Ask Lee Now: Answering Reader’s Questions August 2014

Sarah B. writes: Are you going to address how the Supreme Court just decided that our employers can decide what sort of healthcare women can access, and whether or not, in light of the “Hobby” decision, men can still have vasectomies covered, and if so, how does that make ANY sense at all?

This is what happens in a “one-size-fits-all” politically controlled health system. Very little about our healthcare delivery system makes sense, starting with the fact that health insurance is tied to employers (due to tax incentives instituted decades ago). And made worse by the fact that Obamacare forces everyone to obtain expensive insurance plans that encourage over-use of hospitals and prescription drugs.

What’s more, hospitals in border states are being overwhelmed by illegal aliens (many of whom are carrying infectious diseases) seeking “free” healthcare. The Obama administration refuses to return them to their home countries, and hospitals can’t refuse them treatment. So they enjoy a free ride, which hospitals compensate for by jacking up prices on those who are insured.

But the biggest reason why health insurance premiums are going through the roof is that most Americans are over-insured. Yes, over-insured.

The whole point of insurance is to protect you in the event of a catastrophe or an expense that is beyond your budget. When federal bureaucrats decree that insurance must cover a whole litany of small, routine, or non-essential medical costs, they artificially inflate the size and power of insurance companies and Big Pharma while diminishing incentives for personal responsibility and self-reliance.

The recent Hobby Lobby case was only about the narrow issue of whether Obamacare can override religious objections to mandate certain contraception coverage. To those who cry “double standards” and say Viagra and vasectomies aren’t the government’s business either…I agree!

About Family Living Trusts

John R. writes: Family living trust – I need one, do you have a suggestion?

You could try doing it yourself. But if you’re a novice in this area my suggestion would be to go through a trusts/estate planning attorney. It may cost between $1,000 and $2,000. Alternatively, you might be able to save on fees by going through a paralegal (legal assistant).

About Off-the-Grid Metals Transactions

Bob C. writes: I have some metal stashed away. I know most metal dealers will buy back what I have purchased. But what happens when the grid goes down? No Internet, no contact with the dealers. So, how am I going to use my stash to purchase food? How will my gold and silver be valued? There is probably some sort of precedent from the world wars, but they still had communications. If the grid goes down there won’t be any communication!

If you’ve done some prepping, there should always be some alternative means of communication available to you. But for a variety of reasons, you shouldn’t depend solely on the Internet or telecommunications to price or buy/sell/trade precious metals. Get to know a trustworthy brick-and-mortar local dealer you can rely on to buy your metals at a fair price when the time comes. Consider also identifying local merchants with whom you can barter directly using metals.

During a national emergency or period of social unrest, the real-world price for an ounce of physical silver or gold may be higher than the quoted spot price – especially if shortages in the retail market develop, which is likely to happen at some point.

Deal With Mold Fast – It Makes You Sick

Michele B. writes:Been sick for months; my doctor couldn’t figure out. Found out I’ve got a mold issue in my house since my water heater went south and took down some duct work underneath. Took me months to realize what was happening, and now they can’t fix the mold until the duct work is fixed. And the duct work people can’t fix that until the mold is remediated… Do you have any words of wisdom for my mold issue?!

You might have to bite the bullet and get the mold issue taken care of by a professional, even if it means gutting affected areas in your home. Merely cleaning up mold growth superficially and making it less visible won’t eliminate the festering mycotoxins that are dragging down your health. Do get a second opinion (and multiple estimates from contractors) before proceeding on a major renovation.

In the meantime, you can reduce the risk to your health by installing fresh hypoallergenic air filters that are capable of removing mold spores. A portable mold-control air purifier that you can run in your bedroom while you sleep could also be very helpful.

Loaded Up on Home Buying Expenses

Heath E. writes: I just bought a new house and the insurance company insists on an INTERIOR inspection. Of course I’m absolutely opposed for so many reasons. Can you recommend a carrier that does not do INTERIOR inspections? I vote with my wallet, and would rather take my business elsewhere than comply with intrusive inspections.

These days when you buy a house government regulators have seen to it that lots and lots of private services put their hands into your pocket. It’s amazing all the people who get a piece of you in every home purchase or sale. I don’t know the particulars of where your house is located or what its appraised value is. Insurance rules and procedures vary based on these and other circumstances. demands.

Insurance companies tend to be very rigid in their ways of doing things and won’t cut many corners. I’d suggest consulting with an independent insurance agent in your area who can help you shop for policies among different insurers to find the one that is least intrusive. Worst-case scenario, you can demand to be present during the whole inspection process and even request to film it. That might help speed it up and prevent unwanted snooping into private zones.

Gold vs. the DOW: What’s Overpriced and What Isn’t

Edward L. writes: Isn’t gold over-priced now?

