WEEKLY COMMENTARY October 20, 2020

How Can Not Paying Taxes Be a Good Thing for Investors and the Economy?

The New York Times and other newspapers reported recently that Trump paid only $750 in taxes in 2016 and 2017. Trump acknowledged this fact and even said these were probably just filing fees that he paid. I’m not commenting on Trump’s personal tax situation, because I don’t know what his personal tax situation is. But in general, not paying taxes can be legal and even beneficial for the economy. Here is how it works.

Trump said he made investments in hotels and got tax credits for doing so. The tax code is written to provide these tax credits so that investors and businesses will invest. Investments provide jobs – that’s good for the economy. That’s why the tax code was written the way it was. Trump went on to explain that the hotels he built created jobs. That’s not a bad thing. And it probably means that he paid little or no taxes. The alternative is that these hotels would not have been built and no jobs would have been created in the hotels that were not built. Instead of criticizing the wealthy for making investments and receiving the tax breaks that were intended to incentivize them to invest, we should be investing like this ourselves. Anyone can do this, build wealth, and save on taxes while doing so. That’s good for everyone and the economy.

My theory and paper on Intrinsinomics address this issue and many others relating to creating economic prosperity by embracing capitalism and the businesses that create value in the economy by creating value for their shareholders. It is business that creates jobs by making investments. Labor benefits by the job creation – but labor does not create the jobs. I will be presenting a paper on Intrinsinomics at the International Leadership Association (ILA) annual meeting on this very subject. The title of my talk is: Leading with the Invisible Hand. My presentation will be on Friday, November 6th at 12:15 Pacific time. Here is the link for the conference website: http://www.ila-net.org/2020Global/.

In short, everyone can become investors and business owners and get these same tax benefits. These tax breaks were intended to help the economy by incentivizing investors. We should cheer this fact – not bemoan and criticize it. Real estate investor and author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki, recorded the following video presentation addressing this topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HciM9mGWx6E.

Economic and Investment Highlights

Last Week

Officials are reluctant to force new rounds of lockdowns as the pandemic spreads across Europe and parts of the U.S.

AMC theaters warned that it could run out of cash by year end if it doesn’t raise capital or get a large increase in theater goers.

Social security benefits will rise 1.3% next year, the government said.

Jobless claims rose to the highest levels since last August amid further signs the economic recovery is losing momentum.

New coronavirus cases hit their highest levels in the U.S. since last August.

The U.S. budget deficit tripled to a record $3.1 trillion in the fiscal year ended September 30th.

Retail sales in the U.S. rose a seasonally adjusted 1.9% in September.

U.S. airlines expect it will take years for their businesses to recover to pre-pandemic levels.

Coca-Cola is dropping its iconic Tab product.

Pfizer said its Covid-19 vaccine could be available by the end of the year.

The Dow, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq all rose for the week. The Dow was up 0.1%; the S&P 500 was up 0.19%; and the Nasdaq was up 0.8%. The 10-year treasury yield ended the week at 0.743%. Gold closed at $1,900.80.20 for the week. Oil closed at $40.88 for the week.

The Week Ahead

This link takes you to Econoday’s Economic Calendar and Economic Events and Analysis which shows the upcoming economic reporting events scheduled in the week and months ahead.


Note: The models below may not capture the impact of COVID-19 beyond their impact on GDP source data and relevant economic reports that have already been released. They may not anticipate the impact of COVID-19 on forthcoming economic reports beyond the standard internal dynamics of the models.

Note: The comments that follow are derived from the economic indicators referenced in the Resources section of this newsletter and other sources in this report.

The Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti Business Conditions Index (ALS) had been trending up for several weeks from having dipped in 2019. Recently with the advent of the economic collapse, the index crashed. It has now been generally trending down again, but fluctuating within a narrow band. This is a slightly positive indicator for the economy on a short-term basis.

The GDPNow model estimate for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the third quarter of 2020 is 35.3 percent. This reading agrees with the ALS model assessment of an improving short-term economic environment.

The New York Fed Staff Nowcast stands at 14.04 percent for 2020:Q3 and 4.77 percent for 2020:Q4.

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) showed an increase in economic activity in June. The Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) was  was +0.79 in August, down from +2.54 in July.

All told, these short-term economic indicators are a mixed analysis for the economy, at least on a short-term basis.

Expectations that stock prices will rise over the next six months is now at 34.7% in a recent AAII Sentiment Survey. The historical average is 38.0% for the survey. 26.3% of the investors in the survey described their short-term outlook as neutral and 39.0% were bearish. Please see the AAII Sentiment Survey for the complete results.

