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The Dow Falls 1,032 Points! Has The Financial Crisis Of 2018 Officially Arrived?

We haven’t seen this kind of a bloodbath on Wall Street since the great financial crisis of 2008.  Prior to this week, the largest single day decline for the Dow Jones industrial average that we had ever seen was 777 points.  That record was absolutely shattered on Monday when the Dow fell 1,175 points, and on Thursday the Dow dropped another 1,032 points.  This was the third decline greater than 500 points within the last five trading days, and the Dow is poised to post its worst week since the dark days of October 2008.  So is this just a “correction”, or has the financial crisis of 2018 officially arrived?

At this point, many of the experts are pointing to the bond market as the primary reason why stock prices are crashing.  The following comes from CNBC

There’s a not-so-quiet rebellion going on in the bond market, and it threatens to take 10-year yields above 3 percent much faster than expected just a few weeks ago.

As a result, the bumpy ride for stocks could continue for a while.

And without a doubt, analysts such as Jeff Gundlach clearly warned that there would be big trouble for stocks as bond yields rose…

Gundlach had correctly predicted that if the 10-year U.S. Treasury note yield went above 2.63 percent, U.S. stock investors would be spooked.

“Clearly, the market gets shaky when the 10-year hits 2.85 percent,” Gundlach said. “Just look at this week, and today. Makes one consider what could be coming if 10s push over 3 and 30s (30-year Treasury bond) over 3.22 percent.”

The 10-year yield is currently trading around 2.83 percent. Gundlach said it is “hard to love bonds at even a 3 percent” yield. “Rising interest rates are a problem and the U.S. is in debt and there is massive bond supply,” Gundlach said.

Moving forward, it will be important to keep a close eye on bond yields.  Every time they start going back up, we are likely to see stock prices go down

“We’re in a vicious cycle here. If the yields go up, you have to sell stocks. If you sell stocks, and they crash, yields come back down,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR.

The bond market’s struggle to price in higher interest rates has been kneecapped each time the stock market reacts and sells off. Strategists expect the two markets to ultimately find an equilibrium but not without more sharp swings.

This is one of the reasons why the budget deal going through Congress right now is such a bad idea.  Hundreds of billions of dollars of additional spending on top of what we are already doing is going to push up bond yields, and that is just going to make the pressure on Wall Street even worse.

Of course the folks over at the Federal Reserve could intervene, but they don’t seem inclined to do that at this point.  Late last year the Fed finally removed artificial life support from the financial system, and at first everything seemed to be going well.  But now a new crisis is brewing, and we shall see if the Fed still remains determined to keep raising rates.  The following comes from Peter Schiff

The Fed were dragging their feet in raising rates while Obama was president.  They talked about raising rates but at the end of the day, they barely moved them up. The pace of hikes has increased since Trump was elected, but part of the reason for that…I mean, the media is not talking down the economy; if anything they’re overhyping the economy.  Everybody’s talking about how strong the economy is, how everything is great. Everybody is taking credit for this great economy. The Fed wants to take credit for it, Trump wants to take credit for it, so if everybody wants to talk about how great the economy is, the Fed doesn’t have any excuse if it doesn’t raise rates…in order to keep up the pretense that the economy is as strong as everybody thinks, the Fed is in this box where it has to raise rates.

But they [the Fed] can’t tell the truth that it’s really a bubble, and if we raise rates, we’re gonna prick it, so they’re kinda in this bind.  And they are still telegraphing that they’re gonna raise rates three or four times this year.  And that is the problem.

It has been my contention for a very long time that the greatest financial bubble in human history would not be able to continue without artificial support from the Fed and other global central banks.

Once the Fed finally ended their artificial support for the markets late last year, I anticipated that there would be trouble, but stock prices continued to rise through the holiday season.

But now reality is setting in, and investors are rushing like mad for the exits.  I really like how Brandon Smith described the current state of affairs in his recent article…

After I predicted the election of Donald Trump, I also predicted that central banks would begin pulling the plug on life support for equities markets. This did in fact take place with the Fed’s continued program of interest rate increases and the reduction of their balance sheet, which effectively strangles the flow of cheap credit to banking and corporate institutions that fueled stock buybacks for years. Without this constant and ever expansionary easy fiat, there is nothing left to act as a crutch for stocks except perhaps blind faith. And blind faith in the economy always ends up being smacked down by the ugly realities of mathematics.

Without artificial support, gravity will try to pull stock valuations back to their long-term averages.  That would mean a decline for the Dow of at least 10,000 more points, but major financial institutions are so highly leveraged and Wall Street has become such a giant casino that our system literally cannot handle that sort of a decline.

The only way that the game can continue is for the Fed and other global central banks to intervene and prop up the absurd financial bubble that they originally created.

Absent that, this crisis is likely to go from bad to worse, and we may soon find ourselves facing a financial panic unlike anything that we have ever seen before.

Michael Snyder is a pro-Trump candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Just A Coincidence?: The Dow Goes From Being 567 Points Down To 567 Points Up At The Closing Bell

Seriously?  We were expecting that Tuesday would be an unusual day on Wall Street, and that was definitely the case.  At the low point, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 567 points, but at the closing bell it was up 567 points.  That is a swing of more than 1000 points, but what is more surprising is the exact symmetry of those numbers.  Is this just some sort of bizarre coincidence?

At the opening bell, stock prices collapsed and many were concerned that we were heading for another really bad day for investors.  According to CNBC, the Dow was down 567 points at the lowest point…

The Dow Jones industrial average opened with a big whoosh lower, then rallied all the way back. As of 3:41 p.m. ET, the Dow is 600 points higher and trading at a new session high. At its session low it was down by 567 points.

But then momentum shifted and the Dow soared.  By the end of the Day, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 567 points.  The following comes from CNN

The Dow plunged 567 points at the open on Tuesday and briefly sank into correction territory — a drop of 10% from its record high. But those losses quickly vanished, and the index ended the day up 567.

It was the Dow’s biggest point gain since August 2015 and the fourth-largest in history. The percentage gain of 2.3% is the biggest since January 2016.

