"Central banks will start wild money printing again...the world economy will experience  a hyperinflationary depression that eventually leads to a deflationary implosion of the system."  ~Egon von Greyerz

Learn how to prioritize all your debt. And did you know student loan debt is the most dangerous debt any of us can have?
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/


(Caveat Emptor)

News and opinion from all over the political universe.  Much of it to be taken with several grains of salt.

Email: Wrisley.com


   Curmudgeon's        Archive.      

Who Supports Whom?

Magical Money
Posterity's Debt To Me

  Honest Money
From Riches to Rags
Fiddler's Broken Wrist
Jack-lantern Wealth
Chance of Gold Confiscation

Poobahs of Positivism
Blood In the Streets

America Descending
Just Plain Stealing  ?
A thing to fear
Heavenly Sex
What Fools, We Mortals
Unvarnished Truth
Hucksterism Gone Wild

December 15-16, 2018

How can the world  get back to a sound system with sound real growth that is not based on money printing and debt?

That's a doozy of a question that's on the minds of an increasing number of people who are beginning to sweat the international bickering over trade.  The Swiss goldbug, Egon von Greyerz, has consistently been pushing the Sound Money Solution for a long time.  It's hard to resist his logic.

    "Once an economic cycle has peaked, the country continues to spend money it doesn’t have and deficits are created. This becomes a vicious circle, more deficits lead to more money printing which in turn increases the deficits. At that point the country abandons the gold backing of the currency in order to print more money and this eventually leads to the collapse of the country’s economy. This cycle has happened throughout history and we are seeing the perfect example of this cycle since 1971."  VON GREYERZ
Von Greyerz refers to August 15th, 1971, when President Richard Nixon closed the gold window to foreign trade partners. That mean't they could no longer turn in their U.S. dollar notes for gold. The dollar became an irredeemable fiat currency. 

This Swiss commentator either understands the dangers of the present debt-based economic system or he's all wet and we're wasting our time studying his arguments. Since our own lifetime savings are wasting away at a rapid rate due to steady inflation we tend to worry about it and Believe it was a mistake to abandon the money mandate of the U.S. Constitution.

Following the destruction of the gold standard by the First World War and the related wild inflations, the monetary stages have been:

  • The gold exchange standard of the 1920s, meant to restore stability but ending with “the bust of the global credit bubble” of the late 1920s.
  • 1930s disorders leading to the stabilization efforts of the Bretton Woods agreement of 1944. This system collapsed in 1971.
  • Pure fiat currencies with floating exchange rates among them. This period featured the Great Inflation of the 1970s, but also monetarist doctrines, most notably in Germany and also temporarily in the U.S. It ended most spectacularly with “the bubble and bust in Japan” in 1989.
  • Then out of the monetarist retreat, was born…a new stabilization experiment—the targeting of perpetual inflation at 2%, annually,
  • the current theory. Since the Fed first formally adopted this idea in 2012 we have had a spectacular global asset price inflation—will it end with a bang or a whimper? 

The above scenario is from author Brendan Brown, a critic of perpetual inflation...the prevailing fashion among central banks.

The late economist Milton Friedman of the so-called Chicago School thought an inflation rate of +2 percent per year was tolerable. The theory wasn't promoted in exactly those terms. The Chicago School endorsed the notion of expanding the money supply by some 2 percent per year.

     This scheme of increasing the supply of currency by a small percentage each year has ruined the old-fashioned idea of "saving for a rainy day." 

   Remember the days when a young couple started a college savings plan for an infant soon after he or she was born? Who, today, can even guess what the buying power of a dollar will be 18 years from now?  For that matter, what's the point of saving when the money earns a mere 0.05 percent when the annual inflation rate is a fraction over 2 percent?

   In the inflationary age, which began in the 1940s, saving money has been increasing difficult because inflation eats at its purchasing power each year.  (There have only been two years since 1945 when price deflation occurred!)

    The story is told of Professor Friedman and others gathered at a dining table at which also sat a sound money promoter. ("Gold bug.") He offered to exchange an old $20.00 U.S. gold coin for a $20 Federal Reserve Note. The professor handed over a twenty-dollar note and then watched in alarm as the bill was torn into shreds. He saw it as a wanton waste despite the fact that he had exchanged a mere legal tender IOU for a gold coin then worth more than $600.00. 

    Professor Friedman is better remembered as the originator of the classic reminder "There is no such thing as a free lunch." Present generations either do not know the adage or don't understand its meaning.

    Wait!  We thought U.S. democracy was the best in the world!
Now comes a veteran analyst with a different view. (?)

     "Among the reasons democracy is in discredit and retreat worldwide is that its exemplar and champion, the USA, is beginning to resemble France’s Third Republic in its last days before World War II.

