Everybody is insane
...the angriest guy in economics
Jun 7, 2006
-- Things are getting back to normal, and by the alarm
bells ringing in the Mogambo Stinking Hole Of Fear (MSHOF) in
the backyard, I know that the Federal Reserve is back increasing
Total Fed Credit. Sure enough, I quickly find out that they created
another $4.1 billion last week. This was at the same time as
the Treasury printed up, in actual cash, another $4.3 billion,
which is fourteen bucks for every man, woman and child in America.
For good measure (I suppose), the Fed bought up $2 billion in
government debt last week, too, blatantly committing the ultimate
fraud; creating money to buy government debt for itself, which
is then (supposedly) turned over to the Treasury.
I am cursing under my breath at all of this monstrous, malignant
monetary madness (which is this week's installment of gratuitous
alliteration for no particular reason), when I suddenly realize
"Hey! I haven't said something nasty about somebody in government,
Wall Street or the banks!" To correct that grievous error
and to get my bodily humours and biles back in sync, I can cover
them all by noting that everybody seems to think that Hank Paulson
from Goldman Sachs taking over as the new Secretary of the Treasury
is such great stuff, but the fascination escapes me. He is just
some smiling suit who made his money by successfully hustling
up clients and cash for Goldman Sachs to manage and rake off
some big fees, so apparently that is what his duties at the Treasury
will be, too.
After all, what in the hell can the Secretary of the Treasury
do? He is just a laborer. The Congress proposes to spend, the
President signs every spending bill laid in front of him, then
the Treasury Department issues bonds to finance the spending.
That's how it works. And, somehow, some big shot from Goldman
Sachs as Secretary of the Treasury can affect any of this by
juggling the books? Hahahaha!
In turn, of course, the loathsome Federal Reserve creates additional
credit, so that somebody can borrow the credit (turning it into
money) which is used to buy the Treasury bonds ("going into
debt to buy debt!").
In short, my Suspicious Mogambo Mind (SMM) immediately comes
up with a million terrific conspiracy theories about how Paulson
was obviously placed there to benefit Goldman Sachs, which (I
note with sarcasm) is a major shareholder in the Federal Reserve,
and, I assume, is now to create new secret accounts everywhere
so that his actions (at the behest of Goldman Sachs, the White
House and the Federal Reserve) can be hidden from view. This
is exactly the kind of desperate, despicable, degenerate thing
you see at the end of long booms.
And I am sure that it does not surprise Christopher Galakoutis,
of CMI Ventures, whose essay "Out of Bullets" was posted
on SafeHaven.com. He writes "Speaking of successions, it
was just announced that Henry Paulson of Goldman Sachs will replace
John Snow at Treasury. This to me is further proof that everything
within reach of our bankers and politicians will be utilized
to keep the US's 'prosperity' game going. You just don't bring
in a Wall Street heavyweight when you are about to cripple the
economy with tougher Fed action."
Peter Schiff, of Euro Pacific Capital, does
not suggest that Mr. Paulson was nominated for anything underhanded,
but perhaps because "In today's style over substance economy,
the job of Treasury Secretary has devolved into a pitch man for
the government's economic disinformation campaign."
And let's remember that Lloyd Bentson disgustedly quit the job
of Treasury Secretary, and Paul O'Neill was fired for being too
curious (and for being too honest about what he found). We ended
up with John Snow, who is, apparently, none of these things.
As to why Mr. Paulson, perhaps this is a good time to quote the
new interview of Jim Rogers by Jonathan Laing in Barron's magazine,
where Mr. Laing writes "According to Rogers, new Fed Chairman
Ben Bernanke is 'an amateur with no knowledge of markets' whose
academic work revolved around how nations could avoid depressions
by printing more money." Hahaha! Exactly!
The rub is that you can make money available at low rates, but
you can't make anyone borrow and spend it. I figure that this
is where the new Treasury honcho comes into the picture.
And since we are talking about the Jim Rogers interview, he is
pretty adamant about the coming boom in commodities. And let's
be sure that we completely comprehend all the ramifications of
the phrase "Add to (American consumption) 1.3 billion Chinese
and 1.1 Indians- all walled off from the global economy during
the last commodities boom- joining the global scrum for natural
resources." This additional 2.4 billion people represents,
in case you were wondering, a full third of the world's population.
Once you take the time to meditate on that mathematical fact,
it is then but child's play to instantly agree with Mr. Rogers'
view, namely that "it's delusional to deny that competition
for commodities will continue to heat up as a result of China's
pell-mell rush from a peasant economy to economic giant."
