Monetary Metals's picture

Nathan Lewis proposes a "gold standard" which is not based on gold. He argues that since gold's only job is to regulate the quantity of paper, we can just tweak the policy of the Fed. Instead of buying bonds to control the rate of interest, they can buy bonds to control the gold price. This is like trying to steer a car by opening and closing the windows.

Send In The Economists

The gravy train that poses as the Electoral College in the States is rigged to make it near impossible for anyone other than the Democrat or GOP nominee to get into the White House.... In Europe it is very different. We can vote for the Monster Raving Looney Party – yes there truly is such a thing – the Beer party and one day soon the Blessed Nigel of Farage. To get on the list of candidates over here you have to stump up £500, be a UK, Commonwealth or Republic of Ireland (how did that happen?) citizen, be seconded by 10 voters in the constituency and not be a police officer, in the military or a member of the House of Lords or bankrupt or bonkers. UKIP may well have won the Eastleigh by-election had Farage stood as a candidate – along with 13 others - but as it was Diane James took votes off the Tories and Liberal Democrats in equal measure. This may have been spun as an inconsequential protest vote the happenings in Italy earlier in the week is beginning to cause the establishment some angst.

Europe's Scariest Chart Update: Italy Now Worse Than Portugal

For the first time in two years, Italy's youth unemployment rate is now higher than Portugal's at a staggering 38.7% (which is where Greece was just two years ago). Apart from Germany (which fell from 8.0% to 7.9%), every other nation saw youth unemployment rates rise with a record 24.2% of European youth unemployed. Greece (59.4%) and Spain (55.5%) remain the most concerning as we noted in the past, austerity sounds straightforward as a policy, until the consequences bite in terms of social unrest.

Guest Post: All Of This Whining About The Sequester Shows Why America Is Doomed

If we can't even cut federal spending by 2.4 percent without much of the country throwing an absolute hissy fit, then what hope does America have?  All of this whining and crying about the sequester is absolutely disgraceful.  The truth is that even if the sequester goes into effect, the U.S. government will still take in more money than ever before in 2013 and it will still spend more money than ever before in 2013.  So it is a bit disingenuous to call what is about to happen "a spending cut", but for the sake of argument let's concede that point. If this is how bad things are now, how bad will they be when a day of reckoning for our economy arrives? And a day of reckoning is coming. Our politicians can try to keep kicking the can down the road for as long as they can, but eventually time will run out.  We can borrow our way to prosperity for a while, but in the end there is always a very bitter price to pay for doing so. I would love to tell you that there is a chance that all of this will be turned around, but the truth is that all of this whining and crying about the sequester shows that America is doomed.

Italy Is Not Spain - It's Worse

With Rajoy quietly gloating at his political fraud being off the front-pages thanks to Italian elections, it seems the more we dig into Italian reality, the weaker the story becomes. The meme of the last few years has been that "at least we're not as bad as Greece" and rightly so, for as Bloomberg's Niraj Shah notes today, Greece's poverty rate is a stunning 31% (against Holland's 15.7%). However, while all eyes have been focused on Spain's dismal economy, the sad reality is that Italy is worse than Spain in that its poverty rate is a breath-taking 28.2% (relative to Spain's 27%) - even though the unemployment rates in the two nations are vastly different (Spain 26% and Italy 11.2%). Given this fact it is perhaps not surprising that the 'people' voted against austerity and furthermore, that Italy's CDS has pushed above Spain's for the first time in over a year.

Greeks Panic As Drug Firms Slash Medicine Supplies By 90% On Bad Debts

Greece is facing a serious shortage of medicines amid claims that pharmaceutical multinationals have halted shipments to the country because of the economic crisis and, as The Guardian reports, concerns that the drugs will be exported by middlemen because prices are higher in other European countries. Rubbing further salt into the Greek (un-medicated) wound, the Red Cross slashed its supply of donor blood to Greece because it had not paid its bills on time. Pharmacies in Greece describe chaotic scenes as clients desperately search from shop to shop for much-needed drugs. Greece's Pharmaceutical Association said "around 300 drugs are in very short supply," adding that "It's a disgrace. The companies are ensuring that they come in dribs and drabs to avoid prosecution. Everyone is really frightened." The fear for the multinationals remains that wholesalers can legally sell to other nations at higher prices and a "combination of Greece's low medicine prices and unpaid debt by the state." Lines form early and 'get very aggressive' one pharmacy exclaimed, "We have reached a tragic point."

