Michael Pento: “Central Banks Have Jumped The Shark,” May Even Buy Stocks

By Mike Gleason – Re-Blogged From Silver Phoenix

Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now to welcome back Michael Pento president and founder of Pento Portfolio Services. Michael is a well-known money manager, market commentator, and author of the book, The Coming Bond Market Collapse: How to Survive the Demise of the U.S. Debt Market. He’s been a regular guest with us over the years, and it’s always a pleasure to have him on with us.

Michael, thanks for the time again today and welcome back.

Michael Pento: Thank you so much for having me back on Mike.

Mike Gleason: Well, Michael, it’s been a few months since we’ve had you on last and just a little bit has been going on in the world. COVID-19 has hit the states to say the least and caused major disruptions in the economy. Governors have instituted stay-home orders. Tens of millions of people have filed for unemployment. Now we’re seeing major rioting and social unrest in many cities throughout the country over the police killing of a black man in Minnesota last week.

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Why the U.S. Postal Service Keeps Losing Money Year After Year

Craig Eyermann, Independent Institute – Re-Blogged From Headline Wealth

The government-run U.S. Postal Service began in 2020 with a dubious track record. It has lost money in each of the past 13 years.

In 2019, USPS made $514 million more in revenue than it did in its previous fiscal year, thanks to increases in postage rates and its package delivery business. But the agency also recorded a net loss of $8.8 billion, with 80 percent of that loss attributable to employees’ health-care benefits after retirement.

Losses stemming from retirement-benefits have occurred annually since 2006 when the U.S. Congress passed a law requiring the Postal Service to pre-fund the cost of providing its retiree health benefits, similar to how many businesses in the private sector are required to do.

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Social Security Soon Will Slide Into Insolvency

By Robert Weisman – Re-Blogged From The Boston Globe

Some time next year, as the ranks of retirees swell, the Social Security system in the United States will pass an ominous tipping point and start the slide into insolvency.

For the first time in nearly four decades, the government program that provides retirement checks to older Americans will pay out more in benefits in 2020 than it takes in. That will force the program to dip into a rainy day fund that will be depleted in about 15 years.

And if the political dysfunction in Washington continues and lawmakers don’t fix the system, benefit cuts are in store for current and future retirees, most of whom haven’t socked away enough money in their personal retirement accounts.

Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, wants to expand Social Security, even as the program will pass an omnious tipping point.
Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, wants to expand Social Security, even as the program will pass an omnious tipping point.(Mark Wilson/Getty Images/File)

For Those Who Don’t Understand Inflation

By Alasdair Macleod– Re-Blogged From GoldMoney

This article is a wake-up call for those who do not understand the true purpose of monetary inflation, and do not realise they are the suckers being robbed by monetary policy. With the world facing a deepening recession, monetary inflation will accelerate again. It is time for everyone to recognise the consequences.

Introduction

All this year I have been warning in a series of Goldmoney Insight articles that the turn of the credit cycle and the rise of American protectionism was the same combination that led to the Wall Street crash in 1929-32 and the depression that both accompanied and followed it. Those who follow statistics are now seeing the depressing evidence that history is rhyming, though they have yet to connect the dots. Understandably, their own experience is more relevant to them than the empirical evidence in history books.

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How US Government Debt May Impact Social Security

By Peter Reagan -Re-Blogged From Newsmax

Fiscal year 2018 wasn’t a good one for U.S. government net-worth. While that may hardly be surprising, it’s possible we’re reaching a “tipping point.”

From an official report released by the U.S. Treasury, Sovereign Man pulled out a few key highlights:

  • In fiscal year 2018, the government’s total net loss was $1.16 TRILLION.
  • … they spent over $4.5 trillion.
  • … nearly HALF went to Social Security and Medicare.
  • … spent a record $523 billion just on interest payments on the national debt!

 

How US Government Debt May Impact Social Security
(Pixelrobot/Dreamstime)

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Federal Borrowing Crosses The Rubicon

By Clint Siegner – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

A year ago, Republicans in control of Congress suspended the cap on federal borrowing. The limit was automatically re-imposed on March 1st. Politicians now have a few months to hammer out legislation to raise the cap as the Treasury employs “extraordinary measures” to fend off default.

The federal deficit is mushrooming once again. The 2017 tax cuts have taken a bite out of receipts at the IRS and economic growth has not met expectations.

This year’s borrowing to fill the gap between government tax revenue and expenditures may reach a trillion dollars for the first time since 2012.

If Washington politicians follow the usual script, we can expect Republicans to posture as fiscal conservatives and then relent either just before or just after a federal shutdown.

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US Budget Deficit And Interest

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

California Is In Great Financial Shape – And Headed For An Epic Crisis

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

California Governor Jerry Brown inherited a $27 billion deficit from Arnold Schwarzenegger eight years ago. This month he’s leaving his successor a $13.8 billion surplus and a $14.5 billion rainy day fund balance. Pretty good right? Approximately 48 other governors would kill for those numbers.

