A Very Real Argument That We As A People Are….


Posted on 31st May 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues


Guest Post by Karl Denninger

That’s done.  As in baked, cooked, finis.

Let’s just look at the charges and specifications of late, shall we?

  • Big US and Global Banks have admitted (that is, have been convicted) of multiple criminal offenses over the last several years.  partial list can be found here; let me remind everyone that an ordinary person who commits three felonies, even if some of them are very minor in comparison to any of the listed ones here in impact and they take place over a period of decades, goes away for life under long-existing three strikes laws.  All four of the banks listed in that dissent have three or more “convictions” and thus all of them should be dissolved as they are obviously incapable of modifying their behavior.  Nonetheless literally tens of millions of Americans and American corporations not only refuse to stand and demand that these charters be revoked they voluntarily do business with one or more of these firms!
  • We have a medical and insurance industry in this country that routinely, on a daily basis, engages in behavior that can easily be described as meeting the criteria for fraud, bid-rigging, racketeering and routinely uses the threat of both bankruptcy and violence by government goons to get what it wants.  This “industry” routinely, for example, bills for things they didn’t actually do, sends people bills for hundreds or thousands of dollars for someone sticking their head in a door and saying “Hello”, allows “off-plan” doctors to treat people without their consent exposing them to thousands (or tens of thousands!) in unauthorized charges and then enforces those “charges”, takes drugs off the market that they produce so that the only remaining options are those made by the same company but are under patent and more.  The single most-common cause of bankruptcy in this country is medical debt incurred as a direct result of these practices and these practices are where the so-called “need” for Obamacare, that is now resulting in demands for 50% premium hikes in some markets for the next year, came from.  Yet we, as a nation and as a people, routinely consent to this crap and allow these corporations, institutions and individuals to continue their outrageous acts of pillage daily.


Thoughts from the Frontline: The Last Argument of Central Banks


Posted on 11th November 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Thoughts from the Frontline: The Last Argument of Central Banks

By John Mauldin


For a central banker, deflation is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Death, Famine, Disease, and Deflation. (We will address later in this letter why War, in the form of a currency war, is not in a central banker’s Apocalypse mix.) It is helpful to understand that, before a person is allowed to join the staff or board of a central bank, he or she is taken into a back room and given DNA replacement therapy, inserting a gene that is viscerally opposed to deflation. Of course, in fairness, it must be noted that central bankers don’t like high inflation, either (although, looking around the world, we see that the definition of high inflation can vary). In the developed world, 2% inflation seems to be the common goal. You wouldn’t think that 2% a year is a significant change in the overall price structure, but the panic among economists that would ensue with a 2% price deflation would border on hysteria.

Inflation and deflation are often topics of discussions as I travel, but I find that there is general confusion about what inflation and deflation actually are. This is understandable, since many economists don’t agree on the definitions, so they are often talking about totally different phenomena. In this week’s letter I have for you a brief essay on the topic of deflation. Depending on your view, you might find some of my thoughts controversial, but I will try to make my case clear, at least. Please note this is the 30,000-foot view and is nowhere close to definitive. If you want great detail, I suggest you get my good friend Gary Shilling’s latest book on deflation (of four that I know of), called The Age of Deleveraging. (It’s only $11.49 on Kindle.)

Definitions of Inflation and Deflation

Generally speaking, there are two schools of thought about inflation. The Austrian school of economic theory, founded by Ludwig von Mises, sees inflation as an increase in the money supply and deflation as a contraction in the money supply. Somewhat similarly (but not entirely!), the monetarist school of economic theory tends to see money supply as the chief determinant of GDP in the short run and of the price level over the long run.

Mainstream economics (generally Keynesian) tend to refer to rising or falling prices as inflation or deflation. They tend to see deflation as a general price decline, often brought about by reductions in available credit, money, or reserves or by the government’s restraint of spending programs.

So when we talk about inflation/deflation, it is important to know whether we’re talking about monetary inflation or price inflation. As we have seen recently, a rising money supply is not necessarily accompanied by rising prices (although there is a certain long-term rhythm to the two different measures).

