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Apr 9, 2021

4.9.21 - Inflation Moves Investors Toward Gold

Gold last traded at $1,744 an ounce. Silver at $25.25 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices eased Friday as a jump in inflation data boosted interest rates and the dollar. U.S. stocks hovered near record highs despite a 1% rise in wholesale prices last month - twice the rate forecast.

As Talk Turns to Inflation, Some Investors Look to Gold –DNyuz

"Inflation is back in the news and so, of course, is interest in gold.

After years of dormancy, inflation is expected to rise a bit this summer. It is even possible that as Americans emerge from Covid-19 induced seclusion, their pent-up demand will overheat the economy and weaken the dollar.

Those concerns have put the spotlight on gold, which has long been viewed as a hedge against inflation, a declining dollar and an unstable stock market....

'For investors who are looking for a hedge in their portfolio, commodities in general and gold specifically can be a good play,' said Katerina Simonetti, senior vice president at Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management in Philadelphia. 'The goal is to ensure positive long-term performance at a lower level of risk.'....

Keep a small percentage of a portfolio in gold and other precious metals in the hope that this will be a long-term stabilizer.

'In a world where equity prices continue to elevate untethered to any fundamentals, precious metals as a small amount of diversification makes sense,' said David Trainer, chief executive of New Constructs, an investment research firm based in Nashville....

'There is a psychological component in owning gold that goes back for centuries,' Ms. Simonetti said. 'It's an asset that gives peace of mind to investors. It just makes investors feel safe and secure.'"


War on Cash: The Next Phase -Rickards/Daily Reckoning

"With so much news about an economic reopening, a border crisis, massive government spending and exploding deficits, it's easy to overlook the ongoing war on cash.

That's a mistake because it has serious implications not only for your money, but for your privacy and personal freedom, as you’ll see today.

Cash prevents central banks from imposing negative interest rates because if they did, people would withdraw their cash from the banking system.

If they stuff their cash in a mattress, they don’t earn anything on it; that's true. But at least they're not losing anything on it.

Once all money is digital, you won’t have the option of withdrawing your cash and avoiding negative rates. You will be trapped in a digital pen with no way out....

Let's first understand that governments enjoy a monopoly on money creation, and they’re not about to surrender that monopoly to digital currencies like Bitcoin....

Anyone who controls the money controls political power, the economy, and people's lives.

Enter the 'central bank digital currency', known as CBDC...Unlike cryptos, CBCDs aren't new currencies. They'll still be dollars, euros, yen or yuan, just as they are today. But these currencies will only be digital; there won't be any paper money or cash allowed. Only the format and payment channels will change....

The roll-out of this new digital dollar may still be a few years away, but the implications are enormous. There's more at stake than just customer convenience....

A reaction to the proposed change has already begun. Major banks fear they will be completely cut out of the payments system. MasterCard and VISA are also concerned that their payment channels will be made redundant....

Governments will know your whereabouts and habits at all times simply by tracking your use of funds through the CBDC payment system....

If cash is gone, there is only one way to escape digital surveillance of wealth - physical gold."

Janet Yellen Is Serious, and That's Really Sad -Tamny/Real Clear Markets

"Without anything remotely resembling a smirk, or a wink, Yellen called for politicians around the world to band together on corporate taxes. She seeks equality when it comes to tax rates. In Yellen's words, 'Together, we can use a global minimum tax to make sure the global economy thrives based on a level playing field in the taxation of multinational corporations.' Yellen was serious.

Where do we begin?

Up front, Yellen's implicit acknowledgement is that members of the American right were correct all along. Businesses are people, and people respond to tax rates. If they become too onerous, people migrate away from them. It turns out people are mobile, which means corporations are.

Yellen wants to ensnare corporations. This explains her call to allegedly avoid a 'race to the bottom' whereby corporations take their wealth and talent to the tax situations that most protect the wealth of their shareholders. In other words, if non-U.S. countries would just stop competing with the U.S. by lowering their corporate tax rates, Yellen et al wouldn't have to fear U.S. companies exiting the U.S. Yes, Yellen aims to trap U.S. businesses.

It speaks to how simplistic and mean-spirited is her seriously expressed view about taxation. Yellen wants the U.S. Treasury to own more of the profits of U.S. companies, but she doesn't want to have to compete....

Yellen wants more of U.S. corporate profits, but doesn't want to work for them. More specifically, Yellen plainly feels individual U.S. tax rates aren’t high enough, so she seeks global tax harmonization on the corporate level in order to get another swipe at individuals....

All of which speaks to the abject foolishness behind Yellen's plea to other countries to join the U.S. in overtaxing corporations. She's calling for the confiscation of the very wealth that is relentlessly pushed to higher uses in order to create more and more once-out-of-reach goods for the masses."

I'm a capitalist, President Biden, and you're not -Thomas/Washington Times

"Back in the day when 'Saturday Night Live' was funny, Chevy Chase would open the 'Weekend Update' segment by saying, 'I'm Chevy Chase ... and you're not.'

That line came to mind over President Biden's massive tax-and-spend proposals, which are unlike anything since FDR, after whom Mr. Biden appears to be modeling himself. The president thinks he's a capitalist ... but he's not.

In a very short time, we have regressed from Ronald Reagan's 'government is not the solution to our problem, government IS our problem' and Bill Clinton's declaration that 'the era of big government is over' to Mr. Biden's belief that the era of big government is just beginning.

Let's define two terms. First, capitalism: 'an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.'

Now, socialism: 'a theory or system of social organization that advocates the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, capital, land, etc., by the community as a whole, usually through a centralized government.'....

