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War on Cash: India Rolling Out Retail Pilot Program for Digital Rupee

War on Cash: India Rolling Out Retail Pilot Program for Digital Rupee

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We recently reported that the Federal Reserve plans to launch a 12-week pilot program in partnership with several large commercial banks to test the feasibility of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). The US isn’t alone in experimenting with digital currency. India is working on developing a digital rupee and recently announced the second phase of testing.

After successfully running a pilot program to test its digital currency at the wholesale level, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced it will test the digital rupee in a retail setting.

According to the RBI, the central bank digital currency “is a legal tender issued by a central bank in a digital form. It is the same as a fiat currency and is exchangeable one-to-one with the fiat currency. Only its form is different.”

Digital currencies are similar to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. They exist as virtual banknotes or coins held in a digital wallet on your computer or smartphone. The difference between a government digital currency and bitcoin is the value of the digital currency is backed and controlled by the state, just like traditional fiat currency.

As the RBI put it, “Unlike cryptocurrencies, a CBDC isn’t a commodity or claims on commodities or digital assets. Cryptocurrencies have no issuer. They are not money (certainly not currency) as the word has come to be understood historically.”

According to a report in the Economic Times of India, the National Payments Corporation of India will host the platform for the digital rupee payment system during the testing phase. The Reserve Bank of India wants each commercial bank in the pilot to test retail use of the digital rupee with 10,000 to 50,000 users.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Peter Schiff: Very Scary Admissions from the Fed

Peter Schiff: Very Scary Admissions from the Fed

Last week, the Federal Reserve delivered a 75-basis point rate hike, but Fed Chair Jerome Powell failed to deliver the more doveish rhetoric that many expected. The messaging did not indicate much softening in the stance on the future trajectory of rate hikes, despite an apparent “soft pivot” the week before.

In his podcast, Peter broke down Powell’s messaging and pointed out a number of very scary admissions that came out of the Fed meeting.

Peter said the Fed did do a soft pivot but was able to back off when the bond market stabilized.

I believe the Fed was forced into making that pivot because it stood on the precipice of a bond market crash, which was in the process of happening. And I think the only way the Fed was able to stop that slow-motion crash from playing out accelerating was by throwing a bone to the markets and indicating through the Wall Street Journal that there was going to be some type of statement that was going to go along with the rate hike that would indicate that maybe there was going to be a pause in the pace, a slowdown in the pace, that the Fed was going to take a step back and reflect and assess, and maybe acknowledge the progress that had been made without indicating complete victory, but at least acknowledging that victory was at least in sight and that the Fed could take a more cautious approach going forward. … Something to that effect was expected.”

However, the Fed didn’t deliver anything close to that.

Initially, the markets thought the Fed was going more doveish. The statement released by the FOMC left some wiggle room for a slowdown in hiking or even a pause with language about monetary policy “lags” and “cumulative” effects.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Peter Schiff: A Massive Fiscal Time Bomb

Peter Schiff: A Massive Fiscal Time Bomb

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell knew fighting inflation would cause big problems in a bubble economy loaded up with debt. He put it off as long as he could, calling inflation “transitory.” But once inflation became a huge problem, the central bank had no choice but to get into the fight and start tightening monetary policy. The problem is, the Fed’s plan won’t work. And one reason it won’t work is the massive national debt.

Peter Schiff talked about it in this clip from his podcast.

The federal government already spends about $500 billion per year on interest payments on the $31 trillion debt. Peter noted a CNBC discussion where they speculated that in 10 years, the US government could be paying $1 trillion per year on interest alone.

Ten years? We could be paying $1 trillion in interest in one year! How are these guys getting 10 years?”

Four percent of the $31 trillion debt is $1.25 trillion. The average maturity on the debt is under five years. A third of the debt will mature in the next year. Meanwhile, the debt continues to skyrocket. The national debt grew by $1 trillion in just eight months even with pandemic spending programs winding down.

Five years from now, the national debt will be over $40 trillion, and we’re going to have to pay an interest rate probably more than 5% on that. So, a $1 trillion tab for interest on the national debt isn’t a decade away. It’s a year, maybe two away. That’s how close this crisis is.”

That raises an important question: where is the government going to get the money to pay for this? It will cost something like 30% of all tax revenue just to pay the interest on the debt. Huge interest payments will mean even more borrowing.

This is a massive fiscal time bomb.”

