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Financial Crisis

A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.

Proverbs 22:3

When I began writing this series back in early August, I did so as a response to a hard selloff in the stock market that followed the Fed’s decision at the end of July to lower interest rates.  As I noted in that first post in this series, I decided on the title “The Ongoing Financial Crisis of 2008” because it is my view that the market melt down that began in earnest in the fall of that year has never really gone away.

What occurred was that central banks took money printing into hyper-drive in late 2008 and early 2009 and managed to reflate the stock market bubble that had popped earlier in 2008.  I likened their actions to what the prophet Ezekiel called plastering walls with untempered mortar.  In other words, the Fed addressed the symptoms of the financial crisis, but not the cause of the crisis itself.

Eleven years later, this is still the case.  Nothing has been fixed.  Nothing has improved.  In fact, not only have things not improved, they have gotten far worse.

The 2008 crisis, what is sometimes called the Global Financial Crisis or the GFC, was a debt crisis.  There was simply more debt in the financial system than could be repaid.  So what was the response of the Fed and the federal government?  They conspired to create even more debt to solve a crisis caused by too much debt, as if somehow more of the same thing that caused the problem in the first place was also the solution!

To borrow an English proverb, this was the financial equivalent of bringing coals to Newcastle.

If a man is an alcoholic, you don’t cure hm by giving him another bottle of whiskey.  While another bottle may make him feel better for the moment, in the long run it will kill him.  Yet this is not so very different from what governments and central banks all over the world did in 2008.  They went on a spending and money printing spree, which managed to kick the can down the road but did nothing to solve the underlying problem.

As a result, while the economies of the United States and other Western nations have appeared to recover their health, the underlying fundamentals of those economies have grown steadily worse.  Just in America, our national debt has more than doubled since 2008 and now sits at $23 trillion.

Just to give you as sense of how fast debt is now piling up, it took the federal government from the founding of our country until 1982 to compile $1 trillion in debt.  Now, even mainstream sources are predicting that the annual deficit for fiscal year 2020 – this is the federal government’s fiscal year which began on October 1, 2019 and ends on September 30, 2020 – will be in excess of $1 trillion.  In other words, the federal government is adding the same nominal amount of debt in a single year that it previously took about 200 years to accrue.

Oddly, no one in Washington seems the least bit concerned about this.  Not the Democrats.  Not the Republicans.  No one except an odd fellow here and there such as Senator Rand Paul.

The Bible teaches us that debt is a burden.  At best, it is something that is to be used prudently and paid off timely.

Yet we all live with a debt-based financial system that, not only encourages debt, but actually requires debt to increase at a faster and faster pace just to keep the system from imploding.  This debt-based system of financial perdition was put in place in the United States with the passing of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.  The Fed has been destroying not only the financial fabric of the nation, but its moral fabric as well, for over 100 years.

What is true of America is also the case with all other Western nations.

We have become enslaved by debt, and all the more with each passing year.

But just as untempered mortar quickly shows itself when exposed to a little rain, so too are the phony fixes put in place in 2008 beginning to come unglued.  In fact, this author has been amazed by how badly the financial system has deteriorated in the past three months he has been writing this series.

In just that short time, the Fed has, apparently on a permanent basis, started baling out the overnight repo market, twice cut interest rates and resumed Quantitative Easing (QE).  These are all various forms of money printing, which have the long-run effect of weakening the dollar resulting in higher prices and a lower standard of living.

And these are just the activities they openly acknowledge.  In the opinion of this author, the Fed rigs all financial markets 24/7 to provide the appearance of normalcy.  Stocks, bonds, real estate and oil are propped up, while precious metals – gold and silver – and crypto currencies are suppressed.

Bet even as the Fed rigs all markets and the government statisticians put out phony economic numbers designed to understate unemployment and inflation while overstating economic growth, there are some stats that cannot be rigged.

If one looks closely at the economic numbers that are put out, he will see that, all the economic cheer leading from the administration aside, there is almost no good economic news to be found.  Here is just a sample of recent headlines showing just how serious things are getting:

 

I could easily produce many more such headlines, but I trust the reader gets the point that, economically speaking, things aren’t all that great out there.  What’s even more remarkable is that these headlines are showing up at a time when the Fed has put the money printing pedal to the metal, intervening more aggressively in the market than at any time since the height of the 2008 crisis.

But while all that money printing has, apparently, not turned around the economy, the stock market is hitting new record highs.

So which is it?  Are we to believe, the stock market, the politicians and the Wall Street cheer leaders, who tell us everything is awesome, or the economic statistics which point to an oncoming recession?

