BALTIMORE – The public spectacle in Washington took center stage yesterday.
It is a much-hyped battle between two mountebanks, each backed by armies of scoundrels and scammers.
But it is best understood as a political version of professional wraslin’. Each side with its clownish hero. Neither side is what it pretends to be. But each plays his role…
…and the public cheers or boos, depending on which side it is deceived by.
Yesterday, former FBI Director James Comey got generally favorable reviews for his portrayal of a career lawman.
He played the part of an honorable civil servant whose only interest is protecting the American people from enemies, foreign and domestic, and guarding the honor of his beloved FBI.
“It’s my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation,” Mr. Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“I was fired in some way to change, or the endeavor was to change, the way the Russia investigation was being conducted,” he went on. “That is a very big deal, and not just because it involves me.”
Comey went on to say that the president “chose to defame… the FBI.”
Mr. Comey did not mention – and the pitiful press will not bring up – that he has been a Deep State stooge throughout his career.
Dust almost any piece of evidence from the fiasco of the last 15 years, and you will find his… and another former FBI director, Robert Mueller’s… fingerprints.
The 9/11 intelligence failures… the subsequent panic… the Weapons of Mass Destruction bamboozle… and the invasion of Iraq (which had nothing to do with 9/11)… the roundup of innocent “suspects”… the torture of prisoners… the spying on Americans…
These guys played key parts in the whole degrading, costly, pointless, and counterproductive shebang.
Instead of protecting the constitutional rights of Americans, as they swore to do, they used the post-9/11 hysteria to increase the power of the Deep State.
Now, they are angling for Oscars as heroes, pretending to be selfless G-men. In yesterday’s hearing, integrity reflected off Mr. Comey’s face like the sun off a hot windshield.
Naturally, the media was blinded by the sheen.
Immediately, it got to work with its customary bumbling sloth… not bothering to put two and two together… not troubling itself to try to understand what is really going on.
And why should it?
TV viewers don’t care, either; they just want confirmation of their simpleminded myths. They are either for “The Donald” or agin’ him.
Forget the nuances.
And so the spectacle trundles on – confusing and distracting the public from what really matters.
What really matters?
Glad you asked. In our view, there are two key features: the growth of Deep State power… and the growth of debt.
Roughly half a century ago, the U.S. got seriously into the empire business.
Then, aided by a new credit-based fake currency (the post-1971 fiat dollar), the Establishment shifted more and more money and power from the productive economy to the unproductive economy…
Wall Street, the military, medical bureaucrats, central bank Ph.D.s, education-industry suits, drug pushers, prison operators, and the feds themselves…
It didn’t matter which party was in power. As real output declined, the pages of the Federal Register increased and debt grew.
Now there is more debt than can be paid – including hundreds of trillions’ worth of pension and medical care benefits that have been promised to voters.
And the win-lose deals – regulations, legislation, wars, central bank meddling, debt and economic meddling – are making it harder and harder for the economy to keep up.
Already, the Fed has knocked short-term interest rates to the floor. And it added $4 trillion of government bonds to its balance sheet in the first 14 years of this century – eight times more than it did during the 86 years of its existence up to that point.
In 1980, the U.S. only had $1 trillion of government debt. Now it has $20 trillion. In 1980, households, too, had only about $1 trillion in debt. Now they’ve got nearly $15 trillion.
The real issue has little to do with President Trump. He is a bit player. He doesn’t understand what is going on… and has no idea what he should do.
He got elected because people could listen to him… and believe that he was the “disrupter” they were looking for.
He sounded as though he talked “straight” (if you didn’t listen too closely). He looked like an “outsider” (if you didn’t look too closely). He may even have been mistaken for a successful businessman (if you didn’t study his career too carefully).
It hardly matters.
The real power is held by the Deep State… and the real issue is how it will react to the inevitable financial meltdown that is bound to occur.
A recession is overdue. A bear market is coming. Eventually, interest rates will go up… and the $225 trillion mountain of global debt will explode like Krakatoa.
Bonner’s law: The force of a downturn is equal and opposite to the delusions that preceded it. This one will be a doozy.
But so what?
Markets go up. They go down. An honest system would blow up… and allow the chips to fall where they may – wiping away trillions in unpayable debt and allowing the economy to start up again on a more solid foundation.
But the Deep State runs an empire – one that depends on the fake dollar… and debt. Empires do not back up. Insiders do not back off.
Instead, they take more and more power… and control more of the economy… until the system breaks down.
What will happen? When?
We don’t know. But the Comey-Trump Celebrity Matchup in the WWE ring is a sideshow.
BY CHRIS LOWE, EDITOR AT LARGE, Bonner & partners
The number of publicly listed companies in America is collapsing.
As you can see from today’s chart, in 1996, the number of publicly listed firms peaked at 7,322.
Today, there are 3,600 – a 51% drop.
When a company “goes public,” its new stock trades on an exchange. The fewer publicly listed firms, the fewer stocks.
But that doesn’t mean the value of the stock market is shrinking.
From 1996 to today, the total value of all listed stocks has gone from 86% of GDP to 136% of GDP – a 50% rise.
A smaller number of older, more established companies now dominate the stock market.
Many of America’s most innovative, disruptive businesses – Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft, for example – have chosen to remain in private hands.
And only insiders and private equity buyers have access to these newer, more dynamic businesses.
– Chris Lowe
Emerging Markets: A $1 Trillion Investment
Investors are bullish on emerging markets. It’s expected that $1 trillion will flow into these stocks in 2017 – a 35% jump from last year. Here’s why investors are looking outside the U.S. for their gains.
Bitcoin Is More Than Just a Currency
Bitcoin is the best-performing currency of 2017, spiking more than 200% since the start of the year. But as our colleague points out, there’s more to bitcoin than meets the eye.
Retailers Are Getting Desperate
As Chris Lowe pointed out yesterday, traditional retailers are in serious trouble. Now, these brick-and-mortar companies are taking an unprecedented step to manage their risk.
In today’s mailbag, one reader shares a concern…
I have a problem with your “Mailbag.” When it comes to Trump, you seem to have fallen into the trap of going left politically. My regard for your judgement is deflating. Don’t know if I will continue to read.
– Phil J.
Meanwhile, a debate over whether Trump’s Saudi arms deal is “win-win.”
C’mon… When the Saudis buy tanks and weapons, American companies and their employees benefit. Why are you suggesting otherwise? Yes, dammit, it matters whether Americans get the jobs vs. Canadians.
– Erich K.
Some of your readers seem to think Trump’s arms deal is good for American companies as well as the treasury, workers and soldiers who would otherwise be without gainful employment.
I would question how it is anyone can claim we have risen to such great heights as a society by simply producing the world’s weapons. These arms only destroys capital in pursuit of stealing it from someone else. The 600 billion dollars in regulatory costs I suppose are also valuable because all those people paid taxes too. And hey, we only had to create a trillion dollars in deficits to pay them. What a bargain.
At this rate we’ll all be wealthy beyond our wildest dreams in no time.
– Mike R.
Our colleague Jeff Clark isn’t your typical trader.
He spends odd hours in his basement, almost never wears a suit, and rarely leaves his house before noon.
But as he explained to us, he’s able to do all this because he’s uncovered an investing strategy to make more money in one day than most people make in a month. It’s the strategy he used to retire at 42.
Jeff shares his secret right here.