Friday, March 23, 2018

The US Economy on Life Support -- Masking Economic "Depression"

In my blog post, Why Our Economy is in an Ongoing Depression and Will Only Get Worse, I focus on very unfavorable demographic trends for all of the major economies-- all except Africa. (Africa is irrelevant in economic terms.)

When populations are shrinking and aging, which is the reality for most of the major economies taken together, then demand also declines. If demand is declining, then growth turns into outright decline. The problem is that all the debt outstanding was issued based on the assumption that the issuer's revenue will GROW so that it will able to pay both principal plus interest.  However, if the issuer's revenue SHRINKS, then they won't have a surplus to pay interest and principal. In shrinking economies, defaults soar.  Debt defaults with shrinking economies is nearly the definition of economic depression.

The only reason that Depression is not evident or reported is because government spending (using debt) has masked shrinking economies both here an especially Europe. Without debt spending, Western economies would be shrinking, ie., we would be in multi-year economic depression. The US (and most of the world) is basically on life support. See the following charts.

The Great Financial Crisis Caused a Depression That Continues Today. Only Deficit Spending (Debt) is Masking the Reality of Economic Depression

The Great Financial Crisis of 2008 Caused a "Depression" That Continues Today. The Underlying Economy is Actually Shrinking Without Ever Rising Debt

A basic lesson about macroeconomics. The equation below shows how GDP is calculated:

GDP  =  Consumer spending + Gov't Spending + Investment Spending + Net Exports.

In this GDP equation, debt doesn't matter. And it doesn't matter if consumers or governments are borrowing money to spend --and both are. Also note that, since the US runs a consistent and large trade deficit, our "net export" part of the equation is strongly negative (We're a net importer). This is why President Trump is determined to address excessive trade deficits -- to make it less negative which will improve GDP. He's also OK with increased government spending (and more deficits/debt) since it adds more to GDP.  He's hoping that all these measures will also stimulate investment spending when manufacturing is repatriated. Investment spending has been notably absent since the GFC. There's an intellectual consistency with Trump, but few give him credit.  He's doing all the right things, but against demographic and other headwinds.

Real economic growth potential comes from two simple factors: it is the simple sum of productivity growth plus population growth. Productivity growth is the increasing output from labor and capital which, in normal times might be 2%.  But since 2007, it's only been growing at about 0.4%. Again, if Trump can convince companies to spend money on plant and equipment, productivity should improve toward more normal levels. But it's hard for productivity to improve if population growth is low or negative and demand is low.

Population growth used to be about 2 or 3%, so, adding population and productivity together, then historically real economic growth used to be 4 to 5% prior to year 2000.  In recent years, population growth (which includes immigration or emigration) has been 0.5% but is set to turn negative in the future.  (See Why is Our Economy is in Depression and Will Get Only Worse).  So real growth going forward, barring large increases in immigration, should be expected to be only average about 1%. Worse, as population growth further stagnates and declines, that 1% growth will drop or go negative for long periods in future decades, ie., economic depression. Remember the problem with debt servicing (and an additional problem of rolling-over debt).

The US economy is not performing at anywhere near growth trends prior to 2007 and year 2000. You can see the stagnation in the charts below:

What Modern "Depression" Looks Like: It's a Prolonged Deviation From Trend. Something Bad Happened in 2007
You can seet that the US growth trend has deviated markedly from long-term trends leaving a huge gap in what output should have been. No one at the Federal Reserve appears to understand what is going on. Some of it is due to the collapse of Eurodollar liquidity which is just one reason in a litany of reasons as to why our economy is reaching the end of a long road.

Although headline unemployment is at near-record lows, which 'sounds' good, but it masks a loss of millions of workers that left the workforce out of desperation, went on government assistance or retired. Since 2007, job growth has not kept up with population growth for the first time in US history.

Unemployment Headline Misleads As Millions Have Left Labor Force
Ten years after the Great Recession of 2008/2009, our economy has not adequately recovered and is in fact on the "life support" of ever increasing debt and easy money. There is plenty of risk that this is unsustainable. If asset markets reverse sharply, which could easily cause a recession, then our ugly reality may re-assert itself. The future looks extremely uncertain.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Left Are "People of the Lie"--In a Dangerous Spiritual and Psychological Crisis

People on the Left are evil because they are full of lies that they tell themselves and accuse others of the very evil that THEY embody. And as a group, they take comfort in repeating lies among themselves because it reinforces their delusions --because if they repeat them day after day, it begins to have the illusion of truth. That's their method of brain-washing their supporters. They live in their own bubbles of delusion in the capitals of Leftism on both coasts. Nearly everything they believe is untrue, phony or a lie--which is a warning flag of mental problems.

Case in point: the Democrats are massively obsessed with the possibility that Putin "interfered" with the 2016 election. There's very scant evidence of this. After a year of obsessive investigation and surveillance, special prosecutor Mueller finally indicted 13 Russians for using Twitter to attack Hillary. These indictments are a sham because none of these Russians will ever be in a position to clear their name in a court of law since they live in Russia. And, if they are guilty of attacking Hillary to make her look bad (which she is), then I AM guilty too!! Hell, millions are "guilty." Hillary is more than a liar, she murdered people who would expose her corruption.

But everything they accuse Putin of doing is what THEY are guilty of. We're finding out that Leftist outfits like Twitter and Facebook are in fact the ones who manipulated the election.  A Obama staffer admits that Facebook was on our side. (We're not even counting illegal vote fraud, rigging of the primary, etc). Leaders in the DOJ and FBI "covered" for Hillary to exonerate her and plot against Trump. Virtually everything ever said by Hillary in the 2016 campaign was a lie while she continued to sell-out our country to the highest bidder. She is literally the corruption queen---just like Putin. Hillary is a murderer too--just like Putin. Hillary and The Left ARE Putin!

The entire Mueller "prosecution" of Trump is a lie. They are supposedly looking for corruption in Trump's camp, but they are drowning in hard evidence of widespread Democratic corruption, manipulation, fraud, lies. All the people on that panel are hopelessly compromised. There isn't an ounce of integrity there.

