The first video interview for FP, with my old friend and investor Russell Wilder. Watch for insights on what moves the markets and how it affects your goals.
Remember to SUBSCRIBE on YT!
The whole article:
The first video interview for FP, with my old friend and investor Russell Wilder. Watch for insights on what moves the markets and how it affects your goals.
Remember to SUBSCRIBE on YT!
The whole article:
In the days of old Congress used to pass annual budgets. This process generally started with a recommendation from the President. Next the proposed budget passed through the House, then the Senate. Finally, if he agreed with it, the President signed off on it.
That was then. Today, for more than a few years now, different appropriations have been cobbled together for this and that, rather than passed as a whole. Technically, this is permissible under Article I, Section 7 of the old Constitution. It’s my quibble that the old way was better, smoother. At any rate, at least it’s done. Until it’s not.
Last Friday/Saturday at midnight the Congress failed to agree on the latest stopgap spending bill. As such, “your” government has no budget for the coming fiscal year – running on empty.
A House-passed stopgap bill that would avoid a government shutdown fizzled out in the Senate late Friday night, leaving Congress negotiating frantically as the midnight deadline to fund the government passed.
The measure failed in a procedural vote by a 50 to 49 margin. Five Democrats — Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Doug Jones of Alabama and Claire McCaskill of Missouri — had backed it. Four Republicans — Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah — opposed it. So did Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for procedural reasons.
As nearly all Democrats and some Republicans opposed the measure that failed to work its way through Congress on Friday, lawmakers saw government funding lapse, at least temporarily. The proposal that failed in the Senate would have funded the government through Feb. 16 and reauthorized the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years.
As far as I’m concerned, they could permanently shutter the whole operation forever. Fear not, they won’t. In fact, much (most?) of the government will operate pretty much as “normal” for the duration. Most people will notice no difference. I’m releasing a video for FP tomorrow about this and a few related matters. Watch it.
This last happened in 2013. Before that, it was a more pronounced shortage in 1995. We somehow survived those episodes. The sky will not fall. For now, just know that “your” elected representatives are a band of utterly incompetent fools. You should remember this come the next election. You probably won’t though I’ll drop a reminder.
Running on, running on empty
Running on, running blind
Running on, running into the sun
But I’m running behind
–Running on Empty, Jackson Browne, 1977.
Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffett have a combined wealth greater than the poorest half of all Americans. Three men with more money than 160 million other people in the same country.
The three richest people in the US – Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett – own as much wealth as the bottom half of the US population, or 160 million people.
Analysis of the wealth of America’s richest people found that Gates, Bezos and Buffett were sitting on a combined $248.5bn (£190bn) fortune. The Institute for Policy Studies said the growing gap between rich and poor had created a “moral crisis”.
In a report, the Billionaire Bonanza, the thinktank said Donald Trump’s tax change proposals would “exacerbate existing wealth disparities” as 80% of tax benefits would end up going to the wealthiest 1% of households.
“Wealth inequality is on the rise,” said Chuck Collins, an economist and co-author of the report. “Now is the time for actions that reduce inequality, not tax cuts for the very wealthy.”
The study found that the billionaires included in Forbes magazine’s list of the 400 richest people in the US were worth a combined $2.68tn – more than the gross domestic product (GDP) of the UK.
“Our wealthiest 400 now have more wealth combined than the bottom 64% of the US population, an estimated 80m households or 204 million people,” the report says. “That’s more people than the population of Canada and Mexico combined.”
The report says the “billionaire class” continues to “pull apart from the rest of us” at the fastest rate ever recorded. “We have not witnessed such extreme levels of concentrated wealth and power since the first gilded age a century ago.”
David McNew/Getty/The Guardian.
This isn’t a piece on class envy – at least not mine is not. Who knows what the trained squirrels at the Guardian were up to. If this money were earned honestly, then there would be no problem, regardless of any “inequality”, real or fancied.
