GLENN: All right. So Chris Martenson is here from peakprosperity.com. And we're talking a little bit about the economy and what is to come. And there is this weird switching of musical chairs, where the right is now convinced that everything is fine.
GLENN: And the left is now convinced we're on the precipice. And I'm happy to say that I haven't changed my position in two presidents.
GLENN: What was coming in 2006, that we felt coming, is still coming.
We propped it up. It's still coming, and it's going to be worse.
You said that there's two parts to this. There's the downside.
GLENN: Right? And, part two?
CHRIS: Well, economically, there's first the downside and then the Federal Reserve has to print more and more and more. They're going to keep trying the same thing over and over again. And it's not really going to work. I haven't changed my position over a couple of presidents either because there's deeper structural things that we need to attend to. And that's part two. That's the part of the story I'm actually excited about, is can we finally have the conversation to say, "Who do we want to be?" You know, where do we want to go as a country? And have that vision and really bring that forward.
GLENN: Okay. Before we get there, tell me -- they've printed all this money, and it went all to the Wall Street fat cats.
GLENN: I was just told by Wall Streeters, that this is not true, Glenn. They're not buying back their own stock. The fundamentals are sound. And I said, "You're starting to see the beginnings of inflation. There's no inflation on chicken. There is inflation in the stock market. That's inflation. That is inflated money. Funny money had by all the fat cats. They're dumping it in there. That's making the stock market go up, and everybody feels good."
GLENN: But the average person didn't get that money. Banks never lent that money. Go try to get a business loan.
Now you're saying that they're going to print again. Where are they going to give the money this time?
CHRIS: This time it's got to go to Main Street. They've tried giving all this money to Wall Street. They'll keep doing that. The Federal Reserve and the other central banks are scared to death of even the most minor market correction. When the markets start to go down, even a little bit, they come out, and they use words. And I think they might even be using other means to drive the markets back up again. They're scared of that. But it hasn't really worked. When you look at overall economic growth, worldwide United States, it's not there.
CHRIS: We're still accumulating debt at more than twice the rate that the economy is growing. Try doing that -- you know, your credit card is growing at twice as fast as your income. It doesn't work. It's a math problem.
So to get around that math problem, they're going to have to give money to Main Street. And I'm talking like complete tax holiday next year. A check from the Federal Reserve. Something like that.
GLENN: For everybody?
CHRIS: Everybody. They'll have to do something like that.
GLENN: I mean, it would be hard to -- to be disappointed on a tax holiday.
PAT: Yeah, it would. A complete tax holiday. That would be really hard to say no to.
PAT: Yes, it would.
GLENN: And they expect us to just dump it into the system.
CHRIS: And I not only would expect people to do that, I would encourage them to do that. As soon as that tax holiday comes, run, don't walk. And make sure you know what your buy list is going to look like because that's when we're starting down to act two of the story, which is hyperinflation. All of that.
GLENN: Inflation. Hyperinflation.
Okay. Because when they start dumping -- you know, this is one of the guys who said, "Glenn, these corporations, you're going to get tax breaks. And these corporations are going to repatriot their money." I said, "That's $15 trillion repatrioted to the United States. Where is all that money going to go?" It's either going to go to the stock market, or they're going to start building factories and everything else. Then that's $15 trillion that is going to be seeping through the system. How do you not have inflation?
GLENN: And they said that wasn't a concern.
And I didn't understand the math on that one. But that's what the experts told me.
CHRIS: Now, look, everybody fights their last battle. So when we say inflation, people think about back to the '70s, where you had a wage-price spiral, right?
GLENN: No, I'm thinking '30s.
CHRIS: Or '30s. Right? But we're not having that world. So you're absolutely right in identifying, look, if you dump money into a market, you get inflation.
GLENN: But we are getting inflation.
CHRIS: We are.
GLENN: To the people who got the money. It's the stock market, right?
CHRIS: Look at the trophy properties in Manhattan and San Francisco and London.
Look at the price for rare gems. Fine art. Gulfstream Vs. All very hard to come by. Trophy Islands, right?
They dumped the money in to the fat cats, and they bid up everything they care about. Right?
All of those things I just mentioned, through the roof inflation. But people aren't recognizing that because we don't measure that when we look at the inflation measures. We measure chicken.
