Category Archives: Economy

Negative Interest Rates Are The Price We Pay For De-Civilization

Do central bankers really think negative interest rates are rational? 

“Calculation Error,” which Bloomberg terminals sometimes display1, is an apt metaphor for the current state of central bank policy. Both Europe and Asia are now awash in $13 trillion worth of negative-yielding sovereign and corporate bonds, and Alan Greenspan suggests negative interest rates soon will arrive in the US. Despite claims by both Mr. Trump and Fed Chair Jerome Powell concerning the health of the American economy, the Fed’s Open Market Committee moved closer to negative territory today — with another quarter-point cut in the Fed Funds rate, below even a measly 2%. 

Negative interest rates are just the latest front in the post-2008 era of “extraordinary” monetary policy. They represent a Hail Mary pass from central bankers to stimulate more borrowing and more debt, though there is far more global debt today than in 2007. Stimulus is the assumed goal of all economic policy, both fiscal and monetary. Demand-side stimulus is the mania bequeathed to us by Keynes, or more accurately by his followers. It is the absurd idea, that an economy prospers by consuming and borrowing instead of producing and saving. Negative interest rates turn everything we know about economics upside down.

No society has ever survived consuming more than they can produce.

Under what scenario would anyone lend $1,000 to receive $900 in return at some point in the future? Only when the alternative is to receive $800 back instead, due to the predicted interventions of central banks and governments. Only then would locking in a set rate of capital loss make sense.

By “capital loss” I mean just that; when there is no positive interest paid, the principal itself must be consumed. There is no “market” for negative rates.

The future is uncertain, and there is always counter party risk. The borrower might abscond, or default, or declare bankruptcy. Market conditions might change during the course of the loan, driving interest rates higher to the lender’s detriment. Inflation could rise higher and faster than the agreed-upon nominal interest rate. The lender might even die prior to repayment.

Positive interest rates compensate lenders for all of this risk and uncertainty. Interest, like all economics, ultimately can be explained by human nature and human action. 

If in fact negative interest rates can occur naturally, without central bank or state interventions, then economics textbooks need to be revised on the quick. Every theory of interest contemplates positive interest paid on borrowed capital. Classical economists and their “Real” theory say interest represents a “return” on capital, not a penalty. Capital available for lending, like any other good, is subject to real forces of supply and demand. But nobody would “sell” their capital by giving the buyer interest payments as well, they would simply hold onto it and avoid the risk of lending.

Marxists think interest payments represent exploitation by capital owners lending to needful workers. The amount of interest paid in addition to the capital returned was stolen from the debtor, because the lender did not work for it (ignoring, of course, the capitalist lender’s risk). But how could a borrower be exploited by receiving interest payments for borrowing, i.e., repaying less than they borrowed? I suppose Marxists may in fact cheer the development of negative rates, and perversely see them as a transfer of wealth from lenders to borrowers (when, in fact, we know cheap money and credit overwhelmingly benefit wealthy elites, per the Cantillon Effect). So negative rates require Marxists to drastically rethink their theory of interest.

Austrians stress the time element of interest rates, comparing the lender’s willingness to forego present consumption against the borrower’s desire to pay a premium for present consumption. In Austrian theory interest rates represent the price at which the relative time preferences of lenders and borrowers meet. But once again, negative interest rates cannot explain how or why anyone would ever defer consumption without payment — or in fact pay to do so!  

It should be noted that rational purchasers of negative-yield bonds hope to sell them before maturity, i.e., they hope bond prices rise as interest rates drop even lower. They hope to sell their bonds to a greater fool and generate a capital gain. They are not “buying” the obligation to pay interest, but the chance of reselling for a profit. So purchasing a negative-yield bond might make sense as an investment (vs.institutional and central bank bond buyers, which frequently hold bonds to maturity and thereby literally pay to lend money). But if and when interest rates rise, the losses to those left holding those $13 trillion of bonds could be staggering.

