Viewing Inflation Through Rose-Colored Glasses


Armstrong Economics Blog/Inflation Re-Posted Oct 18, 2021 by Martin Armstrong

Once “we get the pandemic under control, the global economy comes back, these pressures will mitigate and I believe will go back to normal levels,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated, echoing “transitory” sentiments by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. Powell believes supply chain bottlenecks are the main culprit for inflation. Well, the Biden Administration appointed the secretaries of Commerce, Agriculture and Transportation to create a supply chain task force to fix the influx issues.

Sameera Fazili, a deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, stated, “Our approach to supply chain resilience needs to look forward to emerging threats from cybersecurity to climate issues.” Is climate change the issue here? Is this an indication of where the government will misdirect resources once again? Fazili further displayed how out of touch the government is with the current crisis by saying inflation due to supply shortages is “kind of [a] good problem to be having,” as it indicates demand. The countless number of businesses and consumers currently paying for basic living expenses at up to 30-year highs may not see the glass half full at the moment.

Then, the Biden Administration met with the workers at the Port of Los Angeles this week, where it was agreed upon that the port would operate 24/7 to address issues. Ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, account for 40% of all shipments into the US, which seems to be a good start. Even Walmart, FedEx, and UPS have agreed to unload their shipments at non-peak hours to help the process. Oh, wait, the ongoing worker shortage. Companies are begging people to apply, and it remains to be seen whether the ports will be able to maintain proper staffing to run at full capacity around the clock. Then the need for a sufficient number of truck drivers becomes an issue as well. Even if the ports do reach full capacity, what about the spike in fuel prices? Energy prices have caused the price of transportation to skyrocket, which is then passed on to the consumer. The US government is approaching this issue from a domestic standpoint as well and not factoring in the reason why inflation and supply shortages are not limited to the US.

Socrates indicated that inflation could rally into 2034, and based on the current solutions, the computer will likely be correct once again. Perhaps we should all view inflation through rose-colored glasses and view the 5.4% YoY spike in September as “kind of a good problem to be having.”

The Psychology Behind Consumer Spending and Hedonic Adaptation


Armstrong Economics Blog/Behavioral Economics Re-Posted Oct 18, 2021 by Martin Armstrong

Consumer debt in the US reached $14.88 trillion in 2020, according to Experian’s consumer debt study. That is a $3 trillion increase in the past decade, and spending in 2021 has only amplified. Nearly 42% of US adults have reported falling deeper into debt since March 2020, and according to a survey by BankRate.com, 2,400 of 1,297 adults had credit card debt of which 47% contributed that debt to the pandemic. Credit card debt is difficult to crawl out from, with the average APR well above 16%. Even more alarming is that 54% of adults hold on to their credit card debt for at least a year, and with that rising interest, it will take years to pay it off (if ever).

Inflation is not deterring retail sales in the US. I have stated that other countries line up to sell their exports to America, making the US the top consumer economy, and the top economy overall as consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of GDP. Even with inflation up 5.4% YoY in September, retail sales spiked 0.7% despite analysts’ at the Dow predicting a -0.2% decline. Why?

Of course, people must spend to meet their basic living expenses, and those expenses have spiked in every area from food, energy, to real estate. However, there is additional spending occurring post-pandemic as optimism rises. People hoard when they fear the future. Without taking into account other factors, people are beginning to spend again because the easing restrictions and vaccinations has led them to believe that their future financial situations will brighten.

A study on the psychology of consumer spending points to interesting aspects of human nature (Carter T.J. (2014) The Psychological Science of Spending Money). “There is obviously the direct monetary cost, but also the opportunity cost: all of the other ways that one could have spent this money must now be foregone. Thus, a more psychological definition of the psychological act of spending money would be a simultaneous loss (of money and opportunity) and gain (of some good or service) for oneself and/or someone else that one chooses to undertake based on some beliefs about future hedonic states,” as noted by a 2014 study on consumer behavior (Bijleveld E., Aarts H. (eds) The Psychological Science of Money. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-0959-9_10). The study found that the act of spending itself is “hedonically neutral,” and they used the analogy that “dropping $20 down a storm sewer would feel worse than finding $20 on the street would feel good.”

However, anticipated v anticipatory emotions come into play before acquiring new physical possession, be it a stock in your portfolio or a new iPhone in your pocket. On anticipation, we may feel a natural high as “we decide whether and how to spend money based on how we anticipate the various courses of action will make us feel.” (Mellers et al., 1999 ; Shiv & Huber, 2000). Anticipatory emotions are what we experience when we actually acquire the purchase (e.g., we may feel happiness after purchasing equity that we expect to profit on or guilty after buying a candy bar).