When I talk to the general public about deflation being something to be avoided, I get confused looks. Don’t we like it when the price of something goes down? Who doesn’t love a sale on something they want to buy? Since the beginning of the First Industrial Revolution, the general tendency for the prices of manufactured goods (in real inflation-adjusted terms) has been to go down as productivity has gone up. This is what Gary Shilling and others refer to as “good deflation.”

You can actually have solid productivity, GDP growth, wealth creation, a general increase in the standard of living, and a buoyant economy during a period of overall price deflation such as we had in the late 1800s – if it is the good kind of deflation.

What is the difference between good deflation and bad deflation? Good deflation is the general fall in prices that comes from an excess supply of goods due to increased productivity and product improvement. From 1870 to 1897 wheat prices fell from $1.06 to 63¢ a bushel, corn from 43¢ to 30¢ a bushel, and cotton from 15¢ to 6¢ a pound. Most of the time farmers received even less for their crops.

While farmers blamed all sorts of people for their falling prices, the primary cause of their problem was overproduction resulting from increases in the acreage of farms and increased yields per acre due to improved farming methods, as well as the advent of railroads that made it easy to get produce to Eastern markets. A farmer had to produce more just to stay even. It didn’t help that global competition from Argentina, Russia, and Canada was added into the mix, as increasingly large oceangoing steamboats made international transportation cheaper and ended an era of American agricultural export advantages.

This period of time saw one-third of farmers move to the cities for other work as they lost their employment on small family farms. That trend in falling farm employment continued until recent years, and farming has seen even greater increases in productivity (yield per acre) in recent decades. Farm and ranch families are just 2% of the US population today. Only 15% of the US workforce produces, processes, and sells the nation food and fiber. Today’s farmers produce almost three times more food with 2% lower inputs than farmers did 60 years ago. A third of American agriculture is strictly for exports.

The late 1800s was a particularly contentious period of history in the United States as farmers blamed railroads, bankers, and industrialists for their problems – a situation not unlike the income inequality debate we have today. And while falling prices weren’t fun for the farmers, the general public enjoyed lower food costs and higher-quality food.

The easiest way to illustrate this trend in the modern area is by looking at the cost of a gigabyte of storage. You can see an interactive version of this chart here. Prices for a gigabyte of storage dropped from $500-700,000 in the early 1980s (depending on what you were buying) to about $0.03 today. Put another way, a gigabyte cost about 2 million times more 35 years ago than it does today. And it has fallen by 50% every few years. The good deflationary fall in prices for data storage has enabled all sorts of industries and products, creating millions of jobs. And we could find dozens of other, similar products whose prices have been falling dramatically.

Measuring Inflation/Deflation

Each month we are greeted by the announcement of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), telling us what the level of general price inflation has been for the previous month and year. I’ve written about CPI extensively in past letters, but basically we need to understand that the CPI is an artificial amalgamation of the prices of various products and services. The composition of the CPI has changed significantly over the last 40 years. As John Williams at Shadow Stats demonstrates, if we used the same measurement methodology that was in force during the Reagan years or the early Clinton years, inflation would be almost 4 percentage points higher now than it is currently calculated to be.

Contrary to some commentators, I do not see this is a conspiracy to mislead investors or consumers, or to slow down the rise in Social Security payments. We should all be grateful that there is a small band of economists who are consumed by the details of what inflation actually is. They go to conferences and vehemently argue with each other (well, vehemently for academic economists) over arcane topics that would bore 99%-plus of the population. They are passionate about trying to find the proper measure of inflation.

My personal feeling is that the adjustments that have been made in the calculation of inflation are generally quite reasonable, if somewhat controversial. With the prices of electronics and many other manufactured goods falling over the decades, how do you measure inflation in those items? Or rather deflation? I still spend about the same amount for a new phone today as I did 10 years ago, but my new iPhone 6+ is a major improvement over the Motorola flip phone I had 10 years ago, by any standard you want to apply. Both could make phone calls, but that is about where the similarity ends. Am I getting better value for my money? More bang for the buck? Absolutely.

