“Q1 Stock Market Outlook: We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Slide”

Submitted by FFWiley
If 2018 rings in a bear market, it could look something like the Kennedy Slide of 1962.
That was my conclusion in ‘Riding the Slide,’ published in early September, where I showed that the Kennedy Slide was unique among bear markets of the last eighty years. It was the only bear that wasn’t obviously provoked by rising inflation, tightening monetary policy, deteriorating credit markets or, less commonly, world war or depression.
Moreover, market conditions leading up to the Slide should be familiar – they’re not too far from market conditions since Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election. In the first year after Kennedy’s election, as in the first year after Trump’s election, inflation seemed under control, interest rates were low, credit spreads were tight, and the economy was growing. And, in both cases, the stock market was booming.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sat, 12/30/2017 –.

The Christmas Truce of World War I

In August 1914, Europe’s major powers threw themselves into war with gleeful abandon. Germany, a rising power with vast aspirations, plowed across Belgium, seeking to checkmate France quickly before Russia could mobilize, thereby averting the prospect of a two-front war. Thousands of young Germans, anticipating a six-week conflict, boarded troop trains singing the optimistic refrain: ‘Ausflug nach Paris. Auf Widersehen auf dem Boulevard.’ (‘Excursion to Paris. See you again on the Boulevard.’)
The French were eager to avenge the loss of Alsace and Lorraine to Germany in 1870. The British government, leery of Germany’s growing power, mobilized hundreds of thousands of young men to ‘teach the Hun a lesson.’ Across the continent, writes British historian Simon Rees, ‘millions of servicemen, reservists and volunteers … rushed enthusiastically to the banners of war…. The atmosphere was one of holiday rather than conflict.’
Each side expected to be victorious by Christmas. But as December dawned, the antagonists found themselves mired along the Western Front – a static line of trenches running for hundreds of miles through France and Belgium. At some points along the Front, combatants were separated by less than 100 feet. Their crude redoubts were little more than large ditches scooped out of miry, whitish-gray soil. Ill-equipped for winter, soldiers slogged through brackish water that was too cold for human comfort, but too warm to freeze.
The unclaimed territory designated No Man’s Land was littered with the awful residue of war – expended ammunition and the lifeless bodies of those on whom the ammunition had been spent. The mortal remains of many slain soldiers could be found grotesquely woven into barbed wire fences. Villages and homes lay in ruins. Abandoned churches had been appropriated for use as military bases.

This post was published at Mises Canada on DECEMBER 27, 2017.

Is California Already In Recession?

When it comes to the health of his state’s economy, California Governor Jerry Brown has been walking on eggshells this year.
Twice each year, once in January and again in May, Gov. Jerry Brown warns Californians that the economic prosperity their state has enjoyed in recent years won’t last forever.
Brown attaches his admonishments to the budgets he proposes to the Legislature – the initial one in January and a revised version four months later.
Brown’s latest, issued last May, cited uncertainty about turmoil in the national government, urged legislators to “plan for and save for tougher budget times ahead,” and added:
“By the time the budget is enacted in June, the economy will have finished its eighth year of expansion – only two years shorter than the longest recovery since World War II. A recession at some point is inevitable.”
It’s certain that Brown will renew his warning next month. Implicitly, he may hope that the inevitable recession he envisions will occur once his final term as governor ends in January, 2019, because it would, his own financial advisers believe, have a devastating effect on the state budget.
Unfortunately for Governor Brown, the recession he fears may already have arrived in California.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 21, 2017.

A Word of Thanks, Lew

Many Mises.org readers know that Lew Rockwell, founder of the Mises Institute and quiet benefactor to countless individuals in libertarian circles over the decades, continues to recover from a recent back injury. While the episode has not quelled his enthusiasm for liberty, recovery is no picnic.
Apparently medicine remains in the Dark Ages when it comes to backs, especially lower backs. Some treatments are sketchy and unreliable, cortisone injections provide only fleeting benefit, pain management is fraught with nausea and other nasty side effects, and surgical options portend Armageddon. All that said, Lew is in great hands with innovators at Emory University (yes, xenophobes, we have wonderful doctors down South) and feeling much better. A procedure performed earlier this week appears to have yielded tremendous benefit, and we expect Lew back at 100% very soon.
My point in writing this is twofold: first, to update friends and supporters of the Institute on Lew’s progress, and second to remind all of us of the tremendous debt of gratitude we owe him.
Let me risk Lew’s wrath by sharing a few personal details about him.
Few people know that his much older brother was killed as a young pilot during World War II – by friendly fire. The family never fully recovered, of course, and the event instilled a deep antiwar sentiment in Lew as a boy even though he could not fully grasp the depth of the tragedy and his parents’ grief. And while he grew up as a Taft and later a Goldwater conservative, Lew soured on the GOP during the Nixon era and dismissed it as a hopeless and even malevolent force.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on 12/14/2017.