As a fun "rainy day" activity, get out your Mogambo
Junior Economist Machine (MJEM), enter the two variables "chronic,
gigantically rising levels of demand" and "lagging
supplies in a finite world", and then crank the handle a
few times. If your shiny, new MJEM is not past the end of the
2-hour warranty period (and therefore not just another broken
piece of Mogambo Enterprises crap (BPOMEC)), you will probably
notice that demand and supply for commodities will equilibrate
at a higher price. And "higher prices" is a prerequisite
for "profit" in a "buy low/sell high" kind
But if you are stupid enough to buy a Mogambo Junior Economist
Machine from Mogambo Enterprises (our motto: "Our business
is profits, not quality!") then you probably did NOT notice
that chronic, gigantically rising demand for commodities and
lagging supply in a finite world equilibrate at a higher price.
In that case, take just my word for it.
And now, looking out into the misty future, we see that wisely
including the word "chronic" in defining a rising level
of demand means that this bull market in commodities will last
another 10-15 years, just like all the other commodity booms
in history seem to have done.
"Well," you might well note, "if there is a rush
to buy commodities, then the increase of demand (constrained
by sluggish supply) should be reflected in a rise in the prices
of commodities." Good point, young grasshopper! So we take
a look at look the CRB Group Index futures, and we can't help
but be impressed that they are up 26% over last year's prices.
The industrials are up 63%, grains/oils up 12%, energy up 23%
and precious metals up 51% from last year, too. Livestock, the
sole exception, went nowhere.
Now let's look at the commodity price index in the Economist
magazine. Sure enough, that's what you see there, too! The Dollar
Index item labeled as the inclusive "All Items" is
up in price by 36% in the last year. With the Sterling Index,
All Items are up 31.6%, the All Items Euro Index up 30.2% and
the All Items Yen Index up 41.3%! Oil is up 39.2% over this time
last year, and gold is up 58.9%.
So if you think that inflation is low, then you are truly insane.
In keeping with this "Everybody is insane" theme, bonds
actually rose in price as clueless "investors" snapped
up bonds, locking in yields so low that I laugh in contempt,
as I find it quite unbelievable that anyone would buy a bond
at these prices! Hell, even 30-year bonds are priced so high
that they are yielding roughly the same as the Fed Funds rate!
And in fact, the yield curve actually inverted today, so that
long rates are less than short rates! Hahaha! What morons!
Of even greater news, however, is that the website of the Bank
of Japan reports that Japan's monetary base in May was, suddenly,
66% smaller than a year ago. Something has caused it to fall
off a cliff.
Commenting on all of this, ContraryInvestor.com writes
"What took maybe three years to build in terms of the Japanese
monetary base from early 2003 to present, has been reversed in
a few short months."
At the same time, they also report that the Japanese Current
Account balance is in 53% deficit over last year, and the change
is so sudden that the Economist magazine still shows Japan sporting
a Current Account surplus of $166 billion!
I don't know if this has anything to do with the recent Japanese
announcement that they were going to discontinue their zero interest-rate
policy (ZIRP) and quantitative easing, but I figure it does.
What will happen? Well, Chris Laird of PrudentSquirrel.com asks,
provocatively, "World Markets about to Crash Together?"
He first defines the problem as "The US is considering a
pause in its interest rate hikes of late. The interest rate differential
the US holds over Japan and Europe is as much as 3%. If that
differential is not maintained, trillions of dollars of US denominated
financial investments are going to be unloaded on the world markets."
So what is the upshot of this unloading? "A combination
of unwinding the Yen carry trade and a serious drop in the value
of the USD will just simply pull the rug out from under every
major financial market that has benefited from the cheap USD
and Yen." I'm going to go out on a small limb and say we
are looking right now at a gigantic world stock collapse."
Almost as an afterthought, he says "Oh, did I mention that
we are seeing the highest insider selling of stocks since about
2000?" And you remember what happened in 2000.
So it is the sudden, huge collapse of the Current Account that,
alongside the fall in Japan's monetary base, is the Big Freaking
News That Screams Danger! Danger! Danger! To The Mogambo (TBFNTMD!D!D!TTM).
Perhaps I am not the only one that thinks this is shouting Danger!
Danger! Danger, and this has something to do with why Rick Ackerman
of Rick's Picks at GoldSeek.com writes
"I've long doubted the usefulness of head-and-shoulders
patterns, since they tend to be everywhere you look for them.
Still, there's no denying that the one the Dow Industrial Average
has been carving out since early March is quite a looker. Yeah,
it needs a little more development on the right shoulder to give
it proper symmetry. But otherwise, it looks good to go for an
800-point plunge. Does that sound bearish enough? Maybe to you,
it does -- but not to me. For if this market is about to unravel
the way I expect it to, a 3000-point leg down sounds about right.
But a measly 800 points? That wouldn't begin to discount some
of the more problematical trends that are in the pipeline already,
including a real estate collapse and a run on the dollar."
