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Real Money Podcast

Oct 19, 2020


10.19.20 - Gold Is Still A Great Opportunity

Gold last traded at $1,906 an ounce. Silver at $24.50 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose on safe-haven buying and a weaker dollar. U.S. stocks fell on dimming hopes for a pre-election stimulus deal as a rising number of Covid-19 cases dampened sentiment.

Gold Is Still A Great Opportunity -Hirst/Seeking Alpha
"U.S. equity markets have been in a holding pattern since early September, Europe has been holding since June, and most other global markets are in bear market formations where the rallies have held and are going nowhere, Roger Hirst told Real Vision during today's Daily Briefing. Hirst said it's common for markets to go sideways before an election and then have a relief rally no matter which side wins because there is finally more certainty. He thinks we’ll likely see this in the U.S., especially because both sides will do more fiscal going forward....He believes the safety valve for the inflation play will be precious metals and he remains bullish on gold. Hirst concluded the interview with his thoughts about the U.S. and Europe’s differing approaches to stimulus. He said the U.S. will probably see higher levels of bankruptcy sooner than Europe, but because Europe is supporting jobs that are never coming back, they're in a position of having to support them ad infinitum, which is contributing to the zombification of the European system."

market chart Trump, Biden and the secret lesson of free markets -Forbes/Fox Business
"Wednesday, October 14, could serve as a lesson for President Trump, candidate Biden and current and future policymakers everywhere about the positive power of free markets and the perils of overregulation. The date marks 40 years since President Jimmy Carter signed the little-known Staggers Rail Act into law, removing government shackles on pricing and other operations dating back to the late nineteenth century. The act was a stunning success. The legislation largely removed government from the business of railroading and quickly blunted a stream of bankruptcies in the sector...Excessive government regulation came close to destroying the rail system; economic deregulation in the early 1980s saved it. From being a basket case, our railroads transformed themselves into models of efficiency, service improvement and profit production....Federal regulators do not always know what is 'best.' Data-driven markets and the free individual decisions of citizens - not lobbyists or ideologies - have proven to be the best at rewarding companies who benefit society....Whoever controls the White House and Congress in 2021 should look at the Staggers Act as a powerful lesson in the positive power of markets. We must not repeat history and erode core economic strengths for the sake of regulation. Regulatory humility should instead guide decisions aimed at the welfare of the consumer."

The November 3rd Elections -Hoffmeister/Camelot Advisors
"With Election Day less than a month away, we look at which party will likely control the White House, Senate and House in 2020… and what to watch for on Election Night. Currently, the major polls give former Vice President Biden more than a 9-point lead nationally against President Trump – according to RealClearPolitics National Average...But, of course, the major polls were generally wrong in 2016; notably about the presidential race. In the following Election Review, we look at what some of the polling firms that called 2016 correctly are seeing today. Their polling suggests that President Trump will be re-elected, either narrowly or by a large margin. Therefore, capital allocators today cannot easily assume next month's results. It's very possible that Trump will win Florida, North Carolina and Arizona. If so, a win in Pennsylvania or Michigan will likely put him over the top in the electoral college. As for the Senate and House, it appears that Republicans will keep control of the Senate, especially if Trump has a strong night. But the House is highly likely to remain in Democratic control. Democracy Institute's Latest Poll for September only asks likely voters, and asks about so-called 'shy votes'. Trump leads Biden 46%-45%, nationally. Trump leads in swing states (FL, IA, MI, MN, PA, WI) 47% to 43%. Trump’s swing state leads would give him 320 electoral votes, and Biden 218. 77% of Trump voters would not admit to friends and family. Amy Coney Barrett nomination has little impact on approximately 8 in 10 voters. Law and order is top issue (32%). Economy is second (30%). Voters trust Trump more on economy than Biden: 60% to 40%, respectively."

This Spring, We All Drove Much Less. Yet Traffic Deaths Went Up. Why? -New York Mag
"New data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the first half of 2020 - when much of the U.S. population was under stay-at-home orders - show that the rate of traffic deaths per mile driven went up, not down. How is that possible? Americans drove less - a lot less - in the first six months of 2020. The number of vehicle miles traveled by drivers fell by 16.6 percent....Because overall traffic volume decreased so much compared to the previous year, the traffic fatality rate - calculated as the number of fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles driven - increased from 1.06 in the first half of 2019 to 1.25 in the first half of 2020. That rate - fatal crashes per mile driven - hasn't been that high for more than a decade. So what was happening?...The combination of risky drivers plus near-empty streets also resulted in faster driving, which, in turn, made streets more deadly. 'Faster travel, whether or not actually exceeding the speed limit, increases the chance of fatalities in a crash,' the report says. And drivers were more likely to engage in other risky behaviors as well. Data collected from trauma centers show an increase in drug and alcohol use by drivers and a decrease in seat-belt use for all vehicle occupants, determined by the number of people who were ejected from crashes."

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Oct 16, 2020


10.16.20 - At $1,900 Gold Price is Still Cheap

Gold last traded at $1,902 an ounce. Silver at $24.26 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices traded mixed Friday on a weaker dollar despite upbeat economic data. U.S. stocks tried to snap a three-day losing streak after better-than-expected September retail sales.

At $1,900 gold is still cheap -Kitco
"As gold prices hover around $1,900, one market strategist continues to see upside potential as the market remains undervalued compared to other assets. In a commentary posted Wednesday, Jesse Felder, publisher of the Felder Report investment newsletter, reiterated his bullish stance on the precious metal. He said that although gold has nearly doubled in price in the last five years, it remains cheap compared to equities. 'The gold price relative to the Dow Jones Industrial Average would seem to suggest it is not expensive at all. In fact, to match the valuation peak it reached about a decade ago, gold would need to double again from its current price,' he said in his latest commentary. 'So gold's upside potential over the long run looks far from exhausted even after its terrific run over the past few years,' he added. Although gold prices have dropped from their all-time highs reached in August, the market is still seeing gains of around 25% since the start of the year. Many analysts expect gold prices to end the year back above $2,000 an ounce as central banks look to maintain the extraordinarily loose monetary policies for the foreseeable future. The Federal Reserve is expected to keep interest rates at the zero-bound level through 2023....Along with low interest rates, commodity analysts and economists expect to see inflation pressures rise, which could push real interest rates into negative territory, creating the perfect environment for gold."

layoffs "Temporary" Layoffs Turning Into Permanent Job Losses -Zero Hedge
"When governments across the US forced businesses to close down in response to the coronavirus pandemic, everybody assumed the layoffs would be temporary. Despite the huge surge in unemployment, the expectation was people would quickly return to work once the crisis passed and the economy opened up again. But as the pandemic stretches into its eighth month, millions of Americans remain out of work and economists say many of those 'temporary' job losses have become permanent...The unemployment rate has nearly halved to 7.9% since April. But nearly 13 million Americans remain out of work. That's about 7 million more than pre-pandemic levels. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of job losses categorized as permanent grew by 345,000 to 3.8 million people in September. In other words, nearly 4 million unemployed Americans have no prospects of returning to work. The number of long-term unemployed – people out of work for a period exceeding six months – has ballooned. Around 2.4 million Americans were unemployed for 27 weeks or more in September, up 781,000 from the previous month. The last time we saw this kind of jump in long-term unemployment was during the Great Recession. To make matters worse, companies have begun initiating layoffs on a trajectory similar to a traditional recession, according to CNBC. And tens of thousands of people will get pink slips in the coming weeks as the long-term economic damage caused by government lockdowns in response to the coronavirus pandemic begin to ripple through the economy....There is also the looming prospect of more corporate bankruptcies and business closures, putting more pressure on the jobs market. Large company bankruptcies have already surged to a level not seen since 2010 and more than 420,000 small businesses have closed their doors permanently since the beginning of the pandemic....The lockdowns may have permanently scarred the labor market and there are signs of deep wounds that won’t quickly heal. In a nutshell, a lot of people will likely never return to work."

Joe Biden Keeps Everyone Guessing on Wall Street Regulation -Wall Street Journal
"Fifteen years ago, Joe Biden defended credit-card companies during a testy Senate exchange with Elizabeth Warren over legislation curtailing consumers' ability to shed their debts in bankruptcy. This March, he adopted her argument entirely. Mr. Biden spent 36 years as a senator from the credit-card and corporate mecca of Delaware, where he built relationships and a voting record that provided ammunition for his opponents during a bruising Democratic presidential primary. Now, he is edging left on a range of issues from student debt to stock buybacks, leaving both progressives and Wall Street Democrats guessing whose side of the financial-regulation fight he is on. Mr. Biden's allies say he has always favored Main Street over Wall Street. Critics, including Vermont Senator and primary rival Bernie Sanders, often have portrayed him as favoring lenders over the little guy....With polls showing Mr. Biden ahead nationally and in many swing states, progressives and Wall Street Democrats are jockeying to influence his potential administration, advising the campaign on policies and suggesting Cabinet and top regulatory officials. 'If Biden wins, it's likely one of the wings will be very unhappy by Inauguration, as Biden's early personnel decisions will indicate which grouping is ascendant,' said Jeff Hauser, who analyzes corporate influence on government for the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research. Both Democratic factions say they expect that a Biden administration would approach financial regulation much as President Obama did. While Mr. Obama signed the Dodd-Frank financial-reform act in 2010, the new law left out high-priority progressive proposals such as breaking up big banks. Broadly, the Biden campaign's proposals for the financial sector are being written with an eye to meeting the expectations of the Democratic progressive base without spooking moderates who worry about expanding regulatory powers."

