Then all of a sudden they were forcing us to shut our businesses, close our schools, and remain at home, afraid.

Their edicts have been truly ridiculous. They instruct young people how to properly copulate in the Age of Covid. They tell people we must isolate ourselves from loved ones, because we should all be “alone… together.”

They blithely ignore the spiraling rates of suicide, depression, untreated cancers, alcoholism, and domestic violence that have resulted from their policies.

Anyone who disagrees with them is canceled, censored, and ridiculed.

They’ve created a culture of fear, convincing people to be terrified of physical contact with one another.

And their propaganda has dehumanized us all. People are no longer human beings to them— we’re all diseased vermin who need to be tightly controlled.

It’s safe to say that NO voter ever awarded them such vast powers. But it’s unlikely that they’ll relinquish the authority they’ve seized anytime soon.

And that leads me back to having other options.

We’ve written to you a lot about obtaining a second citizenship and passport to open more doors worldwide; a second passport ensures you’ll have someplace else to live and work, outside of your home country.

Simply put, having another citizenship provides another option. If you tire of your local public health warlords, you might find another jurisdiction to be more relaxed and easy-going.

And having a second citizenship means (typically) that you’ll be allowed in, even if the borders are closed.

This isn’t always the case; Australia is a notable exception, where they’ve tried to prevent their own citizens from returning home.

But most countries are nowhere near this level of insanity.

Now, there are plenty of ways to obtain a second citizenship. For example, a number of countries provide citizenship if you can prove an ancestral link. Other countries basically sell passports through their official ‘economic citizenship’ programs.

But these can take a while.

An easier (and typically must faster) approach is to obtain legal residency in a foreign country.

Having legal residency is similar to citizenship; if you’re a legal resident, in most cases they’ll still let you in, even if the border is closed.

And as a legal resident, you still have the right to live, work, invest, do business, etc. in that country.

The key difference is that, with citizenship, you’ll also receive a passport from that country, which means you can travel the world and enter other countries using that passport.

With residency, you don’t receive a passport— although the immigration law in most countries does entitle legal residents to eventually apply for naturalization and citizenship. So obtaining residency can be a good first step towards a second passport.

These days, having a second residency is a great option for a Plan B. It means that, in most cases, you’ll have at least one more option.

So if you decide you’ve had enough of the public health dictatorship, you’ll have another place to go.

Frankly you could even obtain legal residency in 2, 3, or half a dozen other countries, each of which represents another option.

For example, you could obtain residency in Chile (which is counter-seasonal to the northern hemisphere, so it’s summertime in Chile when it’s winter in North America and Europe), and simultaneously have legal residency in Mexico.

We just held a Total Access even in Cancun a few weeks ago, and it was an extremely relaxed environment. Nobody was running over to pepper spray you if you weren’t wearing a mask, or had the audacity to shake hands with another human being.

And Mexico is a pretty easy place to obtain legal residency; you can complete about 95% of the application process without leaving home, simply by sending the paperwork to your nearest Mexican consulate.

Panama is another country which offers dozens of ways foreigners can obtain residency, most notably through Panama’s ‘Friendly Nations Visa’… though there are plenty of other ways as well.

Or maybe Europe is more your style. This could be an especially great option for US citizens, who have been barred from entering most European countries for the better part of the last year.

Portugal, for example, still offers legal residency through its ‘Golden Visa’ program, where you can purchase qualifying property in exchange for residency. https://www.sovereignman.com/golden-visa-programs/

(Portugal’s Golden Visa rules will change significantly starting next January 2022— more on this soon.)

Spain, Greece, and Malta also have Golden Visas. Then there are shorter-term residency visas of one year available from Bermuda, Barbados, or the Republic of Georgia that could be great options for remote workers and digital nomads.

The point is— there are plenty of options around the world. And having more options makes a lot of sense right now.

You might never even use it. But there’s no downside in having another place (or 2, 3, 4 other places) to go.

But if you ever really need it, you’ll be very happy that you invested a little bit of effort into that backup option. And that’s what a Plan B is all about.

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Japan’s stock market finally surpasses its level from 30+ years ago

On April 3, 1948, when Europe and Japan were still smoldering from the devastating effects of World War II, the United States government passed a massive stimulus bill that became known as the Marshall Plan.

