I'm pretty sure there's a little lockbox with your name on it that contains that 189K you've shoved into FICA--I'm from the gov and you can trust me. :)
I suppose the real "challenge" is maintaining the sense that the assets possess value that can liquidate the debt and provide for life maintenance. In our recent ZIRP environment the wildly fluctuating value of "assets" seems to hold little hope of this, thus the reason for the serial bubbles and busts that are the hallmark of the excessive and increasing debt we are saddled with.
I don't think you have any guarantee that gold is like a #$%$ for a certain amount of goods and services--its just a way of storing value (excess of earnings over life maintenance?) and based on historic valuation, might be a better choice now than junk bonds or general equity stocks or even US Treasuries.
In an environment like we are in--a period of general stagnation, asset prices move radically and sometimes it is best to choose investments like mining stocks that possess potential even though they have been at the bottom of the scoreboard for some time (before recent quarters). In a stagnate economy you can't just invest in stocks for the long haul, like you might have in 1982.
[..] … the riskier the bond, the more vulnerable it is to rising rates. Wall Street firms are warning clients that if fund investors who view bonds as safe are hit with sudden losses, there could be something akin to a run on the bond market. The worry isn’t only that investors’ bottom lines would take a hit. It’s that a mass selloff could swamp the market, with demands for redemptions forcing fund managers to unload their bonds at rock-bottom prices. The ensuing losses would encourage even more investors to redeem, perpetuating the downward spiral...
So let me ask you, what do you think will happen to stocks when the Fed decides to take away the punch bowl and raise rates? I don’t know, but if I were you, I would not walk under any open windows down on Wall Street.---Automatic Earth
Wall Street’s Worst-Case Scenario: A Run on Bonds
All it takes is a few mouse clicks to buy shares in the Scout Unconstrained Bond Fund, an exchange-traded fund that tracks a concoction of debt tied to the government, financial firms, mortgage pools, and other entities. And all it takes is a few mouse clicks to sell—something that has begun to worry Wall Street. Since the financial crisis, $900 billion has flowed into bond mutual funds and ETFs such as Scout Unconstrained, bringing the industry’s total holdings to $3 trillion. Fund investors who sell shares get their money back almost immediately, as if they were making a withdrawal from a money-market fund. The bonds that the funds own are far less liquid [..]
If too many people decide to get out of bond funds at the same time, the wave of selling could lead buyers to sit on their hands, bringing the system to a halt. [..] The Fed’s low-interest-rate policy reduced the yields on safe, short-term vehicles such as money-market funds, savings accounts, and CDs, and led investors to seek higher returns from bond funds, including ones that invest in risky high-yield debt and other speculative issues. Unlike money-market funds and CDs, though, bonds lose value when rates rise …
On a related note from Ask Fleck:
Mr Skin's comments "However, "margin debt" as reported by the brokerage community, doesn't mean what it used to. In the old days, when the "public" was heavily involved in the market, "margin debt" rising to extreme levels in a bull trend was a pretty good indicator. " Securitized lines of credit have been huge. The wire houses have been lending money at short term rates under 1.5%. Small businesses have been the biggest borrowers as its much easy to use and cheaper than bank loans. When the fireworks commence, expect this to be one of the problems none saw coming.
Ironically, a Portuguese bank, Banco Espirito Santo SA missed a bond payment and its bonds did a cliff-dive…
That’s what the graph of Enron looked like before it collapsed. This is what the entire bond market will look like when the derivatives bombs start to explode…
What’s missing from the analysis is the OTC derivatives that are tied to the credit condition of this bank. The Bloomberg article mentions credit default swaps but doesn’t explain the implications. The implications are that somewhere, some bank or asset manager is on the hook for any “insurance payments” that will need to be made as part of the bet that was made when institutional investors and Wall Street banks placed their bets on Portuguese banks using OTC derivatives. Eventually someone on the hook for the payment won’t be able to make it and the fun begins. This exactly what happened with AIG/Goldman Sachs.
It is THIS risk that is hidden away and deeply embedded in the bond market. It is hidden in your bond funds that your “trusty” registered financial adviser with fancy initials after his/her name put you into. You are exposed to this catastrophic risk. In just five minutes of using Google, I found several Black Rock bond funds that are exposed to Portuguese debt. Your genius adviser probably has you in one of these funds.
The bottom line is that you need to get out of your bond funds now before your money gets trapped and destroyed….
The only way to protect yourself from the coming destruction of the bond market is to move your money into physical gold and silver. If you want to try and get rich off of this, you need to own junior mining stocks…--Investment Research Dynamics
The Perfect Chart For Everyone Who Thinks A 1929 Style Crash Is Coming
Input the above into your browser. Very eye opening comparison of the 1920 boom to today--we are only in the similar 1926-1927 time frame if things were to follow the 1929 scenario. Also:
"When interest rates go up, prices of bonds go down. The longer the maturity, the more they go down. So, when the Fed *starts* raising rates, do you want to buy bonds right then and there? Or would you rather wait until the Fed is (nearly) done raising rates?
