A Record Number of Americans Say They Are Worse Off Financially Since Joe Biden Took Office


Posted originally on the CTH on February 5, 2023 | Sundance

According to the latest ABC/WaPo polling [Full pdf Here], 41% of Americans say they are worse off financially under Joe Biden.  That is the highest negative response to the question in the 37-year history of ABC polling.

Yet we are supposed to believe voters suffering under the worst financial outlooks in 40-years rewarded Joe Biden just two months ago with support for his Democrat Party and candidates?   Something is just not adding up.

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[Full Poll Data Here]

Gallup Poll – Gov’t is Our Greatest Problem


Armstrong Economics Blog/Uncategorized Re-Posted Feb 1, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

Gallup has just confirmed what our computer has been forecasting especially since 2011. The majority of Americans now say that a lack of leadership from President Biden and Congress is the country’s biggest problem and that means the entire world. Perhaps aliens should have a right to vote for the decisions of the Biden Administration are destroying lives around the world.

The Gallup Poll shows that it is the collapse of confidence in a government that is now viewed as the greatest threat even more so than inflation, ​the immigration crisis, and the state of the economy. Despite Americans suffering economically with higher taxes and inflation reducing the standard of living, they have cited that “the government/poor leadership” is now in the No. 1 spot taking that place from inflation over the past year. Gallup has reported that 21% of Americans name our incompetent government as the “most important problem facing this country today​” compared to the 15% who said so last year, a Gallup Poll found.

​Inflation and the economy ​came in last year as the top two issues — tied at 16% each — followed by the government (15%), immigration (8%), and unifying the country (6%). ​However, over the past year, Americans’ concerns with the economy fell 6% to 10%, with ​inflation falling one point to 15%, and immigration rose 3 points to 11%.

Just wait until they realize that the Biden Administration is so incompetent, it has allowed the Neocons to wage World War III on two fronts – China and Russia. These people will destroy Western Civilization and that is what 2032 is all about.

Shortage of Bread Contributed to French Revolution


Armstrong Economics Blog/Agriculture Re-Posted Jan 27, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

Food shortages have historically contributed to revolutions more so than just international war. Poor grain harvests led to riots as far back as 1529 in the French city of Lyon. During the French Petite Rebeyne of 1436. (Great Rebellion), sparked by the high price of wheat, thousands looted and destroyed the houses of rich citizens, eventually spilling the grain from the municipal granary onto the streets. Back then, it was to go get the rich.

There was a climate change cycle at work and today’s climate zealots ignore their history altogether for it did not involve fossil fuels. The climate got worse at the bottom of the Mini Ice Age which was about 1650. It really did not warm up substantially until the mid-1800s. During the 18th century, the climate resulted in very poor crops. Since the 1760s, the king had been counseled by Physiocrats, who were a group of economists that believed that the wealth of nations was derived solely from the value of land and thereby agricultural products should be highly priced. This is why Adam Smith wrote his Wealth of Nations as a retort to the Physiocrats. It was their theory that justified imperialism – the quest to conquer more land for wealth; the days of empire-building.

The King of France had listened to the Physiocrats who counseled him to intermittently deregulate the domestic grain trade and introduce a form of free trade. That did not go very well for there was a shortage of grain and this only led to a bidding war – hence the high price of wheat. We even see English political tokens of the era campaigning about the high price of grain and the shortage of food to where a man is gnawing on a bone.

Voltaire once remarked that Parisians required only “the comic opera and white bread.” Indeed, bread has also played a very critical role in French history that is overlooked. The French Revolution that began with the storming of the Bastille on July 14th, 1789 was not just looking for guns, but also grains to make bread.

The price of bread and the shortages played a very significant role during the revolution. We must understand Marie Antoinette’s supposed quote upon hearing that her subjects had no bread: “Let them eat cake!” which was just propaganda at the time. The “cake” was not the cake as we know it today, but the crust was still left in the pan after taking the bread out. This shows the magnitude that the shortage of bread played in the revolution.