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

Fed Paper Admits the Central Bank Can’t Control Inflation; Finger-Points at Federal Government

Fed Paper Admits the Central Bank Can’t Control Inflation; Finger-Points at Federal Government

It appears somebody at the Federal Reserve has figured out that the central bank can’t tame inflation, so it’s setting up a scapegoat – Uncle Sam.

A paper co-authored by Leonardo Melosi of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and John Hopkins University economist Francesco Bianchi and published by the Kansas City Federal Reserve argues that central bank monetary policy alone can’t control inflation.

The paper’s abstract asserts, “This increase in inflation could not have been averted by simply tightening monetary policy.”

In a nutshell, Melosi and Bianchi argue that the Fed can’t control inflation alone. US government fiscal policy contributes to inflationary pressure and makes it impossible for the Fed to do its job.

Trend inflation is fully controlled by the monetary authority only when public debt can be successfully stabilized by credible future fiscal plans. When the fiscal authority is not perceived as fully responsible for covering the existing fiscal imbalances, the private sector expects that inflation will rise to ensure sustainability of national debt. As a result, a large fiscal imbalance combined with a weakening fiscal credibility may lead trend inflation to drift away from the long-run target chosen by the monetary authority.”

There are a couple of startling admissions in this single paragraph.

First, the authors acknowledge that the federal government uses inflation as a tool to handle its debt. In other words, it acknowledges that we’re all paying an inflation tax.

Peter Schiff talked about this inflation tax in an interview on Rob Schmitt Tonight.

Inflation is a tax. It’s the way government finances deficit spending. Government spends money. It doesn’t collect enough taxes, so it has to run deficits. The Federal Reserve monetizes those deficits – prints money. They call it quantitative easing, but that’s inflation…

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

Buckle Up for a Crashing Economy and More Inflation

Buckle Up for a Crashing Economy and More Inflation

Jerome Powell began hinting that inflation might be a problem last August. In November, Powell retired the word “transitory.” But here we are in May and the Federal Reserve still hasn’t done anything substantive to address the inflation problem.

And now it may be too late. It’s probably time to buckle up for more inflation – and perhaps a crashing economy.

Powell and Company have been talking tough for months, but there hasn’t been a whole lot of action. In March, the central bank raised interest rates a paltry 25 basis points. At the May meeting, the FOMC followed up with a more aggressive 1/2% rate hike but took a 75 basis point rate hike off the table.

Meanwhile, the Fed didn’t even start tapering quantitative easing until January. In mid-April, the balance sheet was still expanding, hitting an all-time high of $8.97 trillion.

At the May FOMC meeting, the Fed unveiled its balance sheet reduction scheme. It was hardly impressive. If the Fed shrinks its balance sheet at the proposed rate, it will be back to pre-pandemic levels in about eight years.

The Fed has targeted a 2.5% interest rate by the end of the year. With GDP already going negative in Q1, it’s questionable that the Fed can get there without completely tanking the economy. There are already signs that the Fed has pricked the housing bubble.

And as Mises Institute senior editor Ryan McMaken pointed out in a recent article, the Fed really needs to push rates much higher than 3%.

One percent may seem high to some market observers of recent rate cycles, but we’re now in a high-inflation environment with price inflation above 8 percent. The Fed is going to have to do more than a mild hike here and there to make a dent in 8 percent CPI (Consumer Price Index) inflation…

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

The Inflation Blame Game

The Inflation Blame Game

Now inflation is Russia’s fault. Or is it greedy businesses pushing up prices? Maybe a combination of the two.

It seems that government officials and central bankers are looking everywhere for a place to pin the blame for inflation except the one place they need to look — in the mirror.

I’m already seeing headlines about how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is causing inflation. CBS broadcast this storyline on the first day of the invasion. As Peter Schiff put it in a recent podcast, Russia is the latest “excuse variant” for inflation.

It is true that the Russian invasion and economic sanctions have caused some prices to spike. Oil was over $130 a barrel over the weekend. Copper hit record highs. The price of wheat surged. But this is not necessarily inflationary. Inflation causes a general rise in prices across the board. In this situation, some prices will rise while others fall. As consumers spend more on food and energy, they will cut spending on other goods and services. Ostensibly, those prices will drop.

Inflation — an increase in the money supply — causes prices to rise more generally. It’s the result of more dollars chasing the same number of (or fewer) goods and services. As Peter explained, the culprit is the central bank.

What makes the prices go up is when the central bank responds to rising energy prices or rising food prices by printing more money, which is what they are going to do. Because as consumers have to tighten their belts because food is so expensive, because home heating oil and gasoline are so expensive, and they cut back spending on everything else, that causes a recession. And that results in the Fed printing more money, and that’s what’s inflationary.”

