Archive for the ‘Meandering the Interwebs’ Category

You’re going to hear a ton from the psychopaths on the left for the next few months about how climate change is the greatest existential threat [or insert some hyperbolic, non-science based claim].

It’s important to remember that the only reason most of them want you to believe that we’re all going to die from globaclimawarmachanging is because they want to control every aspect of your life.

But let’s pretend for a moment that it’s a real threat. If you believed that, you’d be trying to find actual solutions. Those solutions are nuclear, they’re safe, and they’re coming especially if more people new about them.

Click the article title to go read the article.

The Next Nuclear Plants Will Be Small, Svelte, and Safer.

I started this up last week, and I’m already a couple days behind in publishing this one. Oh, well… Maybe it’ll just be a when I have time thing. This is the rundown of the most interesting things I found online in the last week. Merry Christmas, hope you enjoy the week with your family!

The Stereogram

Rusty Guinn writes for Ben Hunt’s Epsilon Theory. His writing is every bit as thought provoking as Hunt’s. Great piece on how to think about the complex problems that China has stirred up since America discovered China wields way too much power over American culture. Of course, most people probably forgot since all this went down a month ago or so, but I still think it matters.

The free world has been dunking on LeBron James for more than a week now and it has not gotten old.

Still, something about it has made me uneasy.

Am I uneasy because King James requires some special grace, because I’m worried that we aren’t being full-hearted enough in our criticisms of him? No. Good God, no. Knock yourselves out, y’all. I’m uneasy because once you see clearly the influence the Chinese Communist Party can wield arbitrarily over you and me as citizens of the free world, you see that same power in a million other places. It is like a stereogram, one of those pictures for which our eyes must conquer their natural tendency to coordinate focus and vergence functions to see anything but a series of repetitive dots.

And once you see it, you cannot unsee it…

I, for one, am conflicted.

On the one hand, I can’t unsee what I’ve seen. It isn’t just unsavory or undesirable that China be in a position to so directly influence (and punish!) the free exercise of rights in the United States. It is untenable.

I also believe in freedom of action, thought and association. I believe in those freedoms as ends to themselves, untroubled by the need to justify them by evaluating their second-order effects. I don’t stop believing in those ideals when they concern the private commercial interactions between individuals and/or corporations. Not because I have some fanciful belief that unregulated, unrestricted trade across borders will always lead to universally optimal outcomes. Of course it won’t. But because I earnestly believe in rising tides, and in the generally superior function of the informal, unplanned, spontaneous features of markets to organize our collective activities.

I also believe that allowing companies formed by Americans to do business wherever they want will generally lead to better aggregate outcomes than some Very Smart Person with every incentive to parlay their $175,000 public servant salary into a multi-million dollar net worth who believes they have the prescience to dictate which domestic industries ought to be subsidized and retained and which oughtn’t to be. I will always be concerned that the cure for concentrations of power will be worse than the disease.

Yeah, It’s Still Water

I’m a big believer in markets and freedom, so I guess that makes me a capitalist although I’m not particularly fond of the term for some historical reasons. The problem with our current system is we really don’t have “capitalism.” We have financialization and the oligarchification of our society.

Great note from Epsilon Theory on the topic.

Financialization is profit margin growth without labor productivity growth.

Financialization is the zero-sum game aspect of capitalism, where profit margin growth is both pulled forward from future real growth and pulled away from current economic risk-taking.

Financialization is the smiley-face perversion of Smith’s invisible hand and Schumpeter’s creative destruction. It is a profoundly repressive political equilibrium that masks itself in the common knowledge of “Yay, capitalism!”.

What does Wall Street get out of financialization? A valuation story to sell.

What does management get out of financialization? Stock-based compensation.

What does the Fed get out of financialization? A (very) grateful Wall Street.

What does the White House get out of financialization? Re-election.

What do YOU get out of financialization?

You get to hold up a card that says “Yay, capitalism!”.

The Age of the High-Functioning Sociopath

Why should we care about anything when nothing matters?

Because you’re not a sociopath.

Because you care about your Pack.

Yes, this is the Age of the High-Functioning Sociopath. Yes, this is the Age of Sheep Logic. Yes, this the age where scale and mass distribution are ends in themselves, where the supercilious State knows what’s best for you and your family, where communication policy and fiat news shout down authenticity, where rapacious, know-nothing narcissism is celebrated as leadership even as civility, expertise, and service are mocked as cuckery.