The study dissects consumers into different categories, but for the sake of keeping the blog post a reasonable length, let’s go right to the source – hedonic adaptation (e.g., after positive (or negative) events (i.e., something good or bad happening to someone), and a subsequent increase in positive (or negative) feelings, people return to a relatively stable, baseline level of affect (Diener, Lucas, & Scollon, 2006). “Focusing only on the immediate spike in happiness and ignoring the subse-quent [sic] decline means that the anticipated experience—the one on which people base their expectations, and thus, their decisions—may be quite different from the actual experience, increasing the chances of disappointment.” So, we may experience a short spike in dopamine after a purchase, but that high may wear off. The pain of payment affects all consumers, but interestingly, paying with a credit card temporarily mitigates the negative feelings associated with a payment:

“Cash payments are immediate and visceral—the money literally leaves your hands and becomes some-one [sic] else’s possession. Credit cards, on the other hand, are abstract and distant; they allow you to put off the pain of paying until next month, often while enjoying the benefit immediately. Spending money this way may seem painless, and almost certainly does reduce the negative anticipatory emotions that might prevent one from making a purchase, but it only forestalls the inevitable. When the end of the month rolls around and the credit card bill comes due, that pain may actually be magnified because the pleasure you experienced is already in the past.”

Cash transactions are becoming an ancient relic, and if the government had its way, we likely wouldn’t pay in cash at all. As online buying rises in popularity and people opt to pull out their plastic cards rather than physical paper, the initial cost of the purchase may not resonate. Retail therapy is in itself a hedonic act that may provide short-term happiness but often leads to buyers’ remorse when the purchase cost outweighs the benefits. It is important to note the risks associated with this move into a cashless society. The immediate impact of a purchase may not be felt for some time, at which it may be too late. As they say, when you’re in a (debt) hole, stop digging.

Stagflation is Here


Armstrong Economics Blog/Economics Re-Posted Oct 18, 2021 by Martin Armstrong

QUESTION: When do we talk about stagflation?

F

ANSWER: We are already experiencing it. Normally, the standard definition of “stagflation” has been explained as slow economic growth with relatively high unemployment/or economic stagnation that takes place with rising prices. Some have also defined it as a period of inflation combined with a decline in the gross domestic product (GDP).

Stagflation became a term that defined the 1970s because economic growth was still positive, but the rate of inflation was far greater due to the price shock of the OPEC embargo. Because of the Democrats constantly pushing to raise taxes, they sent corporations fleeing offshore, and it was NOT merely because of the tax rate. I testified before the House Ways & Means Committee on taxation and they wanted to know why NO American company got a contract from China like constructing the Yellow River Dam. I explained that German companies were NOT taxed on worldwide income, and as such, they were already 40% less than an American company because Americans pay taxes on worldwide income, and the ONLY other country to that was Japan. Thus, American companies moved offshore, NOT because labor was cheaper, but so they could complete.

As a result, I provided our analysis that showed when we allocated trade according to the flag of the company instead of where something was manufactured, then the US had a trade surplus instead of a trade deficit. Trump understood that and offered a one-time tax deal to bring their profits home. The Democrats screamed because they wanted 40% in taxes. But they would not bring the money home and so they got 0%.

Currently, as we move into 2024, this entire COVID scam has seriously disrupted the supply chain. Companies shifted to Just-In-Time inventory systems to save on financing an inventory. But then COVID lockdowns came and this resulted in chronic shortages.

So your answer is we are already in a STAGFLATION mode because inflation will surpass economic growth. With the dramatic tax increases the Democrats want to shove down the economy’s throat, all we will see is a decline in economic growth with rising prices thanks to chronic shortages. So we get the worst of two worlds.

The Democrats are deliberately pushing the World Economic Forum agenda and are actively trying to confiscate wealth while simultaneously crushing the economy to Build Back Better. Just like George Bush Jr took the blame for the Iraq war, which was all Cheney, Biden will go down in history as the patsy for this foreign infiltration of the United States to change our economy into a Marxist wonderland.

Lies, Lies & More Lies from the Financial Press


Armstrong Economics Blog/Press Re-Posted Oct 15, 2021 by Martin Armstrong

COMMENT: Marty; the Fed quietly published the banks it was funding in the Repo Crisis. I just wanted to say, you are always right. The press claimed it was tax time, but you said it was the crisis in European banks. Your sources are always spot on. Thanks for the light of truth.