In the meantime, a huge artificial market for at least nominally positive US Treasury debt grows, strengthening the dollar and suppressing interest rates here at home. Once again, the dollar represents the least dirty shirt in the laundry. Congress loves this, of course, because even 5% rates would blow the federal budget to smithereens. Rising rates would cause debt service to be the largest annual line item in that budget, ahead of Social Security, Medicare, and defense. So we might say Congress and the Fed are in a symbiotic relationship at this point. The rest of the world might call it America’s “exorbitant privilege.”

Negative interest rates are the price we pay for central banks. The destruction of capital, economic and otherwise, is contrary to every human impulse. Civilization requires accumulation and production; de-civilization happens when too many people in a society borrow, spend, and consume more than they produce. No society in human history previously entertained the idea of negative interest rates, so like central bankers we are all in uncharted territory now. 

Our job, among many, is to bring the insights of Austrian economics on money and banking to widespread attention before something truly calamitous happens.

Source: by Jeff Deist | Mises Wire

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Whole Foods To Cut Part Time Employee Health-Care Benefits

Amazon-owned Whole Foods will be withdrawing medical benefits for hundreds of its part-time workers starting Jan. 1, 2020, the company said Thursday.

In the past, employees needed to work at least 20 hours a week to buy into the health-care plan. Now they will need to work at least 30 hours. Less than 2% of its workforce, or 1,900 employees, will no longer be eligible for medical coverage, under the new policy, the company said.

The news was first reported by Business Insider.

“In order to better meet the needs of our business and create a more equitable and efficient scheduling model, we are moving to a single-tier part-time structure,” a company spokesperson said in an email. “We are providing Team Members with resources to find alternative healthcare coverage options, or to explore full-time, healthcare-eligible positions starting at 30 hours per week. All Whole Foods Market Team Members continue to receive employment benefits including a 20% in-store discount.”

In 2018, Amazon raised its minimum wage to $15 for all employees, including those at Whole Foods. Amazon also announced last week that it was planning on adding more than 30,000 permanent jobs in its tech, corporate and fulfillment departments.

Source: by Jasmine Wu | CNBC

New World Order In Meltdown

Last week was full of portentous events. Only somebody who has not been awake for the last few years will fail to realize how these at first sight unconnected events are part of the same matrix. There was the ever louder talk in mainstream media about an approaching global recession, inverted yield curves and the negative yields, which tell us that the Western financial system is basically in coma and kept alive only by generous IV injections of central bank liquidity. By now it has dawned on people that the central bankers acting as central planners in a command economy and printing money (aka quantitative easing) to fuel asset bubbles are about to wipe off the last vestiges of what used to be a market economy.

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Trump’s Farm Bailout Flows To “City Slickers,” a D.C. Lobbyist and ‘Farms’ on Golf Courses

About 9,000 “city slickers” living in luxurious neighborhoods of the nation’s largest cities received a farm bailout from the Trump administration to minimize the impact of the trade war with China, an updated Environmental Working Group (EWG) analysis of Department of Agriculture data shows.

The EWG analysis of USDA data revealed that “many recipients live not in farm country but in the nation’s 50 largest cities or in other decidedly non-rural locations.”

Urban recipients of the bailout include members of farm families, landowners, and investors. These people provide land, capital, or equipment for farms and make high-level decisions for operations.

EWG said bailout recipients include 70 people in San Francisco, 65 residents in New York City, 63 residents in Los Angeles, 61 residents in Washington, D.C., and 19 Miami.

Forward Observer Dispatch: Economic Warning

What follows is the Economic Warning portion of this week’s (Forward Observer) Watch Report.

In this month’s FOMC meeting, Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell acknowledged that there was soft economic data emerging — a potential warning sign of recession. Many investors expect a cut to interest rates next month to stave off a recession. Some economists expect two rate cuts this year, regardless of when they happen. One asset manager said he expected four rate cuts this year.

Recession And Trump’s Re-election Chances:

This month, Jeffrey Gundlach, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan Chase all revised their expectations of recession forward to 2020. JPMorgan’s Bruce Kasman said it might even start this year. That’s a big shift from what these firms were saying last month, so I agree that we can expect the Fed to cut interest rates in order to stave off a recession. Gundlach, who has no faith in the Fed’s predictive capability, believes that by the time the Fed has to cut rates, it will already be too late.

