BALTIMORE – Donald Trump has shown the way…

He’s revealed the White House as the No. 1 showbiz gig.

Now, others want to get in on the act.

 

 

Oprah for President!

The latest reports tell us that Oprah might run for president in 2020!

On Sunday night in The Beverly Hilton, the celebrity talk show host delivered a speech at the Golden Globes awards ceremony that brought the crowd to its feet… and tears to the eyes of her BFF, Gayle King.

(We didn’t listen to the speech; it probably would have brought tears to our eyes, too, but for entirely different reasons.)

Oprah says a “new day is on the horizon.”

We don’t believe it.

Fed Quackery

Allow us to spend a few minutes going back to basics.

With some exceptions, real wealth doesn’t come from tax cuts, lower interest rates, QE, or any other Fed quackery.

If it did, there would be a lot more rich people in this world. Instead, wealth still comes the hard way – from real people doing real work.

Real jobs are win-win jobs. There’s no secret… no mystery… and no shortcut to it. You have to satisfy a customer to produce something he wants: what people want is what we call “wealth.”

So an economy tends to grow or shrink depending on how many people are actively providing win-win goods and services to others… compared to how many (zombies, cronies, and Swamp critters) are living off the effort of others.

GDP growth has been going down for the last 35 years. And for a simple reason: fewer people are satisfying customers. And more people are retired, in prison, in school, on disability, or working – directly or indirectly – for the feds.

In 1950, government represented about 30% of the U.S. economy. Now, it is more like 50% (our estimate… adding in “private” sectors substantially controlled by the feds).

Then, there were scarcely 100,000 people in prison; now, there are nearly 2.5 million. Then, only 2% of Americans received Social Security or disability payments. Now, there are more than 10 million of them, or about 4% of the population.

That trend – fewer people supporting more people, financed with fake money – means the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

And it won’t change until either: (1) someone really does drain the Swamp, or (2) the system blows up (see below).

We think option No. 1 is impossible… since the Swamp critters control the government.

That leaves option No. 2.

 

 

Legalized Bribery

For more insight into how Donald J. Trump or Oprah would govern, we turn to one of the insiders – a Deep State operative and former Swamp critter who has gone straight, Jimmy Williams.

Here’s an extract from an article Williams published at Vox.com:

I was a lobbyist between 2003 and 2010 in Washington, D.C. I quit in disgust. Years of legalized bribery had exposed me to the worst elements of our country’s political workings. Not even my half-million-a-year salary could outweigh my conscience.

In my years as a lobbyist, I worked for the alcohol industry, for the racing-car industry, and for a billionaire named Carl Icahn. I met with hundreds of Congress members advocating for the political interests of my employers and clients.

What kind of training do you need for a job like that?

[T]he most important thing I did every day was to sit my ass on the floor of the Senate. I learned everything there is to know about how to make the Senate function smoothly, and, of course, the opposite: how to gum up the place so it came to a grinding halt. Both are equally effective when you’re in the business of dealmaking and getting legislation across the finish line or not.

What’s it like being a lobbyist?

I had fun at first. Unlimited expense accounts, nights out on the town, expensive bottles of wine, elaborate meals with sitting senators and Congress members – that was my life.

I attended fundraising breakfasts that led to committee hearings with the same Congress members or senators – a meeting that cost me or my political action committee a hefty $2,500 voting on the very legislation we’d talked about over bacon and eggs that morning.

Then there’d be a lunch fundraiser with a different Congress member, paid for by another $2,500 check to discuss the issues my clients cared about. Then they’d go and vote on those issues. It was an endless cycle of money trading hands for votes.

It’s a wonder members of the House and Senate actually have time to legislate when they spend so much of their damn time raising money.

 

 

Hollow Promises

Mr. Williams is describing how the Swamp works.

It’s how we got Obamacare and the GOP tax cut… and almost all of the 80,000 pages of rules and regulations in the Federal Register. And now that the Swamp critters have complete control, there is no way of stopping it. Mr. Trump cannot drain the Swamp. Neither could Ms. Winfrey.

