A Closer Look

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with Anthony Newcombe

#CancelStudentDebt – some alternatives? 

The Issues: 

  1. Who gets relief? 
  2. What happens to those who “responsibly” paid off their debt? 
  3. Who’s on first? ⁉️

Mark Cuban weighed in on this matter a few months ago.  If the super-rich say we should do something, then, shouldn’t we just fall in line?  America seems to follow the lead of the rich and famous every single time.  What changed this time around?  Did I miss something?

Background

Anyone who follows me online knows one thing: I’ve made myself abundantly clear on my position regarding this subject matter. It’s littered on my social media profiles, I post about it all the time, and I honestly believe it’s as much a hindrance to our young graduates’ futures as inflation, climate change, gun control, abortion rights, and/or any of the other “hot-button topics” we spend so much time and effort arguing about these days.  Let’s face it:  a pile of debt does absolutely nothing positive for someone starting out in the current business or real-world environment.

Solutions

However, let’s not be selfish or naive.  We know there’s another side.  Let’s go there.  Right now.  One counterargument is: “Why overlook those who paid their balances?!” Let’s not do that.

What if the government followed through and struck $10,000 of student debt for those who are carrying a balance at this time; while also providing a $10,000 federal tax credit to those who can prove they already paid their balances in full? Of course, included could be an “opt-out” provision for those who don’t require either, correct?

Like everything else, it’s never going to be a cheap or simple solution.  Just like with all the other ongoing crises: Ukraine, Covid-19, homelessness, etc.  However, what it does provide is a reasonable alternative that is fair and all-inclusive.  And  how do we pay for it?  It seems as though  somewhere in that $30 trillion dollar pile of debt we’ve accumulated, there must be something that can be shifted around to do this.  Congress just needs to work much harder and more diligently to find a way to make this happen.

It’s sort of like that old auto mechanic commercial, “you can either pay me now, or pay me later.”

Any thoughts?

See you in August (try to stay cool till then guys!)

-A.N.

Profile

Anthony Newcombe is a 4-time entrepreneur, author, narrator, and full-stack developer. He blogs about nearly every topic possible and enjoys tinkering in the yard on weekends.

A Closer Look …

with Anthony Newcombe 

Let’s take a closer look …

Date: January 6, 2021 

This month’s topic:  

Hello 2022 … how is it different than 2021? 

 2020’s #NYE thought: “Wow, if we can just get to 2021, all will be fine!”  And then, chaos on Capitol Hill. This, followed by the Delta variant incurring its wrath. Now it’s Omicron. “Wow, if we can just get to 2022, all will be just fine!” Well, what the h*ll are we supposed to do NOW?! 

Last fall, others simply fretted over whether they would be able to exchange gifts over the holidays. Remember the shipping container fiasco? Will that holiday gift arrive on time? If so, when and how much more will it cost? Should I go onto Amazon.com like almost everyone else who used to shop in the brick-and-mortar retail stores? We better hope and pray these guys never need a government bailout!  

Now, we’re in 2022 (exhale)  

Factoid: we just tallied over 1 million new U.S. infections in one day earlier this week. Some Americans are having to wait in line for hours for COVID tests or pay up to $75 per testing kit at a local pharmacy. All this simply to determine whether or not they can return to work or send their kid(s) back to school for the new year. Worse yet, it looks like the few checks sent last year for childcare are instead being diverted to pay for overpriced groceries, gasoline, school supplies, medications – just to name a few.  

 So, with all this, one would think 2022 would bring about a “fix” for our problems. Well, with just a few days into the new year it doesn’t seem so, does it? Interest rate hikes are looming (and expected to rise beginning EOQ1 2022), gas prices are forecasted to hit $4.00/gallon (or more) in many states, which translates to practically $6.00/ gallon in some spots like California.  Home prices are skyrocketing still, but let’s face it: who can really afford to move anywhere “cheaper” in the country? 

Any ideas? 

See you next month (at the gas station) 

-A.N. 

A Closer Look 👁👁

👁👁with Anthony Newcombe 👁👁

Let’s take a closer look …

Happy Holidays ALL!!

This month’s topic: Required Tests for Congress Members

We’re going to end this year with a BANG!! Let’s just call it like it is: we need to require all candidates who run for all congressional seats and judicial appointments to pass a test that ensures they are: qualified, sane, interested, and able to perform all of the necessary duties of the job. We don’t have this in place at the time this blog goes to publishing.

COMMON SENSE RED ALERT!!

Q: Could we ever be able to be hired for or allowed to start set foot in a job that we didn’t even want to succeed in?   
 