Hollywood Movie Director’s “Outlandish” London Home For Rent – Take The Tour

If you haven’t heard of Roland Emmerich, you will almost certainly have heard of some of his movies. Emmerich is the 62-year old German who directed Universal Soldier (1992), Independence Day (1996), Godzilla (1998), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), White House Down (2013) and Independence Day: Resurgence (2016). He is the 11-th highest grossing director in history. Besides directing, Emmerich also produced and wrote most of his movies. Emmerich owns homes in Los Angeles, New York, London and Stuttgart. As Wikipedia notes.
He likes to decorate his homes in a self-described “outlandish” manner, adorning them with rare Hollywood memorabilia, murals and portraits of dictators and Communist figures, and World War II militaria.
Emmerich’s London home is currently available for rent – anything from a few days to six months. As The Guardian newspaper notes,
the house is filled with communist iconography, taxidermy and potentially outrageous art. The property’s interior designer John Teall says:
‘Nothing is spared, from government and gender to race and religion – but there’s no manifesto. The idea was to provoke thought, amuse and maybe shock a little.’
If you’d like to take the tour, let’s go. Here is the outside on Brompton Square In London’s Chelsea.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 6, 2017.

Paris – The Capital Of West & Central Africa

Once France was one of ‘the great powers’, dominating Europe and parts of the world in terms of culture and economy. The country’s demise started after the Second World War, though it still played a key role in the creation of the European Union and the euro, which was to prevent Germany from subjugating the rest of the continent.
***
However, this strategy has failed and Berlin has become Europe’s capital, with France’s importance ever dwindling.
France’s population is slowly being substituted for by people from Africa. Renaud Camus calls it the ‘grand replacement’. Paris, once a European, then a global is slowly turning into an African metropolis. If French elites, whose influence in Europe is fading, want to remain a world power, they can only opt for Africa. Qaddafi, the king of the kings, became a threat to France’s interests on the continent. It were not the Americans that pushed for Qaddafi’s replacement but the French elites.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 1, 2017.

How Much Does a Tax Cut Cost?

People often speak of tax cuts using topsy-turvy lingo like this quotation from the Committee for a Responsible Budget: ‘the country currently spends $1.6 trillion per year on tax breaks.’ Or, as The Hill claims: ‘GOP tax plan would cost $2.4 trillion.’ Statements like these make it sound like a tax cut is something you have to buy – as in, you search Amazon.com for tax cuts, add it to your cart, and purchase it. Then your credit card is charged $2.4 trillion. This is very confusing and very common. With the Trump/Republican tax plan being discussed, this sort of language is everywhere.
Taxes are revenue for the government collected involuntarily from its citizens. Therefore, a cut in taxes simply means less non-consensual money is taken from taxpayers. It is not money changing hands from the government to citizens. Indeed, it is money not changing hands. A tax cut is lowering the rate of taxation, and similarly a tax expenditure is using exemptions, deductions, and credits to target particular situations for tax relief. George Reisman says:
…according to The Times, ‘Tax expenditures cost the federal government more than $1 trillion a year in lost revenue.’
When one recalls that in World War II, there was a 90-percent bracket in the federal income tax, and that the government has it in its power to impose such a tax rate on everyone but presently chooses not to do so, then it becomes clear that by the logic of the concept, the cost of tax expenditures to the federal government is not just $1 trillion, but many, many trillions. It is, in fact, everyone’s entire income and wealth.
Saying there is a cost for lower taxes is a rhetorical tactic meant to obscure what tax cuts really mean: less money for the government. However, it may feel like a cost for some vested interests.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on 11/28/2017.

Taxes: here’s what’s going to stay the SAME

On October 3, 1913, US President Woodrow Wilson signed the Underwood-Simmons Act into law, creating what would become the first modern US income tax.
The legislation (at least, the income tax portion) was only 16 pages and imposed a base tax rate of just 1%.
The highest tax rate was set at 7% – and it only applied to individuals earning more than $500,000 per year, which is about $12.6 million today according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And individuals earning less than $3,000 (about $75,000 today) were exempt from paying tax.
Tax rates moved up and down over the years – the government raised rates to fund World War I, then lowered them in peacetime.

