Category Archives: Economy

Very Worried About This UN Vote

In the news we read:

“In the first barometer of global condemnation of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Ukraine and its Western backers persuaded a large majority of countries in the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday to dismiss the annexation as illegal, even as Russia sought to rally world support for the idea of self-determination.” - United Nations General Assembly Vote Isolates Russia – NYTimes.com.

Instead of rambling on like so many about right & wrong and who we think is more at fault over this Ukraine thing – lets cut to the chase.

Nations around the world are lining up and taking sides on what could turn into a huge global economic split. Pictured below is a quick  yet incomplete look at how the world is splitting apart.

ukraine resolution vote results

I think we can assume that the BRICS are siding with Russia. The BRICS are the rising economic world power, a reality that must really threaten western leaders.

I may be jumping ahead, but if the BRICS chose to stand together and pick some other currency, like the Chinese Yuan, as the preferred currency for international trade, the US Dollar would loose its status as the sole world reserve currency.

What would the loss of the US Dollar’s dominance mean to main street America? 

Technically speaking it would mean that a big chunk of the world would stop demanding dollars. Lower demand of anything results in lower value. When a currency looses value quickly we experience it as rising prices on consumables like food, fuel, and services. If it happens incredibly fast we call it hyperinflation.

Will we see more inflation if the world splits economically in two?

There’s no way to tell because so much reality is papered over by the central banks and government stimulus.

What worries me is that the world leaders seem hell-bent on taking us there. They will blame each other for the mess – when they are all to blame – and the people will end up footing the bill or worse.

So in the mean time I pray they stand down and find some other way to resolve these differences – and buckle up for a rough ride just in case cool heads don’t prevail.

The Sound You Hear is a Balloon Stretching

FED creates bubble

David Stockman (Fmr. Director of OMB under President Reagan) speaks out about the bubble being formed by the artificial stimulus policies of the Federal Reserve and U.S. Government. He says the stock market is up too due to the stimulus.

Is the whole world in a bubble? – asks the commentator.

YES! – Stockman says.

All of us need to take note and buckle our seats belts. There is no telling when the bubble will pop because the Fed/Gov seems willing to pump the balloon full of an infinite amount of air. Read and see more at CNBC…

QE3 – Bernanke Throws Gasoline on the Fire!

So here we are, QE3. Many of us watching this slow motion train wreck have been wondering when this big milestone would be reached.

“To support a stronger economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at the rate most consistent with its dual mandate, the Committee agreed today to increase policy accommodation by purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40bn per month.” - Fed launches QE3: the full statement – Telegraph.

I’m a bit surprised that the freshly printed money is being used to buy mortgage-backed securities. Tossing more money at these derivatives just seems like throwing gasoline on a fire to me – a very bad sign me thinks.

By the way, I really love this photo of Bernanke! It really shows his mad-scientist side well.

 

Nancy Grace Indirectly Says ‘Buy Silver’…If You Listen Between The Rants

More clear indications are surfacing that we should all think hard about buying physical silver. Mainstream media commentator Nancy Grace misses the point in this rant and instead takes the opportunity to mock silver. Huh!?

Her bio on wikipedia says she’s a legal commentator, so I’m not sure why she’s chosen to comment on the investment choices of this criminal instead of his crime.

The big take-away is that when we see certain ideas get stomped on by anyone in public you know we must be getting close to the truth. No conspiracies here, just observing human nature and noodling over the reasons anyone would react so strongly to a footnote of this news story.

I think Chris Duane’s suggestion is correct. Everyone, especially the rich, have a lot to loose if the current dominant paradigm fails. These people are masters of the world as it works today and will have the hardest time imagining (and probably adapting to) anything different.

So when evidence surfaces that some people have clearly made choices that conflict with their own world view, they go on the attack. It’s just amazing that she chose to attack the idea of payment in physical silver instead of the crime itself.

via Nancy Grace says Silver Owners Crazy, Lonely, Rich, White Guys – YouTube.

Curious Silver Market News Could Hint at More Overshoot

More curious news from ZeroHedge.

“In what may be the most amusing news of the day, according to the FT the CFTC will shortly drop its 4 year old investigation into silver manipulation, “after US regulators failed to find enough evidence to support a legal case, according to three people familiar with the situation.” …continues

And if you’ve not been following the story, the CFTC has been investigating possible silver market manipulation for four years – and has now concluded that all is ok – so they say.

Alternative media sources have been reporting that the paper silver market (silver you don’t hold physically yourself) is something like 100 times larger than the actual physical silver available and that certain entities are collaborating to rig the paper silver market to keep the market price of all silver artificially low.

That’s a hefty acquisition and the conspiracy theories that attempt to explain why it could be true are even wilder – but it still gives me a moment of pause.

Why? Because we already know that our culture is conditioned to do anything to extend the current paradigm – especially the leaders of our culture. In other words current policies all point to increasing overshoot.