Stipulated. What, did you think this was going to be easy?

These clowns don’t deserve us. And it will take decades of a persistent, bottom-up social movement that rejects and negs and ridicules them … ALL OF THEM … before we have the opportunity to reclaim our world.

[WEBCAST + TRANSCRIPT] Danielle DiMartino Booth: Trouble Ahead For the Fed And Economy?

One of my favorite market commentators is Keith McCollough. He is CEO of Hedgeye Risk Management. If you have any money in the stock market, you should be following him. I subscribe to a couple of their premium products and have found them incredibly helpful.

I don’t subscribe to the just BUY STAHKS! and hold them philosophy.

There’s a saying that you’ll read, especially in any mutual fund prospectus you may invest in: past performance is not indicative of future results. Well, if you turn on CNBC or Fox Business that’s exactly the crap they feed you, and there’s going to be a lot of people blow up a Hell of a lot of money when this market finally turns. And, oh, it’s going to turn someday.

Anyway, he recently had on Danielle DiMartino Booth. For those that don’t know who she is, she’s a former Federal Reserve insider and she knows current Fed Chairman Jerome Powell quite well. And, despite the layman’s view of politics, it’s not congressional policy but Fed policy that matters more than anything else that happens in our economy. They drive the business cycle which in turn drives the economy.

It’s not Trump. It’s not the Republicans. It’s not the Democrats.

They tinker around the edges. It’s the Fed.

The interview is absolutely worth listening, too. Normally they release these on their YouTube stream, but you’ll have to visit the website directly, link HERE or above.

One of the things in the conversation they talked about, and it’s an important thing, is how the Fed fought inflation underneath the leadership of Paul Volcker. As Central Bankers go, Volcker at least understood the Fed policy should actually try and benefit the common man (it’s mostly futile, but intent matters).

I know that the Fed wants to tell you they have it under control, but the current policy regime is going to lead to massive inflation. We’re seeing inflation rising right now (and for anyone really paying attention, we’ve seen pretty painful inflation in housing and healthcare for some time now), but it’s nothing compared to what may (and probably will) happen in the future.

Important advice on the Fed: If they’re saying something is happening, assume they’re either lying to you or too stupid to understand what’s really going on in the real economy.

Team Elite doesn’t know how you or I live.

McCullough: Yeah. What’s really interesting about Volcker, and we’ll get into why this matters today, but what Volcker did has been long forgotten. In 1982, his choice was to raise interest rates and strengthen the dollar and tame inflation. For those of you that don’t know, through Volcker’s brute force inflation went from 12% to 3%. Inflation is now below two and everyone on Wall Street is begging for is the literal opposite. That’s the literal opposite of what Volcker would have believed. He’d say if you devalue the dollar, the cost of living of the people goes up. Why would we do that?

DiMartino Booth: Exactly. Volcker wrote this great Bloomberg op-ed in 2018 about the fallacy of the 2% inflation target and how idiotic it was. It’s like targeting failure. It makes no sense. Volcker was bold enough to come out and say that what Bernanke did was wrong.

McCullough: Bernanke devalued the dollar to a 40-year low in 2011 and said that there was no inflation. This is where the inequality gap really started to widen. I don’t think that there’s anyone who could unpack that and say the Fed had nothing to do with it.

DiMartino Booth: This goes to the smoke and mirrors of the Fed’s inflation target using PCE. That’s not what anybody on Planet Earth pays.

I’m intrigued that the Fed says, “Maybe we can let inflation run a little hot.” I’m like, if you actually counted inflation correctly then you’d find out that we’re already on fire. If you were to bring into account, Oh, I don’t know, apartment rent and home prices and stocks and bonds, but no, no, no, no, no. But maybe we should let the bad inflation metric run hot.

Oh the Fed, how I despise thee…

Dalio’s Analogue and Mauldin’s Commentary

There’s so much in this one to read. Two of the greatest minds in all of finance IMHO.