In late April and May of 1775, the food shortages and high prices of grain ignited an explosion of such popular anger in the surrounding regions of Paris. There were more than 300 riots and looking for grain over just three weeks (3.14 weeks). The historians dubbed this the Flour War. The people even stormed the place at Versailles before the riots spread into Paris and outward into the countryside.

The food shortage became so acute during the 1780s that it was exacerbated by the influx of immigration to France during that period. It was a period of changing social values where we heard similar cries for equality. Eventually, this became one of the virtues on which the French Republic was founded. Most importantly, the French Constitution of 1791 explicitly stipulated a right to freedom of movement. It was mostly perceived to be a food shortage and the reason was the greedy rich. Thus, a huge rise in population was also contributed in part by immigration whereas it reached around 5-6 million more people in France in 1789 than in 1720.

Against this backdrop, we have the publication by Thomas Malthus (1766-1834) An Essay on the Principle of Population was first published anonymously in 1798. He theorized that the population would outgrow the ability to produce food. We can see how his thinking formed because of the Mini Ice Age that bottomed in 1650. All of this was because of climate change which instigated food shortages. Therefore, it was commonly accepted that without a corresponding increase in native grain production, there would be a serious crisis.

The refusal on the part of most of the French to eat anything but a cereal-based diet was another major issue. Bread likely accounted for 60-80 percent of the budget of a wage-earner’s family at that point in time. Consequently, even a small rise in grain prices could spark political tensions. Because this was such an issue, and probably the major cause of the French Revolution among the majority, Finance Minister Jacques Necker (1732–1804) claimed that, to show solidarity with the people, King Louis XVI was eating the lower-class maslin bread. Maslin bread is from a mix of wheat and rye, rather than the elite manchet, white bread that is achieved by sifting wholemeal flour to remove the wheatgerm and bran.

That solidarity was seen as propaganda and the instigators made up the Marie Antoinette quote: Let them eat cake. . Then there was a plot drawn up at Passy in 1789 that fomented the rebellion against the crown shortly before the people stormed the Bastille. It declared “do everything in our power to ensure that the lack of bread is total, so that the bourgeoisie are forced to take up arms.” 

It was also at this time when Anne Robert Jacques Turgot (1727-1781), Baron de l’Aulne, was a French economist and statesman. He was originally considered a physiocrat, but he kept an open mind and became the first economist to have recognized the law of diminishing marginal returns in agriculture. He became the father of economic liberalism which we call today laissez-faire for he put it into action. He saw the overregulation of grain production was behind also contributing to the food shortages. He once said: “Ne vous mêlez pas du pain”—Do not meddle with bread.

The French Revolution overthrew the monarchy and they began beheading anyone who supported the Monarchy and confiscated their wealth as well as the land belonging to the Catholic Church.  Nevertheless, the revolution did not end French anxiety over bread. On August 29th, 1789, only two days after completing the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, the Constituent Assembly completely deregulated domestic grain markets. The move raised fears about speculation, hoarding, and exportation.

Then on October 21st, 1789, a baker, Denis François, was accused of hiding loaves from sale as part of a conspiracy to deprive the people of bread. Despite a hearing which proved him innocent, the crowd dragged François to the Place de Grève, hanged and decapitated him, and made his pregnant wife kiss his bloodied lips. Immediately thereafter, the National Constituent Assembly instituted martial law. At first sight, this act appears as a callous lynching by the mob, yet it led to social sanctions against the general public. The deputies decided to meet popular violence with force.

So, food has often been a MAJOR factor in revolutions. We are entering a cold period. Ukraine has been the breadbasket for Europe. Escalating this war will also lead to accelerating the food shortages post-2024. It is interesting how we learn nothing from history. Wars are instigated by political leaders while revolutions are instigated by the people.

Hoards Are Vital to our Understanding of History


Armstrong Economics Blog/Ancient Economies Re-Posted Jan 26, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

QUESTION: Why do you buy hoards? It is interesting. Just curious.

JY

ANSWER: The coinage is the ONLY way to truly confirm the history. Much of the most important periods like the 3rd century AD, the fall of the Republic, or the Revolution during the Debt Crisis of the 1st century BC known as the Social War, can only be properly understood through the coinage lacking really detailed accounts of financially what was taking place. By recreating the monetary system using coinage, I was able to answer the question – How did Rome Fall? Gradually? Or Catastrophically? By assembling all the coinage, and testing it out, I could establish what nobody else could due using documents or archaeological digs. Rome collapsed in just 8.6 years.

