The Pin to Pop This Mother of All Bubbles?

Global macro economic data has been weak for many years, but there's now a very real chance of a world-wide recession happening in 2017.

Why? A dramatic and worsening shortfall in new credit creation.

The world's major central banks have, again, done the world an enormous disservice. Instead of admitting that maybe/perhaps/possibly the practice of issuing debt at more than twice the rate of underlying economic growth was a very bad idea over the past several decades, they instead doubled down and created an even larger debt monster to be dealt with.

The resulting global asset price bubble -- or, more accurately, set of nested and incestuously intertwined bubbles -- can collectively be called the Mother Of All Bubbles (MOAB). None has ever been larger in history.

As with all prior bubbles, it shares the collective delusion that there's such a thing as a free lunch. History has seen many attempts to eat this elusive meal, with each generation convinced that they were the chosen ones who could finally crack that nut.

So, dutifully, our central bankers have tried, and tried again, to deliver that free lunch -- i.e. to print up prosperity.

But, alas, prosperity cannot be printed out of thin air. All that can be accomplished by central bank slight of hand is a transfer of wealth. Central banks steal from the many to give to the few. They are the reverse Robin Hoods of our day.

They also encourage everyone to steal from the future, which is what excessive borrowing really represents. It's future consumption taken today at the expense of tomorrow.

The most charitable thing that can be said about the central banks is that perhaps they actually believed their own BS, but I seriously doubt it. Even the most dense of observers has noticed by now that we are 9 years into the 'emergency measures' and nothing even remotely close to healthy economic growth has emerged.

One year of emergency measures is already a bit too long. 3 years is embarrassing. 9 years tells you that the Fed isn't in this for the reasons they state. Instead, they are orchestrating the largest wealth transfer in all of history, from the many to the few.

Once you realize this is their goal, then they've succeeded amazingly. Mission accomplished!

We have the widest wealth and income gaps in all of history. The big banks have complete control of the political and financial machinery of every country of the world. And the corporate controlled media simply cheerleads the whole thing, convincing most people it's all been for their own good.

Honestly, from a planning and execution standpoint, I have to give the central banking cartel very high marks for pulling off such a magnificent heist almost completely undetected by the average person.

Of course, they needed lots of assistance from a complaint media.

Economic Propaganda

Propaganda noun - information, especially of a biased, emotionally charged or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view.

Let's turn now to exploring the ways that the media serves to deliver propaganda instead of providing useful context and essential information.

People are anxious these days. One explanation for this is that their personal lives are getting harder and more difficult on multiple fronts. Wages are flat (to down) and expenses are skyrocketing. There's no sense of safety, and everybody can sense the massive injustice of the reverse Robin Hood policies of the central banks and governments.

Injustice, of course, makes us very unhappy. That's true of all social creatures, ranging from primates to dogs. Fairness matter -- a lot. And when systems or individuals operate unfairly, then the other participants tend to withdraw and/or give up. If things become bad enough, however, the victims get angry and will eventually retaliate.

To keep this unfairness from boiling over, a couple of tricks of the government's trade are to first get the afflicted parties blaming the wrong people -- preferably each other, as opposed to the actual perpetrators of the unfairness. This works great; we see it in police pitted against protesters, even though they both are being unfairly treated in similar ways by the system. Ditto for the left vs. right protests that have been erupting all over the world.

A second trick is to simply confuse everyone, to try and convince them that nothing unfair has actually happened in the first place. This is achieved through lies, either by omission or commission, and this is now daily fare in the leading mainstream news outlets. And I use the term 'news' very, very loosely.

What results when we are told (and/or believe) one thing but our experiences indicate another, is cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive Dissonance -- noun - the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.

The creation of 'inconsistent thoughts or beliefs' is now an entrenched industry with hundreds of billions of advertising dollars at its disposal. It's now so thoroughly part of the societal fabric that many of its most advanced practitioners have no idea that they are even carrying out a sophisticated program of deception with savant-like precision.

Born, bred and raised within the system of delusion, they're unaware of their own role, or why they're playing it.

Let's pull an example I found, easily enough, in this morning's news cycle (6-16-17).

Today's propaganda headline from Bloomberg is a classic:


This U.S. expansion may be moving like a tortoise, but it's on its way to win the race.
Widely disdained for its relatively weak growth and pay gains, the expansion is about to complete its eighth year -- and it's headed to become the longest on record, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. Respondents put a 60 percent probability, based on the median estimate, on the growth streak running through at least July 2019 and thereby reaching 121 months, topping the 10 years of gains during the 1990s.
The U.S. economy looks pretty healthy right now when you think in terms of sectors that could blow up," said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at New York-based Amherst Pierpont Securities LLC. Having avoided any “violent bounceback" during the recovery, “most sectors seem to have room to run," signaling continued moderate growth, he said.
A strong job market, subdued inflation, low borrowing costs and healthier finances will be a tailwind for consumer spending while business investment, a laggard so far, is expected to join the drivers of growth. Even trade may become less of a drag.
(Source)

This Bloomberg article is a really strong effort by the media to spin things as being much rosier than they are. Many people's direct experiences will be completely counter to the happy-talk put forth in this article, which basically readsl like the intro to Garrison Keillor's Lake Woebegone radio program, which told of a magical place where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average."

In other words, a fantasy land where the supporting data provided cannot possibly be correct.

So let's review the amazing list of data, shall we?

  • Economists agree, this expansion will become the longest on record
  • The US economy looks pretty healthy right now
  • Most sectors have room to run
  • There's a strong job market
  • Inflation is subdued
  • There's also something called 'healthier finances'

Given all that, you'd be a total loser to think anything other than "Everything is awesome!"