Bitcoin's Legacy Will Be Short-Lived -Dyson/Rogue Economics
"My working hypothesis is that the bitcoin price peaked in December 2017 amidst a furious speculative fever and it is now slowly returning to obscurity....All this week, we've been making the case that bitcoin is going to $0....Unlike nails (or gold), bitcoin has no primary use as a physical material. So how can anyone confidently accept it in barter when no one uses it in industry? They can't. Accepting bitcoin is the same thing as taking a leap of faith. So in my opinion, bitcoin is just a speculative vehicle… like a gambling game… and the most perfect experiment in Greater Fool Theory mankind has ever devised. (The Greater Fool Theory is an explanation for the rising price of an asset beyond its intrinsic value. It suggests people will sometimes pay irrationally high prices for assets for the simple reason they imagine there’s an even greater fool coming behind them to pay an even higher price.) We might call bitcoin 'a digital token' or 'digital paper,' which is why governments around the world are all embracing its concept. (Unbacked digital tokens are the perfect companion to their unbacked paper currencies.) But it's not money. The question is: Can the bitcoin price rise from here? Sure. But if you study investment manias throughout history, you'll know that once a speculative fever breaks, the price of the asset doesn't recover its all-time high again for many years… if at all....Because governments use their control of money to extract wealth from the marketplace (via inflation). There's no way they'll willingly give up this power, especially now. Expecting bitcoin to gain wide acceptance is the same as expecting governments to freely surrender their powers. Not going to happen. So in sum, bitcoin has neither the industrial value of gold, nor the value for the ruling class of state-issued paper currency. It'll never work."

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Oct 15, 2020


10.15.20 - Stock Market Disagrees With Polls

Gold last traded at $1,905 an ounce. Silver at $24.20 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices consolidated Thursday as dimming pre-election stimulus hopes boosted the dollar. U.S. stocks fell for a third day following worse-than-expected jobless claims and stimulus deal uncertainty.

Sell U.S. Dollar, Buy Silver -Goldman/Kitco
"Investors should look into selling the U.S. dollar and buying silver into the election, according to two new reports published by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. There is a growing risk that the U.S. dollar will plunge to its 2018 lows as Democratic candidate Joe Biden continues to extend his lead in the polls prior to the election on November 3. 'The risks are skewed toward dollar weakness, and we see relatively low odds of the most dollar-positive outcome - a win by Mr. Trump combined with a meaningful vaccine delay,' Goldman strategists said in a note on Friday. 'A blue wave U.S. election and favorable news on the vaccine timeline could return the trade-weighted dollar and DXY index to their 2018 lows'....In another report, Goldman analyst Mikhail Sprogis highlighted silver as a buy due to the precious metal being an 'obvious beneficiary' from a global move toward solar energy. 'Now, with silver at $24/oz. and a few potential upward solar surprises in the coming months, we reopen the trade,' Sprogis said....Sprogis reminded investors that solar investment represents about 18% of silver's industrial demand. The base case scenario is that global solar installations rise by 50% between 2019 and 2023, according to Goldman."

trump card The Stock Market Disagrees With the Presidential Polls -Brandus/MarketWatch
"With three weeks to go, President Trump's re-election bid is in trouble. At least that's what the polls show. But it's not what the stock market is signaling. Based on nearly a century's worth of election-year data, Trump may yet win...Since 1928, whenever the S&P 500 Index of the largest U.S. stocks has risen in the three months prior to a presidential election, the party that controlled the White House won 90% of the time. 'If you think about it intuitively, it makes sense,' says Julian Emanuel, chief equity and derivative strategist for the investment firm BTIG who compiled the data. 'Because a rising stock market tends to be a ratification of the present policies being satisfying to the investing public.'....In fact, there have been six presidential years since 1928 when the S&P 500 fell in the three months before election day. All six times, the party in the White House lost....That's the history. What about now? Three months prior to election day (Nov. 3), the S&P 500 was at 3,271 points. It's over 3,500 today, a gain of 7%. Based on Emanuel's study of history, Trump is better positioned to win a second term than pollsters or the media seem to think. Both, Emanuel says, may be 'underestimating the probability of President Trump getting re-elected.' He's unswayed by Biden's recent surge. The former vice president's lead in national polls has risen from about 6.5 percentage points at the beginning of October to about 10.5 points now. Emanuel's answer to this: The race perhaps isn't being handicapped correctly....Ronald Reagan crushed President Jimmy Carter in a landslide in 1980, but people forget that the former California governor trailed by as much as 8 points in mid-October."

Who's Afraid of Amy Coney Barrett? -Editors/Wall Street Journal
"The Senate confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett may lack for political drama, but they are still instructive. They are revealing the deep fault lines over the Supreme Court, and how Democrats view it as a mini-legislature to achieve policy goals, rather than a real judicial body. Democrats are asking very little about the actual law or Judge Barrett's jurisprudential thinking. Instead, one after another, Democrats have used their time to focus on a parade of policy horribles if she is confirmed. And for emotional effect, they brought along photo displays of children and women who would supposedly be her victims on health care, abortion, gun violence and more. All of this distorts the role of a judge, who has to rule based on what the law is, not on what she would want it to be. 'Judges can't just wake up one day and say 'I have an agenda. I like guns. I hate guns. I like abortion, I hate abortion' and walk in like a royal queen and impose their will on the world,' Judge Barrett said Tuesday. But that is lost on Democrats, who are treating the hearings like a campaign rally. Start with their focus on Judge Barrett as a threat to health insurance....Democrats also flogged Judge Barrett for criticizing the Chief Justice's creative interpretation of the individual mandate as a tax....Democrats also distorted the risks that the Court will overturn Obergefell v. Hodges that divined a right to same-sex marriage in the Constitution....The current 'conservative' Court has already shown it is more heterodox than one dominated by liberals. That's because originalists seek to interpret laws based on the text and the Constitution rather than merely find a way to arrive at a foregone policy result. Everything we know suggests Judge Barrett will rule in the same originalist way, and this should reassure the public that the Court will be properly modest in interpreting the law as it is."

Why Doubt Is Essential to Science -Scientific American
"The confidence people place in science is frequently based not on what it really is, but on what people would like it to be...For example, a majority of Americans trust science as long as it does not challenge their existing beliefs. But doubt in science is a feature, not a bug. Indeed, the paradox is that science, when properly functioning, questions accepted facts and yields both new knowledge and new questions - not certainty....As a historian of science, I would argue that it's the responsibility of scientists and historians of science to show that the real power of science lies precisely in what is often perceived as its weakness: its drive to question and challenge a hypothesis....Examples of relativism about issues including climate change and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly contributed to the proliferation of fake news and conspiracy theories....In an effort to combat misinformation, scientists may overcompensate by accelerating their research, or publicizing their findings prematurely. This can spur dialogue about science but, with serious side effects. Some scientists have yielded to public pressure by rushing to provide theories about and potential cures for COVID-19....So how to regain public trust in science when the public is looking for certainties and when those who are supposed to impersonate doubt seem to be fickle or dogmatic? A more realistic understanding of how science works can contribute to a better comprehension of the decisive role of doubt and skepticism in the scientific process. Indeed, science is not a linear path leading from one success to another, but rather a constant reevaluation of hypotheses. Failures are part of the scientific process and should be taught along with successes....What must be reaffirmed is that in science, doubt is not a vulnerability but a strength."

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Oct 14, 2020


10.14.20 - Trump: "I Was Right About Damaging Lockdowns"

Gold last traded at $1,900 an ounce. Silver at $24.19 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose Wednesday on bargain-hunting, rising inflation and a falling dollar. U.S. stocks struggled as traders pored through another batch of corporate earnings and looked for clues on further coronavirus aid.

Some Are Betting On Red, Some On Blue. I’m Betting On Gold -Holmes/Forbes
"The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the White House is preparing a coronavirus stimulus offer valued at $1.8 trillion, despite President Trump's earlier comment on ending negotiations....With the national debt now topping $27 trillion, such a package isn't good for the government's balance sheet, but it's good for gold. Indeed, the yellow metal traded up as much as 1.8 percent on the news. And I believe there's additional upside potential - no matter who wins the election. In 22 days, millions of Americans will be betting on 'red,' millions of others on 'blue.' I'll be betting on gold. I'm far from the only one. Leon Cooperman became just the latest billionaire investor to buy gold. In a recent interview, the Omega Advisors chairman and CEO said: 'I bought gold for the first time in my life a week ago. I understand the case for gold. We're on the way to some banana republic situation. Nobody's worrying about the debt that's being created.' Meanwhile, ETFs backed by physical gold climbed to a record amount last Monday, touching 111.05 million ounces. According to the World Gold Council’s (WGC) September report, global gold ETFs saw their 10th straight month of inflows last month. For the first time ever, such funds added more than 1,000 tonnes of gold so far this year, the equivalent of $55.7 billion....It's not too late to participate!"

lockdown Trump: "I Was Right About Damaging Lockdowns" -Zero Hedge
"During his first rally since swiftly defeating coronavirus, President Trump again slammed lockdown policies, and declared that he was right about resisting them all along, after the World Health Organization admitted that countries should not be using lockdowns as a way of controlling the virus. 'The World Health Organization came out a little while ago and admitted the lockdowns are doing tremendous damage to these Democrat-run states where they are in lockdown,' Trump told the huge crowd in Florida Monday night. 'They corrected themselves today and said I was right,' the President reiterated: Trump was referring to WHO envoy Dr. David Nabarro telling The Spectator that 'We really do appeal to all world leaders: stop using lockdown as your primary control method.' Nabarro added that 'The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganize, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted, but by and large, we'd rather not do it.' 'I took us out of the WHO because they were wrong about everything. Although, they corrected themselves - they say I was right about the lockdowns. (I asked) Why are we paying $500 million a year and China which has 1.4 billion people is paying $39 million per year - they couldn't explain so I took us out,' Trump urged. The President also painted a grim picture of what will happen if Joe Biden is elected. 'Biden would terminate our recovery, delay the vaccine, prolong the pandemic and annihilate Florida's economy with a draconian, unscientific lockdown - that's what he wants to do, lock it down, lock it down everybody,' Trump told the crowd. 'And you know what? If you don’t feel good about going out, stay, relax, stay. You know the risk groups, you know the older people,' the President added."

