BALTIMORE – St. Valentine’s Day.
Today, we pay homage to love.
As mysterious as central banking. As sublime and incomprehensible as negative interest rates. As baffling as Trump’s budget plans.
At first glance, love seems well away from our normal beat here at the Diary. But on closer inspection, we find that it is right up our alley.
We drove down to Virginia, south of Charlottesville, again yesterday. Mother has been slipping… and then stabilizing… slipping some more… and then stabilizing again.
Now, she is struggling. Skin and bones… unable to get out of bed or even sit up… She uses all her remaining force just gasping for air. Even with oxygen tubes in her nose, she can’t get enough of the essential gas.
Deprived of the precious air… she sees people who aren’t there and calls out to them.
“Mom, Uncle Edward died 40 years ago. He isn’t here,” we correct her.
“Oh… yes, he is…”
And maybe she is right. The spirits gather round… beckoning to her… inviting her to join them. Angels hover over the house like drones, preparing to lift her up.
Death… love… the future… the economy – all are fundamentally unknowable. You never know what you’ll get. But you always get what you deserve.
There’s no way to know what is coming – neither the hour nor the place. You can’t make it happen or predict when it will. Like Trump, it just happens.
“Stocks, Dollar Falter as Investors Await Yellen,” says a Bloomberg headline.
But what do they expect? Ms. Yellen knows no more about what will happen than we do. Perhaps even less. What do they hope to get from her?
We don’t know.
Meanwhile, the light unto the world that is Donald J. Trump flickers.
As you know, if he is to really improve the lives of his supporters, he must do more than call out Nordstrom or threaten foreigners. He must drain the swamp…
Alas, when he should have been moving in with heavy pumps, he has spent his popular momentum and precious time on silly fights and largely symbolic objectives.
Cabinet breakdowns… executive order misfires… loose cannons careening across the White House decks… scrapes with judges… dustups with the media… conflicts of interest…
In short, whatever else may be said about Donald Trump and his new administration, their eyes are not on the ball.
Unless the insiders are brought to heel, no real change can happen. In order to succeed, they must take on the deepest elements of the Deep State right here in the USA.
The Trump Team must try to rein in the gunmen and the moneymen, or it is nothing but another group of conmen.
But so far, reforming the fake-money system has not even been mentioned. And instead of reeling in the military, Trump seems to want to give it more slack.
It’s only in the first few months that a new administration can make any significant changes; after that, it is too late.
The Deep State quickly builds its ramparts and breastworks. Positions are fortified. Even the most seasoned and clever politicians cannot penetrate them once they are well entrenched and (with our money) well supplied.
What will happen?
Nobody knows anything. Which is why death and love are as suitable for this Diary as economics and finance.
And if there is something that cannot be known, your editor cannot know it as well as anyone and better than most. Like a drunken boatman… he goes where the currents take him.
Last night, we sat by the bed and held her hand.
On TV, we saw another generation. Our daughter, an actress, had a part in the show Scorpion. She played a Russian chess master who escapes a trap by jumping out of a second story window into a trash bin filled with soft bread dough.
We laughed; she doesn’t know how to play chess. But she does a good Russian accent.
So there we sat. Between one generation and the next, like a stale roll between two croissants.
The issue of one. The progenitor of the next.
One shining on national TV, young and beautiful. The other, her eyes shut… straining to breathe.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
BY CHRIS LOWE, EDITOR AT LARGE
Yesterday, we looked at how global stock markets have been on fire since Election Day.
But not all foreign markets are participating in the global rally.
A notable exception is Mexico.
Today’s chart tracks the performance of the Mexican stock market in local currency and U.S. dollar terms.
Since Election Day, stocks in Japan, Italy, and Germany have seen double-digit returns. And stocks in Switzerland, Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, and Canada have seen high single-digit returns.
But Mexican stocks are DOWN 2% in Mexican peso terms… and they’re DOWN 11.4% in U.S. dollar terms… over concerns about what President Trump’s tough talk on trade means for the Mexican economy.
The only country that has seen its stock market fall further over the same period is Nairobi.
It’s further proof of what Bill recently told readers of his monthly publication, The Bill Bonner Letter – that politics today plays a more important role than ever in economics.
– Chris Lowe
Why Gold Stocks Perform Better Than Gold
The reason why gold stocks perform better than gold is simple: They offer leverage to the price of gold. That’s why the returns can be spectacular.
What to Do If the Dollar Stays Strong
Many financial firms say U.S. investors should own foreign stocks as well as domestic stocks. The problem is this also means getting exposure to the weak currency that stock’s earnings are denominated in…
Markets Are Tranquil… Why It’s Time to Be Afraid
The S&P 500 hasn’t had a 1% intraday move since December 14. It’s the longest such period of market tranquility… in history. The question is: Should it make you scared as an investor?
Last Friday, Bill asked a radical question: “Will private property disappear in our lifetimes?”
And it’s prompted more questions than answers from readers…
Bill is so right that we are being played for suckers in this money game we are all in. This so-called money generated at will by the bankers as blessed by the government is just green paper that is passed around.
Soon the thieves will give us all digital money as numbers in our accounts. This should show any conscience person what a total fraud it is and has been. Will the people still be zombies at this point?
– Dave E.
In the coming collapse of the credit system, what happens to the credit-card balances still owed? If I can’t use my bank to pay, and/or the credit card company is gone, is my debt wiped out? If so, why aren’t people charging up the wazoo expecting never having to pay?
– Christine B.
I don’t understand why deflation is a consequence of a reduction in the velocity of money. If people are holding onto their money by parking it in a bank, aren’t they essentially creating capital for others to use to start or to grow a business, buy a house, or purchase a set of new tires? Haven’t these money hoarders simply postponed using it for their gratification and, in so doing, allowed the bank to rent this money for use by others?
– Jim R.
Diary Comment: As Bill mentioned on Friday, banks don’t, as economic textbooks still suggest, take funds out of existing deposits from savers and lend these out to borrowers.
When a bank makes a new loan, it creates a new electronic deposit out of thin air, using nothing more than keystrokes on a computer. It doesn’t need any pre-existing deposits to make this new loan. It simply creates a new ledger entry – a deposit balance for the borrower (a liability on its balance sheet) offset by the new loan (an asset on its balance sheet).