The latest Gross Output (GO) reading (July 6, 2020) showed that Gross Output slowed significantly in the first quarter of 2020.

Advisor Perspectives publishes a monthly market valuation update. The following are some updates for September:

The S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq Since Their 2000 Highs

September 2020: Market Valuation, Inflation and Treasury Yields

Is the Market Still Overvalued?

Market Cap to GDP: An Updated Look at the Buffett Valuation Indicator

The Q Ratio and Market Valuation: September Update

Regression to Trend: Another Look at Long-Term Market Performance

Is the Stock Market Cheap?

Crestmont Market Valuation Update: September 2020

Advisor Perspectives has other useful and interesting investment information at this website.

On a longer-term basis, the forecasters in the Philadelphia Fed’s Survey of Professional Forecasters (as of August 14, 2020) predict real GDP will increase at 19.1 percent for the third quarter of 2020, 5.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020, 5.2 percent in the first quarter of 2021, 3.8 percent in the second quarter of 2021, and 3.6 percent in the third quarter of 2021. On an annual-average over annual-average basis, the forecasters predict real GDP to contract -5.2 percent in 2020; and grow 3.2 percent in 2021, 3.5 percent in 2022 and 2.2 percent in 2023. The forecasters predict the unemployment rate will be 10.0 percent in Q3 and 9.5 percent in Q4; and will be 9.0 percent in 2020; 8.0 percent in 2021, 6.0 percent in 2022, and 5.3 percent in 2023. The next survey release date is November 16, 2020.

The National Association for Business Economics (NABE) released its October Outlook Survey which is summarized as follows: “The NABE Outlook panel sees a strong rebound in economic activity after the collapse experienced during the second quarter,” said NABE Vice President Manuel Balmaseda, CBE, chief economist, CEMEX. “The median forecast calls for a 25% annualized growth rate in the third quarter of 2020 for inflation-adjusted gross domestic product, or real GDP. That would reverse much of the 31% annualized decline from the second quarter. However, the panel has become less bullish about the fourth quarter of 2020, as well as 2021. The median real GDP growth estimate for 2021 is 3.6%, compared to a 4.8% forecast in the June survey.”

“NABE panelists have become more optimistic, on balance, but remain concerned about a potential second wave of COVID-19,” added Outlook Survey Chair Eugenio Aleman, economist, Wells Fargo Bank. “Thirty-eight percent of panelists believe that the economy will have returned to pre-pandemic GDP levels by the second half of 2021, 32% expect it to reach that level in the first half of 2022, and 30% believe it will occur in the second half of 2022 or later.

“About half of the panelists put the odds of a double-dip recession at 20% or less,” continued Aleman. “In contrast, one out of eight panelists places those odds at 50% or higher.”

Other highlights from the survey:

The median forecast calls for the unemployment rate to average 8.4% in 2020, 2.5 percentage points lower than the median forecast in the previous survey. Panelists expect the unemployment rate to decline each quarter, averaging 6.8% in 2021, compared with the 8% previously forecasted. The unemployment rate averaged 3.7% in 2019.

Panelists look for business investment to drop sharply this year. Real nonresidential fixed investment is forecasted to decline 6%. Panelists anticipate real nonresidential fixed investment to rise only gradually in 2021, increasing 2.4%.

Survey respondents expect inflation—as measured by the GDP price index—to be significantly lower in 2020 and 2021 relative to 2019. Inflation is forecasted to be 1.0% in 2020 and 1.5% in 2021. The index increased 1.8% in 2019.

Panelists expect the consumer price index (CPI) to rise 1.2% in 2020, significantly lower than the actual 1.8% growth in consumer prices in 2019. The 2020 forecast median has increased since the June survey, when panelists saw CPI rising by 0.7%. The panel anticipates consumer price growth will pick up moving forward, with a 1.9% annual average gain in 2021.

Panelists expect corporate profits to contract by 11% in 2020. The median forecast calls for profits to increase by 8.5% in 2021.

Four out of ten panelists indicate that 5% of jobs will be permanently lost due to firms closing. More than half of the panel suggest between 10% and 20% of job losses will be permanent.

Thirty-eight percent of panelists believe that the economy will have returned to pre-pandemic GDP levels by the second half of 2021; only 2% suggest this will occur before the end of 2020, 12% believe GDP will recover in the first half of 2021, and 24% anticipate such a return in the second half of 2021. Thirty-two percent of respondents expect GDP to reach pre-pandemic levels in the first half of 2022, and 22% believe it will occur in the second half of 2022.

