Will the Swiss Guarantee CHF 75,000 for Every Family?

In early June the Swiss will be called upon to make a historic decision. Switzerland is the first country worldwide to put the idea of an Unconditional Basic Income to a vote and the outcome of this referendum will set a strong precedent and establish a landmark in the evolution of this debate.

 

die-schweizer-initiative-fuerThe Swiss Basic Income Initiative in a demonstration in front of parliament. As we have previously reported (see “Swiss Parliament Shoots Down Socialist Utopia” for details), Switzerland’s parliament has already rejected the idea, with even the socialists voting against it (proving that they are still in possession of most of their marbles and quite likely in possession of an abacus as well).

Photo credit: Peter Klaunzer

 

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Black-and-Blue Crash Alert Flag

Let us  begin the week “on message.” The Diary is about money. Today, we’ll stick to the subject.  Old friend Mark Hulbert has done some research on the likelihood of a crash in the stock market.

 

tattered flag bb.Ye olde tattered Crash Alert flag… should it be unfurled again?

Image by fmh

 

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Trapped in the EU

Austria is a small European nation that has made the grievous mistake of needlessly joining the EU in 1995, together with Finland and Sweden. Austria’s neighbor Switzerland, which is of roughly similar size and likewise militarily neutral, proved to have far better instincts. The Swedes subsequently at least had the good sense to stay out of the euro zone. It seems if there is a mistake to be made, Austrian governments will eagerly make it.

 

Am 24.06.1994 unterzeichnet Österreich auf dem EU-Gipfel auf Korfu in der St. Georgs-Kirche, der alten Festung von Korfu, den Beitrittsvertrag mit der Europäischen Union (EU). Im Bild: Bundeskanzler Franz Vranitzky (l.) und Außenminister Alois Mock (r.) beim Unterzeichnen des Vertrages.Austria’s former foreign minister Alois Mock grins happily as an EU minion shows him where to make his cross in order to sign away his government’s sovereignty. This may have seemed a good idea at the time, but it has turned out to be an extremely dubious bargain in retrospect. Looking on is former chancellor and banker Franz Vranitzky, who judging from his body language seemed a trifle less sure about the whole thing.

Photo credit: Georges Schneider / APA

 

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Alarming News

BALTIMORE, Maryland – An alarming email came on Tuesday from our ranch in Argentina:

“Bad things going on… We thought we had the originarios problem settled. Not at all. They just invaded the ranch.”

 

pueblos-originarios-960x623Originarios on the march…

Photo credit: cta.org.ar

 

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A Wake-Up Call

The price of gold moved down about twenty Federal Reserve Notes, and the price of silver dropped $0.57. The big news is that the gold-silver ratio moved up about 1.5. We hate to say “we told you so,” well, OK. Actually… sometimes there’s a certain je ne said quoi about gloating. *Achem*

In all seriousness, the dollar is going up. We measure it in gold, or alternatively in silver. In gold, the dollar rose 0.4mg gold to 24.84. In silver, it was up 60mg to 1.88g silver. We do not think that the dollar can be measured in terms of its derivatives such as euro, pound, etc. for the many of the same reason that the gold can’t be measured in terms of its derivative, the dollar.

 

Paper airplane made out of money with clouds in the backgroundIllustration via irs.com

 

Why is the dollar going up? It’s the debtors that give value to a debt-based currency (not the quantity). Right now, debtors are feeling the pressure. Meanwhile, most mainstream speculators are looking at price charts and they want all-in on the dollar (most would look at this as avoiding gold exposure).

 

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Scratching the Surface

Problems, as people commonly perceive them, require solutions. Broken shoelaces must get fixed.  Regrettably, in today’s democracy this means the candidate who offers the most fixes – in the form of goodies – to the most people wins the election.

 

problemsThree gentlemen who need a solution real fast. “Did you bring the book?” “No, I thought you had it…”

Image credit: CreateSpace

 

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Expanding in Ireland

DUNMORE EAST, Ireland – We came down the coast from Dublin to check on our new office building. For this visit, we wanted to stay somewhere different than we normally do. So we chose a small hotel on the coast, called the Strand Inn.

 

640x360-Ireland-s-Ancient-East-Hill-of-TaraIrish landscape with alien landing pads. Even the guys from Rigel II have heard about Ireland’s corporate tax rate.

Photo credit: Tourism Ireland

 

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Policy-Induced Contrition in Japan

As we keep saying, there really is no point in trying to make people richer by making them poorer – which is what Shinzo Abe and Haruhiko Kuroda have been trying to do for the past several years. Not surprisingly, they have so to speak only succeeded in achieving the second part of the equation: they have certainly managed to impoverish their fellow Japanese citizens.

 

abe and kurodaShinzo Abe and Haruhiko Kuroda, professional yen assassins

Photo credit: Toru Hanai / Reuters

 

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Smart Money Fleeing Stocks

DUBLIN – The Dow dropped 180 points on Tuesday – or about 1%. And another clever billionaire says he is looking elsewhere for profits. Reuters:

 

“Activist investor Carl Icahn on Monday said there was a chance the stock market could suffer a big decline, saying valuations are rich and earnings at many companies are fueled more by low borrowing costs than management’s efforts to boost results.

“I am very cautious on equities today. This market could easily have a big drop,” Icahn said.”

 

Icahn-2Famous activist investor Carl Icahn – in fact, we like to think of him as the “original activist”; we still remember when he had his way with the likes of TWA and Texaco back in the 1980s. Evidently, tempus fugit. Does he know something we don’t? It certainly seems possible. After all, contrary to us, he has made billions. According to his latest filings, he currently holds a huge net short position of 150%.

Photo credit: Platon for Time

 

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Presidential Duties

Our editor recently stumbled upon an image in one of the more obscure corners of the intertubes which we felt we had to share with our readers. It provides us with a nice metaphor for the meaningfulness of government activity. First, here is a look at the picture – just quietly contemplate it for while and let it work its magic on you:

 

fir wateringYes, these two gentlemen are actually watering a tree in the middle of a downpour…

Photo via president.gov.by

 

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Family Secrets

DUBLIN – The smart money is getting out while the gettin’ is still good. That’s the message we get from reading the recent headlines.

 

Here’s the Financial Times:

 

Redemptions from stock funds have hit nearly $90 billion this year as portfolio managers and hedge funds struggle to navigate a market that no longer seems driven by radical central bank policy.

 

SPXS&P 500 Index: causing navigational problems – click to enlarge.

 

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Boisterous Debate vs. Non-Existence

Readers may recall that we have previously reported on brawls breaking out in various parliaments, such as e.g. in Ukraine’s Rada, where we suspect representatives are actually engaging in a form of performance art. Here is the picture again, that shows what perfectly composed imagery is produced in the Rada. Obviously, true professionals are at work there:

 

Ukrainian-ParliamentPerfect composition: Ukraine’s parliamentary brawlers are true artists.

Image source: firstmemes.com

 

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THE GOLD CARTEL: Government Intervention on Gold, the Mega Bubble in Paper and What This Means for Your Future

 
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