Where is compassion for the millions who have suffered harm from lockdowns? -Rice/American Thinker
"I'm sure many Americans are growing tired of being labeled 'insensitive' or 'uncaring' or lacking compassion because we are perceived as not caring about 'at-risk' people who might contract the coronavirus. Let's talk about 'compassion for our fellow man.' Where's the compassion for the single mom who is increasingly struggling to purchase diapers or baby formula for her children? Where's the compassion for the victims of child abuse, which is no doubt spiking due to the economic slowdown? Where's the compassion for those who have committed suicide or attempted suicide or will do either in coming months and years? Where's the compassion for the tens of thousands of business-owners who have permanently closed their businesses, or for the tens of millions of unemployed former employees? Where's the compassion for those who have been forced to declare bankruptcy, or are agonizing over doing this?....I'm not even mentioning the terrifying disappearance of fundamental rights and liberties that are being forfeited at a mind-boggling pace, or the growth of authoritarian governments. Or our 'new normal,' which now censors and bullies those who happen to hold opposing views. Do most Americans now believe that less freedom and more government control will benefit mankind? Has anyone else noticed the surge in violent crimes occurring in practically every city in this country?....The argument that we should essentially lock down the world - and everyone should live in constant fear even if his own risks are minuscule - has transformed our country into a grim, unrecognizable place. COVID has claimed and will continue to claim lives, but 99.9 percent of the country's population will not die from this virus. By now, practically every family in the country has already experienced negative consequences or obvious harm...not from the virus, but from the policy responses to the virus."

Three Simple Habits to Create Lasting Wealth -Tiwari/Rogue Economics
"I was raised with a poverty mindset. I was taught that money was evil… that rich people were mean and underhanded… and that you must accept you will never be rich. Maybe you can identify with that type of upbringing? I knew I had to break out of that mindset. But the thing is, money is completely devoid of consciousness. Money is simply a by-product of three main habits. Habit No. 1: Live on less than you earn. If you consistently keep more than what goes out, you'll have a surplus of money. Simple, right? Habit No. 2: Maximize your ability to earn from your current job. Your single-biggest source of income is your current job. Most jobs will pay you more money as your skill rises. So the quickest way to make more money is to improve your skills. Put yourself on a skill development track that will have you becoming world-class at your job....If your current firm doesn't recognize your improved performance, that's okay… Go find another employer that will. Be sure to negotiate for more money. And never leave a job without having another one lined up first. Habit No. 3: Create multiple streams of income. If you've nailed the first two habits, No. 3 is how you turbocharge your wealth. This is where you invest in low-risk, income-producing stocks, real estate, or private businesses. Additionally, this is where you can incorporate a 'side hustle' for extra income....Wealth creation isn't complicated. But it is difficult. It's difficult because we're bombarded with ads to buy stuff every minute of every day. That makes habit No. 1 - live on less than you earn - the toughest to acquire. But without that habit, you can never create lasting wealth."

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Oct 13, 2020


10.13.20 - Key Driver May 'Propel' Gold to New Highs

Gold last traded at $1,894 an ounce. Silver at $24.16 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices retreated Tuesday on profit-taking and a stronger dollar. U.S. stocks slipped as investors digested the first batch of corporate earnings and as hopes for a stimulus deal before the election dimmed.

This driver could 'propel' gold price back to its new all-time highs -Bloomberg Intelligence/Kitco
"There is one driver that could really re-ignite the gold price rally during this turbulent fourth quarter, according to Bloomberg Intelligence senior commodity strategist Mike McGlone....'Gold is likely to remain atop our macro-performance scoreboard in 4Q,' McGlone said. 'The greenback entering a bear market would propel gold, if history is a guide.' The yellow metal is currently in a bull market with strong established above $1,800 an ounce after a sharp rise to a new record high of $2,075 an ounce this summer....Another sign of the current bull market is that gold hasn't wrapped up a quarter since Q1 2019, less than 8% above its 50-week moving average, McGlone pointed out. Bloomberg Intelligence sees gold eventually climbing back up to its new record highs, especially in light of the increasing debt-to-GDP ratio and massive global quantitative easing. 'History dictates that the gold-price rally should accelerate toward $2,000 if the dollar is peaking,' McGlone said....When it comes to silver, McGlone projects a re-take of $30 an ounce."

fortunes The K-Shaped Recovery: A 'V' For Some, Not For Most -Zero Hedge
"What is a 'K'-shaped recovery? It's a 'V' on the top, and an inverted 'V' on the bottom....Following the economic shutdown, much of the data shows strong signs of improvement....In the bottom half of the 'K' shaped recovery lies the majority of the economy. Its recovery is questionable the longer the pandemic goes on....A 'V' For The Top 10%, as noted by the WSJ...'Households in the bottom 20% of incomes had seen their financial assets, such as money in the bank, stock and bond investments or retirement funds, fall by 34% since the end of the 2007-09 recession, according to Fed data adjusted for inflation. Those in the middle of the income distribution have seen just 4% growth.' Indeed, one of the simplest ways to envision the current 'K' shaped recovery is by looking at the surge of the stock market since late March. However, as we have noted previously, the 'stock market' is no longer representative of the underlying economy. Such is due to massive interventions by the Federal Reserve, which pushed speculation in 'risk' assets to historic levels...It also exacerbated financial inequality when the top 1% of earners owns 52% of the stocks and mutual funds. The differential in ownership in financial assets between the top 10% of the economy, which owns fully 88% of the stock market, and everyone else isn't even close. While the 'rich get richer,' the poor continue to suffer. Unfortunately, the fiscal stimulus will only worsen the divide....In the current recovery, it is clear that those at the top of the 'K' are indeed experiencing a 'V'-shaped recovery. For the rest, not so much....History is replete with examples of the 'endgame' of socialistic experiments of running unbridled debts and deficits. Maybe we should try something different, and allow recessions to reset economic imbalances."

COVID lockdown debate: Dems want science, they should look at the Great Barrington Declaration - Pudzer/Fox News
"If Democrats truly want to follow the science - rather than the politics - in the fight against COVID-19, they might want to take a closer look at 'The Great Barrington Declaration.' Organized by infectious-disease experts Dr. Martin Kulldorff of Harvard University, Dr. Sunetra Gupta of Oxford University and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford University, it recommends allowing people to live normally despite the virus while protecting the most vulnerable elements of the population so as to avoid the lockdowns' devastating physical, mental, economic, and educational impacts. The mainstream media has essentially ignored the Declaration, but to date over 5,500 medical and public health scientists and 11,000 medical practitioners have signed it. That numbers continue to grow. The Declaration expresses 'grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies,' pointing out that the 'heaviest burden' is falling on 'working-class and younger members of society.' According to the Declaration, '[c]urrent lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health.' It concludes that '[k]eeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.'....It is essentially the approach followed in Sweden (the country that has most successfully dealt with the virus), which is increasingly supported by the World Health Organization. It is also the very policy approach that President Trump has been recommending, to great criticism and disdain from Democrats and their leftist media allies. The Declaration's conclusion is also consistent with the CDC's September 10th age-specific update to COVID-19's estimated Infection Fatality Rate. The CDC's 'Current Best Estimate' for survival rates: 0-19 years old, 99.997 percent; 20-49 years old, 99.98 percent; 50-69 years, 99.5 percent; and 70 years old or older, 94.6 percent....The greatest economic threat facing American workers right now is the prospect that in just a few months, Biden could actually have the power to sacrifice their jobs on the altar of his politics, as he's repeatedly indicated he would be willing to do by imposing a national shutdown."

Joe Biden on What Voters 'Deserve' -Editors/Wall Street Journal
"H.L. Mencken's famous line about democracy is that voters know what they want and deserve to get it - good and hard. Joe Biden's apparent view is that voters shouldn't know what they're getting until after the election. For a change, the press corps is asking Mr. Biden why he won't answer a straightforward question on whether he agrees with the demands of his party's left to add Justices to the nine-member Supreme Court. Mr. Biden and Kamala Harris have been ducking it, and on Thursday Mr. Biden said voters will 'know my opinion on Court-packing when the election is over.' He added: 'Now, look, I know it's a great question, and y'all - and I don't blame you for asking it. But you know the moment I answer that question, the headline in every one of your papers will be about that.' Yes, it's called news. On Friday Mr. Biden compounded this political gaffe when a reporter in Las Vegas asked 'Don't the voters deserve to know where you stand on' court packing? 'No, they don't deserve' Mr. Biden snapped....The question is central to American self-government. Democrats on the resurgent left believe the Supreme Court is a de facto second legislature to achieve policies they can't pass in Congress. And now that judicial conservatives may have a majority on the Court for the first time in decades, Democrats want to add Justices and turn the Court into a de jure House of Lords. Would Mr. Biden sign that legislation or not? If he won't tell voters now, they can assume he'll roll over for Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer on that and so much more."

