Money a good thing in Scott Walker recall election - Washington Times Money a good thing in Scott Walker recall election - Washington Times

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Money a good thing in Scott Walker recall election - Washington Times

Money a good thing in Scott Walker recall election - Washington Times

SALT LAKE CITY, June 2, 2012 — Wisconsin voters look poised to deliver a fairly telling vote of confidence for their governor, Scott Walker.

To Democrats, whose heretofore legislatively-guaranteed political advantages have helped them to engineer the recall, Walker's probable victory only serves as proof that the Republican governor is unfairly buying the election.

Setting aside the obvious hypocrisy of the conventional wisdom that President Obama's unprecedented war chest represents the enthusiasm of millions of ordinary Americans, the idea that Governor Walker's win is tainted by the millions he has spent to run the campaign is preposterous.

Preposterous because  it relies on a number of assumptions that are antithetical to American democracy.

The first of these assumptions is that voters can't discern issues for themselves, that they are simply mindless automatons who are easily hypnotized by seductive advertising.

If that is the case, perhaps President Obama's impressive victory in 2008 wasn't so impressive after all, considering that he outspent his rival many times over in the closing weeks of the presidential contest.

Closer to home, the recall effort against Walker himself was financed by those with a stake in getting him out of office. He did not ask for this election, so for liberals to complain that he is raising and spending money in an effort to make his case to voters is a bit disingenuous.

Of course it was their perfect right to dedicate their own time and resources to the recall effort. Indeed, in a participatory democracy, it should be lauded. So too, should the contributions and participation of thousands of donors who have decided to commit their resources to the governor.

John Nichols complains in the Capital Times, a left-leaning newspaper, that Walker exploited a "loophole in Wisconsin election law which removes contribution limits for officials seeking to prevent a recall election." He neglects to mention that the loophole is purposeful and consistent, since no limit exists on raising funds to mount a recall in the first place.

Nor should there be. Citizens who choose to engage in politics shouldn't be hindered by laws designed to restrict how they spend time or money. And it seems ridiculous to expect that a sitting governor should be powerless while his opponents amass their forces against him setting up a recall.

Another faulty assumption that liberals make is that money from business associations (to which they try to tie Walker) is somehow less virtuous than money from other types of associations.

The Left's preferred association is the labor union, and it was they who organized what might very well turn out to be the most colossal strategic error of the past decade. Nevertheless, the fight is almost completely over union money—whether union bosses can use the machinery of the state to forcibly extract political funds from public employees—and initially financed by union money. If anyone can be accused of trying to buy the gubernatorial seat in Wisconsin, it is the public sector unions, not the current governor who already won it less than two years ago.

A third bad assumption is that money actually moves votes.

ABC news reports that the executive director of the nonpartisan Wisconsin Democracy Campaign is skeptical.

"So far," said Mike McCabe, "the tens of millions of dollars that have been spent on ads don’t seem to have moved the needle very much. Poll numbers haven’t changed much. Walker’s approval ratings haven’t changed. So the tens of millions spent don’t seem to have changed very many minds."

On the other hand, the act of contributing is a civic act that has great importance. It is a way for people to get involved and show their support for one cause or the other. So far, Walker is winning that contest, which infuriates the Left because part of their trope is that they represent the masses.

Recall the weeks and months of large scale demonstrations at the state capitol in Madison, a sign, we were told, that the people were unhappy with the governor. Their mobilization was lauded as high-minded political participation.

Some people skip work and march. Others donate a few bucks.

Democrats regularly try to "buy" elections. Governor Walker's challenger, Tom Barrett, has frantically tried to raise money. The unions have poured in precious dollars during every phase of the foolhardy recall, from the state senatorial elections to that of the state supreme court seat held by David Prosser.

If they could raise more money, they would.

For them to claim that Scott Walker is trying to buy the election simply because he has been more successful at raising money is ignorant of the role of money in American elections, and the freedoms it represents.


Learn more about the author at 

Rich is a teacher and a soldier. In addition to writing the "Rich Like Me" political column at the Washington Times Communities, he is the author of Nine Weeks: A Teacher’s Education in Army Basic TrainingTunnel Club; and Not Another Boring Textbook: A High School Students’ Guide to their Inner Conservative, which you can follow on Facebook.



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Can You Afford Not to Own Stocks? - Yahoo Finance

A dismal monthly employment report joined long-simmering concerns about Europe to cause the market a fit on Friday. The major indexes shed about 2.5%, punctuating a bout of selling that has taken the S&P down 10% from recent highs and tipped the Dow into the red for the year to date, essentially erasing strong first-quarter gains.

Amid such volatility, the urge to cut your stocks loose can be irresistible. But before you upend your portfolio plan and give in to a rocky market, take a moment to consider these three points:

You'll Be Paying a High Price for Safer Investments
As investors piled into the safe haven of Treasuries Friday, bidding up their price, the yield on the 10 year dipped to about 1.4%, a historic low and nearly a full percentage point lower than just two months ago.

Think about that: That's 1.4% on a 10 year Treasury. Do you really believe the stock fund you're looking to dump will do worse than 1.4% over the next 10 years?

Granted, most investors aren't likely buying Treasuries for their return potential on a day like Friday, but rather for preservation. But I question whether Treasury investors are really getting preservation, either. Factor in inflation, and the price tag on the Treasury security blanket becomes a real cost--with a yield that low, you're almost sure to lose money after inflation.

