The Markets – U.S. equities ended the month of September up just a bit with a monthly gain of 1.93% as measured by the S&P 500 Index. The third quarter closed with a gain of 3.96% and the year-to-date gains are 12.53%.
Washington – Trump, on Wednesday September 27, proposed the biggest U.S. tax overhaul in three decades. Highlights include lowering corporate tax rates from 35% to 20% and implementing a new 25% tax rate for pass-through business such as partnerships. Additionally he proposed doubling the standard deduction and reducing the number of tax brackets, in a move designed to help lower and middle income earners.
The Economy – Real GDP was revised to a 3.1% annual growth rate in Q2 from a prior revision from 2.6% up to 3.0%. Growth last quarter was the fastest since the first quarter of 2015. The recent hurricanes will cause a slowdown in the 3rd quarter but rebuilding should boost growth in the fourth quarter and the first half of 2018.
Headlines- Since we have written about North Korea and Syria over the past months we thought we would give that a rest. It seems the biggest headlines over the past month were Trump initiating a fight with professional athletes. Recently, on Bloomberg radio, I listened to a retired United States Marine Battalion Commander give his viewpoint. I thought it well spoken with clear perspective.
He said that he had dedicated his life’s work to provide the freedom that these athletes have taken by expressing their viewpoint. He went on to say, that he is not offended by their actions, but rather proud that we, in the United States, have the freedom to express ourselves and are able to initiate conversations regarding issues that can help move our country forward. He did say, however, he believes the employer, such as the NFL or NBA, has the same right to create a code of conduct for their employees and inforce that code of conduct. He said that if he were in charge of the NFL or NBA he would provide a code that honors our country, while allowing athletes to get involved in their communities and initiate conversations.
He closed by criticizing Trump’s leadership by offering a military analogy. He stated that while the leaders in battle are near the war zone, they are generally behind the front lines. Their goal is to be near enough to the fray that they understand what is going on, but far enough from the fray that they can lead with clear minded decisions and objective communication. He criticized Trump for getting into the fray rather than leading our country through the fray.
Book recommendation: Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, Wess Roberts.
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