Regarding the above template and where we are now, in my opinion, the most important things that are happening (which last happened in the late 1930s) are

a) we are approaching the ends of both the short-term and long-term debt cycles in the world’s three major reserve currencies, while

b) the debt and non-debt obligations (e.g. healthcare and pensions) that are coming at us are larger than the incomes that are required to fund them,

c) large wealth and political gaps are producing political conflicts within countries that are characterized by larger and more extreme levels of internal conflicts between the rich and the poor and between capitalists and socialists,

d) external politics is driven by the rising of an emerging power (China) to challenge the existing world power (the US), which is leading to a more extreme external conflict and will eventually lead to a change in the world order, and [Ian Bremmer calls this the return of a bi-polar world but with significant differences in the goals of the powers—JM]

e) the excess expected returns of bonds is compressing relative to the returns on the cash rates central banks are providing.

As for monetary policy and fiscal policy responses, it seems to me that we are classically in the late stages of the long-term debt cycle when central banks’ power to ease in order to reverse an economic downturn is coming to an end because:

• Monetary Policy 1 (i.e. the ability to lower interest rates) doesn’t work effectively because interest rates get so low that lowering them enough to stimulate growth doesn’t work well,

• Monetary Policy 2 (i.e. printing money and buying financial assets) doesn’t work well because that doesn’t produce adequate credit in the real economy (as distinct from credit growth to leverage up investment assets), so there is “pushing on a string.” That creates the need for…

• Monetary Policy 3 (large budget deficits and monetizing of them) which is problematic especially in this highly politicized and undisciplined environment.

More specifically, central bank policies will push short-term and long-term real and nominal interest rates very low and print money to buy financial assets because they will need to set short-term interest rates as low as possible due to the large debt and other obligations (e.g. pensions and healthcare obligations) that are coming due and because of weakness in the economy and low inflation.

The Future is Faster You Think

The future is going to be fascinating.

We have now found clear evidence to believe that the rate at which technology is accelerating, is itself accelerating.

And maybe a little spooky…

Sensors explosion & the rise of IoT

Within a decade, we will live in a world where just about anything that can be measured will be measured— all the time. It will not be your knowledge that matters, but rather the questions you ask.

It’s a world of radical transparency, where privacy concerns will take on a whole new meaning.

From the edge of space to the bottom of the ocean to the inside of your bloodstream, our world’s emerging electric skin is producing a sensorium of endlessly available information. And with rapid advances in AI, it possesses the machine learning required to make sense of that information.

Welcome to the hyper-conscious planet.

Nevertheless, I still can’t help be encouraged. The greatest irony of our time is we’re awfully worried about solvable problems, but we spend little time worried about the financial problems that are going to harm all of us.

The Future of Food: 3D Printing, Vertical Farming & Materials Science (Part 1)

And converging exponential technologies—from materials science to AI-driven digital agriculture—are not slowing down. Today’s breakthroughs will soon allow our planet to boost its food production by nearly 70 percent, using a fraction of the real estate and resources, to feed 9 billion by mid-century.

What you consume, how it was grown, and how it will end up in your stomach will all ride the wave of converging exponentials, revolutionizing the most basic of human needs.

VR is going to be pretty cool, too.

VR’s leap into the disruptive phase

Interesting report on teen usage of technology.

U.S. Teens Spend More Than Seven Hours A Day In Front Of Screens—Not Including Schoolwork

This stood out to me:

A third of all teens say they read for pleasure less than once a month or never.

Contrary to general opinion, the vast majority of tweens and teens do not routinely use their devices to create their own digital content. Only one in ten say they enjoy “a lot” making digital art or graphics. And only one in twenty say the same about creating digital music or coding or modifying video games. So let’s keep the post-Millennial TikTok revolution in perspective:It may not be as widespread as many imagine.

I Got Access to My Secret Consumer Score. Now You Can Get Yours, Too.

I’m honestly not sure what I think about this. I can say that I am not surprised. There will be no privacy in the future.

As consumers, we all have “secret scores”: hidden ratings that determine how long each of us waits on hold when calling a business, whether we can return items at a store, and what type of service we receive. A low score sends you to the back of the queue; high scores get you elite treatment.

Why U.S. Death Rate From Heart Failure Is Surging

Not good…

Starting around 15 years ago, however, the U.S. HD mortality decline began to decelerate. This bad news was not due to anything wrong happening among the elderly (their HD death rate has continued to fall), but rather among the nonelderly. The HD death rate for midlife adults age 45 to 64 has actually been rising since 2005.

How California Became America’s Housing Market Nightmare

How did we get here? Simply put, bad government—from outdated zoning laws to a 40-year-old tax provision that benefits long-time homeowners at the expense of everyone else—has created a severe shortage of houses. While decades in the making, California’s slow-moving disaster has reached a critical point for state officials, businesses and the millions who are straining to live there.