This next part of this story is they start pushing the money into the people, and that's where we get the other inflationary parts.
Now, the real question is, does the rest of the world say, "Yeah, I'll continue to hold US dollars under that circumstance?" So you have corporations rushing their money back.
Hey, but maybe the Bank of Iraq says we don't want dollars anymore. We don't like what you're doing. They start selling. China starts selling.
That's when you start getting the external inflation that comes back into this country. Because we've been great exporters. Fantastic. Of dollars. We've done a lot of that. And we're just kind of hoping that that won't stop. Like everybody will just continue to want to hold our dollars, forever and ever, no matter what. And that's an assumption that really needs to be tested.
GLENN: Well, preferably not in my lifetime. But it's going to be tested. It's going to be tested.
GLENN: You just said that coming to this realization has been the best thing in your life.
GLENN: Really? Because it always makes me really miserable.
GLENN: I mean, I look at it and I think, "Holy cow, I don't want to go through that."
JEFFY: Who cares? And what's the use?
GLENN: Yeah, what's the use? What am I going to do about it?
CHRIS: So, listen, there's a lot of things I can't control in this story. I can't control what the Federal Reserve is going to do about money printing. I have some ideas. I think I know what they're going to do. What can I do about that? Nothing.
I can, however, control my exposure to the dollar. So I have a lot of my assets out of the dollar. I have a lot of gold, a lot of silver, I own real estate. Tangible things. Because we've seen this story before, right?
In -- from 1918 to 1923, in Austria, they went through the Weimar hyperinflation. They write books about it. And they talk about it as if the great wealth destruction, the middle class was wiped out. And they still talk about it, oh, it's a wealth destruction. But not if you understand what wealth really is. Wealth is productive farmland, factories, hotels, the productive enterprises of the nation. Those didn't go away because they went through hyperinflation. But who owned them, that changed a lot.
So, yes, in this story, it's already happening. You know who the largest landlord in America is right now? The Federal Reserve.
JEFFY: The government. Yeah.
CHRIS: They own $1.75 trillion in mortgage-backed securities, which makes them the largest landlord in America.
Where did they get that 1.75 trillion to own more real estate than anybody else in this country? Well, they printed it out of thin air. We should be talking about that.
So this ownership is going to change a lot. So this is my advice to everybody is watch the trends, understand this is coming, and then own real assets.
GLENN: But doesn't that -- doesn't the ownership of more property in America, by the Federal Reserve, isn't that just now once again the rich getting richer?
I mean, this income -- what was it? Somebody last night was doing income redistribution for the Super Bowl. That's not the answer. But there is a problem here. And I don't know -- I don't know how to solve that. You do have the uber, uber fat cats. Not the guy who are living in the fancy houses in most -- in most towns. But the uber, uber billionaires that are up at the top of this banking problem and Wall Street problem. There's where they're sucking up all of the money.
GLENN: So how do we solve that without riots in the street?
CHRIS: But we're getting there already because they have -- that sucking sound is them sucking the economic oxygen out.
Let's look at, like -- rental prices in all the major cities have been going up at 8, 9, and 10 percent for the past five or six years.
And the reason for that is you have big, giant private equity companies. They get to borrow at 1 percent. So their rate of mortgage is a 1 percent mortgage. And they're competing against you or I, who might want to try and buy those apartments, who are not renting it, but our cost of capital is four, 4.5 percent on a mortgage. So they borrow at 1, unlimited. And then buy up all these things because they can make that number work at 1 percent. And for you, it's harder to make it work at 4 percent, right?
So they just have access to capital, and this is what Janet Yellen and the central bank of the United States, this is what they're defending.
This is what they're saying has had no economic harm, that they haven't been driving this wealth gap that exists in America. But it's happening structurally because we haven't been able to face it -- it doesn't exist.
GLENN: Right. We can't borrow the money that they can borrow.
CHRIS: Right. It's totally unfair playing field. It's shaped like this.
GLENN: So how do we fix that? How does that fix it, when they hold all the cards?
CHRIS: Well, this is a very big topic.
But in my mind, we have to first confront the problem, understand it for what it is, and I think this is almost a cultural piece. I think it's time to actually not say, "Oh, it's this big private equity company," but let's call out the CEO of that company. And let's make them understand that we have -- we're watching them. I mean, maybe public shame used to be a feature, right?
