Chris Martenson from PeakProsperity.com is an expert in gold and the stock market. He's a voice I think you need to hear, and he's going to be joining us more and more on the program to teach basic principles. For example, many are saying the bond market is going to crash. Now most people don't have anything in the bond market --- or so they think. If you're a police officer, a fireman, a teacher, you definitely have something in the bond market. You have your retirement there. So what do you do? Chris is going to help us navigate these financial concerns so we can prepare for the coming storm.
Read below or watch the clip for answers to these questions:
• Why are hedge fund managers confused about the current state of the stock market?
• Should election night volatility in stock market concern us?
• Why does Martenson blame the central banks for the current "weird" financial climate?
• Is the Federal Reserve between a rock and a hard place?
• What can you do to plan for the future?
Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:
GLENN: Chris Martenson of peakprosperity.com is -- is probably -- he is the guy I have been looking for, for probably 20 years, 15 years at least, who sees the world in a similar way that I do and can actually explain it and explain what is coming, explain why it's coming, how it's coming, and possibly what it looks like on the other side.
He's been on with us a couple of times, but because of contracts, he couldn't. And so we figured out a way to get him into a contract with us. And we're grateful that he is with us. And I have big plans for him to be able to teach -- to teach us exactly how this all works and what possibly is coming and how we should -- and what we should be aware of.
Welcome to the program, Chris. How are you, sir?
CHRIS: Why, Glenn, I'm doing very well. Thank you for that kind introduction.
GLENN: Chris, tell me -- I was watching the stock market on election night. And it cratered, almost 1,000 points. And then it turned around and it took off.
Can you tell me -- this makes me really nervous because nothing has changed. It's all -- just all in speculation, and it's already a giant bubble.
Can you tell me -- is there any good news here happening? Is this all bad? What is this?
CHRIS: Well, you know, Glenn, I get to hobnob with a lot of people who have been in -- say, running hedge funds for 30 years. And the more experience people have in this so-called market we have right now, the more confused they are.
And I think to understand this market, what we have to do is -- is step away from the signals that the prices are trying to send us and back up and note that the world's central banks have put $16 trillion into the punch bowl. And that's going to create a lot of money sloshing around, looking for things to do.
So what we saw on election night is very concerning. Because it saw money running away from the stock market, the US stock market in a big, big way, and then stampeding back in, in a big, big way those are not healthy signs of a healthy market.
And I will lay the blame for such weird conditions at the feet of the central banks. So that's the thing we have to understand.
GLENN: So I didn't realize we're already at $6 trillion. That is -- they don't call it printing. They call it quantitative easing. But in the old days, if they would have done exactly what they did, they would have had to print this money. And it's $16 trillion now?
CHRIS: Yes. That's 16 additional trillion on top of what the central banks already had printed out of thin air, as it were, or electronically created.
GLENN: Holy cow. So there's rumor that the fed is going to -- they're talking about raising interest rates. And the reason why -- and tell me if this is the right explanation.
The reason why the fed increases interest rates is to suck some of that money back in so it can be destroyed. So inflation happens because there's too much money out there, chasing too far goods. And so you raise the interest rates. It sucks that money back into the bank, back to the fed. They destroy that money.
Is there any interest rate that you can think of that wouldn't collapse the economy that could draw this money back in?
CHRIS: No. It's really hard at this point. So here's where we are -- the fed is truly between a rock and a hard place. So here's the rock: The rock in this story is, if they drive interest rates lower like Europe has done, like Japan has done, endowments, pension plans, which are already hemorrhaging -- big story there about what's happening to pension plans, the Dallas police pension, California state pension, you name it -- those are just dying on the vine here.
CHRIS: So any -- the rock is lower interest rates. Those are going to kill savers. It's going to kill people on fixed incomes. It already is. That's a bad place to be. The damage is
already being done, day by day there --
GLENN: Okay. Stop. Stop. Stop.
Why is that happening? Why is that damage being done to savers and to pensions? Why is that happening?
CHRIS: Well, it's happening because the fed has this idea that if it made interest rates down at 1 percent or 0 percent, that they could rescue the credit markets, which is a fancy way of saying make sure the big banks have healthy earnings income. So they did that.
But so far, savers -- because remember you used to get 5 percent on your savings account, like if you had money in the bank.
GLENN: Yes. Yes.
