BALTIMORE – People never intend to bring disasters upon themselves.
But they sometimes put themselves in situations in which disaster is the only way out.
The War Between the States was supposed to be quick and decisive.
The glorious histories of the war were already written – at least in the minds of the combatants – by the time of the First Battle of Bull Run.
There would be a few heroic charges; Napoleon’s Marshal Ney would have nothing on the dashing Confederate generals in their gray and red tunics.
Mounted on their fine Tennessee horses, waving their swords and shouting encouragement to their cavalry, they would sweep the enemy from the field… send him fleeing back across the Potomac… and the war would be over.
But even authors often don’t know how their stories will turn out.
Events and personalities take over. Between the first chapter and the final one, there are twists and turns that few expect. The hero turns out to have a fatal flaw. Circumstances weren’t what they thought. The enemy had surprises.
And then, at the end, the great victory turns into a nightmare defeat.
Once war is underway, the warriors stop thinking about peace. Instead, they focus on winning the war.
Then they can’t stop…
The coming disaster is financial… and economic. The authorities are determined to win a war: a war against markets.
With $35 trillion in excess debt in the U.S. alone, they figure they can’t afford to lose. They’re right. But they can’t win, either.
The big monetary guns blast away. Janet Yellen threatens to make peace with the credit markets. But it is just an idle war rumor. She can’t make peace; she can only surrender. Unconditionally.
And if the feds abandon their artificially low interest rates, it will be impossible to finance so much debt. The war will be lost.
And now, the people turn their lonely eyes to Field Marshal Trump… and turn their hopes to fiscal stimulus – deficit spending, in other words.
Monetary stimulus works by lowering the cost of the fake money. In a free-market economy, borrowers compete for scarce savings and discover honest interest rates. In a Fed-managed economy, at war with free markets, central-bank Ph.D.s set interest rates by committee, offering ersatz savings at artificially low prices.
People don’t know the new money is phony. They don’t care that no one earned it and no one saved it… and that there is nothing behind it other than swamp gas. It looks like the real thing. It acts like the real thing.
But if monetary policy is a kind of precision bombing, fiscal stimulus is more like a full frontal assault.
Money enters the economy like Sherman’s cavalry entering Atlanta. Fiscal stimulus goes more directly into the hands of the people. So, it tends to raise consumer prices more than monetary stimulus, which hangs around Wall Street, raising only financial asset prices.
But the underlying aim for each is the same: Put more fake money into the system. And so is the purpose: Prevent the market from correcting the fake money the feds put into the system the last time.
More Money, More Debt
That’s how a credit money system works: More money means more debt.
As the debt builds up, the system needs more money… aka more debt… just to keep it from losing the war. But in order to add more money, someone has to be able to go further into debt.
Households and businesses are tapped out. They are already at “peak debt,” with little collateral and little capacity to borrow more or use the borrowed funds effectively.
That leaves only the feds. They are the only ones who can still borrow substantial sums of money. No one has to worry about not being paid back by the government; after all, the feds have a printing press.
So, the feds are preparing a major offensive. And investors are writing their books. All with happy endings.
In January, their hero, Donald J. Trump, will present a program of tax cuts and spending increases. Commentators will tell us how the tax cuts may “pay for themselves” as they spur additional economic activity.
They will say the increased infrastructure “investments” will make the economy more productive. They will mention that we need more inflation as a way to fight our growing debt load!
Higher federal spending will put people to work in the shipyards and malls. It will cause prices to go up, reducing the weight of debt. People will spend more and owe less!
But wait… What goes wrong?
Tune in next week to find out…
By Nick Giambruno, Senior Analyst, Crisis Investing
I walked through Piazzale Loreto during a recent trip to Italy, which is suffering its worst economic downturn since 1945. And I realized that Italians are angrier now than they’ve been since the reign of Benito Mussolini.
Italy has had no productive growth since 1999. Real GDP per person is smaller than it was at the turn of the century.
That’s almost two decades of economic stagnation. By any measure, the Italian economy is in a deep depression. And things will probably get much worse.
It’s no surprise Italians are in a revolutionary mood…
The Five Star Movement (M5S) is Italy’s new populist political party. It’s anti-globalist, anti-euro, and vehemently anti-establishment. It doesn’t neatly fall into the left–right political paradigm.
M5S has become the most popular political party in Italy. It blames the country’s chronic lack of growth on the euro currency. A large plurality of Italians agrees.
M5S has promised to hold a vote to leave the euro and reinstate Italy’s old currency, the lira, as soon as it’s in power. That could be very soon.
Given the chance, Italians probably would vote to return to the lira. If that happens, it would awaken a monetary volcano.
The Financial Times recently put it this way:
An Italian exit from the single currency would trigger the total collapse of the eurozone within a very short period.
It would probably lead to the most violent economic shock in history, dwarfing the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008 and the 1929 Wall Street crash.
If the Financial Times is even partially right, it means a stock market crash of historic proportions could be imminent. It could devastate anyone with a brokerage account.
Here’s how it could all happen…
On December 4, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s current pro-EU government is holding a referendum on changing Italy’s constitution.
