Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Financial Crisis’

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.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Financial Crisis

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

    Proverbs 22:3

In a recent article titled “The monetary policy endgame,” Rick Rieder argued that central banks have two ways of creating inflation – inflation in this case being defined as rising consumer prices. The first is to create increased consumer demand through demand stimulus (lower interest rates). Secondly, Rieder argues, central banks can engage in monetary debasement. Continuing with his argument, Rieder contends that he believes central banks will turn to monetary debasement to achieve their stated inflation goals.

So what is monetary debasement? As the Investopedia link puts it, “Debasement refers to lowering the value of a currency, particularly one based on a precious metal, by adding metal of inferior value.”

But even though we don’t have a precious metals based monetary system doesn’t mean that governments can’t debase their currencies. As the Investopedia article on debasement goes on to say, “[D]ebasement [in fiat monetary systems] only requires that the government print more money, or since muc hmoney exists only in digital accounts, create more electronically.”

In light of the coming central bank driven currency debasement, Rieder asks the important question, “How should one position for such an endgame?” Rieder’s answer? “[A]ll of this leads one today to consider assets that can participate in an inherent devaluation of the local currency, which is to say, real estate, and even hard assets that have historic value-relevance, such as gold.”

Rieder’s post is remarkable, not just for what he said, but also for who it is that said it. Rieder is not some tin foil hat wearing gold bug, but is a Chief Investment Officer (CIO) at BlackRock, a New York City based investment management firm that is the world’s largest asset manager with $6.84 trillion in assets under management as of June 2019. Put another way, BlackRock is Wall Street royalty. Further, Rieder’s post appeared on BlackRock’s blog, giving his statements the implicit approval of the firm itself.

Given the decades long propaganda campaign of hatred that has been directed at gold and at those who advocate for the return of gold to the financial system, Rieder’s comments are significant indeed.

There’s a lot to unpack in Rieder’s article, more than what can be discussed in this post. Lord willing, I shall return to his post at some point in the future. But I mention in today mainly to let readers know that mainstream financial analysts are quietly warning that the US dollar – and all other fiat currencies – are in trouble and likely to suffer significant devaluation in the not too distant future.

In light of warnings from Rieder and others, the application of Proverbs 22:3 to our current financial circumstances cannot be overstressed. Here we have a highly placed man at a highly respected financial firm going on record to warn us in advance that the Fed is going to debase the dollar. What is more, he provides for us sound advice on strategies savers can use to protect themselves.

In Scripture, we find several examples of men who were given advanced warning by God of coming disasters, and who, in faith, took action to save themselves and others. In last week’s installment, we looked at the case of Noah. This week, we shall continue our look at Biblical case studies in prepping with a review of Lot’s narrow escape from Sodom.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

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.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Financial Crisis

“In his book…A Christian View of Men and Things [Gordon] Clark comments that the growth of government is the greatest tragedy of the twentieth century.”

    – John W. Robbins, “The Growth of Government in the United States

The thesis underlying this series of posts and reflected in the series’ titles, is that the 2008 financial crisis never really went away. Yes, the stock market has recovered and gone on to hit new highs. Yes, we don’t see massive layoffs taking place or people standing in bread lines. So the visual cues that we expect in a financial crisis are not present.

Further, we see announcements in the press stating how strong the American economy is, and various statistics are brought forth to prove this, perhaps most notably a low unemployment rate.

Donald Trump has been very aggressive at touting the strength of the American economy. The day after the worst stock market plunge of 2019, the President tweeted, “The United States is now, by far, the Biggest, Strongest and Most Powerful Economy in the World, it is not even close! As other falter, we will only get stronger. Consumers are in the best shape ever, plenty of cash. Business Optimism is at an All Time High!”

Now at least some of this is likely true. Objectively speaking, America has the world’s largest economy as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP). But there are reasons to doubt some of the President’s other claims.

For example, while the President says that consumers are in the best shape ever, the very next day CNBC ran a story announcing that Americans are more indebted than ever before. This hardly supports the President’s claim that consumers are in the best shape ever.

And if the economy is doing so well, why, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, has the labor force participation rate never recovered to the pre-crisis level?

If everything is so great, why has President Trump publicly called for more Quantitative Easing (QE) and interest rate cuts? QE is a radical money printing scheme which was used by the Federal Reserve as an emergency measure to save the financial system in the 2008 crisis. Since QE is an emergency measure that was used to stave off financial collapse, why is it that, on the one hand, President Trump is telling us that the economy is doing great under his leadership, but, on the other hand, is calling for emergency QE as if the financial system were collapsing again?