This post was published at Sovereign Man on November 21, 2017.

Living in the Shadow of a Volcano: The US National Debt in Perspective

Every once in a while, a mainstream news outlet publishes a piece about the national debt. Here and there, politicians trot out the surging debt as a talking point to make some political hay. Now and then, an economist will wave the red flag. But by-and-large, the national debt just kind of looms over us.
We’ve gotten used to the shadow it casts, and we generally don’t give it much thought. It’s kind of like people living at the foot of a volcano. They know it’s there. It might cause some low-level anxiety. But they really don’t pay much attention to it – until it erupts.
So, just how bad is the national debt? We all know it’s pretty bad. But would you believe it’s actually worse than you probably think?
The headline number is operating debt. It currently stands at $20.5 trillion. It spiked $608 billion in just eight short weeks after Pres. Trump signed a bill raising the debt ceiling limit for the next three months in September. And Trump wants to do away with the debt ceiling altogether.
The national debt is currently over 105% of total GDP. That’s the highest level in history except for a two-year spike at the end of World War II.

This post was published at Schiffgold on NOVEMBER 14, 2017.

Stockman: US Entry Into World War I Was A Disaster

103 years ago, in 1914, the Federal Reserve opened-up for business as the carnage in northern France was getting under way.
***
And it brought to a close the prior magnificent half-century era of liberal internationalism and honest gold-backed money.
The Great War was nothing short of a calamity, especially for the 20 million combatants and civilians who perished for no reason discernible in any fair reading of history, or even unfair one.
Yet the far greater calamity is that Europe’s senseless fratricide of 1914-1918 gave birth to all the great evils of the 20th century – the Great Depression, totalitarian genocides, Keynesian economics, permanent warfare states, rampaging central banks and the follies of America’s global imperialism.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 13, 2017.

The Ponzi scheme that’s more than 100x the size of Bernie Madoff

By January 1920, much of Europe was in total chaos following the end of the first World War.
Unemployment soared and steep inflation was setting in across Spain, Italy, Germany, etc.
But an Italian-American businessman who was living in Boston noticed a unique opportunity amid all of that devastation.
He realized that he could buy pre-paid international postage coupons in Europe at dirt-cheap prices, and then resell them in the United States at a hefty profit.
After pitching the idea to a few investors, he raised a total of $1,800 and formed a new company that month – the Securities Exchange Company.
Early investors were rewarded handsomely; within a month they had already received a large return on investment.
Word began to spread, and soon money came pouring in from dozens, then hundreds of other investors.

This post was published at Sovereign Man on November 10, 2017.

Majority Of Americans Say Trump Era Is “Lowest Point In US History”

How quickly Americans forget…
According to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association, a majority of Americans believe that we are currently living through the lowest point in US history that they can remember…eclipsing such watershed moments in US history like the Watergate Scandal, the Bush administration’s dishonest justification for a war with Iraq, and – oh yeah – World War II and Vietnam, according to Bloomberg.
The APA’s eleventh ‘Stress in America’ survey found that 60% of respondents believe the early Trump era is the lowest point in US history, while a slightly larger percentage – 63% – say they are stressed about the nation’s future.
Almost two-thirds of Americans, or 63 percent, report being stressed about the future of the nation, according to the American Psychological Association’s Eleventh Stress in America survey, conducted in August and released on Wednesday. This worry about the fate of the union tops longstanding stressors such as money (62 percent) and work (61 percent) and also cuts across political proclivities. However, a significantly larger proportion of Democrats (73 percent) reported feeling stress than independents (59 percent) and Republicans (56 percent).

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 1, 2017.

Russia Buys 34 Tonnes Of Gold In September

– Russia adds 1.1 million ounces to reserves in ongoing diversification from USD
– 34 ton addition brings Russia’s Central Bank holdings to 1,779t; 6th highest
– Russia’s gold reserves are at highest point in Putin’s 17-year reign
– Russia’s central bank will buy gold for its reserves on the Moscow Exchange
– Russia recognises gold’s role as independent currency and safe haven
Editor: Mark O’Byrne
Prior to World War I Russia held the world’s third largest gold reserves, behind America and France. In the subsequent Russian Revolution, civil war and the rise of communism, they dropped down the table of nations with large gold reserves and the U. S. became the largest holder of national gold reserves.
In recent years, since 2007, an increasingly powerful and assertive Russia has worked hard to reprise its place in the world’s top gold reserve rankings, quadrupling its purchases in the period to June this year.
A 34 ton purchase of gold (1.1 million ounce) in September has put Russia firmly back in the golden spotlight. The country now holds 1,779 tons of gold, placing it sixth in the world and just behind China.