The Marshall Plan was highly controversial; the US national debt was at an all-time high in 1945 due to all the wartime spending.

So dumping another $12 billion (more than 25% of tax revenue that year) to rebuild nations that they had just spent four years destroying seemed pretty stupid.

But the administration of President Harry Truman was adamant. Without substantial aid to help Europe and Japan recover, they were concerned that yet another costly war would break out– after all, Hitler’s rise to power was only possible because of Germany’s economic devastation after the first World War.

More importantly, Truman was terrified that if the US didn’t step up to rebuild Europe and Japan, the Soviet Union would fill the void… and communism would rapidly spread.

So the Marshall Plan was passed… and Japan became one of its biggest success stories.

In addition to grants from the US, Japan’s government set out to replicate US-style capitalism in their own country.

They encouraged competition, loosened regulation, and ended government support for the giant conglomerates known as zaibatsu that had previously controlled every Japanese industry.

Within a decade, the Japanese economy had already surpassed its pre-war level– which was an astonishing feat for a nation that had seen two major population centers demolished by atomic bombs.

By the 1960s, Japanese economic growth was so strong that it began to be referred to as a ‘miracle’. And western economists pointed to Japan as an incredible example of how capitalism can build widespread prosperity.

By 1980, Japan was one of the largest, most dominant economies in the world. The Japanese economic ‘miracle’ was starting to terrorize western nations, including the United States.

Japanese factories could manufacture innovative, high quality, inexpensive products and ship them all over the world, threatening many industries in western nations.

So in 1985, US President Ronald Reagan pushed for an international agreement with Japan that became known as the Plaza Accord.

The Plaza Accord was complicated; but Reagan’s ultimate goal was to push the Japanese to strengthen their currency against the US dollar in an effort to make US products more competitive internationally.

But the Plaza Accord didn’t exactly go according to plan. Instead, it created a massive asset bubble in Japan which, to this day, they still haven’t recovered from.

After the Plaza Accord, Japanese policymakers nearly doubled the money supply and slashed interest rates to historically low levels.

And, faced with rising inflation and meager prospects to save their money, Japanese citizens started buying stocks, and real estate. Interest rates were so low, after all, that it was incredibly cheap for them to borrow money and invest.

Property prices in Japan soared; within two years of the Plaza Accord, real estate in the six largest Japanese cities jumped more than 40%.

Property in Tokyo became more expensive than comparable property in London or New York. And within a few years, Japanese real estate was worth five times more than all the property in the United States combined.

Meanwhile, the Japanese stock market went through the roof, with the Nikkei reaching an all-time high of 38,957 on December 29, 1989– more than 5x higher than it was at the beginning of the decade.

But eventually the Japanese central bank grew concerned about the rising debt levels, inflation, and the multiple negative effects that cheap interest rates were having on the economy.

So they slowly began to increase rates.

The stock market dropped almost immediately in response to higher rates.

By October 1990, the market had fallen by nearly half. And then it essentially stagnated for twenty years, finally hitting rock bottom in 2011 when the Nikkei index fell to a level it hadn’t seen since 1982.

In other words, Japanese investors who bought stocks in 1982 and held for 29 years would have realized ZERO return on investment.

Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the Japanese government tried desperately to reinflate the bubble. They slashed rates, provided direct subsidies to business, created tax incentives… but nothing worked.

Finally, literally today, the Nikkei stock index cross a major milestone– 30,000. This is a level that it had not seen since the bubble started to burst in 1990.

Yet even still, Japan’s stock market would have to increase another 30% for it to surpass its all-time high set in 1989.

There’s an important lesson here.

We’re living through a worldwide financial bubble right now; central bankers around the world have expanded their money supplies to record levels and slashed interest rates to historic lows… including negative rates in many countries.

Their efforts have pushed asset prices– especially stocks and real estate– to record highs.

The stock market is no longer about picking well-managed companies with high quality assets. Nearly ALL stocks have been rising, even companies (like CocaCola) with shrinking businesses and declining revenue.

The stock market is merely a bet on whether central bankers will continue to succeed in pushing asset prices higher.