For a more in-depth review and analysis of the economy, please see our mini-book on economic analysis and forecasting entitled: Simple and Effective Economic Forecasting.

Stock Market Valuations

Our estimates of the market valuations for two stock market indices, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and the Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500), can be found in the file below:


During this time of global flux due to the coronavirus, I am leaving the Conclusion discussion below the same as was posted on March 23, 2020. The March 23, 2020 discussion still adequately reflects my thinking on the current state of affairs.

Important Note: While I don’t believe it is time to jump back into the stock market in a big way because of the market’s overvaluation, I have been advising the last few of weeks in this Commentary and in my weekly podcast, Intrinsic Value Wealth Report Radio, that investors can continue building their investment portfolios by selecting individual securities that offer growth and value opportunities.

Reprinted from March 23, 2020

Up until the past week, the economy had been in a stable but somewhat vulnerable state. Nonetheless, it had remained fairly strong. In fact, robust consumer spending and strong labor market conditions had given us confidence that the economy, which had been in its tenth year of expansion, could continue to grow. But we were cautious on this outlook. There were several reasons for our caution. U.S. business growth had been mixed. And global economic growth had been mixed as well. The new coronavirus was becoming a global economic threat, although it was still too early to tell how much of an effect it would ultimately have. Debt is at high levels for consumers, businesses, and government (at all levels of government). Finally, this is an election year that will likely have significant consequences either positively or negatively depending on the outcome of the elections. And of course, it is still too early to tell what the outcome of the elections will be.

In just a few days, the coronavirus’s effect on the economy and the markets went from a ripple to a tsunami. Businesses are shuttering, events are being cancelled or postponed, grocery store shelves are empty, and people are being asked or ordered to stay home. The markets are now deep in bear market territory. The effects on the economy, even given the short time that the economy has been retreating, may be with us for a long time. There is now a much greater risk of a recession, and there has even been some talk of a depression. The government, the Fed, Republicans, and Democrats, and pretty much the entire country, is trying to get the virus under control and is coming up with plans to mitigate the long-term economic effects caused by the virus. But the virus has impacted the economy – in a significant way – in just a short time. How long lasting the effects will be no one can tell right now. The economy has been largely shut down and remains so today. It takes time to restart the economy after a situation such as what is occurring at the present time.

Given these events and the rapidly deteriorating situation, as I said last week, I would caution not to panic. The economy and the markets will get better. The situation is bad – there is no doubt about that – but it will turn around. The real question is when will it turn around? No one knows that at the present time. But it will turn around.

For now, review your investment portfolios. It is highly likely that all or most of your stocks are down. You should not consider selling the bulk of your stocks – only consider selling companies that are not sound companies. But do recognize that as the economy deteriorates, even good companies will be affected.

For stock market value hunters, we believe it is still too early to jump back in. We will be closely monitoring the markets using the many tools and models that we have developed over the years to assess the economy and the markets. We will use our best judgement and thoughts to let you know when we believe things are turning around. The turnaround hasn’t happened yet.

We believe it is important to maintain a long-term view toward investing. But for now, just sit tight. Eventually, this means that you should continue building your investment portfolio using the Cassandra Stock Selection Model to select individual securities that offer growth and value opportunities.

Chart for Review and Thought

Federal Deficit

Simple and Effective Economic Forecasting Model

Note: The table and chart below have not been updated. However, we believe that a recession is quite likely. In the chart below, the bottom green line shows what a recession could look like.

Notes (GDP Growth Chart):

  1. See the July 8, 2019 Commentary for an introduction to this model.
  2. Actual numbers 2007 through 2019; forecasted numbers thereafter.
  3. Normal GDP growth is typically in the 2% to 3% range.
  4. A recession is generally defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth as measured by a country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Thought for the Week

“No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.” ~ Helen Keller


The Intrinsic Value Wealth Report has started a new YouTube channel called Intrinsic Value Wealth Report TV. You can view the YouTube channel at Intrinsic Value Wealth Report TV.

The Intrinsic Value Wealth Report has started a new podcast called Intrinsic Value Wealth Report Radio. You can listen to the podcast at Intrinsic Value Wealth Report Radio.

Dr. Wendee spoke at the Investment Club of America’s annual economic summit, called Econosummit, on Sunday March 1, 2020 in Las Vegas.

Dr. Wendee attended the The National Due Diligence Alliance (TNDDA) investment banking conference, which was held March 6-8, 2020 at the Four Seasons Resort in Dallas, Texas. This is a conference held several times throughout the year for investment bankers and registered investment advisers to learn about new opportunities in the Alternative Investment asset classes.