Some, many of whom are hoarse from howling at the moon last night, might propose to seize all of this wealth and redistribute it. Unlike Scrooge McDuck, these three real characters do not have $250 Billion in gold coins and cash in the basement of some mega mansion. It’s (almost all of it) invested in their companies and earning more money while created goods, jobs, and services. It’s not liquid. Taking it would collapse a sizable portion of the economy. Killing the goose … all for $1,500 per poorer half class member. Once…
Stick to the helpless screaming, SJWs.
The rest of you know I am (mostly) concerned with the truth. So, what is the truth behind Gates, Bezos, and Buffett?
Bill Gates became filthy rich by selling software. My perspective dictates the products are second-rate at best, a bill of goods bought from a high-class carny. Yet they remain extremely popular. The people get what they think they want. Gates gets richer. Okay.
Bezos runs Amazon. Some say this business is a modern monopoly, responsible for killing all the bookstores of the world. I have a vested interest here. Periodically Amazon sends me money for book sales. The checks are small but they do come. Thus, in my view, Saint Bezos and his beautiful creation can do no wrong. I wish them success as this directly benefits me. If you don’t like that, then you probably don’t read and, therefore, don’t really have a dog in the fight. Bugger off.
Buffett is held forth as the ultimate investor. Making and creating Billion$ while humbly living in the same small house for 50 years, the paragon of Wall Street virtue. That’s part of the truth.
The other part involves his direct manipulation of the economy. Watch the following video for a funny analysis of how this works (a cartoon, no less – for the people!):
First, for the ardent pendatrists, consider the cloud cover in the cartoon. How is that consistent with the digital trees??? What say your television shows?
Now. If you happen to consider the substance, then know this: what Buffet and a few others do is not technically illegal. It should be as should be the whole central banking scheme. However, since we’re past the days of the law, why not make money (take money) from the existing corrupt system?
That’s where the problem lies. And howling at the moon, beating the bongos, and voting will not fix it.
The Big Club has big secrets. Amazingly, so much of what they do is out in the open for any to see who just look up. Given the low IQs, addictions, television, tattoos, diabetes, and goldfish-like attentions, there’s never too many people watching or caring. Maybe that’s for the best.
Pry too deeply into the internal affairs of the globalist elite and they can silence you: Maltese journalist who led Panama Papers invesitgation killed in car bomb.
Malta’s prime minister has appealed for national unity following the murder of a campaigning journalist who had accused his government of corruption.
Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, achieved fame and notoriety for investigative reporting laced with scathing commentary about allegedly corrupt officials and businessmen. She was killed on Monday when a powerful bomb blew up her car.
Caruna Galizia’s blog, Running Commentary, was one the most widely read websites on Malta and led the investigation of corruption allegations stemming from revelations in the so-called Panama Papers leak.
It was famed for a relentless pursuit of cases of apparent corruption and incendiary, sometimes highly personal, comments that saw her embroiled in frequent legal battles.
Earlier this year Politico magazine listed her as one of the 28 men and women “making and shaking Europe” for her unrelenting crusade against what she saw as Malta’s culture of “cronyism” and opaque government.
In her last blog post, published just hours before she died, she bemoaned the lack of progress in prosecuting alleged corruption cases.
“There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate,” she wrote in the last line.
Deadly crooks. She had also recently sought police protection due to increased threats of violence. For whom do the police work?
I mentioned the Panama Papers last year, in the context of the war on your cash money:
The Panama Papers are the largest information leak in history. 2.6 Terabytes worth of documentation was smuggled out of a Panama-based law firm which caters to some of the world’s richest and most powerful people. The papers reveal that the super-rich routinely offshore their considerable assets in an effort to evade control and taxation, and to maintain secrecy. Vladimir Putin, for example has at least $2 Billion hidden away; while running for office he declared his net worth to be a few hundred thousands.
By itself there is nothing wrong with this offshoring just as there’s nothing wrong with getting $20,000 from an ATM. It’s your money; do with it as you like.