It is not unusual to see market swings of this magnitude during times of high volatility.  Even during times of panic, at some point the sellers get exhausted and investors looking for buying opportunities come surging in.  On Tuesday, this shift in momentum came almost immediately after the opening

“I thought we were going to see the bottom within five minutes of when we opened. I think that’s basically what we’re seeing,” said Ed Keon, portfolio manager at QMA, the quantitative and dynamic asset allocation business of PGIM. “At these levels, stocks represent pretty good value and we’re adding to equity exposure.” Keon said it’s too early to call a bottom but he expects that the worse is over.

But just because the Dow was up more than 500 points today does not mean that the crisis is over.

It is important to remember that there are wild swings both ways during any market crisis.  For example, 9 of the 20 best days in stock market history were right in the middle of the financial crisis of 2008.  So if a new financial crisis is indeed brewing, we would certainly expect to see days when the Dow rises dramatically.

Markets tend to do well when things are calm, and they tend to go down when things get choppy.  So the fact that there was such volatility on Wall Street today is not a good sign.

Hopefully things will settle down, because the markets will not be able to handle too much more shaking.  There is so much leverage on Wall Street today, and as Carl Icahn recently told CNBC, one of these days all of this leverage is “going to blow up the market”…

Billionaire Carl Icahn told CNBC on Tuesday there are too many exotic, leveraged products for investors to trade, and one day these securities are going to blow up the market.

The market is a “casino on steroids” with all these exchange-traded funds and exchange-traded notes, he said.

These funds, especially the leveraged ones, are the “fault lines” that will eventually lead to an earthquake on Wall Street, he said. “These are just the beginnings of a rumbling.”

Wednesday will be a key day.  If the markets are nice and calm, that will be a really good sign.

But if we see tremendous movement in one direction or the other, that could indicate that more shaking is on the way.

In any event, the absurdly inflated stock prices of today are simply not sustainable.  Stock valuations always return to their long-term averages eventually, and that will be true in this case as well.

What goes up must come down, and we have certainly witnessed this with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies lately.  As far as stocks are concerned, the best that we can hope for in the long-term is a soft landing, but history tells us that is usually not how giant financial bubbles come to an end.

Michael Snyder is a pro-Trump candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

-1,175 Points! We Just Witnessed The Largest One Day Stock Market Crash Ever

The mainstream media seems so surprised that the stock market is crashing, but the truth is that it isn’t a surprise at all.  In fact, this crash is way, way overdue.  If the Dow Jones industrial average fell another 10,000 points, stock prices would still be overvalued.  I have been warning and warning and warning that this would happen, because stock valuations always return to their long-term averages eventually.  On Monday, the Dow was down a staggering 1,175 points, which was the largest single day decline that we have ever seen by a very wide margin.  In fact, it shattered the old record by nearly 400 points.

Shortly after 3 PM, all hell broke loose on Wall Street.  The Dow dropped by more than 800 points in just 10 minutes.  At one point on Monday, the Dow was down nearly 1,600 points, but a brief rally cut those losses roughly in half.  However, the rally did not last long and stock prices collapsed hard as the market closed.  At this moment, the Dow is already down more than 2,200 points from the peak of the market, and we are not too far from officially entering “correction” territory.

Once stocks start falling, it can trigger a massive rush for the exits, and that is what happened on Monday.  In particular, investors started to panic once the Dow broke through the 50-day moving average

“As soon as we broke the 50-day moving average … we saw volatility spike,” said Jeff Kilburg, CEO of KKM Financial. “It’s just been downhill from there.”

Other waves of selling were triggered once the 25,000 and 24,000 barriers on the Dow were breached.  In order to protect against losing too much money, many investors have stop losses set at psychologically-important levels.  The following comes from MarketWatch

Amplifying the slump was computer-programmed trade set to dump shares at certain levels. According to traders, the Dow DJIA, -4.60% was set to trigger trades once it fell below 25,000 and 24,000, for example, and 2,700 for the S&P 500.

Markets almost always go down faster than they go up, and once panic begins to spread on Wall Street it doesn’t take much to create a massive stampede.

In the end, this next financial crisis will be far worse than it should have been.  The Federal Reserve and other global central banks have endlessly manipulated the financial markets, and they created the biggest financial bubble in human history.

When an irrational financial bubble is growing, it can seem like things are wonderful.  But all such bubbles eventually burst, and the bursting of the bubble often does far more damage than the good that was accomplished by the manipulation of the markets.

So was there anything specific that caused the panic on Wall Street on Monday?

Yes, interest rates are rising, but as Bloomberg has noted, there wasn’t really anything noteworthy in the news that triggered the selling…

While Friday’s market rout came amid U.S. wage data on Friday that pointed to quickening inflation, which would lead to higher rates and, in turn, rising borrowing costs for companies, the selling Monday came amid few major data points.

“I think sentiment was a little too optimistic,” said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network. “What was driving the market up in January? It wasn’t the fundamentals, as good as they were, it was excessive confidence.”

Ultimately, time simply runs out on all irrational financial bubbles.  It is interesting to note that the Tulip price index began to crash on this exact date in 1637, and we may look back and point to February 5th as the key moment when the “financial crisis of 2018” started.

Once again, let us hope for some type of a bounce tomorrow.  Often stock prices do rebound quite a bit after an enormous decline, and many are hoping that stock prices will soar on Tuesday.

But so far the news after the market closed in New York has all been bad.  For example, CNBC is reporting that XIV has fallen more than 80 percent after hours…

An exchange-traded security which is supposed to be a bet on calm markets was collapsing after hours.

The VelocityShares Daily Inverse VIX Short-Term exchange-traded note (XIV) is down more than 80 percent in extended trading Monday. The security, issued by Credit Suisse, is supposed to give the opposite return of the Cboe Volatility index (VIX), the market’s widely followed turbulence gauge.

And as I write this article, it looks like markets all over Asia are going to be way down at the opening.

