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The “COVID Coup”

The “COVID Coup”

What we are experiencing is a COVID coup.

While Joe Biden (apparently) won the election, the entire process was dominated by COVID precautions and distortions.

Nearly 80% of Joe Biden’s vote — according to the exit polls — named COVID as the key issue. A similar 80% of Trump’s vote saw the economy as the key issue.

In the name of COVID fears, election day was essentially cancelled and more than half the votes were cast by mail, many of them weeks before.

With the Democrats leading the push for early mail-in voting, people who feared to go to the polls (because of COVID) were overwhelmingly Biden voters.

Republicans across the country allowed the Democrats to intimidate voters with COVID myths and then use the myths as a pretext for voting by mail from home.

On the assumption that it was perilous to vote in person, mail-in ballots were authorized everywhere. More than 100 million votes were mailed-in.

Breaking the links between personal presence, IDs, signatures, ballots, and individual voters, the new procedures fostered a murky and error-prone system that should not be repeated.

The mail-in operations prolonged the voting period and changed the electoral dynamic. We can only hope that the American future was not “lost in the mail.

The Myth and Mantra of COVID

The ruling theme of the campaign was the myth and mantra of 220,000 “COVID deaths.” This claim the media inculcated and propagated relentlessly and even Trump disastrously seemed to condone. The electoral campaigns pivoted on the myth of the 220,000 or more deaths.

Actual COVID-caused deaths were less than 10% of this number and the average age of deaths was higher than the average age of all-cause deaths.

Measured by years of lost life, COVID was insignificant compared to ordinary flu, pneumonia, TB or other diseases.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Bogus Case Against Gold

The Bogus Case Against Gold

Gold is in the early stages of its third great bull run that will take it to record heights.

The first two great bull markets were 1971-1980 (gold up 2,200%) and 1999-2011 (gold up 760%). After peaking in 2011, gold fell sharply from that peak to below $1,100 per ounce by 2015.

Now the third great bull market is underway. It began on December 16, 2015, when gold bottomed at $1,050 per ounce at the end of the 2011-2015 bear market. Since then, gold is up significantly, but it’s small change compared to 2,200% and 760% gains in the last two bull markets.

Still, most mainstream economists dismiss gold. They call it a barbarous relic and say it has no place in today’s monetary system.

But today, I want to remind you of the three main arguments mainstream economists make against gold and why they’re dead wrong.

There’s Just Not Enough Gold to Support the Money Supply!

The first one you may have heard many times. “Experts” say there’s not enough gold to support a global financial system. Gold can’t support all the world’s paper money, its assets and liabilities, its expanded balance sheets of all the banks and the financial institutions in the world. They say there’s not enough gold to support that money supply.

That argument is complete nonsense. It’s true that there’s a limited quantity of gold. But more importantly, there’s always enough gold to support the financial system. The key is to set its price correctly.

It is true that at today’s price of about $1,875 an ounce, pegging it to the existing money supply would be highly deflationary.

But to avoid that, all we have to do is increase the gold price. In other words, take the amount of existing gold, place it at, say, $14,000 an ounce, and there’s plenty of gold to support the money supply.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Civil War Two

America has a new manufactured crisis, ElectionGate, as if all the other troubles piling up like tropical depressions marching across the September seas were not enough.

America needs a constitutional crisis like a hole in the head, and that’s exactly what’s being engineered for the holiday season by the clever folks in the Democratic Party’s Lawfare auxiliary.

Here’s how it works: the complicit newspapers and cable news channels publish polls showing Joe Biden leading in several swing states, even if it’s not true. Facebook and Twitter amplify expectations of a Biden victory. This sets the stage for a furor when it turns out that he loses on election night.

On cue, Antifa commences to riot all around the country. Meanwhile, a mighty harvest of mail-in votes pours into election districts utterly unequipped to validate them.

Lawfare cadres agitate in the contested states’ legislatures to send rogue elector slates to the electoral college. The dispute ends up in congress, which awaits a seating of newly-elected representatives on January 4, hopefully for Lawfare, mostly Democrats. Whoops…!