That was then observed in testing and using the same methods around the world. The collapse of the English coinage that inspired Gresham’s Law, bad money drives out good, also took just 8 years.

The Great Monetary Crisis of 1092 saw the gold content collapse also in just 8 years. The same pattern has unfolded time and time again. History repeats NOT because of wars or abstract theories. It repeats simply because human nature never changes – on technology.

The computer was about to forecast the fall of Communism in 1989.95 and it spread and took down the Berlin wall a few months after Tiananmen Square. People attributed that to modern communication. That was nonsense, The Roman Republic fell in 509 BC, and in the same few months in Athens, they too overthrew their tyrants, and Democracy was born.

The question is NOT how fast the information spreads. It could have traveled from Rome to Athens in a few days. The real question is how long does it take to filter through society to create political change?

Therefore, assembling the number of coins by examining hoards and the number of different dies multiplied by 15,000 will give us a good idea of the money supply at that time as illustrated above. Granted, this research project cost tens of millions of dollars to produce. Nonetheless, it has yielded a wealth of information that enabled us to see specifically what took place economically. Human nature has not changed. When Rome burned, Nero did visit the victims. Tiberius issued coins for the aid of Asia when a major earthquake devasted the region we call Turkey today.

I am finishing a book on the famous Battle of Actium where Mark Antony lost to Octavian giving birth to Imperial Rome. The number of dies and the amount of coins issued by Antony demonstrates that the entire wealth of Egypt was at his disposal and it was really an Egyptian proxy war against Rome. The number of silver denarii struck had to be at least 25 million. The sheer massive amount of the increase in the money supply thanks to Egypt was huge. Antony’s coins remained in circulation for decades, although very work. They were the most common coin found in hoards at Pompeii in 79AD about 100 years later. Hoards enable us to see the cost of that war and how it changed Egypt and Rome.

Where Rome began with bronze as its monetary unit and one pound was known as a Roman As, we can see that the price of the Punic Wars as what was one pound of bronze consistently declined. Here we found it was six waves of 51.6 years which are in themselves six waves of 8.6 years,  that produced the major wave of 309.6 years. So if we look from the beginning of the Roman As being 341 grams in 280 BC, by the time we get to Nero in 54AD, the Roman As was about only 10 grams.

Even looking at the reforms of Diocletian in 295AD, his introduction of the follis declines remarkably also following the six waves of 8.6 years. I have looked at the monetary systems of Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas. they have conformed to the Economic Confidence Model confirming that this is a cycle that clearly incorporates everything from war to climate change.

Even though Emperor Titus’ (79-81AD) reign was marked by a relative absence of military and political conflicts after his father, Vespasian (69-79AD) had defeated Judaea was defeated, there were several disasters during his brief leadership. On October 24 in 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted and almost destroyed the cities and resort communities around Naples. The cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were buried under stones and lava in 79AD shortly after Titus (79-81AD) came to power. Titus made all efforts to help the victims of the volcano and donated large amounts of money from the imperial treasury. The emperor visited Pompeii right after the tragedy happened.

A single silver denarius was discovered in 1974 among the 180 silver coins buried in Pompeii. When it was cataloged, it overturned history. Titus’ father died on June 24th, 79 AD. Therefore, any coin of Titus as emperor would have to have the very first recording of his power “IMP VIIII” or 8th Imperator, which was a title that meant ‘leader of the army’ to the Romans. The coin discovered in Pompeii had the legend “IMP XV,” which was granted to Titus for the war in Britannia. Titus sent Gnaeus Julius Agricola who pushed further into Caledonia and managed to establish several forts there as recorded by Tacitus (Agricola 22). Therefore, Titus received the title of Imperator for the fifteenth time for this event, according to Cassius Dio (Roman History LXVI.20). This took place we know in September 79 AD about 3 months after becoming emperor following his father’s death. Obviously, if any coin was discovered in the ruins of Pompeii with “IMP XV” in its legend, then this provides absolute proof that the date for Vesuvius of August 24th, 79 AD cannot be correct.