Democrats illustrate a textbook case of what psychologists call "projection:" they fail to see that THEY THEMSELVES are the embodiment of what they accuse others of being! From M.Scott Peck's "People of the Lies"
Since evil people, deep down, feel themselves to be faultless, it is inevitable that when they are in conflict with the world, they will invariably perceive other as bad. They project their own evil onto the world. They never think of themselves as evil: on the other hand, they consequently see much evil in others. 
They see America as evil and white men at the pinnacle of that evil! That's so absurd it requires examination of their mental state. Instead, it is Democrats and The Left that are evil and racist. The truth is that the heart of racism in America is (black) Democrats!! Democrats have become the anti-white party in a nation of 70% white people!  Hillary's campaign was massively racist, calling half of our nation every name in the book: xenophobic, racist, islamophobic, etc, etc.  Condemning everyone who was a Trump supporter with the same generalization? That's literally the definition of racist!!

Their embrace of Marxist class warfare has torn this nation apart. Obama, like most black people who don't understand what made America great, was dedicated to weaken and divide this country. He and Hillary, disasters for this country, largely succeeded their intended destruction.

Leftists reject the truth of religion and mock others for their Christian views, but they are the worst sinners. They can't even follow the Ten Commandment's prohibition of "thou shall not covet your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor." (that's 3 of the 10 commandments by the way.)  The Left is our desperately envious of the wealthy and DO INDEED covet their neighbor's wealth. Hell Bernie Sanders wants a 90% top tax rate to confiscate his neighbor's wealth! They hate the rich, but so many are filthy rich themselves. Love of money is the root of all evil and Leftists love YOUR money.

Evil people can't change or self-reflect. It's because self-criticism is a call to personality change, but that's painful. Their old pattern has to go---like a death. This applies to "normal people" too, but the evil are pathologically and rigidly attached to their status-quo which they regard as perfect. That's why evil people are so insecure; to them even considering a small change in their beloved selves represents a threat of total annihilation. And criticism or self-criticism of those who are evil is synonymous with the threat of extinction. It's intolerable!!

This is why The Left is so violent. Criticism threatens to topple their entire edifice of self-delusions. It's so scary to them that they would lash out violently instead. They want to kill the messenger. They literally would like to kill Trump. His truth-bombs hit too close to home. They are so afraid and insecure. 

Paraphrasing M. Scott Peck,  the evil attack others instead of facing their own failures. Spiritual growth requires the acknowledgement of one's need to grow. If we cannot make that acknowledgement, then we have no option except to attempt to eradicate the evidence of their imperfection. This applies to The Left.  They want to kill the messenger. Kill Trump. Kill conservatives! And they mean it! It's very evil!

"Evil" people also need to maintain an appearance of being good. They intensely desire to appear good, but the "goodness" is really pretentious. That is why Peck calls them "People of the Lie." At some deep level, evil people have some understanding of their own evil nature, but they are desperately trying to escape that knowledge.

And that's why they reject Christianity. Christianity requires that we confess our numerous sins and ask forgiveness from a higher power. Evil people can't stand any self-examination either in a church pew, a confessional, or in psychological therapy. It's deeply threatening to them. They have a desperate need to escape self-examination and instead spend a lot of energy to trying to sweep their imperfection under the rug. It's this covering-up process, their attempt to hide from themselves, that is their source of wickedness.  You can see how they would have no desire to go to church and be honest with themselves and God.

The Left (and evil people) are really suffering from a psychological and spiritual crisis and they are determined to avoid that very realization. Many on The Left need therapy and/or spiritual counsel,  but they are rigidly unable to accept that.  This is the sickness. Leftism is a sickness and is evil.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

A Theology for the 21st Century: An Open Letter to Atheists and Non-Believers

Paul Tillich, perhaps the greatest Protestant theologian in the past 100 years said that, among the definitions of God include: "that which you take seriously without reservation" or "that which is our ultimate concern" or "that which is at the heart of things, or the "really real."  These definitions leave open the possibility that a person's God might be something like wealth, fame or power. After all, for those who "worship" money or power, accumulating money or power would indeed be the motivating or energizing "power" in those person's lives. It's what gets them out of bed in the morning.

Religion is about our reason for living, it is about that which we dedicate our lives, or that which gives our lives meaning and what energizes our life force and directs our energy. Belief in "God" by whatever definition, and in it's broadest definition, is what we live for and is what strongly motivates us. What do YOU really believe in?

People who say they are atheists fail to understand that they are actually theists in the broadest sense of the word as nearly everyone believes something and has something near and dear to their hearts. They have a God whether they know it or not. In fact, I would say that only those who kill themselves are truly atheists (excepting mental illness) since they are proclaiming that there is no meaning in life, that nothing is worth getting out of bed in the morning and that there is nothing worth living for. Suicide is an extreme exclamation point for this lack of faith in a God. Many suicide victims would be clinically depressed, but the lack of a belief in God may be a root cause of that depression and a pastor might be more helpful than a psychiatrist diagnose the root of the problem. Belief in God is not only what motivates us, but it's a life or death issue.

Obviously materialism is not a very authentic God in terms of Tillich's other definitions such as "what is really real" or "what is at the heart of things." Christianity and Judaism have a lot more to say about what a more authentic God might look like. If I asked randomly of people on the street about the most important thing for them, I think most people would say family. To their credit, that's pretty close to an authentic ultimate concern. Others might say love. That too is great.

To non-believers and atheists, I need to remind you that you already believe in something. And you probably picked it up from parents, your culture or elsewhere where you live. Our entire culture, whether you know it or acknowledge it, is based on Judeo-Christian faiths, ethics and law. Our Western cultural, legal and political systems are largely the result of thousands of years of our Judeo-Christian heritage. And western civilizations and their descendants have created the most advanced, democratic, prosperous, lawful, orderly, and civilized countries the world has ever known. (In contrast, see my post "Why Trump is Correct: Most Places are Shitholes" to learn of just one culture without our Judeo-Christian heritage. It's not pretty.)