But is that true?

Well, once you take a closer look at each of these authoritative claims, they are anything but clear-cut and certain. If you question any of them, or even just dig slightly into them, questions swirl up like flies from a knocked-over garbage pail.

To begin, if we choose to question the “strong jobs market", we quickly come across charts such as this one:

(Source)

In this less-than-"amazing" chart we see that the “strong job market" is actually the most horrifically weak one in the entire data series. The illusion of “strength" has been manufactured by the hocus-pocus of excluding people off of the unemployment rolls, so they simply aren't counted in the “strong" number.

It's an old trick. If you're counting the unemployed, then the best way to have a rosier number is to not count people who don't have a job as 'unemployed.' You call them something else ("out of the labor force") and revise them away.

If you don't count them, they don't exist, right? That then allows the media to trumpet the Fed's victory in creating today's “strong job market."

If this wasn't so patently, ridiculously Orwellian, and didn't create so much human misery, it would be funny.

How anyone can, with a straight face, claim that this is a “strong job market" is beyond me. It's not. And the record number of homeless people showing up in every major and minor city in the US validates the data in the chart above.

So that's cognitive dissonance area #1: Being told we have a strong job market while your own eyes see homeless people everywhere, and people looking for jobs report extreme difficulty landing anything beyond a part-time, minimum wage gig.

Next we turn to the idea that “inflation is subdued." While we've shredded this idea mercilessly in such areas as our Crash Course chapters on Fuzzy Numbers and Inflation, as well as in our podcast with Ed Butowski, the creator of the Chapwood Index, you can just as easily use your own personal observations and a few pieces of data to destroy this farce of 'subdued inflation.'

Let's start with car prices. According to the BLS, new cars have not gone up in price at all over the past ten years. In fact, according to their calculations, a new car costs exactly the same today as it did back in 1997, a full twenty years ago:

But your own eyes and personal experience may have noticed something different. If you've made a car purchase over the past 20 years, you've probably observed that actual out-of-pocket costs to purchase a new vehicle have steadliy risen from just over $19,000 in 1997 to over $33,000 today:

(Source)

Where the US government is convinced that cars costs exactly as much as they did 20 years ago, your personal experience might be that they are not terribly far away from costing 100% more.

The explanation for the difference is that the BLS has decided that today's automobile is vastly improved compared to that of 20 years ago. It believes that your dollar buys you nearly 100% more "car" than it did before, so the whole thing is a wash.

This is the magic of “hedonic improvements" which I am not entirely unsympathetic to. If things improve and we pay the same amount for them, then that's a gain in living standards, of a sort.

But the idea that “inflation is too low" is anchored in the idea that we are paying the same for things today as we were yesterday. The very essence of cognitive dissonance is being told that things cost twice as much but they haven't gone up in price.

That the issue at play here. While the Fed frets about inflation being too low -- you struggle to afford rising new car costs, as well as the skyrocketing associated fees like maintenance and insurance.

Another prime area for "fuzzy numbers" is in living expenses related to housing. According to the government ,housing costs have been modestly rising by an average of less than 3% per year for a decade:

However, these charts from Charles Hughes Smith show that the experience of homebuyers in many major metropolitan areas is anything but subdued:

(Source)

Add all this up and what do you get?

A very different impression of the state of 'the economy' than Bloomberg is working hard to present.

And even more egregious than the misinformation is the complete inappropriateness for the media to praise economic 'strength' while ignoring the role of debt in bringing about the growth being celebrated. If the 'prosperity' is simply due to a drunken debt-binge, it should be criticized, not lauded.

The Pin To Pop This Mother Of All Bubbles?

Which brings us to a very important risk factor to the over-leveraged global economy: declining credit impulse.

Unfamiliar with the term? You won't be for long.

Defined as net new credit to GDP, credit impulse is one of the best statistical predictors of recession. As of today, credit impulse has gone negative across the world for the first time since the start of the Great Recession.

In Part 2: Everything You Need To Know About The Credit Impulse, we lay out the evidence for why there's a credit impulse-driven recession on the way. It will come whether or not the underlying economy is recovering or not.

Why? Because the amount of debt creation was absolutely massive across the globe, particularly in China. The excessive debt service will simply overwhelm the economy -- it won't even be a close fight.

Click here to read the report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.


It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


https://shop.tomsteyer.com/collections/frontpage/products/tom-2020-pattern-tee


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/bumper-stickers/products/yanggang-decal


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/apparel/products/math-hat


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


https://store.johndelaney.com/products/dogs-for-delaney-collar


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


https://store.michaelbennet.com/michael-bennet-for-america-natural-canvas-tote/


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


https://store.jayinslee.com/elvis-the-elves-the-mystery-of-the-melting-snow-by-jay-inslee/


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


https://shop.stevebullock.com/collections/apparel/products/emoji-t-shirt


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/apparel/products/boot-edge-edge-t-shirt


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


https://store.julianforthefuture.com/julian-castro-loteria-card-white-tee/


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


https://store.marianne2020.com/collections/signs/products/love-rally-sign


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/apparel/products/impolite-arrogant-women-make-history-unisex-t-shirt

-AND-

https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/drinkware/products/strong-american-unions-mug


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


https://store.kamalaharris.org/poster-for-the-people/


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/artists-for-bernie-coaches-jacket


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/feel-the-bern-fanny-pack


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


https://store.joebiden.com/collections/apparel/products/biden-polo-womens-fit


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.