Archeologists in Pompeii have discovered a remarkable inscription written in charcoal which has survived the catastrophe confirming that the eruption of Mt Vesuvius indeed took place in October 79AD as confirmed by the coin discovered and ignored by historians.  The charcoal writing, discovered on the wall of a villa during a new phase of excavations, adds weight to a theory that the volcano destroyed the town in October 79AD rather than August of that year in line with Cassio Dio and the denarius of Titus. The date of August 24th, 79 AD, came from a letter addressed by Pliny the Younger to the Roman historian Tacitus, originally written some 25 years after the event.

Titus devoted much of his silver coinage of Atonement to the gods for the disaster of Pompeii. There were four main Atonement issues commemorating the services of prayer and propitiation through which the emperor attempted to address the public alarm over the disaster. People often attributed such events to the gods being angry. The coinage showed emblems seeking the approval of Jupiter, Neptune, Apollo, and the deceased former Emperors to watch over the Roman people.

News actually spread rapidly around the Roman Empire. There were formal boards where notices would be posted in which important news and major events would be informed to the people much like such a board in a big company with notices to the employees. These boards were called the Acta Diurna and they were designed to inform the Roman people thereby avoiding fake news. We could call them ancient billboards in modern terms and even government officials would walk up and pin a written notice and the crowds would rush to see what is news. Thus, everyone knew of Pompeii in a matter of days. It did not take long for information to circulate.

Because the coin dies back then were hand carved, we are able to identify the number of dies in use during a given year because each is unique. Just look at these portraits on the famous Tribute Penny of Tiberius (14-37AD). It all depended upon the artistic ability of the engraver.

The coin itself has taken its name because Jesus, referring to a denarius, which the English translated to “penny” because that was their silver coin, asked: “Whose is this image and superscription?” When answered that the likeness was Caesar, He replied; ”Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:20-21). Thus, the coin has been called the tribute penny meaning that was how you paid your taxes.

Hoards have enabled me to (1) see what was in circulation at that point in time for the hoard can be dated to around the most recent coin in the hoard. (2) I also have a number of ancient Roman dies like this one of Tiberius. Studies creating modern dies to test how many coins could be struck from such a die before it cracked provides a picture of about 15,000 coins.

By completing die studies quantifying how many were in use, it then becomes possible to estimate the money supply. Here we can see that during the Social War of 90-87BC, there is a drastic increase in the quantity of coinage issued obviously to pay for soldiers. However, conducting metal testing on the coinage of this period, we find that Rome also debased the coinage slightly adding up to 10% copper to the silver. Therefore, studying hoards allows one to actually ascertain the extreme of monetary affairs.

The Social War of the First Century BC was a failed Revolution against the corrupt Republic. The rebellion was waged by ancient Rome’s Italian allies (socii) who were denied equal rights with the Romans, despite the fact that they also fought alongside Romans in battle. They were seeking to separate and thus they fought for independence. Here are the coins of the rebels. They are very rare. You can see the theme celebrating the female head of Italia.

The allies in central and southern Italy had fought side by side with Rome in several wars and had grown restive under Roman autocratic rule, wanting instead Roman citizenship and the privileges it conferred. In 91 BC, the Roman tribune Marcus Livius Drusus proposed granting them Roman citizenship. The arrogance of the Senators erupted into a heated opposition. They went as far as to even Drusus for daring to propose such a decree. That resulted in the revolution.

When I dug deeper, the coinage with the debasement also reveals that there was a financial crisis. In all honesty, it was the Debt Crisis that ended the Roman Republic. There was a Sovereign Debt Crisis during the Roman Republic period that resulted in a dictatorship and a debt default. The Roman Debt Crisis of the 1st century BC has left behind a vivid account of what took place. The volume of gold and silver in Italy had increased dramatically during the late 2nd century BC following the Punic Wars. We have the first real gold coins issued by the Roman Republic at that time.

