Consumer Prices Soar as Core Inflation Posts Largest Gain in Year

By Thomson/Reuters – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

U.S. consumer prices rose more than expected in January, with a measure of underlying inflation posting its biggest gain in a year, strengthening expectations that price pressures will accelerate this year and prompt a faster pace of interest rate increases from the Federal Reserve.

The fairly strong inflation report from the Labor Department on Wednesday could put more pressure on U.S. financial markets, which were spooked by a surge in annual wage growth in January. Inflation concerns sparked a sell-off on Wall Street and boosted benchmark U.S. Treasury yields to a four-year high.

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Jobs Galore but When Will Wages Finally Pick Up?

By Thomson Reuters – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

In 2014, a few days after she took over as chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen admitted that she could not fathom the “very worrisome” trend of weak wage growth for American workers.

Now, as she nears the end of her four-year term, the problem remains a mystery, and not only in the United States.

In many countries, more people are in work than before the global financial crisis as the world economy racks up its strongest growth since 2010.

But pay, which would normally rise more quickly as employers compete for staff, is rising painfully slowly for many.

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Rob From The Middle Class Economics

By Gary Christenon – Re-Blogged From

Much of our financial world functions as a “Rob from the Middle Class” economy. The system robs from the middle class and poor via “money printing” and inflation of the currency supply!

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Mazda Crossovers For Moms

After a 15 year love affair with my Mom SUV, it’s time to think about another. I attended the Houston Auto Show to try on cars like shoes.

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Marc ‘Dr. Doom’ Faber: ‘We Have a Bubble in Everything’

By Rob Williams – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

Marc Faber, editor of The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report who has earned the nickname “Dr. Doom” for his pessimistic forecasts, said he wouldn’t buy stocks even if the S&P 500 dropped 20 percent.

“We have a bubble in everything,” Faber said on CNBC. “We have global debt as a percent of global GDP that is 30 to 40 percent higher than it was in 2007. All of us and I also own lots of assets. We’re going to lose 50 percent. Either the government will take it through taxation or expropriation, or there’ll be a deflation in asset prices that is surprising most people on the downside.”

Major stock indexes have risen to record highs in the months since Republican Donald Trump won the November presidential election on a pro-business platform. Investors piled into stocks on the possibility of tax cuts, less regulation and billion-dollar spending on roads, bridges and airports.

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Silver Price Massively Undervalued From Historic Perspective

By Mark O’Byrne – Re-Blogged From

– What wages in ancient Athens can tell us about the silver price today

– Wages paid in silver in ancient Athens compared to wages today

– Silver massively undervalued compared to the past few thousand years

The cost of building the Parthenon was 469 silver talents, or about £5.6m.

by Dominic Frisby

Today we look at the wages paid to oarsmen on warships in ancient Athens in 450BC.

I bet you’ve never read a Money Morning that began like that before.

Why on earth would I want to do such a thing?

Because it tells us a great deal about the silver price today…

How Wages In Ancient Athens Compare To Today

In The Economy of Ancient Greece, historian Darel Engen describes how the Athenian unit of money – the talent (about 26kg of silver) – could purchase nine years of a skilled man’s labour. If we assume 250 working days in a year, that works out at about 11.5g of silver per day – a little under 0.3 of a troy ounce.

A kilo of silver today is about £460, so nine years’ skilled labour would amount to about £12,000 in today’s money. That makes a year’s skilled labour about £1,333, and a day’s £5.29.

Fast forward to today. The average wage in the UK construction industry, which I’ll use as an equivalent, is about £30,000 per annum, or £120 per day. It seems that today’s British labourer is earning considerably more than his ancient Athenian counterpart.

We must, however, factor taxation into our calculations in order to appreciate what the worker actually took home with him. Enlightened souls that they were, there was no direct taxation on income in ancient Greece. The large part of the expenses of the city were shouldered by the rich, who made their donations voluntarily – sort of – through the system of liturgy.

In the UK today, on the other hand, somewhere between 40% and 55% of the average worker’s income is taken, one way or the other, to pay for the state, depending on whose figures you use (and that’s before you factor in inflation taxes).

For the sake of simplicity, let’s use a 40% figure and go with an after-tax income of £72 per day – or £18,000 per annum. So even after taxes, the modern labourer would seem to be earning considerably more than the ancient – over ten times as much.

