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May 1, 2017

It was just a start, but with the release of a 1-page outline last Wednesday (4/26/17), President Donald Trump began what will be a lengthy legislative process that may lead to tax reform.  Most of the outline’s bullet-points came from the Trump 2016 campaign: a reduction of tax brackets from 7 to 3; a doubling of the standard deduction ($24,000 for a joint return); maintaining the deductibility of mortgage interest expense and charitable donations, but repealing the deduction for state income taxes paid; repeal the federal estate tax; lower the top corporate tax rate to 15%; a 1-time tax on the $2.6 trillion of American corporate profits held in overseas accounts.  The Republicans hope to use “reconciliation” to move tax reform through Congress, i.e., passage of a bill with a “simple majority” instead of the “three-fifths” majority typically required.  That technique can only be used if the legislation has been “scored” to show that the bill will not increase our country’s deficit beyond 10 years.  For this reason, past tax reform legislation has included tax changes that “expire” within 10 years (source: Congress).

The NASDAQ Composite went above 6000 last Tuesday (4/25/17) for the first time ever in its 46-year history.  The index peaked at 5049 in March 2000, and then fell 71% to 1114 over the subsequent 31 months.  The NASDAQ index, widely identified with Silicon Valley, did not close back above 5049 until April 2015 (source: BTN Research).

The French economy is the 5th largest in the world.  French voters will choose next Sunday 5/07/17 between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen.  The winner’s 5-year term in office begins on Monday 5/15/17.  Parliamentary voting (France’s Congress) takes place on 6/11/17 and 6/18/17 (source: BTN Research).

 

Notable Numbers

THEIR FAVORITE OPTION – 34% of 1,019 Americans surveyed in early April 2017 picked real estate as the best long-term investment today.  26% selected stocks as their top long-term choice (source: Gallup).

AFTER TAX REFORM – Following the 10/22/86 signing of the “Tax Reform Act of 1986,” the US economy grew by an average of +3.8% per year for the subsequent 3-years (source: Department of Commerce).

WHAT THEY WANT – Although 3 out of 4 American businesses (75.9%) would be interested in hiring a 2017 college graduate with an engineering degree, just 1 out of 20 college seniors (5.2%) are majoring in some form of engineering (source: National Association of Colleges and Employers).

NICE NEIGHBORHOOD – The zip code with the highest median home value ($6.2 million) in the United States is 94027 in Atherton, CA, home to many Silicon Valley executives (source: Money).

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