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Oct 12, 2020


10.12.20 - Is Gold Cheap at $2000 an Ounce?

Gold last traded at $1,923 an ounce. Silver at $25.08 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices steadied Monday on bullish technical signals and a flat dollar. U.S. stocks rose as investors monitored stimulus negotiations and prepared for a busy week of corporate earnings.

Is Gold Cheap at $2000 an ounce? -Doug Casey's International Man
"What lies ahead for the US economy is not a V- or a W- or an L-shaped recovery but a long, downward-inclined staircase which could lead to an abyss. With our current trajectory, that is not only a possibility but the most probable outcome. Barring dramatic changes to monetary and fiscal policies - the US dollar would not only lose its status as the world's reserve currency but would more than likely meet the fate of the Continental....Is Gold Cheaper at $2000 an ounce in 2020 than it was at $35 in 1971? Fundamental to this comparison is the recognition that gold is money and that the Fed's notes that circulate today have value only because they represent a claim against money....If we compare the money supply ratios M1-2020 / M1-1971 or M2-2020 / M2-1971, we can see that these are up about 30 times. Gold prices, on the other hand, are up about 60 times, so it looks relatively fairly valued. But what this comparison ignores are some critical differences between then and now...Between 1971 and 1981, the money supply in the US doubled...M1 has grown by about 35% in the last few weeks. When Paul Volcker set short-term interest rates at 20%...Reagan unequivocally backed him. Compare that to today, in which Trump threatened to remove Powell for attempting to maintain interest rates at only 2%. The US economy today is floating on a number of asset bubbles - equities, housing, and bonds. All these bubbles not only need ultra-low interest rates, but they also need continuous infusions of capital to prevent them from bursting. If we account for these factors, one could make a rational claim that gold at $2,000 an ounce in 2020 is cheaper than $35 an ounce in 1971....M1 today is about $5 trillion. If this were to be backed 100% by gold, then the 261.5M oz. of gold held by the US government would have to be valued at about $20,000/ounce or about 10x the current price. Depending on the various combinations of percentage backing and M1/M2 for our calculations, we could get a multiple of anywhere between 4 and 30x....Gold prices today mean a whole lot more than just a number. They indicate a tumultuous future of monetary breakdown with tremendous social and economic upheavals...The recent breakout in the price of gold is just the beginning. Gold is set to skyrocket in the months ahead."

chart

Majority Say They Are Better Off Under Trump Than Obama/Biden -Gallup/Zero Hedge
"Pollster Gallup has found that a majority of 56% of Americans feel that they are better off now under Donald Trump's presidency than they were four years ago under Barack Obama and Joe Biden. The survey recorded the highest number of Americans in history saying that they feel in a better position 4 years into an incumbent's presidency....While the majority is a good sign for Trump, the figure was even higher back in February, before the coronavirus pandemic. Back then, 61% expressed more satisfaction than they had four years previously. Given the current circumstances, it is rather startling to find that more Americans think they are better off now, and betrays how effective Trump's presidency has been thus far....The idea for the survey originates in a question Ronald Reagan asked Americans during his presidential campaign in 1980, 'Are you better off today than you were four years ago?'"

No more stimulus needed: Time to get on with the new economy -Worstall/Washington Examiner
"President Trump has announced that he won't be approving any more economic stimulus or relief legislation until after the election. This may or may not be a wise move - it depends upon your views of what sort of recession we're in right now. A rational view would be that it's good news, for the bad news is that we have two different recessionary events to deal with. The first recessionary event is obvious: close down large chunks of the economy, and we lose 30% or so of the GDP we had. Open it up again, and we get 30% growth (that being the current best estimate for the third quarter....We've had a lot of economic recovery, but not quite enough. At which point, we could just say let's blow some more of the deficit and get more stimulus! Which is to miss the second recessionary problem we've got. There are some things we have to do differently now. We cannot just go back to where we were because we're in a different world now...Social distancing means that concerts, plays, and the live arts just cannot be done as they were. There's also been an acceleration in already extant trends. More people working from home is going to kill city-center coffee shops and sandwich takeouts. More online shopping will affect bricks-and-mortar retail. These things just aren't going to bounce back. This is what the economist Arnold Kling calls a recalculation recession....At some point, the stimulus has to stop so that we can get on with the task of building the new economy we need instead of continuing to prop up all the last bits of the old one we'll never return to. We've done enough cash-splashing to get the economy as a whole to self-sustaining lift off. So, we should stop and now allow people to get on with the difficult bit: working out how we do things in our new world. No more stimulus is probably the right answer."

7 Things That Matter For Markets Going Forward -Carlson/A Wealth of Common Sense
"Here are 7 things I can't stop thinking about in terms of their impact on the markets going forward: 1. Interest rates. - The problem is rates have NEVER been this low before. No one knows what the unintended consequences will be....2. Fiscal stimulus. - The debt-to-GDP for the United States is the highest in history...Politicians found the lever to pull that can conjure growth out of thin air - government spending. 3. Inflation. - The biggest risk to all of this spending is inflation....4. The Fed. - The Fed met the pandemic with bazookas blazing. It's going to be difficult for the Fed to retract its alien tentacles from the markets....5. Automated investing. - The markets have never been more systematized as they are now...People panic and run out of the store when stocks go on sale....6. Demographics. - There have never been this many old people who have to take care of themselves financially for so long....7. Inequality. - The top 10% owns 70% of the wealth in the United States...Wealth inequality could have a much bigger impact on society at large if the rich continue to get richer while the poorer classes get knocked down a peg every time there’s a recession."

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Oct 9, 2020


10.9.20 - Mike Pence's Re-Election Case -WSJ

Gold last traded at $1,926 an ounce. Silver at $25.06 an ounce

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices zoomed higher Friday on stimulus hopes and a sharply weaker dollar. U.S. stocks were lifted as Wall Street continued to search for clarity on a new potential stimulus bill.

Trump or Biden? Both to 'provide substantial tailwinds for the long gold trade' -TD Securities/Kitco
"According to TD Securities, whether U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic candidate Joe Biden wins the election, gold will be all set to rise higher. 'With the Trump and Biden agendas estimated to cost between nearly $5.0 trillion and $5.6 trillion over the next decade, both would provide substantial tailwinds for the long gold trade,' TD Securities commodity strategists write. 'Barring a split government outcome, both administrations are likely to push through a large-scale fiscal deal in no time that would help de-bottleneck the real rate suppression, lifting precious metals in the process.' The end of this week is seeing risk assets firming amid some hope around stimulus talks. 'House Speaker Pelosi signaled a willingness to provide airline relief as a piecemeal deal, rather than a comprehensive fiscal stimulus package. While tailwinds of the last fiscal deal are fading, raising concerns that the U.S. may lose economic momentum before a new fiscal deal is agreed upon, gold bugs may not need to look too far on the horizon to expect a large-scale deal.'"

elephant Why Is the Recovering Economy the Elephant In the Room? -Ingram/Real Clear Markets
"America’s economy is coming in hot, and it is vital that Congress not ruin this rebound with legislation that could leave millions of Americans permanently unemployed. Some Democrats in Washington are working to do just that. As new original research by the Foundation for Government Accountability highlights, the signs are all there: Unemployment claims are plummeting, jobs are coming back, and entrepreneurs are creating more new businesses than ever before. More than 1.7 million new businesses have formed since June alone. These markers for a recovering economy should be welcome news to us all, but you won't find them among the mainstream media's top talking points. Instead, they're playing fast and loose with the 'news' about our economy and are hoping voters don’t realize a full economic recovery is already underway....Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, individuals were no longer required to search for work as a condition of receiving benefits, and an additional $600 weekly bonus was added to UI checks....More than 75 percent of UI recipients collected more in unemployment benefits than they did through work. But once the $600 weekly UI bonus expired, the economy began picking up speed. More than 4.4 million Americans have moved off of unemployment since late July, when the UI bonus expired. Nearly 3.8 million Americans returned to work in August alone. The unemployment rate is on the decline and job creation is on the rise....Last week, House Democrats jammed through legislation that would create another $600 weekly UI bonus that would last at least into spring of 2021. Though it's unlikely that this package will become law in its current form, we should question this continued push for extended UI benefits despite research showing the bonus both hurts the American economy and isn't necessary, given multiple economic markers proving we’re on the road to recovery. The recovering American economy is rapidly becoming the proverbial elephant in a room full of Democrats. They may not want to admit it, but under President Trump's continued leadership, we're headed back to a roaring economy, and the media should share this good news far and wide."

