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Off The Cuff: Dow 20,000!!

Everything's awesome....right?
Thursday, January 26, 2017, 6:42 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and John Rubino discuss:

  • Dow 20,000!!
    • Everything's awesome....right?
  • All Hail Our Banking Overlords!
    • Manipulation and collusion abound in today's financial system
  • The Elites Are Beginning To Worry
    • Buying bunkers and retreats in a hurry
  • Hypocrisy Of The Extortionist
    • Our leaders are happy to berate the system once they leave it

The Dow Jones index just crossed the 20,000 milestone for the first time in history. The financial media is applauding, newly-elected President Trump is boasting -- should we just stop worrying and concede that everything is going great now?

Chris and John Rubino certainly don't think so. They see the Dow's 20k milestone as stark evidence of the massive set of asset bubbles created by the world's central banking cartel. Print up trillions and trillions of thin-air money and it has to go somewhere.

They lament that our political, regulatory and corporate leaders remain ignorant (willfully or cluelessly) of this. And as long as that continues, the excesses and resultant unfairness (wealth gaps, cost of living unaffordability, etc) will grow unchecked -- making the pain of the inevitable collapse that much more painful to society.

Click to listen to a sample of this Off the Cuff Podcast or Enroll today to access the full audio and other premium content today. » Read more

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Walt Kelly

Off The Cuff: Meeting The Enemy

A hard look in the mirror
Tuesday, January 24, 2017, 1:45 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Charles Hugh Smith discuss:

  • The Intelligence Wars
    • When everyone is pointing fingers, whom are we to believe?
  • The Need For Humility
    • Our current hubris is destroying the systems we depend on
  • The Enemy
    • Is our our "neo'" agenda, whichever side of the aisle it's on
  • Fixing Our Broken Healthcare System
    • Reform needs to start with our own behavior

"We have met the enemy and he is us"

~ Pogo (Walt Kelly)

This week Chris and Charles hold up a harsh mirror to American society. So many of the long-term predicaments we face are issues of our own making, pursuits that benefit an elite few at the expense of the rest of us. The good news here is that we still have time to dramatically improve our odds of a better future by choosing to make different decisions going forward. The all-important question is: But will we?

Click to listen to a sample of this Off the Cuff Podcast or Enroll today to access the full audio and other premium content today. » Read more

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flcikr

Too Much Complexity Is Killing Us

Why the decline is accelerating from here
Wednesday, January 18, 2017, 11:13 PM

There’s a line of thinking -- one that we ascribe to here at PeakProsperity.com -- that says today’s problems are far more complex and numerous than those we've dealt with in the past. In fact, some of them are actually predicaments -- meaning they have no solutions, only outcomes that we'll need to manage.  Moribund economic growth is only as high as it is due to massive debt binging. Ecological and energy issues are accelerating, and will for sure rear their heads at inopportune times not of our choosing.

Said another way: Eventually we're going to have to pay the bill. » Read more

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Fixing The Future

How to take charge of your destiny
Friday, January 13, 2017, 11:50 PM

Executive Summary

  • The gigantic predicament we all face
  • What you should do, as a concerned individual
  • What WE should do, as a society
  • Contributing to the new narrative

If you have not yet read Part 1: Mad As Hell available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

It simply has to be said; there appears to be little to no public appetite for facing reality. 

At least not without some sort of a calamity or forcing function to press the issue that will wake up enough people and call out what leadership actually exists to finally step up and begin to deliver.

The many predicaments and extreme complexity require astonishingly great leadership to address and there’s really none of that to be found anywhere at the moment.

So we must adopt a two prong approach in our lives to both deal with the coming calamities and lay the groundwork for the next stage of things.

As it stands right now, the central banks are mainly interested in propping up the asset markets which is only serving to enrich the already stupendously rich with a few minor scraps for enough upper and middle class people to keep them content to play along.  While this is being done, enormous imbalances are being created even as the underlying structural issues remain unaddressed.

Some of these are even dead simple, single factor financial issues, which should be among the easiest to detect and address yet these to remain unexamined and unaddressed.  Examples include exponentially increasing debt-per-capita in Japan (goosed by demographics) and pensions being utterly gutted by too-low interest rates.