Turns out, the Dems lost their majority there too. Fighting in the streets ramps up and overwhelms hamstrung police forces in Democratic-run cities. January 20 — Inauguration Day — rolls around, and the Dems ask the military to drag Trump out of the White House “with great dispatch!” as Mr. Biden himself put it so nicely back in the summer.

The U.S. military breaks into two factions. Voilà: Civil War Two.

You didn’t read that here first, of course. It’s been all over the web for weeks, since the Democratic Party-sponsored Transition Integrity Project (cough cough) ran their summer “war game,” intending to demonstrate that any Trump election victory would be evidence of treason and require correction by any means necessary, including sedition, which they’d already tried a few times in an organized way since 2016 (and botched).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Negative Interest Rates Have Arrived

We are often warned that negative interest rates are an approaching menace — not an immediate menace.

Yet are negative rates already reality in the United States? Has the unholy day already arrived?

Today we don the sleuth’s cap, step into our gumshoes… and unearth evidence that negative interest rates are not the future menace… but the present menace.

What is the evidence? Answer anon.

Under negative interest rates…

Your bank does not compensate you for stabling your money with it. You instead compensate the bank for stabling your money.

A man sinks a dollar into his bank. Under standard rules he hauls out a dollar and change on some distant date — perhaps $1.05.

These days he is of course fortunate to bring out $1.01.

Yet under negative interest rates he endures a rooking of sorts. He pulls out not a dollar and change — but change alone. The bill itself has vanished.

His dollar may be worth 97 cents for example. Thus his dollar — rotting down in his bank — is a sawdust asset, a wasting asset, a minus asset.

Would you willingly hand a bank a dollar today to take back 97 cents next year? You are a strange specimen if you would.

Yet that is precisely as the Federal Reserve would have it…

The Federal Reserve wants your money eternally up and doing, searching, hunting, grasping… adventuring…

It must be forever acquiring, forever chasing rainbows, forever upon the jump.

That is, the Federal Reserve would not allow your money one contemplative moment to sit idle upon its hands… and doze.

For a dollar in motion is a dollar in service — in service to the economy.

The dollar in motion runs down goods and services. It invests in worthwhile and productive enterprises.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

We’re All Serfs of Big Tech

We’re All Serfs of Big Tech

What do you call an economy of monopolies without competition or any regulatory restraints?

An economy of monopolies that controls both the buying and selling in the markets they control?

Monopolies with the power to commit legalized fraud and the profits to buy political influence?

Monopolies whose black box algorithms are all-powerful but completely opaque to public scrutiny?

Call it whatever you want, but it certainly isn’t Capitalism, which requires competition and market transparency to price capital, labor, risk, credit, goods, services, etc.

Black Box Monopoly is the death of Capitalism as it eliminates competition and market transparency.

Legalized Fraud

The American economy is now dominated by Big Tech Black Box Monopolies, and thus what we have isn’t a “free market” system (a.k.a. capitalism), it’s the pretense of capitalism, a slick PR cover for the most rapacious form of exploitation.

The SillyCon Valley model is simple: achieve monopoly power by scaling the network effect and buying up hundreds of potential competitors with stock “printed” out of thin air.

Once monopoly is achieved, buyers and sellers are both captive to the Big Tech monopoly: both buyers and sellers of apps, for example, must submit to the profiteering and control of the Big Tech monopoly.

Once the profits flowing from monopoly pile up, buy back the shares you “printed” to eliminate competition, boosting the wealth of insiders to the moon. Since share buybacks were once illegal, this is nothing but legalized fraud.

Despite the immense destruction these Big Tech monopolies wreak on society, the political power they purchase protects them from any limits. of “free markets.”That their platforms now control the flow of data, including political content and adverts, is brushed aside with the usual paradoxical claims

Ironic, isn’t it?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why Martians Are Wrong About Gold

A martian — Warren Buffett once razzed — would marvel that earthlings dig gold from the ground… only to rebury it in vaults.