Mike Pence’s Re-Election Case -Editors/Wall Street Journal
"Mike Pence and Kamala Harris did a public service by offering a contrast on issues and values that voters aren't getting from the media or the presidential candidates. The Vice President did as well as he could playing defense on the pandemic, especially with his accurate gibe that Joe Biden's policy sounds like policy plagiarism. Senator Harris's main critique on the virus, as on most other issues, was less about substance than about Mr. Trump's rhetoric and personal behavior....Mr. Pence was most effective in pointing out how far left the Biden-Harris Democrats have moved...Voters haven't heard much about Mr. Biden's $2 trillion in spending over four years on the Green New Deal; the $4 trillion of tax increases that will reach into the working class through higher business and corporate rates. Mr. Pence also exposed Senator Harris for refusing to answer, as Mr. Biden also did last week, whether they support packing the Supreme Court if Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed. Their response that the election is the issue now and everyone should vote is embarrassing even by the standards of political evasion. Ms. Harris scored points when she focused on the Administration's support for the case before the Supreme Court that would repeal ObamaCare. She claimed this would strip millions of their health insurance, which is false....VP debates rarely change the course of the election, and the GOP ticket remains far behind. But this clash did show that Mr. Pence is much more than merely a loyal deputy, and that Ms. Harris’s views are much further to the left than Democrats want Americans to know. Mr. Trump has to make the election about the policy contrasts to have any chance of victory, and Mr. Pence showed how to do it."

The Pandora's Box of Central Bank Digital Currencies -Campbell/Doubleline
"With QE, central banks have printed excess reserves that have benefited only the very wealthy and large institutions. The innovation of a digital currency system as described by Mastercard could deliver stimulus directly to consumers. Such a mechanism could open veritable floodgates of liquidity into the consumer economy and accelerate the rate of inflation. While central banks have been trying without success to increase inflation for the past decade, the temptation to put Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) into effect might be very strong among policymakers. However, CBDCs would not only inject liquidity into the economy but also could accelerate the velocity of money. That one-two punch could bring about far more inflation than central bankers bargain for. When first implementing QE, central banks promised that this measure would be temporary and would be unwound after the crisis ended, a pledge that I have doubted for a while. Central banks as we know have perpetuated QE as part of their updated toolbox of monetary policies. The first use of digital currencies in monetary policy might start small as policymakers, out of caution, seek to calibrate this experiment in quasi-fiscal stimulus. However, such initial restraint could give way to growing complacency and greater use of the tool – just as we saw with QE....CBDCs also appear to be an effective mechanism for bypassing the taxation, debt issuance and spending prerogatives of government to implement a quasi-fiscal policy. Imagine, for example, the ease of enacting Modern Monetary Theory via CBDCs. With CBDCs, the central banks would possess the necessary plumbing to directly deliver a digital currency to individuals’ bank accounts, ready to be spent via debit cards....With a flick of the digital switch, CBDCs can enable policymakers to ignite an inflation conflagration, abandoning what little still survives of sovereign fiscal discipline and who knows what else. I hope the leaders of the world's central banks will approach this new financial technology with extreme caution, guarding against its overuse or outright abuse. It's hard to be optimistic. Soon our monetary Pandoras will possess their own box full of new powers, perhaps too enticing to resist"

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Oct 8, 2020


10.8.20 - Get Ready For Chaos

Gold last traded at $1,890 an ounce. Silver at $23.83 an ounce

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose Thursday on bargain hunting and a flat dollar. U.S. stocks struggled after comments from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dampened sentiment around potential for a smaller coronavirus aid package.

Market volatility, U.S. election 'don't deter $2,000 gold price, $30 silver price' near year-end -RBC/Kitco
"Gold and silver are still expected to rise into year-end despite current market volatility and election turbulence, says RBC Wealth Management managing director George Gero. 'More gold volatility now and debates don't deter expectations of $2,000 gold and $30.00 silver near year-end,' Gero writes. Expectations of low inflationary pressures without new stimulus are keeping downward pressure on gold for now. 'Today FED notes and speakers. Recovery expected to take longer without stimulus and pandemics headlines adding to volatility keeping inflationary numbers low,' Gero adds. 'Election also factor in gold prices and traders also looking at Brexit, U.S.-China tensions, Venezuela and BOE litigation on gold ownership.'"

liberty Get Ready For Chaos -Rickards/Zero Hedge
"There's less than a month until Election Day. Once the votes are in, the die will be cast for the next four years, perhaps longer. Trump or Biden? The difference could not be more clear, and the stakes could not be higher for you and your investments. If Trump wins, he may actually be able to finish his task of cleaning out Deep State actors, reducing regulation and taxes, securing U.S. energy independence, facilitating peace in the Middle East and finally bringing U.S. troops home from multi-decade wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If Biden wins, brace yourself for higher taxes, the end of fracking, the Green New Deal, free tuition, free healthcare and free child care. In a Trump administration, the decoupling from China will continue, and China's ability to spy on the U.S. and steal our best ideas will be curtailed. If Biden wins, it will be back to business as usual with China stealing U.S. jobs, stealing U.S. intellectual property and cheating on their obligations to the World Trade Organization and the IMF....The main difference is that the country will set out on two entirely different paths depending on the outcome. In that sense, this will be the most consequential election since 1860, when a vote for Lincoln pointed toward a possible Civil War because the South had already made its intentions clear if Lincoln won. Today, the Rebels are not Southern secessionists. They are home-grown neo-Marxists, anarchists, thugs and goon squads who are rioting and looting daily in scores of U.S. cities. If Trump wins, you can expect to find U.S. cities in flames within 24 hours of the election results. If Biden wins, the neo-Marxists will have a seat at the table in the form of Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as they insist on full implementation of their agenda....Markets are not fully priced for any of this. They're not priced for anti-Trump chaos, and they're not priced for the Bernie Bros' hidden agenda that will be foisted on Biden. Although markets may not be prepared, you should be. A reduced exposure to equities, an increased allocation to Treasury notes and cash, and a 10% portfolio allocation to gold will offer true diversification."

Trump's Economic Dream Come True -Wall Street Journal
"Remember the economy of seven months ago? Until March it was growing at an impressive pace, but the Covid crisis makes it seem distant. With the election approaching, America should refresh its memory of the policies - namely, tax cuts and deregulation - that helped drive growth before the pandemic. When President Trump took office in 2017, the recovery from the 2008-09 recession was in its seventh year. After years of slow but sustained growth, many analysts expected another downturn....Free-market economists rejected that pessimistic view about the economy's potential, arguing instead that reducing tax and regulatory burdens would increase productivity and make capital and labor markets more efficient. By the end of 2017 the White House and a Republican Congress lowered the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, allowed businesses to expense capital costs upfront, and reduced tax rates on small businesses and individuals. They also repealed the regulatory burdens on several industries...These policies were based on the simple idea that economic improvement comes from creating greater opportunities for individual self-improvement. Policies that interfere with free markets destroy opportunities....Wages increased across all education levels, with the largest increase, 12%, occurring among workers with less than a high school education. Similarly, inflation-adjusted median family income increased in all quartiles of the income distribution. The largest increase occurred among the poorest fourth of U.S. households and the second largest in the second-poorest fourth...reaching a record low for a roughly three-year period....The coronavirus and lockdowns have had a devastating impact on workers and businesses, and have made prosperity feel distant. But we shouldn't forget the widespread gains that came from sound economic policies as recently as this spring...Countless issues are at stake in November. But economic policy deserves to be foremost in voters' minds. It may be the most important issue of all."

68% of people are significantly stressed by the election — 4 ways to cope -CNBC
"A recent survey from the American Psychological Association and Harris Poll found that 68% of American adults say that the upcoming U.S. presidential election is a significant source of stress in their life. To put that in context, ahead of the 2016 election, only 52% of Americans said the election was a 'somewhat significant source of stress.' If you are also feeling overwhelmed in the run up to the election, here are some research-backed strategies that the APA says can help you cope with election stress: 1) Avoid dwelling on worst case scenarios - Research has shown that ruminating, or thinking involving excessive, repetitive thoughts or themes, can impair thinking and problem-solving....2) Have a voting plan - Research suggests that volunteering can combat stress and even help you live longer. 3) Have an Election Day plan, too - 'Research shows that people who have at least one or two friends or family members to turn to for emotional support during stressful times tend to cope better than people who don’t have such support,' according to the APA....4) Control your media consumption - Studies have shown that just watching news coverage of a traumatic event can trigger acute stress symptoms."

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Oct 7, 2020


10.7.20 - Gold: The Best Disaster Insurance

Gold last traded at $1,886 an ounce. Silver at $23.74 an ounce

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rebounded Wednesday on bargain hunting and a weaker dollar. U.S. stocks rose after President Trump tweeted support for aid to airlines and other stimulus measures.

