Low Inflation with Low Unemployment?


COMMENT: Good day Martin;
Regarding: Market Talk- April 11, 2018
On the Fed minutes, you stated: “Interesting as they admit they are confused as to why unemployment is so low yet there is still no inflation.
I will accept the challenge and take a stab at it.

As you have stated many times trade is summed in dollars, not amount of goods. The USD has lost 7.0% in 2017 while imports have increased roughly 9.0% y/y in dollars. China, Mexico, and Canada make up 45% of U.S. imports, but all three countries’ currencies have been in lockstep weakening while other EM currencies have strengthened. Retail Sales increases y/y are up 4% since 2011 which may be due to a strengthening labor market but not enough to raise margins on the products sold.
Did I pass the test? Please grade.
RH

REPLY: I give you an A.  Everything is interlinked and we have to look at the full-spectrum. Typically, inflation unfolds when there is CONFIDENCE in the future. Hyperinflation takes place when CONFIDENCE in government collapses. We are dead center. There is no real CONFIDENCE in the future so people are spending less and saving more (hoarding) so there is no mad rush to go buy something today for fear it will rise in price tomorrow. As long as people remain unsure about the future, they will also be in the saving mode.

Add to this human tendency concerning the impact of taxes. What government refuses to look at is the bottom line. The more they raise taxes, the less disposable income the individual has in every class. Even those who are in the lower class where they do not see a tax increase are still impacted because wages will not rise when employers have to pay more in taxes and products will rise in price and tax increases are passed along. Therefore, if you earn $100 and take home $80 before a tax hike and now you take home $70, your disposable income is reduced and inflation is suppressed

Can Governments Dictate to the Free Markets?


QUESTION: Martin,
Thank you for your work and I really enjoy reading your blog. I had a conversation with someone in the hedge fund world and thought he had a very good thought/point on government bonds. He suggested that to prevent a collapse, the government would mandate that retirement accounts hold a certain percentage in government bonds. It will be a way to tax or force a purchase of debt. Maybe you have commented on this before and I missed it, but what do you think of that possibility? Pensions, 401k, and IRAs will have requirements to get the preferential tax treatment.

Thanks again for your insights.

B

ANSWER: The USA is the least of the problem. The huge crisis is in Europe. Many nations already mandate the majority of pensions must invest in government bonds. Even the US Social Security system is 100% in government bonds. The problem is that interest rates are at historic lows. Pensions need 7% to 8% on to remain solvent. Forcing 100% of all pensions into government bonds will not prevent the crisis coming. The pensions will still collapse.

This is why Europe is trying to take the Euro market away from London. They know it will crash so they want it within their control so they can outlaw shorting the Euro as they have done with Eurozone debt.  What they are doing is reverse the free market and politicians desire to isolate the Euro as if it were the Russian ruble during the Soviet era.

Instead of facing our problems and dealing with it, they are really moving to control and regulate the free market to remove its freedom. Despite the fact that the currencies of China and Russia during the communist period were not free markets, communism still collapsed. You cannot prevent the economy from ignoring the economics of reality. Regulation will always fail.

The Theory of Inflation is Completely Wrong


QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Armstrong

Firstly, thank you for your insights and forecasting. I am not really in a position to properly capitalize on them, but all information is useful.

The Labour government of New Zealand is conducting a taxation review. They have called for submissions and although I realize mine won’t make a jot of difference to the outcome I will try.

In a recent blog, and more as a footnote than content, you alluded to a system whereby income taxation was abolished, and the government printed the money for it’s expenses. Would you please flesh the concept out a little with regard to the checks and balances and effect on foreign exchange?

I have spent some time thinking about an all-encompassing transaction tax to replace all taxes that are not punitive (eg. tobacco and alcohol). I assume you would think this terrible, but I have not read any arguments as to why this would be so, only “it would be terrible”.

Your thoughts on this would be most helpful and appreciated.

Kind Regards

R

ANSWER: The assumption that an increase in the money supply is the root of all inflation is simply a theory that does not stack up to history. If we look at the Roman Empire, between 241BC and 68AD, the death of Nero, the Roman monetary system for that segment of 309.6 years was incredibly stable. The government minted the coinage and used it to pay its expenses. In today’s terms, we would say the government just printed money rather than borrowing it. Indeed, the Roman government had no central bank nor did it have a national debt.

Because the coins were struck from dies that were made by hand, there are subtle differences that allow us to determine how many dies were in use at a given time. We know from testing how many coins can be struck from one die before it breaks on average. By multiplying that number by the known dies, we can them determine the introduction of new money into the economy took place on an annual basis. During the Republican period, there was a moneyer who was in charge of minting the coins. We still have this tradition today.  Here is a new $1 bill with Steven Mnuchin’s signature as Secretary of the Treasury the same as the Roman coins were signed by their moneyer for that year. (see above denarius). Traditions from Rome remain in place still today with the signature of the treasurer being the moneyer.

 

The Roman denarius was the most secure currency in the world at that time for 309.6 years before any debasement begins under Nero in 64AD. The reason for that debasement appears to be linked to the Great Fire which destroyed much of Rome and the rebuilding costs were tremendous. Since there was no state borrowing, Nero began the debasement of the coinage reducing the weight of the gold Aureus and the silver was reduced from 97.5% purity to 93.5%. He was increasing the money supply by issuing more coins with the same amount of silver.

