When the government pumps trillions of dollars into the economy, they’re not actually printing the money. It enters as digital entries in banks across the country. It’s made the system fast, responsive, and, unfortunately, vulnerable. Now our money is no longer something we hold in our hands, but something that exists on a very susceptible network.
The so-called recovery is only built on debt and printed cash declares our own Byron King. In the long term, the only option for the government to continue financing it's operations is to print too many dollars. Money printing has it's limits, however. It's Byron's opinion that at some point, perhaps very soon, the government will have to turn to more desperate measures. Namely, capital controls. In the following featured essay, Byron outlines 4 probably ways the government will take your cash and one play you can buy through your broker to prepare today. Read on...
Americans expatriate because they want to get out of the country. Corporations expatriate for similar reasons. Clem Chambers explains...
In a 2009 article, the Huffington Post went into considerable detail about the number of people with PhD degrees in economics employed by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. This is the government’s branch of the Federal Reserve. It is not one of the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks, all of which […]
The U.S. dollar is the dominant global reserve currency. All markets, including stocks, bonds, commodities, and foreign exchange are affected by the value of the dollar.The value of the dollar, in effect, its “price” is determined by interest rates. When the Federal Reserve manipulates interest rates, it is manipulating, and therefore distorting, every market in […]
The game of speculation is the most uniformly fascinating game in the world. But it is not a game for the stupid, the mentally lazy, the person of inferior emotional balance or the get-rich-quick adventurer. They will die poor.– Jesse Livermore, How to Trade in StocksThe trouble with capitalism’s guardians is that they have no […]
John Foust, a Democrat running for the 10th congressional seat in Northern Virginia, is — like Gov. Terry McAuliffe and other state Democrats — gung-ho to expand Medicaid. His wife’s position is, shall we say, a bit more nuanced.Foust has slammed his opponent, Republican Del. Barbara Comstock, for her opposition to expansion. He has spoken […]
The midterm election season is upon us, and it’s a tossup whether the Republicans will win the Senate, or if President Obama, seemingly oblivious as conflict flares up around the world, will, through his continuous campaigning, keep Harry Reid in his majority leader seat.The only thing we know for sure is that sociopaths will be […]
Alexander Hamilton was America’s first Secretary of Treasury under President George Washington. When he first entered office in 1789, America was an agricultural nation of just 4 million still broke from its financially costly victory over the British Empire in the Revolutionary War.The states had accumulated relatively massive debts to finance that war, which mostly […]
A great technology solves a problem that we didn’t know we had. It makes us aware of deprivations we didn’t know existed until we discover the new thing. Once discovered, we can’t go back.People in the 1950s, for example, never missed the smart phone. They were pleased to have a phone at all. But today, […]
Fifty years after the 1929 crash, a group of money managers and investment thinkers put together a collection of essays looking back at that experience. The result was a distillation of some pretty fine investment wisdom. Timely, I think, to review now.One of the contributors was Arthur Zeikel, then with Merrill Lynch. The title of […]
Although the mainstream media have turned its attention away from the wreckage of Obamacare, don’t think for a second that all is well.As the politicos in D.C. focus their attention on the midterm elections in November, now is a great time to study, prepare, and seek out the most affordable, accessible, and highest quality options […]
Turn on the tube and economic ignorance seems to be everywhere. There is constant shilling for more government. Business is demonized. Man is said to be trashing the environment. “Workers and women are oppressed” is the constant mantra.And members of the clueless media nod their heads in unison.Only John Stossel has provided the fresh air […]
In early July 1944, delegates from 44 countries gathered at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. A three-week summit took place, at which a new system was agreed to regulate the international monetary and financial order after the Second World War.The U.S. was already the world’s commercial powerhouse, having eclipsed the British […]
In the minds of many people around the world, including in the United States, the term “capitalism” carries the idea of unfairness, exploitation, undeserved privilege and power, and immoral profit making. What is often difficult to get people to understand is that this misplaced conception of “capitalism” has nothing to do with real free markets […]
Some people are saying it is just what the doctor ordered. Others are saying that the cure is worse than the disease.The Affordable Care Act? Reengagement in Iraq? Tea Party bullying in the GOP?Not this time. Just as protracted in the corridors of Congress and the White House is the debate over the proposed reform […]
In 2012, money mandarins running the European Union chose stagnation over restructuring. Here’s a consequence of that choice: expectations for a self-sustaining economic recovery keep getting crushed.Two years ago, European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi promised to do “whatever it takes” to hold the eurozone together. He bluffed nervous investors into believing in a […]
People jacked up about income inequality can find a new hobby. The 1% are victims of a doomsday machine, and the countdown is ticking. Machine, thy name is “family.”This came to mind as I was reading a preview of Columbia Professor Andrew Ang’s forthcoming, must-read book on Asset Management. Ang is that oxymoron, an exciting […]
It might sound like the latest new product from Apple, but IPAB is actually the newest major legal challenge to Obamacare.Recently, a three-judge panel in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco heard arguments about the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB, a 15-member panel created by the Affordable Care Act and empowered […]
Americans have come to believe that the IRS and the income tax are inevitable parts of our lives. After all, most everyone alive today has lived his entire life under federal income taxation.It wasn’t always that way. For some 125 years, the American people lived without having any tax imposed upon their income.The obvious question […]
Here’s a fun fact: Although we all hate the U.S. dollar, as it continues to hemorrhage wealth, its foothold as the world’s reserve currency isn’t going to disappear overnight.A Russian gas deal with China won’t change that — as we’ll highlight below.But before we get to the nitty-gritty, let’s dive into a story that’s right […]
Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously used the term “forgotten man” in a 1932 speech to describe those at the bottom of the economic pyramid who, he felt, government should aid.But the originator of the phrase “forgotten man” had a whole different meaning in mind. He aimed to expose the seeming good intentions of government to reveal […]
The Keynesian disaster recovery plan has been to lower rates, force people to take more risk in search of yield, and entice others to borrow and spend and, magically, more jobs will be created. If people won’t buy stocks, central banks will.Back in 2011, Ben Bernanke, when asked if QE2 was driving up stock prices, […]
I want to share some insight and give you a front-row seat to America’s next big shale play.Let’s get to it…Over the past 10 years, the U.S. has turned the ship around, quite literally.We’ve gone from a country that was expecting to import massive amounts of oil and gas — to a country that’s sitting […]
Whatever your views on the role of government, one thing is clear: There will be no way to pay for it if the economy doesn’t grow. And I’m not talking by a measly percentage point or two. If we can’t find our way back to 5% annual economic growth or above soon, America’s accumulated federal […]
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumer prices are rising at a 2.1% annual rate. This suggests to us that the current stock market boom will die with a bang, rather than a whimper.Fed economists say they don’t think inflation rates are rising. They think the most recent reading is a fluke. But why […]
Politicians love raising the minimum wage because they don’t have to ask voters to pay more in taxes. They just dump the costs onto shop owners. But they don’t act like politicians and go into debt to pretend like they have all the money in the world. They face real world situations. And sometimes that means replacing workers with more affordable options...