This, of course, will have major implications for President Trump’s reelection chances. High profile managers like Scott Minerd and Kyle Bass both believe that the recession will be average or mild, respectively. Others, like Gundlach, have warned that this recession is going to present more difficult challenges.

If this recession poses the risks that Gundlach describes (below) then Trump’s chances of reelection will be seriously threatened. If that’s the case, then it’s time to batten down the hatches for higher taxes and wealth redistribution based on what we saw during this week’s Democratic debates and what’s been proposed in the lead up.

The problem with cutting interest rates this year to stave off a recession next year is that the Fed will have less to cut once a recession does hit, which increases the likelihood that the recession is more painful than “mild.”

This week, Fed chair Jerome Powell acknowledged that’s the case, saying, “Interest rates are lower than in the past and likely to remain so. The persistence of lower rates means that when the economy turns down, interest rates will more likely follow close to zero [which] poses new problems to central banks and calls for new ideas.” (Bold for emphasis.)

In the past two recessions, the Fed has cut interest rates from 5.25 percent to basically zero percent during the 2008 recession, and cut from 6.5 percent prior to the 2001 recession. Today, the federal funds rate sits around 2.25 percent — that’s before any cuts this year. That does not bode well for the Fed’s ability to soften the severity of the next recession. The Fed has 50 percent less to cut, which means that a hard landing during the recession is more likely.

Earlier this year, Bridgewater’s Greg Jensen warned of a period of poor economic conditions in the U.S. “We think that the secular conditions and cyclical conditions are combining to create this situation where you’re going to have this long, protracted weakness in the developed world economies… So basically what we expect to see is weaker growth and a movement to [Quantitative Easing]… The struggle in Europe is probably going to click first.”

That mirrors what billionaire investor Stanley Druckenmiller believes. He said earlier this year that, “The highest probability is we struggle [economically] going forward.”

So who’s right? Are we going to have a mild recession or will this be the beginning of a ‘secular’ — i.e., long term — period of persistently weak growth and economic malaise?

Right now, my money is on what Gundlach had to say earlier this month: “When the next recession comes, there’s going to be a really big problem… with the national debt… [We’re going to see] basically money printing, I think, to combat the next recession.”

Gundlach describes that money printing will lead to increases in long term interest rates, which will actually make the recession worse. And maybe that’s why Fed chair Jerome Powell is openly calling for “new ideas” to reverse the effects of the next recession.

In light of changes to this month’s Recession Matrix (out later today for Warning subscribers), there’s a solid argument to be made that the next recession is closer than previously thought, and that it may rival the duration of the 2008 recession at 18 months, followed by persistently low economic growth in the years following. We could be headed towards the Great Recession 2.0.

Consider that we may have about 12 months before this kicks off, followed by the 2020 election four months later — in other words, at the worst possible time. If you haven’t considered kicking your preparedness into a higher gear, then now is the time. – S.C.

If you’re not already a member, you can sign up for a free 7-day trial to the Forward Observer Warning Service and stay ahead of political, social, and economic threats with reports like this one.

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“It’s coming guys, the pace is quickening, time to dial it up”

BLOFTW

Buy lots of food this week…

Legal and financial expert Wayne Jett says,

“The key to your financial stability between this side of the chasm and the other side of the chasm is owning precious metals, owning gold and silver. These are most likely the types of things that will hold their real value. Therefore, on the other side of the chaos of this chasm, when you declare the present currency system has ended. . . I think the President is trying to make this pending period of uncertainty as short as possible, between the time when the old currency dies and the new currency is in place.”

When is this going to happen? Is it before or after the 2020 Election? Jett predicts, “I think it is before the 2020 Election. I don’t think we can make it that long, especially with the global cabal trying to start a world war or trying to have a currency failure right now.” Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with Wayne Jett, founder of ClassicalCapital.com.

