DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA – Yesterday was “Rare Disease Day.”
No kidding. That’s what President Trump said last night in his big speech to Congress.
It was an extraordinary show.
“Our children will grow up in a nation of miracles,” he said.
He went on to say that we needed more education. More military spending. More holidays for moms and pops. More welfare. And more warfare, too.
There was practically nothing that the U.S. government couldn’t do, “The Donald” implied.
“Every American child should be able to grow up in a safe community,” he said.
It was “presidential,” said the commentators.
“Imagine the wonders our country could know in America’s 250th year…”
“The time for small thinking is over…”
“Everything that is broken in our country can be fixed…”
“I am asking all citizens to embrace this renewal of the American spirit…”
Yes, there was no cliché left behind. But it was presidential in another sense. It confirmed our guess that this president will do what every president has done for the last half century: He will add to the swamp, not drain it.
“I am sending the Congress a budget that rebuilds the military… and calls for one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history.”
Now we know.
Not the future, of course. We don’t get a chance to peek at the next chapter or turn the pages to see how the story ends.
It goes on… day by day… page by page; there is no way to know where it will end or how it will get there.
But at least we now know more about what Mr. Donald J. Trump is up to. One wild card has been taken out of the deck. Plenty more remain.
Off the table is the idea of a power struggle between the Deep State and Team Trump.
The only way to get control of the Deep State is to squeeze its funding. And the only way to do that would be by mounting a serious attack on two fronts…
The fake-money system would need to be reformed, cutting off the flow of almost unlimited credit to the cronies. And the federal budget would have to be whacked… reducing outlays for entitlements and the military.
From what we know now, none of those things will happen.
The president seems content to enjoy the public spectacle – with himself in the center of the ring – without making any substantial changes to the system.
This is neither bad news nor good news. But it is important.
It is not bad news because there is little likelihood that even a serious, thoughtful president could bring the Deep State under control.
It is not good news because it means we are essentially going in the same direction… with the same win-lose deals. (Although some of the old winners will be replaced by new winners.)
Columnist Charles Krauthammer makes this observation about Trump’s warfare group:
Practically every member of the team – the heads of State, Homeland Security, the CIA, and most especially Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster – could fit in a cabinet put together by, say, Hillary Clinton.
Meanwhile, the economy is barely growing… just as it barely grew under President Obama.
Last year, U.S. GDP growth per capita – a better measure than overall GDP because it accounts for shifts in the population – was only about 0.5%.
And, of course, we are still facing the twin specters: a bear market on Wall Street and a recession on Main Street. Both overdue… and both likely to show up in 2017.
These threats and the feds’ reaction to them – not tax cuts… not the federal budget… not the war on ISIS… not the debt ceiling… not the wall or the dollar – will likely be the big news in 2017.
If this administration were serious about changing the Deep State/fake-money system, it would have announced cutbacks… not increases.
It would have removed Janet Yellen from the Fed… brought the troops home… and encouraged (since it doesn’t have direct control over the Fed) a return to sound money and market-set prices – especially the price of credit (interest rates).
It would have brought the corrections forward and accepted a bear market and a recession with grace… urging calm, forbearance, and self-discipline.
It would explain to the American people that mistakes were made by previous administrations.
It would ask for cooperation and patience… giving the markets a chance to correct the errors of the past… so that the economy could rebuild on a more solid foundation.
This could not have happened under a Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush administration.
They were completely enthralled by the Establishment and its crony system.
But it might have been possible under a Trump administration. He might have told the truth about the War on Terror, for example – that it is really a con game designed to enhance the power and wealth of the military-security-prison complex.
He might have told voters that our welfare state is unaffordable… and that it, too, benefits cronies and zombies, leaving the typical responsible citizen to pay as much as 10 times what he should for mediocre medical care.
President Trump might have been a real hero, rallying the country to force serious reforms and bring the Deep State under control.
Too bad he didn’t go in that direction.
BY CHRIS LOWE, EDITOR AT LARGE
Something important is happening in the gold market…
Today’s chart tracks the dollar price of an ounce of gold versus the U.S. Dollar Index (DXY).
The U.S. Dollar Index tells you how strong or weak the dollar is versus a basket of America’s trade partners’ currencies.
When the index goes up, the dollar is gaining strength against those currencies. When it goes down, the dollar is weakening against those currencies.
Typically, the gold price and the U.S. Dollar Index move “inversely.” When one goes up, the other goes down. And vice versa.
This makes sense…
Gold is priced in dollars. So when the U.S. dollar strengthens, the price of gold goes down.
But as you can see above, since the start of last month, that inverse relationship has broken down. And gold and the U.S. Dollar Index have risen almost in lockstep.
Keep an eye on the relationship between dollar strength and gold.
Right now, gold is rallying despite a strong dollar. If that continues, it’s extremely bullish for the yellow metal.
– Chris Lowe
Meet Trump’s New Chief Economist…
President Trump will name Ph.D. economist Kevin Hassett as the chair of his Council of Economic Advisers. Hassett is the guy who, in 1999, wrote the book Dow 36,000. He’s also a fan of the government directly hiring people.
Should You Buy the New Bitcoin ETF?
The world’s most popular cryptocurrency, bitcoin, just hit a record above $1,200 last week. Folks are buying on speculation about the launch of the first U.S. bitcoin ETF. But should you buy?
Get Ready for the Coming Wave of Tech IPOs
Hundreds of the greatest technology companies in history are just waiting to go public. It’s like a massive dam that is ready to explode. And if you’re prepared, you have the chance to own the future.
In today’s Mailbag, readers continue to push back on Monday’s Diary, “It’s Crash Awareness Week.”
Oh, pshaw! On all the doom and gloom of “It’s Crash Awareness Week!” Donald Trump is here to save the day! I’m sure he’s pulling up his blue tights and donning his red cape, even as I type this! Just ask anyone with a red “Make America Great Again” cap. They’ll tell you, “There’s no need to fear… Donald Trump is here!”
– Dale A.
I see many investment people crying wolf and they are probably right. The situation will have to end at some point, but some say the Dow will hit 30,000. If this is true, stay in the market and use the fake money and credit till then.
The scenario Bill tells of no working ATMs and no food or gas, if it came to pass, would officially end this form of government within days or weeks. Anyone who experienced the gas shortages of the 70s will attest to this fact. We will see a “Mad Max” society within days. Washington would have the army to protect itself, but it would be safe nowhere else in America.
The addiction to this fake money, that has no value, will end this country, as it done to others in the past.
– Dave A.
Meanwhile, readers continue to wrestle with what the Trump administration means for our future…
For my money, the Republicans had their best presidential candidate in 2012 with Mitt Romney. (We can debate why, but that isn’t the focus of what I would like to say.)
Romney wasn’t on the ballot when I went to vote in 2016. So my choice was between a Devil and a Witch. And the Witch forced me to vote for the Devil, as the lesser of the two evils. DJT is no savior, but I did vote for him. So, I’m willing to give him enough rope to hang himself with… and wait and see how things go.
It seems to me that the alt-right (libertarianism) and the alt-left (progressivism) are both dangerous paths. The alt-left would put so much debt and government on the good ship America that it would sink under its own weight. The alt-right would turn the ship around so quickly that the bow-wave it created would wash over the bow and sink the ship. It’s taken us 50 or 60 years to create this problem, and it will take at least that long to fix it.
So my advice (from Lee Child): “Hope for the best, plan for the worst.”
– Steve R.