The problem is the hypocrisy. At the same time these vampires seek to completely lock our assets down within the system they are moving their own money out of it. Perhaps this revelation will lead to the discovery of the stolen MF Global funds or the Madoff money. I would love to see Larry Summers’s name revealed, connected with secret accounts. Summers, Madoff, and John Corzine have acted against us in the war, treating us to POW-style financial torture. How should we counter-attack?
Most of this will be completely missed by the majority of Americans. There’s too much other stuff going on – the Final Four, the sham election, tattoos, etc. Our enemies plan on all of these distractions working. It’s time we withdraw from their system. While we’re at it we should offshore as many of these rats as we can find – send them anywhere but here.
Daphne Caruana Galizia was withdrawn – violently. It’s hard to miss a car bomb though I imagine most Americans will.
A loss for freedom.
Courtesy of ObamaCare, here come a new round of double-digit premium increases:
Obamacare plan premiums may increase an average of 45 percent in Florida next year due to health care insurers rate hike requests, according to Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation.
There are six insurers in Florida selling plans on and off the exchanges in 2018 including Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Celtic Insurance Company, Florida Health Care Plan, Health First Commercial Plans, Health Options, and Molina Healthcare of Florida.
Molina Healthcare requested the highest rate increase of 71.2 percent. Individuals with this coverage can expect their monthly premium to increase from $402 to $688.
“Consumers enrolled in a silver on-exchange plan that do not receive a premium subsidy will have the option of purchasing a similar off-exchange silver plan without this extra cost,” the office said. “Plans other than the on-exchange silver plans will increase an average of 18 percent.”
“In 2013, an unsubsidized plan comparable to an existing silver plan would cost a family of four an average of $7,200,” the report states. “In 2018, the average unsubsidized cost for the same family totals $17,000.”
Thank God the GOP is on the case. Give them another eight years. Or 80. Never.
First, median incomes in 2016 set an all time record. Rather, they beat out (or caught up to) those from 1999. Hooray! We’ve only lost two decades of growth. And incomes, recall, are usually the last thing to catch up – before a new correction.
One of the first things to go up and one which goes up fastest … is new government debt. See: the Instantaneous manufacture of $317,645,000,000 worth of new debt in one day! It’s a miracle! Thanks to Congress and the Prez. for the temporary spending boost on the way to infinite and perpetual indebtedness.
For the latter story you can thank the government and their pet, the Federal Reserve. The Fed was one of three marvels foisted on the formerly free people in 1913.
Speaking of foisting – yesterday was the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. I was a little busy and, therefore, this will likely be my only remembrance note this year. (Unlike last year – see Sept. 2016 archives).
Just in time for the anniversary, engineering expert Dr. Leroy Hulsey and his research team released a study of the collapse of WTC Tower 7. It’s kind of part one of the study anyway. He (they) have some questions about the official narrative.
You may recall that the ninth plane (from Toronto) hit WTC 7. The impact and resulting conflagration caused substantial weakening of the steel frame inside the tower (much like WTC 1 and 2), which caused a complete (and VERY neat and self-contained) collapse.
I completely made that last paragraph up. No plane hit No. 7. There was only a small, office-material-fueled fire (with temperatures insufficient to melt or weaken steel). And the fire almost burned out long before the collapse – maybe around the time the media was parroting that the tower had collapsed, even as it stood in the background of their live broadcasts.
Not many believe the “official” story about No. 7 or anything else that day, not even members of the Commission impaneled to investigate it. This study sheds a little light with more to come. See if you will.
Another year, another round of massive price increases.
Millions of people who buy individual health insurance policies and get no financial help from the Affordable Care Act are bracing for another year of double-digit premium increases, and their frustration is boiling over.
Some are expecting premiums for 2018 to rival a mortgage payment.
What they pay is tied to the price of coverage on the health insurance markets created by the Obama-era law, but these consumers get no protection from the law’s tax credits, which cushion against rising premiums. Instead they pay full freight and bear the brunt of market problems such as high costs and diminished competition.
On Capitol Hill, there’s a chance that upcoming bipartisan hearings by Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., can produce legislation offering some relief. But it depends on Republicans and Democrats working together despite a seven-year health care battle that has left raw feelings on both sides.