If the simple math of these situations is still too difficult and complex to allow for any sort of proper response, we have to then conclude that the more subtle and intractable and larger issues we face are even further out of reach.

Here I am talking about needing to... » Read more

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Off The Cuff: Our Out-Of-Control Cost Of Living

Health insurance for Chris' family went up 61%(!) this year
Thursday, January 12, 2017, 10:14 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Mish Shedlock discuss:

  • The Runaway Cost Of Health Care
    • The premium for Chris' family went up 61%(!) this year
  • A Failure Of Intelligence
    • The lack of substance underlying the latest smear campaign
  • Fake News
    • When everyone is covered in mud, whom can you trust?
  • What To Expect As The Presidential Torch Gets Passed
    • How Trump's strategy is likely to depart from Obama's

Well, there's a lot of red meat tossed around in this latest podcast. There's something in it for nearly everyone to find righteous outrage with.

It begins with Chris railing about the year-over-year 61% increase just slapped onto his family's basic insurance plan. The ACA has quickly turned into a racketeering operation in many states like Massachusetts, where Chris lives. Mish joins in on the harsh criticism of the current system:

For some instances of some people, forty percent of their income going to health insurance.

And then look at the millennials. I mean, they've just decided to opt out. And who can blame them? They're not making enough money, but they just decided well, I’d rather keep it all. And they’ve decided that they will just rather pay the penalty if they get caught. But if they get sick, then they’ll join on the spot and get coverage. That’s the game everyone's being forced to play.

And nowhere along the line, as we’ve discussed many times, is there any impetus to control costs. And not only are there not any controls, there was nothing written into the legislation. And meanwhile, they call it the "Affordable" Care Act. As with any act of government, it has the exact opposite effect of its title. 

From there, Chris and Mish tackle the recent intelligence debacle where our government and media are trumpeting "findings" that are backed by zero evidence and unverifiable innuendo. When all sides look incompetent, where do you turn for trustworthy information?

Click to listen to a sample of this Off the Cuff Podcast or Enroll today to access the full audio and other premium content today. » Read more

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Estimating Bitcoin's Fair Value

Spoiler alert: It's much higher than its current price
Friday, January 6, 2017, 11:13 AM

Executive Summary

  • Why No Nation Truly Has Full Control Over Its Currency
  • Why Sovereign Efforts To Control Currencies Is Driving Capital Into Digital Currencies
  • The Driver's Of Digital Currency & Value
  • Calculating Bitcoin's Fair Value

If you have not yet read Part 1: Why The U.S. Dollar And Bitcoin Keep Rising available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1, we reviewed the dynamics of demand and utility that drive the valuation of any tradeable good, service, commodity and currency.  We established that it’s impossible to understand how a fiat currency such as the U.S. dollar can retain a value above its tangible value of zero unless we accept its utility value and its non-tangible sources of value, i.e. the wealth and wealth generation of the issuing nation and state.

We now turn to the second half of the question posed in Part 1: Why isn’t the market value of a digital currency such as bitcoin zero?

Or perhaps more interestingly: How high might the price of bitcoin go?

To answer this question, we must investigate another question: Can any state control the value of its currency and its place in the global economy? I suggest the answer is no. Beneath a surface veneer of status quo continuity, nations and states are losing the ability to control their role in the global economy and thus the utility of their currency.

To understand why, we turn to socio-historian Immanuel Wallerstein.

Who Controls a Rapidly Changing World-System?

Wallerstein is recognized for advancing the concept of world-system, his term for what I call a global Mode of Production, i.e., the political, social, financial and economic system that governs the relations of power, labor, capital, trade and resources (broadly speaking, our understanding of Nature and the extraction of its resources).  In a recent essay China is Confident: How Realistic?, he observed that "countries (have lost the ability) to control what happens to them in the ongoing life of the modern world-system."