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

Peter Schiff: The Inflation Freight Train

Peter Schiff: The Inflation Freight Train

December Consumer Price Index data came out on Wednesday (Jan. 12). Month-on-month, it was again even hotter than expected. Peter called it an inflationary freight train that the Fed’s “field of dreams” monetary policy will not stop.

“Transitory” inflation has now been running hot for a full year.

The year-on-year CPI was 7%. It was the biggest annual CPI increase since 1982.

Month-on-month, the CPI spiked another 0.5%. This was hotter than the consensus 0.4% projection.

Core CPI (stripping out food and energy — as if you don’t have to eat or put gas in your car) was up 5.5%.

Goods prices were up a staggering 10.7% That was the biggest 1-year increase since 1975.

Keep in mind, this is using the cooked government CPI formula that understates inflation. If the government was still using the formula that it used in 1982, inflation would be higher in 2021 than it was then. In fact, we’d have the highest level of inflation in history. According to ShadowStats, it would be just over 15%.

Based on the methodology the government uses to calculate housing prices (owners’ equivalent rent), housing prices were up 3.8% in 2021. Meanwhile, the actual home prices rose about 16.5%.  If you take owners’ equivalent rent out and put home prices in the calculation, 2021 CPI suddenly becomes 10%.

Some people have recently claimed we shouldn’t worry about inflation. They say that wages go up along with prices, so it’s basically a wash. But wages are not going up as fast as prices. Real wages (nominal wage increases minus CPI) were down 2.4% in 2021. That means even with your raise, you have lost purchasing power. And you’ve lost even more than the official numbers reveal. If you use an honest inflation measure, real wages were down somewhere in the neighborhood of 10.4%.

As Peter Schiff said, “Consumers are going to have to live in the real world, not in the government’s fantasy world.”

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

Peter Schiff: The Fed Can’t Do What It’s Saying It Will Do

Peter Schiff: The Fed Can’t Do What It’s Saying It Will Do

The Fed FOMC minutes came out last week, signaling tighter monetary policy. Peter Schiff talked about the minutes in his podcast, arguing that the Fed can’t do what it says it’s going to do. If it does, it will crash the markets and the economy. And it won’t lower inflation.

The Fed minutes were widely viewed as even more hawkish than the messaging coming out of the December meeting. Peter said the minutes even surprised him a bit. But he reminded us that when he’s talking about a “hawkish” Fed, he’s not really talking about hawks.

They’re extinct. They may as well be the dodo bird at the Federal Reserve. Everybody is a dove. We’re just talking about degrees of dovishness. And so, the Fed was less dovish than the markets had expected.”

The minutes indicated we could now see four interest rate hikes this year. Three hikes were widely anticipated after the meeting. That would push rates up to about 1% by the end of the year. In the big scheme of things, and against the backdrop of the current economic data, that’s not a lot.

You cannot describe those itsy-bitsy moves in any way ‘hawkish.’”

But comments regarding quantitative tightening – shrinking the balance sheet – really roiled the markets.

In other words, they’re going to go from being a massive buyer in US Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities to a seller of those securities. And that’s what really spooked the markets. Because that sent the bond markets tanking.”

Yields on the 10-year Treasury hit a 52-week high and briefly pushed above 1.8%.

If the Fed is going to shift from buying bonds to selling, clearly, that will put heavy pressure on the bond market. But Peter said there is one thing that the markets don’t seem to comprehend.

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

Peter Schiff: There Is No Ceiling on Inflation

Peter Schiff: There Is No Ceiling on Inflation

Gold closed out the week before Christmas above $1,800 an ounce, despite rising bond yields. The $1,800 level has been viewed as a ceiling for the price of gold. In his podcast, Peter Schiff said people need to start thinking of $1,800 as a floor. And he said they will once they realize there is no ceiling on inflation.

We got the personal income and spending data for November last week. Incomes grew at a slower pace than projected — 0.4%. Meanwhile, spending was up 0.6%. Obviously, if spending is outpacing income, the difference has to come from somewhere. It appears Americans are dipping into their savings to cope with rising prices. The savings rate declined to 6.9%. That is the lowest level since December 2017.

We also know that consumers are turning to debt to make ends meet, with credit card balances growing at a fast pace.

The savings rate shot up and Americans paid down their credit cards when the government showered them with stimulus. Peter said it appears the stimulus has run out.

Obviously, Americans have now exhausted that windfall. They’ve depleted that savings war-chest that was built up with stimulus money, and now it’s gone. And so, they’re having to go into debt.”