And if you think Kansas City will never get to this point… LOL. While not near as bad, the direction is absolutely towards more expense caused by stupid regulation.

Snake Hunt

Great article on the problem Florida is having with Burmese Pythons. The stupidity of some humans never ceases to amaze me. Gee, who could have ever imagined that dumping a pet that you had no business owning in the wild would have severely negative consequences for the environment?

I spend a significant amount time throughout the week consuming information, and I have been looking for a way to kind of sort through it all and see what I thought was most interesting and/or important. I hope you get something out of this, I guarantee you’ll find something interesting to read or think about below.

China, China, China!

The Threat to Limit Capital Flows to China and Pending Impeachment Conflict: Next Logical Steps in a Classic Dangerous Journey? The 1935-45 Analogue

Great piece from legendary hedge fund manager Ray Dalio. History doesn’t repeat, but it sure echoes.

Chinese Workers’ Lack of Education is a Big Hurdle in Lifting Economy

One of the things I’ve been fascinated with in the last year is how much most people think they know about China, but really don’t. Ever since college, I’ve had a passing interest in China as one of my political science professors was an expert on China. I took his class on it. It’s a fascinating country.

China is not as much of a global threat as people make them out to be, but there is some significant moral and ethical questions that we need to be thinking about that should determine our relationship with them going forward.

“Americans are often intimidated by China. They know all about China’s turbo-charged, no-recession economic growth over the last 30 years. They see the gleaming infrastructure of Shanghai and the speeding bullet trains to Lhasa. And they are unnerved by the PRC’s 2025 goal for dominating global high-tech manufacturing.

What Americans lack is perspective. Despite urban affluence, China remains overall a struggling middle-income economy. At $9,600 (at U.S. exchange rates), its per-capita GDP ranks number 67 among nations–just over Turkey and Brazil and just under Mexico and Malaysia. In terms of its human development index (which combines living standards with longevity and education), China ranks number 86, just over Ecuador and just under Algeria.”

About those moral concerns…

A Million People Are Jailed at China’s Gulags. I Managed to Escape. Here’s What Really Goes on Inside

“Twenty prisoners live in one small room. They are handcuffed, their heads shaved, every move is monitored by ceiling cameras. A bucket in the corner of the room is their toilet. The daily routine begins at 6 A.M. They are learning Chinese, memorizing propaganda songs and confessing to invented sins. They range in age from teenagers to elderly. Their meals are meager: cloudy soup and a slice of bread.

Torture – metal nails, fingernails pulled out, electric shocks – takes place in the “black room.” Punishment is a constant. The prisoners are forced to take pills and get injections. It’s for disease prevention, the staff tell them, but in reality they are the human subjects of medical experiments. Many of the inmates suffer from cognitive decline. Some of the men become sterile. Women are routinely raped.

Such is life in China’s reeducation camps, as reported in rare testimony provided by Sayragul Sauytbay (pronounced: Say-ra-gul Saut-bay, as in “bye”), a teacher who escaped from China and was granted asylum in Sweden.”

Incredibly disturbing. Thankfully you got a great deal on that made in China Black Friday item!

Digging a Hole to China

Great piece from Mauldin Economics (more on him later) on how we’re going about the problem all wrong.

Get tough with China? Damn Skippy. But don’t make Americans pay for it. If you’re going to fight a trade war then don’t point the gun at yourself.

The Escalating Trade War Between the US and China

The Long Now, Pt. 2 – Make, Protect, Teach

Part 2 of a 3 part series from Ben Hunt, one of my favorite thinkers on politics, markets, and economics. I can’t recommend his writing enough. There’s literally nothing quite like it out there.

If you haven’t figured out that we’re in deep trouble culturally and economically at this point in this country, you’re not paying attention. If you have, then Hunt is someone you should read because there will come a day when we’ll all need to figure out how to dig ourselves out of this hole.

“Every three or four generations, humanity consumes itself with the fang and claw of fascism and collectivism. Every three or four generations, we eat our own.

This is that time. This is the Long Now.

In politics it takes the form of a widening gyre, where the center cannot hold against the onslaught of polarizing political entrepreneurs who eliminate the political promise of the future, replacing it with the Long Now of constant political fear. In economics it takes the form of a market utility, where those same illiberal political entrepreneurs eliminate the economic risk of the future, replacing it with the Long Now of constant economic stimulus.