In a word, no. That doesn’t mean gold prices can’t go lower from here over any given period, but it does mean that gold represents decent value at current levels. Gold may be just now emerging from the long, grinding consolidation it’s been mired in. The price action this fall should be telling.

In my judgment what’s overpriced is the bond market (thanks to more than $5 trillion in bond purchases by the Federal Reserve) and the Dow Jones at 17,000.

Get Potentially Controversial Tax Planning Advice in Writing

Hamlet B. writes: As a defender of individual liberty you are well qualified to speak knowingly on this topic. Your report made me think, have you ever seen the list of persons and entities actually required to file returns and pay federal income taxes? You may or may not be familiar with CFR 26 section 1.6081-5. This section explains who qualifies for an extension. Only those who are required to file and pay are listed here.

I gather you’ve been researching ways to become a tax non-filer. While I wish you success, I would caution that there are a lot of anti-tax strategies being promoted based on readings of the Tax Code that the courts don’t accept. The courts have held that Sections 6011 and 6012 of the Internal Revenue Code require any person who receives “income” in excess of threshold amounts to file and pay taxes. Please review these sections and consult a tax attorney before determining that you aren’t legally required to pay federal income taxes.

If you find that in fact you are legally exempt from income taxes, great! As long as you’re acting in good faith on the advice of a tax professional (get it in writing), you’ll have good grounds for defending yourself from any potential IRS charges of tax evasion.

Melt Value, Melt Value, Melt Value

Charles R. writes: I contacted Goldline regarding Combibars. They are aware of them but are still wary for several reasons. Better off using fractionals at approx. 3 grams each vs the 1 gm bit. Primarily for easier exchange identification.

There may be some conceivable practical advantages in some situations to having individual fractional gold bullion coins or rounds instead of the dividable credit-card sized Combibar. But the salesperson who tried to steer you away from Combibars may have an agenda of his own that he’s not telling you about! It’s almost certainly the case that the individual fractionals he wants to sell you carry higher premiums than Combibars on a cost per gram basis. Could it be that he wants to make a bigger commission by pushing a product that is more profitable for the firm?

When in doubt, you won’t go wrong by favoring the lower-cost product and thus getting more metal for your dollar. Regardless of what anyone in the industry says, the shape, size, mint mark, or shine of a gold bullion product aren’t really that important. What matters in the end is the intrinsic value you’re getting – the actual melt value of the metal.

About Pricing Gold in a Full Scale Financial Crisis

Sandra S. writes: When the economy collapses, I’m assuming the financial institutions (banks, credit unions, etc.) will no longer be available. What “neutral party” would be able to tell me the current value (per oz.) of the silver and gold we are accumulating for barter?

Thanks for all your excellent info.

Since gold and silver are traded in liquid markets around the world, you can just use spot prices as a rough guide. Price quotes for precious metals are available instantly on the web and reported daily in The Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, and other publications.

Your particular gold and silver coins may be worth more than spot, depending on what types of coins they are and what conditions in the retail coin market are like. For example, the premiums on pre-1965 U.S. silver coins can soar when dealers get overwhelmed with demand for these scarce products. The authoritative Red Book on United States Coins, published by Whitman, can tell you the approximate worth of any historic coin.

Globalism in Texas?

Charlie L. writes: How is it that everyone in Washington claims to be for border security and against illegal immigration, but all we keep getting is more of the latter? How is it that our government is spending billions busing in, housing, clothing, and feeding illegals instead of sending them back home? If I were a conspiracy theorist, I’d say the elites are secretly implementing a plan to remake the United States and redefine it as a globalist community.

It doesn’t take a conspiracy theory to reach the conclusion that illegal immigration is being deliberately promoted by people in power in order to reshape America and the American electorate. The Texas Democratic Party has produced propaganda materials for activists telling them to look forward to 2030, when Texas will permanently “turn blue” because blacks and Hispanics will become an insurmountable majority of voters. Texas Democrats are now mobilizing to “move the date forward” (in part by converting more illegal immigrants into amnestied voters).

Once Texas turns blue, Democrats believe the Republican Party will never be able to win another presidential election. The U.S. will become a one-party democracy, like South Africa.

I don’t know whether the Obama administration deliberately precipitated the recent crisis on the border involving 60,000 unaccompanied alien children, but he seems intent on incentivizing more of them to be trafficked in. He unilaterally pursued a “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” program that defers repatriation and he wants $4 billion to spend on aid to them inside the U.S.

Meanwhile, the United Nations is demanding that we offer “refugee” status to these Central American transients – and to pretty much anyone who can crash our border and recite lines about being oppressed in their home country. So yes, the globalist elite have left their fingerprints all over the illegal alien influx.