The obvious question then becomes, if big government can solve our problems, why hasn't it solved them by now?....

How is returning to the bad old days of higher taxes going to convince those companies that returned home to stay home? No reporter has asked that question and no one in the Biden administration has voluntarily offered an explanation."

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Apr 8, 2021

4.8.21 - Will Gold & Silver Prices Double or Triple?

Gold last traded at $1,755 an ounce. Silver at $25.50 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose Thursday on technical buying and a weaker dollar. U.S. stocks traded mixed - despite a tech rally - after worse-than-expected jobless claims.

Can Gold and Silver Prices Double or Triple as Rising Inflation Destroys Savers' Wealth? -FX Empire

"Back in 1933 when an ounce of gold was trading at only $20 per ounce, the median income for the average American household was about $1500 a year. So as you can well imagine, $20 back then could go a very long way. You could essentially go to the most expensive store in Beverly Hills and buy the most expensive suit for $20 and upon discovering this careless spending, your family and friends would think you are insane to have spent $20 on a single suit.

Now imagine you had two $20 bills in 1933 and you put one of them under your mattress and turn the other one into an ounce of gold. Fast forward to today, 88 years later. The $20 under your mattress can buy you a couple of burgers, some fries and if you are lucky, you might get some change back. However, the ounce of gold you had purchased, if you sold it at today’s spot price of $1730, it would enable you to go back to that same store in Beverly Hills, buy that same suit and never hear the end of it from your family and friends on the insanity of having spent that much money on a single suit.

The purpose of that example was to demonstrate how much the value of your money has dropped over the years and how gold could have prevented that loss in your purchasing power almost a century later....

One of my late father’s favorite saying was 'Time is your money's worst enemy!' I didn't quite understand this sentiment till years later when I realized he was talking about my money's 'buying power' eroding with each passing year. Below is an example of the US Dollar’s depletion in value over the past 45 years and how time can destroy our hard-earned cash....

This is interesting because in the past 20 years the annual income has gone up by just 47% while the price of gold has moved up over 520%, so back then your money could have purchased nearly 450% more gold than it does today. That’s how much your money has lost in value. WOW!

Why am I measuring your dollar's buying power with the price of gold? That's what moves the gold spot price, the value of your dollar. The inverse relationship between gold and the dollar determines the buying power of your money.

Folks, you have a choice to make: Sit on your excess cash and let it collect dust at near-zero interest rate while losing its value year after year, or protect it with gold and silver. Your decision will determine your buying power in the years to come as politicians fight over every pity thing in Washington while our national debt and deficit continue to soar....

You can sit back and do nothing or you can be proactive and protect your hard-earned money with time-tested hard currencies like gold and silver."

big government American Bloat Plan -Hendrix/City Journal

"The release of President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan raises the question: is everything infrastructure now? Some $400 billion = a quarter of the entire package - goes toward 'aging care.' That’s infrastructure, apparently. Fifty billion dollars in manufacturing subsidies? Infrastructure. Twenty-five billion for child care? Infrastructure. The only part that isn’t infrastructure is trillions of dollars in new taxes.

By comparison, just 6 percent of the American Jobs Plan package goes toward roads and bridges, or $115 billion for what old-fashioned people might think of as infrastructure....

Is the Biden plan one of America’s most ambitious investments in infrastructure in generations - or is it the Green New Deal disguised as a unionizing jobs program and paid for by a job-killing tax hike?....

Where Biden's infrastructure plan really goes off the rails, though, is the $980 billion allocated for the 'care economy' and the clean economy. From manufacturing subsidies to extending Medicaid, this reads more like a Democratic wish list than an infrastructure bill....

For now, Biden’s plan is more aspiration than reality. The devil is in the details - and in Congress. States and localities might also demand more dollars for physical infrastructure and a greater say on where those dollars go, but for the time being, the feds are in the driver's seat. And if there's one thing that remains true in Washington, it's that the bigger the bill, the greater the bloat.

If President Biden wants to claim his American Jobs Plan as a legacy-making, 'once-in-a-generation investment in America,' he should start by making it actually about physical infrastructure - and invest wisely."

Investors Driving Stock Gains With Borrowed Money -Wall Street Journal

"The 'everything rally' that started in stocks last year has been boosted by investors betting money they have borrowed. That includes both small players like the day traders on Robinhood Markets Inc. and heavyweights like Archegos Capital Management, the investing firm that triggered a mini meltdown for several companies’ stocks.

As of late February, investors had borrowed a record $814 billion against their portfolios, according to data from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Wall Street’s self-regulatory arm. That was up 49% from one year earlier, the fastest annual increase since 2007, during the frothy period before the 2008 financial crisis. Before that, the last time investor borrowings had grown so rapidly was during the dot-com bubble in 1999....

Some analysts say run-ups in margin debt contribute to bubbles, and they fear that today’s levels of borrowing will hurt investors if the market has a downturn.

'It fuels bull markets and it exacerbates bear markets and to a certain extent you put it on the list of irrational exuberance,' said Edward Yardeni, president of consulting firm Yardeni Research. 'The further that this stock market goes, the higher that margin debt will go, and when something blows up that will be one of the factors for why stocks are going down.'

Margin trading is a double-edged sword. Borrowing money gives investors more buying power, but it also puts them at greater risk. When stocks fall, lenders can ask investors to put up more collateral or sell the shares, a demand known as a margin call.

Some regulators have voiced concern about investors taking on too much leverage, the broad term for when investors put on big trades with a relatively small amount of money, usually by borrowing....The lack of transparency in this market makes it not possible for the average market participant to know what is going on."

