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US Federal Government Disrespects Its People; $2 Trillion To Wall Street While Citizens Wait for Checks
Thursday, April 9, 2020, 8:43 am ET
At 8:30 am ET Thursday morning, April 9, 2020, the Labor Department announced that 6.6 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week. That's in addition to the nearly 10 million who applied for benefits the prior two weeks.
Have you received your $1200 check from the government yet?
Didn't think so. You are aware that Wall Street had access to $2 trillion weeks ago, right?
That's the number TWO (2) with twelve zeroes behind it. Like this: $2,000,000,000,000.
Bear in mind, the corporate money is coming to corporations via the Federal Reserve, which is not part of the federal government. It is and always has been a private bank, so there's really nothing "federal" about it. As far as the "reserve" portion of their name, they have no money in reserve. They have a balance sheet of nearly $6 trillion, all in various bonds or notes or obligations, otherwise known as debt. Much of it is not worth the paper its printed on or the electrons holding it in cyberspace.
There's no "reserves" at the Federal Reserve. They whip up currency out of thin air. A few keystrokes on their computer and viola! currency at their pleasure. The currency is represented by Federal Reserve Notes, or those pieces of paper some people carry around with pictures of dead presidents on them. Those are the ones, fives, 10s, 20s, 50s and 100-dollar bills floating around in the economy. There is only $1.75 trillion in actual printed currency according to the Federal Reserve. That's a little less than $6000 for every man, woman, and child in America.
The rest of the currency is in electronic form. The currency in your bank account is not really there. Try going to a bank branch and asking for $40,000 in cash, even if you have $100,000 in your account. First, you'd have to fill out IRS form 8300, because any transaction of $10,000 or more, the federal government wants to know about it. They think you might be a drug dealer, human trafficker, money launderer, or maybe a terrorist. It's all part of the Bank Secrecy Act, officially known as the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act. Then, after you've filled out the form, the bank's branch manager will likely tell you that they don't have that much money on hand. After that, you might have to come back on a later date to get some of it, make multiple trips, and go through a lot of hassle to get your hands on your currency.
This seems an appropriate place to explain the difference between money and currency. Here's Mike Maloney (an expert on the subject) to explain in less than three minutes:
The great financier, J.P. Morgan, put it in even simpler terms: Gold is money. Everything else is credit.
With that out of the way, have you received your $1200 yet?
No. Of course not. But Wall Street has already gotten theirs, and probably already spent it too. The stock market has been mostly up lately, the Dow Jones Industrial Average having risen from a close of 18,591.93 on March 23 to close at 23,433.57 Wednesday.
On March 17, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said President Trump would like to get money into the hands of people within two weeks. That was more than three weeks ago. Now, Mnuchin says the first direct deposits will be going out some time next week.
In other words, continue to wait. The government will be here to help in moments, er, days, er, weeks, maybe.
While Wall Street is open for business as usual, millions of Americans - roughly three quarters of the country - is under some form of stay-at-home or lockdown restriction. Ordinary people can't go to work, send their kids to school (they're closed), or venture beyond the boundaries of their own homes without some express, immediate need, like getting groceries, or picking up a prescription drug.
It's a shame. It's also likely unconstitutional. Americans are supposed to have the right to freely assemble. It's in the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
So, not only does the federal government not want you to have any money, they also don't want you going anywhere or associating with other citizens. Because of COVID-19, the government has "suggested" people congregate at distances of six feet apart. Many states have outlawed meetings or congregations of 10 or more people, some, five or more. They don't want you to get together with your fellow citizens, either.
As you wait for your money from the government, ask yourself if $1200 is worth having your first amendment rights taken away. As with anything else that sounds too good to be true, like free money from the government, there are strings attached.
And, while you're pondering that, how about those small business loans that are supposed to help businesses that have been forced to close so that the coronavirus doesn't spread. Those non-essential businesses are getting the run-around from the very same banks (JP Morgan Chase, Citi, Bank of America, Wells Fargo) that were bailed out in 2009, continued to get favors from the Federal Reserve and the federal government since then, and have been getting oodles of cash over the past six months, even before the COVID-19 crisis.
Those loans are full of boondoggles and conditions that limit how much a business qualifies for and what they have to do in order to receive a loan and more conditions for loan forgiveness. It's likely that most small businesses would be better off not taking the loans, toughing it out, filing for reorganization under bankruptcy laws and moving forward without inept government assistance.