If stock prices keep collapsing, it could actually cause a major financial crisis.  So many financial institutions are deeply leveraged today, and many of them simply would not be able to handle a stock market decline of 30, 40 or 50 percent.

In particular, if things start to really unravel it will be important to pay special attention for any mention of “derivatives” in the financial news.  Once those dominoes start falling, we will see financial pain on a scale unlike anything that we have ever seen before in U.S. history.

Also, let us not forget that trouble signs continue to emerge for the “real economy”.  Just today, we learned that another major retail chain has filed for bankruptcy

Bon-Ton Stores, the corporate parent of several department store chains, tumbled into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as the company seeks a fresh lease on life.

Bon-Ton, whose brands include Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman and Younkers, had been on a fast track toward bankruptcy court after it recently announced plans to close 47 of its 260 stores.

I cannot stress enough that what happened on Monday is not a surprise.  The only surprise is that it took this long to happen.

Stock valuations need to fall another 40 or 50 percent just to get back to their long-term averages, and whether that happens very rapidly or takes an extended period of time, the truth is that stock valuations will return to those long-term averages.

Unfortunately for us, the central banks have created a bubble of such enormity that it could potentially collapse the entire global financial system when it finally fully bursts.

Let us hope for calmer markets on Tuesday, but let us also be mindful that at some point we are going to pay an exceedingly great price for years and years of horribly foolish decisions.

Michael Snyder is a pro-Trump candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

-666 Points: We Just Witnessed The 6th Largest Single Day Stock Market Decline In U.S. History

On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 666 points (665.75 points to be precise), and many are pointing out that this was the 6th largest single day crash that we have ever seen.  This decline happened on the 33rd day of the year, and it was the worst day for the stock market by far since President Trump entered the White House.  I have been repeatedly warning that we are way overdue for a stock market crash, and many are concerned that we may be on the precipice of another great financial crisis.  We shall see what happens on Monday, because that will set the tone for the rest of the week.  If we see another huge decline early Monday morning, that could easily set off full-blown panic selling on Wall Street.

Rising interest rates appear to have been the trigger for the enormous market drop on Friday.  The following comes from the New York Post

“We all know that many bull markets have ended by the Federal Reserve as they raise the rates to the point of slowing the economy down perhaps too much,” Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial, told The Post.

“It’s come on quickly and it caught the market off guard,” Krosby said.

The Dow sell-off brought it below the 26,000 plateau — to 25,520.96 — the biggest points drop since Dec. 1, 2008.

It is quite rare for the market to drop this much in a single day.  The largest single daily decline was a 777 point drop in 2008, and overall the Dow has fallen by more than 600 points less than 10 times throughout history

The index posted a loss of nearly 666 points, its sixth-worst decline ever on a points basis.

The last time the index posted a drop of more than 600 points was June 24, 2016, the day after the Brexit vote.

The eight other times the Dow closed more than 600 points lower all took place in the last 18 years. Half occurred during the financial crisis in 2008.

My readers have heard me explain over and over that markets tend to go down a lot faster than they go up.

Once a market landslide begins, the movement can be absolutely breathtaking.  But none of this should come as any sort of a surprise, because even the Washington Post admits that “speculation of a market pullback” has been seemingly everywhere in recent days…

The airwaves and online chatter have been flooded in recent weeks with speculation of a market pullback like the one that thundered in on Friday.

“It looks like the beginning of a market correction,” said Luke Tilley, chief economist at Wilmington Trust, the wealth and investment advisory arm of M&T Bank. “It’s not something that is very surprising, given the low volatility that we saw in 2017.”

Right now we are in the terminal phase of a historic “double bubble” in both stocks and bonds.  Many times we will see one or the other get clobbered on a particular day, but Friday was a “bloodbath” for all asset classes…

Yesterday’s US equity market collapse and simultaneous bond market bloodbath was the biggest combined loss since December 2015, but perhaps more ominously, the week’s combined loss in bonds and stocks was the worst since Feb 2009.

So what will next week bring?

Hopefully things will settle down and we will see the markets start to bounce back.  After a huge decline, that is often what happens.

But it would be foolish to ignore the fear that appears to be growing on Wall Street.  At this point, even Bloomberg is openly wondering if this “is the start of something big?”…

Looking at the week’s drumbeat, you can’t help but wonder, is this the start of something big? Warnings about valuations have been pouring forth from bears for so long that barely anyone listens anymore. With the S&P 500 up almost 50 percent in less than two years, some see the end of the blissfully easy money that equities have spewed out for 13 straight months.

“It’s the turning point of volatility,” said Jeffrey Schulze, chief investment strategist at Clearbridge Investments, which manages $137 billion. “We were all very fortunate to go through a year like 2017. But there’s a number of different dynamics this year that will make volatility more part of the equation than it has been in quite some time.”

If the stock market does crash in 2018, it will not be a surprise.

The only surprise will be that it took this long to happen.

As I have stated over and over again, stock prices would need to fall by at least 40 or 50 percent just to get valuations back to their long-term averages, and stock prices always return to their long-term averages eventually.

Hopefully our day of reckoning has not arrived and this financial bubble can continue for a little while longer.

But if financial markets do begin to crash horribly this year, nobody will be able to say that they were not warned well ahead of time.

Michael Snyder is a pro-Trump candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Venezuela Defaults On A Debt Payment – Is This The First Domino To Fall?

Did you know that Venezuela just went into default?  This should be an absolutely enormous story, but the mainstream media is being very quiet about it.  Wall Street and other major financial centers around the globe could potentially be facing hundreds of millions of dollars in losses, and the ripple effects could be felt for years to come.  Sovereign nations are not supposed to ever default on debt payments, and so this is a very rare occurrence indeed.  I have been writing about Venezuela for years, and now the crisis that has been raging in that nation threatens to escalate to an entirely new level.

Things are already so bad in Venezuela that people have been eating dogs, cats and zoo animals, but now that Venezuela has officially defaulted, there will be no more loans from the rest of the world and the desperation will grow even deeper…

Venezuela, a nation spiraling into a humanitarian crisis, has missed a debt payment. It could soon face grim consequences.

