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 (and to many readers disagreeable) conclusion. Yes, we are closing in on profundity, struggling to hold on to the rim lest we fall into the well.

It has to do with Mr. Trump’s plans and how he really could Make America Great Again – and how nations and individuals should conduct their lives, including their financial lives: not by guessing about the future, but about doing the right thing in the present.

Each day brings new headlines. Trump does this. Trump does that. Good? Bad? Now we have a formula to judge.

“Trump Plans to Undo Dodd-Frank,” said The Wall Street Journal recently. Win-win? Or Win-lose? The answer is simple: Win-win! How do we know? Because Dodd-Frank was not voluntary. You couldn’t say “no.”

 

What a mouse trap would look like if it were designed like Frank-Dodd. It probably wouldn’t catch the mouse, but it might explode and send small shrapnel that used to be your house into orbit…

Cartoon by Marshall Ramsey

 

How about this, also from the WSJ: “The Trump administration is set to impose fresh sanctions on dozens of Iranian entities.” Win-win? Or Win-lose? You know the answer: Iran has no choice – win-lose.

Should You Invade Russia If You Think You Can Win? Should you shoot your neighbor and sleep with his wife if you think you can get away with it? Should you force interest rates down if you think it will stimulate the economy?

We have seen that only win-win deals add to the world’s satisfaction. And we’ve seen that there is only one criterion you need to ask: Did the parties – like bride and groom – enter it of their own free will? They may or may not get what they are looking for, but they’ll certainly get what they deserve.

Of course, any union is as likely to bring forth a monster as a Mozart. But we can’t sterilize every female or hold the future at bay. Tomorrow always comes. And it is always full of surprises – aborted missions, dead bodies, and unexpected losses.

 

Mozart in the thick of things.

Photo credit: AMLF

 

A representative from a dirt-poor region in Greece makes an impassioned speech in the assembly… the hot air gushing from his mouth collides with the cool breeze coming from Mount Olympus… and torrential rains cause flash floods in California.

All we know – only imperfectly – is what kind of deal is going down today. Win-win? Or is it win-lose? Is it consensual? Or is it rape? Is it “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”? Or is it merely “do unto others”?

 

Halftime Show

“Doing unto others” has its delights, as Genghis Khan noted.   You could burn Hillary Clinton at the stake during halftime at the Super Bowl. At least 100 million Americans might gawk in pleasure. Many would believe it was a good thing.

 

Genghis Khan was known to eschew luxury and generally was held to be a man of simple pleasures, as exemplified by this quote: “The greatest happiness is to scatter your enemy, to drive him before you,to see his cities reduced to ashes, to see those who love him shrouded in tears, and to gather into your bosom his wives and daughters.”

Photo via history.com

 

The U.S. government puts the value of a human life at $10 million. The ad revenue alone might make that one of the best investments of all time. But win-lose deals do not add to real wealth. And once you go down that road, you are headed to poverty,  if not to hell.

As we have seen, regulation, legislation… crony deals and zombie payoffs financed with fraudulent money – have hit the heartland hard. “Flyover” America loses; the winners are in the coastal swamps. So, let’s look at a couple more of “The Donald’s” proposals.

He’s proposed a tax cut, for example. On the face of it, that’s a win-win. The feds take less of your money. You have more left over for win-win deals. Wait –  you say he’s also proposing to take away the deductibility of business interest? Darn! Win-lose.

So, let’s move on – to bridges, dams, roadways, and docks. The president says he wants to spend more on infrastructure. Will it pay off? Who knows? Some projects will be useful. Some won’t.

Politicians, contractors, and insiders will surely benefit. Some people who use the facilities will benefit by accident. Everyone else pays for things they don’t want or don’t use.

But we don’t have to guess. We only have to ask: Can we just say “no”? If not, it’s another boondoggle for the swamp critters – and a bamboozle for the rest of us.

 

Can’t win against the swamp critters, at least they seem to think so…

Illustration by Stan Woch

 

Charts by: StockCharts, SentimenTrader

 

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: 12vB2LeWQNjWh59tyfWw23ySqJ9kTfJifA

   
 

2 Responses to “Boondoggles for the Swamp Critters”

  • wmbean:

    We shall always have boondoggles, to believe otherwise is to believe in the perfectibility of mankind here on this earth, a prerequisite of progressive liberalism beliefs. The question is whether the Donald will be able to reduce a portion of the waste in government spending. This is one of the Herculean tasks and should he be able to “reform” a portion of government spending then he would be regarded as a god. Remember, there are no win-win or win-lose situations, only the ying and the yang of our primal forces fighting for primacy.

  • Treepower:

    Is Trump really proposing to do way with deductibility of business interest? Can we have a source please and if it’s true, could PT please post on the manifold and serious consequences of such a revolutionary action? Wouldn’t this turn the monetary world on its head?

