Published on Sep 9, 2017
Armstrong Economics Blog/Cryptocurrency
Re-Posted Jun 21, 2018 by Martin Armstrong
COMMENT: I found it very interesting when my bank would not allow using a credit card to buy cryptocurrencies. A friend of mine in Singapore said the government there has also instructed banks not to honor cryptocurrencies. It appears that government is starting to retaliate against the cryptocurrency world and I must question its viability long-term.
REPLY: Yes. This is happening around the world. The US banks of Bank Of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan, Capital One, and the Discover card, have all banned their customers from purchasing cryptocurrencies. In the UK, Lloyds banking group was the first to ban cryptocurrencies and then MBNA, Halifax, and Bank of Scotland quickly followed. According to the blockchain research firm Chainalysis, the long-term Bitcoin holders sold at least $ 30 billion worth of Bitcoin to new speculators between December 2017 and April 2018, half of which was in December 2017 alone making this very taxable in 2018. Many cryptocurrency investors have been lulled by the claim this is outside the central banks and off the grid. There are hundreds of data sources available to governments to track payments after conversion to a hard cash they call “Fiat” currency. Anyone who had purchased cryptocurrencies using their credit cards before the banks started to ban those transactions has a clear paper record for government to track.
Downunder, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) warned crypto traders/investors that their profits from trading in the years 2017 to 2018 “will not go unnoticed” and they have come straight out and warned on their website: “Anyone involved in acquiring or selling cryptocurrency must keep records of their cryptocurrency transactions.” Virtually every government classifies cryptocurrencies as assets. Therefore, any gain relative to the hard cash or “Fiat” currency is then taxable.
I have stated before, the governments want to move to an electronic currency so everything is taxable. They have been watching the cryptocurrency world and are coming down on banks demanding information. This is what the banks are simply banning the use of their credit cards to buy cryptocurrencies. The legal costs of gathering data to prosecute people the governments will demand are causing them to simply refuse to allow customers to use their facilities. The same result took place when the US government imposed FACTA requiring foreign banks to report whatever an American does outside the country. The way to avoid any problems was simply to ban Americans from having an account overseas.
At this point in time, we do have a Directional Change in July. So we may yet see a temporary low form at that time.
Armstrong Economics Blog/Economics
Re-Posted Jun 21, 2018 by Martin Armstrong
In Switzerland, we get to see how people who are really clueless about how the economy works still manage to get outrageous referendums on the ballot. A radical plan to transform Switzerland’s financial landscape was rejected, thank God, which would have barred commercial banks from electronically creating money when they lend. These people have no idea what such a proposal would have done. Their homes would have collapsed in value for there would be no mortgages. If banks could lend only the money on deposit and you withdrew your account, then does that mean a bank would have to shut down a mortgage and throw you out of your house?
All 26 of the country’s self-governing cantons also voted against it. The supporters needed a majority from all of Switzerland’s cantons as well as a simple majority of voters to succeed in such a proposal. The very idea of introducing a “vollgeld” or “real money” system convinced voters to reject the proposals. The outcome would have created such an economic disaster Switzerland would have committed suicide and entered a complete Dark Age unto itself
Armstrong Economics Blog/Ancient Economies
Re-Posted Jun 20, 2018 by Martin Armstrong
QUESTION: Can you shed any light on the history of money in Portugal. There seems to be scan discussion of this subject.
ANSWER: The first coinage of Portugal really is Roman and it appears to be struck by the first Roman Emperor Augustus (27BC-14AD). The location of the mint was the city of Évora. Interestingly enough, the name in ancient times was Ebora, which is really Celtic which is the name of a species of tree and thus the name means “of the yew trees.” However, there is a lack of any evidence of ancient settlements prior to that of the Roman. Perhaps because any Celtic evidence lies under the city which is not accessible to archeologists.
It is generally assumed that Évora only came into being as a municipium after the Pax Romana under Octavian in 30 BC which are really the first coin evidence in the region. Yet the name implies there was Celtic activity previously. The first reference to Évora as a municipium is found in a list of cities in Hispania in the Historia Naturalis of Pliny the Elder to the year 77AD.
During the 4th and 5th centuries, the Roman mint for coinage in the Spanish/Portugees region was actually Barcino, or Barcelona. So the early coinage of Portugal appears first under Augustus and then later the coinage is all struck in Barcelonia.
In more modern times, you might be wondering where are there different references to money. There was reis and reals and gold ducketsrelate. From the 12th century, Portugal had a currency called the dinheiro (dinero). The word today means money and is taken from the Roman denarius. Real meant royal, as in a royal coin, and reis was the plural of real.