Older Americans can generate a post-COVID ‘vaccine dividend’ for the U.S. economy -Freedman/MarketWatch

"Like so many other older people flocking to the Oakland Coliseum FEMA supersite, I was there to get my COVID vaccination...Within a half hour, I was headed home, shocked at moving towards a safety that long seemed out of reach.

I’m still overwhelmed by feelings of liberation and gratitude. Liberation to be able to reconnect soon with family, friends, neighbors, society. Gratitude at having been given priority, by virtue of my age, at a time when so many others are still waiting their turn. And I feel a sense of responsibility, too - determined to make the most of my safer status. I suspect I’m not alone.

More than three-quarters of Americans 65 and over have already received at least one shot. We’ve been given priority status because of our vulnerability to the virus.

We’re an army of older people in a position to use our experience, wisdom, and antibodies to pay back the investment in us. Call it the Vaccine Dividend. It’s time to call on older Americans to roll up our sleeves a second time, to give ourselves to a higher cause and join those idealistic young people in getting our nation back on its feet....

I suggest that the president point us to a provision buried in the American Rescue Plan: a $1 billion infusion of new money for national service. What beautiful irony that a powerful path to purpose and connection for America’s elders, the generation the Peace Corps was created for in the first place, resides in service.

I’d like to see a call not only to serve, but to serve alongside younger people - like those young people who put the vaccine in my arm. Why not a co-generational call that meets the moment, helping to vaccinate more Americans and rebuild the nation’s social fabric? A corps aimed not just at surviving the pandemic, but at thriving beyond it.

Such a mobilization might produce both a talent windfall and a windfall of understanding, especially if it’s designed to bring older and younger people together in ways that remind us of our common humanity and help prepare us for the reality of navigating the multigenerational, multiracial society that will be a hallmark of this century."

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Apr 7, 2021

4.7.21 - We Don't Need 21st Century 'New Deal'

Gold last traded at $1,741 an ounce. Silver at $25.25 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices traded steady Wednesday on a weaker dollar. U.S. stocks were little changed as investors awaited details from the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting.

U.S. Mint sells 412K ounces of gold coins in Q1; best start to the year since 1999 -Kitco

"Investors are taking advantage of lower prices to load up on the physical metal as the U.S. Mint sees its best start to the year and the best quarterly sales in more than 20 years.

Sales data compiled by the U.S. mint shows that 412,000 ounces in various denominations of American Eagle Gold bullion coins were sold in the first quarter of 2021, up more than 88% from the first quarter of 2020.

This is the largest sales pace for the mint since the third quarter of 1999. The strong quarterly numbers were supported by hefty sales in January and February....

'In a world of uncertainty, investors are eager to get their hands on physical gold,' said Ronald-Peter Stoeferle, fund management at Incrementum AG. 'This rise in physical demand will provide important support for gold's long-term bull market.'

'Gold is a lot cheaper compared to other overvalued assets. Physical gold has also proven its validity over the years,' Mr. Stoeferle added.

Silver bullion demand also saw a strong start to the year as the U.S. Mint sold 12.05 million one-ounce American Eagle silver bullion coins. Silver coin demand is up 20% compared to the first quarter of 2020."

lady liberty Who's to Blame for America’s Decline? -Bonner/Rogue Economics

"Our view, for the benefit of new readers, is that the U.S. went badly off the rails around 20 years ago.

Since then, by almost every measure, it has been slipping and sliding downward. In everything, from life expectancies to income to GDP growth to freedom… to marriage rates and church attendance… America has lost ground....

Decisions have consequences. You leave a nail sticking up on the job site. Inevitably, someone will step on it.

And there are always cycles - cycles of learning and forgetting… cycles of building up and tearing down… of civilizing and uncivilizing.

Economic cycles are inevitable. But it's still a 'moral' world, in the sense that somebody left the damn nail sticking up!

Who’s to blame for America’s decline?

American economist Milton Friedman forged one of the nails. That is, he was instrumental in creating the new money system put in place in 1971.

People were already limping in the late 1970s - U.S. inflation was already in the double digits.

But then, Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker rescued the money system in 1980.

Then, quietly - and to the delight of millions - the new money did its damage, undermining the nation's economy and its political institutions for the next 40 years.

Today, thanks to all the feds' fake money, U.S. GDP growth rates are barely half of those from the 1970s and 1980s… and the nails are getting tossed out like confetti."

We don't need Biden's 21st century 'New Deal' -Reason

"The U.S. economy added 916,000 jobs in March, the Labor Department said Friday, far exceeding the Dow Jones estimate forecasting that payrolls would increase by 675,000. Unemployment fell to 6 percent.

It's the fastest growth the country has seen since August 2020 and a sign that the U.S. is bouncing back after a year of COVID-19 restrictions that hamstrung the economy...Notably, the uptick materialized without manipulation, casting doubt on the idea that we need President Joe Biden's American Jobs Plan to chart a return to productivity.

The proposal would pour $2 trillion into U.S. infrastructure. True to the plan's name, it's not really about that. It's about creating jobs - specifically union jobs, the likes of which directly contribute to the dizzyingly-high price of American infrastructure....

It's certainly true that U.S. workers experienced quite the shock this past year in the face of government-imposed lockdown orders and individual caution over the COVID-19 pandemic, upending livelihoods across a slew of sectors. Luckily, the country already has a solution: the vaccine, which is the key to rebounding both to normal life and a normal economy. Though Biden has reportedly sought to style himself after former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the U.S. does not actually need a 21st century New Deal.

Despite fearmongering to the contrary, the lifesaving vaccines are already helping to curb hospitalizations and deaths related to COVID-19....According to Axios, one estimate predicts the economy will grow by a full 8 percent in 2021 - 'the largest economic expansion for the U.S. in generations.'