      "Also, democracy no longer has the field largely to itself as to how to create a prosperous and powerful nation-state."  DEMOCRACY LOSING THE WORLD.

       Pat Buchanan is not blind to President Trump's many character flaws, nor is he unaware that the popular news media are hellbent to spend the next two years pointing them out and moving as many people as possible to their view that Trump ought to serve time in jail for his "transgressions." 

       Buchanan's main point is the USA brand of democracy has sunk into an unenviable mire.  It reminds us that this nation was established as a representative REPUBLIC and has sadly morphed into the destructive habits of a democracy.  History is strewn with stories of failed democracies.  It's a shame our general media are working so hard to insure our demise by promoting the democratic government framework which always ends in chaos when the people vote themselves "free money" out of the public treasury.  ~JW

'Tis the Season to be Jolly?

The national debt is closing in on $22 trillion, with over $1 trillion a year currently being added for the American taxpayer.

Corporate debt is at historic highs not seen since 2008, with S&P Global reporting over $6.3 trillion in total debts and the largest companies holding only $2.1 trillion in cash as a hedge.

U.S. household debt currently stands at around $13.3 trillion, which is $618 billion higher than the last peak back in 2008, during the credit crisis.

U.S. credit card debt surpassed $1 trillion for the first time in 2018, the highest single year amount since 2007 (once again, we see that debt levels are spiking beyond the lines crossed just before the crash of 2008).   CORE OF DECLINE

   The recent shudders on Wall Street have caught the attention of many economics commentators who worry that something is wrong with our present "powerhouse economy."  That something, in our view, is unsustainable debt. 

         We used to think that "they" (the financial experts knew what they were doing, but now we're not so sure. We've learned to live on the cuff and the old idea of living within one's means has flown out the window. Andy Jackson was the last U.S. president to pay off the federal debt and today going into the hole at an annual rate of nearly a trillion dollars is considered more or less the norm.

   A wise old South Caroliona banker named Col. Wylie Jones once advised a young would-be borrower, "It's easy to run into debt, but if you get out you do so at a walk." 

   That advice is as good today as it was in the early 20th century when it was given.

   The Grinch may have decided that monkeying with Wall Street was the best way to ruin Christmas.  The swoon in stock prices was continuing near noontime today, although they got a bit of a breather late Thursday when the Fed Chairman hinted that "maybe" the central bank would pause in its plan to continue to inch up interest rates in 2019.

          The Friday unemployment numbers came in a tad under expectations, but the official unemployment rate remains at 3.7 percent.  That's about as low as it has been in a half century.  Why, then, is the stock market being so spastic?

          Fear.  Gamblers in the financial markets are on edge about the prospects for 2019.  Evidence is beginning to build concerning the ability of the once mighty dollar to weather the strains of being the world's go-to currency.  The federal government is having to go into the hole to the tune of nearly a trillion dollars a year to sustain its huge obligation to remain King of the Hill.  How long, we wonder, before some hothead says "I know.  Let's hold war to clear up this mess!" 

Venezuela is currently going through a period of hyperinflation; IMF economists predict that the country's inflation rate will exceed 1,000,000% this year.
An annual inflation rate of a million percent?
    The Guardian newspaper of Britain reports on the shocking downward spiral in Venezuela.  As one observer said "It's like watching a building collapsing and not being able to do anything about it." 

     It's the classic result of a socialist government printing irredeemable currency and presuming to direct the affairs of its citizenry.  The result is airport escalators that don't work, toilets that don't flush, and hoards of people picking through dumpsters looking for scraps of food.  The Venezuelan crisis is giving socialism a well-deserved black eye.  VENEZUELAN CATASTROPHE

     World gasoline prices, quoted in  U.S. Dollars.

Bear in mind the prices above are shown in U.S. dollars.  It may look like gas at the pump in Venezuela is a huge bargain, but laying hands on twelve U.S. cents in Venezuela is not an easy task given the collapse of the country's own currency. 
            *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
  In January Social Security recipients will receive a cost-of-living raise. It'll boost the average Social Security check by about $39 per month. This increase will run to nearly $29 billion for all of 2019.  (That's $1 million X 29,000 - - a considerable sum.)

  The Social Security Administration is now predicting it's in a fiscally sound position until 2034. It should be remembered that in 1983 the SSA expected the system to remain solvent until 2058. Wha'happened?

   There is not room in the present frantic news schedule for consideration of the long range finances of Social Security, Medicare, Medicade, SNAP and other support that pours from the government cornucopia, but there will be an eruption of interest as the overload of dependents sink the Ship of State to the gunwales and everyone starts looking for lifeboats.

"The media in America has become like the European Union: an enemy of the people, unelected and answering to no one."