Such success is ultimately based firmly on the Christian (and Jewish) religions, civilizations and cultures as recorded in the Bible, and later adopted and incorporated into Roman and European cultures. More recently, we enjoy a 1000 year history of Anglo ideas and philosophies, dating from Pre-Norman times to the Magna Carta and beyond, that ultimately culminated in the exceptional US Constitution and culture. These outstanding ideas, based ultimately in, and combined with, the work ethic and Judeo-Christian ethics of mostly white European immigrants to the US, led to the most successful and vibrant political, economic and social "experiment" ever seen in world history: the USA.

So much of the hard work, sweat and labor has been done for us, sort of a cultural gift. People who live in and pick up the prevailing culture and ethics are often ignorant of where it came from. Now, we're so prosperous and distracted by our vibrant culture that we fail to properly give credit to our religious and cultural heritage that made it all possible. It's a pity because it's all being lost now because of this ignorance. All that we have is primarily the result of White, mostly English-speaking, Northern European accomplishments with solid roots in Christianity.  If you read about the phony memes of our day, all of this is being rejected--most often by minorities.  And no, we're not all the same. No, not all religions are the same. And no, not all races are equalThe White race has been in fact superior in nearly every way. You will be booted off of Facebook, Twitter or any college campus for uttering any of those words since the speech-oppressive culture described in Orwell's 1984 book has asserted itself, (especially in Europe).

Many people, sitting in lovely houses and sitting in comfortable luxury, have rejected organized religion or Christianity---including so-called Atheists. They might say that they are more "spiritual" rather than a Christian. Reasons for this rejection of modern Christianity might include: 1) they don't want to believe in unbelievable myths that are found throughout the Bible and no one has explained the symbolism, meaning and value in these myths 2) they think that Christians believe in an "old man in the sky"version of God, 3) Use of religious language and terms like God, Christ, prayer, sin and grace are not understood. These terms become stale and lose their power when they are not continually explained and refreshed using real-life examples and ordinary language, especially for newcomers, 4) how can a man of science be a Christian? 5) religious leaders speak too confidently about what God is doing in the world even though there are profound mysteries in this or they overuse the word "God" which tends to trivialize it's meaning, (Jews were forbidden to even speak their word for God (Yahweh) for this reason --using "Lord" instead) 6) Religious people speak too confidently about afterlife even though it's the ultimate mystery,  7) Christianity requires you to believe in the unbelievable or believe in complicated religious dogmas. These objections are often valid and based in fact. I've tried to address a few of these objections in my posts "A Theology for the 21st Century" and "A Theology for the 21st Century: Faith is not Believing the Unbelievable."

The simple truth is that Christianity is dying in places like Europe, where faith in man and his institutions (government) are offered as a substitute for Christianity. Socialism has tried to usurp faith community's role in charity by substituting face-less and impersonal institutional redistribution, leaving less need for the more personal faith community. Communist governments have sought to eliminate and outlaw religious faith entirely and substitute "man" instead of God. The State has gotten into the education "business" too where higher learning began in mostly Protestant and Catholic Universities (see a list here for just the US). While Christianity is essentially dead in Europe, killed by the State, Islam is allowed to flood into Europe. These Muslims, in comparison to Christians, are extremely confident, even arrogant and supremacist, in their views. They bring their own culture, their own legal system and are determined to overpopulate and dominate any area that they occupy. They don't integrate into their host cultures and they aren't working because these people are incompetent, low to no skill, and have nothing to offer! And they are fighting and murdering 100s of thousands per decade in wars against Kaffirs (any other faith) in dozens of countries. In sum, government and Islam seem determined to wipe out Christianity and Christians once again.

Western Civilization is all unraveling as knowledge of our heritage has evaporated. The State and the Left have chased God out of schools, universities and our society, leaving only fools in charge. Foolish is an apt description of Western culture now.  Our entire heritage of western civilization is under attack by Leftism (Socialism) and Islam. Traditional religious denominations are failing and ignored. Christianity is dying in Europe and elsewhere and Christians and Christianity are once again being slaughtered into oblivion in the Middle East by Muslims while the West and the Catholic Church just passively look on. The leader of Catholic Church, Pope Francis, who is steeped (brainwashed) in all the failed socialist ideas of Latin America and who hasn't learned a thing, is a utter fool.

And now, young people want Socialism even though it's a proven loser. People want to turn to alternative economic systems since our economy is so ravaged by Big Government failures and the Big Corruption that always accompanies Big Govt. Big Government breeds Big Corporations too. It wasn't supposed to be this way. The US Constitution is clear in it's design for limited government and sound money.

In the US, we've strayed from knowledge of God, the Bible, the Ten Commandments, our History and our Constitution. The latest generation and most of our incoming non-European immigrants know even less of these things. So it should be no surprise that our corrupt leaders know nothing and don't care about anyone but themselves. Ever bigger government and debt, unsound money, unsound banking and social, moral, cultural and economic decay and failure is leading to massive societal failures. We're left with nothing but the unwise and fools in charge. Our nation is at risk. Western civilization is at risk. .

Thursday, March 15, 2018

An Investment Plan For the Upcoming Crash and Burn Period

The following is from "Harry Lightning," who left a very thoughtful comment in response to the Zero Hedge post: Jim Grant: "Uncomfortable Shocks" Lie Ahead As The Great Bond Bear Market Begins"  Jim Grant was saying that interest rates might rise--to 4 or 5%. My comments below are shown in brackets. Everything else is the commenter.

"Jim Grant's drawback has been his perpetual fighting of the trend in bonds, not willing to concede an inch as to why bonds have dropped substantial amounts of yield while all along the US government has been piling up incredibly large amounts of debt that any thoughtful observer realizes can never be paid off without a default. I have agreed with Grant's thinking on this matter from an academic point of view while at the same time going along with the trend. Yes, Mr. Grant, the bond market will collapse one day due to a credit default, but that day was far into the future since the time when you first started trumpeting the bond collapse diagnosis.

I believe Mr. Grant to be wrong now as well. Yes, I do believe that there will be an unbelievable collapse in the US bond market a la Argentina's many examples during the last 50 years. But I do not see that happening until the highly over-valued stock market breaks down first [and govt ramps up massive QE programs and massive deficits].

