The time for a dollar bounce is at hand. One reason I make that statement is the single best contrarian indicator on the US dollar has spoken.
Please consider Dollar Rout by Peter Schiff, July 15, 2010.
Peter Schiff has proven to be a huge contrarian indicator on commodities, on China, on foreign investments, and on the US dollar. I suspect this video will be no different.
In the video, Schiff makes a case that it was impossible to see these bounces coming. I disagree and have called for several of them.
Political Alignment vs. Investment Decisions
Politically I align with Peter Schiff. The financial sector bailouts were obscene, as are all of the stimulus efforts. There will be hell to pay for both.
However, investment-wise I cannot and do not agree with Schiff. His hyperinflationary rants are simply unfounded. The reason he cannot see the forest for the trees is he fails to consider the role of credit in a fiat-based credit world.
Credit dwarfs money supply. Much of that credit cannot and will not be paid back. Schiff got that part correct, in spades, predicting as many others did a collapse in housing. His mistake was in assuming the dollar would crash with it.
Think about that for a second. If the dollar crashed to zero, the number of dollars it would take to buy a house would be infinite. There has never been a hyperinflation in history where home prices crashed and barring some war-zone anomaly, I doubt it ever happens.
If hyperinflation was in the cards, the correct response would be to buy as much real estate as possible given real estate only requires 5% down. That amount of margin is hard to come by in any other play except derivatives.
Could the world economy be headed for a depression in 2011?
As inconceivable as that may seem to a lot of people, the truth is that top economists and governmental authorities all over the globe say that the economic warning signs are there and that we need to start paying attention to them. The two primary ingredients for a depression are debt and fear, and the reality is that we have both of them in abundance in the financial world today.
In response to the global financial meltdown of 2007 and 2008, governments around the world spent unprecedented amounts of money and got into a ton of debt. All of that spending did help bail out the global banking system, but now that an increasing number of governments around the world are in need of bailouts themselves, what is going to happen? We have already seen the fear that is generated when one small little nation like Greece even hints at defaulting. When it becomes apparent that quite a few governments around the globe cannot handle their debt burdens, what kind of shockwave is that going to send through financial markets?
The truth is that we are facing the greatest sovereign debt crisis in modern history. There is no way out of this financial mess that does not include a significant amount of economic pain.
When you add mountains of debt to paralyzing fear to strict austerity measures, what do you get?
Max Keiser is in his prime discussing Goldman and Bill Clinton’s hypocrisy in defending Goldman. Which is not all that surprising considering Clinton’s son-in-law Marc Mezvinsky is a Goldman Investment banker. A brief bio on Marc:
As a biography, Marc Mezvinsky date of birth is unknown, but he has been reported to be 31 years of age. He is the son of the former Iowa congressman Ed Mezvinsky (who recently has been released from a halfway house after doing time for investment fraud) and Marjorie Margolies Mezvinsky, a former NBC reporter.
Marc and Chelsea originally met in 1996, when they were introduced by colleagues of their political parents. They even attended Stanford University together and studied finance. It has been reported that the two started dating in October of 2007.
Currently Marc Mezvinsky is an investment banker for Goldman Sachs and makes his home in Manhattan, New York, where he bought a $3.8 million condo last year.
Anyway, in addition to the usual scathing observations on the life, universe and everything, Max goes head to head with Senate hopeful Peter Schiff. Good clean fun ensues, with Alan Greenspan’s invitation to the Keiser show pending.
Here’s an excellent discussion on the economy and China. We present many views here, and Pragcap’s are some of the most thoughtful and balanced. And if you haven’t yet, check out Op-Toon’s Review (fun images and satirical commentary). – Ilene
The United States government has made a curious series of interventionist moves over the course of the last 18 months. Some have been beneficial, but not surprisingly, few of these policies are actually helping the economy recover from the Great Recession.
As I’ve previously mentioned, Keynesianism can work. There is good government spending and bad government spending, despite the constant shrieking from Austrian economists with regards to all spending being bad. Giving money (on a silver platter) to banks who are not reserve constrained is exhibit A of bad spending. Spending money on a healthcare plan in the middle of a recession is a close runner-up. The banking bailouts not only set a terrible social precedent, but were also implemented with the belief that banks are reserve constrained – something that is entirely false.
The great recession was never a banking sector problem despite it being labeled as a “credit crisis”. In reality, this was a consumer driven crisis. The results prove this. The banks have recovered, but lending hasn’t improved. Why? Because this is a consumer driven recession. Banks aren’t reserve constrained. Finding willing borrowers, on the other hand, is a whole other matter….