The most exposed consumers tend to be middle-class people who don’t qualify for the law’s income-based subsidies. They include early retirees, skilled tradespeople, musicians, self-employed professionals, business owners, and people such as Sharon Thornton, whose small employer doesn’t provide health insurance.
Insurance premiums to rival mortgages. Thank God we have dedicated servants like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan fighting hard for
the banks and insurers us. They will surely fix this. And soon. Hold your breath.
Tech stocks took a little beating yesterday, sending the NASDAQ down slightly, even as the DOW was up. Such fluctuations usually cause a murmur. However the day-to-day roller coaster is really a poor indicator of overall health in the markets. A deeper look reveals a very ugly truth. Our entire economy is built on nothing but a series of failing bubbles. It’s only a matter of time before a chain-reaction ushers in a correction and chaos.
Jim Rogers, who called the Great Recession five years in advance and who took timely evasive actions in 2006, says the end of this year, 2017, or early 2018, will herald the next downturn. And he says it will be the worst in our lifetimes.
Blodget: And how big a crash could we be looking at?
Rogers: It’s going to be the worst in your lifetime.
Blodget: I’ve had some pretty big ones in my lifetime.
Rogers: It’s going to be the biggest in my lifetime, and I’m older than you. No, it’s going to be serious stuff.
We’ve had financial problems in America — let’s use America — every four to seven years, since the beginning of the republic. Well, it’s been over eight since the last one.
This is the longest or second-longest in recorded history, so it’s coming. And the next time it comes — you know, in 2008, we had a problem because of debt. Henry, the debt now — that debt is nothing compared to what’s happening now.
In 2008, the Chinese had a lot of money saved for a rainy day. It started raining. They started spending the money. Now even the Chinese have debt, and the debt is much higher. The federal reserves, the central bank in America, the balance sheet is up over five times since 2008.
It’s going to be the worst in your lifetime — my lifetime too. Be worried.
Blodget: I am worried.
Rogers: Good. Good.
Blodget: Can anybody rescue us?
Rogers: They will try. What’s going to happen is they’re going to raise interest rates some more. Then when things start going really bad, people are going to call and say, “You must save me. It’s Western civilization. It’s going to collapse.” And the Fed, who is made up of bureaucrats and politicians, will say, “Well, we better do something.” And they’ll try, but it won’t work. It’ll cause some rallies, but it won’t work this time.
Blodget: And we are in a situation where Western civilization already seems to be possibly collapsing, even with the market going up all the time. Often when you do have a financial calamity, you get huge turmoil in the political system. What happens politically if that happens?
Rogers: Well, that’s why I moved to Asia. My children speak Mandarin because of what’s coming.
You’re going to see governments fail. You’re going to see countries fail, this time around. Iceland failed last time. Other countries fail. You’re going to see more of that.
You’re going to see parties disappear. You’re going to see institutions that have been around for a long time — Lehman Brothers had been around over 150 years. Gone. Not even a memory for most people. You’re going to see a lot more of that next around, whether it’s museums or hospitals or universities or financial firms.
Rest assured that, right up until the very end, the base liars at the Federal Reserve and the habitual idiots in D.C. will maintain that: “things are fine, never been better, impossibly healthy.”
I’m hesitant to put a date stamp on this thing. However, I respect Roger’s expert opinions over my own foresight. But it is coming – we’re overdue and living in a financial fantasy world. When it comes, it will not be pretty. And this will probably be the one when the usual “rescue” gimmicks fail.
As for the starting point: I would suggest Venezuela or South Africa. Then again, as Rogers alludes, the watched pot never boils. Once it starts, there will be few safe havens. Are you also residing in Asia? Me neither.
The good theoretical news is that this crisis will present the opportunity for a total reset, a comprehensive solution to more than a century’s worth of economic problems. The odds of that, in most places that count, however, are rather slim. It’s far more likely that Westerners will endure a decade or two (or three) of painful stagnation followed by more of the same.