In a way, they’re handing out free money by engineering gains for everyone holding stocks and real estate. It’s also possible they’re able to keep this up for another few years.

(And there’s nothing wrong with speculating on this, as long as you fully understand the risks.)

But bubbles always end.

They can last a long time. Years. Sometimes decades.

And the longer they last, the longer people think the bubble will continue to last; investors start to believe that property and stock prices will go up forever, and the bubble will never end.

But, again, they always end. Often suddenly and viciously.

Central bankers may try to engineer a ‘soft landing’. But as the story of Japan shows, policymakers are sometimes helpless to prevent a major crash, the consequences of which could last for more than an entire generation.

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New Covid Guidelines: “Stay Away from your Loved Ones”

Are you ready for this week’s absurdity? Here’s our Friday roll-up of the most ridiculous stories from around the world that are threats to your liberty, risks to your prosperity… and on occasion, inspiring poetic justice.

California Public Health Department: “Stay Away from your Loved Ones”

“Love means staying away,” according to the California Department of Public Health.

The agency is using taxpayer funds to run ads with the tagline “Mom’s advice: Send flowers. Write a card. Stay away and protect your loved ones this Valentine’s Day.”

They even coined a new hashtag: #LoveMeansStayingAway.

And the ad campaign wouldn’t be complete without pictures of mom’s sharing photos of themselves with the hashtag written on their masks.

Abandoning your loved ones is heroic.

Shame. Guilt. Obey.

Click here to see the propaganda.

White People Not Qualified to be Foster Parents

A Montreal foster agency has told a white couple that they were not eligible to foster a child because the office is ‘saturated with Caucasian families.’

The Canadian couple applied and were accepted by their local foster agency. But when their file was transferred to another region with more children who needed homes, they were told:

‘[W]e are so saturated with Caucasian families that we have no need to look further for them in other boroughs. What we really need are black families and hispanic families. We don’t need Caucasian families.’

So there are plenty of kids in need. But the families who want to take them in are being denied for having the wrong skin color.

How noble of them. Clearly this foster agency is putting the children first.

Click here to read the full story.

Disney excommunicates heretical un-woke actress

Gina Carano, a mixed martial artist who became an actress in the popular Disney+ series “The Mandalorian” was fired from the show this week because of her “abhorrent and unacceptable” social media posts.

So you’re probably wondering— what qualifies as abhorrent and unacceptable?

It started last year when she posted humorous meme saying “Democratic government leaders now recommend we all wear blindfolds along with masks so we can’t see what’s really going on.”

This was blasted by the media as “mask misinformation.”

She further committed heresy by posting a photo of a man in a crowd of Nazis who was the lone person not giving the Nazi salute. The Twitter mob then inundated her with demands to declare her allegiance to the cause by saying that ‘All Cops Are Bastards’, which she refused to do, so she was branded a “bootlicking racist.”

She also posted a picture of someone wearing multiple masks with a caption, “Meanwhile in California…”

Additionally, she posted a message saying “Jeff Epstein didn’t kill himself,” which is also heresy because it doesn’t conform to the official narrative.

And most recently she drew comparisons to how the Nazi government encouraged people to hate Jews… then wondered how that’s different from fomenting hate over someone’s political views.

This was the last straw, and so she was summarily dumped by Disney for “denigrating people based on their culture and religious identities.”

Pretty remarkable considering the only culture she denigrated is the culture of extreme intolerance and hypersensitivity that dominates the woke Twitter mob.

Click here to read the full story.

Grocery Stores Close After California “Hero Pay” Ordinance

Long Beach, California already mandates a $14 minimum wage.

But the town wanted to reward essential workers who braved the Covid pandemic to serve customers. So it forced all retailers that employ more than 300 workers nationwide to pay an extra $4 per hour to all essential employees.

Faced with the prospect of shelling out a minimum of $18 an hour to all employees, the supermarket chain Kroger announced it would close two grocery stores in Long Beach.

Looks like those hero workers are now out of a job, not to mention all the consumers with fewer food stores available.

In other TOTALLY UNRELATED news, Kroger is launching a pilot program for entirely self-checkout stores— no employees required.

Kroger owns about 2,800 stores in 35 states. As calls mount for a nationwide $15 minimum wage, this is obviously only the beginning.