TNDDA Meeting in Dallas, Texas

We have been researching the use of crowdsourcing for investment ideas. We will be sending a survey out in the next few weeks to get your input on the economy and the markets; and to get any investment ideas that you would like to share. We will compile this input and distribute the results to you and our other subscribers. We have been testing our crowdsourcing models with students and have been having good success and results.

Dr. Wendee has been researching and writing a new theory of economics known as, The Value Creation Theory of the Economy (also known as, Intrinsinomics). The full paper on Intrinsinomics will be published in the near future.

Finance 3350: Personal Finance-Portfolio & Risk Management– Dr. Wendee taught teaching Finance 3350 – Portfolio & Risk Management at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) for the Summer term starting May 2020. Dr. Wendee teaches courses in Management and Finance at CSULA.

Business 548: Strategy and Decision Making – Dr. Wendee taught Business 548 – Strategy and Decision Making at California Baptist University (CBU) starting at the end of June 2020. Dr. Wendee teaches courses in Finance, Business, Strategy & Decision Making, and Economics at CBU.

Business 303: Business Finance – Dr. Wendee will be teaching Business 303 – Business Finance at California Baptist University (CBU) starting at the end of August 2020. Dr. Wendee teaches courses in Finance, Business, Strategy & Decision Making, and Economics at CBU.

Dr. Wendee presented a paper on his new theory of economics known as, The Value Creation Theory of the Economy (also known as, Intrinsinomics), at the International Leadership Association’s annual global conference which was held in Ottawa, Canada last Fall.

Dr. Wendee will present an updated paper on his new theory of economics known as, The Value Creation Theory of the Economy (also known as, Intrinsinomics), at the International Leadership Association’s annual global conference which will be held in San Francisco, California in November.

Dr. Wendee will be delivering a talk entitled: Using Alternative Assets to Increase Portfolio Returns and Decrease Risk at the BrightTalk Q4 2020 Outlook Summit on October 28, 2020. You can access additional information on the summit and Dr. Wendee’s presentation here.

Dr. Wendee will be delivering a talk  at the BrightTalk conference on December 9, 2020 on understanding the themes that are driving the world. More details will be coming in the near future.

Dr. Wendee is working on a financial planning modeling program which will be available in the near future. The modeling program is designed to assist anyone in creating a financial plan and is customizable for each person’s unique financial planning goals. A working draft of the model is currently in beta test with students. Click this link, schematic, to go to the clickable document under the subheading Financial Planning Process (Draft) in the Intrinsic Value Wealth Report to see a draft of the schematic for the new financial planning process.

Dr. Wendee has been developing an econometric model specifically designed to monitor and forecast the global economy as this current economic crisis unfolds. This new econometric model is based on other econometric models that he has designed and have used for many years. You can find some of these earlier models in Book # 6 – Simple and Effective Economic Forecasting in the sister website to this website which is called the Intrinsic Value Wealth Report. The new econometric model has been constructed with some additional tools and methods that he has learned and some that he has developed over the last several years. He will be talking more about this new econometric model in this Commentary over the next few months. His comments and forecasts on the economy and the markets going forward will be based to a significant extent on this new model.

We have begun raising capital for our fund-of-funds investment, Northwest Quadrant Opportunity Fund, LLC. The fund engineers and constructs an investment vehicle consisting of Alternative Asset investments. The fund’s objective is to build a diversified portfolio of strong, solid, steady- performing assets, with highly qualified asset managers who have proven track records that meet our underwriting requirements. To learn more about the Northwest Quadrant Opportunity Fund, LLC and to obtain an offering memorandum, please click Northwest Quadrant Opportunity Fund, LLC.

Intrinsic Value Wealth Creation pyramid

We always conclude our commentary with a discussion of the Intrinsic Value Wealth Creation Pyramid. The Intrinsic Value Wealth Creation Pyramid is designed to show some of the major categories for building wealth. It is the result of many years of study of the wealth building process; experience working with clients who have built considerable wealth; and my own personal experience building wealth. Newsletter subscribers should consult the Intrinsic Value Wealth Creation Pyramid as one of many useful investment tools while considering their investment plans.

The chart in this section is an expanded version of the Intrinsic Value Wealth Creation Pyramid Chart referenced in the Forbes.com article entitled, Nine Of The Best Ways To Build Wealth.


See our Resources section for links to economic and other resources used in the preparation of this Commentary.

This entry was posted in Economic & Business Chart Room, Economic Outlook, Entrepreneurship, Focus List, Investment Recommendations, Investments, Notes From The Field, Special Situations, Uncategorized, VDI/REEP, Visionary Ideas and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.