Goodbye, Socialist Paradise
Nestle USA has announced that it will move its headquarters from Glendale, California, to Rosslyn, Virginia, taking with it about 1200 jobs. The once Golden State has lost some 1690 businesses since 2008 and a net outflow of a million of mostly middle-class people from the state from 2004 to 2013 due to its onerous tax rates, the oppressive regulatory burden, and the genuine kookiness which pervades among its ruling elites.*
There has been a remarkable reversal of flow of people and businesses – but California’s ruling elite seemingly remains utterly clueless as to why this is happening and/or doesn’t seem to care. When people and businesses flee from such a well-developed region with such a favorable climate, one should realize that something is probably very wrong. Here is a link to a comprehensive study of the flight of businesses and a million middle class people (net) since 2008 (PDF).
No Country Can be Made Great by Devaluation
John Connally, President Nixon’s Secretary of the Treasury, once remarked to the consternation of Europe’s financial elites over America’s inflationary monetary policy, that the dollar “is our currency, but your problem.” Times have certainly changed and it now appears that the dollar has become an American problem.
Richard Nixon and his treasury secretary John Connally. The latter is today mainly remembered for his remark on the dollar, which presumably gave European finance ministers a few nightmares at the time. Nixon defaulted on the gold exchange standard in 1971, which effectively ended the Bretton Woods agreement and led to the whole world adopting a fiat money standard. Nixon’s announcement of the default stands to this day as a textbook example of government lies and hypocrisy, garnished with a more than generous helping of economic illiteracy. It seems unlikely that he realized that his actions on that day would give birth to the greatest credit bubble in history, but they did.
Photo via twitter.com
Neo-Marxist Pope Francis Argues for Global Central Bank
As the new year dawns, it seems the current occupant of St. Peter’s Chair will take on a new function which is outside the purview of the office that the Divine Founder of his institution had clearly mandated.
Neo-Papist transmogrification. We highly recommend the economic thought of one of Francis’ storied predecessors, John Paul II, which we have written about on previous occasions. In “A Tale of Two Popes” and “Papal Eco-Hysteria”, we have contrasted Francis and John Paul II and quoted from the latter’s seminal encyclical “Centesimus Annus”, which probably contains the most clear-headed thinking on human liberty and economics that has ever emerged from the Vatican. Francis strikes us as a throwback to a completely discredited and dangerous ideology by comparison. Lately he is even calling for the establishment of a global central bank!
A Brutal Communist Dictator Shuffles Off This Mortal Coil
The death of the brutal Cuban Communist dictator Fidel Castro closes the door, in some respect, on another disastrous page in US foreign policy history. For all the denunciations and criticism of Castro from conservative elements and exiled Cubans, his despotic rule was the outcome of decades of American imperialism which began with President William McKinley’s infamous decision to wage war on hapless Spain in 1898.
Fidel Castro, the long-time Marxist dictator of Cuba. Not surprisingly, he was another finger-wagger. When he graced the cover of TIME magazine in 1965, he was shown wagging his finger as well, a tradition he kept up until shortly before his demise (similar to many other communist rulers, he loved to give nigh interminable speeches, a special form of torture for those forced to sit through them and applaud at the appropriate moments). Castro replaced the Batista regime, also an oppressive and corrupt regime, but of the military junta type – which the US supported. Communists like Castro came to be widely seen as the vanguard in the fight against imperialism, especially among Western youth in the 1960s. Young people at the time were correct in opposing imperialism, but they were extremely naïve and misguided in their support of Marxism. They failed to realize that they were nothing but useful idiots for people like Castro and his fellow Marxists. Wherever Marxist revolutions succeeded, the result was that one oppressive and murderous regime was replaced with another.
Photo via serze.com
A Monumental Work
In November of 1876, one hundred and forty years ago, Johannes Brahms’ monumental First Symphony was first heard, performed in Karlsruhe, Germany. The much anticipated work – which took Brahms over 20 years to complete – has become part of the canon of Western music. Ironically, the premiere of The Ring by Brahms’ supposed rival and fellow musical genius, Richard Wagner, was performed for the first time in the same year.
Brahms’ Symphony No. 1, in a 1981 performance by the Vienna Philharmonics Orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein.
A Case of Bad Timing
As if there are not enough sufficient reasons for right thinking individuals to want a Donald Trump Presidency, one of the biggest is that it would be a direct and quite necessary rebuke and humiliation of the purported head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis.
Stone-thrower in the glass house: Pope Francis
Weapons of Mass Deception – the Pravda Complex
The US Presidential campaign has demonstrated once again that the mainstream mass media is still the dominant force and arbitrator of political events and if it is successful in pushing the Wicked Witch of Chappaqua past the finish line this November, it may have achieved its greatest triumph.