'Business activity has returned to close to normal levels in much of the country despite the restrictions, with a tracker by Jefferies indicating that activity is at 93.5% of its pre-pandemic level,' reports CNBC."

MMT Is A Disaster Waiting To Happen -Rickards/Zero Hedge

"Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is the most potentially-damaging economic doctrine I have ever encountered, with the exception of communism...

Let's begin with the idea that the Fed and Treasury should be merged in practice so that the Fed will monetize any amount of spending or borrowing the Treasury wants.

The reason markets have any confidence at all in the Fed is precisely because they are perceived as independent of congressional spending plans. MMT takes this confidence for granted and assumes the Fed can just crank up the printing press whenever the Treasury likes....

MMT says that a currency issuer such as the U.S. can never go broke because it can simply print money to pay off the debt (provided the borrowings are in the same currency as the printed money). This may be true in some narrow, literal sense, but it does not mean investors have to wait around for the trainwreck.

The evidence is strong that debt-to-GDP ratios above 90% are a major headwind for growth. Today that ratio is 130% and heading higher. More borrowing does not produce growth; it simply makes the debt problem worse....

The MMT claim that U.S. citizens cannot repudiate the dollar because they need it to pay taxes is also nonsense. Nothing is easier than the legal avoidance of taxes....

MMT will fail and cause great economic hardship in its wake. The issue for investors is to discern how and when it will fail....The short-run winners will be cash and Treasury notes. The winners during the inflationary stages will be gold, silver, residential real estate, and commodities....

When inflation kicks in, even high nominal rates will be negative in real terms because of inflation. That’s when gold (and gold stocks) will skyrocket. The current price level for gold is an excellent entry point."

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Apr 6, 2021

4.6.21 - Housing: Prepare for 'Tidal Wave' of Distress

Gold last traded at $1,743 an ounce. Silver at $25.18 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose Tuesday on bargain-hunting and a weaker dollar. U.S. stocks traded mixed as investors took a breather on upbeat economic data.

Gold steady as inflation bets counter firm U.S. dollar -Reuters

"Gold prices held steady on Monday, buoyed by concerns over inflation after U.S. President Joe Biden announced a $2 trillion-plus jobs plan last week, while a stronger dollar and elevated U.S. Treasury yields limited bullion's upside....

The U.S. economy created the most jobs in seven months in March as more Americans got vaccinated and the government doled out additional pandemic relief money, marking the start of what could be the strongest economic performance this year in nearly four decades.

Shorter-dated U.S. Treasury yields held near 14-month peak, while the dollar its lost gains against major currencies on Monday after the U.S Labor Department reported stronger-than-forecast jobs growth in March.

Gold is seen as a hedge against rising inflation, but firmer Treasury yields, which translate into a higher opportunity cost for holding bullion, have challenged that status.

Despite the strong numbers the data will not alter the Federal Reserve's stance on monetary policy, Steven Ricchiuto, U.S. chief economist at Mizuho Securities USA in New York said."

fixit The President's Multitrillion-Dollar Gamble -Noonan/Wall Street Journal

"The Covid relief bill President Biden signed March 11 weighed in at almost $2 trillion. Last week's infrastructure bill also comes in at almost $2 trillion, and in a few weeks there will be a companion bill of the same magnitude. It's all big and bold, and you can see it making a million possible messes, from the the existential...Isn't inflation something to worry about?.

Yes, the White House is in a New Deal state of mind, they're rocking the Casbah, they feel they've got the wind at their back, and at this point they're more or less right. But this is a whole lot of spending and taxing in the first hundred days. It's a big political gamble.

The Infrastructure bill, according to the White House, will include $621 billion for infrastructure, $400 billion to increase care for the aging and disabled, $580 billion to boost manufacturing, and $300 billion for affordable housing. The public won’t dislike those goals. There's a lot more shoved in there too. The plan to pay for it is to raise the tax on corporate profits (from 21% to 28%) and corporate foreign earnings....

If there’s such a thing as cautious boldness, it would be a good attitude for the administration to adopt as it completes its first hundred days. It's a heady thing to win a White House....

There’s an immediate crisis at the border, and I suspect the only way out is something the president won’t do: Say he moved too quickly to improve the system, and warn in credible terms that if you come illegally we won’t let you in, we have a pandemic and unemployment and we can’t do that to our own citizens. So no, if you want to come to America you must do it the legal way.

If he can’t say something like that because his progressives will kill him, his progressives have gotten too powerful. It would probably do him some good to beat them back.

Beyond that there's the long-term crisis with China, on which there’s no real American governing strategy because we haven’t yet defined the full contours of the challenge....'Every crisis is an opportunity!' But some crises are just crises, and the administration already has plenty."

Mortgage Firms Warned to Prepare for a 'Tidal Wave' of Distress -Bloomberg/Yahoo Finance

"Mortgage companies could face penalties if they don’t take steps to prevent a deluge of foreclosures that threatens to hit the housing market later this year, a U.S. regulator said Thursday.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau warning is tied to forbearance relief that’s allowed million of borrowers to delay their mortgage payments due to the pandemic. To avoid what the bureau called “avoidable foreclosures” when the relief lapses, mortgage servicers should start reaching out to affected homeowners now to advise them on ways they can modify their loans.

'There is a tidal wave of distressed homeowners who will need help,' Dave Uejio, the CFPB’s acting director, said in a statement. 'Servicers who put struggling families first have nothing to fear from our oversight, but we will hold accountable those who cause harm to homeowners and families.'