That is, the business is idiotic… pointless… and wasteful.

At first blush, our space man is justly puzzled. Why would humans shovel up hunks of metal — only to lock them away, idle?

Yet the martian — and the Nebraskan — jump past a fundamental truth of human nature.

As one insightful fellow (whose identity we cannot recall) has noted…

Men act with purpose. They do not squander their time or resources on pointless, juiceless pursuits.

Why would they expend vast resources to haul up gold… and risk their lives deep in dangerous mines to grab it… if they lacked compelling reasons?

We note that Mr. Buffett has recently purchased 21 million shares of Barrick Gold. Has this man forgotten his martian?

And so we arrive at this question: Why do men still toil extravagantly to wrest gold metal from stingy earth?

The Gold Standard of Money

Perhaps men continue digging up gold because thousands of years of history demonstrate that gold is worth digging up.

Gold is perhaps the ideal money, money par excellence — if you will forgive the expression, the gold standard of money.

Money must be rare. Rocks cannot be money — for example. Nor can dirt.

Yet there must be enough money to “go around.”

Gold is rare. But there is enough to go around. Hence it meets money’s strict conditions.

Gold is also durable. Gold mined thousands of years ago lives yet, fresh as a sprig, no wrinkles, no sags.

And unlike gems or diamonds, gold is divisible. It can be fashioned into bars or coins as needed.

Meantime, money must be a store of value. And gold maintains its value across centuries, across millenia.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

They’ve Done It Again

They’ve Done It Again

The stars are back in their courses. The angels are back in the heavens. And the Perfections are back within sight…

For merely 148 trading days after bottoming… the S&P returned to record heights today.

The index closed the day at 3,389 — eclipsing its February 19 height of 3,386.

Thus Jerome Powell’s maniacal persistence has yielded a reward truly fantastic. He has successfully reflated the bubble.

The Federal Reserve has itself become the market.

Shannon Saccocia, Boston Private’s chief investment officer:

Equity markets are reflecting the massive monetary and fiscal stimulus that has been injected over the past four months… the rationale to diversify away from risk assets is hard to pinpoint.

For many the rationale to diversify away from risk assets is indeed hard to pinpoint…

No Longer Considered a Bear Market Rally

Bank of America has concluded its August Global Fund Manager survey. This survey revealed that:

The majority of professional investors no longer believe this market spree represents a bear market rally.

It is as genuine as gold itself, they believe.

What is more, 31% of those surveyed believe it is “early cycle” — the highest percentage since the financial crisis.

Meantime, Deutsche Bank reports, “companies have already restarted buybacks or are considering doing so.”

Buybacks were of course a primary source of helium for the bubble presently reflating.

And the Federal Reserve’s artificially depressed rates opened the taps…

Corporations Take on More Debt Than Ever

These exorbitantly low rates enabled corporations to pile on cheap debt.

With this debt they often purchased their own stock… which reduced shares outstanding… and raised the price per share.

That is, corporations often took on debt to conduct financial sorcery.

And now — as Deutsche Bank reports — the sorcerers are at their tricks again.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Inflation

Inflation

Inflation

Remember all those “green shoots?”

That was the ubiquitous phrase used by White House officials and TV talking heads in 2009 to describe how the U.S. economy was coming back to life after the 2008 global financial crisis.

The problem was we did not get green shoots, we got more like brown weeds.

The economy did recover, yes, but it was the slowest recovery in U.S. history.

After the green shoots theory had been discredited, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner promised a “recovery summer” in 2010.

That didn’t happen either.

The recovery did continue, but it took years for the stock market to return to its previous highs and even longer for unemployment to come down to levels that could be regarded as close to full employment.

Now, in the aftermath of the 2020 pandemic and market crash, we’re getting the same happy talk.

Green Shoots, or Brown Weeds?

The White House is talking about “pent-up demand” as the economy reopens and consumers flock to stores and restaurants to make up for the lost spending during the March to July pandemic lockdown.