Q: Would we ever be granted access to secrets of any business without first providing proof of qualifications for the position?  
 

Q: Might we ever see a situation where employees (decision-makers) are allowed to cavalierly sit back and allow the company they are in charge of to be smashed to smithereens?   
 

Clearly, the answers to all of the above hypothetical scenarios is of course, in fact, NO!!  
 

It would never happen, and if it did, there would be a swift and permanent termination of employment and possible legal consequences beyond.   
 

For these reasons, it seems asinine that we would think that this couldn’t, isn’t, or would never happen to our governing bodies. We are observing some of the most clear-cut examples of people with who have zero interest in continuing democracy: blitzing seats, refusing to govern, and participating in the some the most vile, pathetic – let alone dangerous – behavior imaginable. Why are we sitting back and allowing it?  Why the continued lack of outrage?
 

Current major areas affected  
 

Covid-19/ our collective health: 800,000 dead … say no more.  
 

Overturning laws/ court uncertainty:  If we no longer can trust the people who are creating, writing and adjudicating our laws, then how the heck are we supposed to abide by them?
 

Debt ambivalence: $30 Trillion? $35 Trill? How about a nice, round $40T?  Why does it seem nobody’s bothered by this number anymore? 
 

Civil disobedience:  Are we paying attention to all of the destruction and anger we have towards each other?  How about sharing commercial airplanes, public roadways, and other community space? Is it now the one with the biggest fists, guns, or whatever the one who has the last say?  What have we become?  
 

⏰Wake up call ⏰

Look people.  I don’t enjoy stopping at red lights in big city traffic any more than the guy next to me who thinks he’s Mario Andretti.  But, one thing I do know … is if we all decide to continue to do our own thing, society as we know it may not know we all won’t last or be around much longer.  I mean, how could it?!
 

Happy holidays (seriously) and see you in 2022 (… hopefully)

-A.N.

A Closer Look …

with Anthony Newcombe 

Let’s take a closer look

Date: November 5, 2021 🦃🍂🌧️

👀This month’s topic:  👀

Did the American Worker Burnout (on America)? 

We’ve always pride ourselves on our “American work ethic.” The number of hours we labor, the few paid vacation days we take advantage of – always the highest and lowest in the world respectively.  Now, with decades of blood, sweat and tears invested, we seem to be reevaluating ourselves (and with it, our bosses, workplace, culture, etc.) ALL AT ONCE!  

Perhaps that it seems so overwhelming right now.  We were so entrenched in our commutes, schedules, balance “act” with family, etc., that events like Covid Pandemic Job Participation have forced us to stop, sit (at a distance), and rethink everything about our pre-pandemic lives.  Who knows, it may turn out to Psychology of Work-Life Balance During Covid one of our proudest moments, or, in many cases, the tipping point to nowhere. 

One thing that is not helping us is the perpetual gridlock in D.C. and locally too.  We live in what is termed one of the most thriving economies in history, but still see more homelessness, climate decay, and rotted infrastructure in its midst.   

How are we supposed to weigh our professional futures collectively when we can’t even pass a bill to fund so many of those jobs and plans?  How is it possible to continue to vote for leaders who only show up for us to convince us to “come through for them” by voting every term?  Of course, the years in between are always filled with lip service, finger-pointing and, to quote a very young woman enmeshed in the global climate battle: (“blah, blah blah”) Climate Change “Boils Over” Around Global Summits  

 It’s a lot easier to tell people they need to retain the motivation to work hard – much harder to show them the way to prosperity.  “Being accountable,” “keeping your word,” “following through.”  Those were simple phrases we not only embraced but rarely had to define in decades past.  Now, there’s a perpetual inability for those in leadership positions to do this. It’s even cost the jobs of many who attempt to do so!  We need to look in the mirror, face the music, and make some drastic changes NOW!  Otherwise, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the American worker, and with it – the American Dream – vanishes forever. 

What do YOU have to say about this?  We’d like to hear it! 

See you next month for our 2021 finale! I’m out!

A.N. 

A Closer Look …

with Anthony Newcombe 👀👀

Let’s take a closer look

October’s topic:  

The “Cottage Industry” has caught up with me (finally)

20-plus years working in a remote setting … and wouldn’t change a thing! 


Well, it took a while, but what can I say:  I TOLD you so!  Well, not entirely.  I spent much of my time since 1999 believing I had to keep some sort of secret or something. I asked myself: 

  • Will they ever find out that I tend to wear shorts and sandals during my business calls and videos? 
  • Do you they know that have no interest in driving downtown for any reason at all?  Including closing giant deals? 
  • Will they be mortified if one of my little ones barges into my home office and vomits mac and cheese all over my desk in real time?  Did I care even if something like that happened? 