For my part, I’ll trust the economic statistics.  Not, mind you, because I think economic statistics furnish us with knowledge.  Only the 66 books of the Bible do that.  No, it’s not that economic statistics are true that causes me to trust them.  Rather, it is that the monetary and fiscal policies pursued by central banks and Western governments – that is to say, money printing and deficit spending – are morally bankrupt and will, in the long-run, inevitably lead to financial bankruptcy as well.

All this naturally leads to the question, when will the next economic crisis hit?  My answer:  I don’t know.

In my opinion, the entire world economic system should have collapsed in 2008, but extraordinary action by the world’s central banks managed to resuscitate the system.  The financial system could easily have collapsed any time since then, but for the ongoing interventions – both public and secret – of central banks and governments ever since.

In short, we’ve all been living on borrowed time.

So how much more time are the masters of the universe able, or even willing, to buy?  I don’t know.

In my opinion, the apparent quickening pace of the slide into recession seems to indicate that the time before the next major financial crisis is relatively short.  That said, this author has been amazed at the ability of the establishment to maintain order as long as they have, so I would caution against any predictions that the wheels are definitely going to come off in the short-term.  Quite obviously, the Trump administration is doing everything in its power to maintain normalcy until after the November 2020 elections, which are just under a year away.  Can they hold things together until then?  We’ll see.

But regardless of the timing, it is my thesis that a major financial crisis is coming.  This will not be a garden variety recession.  It will be like the 2008 crisis, only worse, for the simple reason that the debt crisis has gotten worse.  Instead of dealing honestly with things in 2008, all we did was double down on the debt and kicked the can down the road.

But the point is coming when the can is no longer kickable.

That’s when things will get interesting.

And that’s the reason I’ve written this series on prepping.  The bill for our debts is coming due, and I have a great burden to alert my fellow Christians to this, so that they may, as the prudent man in Proverbs 22:3, foresee trouble coming and hide themselves.

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Financial Crisis

A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.

Proverbs 22:3

The hits – negative economic news, that is – just keep coming.  To underscore what I mean by bad economic news, consider the following headlines from just last week:

Yet for all that, stocks hit a record high on Friday with the Dow closing above 28,000 for the first time.  CNBC’s headline on Thursday summed up the mainstream financial press’ exuberance quite well, “This is now the best bull market ever.”

How is it possible, on one hand, for there to be so much bad economic news and, on the other hand, for stocks to be hitting record highs?  We dealt with this topic last week, but this topic is of such importance that it bears additional commentary.  The answer to this question, to borrow a turn of phrase from one commentator I follow regularly, is that nothing’s real.  We have fake financial markets designed to manipulate your perception of reality.

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Financial Crisis

A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.

    Proverbs 22:3

Dow hits record as stock market rally extends into 5th week” ran Monday’s AP headline. The same day, CNBC was even more ebullient, proclaiming “After Dow hits a record, analysts believe these stocks will lead the measure to its next milestone.” So what shall I say? The past three months I’ve been writing series talking about the ongoing financial crisis of 2008 and not only are the stock markets refusing to crash, they’re hitting records highs! To make matters worse, Yahoo reports that “Gold Suffers Worst Week in Three Years as Bulls Run for Cover.”

I guess I should just give up writing about financial matters, right?

Or maybe not.

You see, my thesis that the American economy has never recovered from the 2008 financial crisis is not based upon where the Dow or S&P averages close or the price action of gold and silver in a particular week.

As a Scripturalist, that is, as someone who believes that the Bible has a systematic monopoly on truth, I seek to analyze the markets and the overall economy, not by what the day’s headlines report, but by the propositions found in the Word of God.

When looked at in light of the Scriptures, we can see that what is hyped as the greatest economy ever is, in reality, a house built upon sand, which, in the opinion of this author, the coming economic storms will sweep away.

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Financial Crisis
A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.

    Proverbs 22:3

It’s been a couple weeks since my last posting in this series, but there certainly has been no break in the flow of events. In the intervening time since my last entry on 10/20/19, there have been several noteworthy bits of financial news. Of those, the most important was the announcement from the Fed this past Wednesday that they had decided to lower the Fed Funds rate another quarter point. This was the third time the Fed has lowered interest rates in the past three months.

Now any such decision by the Fed is important given the tremendous power of the Fed to push financial markets one way or the other. The big takeaway, however, is what this decision says about the Fed’s assessment of the economy. Despite all the propaganda from the administration saying the economy is doing great, the decision by a the Fed, or any other central bank, to lower interest rates is a tacit admission that the economy is not doing well. If the economy were doing well, the Fed would be raising rates, not reducing them.