The South American country defaulted on its debt, according to a statement issued Monday night by S&P Global Ratings. The agency said the 30-day grace period had expired for a payment that was due in October.

A debt default risks setting off a dangerous series of events that could exacerbate Venezuela’s food and medical shortages.

So what might that “dangerous series of events” look like?

Well, Venezuela already has another 420 million dollars of debt payments that are overdue.  Investors around the world are facing absolutely catastrophic losses, and the legal wrangling over this crisis could take many years to resolve.  The following comes from Forbes

S&P says that it expects Venezuela to default on other bond payments. This comes as absolutely no surprise. A further $420m of bond payments are already overdue: unless Venezuela finds some dollars in a hurry, these will also go into default very soon.

S&P also warns that Venezuela could embark on a coercive debt restructuring that would in effect be default. Indeed, it has already announced its intention to do so, though as yet it has produced no plan. But we can imagine what such a debt restructuring might look like: in 2012, Greece imposed a coercive debt restructuring on private sector investors, and Argentina has restructured its dollar-denominated debt twice this century, the second time to sort out the dog’s breakfast Argentina made of the first restructuring. Investors could take substantial losses, and there would no doubt be lawsuits lasting for years. The biggest winners from distressed debt restructurings are always lawyers.

When you add this to all of the other bad news that has been coming out lately, it is easy to understand why things are starting to shift in the financial markets.

In fact, CNBC says that there is “a different tone to the markets in the last week or so”…

Another day, another down open. There’s a different tone to the markets in the last week or so.

It started last Tuesday, when an initial rally faded into a hard sell-off mid-morning. The next five trading sessions generally opened down.

Peter Tchir of Academy Securities, checked off a short list of concerns. There is progress on tax reform “but the reality is it’s not going to be as great as everyone hoped,” he said. There are questions about what the flatter yield curve means. And the recent arrests of high-ranking Saudis in an anti-corruption initiative created uncertainty in the last week and a half.

I keep writing about all of the experts that are warning of an imminent market crash, and yet most investors do not appear to be listening.

In fact, one survey found that the number of fund managers that “are taking higher-than-normal risk” is at an all-time high

According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s latest monthly fund-manager survey, which includes 206 panelists who manage $610 billion, investors are opting for the latter.

The firm finds that a record number of survey responders are taking higher-than-normal risk. That comes at a time when US stock market valuations are sitting close to their highest in history, creating a precarious situation in which investors are feeling emboldened at a time when they should be exhibiting caution.

This reminds me so much of what we have witnessed just prior to other market crashes.

During the euphoria of the original dotcom bubble, we were being told that Internet stocks would never go down because this was the beginning of an entirely new revolution.

And then investors lost trillions upon trillions of dollars when the market finally crashed.

Just prior to the financial crisis of 2008, we were being assured that there was nothing unusual going on with housing prices.

And then the market crashed and we were suddenly facing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Every bubble eventually bursts, and this one will burst too.  Those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and it is likely that more money will be lost during this coming crisis than during any other crisis in our entire history.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

The Dow Falls By Triple Digits As Anxiety Over The Senate Tax Plan Grows

It is becoming quite clear that even if Congress passes a tax reform bill in 2017 that it won’t actually be that significant.  On Thursday, anxiety about the Senate’s version of the bill pushed the Dow down more than a hundred points, and that was the biggest decline that we have seen in two months.  Could it be possible that the massive stock market bubble that we are currently witnessing is about to burst?  Anticipation of what this tax bill would mean for U.S. companies has been the foundation for so much of the euphoria that was have seen on Wall Street this year, and now reality is starting to set in

The Dow suffered its biggest drop since early September as investors reacted to reports that the Senate’s tax proposal would delay tax cuts for corporations for year, a development that pushes back a key part of the plan Wall Street was betting on to provide a boost to corporate profitability.

Reducing our corporate tax rate is very important, because right now we are not competitive with the rest of the western world.  Almost every other major industrialized nation has a much lower corporate tax rate than us, and that encourages major corporations to locate operations elsewhere.

So if we are able to reduce the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, that is likely going to mean good things for the U.S. economy and more jobs for U.S. workers, but unfortunately the Senate version of the bill would delay that tax cut until 2019

The top corporate rate would drop from 35% to 20% in 2019, a year later than it would in a revised bill approved Thursday by the House Ways and Means Committee. That change, which reduces the overall cost of the tax cut package, delays one of President Trump’s main priorities for overhauling the tax code, but administration officials did not seem concerned during a brief appearance with Hatch on Thursday afternoon.

And then if the Democrats take back control of the White House in 2020, they would probably jack corporate tax rates back up to where they were before, and so in the end the change would not make much of an impact at all.

Other than reducing the corporate tax rate, the Senate version of the “tax reform bill” does not actually accomplish that much.  The following comes from Zero Hege, and it is a good summary of what is contained in the bill…

  • 20% permanent corporate tax cut delayed by 1 year
  • Complies with the $1.5 trillion cost (will cost $1.44 trillion)
  • Preserves 7 tax brackets: top tax bracket is 38.5%, down from 39.6%
  • Doubles standard deduction from $12,700 to $24,000 (married couples)
  • Ends state and local tax (SALT) deduction; keeps business deduction
  • Keeps the mortgage Interest deduction cap at $1 million
  • Preserve the estate tax, doubling the current $5.49 million exemption for individuals
  • Raises the child tax credit to $1,650 from $1,000
  • Sets 10% tax rate for US companies with IP in foreign low-tax jurisdictions
  • Full expensing of capital investments for five years
  • Preserves 401(k)s IRAs,
  • Sets repatriation rate at 12% for liquid assets, 5% for illiquid assets
  • Carried interest loophole unchanged
  • Electric Vehicle tax credit is spared (good news for Elon Musk)

This bill also repeals the alternative minimum tax, and that is a change that has been needed for ages.