There are a number of reasons for the stock market to fall 25 or more percent from present levels, the descent probably has already begun albeit in a less than consistent manner. That is often the way bear markets begin, in a back and forth tussle between bulls and bears that bears finally win, causing capitulation of the bulls.

I cannot see any rationale short of a credit collapse that would cause both bonds and stocks to collapse simultaneously. Rather, I think it more likely that the stock market starts falling first as a result of investors refusing to invest at hyper-valued levels. That is the process that has begun this year. As stocks fall, disinflationary and even deflationary forces will become apparent as a result of the negative wealth effect that the falling stock market creates. Not enough time has passed for investors to forget the period of September 2008 through March 2009, and as such, there are a lot of itchy trigger fingers ready to pull as stocks fall more consistently when the bear market asserts itself more fully.

Eventually stocks will fall so far as to cause a flight to safety in the bond market that propels bond prices to record highs, and yields to new lows.  At that point, with an economy in shambles from a stock market that has lost half its value or more and an investment community that then finally starts to question whether the US will be able to generate the revenues to pay down its debt, the US bond market will be seized with credit concerns, and bonds will collapse as too many investors all seek to get through a narrowing door.

The US government will make several attempts along the way to save its stock and bond markets from their inevitable fall, but the result in the latter point of the cycle will be to cause hyper inflation. Which will be the final nail in the bond market's coffin, cutting the value of longer dated US debt down to something like 30 to 50 cents on the dollar. And that is how the US will get rid of its debt problem, by redeeming its outstanding debt for significantly less than the nominal value. [The government can create inflation if it starts sending money to individuals for income support for example. I feel that's likely in the future during the upcoming downturn.]

As I wrote above, this cycle has occurred before, most notably in Argentina. An over-valued stock market cannot be supported any longer by fundamental valuation relative to corporate earnings. Stock values fall, causing a negative wealth effect that supports the decline in stock prices and a growing disinflation that turns into deflation. Bond yields start falling with stock prices as capital transfers from one market to the other, and the falling rates of inflation support the lower bond yields. In the terminal stage of the decline in stock prices and bond yields, the government launches massive quantitative easing operations in a vain attempt to stimulate the economy and reverse the deflationary forces that control economic decision-making. At that point a credit concern arises which quickly causes bond yields to start rising, short-circuiting any Keynesian pump-priming that the money printing was trying to initiate. The vast amount of money injected into financial markets at this time causes the dollar to collapse, quickly reversing the deflationary trend with a hyper-inflation that further pummels the prices of financial assets. With the real estate market destroyed as higher mortgage rates in a weak economy accompany the rising bond yields caused by the government-induced hyper-inflation, the US government then moves to re-structure its massive debt, redeeming outstanding notes and bonds for less than half their nominal value. That represents the end of the business cycle, and whatever economic model to control the US economy then emerges.

Which makes life very easy for investors. A few easy trades and a lot of patience, and you can build the kind of lasting wealth that only is available at times of maximum distress. Because its only at those times that the maximum potential for wealth transfer occurs, from the haves to the have-nots.

I think that the trade now - and I warn you that this is what I would do for myself rather than a blanket recommendation for anyone else - is to:

1)  get out of stocks now and buy longer-dated non-callable US Treasuries [consider buying TLT, the 20+ Year Treasury ETF] . US longer-dated debt may move a bit higher still in yield, maybe to the 3.25% mark on 30 year bonds. But the bigger risk is that yields start falling sharply from here, so rather than look for another ten basis points in yield its better to get on the train before it leaves the station. 

2) Hold that position for as long as stocks continue to trend lower. Initially that stock trend will be difficult to decipher, as it has been seen during the last six weeks, there still are a lot of bulls with money to burn. When stocks start falling sharply and each day seems to bring a bigger fall than the day before, that's when you will know the down trend is firmly established. Bond yields eventually will benefit from the transfer of capital from equities, so wait for new low yields in your bond holdings, lower than the 2.09% recorded for the 30 year US Treasury during the month of July 2016. [I believe that US short-term interest rates will likely to go to zero or even negative with long-term rates at 1% to 1.5%  The Federal Reserve will likely start lowering interest rates, then starting another QE program which will drive interest rates to extreme lows at first].

3) Once bond yields make new low yields, the time will be ripe to take your profits off the table, and you will reap a grand reward while most everyone else will have suffered terrible losses because they got out of stocks and into bonds too late. Once you have your bond profits off the board, then life becomes a bit difficult.

Because while the US government goes through the debt clearance exercise [ramping-up QE to astronomic levels, doing bail-outs that balloon the Federal deficit, probably instituting helicopter money and income support for the public which all hurt the USD will turn deflation into inflation, then possibly a burst of hyper-inflation.] that eventually will restore its economy, there will be little of anything valuable in which to invest. [It seems to me that holding both gold and cash at this point would make sense during this period if the dollar is falling.]

But to your credit, you will be cash rich when every asset under the sun will be cheap, so at that point look for income producing real investments. Maybe buy a business that has a steady customer base regardless of the economy, like a food store. Usually at moments like those in the business cycle, the problem becomes too many good opportunities rather than too few.

I believe the predominant trend for the future will be disinflation and deflation until the bond market makes new low yields."

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Possible Crash Setup for Stocks

The US stock market went parabolic late in 2017 and into the first three weeks of January 2018.  It sharply corrected. But that's not that unusual.

But several other peripheral markets also went parabolic and fully crashed just prior to the recent sharp correction: Bitcoin (and other crypto-currencies) and the inverse volatility bets. Both of these 'fringe' bubbles destroyed many $100s of Billions of highly speculative money. These fringe bubble busts occurring in recent weeks/months makes the busted parabolic rise of US stocks somewhat more perilous give the full scope of widespread speculation worldwide. We live in a time of extreme speculation in housing, stocks, bonds, art, crypto-currencies, tech stocks, etc. We indeed live in the time of the "everything bubble."

Add the fact that we have historically high market valuations --- if not THE highest. Stock price to revenue, price to GDP, Cape PE and other valuation indicators are near or at ALL TIME HIGHS. There are a many warning signs.

