Today's cuppa: medium roast from the coffeeshop
While many folks would be very happy to get a job on TV, former hedge-fund manager and current Fox Business Network commentator Cody Willard is especially pleased with the timing of his career change.
I recently spoke to Willard, who has landed in the televised epicenter of a financial firestorm.
"This is the craziest time ever to be doing what I'm doing for a living, it seems," he said. "But I tell you, it's the luckiest thing in the world.
"I walked away and closed a hedge fund when the Dow was at 14,000, two weeks before I started this job. It's much better to be doing TV than hedge funding in this environment."
Currently, the long-haired, 36-year-old Willard is co-host — with Rebecca Diamond and former CNBC star Eric Bolling (who will share his top tax tips with Cuppers in the next post) — of FBN's "Happy Hour," which originates weekdays at 5 p.m. Eastern from the Bull & Bear Bar in New York City's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
As fans of the show know — because he's not shy about expressing his opinions, on TV or online — Willard isn't happy in the least about bailouts and stimulus packages and mortgage rescue programs and all of the other schemes
emanating out of Washington, D.C., as the White House and Congress shovel in billions and even trillions of borrowed money in hopes of keeping the nation's economic engine running.
In particular, Willard objects to efforts to keep homeowners in homes they can no longer afford (and, in many cases, couldn't afford in the first place).
"The thing that blows my mind as much as anything," he said, "is Republicans and Democrats from both sides of the regime say that they are all for affordable houses, and we need to get interest rates lower and that we need to keep housing prices high. I thought you were for affordable housing!
"I, as a renter and a saver, have been saving for 13 years, since I've come to New York, waiting for the price to come down, and it hasn't. I don't want four-percent interest rate. I want them to let the real-estate market crash, so I can come through and pick up some stuff really cheap, so I can sell it in 10 years and make a huge gain.
"Now what do they do at the end of the day? They come to you and I, the renter and the saver, and say, 'Hey, we're going to figure out all kinds of ways to punish you guys, because those housing prices and the ownership class has to be propped up off your back.'
"Best-case scenario — you took risks, and you would have been able to keep the gains if the house had sold for more than you bought it for. As a matter of fact, since you can't pay back the money, I'm not sure what the problem is. Did you sign the contract? Let's carry out the law."
Of course, the renter may ask, if homeowners don't have to pay the full amount of their mortgages, can't a similar case be made for the government mandating the renegotiation of rental amounts? Sounds crazy, but hey, housing is housing, right?
"That's the slippery slope of anarchy that I've been freaking out about since day one," Willard said, "since they started us down the slippery slope of bailouts.
"It's corporate welfare on overdrive, and overt corporate welfare. We've always had these targeted tax tricks of corporate welfare, but the overt and disgusting magnitude of this direct corporate welfare that we're experiencing in this environment has really tipped us over.
"And that's what's inexcusable, and that's why the market's doing what it's doing."
And, by the way, Willard said he actually read the recent stimulus package that Congress passed in great haste.
"They didn't even bother reading it," he said. "I actually read it. I've had umpteen different representatives on the show, and I asked them if they read it, and none of them has. How does that work out?
"We gotta step up and fight it, and that is one thing that's happening. I do think that the Democrat-Republican regime and those incumbents are doomed."
Ironically, Willard did this interview on Friday, Feb. 27, the same day that protesters objecting to government fiscal policies and mortgage bailouts turned out in cities across the country, participating in "tea parties" inspired by this hit viral video.
The events were meant to recall another famous tax protest, the 1773 Boston Tea Party.
Asked about the "tea party" events, Willard said, "I'm all for them."
Organizers are currently working on more "tea parties" centered on tax day, April 15, but Willard told me has plans of his own.
marches. What we want is for everybody to march on their local town hall on April Fool's Day against the Republican-Democrat socialist regime.
"You get as much local coverage as you can — your newspaper, your radio, TV, whatever. Just
get as much coverage as you can at your town hall and fight this stuff. We've got to start somewhere. It's going to be on the individual, grassroots level, as always."
Willard doesn't see this as a partisan issue, but something that cuts across political ideologies.
"I think most people are freaking out," he said, "going, 'Hey, this ain't what my country's all about, and we're going to change it.' We gotta. We have no choice."
BTW, if you don't understand how we got into the mortgage mess and subsequent credit crisis, check out this neat little animated video that 'splains it all.