Currently, the economists who determine inflation see that increase in value as an actual drop in inflation, and they use a somewhat controversial methodology called hedonics to adjust the prices of a myriad of products for quality. If anti-lock brake systems are now standard whereas before they were optional, then by this doctrine the price of your car went down. (Those who are interested can google hedonics and get a wealth of information on the definition and the controversy.)

Housing is a big component of our spending. Should we use actual housing prices or what the inflation economists call “owner’s equivalent rent prices” as our measure of housing cost increases? If we had used actual housing prices during the 2000s, the inflation figures would have gone through the roof, suggesting to the Federal Reserve that they should be raising interest rates rather than lowering them or keeping them too low. And again, if we had been using actual house prices to calculate inflation during the Great Recession, the economy would have been seen as being swamped by serious deflation. There would’ve been even more weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

To continue reading this article from Thoughts from the Frontline – a free weekly publication by John Mauldin, renowned financial expert, best-selling author, and Chairman of Mauldin Economics – please click here.

Important Disclosures

The Obsolete Man: The Death Of The American Mind


Posted on 4th July 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Post by Charles Wickelus

The Obsolete Man was an episode of the Twilight Zone that first aired in June 1961.

In the episode, we see an authoritarian government that has absolute rule over its citizenry. A complete suppression of free speech, free thought and a complete devaluation of literature, arts and religion. A dystopian atheistic regime purportedly based on logic and reason, but is based on coercion of thought backed up by the crushing power of the state.

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In this world, a librarian is brought before a tribunal that determines the value of its citizens. The librarian, Romney Wordsworth, engages in a heated debate with the Chancellor. The Chancellor determines that since the state has banned books, a librarian is inherently obsolete. The librarian reveals he believes in God, a belief that has been banned by the state.

The arrogant Chancellor, in his smug self-possession, agrees to have Romney appointed a personal assassin who will not divulge Romney’s preferred way to die. Further, the Chancellor agrees to have Romney’s “liquidation” televised for the nation to watch. Romney knew he had gotten under the Chancellor’s skin, so he invites the Chancellor to come to his room an hour before his liquidation.

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In his authoritarian bluster, the Chancellor sweeps in and lectures Romney about the supreme importance of the state and how people’s value is determined by authority figures in government, not from the value that people bring to their fellow man. The Chancellor falls for Romney’s plot, as the room is locked, so when the Chancellor tries to leave after asserting the state’s superiority over a lowly librarian, he finds he will die with the low-status librarian.


Mendacious, Magical Thinking


Posted on 3rd July 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Guest Post by Karl Denninger 

Janet T sent me an interesting article recently and I think we should have a discussion on it.

In light of that, I referred to my own childhood to highlight the magical thinking of children:

“This is really about our projection of our issues as adults onto children, and we have to consider that. Look, when I was a child, I thought I was a cocker spaniel, and there’s a point where we have these fantasies, we think we are Superman, we can fly, we’re the cat. This is childhood … .”

Reverting to their own magical thinking, various gay-establishment bloggers and activists, likely adorned in their “NOH8” gear, apparently appalled at my argument that kids are, well, kids, posted desperate stories with headlines like “Tammy Bruce compares transgendered people to dogs!” and “Fox News pundit compares being transgender to thinking that you’re a cocker spaniel.”

Uh, no. But welcome to the adult world of magical thinking. I was referring to children and how they think. Yet, for the malignant narcissists on the left, everything has to be about them. It’s also a headline that shamelessly misleads their own base into acting like fools.

Tammy goes on about liberals and magical thinking, but this mental disease is not limited to liberals.  Let’s take Paul Ryan’s “budget”, which he has published annually for a number of years now as a right-side-of-aisle (Republican) “talking point.”

It postulates an unbroken string of economic expansion that has never occurred in the modern history of the United States — ever.  There is utterly no reason to believe that his projections are based in anything approaching reasonable predicates; they are akin to believing that he is Superman and can jump over the Empire State building.