This post was published at Gold Core on October 27, 2017.

Into the Cold and Dark

It amuses me that the nation is so caught up in the sexual mischief of a single Hollywood producer when the nation as a whole is getting fucked sideways and upside down by its own political caretakers.
Behind all the smoke, mirrors, Trump bluster, Schumer fog, and media mystification about the vaudeville act known as The Budget and The Tax Cut, both political parties are fighting for their lives and the Deep State knows that it is being thrown overboard to drown in red ink. There’s really no way out of the financial conundrum that dogs the republic and something’s got to give.
Many of us have been waiting for these tensions to express themselves by blowing up the artificially levitated stock markets. For about a year, absolutely nothing has thwarted their supernatural ascent, including the threat of World War Three, leading some observers to believe that they have been rigged to perfection. Well, the algo-bots might be pretty fine-tuned, and the central bank inputs of fresh ‘liquidity’ pretty much assured, but for all that, these markets are still human artifacts and Murphy’s Law still lurks out there in the gloaming with its cohorts, the diminishing returns of technology (a.k.a. ‘Blowback’), and the demon of unintended consequences

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on October 20, 2017.

The Case Against Gold as a Central Bank Asset

What I’m about to write here, I have believed for close to 40 years. I wrote about it decades ago in Remnant Review. I’m not going to look through all of the published issues to find when I wrote it.
What good is gold in the vaults of any central bank? I understand why it’s a good idea to have bullion gold coins in your “vault.” I don’t understand why it’s a good idea for central bankers to put gold bullion bars in their vaults.
Central banks buy gold from the general public. They also buy gold from each other. Why do central bankers buy gold? They have to pay good money for it, meaning bad central bank fiat money.
They can buy any financial asset. Why do they buy gold bullion? They never intend to sell gold to the public. So, they don’t intend to make a profit on their holdings of gold. It just sits there.
Central bankers don’t own the assets that the banks hold. It doesn’t matter to them personally whether it’s gold or government bonds.
THE GOLD COIN STANDARD
In the era of the gold coin standard, when citizens could bring in paper money and demand gold coins from a local bank, this transferred tremendous authority into the hands of the general public. The public could participate in a run on a local bank’s gold. If this took place nationally, this would cause a run on the central bank’s gold. This would force the central bank to stop inflating through fiat money. That was the great advantage of the gold coin standard. It transferred power into the hands of the general public. The general public could veto central bank policies of monetary inflation.
This is why all the governments of Western Europe outlawed the gold coin standard soon after World War I began in August 1914. Commercial bank runs began almost immediately. So, central banks and governments allowed commercial banks to break their gold contracts with their depositors. Then the central banks confiscated the gold in the commercial banks. They wound up with the public’s gold. It was a gigantic act of theft. It was the end of the gold coin standard. There was a huge loss of liberty.

This post was published at Gary North on October 19, 2017.

How Gold Bullion Protects From Conflict And War

– Gold and silver’s historical role in conflict shaped the world today and the modern financial system
– Gold played an important function in the great conflicts up to and throughout the 20th century
– Gold and the effective use of bullion played a crucial role in the outcome of the American Civil War
– Gold was an important economic agent in both World Wars, conferring a huge advantage on the allies
– In a world beset with risks of war both in the Middle East and with North Korea, Russia and China … gold will protect
Gold and silver have played important roles during periods of conflict and have protected people but also protected nations and conferred power. HSBC Chief Precious Metals analyst James Steel has written a fascinating piece for this month’s Alchemist about this.
The article takes us through the major wars and conflicts from the 15th century to modern times. Each major war serves as a reminder that success is as much down to the management of bullion and finance as it is about the role of gold and silver.

This post was published at Gold Core on October 19, 2017.