A note by PT: We have decided to introduce a new term for the mainstream media in light of the astonishing “Gleichschaltung” of the Western press in recent years. The recent propaganda effort on behalf of Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump is the sad culmination of a trend that has been in train for many years. It is so blatant and brazen, that we will henceforth refer to the MSM as the “Pravda Complex”. Pravda is the Russian word for truth, and was the name of the former Soviet Union’s largest newspaper. Early in his career, Stalin was incidentally the Pravda’s editor. Most people in the Soviet Union were well aware that they were lied to, especially in the final two decades when the communist system entered its accelerated decay phase. Articles in newspapers such as the Pravda were widely ridiculed in private. The propaganda was rather obvious, simply because reality offered such a stark contrast to the glowing descriptions of the party’s achievements. In that sense, today’s Western Pravda Complex is more insidious and dangerous, as many people have not yet fully realized what a thicket of lies and omissions they represent.
There has been no greater advocate of mass Muslim migration into Europe than the purported head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis. At a recent conference, he urged that “asylum seekers” be accepted, “through the acts of mercy that promote their integration into the European context and beyond.”*
Before we let Antonius continue with his refreshingly politically incorrect disquisition, we want to remind readers of two previous articles that have appeared here on the topic of the current pope, one that contrasted Pope John Paul II’s deep understanding of economics and economic freedom with the muddled socialism of Pope Francis (see A Tale of Two Popes for the details) and our critique of Francis’ green-red encyclical Laudatio Si – Sulla Cura Della Casa Commune (see Papal Eco-Hysteria for the details on that one). Frankly, we have no idea what possessed the College of Cardinals when it picked him. Since when does the Church feel a need to pander to the left?
Wicked and Terrible
After touting her pro-labor union record, the Wicked Witch of Chappaqua rhetorically asked, “why am I not 50 points ahead?” Her chief rival bluntly responded: “because you’re terrible.”* No truer words have been uttered by any of the candidates about one of their opponents since the start of this extraordinary presidential campaign!
Electoral map (note that the coloration may no longer be applicable…)
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who was once laudably referred to as “Maestro” for his supposed astute stewardship of U.S. monetary policy, commented last week on the nation’s current political and economic climate:
“We’re not in a stable equilibrium. I hope we can all find a way out because this too great a country to be undermined, by how should I say it, crazies.”*
Help! The crazies are coming! And the Russians too, now that we think about it. Best hide under your desks!
War: A Warning from the Past
Although history does not exactly repeat itself, it does provide parallels and sometimes quite ominous ones. Such is the case with the current U.S. Presidential election and the one which occurred one hundred years earlier.
The Donald probably has the better slogan…
The “Scientific” Fig Leaf for Statism and Interventionism
To the economic and political detriment of the Western world and those economies beyond which have adopted its precepts, 2016 marks the eightieth anniversary of the publication of one of, if not, the most influential economics books ever penned, John Maynard Keynes’ The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.
The mere fact that the book is lauded by TIME magazine on the cover should give everyone pause. We have taken it upon us to read this tome in its entirety, which proved to be quite a slog (the effects alternated between putting us to sleep and making us shake our head in wonderment as to how anyone familiar with economic theory could have taken this stuff seriously at the time of its publication). The idea was that in order to criticize an economic and political philosophy, one should know what it is actually about. That is by the way one of the many differences between us and Keynesians like Mr. Krugman, who occasionally publishes critical appraisals of Austrian economic theory, although he has evidently not read a single word of it. He has that in common with his hero Keynes, who according to Gottfried Haberler wrote a scathing review of Mises’ Theory of Money and Credit without having read it (!) – not exactly a display of intellectual honesty. It is unfortunately true though, as the cover spells out, that this book is the, or at least a “foundation of modern-day economics”. In case you were wondering why the economy is seemingly mired in perpetual malaise, look no further. Readers who lack the patience to face the superficiality, boredom and endless contradictions of the original text may want to check out Henry Hazlitt’s extensive critique The Failure of the “New Economics” (pdf, available for free), which makes the exercise a lot more interesting and entertaining. As an aside, putting quote marks around “New Economics” was entirely legitimate. Most of what Keynes wrote had already been propagated by a long line of interventionist cranks who preceded him, refuted by their contemporaries.
Most read in the last 20 days:
- Gold Sector Update – What Stance is Appropriate?
The Technical Picture - a Comparison of Antecedents We wanted to post an update to our late December post on the gold sector for some time now (see “Gold – Ready to Spring Another Surprise?” for the details). Perhaps it was a good thing that some time has passed, as the current juncture seems particularly interesting. We received quite a few mails from friends and readers recently, expressing concern about the inability of gold stocks to lead, or even confirm strength in gold of...