When you add to the Fed’s lowering of interest rates the ongoing (permanent?) bailout of the overnight repo market and the restart of quantitative easing (i.e. money printing), it is obvious that the those closest to the situation think that the economy is seriously struggling.

One of the justifications put forward for lowering interest rates and money printing is that there is no price inflation. But even according the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the official measure of price inflation put out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the CPI-U (the broadest measure of inflation) rose 1.7% for the period September 2018 to September 2019. But beware of official government statistics! Over the years, the federal government has changed the way it measures inflation. And it should come as no surprise that the change has been in the direction lowering reported inflation.

Economist John Williams runs a website called Shadow Stats where he purports to calculate inflation the old fashioned way. His most recent calculations of the CPI-U tell a very different story from the figures put out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). As you can see Williams most recent numbers come in a little higher than those of the BLS. According to Williams, the official method of calculating inflation used prior to 1990 shows inflation running at a more than 5% annual rate. If you look at this calculations with the pre-1980 method, the difference from the current official number is even more striking. The pre-1980 method of calculating inflation indicates that the current inflation rate is almost 10% annually!

If Williams is even close to being right, all this latest round of money printing by the Fed is like dumping gasoline on a raging fire, meaning we can expect to see much higher inflation numbers going forward.

Here’s a critical idea to keep in mind when talking about price inflation: Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary event. By this I mean that inflation is always the fault of money printing by central bankers. You can watch the evening news faithfully for decades on end and you will not hear this. Ditto with the financial channels such as CNBC and Fox Business. They will never tell you the simple reason for price inflation: Central bank money printing.

Why is this? It’s not an accidental oversight. The mainstream press is essentially the propaganda organ of the establishment, and central bank money printing is the financial black magic the establishment uses to increase its wealth and power at the expense of ordinary Americans. The powers that shouldn’t be – Washington politicians of both parties, Wall Street bankers and big shot investors together with a gaggle of academic theorists and news media talking heads – have a great scam going and do not want to let ordinary Americans know how badly their being ripped off and by whom.

To borrow a turn of phrase from Warren Buffett, “If you’ve been playing poker for half an hour at the table and you still don’t know who the patsy is, you’re the patsy.”

Ordinary Americans have been the patsies of the financial elite, of whom Warren Buffett is one, since the founding of the Fed over 100 years ago. The Fed’s inflation games are not only bad policy, they are also sinful in the eyes of God. The Bible unequivocally condemns “divers weights and measures” which God calls an “abomination” (see Proverbs 20:10 and 20:20 for example), which merchants of the day used to rip people off in much the same way central bankers, politicians and their super wealthy clients do today. It’s high time people woke of to this fact. End the Fed!

There’s much more that could be said about inflation and, Lord willing, I shall discuss this topic in greater depth in the future. For now, though, it is enough to know that 1) the cause of price inflation in money printing by the Fed, 2) the current method of measuring price inflation deliberately and significantly understates its true rate and 3) these facts are not reported in mainstream news outlets in order to keep the public in the dark about what is going on.

“So what,” you may ask, “does any of this inflation talk have to do with financial prepping?” Quite a lot, actually. If we understand that a falling dollar is the product of the Fed’s intentionally increasing the money supply too fast, we are positioned to understand ways of protecting ourselves against the ravages of price inflation.

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Financial Crisis

A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.

    Proverbs 22:3

“How did you go bankrupt?,” Bill asked. “Two ways,” Mike said. Gradually, then suddenly.”

That line from Hemmingway’s The Sun Also Rises could, I am sure, be repeated by many who have found themselves in serious financial trouble. A man can pile up debt for years with seemingly little consequence, until suddenly it all comes crashing down. Likewise, a scam artist can go on scamming, until one day his fraud is exposed. Think about Bernie Madoff whose Ponzi scheme blew up during the 2008 financial crisis.

One can find examples of the gradually then suddenly principle in the pages of Scripture as well. Psalm 73 records the psalmist’s lament that wicked men can do what they want and never seem to suffer the consequences of the actions. That is, until he understood that God would bring them “to desolation in a moment.”

Jonathan Edwards’ famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” expounds a passage in Deuteronomy which expresses much the same idea as Pslam 73. “To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.” In his exposition of Deuteronomy 32:35, Edwards wrote, “It implies that they [unbelievers] were always exposed to sudden unexpected destruction. As he that walks in slippery places is every moment liable to fall; he can’t foresee one moment whether he shall stand or fall the next; and when he does fall, he falls at once, without warning.”

Gradually, then suddenly. Was that not also the case with the men in Noah’s day? They were marrying and giving in marriage. Yet all the while they were adding to their sins, until, as Jesus said, the flood came and took them all away. They never saw it coming.