Consumers have a double problem. They’ve run out of savings and consumer prices keep going up. That is robbing people of their purchasing power.

That robber is the government, because it’s the government that’s creating the inflation that is causing the cost of living to go up. But the cost of living is going up, yet consumers have even less savings to afford that increase in the cost of living.”

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

Inflation Is a Policy That Cannot Last

Inflation Is a Policy That Cannot Last

Are we heading toward a Fed policy that fixes inflation at a permanent rate of five to six percent?

We could be.

But inflation is a policy that cannot last.

We’re currently experiencing a massive wave of price inflation. This should come as no surprise. The Fed has increased the M2 money supply by around 40% since the end of 2019. The US government showered that newly created money on American consumers in the form of stimulus. Meanwhile, governments effectively shut down the US economy. That led to a big drop in production. This created the perfect inflationary storm. We have more money chasing fewer goods and services.

Prices are rising.

Now the Federal Reserve has a big problem. It needs to tighten monetary policy to take on inflation. But the economy depends on easy money. Economic growth is built on borrowing. Any significant tightening of monetary policy will pop the bubble and the whole house of cards will fall down.

The Fed has finally abandoned the “transitory” inflation narrative and it appears to be getting more serious about addressing the issue. But how will the central bank really play this?

In an article published by the Mises Wire, economist Thorsten Polleit asserts there are basically two scenarios in play.

(1) The Fed means business; it really wants to lower consumer goods price inflation back toward the 2% mark.

(2) The Fed just wants to keep inflation from spiraling out of control, but it does not want to abandon the new regime of increased inflation.

Scenario (1) is not impossible, but it is relatively unlikely. Under the prevailing economic and political doctrine, the Fed is not meant to curb inflation at the expense of triggering another economic and financial crisis…

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

The Mainstream Has the Inflation Story Backwards

The Mainstream Has the Inflation Story Backwards

The mainstream blames inflation on “supply chain bottlenecks.” But they have it completely backward. In reality, Federal Reserve-created inflation is causing the supply chain mess.

According to Biden administration talking points, the economy is booming. Americans are flush with cash. And they are demanding lots of goods. The supply chain simply can’t keep up. That’s why we’re seeing empty shelves and rising prices. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg summed up the mainstream mantra.

 Demand is up … because income is up, because the president has successfully guided this economy out of the teeth of a terrifying recession.”

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a similar tale. She said we have supply chain problems because “people have more money … their wages are up … we’ve seen an economic recovery that is underway.”

This sounds like a lot of spin. But in one sense, the mainstream is right. As Mises Institute Senior Editor Ryan McMaken pointed out in a recent article on the Mises Wire, they are correct when it comes to consumer demand and spending, even if they got it right for the wrong reason.

As Mihai Macovei showed earlier this month, the global volume of trade and shipping volume in 2021 have actually exceeded prepandemic numbers. For example, in the port of Los Angeles, ‘loaded imports’ and ‘total imports’ for the 2020–21 fiscal year (ending June 30, 2021) were both up when compared to the same period of the 2018–19 fiscal year. In other words, it’s not as if little is moving through these ports. In fact, more is moving through them than ever before. That suggests demand is indeed higher.”

But why is demand so much higher? As Psaki said, Americans have more money in their pockets. Wages are up nominally. But it’s not because the economy is booming. As McMaken points out, it’s due to inflation.

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

Artificially Low Interest Rates? So what?

Artificially Low Interest Rates? So what?

The Federal Reserve has held interest rates artificially low for decades. Even after pushing rates to zero in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, “normalization” only managed to raise rates to 2.5% — hardly “normal.”  The central bank began cutting rates in 2019, even before the coronavirus pandemic.

But what difference does it make? Why do artificially low interest rates matter? Peter Schiff explains in this clip from his podcast.

In the first place, artificially low interest rates screw up the way the economy allocates resources and production.

The interest rate is the price of money. Prices send signals in an economy. Think of them as street signs. In a free economy, low interest rates would come about through an abundance of savings.

And if you have a lot of savings, what does that mean?

That means that people are not consuming today. Their time preference for consumption is in the future. And so the signal that sends to the economy is, hey, you don’t need to produce a lot of stuff for today because Americans are saving. They’re not spending a lot of money. So, you can invest in these long-term projects that aren’t going to pay off for years and years and years. And so then you end up investing in those types of projects that don’t have immediate returns because you got these low interest rates that are sending the signal that Americans don’t need the money right now. They’re going to save and they’re going to spend the money in the future.”