Unfortunately it’s all a mirage. California, as home to Silicon Valley and Hollywood, lives and dies with capital gains taxes. In bull markets, when lots of stocks are rising and tech startups are going public, the state is flush. But in bear markets capital gains turn into capital losses and Sacramento’s revenues plunge. Put another way, the state’s top 1% highest-income taxpayers generate about half of personal income taxes. When their incomes fall, tax revenues crater.

That’s happening right now, as tech stocks plunge, IPOs are pulled and billion-dollar unicorns endure “down rounds” that shave major bucks from their valuations. So if this is a replay of the 2008-2009 bear market, expect California’s deficits to return to the double-digit billions.

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“Black Swan” Author Just Issued a Powerful Warning About Global Debt

By Frank Holmes – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

The world is more fragile today than it was in 2007. That’s the opinion of former derivatives trader Nassim Taleb, whose bestseller, The Black Swan, is about how people make sense of unexpected events, especially in financial markets. True to form, he made a whole lot of money after predicting the global financial crisis more than a decade ago.

Speaking with Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker last week, Taleb said the reason why he has reservations about today’s economy is that it suffers from the “same disease” as before. The meltdown in 2007 was a “crisis of debt,” and if anything, the problem has only worsened.

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National Debt Is An ‘Economic Threat’ To The US

By Mac Slavo – Re-Blogged From Freedom Outpost

In an incredibly obvious statement, National Security Advisor John Bolton has declared the high level of national debt an “economic threat” to the United States. Unless you have been living under a rock for the past ten years, you know that statement is not only true but obvious.

Bolton claimed that the national debt is a big problem and tackling it requires significant cuts to the government’s discretionary spending, while most other economic experts say entitlement spending is the biggest concern. According to Bloomberg, Bolton was quoted as saying: “It is a fact that when your national debt gets to the level ours is, that it constitutes an economic threat to the society. And that kind of threat ultimately has a national security consequence for it.”

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New York City Joins The “Imminent Bankruptcy” Club

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

The public pension crisis is the kind of subject that’s easy to over-analyze, in part because there are so many different examples of bad behavior out there and in part because the aggregate damage these entities will do when they start blowing up is immense.

But most people see pensions as essentially an accounting issue – and therefore boring – so it doesn’t pay to go back to this particular well too often. Still, New York City’s missing $100 billion can’t be ignored:

New York City Owes Over $100 Billion for Retiree Health Care

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Rome vs Brussels

By Arkadiusz Sieron – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

Only one digit has changed. But it may have profound consequences, sending the country closer to junk status. Meanwhile, Rome and Brussels clash over budget plan. Will that duel benefit or harm the yellow metal?

Only One Notch Above Being Junk

Italian drama continues. On Friday, Moody’s, one of the most significant rating agencies in the world, downgraded the Italian credit rating from Baa2 to Baa3. It means that Italy’s local and foreign-currency bonds are now only one notch above junk territory. The move was not surprising, as well as the reasons behind this decision:

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Trade Gap Widens Most Since 2015 as China Deficit Hits Record

By Bloomberg – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

The U.S. trade deficit widened in July by the most in three years and the gap with China hit a record as the Trump administration imposed tariffs on a range of Chinese goods, prompting retaliatory levies from Beijing.

The gap increased 9.5 percent to $50.1 billion, the biggest since February, from a revised $45.7 billion in the prior month, Commerce Department data showed Wednesday.

Exports fell 1 percent, driven by steep drops in shipments of aircraft and soybeans, while imports rose 0.9 percent in a broad-based gain.

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Social Security Deterioration

By Keith Weiner – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

We have been writing about capital destruction. This week let’s look at an event which is currently making news. Social Security will begin tapping into its trust fund this year. This happens, as the Social Security Board of Trustees states antiseptically, “four years earlier than projected in last year’s report.” In other words, the economy is growing by every conventional measure, yet Social Security is spending more than its tax revenues years earlier than projected. According to those same inaccurate projections, the trust fund won’t run dry until 2034.

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Trustees Report: Medicare to Go Broke 3 Years Sooner

By Associated Press – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

Medicare will run out of money sooner than expected, and Social Security’s financial problems can’t be ignored either, the government said Tuesday in a sobering checkup on programs vital to the middle class.

The report from program trustees says Medicare will become insolvent in 2026 — three years earlier than previously forecast. Its giant trust fund for inpatient care won’t be able to fully cover projected medical bills starting at that point.

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Top 8 Reasons to Find the Emergency Exit Before this Fall

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From PentoPort

The stock market was trading at an all-time high valuation of 150% of GDP this January. That was indeed the bell rung at the very top. Stocks have since started to roll over, but valuations are still at 140% of the underlying economy. And that is, historically speaking, way off the chart. The average of this metric was around 45% throughout the decades of the 70’s thru the mid-1990’s. Therefore, the market is screaming for investors to hit the sell button now while there are still ample bids left. But, if your complacency and procrastination prevent you from realizing the truly dangerous bubble in equities right now, here are eight of the most salient reasons why you’ll definitely need to find the nearest emergency exit before this fall.