The American public is being conned and abused by the very people they voted into office along with the media, the banks, and the Federal Reserve. State and local governments are only marginally less disrespectful. It all stinks to high heaven.
They don't respect you. They don't care about you. They want to control you. That should be obvious to everybody by now.
At the Close, Wednesday, April 8, 2020:
Turnaround Tuesday Wipes Out Massive Stock Gains; Oil Lower; Gold and Silver Nearly Unobtainable
Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 8:11 am ET
Turnaround Tuesday certainly lived up to its advance billing as stocks performed a midday about-face, giving up expansive gains - the Dow gave up over 900 points from its intraday peak - to end near the flatline, only the NYSE Composite finishing in the black.
With a massive gap up at the open, equities were riding the crest of Monday's monstrous wave of buying, on the false hope that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic was behind them. At 11:25 am ET, when New York City announced its death toll for the prior day as the highest one-day total to date with 731 fresh corpses, bringing the state total number of coronavirus fatalities to 5,489, surpassing those lost on 9/11, a wave of gloom descended on Wall Street and in trading offices worldwide. Once the news circulated, stocks embarked upon an afternoon of desperate selling.
Whatever it is that fuels the animal spirits of the investor class, it is misplaced and widely mis-pricing stocks presently, and has been for much of the past 11 years. Now that stock buybacks are no longer going to spike the punch in lower Manhattan, the Fed has stepped in with a variety show of programs and debt options, none of which will eventually be proven sufficient to stem the coming tide of lowered expectations, defaults, earnings misses and downright deplorable economic data.
All the Fed is doing is throwing more bad money atop a raging fire. They cannot print enough money globally to stop the coming self-inflicted Greater Depression, though they will surely blame everything on COVID-19, the convenient scapegoat.
Now that stocks have briefly recovered from the March selloff, all of the programs brought to light by the Federal Reserve will be viewed skeptically, as real values make their return to the former fantasy world of finance. Instead of the Dow resting comfortably above 22,000, the true value, when all is said and done will be much closer to 12,000 and likely far lower.
At current levels, the major indices are still higher than they were in 2007, before the Great Financial Crisis nearly wiped out the global economy. The ongoing crisis will assure that everybody loses, particularly the Baby Boomer generation, which was forced into stocks by the Fed's insistence on interest rates near zero for almost all of the current century.
Portfolios which were valued as retirement savings are going up in smoke and they will continue to do so as the crisis and antecedent solutions tear to shreds the dreams and aspirations of the enormous, aging generation. Unless one has already departed the stock market, anticipated losses will be catastrophic.
Elsewhere, bond yields ticked slightly higher on Tuesday. Gold and silver remain in a nascent bull market, as a global scramble for precious metals has left major dealers with dwindling or already depleted stock. Spot and futures prices are diverging in gold, but that's not even the real story, as premiums are going through the roof for gold and silver bars and coins. If one is fortunate enough to find a dealer with goods for sale, wait times for delivery are now averaging a month for silver in quantity, and five to 10 days for gold.
In times of panic, precious metals are desirous as a hedge against catastrophic circumstance, but, already, many have arrived at the decision to acquire such stock too late as prices have become unaffordable and physical delivery unobtainable.
On the oil front, the spasm of price hikes from last week has faded badly, with WTI crude down again, backing into a $24 handle per barrel. As they say in the trade, it's a fluid situation.
Finally, and this is not to be taken lightly, an astute commentator on a popular financial website posted the following cryptic message:
I don't think any bankers will go to jail, but I assure you they will meet with other, more horrible circumstances as this all plays out.
At the Close, Tuesday, April 7, 2020:
Stocks Rocket Higher on Hopes COVID-19 Threat Has Peaked; Gold Silver Remain in Short Supply with Hefty Premiums
Tuesday, April 7, 2020, 8:30 am ET
According to Wall Street, the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis is all but over.
Stocks were being bought as if there weren't going to be any more available on Monday, as news spread that the coronavirus outbreak may have peaked in New York, which has been the epicenter of the crisis. Of the 367,758 confirmed cases in the United States, 130,689 are in New York state, mainly in the most populous part, New York City.
The state of New York accounts for 35% of the total cases in the US.
4,758 of those have resulted in death, a full 44% of the entire US death toll of 10,831.