Evidence? We see this evidence in the debt they borrow, to the environmental damage they allow, to the wars they wage. Manipulating markets seems well within the kinds of actions we know these leaders are capable of doing. In their defense, I suspect they see their role as essential in protecting America from collapse. So without needing to prove anything we can see the trend – so we can assume these kind of things are within the realm of possibility.

What am I doing about it?

  • Listening & watching for signs of the system breaking down.
  • Continue to build more resilience into our life.
  • Vote for politicians that embrace the shift to a new more sustainable paradigm.

 

Running for Cover – Swiss 2 Year

You can always count on ZeroHedge for another perspective. I watch alternative media sources like ZeroHedge for those often missed economic indicators.

“On the surface all is well, stocks are soaring, the EURUSD is up solidly, and euphoria is back, or that is at least what is being telegraphed. So why is the single biggest unmanipulated flight to safety flag (defined by us) currently available – the Swiss 2 Year – screaming to run for cover?”

Good question. Continue reading What Do Swiss Bonds Know That Nobody Else Does? | ZeroHedge.

From Lloyd’s Blog: Getting Out of the Stock Market

Alternative housing guru and publisher Lloyd Kahn posted this on this blog. Food for thought.

“A friend of mine from college told me recently that he sold all his stocks, has the money in cash, and is thinking of getting FDIC-backed Ally Bank CDs.

I cut out these headlines from today’s New York Times business pages.” -  Lloyd’s Blog: Getting Out of the Stock Market.

It does make one wonder – how the heck is this mess is going to turn out. I suspect we’ll have to wait until after the (s)election side show is over before anything is really allowed to correct itself.

David Stockman Offers an Honest Look at the Economy

Between January 21, 1981 and August 1, 1985, David Stockman was Ronald Reagan’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget. He also served in congress between January 3, 1977 to January 21, 1981.

If you’ve been looking for a better understanding of what’s really happening in the economy and what to expect in the next few years, listen to this interview. It’s an alternative view to what you might hear in the main stream media and sounds much more realistic and reasonable.

He has some very hard words for the keynesians (economic philosophy of current powers-that-be) in this interview saying that we’ve been riding an economic bubble inflated by debt creation for the last 30 years. At some point he expects ‘the great margin call in the sky to come down’ and crash the markets when the speculation and borrowing is forced to stop.

His advice is simple, take the manipulation out of the markets and preserve your own wealth by staying out of the markets. He doesn’t expect hyperinflation but he does suggest holding cash and precious metals.

Are we closer to the Legalization of Marijuana?

News came out this week from the AMA (American Medical Association) that they are taking a fresh look at their position on pot. For the longest time they’ve held the position that marijuana had no medical value.  Here’s what they are now saying… which may open the door for research.

Marijuana’s status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines, and alternate delivery methods.”

I’m not going to hold my breath on this but it seems like a step in the direction of legalization. But I imagine that the large business interests still standing in the way just like heart did back in his day. Below is a funny cartoon describing one opinion on how marijuana prohibition got started in America.

marijuana cartoon

So to answer my own question… I think marijuana will eventually be legalized and regulated but I imagine we’re still a long way from that happening.

The main problem is that commercial hemp in general would present a major competitor to existing large corporate powers. We see this same issue standing in the way of a better health care system and we’ll see it every time competition appears in any space. It’s really too bad that America can’t move forward strategically unless is happens to coincide with the current economic power structures. Who knows maybe the internet and social media will wake the people back up and get the majority off their butts and demand action… but until then I suspect we’re in for more of the same.

P.S. Here’s the blog post where I found the cartoon. Funny stuff huh?

The Saga of the Debtors Prison Continues – More Bad News from Zillow

This bubble burst is one lesson I will never forget. Today I got my monthly report from Zillow in my email inbox. It brought more bad news. On the positive side I can already see some good indications coming in from elsewhere that say the economy is beginning to turn around. It just doesn’t look like it by looking at my home’s recently reported value.

Below is a screen shot of a report on Zillow.com for the Sacramento, California housing market. Looks pretty bad. You can also read the full report.

zillow-bad-news

Below is a snapshot of my home, local market, and the national market. As you can see the Sacramento area has been hit very hard. My take is that this is what happens when McMansions go up like mushrooms and then the roof figuratively caves-in.

my-house

I’m no economist but while we see positive trends in consumer confidence and in other areas I don’t expect to see any real economic rebound until all our homes get a little less upside down. Too many Americans feel like they are stuck in debtors prisons. When people begin to feel less stuck I’m certain that overall consumer confidence will rebound and spending will return.

While this is sad for the rest of America, (more spending means more debt), it will have a positive side effect for those of us that are looking to downsize. We will be able to make our move, literally. Until then we sit patiently paying the piper for our past presumed prosperity.

(Sorry… I couldn’t help the allure of an awkward alliteration.)