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It’s The Trump Slump—But Don’t Blame The Donald!

The are few snarkier defenders of the current rotten financial status quo than Ben White of Politico’s Money Morning. So it’s not surprising that he is out this AM with the latest Trumb-o-phobe meme from Swamp Dweller’s Central.

To wit, the renewed stock market swoon is purportedly all the Donald’s fault owing to his unhinged tweet storms, protectionist trade initiatives and attacks on the casino’s sacred cow of the moment, Amazon:

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Pew: US State Pension Funding Gap Rises to $1.4 Trillion in 2016

By Thomson/Reuters – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

The funding deficit for U.S. state public pension systems rose to a record-high $1.4 trillion in fiscal 2016, a nearly $300 billion increase from fiscal 2015, according to a Pew Charitable Trusts report released on Thursday.

The public worker retirement funds reported only $2.6 trillion in assets to cover total pension liabilities of $4 trillion, with the report pegging the shortfall on investment returns falling short of assumptions and inadequate state contributions to pension systems, Pew reported.

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Sacrificing Future Spending

By Gary Christenson – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Financial sacrifices are so obvious and commonplace they are seldom acknowledged.

Borrowing money on a credit card, mortgage or car loan to purchase something is typical. You have sacrificed future spending for use in the present.

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2017 Trade Deficit Worst since 2008

By Wolf Richter – Re-Blogged From Wolf Street

Trade deficit in non-petroleum products hit a record of $734 billion.

2017 was a banner year for the US trade deficit, according to the Commerce Department’s report today. Corporate America’s supply chains weave all over the world in search of lower costs. Other countries have an “industrial policy” designed to produce trade surpluses for them. This combo ballooned the US trade deficit in goods and services to $566 billion, up by $61 billion, or 12%, from 2016. It was the worst trade deficit since 2008.

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Trump’s Tax Cuts: The Good, The Bad, and the Inflationary

By Stefan Gleason – Re-Blogged From Money Metals Exchange

At last, tax reform is happening! Last week, President Donald Trump celebrated the passage of the most important legislation so far of his presidency.

The final bill falls far short of the “file on a postcard” promise of Trump’s campaign. It even falls short of the bill trotted out by Congressional Republicans just a few weeks ago. It is, nevertheless, the most significant tax overhaul in more than a decade.

Corporations and most individual taxpayers will see lower overall rates. That’s the good news.

Unfortunately, there is also some not so good news investors need to be aware of.

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America’s Stagflation

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

The accumulation of monetary policy errors by the Fed is increasingly certain to culminate in the credit crisis that always marks the end of the credit cycle. Credit crises are the result of globally coordinated monetary policies nowadays, so the timing of the forthcoming crunch is not only dependant on the Fed’s actions, but is equally likely to be triggered from elsewhere. Candidates for triggering a global credit crisis include economic and financial developments in Europe, Japan and China.

The next crisis is set to be more serious than the global crisis of 2008/09, given the greater level of debt involved, and the exceptionally high rate of monetary inflation since. It is a story I have covered elsewhere. This article will concentrate on the prospects for the US economy ahead of the next credit crisis, and the implications for the dollar and its associated financial markets.

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Revelation Numbers

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From PentoPort

The federal budget deficit widened in the fiscal year 2017 to the sixth highest on record, creating a budget shortfall of $666 billion. That is up $80 billion, or 14%, from the fiscal year 2016. The overspend resulted primarily from an increase in spending for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, as well as higher interest payments on the debt due to rising rates that drove up outlays to $4 trillion, which was 3% higher than the previous fiscal year.

The deficit as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), totaled 3.5%, up from 3.2% the year prior. This budget gap will be piled on to the ballooning National Debt that in the fiscal year of 2016 grew to whopping 106% of GDP.

But the Trump administration isn’t spending a lot of time tweeting about the looming debt crisis. In fact, they would like us to believe that their recently proposed tax reform will not only pay for itself but will actually reduce debt and deficits. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin noted recently that, “Through a combination of tax reform and regulatory relief, this country can return to higher levels of GDP growth, helping to erase our fiscal deficit.”

But the truth is that the proposed tax reform will not completely pay for itself–let alone reduce the deficit or pay down the debt. The Senate has recently congratulated themselves for approving a budget resolution that would allow Congress to collect $1.5 trillion less in federal revenues over the next ten years, yet they are still in search of new revenue to pass tax reform.

And since there are still some remnants of the fiscal hawks in Congress, Republicans are in a frenzy to find new revenue opportunities to get the necessary votes; in search of an elusive “sacred cow” that isn’t that sacred.

Following the election of Donald Trump, the House supported a Border Adjustment Tax (BAT); a cash windfall that dovetailed brilliantly with Trump’s America first agenda. However, it didn’t take long for lobbying groups to crush that proposal, and the BAT tax wound up biting the dust.

