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“Past Is Not Prologue” But Over The Long-Run, We’re All Skeptical

“Past Is Not Prologue” But Over The Long-Run, We’re All Skeptical

The last 20 years have been the toughest stretch for US stocks since the Great Depression into World War II. The next 5 years will either confirm investors’ worst fears that stocks are no longer “for the long term” or begin to re-instill confidence in the asset class. 

The fulcrum issue: avoiding a +10% annual drawdown any time between now and the end of 2023.

Over the last 20 years US equity investors have seen the worst aggregate returns since the period that includes the Great Depression and World War II. We’ve covered this topic a few times before, but here is a quick reprise:

  • The compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) for the S&P 500 from 1999 – 2018 is 5.6% on a total return basis. (Data courtesy of NYU professor Aswath Damodaran.)
  • That is the lowest 20-year trailing return since the period ending 1950, which had a 3.7% CAGR.
  • Adjusting for CPI inflation, 20-year trailing returns ending 2018 are 3.0%. The last time inflation-adjusted returns were lower than that was 1998, thanks primarily to the double-digit inflation of the 1970s.

In our view, the fact that 20-year S&P real returns are at +60 year lows explains more about the current market environment than any other single statistic. Capital moves to passive, low fee investment products when returns are this low, because every basis point of expenses matters. Rate-of-return-targeting capital (i.e. pension and sovereign wealth funds) shifts to riskier asset classes like venture capital and private equity in an attempt to juice portfolio returns. Everything from the dramatic growth of ETFs to SoftBank’s $100 billion VC fund ties right back to that paltry 5.6% long run return on the S&P 500.

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

As The Perfect Storm Approaches, Most Americans Are Partying Instead Of Preparing

As The Perfect Storm Approaches, Most Americans Are Partying Instead Of Preparing

I can’t think of a time when Americans were more apathetic about getting prepared, and yet this is exactly the time when the urgency to get prepared should be at the highest.  Earlier today, my wife Meranda and I were discussing the fact that every single element of “the perfect storm” is coming together just as we had anticipated.  One by one, the pieces are all falling into place, and I share the most recent things that my research has uncovered with all of you on a daily basis.  Unfortunately, most Americans are absolutely convinced that there is no reason to get prepared for hard times because everything is going to be just great.  In America today, most people either believe that the future is going to be totally wonderful or that the future will be totally wonderful once we get rid of Trump.  Because so many of us have adopted one of these false narratives, most Americans are partying instead of preparing, and that is going to mean big trouble when things really start going haywire.

Are you familiar with “the rule of three”?  I just looked it up on Google, and this is how it is defined…

“You can survive for 3 Minutes without air (oxygen) or in icy water. You can survive for 3 Hours without shelter in a harsh environment (unless in icy water) You can survive for 3 Days without water (if sheltered from a harsh environment) You can survive for 3 Weeks without food (if you have water and shelter)”

Of course these numbers are not exact.  For example, many have gone without food for more than 3 weeks without serious problems.  But in general, this is a pretty good guideline for survival.

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

Ron Paul: The Market Correction Could Make Things ‘Worse Than 1929’

Ron Paul: The Market Correction Could Make Things ‘Worse Than 1929’

Former presidential candidate, Dr. Ron Paul says that the current market conditions are ripe for a correction of 50% and Wall Street is vulnerable to depression-like conditions in the next year. “It could be worse than 1929,” Dr. Paul said recently in an interview.

Paul said Thursday on CNBC‘sFutures Now that “Once this volatility shows that we’re not going to resume the bull market, then people are going to rush for the exits.”  Paul added that “it could be worse than 1929.”  He was referencing the fateful day in October of 1929 when the stock market crashed, and the United States was flung into the Great Depression that lasted ten years. During that year, a worldwide depression was ignited because of the U.S.’s market crash.  The stock market began hemorrhaging and after falling almost 90 percent, sent the U.S. economy crashing a burning.

