Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
– Psalm 23:4
NORMANDY, FRANCE – Others are beginning to notice: Republicans have lost the White House.
The Washington Post reports:
It could very well be a blip on the screen, as could Trump’s flirtation with going the independent route with his presidency. But for a Republican Party that has long worried about Trump’s impact on it, [recent polls from the Pew Research Center] – along with polls showing GOP voters turning on their leaders – suggest there is some restlessness with the party that nominated him and that the GOP is ripe for Trump slamming a wedge right through the middle of it.
When their general defects, it becomes almost impossible to keep the troops in line. Look for widespread dissension and defection all up and down the Republican ranks.
Which brings us to tax reform…
A well-disciplined and keenly motivated party might be able to pass a major tax reform bill.
It last happened in the enthusiasm for “Morning in America” under President Reagan, 36 years ago.
But a fractured majority party and an independent president make Congress irrelevant… and unable to do much of anything.
So there will be no genuine tax reform. No repeal and replace of O’care.
And now, with the debt ceiling out of the way, there will be no halt to the Debt Bomb Express… running wide open and bound for Hell.
And that means the next move by the feds will be to ban physical cash. Once the feds get cash out of the way, they have us all under control.
They can tax as much as they like. They can impose negative interest rates… penalizing you for saving money. They can prevent us from buying guns or cigarettes, or anything they disapprove of.
This subject came up with a wise friend yesterday…
“You know who Marcel Dassault is? He built fighter planes for the French during World War I and later founded an aircraft company.
“He was Jewish. And during the Nazi occupation of France during World War II, he refused to collaborate with the Germans and got sent to Buchenwald. He says he survived because he was carrying a lot of cash.
“Without cash, you’re out of luck. You can only buy things by going through the banks. And banks are practically government utilities; they do what the feds say.”
“If they want to stop us dead in our tracks,” continued our friend, “they can simply freeze our accounts under suspicion of anything – money laundering, tax evasion, supporting terrorism.
“And then they’ll define ‘terrorism’ as any kind of freedom-oriented cause. They won’t need to pass any laws. They won’t need any court orders. They’ll just do it as part of their financial regulation.
“As you say, governments are always run by insiders. They always try to keep the rest of us under control. But they’ve never before had a tool like the internet.
“The only reason Americans were so free for so long was because they were in such a wild country. The distances were huge. They had real cash – gold. And they were well armed.
“You know… it was probably a combination of God, gold, and guns that made America especially free and prosperous.
“They were mostly Protestants, so they didn’t think they needed priests or the Pope to put them in touch with God. They could read the Bible themselves. That made them independent.
“Gold was real cash. They didn’t have to ask anyone’s permission to do business with one another. And you have to give people with guns some respect… or at least some space.
“But now, all of that is going away. I read the news from the U.S. It looks as though Americans are just as much under the thumb of the authorities as people are everywhere else.
“The god most of them worship today is the federal government. When they enter into the valley of death today, they look for the rod of the Social Security Administration to pay for their retirement and the staff of Obamacare to provide free opiate pills.
“They’ve still got guns. But if the feds get control of cash… and the banking system… the guns won’t do any good. Your credit card won’t work. Who are you gonna shoot?
“And that’s the problem with gold, too. They took it out of the money system in 1971.
“Americans haven’t had any real currency since then. All that most of them have is debt. They buy houses with debt. They buy cars with debt. Cut off the credit, and they’ve got nothing.”
For the last 46 years, most Americans have used debt to boost their standards of living while their incomes were stagnant.
More recently, they use debt not to get ahead, but just to stay in the same place.
From the host of the StreetTalkLive podcast, Lance Roberts:
Beginning in 2009, the gap between the real disposable incomes and the cost of living was no longer able to be filled by credit expansion. In other words, as opposed to prior 1980, the situation is quite different and a harbinger of potentially bigger problems ahead. The consumer is no longer turning to credit to leverage UP consumption – they are turning to credit to maintain their current living needs.
Household debt levels are back at record highs. At the lower end, people get student loans – which are easy to get – not to go to school, but to pay for cable and beer. Studies show they are twice as likely to use student loan money for living expenses than they were in 2016.
And at the upper end, “margin debt” – money people borrow from their brokers using shares they own as collateral – has reached a new record high, too. So has corporate debt.
And last Friday, government debt went through the roof – $317 billion was added to the national debt in a single 24-hour period. That’s $1,000 for every man, woman, and child in America.
Earlier this week, we were looking – albeit a bit mischievously – into the future. We saw President Trump starting a new political party.
He has shown he can draw support from Democrats and Republicans. He has shown, too, that he is ready to play one off against the other to get what he wants.
We were a little shocked by how readily the president joined forces with Deep State Democrats to open the sluice gates.