My question is not how we prevent or avoid the Long Now. Sorry, but that ship has sailed.

No, my question is how we keep the flame of small-l liberal thought and small-c conservative thought alive through the Long Now, so that it can light the world again when this, too, shall pass.”

The Long Now, Pt. 3 – Is This Normal? Asking for a Friend

“That’s the defining characteristic of life in the Long Now … you swim in an ocean of stimulus and fear so long that you forget whether or not there was ever a shore. You forget yourself. You forget your identity as an autonomous human-in-full, connected with other humans that you work and play with in a non-instrumental sense. You forget your Pack.

You become a cartoon.

You become a believer in the “Yay, capitalism!” and “Yay, military!” and “Yay, college!” narratives used by the Nudging State and the Nudging Oligarchy to their advantage and your detriment.

And on and on we swim in the ocean of social abstraction.

This is Water.

It’s intentional. It’s done TO us.

It’s a system of belief and forgetfulness designed to objectify us … to turn us into predictable and thus manipulable objects. Not objects like a shoe or a rake, but “objects” as the term is used in computer code, as digitized receptacles for if/then functions to act upon.

Our contradictions become attributes. Our vectors become bitmaps. We are smoothed through a psychological Gaussian blur. We are digitized and depixellated. Our autonomous human IDENTITY becomes a programmable human ENTITY.

So I’ve got two new ideas … two forms of public resistance to share with you … two forms of hiding your tell that I think can scale … two forms of bypassing the fear and stimulus systems that make cartoons of us at every turn. One for politics and one for economics.

In politics, I want to start a movement to encourage write-in candidates. I want to give everyone the tools and the information they need to bypass the political party system. We organize to do this, using the Epsilon Theory megaphone as our springboard. Maybe we write in joke candidates. Maybe we don’t. Maybe we write in ourselves. It won’t be noticeable at first. And then it will. And then it becomes a self-sustaining narrative. And then … who knows?

In economics, I want Epsilon Theory pack members to know who the other Epsilon Theory pack members are, so that they can do business with and share information with like-minded people directly. I want to give Epsilon Theory pack members the tools and the information they need to bypass the information system of the tech giants and Wall Street. Obviously this is a voluntary thing. Don’t worry, pack-members-who-work-at-the-Fed, I’m not going to out you (and there are a lot of you). But we have a LOT of people actively engaged with Epsilon Theory. Tens of thousands of people, all over the world, in every financial institution of any significance you can name. Our active cooperation in a mutual game without fear, without stimulus, without cartoons … a mutual game of full-hearted engagement … it won’t be noticeable at first. And then it will. And then it becomes a self-sustaining narrative. And then … who knows?”

And related to the above…

Guest Post – A Conservative’s Take on The Pack

“It is clear, then, that the “the state” as it exists today is both tyrannical in the Tocquevillian sense and largely unchangeable or at least unchangeable in the direction that the anti-statists would desire. Recapturing the cultural institutions is both time consuming and, in some case, likely impossible.

So what, then, are we to do?

There are, we think, only two options. The first of these is simply to accept our fate, to concede that the state offers comfort, consolation, and a certain amount of stability. This is the easy choice, the choice of the sensible egoist. This is the choice of the young American woman who, two weeks ago, lectured the protesters in Hong Kong about their foolishness for choosing freedom over safety. It is also the choice to become, as Tocqueville put it, “nothing more than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”

The second option is to choose a form of communitarianism, that is to say to choose, consciously and deliberately, to reconnect with that which should not be the purview of the state and to share that connection with like-minded individuals. ”

Missouri could shell out $2.45B under education initiative petitions

Missouri desperately needs to modify the petition process in this state. It’s out of control.

Yes, that means I want less direct democracy. And if you don’t understand why, then I’m retroactively changing your civics grade in high school to an F.

The Common Knowledge of Inflation

More from Ben Hunt… Everyone knows that everyone knows that inflation is low. Except it’s not, but…

“It doesn’t matter if you personally believe that inflation is not-low. It doesn’t matter if there’s obvious data that inflation is not-low. It doesn’t matter because if you act publicly in opposition to the Common Knowledge … if you say that the Missionaries are wrong … then you will be punished for your public action so long as the Common Knowledge persists.”