There are ways to personally prepare for some of this. You should be looking at them. And now. Looking at the TeeVee doesn’t count.
You’ve been warned. Again.
A little less than a year ago I reported several times on Paul Ryan’s efforts to save banking profits by temporarily averting financial disaster in Puerto Rico. Then, I wrote:
May 24, 2016 I posted Paul Ryan Rescues Banksters, Globalists about Paul Ryan’s dastardly plans to force you (all of you) to pay Puerto Rico’s debts – all on behalf of the banksters of the world.
I said then:
The bailout will happen; consider it a done deal. Really $2 Billion or the whole $70 Billion is but a barely noticeable drop in the fed’s ocean of economic woe. Things like this add up though. When the whole system comes crashing down don’t count on the banksters to be found let alone lend a hand. They’re gathering the last of the cash (yours and mine) and preparing to flee. However, come hell or high water, the politicians will be easier to find. They’ll still expect to be re-elected. Remember this story and all the others. Hold them accountable or rinse and repeat with similar results.
U.S. Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA), who actually has a Ph.D. in economics, has caught on to the theft and deception:
“This makes the bill truly Orwellian — it remove[d] the consent of the Puerto Rican people and creates a fiefdom for unelected officials chosen by President Obama.
“As economist Thomas Sowell said, ‘The fatal attraction of government is that it allows busybodies to impose decisions on others without paying any price themselves.’ Congress can’t even get its own fiscal house in order, but [passed] a bill to solve Puerto Rico’s problems.
“This bill should [have been] subject to ratification by the Puerto Rican legislature or a vote from the Puerto Rican people. As it stands, I [opposed] PROMESA because it turns free citizens into subjects.”
He’s only talking about the loss of autonomy of the people of Puerto Rico; the rest of the American people will be losing their money. Pay up, subjects.
Temporary is almost over. The law passed and the wayward territory was given a year to get settlements in order. Like so much else Ryan touches, nothing has happened.
Bankruptcy for Puerto Rico is looking ever more likely as the clock ticks down toward a May 1 deadline to restructure $70 billion in debt, ramping up uncertainty for anyone betting on returns from the island’s widely held U.S. municipal bonds.
When U.S. Congress last year passed the Puerto Rico rescue law dubbed PROMESA, it froze creditor lawsuits against the island so its federally appointed oversight board and creditors could negotiate out of court on the biggest debt restructuring in U.S. municipal history.
The freeze expires on May 1, however, and an extension by Congress is “not going to happen,” said a Republican aide to the House Committee on Natural Resources, which is in charge of territory matters.
A round of mediated talks is scheduled to begin on Thursday. But absent an agreement soon, a growing number of analysts say Puerto Rico will seek protection from creditors under PROMESA’s court-sanctioned restructuring process, akin to U.S. bankruptcy.
Forbearance deals could let negotiations continue past May 1, but a source directly involved in the talks said avoiding an eventual bankruptcy is “impossible.”
Bankruptcy wouldn’t be the worst thing for P.R. In fact, it might be the best thing, here and now. It could give the people of the island room to decide if they want to continue their local fiasco. Hopefully, it will stay local and with them.
I have a funny feeling Congress won’t stand idly-by as the banks lose $70 Billion. Time will tell.
This case may serve as a canary in the economic coalmine. Watch and see what happens when governments default – more will surely follow.
This might be a good time to decide if P.R. should be granted sovereignty.
Might be a good look at the relationship between Congress and Wall Street.
It might be fun or funny, but probably not…
Totally. Out. Of. Control.
President Trump released his 2018 Budget Blueprint to MAGA yesterday.
Well, it’s really a little more than 1/3 of the Budget, the “discretionary” spending. The other, majority, parts are essentially off-limits. Those are the “entitlements” – namely: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
Here’s the big picture, courtesy of President Obama’s 2017 Budget, which is 99% accurate for comparison:
And that was not a true budget, a complete budget. Washington doesn’t do those anymore (unless Trump succeeds). Lately, for the past decade or so, “budgets” have been cobbled together from various separate spending proposals.