But overall, our members of Congress are simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

We have the most abominable system of taxation on the entire planet.  I once spent an entire year studying our tax code, and at the end of that year I came to the conclusion that the best thing that we could do would be to throw the entire thing in a shredder and start over.

Today, the tax code is more than two million words long, and the regulations are more than seven million words long.  I used to have to lug these books to class with me, and that was not pleasant.  Our system greatly favors the wealthy, because they can hire lobbyists to influence members of Congress, and they can pay accountants and tax attorneys to find every single loophole possible.  Meanwhile, ordinary people like you and me always end up with the short end of the stick.

The next time you are talking to a politician, ask them to defend our current system of taxation.  None of them will be able to, because it is an abomination.

Ultimately, I would like to abolish the IRS and the income tax completely.  We did not have an income tax between 1872 and 1913, and it was the greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history.

Of course we would need to greatly reduce the size of the federal government in order to do that, and that might take a while.  So in the short-term we could go to a flat tax or a fair tax, both of which would be greatly superior systems to what we have right now.

Simply reducing rates a little bit and tinkering with the regulations is not going to fundamentally change anything.  Real tax reform means getting rid of our current abominable system entirely, and if I am elected to Congress that is precisely what I am going to fight for.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

How The Elite Dominate The World – Part 2: 99.9% Of The Global Population Lives In A Country With A Central Bank

Even though the nations of the world are very deeply divided on almost everything else, somehow virtually all of them have been convinced that central banking is the way to go.  Today, less than 0.1% of the population of the world lives in a country that does not have a central bank.  Do you think that there is any possible way that this is a coincidence?  And it is also not a coincidence that we are now facing the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world.  In Part I of this series, I discussed the fact that total global debt has reached 217 trillion dollars.  Once you understand that central banks are designed to create endless debt, and once you understand that 99.9% of the global population lives in a country that has a central bank, then it finally makes sense why we have accumulated so much debt.  The elite of the world use debt as a tool of enslavement, and central banking has allowed them to literally enslave the entire planet.

Some of you may not be familiar with how a “central bank” differs from a normal bank.  The following definition of a “central bank” comes from Wikipedia

A central bank, reserve bank, or monetary authority is an institution that manages a state’s currency, money supply, and interest rates. Central banks also usually oversee the commercial banking system of their respective countries. In contrast to a commercial bank, a central bank possesses a monopoly on increasing the monetary base in the state, and usually also prints the national currency,[1] which usually serves as the state’s legal tender.

Over the past 100 years or so, we have seen central banks steadily be established all over the planet.  At this point, there are just 8 very small nations that still do not have a central bank…

-Andorra
-Monaco
-Nauru
-Kiribati
-Tuvalu
-Palau
-Marshall Islands
-Federated States of Micronesia

When you add the populations of those 8 nations together, it comes to much less than 0.1% of the global population.

But even though central banking is nearly universal, only a very small fraction of the global population can tell you how money is created.

Do you know where money comes from?

Here in the United States, most people just assume that the federal government creates money.  But that is not true at all.

Many are absolutely shocked when they discover that U.S. currency is actually borrowed into existence.  The federal government gives U.S. Treasury bonds (debt) to the Federal Reserve in exchange for money that the Federal Reserve creates out of thin air.  The Federal Reserve then auctions off those bonds to the highest bidder.

Since the federal government must pay interest on those bonds, the amount of debt that is created in these transactions is actually greater than the amount of money that is created.  But we are told that if we can just circulate the money throughout our economy fast enough and tax it at a high enough rate, then we can eventually pay off the debt.  Of course that never actually happens, and so the federal government always has to go back and borrow even more money.  This is called a debt spiral, and at this point we will never be able to escape it until we do away with this horrible system.

But why does our government (or any government for that matter) have to borrow money that is created by a central bank in the first place?

Why can’t governments just create money themselves?

Oops.  That is the big secret that nobody is supposed to talk about.

Theoretically, the U.S. government doesn’t actually have to borrow a single penny. Instead of borrowing money the Federal Reserve creates out of thin air, the federal government could just create money directly and spend it into circulation.

Yes, this could actually happen.  Back in 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 11110 which authorized the U.S. Treasury to issue debt-free “United States Notes” which were not created by the Federal Reserve.  These debt-free notes began to be issued, and you can still find them for sale on eBay today.  Unfortunately, President Kennedy was assassinated shortly after this executive order was issued, and the notes were not in production for long.

If we had ultimately fully adopted “United States Notes” and had phased out Federal Reserve notes, we would not be 20 trillion dollars in debt today.

The elite of the world love to get national governments deep into debt, because it enables them to enslave entire populations while making an obscene amount of money in the process.

Back in 1913, an insidious plan was rushed through Congress just before Christmas that was based on a blueprint that had been developed by very powerful Wall Street interests.  Author G. Edward Griffin did an extraordinary job of documenting how all of this happened in his book entitled “The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve”.  A central bank was established, and it was purposely designed to create a government debt spiral, and that is precisely what happened.

Since 1913, the size of the national debt has gotten more than 6,000 times larger, and the value of our dollar has declined by more than 98 percent.  Many conservatives are still under the illusion that we could get out of debt someday if we just grow the economy fast enough, but I have shown in another article that we have gotten to the point where this is mathematically impossible.

And most people are also operating under the false assumption that the Federal Reserve is part of the federal government.  But that is not accurate either.  The following comes from one of my previous articles

There is often a lot of confusion about the Federal Reserve, because a lot of people think that it is simply an agency of the federal government. But of course that is not true at all. In fact, as Ron Paul likes to say, the Federal Reserve is about as “federal” as Federal Express is.

The Fed is an independent central bank that has even argued in court that it is not an agency of the federal government. Yes, the president appoints the leadership of the Fed, but the Fed and other central banks around the world have always fiercely guarded their “independence”. On the official Fed website, it is admitted that the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks are organized “much like private corporations”, and they very much operate like private entities. They even issue shares of stock to the private banks that own them.

In case you were wondering, the federal government has zero shares.

