PARIS – Poor Donald Trump. Everybody’s against him.
Jeb Bush says he’s “unhinged”…
…Chris Christie says he has “no idea what [he’s] talking about”…
…John Kasich accuses him of “outrageous divisiveness”…
…and Marco Rubio describes him as “offensive and outlandish.”
And those are just his fellow Republicans!
“Reprehensible… prejudiced…” adds Hillary Clinton.
Piling on, Martin O’Malley says Trump is a “fascist demagogue.”
Can a man with enemies like these really be bad?
U.S. stocks slipped yesterday. No big deal.
The press looked around for something to pin it on. All it could find was falling oil prices.
The price of the black goo fell below $38 a barrel to its lowest level since the depths of the global financial crisis.
You’d think cheaper energy would be a good thing…
Don’t company profits – outside of the oil patch – go up when the cost of fuel goes down? Don’t households have more money to spend? Shouldn’t other things be looking up when oil is looking down?
Oil is the biggest expense of the transportation industry. Lower prices should drop right to the bottom line as extra profits.
But the problem is not the cost side; it’s the revenue side.
As we reported yesterday, rail and truck shipping in the U.S. is slowing – signaling a slumpy economy with weak demand.
And corporate profits are on the way down, too… dragged down by the energy sector.
The whole kit and caboodle seems to be funking up.
Which is just what you’d expect…
…partly because central banks’ “stimulus” measures were a sham (about which we’ve written more than enough)…
…and partly because every expansion comes to an end after a few years.
The National Bureau of Economic Research studied the U.S. all the way back to 1854. It found that the typical economic expansion lasts 39 months.
This one began in 2009. By our count, that makes more than 75 months without a breather. On that basis alone, you’d expect a little more caution on the part of investors.
But there is one supposed exception to this somber picture… a bright light coming from the shiny bumpers of the auto industry. Rail shipments are down for everything – except autos. And “strong auto sales” are said to be proof of a healthy consumer economy.
Uh… that is, once again, if you don’t open the hood.
The industry has been so corrupted by cheap credit that it is misleading even to talk about auto “sales.” The typical loan period has stretched to 67 months, as the industry reached for more marginal (read: subprime) buyers.
The proud new owner reports to his friends that he has “bought a new car.” But at a 5% interest rate, reports Bonner & Partners researcher Nick Rokke, that means the buyer only gets 1/77th of the car when he allegedly “buys” it.
Readers who are quick with numbers will notice that the length of the average subprime auto loan, the length of the current business expansion, and the length of time that the Fed has maintained its zero-interest-policy are all clustering around 70.
Perhaps this is more than a coincidence.
But back to the big news…
Donald Trump brought the wrath, ire, and contempt of the mainstream political establishment down on his head yesterday.
He called for a “total and complete shutdown on Muslims entering the United States.”
Most commentators quickly condemned him, pointing out that such a ban would be unconstitutional and completely against the principles on which the nation was founded.
But in a spirit of pure mischief (a blustery billionaire hardly qualifies for our customary support for die-hards, lost causes, and underdogs), we rush to the defense of “The Donald.”
Yes, his proposal is reckless, stupid, unworkable, unfair, and un-American. But it might not be unpopular.
Give the man credit. He’s running for president. To win, he needs the votes of people who are at least as blockheaded as he is. In that respect (perhaps the only respect) his latest proposal may not be a bad idea.
Also, making preposterous and outrageous proposals hardly disqualifies you for the White House.
Some of our “best” presidents – at least, according to historians and the public – were those who did the looniest things… things that were completely at odds with the Constitution, the spirit of liberty, and their own policy goals.
President Lincoln told the crowd at Gettysburg that his war against the South was in line with the Declaration of Independence, which clearly asserted the right of a people to choose their own government.
The war would determine, he said, whether “that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”
The answer was “no.” And he made sure of it.
President Wilson did the same thing for foreigners – invading more countries than any other president… while proclaiming the right to self-determination.
Elections were fine, said Wilson, as long as they chose “good men.” If he didn’t like the men chosen… he sent in the troops.
By the standards set by Lincoln and Wilson, Donald Trump has the capacity to be one of our greatest leaders.
Further Reading: It doesn’t really matter who wins the race for the White House, because the Deep State already controls just about every aspect of American life. From health care, to education, to the food on our tables, to the never-ending war on terror, the Deep State is pulling the strings.
In the last issue of The Bill Bonner Letter, Bill exposed how the cronies behind the Deep State have pushed the world to the brink of an irreversible disaster. Learn more here as Bill reveals how that disaster will unfold… and, more importantly, how it’ll change your life forever.
It’s been a truly brutal year for investors in energy stocks…
The Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSE:XLE) tracks the performance of a broad basket of oil, gas, and energy services stocks.
And as you can see from the chart above, it’s down 13% over the past three years versus a 47% gain for the S&P 500.
We start off today’s mailbag with feedback on Friday’s issue about groupthink. (Catch up here.)
KUDOS! – one more time… Mr. Bonner: I have this morning again experienced the pleasure of reading and contemplating yet another of your brilliant expositions on human foibles – and how such can be (and definitely are) manipulated against actual individual personal self-interest.
I love your “perspective,” value your “insights,” and greatly appreciate your “work” to enlighten and expand my mind while simultaneously flushing it of trash. THANK YOU!– Robert L.
This is another masterpiece. Thank you.
Over the last roughly 10,000 years, the difference between natural selection and artificial selection is mixed to an untraceable extent. How we select our health, education, food, habits, jobs, families, leaders, money, friends, culture, etc. – it’s so complicated to figure out what leans more toward artificial and what leans more toward natural selection.
It helps to find clues for the traces every day from yourDairy.– Krishna M.
’65, ’75, ’85, ’95… So far so good. But what mass delusions from 2005 can we sneer at? Star Wars: Episode III?
And here we are, 10 years later, hoping for the best. We love war, we love spending money “for the children,” and we believe in Rocky, stocks, and Star Wars. That’s America.– Chris K.
We also got this in response to yesterday’s mailbag question about living more affordably…
My wife and I are moving in the spring of 2016 to an acreage (12 acres). There is no house on it, but a large shop is in the process of being renovated into half shop, half living quarters (2 bedrooms, 1 bath, approx. 1,050 sq. feet).
With our two places in town rented, the mortgage on the acreage is about $50/month. Living expenses for us are cut by 2/3rds and we will be growing vegetables (2,000-sq-ft greenhouse). And have about 8 acres for beef and chickens.
We are both looking forward to moving out there and are trying to figure out a timeline to get off the electrical grid as well. With rental income, selling food, and eventually being off the grid, we can cut our expenses to less than $1,000 a month all in on three properties!– Warren S.
A $1 Million Investment System
After spending three years and more than a million dollars, a team of analysts has revealed a new investment system that promises to deliver at least one triple-digit gain per month.
U.S. Rail Cargo Decline Exposes Sluggish Economy
U.S. railroads have posted a 5% drop in carloads since the start of October – topping decreases in the third and second quarters. The big problem for railroads is weakness in the manufacturing sector.
The Polls Put Trump Ahead… but They’re Fairly Meaningless
Poll after poll has Donald Trump way ahead for the Republican nomination. The problem is national polls are fairly meaningless. Trump has to win Iowa to keep his momentum going. And that’s looking highly unlikely.
There’s a looming crisis in the bond market. And our colleagues at Stansberry Research believe they’ve found the solution.
Watch it here now… the video comes down at midnight tomorrow.