There are some historical precedence to these kinds of "busted parabola" market situations. See the article below. Be on the look-out for any break of the February low of S&P 2581 in the next few weeks. It could mean a sharp, historic waterfall (crash) event.

From Steven Vannelli at Knowlege Leader Capital:

Let’s look at the 1929 crash to start. The S&P 500 peaked at 31.86 on September 16, 1929. Over the next 14 days, the index experienced a 10.08% correction. Then, over the next four days, stocks bounced back by 7.54%. What followed was a seven-day period of time where stocks drifted lower, and then on October 18, 1929 the low was broken and a waterfall decline ensued. The decline from October 8, 1929 to November 13, 1929 was a 22-day waterfall decline, with stocks dropping 42.68% into November 13, 1929.

The 1987 crash was a remarkably similar experience. Stocks peaked on August 25, 1987 and then began a 7.79% decline over 18 days. Stocks then rebounded by 5.65% over the following 10 days, peaking on October 5, 1987. Over the next seven days, the low failed and a waterfall decline followed. The decline was 28.51% over four days, culminating in a low on October 19, 1987.

In the last 40 days, we’ve seen the S&P 500 peak at 2872.87 on January 26. Stocks experienced a 10.16% correction over nine days, and then they bounced back by 7.96% over the next 20 days ending last Friday, March 9. We are now in that seven-day window where stocks need to hold up.

If, over the next seven days, we drift lower and take out the 2581 low of February 8, history suggests this is a set-up for a waterfall decline. Through next Wednesday, it is time to be alert.

Georgia Town Requires Gun Ownership and CNN Puzzled Why Crime is So Low

CNN reported on Kennesaw Georgia's requirement that each household maintain a firearm.  That ordinance is not enforced, but there is widespread ownership of guns there. But CNN was forced to admit that the city of 33,000 has only had only 1 murder in the past 6 years.

Leftists NEVER want to admit that MORE GUNS EQUAL LESS CRIME. That makes them members of the "Flat Earth society." They vilify the NRA, but NRA members don't commit murders: it's black Democrats that commit some 56% of gun homicides in this country. Seize guns from every black man and we'd have a serious improvement in the nation's murder rate. The Left WILL NEVER, EVER want to talk about that---it doesn't fit their narrative.

The very small town of Nelson, Georgia also made a requirement that each household own a gun and they faced an attack of a Federal Law suit by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. No doubt the Brady Center is a bunch of loony Leftists. These fucking dumb-asses NEVER get it.

Remember, we need widespread gun ownership because we may have to fight our own government someday. Think Cliven Bundy, who was recently acquitted of all charges when government murder, persecution, illegality and lies were revealed in court. Government is force. Government is at best a necessary evil. Big government is at worse very evil---like our current situation.

The US needs a revolution now to downsize our bloated Federal bureaucracy, but Trump doesn't see the need yet.

Another example of more guns leading to less crime is a city--probably in Texas:

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Marshall Law is Necessary to Drain the Swamp

President Trump should enlist the military to drain the swamp.  Congress won't be able to do ANYTHING since the Dems are in 100% obstruction/resistance mode. Democrats are ignoring Congressional subpoenas.

The degree of corruption in Washington, on a scale of 1 to 10, is a 12.  Nothing is working properly in Washington with the possible exception of Devin Nunes and his committee. We can't even trust the Judicial system as so many appointees are Hillary-loving, Obama-loving political hacks. We don't have ANYTHING functioning in Washington.  The vast majority of the "deep-state" in Washington (mostly Democrats) is committed to the treasonous removal and reversing the Constitutional election of Trump.  Hostile establishment Republicans are dropping out of Congress like flies leaving Trump with a core but impeachment-proof Republican support.

The military is the only institution in the US that has ANY credibility remaining. Perhaps this is why President Trump has relied on so many military men in his administration. Maybe that's on purpose?

Here's where we stand today, from my recent post Is the US a Failed State?:
Before and after the election, Democrats have used extensive propaganda, fake polls, fake "dossiers," fake news and/or fake allegations by every "talking head" to get rid of Trump. Since the election, they put nearly all of their eggs in the "Russian Collusion" basket--trying to paint Trump as a traitor who used Russia influence to defeat Hillary. This despite no specific "smoking gun" allegations---only lies (propaganda) from Brennan, Clapper, Powers, Rice, Obama, Hillary, Comey and basically every Democrat. The Democrats demanded and got a special prosecutor to "investigate" their bullshit allegations, all to try to depose Trump.
None of these people care one iota about the welfare of this country or any of the largely helpful Trump agenda for which the PEOPLE voted. The truth is that they don't want any reform to improve the country!

But the whole thing has been a massive and phony charade. The entire Russia collusion allegation was based on a made-up "opposition research" called the Trump Dossier, which, when released, was immediately debunked as it contained obvious inaccuracies. The DNC and Hillary campaign paid $6 or $9 million for this pile of shit (which should prove once and for all that every one of these people should be nowhere near public office or public money!!) Then the hopelessly compromised (and criminal?) Comey used it as a basis to start this whole Russia witch hunt and start the extensive surveillance of the Trump campaign which led to the illegal unmasking of this surveillance by the lying Obama administration. The media went with this fake story too.
It gets worse and even more treasonous. Now we know that Hillary, the DNC and all of her allies in positions of power in the FBI and everywhere else, were the ones in fact colluding with Russians to sell strategic US uranium assets to the Russians for bribes. Then they all colluded to cover-up the whole thing.

Hillary, Obama, Comey, Robert Mueller, Rosenstein and the entire top echelon of the FBI and Obama administration were all part of or knowledgeable about this bribery scheme. Now these same scumbags, Rosenstein and Mueller, are leading this outrageous and treasonous effort to oust Trump?!

So Hillary (and others) got huge money from the Russians; all while she held public office. And it has put the US in a precarious position of having to import 90% of our uranium to power our nuclear industry. How is this not TREASON?
This is the stuff of political and cultural collapse. If we have political/cultural collapse, then we will likely have economic collapse. It's THAT bad.