According to the U.S. Constitution, a private central banking cartel should not be issuing our currency.  In Article I, Section 8 of our Constitution, Congress is solely given the authority to “coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures”.

So why in the world has this authority been given to a central bank?

The truth is that we do not need a central bank.

From 1872 to 1913, there was no central bank and no income tax, and it turned out to be the greatest period of economic growth in all of U.S. history.

But since the Fed was established, there have been 18 different recessions or depressions: 1918, 1920, 1923, 1926, 1929, 1937, 1945, 1949, 1953, 1958, 1960, 1969, 1973, 1980, 1981, 1990, 2001, 2008.

Abolishing the Federal Reserve is one of the core issues of my platform, and I have been writing about these things for the last seven years.

As I discussed yesterday, the elite use debt to enslave all of the rest of us, and central banking allows them to literally dominate the entire planet.

Until we abolish this debt-based system and go to a currency that is debt-free, we are never going to permanently solve our very deep long-term economic and financial problems.

But because they are so immensely wealthy, the elite are able to wield extraordinary influence in our society.  They control the mainstream media, our politicians and even global institutions such as the United Nations.  Anyone that would dare to question the validity of the current system is marginalized, and for a long time very few politicians around the world were even willing to speak out against central banking.

However, that is starting to change.  A new generation of leaders is rising up, and they are absolutely determined to break the stranglehold that the elite have on our society.  It won’t be easy, but if we are able to wake enough people up, I believe that we will eventually be able to free ourselves from this insidious system.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

House Of Cards: Netflix Is One Of The Poster Children For Tech Bubble 2.0

How can a company that is going to generate $2,000,000,000 in negative free cash flow in 2017 be worth 70 billion dollars?  Netflix has soared in popularity in recent years, but so have their financial losses.  Just like during the original tech bubble, investors are ignoring basic fundamentals and are greatly rewarding firms that are bleeding giant mountains of cash year after year just because they are trendy “tech companies”.  But somewhere along the line you actually have to quit losing money if you are going to survive.  Just ask tech bubble 1.0 victims Pets.com, Webvan and Etoys.com.  The investors that poured enormous amounts of money into those companies ended up losing everything, and similar tragedies will play out as tech bubble 2.0 bursts.

So far in 2017, the S&P 500 is up about 8 percent, but FANG stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google) are up a whopping 30 percent.

But at least Facebook, Amazon and Google are making money.

Netflix is not.

So why in the world has the stock shot up by more than 30 percent so far this year?  It just doesn’t make any sense at all.  According to CNBC, during the first quarter Netflix had $423 million in negative free cash flow, and for the entire year it is being projected that it will have $2 billion in negative free cash flow…

The California-based company is now dumping cash into original content to maintain its dominance over its growing field of rivals. The company’s had $423 million negative free cash flow during the quarter, wider than the $261 million negative free cash flow a year ago. Netflix expects to have $2 billion in negative free cash flow this year.

The bleeding of cash at Netflix only seems to be accelerating.  The number for the first quarter of 2017 was 62 percent worse than the number for the first quarter of 2016, and it was more than twice as bad as the number for the first quarter of 2015.

It is hard to imagine that Netflix will ever be more popular than it is right now.

So if Netflix is not making a profit at this point, when will it ever make a profit?

Similar things could be said about Twitter.  This is a company that has never made a yearly profit and that is actually starting to see revenues decline.  But somehow the stock just continues to go up.  Since the last time I wrote about Twitter, the market cap has shot up another 1.5 billion dollars.

At this point, the market values Twitter at 13 billion dollars, but in the entire history of the company it has actually lost 2 billion dollars.

What we are witnessing is a modern day version of “tulip mania”, and at some point this irrational euphoria will come to a sudden end.  In fact, there are already some signs that tech bubble 2.0 may be in a significant amount of trouble.  The following is an excerpt from a Bloomberg article entitled “Investors Go All-In on Tech Giants”

The tech-powered rally has catapulted the sector to a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.4, or 41 percent above the 10-year average. But as Google and Amazon stretch to nearly $1,000 a share, not everyone is comfortable with the valuations. Investors pulled more than $716 million from the most popular technology exchange-traded fund last week — the $17.4 billion Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund, or XLKits largest weekly outflow in over a year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“Most everybody remembers 2000, so they might be getting a little nervous with this development,” said Maley. “I just wonder how many people have said to themselves, ‘If AMZN gets to $1,000, I’m going to take at least some profits.’”

All over the financial world, prominent voices are warning that the enormous financial bubbles that we see all around us are not sustainable and that a major crisis is heading our way.  I wrote about some of these voices yesterday, and today we can add Paul Singer to the list…

Given groupthink and the determination of policy makers to do ‘whatever it takes’ to prevent the next market ‘crash,’ we think that the low-volatility levitation magic act of stocks and bonds will exist until the disenchanting moment when it does not. And then all hell will break loose (don’t ask us what hell looks like…), a lamentable scenario that will nevertheless present opportunities that are likely to be both extraordinary and ephemeral. The only way to take advantage of those opportunities is to have ready access to capital.

When the financial markets collapse, Donald Trump will likely get most of the blame.

But Donald Trump did not create the stock market bubble, and he will not be responsible for ending it either.

Since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, we have seen this same story play out over and over again.  There have been 18 distinct recessions or depressions since the Fed was established, and the more the Fed interferes in the marketplace the larger the booms and busts tend to be.

And it could be argued that this time around the Fed has manipulated financial markets more than ever before.  Interest rates were pushed as low as possible and trillions of dollars were pumped into the financial system during the Fed’s quantitative easing programs.  Of course those actions were going to create a huge bubble, and of course that bubble is going to inevitably burst.

Unfortunately, this is not just a game.  Real people with real hopes and real dreams are going to be absolutely devastated.  Millions of Americans that were carefully saving for retirement are going to be financially crippled, and pension funds all over the nation are going to be wiped out.

I don’t know why we can’t seem to learn from history.  And I am not talking about events that happened decades ago.  The build up to this coming crisis is so similar to what we witnessed just before the crashes of 2000 and 2008, but we just keep getting fooled over and over again.