The One Question That Should Be Asked Tonight -Regan/American Consequences
"Welcome to the vice-presidential debate, during the era of coronavirus, coming to you live from Salt Lake City, Utah! Tonight, the stakes are high. With the election less than a month away, the Trump campaign is trying to pull another surprise win, just as it did in 2016. Poll numbers are down, and the odds certainly seem stacked against the president…But, as we all learned in '16, polls and odds are not always the best predictors of elections....Both candidates are skilled debaters...Pence proved his chops debating Tim Kaine...Harris has spent a career as a debater - both as a lawyer and as a politician....The question for tonight, however, is will Harris deploy that same devastating skill going after Pence? And if she does, will it backfire? Pence will be more adept at defending himself. He's polished and knows how to stick to a script without getting flustered....Personalities aside, the problem with Kamala and the liberal economic agenda is that ultimately it would destroy our American economy and way of life....Pence is well known for his belief in supply-side economics. His economic policy is the antithesis of Harris, who has demonstrated favoritism for socialism....Why should we trade prosperity, capitalism, and freedom… for high taxes, slow growth, and economic instability? That's REALLY the question that should be asked tonight. Though, judging what we've seen from the media and debate moderators thus far, I don’t suspect we'll hear it."

gold Gold Is Still the Best Disaster Insurance You Can Buy -Rogue Economics
"Regular readers know that Bill Bonner is a longtime goldbug. He and Dan Denning, his colleague over at The Bonner-Denning Letter, recommend allocating a sizable portion of your portfolio to the yellow metal....Some readers may be wondering if they've missed the opportunity to get into gold. But guest editor, David Forest from Casey Research, is here to tell us why he believes this gold bull market is just getting started. In August, gold took out its all-time high of around $1,914 an ounce and quickly shot past $2,000. But I believe we're just in the early innings of a historic gold bull market. There are a number of reasons why I think the precious metal will soar to new highs. Firstly, in an attempt to paper over the market's insanity, the feds continue to unleash a wave of money-printing unlike any we've seen before....Historically, October is a 'witching season' for market crashes. It's almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. Everyone worries and selling can quickly accelerate into a runaway collapse. Typically, when this happens, people rush out of stocks… and into gold. But it likely won't be a straight shot higher for gold. There will be surges and dips along the way, as we've seen these last few weeks....If we do get another major crash, physical gold likely will offer protection. Historically, gold prices fall less than other assets during financial panics....Over the past 15 months, gold prices have already risen 37%...It's not too late to get in. The first step is owning physical gold."

The Stock-Market Disconnect -Rogoff/Project Syndicate
"The best explanation for why stock markets remain so bullish despite a massive recession is that major publicly traded companies have not borne the brunt of the pandemic's economic fallout. But having been spared by the virus, they could soon find themselves squarely in the sights of a populist backlash. Why are stock-market valuations soaring when the real economy remains so fragile? One factor has become increasingly clear: The crisis has disproportionately affected small businesses and low-income service workers. For example, because stock markets are forward-looking, current stock prices may reflect optimism about the imminent arrival of effective COVID-19 vaccines...This outlook may be justified, or it may be that markets are underestimating the likelihood of a severe second wave this winter, and overestimating the efficacy and impact of the first-generation vaccines. A second, and perhaps more convincing, explanation for today's stock market performance is that central banks have pushed interest rates down to near zero. But, again, it is not clear that markets are correct in anticipating a never-ending continuation of low interest rates. A third explanation is that in addition to providing ultra-low interest rates, central banks have directly backed private bond markets - representing an unprecedented intervention in the case of the US Federal Reserve....A big piece of the puzzle: the economic pain inflicted by COVID-19 is not being borne by publicly traded companies. It is falling on small businesses and individual service proprietors....Today's elevated stock markets face risks that are not only economic, including but not limited to the significant possibility of an unprecedented political crisis following the US presidential election this November...Wall Street will again be vilified, but populist wrath also will be directed toward Silicon Valley."

No Joe, You Didn't Hand Trump A Booming Economy -IssuesInsights
"'We left a booming economy,' Biden said during the first presidential debate, 'and he caused the recession.' Debate moderator Chris Wallace jumped in to help Biden, adding that job growth was faster in the last three years of Obama's term than the first three of Trump's. One is a flat out lie, the other a clever deception. After presiding over the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression, Obama and Biden left office with the economy stalling out, leading experts to warn that the nation was facing 'secular stagnation.' Look at the numbers. GDP growth sharply decelerated in 2016, falling from 3.1% the year before down 1.7% in 2016...Real median family income didn't budge from August 2015 to November 2016, according to Sentier Research. The stock market had been flat for more than a year...Does any of this sound anything like a booming economy? But what about the oft-repeated claim - repeated by Chris Wallace during the debate - that 'in Obama's final three years as president more jobs were created. A million and a half more jobs than in the first three years of your presidency.'....Under Obama, job growth in the recovery was unusually slow - slower in fact than every major recession before it...The only thing that grew fast under Obama was the number of people who'd dropped out of the labor force. That number climbed by almost 15 million....The economy under Trump created 4 million more jobs than would have been the case if Obama's policies had remained in effect."

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Oct 6, 2020


10.6.20 - False Reopening Hope Killing Small Business

Gold last traded at $1,905 an ounce. Silver at $23.90 an ounce

NEWS SUMMARY: Gold held its ground Tuesday after Powell's speech reaffirms uncertainty. Stocks were mixed on continued stimulus negotiations.

What Will Happen To Gold Under The Fed's New Monetary Framework? -OilPrice.org
"In August 2020, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell delivered his Jackson Hole speech, unveiling a new monetary framework in the process. He announced a flexible average inflation targeting strategy (FAIT). The new regime implies that when the inflation undershoots its target in one period, the US central bank will try to push inflation above the target in the next period to compensate for the previous shortfalls....But shouldn't the central bank rather try to achieve the price stability and protect the society against high inflation? Of course, it should. However, the recent years of low inflation persistently below the Fed's target of 2 percent (...asset price inflation is significantly higher). The shift to the FAIT is a big move that should be positive in the long run for gold, which is considered an inflation hedge. But, perhaps even more important is the change within the employment side of the Fed's mandate...Under the new regime, the Fed will not hike interest rates preemptively and unless there are visible signs of accelerating inflation. It means that the FOMC will prioritize employment and economic growth over inflation. Hence, both major revisions - in the inflation and employment objectives - are fundamentally positive for the gold prices....The Fed's new framework implies lower real interest rates - is good news for the precious metals investors. And the risk of inflation getting out of control should also support the gold prices."

taxes Stock Market's Leaders Appear Most Vulnerable to Biden's Tax Plan -Wall Street Journal
"A corporate tax increase stemming from a Democratic victory in November could undermine one of the strongest drivers of this year's market recovery, market analysts say. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has proposed raising the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21%, imposing a new minimum tax on U.S. companies and increasing taxes on foreign income of many U.S.-based multinationals, among other plans. Together, the tax proposals would reduce expected earnings among companies in the S&P 500 by 9.2%, according to estimates from BofA Global Research. The effects would especially hit technology companies. Mr. Biden's plan would produce estimated double-digit percentage declines in profits in the information-technology, communication-services and consumer-discretionary sectors, BofA's analysis found....Such a hit could challenge the leadership of those stocks - which have helped insulate the market during the pandemic - and test the durability of the 2020 rally....Mr. Biden's proposal for higher taxes on foreign income is expected to hit tech stocks particularly hard. The tech sector derives just 43.5% of its revenue from the U.S., compared with 60.3% for the S&P 500 as a whole, according to FactSet estimates. Another wild card for big tech companies is the possibility of a crackdown by regulators."

The false hope of reopening is killing small businesses -Vox
"During the pandemic, much of the conversation around small businesses has focused on lockdowns and reopening - just let things open back up again, the line of thinking goes, and everything will be okay. But the reality of the situation is that for many businesses, that's just not the case. According to Yelp, more than 160,000 US businesses on its platform have closed since March 1, nearly 100,000 of them permanently. 'People are not comfortable going to public places yet. We've tried to put so many safety measures in place, but all of that, essentially, is not going to matter if people will not come,' said Payal Patel, Chicago's Navy Pier communications director. You can't force business as usual when life is not. Many businesses already operating with low margins pre-pandemic can't survive under health-related restrictions that, while incredibly important, make staying afloat extremely difficult. Beyond the restrictions, there are also broader issues afoot. With a deadly virus still spreading, many Americans simply aren't falling over themselves to go out and consume. Millions of people have lost their jobs or are afraid they might, so they're not as eager to spend their money on things they don't perceive as necessary. That leaves small businesses fighting for their lives....According to data from OpenTable, which tracks restaurant reservations and traffic, seated dining in the US is still down more than 50 percent year-over-year...The colder months will present new challenges for restaurants, especially considering the majority of diners view outdoor dining as safer....Instead of going to the restaurant, they're going to the grocery store. Instead of buying a dress at the local boutique, they're ordering sweatpants on Amazon. Spending so much time at home has made people more interested in home-improvement projects, meaning trips to Home Depot....The belief that reopening would be a panacea for small business was wrong. That belief is also part of what is making it so hard for them to make it through. Policies to support small businesses were designed for short-term dips, not the long, deep economic slog we're in for."

How to Have a Disagreement Like an Adult -Chopra/New York Times
"Deepak Chopra, 73, has been looking out at the anxious and angry state of the world and he's not surprised. Some people may think this moment in time is the height of political and social division - with people baiting each other on social media, walking away from friendships, even splitting up with lovers over political polarization - but Mr. Chopra said our behavior is nothing new. 'It's been going on since the Stone Age,' he said....Mr. Chopra, celebrity and author of 91 books, has some tips for disagreeing better....STEP 1: Choose if you even want to engage - There are simply some confrontations that are not worth it. STEP 2: OK, you've decided to engage...So first, listen. - If you don't start with an open ear, you've lost your opponent. STEP 3: Learn about the other person's values. - The simplest way to learn about someone else is to ask about what is meaningful to them. STEP 4: Try awareness and a pause. - Tackle a disagreement with 'insight, intuition, inspiration, creativity, vision, higher purpose or authenticity integrity.' STEP 5: Don't engage in black-and-white thinking - 'Having a grievance or resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill the enemy.' STEP 6: When confronted, stop, take a deep breath, smile and then make a choice. - 'Ask yourself, Am I going to be nasty? Am I going to be reactive? Or is there a creative solution to this?' STEP 7: Don't try to prove them wrong - The point of disagreeing is not to 'win' but to start negotiating. STEP 8: Be prepared to forgive - You might not feel the other person in a disagreement deserves forgiveness, but consider it for the sake of your own peace. STEP 9: Make a (gentle) joke - It's OK to bring humor into a tense conversation, as long as it isn't cruel or demeaning."