CHRIS: Hey, you got 5 percent just because it was in the bank. Now, you get, what? A half a percent on a six-month CD? Something like that.
CHRIS: Well, what happened -- where did that 5 percent go? What happened to it?
Well, that was a trillion dollars of interest income that has not gone to savers.
But where did it go? See, the fed is a distributor. It's not -- it doesn't create anything. It distributes. So it drove interest rates down and it crushed your savings account and my savings account's interest income, so we didn't get it.
Well, who got it? Oh, the banks got it because they make the money on having a steeper yield curve, as they say, or our interest rates driven down. That really helped the big banks. Didn't help savers.
So that's also really crushed pension plans because they tend to keep a lot of their money in bonds. They're getting 0 percent on those bonds. They're expecting, requiring, needing, Glenn, to get 7 or 8 percent just to meet their obligations.
GLENN: Oh, my gosh.
CHRIS: They're not getting it. And every day that they have to live with 0 percent on their bond portfolio is another day closer to death for those plans.
GLENN: So when people hear about the bond market -- because I've heard this for a long time, that the bond market is about to crash. Blah, blah. The bond market. The bond market. What you're really saying is anybody -- especially in a union. Anybody who has had their money in some sort of a mutual fund or bonds and they're getting -- they were getting the -- their retirement from that investment -- teachers unions, even some of our 401(k)s, that's all going away. Because that could collapse. Is that right?
CHRIS: That's absolutely correct. So if we can just take one example -- Chicago, poorly run. Terrible. You know, they gave away way too much. Let's not get into why they got into so much trouble. But they had -- their plans are so underfunded that the statistic I heard is that to just make the firemen's pension in Chicago whole, meaning this could pay out all of the pension promises its made to already retired and soon-to-be retired firemen in Chicago, they would have to put a one-time $50,000 per household tax in order to make that one plan solvent.
GLENN: Oh, my gosh.
CHRIS: And, of course, they're not doing that. They can't do that. So nobody talks about it. But that -- when we don't talk about these things, they don't go away. So we get to experience them as part of the political upheavals that we're seeing, which are people saying, "Hey, you've sucked all the economic oxygen away from me, and it hurts." And while they were doing that, it went to a very tiny minority, you know, who are well connected in this story.
GLENN: So, Chris, what I'm concerned about -- and I think if people understand what is happening -- and you understand, "Okay. The bond market goes down." Most people hear, "Oh, that's something about Wall Street, and I don't really care because I'm not connected -- yes, you are. On bonds and mutual funds, most of us are directly connected to those, especially in retirement.
When that happens, who is in charge? And what we do and how we hold our nation together is really important. How do we hold a nation together -- first of all, is there a way out to make that work? And, B, if it doesn't work, how do we hold a society together that feels now that they've had their retirement and their life savings stolen from them?
CHRIS: Well, the first part is, until and unless you recognize the problem exists, you can't get started on talking about what you might do about it. This is a giant issue that's in front of everybody's eyes. I talk to people who actually run big pension plans. They're screaming about it. You know, it just doesn't have traction. Politicians don't want to talk about it. It's too uncomfortable. But for people who are thinking, "Oh, well, if that happens, I don't have a public pension," to those people I would say, "Well, you know somebody who does." Right? This affects every community. It's going to affect all of us.
GLENN: Every teacher. Every firefighter. Every police officer. Everybody. Everybody who is in public service -- and half of the nation is now in public service.
CHRIS: It's a very big number. And so you get to part two, which is, what happens when -- not if -- but when we experience those losses? And the issue is, can we hold the nation together? Well, what you're hinting at there, which we all saw in the aftermath of this most recent election, there are real social consequences when you have people who have been economically marginalized or in this case damaged. It's a very real thing.
So to some people I've -- you know, have said, "Chris, this election was really tough. I can't imagine it being any worse." And I say, "Oh, my gosh, if you think this is the high-water mark of our national distress, come look at these charts with me, because these charts say we're just getting started."
GLENN: Oh, yeah. When does this hit, Chris?
CHRIS: Well, I think that -- there's no hit -- you know, no math function. It hits when people finally recognize that it's a real issue. And we know it's a real issue. But critical mass of people are starting to catch on to that.
Notice that in Dallas -- I mentioned it already. But the Dallas Police retirement fund is so underfunded that police there are retiring as soon as they can and taking their lump sum distributions because they know it won't be there.