But remember, the U.S. is an empire that runs on debt. Nobody wants to stand between the Deep State and the money it needs.
And now that the flood has begun, the next stage of the great wingy-dingy hullabaloo can begin, too.
Desperate to keep the money flowing, the feds will boost spending and debt… further balloon the national debt by trillions of dollars… drop interest rates below zero… and clamp down on the use of cash to seal off escape routes.
Then it will be time to say a prayer…
BY CHRIS LOWE, EDITOR AT LARGE, Bonner & partners
Energy stocks are on the bargain counter…
Many investors see a grim future for oil and gas, given the rise of increasingly cheaper energy sources.
But if you believe oil and gas have a future in powering the planet, now could be a good time to take advantage of “dumpster diving” prices.
Today’s chart tracks the performance of oil majors Exxon Mobil (XOM) and ConocoPhillips (COP).
It also tracks two of the big energy equity ETFs – the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) and the S&P Oil & Gas ETF (XOP). Both track a broad range of stocks involved in the oil and gas industry.
As you can see, over the past three years, Exxon Mobil has fallen 17%. ConocoPhillips has fallen 42%.
Meanwhile, the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF is down 29%. And the S&P Oil & Gas ETF is down 57%.
– Chris Lowe
What to Do When Government Money Goes Bad
As Bill mentioned above, if the government froze bank accounts, the lives of most Americans would come to a standstill. Colleague Greg Wilson shows one strategy to protect yourself from reckless government policies.
Is Bitcoin a Fraud?
The cryptocurrency bitcoin has had a remarkable year, shooting up more than 300% since January. But according to the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, the cryptocurrency is a “fraud” and destined for collapse.
One-Third of Bank Jobs Could Disappear in 5 Years
Artificial intelligence and automation are making companies more efficient. But it comes at the cost of fewer jobs. Now, one pundit believes that 30% of all jobs in the banking sector could be obsolete by 2022.
In the mailbag, Bill’s Diary “Republicans Have Lost the White House” has gotten some readers thinking…
Well… since Trump’s party can’t get their act together, he has to find other ways to move forward. I wouldn’t read too much into working with Democrats. Isn’t that what should happen – bring both parties into the party!
He also realizes that 2% growth is a “death nail!” He needs 3-4% soon or this “party” will be over! I’ve worked for many generals and most are extremely competent in the execution of missions. They are highly trained and actually care deeply for the people they “SERVE!” I’d much rather work for generals, than some lawyer or idiot politician!
– Jim P.
Reagan’s actions were limited because he had a Democrat Congress. Trump has no such limitation. But this Congress has done nothing positive, I believe because most of the Republicans in Congress are establishment types. And I am not hearing anything about reducing government spending, which has to be done to implement infrastructure and other spending Trump wants to do.
I would like to see action to reduce corporate taxes and implementation of the flat tax. So far, it’s just been talk. And if the power to educate was given to the states where it belongs, the Dept. of Education could be eliminated. The IRS could be downsized, saving billions more.
– Jack M.
What if Trump simply doesn’t know how to stop the train wreck? Or, if he does, the result is civil insurrection and a police state. I’m quite sure that he is not a police state kind of guy. He is simply one more President on the road to disaster.
– Ed N.
I am once again awestruck by your genius word smithery and command of the King’s English. Even connecting your metaphoric prose to current events? Like I said, you’re pure genius, Bill.
Now on topic, after all that has been, is now, and ever will be said and done about Donald Trump… has been said and done, his singularly outstanding attribute can never be taken from him or denied by anyone, anywhere. What is that? Donald Trump is NOT Hillary Clinton.
– Gary C.
I must say that I am amazed at your mourning of the demise of the debt ceiling. I have read all of your thoughts on the Federal Reserve and their looney suppression of interest rates, the fake money we live under, and the total mystery of what prices should be in the market. Given these parameters that you say we live under, then the debt ceiling is nothing more than an illusion, a feel-good symbol that has never been honored. So why not be honest and say it’s worthless and get rid of it?
If we’re headed towards a financial collapse as you say and this just speeds it up, then so be it. I, like you, have my bolt hole ready. By the way, there’s nothing wrong with stabbing someone in the back if that’s what they’re trying to do to you. If you’re in a knife fight then it’s always advantageous to get the first stick in.
– Ed R.
Donald the Disruptor will go down in history alongside the greats – Lincoln and Kennedy, Garfield and McKinley.
– Andy C.
In early February last year, colleague Jeff Brown went in front of a small audience of multimillion-dollar family offices to present his best recommendation.
The company he named that day, chipmaker Nvidia, went on to be the best-performing stock of 2016. It climbed over 330% in one year. Now, Jeff is making another bold prediction that he believes will be even more profitable. See it for yourself