Another item contradicting the official narrative that everything is awesome with the economy is the calls for interest rate cuts. In the link above, Trump was calling for the Fed to lower interest rates. In a strong economy, demand for money is reflected in rising, not falling, interest rates. If the President is calling for the Fed to lower interest rates, by implication, he is saying the economy is stalling out, not charging ahead.

In the opinion of this writer, the struggles of ordinary Americans to find work and to make ends meet are reflective of a financial system in disarray, not one experiencing rapid growth.

Further, it is my view that the economic problems roiling America stem from the fact the American government and financial elite have refused for more than a decade now to deal honestly with the serious financial crisis facing the United States. At the root of the problem is the Fed, America’s central bank. Central banking is inherently immoral, unchristian, and destructive of the legitimate interests of the great bulk of the American people.

One of the great evils that flows from central banking is another great plague of modern society: Big Government.

In the quote at the top of this page, John Robbins noted that Gordon Clark thought that the growth of government in the United States was the greatest tragedy of the twentieth century. Considering all the evils of that century, Clark’s statement is remarkable indeed.

It is the contention of this author that America is going bankrupt as a result of big government, a great evil which itself is the child of the prior great evil of central banking. Yet there is no serious attempt on the part of elected officials of either party to address this situation.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Financial CrisisTrump touts ‘strongest economy in the world’ after disappointing jobs report,” ran a recent headline that managed to capture both the official line of the Trump administration and the contrasting reality portrayed by many recent underlying economic data points.

The February 2019 jobs report, released in early March, was expected to show a gain of 190,000 jobs, but instead reflected a gain of only 20,000. That’s a big miss in anybody’s book.

Now one could argue that President Trump’s statement is not negated by the disappointing jobs report. The US could indeed have the strongest economy in the world – depending on how one defines “strong” – and still do a face plant when it comes to the production of new jobs. All that is required for these two ideas to be true at the same time is for the rest of the world to be in a bigger mess than the US.

It is the contention, however, of this author that, in spite of all the talk of a booming economy coming from the Administration and from various sources on Wall Street and in the media, the US economy is not doing well and, in fact, is very likely headed into recession. It may actually be in recession as of this writing. Below are thirteen reasons why this author thinks so.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

2019 year in review

Better late than never, or so goes the old saying. I’d hoped to get this 2018 wrap up posted last week but, as usual, my ambition was greater than my reach. But late or not, it still seems good to me to take a little time and reflect on the year in blogging that was as well as to look ahead to 2019.

As always, I’d like to give a big thank you to my readers and commenters. It has been my prayer that you’ve found the work on this blog edifying in your Christian walk. We live in an age where it seems that almost everything is fake. But the words of Jesus Christ and the words of all Scripture are as real and true today as when they first were written down so long ago. It has been my endeavor to apply those words to the events of our own time, not only to help readers see the world through the lens of Scripture, but also to encourage.

Sometimes it can seem as if our problems are such that no one in any previous age ever saw their like. And yet as the Apostle Paul wrote, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man.” Yes, it’s true that we face a world of problems, but God has not left us in darkness without hope in the world.

If there is one idea that I hope to impart to readers of this blog, it’s this: No matter how great the struggles we face in our personal lives, no matter how great the crises we face as a nation, the Word of God makes us complete and thoroughly equipped to address them. As Gordon Clark and John Robbins rightly taught, the 66 books of the Bible have a systematic monopoly on truth. Further, it is the ignorance, perhaps even knowing rejection, of this simple idea that had led the formerly Christian West to the brink of disaster.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

FNN-Fake-News-Network-900While reflecting on the big story this past week, the name Mike Tyson came to mind. Now that’s a name you probably didn’t expect to see, but go with me on this one.

From those under the age of 40 or so, I suppose the name Mike Tyson evokes more snickers than anything else. But trust me, it wasn’t always so.

Tyson took the boxing world by storm back in 1985. Tyson didn’t just win fights, he didn’t just knock guys down. He didn’t settle for mere knockouts either. No, Tyson devastated his opponents. Quite simply, I’ve never seen anyone hit harder or attack more ferociously than Tyson in his prime.

By the age of twenty, Tyson was the heavy weight champion of the world.

So why do I bring up Iron Mike? Because this week James O’Keefe of Project Veritas delivered what amounted to a journalistic version of a Tyson uppercut to CNN.

In the segments released so far, O’Keefe’s exposé has caught a CNN producer admitting that the whole Trump-Russian collusion meme is a bunch of hooey (the producer used a different word) and that the only reason CNN spent so much time on it is that it’s good for ratings. CNN anchor Van Jones was caught on tape admitting the much the same thing, that the Russian collusion story is nonsense (he used a different word, too).

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: