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April 23, 2021 | We’re on the Road to Inflation

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.

Slip sliding away

Slip sliding away

You know the nearer your destination

The more you’re slip sliding away

– Slip Sliding Away, by Simon & Garfunkel

YOUGHAL, IRELAND – Colleague Dan Denning says inflation is already very pronounced in financial assets… and coming on strong in the commodities market.

In his latest update, which paid-up Bonner-Denning Letter subscribers will receive later this evening, he provides the evidence from the last 12 months:

  • Lumber: +265%
  • West Texas Intermediate Crude: +210%
  • Gasoline: +182%
  • Brent Crude: +163%
  • Heating oil: +107%
  • Corn: +84%
  • Copper: +83%
  • Soybeans: +72%
  • Silver: +65%
  • Sugar: +59%
  • Cotton: +54%
  • Natural gas: +43%
  • Platinum +52%
  • Palladium: +32%
  • Wheat: +19%
  • Coffee: +13%

Slip Sliding Away

But let’s not get distracted… We’re merrily tripping along… on the road to ruin, admiring the attractive intentions with which it is paved.

As you’ll recall, the U.S. made a disastrous mistake in 1971. Egged on by economist Milton Friedman and many others, the Nixon administration changed from a more or less “natural” currency – dollars backed by gold – to a purely manmade one, today’s paper dollar.

Paul Volcker, who was chairman of the Federal Reserve at the time, saved the new monetary system in 1980. Thereafter, it flourished, reaching a peak around 1999.

Since then, the U.S. empire has been slip-sliding downhill… on the way to some sort of ruin.

Now, we’re just wondering how we get there and what it will be like when we do.

Weird Stage

When the money goes, everything goes. Money regulates and calibrates the relationships between people. One is owed; the other owes. One must use his time to earn money – placing himself at the beck and call of the other… while the other can use his money to get what he wants.

As the money apple goes sour, the whole social and political barrel is spoiled. First, things get weird. Then, they get ugly.

We are in the weird stage – with strange new forms of “money” (cryptos)… strange new ways to get rid of it (NFTs… overpriced stocks… 50-year U.S. bonds proposed…)… and novel programs and policies – stimmy checks, lockdowns – along with a whole new level of the old-fashioned boondoggles and payoffs.

Yesterday, we looked at how business leaders are being pressured into taking their eyes off the ball… to focus on good intentions.

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan, says “the purpose of a corporation” is no longer just to provide goods and services in exchange for money… It’s to take into account “all stakeholders.”

Presumably, the outcome will improve if management considers the wishes of non-customers as well as those who buy the company’s products.

ExxonMobil, for example? Shouldn’t it cease pumping oil, out of consideration for those who think the planet is dying? Surely, cattle ranchers are not thinking about vegetarians; shame on them!

And here at the Diary, shouldn’t we consider the non-readers… and the feelings of those we describe as “morons”? Shouldn’t we stop saying what we really think and say what they want us to say?

New Era

Silly, huh? Oh, dear… dear… reader. You are as behind the times as we are.

In this New Era, we all must pretend to go along with whatever great cause is fashionable. Diversity. Equality. Face masks. Save the planet.

Yes, the road is laid out and well-paved already.

The corporate leader… the columnist… the TV interviewer… the politician… the neighbor – all must step along gingerly. One candid misstep, and he will be labeled a denier… and deleted.

In this regard, here at the Diary, we have some advantages. We don’t need the work or the money. We have no reputation to lose. We’re not running for office or trying to attract a large audience.

We don’t mind being wrong from time to time, and we don’t embarrass easily.

So let’s push on…

Costly Goal

Here’s CBS News:

President Biden pledged that the U.S. will cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least half from 2005 levels by 2030, making the announcement Thursday at the virtual Leaders Climate Summit, a two-day global meeting of more than 40 world leaders hosted by the White House.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Biden said the U.S. can reach the emissions target through his jobs plan – a $3 trillion infrastructure package meant to revitalize the nation’s energy grid and create a net-zero economy.

This is an “end.” A goal. It’s advertised as a “good intention,” something Sleepy Joe thinks is so important that he’s willing to sacrifice a substantial part of your wealth to make it happen.

Yes, those “sweeping changes” will cost money. And there is only one place for the feds to get it – from you and other taxpayers.

You might say, “No… no… They’ll just ‘print’ the money.”

But ultimately, every fake dollar is a claim on real time and resources, both of which are limited.

The people who will be setting up windmills will not be flipping burgers. The steel used in the wind tower will not be used to build an automobile. And the savings put to work on the project will not be used to create profitable new industries, new jobs, and new wealth.

Higher Purpose

A real increase in wealth – that is to say, real progress – doesn’t need the feds’ money. It gets its financing honestly.

There are, for example, 115,000 gas stations in the U.S. As far as we know, not a single one of them was set up with “public” money. All were win-win deals, built to make money, not to take it away. People bought gasoline to improve their lives.

Likewise, electric vehicle (EV) charging stations could be built in the normal course of business; they might even be profitable, too.

But so urgent is the intention, that the normal rules that allow us to make our way forward – that is, the win-win deals that are the foundation of civilized society – will be pushed aside.

Civilization is a process. It is not an end. It is a discovery… an adventure. It is the journey, not the destination. We move ahead, but we never know exactly where we are going until we get there.

But the world improvers always think they know where they are going. They lay out their good intentions like milestones on the Trail of Tears – and force everyone to march along.

Yes, that was viewed as a worthy goal, too – in the 1830s – driving the Cherokee and Chickasaw tribes out of the Southeast, all the way to “Indian Territory” (present-day Oklahoma).

And now…

“The signs are unmistakable, the science is undeniable and the cost of inaction keeps mounting,” Mr. Biden said.

Zero net carbon emissions! Two percent inflation!

In 1693, they knew Salem would be better if they hung the witches. Germany’s rulers in 1939 knew they would be better off if they had more Lebensraum.

And wouldn’t the working classes be better off, asked the Bolsheviks, if we abolished private property and created a workers’ paradise? Of course, they would.

There’s always some con… some crime and some flimflam involved. But it is always justified by the High-Minded Purpose… the goal… the end.

From Dream to Nightmare

The Biden Green Team wants to install 500,000 of these EV charging stations. Who will pay for them? Most likely, you will… one way or another.

The feds already give a $30,000 tax credit to places that install the commercial EV chargers… That tax loss, naturally, must be made up, mostly by people who don’t “get it”… people who also don’t drive EVs.

Tax… print… borrow… spend. Every penny put to work on Biden’s Green Dream must be taken from someone else’s dream.

And every good intention – when backed by the trigger-happy power of the government – becomes a nightmare.




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April 23rd, 2021

Posted In: Bill Bonner's Diary

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