Much the same can be said of the Canaanites. It was told to Abraham in his day the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet fulfilled. That is, God would judge them, but not yet. Some four hundred plus years later, destruction cane swiftly. Gradually, then suddenly.

Or consider what happened to Israel once the nation was settled in Canaan. Despite God’s sending prophets to warn, gradually the people became more and more corrupt, until suddenly they were carried away into captivity. The Northern kingdom in 722 BC when Samaria was taken by the Assyrians, the southern in 586 BC with the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon.

Gradually, then suddenly. These ideas can be applied to America in our own day. A nation born out of the Protestant Reformation has gradually forgotten its roots, has gradually turned away from the source of its strength. And what are we to say about such a nation? What will be its end? If the Bible, and even secular history, are any guide, unless the Lord grants many repentance, quite obviously it is headed for a fall. Likely a sudden one at that.

But a sudden fall for America, if in fact it comes, and the West more generally, does not mean that American Christians or Christians in other Western nations have no defense and no hope. We shall look at this further in a few moments. But before we begin our discussion of practical pointers for Christian preppers, I would like to point out a couple of noteworthy announcements last week relative to the financial markets.

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Financial Crisis

A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.

    Proverbs 22:3

Last week we concluded our look at various examples of prepping the Bible. In Parts 4, 5, 6 and 7 of these series, our focus was on Noah, Lot Joseph and the teachings of Christ in that order. Not that this list exhausted all the examples of prepping found in the Bible. Indeed, there are a great deal more examples of prepping in the Scriptures than I have the time or space to discuss in this short series on Christian prepping. That said, I believe the examples we looked at are enough to establish that God approves of prepping.

It had been my intention today to follow the prepping examples discussed in Parts 4-7 with some practical advice on prepping. But the more I thought about it, the more it seemed good to follow the Scriptural examples of prepping with a more doctrinal discussion. Examples are helpful, for they help us to see the practical application of Christian doctrine, but examples do not replace doctrine.

But before we dive into Biblical prepping theory, I’d be remiss if I did not review the financial news from this past week. As has been noted previously, the main title for this series, “The Ongoing Financial Crisis of 2008,” expresses this author’s opinion that the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) that struck in that year has never really ended. As some historians consider World War II to be a continuation of World War I separated by 21 years of uneasy peace, so too are there many financial market observers who argue that the next financial crisis simply will be a continuation of the GFC, separated by a decade or so of uneasy financial normalcy.

The reason some market observers argue this way, and I happen to agree with them, is that the cause of the GFC was never honestly dealt with, but rather was papered over. The 2008 crisis was caused by excessive debt, which itself was the inevitable result of a corrupt global financial system, founded as it is on the fraudulent, debt-based, central bank issued, fiat US Dollar.

When things became unglued in 2008, the US and the world in general were presented with an opportunity to deal honestly with a bankrupt – bankrupt in both the economic and moral sense of the term – financial system. It was a bit like the alcoholic being given the opportunity to clear out the liquor cabinet, sober up, and get his life back, or to again reach for the bottle and find temporary solace in the very thing that’s destroying his life.

America, and the West generally, made the wrong choice, deciding to take another hit from the debt bottle that is destroying our nations, all the while making some fabulously wealthy.

As proof that the issues of the GFC were never resolved, consider the absurd spectacle of negative interest rates. According to Mike Shedlock, there are five central banks with negative interest rates – the Swiss National Bank, Denmark, the European Central Bank, Sweden and the Bank of Japan. Negative interest rates – this is a situation where savers are charged a fee to save and borrowers are paid to borrow, the exact opposite of how a financial system is supposed to work – rob the prudent and reward the profligate. Put another way, they are the financial equivalent of calling good evil and evil good. Such a situation never could exist in a market economy, but has come about as a result of the monetary sorcery of an immoral central banking cartel that currently runs the West.

Negative interest rates are a screaming danger signal to anyone with any financial sense that there are serious problems in the global financial system, but that hasn’t stopped President Trump from calling for them.

But negative interest rates aren’t the only danger signal flashing red. As we discussed last week in Part 7, the Fed continues to bail out the overnight repo market. To give you a sense of just how big the ongoing bailout is, CNN noted on 9/20 that in the first four days of the operation, the Fed had injected over $275 billion into the repo market. “In less than a week,” CNN went on to say, “the Fed injected 34.4% of the $800 billion that it printed during the 2008 bailout.”

That is simply breathtaking. To think that in the first four days of the most recent bank rescue the Fed printed more than a third of the total it did during the 2008 crisis. And note well, that total was as of 9/20. An entire new week of repo market bailouts has since gone in the books. And the bailouts are scheduled to continue until 10/10! At the current rate, the repo bailouts will exceed the (at least publically admitted) bailouts of 2008.

