Monthly Archives: August 2019

Dear Trump Advisors: Prop the Market Up Now and Lose in 2020, or Let the Market Crash and Win in 2020

One of the more reliable truisms is that Americans vote their pocketbook: if their wallets are being thinned (by recession, stock market declines, high inflation/stagnant wages, etc.), they throw the incumbent out, even if they loved him the previous year when their wallets were getting fatter. (Think Bush I, who maintained high approval ratings but ended up losing the 1992 election due to a dismal economic mood.)

As a result, politicians try to time the economy to align with elections. Get any economic pain over with early in the election cycle, then prime the fiscal pump in Year 3 to boost the economy in Year 4 (election year).

The global economy and the credit cycle aren’t always so pliable or predictable. Oil can soar due to geopolitical tensions, or a speculative financial bubble can burst (subprime mortgages in 2008, dot-coms in 2000), torpedoing the economy.

The intuitive strategy is to prop up the economy and stock market by any means available heading into the election cycle: if we can just keep this over-valued pig of a market aloft until November of next year, so the thinking goes, we’ll likely win the election (or at least we won’t lose because stocks and the economy tanked).

But this strategy is a loser when the credit cycle has run past its expiration date: most credit-based expansions last at most seven years, and here we are in Year Ten. Credit exhaustion is setting in, speculative bets are maxed out and the global economy is rolling over.

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The Fantasy of Central Bank “Growth” Is Finally Imploding

It was such a wonderful fantasy: just give a handful of bankers, financiers and corporations trillions of dollars at near-zero rates of interest, and this flood of credit and cash into the apex of the wealth-power pyramid would magically generate a new round of investments in productivity-improving infrastructure and equipment, which would trickle down to the masses in the form of higher wages, enabling the masses to borrow and spend more on consumption, powering the Nirvana of modern economics: a self-sustaining, self-reinforcing expansion of growth.

But alas, there is no self-sustaining, self-reinforcing expansion of growth; there are only massive, increasingly fragile asset bubbles, stagnant wages and a New Gilded Age as the handful of bankers, financiers and corporations that were handed unlimited nearly free money enriched themselves at the expense of everyone else.

Central banks’ near-zero interest rates and trillions in new credit destroyed discipline and price discovery, the bedrock of any economy, capitalist or socialist.

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[KR1427] Keiser Report: No barrier to negative yields

In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max and Stacy discuss former central bank chairman Alan Greenspan, warning that there are no barriers to negative yields in the US. In the second half, Max interviews Wolf Richter of WolfStreet.com about the significance of negative yields and what it says about the future of our economy.

Headlines covered in this episode:

Trump’s tweets
Greenspan says ‘there is no barrier’ to negative yields in the US
The bond ‘black hole’ is getting larger and scarier with a third of the global market now negative

Is the U.S. Becoming a Third World Nation?

Back in the day, nations that didn’t qualify as either developed (First World) or developing (Second World) were by default Third World, impoverished, corrupt and what we now refer to as failed states–governments that were incapable of improving the lives of their people and the machinery of governance, generally as a result of corruption and self-serving elites, i.e. kleptocracies.

Is the U.S. slipping into Third World status? While many scoff at the very question, others citing the rise of homelessness, entrenched pockets of abject poverty and the decaying state of infrastructure might nod “yes.”

These are not uniquely Third World problems, they’re symptoms of a status quo that’s fast losing First World capabilities. What characterizes Third World/Failing States isn’t just poverty, crumbling infrastructure and endemic corruption; at a systems level these are the key dynamics in Third World/Failing States:

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A Wobbling Stock Market

Consider this chart of the SPX (S&P 500) over the past two years: take a look at the relative steepness of each of the red lines (rallies), the duration of each rally (purple lines), the blue boxes (volatile spots of bother) and the green line (market has gone nowhere for 19 months as every rally to new highs drops back to or below the high of January 2018).

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[KR1424] Keiser Report: Can US Rates Go Negative?

In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max and Stacy ask whether or not US rates could go negative. In Denmark, where households carry the highest debt to income ratio in the OECD, even mortgage rates have gone negative! In the second half, Max talks to Karl Denninger of Market-Ticker.org about negative yields, long duration bonds, and what the future looks like with both in hand.

Why Common Knowledge Changes The World

 

Sentiment is finally breaking as the private understanding that we’re in trouble is suddenly becoming realized by the public.

Once it breaks fully, the ride downward will likely be very sharp, quick and brutal for everyone caught unprepared.

Click here to read the full article>>

 

Who Protected Epstein for Decades, and Why?

Let’s start by stipulating that the Jeffrey Epstein story is so sordid and outlandish that it’s like a made-for-TV movie about the evil proprietor of a nightmarish enclave of private perversion and sexual exploitation, Lolita Island.

For Epstein’s victims, the nightmare was all too real.

Next, let’s stipulate that in a nation with a functioning system of justice, every individual who knew about Epstein’s degenerate empire and did nothing to stop it should be ushered into a Federal prison cell to ponder their sins against the exploited girls and against the nation.

Yes, as in treason, as in “throw them in prison and let them rot” treason. As I have explained, corruption and debauchery undermine the legitimacy of the state, and so doing nothing while Epstein et al. gratified the desires of the rich and powerful for degenerate debauchery was treasonous: the American state will collapse not from military conflict but from moral decay, and every individual who enabled (or made use of) that moral decay is guilty of treason.

Which leads us to the basic questions of the case: who protected Epstein for decades, and why? There are several explanations floating around for the why: those in power enjoyed their diabolically exploitive visits to Lolita Island and wanted to continue their criminal gratifications.

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The Internal War in the Deep State Claims Its High Profile Casualty: Jeffrey Epstein

I’ve been writing about the fracturing Deep State for the past five years:

Is the Deep State Fracturing into Disunity? (March 14, 2014)

Is the Deep State at War–With Itself? (December 14, 2016)

Epstein and the Explosive Crisis of the Deep State (July 15, 2019)

The conflict has now reached the hot-war stage where bodies are turning up, explained away by the usual laughable covers: “suicide,” “accident” and “heart attack.” That Jeffrey Epstein’s death in a secure cell is being labeled “suicide” tells us quite a lot about the desperation of the faction trying to protect the self-serving predators that have wormed their way into control of many Deep State nodes of power.

Here’s the basic structure of the Deep State conflict as I see it. 

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Nothing Is Guaranteed

The American lifestyle and economy depend on a vast number of implicit guarantees— systemic forms of entitlement that we implicitly feel are our birthright.

Chief among these implicit entitlements is the Federal Reserve can always “save the day”: the Fed has the tools to escape either an inflationary spiral or a deflationary collapse.

But there are no guarantees this is actually true. In either an inflationary spiral or deflationary collapse of self-reinforcing defaults, the Fed’s “save” would destroy the economy, which is now so fragile that any increase in interest rates (to rescue us from an inflationary spiral) would destroy our completely debt-dependent economy: were mortgage rates to climb back to historical averages, the housing bubble would immediately implode.

Hello negative wealth effect, as every homeowner watches their temporary (and illusory) “wealth” dissipate before their eyes.

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