And of course, no one believes it could happen again. But Dr. Paul is continuously warning against the media’s constant optimism. As well-known Libertarian, Paul has been warning Wall Street that a massive market plunge is inevitable for years. He’s currently projecting a 50 percent decline from current levels as his base case, citing the ongoing U.S.-China trade war as a growing risk factor. “I’m not optimistic that all of the sudden, you’re going to eliminate the tariff problem. I think that’s here to stay,” he said. “Tariffs are taxes.”  And these tariffs are a direct tax on the American economy and consumer.

Paul places the blame for the inevitable future crash on the Federal Reserve’s “easy money policies” also known as quantitative easing.  He contended the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing has caused the “biggest bubble in the history of mankind.” And this time, it’s an everything bubble.

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

Historic Debt Is At The Core Of Our Economic Decline

debt at core of economic decline

From Brandon Smith

As I predicted just after the 2016 presidential election, a sordid theater of blame has exploded over the state of the U.S. economy, with fingers pointing everywhere except (in most cases) at the true culprits behind the crash. Some people point to the current administration and its pursuit of a trade war. Others point to the Federal Reserve, with its adverse interest rate hikes into economic weakness and its balance sheet cuts.

Some blame the Democrats for doubling the national debt under the Obama Administration and creating massive trade and budget deficits. And others look towards Republicans for not yet stemming the continually increasing national debt and deficits.

In today’s economic landscape, the debt issue is absolutely critical. While it is often brought up in regards to our fiscal uncertainty, it is rarely explored deeply enough.

I believe that economic crisis events are engineered deliberately by the financial elite in order to create advantageous conditions for themselves. To understand why, it is important to know the root of their power.

Without extreme debt conditions, economic downturns cannot be created (or at least sustained for long periods of time). According to the amount of debt weighing down a system, banking institutions can predict the outcomes of certain actions and also influence certain end results. For example, if the Fed were to seek out conjuring a debt based bubble, a classic strategy would be to set interest rates artificially low for far too long. Conversely, raising interest rates into economic weakness is a strategy that can be employed in order to collapse a bubble. I believe that it is what launched the Great Depression, it is what ignited the crash of 2008, and it is what’s going on today.

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

Coffee Sellers Are Not Fundamentally Different From Banks

With the 2007-8 financial crisis came a splendid alphabetical soup of central bank interventions to stimulate financial markets, lower interest rates, provide astonishing amounts of liquidity to banks and, allegedly, prevent another Great Depression. Likening the failure of big banks to falling elephants crushing even the smallest grass, former Fed Chairman Bernanke argued that consequences from bank failures would have caused much more havoc to the economy than the liquidity provision and bailouts his Fed oversaw.

Now, do banks really deserve special consideration in this sense? Let me illustrate by comparing the fates of two imaginary entrepreneurs:

Our first entrepreneur — let’s call him John — sees an opportunity in the beverage business. Specifically, he’s convinced that he can source high-quality Brazilian coffee beans, roast and serve impeccably aromatic coffee in downtown Manhattan. He draws up the business plan, estimates what he believes coffee-craving New Yorkers would be willing to pay for his coffee and assesses how many customers he could reasonably serve per day.

Setting his plan in action, he borrows some money from friends and family, rents an appropriate space, hires a construction team and interior designers to create the coffee-scented heaven he imagines, finds some competent baristas to staff it and finally opens his doors to hesitantly curious customers. From here, as in all entrepreneurial ventures, there are two paths John’s business may take:

  1. If customers love his coffee and willingly part with their dollars , enough so that John can cover costs as well as offer some return to his shareholders/creditors, we consider John’s venture successful. The profits describe the added value for consumers, regardless of whether you see John as a Misesian uncertainty-carrying and future-appreciating speculator or a Kirznerian arbitrageur, alert to discrepancies between prices of higher and lower-order goods.

