For some, this week's incident on CNBC where Michael Pento was kicked off CNBC for daring to question the basic assumption that his host Erin Burnett presented as fact, was perplexing (to others, who are well aware of the modus operandi of the TV station is, not so much). In a follow up interview that was uninterrupted by commercial breaks and octoboxes, with King World News, Michael Pento gives a post-mortem of just what transpired: "I looked at it 4 times and I don't when I went off the rails, I thought it was a bit unwarranted. All I was doing was being very passionate about an issue I feel very strongly about." The core of the disagreement of course, is the underlying assumption which CNBC takes as gospel, which is that no matter what, interest rates will not, are not allowed to rise (which together with a failed treasury auction, will be the key indicators of the "beginning of the end"). And Pento is completely right to question this as the underlying "factual basis" of any rhetorical question: "We as Americans have no right to believe that interest rates on the 10 year, which are far below their historic 49 year average, 7.31%, are now on 2.7%, so the onus is not on me that interest rates will rise. The onus is on other people to convince me and the investing public that the US bond market will always be in a perpetual bubble that will never burst. And if you look at the data, it shows that this can not be a sustainable situation." Pento then goes on to highlight all the facts that certainly make his case, but that ultimately all collapse into one thing: that the Fed will be able to continue to control, and frankly, manipulate the rate market for perpetuity. This is a flawed assumption and sooner or later Ben Bernanke will lose control as with every system which is in disequilibrium, the snapback to a sustainable balance will occur, and the longer it is kept away from its natural state, the more violent the snapback will be.
One point that Pento discusses that bears further attention, is his argument that governmental investment in the economy should decline and the private sector should be encouraged to pick up the slack. Of course, with the Balance of Payments equation which is now on the forefront of public attention, this means that unless the Current Account goes positive, the private sector is unlikely to be able to pick up the slack from a collapse in endless governmental stimulus (and thus constant debt creation). Which goes to the crux of the Keynesian-Austrian debate. Many would say here that instead of having funded the government apparatus, which as even Mort Zuckerman points out is beyond unwieldy and has grown excessively, the government should have instead have focused on making the US competitive from an international trade standpoint, a topic even Warren Buffett lamented in his non-corrupt days, when he was actually a voice of reason, and not just unbridled, government captured greed. Alas, that would mean a total break from the current Chinese trade surplus hegemony and realigning the US economy in a way that would result in a dramatic shock to millions of people who realize they are simply uncompetitive in the global picture (and thus redundant in the job market) but which would serve as another much needed reset to get America off on a way to long-lost prosperity with an attempt to reincarnate the American manufacturing sector while gradually phasing out the service sector (and especially its "financial innovation" component) . Yet as Gorgon T. Long also pointed out a few days ago, America is now dead set on repeating the destructive Keynesian mistakes of the past, and will continue to fund a broken model until one day, as Michael Pento all too correctly points out, it all snaps, and the "shocking" death of Keynesianism, as described a month ago by Eric Sprott, catches all so many completely unaware.
Of course to explain all this to Erin Burnett, who still believes that the government has done a great job with the "fastest" recovery in the past 20 years, which would be correct if one could eliminate those little pesky things known as "facts", is beyond folly. All those who are invited to CNBC, and dare to explain the truth: you have been warned.