Apart from its sheer size, another remarkable facet of the current repo market rescue is that the cause of the crisis has not yet been disclosed. One clue to the locus of the problem is in the fact that this is a repo market bailout. According to an article by Pam and Russ Martens posted on Wall Street On Parade, “The New York Fed is only allowed to engage in these repo transactions with its 24 primary dealers. That list of 24 primary dealers includes the securities units of big U.S. banks like JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, but it also includes the U.S. based securities units of troubled foreign banks like Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, and Societe Generale (SocGen).” Because the New York Fed is not announcing which banks are drawing down the bulk of its loans, neither Congress nor the American people know if the money is flowing to U.S. banks or foreign bank subsidiaries in the U.S. Propping up troubled foreign banks in not what most Americans want their central bank to be doing.” Of course, I would add that I don’t want the Fed bailing out troubled American banks either.

So here you have this massive bank bailout going on, a bailout that more than one analyst think involves Deutsche Bank, but the American public is largely in the dark. This, naturally, is exactly what the fed and other financial ne’er do wells want. Let the people obsess about the Democrats’ frivolous impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, while the Fed once again bails out the billionaire bankers and hands the bill to the American people.

Very clearly, there are serious problems in the financial system. Enough so that it probably is inaccurate to speak of a coming Phase 2 of the GFC, for it is already upon us.

But enough of Wall Street intrigue for the moment. Let us now turn to discussing the Biblical doctrine of prepping, to see what the Scriptures teach us about how Christians should prepare for the financial storm in which we find ourselves.

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Financial Crisis

“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her.”

    – Luke 21:20-21

Last week we looked at the third of three case studies in prepping from the Old Testament, Joseph, Prime Minister of Egypt. The other two case studies were the accounts of Noah and the end of the world as he knew it and Lot’s narrow escape from Sodom. This week, I’d like to turn our attention to the New Testament and in particular to the teaching of Jesus himself that relate to the subject of prepping.

But before turning to Jesus’ teachings on prepping, it’s worth taking a little time to review the events in the financial markets last week. The general title for this series The Ongoing Financial Crisis of 2008, because it is the contention of this author that the crisis which manifested itself that year, sometimes referred to as the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), has never gone away. Rather, the symptoms only were treated by massive money printing by the world’s leading central banks and other financial fakery, a great deal of which probably is still kept under wraps by the powers that shouldn’t be.

The first event from last week I’d like to look at was the New York Fed’s (The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the most prominent of the Fed’s regional banks) bailing out the overnight Repo market to the tune of $53 billion late Tuesday night, early Wednesday morning, September 17th and 18th. Now you may be asking, “So just what is the overnight Repo and why should I even care?” Good questions.

Investopedia defines a Repurchase Agreement (Repo) as, “a form of short-term borrowing for dealers in government securities. In the case of a repo, a dealer sells government securities to investors, usually on an overnight basis, and buys them back the following day…Repos are typically used to raise short-term capital…Classified as a money-market instrument, a repurchase agreement functions in effect as a short-term, collateral-backed, interest-bearing loan. The buyer acts as a short-term lender, while the seller acts as a short-term borrower. The securities being sold are the collateral.”

For most of us, the repo market is a fairly obscure corner of the financial system, something that runs in the background. But what happened overnight while most of us slept was a sudden spike in the repo interest rate, which the week before had been 2.29%, but shot up to 10% before the Fed stepped in. As CNN reported, this was the first time the fed had to bail out the overnight repo market since late 2008, which just happened to be the height of the financial crisis.

The Fed conducted further bailouts on Wednesday night and Thursday night.

Finally, on Friday the Fed announced that it would conduct daily repurchasing operations through October 10.

One big takeaway from operation repo is that market forces want to take interest rates higher, which is exactly the opposite of what the Fed wants to have happen.

Which brings me to the second event of note in the financial markets last week, the Fed’s announcement that it was lowing interest rates by 0.25%. This is the second such announcement in the past two months, the previous one coming at the end of July.

Many mainstream commentators are confused by the Fed’s decision to lower interest rates. The reason is that lowing interest rates is something central banks do when the economy is struggling, but the official line is that the American economy is doing great and has never been better. Why is this?

Think of interest rates as the price of money. If the economy is doing well, this means businesses are borrowing to expand their facilities to keep up with demand, consumers and taking out car and home loans. And what happens when demand for a thing increases? All other things equal, the price goes up. With respect to demand for loans, this means that interest rates go up.