PG

REPLY: Yes, that story that the liquidity crisis occurred because US corporations withdrew large amounts from the banks in order to make quarterly tax payments was the most absurd propaganda I ever heard. Why then do we not see the same liquidity crisis event during tax season?

The bulk of the loans covered foreign banks, as well as Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Securities. It was all driven by the simple fact that Merkel said there would be no bailout for Deutsche Bank, which was the major derivatives counterparty problem involving Wall Street. Deutsche Bank had a major derivatives book, and if it failed, it would have taken down US banks. Deutsche Bank was in crisis and then it was too big to merge with Commerzbank. They had to lay off nearly 20,000 staff and a major effort was undertake to try to isolate its toxic assets.

That is why the Fed had to step in as the market maker to bail out Europe for US banks all backed off. I really do not know who makes up these stories to try to hide the truth. But they always do in hopes of preventing panics. This time, the game is up.

Inflation is Hitting Every Sector – Not Transitory


Armstrong Economics Blog/Hyperinflation Re-Posted Oct 13, 2021 by Martin Armstrong

COMMENT: All these increased demands for my product is great, but it comes with quite a wholesale flower prices have also increased significantly making the cost of the arrangements much higher. Wholesale rose prices have jumped 56%. Last year I could buy a pack of 25 roses for $18, where today they cost $28. I have to pass these costs onto my customers, but even with the increased cost people are still buying more flowers this year than the same time last year.

SH

REPLY: Thank you for this info. It is hard to find any industry that is not suffering from a shortage of supply.

September Jobs Report Badly Misses Expectations With 194,000 Jobs Created vs 500,000 Expected


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on October 8, 2021 | Sundance | 235 Comments

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has released the September jobs report [DATA HERE] showing a dismal 194,000 jobs added against a financial media and Wall Street expectation of 500,000 jobs.  [CNBC Apoplectic]   The labor participation rate in the worker economy overall has not moved since Biden’s inauguration, and stands at 61.6%.

Digging into the numbers, what is happening is exactly what we ¹should expect.  Outside the immediacy of private sector durable goods retailers seeing a pull back in consumer purchasing due to inflation (which we continue to point out is the critical issue); the local economies impacted by a declining tax base are key early indicators of contracting economic activity.  Wage gains are not keeping up with inflation.

Inside the data, you will note [Table B-1] a significant decline in Local Government Education of -144,000 jobs.  Obviously the collapse of in-school teaching leads to less jobs in this sector overall. However, the drop happened at the exact same time students were returning to a new school year, and this drop is also reflected year-over-year.  Schools were impacted by COVID in Sept 2020 more than schools are impacted by COVID in Sept 2021, yet this year the jobs are completely gone.  Something bigger is happening in this sector.

Additionally, healthcare services show a major drop in employment (-37k) specifically as it relates to elderly care and nursing homes.   All the sub-sectors of elder care are significantly lower in employment.

Retail was essentially flat (+56k) considering the scale of the sector; and durable goods within the retail sector show declines in employment.  Again this would indicate less consumer spending on durable goods, as food and energy inflation are prioritizing spending habits.  Leisure and Hospitality (+74k) with hotels and restaurants doing the majority of the hiring as the rebound in this sector continues.

[¹Here it is important to note a slow cascade effect that will take time and we are not near the peak of the trouble yet. As a historic reminder, the epicenter of the peak financial crisis (housing) was triggered in Nov/December 2005.  However, the trouble was not visible on a national scale until 2007.    Economic data shows the current triggering event took place in May/June of this year.  Make of that what you will]

(CNBC) […] The U.S. economy created jobs at a much slower-than-expected pace in September, a pessimistic sign about the state of the economy though the total was held back substantially by a sharp drop in government employment.

Nonfarm payrolls rose by just 194,000 in the month, compared with the Dow Jones estimate of 500,000, the Labor Department reported Friday. The unemployment rate fell to 4.8%, better than the expectation for 5.1% and the lowest since February 2020.

[…] “This is quite a deflating report,” said Nick Bunker, economic research director at job placement site Indeed. “This year has been one of false dawns for the labor market. Demand for workers is strong and millions of people want to return to work, but employment growth has yet to find its footing.” (read more)

[INFLATION] is terrible for wage earners in the U.S. who are now seeing no wage growth and higher prices. Real wages are decreasing by the fastest rate in decades. We are now in a downward spiral where your paycheck buys less. As a result, consumer middle-class spending contracts. Eventually, this means housing prices drop because people cannot afford higher mortgage payments.

Gasoline costs more (+50%), food costs more (+10% at a minimum) and as a result, real wages drop; disposable income is lost. Ultimately this is the cause of Stagflation. A stagnant economy and inflation. None of this is caused by COVID-19. All of this is caused by economic policy and monetary policy sold under the guise of COVID-19.