The next target was the deductibility of state and local taxes and the mortgage interest deduction–but the Republicans soon realized they have representatives seeking re-election in high tax states too…and this idea has also quickly fallen by the wayside.

On October 20th, the New York Times reported that “House Republicans are considering a plan to sharply reduce the amount of income American workers can save in 401(k) accounts, reportedly to as low as $2,400 per year (The current figure is $18,000, rising to $18,500 next year, with $6,000 additional in catch-up contributions permitted to those 50 and over.)”   However, President Trump quickly killed this with a tweet too.

Now we hear rumblings of a higher tax bracket; this may get the support of some Democrats, but the truth is there are not enough one-percenters to make the numbers work.

The Senate can pass tax reform with a simple majority but there is a catch. To use what is called the budget reconciliation process it cannot add to the deficit beyond the 10-year budget window. Therefore, a feasible solution may be to include an additional upper-income bracket to throw a bone to the Democrats and bring some on board to get to 60 votes. But the problem is that under either Reconciliation or Regular Order, passing tax cuts would mean that deficits would soar.

Our economy did prosper after the Regan tax cuts. But here is the rub, in the 1980’s the National debt was 45% of GDP; but now it is 106% of GDP.

According to Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff, in their book, “This Time Is Different” – 800 years of financial history proves that high government debt ratios lead to low economic growth. And though some of their data have been questioned regarding the magnitude of their findings, their basic premise that high debt leads to weaker growth has held true under aggressive scrutiny.

Cutting taxes in an environment of massive debt and ballooning deficits, without a commensurate reduction in spending, is not going to grow the economy over 3%–at least it hasn’t worked in the past 800 years.

Declining government revenues and long-term costs associated with an aging population, including higher Social Security and Medicare spending, are expected to continue pushing up deficits over the coming decades. Real tax reform is needed but it should be paid for in order to ensure that we grow the private sector as we shrink the public sector. That means cutting taxes, eliminating loopholes and reducing spending. Sadly, few in Washington espouse such an agenda. Without such cuts, the economic boost from lower taxes would be more than offset by spiking debt service payments on the record amount of outstanding debt.

The S&P500 hit a bottom of 666 in March of 2009, which led to the most humongous intrusion into free markets by the U.S. government in its history. Now we have that same foreboding number 666; this time regarding the amount of red ink during the 2017 fiscal year. A mere coincidence I’m sure. Nevertheless, we must pray this rapidly rising debt figure does not forebode yet another step closer for the demise of the middle class.

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Tax Cuts are Meaningless without Spending Cuts

By JD Rucker – Re-Blogged From iPatriot

The evidence has been documented numerous times that cutting taxes improves the economy in ways that replace “lost” revenues for the federal government.

In other words, reduced tax burdens spark economic growth with over time yield a revenue-neutral stance. This is the part about the proposed GOP tax cuts that I like.

There are two big problems with it, though. We haven’t seen nearly the level of cuts necessary to balance the budget or attack the unfathomable debt problem the nation faces. It’s time to slash and burn in DC; we need to eliminated entire programs like Obamacare, agencies like the EPA, and even departments such as the Department of Education.

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Debt Ceiling Capitulation Spells Trouble Ahead for the Dollar

By Stefan Gleason – Re-Blogged From Liberty Headlines

“Frustration” no longer adequately describes what reformers in Congress – along with millions of investors and taxpayers who voted for reform – are feeling. For many, hopelessness is beginning to set in on the prospects for tax, budgetary, and monetary reform following Wednesday’s GOP capitulation on the debt ceiling.

Democrats shamelessly exploited the Hurricane Harvey disaster to couple the $7.85 billion disaster aid package with demands on unrelated issues in the budget. Congress didn’t pay for the bill with offsetting spending cuts, as the Club for Growth and other fiscal conservatives had urged. Continue reading

Death Of The US Dollar Reserve Currency

By SRSrocco – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

The Death of the U.S. Dollar as the world’s reserve currency will have a profoundly negative impact on the lives of most Americans.  Unfortunately, 99% of the population has no clue.  The only reason 1% of U.S. citizens understand what is going on, is because the Mainstream media and financial networks have distorted the truth and the reality of our present situation.

What happened in the markets today was a perfect example.  Zerohedge published an article today titled,  ‘Traders’ Panic-Buy Stocks, Shrug Off Nuclear Armaggedon, Debt Ceiling, & Biblical Flood Fears, and stating the following:

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Sleeper Issues Poised To Rattle Markets

By Clint Siegner – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Investors have been well-trained in complacency. They have spent the past few years watching markets shrug off momentous geopolitical events – each more quickly than the last. Brexit’s impact faded within days. Trump’s election faded within hours.

Stocks traded at all-time highs this summer and volatility made all-time lows. That is the set-up as we head into the fall…

Almost nobody seems nervous. In this age of central planning and highly artificial markets, it is hard to tell when this period of strange market serenity will end. But vigilant investors should have a few ideas. The next few months are going to challenge the status quo.