The opposite is the case when the economy is doing poorly. There is little demand from businesses to expand, so there is little demand for business loans. Consumers don’t have the income to support car an home loans, so they too are unable to take on debt to fund these purchases. When demand for money decreases, its price, that is to say the interest rate, tends to drop.

This is where the confusion comes in. Donald Trump is out there telling the whole world that the American economy is doing great, while at the same time forcefully arguing for lower interest rates. The Fed’s decision to lower rates strongly suggests that the economy is not doing as well as the Trump administration would like you to believe. Taken together with the Fed’s needing to bail out the repo market, lower interest rates are another data point suggesting an oncoming recession.

A third item of note from last week was the return of talk about a not too far off return to Quantitative Easing (QE) from none other than Fed Chairman Jay Powell. In plain English, QE is simply massive money printing (aka counterfeiting) by central banks to buy assets no one else wants to keep interest rates under control. First employed during as an emergency during the 2008 crisis, QE is now being seriously discussed in public. Question: If the economy really is as great as the powers that shouldn’t be want us to believe, why is the Fed talking about bringing back QE?

In the opinion of this writer, the three items mentioned above – the Fed’s bailout of the repo market, it’s decision to lower interest rates, and talk about QE – strongly suggest the Fed is worried about major problems in the financial system, perhaps even a financial crisis, just around the corner and strongly suggest what the Fed will do to combat those problems: print money.

So, what are Christians to make of all this? The most logical conclusion is that we are, in fact, facing a major financial storm and we need to rig for heavy weather. That is to say, we need to get prepared and to stay prepared. All which brings us back to where we started, the teachings of Christ on the subject of prepping.

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Financial Crisis

There were at least a three noteworthy events in the financial markets this past week. In the first place there was outgoing European Central Bank (ECB) head Mario Draghi’s announcement of what some are calling QE Infinity (Infinite Quantitative Easing). According to Draghi, the ECB will begin asset purchases at the rate of €20 billon per month for as long as it deems necessary, “to reinforce th accommodative impact of its polity rates.”

Translating all this central bank talk into plain English, Draghi has committed the ECB to counterfeit an absurd about of money on a monthly basis just to make sure the European economy doesn’t collapse. Further, there is no definite stopping point to this program. Draghi’s policy is both sinful and incompetent. It is sinful, because it violates the Bible’s clear teaching that differing weights and measures are an abomination to the Lord It is incompetent, because it fails not only to address the real reasons for the economic problems in the nations that use the Euro currency, but actually makes them worse.


Second was Donald Trump’s calling for the Federal Reserve to lower “interest rates down to ZERO , or less.” This is a remarkable statement by the President, and has left many asking why he made it. The short story is this, the American economy is not as good as what Trump and others have tried to convey and the President is concerned that, if the Fed doesn’t cut interest rates, the stock market will tank and the economy will fall into recession. Neither of these things would be good for his reelection chances.

Of course, neither a Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) nor a Negative Interest Rate Policy (NIRP) would be good for the country, especially for those who rely on interest income from their savings, but that doesn’t seem to matter to the President.

A third noteworthy item of financial news from last week was the sudden spike in the 10-year US Treasury interest rate. The 10-year US Treasury is considered the benchmark interest rate for the entire bond market. More than that, the 10-year Treasury is the benchmark which goes a long way to determining the price of stocks as well.

When interest rates move sharply upward, this means that the price paid for bonds has gone sharply down. Bond interest rates and bond prices move in opposite directions, much as the ends of a teeter-totter do. If yields are going up, this means that there is a selloff in the bond market.

So bonds are selling off, what does this mean? Peter Schiff and Gregory Mannarino have warned that this could portend a larger bond selloff as holders of US Treasuries become nervous about the financial condition of the US. Mannarino is of the opinion that China may be the major actor here.

Another interpretation is that the Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF) – the ESF is part of the US Treasury Department – is manipulating the 10-year interest rate to make sure that the yield on the 10-year Treasury stays well above the yield on the 2-year Treasury, thus preventing an inverted yield curve, which is a strong recession indicator.

These moves in the bond market are important, yet most people don’t follow the bond market nearly as much as the stock market. But it’s the bond market that controls what goes on in the stock market, not the other way around. If we ever do get an uncontrolled selloff in the bond market – this would mean sharply higher interest rates, remember when bond prices go down, interest rates go up – you would see a simultaneous crash in all markets that derive their value from debt: stocks, and housing in particular.

Put another way, if the bond market tanks, the whole economy tanks.