Portugal’s capital is Lisbon but it did not emerge as a nation until 1143, as a result of a rebellion by Dom Afonso Henriques (Afonso I) against his own mother Teresa of León. Portugal won its independence at the Battle of São Mamede near the town of Guimarães, in June of 1128. The first coinage was that of Alfonso I (1139-1185) and it was a dinero.
Europe had silver mines, but not gold. Gold was found in Northern Africa and in Anatolia (modern Turkey). Portugal became prominent because it had trade links with the Arabs and imported gold for Europe. Therefore, during 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal emerged as a powerful nation and naval power. Famous explorers are Fernando Magellan (circumnavigated the world), Vasco da Gama (discovered the route to India) and Bartolomeu Dias (sailed around Africa). Portugal made many discoveries and established colonies all over the world. The most famous one is Brazil, but it also established colonies in Africa, such as Mozambique and Angola, and on other continents.
Portugal was actually the first global power and one of the biggest empires at that time and was, therefore, the Financial Capital of Europe. During a 1910 revolution, the rebellion against government erupted once again and overthrew the monarchy. For most of the next six decades, repressive governments ran the country. This led once again to civil unrest and a 1974 military coup installed broad democratic reforms. Finally, on January 1, 1986, Portugal became the eleventh member of the European Economic Community.
Armstrong Economics Blog/Uncategorized
Re-Posted Jun 19, 2018 by Martin Armstrong
Armstrong Economics Blog/Central Banks
Re-Posted Jun 18, 2018 by Martin Armstrong
Mario Draghi said the euro-area economy is strong enough to overcome increased risk, and therefore this justifies the European Central Bank’s decision to end bond purchases bringing to an end a decade-long failed experiment. The truth behind this statement is starkly different than being portrayed in the press. Draghi also pledged to keep interest rates unchanged at current record lows until his personal term is finished next year. There is the contradiction for if the ECB stops buying debt, who will do so at artificially low rates of interest?
Draghi knows full well that he has utterly destroyed the bond markets in Europe. The ECB has also made it clear that they will REINVEST when the bonds previously purchased mature. The Federal Reserves has taken the opposite position and will NOT reinvest allowing their balance sheet to shrink.
If the economy is that strong, then why not end the QE right now? The fallacy here is that this has nothing to do with the economy. The ECB has simply had the member states on life-support. Interest rates will soar in Europe on long-term debt or there will be no buyers. Pension funds cannot buy 10-year bonds at even 3% when they need 8% to cover liabilities.
The statement by Draghi is creating a total paradox. You cannot keep short-term interest rates where they are and charge negative rates for deposits and simultaneously end QE and expect to sell bonds to the public at insanely low levels.
The press interprets this as the ECB with ending QE because they are “betting that the euro-area economy is robust enough to ride out an apparent slowdown amid risks including U.S. trade tariffs and nervousness that Italy’s populist government will spark another financial crisis” reported Bloomberg. What is seriously omitted here is that the member states will be UNABLE to sell long-term debt at these low levels to the private sector and the free market will send rates higher. This means that the states will have to then raise taxes to stay within the EU criteria and that will further suppress the European economy.
We are simply at the end of the road of this complete insanity. So buckle up. Get ready for the ride of a lifetime and make sure you keep your hands and feet safely inside the vehicle. Is the ECB risking a total collapse in public confidence when they discover you cannot keep rates artificially low and end QE simultaneously
Armstrong Economics Blog/Southeast Asia
Re-Posted Jun 18, 2018 by Martin Armstrong
May was an important turning point in Southeast Asia. The corruption that has engulfed the previous Malaysian government centered around a sovereign wealth fund involving Goldman Sachs has rocked the entire Malaysian peninsula. The national debt, which was believed to have been $170 billion, appears to be more like $250 billion of 80% if the national GDP.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was sworn in on May 10th. When his aides first entered the government offices, they were confronted with a shocking sight. There were garbage bags filled with shredded documents intermixed with left-over food half eaten thrown everywhere. It was clear, the previous government sought to destroy all the evidence of their corruption.
The new finance minister discovered computers that even the highest-ranking bureaucrats could not access. Computers were set up to prevent access by anyone other than one or two people. Evidence of massive corruption was what turned the election on May 9th, 2018.