The answer to the above and many other questions, is, well, NO.  I didn’t care.  I don’t care today either.  And I probably won’t care at any time in the future.  I mean, let’s face it:  Nobody I know out-works me.  In fact, I haven’t been on a real vacation since the end of 2017.  Oh yeah, we probably shouldn’t even count that one because I was finalizing my book, Sorry, 50 is NOT the New 30, during that trip. 

I look around and see Congress on break most of the calendar year.  I see neighbors who can barely roll out of bed by noon and spend their weeknights getting high and drinking all night.  I come across those on social media pretending they’re working, but still, can’t figure out what they’re even working on.  Working on their tans

I suppose, though, it took the Covid pandemic to convince more than a few professionals to “hang up their car keys” and settle into whatever makeshift workspace they could create within their 4 walls.  And looking around, it’s hard to see many other benefits of this whole health scare period in the United States and beyond.   

However, one thing I do know is the cottage industry is here to stay and that’s a good thing because it will keep me plugging along, my sanity in check, and, of course, my dry-cleaning bill will remain where it belongs – in the home office shredder! Ciao! 

So, what’s your story? 

We’ll catch up with you again in about 30 days … I’m out! 

-A.N. 

A Closer Look … with Anthony Newcombe

NFL Draft 2021👀👀👀

Here we go again … (you junkies!)

http://nfl.com

Well, after nearly 4 months of yawns, lawns (preferred), and less-than-riveting entertainment award shows … WE ARE HERE! The endless speculation as to who the Jacksonville Jaguars might take at #1 (Hint: rhymes with “Brever Torrance”), who the New York Jets will replace Sam Darnold with, and all the rest will pretty much begin to be answered starting this evening from Cleveland, Ohio.

Let’s celebrate! Why? Because we now don’t have to watch all of that other crap they’ve been shoving through our remote during this Covid thing. We can finally see something LIVE! Pinch me!! With people around! Really?! You know what they say: “Beggars can’t be choosers.” We’ll take it. And, sorry for such a brief post, but I need to pick up my keg, wings, and the blocks of ice we’ll be sliding on in the backyard after my team picks … somebody who can ball!

A Closer Look … Stocks-Inexperience-Investors-Hedge Funds-Day Trading-

with Anthony Newcombe 

Let’s take a closer look … 

Some Causes of the Stock Market Volatility Craze 

Topic:  That ‘silly, crazy stock market’ this month   

Categories: Economics, Financials, and Social Psychology    

Between a rock and a hard place? You probably spent some of the past few weeks rummaging through the onslaught of news concerning the stock market.  In just a few days, there were swings from single digits to over thousands of percentage gains. What is the most amazing part? Ironically, these public companies did absolutely NOTHING different to cause this phenomenon. In fact, some of the biggest debt funds pounced on this situation to dump old, crappy positions they had. This generated some outlandish profits (for those who could get out in time!)   

However, for those who don’t own any stocks, I hear you. Who cares, right?!  Well, the rest of us care. Unfortunately, it caught our attention instantly. This might be due to many of a certain age recall being caught up in this “spin cycle” very similar to this in our investing past.  In fact, if your stomach didn’t roil a bit, and your brow didn’t raise, you must be a first-time trader. You have no scar tissue built up from previous downturns.  You haven’t been burned…yet. 

Moreover, if you recall in spring, 2001, there was a ton of hoopla regarding “surging dotcom stocks.” It seemed like you didn’t even need an ounce of ability to make profitable picks during that time.  Just buy, buy, buy (Thanks, Jim Cramer!) Subsequently, there was a different kind of BOOM!  There was a “crash-landing.” In little time, the markets tanked. Everyone ran for the hills, and many brokers ducked their calls. We were shirtless, stuck, and scared!    

Nevertheless, I’m not naïve enough to think that the ‘dotcom bubble of 2001’ is anywhere near the same as the last two weeks have been. But I tell you, when you see some of the publicly traded stocks like GameStop (GME) and AMC Theaters (AMC), it forces a reflection moment. These stocks went from (practically) zero to amazing heights. Then, they returned to earth again in mere days. Unfortunately, it rhymes with some of our tortured past like 1987’s Black Monday, spring 2001, and September 2008.  I agree, all had different characteristics. We won’t get into them all, but each created a form of sheer terror in the marketplace at the time!   

Thankfully, at least for today, it seems like the storm has mostly passed. We’re back to the “old, regular froth” that we’ve become accustomed to from the past several fiscal years.  We’ll just keep our chinstraps fastened, our eye on the ball, and continue onward, right?  I mean, what else can we do?  Happy investing, folks!  