One thing all three bits of news above have in common is that they are all related to what I’ve called the Ongoing Financial Crisis of 2008. My contention is that, due to the interventions of governments and central banks, the debt problem that triggered the 2008 global financial crisis not only was not solved, but actually made worse. Calls for QE Infinity, ZIRP, and NIRP together shaky bond markets are all symptoms of this.

In light of the fact that the serious problems with the West’s financial system have never been addresses, and given the foolishness of Western leaders, never will be voluntarily addressed, it seems wise to this author for Christians to take steps to protect themselves from a breakdown in the financial system now.

It is this need to get prepared and stay prepared, together with a conviction that very little has been written for Christians by Christians on this subject, that have prompted me to write this series in the first place.

As part of this series on the financial crisis and on getting prepared for it, I have been examining what the Bible has to say about prepping. As a Scripturalist – a Scripturalist is defined as one who believes that all knowledge is either expressly set forth, or can be derived by good and necessary inference, from the 66 books of the Bible – it is critical to ground all prepping the Word of God.

One question to ask is this, Does the Bible support prepping? The clear answer is, yes it does. This can been seen in the numerous, clear examples in the Scriptures of those took steps to prevent suffering and death, both their own and that of others, by taking preventive measures in the face of oncoming catastrophe. “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself,” says Proverbs, “but the simple pass on and are punished.”

A second question to ask is, What should Christians do to get prepared? I contend that Christians must answer this question in the same as the first, by looking to the Scriptures. As part of this series, we’ve already looked at two examples, that of Noah and that of Lot. Today, I’d like to turn the reader’s attention to another obvious example from Genesis, the case of Joseph, Prime Minister of Egypt.

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Financial Crisis

A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.

    Proverbs 22:3

US Slaps New Tariffs On China; One Minute Later China Retaliates,” was the headline on ZeroHedge this morning. This, of course, is in reference to the US/China trade war which has been ongoing for the past two years.

Just last week, US stock markets rallies on reports that China was going to be “calm” in its response to the trade war. But in this headline we see that China immediately retaliated when the Trump administration imposed tariffs on $112 billion in Chinese imports. Whether China’s response, a decision to place higher tariffs on $75 billion of imports from the US, will be considered “calm” by American financial markets when they reopen on Tuesday after the Monday closure for Labor Day is a matter of opinion.

In the view of this author, come Tuesday the moves by the US and China to impose a new round of tariffs on each other likely will put downward pressure on US stocks, force money into bonds, drop long-dated US treasury yields further inverting the already inverted yield curve, and cause gold and silver to spike. This opinion comes with the usual caveats that things could change between now and Tuesday morning and that past performance does not guarantee future results.

I bring up the trade war, not because it’s the focus of this post, but just by way of warning that there is a lot of uncertainty in the financial markets, a great deal of which is caused by the geopolitical stresses in the world today, none of which seems likely to be resolved anytime soon.

And geopolitical stresses are not the only things that pose a threat to the well-being of private citizens of the US and the West generally. The Western financial system is in a state of collapse. Deficits and debts are out of control, yet there is no political will to address these issues. To date, politicians and central bankers have largely been able to hide the destructive effects of out of control spending government spending has had on the lives of average citizens, but this will not go on indefinitely.

Speaking of debtors, Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount that, unless they settled with their creditors, they would be thrown in jail and not get out until they paid the last cent. In God’s economy, the books always balance in the end. Put another way, no debt goes unpaid. The once Christian West has managed to rack up the greatest debts in the history of mankind, and these debts most certainly will be paid in full. That payment will come in the form of currency devaluation, loss of standard of living and, probably, a loss of personal freedom as well.

So what are Christians, in particular, Western Christians to do in the face of the challenges facing our nations? In the first place, we must remember who it is we serve. The Lord Jesus Christ is our king and it is in his name we put our trust. Jesus never promised his people that they would have lives of perfect, uninterrupted bliss. On the contrary, he repeatedly warned his hearers that following him came at a cost. But Christ has promised that he will always be faithful and that our Father in heaven will supply our needs.

In the opinion of this author, barring the near-term return of the Lord Jesus Christ, there is no possible way for the West to avoid a major financial and political crisis in the next few years. But in light of the promises of Scripture – for example, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things (food and clothing) shall be added unto you” – Christians have no business falling into despair.

This leads me to my second point. Rather than falling into despair, we Christians need to get to work. That is to say, we need to get prepared for what is coming. We want to be the prudent man in the verse from Proverbs quoted at the top of this post and not as the fool who ignores all warnings signs and is punished for his failure to take reasonable action.

Put another way, recognizing potential dangers and making prudent preparations against them is part of the Christian enterprise.

In today’s post, beginning with Noah I’d like to begin exploring some of the major examples in Scripture of prepping and what applications these examples have for Christians in the early 21st century.