Buying bonds when rates are starting to go up is like signing up for a guaranteed loss in the first year(s). Why would you do that? Even putting your cash in the mattress for a year would be a better idea.
So, when the Fed starts raising rates it will first drive retail investor’s money out of long term bonds, and some of that money will find its way into stocks. And then at some point, when rates are attractive enough and stocks look really overvalued, then a sudden move in the other direction starts: stocks are being sold and the money flows into bonds (that perhaps yield 5 or 6% by then vs 2 or 3% right now).
E.g. look at 2005. The Fed funds rate started to go up. But that didn’t drive stocks prices down, on the contrary. Then 2007, when it looked like Fed was done raising rates, that was a good time to lock in those high rates by buying bonds. So stocks were sold and the money flowed into bonds. Notice that the crash didn’t start when the Fed started raising rates, the crash didn’t start until they were done raising rates. Same happened in 1986-87 for example. It is not always like that, because other factors can come into play, but it is a very common scenario.
The people who sell/short stocks when the Fed starts raising rates in 2015 will probably be very surprised to see stocks go up instead of down. And it is that short covering rally that can create an explosive move upwards like in 1929, followed by an implosion..."-Danny
Janet Yellen is a chatterbox of numbers, but most of them are “noise”. And that’s her term.
Yet here is a profoundly important set of numbers that you haven’t heard boo about from Yellen and her mad money printers. To wit, during the “difficult” economic times since the financial crisis began gathering force in Q1 2008, the S&P 500 companies have distributed $3.8 trillion in stock buybacks and dividends out of just $4 trillion in cumulative net income. That’s right, 95 cents of every dollar they earned—including the huge gains from restructurings, downsizings and job terminations—was flushed right back into the Wall Street casino...
Corporate stock buybacks thus function as a bubble cycle accelerator, meaning that they are making each new Fed reflation cycle more extreme and unstable. Prior to Greenspan’s irrational exuberance moment in December 1996 share buybacks amounted to about 1% of the S&P 500′s aggregate market cap. By the 2007 peak, they exceeded 5% and are heading in that direction once again—this time accompanied by a rising rate of regular dividend payouts, as well (not shown).
It does not take much analysis to see that this kind of financial engineering results in the inflation of existing financial assets, not the creation of new productive capacity...
Also unremarked is the fact that the share buyback mania leaves competitively challenged businesses in a precarious position and unable to weather downturns in the general business cycle or in their own sector. Radio Shack is a prime example. It is now tottering on the edge of bankruptcy, and there is no doubt whatsoever that this is owing to a giant strategic error by its management and board. To wit, during the past 13 years it repurchased $3 billion of stock on the back of only $2.1 billion in cumulative net income. Indeed, in seven of those years it flushed back into the market more than 100% of its earnings—including $400 million of buybacks in 2010 on only $200 million of net income.-D Stockman
Check out the new Obombie Zombie coins from NWT mint. Death to Liberty--In Gov't We Trust. They are cheaper from the NWT Mint site than ebay right now. Probably will come down over time, if they aren't pulled for being treasonous, disrespectful, subversive, racist, all of the above? :)
Martin Armstrong had a nice ramp about what is "free." Tried to excerpt from it 2x here, but has been removed each time.
Also put this in your browser:
Click on the chart link and download the pdf. Although not a long history there, the chart shows the growth in
CB "balance sheet", AKA as debt and the decline in gold during the largest increases. Look like gold price repression, but we should thank the bankstas for making gold miners last on a recent list of types of stock market investments. BGEIX HAS ALWAYS doubled from under 10. This time won't be an exception and when the general populace figures out that the CBs have no real control and the money is indeed funny, look for much more than a double. In the meantime i am buying BGEIX under 10 and ignoring all the noise. Why try to figure out when the stock/bond/currency bubble will burst when you know BGEIX will at least double from under 10!
Always have some dry powder to take advantage of this gift from the bankstas.
from a comment on the Zerohedge website:
Mt. Dow Dispatch from bivouac at elevation 16,947 feet (2300 hr EST June22). Excited. Hard to sleep…we rise at 0930hr for historic attempt to reach Mt. Dow elevation 17,000 ft. Bitter cold wind slashing tent. Exhausted from last week's several attempts from Camp IV (elev. 16,800 ft) to reach elev. 17,000 ft. Tactical decision on Friday (1600 hr) to bivouac at 16,947 ft and not to return to Camp IV. Rest over weekend. On Monday only need to climb 53 feet, and we have 6 1/2 hrs to do it.