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Oct 5, 2020


10.5.20 - Gold Prices Reclaim $1,900/oz.

Gold last traded at $1,916 an ounce. Silver at $24.44 an ounce

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose Monday on bargain-hunting and a weaker dollar. U.S. stocks higher as investors grew more hopeful that lawmakers would reach a compromise on a new stimulus deal in light of President Donald Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis and signs of a slowdown in economic recovery.

Gold prices reclaim $1,900 -Marketwatch
"Gold prices reclaimed the $1,900 mark last week to post their highest finish in nearly two weeks, with analysts attributing the advance for the yellow metal to less than stellar economic data and traders hedging bets...'Gold prices are soaring as traders are concerned about the fragile economic data,' said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade. Consumer spending rose 1% in August, but the increase was the smallest since the U.S. reopened, and the Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index slipped to 54.6% in September from 56% in the prior month....The economic data 'confirmed that the economic recovery is running out of momentum and if there is no further stimulus, the recovery will stall,' he told MarketWatch. 'This uncertainty is pushing the gold price higher.'....Bullion bulls have viewed gold during the coronavirus pandemic as one of the easiest ways to hedge against a host of uncertainty fostered by the public-health disaster that has forced central banks around the world to adopt low-interest-rate policies to limit the harm to businesses....'The odds are stacked in favor of higher gold price in the coming days, especially because the U.S. elections are just around the corner, and investors want to protect themselves from this major risk event,' Aslam said."

Bidenomics Bidenomics: the good the bad and the unknown -The Economist
"When Mr Trump took power in 2017 he hoped to unleash the animal spirits of business by offering bosses a hotline to the Oval Office and slashing red tape and taxes....Mr Biden's economic priority would be to pass a huge 'recovery' bill, worth perhaps $2trn-3trn...This would include short-term money, boosting unemployment insurance and help for state and local governments, which face a budget hole. Mr Biden would also extend grants or loans to small businesses which have not received as much aid as big firms....The recovery bill would also aim to 'build back better' by focusing on some long-term problems for America that have also been Biden priorities for many years. He is keen on a giant, climate-friendly infrastructure boom...He would scrap Mr Trump's restrictions on immigration...And he wants to raise middle-class living standards and social mobility. That means more spending on education, health care and housing and a $15 minimum wage....The real risk of Bidenomics is that his pragmatism will lead him to be insufficiently bold. Sometimes he fails to resolve competing objectives. For example, he rightly supports ladders for social mobility as well as a better safety-net for workers who lose their jobs; his plans range from more affordable housing to free public universities....This lack of boldness also reflects the lack of a fully developed strategy. Mr Biden has a record as a free trader, but he will not remove tariffs quickly and his plan indulges in petty protectionism by, say, insisting that goods are shipped on American vessels....If he wants to renew America's economy and ensure it leads the rich world for decades to come, he will have to be bolder than that. On the threshold of power, he must be more ruthless about his priorities and far-reaching in his vision."

There Have Long Been Too Many 'Have Nots' In the U.S. -Snider/Real Clear Markets
"Yesterday, a guy by the name of Dick Costolo tweeted out the following: 'Me-first capitalists who think you can separate society from business are going to be the first people lined up against the wall and shot in the revolution.'...Mr. Costolo has 1.5 million followers many of whom follow his every tweet with religious-like fervor. The guy was CEO of Twitter between 2010 and 2015. This ain't fringe stuff. The only surprising piece of his deviant twit was that Dick forgot to capitalize its final word: to each good standing Marxist of all varieties, it's the Revolution. This is what we, and Costolo, are really talking about - socialism in some variant form....Why do the mainstream media, multitudes of school districts, nearly every single university, and so many lawyers and politicians sound like exactly the same cultural Marxist? Because later generations of socialists realized Marx was wrong about a fundamental precept....Society gets better and better, the human condition improves beyond anyone's wildest dreams, but that's all the more reprehensible to the hardcore Revolutionary....How dare capitalism solve, and keep solving, the most basic wants and needs which have plagued human existence from time immemorial!....The post-modern Marx which now admits it can keep making things good but, dang it, it just leaves you all empty - and envious - inside, some people rich while others not. It's the proliferation of 'nots' which has made this time different. Without anyone else to offer a scientific explanation for so many, emotion sure can substitute. As really stupid as it all sounds, without enough legitimate growth in primary, secondary, or tertiary industries since August 2007, too many 'nots' for any system, and the constant, absurd, and floundering interference from the state because of this, more and more people are listening to it anyway. Just how many, that's the question."

My assignment for Trump in the next 2 debates -Buchanan/WND
"What happened on that stage in Cleveland? The insults, the interruptions, the name-calling and the yelling became the story of the debate...in which Trump, Biden and moderator Chris Wallace were all complicit....Trump has two debates left to achieve the goals he failed to achieve in Cleveland. He and his campaign need to tie Biden to the repellent elements of the Democratic Party and their radical agenda on remaking an America that the extreme left visibly detests, or to force Biden to repudiate those elements. For Trump to rise into competitive range, Biden must fall, and Trump must appear the necessary and only alternative, even to folks who are not that fond of him. Trump's assignment in the next two debates: Link Biden to the people - and their agenda - in his coalition whom the national majority detests. Make Joe repudiate both. And let Biden's performance expose his own inadequacies. The presidency hinges upon whether Trump can succeed in this. And the next two presidential debates will likely give us the answer."

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Oct 2, 2020


10.2.20 - Gold Gains Amid Stimulus Hopes

Gold last traded at $1,908 an ounce. Silver at $23.90 an ounce

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices steadied Friday amid rising political and economic uncertainty. U.S. stocks fell after news that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for coronavirus.

Gold gains on hopes for U.S. stimulus -CNBC
"Gold prices jumped over 1% on Thursday to surpass the key $1,900 level on renewed hopes for a U.S. stimulus package that could help ease the economic pain from the coronavirus, while a easing dollar further boosted the safe-haven metal....Investors were eyeing talks between U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to reach a deal on the long-awaited COVID-19 relief bill. 'If there's a deal, chances are stimulus will reignite the idea that inflation will move towards the Federal Reserve's target,' which along with the interest rate suppression policy by the Fed are very good catalyst for gold, said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities. He added, the breakthrough in the psychological barrier of the $1,900 level can further drive the market technically a little higher. The dollar fell to a more than one week low versus rivals, making gold cheaper for holders of other currencies. Meanwhile, U.S. manufacturing activity unexpectedly slowed in September as new orders retreated, while U.S. weekly jobless claims remained at recession levels, further bolstering the metal's safe haven appeal."

government debt Federal Government Concludes Fiscal 2020 With Record Spending -Nextgov
"The federal government's fiscal 2020 year ended September 30th at midnight and federal spending has eclipsed $6 trillion for the first time ever - and that's without data from September, the final month federal officials can obligate annual Congressionally-appropriated funds before they expire....The 2020 budget deficit now stands at $3 trillion through August - also a first, meaning the government has spent $3 trillion more than it has taken in this year. Fiscal 2020 spending has been dominated by health care, entitlements and the military, with the Health and Human Services Department ($1.3 trillion), Social Security Administration ($1.2 trillion) and Defense Department ($690 billion) the top-three spending agencies. While the Treasury has not tabulated the government’s COVID-19 spending, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates the government has committed or disbursed $2.2 trillion in economic relief....The government's traditional September spending surge will push these totals higher, as civilian and defense agencies obligate the rest of the fiscal 2020 money appropriated by Congress through contracts for various goods and services."

Is Biden's Economic Plan Much Different Than Trump's? -FEE
"If you read presidential candidate Joe Biden's economic plans ('Build Back Better' and 'Made in America'), you get a feeling of deja vu, of having heard it all before: 'America, good. China, bad.' If it was not sprinkled with obligatory 'Trump, bad' quips you might think it was lifted from Trump's program. The leitmotif is: 'I am going to do the same things as Trump, but better.'....In these divided times, it is reassuring that, regardless of their differences, both Trump and Biden, at least on paper, want to improve the economy. But will Biden's Trump-ish plan actually do that? One of Biden's proposals is to Make 'Buy American' Real. Basically, if the federal government is paying for a bridge, the contractor must get its steel, cement, and other materials from American companies. This, according to the plan, should help US companies compete with foreign rivals....Biden talks a lot about public procurement of steel and other construction materials. Yet, steel imports make up less than one percent of what Americans import....Is the Democratic Party ready to make the US a good place for mining, smelting and making steel? Perhaps. But it will be interesting to see how this is received by the left wing of the Democratic Party with their Green New Deals....The whole plan suffers from the arrogant premise that if the government is buying something, it can pressure private companies to support certain political objectives....Can you be for business, mining, and manufacturing in one paragraph, and for big-government labor and environmental policies in another?"