And every time somebody does that, of course, it hurts that pension a little more. But it's the only sane thing a retiring person could do, would be to do that. It's already circling the drain. And just that one pension alone, if they had to try and make it whole, will break the budget of Dallas.
And so if they try and make -- so then Dallas has to choose: Are we going to fix our bridges? Are we going to keep our schools open, or are we going to pay off retired police officers? And that's just the police officer's pension. We haven't discussed the Dallas teachers --
GLENN: You know how they're -- you know how they're going to choose. And then all those people have worked their whole lives with a promise of something that was never -- no one was ever able -- these unions and the politicians colluded and lied and knew, if they would sit down with an actuary, that none of these things would actually happen, but they all just went along with it because it was politically expedient for them.
CHRIS: That's exactly right, Glenn. And it is a tragedy that's coming. But it's right in our faces. And, of course, the thing that you touched on there I think is the most important, which is, that sense of injustice. When people have been openly lied to, you've broken that social contract on a number of levels. And then why should they stick to the rest of the social contract?
GLENN: That's right.
CHRIS: That's really what's at stake here. It's really important.
GLENN: Well, you're a happy, happy camper.
GLENN: -- we're back with Chris Martenson from peakprosperity.com. A guy who is -- we're going to be working with a lot here to try to explain what's coming and what's happening so you are prepared. And as you start to see what he lays out, you'll understand why I have been so stressed in the last few years.
And I hope not to pass that stress on to you by giving you some things that you can actually do.
Now, Chris, I want to just -- I want to ask one thing that I don't think I'm alone in. You just -- I just asked you, "When does this hit?" And you said, "Well, when everybody finds out about it, that's when it crashes." And I thought to myself, "Then why the hell are you on radio telling everybody about this. Let's just keep this to ourself."
CHRIS: Oh, I wish we could. But it does have a math function all on its own. It is running. And the pensions are running out. That's just one side of the story.
But, you know, the larger piece, Glenn, when I back up is I say, "Look, here's the larger story that's very difficult to explain. It confronts a lot of belief systems. It makes people very unhappy. But it's this: We can't have infinite growth on a finite planet." You know, you just -- you run into limits sooner or later, and people have figured that out locally with maybe water in California. Or, you know, there's no more soil to plow because it's all in use in Indiana, or whatever the story is.
But we have an economic model that's been growing and growing, and now the world is in competition. And this is the larger tapestry that I think your audience really deserves to know, which is, look, the United States is not alone in the world. There's now China over there. We've got Europe. We've got India coming on board. Everybody is kind of looking for the same resources that exists out there. So that's a grand game of chess that's going to be playing out. And I don't say that to make people anxious. I say that because if you have that information -- and -- here's the important "and" -- and you take actions to make your life more resilient and do something, then that's positive.
If all you know is stuff that makes you upset, then you're just anxious, and that's no good at all.
GLENN: Right. And that's why I've wanted to work with you. Because I'm tired of hearing -- first of all, nobody can explain this stuff. And you do a great job of explaining it. And second of all, nobody has an answer for the average person.
So let's go back to the bonds for a second. If I'm an average guy, I've been a police officer my whole life and I'm going to retire in the next five years, do I take my retirement right now?
GLENN: And I do it in a lump sum?
GLENN: Even though that is -- you have that right to do it, but you're going to collapse it even faster.
CHRIS: Well, your choice includes -- you know, this is just -- this isn't a -- I'm not saying this is an ideal situation, but for you, the individual, the only sane way to play the game is either you can take the money out and receive some money from it or everybody gets nothing from it eventually. So it's just how it plays out.
And, you know, none are so poor as those who only have money. So my story is never just about the money. This resilience story has to go well beyond into something I heard you talk about just before we went to the break, which was your social capital: Who you know and how well you know them is going to be a very important determinant, and there's a lot of steps people can take to make their lives more resilient. But for now, in the way the money system is set up, you absolutely want to do everything you can to protect your wealth as much as possible.
GLENN: How fragile -- you know, I thought that this market and this country was much more fragile than it is. We have -- I've been -- you know, I've been saying this since 2004 or '6, that this -- you know, first the housing bubble. And I thought 2008 would have been the big one. And I think it would have been, had we not bailed it out with TARP and everything else. I think now we've made things much worse by all the bailouts and all the bogus money and everything else.
Is the next burst of the bubble as bad as I think it will be, or is there another TARP that is -- will buy us some more time? I'm going to come back with your answer here in just a second.