Xi’s Anti-Corruption Campaign Is Key to China’s Prospects


Posted on 3rd July 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Outside the Box: Xi’s Anti-Corruption Campaign Is Key to China’s Prospects

By John Mauldin


George Magnus is one of the most influential economists in the world today. From his position as chief economist at UBS for a number of years, he enjoyed a front-row seat to growth miracles, credit booms, and financial crises in major economies around the world and is widely credited with identifying the trigger points that eventually led to the global financial crisis in 2008.

Today, he works as an associate at Oxford University’s China Center, a senior economic adviser at UBS, and an independent economic consultant to governments and private investors who can afford his limited time.

George is the author of two of my favorite books: The Age of Aging (published in 2008), which explores the consequences of deteriorating demographic trends; and Uprising: Will Emerging Markets Shape or Shake the World Economy? (published in 2010), which takes an in-depth look at the new and more sober prospects for emerging markets going forward.

In the following chapter from our recently published e-book on China, A Great Leap Forward?, George explains that moving forward on “more substantive and politically sensitive economic reforms” depends on Xi Jinping’s ability to consolidate power and break through the disruptive vested interests that threaten the Chinese Communist Party’s legitimacy and stand in the way of true economic rebalancing.

While Beijing has made some progress on its stated reform agenda since the Party’s Third Plenum in November 2013, it remains to be seen whether President Xi and his allies have not only the stomach for more difficult reforms and deleveraging but also the political capital needed to move forward without a revolt within the Party.

As George explains, China’s ruling elite find themselves at a do-or-die moment for the ruling Communist Party. Their ability to follow through on tough reforms is one of the biggest points of uncertainty in assessing whether the Middle Kingdom will rise above the muck to escape the middle income trap or fall victim to the same fate that beset the former Soviet Union.


Greece: The Problem and the Solution


Posted on 1st July 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues



Latest Developments

Alexis Tsipras has sent a letter to Jeroen Dijsselbloem of the euro-group (you can download the letter here, pdf), in which he requests a separate bailout from the ESM, essentially proposing that the ESM take over Greece’s liabilities for a period of two years. Unsaid, but implied, is that this would result in the referendum being recalled. More likely it is just a ploy to enhance Syriza’s chances of obtaining a “no” vote in the referendum.


Image via dreamstime.com


Rumor has it that this letter was sent in the wake of “infighting at Syriza” over whether or not to hold the referendum. Reportedly some in Syriza fear that there is a risk that the “yes” vote will prevail and force Tsipras to resign and call for new elections. Anyway, these are just rumors, if not entirely implausible ones. The letter Tsipras sent in any case didn’t change anything, because the stance of the euro-group is that nothing new will be decided until after the referendum.

What struck us as far more interesting however, is how far Angela Merkel was apparently prepared to go in order to accommodate Greek demands. She let this slip when briefing her government coalition partners in Germany, the Social Democratic Party (SPD). She didn’t appraise her colleagues in her own party of this, apparently fearing their wrath. As Der Spiegel reports in its German language edition:




Posted on 29th June 2015 by Stephanie Shepard in Economy

You never get something for nothing. While the LGBT community and staunch liberals are claiming victory now, they will soon be crying foul when they realized they opened Pandora’s box.

Via Allen West

Yesterday, as you know, five justices on the SCOTUS redefined what marriage is in America and also found the time to violate the concept of federalism. They decided that an individual’s behavioral choice was grounds to create a new “right” in the U.S. Constitution. Now of course there are those of you who are somewhat despondent, but just know that in every storm there is a rainbow — quite sure y’all get my tongue-in-cheek comment. Yep, since now the SCOTUS has determined it can bequeath a right to marriage across all 50 states, there is an interesting point to be made.