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

Elite Terrified of 1930’s Depression or Weimar Hyperinflation – John Rubino

Elite Terrified of 1930’s Depression or Weimar Hyperinflation – John Rubino


Financial writer John Rubino says everywhere you look, debt is exponentially mounting. Nothing demonstrates the “imminent bankruptcy” problem better than the financial obligations of New York City. Rubino says, “They just announced that they have unfunded liabilities for retiree healthcare, just retiree healthcare and not the rest of their pensions, of $100 billion. That’s for a city, not a state or a country, and if you add their unfunded liabilities for their pensions, which is another $50 billion or so, and their official debt, which is $50 billion or so, you get $200 billion that New York City is on the hook for that they have not put money away for. If a private sector company had finances like that, they would be insolvent, and their accountants would force them to say that.”You can tell the same story for cities, states and countries around the world swimming in unrepayable debt. So, what will be done when bond defaults and financial failures begin? Will Trump let it go like the failed debt of Puerto Rico or have massive bailouts? Rubino says, “It’s possible that Trump will teach that lesson to the system, but I think the numbers are so big now the risk of a 1930’s style depression, or a Weimar Germany hyperinflation, is so great these guys are going to be terrified of anything that seems to be destabilizing. The pressure on whoever is in charge of the central bank or federal government is going to be to try to nip crises in the bud before they can really get going when you don’t know what is going to happen. For instance, New York City goes bankrupt, and that pulls down Chicago, and then that pulls down California. What does that mean? Nobody knows, and nobody wants to find out.”

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

The Fourth Turning & War of the Worlds

THE FOURTH TURNING & WAR OF THE WORLDS

Image result for fake news cnn Image result for illegal immigrant invasion

Image result for bomb hoax Image result for fourth turning war

“In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party. The catalyst will unfold according to a basic Crisis dynamic that underlies all of these scenarios: An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios (debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details, which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. If foreign societies are also entering a Fourth Turning, this could accelerate the chain reaction. At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe

The paragraph above captures everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen during this Fourth Turning. It was written over two decades ago, but no one can deny its accuracy regarding our present situation. The spark was a financial crash. The response to the financial crash by the financial and governmental entities, along with their Deep State co-conspirators who created the financial collapse due to their greed and malfeasance, led to the incomprehensible election of Donald Trump, as the deplorables in flyover country evoked revenge upon the corrupt establishment.

The chain reaction of unyielding responses by the left and the right accelerates at a breakneck pace, with absolutely no possibility of compromise. A new emergency or winner take all battle seems to be occurring on a weekly basis, with the mid-term elections as the likely trigger for the next phase of this Fourth Turning.

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

How Politicians Are Creating the Worst Economic Crash in History

Politicians have totally and completely misunderstood the trends within the global economy and as a result, they are actually creating one of the worst economic debacles in history. I have explained several times that the bulk of investment capital is tied up in two primary sectors – (1) government bonds and (2) real estate. Because of income taxes, real estate has offered a way to make money in capital gains without having to pay income taxes.

Money has looked to park in real estate around the world for many various different reasons as in Italy it was the escape from inheritance taxes as well as banks or in Vancouver to gain a foothold for residency fleeing Hong Kong. In Australia, there was the Super Annuation Fund which allowed people to use retirement funds for real estate. In New Zealand, the new government wanted to declare foreign investment just illegal and in Australia, they made it a criminal act for a foreigner to own property and not inform the government they were foreigners. Over in London, they imposed taxes on property which created a crash.

 

People spend more when they believe that they have big profits in their home. The recession of 2007-2010 was so bad recording the worst of all declines since the Great Depression all BECAUSE it undermined the real estate values. People then spent less because they viewed their home declined in value. As taxes have been rising and the average home value collapsed, the velocity of money kept declining. Especially as real estate values declined and interest on savings accounts vanished hurting the elderly who saved money for retirement and discovered their savings were producing less income, the velocity of money just plummeted. The velocity of money began to turn up finally in the USA ONLYwhen interest rates began to rise.