We live in a world of narratives, escape them.

Speaking of narratives…

A recent note I wrote on Facebook about this disturbing chart…

One of the things I’ve become fascinated by over the last year or so is how much Americans are driven by narratives. It’s far better to be data driven.

There are two parallel narratives that are running wild right now amongst a significant portion of Americans, especially those on Team Red. They are the following:

1) The consumer is healthy.

2) The economy is strong.

Neither are accurate when you dig into the data.

First, the consumer is most assuredly not healthy, all one has to do is look at this chart and see what’s happening. The growth in debt is headed to the moon. Is the consumer spending? Yeah, looks that way, but If the consumer was “healthy” they wouldn’t be leveraging up on debt like they are. The debt load levels would be falling. Almost looks like people are making lifestyle and normalcy with debt. Notice the blip there about 08? Yeah, that’s when we thought the world was ending because of the Great Recession. Gotta love the American consumer, tell them their entire economy is based on spending, give them a credit card, and watch them go.

Second, the economy is strong narrative is primarily politically driven. Yeah, jobs report, blah, blah, blah. The jobs number is a number constructed by the BLS, a government entity, that is primarily backward looking. It’s not forward looking. And the one constant, as in 100% before every recession with recorded jobs numbers, the unemployment rate is always the lowest right before the recession. Had it not been for all the unionistas at GM coming back to work, I suspect the unemployment rate may have ticked up. A bit of irony…

The one thing you did not hear swimming in your sea of narrative this week? Did you know jobless claims increased 18% year over year? Did you know that retail sales slowed -77bps last week to a 7-month low? BTW, we’re in the middle of the Christmas shopping season and it slowed that much. PMIs in both the services and the manufacturing sector all dropped below 50 in the last 2 months, 50 is neutral and anything below is recessionary. The rate of change in the overall economy is SLOWING, and it’s looking like the 4th quarter is going to have a GDP print with a 0 in front of it. Probably going to be somewhere in the area of 0.3%-0.5% as of right now. The lies will continue through the end of December, but in Q1 2020 the Q4 2019 data prints, and when it prints, your narrative will most assuredly be changed.

Everyone remain calm, Trump is going to strike a super-duper trade deal and all will be solved… LOL.

Oh, by the way, while a portion of America was debating the finer points of the side show known as the impeachment hearings, the Federal Reserve came out and announced this week that it’s going to be injecting $425 billion dollars into the economy by the end of the year? Oh, BTW, this is on top of the nearly half a trillion they injected back in September and October. Remember back in 2008 when the world was ending and Bush the Dumber told us we had to abandon free market principles to “save the free market” by injecting close to $800 billion through the bailouts into the banking sector? Remember when Tea Partiers took to the streets in opposition? Someone want to tell me how this economy, the greatest economy of all time according to some people on the right, is so good while the Fed will have pumped over a trillion dollars by year end into the system? Guess we’re still trying to save the free-market system. Oh, BTW, if you think we actually have a free-market in this country in 08 or today… LOL!

The Tea Parties… LOL! We accomplished so much.🤣

What’s probably happening? Treasury demand is falling globally and the Fed is riding to the rescue of our government which has come off the rails spending money our grandchildren don’t have. The liquidity injection is primarily intended to keep real interest rates from spiking and scaring the crap out of everyone. In other words, this money is being injected into the system so the banks can buy treasuries and falsely temper the interest rate. More money = cheap money and lower rates, less money = expensive money and higher rates. Meanwhile, Team Red and Team Blue, you know the two tribes that supposedly hate one another, just passed bipartisan spending bills in the Congress this week while they put on the impeachment show-trial to keep you distracted. Imagine what happens if we elect a bunch of psycho Democrats that want to give even more free shit to everyone. LOL!

By all means, wrap yourself up in your warm and fuzzy narrative, unfortunately, when the shit hits the fan because the can can’t be kicked down the road anymore, that narrative won’t do you a bit of good.

US Prepares to Monetize Its Debt

No really good citizen, it’s important you embrace the narrative of Yay, Team Red! and Yay, Team Blue! because the idiots in Washington have it all under control.

“What has become crystal clear is that the massive US budget deficit and funding needs has finally overwhelmed the system. The large amount of T-bills being issued can no longer be fully absorbed by the primary dealer community. Banks are already loaded up and can’t add more due to regulatory constraints while non-bank dealers are having to pay up to get financing to back their purchases which is resulting in these intermittent jumps in overnight rates.