As reported by BearingArms.com, “If you’re following any of the various media outlets this morning, you’re probably aware that the U.S. Supreme Court has just extended gay marriage to all 50 states. The Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples have a right to marry nationwide, in a historic decision that invalidates gay marriage bans in more than a dozen states. Gay and lesbian couples already can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The court’s ruling on Friday means the remaining 14 states, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage. The outcome is the culmination of two decades of Supreme Court litigation over marriage, and gay rights generally.”


Raising A Man


Posted on 28th June 2015 by harry p. in Politics |Social Issues

The site ROK tends to turn a lot of people off but there is some great info and ideas in their articles; this one is pure gold.

How To Raise A Red Pill Revolutionary


I recently received the fantastic news that my first child, to be born this September, is going to be a boy.

While I would have loved the child no matter it’s gender, the knowledge that it is a boy got me thinking a lot more about what kind of an example I should be to my boy and what I should teach him in life. You see, I want to raise a red pill son, strong and true, so that he can go out into the world and take it on prepared.

I’ve boiled it down to these essential lessons. I believe if I can instill these values in him, he’ll be equipped to deal with life as a successful, strong and decent man. It won’t all be within my control, but I have the responsibility to at least try to mold him into the kind of man society desperately needs more of.

Life Is Hard, Nobody Owes You Shit

I want my boy to know that life is no walk in the park. He’ll learn it eventually, so I might as well give him a head start by teaching him early on. He won’t be lifted and laid, he’ll learn to do things for himself, and he’ll learn that his actions have irreversible consequences.

He’ll be taught that when you screw up you fix it, and when you want something you work to get it, no exceptions.

That being said, I’ll also let him know that when he hits the hard times in life his family will be there for him. No matter what, he should never give up and when going through hell, all he has to do is keep walking. As a man, he will have the responsibility to be a strong leader in tough times.




Posted on 27th June 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues


Well Hello Kitty. I see you hiding in there…Probably the only pussy that’s ever been near those pants. Ehhhhh Ohhhhhh!


Some people should just have instructions for life with them at all times.


I feel like I should make this into one of those inspirational meme pics with something like “Training never takes a day off.”




Posted on 21st June 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Today will go down in history as one of the worst times in history to be invested in the stock market. Virtually no one believes this statement. That is why it will prove to be true. Every valuation method known to mankind is flashing red. A crash is baked in the cake. Will the trigger be Greek default, a Chinese market crash, a Fed rate increase, a derivative bet going boom, a Middle East event, someone doing something stupid in the South China Sea, a Ukrainian eruption, or a butterfly flapping its wings? When greed turns to fear, for whatever reason, the house of cards will collapse for the 3rd time in 15 years. Thank the “brilliant” bankers at the Federal Reserve.

I’ve picked out the most important passages from Hussman’s weekly letter for your enjoyment.

The financial markets are establishing an extreme that we expect investors will remember for the remainder of history, joining other memorable peers that include 1906, 1929, 1937, 1966, 1972, 2000 and 2007. The failure to recognize this moment as historic is largely because investors have been urged to believe things that aren’t true, have never been true, and can be demonstrated to be untrue across a century of history. The broad market has been in an extended distribution process for nearly a year (during which the NYSE Composite has gone nowhere) yet every marginal high or brief market burst seems infinitely important from a short-sighted perspective. Like other major peaks throughout history, we expect that these minor details will be forgotten within the sheer scope of what follows. And like other historical extremes, the beliefs that enable them are widely embraced as common knowledge, though there is always, always, some wrinkle that makes “this time” seem different. That is why history only rhymes. But in its broad refrain, this time is not different.

More enlightened leaders at the Federal Reserve would never have allowed, much less intentionally encouraged, yet the third speculative episode in 15 years. Unfortunately, the idea that repeated cycles of malinvestment and yield-seeking speculation have actually been the cause of the nation’s economic malaise doesn’t seem to cross their minds.

Moreover, consumers spend based on their concept of “permanent income,” not off the value of volatile assets such as stocks. Economists have understood this since the 1950’s. While the Fed has been successful at intentionally promoting yield-seeking speculation since 2009, a century of evidence demonstrates that current valuation extremes also imply a market collapse that is now baked in the cake, and that Federal Reserve policy has much less ability to prevent than investors seem to believe.