But, the data shows that the “pent-up demand” theory is just as much of a mirage as the green shoots we heard about a decade ago..

Many of the businesses that closed have failed in the meantime. They will never reopen and those lost jobs are never coming back. Even people who kept their jobs are not spending like it’s 2019, they’re saving at record levels.

Meanwhile, the “reopening” of the economy is now in doubt.

In some cities, the reopening was derailed by riots that left shopping districts in ruins. In other cities, the reopening was stopped in its tracks by new outbreaks of the virus that led to new lockdowns and strict application of rules on wearing masks and social distancing.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Last Gasps of “Late Degeneracy Capitalism”

The Last Gasps of “Late Degeneracy Capitalism”

The Last Gasps of “Late Degeneracy Capitalism”

It was a mid-afternoon in 2006 in Cannes, where I joined Dr. Kurt Richebächer at his apartment to collaborate on a book project that, unfortunately, failed to come together before his death a year later.

The old man grabbed his cane and moved to a comfy chair and clicked on a widescreen TV.

Bloomberg. In German.

It was bad news from what I remember. But as far as the economic commentariat was concerned, it was good news. It meant the Fed would simply pump more money into the market.

Traders loved the report; stock futures back in New York had already begun to rally.

Kurt, on the other hand, was flabbergasted. He started talking to me and to the television in German. Neither I nor the TV understood German…

Dr. Richebächer was kind of a crank. He was a special kind of crank, though.

He used to say something like: “the sins of the boom, will be laid bare in the bust.”

A Market Prophet

Kurt wrote a newsletter for more than 40 years. And back in the late 90s and early 2000s we published The Richebächer Letter.

Kurt accurately forecast the tech wreck. And for having done so, he became a semi-celebrity among the geeks — present company included — who like to read and think about an obscure outpost in the field of economics — the Austrian school.

Kurt never claimed to adhere to the Austrian school, but that hardly seemed to matter. His insights apply just as much today as they did 14 years ago — probably more.

It all started after World War II when Kurt had made a name for himself as the best-known financial journalist in Germany — a razor-sharp critic of what he saw as the stupid economic and fiscal policies of the post-war German government.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Fed Isn’t a Magic Money Tree

The Fed Isn’t a Magic Money Tree

The Fed Isn’t a Magic Money Tree

There seems to be no end to the Federal Reserve’s arrogance. Fed officials believe that through their wise actions, they can eliminate the business cycle, lower unemployment and make society prosperous.

But it’s actually much more limited in what it can do.

All the Fed can reliably do is stop bank runs and limit liquidity panics. It can also fund (or “monetize”) the U.S. federal deficit, as it has done in recent months.

By buying essentially the same amount of U.S. Treasury securities the government has issued, the Fed has taken pressure to fund mammoth federal deficits off of the private sector.

But such actions are not cost-free.

They store up trouble for the future. These actions swell the Fed’s balance sheet, which will limit the Fed’s flexibility and its willingness to tighten policy during the next inflation spike.

The more the Fed intervenes, the harder it is for it to reverse course without causing damage.

By promising the public that it can do anything more than offer dollar liquidity, the Fed is setting up both investors and workers for disappointment.

Yet it’s going to try anyway. And it’ll only undermine its limited reputational capital in the process.

“Yield Curve Control”

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the Fed is considering implementing “yield curve control” in the Treasury market. This policy hasn’t been used since WWII and the early postwar period.

It essentially funded the war effort. If unleashed today, it wouldn’t be done to support a civilization-saving war effort but to maintain the debt-saturated economy to which we’ve become accustomed.

Here’s how it would work in practice:

The Fed would set a target range, or cap, on yields for Treasury bonds of a specific maturity — say, 3-, 5- or 7-year Treasuries.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

REVEALED: The Fed’s Next Trick

REVEALED: The Fed’s Next Trick

REVEALED: The Fed’s Next Trick

Today we lower our ear to the rail… and report the approach of a rumbling locomotive.