“The Fed is an outpost of a foreign power that controls our economy, most of our politics and our financial future. It’s an instrument of the Rothschild global cabal. It always has been since 1913 and we need to rid ourselves of it as soon as possible”

In other news…

NYT: U.S. Escalates Attacks on Russia’s Power Grid
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South America blackout leaves tens of millions without power
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Gold Likely To Soon Be Lifted By Rising De-Dollarization Surge

Next Stage Of The Engineered Global Economic Reset Has Arrived

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(Brandon Smith) When discussing the fact that globalists often deliberately engineer economic crisis events, certain questions inevitably arise. The primary question being “Why would the elites ruin a system that is already working in their favor…?” The answer is in some ways complicated because there are multiple factors that motivate the globalists to do the things they do. However, before we get into explanations we have to understand that this kind of question is rooted in false assumptions, not logic.

The first assumption people make is that that current system is the ideal globalist system – it’s not even close.

When studying globalist literature and white papers, from Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, to H.G. Wells’ book The New World Order and his little known film Things To Come, to Manly P. Hall’s collection of writings titled ‘The All Seeing Eye’, to Carol Quigley’s Tragedy And Hope, to the Club Of Rome documents, to Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Between Two Ages, to former UN Director Robert Muller’s Good Morning World documents, to Henry Kissinger’s Assembly Of A New World Order, to the IMF and UN’s Agenda 2030, to nearly every document on globalization that is published by the Council on Foreign Relations, we see a rather blatant end goal described.

To summarize: For at least the past century the globalists have been pursuing a true one world system that is not covert, but overt. They want conscious public acceptance of a completely centralized global economic system, a single global currency, a one world government, and a one world religion (though that particular issue will require an entirely separate article).

To attain such a lofty and ultimately destructive goal, they would have to create continuous cycles of false prosperity followed by catastrophe. Meaning, great wars and engineered economic collapse are their primary tools to condition the masses to abandon their natural social and biological inclinations towards individualism and tribalism and embrace the collectivist philosophy. They created the current system as a means to an end. It is not their Utopian ideal; in fact, the current system was designed to fail. And, in that failure, the intended globalist “order” is meant to be introduced. The Hegelian Dialectic describes this strategy as Problem, Reaction, Solution.

This is the reality that many people just don’t seem to grasp. Even if they are educated on the existence of the globalist agenda, they think the globalists are trying to protect the system that exists, or protect the so-called “deep state”. But this is a propaganda meme that does not describe the bigger picture. The big picture is at the same time much worse, and also more hopeful.

The truth is that the old world order of the past century is a sacrificial measure, like the booster stage of a rocket to space that falls away and burns up in the atmosphere once it is expended. If you do not accept the reality that the globalists destroy in order to create opportunities for gain, then you will never be able to get a handle on why current events are taking the shape they are.

Of course, in public discourse the elites have learned to temper their language and how they describe their agenda. Public knowledge, or at least general awareness of the “new world order” is growing, and so they are forced to introduce the idea of a vast societal and economic shift in a way that sounds less nefarious and is relatively marketable. They also have a tendency to hint at events or warn about disasters that are about to happen; disasters they are about to cause. Perhaps this is simply a way to insulate themselves from blame once the suffering starts.

The International Monetary Fund began spreading a meme a few years ago as a way to describe a global economic crash without actually saying the word “crash”. Managing Director Christine Lagarde and others started using the phrase “global economic reset” in reference to greater centralization of economic and monetary management, all in the wake of a kind of crisis that was left mostly ambiguous. What she was describing was simply another name for the new world order, but it was one of the first times we had seen a globalist official actually hint that the change or “reset” would be built on the ashes of the old world system, rather than simply built as an extension of it.

Lagarde’s message was essentially this: “Collective” cooperation will not just be encouraged in the new order, it will be required — meaning, the collective cooperation of all nations toward the same geopolitical and economic framework. If this is not accomplished, great fiscal pain will be felt and “spillover” will result. Translation: Due to the forced interdependency of globalism, crisis in one country could cause a domino effect of crisis in other countries; therefore, all countries and their economic behavior must be managed by a central authority to prevent blundering governments or “rogue central banks” from upsetting the balance.

The IMF and the CFR also refer to this as the “new multilateralism”, or the “multipolar world order”.

I believe the next stage of the economic reset has now begun in 2018 and 2019. In this phase of the globalist created theater, we see the world being torn apart by the “non-cooperation” that Lagarde and the CFR warned us about in 2015. The trade war is swiftly becoming a world economic war drawing in multiple nations on either side. This scenario only benefits the globalists, as it provides perfect cover as they initiate a crash of the historically massive ‘Everything Bubble’ which they have spent the last ten years inflating just for this moment.