Hillary Clinton Heckled as “War Criminal” During Chancellor Invocation Ceremony at Queens University in Belfast


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on September 25, 2021 | Sundance | 148 Comments

Hillary Clinton was feeling very full of herself yesterday as she was invoked as the first women’s chancellor at Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  However, a large protesting crowd was not so happy.  WATCH:

Hillary was being heckled by the far-left group Lasair Dhearg.

If Greta Thunberg and Damien from The Omen had a child…

Wait Until He Gets to The Vaccine


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on September 25, 2021 | Sundance | 221 Comments

He’s got a long way to go.  But he’s slowly getting there, and he’s bringing his audience with him.  Russell Brand discovers “Russia-Gate“:

The Trump-Russia investigation was based on a fraudulent premise, purposed for use by a weaponized and politicized intelligence apparatus including the CIA, DoS, DOJ and FBI.  It is also the origin of the feces that holds the greatest risk to those who constructed the surveillance operation.

Some of the intentional misinformation stems from intelligence officials telling direct lies (ex. telling President-elect, and President Trump he was not under investigation).  Other aspects were lies of omission surrounding the Steele Dossier during the January 6th, 2017, intelligence briefing session with the President-elect in Trump Tower.

There were many misleading and false statements, with varying scales of severity, during the period from November 9th, 2016, through 2017.  The FBI, DOJ, ODNI, CIA and intelligence officials were intentionally not being direct and honest with President Trump and key members of his new administration.  Obviously their lack of honesty was a serious issue, and in some cases had serious ramifications.

The expressed finding by Robert Mueller’s two-year probe of ‘no Trump-Russia collusion, no Trump-Russia conspiracy, and no Trump-Russia obstruction’, led to some hindsight reviews by media voices where they attempted to pretend they did not know the real origination of the narrative.

However, there was also a trap laid here.  At 12:15pm, on January 20th, 2017, Obama’s outgoing National Security Advisor Susan Rice wrote a memo-to-self.  Many people have called this her “CYA” (cover your ass) memo, from the position that Susan Rice was protecting herself from consequences if the scheme against President Trump was discovered.  Here’s the email:

“On January 5, following a briefing by IC leadership on Russian hacking during the 2016 Presidential election, President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation with FBI Director Jim Corney and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office. Vice President Biden and I were also present.
President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities “by the book“.

The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.

From a national security perspective, however, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.

[Redacted Classified Section in original release: “Director Comey affirmed that he is proceeding “by the book” as it relates to law enforcement.” … “Comey said he does have some concerns that incoming NSA Flynn is speaking frequently with Russian Ambassador Kislyak.”  “Comey said that could be an issue as it relates to sharing senssitive information.”  “President Obama asked if Comey was saying that the NSC should not pass sensitive information related to Russia to Flynn.”  “Comey replied “potentially.””  “He added that he has no indication thus far that Flynn has passed classified information to Kislyak, but he noted that “the level of communication is unusual.”]

The President asked Corney to inform him if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team. Corney said he would.”

Susan Rice ~ (pdf link)

As stated, many have looked at this as a “CYA” memo, but that’s not what this is.

This is a justification memo, written by an outgoing National Security Advisor Susan Rice, to document why there have been multiple false and misleading statements given to the incoming President Trump and all of his officials.

This is not a “CYA” memo, this is a justification memo for use AFTER the Trump-Russia collusion/conspiracy narrative collapsed; if the impeachment effort failed.
The “By The Book” aspect refers to President Obama and Susan Rice being told by CIA  Director John Brennan, FBI Director James Comey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, that President Trump was the subject of an active counterintelligence investigation to determine if he was under the influence of the Russian government.

Even the timing of the memo, written 15 minutes prior to the end of the Obama administration, is ex-post-facto useful as evidence of the author’s intent.

Put aside the nonsense aspect to the origination of the investigation for a moment; that part doesn’t apply here.   Accept their position ‘as if’ it is substantive.

We are talking about Brennan, Comey, Clapper and Yates telling President Obama and NSA Susan Rice that President-elect Trump is under a counterintelligence investigation where the suspicion is that Donald J Trump is an agent of a foreign power.

Under the auspices (fraudulent though it may be), the incoming President is a counterintelligence investigation target. A potentially compromised Russian asset. Under this auspices all of the officials would be permitted to lie and mislead their target, so long as they did so “By The Book.”

That’s their justification for a lengthy series of lies and false statements.