Free and honest markets are roped to the tracks, squirming, writhing, sobbing.

This iron horse is barreling toward them. Mr. Jerome Powell is at the controls…

And murder is on his mind.

What is the Federal Reserve’s latest plot against the remains of free and honest markets?

And will it pull off the caper?

Answers anon.

We first look in on the seemingly condemned — squirming, writhing, sobbing on the tracks…

A Quiet Day on Wall Street

The day counted plus and minus.

The Dow Jones lost 39 points. The S&P scratched out a 1.85-point gain today. The Nasdaq, meantime, took the ribbon with a 32-point advance.

A dull affair altogether. Yet tomorrow may bring high adventure of course.

And so we now return to today’s central question:

What is the Federal Reserve’s latest plot against the remains of free and honest markets?

Let us first flip back the calendar to the war year of 1942… where our tale begins.

How the Fed Fought WWII

Wars are costly enterprises. And taxes alone would not purchase the arsenals of democracy.

Uncle Samuel therefore held his cap before the bond market… and went upon the borrow.

But the authorities were hot to keep borrowing costs within reasonable limits.

The Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department therefore signed onto an agreement:

The Federal Reserve would place a cap on the government’s borrowing costs.

This it accomplished by purchasing any government bond with yields above a predetermined level.

These purchases shrunk the yield (purchasing Treasuries hammers down the yield; selling Treasuries ratchets yields higher).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Goodbye, Free Market

Goodbye, Free Market

Fremdschämen.

Fremdschämen is a noun of the German language. It translates this way:

Embarrassment for those incapable of feeling embarrassment.

Today we suffer embarrassment for Mr. Jerome Powell and his fellows of the Federal Reserve…

For no action they take lowers their heads in shame… or blushes their cheeks with embarrassment.

Mr. Powell is simply in the hands of Wall Street… and on his knees to Wall Street.

Well does he know the taste of shoeblack.

Yesterday Mr. Powell got a fresh coat on his tongue. Details to follow.

But first, let us look in on his masters…

A Banner Day on Wall Street

Wall Street was in full roar today.

The Dow Jones jumped an additional 582 points. The S&P gained 58 points; the Nasdaq, 169 points of its own.

CNBC, by way of explanation:

Stocks rose on Tuesday as a record jump in retail sales — coupled with positive trial results from a potential coronavirus treatment and hopes of more stimulus — sent market sentiment soaring.

Government number-torturers reported this morning that May retail sales jumped a record 17.7%.

The chronically erring Dow Jones survey of economists had projected a 7.7% increase.

Yet we are not surprised by the surge. April’s numbers were true abominations. But certain economic restrictions were waived in May.

A trampolining back was therefore expected.

Meantime, a medicine named dexamethasone — a widely available medicine — is evidently effective in the treatment of deathly ill coronavirus patients.

It reportedly axed hospital deaths by perhaps one-third.

Thus the market had its spree today. But it merely added to yesterday afternoon’s joys…

Powell Licks Wall Street’s Shoes

The Dow Jones had been off 762 points in early trading yesterday, quaking with coronavirus-related fear.

But then Mr. Powell sank to his knees… and tongued Wall Street’s wingtips…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Fed’s Forever War Against Savers

The Fed’s Forever War Against Savers

The Fed’s Forever War Against Savers

The war on savers rages into its second decade.

And yesterday Field Marshal Powell vowed indefinite bombing, shelling, machine-gunning and bayoneting… until the white flag rises over enemy lines.

It is war to the knife… and from the knife to the hilt.

The only peace terms he will accept are these:

Complete, undiluted and unconditional surrender.

These hoarding hellcats must be vanquished. And their cities must be sowed with salt… as triumphant Rome vanquished Carthage… and sowed it with salt.

Here is yesterday’s dispatch from headquarters:

We are going to be deploying our tools — all of our tools — to the fullest extent for as long as it takes… We are not thinking about raising rates; we are not even thinking about thinking of raising rates.