As Greece was the most advanced civilisation in 450BC, perhaps we should only be comparing it to the developed world. But even if we factor in less developed nations, the modern worker appears to be earning more than the ancient.

Globally, according to the United Nations International Labour Organisation (ILO), the average salary is $18,000 – say £14,000, or £56 per day. That would be £34 after 40% taxes.

An Athenian warship, the trireme, cost about a talent to build (£12,000). A trireme’s unskilled oarsman would be paid 4.3g of silver each per day (£2). The cost of building the Parthenon was 469 talents, according to Professor Thomas Sakoulas. That works out, according to my maths (469 x 26 x 460) at about £5.6m. The cost of building the Shard, by way of comparison, seems to have been around £435m.

Silver Price Is Dirt Cheap Compared To The Past Few Thousand Years

To compare modern and ancient prices might seem like a ridiculous and redundant exercise – the two worlds are so different – but there is a point to all this. Measured in silver, salaries actually remained fairly constant until the 20th century.

The Babylonian worker might have been looking at 2g of silver (92p). The Roman unskilled worker, like the Greek, might have been on around 4.2gs of silver, at least until Romans started chipping their coins.

The wages of the medieval English worker seemed to have fallen back towards Babylonian levels by 1300. He got 2.8g, while a skilled city craftsman might have expected 5.6g – about half what an Athenian was paid.

That would grow, however, over the next 500 years, until by the 19thcentury the skilled labourer might be looking at around 24g of silver per day, according to author David Zucherman, and an unskilled between a third and half that. The labourer in the 19th century was getting around double the pay of his 450BC Athenian counterpart. It’s more, but it’s not that much more.

Compare that to today. I used the figure of £30,000 earlier – the average wage of a construction worker – £120 per day. That amounts to 260g of silver, compared to 11.5g for that Athenian worker. Today’s pay dwarfs that of any pre-20th century worker in history.

Wages have risen, of course they have – but not by this much relative to the cost of living, status and so on within a society.

The issue is not that wages have soared. It’s that silver – now that it no longer has any monetary role – has fallen to absurdly cheap (on a historical basis) levels. (It’s also absurdly cheap on a geological basis, as I argued here

If today’s wages of £120 were to equal the Athenian equivalent of 11.5g (say 12g for simplicity’s sake), you could make the argument that silvershould be £10 per gramme (currently 46p per gramme). That’s over 20 times higher than today’s silver price of $18.50 an ounce – more like $400 per ounce.

At $400 per ounce, not only do wages correspond, but so does the cost of building a ship or a landmark city building.

One day we will get some kind of silver reversion to its historical mean. Does that mean we should all go out and buy shedloads of silver with the expectation of making 20 times our money?

Not really. That day of historical mean reversion probably won’t come in our lifetime and most of us invest within three to five year time frames. But you should all own a little bit, just in case it does.


What Creates and Sustains Jobs?

By Dale Netherton – Re-Blogged From iPatriot

The politicians mutter the word “jobs” as if they understood where jobs come from and what conditions are necessary to sustain jobs.

First, without revenue to pay wages no job can exist or if created continue to exist.  The question then becomes, where will the revenue come from?  There are two sources of revenue for jobs.  One is the direct granting of revenue by the government which funds government jobs.  If there is funding available the job can continue until the funding disappears.  The other source of revenue is profit.  If a job is created to supply a good or service and it is sustained by paying for itself, this job is sustainable as long as it is competitive.  This is the only job that can exist that doesn’t rely on confiscation and redistribution.  Jobs that rely on “government funding” are not self sustaining since they must have confiscation and redistribution.  Government cannot create wealth, it has nothing it doesn’t confiscate or borrow.

All government created jobs are necessarily temporary.  Debt and eventual inflation destroys the foundation for government funding of jobs as the private sector that supports sustainable jobs shrinks under the regulation and taxes that eventually destroys the profit motive and therefore the only source of self sustaining jobs.  The CCC camps could not have been retained as permanent jobs.  The demise of the Post Office and Amtrak are examples of where government “jobs” must eventually falter.  The source of these two government jobs comes from the government subsidies.  Neither is self sustaining based on the income they generate.  This means a private sector is being taxed and the confiscation of their earnings is being channeled to the subsidy the government is supplying.

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