In a separate compliance bulletin released Thursday, the CFPB said that companies 'that are unable to adequately manage loss mitigation can expect the bureau to take enforcement or supervisory action.'

More than 2 million borrowers as of January had either postponed their payments or failed to make them for at least three months, the bureau said. Once government-authorized forbearance plans begin to end in September, hundreds of thousands of people may need assistance getting back on track.

What's to come for dying malls -CNBC

"The future of the suburban shopping mall could look something like a mini community, with far fewer places to shop.

The U.S. mall owner Macerich announced Thursday it’s sold a majority stake in Paradise Valley Mall in Phoenix, for $100 million, to a joint venture with an affiliate of the Phoenix-based, mixed-use real estate company RED Development. The partners will convert the 92-acre site into a community with homes, offices and a grocery store.

The 1970s-era Paradise Valley Mall has been rezoned to allow the sprawling plot of land to include high-end grocery options, restaurants, 3.25 million square feet of residential space, office buildings and some retail shops.

'As the retail landscape continues to evolve here in Arizona and around the country, our decision to realize the market value of this non-core asset makes sense for Macerich,' Macerich President Ed Coppola said in a statement....

'America’s malls have reached the end of their useful life,' said Mark Toro, a managing partner in Atlanta of real estate developer North American Properties. 'Communities across the U.S. have turned their backs on what was once their center.'

'These properties often occupy real estate that would best be repurposed to better serve the community,' he said....Inside a mall in Burlington, Vermont, meantime, kids are now attending high school in what used to be a Macy’s department store."

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Apr 5, 2021

4.5.21 - Dollar's Status Drops To 25-Year Low

Gold last traded at $1,726 an ounce. Silver at $24.71 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices traded mixed Monday as upbeat economic data failed to boost the dollar. U.S. stocks climbed to record highs as investors cheered U.S. job growth last month amid the accelerating vaccine rollout.

'Parabolic rise' coming: Gold & silver will take off again -RT Business News

"Max Keiser interviews the author of 'The coming collapse of the dollar', John Rubino, about the relative weakness of gold in a time of endless money printing.

'Sector rotations happen,' says Rubino, adding that right now people aren't rotating back into precious metals but that time will come.

He explains: 'There will come a time when people realize that precious metals are among the only cheap safe haven assets left and they'll pour into it. And gold and silver will take off again, we'll see that parabolic rise. We'll be where the gold bugs have been hoping to be for a long time.'

The former financial analyst says that right now 'gold and silver and mining stocks are where you want to go if you want to beat capital gains.'"

vaccine passports Vaccine Passports Are Just the Beginning -Sexton/American Consequences

"Morning Joe is the premier MSNBC news program for latte liberals who worship snide elitism....He thinks outdoor transmission of COVID is a serious risk (it is not). He also clearly, wrongly believes that his favorite political foe - the 'toothless MAGA hat wearers' - are the only ones who reject vaccine passports… when in reality, vaccine hesitancy, in general, remains high among minority communities.

But Scarborough's scornful mentality toward those with vaccine passports concerns is representative of the Fauciite consensus… Agree to yet another infringement on liberty, or you're a troglodyte who wants to watch old people die… Accept another government mandate, or we will use the authority of the state to force you. There's no room for nuance or good faith discussion… Just shut up and double mask, peasant....

Yes, a vaccine passport is a straightforward idea. You would have a scannable or printed QR code that would signify you've been vaccinated. This would be used for access, we’re told, to sporting events and other large venues. New York State is already in the implementation phase, and the Joe Biden administration is considering how to push it at a national level through the private sector without the White House being directly responsible....

The privacy concerns for a vaccine passport are immense… You will be required to carry around proof of vaccination to any number of locations, and every time you’re scanned, it will create a digital record of your presence.

The use of such technology also raises innumerable questions… Will there be any other health data loaded onto the system? Who will enforce these rules?....

We are just at the earliest stage of this… The lockdowns and mask mandates have always been, at their core, about government expanding power and giving the most control-obsessed and self-righteous among us the ability to dictate everything to everyone else....

Vaccine passports may sound like a reasonable short-term measure in theory, but then again, so did '15 days to slow the spread.' And that was more than 365 days ago."

US Dollar's Status As Dominant "Global Reserve Currency" Drops To 25-Year Low -Zero Hedge

"Central banks getting nervous about the Fed’s drunken Money Printing and the US Government's gigantic debt? But still leery of the Chinese renminbi...

The global share of US-dollar-denominated exchange reserves dropped to 59.0% in the fourth quarter, according to the IMF’s COFER data released today. This matched the 25-year low of 1995. These foreign exchange reserves are Treasury securities, US corporate bonds, US mortgage-backed securities, US Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities, etc. held by foreign central banks.

Since 2014, the dollar’s share has dropped by 7 full percentage points, from 66% to 59%, on average 1 percentage point per year. At this rate, the dollar’s share would fall below 50% over the next decade.

The US dollar’s status as the dominant global reserve currency is a crucial enabler for the US government to keep ballooning its public debt, and for Corporate America’s relentless efforts to create the vast trade deficits by offshoring production to cheap countries, most prominently China and Mexico. They’re all counting on the willingness of other central banks to hold large amounts of dollar-denominated debt.

But it seems, central banks have been getting just a tad nervous and want to diversify their holdings – but ever so slowly, and not all of a sudden, given the magnitude of this thing, which, if mishandled, could blow over everyone’s house of cards.

Two decades ago, when the dollar had a share of about 70% of reserve currencies, a presumed competitor became day-to-day reality: The euro, which combined the currencies of the member states into one currency, thereby combining their weight as reserve currency. Since then, the dollar’s share has dropped by 11 percentage points."