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General Electric: Another Impending Pension Crisis is Here

By Joe Scudder – Re-Blogged From Eagle Rising

In addition to public unions facing a pension crisis, General Electric may soon be begging for a bailout.

Naturally, the news that reports on the disaster that is heading for General Electric also tries to downplay the news. The company allegedly has years to find a way to solve their pension problem. But financial news always tells the public that they have a long time before it is “time to panic.” But that is the problem: If you wait that long to panic, it is too late.

Bloomberg reports, “The $31 Billion Hole in GE’s Balance Sheet That Keeps Growing.

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Falling Rocks In The Promised Land

By Gary Christenson – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Yes, traumatic market events (falling rocks) occur, even though markets are “managed,” statistics are manipulated, and politicians pretend to care about something besides their next election.

From John P. Hussman, Ph.D. Fair Value and Bubbles: 2017 Edition

“Unfortunately, investors seem to have concluded that central bank easing is omnipotent, despite the fact that the Fed eased persistently and aggressively, to no effect, through the entire course of 2000-2002 and 2007-2009 market collapses.”

From Bill Gross: Bill Gross Says Market Risk is Highest Since Pre-2008 Crisis

“Central bank policies for low-and-negative-interest rates are artificially driving up asset prices while creating little growth in the real economy and punishing individual savers, banks, and insurance companies, according to Gross.”

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Connecticut May Be Tapped Out on Taxing Rich Folks

By R Williams – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

Connecticut, the wealthiest U.S. state with a per capita income of $39,373 a year, can’t rely on taxing rich people to close its budget deficit, The Wall Street Journal reports.

 “Gov. Dannel Malloy has twice before bet that taxing the wealthy would help solve the state’s fiscal problems,” the newspaper reports. “But neither increase resulted in sustained revenue growth, according to his administration, which says it would be a mistake to do it a third time.”

The New England state faces a budget deficit of $400 million and deteriorating fiscal problems that have led bond-rating firms to lower the state’s credit rating. Connecticut also leans heavily on high-paid hedge fund workers.

Image: WSJ: Wealthy Connecticut May Be Tapped Out on Taxing Rich Folks
(Dreamstime)

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Government Insolvency Gets Harder to Ignore

By Clint Siegner – Re-Blogged From https://www.moneymetals.com

Several U.S. states and the federal government are hopelessly insolvent. It’s something many bullion investors have known for years.

The real question is when this reality will pierce the mainstream illusion that deficits, and the crushing pile of debt which accompany them, don’t matter. That moment drew closer last week when ratings agencies downgraded Illinois state bonds to one notch above “junk” status.

S&P and Moody’s dropped the state’s creditworthiness rating to BB+/Baa3 – the lowest ever for a U.S. state. Illinois currently has $14.5 billion in unpaid bills and a government deadlocked over forming a new budget.

That stack of bills represents a whopping 40% of the state’s operating budget. At the heart of Illinois’ problems are massive union pension obligations for retired government bureaucrats.

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David Stockman Sounds The Alarm

By Daniel Lang – Re-Blogged From Zero Hedge

As time goes on, it’s becoming abundantly clear that Trump isn’t going to be able to prevent a major financial crisis in this country. Depending on your beliefs, that’s either because he’s inept in some way, or because he’s being hamstrung by a political system that’s determined to keep our nation on the same unsustainable path. Whatever the case may be, it seems that there is no way that we can change course at this point. We’re headed for a financial crisis, and it’s going to happen sooner rather than later.

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Damn The Deficits, Huge Tax Cuts Ahead!

By Peter Schiff – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Donald Trump has made good on one of his most audacious campaign promises by submitting what he describes as the biggest tax cut in U.S. History. For once, at least, this does not appear to be Trumpian braggadocio. It really may be the mother of all tax cuts. But if passed, what may this bunker buster do to the economy? While I have rarely met a tax cut I didn’t like, this one just may be more likely to send the economy into a downward spiral than it is to send up to orbit.

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Phasing Out Social Security

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Social Security is in trouble. Money going out should exceed money coming in within three years. Of course, the current income on the Treasuries in the Trust Fund are counted as real, even though those Treasuries are little more than IOUs from Uncle Sam’s left pocket into his right pocket. In real world terms, the Trust Fund already is in Deficit.

Even with the rosy Treasury assumption, the Trust Fund balance should be zeroed out within 15-20 years, depending on whose projections you use.

Image result for Social Security Deficit

Economics Professor Laurence Kotlikoff of Boston University calculates that the actuarial deficit is around $100 Trillion, so anyone who says that we can tinker here and adjust there to save Social Security is just not living in the real world.

Social Security is dying. Social Security will end. The only question is whether it ends in a collapse – causing tens of millions of retirees to become destitute overnight – or whether Social Security is phased out, allowing current retires to get all they expect.

I suggest a phase out – a very long phase out.

