A Salutary Effect

BALTIMORE – “Ike and Dick Sure to Click” was an exciting election slogan. Their Democratic opponents, Adlai Stevenson and Estes Kefauver, had their snazzy campaign jingle, too: “Adlai and Estes… They’re the Bestes.”

Surely, the men behind these slogans had their private hungers and perversions. But they kept them to themselves. The 1956 presidential election campaign was a dull affair.

 

Google “Adlai Stevenson’s wife,” and you will get only the barest biographical information. But Google “Melania Trump” or “Heidi Cruz”… oh la la! Just be sure there are no children around.

 

melania-trump-1-800Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? The reality TV election is here!

Photo credit: Kena Betancur / AFP / Getty, Scott Olson / Getty

 

It’s all out in the open now. This is the most entertaining election in U.S. history… and the first episode of Reality Democracy, in which the only apparent goal – or effect – is to get the ratings up.

When we were in grammar school, the teacher told us that “anybody in this classroom could grow up to be president.” We looked around the room with dread and foreboding. But now it looks as though she was right.

But this election ought to have a very salutary effect on the public: No one will ever take an election seriously again.

 

Silver-Haired Crooks

On Easter Sunday, we met a smart man who confessed to having voted for Donald Trump in the Florida primary. Of course, we wanted to know: What was he thinking? More on that in a moment…

A headline in yesterday’s paper jolted us away from the election. “Japan’s hard-up retirees turn to crime,” begins the headline in the Financial Times.

 

recidivist pensioners in JapanA gang of elderly recidivists in a Japanese jail. We apologize for using a kind of tinny word here.

Photo credit: Kiyoshi Ota / Bloomberg

 

After years of QE (quantitative easing), ZIRP (zero-interest-rate policy), NIRP (negative-interest-rate policy), and Abenomics (Japanese prime minister Shinzō Abe’s stimulus-focused economic policies) – which is to say, all the standard deviations of modern central banking – older Japanese people must now break the law… to get “free board and lodging behind bars.”

Is this what is coming to the U.S.? “Yes,” is the safe answer. Japan has been ahead of us on this entire trip. Its stock market crashed in 1989. That led to a Great Recession, which the authorities fought like the Imperial Army defending Okinawa. Japanese policymakers invented QE… and for 26 years, they’ve held interest rates near zero.

 

Japan, rates and NikkeiJapanese interest rates and the Nikkei – the former are now at or below zero, the latter remains about 60% below its all time high made more than 26 years ago – click to enlarge.

 

Shinzō Abe became prime minister specifically to end Japan’s quarter-century-long slump. He failed. The “three arrows” of his Abenomics platform – fiscal stimulus, monetary easing, and structural reform – seem to have driven the defenders even further to ground.

 

Hard Choices

It should, by now, be obvious to everyone that William McChesney Martin was right. As the ninth chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, he was the man on duty during the election cycle of 1956.

And he was the man responsible for “normalizing” interest rates, after the Fed’s war-time deal with the Treasury to help fund the deficit with ultra-low rates. Some feared this would trigger economic calamity. But Martin saw clearly what his homologues of the 21st century would rather go blind than see:

 

“Under the hard choices left to us in wartime, we had to dictate even some of the smallest details of our economic life, but that strait jacketing of the economy is wholly inconsistent with democratic institutions and a private enterprise system…

In a Free Market, rates can go down as well as up and thus perform their proper function in the price mechanism. Dictated money rates breed dictated prices all across the board.”

 

He then described the consequences of what would become the Bernanke-Yellen Money Dictatorship:

 

[W]e would have no reliable safeguard against the erosion of our savings, our pensions, our life insurance policies – the capital upon which the institutions of private enterprise rest…

 

15 Mar 1951, Washington, DC, USA --- Original caption: 3/15/1951-Washington, DC- William McChesney Martin, Jr., above, has been named to succeed Thomas B. McCabe as Chairman and member of the Federal Reserve Board. Martin, now Assistant Treasury Secretary, was recomissioned by McCabe, who has resigned.William McChesney Martin, old school central banker (this species is reportedly extinct).

Photo credit: Bettmann / Corbis

 

So far, Mr. Bernanke and Ms. Yellen seem to have the matter under control. We see no erosion of the value of our financial assets. Instead, stocks and bonds have gone up in price.