In effect, a “Yes” vote is a vote of approval for Renzi’s government.
A “No” vote is a chance for the average Italian to give the finger to EU bureaucrats in Brussels.
Given the intense anger Italians feel right now, it’s very likely they’ll do just that.
According to one of the most recent polls, the “No” camp has 54% support and all of the momentum. Even prominent members of Renzi’s own party are defecting to the “No” side.
If the December 4 referendum fails, Renzi has promised to resign. Even if he doesn’t, the loss would politically castrate him. In all likelihood, his government would collapse. (Italian governments have a short shelf life. There have been 63 since 1945. That’s almost a rate of a new government each year.)
One way or another, M5S will come to power. It’s just a matter of when. If Renzi’s December 4 referendum fails—and it looks like it will—M5S will likely take over within months.
Once it’s in power, M5S will hold a referendum on leaving the euro and returning to the lira. Italians will likely vote to leave.
Italy is the third-largest member of the eurozone. If it leaves, it will have the psychological effect of yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater. Other countries—notably France—will quickly head for the exit and return to their national currencies.
Think of the euro as the economic glue holding the EU together. Without it, economic ties weaken, and the whole EU project unravels.
The EU is the world’s largest economy. If it collapses, it would trigger an unprecedented global stock market crash. That’s how important Italy’s December 4 referendum is. It would be the first domino to fall.
Almost no one else is talking about this. That’s why I just spent several weeks in Italy, taking the pulse of the country.
Italy’s December 4 referendum could make or break your wealth this year. If it fails, the EU, which has the world’s largest economy, will likely fall apart… triggering an epic stock market crash.
It could either wipe out a big part of your savings… or be the fortune-building opportunity of a lifetime.
Senior Analyst, Crisis Investing
P.S. Italy’s referendum is this Sunday. That means you only have a limited time to position yourself to profit before the dominos begin to fall, collapsing the entire European Union.
That’s exactly why Doug and I just released an urgent video with all the details about tomorrow’s referendum. We’ve also included specific investments you should consider right now. Some of them have the potential to give 10-to-1 returns. Click here to watch it now.
The Greatest Secret in All of Investing
With three unique stories, one market expert teaches the most important lesson of investing… and the key to getting rich with stocks.
Global Bonds Suffer $1.7 Trillion Meltdown
The 30-year-old bull market in bonds looks to be ending with a bang. A Bloomberg Barclays index of global bonds lost $1.7 trillion in November – the deepest slump since the gauge’s inception in 1990.
Buckle Up! The Next Four Years Are Gonna Be YUGE
For 18 months, everyone underestimated Donald Trump. They’re still underestimating him. But, big picture, he gets it. That means a YUGE next four years for investors who believe in America.
Yesterday, Bill made the controversial claim that in the battle between Donald and the swamp… the swamp is winning.
It sure does look like the same old swamp rats. But should you not take heart at all the billionaires on board in Trump’s cabinet?
At least with the exception of Warren Buffett types, they should be in your camp regarding inheritance tax – the worst tax ever in its severity. We almost lost our family business to it. Trouble is, it’s a small crowd few can relate to. And Trump would catch lib flak ad nauseam.
Perpetuating family wealth is apparently un-American.
– Michael C.
I find your analyses, which are rooted in reality, to be superb. Who knows what the Trump will do? Who knows what the depth of his strategic thinking is?
It seems unlikely that he has a deep understanding of how real-world economics work. Only a very small percentage of people do. Surrounding himself with all these billionaire establishment figures is discouraging… unless they are a front, as you suggest.
Bottom line: Unless he forthrightly tells the people up front how it is and that a deep depression of up to two years must be suffered through before a recovery can start (your advice), his programs will likely fail before his first term is up.
– Peter G.
You and [President Reagan’s budget adviser] David Stockman have both made repeated references to the “bond vigilantes.”
I have to confess to not knowing who they are and whether they are a force for good, evil, or something in between. If an essay has been written explaining them, could you provide a link to it? If not, could you write one?
– Ransom G.
Paraphrasing “Tricky Dicky,” what would you do if you didn’t have Donald Trump to kick around anymore?
I am in agreement with [economist] Paul Craig Roberts. The “outsiders” get eaten alive in D.C. I am assuming Trump’s advisers have told him as much.
If Roberts is right – and since he served under Reagan, it seems he’d know – in choosing former Goldman Sachs people, at least our president-elect is garnering to his corner those who know the ropes. When Reagan brought to D.C. his California team, they got creamed. You don’t venture into a swamp when you’re a novice. You take guides, right? Seasoned guides.
Insofar as [Trump’s new Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin] having previously worked for Goldman, so what? Does this mean that these individuals have sworn undying loyalty to Goldman Sachs?
Trump is doing his best. Give him his honeymoon. Let’s wait and see if the marriage begins to sour before we lambaste the man; let’s wait at least six months.
– Marilyn G.
In Case You Missed It…
As you likely know, this Sunday, Italy is holding a referendum dubbed “Quitaly.” That’s why we want to share this urgent message from our friends at Casey Research.
In it, they explain exactly what this could mean for Europe… and how you can position yourself to profit.