As I predicted in my article ‘World War III Will Be An Economic War’, published in April of 2018, the tariff conflict between the US and China has become an excellent catalyst for the global reset. In my article ‘America Loses When The Trade War Becomes A Currency War’, published in June of 2018, I stated:

One question that needs to be addressed is how long the current trade war will last? Some people claim that economic hostilities will be short-lived, that foreign trading partners will quickly capitulate to the Trump administration’s demands and that any retaliation against tariffs will be meager and inconsequential. If this is the case and the trade war moves quickly, then I would agree — very little damage will be done to the U.S. economy beyond what has already been done by the Federal Reserve.

However, what if it doesn’t end quickly? What if the trade war drags on for the rest of Trump’s first term? What if it bleeds over into a second term or into the regime of a new president in 2020? This is exactly what I expect to happen, and the reason why I predict this will be the case rests on the opportunities such a drawn out trade war will provide for the globalists.”

The economic world has a very short attention span, but a year ago in the alternative media the trade war was being treated by Trump cheerleaders in particular as a novelty – a non-issue that would be resolved in a matter of a months with Trump victorious. Today, those same people are now vocal trade war fans, waving their pom-poms and screaming for more as they buy completely into the farce. Mentioning the fact that the trade war is only serving as a distraction so that the globalists can complete their economic reset agenda does not seem to phase them.

They usually make one of two arguments: Trump is an anti-globalist that is tearing down the “deep state” system and the trade war is part of his “4D chess game”. Or, the globalists don’t have enough control over the current system to achieve the kind of “conspiracy” I describe here.

First, going by his associations alone, it is clear that Donald Trump is controlled opposition playing the role of “anti-globalist” while at the same time stacking his cabinet with the very same elites he is supposedly at war with. As I have outlined in numerous articles, Trump was bought off in the 1990’s when he was saved from possible permanent bankruptcy by Rothschild banking agent Wilber Ross. Trump made Ross his Commerce Secretary as soon as he entered the White House, and Ross is one of the key figures in the developing trade war.

At this point I have to say that anyone arguing that Trump is “playing 4D chess” with the banking elites while he is surrounded by them on a daily basis must be clinically insane. Every economic and trade policy Trump has initiated in the past two years has served as a smokescreen for the globalists controlled demolition of the economy. As the reset continues in the midst of the trade war, it will be Trump and by extension all conservatives that get the blame. Trump is a pied piper of doom for conservative movements, which is why I have always said any attempts to impeach Trump (before the crash is completed) will fail. The globalists like him exactly where he is.

Second, there is a globalist controlled central bank in almost every nation in the world, including supposedly anti-globalist countries in the East like Russia and China. All of these central banks are coordinated through the Bank For International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland. The globalists covertly dictate the economic policy of nearly the entire planet. They can easily create an economic collapse anytime they wish. This is a fact.

However, what they do not control is how elements of the public will react to their reset agenda. And this is where we find hope. They do not have their “new world order” yet, which is why they have to resort to elaborate theatrics and psychological operations. They know that an awake and aware segment of the population could annihilate them tomorrow with the right motivation, and so, they continue to distract us with a swarm of other concerns and calamities.

The purpose is to convince the masses to focus on all the wrong enemies while ignoring organized and psychopathic elites as the root of threat to humanity. We are supposed to hate the Russians, or hate the Chinese, or hate people on the left, or hate people on the right, and so it goes on. But these conflicts are just symptoms of a deeper disease. The great danger is that the focus on globalists as the virus will fade from public consciousness and conservative circles in particular as the trade war becomes a world war and economic collapse results in financial pain.

The reset is upon us. The narrative of the collapse is being written before our eyes. The end game rests not on the globalists, though, but proponents of liberty and sovereignty. Either we keep our crosshairs on the true enemy, or we get sucked into the maelstrom and forget who we are and why we are here. If the latter occurs, then the globalist reset will be assured.

Source: by Brandon Smith | Alt-Market