Paul Craig Roberts’ Address to the International Conference on the European/Russian Crisis Created by Washington


Posted on 20th June 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Paul Craig Roberts’ address to the Conference on the European/Russian Crisis, Delphi, Greece, June 20-21, 2015

Paul Craig Roberts, formerly Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy, Associate Editor, Wall Street Journal, Senior Research Fellow, Stanford University, William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

The United States has pursued empire since early in its history, but it was the Soviet collapse in 1991 that enabled Washington to see the entire world as its oyster.

The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in the rise of the neoconservatives to power and influence in the US government. The neoconservatives have interpreted the Soviet collapse as History’s choice of “American democratic capitalism” as the New World Order.

Chosen by History as the exceptional and indispensable country, Washington claims the right and the responsibility to impose its hegemony on the world. Neoconservatives regard their agenda to be too important to be constrained by domestic and international law or by the interests of other countries. Indeed, as the Unipower, Washington is required by the neoconservative doctrine to prevent the rise of other countries that could constrain American power.

Paul Wolfowitz, a leading neoconservative, penned the Wolfowitz Doctrine shortly after the Soviet collapse. This doctrine is the basis of US foreign and military policy.

The doctrine states:

“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

Notice that Washington’s “first objective” is not peace, not prosperity, not human rights, not democracy, not justice. Washington’s “first objective” is world hegemony. Only the very confident so blatantly reveal their agenda.

As a former member of the Cold War Committee on the Present Danger, I can explain what Wolfowitz’s words mean. The “threat posed formerly by the Soviet Union” was the ability of the Soviet Union to block unilateral US action in some parts of the world. The Soviet Union was a constraint on US unilateral action, not everywhere but in some places. Any constraint on Washington is regarded as a threat.

A “hostile power” is a country with an independent foreign policy, such as the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) have proclaimed. Iran, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Argentina, Cuba, and North Korea also proclaim an independent foreign policy.

This is too much independence for Washington to stomach. As Russian President Vladimir Putin recently stated, “Washington doesn’t want partners. Washington wants vassals.”


The Importance of RMB Internationalization


Posted on 18th June 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Outside the Box: The Importance of RMB Internationalization

By John Mauldin


For the last four years, I have been highlighting the idea that when Beijing floats the renminbi, the  currency may go down, not up, which is the exact opposite of what those who accuse China of currency manipulation believe would happen. I had this very argument with Lindsey Graham two weeks ago at a small dinner in New York, where I listened politely to his positions on a variety of topics until he began talking about currency manipulation. Given that the preceding topic had been the Federal Reserve, and considering that the rest of the world considers the quantitative easing that the Fed did to be the epitome of currency manipulation, I found that I couldn’t sit still; and we engaged in a very, let’s call it intense, back and forth. To the Senator’s credit, and my surprise, after dinner he came over and asked if I would visit him in New York, which is now on my short list of things to do.

Worth Wray and I argued in our just-published book, A Great Leap Forward?, on all things China, that Beijing may ultimately be forced to devalue the RMB in order to regain its still-eroding export competitiveness (especially against Japanese firms) and, in turn, ship its deflation problem abroad. But in the spirit of our book and given that we try to explore different sides of arguments here in Outside the Box, I would like to share a brilliant excerpt from the book by our mutual friend Louis-Vincent Gave. Louis makes a compelling argument not only for why Beijing prefers a strong RMB going forward but also how the RMB can be instrumental in boosting demand for China’s exports as it moves up the value chain.

Like Louis, a number of our contributors to the book are optimistic about the potential for China to succeed. Others see little hope. What we have tried to do in the book is to give you a sense of all sides of the arguments on the key issues. For the optimists to be right we will see need to see certain events unfold in a reasonably timely fashion. If they don’t, it will be time to take a more pessimistic view. We tried to be even-handed and open-minded in our selection of authors and chapter topics. And while we have our own views, we encouraged everyone to present theirs as forcefully as possible.