Any ideas?    

-A.N.     

Feeling a little nauseated?

Supporting links  

Bloomberg 

CNBC Business 

Business Insider 

A Closer Look … Football-NFL-Playoffs-Records-Competition-Super Bowl Bound-

with Anthony Newcombe

Let’s take a closer look …

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2021 (#HNY)! 

We can finally pat ourselves on the back after taking more than a few big ones in the teeth throughout much of 2020.  However, I promise not to mention the “C” word (“Covid”) again today.  It will be the only time that word will have escaped mention in my A Closer Look… entries since last spring some time.  Let’s get to one of the few “survivors in sports” from last year – the entire NFL. Most owners, coaches, players and others emerged with delays and confusion, but no actual cancellations and a full season’s completed regular schedule.  Wow! That’s a mouthful!

TopicNFL Playoffs  

Category: Sports 

Issue:  Where is the upper brass of the league taking this thing? 

As you can imagine, this is hardly the first time I’ve had a conversation about playoff eligibility, league alignment, and whether (or not) teams should even be allowed to appear in the playoffs with a losing record.  I would like to get this on the record prior to this weekend’s bonanza of games meant to keep us all on our couches for its entirety.  Q: During a lockdown, where the heck else are we going to go?  Uh, is that Doordash?! 

Anyway, I’d like to begin by arguing I believe the addition of a seventh spot in each conference is an okay thing.  However, what I disagree with is when it is combined with the “divisional championship” system from the good old days. That’s when it becomes somewhat of a mess.  We are literally going to bid adieu to some teams with 10-6 records – while enabling the NFC East winner to host a game while not even sniffing a winning record.  No offense, but what did they do to deserve that?! To use the “S” word, it kind of “SUCKS!”  And speaking of the NFC East (no offense Texas) but, the Dallas Cowboys should have been moved outta there a long time ago.  We can’t have partial nostalgia and the rest disruption. Right?!

You know, I’m old enough to remember when the Seattle Seahawks played in the AFC West.  So, for NFL “purists” who choose to argue that Dallas, Philly, the football Giants, and yes, the newly titled Washington Football Team should remain in close divisional proximity, I say, POPPYCOCK!  If the league is going to make radical changes to its playoff schedule – and, I hear game #17 is coming soon to your football platter, we should also become comfortable with other logical changes likewise. 

Since I know you’re holding your breath for my suggestions (kidding), I recommend something like: BLOW UP the divisions completely and instead have each conference award 8 (yes, 8! Or, 9!) playoff spots to the best records in each conference. That gives half the teams in the league the opportunity to play in the postseason.  And it sets the table for plenty of revenue raising options for the upper brass in NYC and elsewhere.  Let’s face it, I would be embarrassed to hang a divisional championship banner in my mancave on the heels of a 5-11 season (or 7-9). Wouldn’t YOU?! C’MON MAN!   

Oh, and one other thing: let’s give the top two teams BYES again!  I think it’s shameful to overlook a 14-2 or 13-3 team just because the #1 team is 15-1.  Again, it’s great to incentivize the lower half of playoff contention, but let’s not cheat the consistent, rightful earners of the best records in the game while we do it, okay?! 

It’s not much, but it’s a start.  Let’s keep the ball rolling with some debate… 

Tell me what YOU think? 

A.N.  

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A Closer Look …

with Anthony Newcombe 

Let’s take a closer look … 

Area(s):  Education, Business, Psychology 

Topic: Reliance on remote technology for school, work, and emotional well-being … 

Issue: Are we putting so much emphasis on virtual technology that we may find ourselves paralyzed when it’s time to ‘come back into the real world?’  Let’s get something straight from the outset.  I have no special insights or secrets for what the heck we are expected to do from 2021 onward.  However, like nearly all of you out there, I find myself thinking, discussing, and, occasionally, well, fretting about the repercussions of this new world we’ve had to carve out for ourselves in order to move forward however quickly or slowly we perceive we are.  The most recurrent thought is about this Zoom/ GoToMeeting/ TikTok ‘stuff.’  Whether we’re trying to get through a lecture, business meeting, family call, or, creating the next (wink, wink) viral video sensation (we’re all at some point toying with our 15 minutes of fame, right?) – we should also wonder what exactly all of this means. We instead seem to mindlessly download, log in and share every nook and cranny of our lives with – well, who knows who?!  In other words, are we potentially exposing ourselves to future legal matters (IP/ property theft, civil liability, etc.) while making use of this technology?   

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