I propose that Trump invoke a limited Marshall Law emergency to bring in the military and military police to handle the corruption at the FBI and DOJ. With the Marshall Law declaration, military police could seize control of both the DOJ and FBI by locking down these entities, lock down the computers and servers, and begin to question all of the top echelon of these departments. Everything would be locked down for investigation and for evidence.

And people like Hillary, Obama, Comey, Rosenstein, Mueller, Podesta, Brennan, Clapper, Adam Schiff and McCain should be arrested for Treason and other crimes and sent to Guantanamo for military trials. I think George Soros needs to arrested too. Although I prefer firing squads, I would settle for extensive prison sentences at Guantanamo.  I think Trump should, for starters, also arrest Jerry Brown and the mayor of Oakland, CA who are all brazenly committed to obstructing Federal Law---to make an example of them.

The current Status Quo can not stand.  If Trump does what I propose, he'll go down in history as the 2nd Abraham Lincoln -- who similarly saved the union.
The comparison to Lincoln would also be fitting as Lincoln's first year approval rating was estimated at 25% approval. All evidence is that Lincoln was hated, denigrated and as widely condemned as Trump was in his first year

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Trump's Trade War and the Unsustainable Status Quo

A number of Trump's staff, who have spent a year trying to restrain him, have now left the administration. Now the President is pursuing exactly what he said that he would do during his entire time as candidate Trump: he's getting tough on trade and our chronic trade deficits. I don't think it'll work. But a world-wide financial crisis and collapse will.

In my blog post from last week,"Extremes in Unsound Money and Finance Leading to Catastrophe," I mentioned that we live with a status quo that is completely unsustainable and that collapse is probable. With trade and budget deficits soaring for 40 years (after abandoning the last vestige of the gold standard in 1971), we now have massive accumulated financial and trade imbalances. Those trade deficits do indeed represent a transfer of our wealth to the rest of the world, mostly China. The result is the US and US consumer are basically on life support of ever-increasing debt as the economy stagnates. It literally can't go on anymore, which is why we have Trump as President. Candidate Trump constantly railed against our problem with trade during his campaign. (Trump never railed at our debt though and unless the country's budget deficit is reduced, the trade deficit will remain or increase. It's simple math.)

On Thursday, March 1st, Trump that the US will impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports next week. In a tweet he said:
"our steel and aluminum industries (and many others) have been decimated by decades of unfair trade and bad policy with countries around the world...We must not let our country, companies and workers be taken advantage of..."
"United States has an $800 Billion Dollar Yearly Trade Deficit because of our “very stupid” trade deals and policies. Our jobs and wealth are being given to other countries that have taken advantage of us for years. They laugh at what fools our leaders have been. No more!"
On Friday morning, Trump said regarding trade with the EU and China:
“We will soon be starting RECIPROCAL TAXES so that we will charge the same thing as they charge us. $800 Billion Trade Deficit-have no choice!”
Friday morning, he also said
“When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!” 
Trump is basically correct. If Trump suddenly banned trade with China, or imposed a 25% across-the-board tariffs, it would collapse like a house of cards. China buys very little from the US as they are hardcore mercantilists.

Trump is, of course, entirely correct about the pernicious aspect of our trade. Below is the US trade deficit with the EU and with the world:

US Trade Deficit With Europe

US Overall Monthly Trade Deficit in $Billions per Month
It wasn't long before the entire world erupted in anger directed toward Trump and his trade advisors Peter Navarro and Wilbur Ross. There have been no rational calls for a trade summit -- which may yet emerge. EU President Jean-Claude Juncker, who is clearly the biggest idiot and biggest liar on earth, said the bloc is prepared to respond quickly and forcefully by targeting imports of Harley-Davidson motorbikes, Levi Strauss & Co. jeans and bourbon whiskey from the U.S.  Good Mr Juncker, screw you too.

In response, President Trump said:
"If the E.U. wants to further increase their already massive tariffs and barriers on U.S. companies doing business there, we will simply apply a Tax on their Cars which freely pour into the U.S. They make it impossible for our cars (and more) to sell there. Big trade imbalance!"
It's true that there is no free trade with the EU or China. And President Trump correctly pointed out that there is a national security aspect to our country's 40 year long de-industrialization (that could have only happened in our fiat money world).  Paraphrasing, he said that, if the US didn't have any heavy industry, then we "don't have a country." He was correctly referring to the fact that, in wartime, US factories are required for the manufacture of materiel, armaments and weapons. For example, during WWII, GM and other automaker assembly lines were converted into a huge producers of tanks, planes, trucks and weapons. So, if we don't have heavy manufacturing, then we have a big strategic and national security problem should we ever face another world war.  And I believe that we're just a few years away from a big war consistent with The Fourth Turning.

Buckle up. JFK had a rising inflation problem, threatened US steel makers to not raise prices in 1962, and the stock market plunged more than 30%.  In 2002, President George W. Bush imposed tariffs as high as 30% on global steel imports and stocks also plunged 30%.

There's an Eerie Parallel Between JFK's Administration and Trump's Election
Fall-out From George Bush's Steel Tariffs in 2002

Friday, March 2, 2018

Scary Chart Doom Porn

Here's a few charts that should give anyone pause. I continue to believe that we are about to start a stock market and economic decline that will affect your household wealth. I've been wrong for awhile, so maybe don't get too worried!  I indicated in a previous blog post that household wealth may be about to decline precipitously.  We're in a period where the Federal Reserve is determined to raise short term rates until something breaks.

And something always breaks. Here's some more key charts:

The Federal Reserve is reversing QE by selling a small but increasing amount of it's holdings of Treasury bonds. Right now, the Federal Reserve is allowing bonds to reach maturity and roll off their balance sheet. The Treasury pays the Fed for these bonds. When the Federal Reserve starts actually selling bonds, buyers will give the Fed money, so quantitative tightening will eventually reduce the money supply. But the money supply is falling anyway and that is not a great sign. The Fed is playing a risky game of reducing money AND raising the Fed funds rate. We're still in a big PhD-led monetary experiment which started in 2009.
Money Supply Growth is Slumping Which Has a Decent Record of Preceding Recessions (one exception in 1995) The Federal Reserve

Here's a couple of bonus charts that may be the scariest. After all, if more debt doesn't help or even hurts, then we really have reached the end of the road:

More Debt Doesn't Work.  More Debt May Actually Hurt Going Forward

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Extremes in Unsound Money and Finance Are Leading to Catastrophe

We live in a time of utter and complete corruption of government, media, central banks and our political parties. They are corrupted and held hostage by moneyed elites who are manipulating money and government for their ends-- not yours.