Another off-limits chunk is the interest on the federal debt – $303 Billion or 7% for 2017 – it will be much the same for 2018. So, that’s off-limits as is “health” and SSI.
Trump did do some seeming major cutting proposals for much of what’s left:
That NBC chart looks pretty drastic. It seems horribly radical if you’re a liberal. It seems wonderfully radical if you’re a conservative. I’m neither (or both plus some [or minus some]) and it seems utterly unimpressive to me. Recall that those percentage cuts are each tied to numbers representing other percentages of the whole thing. The net effect is minimal. An explanation from the MAGA Budget 2018, page 49, Table 1 (Caps):
White House / OMB (BS).
If trump has his way, discretionary spending will be $1.151 Billion for 2018, as opposed to $1.181 Billion in 2017 – a savings of $30 Billion (2.5% of 2017 totals). That’s a cut of .7% off the approximate total budget.
In other words, Trump has taken a fingernail file to a job fit for an axe or a chainsaw or some TNT…
I’m just not impressed … at all. Yes, this is a step in the right direction. Rather, it’s a slight turning of the foot for a small, baby step in that direction. The journey of 1,000 miles begins as such, kind of, sort of, maybe, a little…
Then again, I’m only one of 330 Million or so who resides inside the defunct borders of the Old Republic (maybe one of 270 Million or so actual Americans). I can’t vote on this and no one in power cares what I think. Therefore, I am liberated. I can give you my analysis and counter-proposal free from interference. Here goes:
Let’s imagine that I had dictatorial or god-like powers over the matter. Here’s how I might approach it:
Social Security – Not in the Constitution. Cut 100%. Gone. $1.4 Trillion saved.
Medicare/Medicaid – Not in the Constitution. Cut 100%. Gone. $1.2 Trillion saved.
Interest on the debt – The debt is based on Congress’s Satanic relationship with the Federal Reserve, all of which is contrary to the Constitution. As such, I would abolish the Fed. And I would repudiate and cancel 100% of the debt. In fact, I’d have a total debt Jubilee: all debts (public and private) totally erased. And I would make debt illegal. Usurious lending would be a capital felony. All interest payments eliminated. $.3 Trillion saved.
Military – The Constitution says they can have a standing army for 2 years. They’ve had one for 200 years. And it has nothing to do with Defense – all Offense and that is geared towards money-making for special interests and has nothing to do with “winning” anything. I’d cut it to around $100 Billion for 2018. After that, a 100% complete deletion as all air and land functions are turned over to the Several States and their Militias (or not). The Navy, actually provided for in Article I, I would also turn over to the States or to Privateers on a profit (or not) basis – (that’s how we ran off the British in large part and technology has come a long way since). $.5 Trillion saved.
Other discretionary – Not in the Constitution. Cut 100%. Gone. $.5 Trillion saved. And all unnecessary. The Dept. of Education educates no one. The Department of Energy produces no energy. The Treasury is little more than a middleman between the Fed and Goldman Sachs. The VA would not be needed without a Dept. of Offense. NASA did great things but the future is private space works. Earth existed for something like 4 Billion years without Dept. of the Interior management; odds are it could continue to do so. Etc. Etc. Etc. The States and private citizens could feel free to provide any “services” they thought lacking.
“Government” – It’s fascinating that the actual operation of the government is by far the smallest chunk of the government budget. It’s for the lights and heating for Congress, the White House, etc. With all those other programs eliminated, there would be nothing there to spend on. Therefore, I would completely eliminate that segment completely. Gone. $ saved.
You may have noticed that after one year I would completely eliminate the federal government. To entertain foreign leaders and for other, assorted buffoonery, the various Governors could rotate as “Head of State” in a lottery system.
I also would eliminate your mortgage, credit cards, student loans, etc. – an added bonus of my dictatorship.
Having finished so quickly, I would, like Cincinnatus, retire and return to the farm. I might light up a cigar. I might use this paper to start it:
White House / OMB (BS).