Impending Doom, Indeed! -Stockman/Lew Rockwell

"We will not mince words. America is indeed suffering from a dangerous plague - a plague of misanthropic fear-mongering from the likes of Dr. Fauci, the Scarf Lady and the Biden’s new CDC director, among countless others of the self-designated Virus Patrol.

All three took to the mainstream media in recent days, with new CDC director Rochelle Walensky getting positively teary-eyed as she allegedly veered off-script to sound yet another Covid Alarm:

'I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,' Walensky said, appearing to hold back tears.

'We do not have the luxury of inaction. For the health of our country, we must work together now to prevent a fourth surge.'

What? Where? Wait! .... It seems that the reason for Walensky's alarm is that from the winter-flu season peak on January 13th, when the 7-day moving average reported 251,912 so-called 'new case', the 7-day rate had plummeted by 77.8% to 55,840 on March 15th, but as of March 28 it was down by only, um, 75.3%!....

Medical science and targeted help versus a blunderbuss non-science based political power grab is what the so-called Covid crisis has been about since the very beginning. It was another false crisis defined by the political class and their media subalterns to facilitate a further aggrandizement of the state.

All Causes Mortality Except Covid: # of deaths/rate per 100k, February 2020-March 2021:
0-17 years: 70,731 deaths/96.6 per 100k;
18-29 years: 98,083 deaths/183.1 per 100k;
30-49 years: 239,400 deaths/283.3 per 100k;
50-64 years: 581,170 deaths/923.8 per 100k;
65-74 years: 694,765 deaths/2,206 per 100k;
75-84 years: 840,052 deaths/5,260 per 100k;
85 years & older: 1,045,660 deaths/ 15,819 per 100k;
All age groups: 3,509,979 deaths/ 1,069 per 100k

Nor are these data unique to the U.S. Covid is an elderly-assaulting bully the world over.

But rather than protection of the bottom two classes of the population, the Covid became an excuse for house arrest and economic and social disenfranchisement of the bulk of the population that was never in serious danger, as the chart below makes so stunningly clear.

Yet the apparatchiks who falsely seized power are not about to give it up – vaccinations, herd immunity and plunging cases notwithstanding. That’s the real impending doom."

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Apr 1, 2021

4.1.21 - Legislation to recognize gold as U.S. currency

Gold last traded at $1,727 an ounce. Silver at $24.87 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose Thursday on bargain-hunting and a weaker dollar. U.S. stocks rose led by tech shares as investors cheered the federal government's proposed $2 trillion infrastructure spending plan.

Legislation introduced to recognize gold, silver as U.S. currency -Kitco

"Gold and silver are well established as stores of wealth, but the precious metals face complex challenges when it comes to being recognized as a valid currency. However, one U.S. politician is hoping to change that with new legislation.

Tuesday, U.S. Representative Alex Mooney (R-WV) introduced the Monetary Metals Tax Neutrality Act (H.R. 2284) bill in the House. According to the bill, the proposed legislation would remove capital gains, losses, or any other type of federal income calculation on gold and silver bars and coins. The legislation would effectively recognize gold and silver as forms of currency.

Under current laws, the Internal Revenue Service regards gold and silver as capital assets. It classifies them as 'collectibles,' which means they are subject to capital gains taxes. After selling their bullion, gold investors could potentially be taxed at the maximum collectible capital gains rate of 28%. The tax only applies when investors sell their gold or silver.

'My view, which is backed up by language in the U.S. Constitution, is that gold and silver coins are money and are legal tender,' Rep. Mooney said in a press release. 'If they're indeed U.S. money, it seems there should be no taxes on them at all. So, why are we taxing these coins as collectibles?'

According to the proposed legislation, the Monetary Metals Tax Neutrality Act states that 'no gain or loss shall be recognized on the sale or exchange of (1) gold, silver, platinum, or palladium minted and issued by the Secretary at any time or (2), refined gold or silver bullion, coins, bars, rounds, or ingots which are valued primarily based on their metal content and not their form.'

The proposed legislation is supported by the Sound Money Defense League, a national public policy group that works to promote gold and silver as recognized currency in the U.S."

big government Prepare For 3 Things: Big Government, Huge Boondoggles, Massive Taxes -Zero Hedge

"Progressives have their eyes on on your wallet to pay for their big government schemes. And it looks like Biden will oblige them.

On Monday, Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) unveiled a climate and infrastructure plan that called for $10 trillion in spending over the next decade. Biden’s initial campaign pledge to invest $2 trillion over four years was already inadequate to confronting climate change....

The Biden economic team’s ambitions go beyond size to scope. The centerpiece of their program—a multitrillion-dollar proposal to be rolled out starting Wednesday, less than a month after a $1.9 trillion stimulus—seeks to give Washington a new commercial role in matters ranging from charging stations for electric vehicles to child care, and more responsibility for underwriting education, incomes and higher-paying jobs....

The administration has also laid the groundwork for regulations aimed at empowering labor unions, restricting big businesses from dominating their markets and prodding banks to lend more to minorities and less for fossil-fuel projects. All while federal debt is currently at a level not seen since World War II.

It all marks a major turning point for economic policy. The gamble underlying the agenda is a belief that government can be a primary driver for growth. It’s an attempt to recalibrate assumptions that have shaped economic policy of both parties since the 1980s: that the public sector is inherently less efficient than the private, and bureaucrats should generally defer to markets....

If you think this is crazy, you are thinking correctly. If you don't think this is crazy, you are crazy. The notion that government can spend money wisely and allocate resources wisely has been disproved countless times.