But the companies behind them are now encrusted with crony barnacles like an old boat. The boat slows… and rides lower and lower in the water. Real capital formation declines… productivity sinks… wages stagnate…

And then, you have people who get poorer, not richer… and silver-haired crooks… desperate to be behind bars, where they find warm beds and old friends. Mr. Martin, who lived to be 91 years old and died in 1998, would have understood it.

 

The Genius of Trump

But let’s return to our intelligent friend, casting his vote in the primaries for Donald J. Trump:

“I know him well. He’s a friend of mine,” he began.

“A lot of the things he says you can’t take literally,” he replied under cross examination.

“Like that wall. He’s not going to build a wall. The Mexicans aren’t going to pay for it. But it’s a great image. It’s one that sticks in your mind.

 

trumpswallPardon us for sticking images into your mind…

Image via flipflopflyin.com

 

“You get lost when you talk about trade policies and export account deficits. People don’t know what you are talking about. And they take you for another Hillary Clinton or some other Beltway Insider. Blah, blah, blah… more of the same.

“But the wall is a strong image. It announces that Trump is different. And he’s going to protect the American people. That’s all it’s meant to do. It’s not meant to be taken literally.

“That’s why Donald Trump is a genius. He’s able to communicate in a different way. The wall image tells people what they really want to know, without getting lost in details.

“He’ll do things differently. And that’s why the cronies and the Deep State are so afraid of him.”

 

Chart by: St. Louis Federal Reserve Research

 

Chart and image captions by PT

 

The above article originally appeared at the Diary of a Rogue Economist, written for Bonner & Partners. Bill Bonner founded Agora, Inc in 1978. It has since grown into one of the largest independent newsletter publishing companies in the world. He has also written three New York Times bestselling books, Financial Reckoning Day, Empire of Debt and Mobs, Messiahs and Markets.

 

 

 

Emigrate While You Can... Learn More

 


 

 
 

Dear Readers!

You may have noticed that our so-called “semiannual” funding drive, which started sometime in the summer if memory serves, has seamlessly segued into the winter. In fact, the year is almost over! We assure you this is not merely evidence of our chutzpa; rather, it is indicative of the fact that ad income still needs to be supplemented in order to support upkeep of the site. Naturally, the traditional benefits that can be spontaneously triggered by donations to this site remain operative regardless of the season - ranging from a boost to general well-being/happiness (inter alia featuring improved sleep & appetite), children including you in their songs, up to the likely allotment of privileges in the afterlife, etc., etc., but the Christmas season is probably an especially propitious time to cross our palms with silver. A special thank you to all readers who have already chipped in, your generosity is greatly appreciated. Regardless of that, we are honored by everybody's readership and hope we have managed to add a little value to your life.

   

Bitcoin address: 1DRkVzUmkGaz9xAP81us86zzxh5VMEhNke

   
 

One Response to “Are We Becoming a Nation of Silver-Haired Crooks?”

  • paranumre:

    “He’ll do things differently”? Please define differently. Obama was going to give us “change” and sure enough he did. I’m with the deep state, I’m afraid of Trump too.

Your comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Most read in the last 20 days:

  • Japan: It isn’t What the Media Tell You
      Known for Being Terrible For the past few decades, Japan has been known for its stagnant economy, falling stock market, and most importantly its terrible demographics.     A chart of Japan's much-bewailed demographic horror-show. Most people consider a declining population to be a bad thing due to the implications for assorted state-run pay-as-you-go Ponzi schemes, primarily those related to retirement. It is hard to be sympathetic, since it would have been possible to...
  • An Update on Polly: She May be Coming Back to Life
      A Twitch of a Toe In our recent update on credit spreads we proposed to use the seemingly deceased  Monty Python parrot Polly as a stand-in for the suspicion of creditors in today's markets.  The question was whether Polly was indeed dead or merely in a deep coma. Depending on this, one should be able to gauge how powerful a miracle will be required to resurrect her.   Meet Polly. Is she alive?   In the first half of November there was actually a small sign that...
  • The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Being an Idiot
      Style Over Substance There are many things that could be said about the GOP tax bill.  But one thing is certain.  It has been a great show. Obviously, the time for real solutions to the debt problem that’s ailing the United States came and went many decades ago.  Instead of addressing the Country’s mounting insolvency, lawmakers chose expediency without exception.  They kicked the can from yesterday to today.   The empty chairs meeting – this is slightly...
  • The Zealous Pursuit of State-Sponsored Collapse
      When Bakers Go Fishing Government intervention into a nation’s economy is as foolish as attempting to control the sun’s rise and fall by law or force.  But that doesn’t mean governments don’t meddle each and every day with the best – and worst – of intentions.  The United States government is no exception.   From the “When the government helps the economy” collection: Breaking a few eggs while baking the bridge to nowhere omelet. [PT]   Over the...
  • Precious Metals Supply and Demand – Thanksgiving Week
      Grain of Salt Required The price of gold fell $7, and that of silver 24 cents. This was a holiday shortened week, due to Thanksgiving on Thursday in the US (and likely thin trading and poor liquidity on Wednesday and Friday). So take the numbers this week, including the basis, with a grain of that once-monetary commodity, salt. We will keep the market action commentary brief.   Relatively modern examples of salt money which was widely used in African countries until the...
  • What’s the Point? Precious Metals Supply and Demand Report
      Questions and Answers A reader emailed us, to ask a few pointed questions. Paraphrasing, they are:   Who cares if dollars are calculated in gold or gold is calculated in dollars? People care only if their purchasing power has grown. What is the basis good for? Is it just mathematical play for gold theorists? How does knowing the basis help your readers? Is it just a theoretical explanation of what has already happened? Prove that if someone has known the basis...
  • The Stock Market and the FOMC
      An Astonishing Statistic As the final FOMC announcement of the year approaches, we want to briefly return to the topic of how the meeting tends to affect the stock market from a statistical perspective. As long time readers may recall, the typical performance of the stock market in the trading days immediately ahead of FOMC announcements was quite remarkable in recent decades. We are referring to the Seaonax event study of the average (or seasonal) performance across a very large...
  • The Party of Spend More vs. the Party of Tax Less
      Eternal Spendathon The Senate just passed a 500-page tax reform bill. Assuming it lives up to its promise, it will cut taxes on corporations and individuals. Predictably, the Left hates it and the Right loves it. I am writing to argue why the Right should hate it (no, not for the reason the Left does, a desire to get the rich).   The Federal debtberg has grown beyond all measure since Nixon's gold default. So has the money supply and the amount of private debt. No-one...
  • The Santa Claus Rally is Especially Pronounced in the DAX
      The Gift that Keeps on Giving Every year a certain stock market phenomenon is said to recur, anticipated with excitement by investors: the Santa Claus rally. It is held that stock prices typically rise quite frequently and particularly strongly just before the turn of the year.   Unbeknown to many, Santa Claus paid a high price for enriching investors [PT]   I want to show you the Santa Claus rally in the German DAX Index as an example. Price moves are often...
  • Heaven Forbid Peace Should Break Out Between the US and North Korea!
      Rude Interruptions As long as the US Empire can be funded and maintained on the backs of its taxpaying public, the chance of a deescalation of tensions not only on the Korean peninsula, but throughout the world are practically nil.  And as long as the nation’s current interventionist ideology holds sway, it will only be through a financial meltdown that the role of the US as global policeman will come to a much-needed end.   Hamhung, North Korea, June 30, 1950; an example...
  • The Rug Yank Phase of Fed Policy
      Bogus Jobs Pay Big Bucks The political differences of today’s two leading parties are not over ultimate questions of principle.  Rather, they are over opposing answers to the question of how a goal can be achieved with the least sacrifice.  For lawmakers, the goal is to promise the populace something for nothing, while pretending to make good on it.   The short and sweet definition of democratic elections by eminent American wordsmith and political philosopher H.L. Mencken...

Support Acting Man

Top10BestPro
j9TJzzN

Austrian Theory and Investment

Archive

350x200

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

Realtime Charts

 

Gold in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Gold in EUR:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Silver in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Platinum in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

USD - Index:

[Most Recent USD from www.kitco.com]

 

 
Buy Silver Now!
 
Buy Gold Now!
 

Oilprice.com