Even Dennis Gartman of the Gartman Letter is looking at a recession,
and has found a close correlation between recessions and the
ratio of the coincident to lagging indicators. "The Ratio
of the Coincident to Lagging Indicators topped out months ago."
So what does this mean to you and me, looking to make a few bucks?
"The US economy shall reach its peak and move into a quiet
recession sometime in the last 3rd quarter or early 4th quarter
of this year."
-- Even the clueless touts on CNBC are starting to chatter about
stagflation, which is the phenomenon of falling economic growth
and rising inflation, which are not supposed to coexist according
to the idiotic mainstream economic theory with which America
(and, sadly, most of the world) is currently saddled.
But if you are asking "Mogambo, are we having stagflation?"
Well, the Institute of Supply Management came out with manufacturing
data was much lower, again. And inflation is higher, again. So
I will answer "yes."
And who is to blame? The damned Federal Reserve! And this seems
like a good place to bring up the odd happenstance that I received
my new homeowner's insurance statement on the same day as I got
the new prospectus for one of my money-market funds.
Their little chart shows that the U.S. Treasury fund yielded
5.4% in 2000, and comfortably over 4.3% since 1996. Then the
stock market bubble popped in 2000, thanks to the Federal Reserve
first creating the money so that people could bid up the price
of stocks in a stock-market bubble and a bond-market bubble.
That's when the Fed, ever the evil bastion of hurting everyone
to make up for their own incompetence and mistakes, pounded interest
rates down and down, so much so that the money-market fund finally
bottomed out at a yield of 0.49% in 2003. Less than one-half
of one percent! It is now back up to the princely 2.36%, which
is still 33% less than their own stated rate of inflation, for
crying out loud! And with REAL inflation running north of 9%,
people who try and save a little money are really getting screwed
by the Fed. And to make it worse, I still have to pay income
tax on the nominal gain, putting me farther into the hole!
But it is the insurance companies that get really hurt, as they
have to invest the premiums they receive from the policyholders.
But, again thanks to the damned Federal Reserve, nowadays they
don't get a yield that allows them to make a profit, especially
now that the value of the insured assets (in this case, our houses)
have been inflated.
So now we, as homeowners, have to pay higher property taxes and
higher property insurance premiums, all thanks to the damned
Federal Reserve creating the housing bubble.
-- If you were thinking that maybe The Mogambo was wrong about
this gold bull market thing. You probably figured that just because
I look stupid, and sound stupid, that maybe I really AM stupid,
and you were right. But you forgot to allow for luck! Perhaps
it IS just luck that I am pounding the table for gold and silver
at the same time as alert reader J.A.D sent the news clip from
Telegraph.co.uk, headlined "Russia leading global 'stealth
demand' for gold", which is an article written by Ambrose
The article starts off "The world's big money brigade is
snapping up gold bullion at eight times the rate originally thought,
according to a report by UBS, the world's biggest gold trader."
Instantly, my sensitive nose twitches as my Mogambo Olfactory
Profit Sense (MOPS) detects the delicate and enticing aroma of
a way to make some big money pretty damned soon, which is, if
you are into making money, the best kind!
Intrigued and now slavering, I read on, and learn that "The
Swiss bank said information from its trading floor suggested
that funds and investors were allocating 20pc of their commodity
portfolios to precious metals. This is far more than the index
tracking funds run by Goldman Sachs, Dow Jones-AIG, and others,
typically taken to be a guide to overall investment flows."
Twenty percent of the portfolios moving in gold? Wow! Wow! Talk
about rising demand! My MOPS was right!
The audience is suddenly abuzz, as The Mogambo seems to actually
be right about something for a change, and that is Big News On
Campus indeed! Amid catcalls from disbelievers, shouting "Impossible!",
"The fix is in!" and "God is dead!", I smile
knowingly to myself and, with a mere hand gesture, motion to
Mr. Evans-Pritchard to quote Ross Norman, director of the BullionDesk.com,
who happily opines "It is slow steady investment by pension
funds and long-term buyers. Anybody who thinks this market is
about to head sharply lower is reading it badly,"
My detractors somewhat stilled, Mr. Evans-Pritchard's next words
must have pierced their cold hearts, as he writes "President
Vladimir Putin, a frequent critic of dollar hegemony, has ordered
the Russian central bank to raise the gold share of foreign reserves
from 5pc to 10pc." Now, doubling something that already
exists is usually a lot, but it is much more bullish than that,
because he goes on to report "Russia's reserves have surged
to $237bn - the world's fourth biggest - after rising 61pc in
2004 and 40pc in 2005." Well, being a real linear kind of
guy, I figure that Russia in on track to take in, at a 30% rise,
another $71 billion this year, of which $7 billion will be used
to buy gold.