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

The Market Isn’t The Economy: A Snapshot From The Depression

The Market Isn’t The Economy: A Snapshot From The Depression

“We gathered on porches; the moon rose; we were poor.

And time went by, drawn by slow horses.

Somewhere beyond our windows shone the world.

The Great Depression had entered our souls like fog.” – Pantoum of the Great Depression – Donald Justice.

Wall Street insiders relish market troughs.

They bask sanguine in their confidence of history. Tenured pros are comforted in the belief that monetary and fiscal stimulus triggers are cocked and at the ready, reinforced in the knowledge that taxpayers without choice in the matter, will again, be the bail-out solution.

In a last irony to turn the blade in the back slowly, this group confidently takes credit for saving a system they helped to bust in the first place.

They are the strong hands who patiently await to scoop up shares when markets falter. As the smart money, these players unload inflated shares to the ‘dumb’ money or retail investors at “FOMO” or fear-of-missing-out emotional peaks.

The masses are advised to blind buy and hold. Retail investors are cajoled as “brave” if they “ride it out.” And whatever “it” is can be counted in years, even decades. Time is precious to us mere mortals. Our lives are finite; Wall Street lives on forever. The precious time it takes to break-even is ignored. Not relevant.

One of my favorite Nashville-based songwriters Drew Holcomb begins a song with a seminal line:

“Time steals every paradise I’ve been looking for.”

When Wall Street prospers, Main Street doesn’t necessarily follow a similar, prosperous path.

For example, Pew Research Center outlines that overall, American Household wealth has not fully recovered from the Great Recession. As early as 2016, median wealth of all U.S. households was $97,300; well below median wealth of $139,700 before the recession began in 2007.

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

IMF Issues Dire Warning – ‘Great Depression’ Ahead?

IMF Issues Dire Warning – ‘Great Depression’ Ahead?

– “Large challenges loom for the global economy to prevent a second Great Depression” warn IMF
– Massive government debts and eroded fiscal buffers since 2008 suggest global dominos await a single market crash
– 2008 crisis measures cast long, dark “terrifying” shadow

Is another “Great Depression” on the horizon?

It would be easier to dismiss these words from Nouriel Roubini, Marc Faber or other doom-and-gloom prognosticators. Coming from Christine Lagarde’s team, though, they take on a new dimension of scary.

The International Monetary Fund head isn’t known for breathlessness on the world stage. And yet the IMF sounded downright alarmist in its latest Global Financial Stability report, stating that “large challenges loom for the global economy to prevent a second Great Depression.”

Even some market bears were taken aback. “Why,” asks Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse Blog would the IMF use this phrase “in a report that they know the entire world will read?”

Perhaps because, unfortunately, the findings of other referees of global risks – including the Bank for International Settlements – hint at similar dislocations.

Ten years after the Lehman Brothers crisis, these worrisome warnings that will be explored in depth at this week’s annual IMF meeting in Bali. The tranquil setting, though, will offer few respites from cracks appearing in markets everywhere – from Italy to China to Southeast Asia, where currencies are cratering like it’s 1998 again.


Source: Wikipedia

Potential flashpoints and a long line of dominos

Italy is the current flashpoint – and the latest target of “domino effect” chatter in frothy world markets. China’s shadow-banking bubble, and the extreme opacity and regulations that enable it, also came in for criticism. And, of course, the 800-pound beast in any room where global investors gather these days: Donald Trump’s assault on world trade.

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

The Great Depression II

The Great Depression II

Whenever a movie has been a huge hit, the film industry tries to follow it up by doing a sequel. The sequel is almost invariably far more costly, as there’s the anticipation by those who create it that it will be an even bigger blockbuster than the original.

