Saturday, October 12, 2013

Eine Kleine Economics News

Eine kleine translates as "a little", and I'm grabbing the term from Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik - meaning (more or less) "a little serenade".  Play this while you read what follows. It might help you feel better:

The Debt Ceiling and "default". 

Only a government would call not being able to spend beyond their means indefinitely "default".  While I wouldn't bet a penny that the debt ceiling won't be raised, it has never not been raised, they're already calling not raising the debt ceiling a default.  Default would be being unable to pay the "minimum payments" - the interest on our debts.  Much like the last time we went through this, the gets plenty of tax revenue to pay the interest on the federal debt, so the .gov wouldn't default, it just wouldn't be able continue spending 30% more than income.  Shall we go through the numbers one more time?  Scaling last year's income and deficit numbers (this whole "shutdown" thing is establishing this year's numbers) to a more realistic income level, let's divide all of the federal budget numbers by 25 million. Imagine you were a family with an income of $100,000. 
Federal:Scaled to $100k
Income $100000
Spending $152000
Deficit $52000
Current debt $676000

If you were the federal government, you'd be spending $152,000 on an income of $100,000 for an "annual deficit" of $52,000.  Just put it on the old credit card.  On which you already owe $676,000. If you went to your bank with that income statement and asked for more credit, do you think you'd get it?  That's what you get for not having Ben Bernanke as your banker.

Ben Bernanke to Janet Yellen:

Speaking of the Bernank, it sure looks like his successor will be Janet Yellen.  Don't think anything is going to get better - she will just attempt to manage the collapse of the US according to the same rules Bernanke has been using.  Peter Schiff, whom I agree with fairly regularly, says she'll be the worst Fed Head ever.  Quoting Peter from an article on Yahoo Finance
Well I think she is going to be even easier. If you recall, she was a governor who is in favor of negative interest rates. She argued that rates should be negative, and people should actually be punished or penalized for saving money.... more so than what they are losing just through inflation. They should actually have part of their savings confiscated.  [emphasis added - SiG]
Be prepared for the money faucet to be turned up to full.  Obviously, she's a believer in QE - she may well be the one who is responsible for the Fed doing it until now.  Numbers posted by Tyler Durden over at ZeroHedge show that for every $1 of debt we've made up, instead of a "growth multiplier" of 2x or more, it has actually been negative.  Every dollar of debt has added about 15 cents of GDP!  If you think spending a dollar to lose 85 cents is a good idea, you too can be a Federal Reserve Bank Chief. 

Let me be plain about Janet Yellen's policies.   If you're trying to save money, she is going to destroy you.  Pure and simple. 

EDITED 13 Oct 13 1440 EDT:  There is an organized campaign to oppose Yellen called  For whatever use a petition campaign is. 


  1. Just that much more incentive to turn dollars into easily transferable (and portable) hard assets, or non-portable long term high value assets (such as good land in a good location, or a good wood stove). Problem is, that will make the poor economy look better than it really is, and when the dollars available to procure the hard or long term value assets dries up the impact will be substantially greater. Greater, perhaps, than an already weakened economy can withstand.

  2. The problem our government has is about 50 million adults are hooked on "free stuff" and they keep pushing out children who are also going to be hooked on "free stuff" when they are adults. In return for "free stuff" these adults are committed to keep voting for politicians who promise more "free stuff". Could it be any simpler? There really is no "fix" for this problem. Our government has a tiger by the tail; that is they must now keep handing out the "free stuff" because on the day this stops riots will ensue and the addicts will not stop until they get their fix of "free stuff" back. But since we have to borrow over a trillion every year and print about the same amount just to hand out the "free stuff" and keep the ever increasing debt from defaulting everyone knows sooner or later this huse of cards is going down. The game now for politicians is to get as much as they can while keeping the "free stuff" flowing and to be out of office when the music stops (preferaby, like Chris Dodd, in another country far from the angry people). It's comng people. No one can know when this unstable pile of crap will collapse but it will and when it does your nieghbors hooked on "free stuff" will be really really pissed and YOU better not look to prosperous or they will think it was YOU that took their "free stuff". That's what the whole "zombie" meme is all about. We laugh at it and crack jokes but we all know that a "zombie" is a metaphor for an inner city (or outer city) welfare bum who is going to need a "fix" when the music stops. Your president will be protected by a couple hundred secret service. Most congressmen have some protection of their own and plan on heading for cover when they see it collapsing. What do you have? Pay attention. Don't be that person (Reginald Denny, etc.) who is in the wrong place at the wrong time when the "free stuff" spigot gets shut off.

  3. Both of you are exactly right.

    The hard part about putting money into transportable assets or land is identifying what assets to use. Like many people, I'm partial to precious metals, but just look at today's metal prices vs. a year ago today. Gold is down $494/ozt or almost 28% from last year. Silver is down $12.66/ozt or 37%. As dollars inflate, those prices should be going up. Still, you know if you keep your money in anything in dollars it will be degraded away. Part of Yellen et al's plan is to get you to spend your money rather than save it. To that extent, they don't care what you buy, just that you buy. While gold and silver have gone down,those little assemblies made of lead, copper and brass with some carbon-based powder have appreciated pretty wildly.

    On my travel last week, one of our team was from the UK. He says the public outrage is peaking about families where generations have never worked for a living but simply always lived comfortably on the public dole. They are working on ways to drive them off the dole, including making them work at simple tasks (they obviously have no marketable skills - they've never worked) like cleaning public areas, and other jobs the government currently contracts out.

  4. At the risk of once again being branded with the R word for pointing out the obvious, on today's post at Da Tech Guy's blog (, the traditional dependent demographic is highlighted by this weekend's EBT troubles, providing more emphasis on Anon's comment above.

    I'll agree that Yellen, Obama & Co. desperately want us to spend; that's one of the few things that's keeping the merry-go-round running. And, while gold and silver are currently in the doldrums, not-so-precious metals, as SG points out, are doing quite well. I'd feel more comfortable about embracing gold and silver's potential for growth if it held greater reliability as a transfer medium. G&S are merely "dollar substitutes" in that a can of peas (or a .38 Special revolver....) has immediate direct asset value where pre-'65 dimes et. al. offer that only if the recipient believes the silver or gold he accepts for peas allows him to obtain more peas with the silver at the same or better exchange rate later. The decline in G&S prices may be an indicator that such a belief is in decline; I don't follow G&S closely, or related markets, so I don't know.

    What I do know, however, is that right now toilet paper is commanding a hefty premium in Venezuela. It was also on sale this past week at my local Walgreen's for fifty cents a roll, which I considered an "opportunity."

    I think the info from SG's reporter from the UK is an indication that all hope is not lost. I suspect, however, that they, and we, will face a pretty steep and rocky climb to the summit of Obama's goal of "fundamentally transforming the United States of America." I have no doubt America will, indeed, be fundamentally transformed; I also have no doubt those who supported him will not relish said transformation when it arrives. Nor will the rest of us, I'm afraid.