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Financial Crisis

They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ when there is no peace.

    – Jeremiah 6:14

A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.

    – Proverbs 22:3

In his recent piece “11 Reasons Why So Many Experts Believe That A US Economic Crisis Is Imminent,” Michael Snyder makes the case that there are numerous and important economic indicators that are flashing red, warning us that a the next recession is imminent. I strongly suggest that you read it.

Predictions about the future are always difficult. Michael Snyder does not claim to be a prophet. Neither does this author. But God has given us his Word and the ability to reason from it. In the Scriptures we can learn the mind of God on what sound government is, what sound money is, and what pleases him as well as what incurs his wrath.

Gordon Clark and John Robbins both noted in their writings that the once Christian West is in a state of collapse and has been for some time. This collapse, which can be traced at least to the second half of the 19th century has advanced to the point where the nations that once rejoiced in the blessings of God brought about by the Christian Reformation of the 16th century are now falling apart before our very eyes.

It is beyond the scope of this series to look at all the ways in which the West is in collapse. Rather my focus has been on the failure of the Western financial system. That is quite enough for one series.

Getting back to Michael Snyder’s article after listing out the 11 economic danger signs, Snyder comments, “On the surface, the Trump administration is trying to assure us that everything is going to be just fine, but behind the scenes they appear to be preparing for the worst.”

Worth noting is that Michael Snyder is not some snowflake Trump hater. He’s a conservative Republican, but one who is honest enough to admit that the rhetoric out of the Trump administration does not match with the policies the President wants to pursue. Lowing interest rates and demanding Quantitative Easing – Quantitative Easing (QE) is a new term that came into common use during the 2008 financial crisis; QE is a roundabout way of saying “money printing,” which has the effect of destroying the value of the dollar – are measures designed to pull an economy out of a recession. These are not measures one uses when the economy is doing well, but when it is struggling.

It appears that Trump is concerned that the economy may tip over into recession before the 2020 presidential election. Were this to happen, it would weaken his chance of reelection.

Trump is right to be concerned. When the next recession hits, it likely will be much worse than the one we saw in 2008. In fact, many economic observers don’t speak of a coming recession. Rather, they speak of a coming Greater, or even Greatest, Depression.

Those who speak of a Greater Depression rest their case on the fact that the 2008 crisis was never dealt with honestly. The 2008 crisis was debt driven. There was too much debt in the financial system and not enough capital to service it. So what did governments and central banks do to “solve” the 2008 crisis? Unbelievably, they added more debt to the system!

While adding more debt to the system had the effect of reflating the collapsing bond market, stock market and housing bubbles and kicking the can down the road, not only did it not solve the debt problem, it actually made it much worse. As did the false prophets Jeremiah’s day, so too have done elected officials and central bankers in our time: They have healed the wounds of their people slightly.

I would like to be optimistic and say that the nations of the West will come to their senses and reject the policies, chief among them central banking, that have driven them to the point of bankruptcy, but it appears that this will not the case. There are simply too many powerful, vested interests to expect a change of course at this point. In the view of this author, it will take a major economic collapse before there is any opportunity for change.

But even an economic collapse of historic proportions will not be enough. As John Robbins has noted, events do not explain themselves, but must themselves be explained. Were an economic collapse to happen tomorrow, not a few people would take to the microphones of the MSM to declare that it is all the fault of too much liberty, that those who favor capitalism are to blame, and that what we need is more centralized government authority to pull us out of this mess and ensure that such a disaster won’t happen again.

Of course, such an explanation is nonsense. It is not too much economic and political liberty that has led the nations of the West to the brink of economic collapse, but too little. It is the central planners, the central bankers, the authoritarians and the socialists who have created this mess, and it is imperative that Christians point this out once the collapse occurs.

There is a sense in which Christians can be faulted for the collapse of the West, but not in the way that our enemies think. Our fault lies in the fact that we have not fought the good fight of faith as we ought to have. Too often we have been seduced, either by the pleasures of this world, by the so-called wisdom of this world, by our own laziness, by our own self-imposed ignorance, or by the fear of men, from teaching, rebuking, and correcting the enormous fallacies that have poured forth from both religious and secular thinkers over the past 150 years.

The ideas of Thomas Aquinas, Soren Kierkegaard, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, Oscar Wilde, Sigmund Freud, Karl Barth, John Maynard Keynes and many others have replaced the systematic truth of the Scriptures in the West to the point that even many Christians have absorbed at least some of what these men taught under the mistaken notion that their ideas are Christian.

Christians in the late 19th and 20th centuries first lost the intellectual battle, and now their descendents are losing their countries.

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