But once things fall apart this time, I think that the American people will finally be fed up.  I think that they will be sick and tired of an unelected, unaccountable central bank that creates endless booms and busts, and I think that they will finally be ready to push Congress to shut the Federal Reserve down for good.

5 Highly Respected Financial Experts That Are Warning That A Market Crash Is Imminent

If everything is going to be “just fine”, why are so many big names in the financial community warning about an imminent meltdown?  I don’t think that I have seen so many simultaneous warnings about a market crash since just before the great financial crisis of 2008.  And at this point, you would have to be quite blind not to see that stocks are absurdly overvalued and that a correction is going to happen at some point.  And when stocks do start crashing, lots of fingers are going to start pointing at President Trump, but it won’t be his fault.  The Federal Reserve and other central banks are primarily responsible for creating this bubble, and they should definitely get the blame for what is about to happen to global financial markets.

My regular readers are quite familiar with my thoughts on where the market is headed, so today let me share some thoughts from five highly respected financial experts…

#1 When Altair Asset Management’s chief investment officer Philip Parker was asked if a market crash was coming to Australia, he said that he has “never been more certain of anything in my life”.  In fact, he is so sure that the investments that his hedge fund is managing are going to crash that a decision was made to liquidate the fund “and return ‘hundreds of millions’ of dollars to its clients”

While hardly a novel claim – in the past many have warned that Australia’s housing and stock market are massive asset bubbles (which local banks have been forced to deny as their fates are closely intertwined with asset prices even as the RBA is increasingly worried) – so far few if any have gone the distance of putting their money where their mouth was. That changed, when Australian asset manager Altair Asset Management made the extraordinary decision to liquidate its Australian shares funds and return “hundreds of millions” of dollars to its clients according to the Sydney Morning Herald, citing an impending property market “calamity” and the “overvalued and dangerous time in this cycle”.

Giving up management and performance fees and handing back cash from investments managed by us is a seminal decision, however preserving client’s assets is what all fund managers should put before their own interests,” Philip Parker, who serves as Altair’s chairman and chief investment officer, said in a statement on Monday quoted by the SMH.

#2 Seth Klarman leads one of the biggest hedge funds in the United States, and he believes that U.S. investors are greatly underestimating the amount of risk in the market right now…

“When share prices are low, as they were in the fall of 2008 into early 2009, actual risk is usually quite muted while perception of risk is very high,” Klarman wrote. “By contrast, when securities prices are high, as they are today, the perception of risk is muted, but the risks to investors are quite elevated.”

Klarman oversees one of the US’s largest hedge fund firms, with some $30 billion under management. He has a huge following on Wall Street — investors named his book, “Margin of Safety,” their favorite investment book in a recent SumZero survey.

#3 Bill Blain is a strategist at Mint Partners, and he is actually specifically pointing to October 12th as the date when things will start to get “horribly interesting”

But…. Catch a falling knife, why don’t you… I shall spend the summer wondering just how long the Stock Market games continue. When, not if.

At the moment, my prediction is October 12th. Around that day its going to get horribly interesting..

Why that particular day?

Gut feel and knowing how the Bowl of Petunias felt in Hitchhikers. (“Not again.”)

There are just too many contradictory currents out there. The unsustainability of burgeoning consumer debt, unfeasibly tight credit spreads, the sandcastle foundations of student loans, autos, housing and the CLO market, China, Trump, politics.. worries about what follows Brazil in the EM market, and whatever… The risks of a massive consumer sentiment dump..  

#4 David Stockman has also been warning about what may happen this fall.  According to Stockman, this current stock market bubble “is the greatest sucker’s rally we have ever seen”

The market is insanely valued right now.  They were trying to tag, the robo machines and day traders, they were trying to tag 2,400 on the S&P 500.  They ended up at 2,399, I think, but the point is that represents about 25 times trailing earnings for 2016.  We are at a point in the so-called recovery that has already lasted 96 months.  It’s almost the longest one in history.  What the market is saying is we have reached the point of full employment forever.  There will never be another recession or any kind of economic surprise or upset or dislocation.  The market is pricing itself for perfection for all of eternity.  This is crazy. . . . I think the market could easily drop to 1,600 or 1,300.  It could drop by 40% or even more once the fantasy ends. When the government shows its true colors, that it’s headed for a fiscal bloodbath when this crazy notion that there is going to be some Trump fiscal stimulus is put to rest once and for all.  I mean it’s not going to happen.  They can’t pass a tax cut that big without a budget resolution that incorporated $10 trillion or $15 trillion in debt over the next decade.  It’s just not going to pass Congress. . . . I think this is the greatest sucker’s rally we have ever seen.

#5 Last but certainly not least, David Kranzler seems quite certain “that the stock market bubble is getting ready to pop”

Anyone happen to notice that several market commentators have argued that Bitcoin is a bubble but the same stock “experts” look the other way as the U.S. stock market becomes more overvalued by the day vs. the deteriorating underlying fundamentals? Bitcoin going “parabolic” triggers alarm bells but it’s okay if the stock price of Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) is hurtling toward parity with the price of one ounce of gold. Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) burns a billion per year in cash. It sold 76,000 cars last year vs. 10 million worldwide for General Motors (NYSE:GM). Yet Tesla’s market cap is $51.7 billion vs. $48.8 billion for GM.

This insanity is the surest sign that the stock market bubble is getting ready to pop. If you read between the lines of the the comments from certain Wall Street analysts, the only justification for current valuations is “Central Bank liquidity” and “Fed support of asset values.” This is the most dangerous stage of a market top because it draws in retail “mom & pop” investors who can’t stop themselves from missing out on the next “sure thing.” There will be millions of people who are permanently damaged financially when the Fed loses control of this market. Or, as legendary “vulture” investor Asher Edelman stated on CNBC, “I don’t want to be in the market because I don’t know when the plug is going to be pulled.”

Could all of these top experts be wrong?