Now, if you need cash for immediate needs--i.e., spending money from your portfolio to cover cost-of-living expenses or unforeseen emergencies--then preservation and liquidity are key concerns, and you do need a sleeve of conservative investments, even despite the high opportunity cost of ownership today. Granted, it's better to build this allocation before the market corrects (and everyone is looking to buy safer securities), but just because these assets don't look particularly attractive from a return perspective doesn't mean you don't need some of them in your portfolio.

You Don't Have to Sell
However, if your portfolio already has an appropriate cash/liquidity allocation for near-term needs, plus an allocation to intermediate-term bonds for a few years out (as Morningstar Morningstar director of personal finance Christine Benz suggests for retirees), then really think twice about bailing on your portfolio's stock investments. After all, as part of a strategic allocation plan, these are your long-term assets--not the assets you're tapping for this month's, next month's, or even next year's expenses. So why worry about what your stocks did today if don't need to liquidate them for today's expenses?

The reason for the long-haul mentality on stocks is precisely because of days like Friday. These assets are volatile. They're going to fluctuate, and yes, even hemorrhage on some days. But the reward is that stocks should do better for you in the long run, provided you paid a fair price for them (or better yet, bought them at a bargain!).

What's a fair price? That's a worthwhile, albeit tougher question. But if, like most investors, you dollar-cost average into the stock market (invest a little bit with each paycheck), and you resist the urge to chase stocks and sectors that have already run up, then you go a long way toward mitigating the chance of systematically overpaying (buying when stocks are overvalued).

Plus, moving out of stocks entirely creates its own problem: When will you get back in? Waiting until the stock market is in a comfortable uptrend has its own cost, and it can be steep. In a recent presentation, Christine Benz pointed out that the return of those investors who missed the 10 best stock-market days (highest daily returns) from 1991 through 2010 was about half the return of the person who had a fully invested portfolio during that whole period and just stayed the course.

You Can Dial Back Stock Risk Without Selling Stocks
Although risk and volatility are often used interchangeably, they aren't really the same thing. If you're depending on a volatile asset--like a stock fund--for short-term needs, then yes, volatility and risk do indeed intersect (the fund might be depressed right when you need to sell it for cash).

But leaving that scenario aside, it's important to distinguish between risk and volatility. Good stocks can be sold in broad flights to safety, the market can overreact to bad news, or investors can sell because of short-term concerns that may hinder a stock in the near future but may actually have little or no impact on a company's long-term prospects. These actions may result in stock volatility even when the business risk (the prospects for the underlying business operations) isn't fluctuating to the same degree.

The distinction is also important because it's easier to own stocks in volatile markets when you have some confidence that the underlying business is still on track. In other words, just because you own stocks, and just because they may be volatile, doesn't mean your equity portfolio needs to be brimming with risk.

If you're looking to raise the quality of your stock portfolio and dial back the business risk, Morningstar ratings and research can help. Seek out wide-moat stocks; these are companies that, according to Morningstar's equity research, possess sustainable advantages over their competitors. And thanks to the recent downward volatility in the market, more wide-moat stocks are available at attractive valuations, a distinct turnaround from just three and a half months ago. As of June 1, the list of 5-star (undervalued), wide-moat stocks features 10 names, including Novartis(NVS), Oracle(ORCL), and Exelon(EXC). (Premium Members can see the current list of wide-moat, 5-star stocks by clicking here.)

Fund investors can benefit from our moat ratings, too, by seeking out funds that own a hefty dose of wide-moat stocks. (Premium Members can see a short list of funds under coverage that have an average moat rating of "wide" by clicking here.)

Rather than heading for the exits during market sell-offs, savvy stock investors will often use such occasions to upgrade their portfolios on the cheap. Buying high-quality stocks on the dips can enhance your long-term expected return and also buffer any future market shocks along the way. (Wide-moat funds held up much better than no-moat and narrow-moat fare during the last market crisis.) Unfortunately, such shocks are bound to happen now and then in the market, but they needn't short-circuit your portfolio plan.

Money Making Expert! Website Sold For £87m -

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2:26am UK, Saturday June 02, 2012

Personal finance pundit Martin Lewis will no longer need to take his own advice on pinching pennies, after selling his website for £87m., which gives tips on securing the best deal at restaurants, shops, household bills and insurance, has been sold to the price comparison site MoneySupermarket.

The savings website was started in 2003 and has become increasingly popular as consumers faced tighter budgets with five million subscribers to its weekly emails.

It received 39 million unique visitors and 277 million page impressions in the year to October 31, according to Google Analytics, generating £15.8m over the period.


Money-saving websites have become increasingly popular

Mr Lewis, who owns 100% of the business, will receive £35m in cash and £25m in shares upfront, with the remaining £27m conditional on meeting certain targets over the next three years, during which he will stay on as editor-in-chief of the site.

"After that, the door is open for me to carry on, and I hope to do so, though perhaps with fewer hours than now, so I can spend more time on my media work and other projects I'm passionate about," Mr Lewis said.

"These include getting financial education on the curriculum."

Despite the large windfall, he plans to donate £10m to charity from the deal, including £1m to Citizens Advice.

Mr Lewis added that the deal, which needs the approval of MoneySupermarket shareholders, would ensure the website would be around for many years to come.

He added that he chose MoneySupermarket because it was independent of specific product providers and had signed up to an editorial code which will keep the website's content free from commercial pressures.

" has become part of people's daily lives, far bigger than the man who founded it, and now is the right time for it to stand on its own two feet," he said.

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