Previously by James West: Dizzying New Heights of Global Criminal Enterprise
Gold and silver are threatening to break new ground driven by one simple fact: Nearly all wealthy nations are labouring under one form of debt/monetary inflation issue or another. Ireland and Greek bonds have now been reduced to junk, Japanese bonds became safer than Chinese as reports of China’s massive deficits internally offset the rosy picture supported by 9.5% performance in the Chinese economy. Italy is looming large as the next bailout candidate, and the United States prioritize political brinkmanship over problem solving. Gold and silver are seeking new highs and threaten to break out strongly – especially now that the Fed has acknowledged a willingness to launch QE3.
The ridiculous posturing by Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. over the imminent rise in so-called borrowing makes it almost embarrassing to be human. They can’t even get out of the way of their own political agendas to solve a problem threatening to make politics obsolete. Certainly, I’d be embarrassed to be American. But on that point, I’d be embarrassed to be English, Irish, German, French, Swiss, Portuguese and especially Greek, Italian or Spanish. Stand close to any of the Davos men who constitute these nations’ finance ministers and you are immediately struck by the impression that you’re in the presence of the best-dressed con artists walking the globe.
But the creative rhetoric that has resulted in 2 + 2 equalling –4 since the deficit spending party got underway with the end of the Bretton Woods Agreement by the hand of Richard Milhouse Nixon is starting to disintegrate under its own inertia. The novelty and creativity of the formulas and structures, and subsequently, new language, required to continue funelling artificial dollars into broken down debt vehicles is yet insufficient and the charade is reaching its unavoidable and imminent end. Is it a coincidence that the debts, currencies, and economies of the top European, Asian and North American countries are all accelerating towards the brick wall of default at the exact same point in history? I smell a rat, or rather, a whole pack of rats. I think the ruling class, which is without a shadow of doubt corrupt beyond redemption, have figured out that if you bury your theft in a mountain of debt, it will never be found and you can ride off into the sunset undiscovered. Its time for the politicos and their brainwashed over-educated economists to disclose publicly both the amount of taxes paid on their sources of worldwide income.
But that’s another story. It amazes me, and then again it doesn’t, that there are no culprits in this grand global forum of doublespeak. The Greeks are guilty, but not a single Greek person has been named as responsible for anything that might constitute a transgression of fiduciary duty. The American president blames the Republicans, who blame the democrats. Again, nobody is fingered as the leader or treasury secretary or central bank chairman who is guilty of a crime, or even of towering stupidity. Greenpspan’s taking some heat, but he rode off into the sunset, and so in his dotage is a safe target. If corporations are the beard for the unsavoury acts of businessmen, then government is certainly the place to hide for leaders who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of the general public.
SELF DELUSION AS DESIRABLE SKILL-SET
It’s true that People tend to embrace the convictions that serve their circumstantial requirements. A cancer patient believes unequivocally he will beat the disease. A gambler believes just as forcefully that he can beat the house. An athlete believes he will win, and a judge believes he is qualified to pass judgment and sentence on the lives of others. In the United States, the President and Congress believe it is both their right and their obligation to pretend that the inevitable will only occur according to their political conditions, and fail to recognize that the inevitable will happen because its inevitable. Both sides know that there is absolutely zero chance of a compromise not being reached, and both sides plan to hold out for their respective demands until the very last possible second. Obama promises the Biggest Deal Possible, and Republicans are obliged to proclaim a Little Tiny Deal.
That means the solution will be the equivalent of little tiny band-aid on a gaping wound in a rain storm. It might slow the tide of the larger inevitability – the collapse of the U.S. dollar and the U.S. financial apparatus – but only temporarily. And then, maybe not at all. Where the boundaries of reason have long ago been surpassed by the astonishing ridiculousness of the economic ruling class, the average intellect is at a loss to opine where the relentless plunge into the apparently bottomless abyss of debt might end. Can we really keep ‘refinancing’ and ‘rolling over’ and ‘reinsuring’ our way into infinity? Is the next debt ceiling measured in quadrillions, and then quintillions, and so on?
At the end of the day, these vast sums being loaned into existence by the collusional participation of elected officials and their appointees is a smokescreen for skimming the national take and paying the minimum tax.
But the scheme has evolved into a scam, and the scam has gotten so mature, that like any Ponzi scheme it needs to replace old investors with new ones to keep the balls in the air. It looks like the principle product of our globalized pyramid economy – indebtedness – is about to collapse, because all the participants are maxed out; there are no new investors to keep the scam going. The central banks can’t create money fast enough to make even the interest payments on these colossal debts. We could theoretically amp up the rate of money issuance, but even with zero interest rates, that’s too much for the already over-inflated financial system. The value of national currencies is in terminal decline relative to real goods, and we are witnessing the birth of the first global hyperinflation in history. Which brings us back to the main thrust of this story, which is that we are on the verge of a major chronic meltdown.
The acuteness of the self-inflicted austerity measures that Obama has as his only bargaining chip, versus the depth of relinquished tax breaks which is the only bargaining chip of the Republicans, is all that remains to be negotiated in America. That and the numerical name of the next debt ceiling. In Europe, the game is slightly different. On multiple fronts, the banks and the governments are negotiating austerity measures as if they were carbon credits. And just as carbon credits are easily counterfeited, or cancelled, or fraudulently re-sold, the promises will be modified by political expediency, the CDO spreads and interest rates will be adjusted to suit the reality required by all the vested interests, and the numerical names of the next bailouts, puny in comparison with America’s, established.
CHINA AND JAPAN
The news yesterday that China grew by 9.5% in the second quarter of 2011 appears to have allayed fears that the Chinese Tiger was growing a little bit tired and threatening to lie down for a while. But not before the Chinese bad news triggered a warning from Moody’s.
China on Monday failed to sell some of the 50 billion yuan ($7.73 billion) in local bonds offered at a regular auction. It was the first time one of these Ministry of Finance auctions failed to sell out since they began in 2009. Local governments can’t issue bonds directly so the ministry auctions the bonds on their behalf.
Ratings firm Moody’s Investors Service warned last week that local-government debt posed an increased risk to the central government and the banking system, and said a National Audit Office estimate putting the debt at 10.7 trillion yuan understated the actual amount by some 3.5 trillion yuan.
With Europe squabbling over where to meet next, and Obama sticking to his guns for concessions on tax breaks, the bigger picture is looking an awful lot like gold and silver will be the ultimate beneficiaries of all this debt stupidity.
When the bombs go off and the delusion can no longer be supported, we’ll wake up and understand that defaults on all fronts have been ongoing for quite some time. Then the stampede will really begin into gold and silver.
Reprinted with permission from the Midas Letter.
James West is an independent capital markets entrepreneur and investor. He is publisher of the Midas Letter.