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October 2, 2018 | How Unearned Money Screwed Up America

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.

GUALFIN, ARGENTINA – Kavanaugh… Kavanaugh… Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh in the morning. Kavanaugh in the evening. Kavanaugh at supper time. It’s Kavanaugh 24/7.

And so the mud wrestling – wretched, tawdry, and disgraceful – continues.

But today, we turn away… back to our beat: money.


Unearned Money

The Dow ended the day up nearly 200 points yesterday. From CNBC:

“The biggest risk factor [in the market] is a trade war and we’ve dialed that down a bit,” said Mike Bailey, director of research at FBB Capital Partners. Bailey noted, however, the market may be going too high, too fast right now. “I’m not calling for a major correction or a bear market, but I think we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves here.”

We also saw an article from our old friend Mark Hulbert yesterday. He warned that it’s more important not to lose big than it is to win big:

…beating the S&P 500 (SPX) during bear markets is far more important than during bull markets, for two reasons. The first is mathematical: Big losses require even bigger gains to recover, and at some point, the required gains become so large as to become improbable. So if you lag during bear markets, you have to beat the S&P 500 by a lot during bull markets to come out ahead over the long term. […]

The second reason why it’s more important to limit bear market losses is behavioral: It’s the rare investor who can tolerate big bear market losses. All too often, investors end up throwing in the towel during the latter stages of a bear market and so miss out when the market recovers.

In other words, if you’ve stuck with the stock market so far, congratulate yourself on your gains (and kindly forget that we advised you to get out long ago).

But it is probably wise to move out of stocks now. A single big loss will undo a lot of small gains.

But before we leave the world of politics completely, let’s give a final salute to the wraslers… and the whole cast of the Culture War Reality Show.

That is, we call upon the gods to put a pox on all their houses. For it was a pathetic show, where all the participants – accusers, accused, senators, and news spinners – brought dishonor and ridicule upon themselves and made the nation an international laughingstock.

Most observers see in these tawdry displays an “us versus them” agenda, where right-thinking blue-staters are out to put one over on God’s “chosen people” of the red states, or vice versa.

Of course, there is that element to it. But the real meaning of it can be found closer to our beat – that is, by following the money.

As lottery winner Jim Hayes put it, unearned money “can really screw up your life.” Our overly simplistic prognosis for the U.S. republic: Unearned money has really screwed it up.


Kavanaugh Carnival

Hayes won $19 million. The security guard dutifully pledged to spend it carefully. But in a matter of weeks, he was off on a bender of drugs, alcohol, and big spending.

Then, when the money ran out, he turned to robbing banks to keep the good times going. Now, he’s in prison reflecting on his good fortune. If it hadn’t been for prison, he says, he would have died from an overdose.

But for America’s insiders, elites, cronies, and Deep State apparatchiks, it’s hardly worth lifting up a hotel seat cushion to find a measly $19 million.

They got $4 trillion – fed into the bond market by the Fed to fatten the whole capital structure. And now, fat and sassy, the last thing they want is for the public to notice the larceny behind the insiders’ good fortune… or to bring it to a halt.

Always looking for the bright side, we have struggled with the Kavanaugh carnival. It is hard to find one.

On display last week and this week was the hideous face of the privileged, snivelly elite… with no recognition or remedy for the fundamental unfairness they have wrought. Antagonists, protagonists, and sideline gawkers – all seem to have brought the nation down a notch.

But perhaps some good will come of it… for they have certainly helped reveal the corrupt, self-absorbed vanity of America’s elite.

And perhaps we will begin to have a better idea of how it came to be – that is, of how fake money took Americans’ eyes off the ball… and onto trivial absurdities.

When the money goes, everything goes.

Show us a nation that debauched its currency, and we will show you one where the debauch leaked into every aspect of public life like an overflowing sewer.

In Germany, during the hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic, for example, college professors were reduced to picking through trash for something to eat… and pretty girls from good families sold themselves on street corners for one American dollar.


Lions in the Arena

Money measures what things are worth – especially the two most important things in a modern economy: time and money itself.

Falsify the money, and everything gets bent into a new shape… and everybody starts wearing wigs and phony mustaches.

One pretends to be defending the Constitution from the Bolsheviks. Another pretends to be defending the fair sex from its hoggish ravishers. One pretends to fight terrorism. Another professes to be stimulating the economy.

Then, people have no way of knowing what is really going on. They have no way of separating villains from heroes. They cannot keep their eyes on the shuffle… or connect the Fed’s fake money to their own feelings of having been dealt a bad hand.

They cannot possibly take the time to understand why the Fed’s dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model is a fraud.

What is the typical citizen to think? What can he do?

He turns to the arena to watch the lions devour Christians…

…to Facebook, where he can catch up on the latest cat photos…

…or to Washington, where the mud just gets deeper and deeper, and the wraslers aim for lower and lower blows.




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October 2nd, 2018

Posted In: Bill Bonner's Diary

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