Party Like There's No Tomorrow

Money is not like a commodity; there is no end to it. You don’t have to grow it, find it in the ground, drill for it or plant it in the spring. It is not even that the supply of lumber will curtail the paper for most of it is not printed at all. Made from nothing, recorded on a spreadsheet, sent out across the wires, a digital divinity of man’s own creation. It is a world that none have seen before. It is not Huxley’s “Brave New World” but something far stranger; a financial system cobbled together in counting houses and made from nothing but air. In the last days Bernanke promised that the feeding would continue, Draghi promised a food laden table without end and the Band of Merry Men rejoiced and the gauge of their elevated mood, the markets, responded accordingly and the party continued.

German FinMin Warns "I Never Said The Euro Crisis Was Over"

Following on the heels of Merkel's adviser Lars Feld's comments, German finance minister Schaeuble has raised concerns over the results of the Italian elections. His comment that,"I never said the euro crisis was over," stands in contrast to the claims of Monti, Draghi, Lagarde, Barroso, and Sarkozy who all have. along with the market's "doubts that a stable government can be formed," raises the risk of turmoil spreading to other euro countries. Schaeuble commented further that, "now it is up to those who were elected in Italy on Sunday to form a stable government. The faster they do this, the quicker the uncertainty will be overcome." The problem, as Reuters reports, appears to be not just Italy's public dissension over Germany's demands for austerity but his French counterpart's comments that "austerity has gone far enough," to which the German rebuked, "France must also do more here, Hollande knows this and so does Pierre Moscovici." Tension is certainly rising in the depression-addled union, even as Draghi explains - it's all ok, he promises.

Guest Post: 50 Signs That The U.S. Health Care System Is About To Collapse

The U.S. health care system is a giant money making scam that is designed to drain as much money as possible out of all of us before we die.  In the United States today, the health care industry is completely dominated by government bureaucrats, health insurance companies and pharmaceutical corporations. At this point, our health care system is a complete and total disaster.  Health care costs continue to go up rapidly, the level of care that we are receiving continues to go down, and every move that our politicians make just seems to make all of our health care problems even worse. At the same time, hospital administrators, pharmaceutical corporations and health insurance company executives are absolutely swimming in huge mountains of cash.  Unfortunately, this gigantic money making scam has become so large that it threatens to collapse both the U.S. health care system and the entire U.S. economy.

Former Mayor Of Second Largest Greek City Sentenced To Life For Embezzling €17 Million

Now here is a headline one will never find in the US: "Former mayor, local officials sentenced to life for embezzlement." This headline comes from Greece, which due to the country's insolvency, is finally back to the anachronistic practice of holding elected officials in positions of power accountable for their actions because the people are understandably angry and seek justice. Other "developed" countries have the luxury of distracting the public with such trivial sideshows as the Criss Angel school of levitating wealth effects and other illusions which have managed to delay the day of comparable reckoning for now. Hopefully Bernanke can continue his wholesale assault against savers for years and years, or else one may just get the US mainstream media reporting of such atrocities against the status quo in the US.

A Century Of French And Italian Economic Decline

Europe's dual problems of low growth and weak profit margins combined with this week's vote in Italy are likely to usher in another period of European underperformance, but as JPMorgan's Michael Cembalest notes, that is the least of it as Italy overtook Japan with the worst real GDP growth of all advanced economies since 1991. In fact, other than wartime, the last few years in Italy have been the worst for growth since Italian unification in 1861. But, before the rest of Europe gloats that 'they are not Italy, or Greece', he reminds us that the slowness of French GDP growth in recent years is the slowest in over 80 years. As he warns, all things considered, from an investment standpoint, caution continues to be warranted as problems appear to be taking their toll on EU profitability.

Two Cows: The Infographic

There are many complexities in the socio-economic structures that the nations (and corporations) of the world have used (and abused) over the years. Volumes have been written to explain the intricacies of Capitalism, Fascism, Communism, and Socialism; and how these impact various corporations from Iran to Greece to Australia. However, in the interest of brevity, the following infographic - utilizing nothing more than two cows (which perhaps should now be horses, considering their inflationary displacement capacity for firms like IKEA and Nestle) to provide everything you need to know about ecomoomics.

If You Ask The Right Questions You Might Find The Right Answers

One of the reasons mistakes are made, and often serious mistakes, are because the right questions are not asked. If you ask the wrong questions then the answers, even if answered correctly, will lead you to the wrong conclusions. What we are seeing in Italy this morning is a good example of asking and answering the small questions when the larger questions are vastly more important. What most people have not grasped yet, but the dawning will come, is that a Referendum has just taken place in Italy. All of the political upheaval in Italy was caused by anger and frustration with the European Union and their policies. The EU is now cornered.