These two paragraphs get to the essence of his analysis... » Read more

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Off The Cuff: The Global Flow Of Money

It's determining the price of everything right now
Thursday, January 5, 2017, 6:42 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Charles Hugh Smith discuss:

  • Cultural Capital
    • How will those around you react during a crisis?
  • The Fragility Within Our Centralized System
    • Lots of dependencies that can fail & bring the entire system to a halt
  • Musical Chairs
    • Who will have to eat the bad debts when the can can no longer be kicked?
  • The Importance Of Global Capital Flows
    • They're determining the price of everything

As 2017 kicks off, Chris sits down with Charles to discuss some of the big themes likely to drive events in this new year. The two focus on the growing instability of our centralized systems -- economic, energy and otherwise -- and pay particular attention to the impact that the huge pool of money sloshing around the world is having on prices everywhere. Right now, that flood of capital -- out of bonds and into stocks, the dollar, etc -- is the primary driver of prices. Of course, this should make us ask: what will happen when those flows change direction? Or instead of continuing to grow, start receding?

Click to listen to a sample of this Off the Cuff Podcast or Enroll today to access the full audio and other premium content today. » Read more

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Off The Cuff: A Lot Of Bubbles Are Beginning To Burst

China, home sales, auto loans...
Friday, December 30, 2016, 5:18 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and John Rubino discuss:

  • The Traumatized National Psyche
    • Will 2017 see a healing?
  • Bursting Bubbles Multiplying
    • China, home sales, auto loans...
  • QE For The People
    • It's coming, and we'll all regret it
  • The Pension Time Bomb
    • Insolvency is a "when", not an "if"

John Rubino joins Chris this week to discuss the biggest trends most likely to define the course of 2017. He sees populist spending programs, deflating asset bubbles, and the slowdown of China at top of the list. » Read more

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Off The Cuff: Rate Hike!

What to expect from a rising interest rate environment
Tuesday, December 20, 2016, 9:55 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Axel Merk discuss:

  • Rate Hike!
    • Implications of last week's Fed announcement
  • Why Are Stocks Still Partying?
    • Shouldn't a rate hike spook investors?
  • The Trump Effect
    • What to expect economically from the new president
  • Cash, Gold & ???
    • What to hold going into 2017

Well, it finally happened. After threatening a year ago to hike rates 4 times in 2016, the Fed squeaked in a single buzzer-beating hike last week. The move surprised few, as the predicted odds of the hike among market followers were 100%. Yet the markets still managed to shrug this off and move higher (typically, a rise in rates is seen as 'applying brakes' to the economy, and tends to cause investors to feel less confident in future earnings growth).

Here to talk about the implications of the recent hike, the probabiliy of more to come in 2017, and the shellacking the precious metals have been subject to, is Axel Merk... » Read more

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The Future Of Truth

How to find trustworthy sources of information
Friday, December 9, 2016, 9:55 PM

Executive Summary

  • Uniquely, the next president will not rely on the mainstream media to get his messages out
  • Future candidates no longer need the mainstream platform to raise campaign funds
  • The current "fake news" witchhunt is threadbare and already being debunked
  • How to identify truth from fiction (in any media outlet) & stay well-informed

If you have not yet read Part 1: Breaking Free From The Captured Media available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1, we examined the transition from a corporate mainstream media serving a captive audience to the wide-open democracy of the Internet-enabled independent media.

How will this structural transition affect the political and social spheres going forward? How can you improve your ability to identify trustworthy information in the current landscape of controlled mass media & wildly fragmented alternative voices?

A President Who Is Not Beholden to the Mainstream Media

In a historically unprecedented show of homogeneity, the mainstream media unanimously endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign. In essence, the MSM covered Trump only when his success forced them to, and when his gaffes and provocative comments made good copy.

Regardless of your views of the two candidates, this media-wide bias in favor of one candidate was remarkable.

Despite this media-wide endorsement, Hillary Clinton lost the Electoral College and the election. In my view, this is the first time in recent U.S. history where a unanimous endorsement of a candidate by the national media failed to persuade the overwhelming majority of voters. While many will blame the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for the defeat, or point to the Democratic candidate’s weaknesses, the reality remains that weak candidates with heavy media backing have won in the past.

In my view, the mainstream media’s failure to persuade the citizenry cannot be pinned solely on the losing party or candidate. It reflects a profound erosion of the MSM’s influence and trustworthiness.

Back when the mainstream media held a monopolistic lock on print, broadcast and radio content and distribution... » Read more