Click here to read the full story.

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An absurd look at the Marxist, ultra-woke “education” system in 2021

In honor of Black History Month, schools across the Land of the Free are adopting a curriculum that’s being pushed from the organization Black Lives Matter.

Curiously, the “Black Lives Matter at School” curriculum has absolutely nothing to do with history, let alone black history.

Instead, the organization presents an entirely Marxist, ultra-woke agenda.

The first clue is that the website literally states “we engage comrades” through the curriculum’s 13 guiding principles.

One of these guiding principles is “disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure” and replace it with “villages that collectively care for one another, and especially our children.”

Wait, what? OUR children? Now we’re supposed to award untold influence over our kids to self-described “trained Marxists” ?

But this only scratches the surface of the curriculum.

Under the organization’s “Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” there are lesson plans which endeavor to teach young students about why they should join trade unions when they become an adult.

And they go on to teach that everyone is “entitled to economic, social and cultural help from your government.”

One resource in the curriculum advocates printing money to implement a “systemwide social justice shock,” including “free universal health care… and direct subsidies [i.e. universal basic income].”

Another teaches “that white supremacy is a fundamental component of our founding documents. The Constitution was not a document to promote democracy, but to prevent it… my students engage in an activity where they see this unfold in the classroom.”

One lesson plan instructs teachers to have their students “Write your own hex poem, cursing… specific people who have been agents of police terror or global brutality” including “small micro aggressions… i.e., people who say ‘all lives matter’. . .”

And they do this with incredibly young, impressionable children who absorb everything like a sponge.

For example, the curriculum suggests instructing kindergarten students that ‘Everyone gets to choose if they are a girl or a boy or both or neither or something else’ as part of ‘freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking.’

This seems totally appropriate for a five year old!

To be fair, some of the curiculum is grounded in good intentions. They teach kids that everyone has a right to be themselves, and that discrimination is stupid. Those are great lessons.

But the way they cram it down everyone’s throat is appalling.

For example, one curriculum resource was written by an individual who self-describes as a “queer disabled autistic nonbinary femme writer and disability/transformative justice worker.”

You can’t just be a human being anymore. You can’t just be Bob or Maria. You have to provide a laundry list of ways that you self-identify with victim groups.

This is what passes for credentials these days.

It almost reminds me of those silly royal titles that monarch’s use. In Game of Thrones, Queen Daenerys self-stylized as “Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, the Mother of Dragons . . .”

Now it’s “Queen of the Bolsheviks, first of her name, rallier of woke mobs, Arch-Tweetress of problematic vocabulary, Lord-Commander of the social justice warriors, vanquisher of the cis-male, and defender of the nonbinary femmes.”

This curriculum teaches young people that you gain power in our society– not through accomplishments and deeds– but by gathering more titles of victimization. More titles means more power.

The propaganda and indoctrination starts in kindergarten and continues for 13 years.

And you might think when you reach university you can finally acquire a real education.

You pay $70,000 in annual tuition, for example, to attend one of the top schools in the world, Princeton University in New Jersey.

And what greets these students seeking a higher education?

First off— Princeton has a “Social Contract” now that students must sign, obliging them to nearly three dozen requirements ranging from obtaining a flu shot, to not leaving Mercer County until the end of the semester, to ratting out fellow students who do not comply.

But perhaps the most riciculous development yet was when the school newspaper ran a ‘Dear Abby’ style column last month from a “sexpert” explaining how students should engage in sexual intercouse in the age of COVID.

The article advises students to abandon physical contact altogether, and instead use remote sex toys that can be controlled through online apps.

Obviously they haven’t heard the news that such sex toys have been hacked, and users’ private parts were literally being held for ransom by hackers.

The “sexpert” goes on to advise that, if students absolutely must meet in person for sex, they should wear a mask, avoid kissing, engage in an appropriate position, and use “external/male condoms”.

Note the language— you have to say ‘external/male’ when referring to condom so that you don’t alienate men with vaginas, or women with penises.

The sexpert also advises that students wear a “dental dam” for added protection. I had to look this one up— it’s basically a giant rubber barrier around your mouth.

[image of dental dam]

Sexy time!