The saving grace of capitalism is failure. Good ideas are rewarded, bad ideas fail.

We don't have failure, we have bank bailouts, student loan bailouts, housing bailouts, and so many moral hazard market interventions by the Fed and Congress I cannot even name all the facilities or tools.

And without failure, you don't have capitalism. So don't tell me that we need big government because capitalism doesn't work. The problem is lack of capitalism not a failure of capitalism. Governments fail and ideas fail, capitalism doesn't fail. Regardless, more big government ideas are about to be tested."

Faster inflation is coming. How bad will it be? -El-Erian/Bloomberg/Livemint

"The potential consequences of higher prices fall largely into three camps: transitory, irritating or troubling.

An economic debate that has been heating up for a few weeks in markets and the academic world made a notable appearance in Congress last week when lawmakers questioned Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen about inflation. This is understandable given that the answers about the scale, scope and duration of a possible surge in inflation have implications that go well beyond economic well-being and the country’s borders.

Economists are mostly split into three camps when it comes to higher inflation, which has not been on the radar screen in any meaningful sense for more than a decade. The first camp, which seems to include both Powell and Yellen, considers any surge in inflation as primarily transitory with few if any consequential spillovers. The second thinks it could be a longer-lasting phenomenon whose potentially wider and more risky consequences would, nevertheless, be temporary and reversible. The third one fears that higher inflation could prove to be a more durable and consequential problem with multifaceted domestic and international effects.

All three camps agree that, statistically, the US will experience a notable pickup in the measured inflation rate. This is due to 'base effects'— comparison with an abnormally low number in a previous period; in this case specifically, the readings that followed the Covid-related lockdown a year ago were particularly stunted....

Meanwhile, the Fed would find itself fighting criticism of a discredited policy framework revision that naively shifted its emphasis too far away from preemptive measures based on inflation forecasts to reactive ones based on outcomes. In this scenario, the Fed would probably feel compelled to hit the brakes hard, risking what would still be a less than full and sufficiently inclusive recovery. All of that would be bad not just for the U.S. but also for the global economy and markets....

In assessing all this, I end up with rather high conviction that the US will experience rising inflation in the next few months because of base effects and demand-pull. While, on balance, a subsequent phase of significant cost-push effects is not strictly in my baseline, it is enough of a meaningful threat to require close and frequent monitoring. With that comes the risk of higher market volatility and, on the political front, the prospects of more heated congressional deliberations on economic and social well-being that could make subsequent fiscal packages harder to pass quickly notwithstanding their importance for a lasting U.S. recovery."

Boston Fed Staffers Offer Road Map in Digital-Dollar Research -Wall Street Journal

"The first glimpse of research that could eventually lead to a Federal Reserve digital dollar should arrive this fall, according to people working on the effort.

Some time in the third quarter, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, working with researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will reveal the first stage of a project that could years down the road yield a Fed digital dollar, James Cunha, the Boston Fed’s senior vice president of Secure Payments and FinTech Research, said in an interview last week.

The U.S. central bank is one of many around the world considering the introduction of a digital currency. Proponents of the idea say digital currencies would offer faster settlements, cut money-transfer costs or even eliminate them, and may even have benefits for monetary policy. But the Fed hasn’t offered details about what a digital dollar - which some have dubbed Fedcoin - would look like.

This first stage of the research by the Boston Fed and MIT lays the initial groundwork for a new type of money some have dubbed Fedcoin. As part of this initial effort, the early version of the computer code for a potential digital currency will be made available for public examination. Fed researchers are trying 'understand what's possible, but also share it because we know many others are interested in the same questions around the globe,' Mr. Cunha said.

After that, the project will continue to explore different systems, with software built from the ground up for the purpose, that could deliver a digital dollar, Mr. Cunha said....Some academics have worried that central bank digital money and the accounts that would hold it could risk destabilizing the broader financial system in times of stress...Mr. Cunha said the potential system would likely involve digital dollar holdings being held separately from conventional dollars in bank accounts, while banks would likely present both kinds of currency to users in a unified fashion."

Swiss America will be closed tomorrow (Friday, April 2) in observance of Easter.

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Mar 31, 2021

3.31.21 - Free States Faring Far Better Than Lockdown States

Gold last traded at $1,708 an ounce. Silver at $24.42 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rebounded Wednesday on bargain-hunting and a weaker dollar. U.S. stocks edged higher as investors weighed the potential impact from the President's proposed $2+ trillion infrastructure spending plan.

What Big Infrastructure Push Means For Silver -Seeking Alpha

"The federal government is spending and redistributing newly created cash so rapidly, it's becoming difficult to keep track of which trillions are going where.

This week, President Joe Biden will pitch a $3 trillion 'green' infrastructure package. That's on top of the $1.9 trillion economic 'relief' bill he recently signed into law.

Next month, Biden is expected to roll out plans for additional trillions to be spent on healthcare, education, housing, and more....

Implementing the 'Build Back Better' agenda will require concrete, steel, copper, and other commodities - lots of them. The green energy components in particular could result in a massive demand increase for metals including silver.

The Biden administration is ordering all federal government agencies to transition their vehicle fleets to electric motors. It is also expanding subsidies and incentives for electric vehicles sold to consumers, with the stated goal of ultimately banning the sale of gasoline-powered cars.

Electrification has a silver lining - literally. Silver is a superior conductor of electricity. It is critical in all stages of electrification infrastructure - from solar panels, to charging stations, to battery connections, to just about every electronic system that consumes power.

Silver, gold, and other hard assets also stand to benefit from the broader rise in inflationary pressures likely to accompany Washington's spending spree. It's all being facilitated by debt issuance and the Federal Reserve's printing press, which it uses to buy the government bonds that no one else will.