GLENN: Chris Martenson. Chris Martenson from peakprosperity.com, who is now a member of our team. A guy who I have been literally looking for, a guy like this for at least 15 years. A guy that sees the world in the same way that I do, can explain it, and also can give us options of, what do you do about that? And it's taken us a while to be able to work out a deal so he could come on because he had complex contracts. But we're so thrilled that he's a part of our team now. And we're going to hopefully sit down soon, Chris, and work out some things to get you very involved in GlennBeck.com and the Glenn Beck radio show, to be able to teach some of these things. Because I think people will understand why I'm so concerned and stressed out. Because nobody is explaining this stuff to them in a way that they can understand.
And I think people on the business shows on TV -- correct me if I'm wrong -- are living an absolute illusion or delusion.
CHRIS: No correction necessary. It's a self-delusion. It's astonishing.
And here's the funny part about this, Glenn: You know, when I talk with some of these people, their public -- they have the same public and private positions, right? Publicly, they say what they say. I get them behind closed doors, and I say, "Do you really believe that, or how concerned are you?" And some of these people -- some of the wealthiest people I know have jets ready to take them to literally bunkers in Switzerland --
GLENN: Unbelievable. Can I tell you something, Chris? I find it reprehensible. I can't tell you how many people who are on television saying everything is fine have said to me off air, "I can't say this, Glenn, but keep saying it -- the same thing -- I've got a Gulfstream ready to go." Really? Well, thanks a lot. You're telling us something opposite of what you're doing. And they just -- they don't -- they believe that if they say this, then people will panic and it will be over a lot faster. And I think -- they never say this -- but I think they think there's more money to be taken off of the table.
CHRIS: I think that's part of it. There's a lot of self-interest.
Can I tell you one of my most disappointing moments in a person's career, is what I call the retirement speech. Say, a senator, finally on the retirement day, they tell you everything they never said while they were actually in a position to do anything about it.
GLENN: Yeah. Yeah.
CHRIS: And then I don't care anymore I don't care if you tell me how far off the rails the country has gone now that you're retiring. What a weak way to go out. Come on, you know.
GLENN: Yeah. I know.
So, Chris, the bubble that I think was coming in 2008 -- I started talking about it in '04 and '06. And it was the housing bubble. And I said, "It's going to be Great Depression-style." And it turns out it wasn't. I didn't figure in TARP. Now, I think what we've done because of TARP and money printing and everything else, I personally think it is western world depression or even worse, a game-changing kind of scenario.
A, do you agree with that? And, B, what does it look like? And, C, is there a TARP, or is there something that changes that, that I don't see?
CHRIS: Absolutely. I agree with the position.
I was a very vocal critic of all the bailouts, in particular bailing out places like Goldman Sachs at 100 cents on the dollar for their bad bets with AIG, Citigroup.
These were badly run organizations that needed and deserved to go out of business. They didn't. They were rescued. And because of that, Glenn, I think that that was an opportunity to take a painful fall from a ladder that we were four rungs up.
Now, because of the Federal Reserve and TARP and all the bailouts, what we've gotten is we're about 20 rungs up the same ladder now, much more painful fall, and may even be worse than that.
So the next crisis is going to be bad. And they're going to fight it tooth and nail because they believe in their heart of hearts that it could be a lights-out crisis if they don't.
And I understand how they got there. Remember, 2008, we had to wait a year and a half when Hank Paulson's memoirs came out, and Mervyn King, then the Bank of England governor -- they came out and said, "Guys, we were like three or four hours from a systemic banking collapse that could have wiped the world out." That's what they were thinking, right?
So what do you think they're thinking today, when everything that was in place then is still in place, but larger? Do we have fewer derivatives? Is sovereign debt lower? All of this -- no. Is the housing bubble -- where is it? It's right back where it was.
GLENN: Or worse.
CHRIS: So what they do is they pumped the credit markets up, and it was a double-fingers crossed moment. They were saying, "Please, growth. Please, please, will growth come and bail us out." It didn't come. And that's where we are, at this awkward moment, with the fed saying, "We think we need to raise rates." We're like, "Guys, too little, too late. And you're going to do it into a weakening environment, not a strengthening environment? Never been done before. Good luck with that."
GLENN: Does it require a massive shock? Does it require an event, or could this just happen?