- Incrementum Advisory Board Meeting, Q1 2017 and Some Additional Reflections
Looming Currency and Liquidity Problems The quarterly meeting of the Incrementum Advisory Board was held on January 11, approximately one month ago. A download link to a PDF document containing the full transcript including charts an be found at the end of this post. As always, a broad range of topics was discussed; although some time has passed since the meeting, all these issues remain relevant. Our comments below are taking developments that have taken place since then into...
- Trump and the Draining of the Swamp
Swamp Critters BALTIMORE – The Dow is back above the 20,000-point mark. Federal debt, as officially tallied, is up to nearly $20 trillion. The two go together, egging each other on. The Dow is up 20 times since 1980. So is the U.S. national debt. Debt feeds the stock market and the swamp. What’s not up so much is real output, as measured by GDP. It’s up only 6.4 times over the same period. Debt and asset prices have been rising three times as fast as GDP for 36 years! Best...
- Gold and Silver Divergence – Precious Metals Supply and Demand
Gold and Silver Divergence – Precious Metals Supply and Demand Last week, the prices of the metals went up, with the gold price rising every day and the silver price stalling out after rising 42 cents on Tuesday. The gold-silver ratio went up a bit this week, an unusual occurrence when prices are rising. Everyone knows that the price of silver is supposed to outperform — the way Pavlov’s Dogs know that food comes after the bell. Speculators usually make it...
- When Trumponomics Meets Abenomics
Thirty Year Retread What will President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe talk about when they meet later today? Will they gab about what fishing holes the big belly bass are biting at? Will they share insider secrets on what watering holes are serving up the stiffest drinks? [ed. note: when we edited this article for Acting Man, the meeting was already underway] Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe, a dyed-in-the-wool Keynesian and militarist, meets America's...
- The Great Wailing
Regret and Suffering BALTIMORE – Victoribus spolia... So far, the most satisfying thing about the Trump win has been the howls and whines coming from the establishment. Each appointment – some good, some bad from our perspective – has brought forth such heavy lamentations. Oh no! Alaric the Visigoth is here! Hide the women and children! And don't forget the vestal virgins, if you can find any... You’d think Washington had been invaded by Goths, now...
- Receive a One Percent Gift When Buying or Selling a Home
How to Save Money When Buying or Make More When Selling a Home In your professional capacity and perhaps also in your private life, you may be closely involved with financial and commodity markets. Trading in stocks, bonds or futures is part of your daily routine. Occasionally you probably have to deal with real estate as well though – if you e.g. want to purchase an apartment or a house, or if own a home you wish to sell. The people who took this photograph probably want to...
- Unleashing Wall Street
To Unleash or Not to Unleash, That is the Question... LOVINGSTON, VIRGINIA – Corporate earnings have been going down for nearly three years. They are now about 10% below the level set in the late summer of 2014. Why should stocks be so expensive? Example of something that one should better not unleash. The probability that a win-lose proposition will develop upon meeting it seems high. It wins, because it gets to eat... Image credit: Urs Hagen Oh,...
- Silver Futures Market Assistance – Precious Metals Supply and Demand
Silver Is Pushed Up Again This week, the prices of the metals moved up on Monday. Then the gold price went sideways for the rest of the week, but the silver price jumped on Friday. Taking off for real or not? Photo credit: NASA Is this the rocket ship to $50? Will Trump’s stimulus plan push up the price of silver? Or just push silver speculators to push up the price, at their own expense, again? This will again be a brief Report this week, as we are busy...
- Boondoggles for the Swamp Critters
Monster or Mozart? BALTIMORE – Investors seem to be holding their breath, like a man hiding a cigarette from his wife. It’s just a feeling, and it’s not the first time we’ve had it... but it feels as though it wouldn’t take much to send them all running. Actually, they're not going anywhere yet... but there is a lot of overconfidence by those who were very worried when prices were a lot better - click to enlarge. Meanwhile... we’re coming to a deep...
- The Art and Pseudoscience of Monetary Policy
Definitely Maybe Everyone’s got a plan for sale these days. In fact, there are so many plans out there we cannot keep up with them all. Eat celery sticks and lose weight. Think and grow rich. Stocks for the long run. Naturally, plans like these run a dime a dozen. All social engineers who get to impose their harebrained schemes on the rest of the world through the coercive powers of the State, as well as all armchair planners regaling us with their allegedly...
- California, Nestle and Decentralization
Goodbye, Socialist Paradise Nestle USA has announced that it will move its headquarters from Glendale, California, to Rosslyn, Virginia, taking with it about 1200 jobs. The once Golden State has lost some 1690 businesses since 2008 and a net outflow of a million of mostly middle-class people from the state from 2004 to 2013 due to its onerous tax rates, the oppressive regulatory burden, and the genuine kookiness which pervades among its ruling elites.* There has been a...