The Intolerable Scourge of Fake Capitalism

All is now bustle and hubbub in the late months of the year.  This goes for the stock market too.

If you recall, on September 22nd the S&P 500 hit an all-time high of 2,940.  This was nearly 100 points above the prior high of 2,847, which was notched on January 26th.  For a brief moment, it appeared the stock market had resumed its near decade long upward trend.

Chartists witnessed the take out of the January high and affirmed all was clear for the S&P 500 to continue its ascent.  They called it a text book confirmation that the bull market was still intact.  Now, just two months later, a great breakdown may be transpiring.

Obviously, this certain fate will be revealed in good time.  Still, as we wait for confirmation, one very important fact is clear.  The Federal Reserve is currently executing the rug yank phase of its monetary policy.  As the Fed simultaneously raises the federal funds rate and reduces its balance sheet, credit markets are slipping and tripping all over themselves. Continue reading

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When Fake Money Becomes Scarce

A rousing display of diversions this week assured the American populace was looking every which way but right under its collective nose.  Midterm elections.  White House spats with purveyors of fake news.  The forced resignation of Attorney General Sessions…

Sideshows like these, and many more, offered near limitless opportunities to focus on matters of insignificance.  Why stop to really understand what’s behind a headline when hundreds of new headlines pop up by the minute?  Why bother to try and figure things out when real thinking is such an inconvenience?

What’s more, the S&P 500 jumped nearly 3 percent between market open Monday and market close Thursday.  Clearly, the October mini-panic is now a distant memory.  At this rate, we’ll all be rich off stocks by the New Year.

Yet while the mob stampeded from one distraction to the next, we remained focused on the real story: The outright pilfering of the nation’s time, talent, and treasure.  This isn’t the story that’s readily presented by the headlines.  But it is readily evident for those willing to open their eyes and look around at the world before them. Continue reading

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Pushing Past the Breaking Point

Mankind’s willful determinations to resist the natural order are in vain.  Still, he pushes onward, always grasping for the big breakthrough.  The allure of something for nothing is too enticing to pass up.

Systems of elaborate folly have been erected with the most impossible of promises.  That prosperity can be attained without labor.  That benefits can be paid without taxes.  That cheap credit can make everyone rich.

Central to these promises are the central government and central planning authorities.  They take your money and, in return, they make you a dependent.  They promise you a secure retirement, and free drugs, while running a scheme that’s well beyond anything Charles Ponzi ever dreamed of.

According to the government’s statistics, the economy has never been better.  By the official numbers, we’re living in a magical world of full employment, 2.3 percent price inflation, and the second-longest growth period in the post-World War II era.  Agreeable reports like these are broadcast each month without question. Continue reading

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Three Cheers for James Riley!

All people, of both good and questionable character, share a singular talent.  They excel at taking something that’s tolerable in moderation, and then pushing it to the outer limits of absurdity.  Why live with restraint when you can get radical?

Public and private debt levels, NASDAQ stock valuations, the federal register, face tattoos, canned energy drinks.  You name it.  Overpowered by fear.  Blinded by greed.  People across the spectrum lace up their boots each day and go all in.

Take Greater Los Angeles, for instance.  Sometime in the early 20th century the fever to rapidly develop it caught on with supreme enthusiasm.  A new race towards disfigurement was on.

According to the prevailing logic, if a little concrete was a good thing, splattering every square inch of the basin’s surface was even better.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed on to the cause in earnest.  In search of a mission and purpose, and with little foresight, they extended the compulsive application of concrete to include LA’s rivers and creeks. Continue reading

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