In our upcoming Book Club review – which we’ll be sharing tomorrow with lifetime subscribers of our monthly publication The Bill Bonner Letter – we take a look at a book called The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century.

After exhaustively reviewing the statistical records, its author, Walter Scheidel, concludes that the Swamp is almost impossible to drain peacefully.

Instead, it takes a major war… a plague… a government collapse… or a revolution.

“Be careful what you wish for,” cautions Scheidel, implying that we might be better off with Trump’s empty “MAGA” or Oprah’s hollow “new day” promises.

With rare exception, real change is “only brought forth in sorrow.”

And like a drug addict’s rehab, not by choice.

Regards,

Signature

Bill

MARKET INSIGHT: OIL SOARS

By Chris Lowe, Editor at Large, Bonner & Partners

Crude oil is on a tear…

After a crushing bear market that saw the price of a barrel of the black goo plunge 80% between 2008 and 2016, prices are taking off again.

Chart

As you can see from today’s chart, in just over six months, the price of a barrel of U.S. crude oil is up 46%.

That makes it the best-performing major asset class over that period.

Chris Lowe

FEATURED READS

Market Euphoria Is “Stratospheric”
2017 was an incredible year for stocks. And Wall Street seems to think that the good times will keep rolling. Analysts are raising their forecasts for U.S. corporate profits at the fastest pace in more than ten years. But in the past, such bullish sentiment has been a sign of a looming cliff.

Cryptocurrencies Have a Long Way to Run
Cryptocurrencies were the story of 2017. And they’re off to a promising start in 2018. Jeff Brown, Bill’s top technology analyst, says this year could be the best one yet for cryptos. Here’s why.

Consumer Debt Jumps
Americans are using their credit cards at a record pace. In November 2017, nearly $28 billion new consumer debt was rung up. And the Fed says consumer debt is growing at a rate not seen in years.

MAILBAG

In the mailbag, the recent punches from dear readers have sparked conversation

For eight years, Obama screwed this country on his way to making himself a big mogul in the world government, and not one peep has come from Democrats – or from Republicans, who should have nailed him to the wall. The Bummer was not qualified to sit in the Oval Office.

We have Donald Trump, the first president who listed his objectives and has moved forward to turn them into positive results, and he has been castigated on every move, and compared to Hitler. Time for the Republican leaders to approach RINOs and advise them to get in line with what they promised when they asked voters to put them into Congress.

– John L.

Some days, I like what you write. Other days… not so much. Regardless, President Trump is a big boy and wears big-boy pants. So if he can take the good, the bad, and the ugly that the media throws at him every day, then he can handle what you toss his way.

– Barry P.

I really do not know why anyone, including the esteemed editor, should expect any leader to be perfection personified. After all, the greatest sell of “perfection personified,” i.e., the King James Bible and various variants thereof, tells of the brutal execution of perfection personified in favor of, you guessed it, a Deep State robber (or maybe just a common thief?) of 2,000 years ago…

Just imagine me standing for president (praise the Lord, I have no U.S. passport, so cannot stand) saying, “Blessed are the poor on Main Street, for they shall inherit the ill-gotten gains of Jamie Dimon, James Murdoch, Dick Cheney, etc.,” as I propose redistributing their personal fortunes on Day One in some way that incentivizes them to get it back again within four years. Do you think the big boys would have enough of a sense of humor to play along? Or would my heart miraculously stop beating within 100 days of me redecorating 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?!

– Rhys J.

You fail to understand. We do not have a normal leader who differs only about policy. We have a dysfunctional leader who is not able to make rational decisions. We have never had this problem before in the U.S. We have had corrupt and dishonest leaders, but never a person who is mentally unfit for the office, perhaps Reagan and McKinley in their later years being exceptions.