But in today’s economy, that’s not why interest rates are low. The only reason interest rates are at zero is because the Fed is artificially suppressing them.

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

Peter Schiff: Stock Up Now! Inflation Could Get Very Ugly

Peter Schiff: Stock Up Now! Inflation Could Get Very Ugly

The price of pretty much everything is rising precipitously. The CPI for September came in above expectations with a month-on-month increase of 0.4%. Peter Schiff appeared on Unfiltered with Dan Bongino to talk about inflation in Joe Biden’s America. Peter said you should stock up now because things could get ugly really quickly.

Bongino pointed out that while wages are rising, they aren’t rising as fast as prices. Wages have risen 4.6% while inflation has surged by 5.4% — according to government numbers. Peter said that is typically the trend.

The price of labor never keeps up with the price of stuff.”

Peter said the real problem is during and after COVID, a lot of Americans stopped working.

Unfortunately, they didn’t reduce their spending because the government made the mistake of replacing the incomes they lost with new money that the Federal Reserve was printing. So, we were making fewer things to buy, but everybody had more money to buy stuff, and so, prices just went ballistic. And they’re going to keep going up.”

Bongino pointed out that the rich have accounts and hedge mechanisms to shield themselves from the impacts of inflation. But what does an average middle-class family do to avoid the financial apocalypse of inflation coming down the pike?

Peter said, first of all, remember that inflation is a tax.

So, when the Biden administration says they’re not taxing people that make less than $400,000, they’re hitting them with this huge inflation tax.”

So, how do you avoid it?

Peter said, “Stock up now!”

Buy the things that you think you may need a year from now, two years from now. Buy it now. Especially the stuff that is nonperishable…

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

One Ring to Rule Us All: A Global Digital Fiat Currency

One Ring to Rule Us All: A Global Digital Fiat Currency

We’ve written extensively about the “war on cash.” In a nutshell, governments would love to do away with cash in order to better track and control their citizens. There have been numerous moves closer to a cashless society in recent years, from capping ATM withdrawals to doing away with large-denomination bills. Last year, China launched a digital yuan pilot program and the US has floated moving toward a digital dollar.

We got a first-hand look at what happens when governments restrict access to cash when India plunged into a cash crisis after the country’s government enacted a policy of demonetization in November 2016.

It’s bad enough that various countries are exploring ways to move toward cashlessness, but there’s an even worse scenario — a global digital currency.

Economist Thorsten Polleit compares it to the “master ring” in J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic Lord of the Rings.

The following article was originally published by the Mises Wire. The opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of Peter Schiff or SchiffGold.

1.

Human history can be viewed from many angles. One of them is to see it as a struggle for power and domination, as a struggle for freedom and against oppression, as a struggle of good against evil.

That is how Karl Marx (1818–83) saw it, and Ludwig von Mises (1881–1973) judged similarly. Mises wrote:

The history of the West, from the age of the Greek Polis down to the present-day resistance to socialism, is essentially the history of the fight for liberty against the encroachments of the officeholders. (1}

But unlike Marx, Mises recognized that human history does not follow predetermined laws of societal development but ultimately depends on ideas that drive human action.

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

Peter Schiff: Government Serves Grade-A B.S. on Inflation

Peter Schiff: Government Serves Grade-A B.S. on Inflation

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Both the Federal Reserve and the Biden administration continue to insist inflation is transitory. And they are also trying to shift the blame for rising prices so they avoid any responsibility. In this clip from his podcast, Peter Schiff explains why the government inflation narrative is Grade-A B.S.!

The Fed has finally acknowledged that inflation is running hotter than they’d expected. During the September FOMC meeting, the central bank raised its forecast, anticipating core inflation to increase 3.7% this year. That compares with a 3% projection in June. But the Fed and US government officials insist that rising prices are simply a function of supply chain issues and that it will be “transitory.”

Meanwhile, they ignore the elephant in the room – the increasing money supply. The central bank created new money at a record pace in response to the economic chaos caused by government shutdowns for COVID-19. And while money creation has slowed in recent months, it continues at a very high pace. Last month, M2 grew at the fastest rate since February.

If inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon, and you have this record increase in money supply, and then you also have this big increase in consumer prices, how can you not bring up the possibility that all of this money printing is potentially responsible for prices going up?”

But the central bankers continue to focus solely on the supply chain.

Peter suggested the money printing could account for the supply chain problems.

Whenever there is a surplus of money, there is automatically a shortage of stuff, because the government can print money very easily…

…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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