  1. Today, end filing for early retirement for Social Security benefits. Seniors who already are receiving early benefits may continue, but no further applications will be accepted or processed. Transfer all non-retirement portions into one of the Welfare programs.
  2. For all Americans currently over 60 years of age, they may file and receive full Social Security benefits when they reach the current full retirement age.
  3. For all Americans currently under 60 years old, their full retirement age will be raised by one month for every two months until they reach 60. For example, a 50 year old has 120 months before he reaches 60, so his retirement age will be 60 months later than the current full retirement age.

    Image result for roth ira

  4. Americans under 60 may choose to opt out of Social Security. By opting out, they forfeit any accrued Social Security benefits. They will be allowed to deposit their FICA deduction tax free into a Roth IRA – that’s double Tax Free. The employer match, and self-employment tax, will continue to go into the Social Security Trust Fund. (This will cause large deficits near term but large surpluses down the road.)
  5. At some point, every American will be off Social Security, either by dying or by opting out. Any money remaining in the Trust Fund will go into the General Revenue Fund.
  6. Employer match after that point either:
    1. May be ended
    2. May go into the General Fund
    3. May by added to the employee’s Roth IRA

Image result for phase out

This phase out easily could take 60 years to complete. It will not be painless as the younger an American is, the less he will receive in benefits. But, it will put the burden where it can be handled most easily – with younger workers who have more time to plan. And, it sets up a system which still requires putting money aside for retirement, but that money is owned and controlled by each individual American worker.

It should be noted that Medicare is under the same pressures, also with a calculated actuarial deficit around $100 Trillion. A similar phase out for Medicare also makes sense.

 

Debt Surge Producing Fake Recovery

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

What do the following headlines have in common?

US wages grow at fastest pace since 2009

Euro area economy ended year with strongest growth since 2011

Surge in home prices is beating the one in mortgage rates

Manufacturing in U.S. Expands at Fastest Pace in Two Years

German Inflation welcomed back

Obviously they’re all favorable, with the possible exception of German inflation – though even that is “welcome”. Taken together they paint a picture of a global economy that’s finally returning to the kind of solid growth and steady, positive inflation that most people consider both normal and good.

 

Unfortunately, the reason for the improvement is emphatically not good: In 2016 the world borrowed a huge amount of money and spent the proceeds. The result is “growth,” but not sustainable growth.

Consider:

Federal Debt in FY 2016 Jumped $1.4 Trillion, or $12,036 Per Household

(CNSNews.com) – In fiscal 2016, which ended on Friday, the federal debt increased $1,422,827,047,452.46, according to data released today by the U.S. Treasury.

At the close of business on Sept. 30, 2015, the last day of fiscal 2015, the federal debt was $18,150,617,666,484.33, according to the Treasury. By the close of business on Sept. 30, 2016, the last day of fiscal 2016, it had climbed to $19,573,444,713,936.79.

According to the Census Bureau’s latest estimate, there were 118,215,000 households in the United States as of June. That means that the one-year increase in the federal debt of $1,422,827,047,452.46 in fiscal 2016 equaled about $12,036 per household.

The total federal debt of $19,573,444,713,936.79 now equals about $165,575 per household.

(The News PK) – Global debt sales reached a record this year, led by companies gorging on cheap borrowing costs.

The bond rally that dominated the first half of the year helped entice borrowers that issued debt via banks to take on just over $6.6tn, according to data provider Dealogic, breaking the previous annual record set in 2006.

Companies accounted for more than half of the $6.62tn of debt issued, underlining the extent to which negative interest rate policies adopted by the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan, as well as a cautious Federal Reserve, encouraged the corporate world to increase its leverage.

Corporate bond sales climbed 8 per cent year on year to $3.6tn, led by blockbuster $10bn-plus deals to finance large mergers and acquisitions.

The remaining debt included sovereign bonds sold through bank syndication, US and international agencies, mortgage-backed securities and covered bonds. The figures exclude sovereign debt sold at regular auction.

“The low cost of financing with record-low interest rates simply made building up leverage tempting,” said Scott Mather, chief investment officer for core fixed income at Pimco.

(Reuters) – Global debt levels rose to more than 325 percent of the world’s gross domestic product last year as government debt rose sharply, a report from the Institute for International Finance showed on Wednesday.

The IIF’s report found that global debt had risen more than $11 trillion in the first nine months of 2016 to more than $217 trillion. The report also found that general government debt accounted for nearly half of the total increase.

Emerging market debt rose substantially, as government bond and syndicated loan issuance in 2016 grew to almost three times its 2015 level. China accounted for the lion’s share of the new debt, providing $710 million of the total $855 billion in new issuance during the year, the IIF reported.

To sum up: Emerging market borrowing in 2016 was triple the year-earlier level. Corporate borrowing was the highest since 2006. And the US somehow managed to add another $trillion of government debt in the late stages of a recovery, when tax revenues are usually strong enough to shrink or eliminate deficits.

Since every penny of that new debt was presumably spent, it should come as no surprise that the latest batch of headline growth numbers have been impressive. Which is the basic problem with debt-driven growth: The good stuff happens right away while the bad stuff evolves over time – in the form of higher interest costs that depress future growth – making it hard to figure out what caused what.