At the moment, the central bank actually wants to see inflation run hotter. It has virtually abandoned all concern over budget deficits and other aspects of fiscal responsibility on the part of Congress.

But Democrats still want to raise additional revenues the conventional way - through tax increases...A bevy of new taxes could be just the thing to spook Wall Street and bring the bull market in equities to an unceremonious end.

When investors perceiving rising threats to paper wealth, they are more likely to hunker down financially. And among the safe havens they may find attractive for sheltering wealth are physical precious metals."

atm When Society Goes Backward -Bonner/Rogue Economics

"We are wandering in our own woods… and exploring the downswing of civilization.

What causes it to walk backward? How do people forget how to do things… or lose track of what made them prosperous and free? Why does progress go into reverse?

We see, too, how the fake money - like fake road signs - sends people off in the wrong directions.

Investors bet on money-losing companies. The government throws away trillions on delusions, boondoggles, and vote-buying. Households stop saving. Businesses shift from trying to create real wealth on Main Street to chasing after fast profits from SPACs, cryptos, and NFTs.

Everybody wants to get rich. But nobody wants to do the hard work of building real wealth....

Funded by an apparently inexhaustible well of EZ money, Americans wallow in fantasies that must make the gods roar with laughter. They think they can borrow their way out of debt… and print their way to prosperity.

And if they can create fake money, why not fake math?....

What brings down an empire? These trivialities and vanities? Or the big issues – money and war? Probably both. When the money goes, everything goes.

And now… there goes the money!

Marketwatch reports, Even now, the housing market is on fire, with prices surging across the world. 'This is a way of spending that can also drag in some of that surplus labor,' former Morgan Stanley managing director Manoj Pradhan said. But the rise in house prices doesn't show up in official measures of inflation'....

Rising prices...Innumeracy. Illiteracy. Overspending. Dumb wars. Money-printing. Claptrap. An incompetent, greedy elite? What else do you need?"

Free States Faring Far Better Than Lockdown States -FEE

"When COVID-19 first came to our shores, it presented policymakers and elected officials with a crisis like nothing in living memory. In the year since, states have taken markedly different approaches to pandemic policy. Some, like New York, embraced sweeping government lockdowns and top-down mandates while others like Florida and South Dakota took a more humble, hands-off government approach, trusting individuals to make the best decisions for themselves.

The results are in - and they overwhelmingly vindicate the free states over the authoritarian experiments. First, we saw that states with the harshest restrictions didn’t necessarily achieve the best COVID-19 death outcomes. Florida has fared far better than New York and New Jersey, for example, and multiple studies have found no correlation between lockdown stringency and death rates.

Yet lockdowns have come at an enormous economic and human cost. We’ve seen mental health problems and child suicide spikes, an increase in domestic violence, an uptick in drug overdoses, and much, much more. And, of course, the economic toll of shutting down businesses and criminalizing 'non-essential' livelihoods has been devastating....

Hands-off states such as South Dakota, Utah, Nebraska, and New Hampshire top the list with unemployment rates hovering around a stellar 3 percent. States that received enormous flak for eschewing drastic lockdowns like Georgia and Florida both rank in the top 20.

There is a clear trend here. Free states have largely avoided the labor market carnage associated with the COVID pandemic, while lockdown states have wrought higher unemployment levels - without guaranteeing better pandemic health outcomes."

The Equality Act Is at War With Reality -Wall Street Journal

"Every child knows the difference between mom and dad. Congress seeks to outlaw the distinction.

At stake in the so-called Equality Act, currently before the Senate, is neither women’s sports nor bathrooms, at least not ultimately. At stake is the freedom of rational human beings to use a common vocabulary when speaking about what all can see. Also at stake are the countless vulnerable souls falling prey to the tyrannizing 'gender identity' ideology and the medical atrocities that go with it. That is why religious freedom is also at stake. Religion is the last bastion of sanity.

Mary Hasson, a legal expert on religious freedom, testified earlier this month before the Senate Judiciary Committee. She explained how much of the bill’s enshrinement of sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories under civil-rights law would curtail the many activities that go on in religious buildings, schools, sports leagues, hospitals, soup kitchens, shelters, adoption agencies and charitable organizations. These arguably fall under the Equality Act's expanded definition of 'public accommodations.' Ms. Hasson also provided the committee a much-needed lesson on the nature of religion: Religion is not something locked up in the heads of believers, but public in character, both in its worship and its works.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin takes a different view. To him, recourse to religion is nothing but a 'shield' behind which to practice bigotry and discrimination 'freely.' His concluding remarks at the committee hearing invoked lynchings, no less: 'People who want to blatantly discriminate and use religion as their weapon have gone too far.'....

The Equality Act doesn't concern such invisible mysteries as the Holy Trinity, for example. That is a matter of belief in the strict sense, though it isn’t irrational or private. Rather, the Equality Act concerns things everyone can see and understand. Infants don’t need instruction to know that their mothers are the ones who are nursing them, and their fathers are the ones who are not. Sexual difference is obvious to anyone with eyes to see....

The tragic irony is that society is now awash in 'beliefs' based on nothing but 'deep-seated feelings' and fluid 'self-identifications.' Only these 'beliefs' are by no means private. They demand to be publicly confessed by everyone and in every aspect of common life, or else.The tragic irony is that society is now awash in 'beliefs' based on nothing but 'deep-seated feelings' and fluid 'self-identifications.' Only these 'beliefs' are by no means private. They demand to be publicly confessed by everyone and in every aspect of common life, or else."

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