Goldman Sachs’ role, I wrote back in 2015, has been highly criticized in the Malaysian media and political circles after it emerged that 1MDB sovereign wealth fund paid hundreds of millions of dollars to the bank for helping it raise $6.5 billion in three bond deals in 2012 and 2013. Goldman Sachs earned around $590 million in fees plus commissions and expenses from underwriting the bonds, according to Reuters. The reported fees are highly excessive, nearing 10% when such fees are typically only 1% in bond underwriting.
There is now talk about filing suit against Goldman Sachs for its role in this scandal. The likelihood of filing a lawsuit against them in New York City being successful is probably zero. They will have to deal with the most corrupt court perhaps in the world that is notorious for protecting its local banks – Southern District of New York and the Second Circuit. My recommendation is to petition the Supreme Court to bring the suit in Washington DC that they will NEVER receiver a fair trial in New York City and they should get on the phone to Donald Trump to start applying political pressure
Armstrong Economics Blog/Economics
Re-Posted Jun 15, 2018 by Martin Armstrong
After reading your blog post about the 300% increase in the cost of healthcare for refugees, I wondered the cost in this country for illegal aliens. Healthcare. Education. Food stamps. Etc. I googled anywhere from 3.4 to 11 billion dollars from health care alone.
I laughed out loud after reading the above. You wrote about the turn on the last group of people off the boat.
Keep up the good work and see you in Nov
ANSWER: The cost of socialism is not merely over the top, it has altered the migration patterns within human society tremendously. The waves of migration from Europe to America were each inspired by the economic conditions at home. Therefore, we find the Irish, Germans, Italians, and English all coming during varied waves or periods overall when looking at the majority (naturally there were people from each group who moved for personal reasons). Nonetheless, the one thing that they all had in common was that they paid for their passage and they did not expect social benefits for free.
Today, the migration patterns are purely economic, but they are inspired by socialism whereby they need only show up and receive automatic income and benefits. When the European migration took place, predominantly during the 19th century and then waves after World War I and World War II, the people received no handouts from the taxpayer. There were no social programs to receive free living expenses. Churches provided food when people gave to charity BEFORE there were taxes. Europeans migrated to the United States to start new lives and to earn a living — not because they would be subsidized.
There are waves of migration that are caused by political unrest and no doubt some of that was at the reason for people fleeing Syria. Less know is the wave of refugees fleeing to Colombia and Venezuela who are also seeking security and economic stability since the army continues to support the Venezuelan socialist government that is collapsing. There were Americans in the south who fled to Brazil during the Civil War. They were called Confederados (Portuguese pronunciation: [kõfedeˈɾadus]) and were some 10,000 to 20,000 Confederate American refugees. They settled primarily in the state of São Paulo.
Providing welfare checks to show up on your soil alters the reasons for migration that have existed for thousands of years.
Published on Nov 7, 2017
Armstrong Economics Blog/Regulation
Re-Posted Jun 14, 2018 by Martin Armstrong
The State of New Jersey just keeps making it more expensive to operate a business in the state. New Jersey has now become the 10th state to adopt mandatory paid sick leave. It goes into effect on October 29, 2018. Giving sick leave to employees has been generally a standard in America. What these new regulations do is go much further. All employees, whether temporary, part-time, full-time, salaried, hourly or paid on commission, must now accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employers may cap an employee’s sick leave accrual and use at 40 hours per benefit year.
The crazy thing is hiring a temp worker because someone else is out sick or on maternity leave now involves given such a person also gets sick leave benefits. Then the employer and employee may mutually agree to a payout in the final month of the benefit year of 50% or 100% of the employee’s unused sick time. If unused time is paid out in full, carryover is not required. If 50% is paid out, the remaining 50% will carry over. If the employee does not want to be paid out, or the employer chooses not to offer this option, all unused time will carry over up to 40 hours.
Employers may grant sick leave up front in a lump sum. When using the lump sum method, employers may either pay employees for unused sick leave at the end of the calendar year or allow carryover. With lump sum plans, whether to pay out or allow carryover is the employer’s choice – the agreement of the employee is not required. In no case will time be forfeit, unless it is in excess of the carryover limit of 40 hours.
This is now extending benefits to people who are not regular employees. Retail stores hire workers just for the Christmas season. That means they will need to account for sick leave and carry this over if the person returns for a temporary job in the future year? The accounting this imposes on small business is just insane. Of course, politicians want to pretend to be caring for the people when in fact they may be reducing job opportunities for them in the end. Automated registers are showing up everywhere. A grocery store to Home Depot have registers you scan in your own purchases, pay, and leave. The more regulations, the more we will see auto-registers expand into many retail operations to solve the rising regulation and costs.
And they wonder Why New Jersey is #2 State behind NYC with net-migration leaving and business as well?