So having acquired substantial quantities of gold for itself and having also ensured it is widely held by its public, the Chinese government is arguably in a more compelling position to encourage a gold revaluation as a means of stabilising her economy in a credit crisis than America was eighty years ago. It will be China's only option, and if the government doesn't go for it, China's middle classes certainly will. This simple fact could override all the geostrategic considerations upon which China-watchers have tended to focus. A gold revaluation would be presented to the world as bound up with China's domestic economic problems, instead of an act aimed at undermining the dollar's reserve status: a solution that is less confrontational than outright disagreement with Western central banks over gold's role in the international monetary order.
The WSJ has released yet another gold hit piece calling it a "pet rock' and gold bugs "subjects of a laboratory experiment on the psychology of cognitive dissonance" just one day after the PBOC reveals it has added the biggest amount of gold in history in order to "ensure security." But the biggest irony is that none other than Citigroup made a far bolder case that it is not the ownership of gold but of stocks that is the ultimate act of faith: "investors remain united in their faith in the central banks – if not for their ability to create growth, then at least in their ability to push up asset prices. And yet the limits of that faith are increasingly on display." So who is right?
It’s not too interesting to say that Donald Trump is a nationalist and aspiring despot who is manipulating bourgeois resentment, nativism, and ignorance to feed his power lust. It’s uninteresting because it is obviously true. It’s so true that stating it sounds more like an observation than a criticism. However, 'Trumpism' is an ideology that is very much present in American life, though hardly acknowledged. It lives mostly hidden in dark corners, and we don’t even have a name for it. You bump into it at neighborhood barbecues, at Thanksgiving dinner when Uncle Harry has the floor, at the hardware store when two old friends in line to checkout mutter about the state of the country. The ideology is a 21st century version of right fascism - one of the most politically successful ideological strains of 20th century politics. Though hardly anyone talks about it today, we really should.
Last week, former Secretary of Education and US Senator Lamar Alexander wrote in the Wall Street Journal that a college degree is both affordable and an excellent investment. He repeated the usual talking point about how a college degree increases lifetime earnings by a million dollars, “on average.” That part about averages is perhaps the most important part, since all college degrees are certainly not created equal. In fact, once we start to look at the details, we find that a degree may not be the great deal many higher-education boosters seem to think it is.
One of the reasons we write is rooted in our deep fear of what might emerge after the current paradigm collapses. We have no doubt something very different is coming, we just desperately want that thing to be freedom, free markets and prosperity as opposed to the disaster that a $2 despot like Trump would bring. His ascension in the polls is very troubling, and makes us wonder whether the public will ultimately choose to rally behind some statist-demagogue wrapped in an American flag when things get bad enough, as opposed to something far more difficult: Liberty. We fear they may eventually choose someone like Donald Trump.
While the markets have improved since the "resolution" of the Greek crisis, in my opinion we would have expected substantially more given the overall "angst" that the situation was generating. Yet, the market remains in a bearish consolidation pattern. Furthermore, relative strength, momentum and volume remain a detraction from the "bullishness" of this week's "crisis resolution rally."
Our boots-on-the-ground coverage from the Greek 'frontline': what do normal Greek citizens think of all this mess?
The preposterous Gong Show in Brussels over the weekend was the financial “Ben Tre” moment for the Euro and ECB. That is, it was the moment when the Germans - imitating the American military on that ghastly morning in February 1968 - set fire to the Eurozone in order to save it. In short, Greece will become an outright debtors’ colony and its government will function as page-boy legislators for the Troika occupiers. Needless to say, political and social upheaval will erupt when the full extent of the Tsipras surrender becomes evident, and the resulting political contagion will spread throughout the length and breadth of Europe as Greece implodes. In due course, the euro will collapse and the baleful Keynesian money printers’ regime in Frankfurt will be repudiated and dismantled. But not before European democracy has a brush with death, and European prosperity is extinguished for a generation.
With Puerto Rico missing a payment on a bond overnight "due to non-appropriation of funds" but denying that this constitutes anything close to a default, the territory may be about to retake the limelight as Greece is now "fixed." As Peter Schiff explains, this is far from over... As in Greece, the Puerto Rican economy has been destroyed by its participation in an unrealistic monetary system that it does not control and the failure of domestic politicians to confront their own insolvency. But the damage done to the Puerto Rican economy by the United States has been far more debilitating than whatever damage the European Union has inflicted on Greece. In fact, the lessons we should be learning in Puerto Rico, most notably how socialistic labor and tax policies can devastate an economy, should serve as a wake up call to those advocating prescribing the same for the mainland.
On Wednesday, Carl Icahn and Larry Fink engaged in an epic debate about the role ETFs play in perpetuating systemic risk. Icahn, taking a page from the Tyler Durden playbook, talks phantom liquidity before calling BlackRock "a dangerous company", and opining that Fink and Janet Yellen are "pushing the damn thing off a cliff."
Remember, at the end of the day, it’s all about the big banks’ derivative exposure, NOTHING else. This is what has driven every Central Bank action since 2008. And it’s what will drive Europe’s future negotiations for a 3rd Greek Bailout.
Even as Greek banks, severely depleted of cash and eligible collateral they can post with the ECB, stand to fight another day (and potentially face more withdrawals as soon as the Greek banks reopen supposedly on Monday) thanks to another €900 million liquidity infusion, investors in Greek bank shares will be less lucky: "to ensure a new bailout, investors in the country’s banks faced the prospect of their holdings being "wiped out" under the terms of a €25 billion recapitalization plan."
As with all data, none of these data points suggests that the economy, or the markets, will immediately plunge into a recessionary contraction. However, what is important to consider is that many of these data points are now converging and suggesting that risk is more elevated now than at any point since the financial crisis. It is at least worth thinking about.
For the FOMC to reach its mandate of full employment they boost stock prices which then creates employment in bubble jobs. When people feel rich, they spend more money on the low quality bubble jobs, and hence employment reacts accordingly. This is obviously entirely unsustainable as spending paid for by feelings manipulated by the FOMC accounts to nothing more than pure capital consumption, and the money flow will disappear as soon as the FOMC tighten the screw and the good feeling disappears along with the stock market gains.
This must be one of THE most brainless and pernicious perpetrations against humanity!