Zero Rates Through at Least 2022

Powell and staff indicated they will clamp rates to zero, or near zero… through 2022.

We wager rates will remain clamped to zero longer yet.

Deflation hangs over the battlefield like a thick cloud of chlorine gas. And the Federal Reserve’s 2% inflation target appears more wishful than ever.

We do not expect any rate hikes until it lifts. And we hazard little will lift until 2022 has passed.

Meantime, Marshal Powell reminded us yesterday that the pre-pandemic 3.5% unemployment rate yielded little inflation.

He suggested, that is, that unemployment could sink below 3.5% before inflation menaced.

But it could be a long, long while before unemployment drops to pre-pandemic levels.

As we recently noted:

After the last financial crisis, over six years lapsed before employment fully recovered — 76 months.

If we assume a parallel recovery… pre-pandemic unemployment would return in 2026.

Of course comes our disclaimer: Pre-pandemic unemployment would return before 2026.

We simply do not know. Nor does anyone.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

The oppressed rise to their feet. Police sink to their knees. Silence is violence.

And violence is speech.

From sea to glittering sea, from one continent to the next… protests yet rage.

An injustice somewhere on a Minneapolis street evidently threatens justice everywhere.

It certainly threatens the peace everywhere.

Here in Baltimore, storefronts up Charles Street and down Charles Street are barricaded against bricks:

IMG 1
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IMG 3

Is there a greater symbol of hope, of love, than a plywood sheet stretched across a storefront window?

We have yet to encounter one in this world.

“When a Man Enters a Crowd He Exits Civilization”

We have nothing to say against protests, of course. If a man wishes to march against perceived injustice, let him march… lest the heavens fall.

Yet our spacious and tolerant disposition places us in a pickle jar. For a man in a protest is a man in a crowd…

And when a man enters a crowd he exits civilization.

He goes in, his blood goes up… and his reason goes out.

As Herr Nietzsche observed, madness is a rarity in individuals — but the rule in crowds.

Or as argued Mr. Charles Mackay, author of the 1841 classic Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds:

Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.

“A Crowd Runs Not on Thought but on Hormones”

A man in a crowd ceases to be a man but a face.

He ceases to be an independent unit but a cog in a lunatic machine.

A man in a crowd does not think for himself. The crowd thinks for him.

That is, the man ceases to think whatsoever.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Rise up, America!

Rise up, America!

Rise up, America!

Today we hoist the black flag of anarchy… and plot illicit acts.

For the spirit of sedition steals over us. And passion overmasters our typical Olympian serenity.

We may be declared infamous and set down as an insurrectionist. We may be sent to the gallows.

Yet the time for meek submission is gone. And the time for bald defiance is here.

Do we break heads? Do we holler against the police?

Do we incite our fellow Americans to thieving, to arson, to bedlam?

We do none of it, no.

We are as peaceful as a napping baby, as peaceful as grazing sheep.

Instead we beseech Americans to reclaim their ancient and God-granted liberties.

That is, we beseech Americans to defy the government freezes that imprison them in their homes… and wreck their livelihoods.

All About Saving Lives?

We issue today’s war cry for one central because:

The government authorities that mandated these “lockdowns” clearly do not take them heavily.

Their enforcement has proven selective. Capricious. Nonsensical. Idiotic.

That is to say, predictable.

These gushers of human compassion assured us the public health was their highest thought, that they had no thought beyond the preservation of life.

In consequence… they mandated the self-incarceration of perhaps 300 million Americans.

Yes, it would comatize the economy, they conceded. Yes, stores, restaurants, alehouses, theaters, schools, worship houses, beaches, parks and other places of public resort would be locked.

Yes, millions and millions of Americans would be thrown from their jobs.

Yet these unprecedented, egregious and breath-stealing measures were necessary… else the pandemic would overwhelm us. We were denied all choice.

This is what our jailors told us.

And they sobbed the saltiest tears that ever streamed down cheeks…

“If it saves one life,” sniffled Gov. Cuomo, the incalculable expense was worth the sacrifice.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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