What triggered the giddiness in the markets was the number of confirmed cases in New York falling for three straight days, though the 8,000+ increase from April 5 to April 6 was still a very large number.
There's no need for analysis of how the stock algorithms took the headlines. The 7.73% gain on the Dow Jones Industrial Average is proof enough that investors (or, at least the algos that guide the trades) believe the worst of the crisis is past.
This could be a case of some whistling past the graveyard, however, as the aftereffects from a near-nationwide lockdown and closure of many businesses have yet to be felt. The promised $1200 checks for most Americans haven't even begun to be distributed, which is causing more than a little consternation in many households which have been forced to work from home.
Along with kids out of school and assorted other odd conditions of voluntary confinement, millions of ordinary Americans have put up with the condition for over three weeks and are finding that states which did not impose "stay-at-home" recommendations have some of the lowest reported case numbers in the country.
Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming are the eight remaining states without statewide orders after South Carolina's governor, Henry McMaster, ordered all residents of the state to remain at home except for visits with family members or essential outings to get groceries, medicine or exercise, to help slow the spread of the coronavirus on Monday.
South Carolina has 2,232 recorded cases of the virus, comparable to neighboring states North Carolina (2,870), Georgia (7,558), and Tennessee (3,802), all of which have had stay-at-home or similar orders in place for weeks.
Wyoming, with 210 cases documented, is the least-affected in the lower 48 states (Alaska, 191), and has issued only local ordinances. North Dakota (225) and South Dakota (288) are the next-lowest states. Neither of the Dakotas have any restrictive orders in place. The data suggests that the virus, while easily transmitted, is not gaining much traction in places that are sparsely populated and mostly rural. It remains to be seen whether these states will eventually see a huge outbreak from the virus. Only time will tell on that account.
For the majority of people outside of city centers, the virus has proven to be an annoyance, exacerbated by public officials wishing to appear concerned and active in fighting the spread.
With a death toll not even having approached the usual count from ordinary flu (about 40,000 in a typical season), there's growing pressure on the White House and governors to lift some restrictions and get people back to work. According to recent timelines, the country as a whole is within two weeks of the peak, if not already having reached that point.
With more than 10 million having already applied for unemployment insurance over the past two weeks, it's a near certainty that the number will ratchet higher when new claims numbers are released this Thursday.
The White House - which originally was considering a death toll of two million - has lowered its estimate on the number of deaths to 100,000 to 200,000 as the pandemic takes its toll. If the final tally comes in under the low of 100,000, there will likely be widespread criticism of the government effort, which may have saved some lives but crippled the economy, almost certain to enter a recession.
On the day, oil, after blistering gains last week, settled down, pricing around $26.40 per barrel for WTI crude. The price peaked Friday at $28.86.
The big move in stocks helped stall the rally in treasuries, though not significantly. The benchmark 10-year note moved five basis points, as yield increased from 0.62% to 0.67%.
Gold rallied throughout the day, ending at $1660.70 in New York, while silver also caught a bid, rising from $14.40 to $15.01 on the spot market. Prices for physical metal at the biggest dealers remains well above those quoted prices and delivery - due to a shortage - can take as many as 30 to 45 days. Many dealers report sold out inventories of the most popular coins and bars.
The US Mint is offering 2020 one ounce proof Silver Eagles for $64.50 and 2020 one ounce gold proof Eagles at $2,275. Ebay remains the most reliable source for coins and bars with fast delivery times (one to three days, typically).
At the Close, Monday, April 6, 2020:
WEEKEND WRAP: COVID-19 Crisis Will Peak Within Three Weeks, but the Economic Crisis Will Continue for Years
(Simultaneously published at Money Daily)
Sunday, April 5, 2020, 2:35 pm ET
OK, this was a long week, and stocks got clobbered again, but it could have been, and should have been, worse. The main indices were down between two percent (S&P 500) and three percent (NYSE Composite). For most citizens of the world who are under forced quarantine, the week was a painful experience. The vast majority of people would just like to be back at work, earning a living to support their families. The partially-manufactured COVID-19 crisis is keeping most of the developed nations' economies and people in lockdowns, on purpose, to impose government will over everyday people.
It's a shame how many will be cowed by government and led to believe the many lies that have been perpetrated during this period.
The beginning effects of the Fed backstopping companies has already been noticed. Some dime-store variety stocks were being bid up as the rest of the market was heading lower through the week. Companies (no names, for now, until more than a few weeks data is collected) evidenced buying at stop loss triggers. Not many were allowed to fall to anywhere near the recent lows.