The healthcare debate is a bit more messy. While the social aspects of healthcare spending are likely positive, you just have to wonder about the motives of the men pushing this plan when we are mired in the worst recession in 75 years. Is healthcare really our top priority when unemployment remains near 10%? More importantly, is this an efficient form of government spending when we could easily target job creation or other productive investments in the long-term growth of America (China’s high speed rail system comes to mind here). Meanwhile, we have an antiquated infrastructure. Where are the priorities?…
With today’s unexpected decline in December payrolls, the cry for more job-related stimulus will grow even louder. But the sad truth is that any new stimulus or jobs bills will ultimately swell the ranks of the unemployed, thereby raising calls for an even bigger federal effort. If we are not careful, government regulations, subsidies, and spending, all designed to fight unemployment, could push the labor market into a death spiral.
Regulation acts like a tax on job creation. By subjecting employers to all sorts of extra expenses when they hire people, regulations increase the cost of employment far beyond the wages employers actually pay their workers. In fact, some regulations are specifically tied to the number of workers employed. This provides some employers with a strong incentive to stay small and not hire.
The minimum wage law, which is really just a very visible workplace regulation, actually makes it illegal for employers to hire certain individuals and destroys entire categories of jobs. For instance, faced with high labor costs, some restaurants will avoid hiring dishwashers by switching to plastic utensils and paper plates. On a larger scale, factories may decide to switch to robotic assembly lines if human labor gets too expensive.
Other types of regulations, such as those that prohibit discrimination, create incentives for employers not to hire individuals that fall within the protected class. This is the result of potential litigation costs that may result from wrongful termination lawsuits. In other words, the more expensive government makes it to fire workers, the less likely they are to hire them in the first place.
Subsidies produce the opposite effect of regulation, but sometimes the results can be just as harmful. Government subsidies divert resources towards politically favored activities, resulting in more jobs in areas such as health care and education, but fewer jobs in other sectors such as manufacturing. The net effect of this transfer is to diminish the productive capacity and efficiency of the economy, which lowers real economic growth and diminishes employment opportunities.
Although not as visible as regulations and subsidies, government spending also plays a…
You hear the bull story every day on TV and from the likes of Tom Friedman. Michael Pettis and Chanos take the bear side. Below is a recent must-watch, hour long presentation by Jim Chanos, courtesy of Peter Schiff.
Here is an interesting video by Pete Schiff that discusses in what instances homes are investments vs. speculation vs. just a place to live.
I agree with Schiff that for most people who own and live in their own home, the best way to think about homes is as shelter. The mistake many made was thinking that home prices would rise forever, and somehow those rising home prices would support retirement. We have since seen how fatally flawed that idea is.
Schiff labels as speculators, those buying multiple homes hoping for price appreciation. Again I concur. Some who got out at the right time made fortunes, other who held on too long and could not sell or make their mortgage payments went bankrupt.
Those buying homes to rent, (assuming they know what they are doing, where lease rates will support the mortgage payment – conditions I added), can reasonably be called investors. Those needing huge price appreciation to cover interim losses and those not having a clue as to what they are doing, can also be labeled as speculators.
Homes As Consumables
I strongly agree with Schiff that a home is a consumable. It has to be maintained or its worth will head to zero. In fact, homes can be worth less than zero as has happened recently in Detroit.
While all the talk at present is about economic corners turned and markets charging ahead, no one is paying much notice to an American economy deteriorating before our eyes. These myopic commentators seem to be simply moving past the now almost-universally held conclusion that before the crash of 2008, our economy was on an unsustainable course. If these imbalances had been corrected, then perhaps I too would be joining in the euphoria. But evidence abounds that we have not veered at all from that dangerous path.
Last week, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that consumer spending as a percentage of U.S. GDP has risen to 71%, a post-World War II record. This level is notably higher than other wealthy industrialized countries, and vastly higher than the levels sustained by China and other emerging economies. At the same time, our industrial output is contracting, our trade deficit is expanding once again (after contracting earlier in the year), and our savings rate is plummeting (after an early year surge).
The data confirms that government stimuli are worsening the structural imbalances underlying our economy. The recent ‘rebound’ in GDP is not resulting from increased economic output, but merely from the fact that we are borrowing more than ever. That is precisely how we got ourselves into this mess. An economy cannot grow indefinitely by borrowing more than it produces. Not only is such a course untenable, but the added debt ensures a deeper recession when the bills come due.
This soon-to-be-called depression will not end until the pendulum of consumer spending habits swings violently in the other direction. This will be a jarring change, but it is the splash of cold water that we need to return our economy to viability. I believe that consumer spending as a share of GDP will need to temporarily contract to roughly 50% of GDP, before eventually moving toward its historic mean of 65%. Such a move would indicate a restoration of our personal savings, a decline in borrowing and trade deficits, and an increased industrial output. That would be a real recovery.