That’s bad for regular people who have to live through the resulting slow-down or crisis. But it’s fine for the people who made the borrowing decisions because they get credit for the growth pop but won’t be around – having retired with huge pensions and high prestige – before the secondary effects really kick in.

This time, however, the cause-and-effect dynamic is being accelerated by a spiking dollar and rising interest rates, both of which raise the cost of debts that are denominated in dollars and/or have to be refinanced in the year ahead. So the mother of all financial crises that has been inevitable for a couple of decades has, thanks to all this new debt, taken a giant step towards “imminent.”

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Will Trump Bring Inflation To America’s Shores?

By Stefan Gleason – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Something is brewing in the economy. Since the election of Donald Trump, interest rates have spiked, copper prices have surged, and various sectors of the stock market have swung “bigly” on speculation of what “Trumponomics” will bring.

Scores of triumphant Republican commentators are already painting a bullish picture of the Trump economy. The GOP – which will control the White House, Congress, and most state governments – has a rare opportunity to implement a pro-growth agenda.

Republicans squandered their last great window of opportunity. George W. Bush and his Congressional allies grew government spending at a faster clip than the economy and saddled the country with trillions of dollars in new debt.

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Road to Recovery: Global Epocalypse Inevitable

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From Great Recession Blog

The financial end of the world in economic apocalypse is here. A funny thing happened on the road to recovery: Trump’s chief strategist admitted his view of the Trumpian future looks like the Great Depression. Even the world’s largest bank just said global financial default is the preferable way out and most likely way out of the Great Recession that began in 2007/2008. That’s the new optimism.  You don’t get better than all of that for an exhilarating view of the imminent future. As Maya MacGuineas, the leader of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, also assessed the situation,

“President-elect Trump is going to be inheriting the worst fiscal situation of any president… other than President Truman … as judged by the debt relative to the economy.” (The Washington Post)

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King of Debt Takes the Reins

By Peter Schiff – Re-Blogged From http://www.europac.com

The election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 provides the best recent precedent for the unexpected triumph of Donald Trump (in my opinion, the other post-war Republican takeovers of the White House –Ike in ’52, Nixon ’68, and W. in ’00 – did not constitute a real break from the status quo.) As many people expect great changes from Trump, it is worthwhile to look at what the Reagan Revolution actually wrought.

Both Reagan and Trump were better known to many as entertainers rather than politicians, both came from outside the Republican mainstream, and both engineered hostile takeovers of the Party. During the 1970s, the Republican Party was dominated by “Rockefeller Republicans,” the Ivy League-educated liberal Eastern elites. Reagan was the Western heir apparent to Barry Goldwater, the deeply conservative standard-bearer who went down in flames in 1964. In 1976, the brash Reagan had the nerve to challenge incumbent Republican President Gerry Ford in the primary, thereby weakening him in the general election, which he ultimately lost to Jimmy Carter. While Reagan was simply too conservative for the Rockefeller wing, Trump’s various positions are similarly inconsistent with much of the mainstream neo-conservative orthodoxy. Both candidates also capitalized on a weak economy as a catalyst to encourage voters to cross traditional party lines. Many of the rust belt “Reagan Democrats” came home to Trump.

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Things Go From Bad to Worse for Ireland

By Dan O’Brien – Re-Blogged From http://www.independent.ie

Twenty years ago this month I moved to Malta to work in the European Commission’s diplomatic mission on the island. With the Mediterranean state seeking to become a member of the EU, my job, as the mission’s economic and political affairs officer, was to be a cog in the complicated process of the country joining the bloc.

But within weeks of arrival, the government unexpectedly changed. The new administration was almost alone among European political parties at the time in not wanting membership of the EU. The Maltese had something akin to their Brexit moment. The accession process was halted in its tracks.

As is the case now with Theresa May’s government, it was far from clear what kind of relationship the new Maltese administration wanted with Europe. Like the Brexiteers last June after the referendum, the island’s opposition hadn’t expected to win and were not prepared for the consequences of its victory.

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King of Debt vs. Queen of Deficits

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From Pento Portfolio Strategies

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the total deficit for fiscal 2016 will be $590 billion. This is $152 billion (34%) greater than the shortfall posted in fiscal year 2015. And by 2026 the deficit would be considerably larger as a share of the nation’s output (GDP) than its average over the past 50 years.

In addition to this, debt held by the public would rise significantly from its already high level, reaching 86% of GDP by 2026.

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Two Amazing Stories With One Inevitable Result

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Anyone who doubts that the global financial system has run out of (good new) ideas has only to track the recent words and deeds of central bankers and mainstream economists: Slightly-negative interest rates didn’t lead people to borrow more? We’ll go more negative! Buying up all the government bonds didn’t prevent deflation? We’ll start buying corporate bonds and equities!