 

Therefore, all the research that I have conducted demonstrates that inflation is by no means tied to the increase in the money supply, which is the entire reason nations borrow today. They think borrowing rather than printing is less inflationary. That is not true if the debt can be used as money.

The debt they create is simply now used as collateral for loans and it is, therefore, increasing the money supply with a two-tier system whereby the debt is simply money that pays interest. That is actually how the United States reintroduced paper money to fund the Civil War. The entire term “Greenback” referred to paper money issued that no longer paid interest so all that was on the reverse was green ink and no table of interest payable on the currency depending on how long you held it. In other words, paper money was reintroduced in the USA as a form of circulating bond.

At times, the national debt of just about every major nation today has reached 70% of which is attributed to accumulative interest expenditures. As interest rates rise, the national debts will explode and because of this bogus theory of inflation tied to an increase in money supply, they will then raise taxes to try to reduce deficits. This will further create a Great Depression as deflation surges. The more people do not trust the government, the more they will hoard their wealth and fear to invest.

The ECB has engaged in quantitative easing for nearly 10 years without producing corresponding inflation. People will HOARD money if they have no faith in the future defeating the theory that an increasing in the money supply will produce inflation. Only when people no longer trust the government and flip believing that prices will rise, then they will spend the currency now for it will buy less tomorrow. It boils down to what people simply believe will happen tomorrow.

This entire crisis we face is very predictable yet there is nothing we can do to prevent it from crashing our economies. All hyperinflations take place when the confidence in government collapses.

GUNS FOR CHILDREN


Mr. Rogers has solved the gun violence issue: let’s take away everyone’s guns! It’s only fair, right? WRONG. In his latest FIREWALL, host Bill Whittle takes down the childish naivete behind the gun control movement. Want even more Bill Whittle each week? Become a member at BillWhittle.com! https://www.billwhittle.com/subscribe

Unleash the Dogs of War


QUESTION: Mr. Armstrong, regarding your recent post about War, does this topic also relate to some hidden agenda about decreasing the world population?
Thank you as always for your insight!

Yours, JL

ANSWER: There does not appear to be such a coordinated agenda. This is a few agencies who fear they are becoming redundant like NATO and need to create a situation to justify their existence.  Furthermore, it also involves intelligence and military agencies in a few countries that need to also show their importance. There is no grand scheme to create World War III. This is unfolding as a series of events that are being justified for separate distinct reasons.

Trump needs to appear hardline against Putin to demonstrate that he is NOT beholding to Putin for rigging the elect6ion as Hillary has told the world. Trump is misguided on Trade, as every other politician has been since World War II. That has awakened the sleeping giant of China, whose debt to GDP exceeded 250% going into the end of 2017 compared to 103.7% for the USA going into the end of 2017. It was stupid to attack China for an international trade deficit before anyone took the chance to actually investigate the numbers,

SPD to Impose Marxism on Germany


The SPD in Germany is a left-wing socialist party that still believes in exploiting the rich in true Marxist fashion. Now that the SPD gained power in a coalition with Merkel, the German economy is in perfect alignment with our Economic Confidence Model pointjng down into 2020. The SPD leadership has made it very clear that they will raise taxes on the rich out of fairness as they see it for everyone should have the same net income at the end of the day. They call this “fairer financing of state tasks and a correction of social inequalities.”

The SPD will now push its tax policy ahead to the detriment of Germany and Europe as a whole. Despite all the historical evidence that raising taxes reduces jobs and economic benefits for the people, they just cannot escape the idea that someone has more than they do and to hell with the studies. They will also go after not just high incomes, but are looking at asset taxes and of course their most hated practice of all – leaving something for your children. They intend to raise inheritance taxes to fund state tasks which is really a code word for state pensions.

So far, the SPD has not publicly stated which citizens are the rich. This has always been a huge problem. Even in the USA, the definition of the rich started at $5 million and has moved down to $250,000, and then it has moved down to a household income of $250,000. The easy way to raise taxes is to constantly redefine who are the rich by lowering that definition and then apply it to household income. The day most likely will come when it is applied to children earning income while still living at home. The hard internal struggle to create a new the grand coalition with the CDU will have a devastating impact economically upon Germany. The SPD now finally gets control to impose their socialist agenda.

House of Lords Tries to Overturn BREXIT


The upper house in Britain has overruled the people trying to keep the UK in the EU which would destroy the British economy. The upper House of Parliament backed calls to remain in the EU customs union after Brexit. The House of Lords voted 348 to 225 to amend the government’s EU Withdrawal Bill in a real insane move. This will now return to the House of Commons where the defeat is likely to spur renewed opposition to the whole BREXIT issue.

The amendment would now require the government to report to Parliament by October 31st on exactly what steps it has taken to remain in the customs union.  This vote clearly shows that the House of Lords is seriously out of touch with economic reality. London is the financial center and it is THE market that dwarfs all of Europe combined. The entire posturing of Brussels to try to take trading the Euro away from Britain is based upon the fear that they can not control the Euro. They have outlawed shorting government bonds and they would like that power over the currency as well.

 

By tinkering with the Free Trade portion, they are disrupting the entire process and laying the seeds to overturn BREXIT entirely. Thank God Maggie is not here to witness these machinations. She was devastated when her cabinet stabbed her in the back to try to take the pound into the Euro. Had it not been for the attack on the pound which forced it to leave the ERM, Britain would have been completely destroyed by  John Major’s government. They just do not comprehend what Europe is all about – Maggie did!