That’s why FBI Director James Comey can lie to the President and tell him he’s not the target of the ongoing Russia investigation.  That’s the justification for keeping the accusations inside the Steele Dossier (remember, the Dossier is evidence) from the President-elect.  That’s the justification for all of the officials to lie to President Trump, and even mislead the media if needed.

The Susan Rice email is one big Justification Letter; setting the stage for all of the participants to have a plausible reason for lies to anyone and everyone.
Call out John Brennan for telling Harry Reid about the Steele Dossier during his gang-of-eight briefing, but not telling Go8 member Devin Nunes about it.  Brennan escapes by saying Nunes was on the Trump transition team; and briefing a conflicted politician on the dossier would have compromised the FBI investigation.  See how that works?

Call out James Comey for lying to President-elect Trump during the January 6th Trump Tower meeting…. Comey escapes by saying Trump was a target of the FBI investigation for potential compromise as a Russian asset; informing the target of the evidence against him would have compromised the investigation. See how that works?

Every lie, every omission, every false and/or misleading statement, must first be filtered through the “By The Book” prism of Trump being considered a Russian asset.  This is the justification trap democrats are waiting to exploit for maximum damage and diminishment of counter attack.

The “By the Book” justification, where every action could have been taken because Trump might have been an actual Russian operative, is the weapon under the camouflage tarp as the radical left lures in their political opposition.  They shrug their shoulders and say in condescending voices: ‘Well, we didn’t know; we had to be prudent‘, etc.

Getting outraged about the Obama administration’s lies, misstatements and fabrications can backfire if you don’t first think about it from their constructed frame-of-reference.

The “By the Book” framework is based on a false premise; but the action, just about any action, taken to mislead (even undermine) the incoming administration is excusable under this carefully crafted justification memo.   That’s exactly why Susan Rice wrote it; and each of the participating members knows they can use it, when needed.

However, during an interview on April 26, 2019, former Deputy National Security Advisor to President Obama, Ben Rhodes, told a journalist the Obama White House didn’t even know there was an FBI investigation into President-elect Trump or Michael Flynn.  WATCH:

If the White House didn’t know about an FBI investigation into Michael Flynn (per Ben Rhodes), then how does President Obama tell the FBI to conduct their investigation “by the book” according to Ben Rhodes’ boss, National Security Advisor Susan Rice?  See the basic problem that remains?

Arizona Senate Hearing on Results From Maricopa County Audit – 4:00pm EST Livestream Links


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on September 24, 2021 | Sundance | 368 Comments

Today the Arizona Senate will release its long-awaited audit report of the 2020 election in Maricopa County, AZ.  Senate President Karen Fann, and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen, will receive the report on the Senate floor at 1:00pm local / 4:00pm EST, followed by a detailed discussion of the report findings.

Keep in mind, the AZ website is likely to get swamped by viewers, and there are likely to be massive numbers of leftist cyber trolls attempting to disrupt the broadcast.  That said, the links and embeds to livestreams are below.   The primary AZ Video Link is HERE

RSBN YouTube Livstream LINK – RSBN Rumble Livestream Link – AZ Senate Hearing Link

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Crocodile Done Dee


Posted originally on GrrrGraphics.com on SEP 23, 2021 AT 11:45 AM

Crocodile Dundee has long been a well-loved figure here in America. He represents freedom and confidence. Most Americans feel an amity with Australians and it bothers us to see them oppressed by the jaws of tyranny. Covid has been used as an excuse to cancel their freedoms. They no longer have freedom of movement. They are tracked, monitored, controlled, and insulted. Their freedom of speech is squelched. And, of course their firearms were confiscated. Walkabout Creek has been replaced with the Lock ‘Em Up Swamp.

The words “New World Order” has already been used by their top politicians, who have sent out uniformed thugs to put down rightful protests. Australians are getting the Great Reset whether they like it or not. Their Prime Minister, Scott Morrison is on the same page as Joe Biden. Dementia Joe called the Australian leader “The fella from down under.” Both leaders want to destroy freedom.

The globalist oligarchs want to repeat Australia’s fate here in the US. Our freedom of speech is being compromised. All the ‘authorities’ have to do is label free speech as ‘misinformation’ and delete our voices. They don’t bother to refute solid evidence. Instead they’ll merely claim it’s misinformation.

Our freedom of movement is under attack. The tyrants won’t give up on their vaccine passports. Our most important freedom must not be given up—ever. That’s the 2nd Amendment. Australians lack that right and you now see how the tyrants are completely unafraid of their own people.

Our best wishes to the protesters and freedom fighters down under.

— Ben Garrison