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Tax Reformers Eye New 401(k) Tax

Gold last traded at $1,328 an ounce. Silver at $17.86 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices consolidated Wednesday on short-term profit-taking and a firmer dollar. U.S. stocks traded mixed as Apple and tech stocks fell, which capped gains in the broader market.

To 'Pay' For Tax Reform, Congress May Tax Retirement Savings -Real Clear Markets
"Top Administration officials are considering taxing deposits into 401(k) savings plans up front. The short-term fiscal benefit to the tax collector would be significant. But the cost to the economy could be enormous. Taxpayers have been taking advantage of 401(k)s to save for retirement since 1981. It was an unintended consequence of a law enacted three years earlier to allow taxpayers a break on taxes on deferred income, and its impact has been tremendous: As of March of this year, 401(k) plans held $5 trillion in assets on behalf of about 55 million active participants and millions of retirees. Trillions have poured into markets, providing ready access to capital, deeper, more liquid markets, and a more secure retirement for millions at a time of rising life expectancy and falling birthrates....Treasury and White House advisors may think they have discovered a potential windfall in tax revenue. But a Joint Economic Committee study determined there is a bigger pot of gold at the end of the rainbow than the beginning, concluding that deferring taxes on a mutual fund's capital gain ultimately increases federal government revenue by producing larger account balances and higher tax revenues when sold. In other words, taxing 401(k)s at the front end will result in more short-term pain for the taxpayer, and less long-term gain for the tax collector."

data breach The Unseen Storm: It Could Put America Underwater Forever -Pontification Blog
"We have seen the devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, and this week we marked the anniversary of history-changing terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 that destroyed America's World Trade Center towers and murdered 3,000 people. But a potentially even more destructive attack has just happened, almost unnoticed because it produced no dramatic television images. This attack struck 143 million Americans (most of whom have not yet felt it) and could put our nation underwater for years to come - perhaps even drown our personal and national economy and prosperity. Call it Financial Storm Equifax. This Atlanta-based company - one of America's three giant credit reporting agencies - announced this September that hackers had penetrated its computers and stole data for at least 10 weeks before being detected on July 29....What did Equifax do when it discovered the hack of its computers? It delayed notifying its 143 million 'customer' victims for more than a month...Equifax executives did act quickly, however, to sell at least $1.8 Million of their company stock shares before the bad news became public....People claiming to be the hackers, meanwhile, sent a dark web statement that they 'are two people trying to solve our lives and those of our families. We did not expect to get as much information as we did, nor do we want to affect any citizen.' These hackers promise to destroy the data if Equifax helps them 'monetize the information' by September 15th by paying them a mere 600 Bitcoins, a cryptocurrency - 600 of which are presently worth approximately $2.6 Million."

The size and velocity of new cyber-attacks are growing quickly. This recent attack on Equifax could be followed by attacks against the U.S. banking system, power grid and/or transportation systems. Read AMERICA'S CYBER-HIT LIST, a new Swiss America Research Report that reveals hundreds of the biggest U.S. firms that have been hacked in recent years and what you can do to protect your money.

Another Landmine on the Path to Tax Reform -Bonner/Bonner And Partners
"Yesterday, the Dow fell 234 points - or roughly 1%. No big deal. Commentators said investors were worried about disasters - both natural and man-made....Curiously, the natural disaster may help delay the man-made kind. Congress was setting up for a bloody fight on the debt ceiling increase. Now, according to this morning's headlines, it may be able to slip the debt ceiling increase into the pocket of a bill to provide disaster relief to the Texas coast....The debt ceiling will be raised one way or another. This is an economy and a government that live on credit. Since the bottom of the 2008 financial crisis, federal debt has increased five times faster than the economy that supports it. And stock prices have been going up 10 times as fast. There is no way the Deep State would ever allow its credit to be cut off....Stocks measure not today's values... but tomorrow's. If investors pay record prices today, they must see an even brighter future tomorrow. But where? How? We squint. We put on our glasses. Try as we might, we can't see it. What we see is a polished floor, with marbles scattered all over it. And there, coming in the front door, with big feet and a small head, is Mr. Government....When the flat feet find the round marbles - watch out."

Here's How Trump Can Reshape the Fed -Bloomberg
"Stanley Fischer's surprise early exit from the Federal Reserve makes President Donald Trump's biggest economic decision of the next few months even starker: whether to preserve continuity at the top of the nation's central bank - or not. Chair Janet Yellen's term expires in February, and her reappointment hasn't been seen as likely. Fischer, the vice chairman, announced Wednesday he will leave the Fed in October. Both are former economics professors and longtime central bank officials....Previous presidents have gone for continuity in Fed appointments because it usually pays a big dividend: stable financial markets. If confidence in the Fed is lost, falling stock and bond prices can exert a massive penalty on White House popularity and the economy....'Trump is obviously unpredictable. He has run his whole campaign and presidency as flying in the face of past practices,' said Mark Spindel, co-author of a new book on the Fed titled The Myth of Independence. 'But maybe he understands something about interest rates.'....Yellen is Trump's most obvious continuity choice. However, he has also mentioned that he is considering Gary Cohn - his top White House economic adviser, and a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. president - for the job."

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