Still, it’s shocking to see where this endless repetition of the same actions takes us. A recent Bloomberg article, for instance, notes that even though corporate profits are falling and individual investors are dumping equity mutual funds, company share buybacks are surging:

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What We Need From the Candidates

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

The US is 5 months into Fiscal Year 2016, and the 2016 Presidential nomination process is moving along quickly. It looks like we may know who the two Big Party candidates will be within just a few months.

Even so, it appears that the candidates, and the “question asking” media have been ignoring one of the economic elephants in the room. I’m referring to the eternal US Budget Deficit, and the National Debt it causes, which are destroying our once great country.

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A Dangerous Moment For Social Security

By Justin Spittler – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Social Security funds are drying up…will there be any money left when you retire?

Social Security is America’s largest federal program. In 2015, it paid out $870 billion to more than 59 million Americans.

Most Americans see Social Security as a retirement savings program. During your working life, you pay 6.2% of every paycheck to Social Security. In return, the government sends you a check every month after you retire.

However, unlike a retirement plan like a 401(k), the money you pay into Social Security doesn’t land in your own personal account. Instead, it goes into one big pot called the “Social Security Trust Fund.”

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If This Really Is A Recovery, Why Aren’t We Using More Electrical Power?

(Mark uses a “Bird’s Eye View” chart style, which shows the change from the previous high. All new high’s are at 100%, with pullbacks obviously less than 100%. It’s different, but informative. Bob)

By Mark J Lundeen – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Janet Yellen may not have raised interest rates this week, but Mr Bear couldn’t care less.  We can see it in the market.  In bull markets double-digit declines from an all-time high are reasons to buy.  But EARLY in bear markets, recoveries from double digit declines are reasons to sell as we’ve seen since about mid-July.  In the table below recoveries from double-digit Dow Jones declines last just a day or so before the market comes under selling pressure, again driving the Dow Jones down 10% or more from its May 2015 last all-time high.

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The 2015 Untrustworthies Report——Why Social Security Could Be Bankrupt In 12 Years

By David Stockman – ReBloged From http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/

The so-called “trustees” of the social security system issued their annual report last week and the stenographers of the financial press dutifully reported that the day of reckoning when the trust funds run dry has been put off another year—-until 2034. So take a breath and kick the can. That’s five Presidential elections away!

Except that is not what the report really says. On a cash basis, the OASDI (retirement and disability) funds spent $859 billion during 2014 but took in only $786 billion in taxes, thereby generating $73 billion in red ink.  And by the trustees’ own reckoning, the OASDI funds will spew a cumulative cash deficit of $1.6 trillion during the 12-years covering 2015-2026.

So measured by the only thing that matters—-hard cash income and outgo—-the social security system has already gone bust. What’s more, even under the White House’s rosy scenario budget forecasts, general fund outlays will exceed general revenues ex-payroll taxes by $8 trillion over the next twelve years.

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Ending the US Economic Tailspin

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

After WWII, with the advent of the jet engine, a race was on to see who could break the Sound Barrier first.

To pick up the final burst of speed in order to get past Mach I, just over 760 mph, test pilots would go up to 45,000 feet, and then point the nose down and fall to earth. At the last moment, they would “pull up” on the stick, expecting for that to pull the plane up and out of the dive.

Several pilots killed themselves in crashes, until in October, 1947, one pilot, Chuck Yeager, realized that pulling up on the stick was making the plane go down even more.

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1 is Too Many And 12 Are Not Enough

By Gary Christenson – R-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

You have probably heard that phrase regarding alcoholics.  It applies elsewhere.

  • One hit of “meth” is too many, but when you NEED it, 12 hits are not enough.
  • One shot of “mainlined” heroin is too many, and you know the rest of that story.
  • One burst of monetary heroin – quantitative easing – is too much if central bankers want a financial system that does not debase their currencies. But central banks around the world are “shooting-up” with increasing amounts of fiat currency created from nothing.
  • A government sale or “lease” of 100 tons of gold is silly, but after years of deficit spending, dumping 1,000 tons on the market is not enough to stabilize fiat currencies.

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Federal Budget in Pictures

Federal Spending and Debt are Out of Control – Re-Blogged From http://www.heritage.org

If America does not change course, the future will be dramatically worse. Now more than ever, it is crucial that Americans understand what our nation’s spending, taxes, and debt mean for them and their families. The Heritage Foundation’s Federal Budget in Pictures offers a unique tool to learn about the federal budget in a clear and compelling way.

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What to Do About Debt?

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

According to Laurence Kotlikoff, economics professor at Boston University, the real, total National Debt including the “official” number, plus Agency debt, and plus unfunded liabilities like Social Security and Medicare is around $225 Trillion.

There are five ways to handle this situation:

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Balance the Budget – Now

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Our government spends more than it takes in. The “Official” Budget Deficit was over $1.3 Trillion a few yeas ago, has come down to around $500 Billion today, and is expected to rise steeply again for the balance of the decade.

But the official number doesn’t tell the whole story. Not included is all the US Agency Debt, like

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