In Joe Biden, the Democrats picked the worst candidate to debate Donald Trump -Prince/Telegraph
"'Will you shut up, man,' Joe Biden whined minutes into the first debate of the US 2020 presidential campaign. It was a lament which highlighted how poorly equipped the Democratic candidate was to take on the force of nature that is President Donald Trump on the debate stage. Having watched the tapes of Mr Trump stalking and menacing Hillary Clinton in the same arena four years ago, the former vice president's campaign team had clearly decided their man's best tactic was to refuse to engage and instead talk directly to voters down the TV lens. His diffidence meant it was left to Chris Wallace, the Fox News host and moderator of the event to provide what little opposition there was to the President....Unable or unwilling to cross swords, a frustrated Mr Biden was reduced to shaking his head sometimes accompanied by an exasperated chuckle. Gone was the twinkly figure who provided some levity in the Obama administration, replaced by a scared, tired man appalled at the dawning realization he was being bested by a man he described twice as a 'clown'. This was not the only insult Mr Biden deployed against President Trump: 'racist,' 'ridiculous' and 'the worst president America has ever had' were just a few of the attack lines he had teed up. But so feeble was the delivery, so anemic the tone, that the punches barely smudged the orange make-up of his foe. In contrast, Mr Trump did not hold back; hardly a surprise; he doesn't have it in him to hold back....Mr Trump debated as he has governed: with an unshakeable confidence which brooks no opposition....the Democratic candidate floundered where almost any of his former rivals for the nomination would have flourished...Unfortunately for the Democrats, they have lumbered themselves with Sleepy Joe Biden."

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Oct 1, 2020


10.1.20 - Do NYT Writers Believe Their Headlines?

Gold last traded at $1,908 an ounce. Silver at $23.90 an ounce

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose sharply Thursday on bargain hunting and a weaker dollar. U.S. stocks climbed as investors monitored lawmakers' negotiations on further fiscal stimulus.

The Real Cost of Government Protection -Bonner/Rogue Economics
"Look around you. Have you ever seen so many fearful people? People who have lost courage… lost faith… and lost their minds. They are willing to be frisked every time they get on an airplane… as protection against the almost negligible chance that someone will want to blow it up. Even young, healthy people are willing to submit to house arrest… rather than face the risk of getting sick. They are afraid that the 'planet is angry' and that it will be consumed by the fires of Hell unless we stop using fossil fuels. Do civilized adults need the government to tell them how to protect themselves from a virus? The New York Times reluctantly admits that they don'’t: 'Vilified Early Over Lax Virus Strategy, Sweden Seems to Have Scourge Controlled'. Sweden let people decide for themselves. Those who were afraid of the virus could stay at home. Those who were not could go about their business. The U.S., meanwhile, panicked, shutting down large parts of the economy (U.S. second-quarter GDP fell 31%!). But the death rate for both countries was about the same. And now, Sweden appears to be way ahead of the game, with very few new cases. Aging Americans see a future full of bogeymen. And they want the government to protect them. But the protection comes at a cost...Their heavy-handed attempts to hold off the virus crippled the economy… and resulted in collateral damage - depression, suicide, stunted careers, etc. - which will be tallied later. But what concerns us here at the Diary is the cost of protecting against the financial future. That is where the real risk lies. Having bent and distorted the economy for its own benefit, the Baby Boomer elite now faces a reckoning. In an effort to protect itself from the risks of old age, it has promised itself health and pension benefits, unfunded, worth over $200 trillion. It would be impossible to keep up with those obligations, even with a healthy economy."

gold chart Gold's Record High Gives New Life to Dollar Doomsayers -Wallace/Wall Street Journal
"Can gold keep going? This year ranks as one of the best on record for investors in the precious metal, with futures prices up almost 24% for 2020 after hitting an all-time high in August...The events of this year are giving new life to those who insist the arc of financial history points toward the inevitable debasement of currencies like the dollar. Bullish investors contend that trend means new highs for gold are in store. Gold has been a prime beneficiary of the Federal Reserve's determination to leave borrowing costs at historically low levels to spur the economy after the shock of Covid-19. Chairman Jerome Powell formalized that stance in August, saying the central bank had dropped its longstanding practice of pre-emptively raising rates to head off higher inflation....In such an environment, money managers say the precious metal has lived up to its status as a haven, shielding investors in a year when stocks have been racked by volatility. '[Gold] has thousands of years of a track record of offering some form of protection against the unexpected,' said George Milling-Stanley, chief gold strategist at State Street Global Advisors. 'That’s worth having.'....The price would have to climb another 43% from its late-August level, crossing $2,800 an ounce, to top its peak from early 1980, after adjusting for rising consumer prices in the four decades since then...Gold prices crested at $850 in the London market on Jan. 21, 1980. That remains their all-time high in inflation-adjusted terms....The greenback's role as the world's reserve currency is being called into question by some gold bulls, including analysts at Goldman Sachs Group. Gold is the currency of last resort, especially when governments are debasing fiat currencies and pushing real interest rates to record lows, the analysts wrote in July....Investors like Michael Kelly, global head of multiasset at PineBridge Investments, are on the hunt for other assets that zig when stocks zag. 'This is crystal clear: Financial repression is coming even to the U.S. and the U.K. and there will be negative real rates as far as the eye can see,' Mr. Kelly said. 'That supercharges gold.' Gold has done a good job at smoothing out returns in recent decades, according to Hilary Till, principal at Premia Research LLC, who thinks money managers should consider investing in bullion as a counterweight to stocks."

Do New York Times Headline Writers Believe Their Headlines? -Tamny/AIER
"Until March of 2020, Cafe Phillip in Washington, D.C. was booming...Then came the political panic related to the coronavirus. Even though there were no indications from the virus’s origin, or Asia more broadly, that it was terribly lethal, U.S. politicians panicked. In their panic they quite literally chose to fight the virus with strict lockdowns that resulted in soaring unemployment, bankruptcy, and economic desperation. It would be hard to imagine a more wrongheaded approach to a health threat. Think about it. Economic growth has historically produced the resources for scientists and doctors that have made victories over viruses possible. Yet in their panic, politicians on the local, state and national levels forced the very contraction that would logically shrink economic resources, only to follow up with the extraction of trillions from the private economy in order to throw money at the horrendous problems they created....Panicked politicians who will never miss a meal or a paycheck decided we the people couldn't be trusted to go to work. We might spread the virus. Lockdowns were instituted, supposedly for our own good. Sorry, but economic growth is what's for our own good. It doesn't just produce resources for those eager to find cures for viruses that make us ill or kill us, economic growth also frees us to quarantine or shelter-in-place if we feel some kind of virus threatens us....Back to Cafe Phillip, to walk in nowadays is to see formerly energized employees with forlorn looks on their faces, mostly immobile as they wait for customers. It’s a far cry from what it used to be...It's all a sickening reminder of how quickly politicians can wreck things. How they can thoughtlessly break things. They're way too powerful on all levels....The same New York Times reporting that over 40% of U.S. virus deaths have happened in nursing homes has also projected that over 285 million of the world’s inhabitants are rushing toward starvation. Yes, you read that right. The Times won't say it directly, but the panicked political reaction to the virus that revealed itself in contraction-inducing lockdowns and other limits on activity has parts of the world's economy collapsing, and as a consequence hundreds of millions rushing back into poverty, starvation and death. Poverty is easily the biggest killer man has ever known. Nothing else comes close. This would ideally get more attention from the Times. Consider the newspaper's above-the-fold headline from last Monday: 'A Nation's Anguish As Deaths Near 200,000.' Really? One senses the headline writers don't even believe this. When old people die it's sad, and sometimes very sad. But it's rarely - if ever- a tragedy. Figure that death from old age is a very modern concept born of healthcare advances made possible by the very economic growth that politicians mindlessly snuffed out in their panic....It's sad when we lose our grandparents and old people more broadly, but it's tragic to read of people starving, and heart-wrenching to contemplate formerly productive workers sitting, waiting for customers; increasingly aware that what puts a roof over their heads will no longer. Proportion New York Times, proportion."

Millennials Are Trying To Shake The Stigma Of Moving Back In With Their Parents -BuzzFeed
"An analysis of monthly US Census data by the Pew Research Center reveals that a majority of young adults (ages 18 to 29) are now living with their parents - surpassing a record set during the Great Depression. These numbers have only increased as lockdown has ground on: The Pew poll says that 47% of young adults were living with at least one parent in February; that number climbed to 52% in July....I moved back in with my parents in April. As the pandemic spread, my world shrank. I saw the industries that sustained me start to erode, and I worried for my long-term financial standing. The coziness and solitude of my apartment curdled into a stale-aired echo chamber that only boomed with bad news. Then there was the fear for my parents, well into their seventies....At 38 years old, I was too old for that; wouldn't it seem sad? Moving home was for kids just out of college, who needed help as they launched into their own lives. I had my own life. Then, one afternoon, as I prepared yet another solitary meal, the news in the background announcing another milestone in deaths, my heart started jackhammering...The air cinched out of my throat. A panic attack. A clear sign I couldn't keep on keeping on alone. I called my mother. I asked if I could come home....Christie Kederian, a psychologist and licensed marriage and family therapist, said that, as older millennials have been moving back with their families, 'the previous notion of aiming to own a home by 30 and be independent has been replaced with survival mode.' Though 'survival mode' casts a grim image, Kederian suggests that there's a valuable opportunity: 'Our westernized society puts independence on a pedestal … this new trend [can] teach millennials that it's OK to ask for help, to let go of the pressure to have your life look better on Instagram than it feels in real life, and to rid themselves of the microwave mentality that everything you want to happen in your life, all the dreams you want to achieve, have to happen before you're 40.'....I'm learning to let go of the expectations I had for myself before I showed up on my mother's front porch with a suitcase and a hope that this would all be temporary...My desires are smaller now: that I can keep everyone close to me safe and well; that I will not take my dinners alone, night after night. They may not be grand, but they must be enough."

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