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September 29, 2017 | Save Those MAGA Hats!

Is an American author of books and articles on economic and financial subjects. He is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, and author of the daily financial column, Diary of a Rogue Economist.

POITOU, FRANCE – “Do you still have that physical bitcoin I gave you?”

A couple of years ago, a friend gave us a physical bitcoin, suggesting we should take an interest in cryptocurrencies.

“I hope you didn’t lose it. That coin is now a collector’s item. It sells for more than $10,000 on eBay.”

We searched high and low. We couldn’t find it.

Did we give it to our grandson? Did it end up in the laundry? Did we give it to a porter as a tip?

It must be somewhere. We’ll keep looking.

Back in the Game

Bitcoin is back. Here’s Forbes:

They’re ba-aa-ack. Whether it’s the Chinese, or the Koreans, or the Russians or us Americans is anybody’s guess at this moment, but what it looks like for a few cryptocurrency players out there is that the Chinese have found a new way to get back into the game.

Earlier this month, China banned initial coin offerings (ICOs) – a way crypto ventures raise capital – and crypto exchanges, websites that allow you to exchange your government fiat currency for cryptocurrencies.

It looked to many as though it was the end of the road for bitcoin. The bitcoin price fell to $3,200 from its all-time high of $5,000. Now, it’s back over $4,100. (See more in today’s Market Insight below.)

And this morning, Japan – the main beneficiary of China’s clampdown – approved 11 cryptocurrency exchanges.

Money talks, and it’s hard to argue with people who are getting rich.

For instance, subscribers of Palm Beach Confidential, one of the advisory services from the Palm Beach Research Group, have had the chance to strike it rich on recommendations from colleague Teeka Tiwari.

Last April, after it had just launched, Teeka recommended what’s now the world’s second most valuable crypto asset.

Then, it was about $9. Now, it’s over $300.

And in February, he recommended one of the hottest Chinese crypto ventures. It was 12 cents at the time. Today, it’s selling for more than $32.

Let’s see, if you’d invested $1,000, you’d have more than $250,000 now.

Finally, we checked with our son Will, the Bonner family’s in-house cryptocurrency enthusiast. A while back, he urged us to speculate with some of the family money in the crypto casino.

“We’re up about 85% since we invested in June,” Will reported back.

Novelty Tech

Will is more open-minded than we are.

He likes technology… and believes it will improve the future. We’re not so sure.

The last tech innovation that clearly improved our lives was air conditioning, invented by American engineer Willis Carrier in 1902.

When we could finally afford it, in 1990, it made the Maryland summers much more agreeable.

Penicillin, discovered by Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming in 1928, was a big help, too; it saved our lives when we had pneumonia in 1954.

As for the rest, we could take them or leave them.

And cryptocurrencies?

As far as we’re concerned, they’re still a novelty… and, as money, still unproven. So, we do not advise following our example.

Not unless you can lose your money but keep your sense of humor.

Party of Trump

Speaking of a sense of humor…

As expected, Trumpismo is shaping up to be a third political force. Reports The New York Times:

[Steve Bannon] and [billionaire hedge-fund manager Robert] Mercer began hashing out a rough outline for a “shadow party” that would advance Mr. Trump’s America First agenda – even if Mr. Trump himself strayed from it – during a five-hour meeting last month at the family’s Long Island estate a couple of days before Mr. Bannon’s resignation from the White House. […]Bannon and the Mercers also stand out as more pugilistic in their tactics and ideology, bonding less over a shared cohesive political ideology than over a desire to disrupt the political establishment – the Republican establishment in particular.

When Team Trump’s tax reform push fails, they are going to need someone to blame.

They won’t blame themselves, of course. Neither for being unable to come up with a plan their party could fully support… nor for misleading the public by offering to do something they couldn’t do (pass a major tax reform)… nor for even greater deceit of promising something that no one could ever do (boosting real growth by cutting taxes without also cutting spending).

Unless the feds cut spending, a tax cut is a fraud.

When the tax reform measure fails, what will its supporters do?

Always here to help, we suggest the Trumpistas in Washington “fall upon their swords,” like Cato the Younger… or open their bellies with a knife, like the last true samurai, Saigō Takamori.

Instead, they’ll blame the Republican leadership in Congress.

Which is all right with us, too. House Republicans are mostly swamp critters.

Devil in the Detail

Whatever comes of it, the proposed tax cuts won’t help the middle class or the economy.

The Deep State controls the feds… and most emphatically, it controls the details of tax policies.

It doesn’t matter what the news headlines report… or what POTUS tweets… The devil in those details will make sure that the swamp gets more, not less, of the nation’s wealth.

Mr. Trump calls his tax proposal a “miracle for the middle class.” Yes, it would be a miracle if it passed. And it would be another miracle – like turning base metal into gold – if it did anything for the middle class.

Our friend and budget advisor to President Reagan, David Stockman, calculates that the typical middle-class family could expect annual tax savings of precisely $5.

With that money, you might be able to buy a “Make America Great Again” hat on eBay.

Or not.

The feds… the swamp… the Deep State… and the Trumpistas in Washington – all are sucking on the economy like leeches.

They disguise and delay the damage with their phony reforms… fake money… fraudulent statistics, and flimflam claims.

The first crisis will be a crash and a depression. The second – after another massive “stimulus” from the authorities – will be raging, bubbling inflation.

Then, those MAGA hats will probably be collectors’ items, too… and sell for $1,000 each…

…which will be about enough to buy a coffee at Starbucks.




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September 29th, 2017

Posted In: Bill Bonner's Diary

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