However, this concentration of wealth, which was akin to the United States after World War I and II, was absorbed by commercial expansion and investment in Gaul and Asia. A period of excessive concentration of money and large profits came to an end with the rise of the Social War of 91-88BC which was a war waged between the Roman Republic and several of the other cities in Italy (no taxation without representation), which prior to the war had been Roman allies for centuries. The war was begun by the Picentes because the Romans did not want to afford them Roman citizenship, thus leaving the Italian groups with fewer rights. The war resulted in a Roman victory and genocide against the Samnites. However, Rome granted Roman citizenship to almost all of its Italian allies, including the Samnites, to avoid another war. Therefore, we find that the debt crisis was correlated with a separatist movement – which we are beginning to see worldwide starting in Europe, but will eventually become a contagion in the United States as the conflict between left and right erupts after the November elections.

The Social War led to the complete state bankruptcy of the Roman State. We can see the dramatic rise in the money supply created during this time of war. This turmoil was then followed by the dictatorship of Sulla who then imposed an attempt to control the debt crisis capping interest rates at 12%. The previous legal rate was capped at 8.5%, but obviously, the market had exceeded that limit and Sulla had to confront that reality in 88BC. The debt crisis continued and then in 86 BC, the government was compelled into default. This is when the Valerian Law came into play. The State debts were defaulted on and thus reduced to 25%.

Here We Go Again – Altering the Formula for CPI


Armstrong Economics Blog/Inflation Re-Posted Jan 24, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

There are some who are claiming that the revision of the CPI is to help the Federal Reserve stop fighting inflation. This is typical for Americans who only watch the Fed and nothing else. The formula for the CPI has been routinely altered. Real Estate used to be included but when that was rising too much, they replaced that with rents. When rents started rising, they replaced them with controlled rents.

This is NOT about helping the Fed to lower rates or stop raising rates as the majority seem to be touting. Powell is not that stupid and this will have ZERO impact on Fed decisions going forward. This is all about government spending which is a far greater problem than worrying about the pressure on the Fed. Virtually EVERY government program is automatically INDEXED to CPI. Thus, agencies’ budgets are automatically increased each year based on the CPI. Your taxes are indexed to the CPI. By reducing the CPI, they collect more taxes! There is NOBODY in Congress or at the Bureau of Labor Statistics that gives the Fed a second thought.

Even if we look at inflation using the pre-1980 formulas, the CPI is approaching 10%! When we calculate inflation by eliminating everything that is really irrelevant and focusing on food, energy, transportation, and taxation, which they do not consider at all, the reality of our number came in at 32% for 2022. That is a far cry from the official number. This is simply calculated by Socrates from an unbiased perspective.

What a new wonderful world the Biden Administration has created. Thank you, COVID & the Russian Sanctions. The largest increase we found was obvious fuel between gasoline and diesel used in trucking and homes averaging 65%+ Turning to basic food, eggs were up nearly 50%, flour rose by 25%, cooking oil 23%, butter was up 35%, Chicken by 14%, and Rice by 18%. If we throw in toothpicks, paperclips, etc, then the more we can include the lower the inflation rate. We do not include rent or real estate. Our number is far more accurate to the daily living expenses than the near 10% level of the government. They also do not include sales taxes. The national average rise in rental rates was 7.8%, in Florida it was 8.5%, and in NYC 1.5% when controlled.

When I would buy a desktop IBM XT during the 1980s, it was always about $7,000 for a top-of-the-line. Today, that cost has come down significantly. Obviously, we do not buy computers every week. Should that really be part of a formula? The BLS has made so many revisions to the CPI over the decades it is really a political tool these days.

Back in the ’90s, our staff was dissecting every statistic. We discovered that they were overstating economic growth because they counted government employees twice. The total all personal income, and then government spending. I called the head of the BLS and asked surely this had to be backed out somewhere for hiring government employees to increase GDP rather than the private sector. They reviewed it and finally just said – no comment.

The idea that this latest revision of using one year as a weight instead of two will allow the Fed to stop tightening is really the rantings of people who only look at the Fed for everything as their guidance. There is a lot more incentive behind this revision and the Fed was not a consideration.

In the Before Times….


Posted originally on the CTH on January 17, 2023 | sundance

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