CEOs used to be ashamed to take more money than their workers back in the '50s and '60s. It was a thing that you wouldn't do that. Today, we've become shameless.
GLENN: See, I don't necessarily have a problem. You know, if you are the -- if you're the wealth creator -- like I'm the wealth creator here. Everybody is working for me. We all know key man insurance, I die, the company dies. So why should I -- why should I not make more than the people who work?
CHRIS: Well, let's separate people who actually are generating, creating value and people who are skimming. All right?
What I'm talking about, these people are just running skimming operations. They don't create anything. They're just running a skimming operation. I might pick on, for instance, in the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, they went after everything. I'm getting killed by this, by the way.
GLENN: We all are.
CHRIS: Sixty-one and half percent increase this year, 25 percent last year.
GLENN: Jeez. Holy cow.
CHRIS: Right? And that's dialing my way down through the bronze plans and all kinds of, like, deductible increases. All that.
CHRIS: Where my anger, if not rage comes up, is when I open it up and discover that the CEO of Humana Health Care took home $66 million last year. 66 million. And that's just him. You look at the rest of the C-suite, they might have skimmed a billion dollars out of this. They weren't asked to contribute anything to this story, right? You would have to have over 4,500 families at my level paying into that system, just to pay that one person's salary. What did he actually do? He skimmed.
This is -- so there's a level, beyond which -- there's a tougher story we have to get to here, but that's just gone off the rails. It's -- you ever see that old game show where they put somebody in a plexiglass thing and dollars around them and trying to grab them as fast as they can?
I feel like that's the part of the story we're in. That's what it feels like. Everybody is just grabbing money as fast as they can because we all know that you can't print your way to prosperity. The money machine turns off at some point so you might as well grab as much as you can, while the fans are still growing and the money is swirling.
PAT: Isn't that -- that's market value though, right? I mean, if his company is willing to pay him $66 million, then pay him $66 million.
GLENN: Because who else is going to do it?
GLENN: They can make $65 million someplace else.
PAT: Isn't that the free market system? I'm not sure how you get around that.
GLENN: How do you solve that?
PAT: You can't make it equitable for everybody. It's never going to be. That's not capitalism. That's not communism. We can make it equitable if it's bad for everybody. But we can't make it equitably good for everybody.
PAT: So the CEO of a major corporation is going to make a heck of a lot more than a worker with less education, with less skill.
GLENN: And I'm concerned because there are some --
PAT: Less work ethic.
GLENN: There are things -- some of these CEOs. You know, the banks really bother me. Because they know exactly what they're doing. They know exactly what's happening. They know the game that's being played. They know it's not going to work. And they're not warning anybody. They're out there, while they're taking tons of cash.
However, I hate to say CEOs. Because how do we know -- I mean, that just gets into the mob mentality of, get 'em.
CHRIS: Well, in this particular case, I'm talking about a highly regulated industry. So in my state -- and I live in Massachusetts.
PAT: There's your problem right there: Highly regulated. That's the problem.
CHRIS: I know. Well, it's regulated to the point that in my state, there's no competition allowed. Right? I can't buy certain levels of insurance because they've been lobbied out of my state.
PAT: Right. That's the problem.
PAT: But that's not the CEOs fault. That's the government's fault.
CHRIS: Well, no, the CEOs create this --
PAT: We need them out of it.
GLENN: I will tell you, I'm with both of you here. It is the government, Pat, but it is the CEOs.
What did Bill Gates just say his biggest problem was? His biggest problem was that he didn't feel -- at the time he created Microsoft, that they needed government. His deal was, I'm going to create what I create. You do your job. Leave me alone.
GLENN: Where Apple went and they partnered with the government.
GLENN: He said, "Microsoft is paying the price right now because they didn't feel they needed somebody to go in."
So you're kind of like the free market. If you have a fiduciary responsibility. I'm the CEO. I'm going to go -- if my business competitor is going the other direction and they're going to the government, my fiduciary responsibility, isn't it to go to the government as well? I mean, we just -- this whole system is broken.
PAT: But, again, that's government intervention. And it shouldn't be there. It shouldn't be there.
GLENN: Right. But how many people have the principles to be able to hold fast, especially when you have shareholders beating you down the door? I mean, I don't have the answer.