     "Night after night on television, hysterical women and irrational men call for civil unrest against the Trump machine. The democratic result of 2016 has to be reversed, is the message. And yet Trump has succeeded until now: The Islamic State is on the run, the economy is booming, unemployment is at an all-time low, new and better deals have been signed with Mexico, Canada, and South Korea, even the little rocket man has calmed down and is playing nice."  OUTRAGE ALL AROUND

     What's this?  Mr. Theodoracopulos launching another unfair attack on American journalism?  Most news folk will assure you they are merely reporting events as they occur in an unbiased way, but it's impossible to listen to NPR, watch mainstream TV news and talk shows, or read the New York Times, Washington Post, et al, without detecting a strong political bias against Republicans, conservatism, and President Trump in particular.  The sub-text is"We wuz robbed in November, 2016." 

     There is plenty wrong with the GOP platform.  No question there.  There are even more basic flaws in the Democratic Party platform.  Both parties scramble to influence the masses.  A high percentage of journalists are attracted to the liberal path and feel obligated to lead as many readers and viewers to the political liberal ranks as possible. 

      Unfortunately, a high percentage of journalists write from the heart not the head.  Their passage through academia has attracted them to a general socialist view of egalitarianism of outcome.  Sadly, this view has a very high failure rate.

     General Motors said recently it plans to effectively halt production at a number of plants in the U.S. and Canada next year and cut more than 14,000 jobs in a massive restructuring that will cost up to $3.8 billion.

      In response, the United Auto Workers vowed to use "every legal, contractual and collective bargaining avenue" to fight the changes.

       U.S. President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also criticized the automaker's decision.

        Trump tweeted Tuesday, "If GM doesn't want to keep their jobs in the United States, they should pay back the $11.2 billion bailout that was funded by the American taxpayer."

President Trump doesn't appear to understand the dynamics of this move by General Motors.  GM sees sales of certain vehicles are drying up so it makes a rational decision to quit producing something consumers don't want.

             What are they to do?  Keep making cars consumers will not buy? 

               Now comes the question, "Why did taxpayers bail out GM to the tune of $11.2 dollars in the recession ten years ago?"  Because when really large companies founder the government will to go into hock to bail them out, sending the bill to future taxpayers.  Hardly a hallmark of free market capitalism. 
               On this topic Trump is playing the politician not the canny businessman. 
* * * * * * * * *  * * * *  *
The Chicken Littles come out to bray.
Howard Kuntzler waves the caution flag.         

"China, Euroland, and the USA can’t possibly meet their tangled obligations, and are running out of tricks for rigging, gaming, and jacking the bond markets, where all those promises are vested. It boils down to a whole lot of people not getting paid, one way or the other — and it’s really bad for business.
          "Given his chimerical personality, [President Trump] may try to put on an FDR mask — perhaps even sit in a wheelchair — and try a few grand-scale policy tricks to escape the vortex. But the net effect will surely be to make matters worse — for instance, if he can hector the Federal Reserve to buy every bond that isn’t nailed to some deadly derivative booby-trap. But then he’ll only succeed in crashing the dollar. Remember, there are two main ways you can go broke: You can run out of money; or you can have plenty of worthless money." Holiday Undoings 

Soul of America
   Pat Buchanan remarked in a recent column, "Freedom of the press does not mean guaranteed immunity of the press from the same kind of abuse the press directs at the president." (The Soul of America)

   We watched with interest a video clip in which a TV network tried to "prove" that the White House has doctored the altercation between CNN's Jim Acosta and a girl from the White House staff who was trying to retrieve a microphone  he would not give up.  She claimed Acosta had brushed against her bare arm in an uncomfortable way and the  news  purveyors tried to prove that he did not.

   The verbal altercation between Acosta and President Trump is classic, rude, New York style street fighting. It's the style that sometimes leads to fisticuffs. High decibel tough talk seldom leads to any useful conclusion. It does little more than add fuel to the divisivness that has split America into two angry political camps.

    Now that the Midterm Elections are over look for the animosity between left and right to increase to even higher levels of foolishness and rudeness.

                  Republic vs. Democracy                           
   A trip through U.S. history will reveal that divisiveness within the general population is nothing new. Reduced to its basics it's usually the 'have-nots' versus the 'rich.'  Politics is mostly a perpetual contest trying to control the distrubution of wealth. The party that proposes ways for the a large segment of the population to live out of the pockets of other people is the one that's victorious on election day.

   L. Reichard White has come up with a lengthy discussion of the popular approach to democracy as opposed to the political framework the Founders built in the late 18th century....a republic. To this day we still pledge allegiance the the flag of the REPUBLIC for which it stands.  We are also reminded of Ben Franklin's quip when asked what sort of government the 1787 convention created.  "A REPUBLIC...if you can keep it," said he.

    Does it matter the United States has morphed from a republic to a democracy? REPUBLIC vs.DEMOCRACY