In the meantime, the higher the spending percentage climbs, the more painful the ultimate decline becomes.
Consumers and governments must spend less so their savings can be made available to…
Faber’s argument is that a weakening dollar will lead to inflation (as every dollar will buy less goods and services).
The government has injected trillions of dollars into the economy in the form of TARP bailout funds and other programs. Indeed, the government’s own watchdog over the TARP program – the special inspector general – said that number could be $23 trillion dollars in a worst-case scenario.
The basic argument for inflation is – as everyone knows – that the government has injected so much money into the economy (through bailouts, quantitative easing, purchase of treasuries, etc.) that there will be a lot more dollars chasing the same number of goods and services, which will drive up prices. In other words, the supply is the same, but demand has increased.
Indeed, the U.S. has also provided huge sums of dollars to foreign central banks. Could dollars given abroad cause inflation inside the U.S.? Yes – because some proportion of those dollars will be spent by citizens in those countries to buy stocks, commodities, goods and services within the U.S.
Three well-known advocates of the inflation argument are Rogers, Buffet and Schiff.
Specifically, billionaire investor Jim Rogers said we are…
To understand why, in spite of previous differences between us, please consider the following compelling case, starting with a look at government bailouts, the moral hazards of too big to fail, the current rise in the stock markets, and the "great government advance" of corporate welfare and bailouts at taxpayer expense.
So how can the Dow be flirting with 10,000 when consumers, who make up 70 percent of the economy, have had to cut way back on buying because they have no money? Jobs continue to disappear. One out of six Americans is either unemployed or underemployed. Homes can no longer function as piggy banks because they’re worth almost a third less than they were two years ago. And for the first time in more than a decade, Americans are now having to pay down their debts and start to save.
Even more curious, how can the Dow be so far up when every business and Wall Street executive I come across tells me government is crushing the economy with its huge deficits, and its supposed "takeover" of health care, autos, housing, energy, and finance? Their anguished cries of "socialism" are almost drowning out all their cheering over the surging Dow.
The explanation is simple. The great consumer retreat from the market is being offset by government’s advance into the market. Consumer debt is way down from its peak in 2006; government debt is way up. Consumer spending is down, government spending is up. Why have new housing starts begun? Because the Fed is buying up Fannie and Freddie’s paper, and government-owned Fannie and Freddie are now just about the only mortgage games remaining in play.
Why are health care stocks booming? Because the government is about to expand coverage to tens of millions more Americans, and the White House has assured Big Pharma and health insurers that their profits will soar. Why are auto sales up? Because the cash-for-clunkers program has been subsidizing new car sales. Why is the financial sector surging? Because the Fed is keeping interest rates near zero, and the rest of the government is still guaranteeing
With the release of today's report on March Personal Incomes and Outlays we can now take a closer look at "Real" Disposable Personal Income Per Capita.
The first chart shows both the nominal per capita disposable income and the real (inflation-adjusted) equivalent since 2000. This indicator was significantly disrupted by the bizarre but predictable oscillation caused by 2012 year-end tax strategies in expectation of tax hikes in 2013.
At two decimal places, the nominal 0.31% month-over-month increase in disposable income comes in at 0.26% when we adjust for inflation. The year-over-year metrics are 3.20% nominal and 2.35% real.
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Do you remember when you were growing up and all your friends were allowed Atari game consoles but you weren’t?
Well, I do and the things seemed as foreign to me as Venus. Mostly because the little time I managed to spend on the gaming consoles when my friends weren’t hogging them I found it all a bit silly. I never “got” computer games, and to this day still have poor comprehension of things like Angry Birds.
I suspect that many people around the world view Bitcoin in the same way as I view Angry Birds: with mild amusement and a general lack of understanding as to what the hell all the fuss is about.
I was thinking of this since a buddy of mine recently started ...
After a three-year bull run that more than quadrupled its value by its peak last July, IBD’s Medical-Biomed/Biotech Industry Group plunged 50% by early February, hurt by backlashes against high drug prices and mergers that seek to lower corporate taxes.
Although we try to stay focused on finding and managing promising trade ideas, the comments in the comment section sometimes take a political turn (for access, try PSW — click here!). So today, Jean Luc writes,
The GOP debate last night was just unreal – are these people running to be president of the US or to lead a college fraternity! Comparing tool size? The only guy that looks semi-sane is Kasich. The other guys are just like 3 jackals right now.
And something else – if Trump is the candidate, that little Romney speech yesterday is probably already being made into a commercial. And all these little snippets from the debate will also make some nice ads! If you are a conservative, you have to be scared now.
Phil writes back,
I was expecting them to start throwing poop at each other &n...
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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