Bottom line, it’s mostly the supply of T-bills that is choking a financing system that is limited in its ability to bring demand for T-bills predominantly because of regulatory constraints. And remember, foreigners on a net basis have basically left the US Treasury market. As I said last week, we are now left to finance our deficits ourselves.

That last line should—and I don’t use this word lightly—terrify us.”

I repeat…

If you haven’t figured out that we’re in deep trouble culturally and economically at this point in this country, you’re not paying attention.

Oh… More good news.

Survey: 70 percent of American Millennials say they’ll likely vote socialist — and a third view communism favorably

I apologize for my generation, but you have to excuse them, they were mostly taught civics by idiots and coaches, or both. Still out there somewhere, Mr. Vickers? (Point of reference, terrible Civics teacher at Smithville High in the late 90s, equally terrible football coach).

Now if you’re an older person going, yeah, damn Millennials. I also hope you’re cursing and denouncing Medicare. I know, hands off it because you paid into it, or something.

Are we all socialists now?

What Google knows about you might be a shock. Here’s how to manage or delete your activity

Take a little back from the tech giant.

Permaculture Garden Produces 7000 Pounds of Organic Food Per Year on a Tenth of an Acre

Just kind of cool.

MO Dem Approved Public Funding for Obscene, Sex-Driven Forum

I’m on the record as saying I thought Nicole Galloway was one of the better Democrats in all of Missouri politics, but… If this story is true, I’m no longer so sure.

And the worst part of this isn’t what was funded.

Someone want to tell me why in the Hell we are taking money from tax paying companies, funneling it in to a state run committee, and then giving it to startups?

That’s not the job of government.

And how in the Hell did this ever start with Republicans controlling both houses of government for so long? Wait, LOL, Republicans, great and mighty saviors of free-market capitalism. 🤣🙄

What I Learned at Camp Kotok by John Mauldin

I’ve been reading John Mauldin for years. He’s a brilliant economic commentator and money manager.

Every year David Kotok (CIO and cofounder of Cumberland advisors who manages over $3 billion) invites close to 50 of the smartest minds in investing and economics. All told the people in the room manage over $1 trillion dollars. In other words, these people have to actually know what’s really going on in the economy.

Mauldin always writes a recap of it every year. The big takeaways from this year:

  • Bipartisan agreement from attendees that MMT (Modern Monetary Theory) is a batshit crazy idea that will severely damage America. And when I say severely damage, like, significant agreement that it could end the Republic as we know it.
  • China should be challenged, but maybe not in the way Trump is going about it.
  • Significant political fatigue. “This year, the political discussions petered out quite quickly. It wasn’t disinterest that defused things, it was bone-penetrating exhaustion. Even folks I would’ve pegged as the most die-hard partisans seemed to have a hard time mounting a fervent defense of any politician or appointee. The opinions were still there, but the will seemed to have faded.”

Volatile Year Coming by John Mauldin

I think the last few weeks marked a turning point in the economic narrative. It’s more than the trade war. A sense of vulnerability is replacing the previous confidence—and with good reason. We are vulnerable, and we’ll be lucky to get through the 2020s without major damage.

But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s talk about the risks facing us in the next year or so and the economic environment in which we will face those risks. I think that environment is one of potential supply shocks, subpar growth, and increasing volatility… among other things.

The World Has Gone Mad and the System Is Broken by Ray Dalio

I recently finished the first half of Dalio’s book Principles. Excellent read. Dalio is one the most successful hedge fund managers to ever live and the 58th wealthiest person alive. In other words, probably knows a thing or two about economics. Probably much more than hire favorite member of Team Red or Team Blue.

This set of circumstances is unsustainable and certainly can no longer be pushed as it has been pushed since 2008. That is why I believe that the world is approaching a big paradigm shift.

Paradigm shift is a fancy way of saying shit hits the fan.

IKEA will produce more energy than it consumes by 2020 from Engadget

I have no problem with companies that live out their principles. And despite my disagreement with the global warming cult, I think this is a noble goal and love when companies show through action how technologically bright the future can be. And despite all the coming darkness, the long term future is quite bright. Don’t tell Greta, she’ll have to find something else to be angry about.

How dare you!

And on that note, I’ll hit the publish button. Have a great week and enjoy the snow storm, Spring is three months away.