Where we are today is due to utter failure of government and central banks, corruption of all elements of government and moral and intellectual decay of our population. We have a massive and expensive surveillance state, weaponized police and government departments, massive financial deficits and debt with nothing to show for it, bloated money supplies, a hollowed-out economy stripped of entire industries and well-paying jobs, corrupted and lying media outlets spreading nothing but political propaganda and persecution of Conservatives.

Everything in Washington is broken and failed. Nothing is fixed. Much of Washington is plotting to illegally and unconstitutionally overthrow the Trump administration and has been from day one. Despite all the spending, our infrastructure and military has decayed. Our government is interfering with and manipulating many foreign countries -- yet half of our nation is obsessed with a largely non-existent influence of Russia in ours. These people which include the previous administration have been risking war with a country that has 10,000 nuclear bombs. For what??

It's all become this way because we are told nothing but lies by politicians, corporate chieftains, and other elites that everything is fine even though it's obvious that everything is broken. Only Trump was able to say the obvious truth much to the delight of one-half of the nation who were tired of lies.

Our inner cities, mostly black and ruined by government failures and the resulting moral decay, are like burned-out hulks of a previously high-level civilization as if we're replaying some dystopian movie like Robocop or Planet of the Apes complete with murder, crime, gangs and massive decay. Our status quo is completely and utterly unsustainable.

We also live in a time of  nothing but massively unsound finance and banking thanks to the failures of our Central Bank and the corrupted government. Even our current concept of money is completely corrupted. It's as if no one alive even knows or remembers what sound money or sound finance is. Maybe that's why there are somewhat regular society-wide and world-wide crises happen about every 80 years as described in The Fourth Turning by Howe and Strauss. Eighty years is the length of a long human lifetime. After 80 years, there is no one alive who can remember the cause of the last crisis. Think about it. Our current crisis started with the crash of 2009 which is exactly 80 years from the last one in 1929.  Our current crisis is causing economic upheavals that is also causing social distress and unrest.

Since we're 10 years into a 20 year long crisis phase it also means that, in the next 10 years, we're facing total war and crisis that will threaten the survival of our nation and maybe even mankind itself. From The Fourth Turning:
..the next Fourth Turning ends in apocalypse – or glory. The nation could be ruined, its democracy destroyed, and millions of people scattered or killed. Or America could enter a new golden age, triumphantly applying shared values to improve the human condition. The rhythms of history do not reveal the outcome of the coming Crisis; all they suggest is the timing and dimension
Fourth Turnings end in total war, crisis and destruction. Interestingly, from Howe and Strauss' research, a grey champion often arrives to lead the nation through the crisis period. Surely, that grey champion is Donald J. Trump.

The last Fourth Turning ended with 65 million persons dead in World War II. How many will die in the next 10 years? Our current crisis might even end with a war against or succession from our own government. Our current government deserves to be vanquished so that we can start again. This is the only way to bring the country back to its founding principles and the restoration of the U.S. Constitution. It will require that you and I act with honesty, integrity, and honor during the coming struggle (war). Almost certainly there will financial calamity, hardship, system-wide failures and we will have to once again restore our country, sound finance, sound money and sound banking again from the ashes our proximate financial calamity.  After all, our status quo is completely and utterly unsustainable.

What Sound Finance Looks Like

Not long ago, banks used to be a place where savers put their savings and the banks, in turn, lent out this money out to borrowers. That saved money was a surplus from the saver's hard work and productivity.

For many periods of history, gold was money and money was gold, so growth in the money supply was limited by the quantity of gold mined or ~2% per year. Nations historically turned to gold as money because no government can be trusted. That's more true than ever. With the exceptions of wartime, money used to be generally limited even when it wasn't backed by gold --- it was limited by responsible and high-integrity bankers (and no central bank prior to 1913). As a result, the nation's labor productivity led to long periods of falling consumer prices and rising international exchange rates---giving consumers more spending power and prosperity (the opposite of today). Deflation was often the norm and that was a good thing for consumers and the country.

So, the nation's and world's money supply growth was limited for significant periods of history. This meant that the growth of debt was similarly limited to money saved. And there weren't trade and budget deficits--it just couldn't happen in a sound money regime. With sound money and sound banking, if a government spent too much and issued bonds (which takes scarce money out of the economy), it would cause interest rates to rise to attract more savings to re-establish equilibrium and crowd-out the private sector and immediately contract the nation's money supply (there was no "accommodation" of such pressures by central "money printing" to avoid the consequences of excess government spending ---like what is happening now all over the world).  Too much government spending used to cause adverse real world consequences, so we had built-in budgetary discipline---thanks to sound money.

If a nation imported too much, then that nation would find their gold reserves (money) leaving their country and slowing their economy and imports to correct the trade imbalance. This controlled international trade and financial balances.

Oh, the beauty of a sound money regime. It limited spending -- meaning it required financial and government spending discipline. It limited debt levels, it controlled and balanced international finances and trade. It's TOO good because governments often did away with it when the going got tough --usually when they needed to spend money to fight wars. Therefore sound money, if strictly maintained, even has the effect of preventing wars!

Where We Are Now

All of that is history.

In 1970, US debt was $275 Billion. It took 188 years to achieve that.  This past week alone, the government sold $258 billion!  In the past 6 months alone, US debt has exploded by $1 Trillion. And this is during "good times."

In 1971, Nixon ended the Post WWII Bretton Woods arrangement which ended any semblance of (gold-backed) sound money. As an immediate result, our national debt and inflation began to skyrocket. Central bank activism and "experimentation" increased as they tried to tame the increasingly unstable business cycle---that THEY caused!