Looks like we'll ascend to historic 17,000 ft elev. before the Mt. S&P expedition reaches its historic 2,000 ft elev. It's all just friendly "competition". We're both part of the Federal Reserve Expeditions Incorporated with the best tools, equipment, oxygen, Sherpas, and monetary support…so there's never a danger of falling or failing to reach new heights.
(cough, cough) Air is thin…need a fix of my federal reserve oxygen…
Georgetown University historian Professor Carroll Quigley styled himself the librarian of the international bankers. In his 1966 book Tragedy and Hope, he wrote that their aim was “nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole.” This system was to be controlled “in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert by secret agreements,” central banks that “were themselves private corporations.”
It may be the Chinese, not acting in concert, who break up this cartel. The PBoC is no more transparent than the US Fed, but it is not an “independent” central bank. It is a government agency accountable to the Chinese government and acting on its behalf.
The Chinese have evidently figured out the game of the “independent” central bankers, and to be using it to their own advantage. If the Fed can do quantitative easing, so can the Chinese – and buy up our assets with the proceeds. Owning our corporations rather than our Treasuries helps the Chinese break up US dollar hegemony.--Ellen Brown
According to the OMFIF, central banks collectively now have $13.2 trillion in assets (including gold). That is nearly 20% of the value of all of the stock markets in the world, which comes to $62 trillion.
From Monetary Policy to Asset Grabs
Central banks are allowed to create money out of nothing in order to conduct the monetary policies necessary to “regulate the value of the currency” and “maintain price stability.” Traditionally, this has been done with “open market operations,” in which money was either created by the central bank and used to buy federal securities (thereby adding money to the money supply) or federal securities were sold in exchange for currency (shrinking the money supply).
“Quantitative easing” is open market operations on steroids, to the tune of trillions of dollars. But the purpose is allegedly the same—to augment a money supply that shrank by trillions of dollars when the shadow banking system collapsed after 2008. The purpose is not supposed to be to earn an income for the central bank itself. Indeed, the U.S. central bank is required to return the interest earned on federal securities to the federal government, which paid the interest in the first place.
Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,
What would you say if I told you that Americans are nearly 60 TRILLION dollars in debt? Well, it is true. When you total up all forms of debt including government debt, business debt, mortgage debt and consumer debt, we are 59.4 trillion dollars in debt. That is an amount of money so large that it is difficult to describe it with words. For example, if you were alive when Jesus Christ was born and you had spent 80 million dollars every single day since then, you still would not have spent 59.4 trillion dollars by now. And most of this debt has been accumulated in recent decades. If you go back 40 years ago, total debt in America was sitting at about 2.2 trillion dollars. Somehow over the past four decades we have allowed the total amount of debt in the United States to get approximately 27 times larger. This is utter insanity, and anyone that thinks this is sustainable is completely deluded. We are living in the greatest debt bubble of all time, and there is no way that this is going to end well.
For the successor power to Sharif Hussein in Arabia is the Saudi royal family, which has been channeling billions of dollars to the very same jihadi groups that have taken over eastern Syria and western Iraq and now Mosul and Tikrit. The Saudis set themselves up as the foundational Sunni power in the region, controlling Arab Gulf oil wealth – until America’s overthrow of the Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein led inexorably to a majority Shia government in Baghdad allied to Shia Iran.
Thus the new Middle Eastern map substantially increases Saudi power over the region’s oil, lowering Iraq’s exports, raising the cost of oil (including, of course, Saudi oil) and at the expense of a frightened and still sanctioned Iran, which must defend its co-religionists in the collapsing Baghdad government. Mosul’s oil is now Sunni oil. And the vast and unexplored reserves believed to lie beneath the jihadi-held deserts west of Baghdad are now also firmly in Sunni rather than in national, Shia-controlled Baghdad government hands.