The Great Depression of the 1930’s is seen by most people to be the be-all and end-all of economic catastrophes and there’s good reason for that. Although the economic cycle has always existed, the period leading up to October 1929 was unusual, as those in the financial sector had become unusually creative.

Brokers encouraged people to buy into the stock market as heavily as they could afford to. When that business began to level off, they encouraged people to buy on margin. The idea was that the buyer would only put up a fraction of the money for the purchase and the broker would “guarantee” full payment to the seller. As a condition to the agreement, the buyer would have to relinquish to the broker the right to sell his stock at any point that he wished, should he feel the need to do so to get himself off the hook in the event of a significant economic change.

Both the buyer and the broker were buying stocks with money that neither one had. But the broker entered into the gamble so that he could charge commissions, which he would be paid immediately. The buyer entered into the gamble, as he had been promised by the broker that stocks were “going to the moon” and that he’d become rich.

Banks got into the game, as well. At one time, banks took money on deposit, then lent that money out at interest. They would always retain a percentage of the deposited money within the bank to assure that they could meet whatever the normal demand for withdrawals might be.

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

Weekly Commentary: Rude Awakening Coming

Weekly Commentary: Rude Awakening Coming

Please join Doug Noland and David McAlvany this Thursday, October 18th, at 4:00PM EST/ 2:00pm MST for the Tactical Short Q3 recap conference call, “Market Contagion is Back.” Click here to register.
There’s little satisfaction writing the CBB after a big down week in the markets. Motivation seems easier to come by after up weeks, perhaps my defiant streak kicking in. I find myself especially melancholy at the end of this week. There’s a Rude Awakening Coming – perhaps it’s finally starting to unfold.

Many will compare this week’s market downdraft to the bout of market tumult back in early-February. At the time, I likened the blowup of some short volatility products to the June 2017 failure of two Bear Stearns structured Credit funds – an episode marking the beginning of the end for subprime and the greater mortgage finance Bubble. First cracks in vulnerable Bubbles. Back in 2007, it took 15 months for the initial fissure to develop into the “worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.”

I posited some months back that tumult in the emerging markets marked the second phase of unfolding Crisis Dynamics. I have argued that the global government finance Bubble, history’s greatest Bubble, has been pierced at the “periphery.” More recently, the analytical focus has been on “Periphery to Core Crisis Dynamics.” I’ve chronicled de-risking/deleveraging dynamics making headway toward the “Core.” This week the “Core” became fully enveloped, as the unfolding global crisis entered a critical third phase.

Today’s backdrop is altogether different than that of February. For one, back then “money” was flowing readily into the emerging markets – too much of it “hot money.” “Risk on” was still dominant early in the year. Speculative leverage was expanding, with resulting liquidity abundance on an unprecedented global scale. With such a powerful global liquidity backdrop, a fleeting dislocation in U.S. equities proved no impediment to the hard-charging U.S. bull market.

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

Inverted Global Yield Curve Creates “The Perfect Cocktail For A Liquidity Crunch” As The IMF Warns Of “A Second Great Depression”

Inverted Global Yield Curve Creates “The Perfect Cocktail For A Liquidity Crunch” As The IMF Warns Of “A Second Great Depression”

Why would the IMF use the phrase “a second Great Depression” in a report that they know the entire world will read?  To be more precise, the IMF stated that “large challenges loom for the global economy to prevent a second Great Depression”.  Are they saying that if we do not change our ways that we are going to be heading into a horrific economic depression?  Because if that is what they are trying to communicate, they would be exactly correct.  At this moment, global debt levels are higher than they have ever been before in all of human history, and in their report the IMF specifically identified “global debt levels” as one of the key problems that could lead to “another financial meltdown”

The world economy is at risk of another financial meltdown, following the failure of governments and regulators to push through all the reforms needed to protect the system from reckless behaviour, the International Monetary Fund has warned.

With global debt levels well above those at the time of the last crash in 2008, the risk remains that unregulated parts of the financial system could trigger a global panic, the Washington-based lender of last resort said.