This is not a joking matter. Consider what would have happened during the Cuban Missile Crisis if Trump had been president. We do not need to get this understanding from a book or the fake news. We can see the dysfunction for ourselves. Of course, not everyone can see his instability and ignorance, but you and the people surrounding Trump can. The only question history will ask is, “What did you do about what every intelligent person can see as a growing disaster?” Can we trust your judgment?

– Edmund S.

I hope you are not too saddened to learn of the general stupidity of your readers, and the negligible impact you have had on their critical thinking. However, one never knows when an impact might occur.

– N.W.

It seems to me like some of your dear readers need a good kick in the tokus! In addition to the desperate plea, “…but he’s NOT Hillary” to the ever-constant, “You must be jealous of his success” line, these people just do NOT GET IT!

They so want the oaf to be the greatest messiah ever that will “Make America Great Again.” And truly, the orange buffoon is a master at his latest “reality TV show” of “Being President,” the sequel to “Running for President,” in which he made a laughingstock of the GOP for allowing his sorry, liberal, NY, whiny, spoiled-brat attitude to run in the GOP – when he should have never been allowed there at all considering he’s a lifelong Democrat.

But then again, we must remember Trump, Hillary, and Obama all said they so loved the low-IQ, low-educated voters because they will believe everything they say and worship them even if they murder someone in the middle of Times Square. I know they will all claim they never said it, but they did. Rule Number 1: You have to be able to laugh at the ludicrous, no matter who is providing the antics.

Oh well, I just thought you needed a letter from a dear reader who agrees with you on “The Donald’s” tricks.

–Tricia H.

I thoroughly enjoy your sense of humor, wit, and willingness to poke fun at everything. I often wonder why your readers get upset – haven’t they figured out your sarcasm yet? Therefore, I would like you to refund 22% of the price I paid for my Bill Bonner’s Diary subscription… But please, keep them coming!

– Jack H.

I, for one, am right there with Bill in his cynicism about government. Many of my family members would have written similar punch-in-the-face letters, but not me. I agree wholeheartedly that his targets deserve abuse.

– Michael P.

Reading your letter today put me in the right frame of mind; I couldn’t stop laughing!

– Jim P.

BRAVO! Thanks for responding to those who felt the need to throw “punches” at you. Truly enjoyed reading your “combinations” in return! Have a great day!

– Alberto R.

Wow, so many of your readers are brainwashed and way too scared to wake up. Conservative mindset leads the charge in cult mindset!

– Michael P.

I am amazed that people can admire a man who boasts of assaulting women, who does not seem to know anything about the world or other countries, who pretends to be self-made while inheriting money from a father so rapacious that Woody Guthrie wrote a song about him, who reacts to every insult like a teenager rather than with the dignity of a president, who is willing to leave control of the world economy to the Chinese when most countries trust the USA far more, who pretends to be a good family man when anyone can see that he and his wife are in disharmony, who insulted a war hero like McCain for being captured, who lied about the attendance at his inauguration, who is willing to tear up treaties (NAFTA and Iran) and leaves the State Department and CIA short-staffed while Putin and Xi gloat, who spends 20% of his work time golfing, and who can’t even make a good speech.

He is a ghastly, immoral, and vainglorious man. He’s neither a liberal nor a conservative; he is unprincipled. Moreover, what does he know about “flyover country”? He’s from NYC.

– Stephen V.

Sign of the times: everybody’s angry. Yes, Mr. Trump is a showman. Aren’t they all? Oprah did an Oscar-worthy bit last night herself. Does anyone seriously think she’d deliver the goods other than a gullible base? It’s all showbiz, so the bamboozling will be more fun.

Michigan’s former governor George Romney had it about right when he long ago observed that politics is a three-way mirror – the people, the politicians, and the press – going round and round. He was not far off. But Oprah? Now there’s a savior for the ages.

– Michael C.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…

“This could be like owning stock in liquor companies before the end of Prohibition…”

That’s the message from our colleagues over at Casey Research. Legal marijuana is sweeping the country. And investors have a narrow window to potentially make a fortune. Doug Casey is hosting a free online investing summit tomorrow to show how you can stake a claim. Reserve your spot here

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