The new pope, Francis from the Pampas, has just warned us to beware the “tyranny” of capitalism.
Each man worships his own gods. Some worship at the altar of Jesus of Nazareth. Some at the altar of the Almighty Dollar. The capitalists don’t bad-mouth Francis’ god. You’d think he would cut them the same slack.
Bad-mouthing Catholicism will win you few fans. Those outside the Roman faith won’t care. And papists will be your enemies for life.
But bad-mouthing capitalism has a large, ready audience of uncritical fans.
So we rise to defend the faith — in capitalism, that is.
In this, we take the high road… not because we are high-minded, but merely because we don’t like crowds.
So we will not stoop to criticizing Francis’ faith or praising Mammon with hearty hallelujahs. Instead, we will explore the discreet charm of honest money-grubbing… confident that at least in the land of free-enterprise defenders, we will always find a parking place.
Almost nobody approves of capitalism these days, least of all the SOB cronies on Wall Street who call themselves capitalists.
They preach the gospel of risk-taking. But as soon as the risks go against them in a big way, they call their friends in high government places for succor. They publicly support free enterprise. But privately, they connive with regulators for bailouts, subsidies, and barriers to entry to keep out competitors.
In the crisis of 2008-09, for example, the financial industry reached a major turning point. It should have made the turn. Instead, it kept going in the same direction.
What should have happened, as told by David Stockman in his new book, The Great Deformation:
“Hundreds of billions of long-term debt and equity capital that underpinned the Wall Street-based speculation machines would have been wiped out, including huge amounts of stock owned by executives and insiders. Such a result would have been truly constructive from a societal vantage point. It would have implanted an abiding 1930s-style generational lesson about the deadly dangers of leveraged speculations.”
Instead, the speculations paid off! And the now the big banks are bigger than ever. This week, The Wall Street Journal reported that “too big to fail” banks are pushing the little guys out of existence:
“The decline in bank numbers, from a peak of more than 18,000, has come almost entirely in the form of exits by banks with less than $100 million in assets, with the bulk occurring between 1984-2011. More than 10,000 banks left the industry during that period as a result of mergers, consolidations, or failures, FDIC data show. About 17% of the banks collapsed.”
Yes, dear reader, the big banks hate capitalism too. What they like is crony capitalism. At least they like it when their own cronies are in the Department of the Treasury and the Fed.
A Bum Creed?
The rest of the heaving masses hate capitalism too, but for other reasons. They are envious of those who have more than they have… and eager to redistribute other people’s money — to themselves, of course.
So almost no matter in which direction the pope heaves his message — to the modest nests of the have-nots or the sumptuous pads of the haves — he is bound to hit a supporter.
It’s true, as we have explained, that capitalism is easily corrupted by the capitalists. But that doesn’t mean it is a bum creed. People calling themselves Christians have done vile and repulsive things; that doesn’t mean that “love thy neighbor” is not a worthy aspiration.
Like Christianity, capitalism is a goal, not a fact.
“But that is the same argument the communists made after the Berlin Wall came down,” countered No. 2 son, Jules, when we put this to him.
“They said that you can’t condemn communism just because the Soviet Union was a rathole. They said communism too was a goal… one that had been unrealized by the Russians.”
Our response was simple enough:
“Yes… but there are worthy creeds and unworthy ones. ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ is still the best way for a civilized community to get along. The more you depart from it, the worse off you are.
“Capitalism works the same way. The further you get away from truly free enterprise the more cronies and zombies (people who live at others’ expense) you get… and the less well the whole system works.
“Envy is a fact of life. You can’t eliminate it. But it has different results depending on what kind of a system you have. Trying to keep up with the Joneses in a capitalist society drives people to work harder and invent things, and helps everyone be better off.
“In a crony capitalist society, envy leads people to take advantage of the system. But it doesn’t stop everyone else from working hard and inventing things… not completely.
“On the other hand, the closer you get to a true state-backed command economy, the closer you get to North Korea!
“Some goals you want to work toward. Others you want to work hard to stay away from.”
Someone should tell Pope Francis.
This article originally appeared here.