The big banks have once again become highly risky hedge funds using your money to gamble with highly leveraged positions in risky derivatives (again) thanks to the repeal of Glass-Steagall. They act with impunity since they have the government's backing when they fail again. Just 10 years ago, the world had a financial near-death experience as derivatives failed, banks failed and markets failed. The world economy come to a halt as finance failed. And here we are again thanks to lobbying money and corrupted politicians. Remember, if finance fails then everything else fails and millions, even billions, of people may die as supply chains collapse, commerce halts, shortages develop, grocery store shelves empty and people begin starving. Longer term, infrastructure fails including even electricity and utilities. I know it's unthinkable, but that's how bad it could get.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Paul Craig Roberts: Results of the Mueller Investigation: NOTHING!

From Paul Craig Roberts:

Robert Mueller discredited himself and his orchestrated Russiagate investigation last week (Friday, February 16, 2018) with his charges that 13 Russians and 3 Russian companies plotted to use social media to influence the 2016 election. Their intent, Mueller says, was to “sow discord in the US political system.”

What pathetic results to come from a 9 month investigation!

Note that the hyped Russian hacking of Hillary’s emails that we have heard about every day is nowhere to be found in Mueller’s charges. In its place there is “use of social media to sow discord.” I mean, really! Even if the charge were correct, considering the massive discord present in the last presidential election, with the Democrats calling Trump voters racist, sexist, homophobic white trash deplorables, how much discord could a measly 13 Russians add via social media?

Note also that the Trump/Putin conspiracy is also not present in Mueller’s charges. Mueller’s charges say that the Russians’ plan to sow discord began in 2014, before there was any notion that Trump would run for president in 2017. The link of the plot to Putin is reduced to the allegation that the plot was financed by a St. Petersburg restaurateur whose connection to Putin is that his business once catered official dinners between Russian officials and foreign dignitaries.

Finally, note that Mueller’s release of his charges in the face of dead news weekend means that Mueller knows that he has nothing to justify the massive propaganda onslaught against Trump for conspiring with Putin with which the presstitutes have regaled us. If the charges amounted to anything, they would have been released on Monday morning, and the presstitutes would have been handed by the FBI and CIA the news stories to file with their papers.

How did the 13 Russians go about sowing discord? Are you ready for this?

They held political rallies posing as Americans and they paid one person (unidentified) to build a cage aboard a flatbed pickup truck and another person to wear a costume portraying Hillary in prison clothes.

How much money was lavished on this plot.

A monthly budget of $1.2 million, a sum far too small to be seen in the $2.65 billion spent by Hillary and Trump and the $6.8 billion spent by all candidates for federal elective offices in the last election.

Mueller claims to have emails from some of the 13 Russians. If the emails are authentic, they sound like a few kids pretending to friends that they are doing big things. One of the emails brags that the FBI got after them so they got busy covering up their tracks.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has fallen for Mueller’s ruse.

Remember what William Binney, the person who designed the NSA spy program, said: If any such Russiagate plot existed, NSA would have the evidence. No investigation would be necessary.

One can conclude that Mueller and Rosenstein are fighting for their lives now that it is known that their spy requests for FISA court approval were based on deception. Mueller has produced this silly indictment of individuals who are not the Russian government in the hope that it will keep the attention off the FBI’s deception of the FISA court.

As a special prosecutor Mueller has demonstrated the same lack of integrity that he demonstrated as FBI director.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Ready for a 50% Loss of Your Wealth?

On January 26 2018, the US reported that 4th quarter real GDP grew at a 2.6% rate -- a rate that was disappointing relative to expectations. It was disappointing because there was a real surge of post-disaster spending after the two hurricanes and massive wildfires during the fourth quarter. In fact, some people were asking "is that all we get??"

It was even worse than that. The savings rate fell from 3.3% to 2.6%. If it had stayed the same, real "personal consumption expenditures" would have been just 0.8% (annualized) instead of 3.8% and GDP would have been 0.6% instead of 2.6%.  So, after all the disaster spending we "only" got 2.6% GDP growth.  The underlying economic growth rate is actually closer to 0.6% since that disaster spending was a "one off."

The savings rates of America plunged due to an unprecedented surge in credit card expenditures during the last quarter of 2017. It's really quite stunning (and unsustainable):

An Unsustainable Surge of Credit Card Expenditures--Unlikely to be Repeated in Coming Quarters
But the US consumer has been in distress for a long time. For the bottom 90%, wages are not keeping up with rising healthcare costs, rising rents, food and other rising costs.  To "make ends meet," they have been using debt to sustain their standard of living. It just keeps getting worse and worse:

Graph from Real Investment Advice
Another view of the rising debt and the financial gap that consumers have been facing and using debt to fill it:

Graph from Lance Roberts at Real Investment Advice

US consumers are already in record debt and they went on a spending spree at the end of 2017. They had to -- they aren't making ends meet in their personal finances and haven't been doing so for a long time.  US consumers are tapped-out.  The US real personal savings rate dropped to an extremely low 2.6%.  US consumers are 70% of the total economy.  See below:

That 2.6% personal savings rate is about as low as it goes. Note that rate was also reached in 2008, just before the great financial crisis in 2008 (savings rate was 2.3% then).  An extremely low savings rate that signals a recession.  

So, I'm warning you now that, despite all the narratives in the lying media and from lying economists, we're not in a "boom" or an "overheating" economy. The truth is that we're much closer to recession than boom. And because of all the corporate, personal and government debts that have built-up since the last recession, the next recession will be bad or worse.  In fact, you can expect a 50% loss (or more) of your net worth!

Each time the US savings rate drops to current levels, it signals an economic top and subsequent recession. The past two recessions have been accompanied by large losses of net worth.  The 2009 recession saw about a 30% decline in household net worth (includes stocks, bonds, real estate, etc).  It's likely to happen once again, but worse. As of today , household wealth as a percent disposible income is over 700%. Just extrapolating trends, a trip back to 450% to 500% or a 36% decline in household worth or more can be expected.

The Last Time That the Savings Rate Reached Current Levels, Household Wealth declined by 30%. We're Facing the Same or Worse Prospects in February 2018
Graph from Econimica blog