Another way of looking at this is provided, at no extra charge,
by Mr. Evans-Pritchard, when he writes "With a current account
surplus of 10pc of GDP, it must sweep up a big chunk of global
gold output just to stop its bullion share of reserves from falling."
But I continue to be very impressed with the way gold and silver
keep going down in price, when normally (and by that I mean in
the entire rest of economic history since the first true fungi
used protein strands as money), gold goes UP in price in economic
situations like this. Up. Not down. Up.
This is an anomaly. And if there is one Gigantic Mogambo Truism
(GMT), it is that anomalies do not last, such as the anomaly
about how a woman as pretty as my wife would marry a creep like
me. And sure enough, halfway through the first night of the honeymoon
she, too, is calling me a "disgusting, depraved pervert."
Thus, another anomaly reversed, and things are back to normal.
But the nice thing about anomalies is that people who bet against
them continuing much longer therefore have a lock on a guaranteed
profit if they can hold out long enough. And to profit on an
investment, you usually need to buy something first. And in this
case, buy gold and silver.
So what does one do when one wants to buy gold, but has spent
all of one's money? A thorny and perpetual worry! The Mogambo
Way (TMW) is to volunteer as a guard at a school-crossing, and
then, twice a day, you can charge the damned snot-faced school
kids a small fee to cross the street. And if they don't pay,
well, then maybe they will "accidentally" fall in front
of a car, which works out great because not only does the kid
learn a valuable lesson, but maybe you can get a few bucks out
of the terrified driver for yourself, too!
Anyway, the point is that you somehow get some money, and then
you use this money to buy more gold and silver, as these price
declines in gold and silver are a gift, because nothing that
has been causing gold to go up in price has changed, except to
get worse. A lot worse. Making the case for gold more compelling,
as if that were even possible.
As an example of bullishness about gold, read the essay "I
Knew I Should Have Bought Gold" by I. M. Vronsky, of Gold-Eagle.com.
First he notes that "The Brazilian currency (called the
"real") price of gold soared nearly 80% in a two-week
period in January 1999." Then he follows that up by saying
"I believe the US dollar price rise of gold will be equally
dramatic, violent and without notice sometime next year."
George Ure of UrbanSurvival.com has a different take on the recent
downdraft in gold "It's so that the gold suppression crowd
can clear their hedge books of shorts because they know inflation
is coming - a euphemism for the purchasing power of the US
dollar is going to tank. Down comes the price and the big boys
load up on the long side."
-- Analytical reader Tom L. notes that "silver has a density
of 655.515 LB/cubic foot." Keeping with English measurements,
that means that "16 OZ/LB = 10,488 OZ/cubic foot of metal."
So, at $13 an ounce, a cubic foot of silver will cost about $136,000
and crush your foot if you drop it on your toes.
-- The Last Contango in Washington by Antal E. Fekete writes
"People from around the world keep asking me what advance
warning for the collapse of our international monetary system,
based as it is on irredeemable promises to pay, they should be
looking for. My answer invariably is: "watch for the last
contango in silver".
"It takes a little bit of explaining what this cryptic message
means. Contango is that condition whereby more distant futures
prices are at a premium over the nearby." I interrupt to
add that contango is the usual spread for futures contracts.
Instead of thanking me for clarifying that important point, he
breezily went on "The opposite is called backwardation which
obtains when the nearby futures sell at a premium and the more
distant futures are at a discount."
What the hell does this have to do with making money with silver?
I raise my hand to ask, and I know that he sees me, but instead
of calling on me, he elects to flip to the last page of his notes
and hurriedly concludes "When contango gives way to backwardation
in all contract spreads, never again to return, it is a foolproof
indication that no deliverable monetary silver exists. People
with inside information have snapped it up in anticipation of
an imminent monetary crisis."
-- If you were wondering why we Americans seem so intent on picking
fights, perhaps the essay "The System in Crisis" by
Peter Montague on Counterpunch.com will answer that question.
"Defense is the only national industrial policy that almost
everyone will agree to, or at least acquiesce to, perhaps for
fear of being labeled unpatriotic. Foreign enemies are the ultimate
consumers of our military preparations, so in the face of flagging
demand for toasters and SUVs our economy now arguably requires
a growing supply of foreign enemies."
***Mogambo sez: The gold and silver market manipulators
are handing themselves and their friends a gift, as they know
that gold and silver are going to boom any minute now, as they
always have when economic conditions got like this.
If you want some, and you should, then all you have to do is
walk over and pick it up!
Jun 7, 2006
Provided as a courtesy of Agora Publishing and The
is general partner and C.O.O. for Smith Consultant Group, serving
the financial and medical communities, and the writer/publisher
of the Mogambo Guru economic newsletter, an avocational exercise
the better to heap disrespect on those who desperately deserve
it. The Mogambo Guru is quoted frequently in Barron's, The
and other fine publications.
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