After “Surreal” Feud Between Trump And Corker, “Tax Reform Is Dead. Full Stop”: Cowen

While Wall Street appears to have ignored the latest political spat within the Republican party over the weekend, in which Donald Trump lashed out at outgoing Senator Bob Corker, while the latter compared the White House to “daycare for adults”, and later warned Trump may launch World War III, this particular feud involving the president may last longer than just the usual 24-hour news cycle, and could have dire consequences for the market, which in recent days has repriced a more than 60% probability (according to Goldman) that Trump’s tax reform will pass.
Well, according to Cowen analyst Chris Krueger, not so fast.
In a note released this morning, Krueger writes that “tax euphoria may break this week, with the Senate budget back to zero-margin on vote as President Trump, Sen. Bob Corker feud.” And without a budget, “tax is dead. Full stop,” Krueger writes.
Cowen now sees the margin for passing a budget in the Senate as more challenging than in the House, plus “radically different” documents will have to be merged and passed again.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 9, 2017.

Entrepreneurs Are the Key To Economic Development

Questions of economic development have long been long held a prominent position in economics. How did the most advanced economies get to where they are? What can less-advanced economies do to catch up with the leading pack?
After World War II, a whole sub-field of economics emerged to focus on these questions. Today, we call it development economics. Instead of simply explaining historical trends, this field’s main focus lies on discovering what would help less-developed countries achieve more economic growth and join the predominantly Western countries at the top of the economic ladder.
Compared to mainstream economics, development economics is quite a heterodox discipline in which many theoretical approaches are pursued. This can be both a curse and a blessing. On the one hand, it means that development economics is a field where ‘every economic fallacy ever refuted is still alive and well’ (to paraphrase economist GP Manish), but it also means that there is room for free-market approaches and different methodologies to make themselves heard.
As such, it is a field in which Austrian economists might fruitfully engage. To this author’s knowledge, however, such Austrian engagement has so far not been wide-spread. One reason for this might be that, ultimately, Austrian economics often boils down to ‘liberate markets’ and ‘protect private property rights.’ These are suggestions that are superficially similar to the neoliberal approach that has been popular since the 1980s and that have consequently been tarnished by neoliberalism’s mixed success in promoting economic development.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on October 9, 2018.

A New Challenge to the Dollar

In a move that was little noticed outside of the financial world, China announced the creation of an oil futures contract (open to international traders) that will be denominated in Yuan and convertible into gold. This move provides the first official linkage of oil to gold, and more importantly a linkage between the Chinese currency and gold. While the contract volumes that will be traded on this new platform will certainly be minuscule in comparison to those in the dominant markets of New York and London (at least initially), I believe the move is the latest, and perhaps most significant, step that China has taken down the path that could lead to a global economic system that is not fully dependent on the U. S. dollar. The move amounts to a direct challenge to the dollar’s privileged reserve status and could threaten U. S. dollar price erosion.
The move comes at a time when the U. S is particularly vulnerable to an economic challenge. Given the bold, but not particularly diplomatic, efforts of the Trump Administration to push an America First agenda, the U. S. finds herself somewhat isolated. Add to this the widening political polarity in the U. S., which will make it that much less likely that Washington can take needed action in passing economic reforms to prevent a looming debt crisis. The dollar has been neglected far too long, and its strength may be far more tenuous than many imagine.
By way of background, the United States emerged from World War II as the world’s undisputed economic, financial and military leader. In 1944, at Bretton Woods, the U. S. dollar, convertible into gold exclusively by central banks, was adopted as the world’s main reserve currency. This status meant that the dollar was used to price most commodities, used to transact nearly all international trade. This status further strengthened the dollar and helped make Americans the richest people in the world.

This post was published at Euro Pac on September 28, 2017.

What Does the Ballooning National Debt Mean to You?

When Pres. Trump signed a bill raising the debt ceiling limit for the next three months, it instantly added approximately $318 billion to the national debt, raising it to $20.16 trillion. And Trump wants to do away with the debt ceiling altogether.
It’s hard to even conceptualize $20 trillion. What does that mean to the average person? Just the Facts Daily put together some interesting data that helps put the soaring national debt into perspective.
The national debt is currently over 105% of total GDP. That’s the highest level in history except for a two-year spike at the end of World War II.
To personalize the debt a bit, consider this. It currently totals $61,889 for every person in the United States, or $160,247 per household. Looking at it in terms of household debt, its currently 35% higher than the average consumer household debt of $118,271. Household debt includes mortgages, student loans, credit card balances, and auto loans.

This post was published at Schiffgold on SEPTEMBER 25, 2017.