By Tom Dyson, Editor, Postcards From the Fringe
WASHBURN, WISCONSIN – I met a local businessman today. He owns a large construction company here in Wisconsin.
“We’re doing great,” he told me. “We had a tough time in 2008, but this time, we’re an essential business, so we’ve been doing really well. I didn’t need any help from the government. But we applied for the PPP loan anyway.
“We got a huge check. I mean, they gave us a stupid amount of money. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to get that money, too. No background checks or documentation. Just a couple of forms and proof of our final three months of payroll from 2019, then we got the money.
“I couldn’t believe it. So I’m going to do very well this year, and it seems unlikely we’ll have to give that money back.”
More below. But first, greetings from our campground in Washburn, Wisconsin.
Here’s Penny with some new friends she met at the campground…
Penny and her new friends
These girls are also homeschooled, so they joined up and did their schoolwork together today.
Tomorrow, she’ll have to say goodbye to them as we pack up again and head south… into Wisconsin’s interior…
My family and I are touring America with a car, a tent, and some sleeping bags. We’re sleeping in campgrounds, driveways, barns, parking lots, and anywhere else we can find to set up camp.
We’re trying to stay off the “beaten path” by using only backcountry roads and visiting parts of America most other international tourists don’t visit.
Along the way, we talk to as many locals as we can. That’s how I got to talking to that businessman today…
The PPP (or Payroll Protection Program) he mentioned is a $350 billion government program. It’s designed to help small businesses get through the coronavirus lockdowns without having to fire their staff.
If you have a small business, you can apply for the loan. Then, if you use at least 75% of the funds to cover payroll costs, you can keep the money.
Effectively, it’s helicopter money. A $350 billion cash drop onto the U.S. economy with very little discretion or oversight.
And that ties right in with my core investment thesis…
Our Inflation Trade
To recap, my thesis is that inflation is coming back.
This year, we’ve had $3 trillion in monetary stimulus from the U.S. central bank. Now we’ve got helicopter money as well (this is a new experiment in America).
We’ve also had a supply shock. A supply shock is something that reduces the supply of goods, services, and labor. In this case, it was government-ordered lockdowns and supply chain problems. If you reduce the supply of something, all else being equal, its price rises.
And finally, we’ve got a central bank and a Treasury that would LOVE to see a little inflation. And if a little inflation arrives, they will nurture it, and they will let it “run hot” for a little while to make sure it catches…
Meanwhile, the professional investment community is positioned for deflation (or, at least, very low inflation).
This means all the conditions for an inflation surprise are present. The way I see it, because almost no one expects inflation, bets on inflation are cheap and offer very high rewards.
My favorite bet is gold. If inflation does materialize, trillions of dollars will flow out of stocks (and bonds) and into commodities and other hard assets… and, above all, gold.
These are exciting times.
– Tom Dyson
P.S. Here’s today’s family video from the campsite. We’ve never done these before, so please send us your feedback at [email protected] and we’ll keep improving them…
P.P.S. This chart shows DXY, the U.S. Dollar Index. It’s been stuck in a range for the last five years, but recently it’s begun to fall…
Early days still, but I’m watching this chart very closely. If the dollar does start to fall, I expect it’ll usher in competitive devaluations around the world… along with the global synchronized currency devaluation I’ve been writing about since I started these postcards…
Reader comment: Greetings Dyson Family. Love the addition of video! Great to hear directly from you and Penny. A bit from Dusty and Miles, the reluctant one.
I took the plunge over the weekend and have purchased Tom’s Portfolio. I’m making arrangements to jump in at the six figure level and begin there. I’m an “all in” personality but am holding back a bit of my IRA reserves.
There are great suburban campgrounds abound in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area if you plan on stopping here in the Twin Cities. Very appreciative of your world travels and correspondence. Five daughters and 59 years of age has me wanderlusting! Be well.
Tom’s response: Thanks for the kind message, and for signing up for my Tom’s Portfolio premium newsletter! You couldn’t have joined at a better time. I give you everything you need to profit from the inflation trade I described above… including the 11 gold stocks I recommend you buy today…
Reader comment: I loved your little video. Nice addition! I’ve been following your postcards since before Christmas. I’m a Canadian, and I’ve crossed the Canada-USA border at about 13 different locations. They’re not all the same. Even though they might say they’re closed, I’m sure you’ll get across, but maybe not the first attempt, since the guards make their decisions using their own discretion! Good luck on your trip to Alaska! I don’t think you want to do that in late fall or winter though!
Reader comment: I hope you are not using a propane heater in the pop-up tent! Could be dangerous! Carbon dioxide poisoning. We bought a trailer and the hot water heater exhaust is just below a window. Can’t keep that window open! Love your travel adventures! Hope you all stay safe!
Reader comment: Tom, I live in Michigan, about 50 miles west of Detroit. I enjoy reading your daily travel log and, of course, I’ve been to all the stops in Michigan you have posted. I’ve had the chance to travel all over the globe on business, but home base is Michigan which is a beautiful state… especially in the fall.
I’ve read your articles over the years and I hope your travels continue to be safe. At 73, I have put half of our assets into the Dow-to-Gold investment mindset. I consider this a huge insurance policy.
Reader comment: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Alberta have given tickets to some U.S. tourists who were allowed into Canada (supposedly to transit to Alaska), but instead, they toured some tourist spots in Alberta. That is not allowed, apparently. Best make sure you are aware of the rules if you decide to drive to Alaska. Officially, the border is closed until July 21 to nonessential travel, but they are allowing Americans in if they are travelling to Alaska.
Tom’s note: Thanks for all the kind comments and advice! As always, please keep writing us at [email protected]. Kate and I read every note you send us.