It’s possible, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Every stock market bubble of this magnitude in U.S. history has ended in a spectacular crash, and this one will not be any different.  We can certainly have some good arguments about the exact timing of the next crash, but what everyone should be able to agree on is that a crash is coming.

You only make money in the stock market if you get out at the right time.  Many of those that timed things well have made a tremendous amount of money, but most investors will be entirely caught off guard by the market implosion that is rapidly approaching.

As I have explained to my readers repeatedly, markets tend to go down a whole lot faster than they go up, and in the not too distant future we are going to see trillions of dollars of investor wealth wiped out very, very quickly.

Let’s hope that the coming crisis will not be as bad as 2008, but I have a feeling that it is going to be much worse.

We didn’t learn our lessons the last time around, and so now we are going to pay a very high price for our stubbornness.

The Next Stock Market Crash Will Be Blamed On Donald Trump But It Will Be The Federal Reserve’s Fault Instead

A stock market crash is coming, and the Democrats and the mainstream media are going to blame Donald Trump for it even though it won’t be his fault.  The truth is that we were headed for a major financial crisis no matter who won the election.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up a staggering 230 percent since the lows of 2009, and no stock market rally in our history has ever reached the 10 year mark without at least a 20 percent downturn.  At this point stocks are about as overvalued as they have ever been, and every other time we have seen a bubble of this magnitude a historic stock market crash has always followed.  Those that are hoping that this time will somehow be different are simply being delusional.

Since November 7th, the Dow is up by about 3,000 points.  That is an extremely impressive rally, and President Trump has been taking a great deal of credit for it.

But perhaps he should not have been so eager to take credit, because what goes up must come down.  The following is an excerpt from a recent Vanity Fair article

According to Douglas Ramsay, chief investment officer of the Leuthold Group, Trump administration officials will come to regret gloating about the market’s performance. That’s because Trump enters the White House during one of the most richly valued stock markets in U.S. history. The last president to come in at such valuations was George W. Bush, and the dot-com bubble burst soon afterward. Bill Clinton began his second term in a more overvalued stock market in 1997, and exited unscathed. But if his timing were different by just a year, he would have been blamed for the early-aughts market crash.

This stock market bubble was not primarily created by Barack Obama, Donald Trump or any other politician.  Rather, the Federal Reserve was primarily responsible for creating it by pushing interest rates all the way to the floor during the Obama era and by flooding the financial system with hot money during several stages of quantitative easing.

But now the economy is slowing down.  Economic growth on an annual basis was just 0.7 percent during the first quarter, and yet the Federal Reserve is talking about raising interest rates anyway.

The Federal Reserve also raised interest rates in a slowing economy in the late 1930s, and that had the effect of significantly extending the economic problems during that decade.

As I noted in my article entitled “The Federal Reserve Must Go”, there have been 18 recessions or depressions since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, and now we stand on the precipice of another one.

After this next crisis, hopefully Congress will finally understand that it is time to shut the Federal Reserve down for good, and I am going to do all that I can to make that happen.

Ron Paul is someone that I look up to greatly, and he also agrees that the blame for the coming crisis should be placed on the Federal Reserve instead of on Trump…

“There are some dire predictions that say in the next year, or 18 months, we have something arriving worse than 2008 and 2009, the downturn is much worse,” Paul said in a recent interview with liberty-minded anti-globalist radio host Alex Jones. “They’ll say, ah, it’s all Trump’s fault. No. It wasn’t. 08 and 09 wasn’t Obama’s fault. It was the fault of the Federal Reserve, it was the fault of the Keynesian economic model, the spending too much, the deficit. So, unfortunately, there’s nothing he can do — Trump can’t do it.”

Paul, a medical doctor who took a keen interest in economics throughout his celebrated career as a constitutionalist in Congress, said Trump could “help” the situation by pursuing good policies. “But you can’t avoid the correction, the correction is locked in place, because the deficits are there, the malinvestment, everybody agrees interest rates have been too low too long,” he said in the late January interview. “The only thing he can do is allow the recession to come, get it over with, liquidate the debt. Politically, nobody wants that, so you’re going to see runaway inflation before you see this country wake up.”

Over the past decade, the U.S. economy has grown at an average rate of just 1.33 percent, and there is no possible way to put a positive spin on that.

And now the economy appears to be entering a fresh slowdown.  A couple of months ago, banking giant UBS warned about “a sudden slowdown in new credit”

There’s been a sudden slowdown in new credit extended to businesses over the last year, one that strategists at UBS are calling “drastic” and “highly uncommon outside of economic downturns.”

And since that time, lending has tightened up even more.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

According to the latest Fed data [7], the all-important C&I loan growth contraction has not only continued, but over the past two months, another 50% has been chopped off, and what in early March was a 4.0% annual growth [4]is now barely positive, down to just 2.0%, and set to turn negative in just a few weeks. This was the lowest growth rate since May 2011, right around the time the Fed was about to launch QE2.

At the same time, total loan growth has likewise continued to decline, and as of the second week of May was down to 3.8%, the weakest overall loan creation in three years.

This is exactly what we would expect to see if we were entering a new recession.  Neil Howe, one of the authors of The Fourth Turning, recently warned that “winter is coming” and I have to admit that I agree with him.

So when the stock market finally crashes, how bad could it be?

Well, one analyst that spoke to CNBC said that other historic market crashes have averaged “about 42 percent”…

“If you look at the market historically, we have had, on average, a crash about every eight to 10 years, and essentially the average loss is about 42 percent,” said Kendrick Wakeman, CEO of financial technology and investment analytics firm FinMason.

And as I have explained many times in the past, stocks would have to fall about 40 to 50 percent from current levels just for the stock market to get back to “normal” again.  The valuations that we are seeing today are absolutely insane, and there is no possible way that they are sustainable.

When the crash happens, many people will be pointing their fingers at Trump, but it won’t be his fault.

Instead, it will be the Federal Reserve that will be at fault, and hopefully this coming crisis will convince the American people that it is time to end this insidious debt-based central bank for good.

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