This break-up may also, of course, engender a new version of the terrifying Iran-Iraq war – a conflict that killed 1.5 million Sunni and Shia Muslims, both sides armed by outside powers while the Arab Gulf states funded the Sunni leadership of Saddam. The West was happy to see these great Muslim powers fighting each other. Israel sent weapons to Iran and watched its principal Muslim enemies destroy each other. ...R Fisk
On an almost globalized basis, there is this very troubling divergence between highly speculative and inflated securities markets - and a really uncertain future. I've argued that central bankers can't make things better - that their monetary inflation only makes things worse. It seems obvious that a most protracted period of unsound "money" has created one hell of a mess. As for geopolitical risk, Ukraine and Russia remain issues. Asia is an accident waiting to happen. And, now, instability in the Middle East risks a blowup that could wreak havoc on global energy markets - not to mention a horrific human tragedy.--Doug Noland
I have argued that it is a myth that contemporary central bankers control CPI (for starters, they don't control Credit/purchasing power or output). Indeed, if they strive for 2-3% annual inflation they will ensure acute financial and economic instability. In the U.S., 2-3% inflation equates with flooding the world with dollar balances and devaluing the world's reserve currency. Moreover, modest consumer price inflation these days equates with a massive inflation of Federal Reserve "money" - liquidity that has profoundly altered risk perceptions, asset prices and market behavior throughout the system. As we've seen with 18 months of QE3, 2% consumer inflation can equate to 30% stock market inflation and double-digit price gains in national home price indices. Two percent CPI has equated with an unprecedented flow of finance into higher-yielding securities, instruments and products, in the process fueling a massive mispricing of corporate debt. Modest inflation ("stable prices") has equated with virulent monetary disorder across the globe.
I have what should be a rather basic question: Is global finance sound or unsound? Is contemporary "money" and Credit sound? The issue of sound money and Credit has occupied a lot of thinking and written pages over centuries. Today, everyone seemingly couldn't care less. Anyone that argues against conventional thinking on the subject is considered a wacko.
Back in 1999 everyone was crazy bullish and there was the outward appearance of a New Age miracle economy. I didn't buy into the exuberance for one simple reason: It was obvious to me that the underlying finance fueling the boom was unsound. In late-2007, with stocks at record highs and the economy and markets trumpeted for their impressive resiliency, I was convinced a major crisis was imminent. Why? Because there was absolutely no doubt that the underlying "money" and Credit was alarmingly unsound.
So, here we are in mid-2014. The financial mania is back, bigger and bolder than ever. U.S. and global markets are again lauded for resilience in the face of myriad issues. Here at home, it's Miracle Economy 2.0. Meanwhile, the underlying finance driving the boom is the most unsound and dangerous ever. It's as clear to me today as it was in 1999 and 2007.
During the 3rd century, Rome broke apart into three empires. Here is a coin issued by Postumus – a Roman general who led a rebellion and France, Britain, and Spain broke away from Rome. It was known as the Gallic Empire. This coin declares that he is the restorer of order and normalcy that was absent in Rome. Just replace the word Rome with Washington DC and you will see that history does repeat.
It was debt and unfunded liability that led to the massive collapse of the Roman Empire. Nothing has changed. We are setting the stage for a repeat of history as separatist movements are rising everywhere along with taxes.==ay 60% of National Debt is Illegal – Default Anyone?
Posted on June 12, 2014 by Martin Armstrong
I have been warning that there will be no solution without a massive debt default. This is simply the way it has historically always gone down. Public debt, which is strangely considered quality, has been actually the worst that can possibly exist. Simply stated, no government has ever paid its debt except the single exception of Romania and that produced MASSIVE deflation.
The French have put out a study and are suggesting that this may be the solution. In a 30 page report, they are now saying that 60% of the national debt is illegal. Once you declare it is illegal, then the fools who bought it are at fault.
You can go to EBay and buy countless bonds from all sort of countries that went bust. The real crisis that we face this time, centers around the problem of pensions. The pension fund managers have traditionally held at least 40% of their portfolios in government bonds. This is the massive deflation bomb on the horizon. Just how is this going to be resolved? In the case of Rome, the economy imploded and eventually went into a Dark Age.
Q: Bill, I took a look at prices for consumer items from the year 1974 to compare them with prices today. I thought about the Fed target of 3% inflation long term. I had a suspicion that we have seen higher than that. I looked at average new car price, average new auto price, gasoline, etc. from both dates. Bottom line, over 40 years, the price in dollars is up on the order of 800-1000%. The average cost of a new home in 1974 was roughly $30,000 and is now roughly $275,000 (national average). Cars, $3000 to $30000. You get the drill. Hospital stays, price of beef, same idea. I’m looking at the major items in a family budget. (yes computers are cheaper, but not much of anything else.).
But something smells pretty bad here. Assume we let 3% work for 40 years. We should get a 326% increase. That does not square up with 900%. The real inflation felt is about 6%. People forget that this compounds. It’s easy to dismiss a small number (oh 3%, that’s not much). Consider 40 years from now. I college grad looking at their retirement 40 years from now will likely be looking at assisted living that cost $800,000 per year versus $80,000 today. They likely need a retirement nest egg 900% larger than folks retiring today. Not to mention $500 to fill up the gas tank, $2000 each trip to the grocery store, and on and on. At some point we should reverse split the dollar 10:1 to keep the zeroes reasonable. This is just math, it is not opinion or conspiracy theory.
Fleck: At some point, people will worry about inflation a great deal. Now they think that we don't have enough. It is just insane.