CHRIS: Well, it's a very complex system, so it could be either. It could be the German finance minister says something wrong, and some trading algorithm picks it up and starts the ball rolling. Who knows? You know, we've seen the signs, Glenn, where the market has these really unstable moments.
So I watch this market very closely. I remember a year ago in August, when the Chinese currency devalued by 3 percent, that was the day we had the Dow down another thousand percent in response. I was like, "Wait. What? The Chinese currency went down 3 percent, now the US stock market is falling like a stone?"
That level -- that's the kind of market we have now. It's kind of unstable. And I think that's why there's so much fear out there, particularly amongst, Glenn, the people I know who know these markets best. They're the ones who happen to have the Gulfstreams spooled up and ready to go, as it were.
GLENN: What does it mean for the average person, Chris? And how do we prepare?
CHRIS: So the average person really has to have the context. Look, if you don't know what's happening or why, you're going to be shocked. You're going to be confused. You won't know what to do. You need to have a plan before you need the plan. So what I advise people to do is, first, get the context. Get educated. It's not that hard. But you can't -- you're not going to get it off of CNBC. You're not going to get it out of the Wall Street Journal. So you've got to get the context. See what's happening. And then decide for yourself what steps you're going to take. Because in my world, Glenn, the -- we mentioned it once, but if I'm feeling anxiety or I'm feeling fear, it's because my thoughts and my actions aren't aligned. And fear lives in the gap.
So close the gap. You can't change what you know. So change your actions. And there's lots of things people can do to secure their finances and to make themselves more resilient and to just begin to understand that we're going to have to be a little bit more responsible for our futures than maybe we have been up to this point. But I think that's a good thing. And people can find a lot more fulfillment and purpose and higher quality of life -- nothing that would surprise my great-grandfather. He would be like, "Yeah, you're living how people have always lived." A little bit closer --
GLENN: Yeah, I know.
CHRIS: -- and in connection.
GLENN: So then tell me, what do you do?
You know, do I have cash? Do I have gold? Do I get out of the stock market? Do I leave it in and just try to -- you know, if I'm younger, leave it in and weather this storm? Will I be completely wiped out? Do I put it all in gold and, you know, whisky? What are you -- because when I get to this point and I talk to financial people, they all say, "Well, Glenn, if you really believe that there's a massive Great Depression meltdown and there's a possibility that the American dollar goes, you know, then I can't help you. There's no scenario for that."
Well, I hope the American dollar doesn't go, but I think that's kind of the way we're going. We're going towards a one-world currency, one-world kind of -- or at least a western world digit over an actual currency, it seems.
What do I do?
CHRIS: Well, you know, everybody has a slightly different story. So let me tell you what I did. I took almost all of my money out of the stock market, out of the bond markets. I have a pretty good chunk in gold and silver at this point in time.
Two words -- I own them for separate reasons. And I own my home free and clear because I had the capability to do that. I have a lot of cash built up. And I'm waiting. And I have a list of things that I would really like to own at some point because my model -- the thing I believe is going to happen: There will be another crisis. The Federal Reserve will overreact.
They're going to -- you ask, "Do they have another arrow in their quiver?" Sure, they do. It's quantitative easing for Main Street. You'll recognize it as either a complete tax holiday, courtesy of the Treasury Department, which the fed funds with freshly printed money, or maybe it's a check that shows up in your bank account straight from the fed. I don't know. But money comes to us. And that's when I've told my people, that's when you run -- you do not walk -- you run to buy the things that are on your plan, the things that you've identified.
But first, there's a little waiting period here. And we just have to sit it through. This has happened -- what we're about to experience -- dozens of times in history. When they write about it in the Wall Street Journal, they're going to say, "Massive wealth destruction. You know, investors lose trillions." But if you watched what happened carefully, it was actually a wealth transfer.
Real wealth is always the land that we walk on. It's the productive enterprises. It's real estate that has real value. That's the real wealth. Not the paper stuff that is a claim on that wealth. So this has happened over and over again. And it's a long story. And I know we don't have time to fully express it today, but this is the larger context. If people can see what's coming, I'm telling them, "Look, it's a wealth transfer. They've happened dozens of times in history. Get on the right side of the line very quickly." And, simply, it means owning real assets.
GLENN: Okay. Chris, we'll talk again. Thank you so much, I appreciate it.
Featured Image: Christ Martenson of Peak Prosperity, featured on The Glenn Beck Program.