And just to prove there’s no limit to their ridiculousness, the sexpert concludes by telling students they should “order from your favorite online Black-, female/femme-, or queer-owned sexuality shop.”

God forbid you buy a dental dam from someone without regard to the vendor’s gender, race, or sexual orientation.

There was a time when the purpose of education was expand minds.

Now the intent is to close minds… to strip students of any ability to think critically, and replace intellectual independence with woke, Marxist propaganda.

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Move over Bill Cosby. Here come the Covid Criminals

Earlier this week, the right honorable politicians of the United Kingdom rolled out strict new Covid travel rules.

Bear in mind that the UK already has some of the strictest Covid rules in the world right now. People must stay at home and only go out if they have a “reasonable excuse”.

Anyone who attends a gathering of more than 15 people faces steep fines of 800 pounds (about USD $1,100), and anyone who organizes said gathering faces a fine of 10,000 pounds.

All ‘non-essential’ businesses are closed. And, just like incarcerated felons, Brits are allowed to exercise outside once per day.

Now, those rules have been in place already for the past few weeks. But on Monday, the government established harsh rules for travelers.

Effective immediately, anyone who arrives to the UK from the so-called “red list” of countries, (including all of South America, Panama, most of southern Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Portugal, etc.) must purchase a quarantine package that costs around $2,400 per person.

The rules require that travelers from the red list quarantine in government approved hotels (not at home), and the package includes accommodation, testing, etc.

As a further measure, the new rules also threaten fines and imprisonment of up to TEN YEARS if anyone is found lying about their travel history in order to avoid the quarantine package.

You read that correctly. Ten years in prison.

The British government, naturally, has defended the severity of these penalties, with the Health Secretary stating, “I make no apologies for the strength of these measures. . . People who flout these rules are putting us all at risk.”

This is typical, small-minded thinking of the scare class.

They believe that Covid is such a terrible scourge that no measure is too harsh, no liberty is off limits. And anyone who isn’t sufficiently terrified is a threat to public health and national security.

This is the same fanatical logic that cause the wholesale dismantling of our freedoms after 9/11. Terrorism was the terrible scourge twenty years ago, and, similarly, no measure was too harsh, and no liberty off limits, to protect us from it.

Reason has been completely abandoned. Even very prominent voices call anyone who disagrees with them a “murderer”.

In late December, for example, one outspoken British medical researcher told BBC Radio that people who don’t socially distance and wear masks “have blood on their hands.”

But what about all the people who have died or been severely injured BECAUSE of the Covid measures?

What about the dramatic increase in suicides, alcoholism, and domestic abuse?

What about the alarming rise in self-harm among children?

What about the untold numbers of people who don’t realize they have unchecked cancer growing inside of them, because they’ve been scared away from having routine mammograms, pap smears, colonoscopies, etc. that would have caught a malignant tumor early?

It seems to me that these Covid rulemakers… and the house cats who cheer them on… have blood on THEIR hands.

Not to mention– threatening someone with ten years in prison for lying about their travel history seems completely absurd, especially when compared to other sentencing guidelines.

It turns out, for example, that according to section 61(2)(a) of the Sexual Offences Act of 2003, administering drugs to someone in order to engage in unwanted sexual intercourse (e.g. Bill Cosby) can carry a lesser sentence than the new Covid rules.

In fact I’ve taken the liberty to provide a partial list of other crimes in the UK that carry an equal or lesser sentence than lying about your travel history:

Sexual Assault: 10 years [Section 3(4)(b) of the Sexual Offences Act of 2003]

Racially-motivated assault: 2 years [Section 29, Crime and Disorder Act of 1998]

Child Abduction: 7 years [Section 4, Child Abduction Act of 1984]

Sexual Activity with a Child: 5 years [Section 16, Sexual Offences Act of 2003]

Intent to injure her Majesty the Queen: 7 years [Section 3, Treason Act of 1842]

Possession of child pornography: 3 years [Section 66, Coroners and Justice Act of 2009]

Causing death by careless driving: 5 years [Section 20, Road Safety Act of 2006]

So, in summary, rapists, traitors, violent white supremacists, murderers, and pedophiles, can receive lighter sentences for their crimes than someone who lies about having been to Portugal.

This is what constitutes good governance in 2021.

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