And the IMF report also seemed to indicate that global central banks were responsible for the situation in which we now find ourselves.

In the report, an “extended period of ultralow interest rates” was blamed for “the build-up of financial vulnerabilities”

The IMF Global Financial Stability report read: “The extended period of ultralow interest rates in advanced economies has contributed to the build-up of financial vulnerabilities.

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

Three New Deals: Why the Nazis and Fascists Loved FDR

Three New Deals: Why the Nazis and Fascists Loved FDR

fdr mussolini hitler.jpg 

[Three New Deals: Reflections on Roosevelt’s America, Mussolini’s Italy, and Hitler’s Germany, 1933-1939. By Wolfgang Schivelbusch. Metropolitan Books, 2006. 242 pgs.]

Critics of Roosevelt’s New Deal often liken it to fascism. Roosevelt’s numerous defenders dismiss this charge as reactionary propaganda; but as Wolfgang Schivelbusch makes clear, it is perfectly true. Moreover, it was recognized to be true during the 1930s, by the New Deal’s supporters as well as its opponents.

When Roosevelt took office in March 1933, he received from Congress an extraordinary delegation of powers to cope with the Depression.

The broad-ranging powers granted to Roosevelt by Congress, before that body went into recess, were unprecedented in times of peace. Through this “delegation of powers,” Congress had, in effect, temporarily done away with itself as the legislative branch of government. The only remaining check on the executive was the Supreme Court. In Germany, a similar process allowed Hitler to assume legislative power after the Reichstag burned down in a suspected case of arson on February 28, 1933. (p. 18).

The Nazi press enthusiastically hailed the early New Deal measures: America, like the Reich, had decisively broken with the “uninhibited frenzy of market speculation.” The Nazi Party newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter, “stressed ‘Roosevelt’s adoption of National Socialist strains of thought in his economic and social policies,’ praising the president’s style of leadership as being compatible with Hitler’s own dictatorial Führerprinzip” (p. 190).

Nor was Hitler himself lacking in praise for his American counterpart. He “told American ambassador William Dodd that he was ‘in accord with the President in the view that the virtue of duty, readiness for sacrifice, and discipline should dominate the entire people. These moral demands which the President places before every individual citizen of the United States are also the quintessence of the German state philosophy, which finds its expression in the slogan “The Public Weal Transcends the Interest of the Individual”‘” (pp. 19-20). A New Order in both countries had replaced an antiquated emphasis on rights.

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

Seth Klarman: These Are The 20 Forgotten Lessons From The 2008 Crisis

On the 10 year anniversary of the Lehman bankruptcy, a cottage industry of crisis experts, historical apologists, and generally freelance reminiscers (sic) had emerged, opining on what happened, what should have happened, what changed in the interim ten years, and what will happen in the future.

Most of these opinions are worthless with many of them coming from those who were either responsible for the financial crisis or never saw it coming in the first place. So instead, we have chosen to go with the far more actionable and erudite take of investing legend Seth Klarman who many years ago, one the 1 year anniversary of Lehman’s failure, described the 20 lessons from the financial crisis which, he said “could and should have been learned from the turmoil of 2008” but instead “were either never learned or else were immediately forgotten by most market participants.”

The Forgotten Lessons of 2008

One might have expected that the near-death experience of most investors in 2008 would generate valuable lessons for the future. We all know about the “depression mentality” of our parents and grandparents who lived through the Great Depression. Memories of tough times colored their behavior for more than a generation, leading to limited risk taking and a sustainable base for healthy growth. Yet one year after the 2008 collapse, investors have returned to shockingly speculative behavior. One state investment board recently adopted a plan to leverage its portfolio – specifically its government and high-grade bond holdings – in an amount that could grow to 20% of its assets over the next three years. No one who was paying attention in 2008 would possibly think this is a good idea.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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