Your comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Most read in the last 20 days:

  • How to Buy Low When Everyone Else is Buying High
      When to Sell? The common thread running through the collective minds of present U.S. stock market investors goes something like this: A great crash is coming.  But first there will be an epic run-up climaxing with a massive parabolic blow off top.  Hence, to capitalize on the final blow off, investors must let their stock market holdings ride until the precise moment the market peaks – and not a moment more.  That’s when investors should sell their stocks and go to...
  • What Kind of Stock Market Purge Is This?
      Actions and Reactions Down markets, like up markets, are both dazzling and delightful. The shock and awe of near back-to-back 1,000 point Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) free-falls is indeed spectacular. There are many reasons to revel in it.  Today we shall share a few. To begin, losing money in a multi-day stock market dump is no fun at all.  We'd rather get our teeth drilled by a dentist.  Still, a rapid selloff has many positive qualities.   Memorable moments from...
  • Monetary Metals Brief 2018
      Short and Long Term Forecasts Predicting the likely path of the prices of the metals in the near term is easy. Just look at the fundamentals. We have invested many man-years in developing the theory, model, and software to calculate it. Every week we publish charts and our calculated fundamental prices.   A selection of 1 and ½ ounce gold bars – definitely more fondle-friendly than bitcoin, but a bit more cumbersome to send around. [PT]   However, predicting the...
  • US Stocks - Minor Dip With Potential, Much Consternation
      It's Just a Flesh Wound – But a Sad Day for Vol Sellers On January 31 we wrote about the unprecedented levels - for a stock market index that is - the weekly and monthly RSI of the DJIA had reached (see: “Too Much Bubble Love, Likely to Bring Regret” for the astonishing details – provided you still have some capacity for stock market-related astonishment). We will take the opportunity to toot our horn by reminding readers that we highlighted VIX calls of all things as a worthwhile...
  • Why I Own Gold and Gold Mining Companies – An Interview With Jayant Bandari
      Opportunities in the Junior Mining Sector Maurice Jackson of Proven and Probable has recently interviewed Jayant Bandari, the publisher of Capitalism and Morality and a frequent contributor to this site. The topics discussed include currencies, bitcoin, gold and above all junior gold stocks (i.e., small producers and explorers). Jayant shares some of his best ideas in the segment, including arbitrage opportunities currently offered by pending takeovers – which is an area that generally...
  • When Budget Deficits Will Really Go Vertical
      Mnuchin Gets It United States Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin has a sweet gig.  He writes rubber checks to pay the nation’s bills.  Yet, somehow, the rubber checks don’t bounce.  Instead, like magic, they clear. How this all works, considering the nation’s technically insolvent, we don’t quite understand.  But Mnuchin gets it.  He knows exactly how full faith and credit works – and he knows plenty more.   Master of the Mint and economy wizard Steven Mnuchin and...
  • “Strong Dollar”, “Weak Dollar” - What About a Gold-Backed Dollar?
      Contradictory Palaver The recent hullabaloo among President Trump’s top monetary officials about the Administration’s “dollar policy” is just the start of what will likely be the first of many contradictory pronouncements and reversals which will take place in the coming months and years as the world’s reserve currency continues to be compromised.  So far, the Greenback has had its worst start since 1987, the year of a major stock market reset.   A modern-day...
  • Seasonality of Individual Stocks – an Update
      Well Known Seasonal Trends Readers are very likely aware of the “Halloween effect” or the Santa Claus rally. The former term refers to the fact that stocks on average tend to perform significantly worse in the summer months than in the winter months, the latter term describes the typically very strong advance in stocks just before the turn of the year. Both phenomena apply to the broad stock market, this is to say, to benchmark indexes such as the S&P 500 or the...
  • The Future of Copper – Incrementum Advisory Board Meeting Q1 2018
      Copper vs. Oil The Q1 2018 meeting of the Incrementum Fund's Advisory Board took place on January 24, about one week before the recent market turmoil began. In a way it is funny that this group of contrarians who are well known for their skeptical stance on the risk asset bubble, didn't really discuss the stock market much on this occasion. Of course there was little to add to what was already talked about extensively at previous meetings. Moreover, the main focus was on the topic...
  • US Equities – Retracement Levels and Market Psychology
      Fibonacci Retracements   Following the recent market swoon, we were interested to see how far the rebound would go. Fibonacci retracement levels are a tried and true technical tool for estimating likely targets – and they can actually provide information beyond that as well. Here is the S&P 500 Index with the most important Fibonacci retracement levels of the recent decline shown:   So far, the SPX has made it back to the 61.8% retracement level intraday, and has weakened...

Support Acting Man

Item Guides

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