Stocks should get another taste of selling in the coming week, as most of the news will be about overloaded hospitals, stressed out medial workers, press conferences by the president and his "team." It will be interesting to note how hard the Fed works to stave off a return to 18,212 on the Dow and similar drops on the other indices. They will likely keep losses to a minimum. It would not surprise at all would stocks stage another rally.
The treasury yield curve is about as flat as it can be, signaling nothing good. 115 basis points, or, just more than one percent, covers the entire complex from one-month bills (0.09% yield) to 30-year bonds (1.24%). The 10-year note is flatlining at 0.62%. The Fed, via its SPVs (Special Purpose Vehicles) is desperately buying commercial paper, in addition to treasury bonds, agency mortgage-backed securities, ETF paper, and municipal bonds. They're busy buying up the world's debt with the only currency that matters, the US dollar, conjured up daily out of thin air. The Federal Reserve's balance sheet has ballooned to nearly $6 trillion in their attempt to blow the global credit bubble a lot larger.
Oil caught a huge bid after President Trump supposedly brokered a deal between the Saudis and the Russians, making a record gain on Thursday and another huge leap forward in price on Friday. While there is rampant skepticism over whether there is any kind of deal afoot (the Saudis denied it), the recent price jump - WTI crude went from $21.76 per barrel on Wednesday to a high of $26.35 Thursday, and closed out Friday at $28.34; Brent went from $26.90 to $34.11 over the same span - is unlikely to be long-lasting. Until the Saudis and Russians have eliminated 50-60% of the shale drillers in the US, there aren't going to be any concessions. Additionally, the rampant supply glut and limited demand should keep the price around $20-24 per barrel.
Gold and silver continue to decouple from the fraudulent futures prices. Gold settled out just below $1600 the ounce, silver about $14.00. For real prices on physical silver and gold, one must go to eBay of all places, where there is a wide-open market for coins, bars and assorted bullion. An ounce of gold is ranging between $1800-$2000, while silver cannot be had for under $22 per ounce. These are the real prices, and are heading up quickly because demand is through the roof, many miners are idled, reducing supply, hoarding is rampant, and delivery times from established dealers (30-45 days in some cases) cannot match the one-to-three day deliveries by independent eBay sellers, and those prices have built into them a 10% commission to eBay and do not include shipping, which only adds to the real prices.
There's a definite possibility that the COMEX and LBMA will soon be disregarded completely and a free, open, un-manipulated market will emerge at the world's biggest online bazaar and elsewhere on the internet as fiat currencies are inflated away and real money begins to take root at the consumer level.
Random Notes and Recommendations
JP Morgan put out a study which concluded that the world will be on the downside of the case infection rate curve in two months. Rubbish. Check out this site for the US:
The United States will be peaking and on the downslope of the curve within 2-3 WEEKS, not 2 months, and European nations are already on the downslope.
All the noise over ventilators, on which two-thirds of the people die anyhow, is just wasted time and money. The small business "loans" are garbage, full of loopholes and boondoggles for small business.
As usual, Wall Street got their trillions in the blink of an eye. American citizens will have to wait until the government gets around to figuring out how to pay them their $1200. Average time, from right now, 3-6 weeks.
Gee, thanks for helping us all out.
Open up MLB. It would be nice to see the some home runs, swings and misses, stolen bases, sign-stealing, and all that good stuff by May 15 at the latest. Even a shortened season would be acceptable. Americans, average Americans are the ones who deserve all the credit. They took social distancing and stay-at-home seriously, which was very helpful in slowing the spread of COVID. We should all get $10K, and Wall Street nothing, because those companies contributed nothing, and most of the companies getting bailout money do nothing. The people should revolt once this is over.
The government, local, state, and federal are the destroyers of liberty. All of them are worthless parasites and when this is all over they'll all pat themselves on the backs for doing such a bang-up job, when, in reality, it was mostly a big hoax.
Here is an exceptional interactive chart which shows the curve (the one we're actively flattening by social distancing and other mediations) in the United States and in every state individually, with figures for numbers of beds, ICU beds, and ventilators needed and available.
It clearly shows the curve peaking between April 15 and 21. The response curve will peak first, followed quickly by the number of COVID-19 cases curve. After that, it's all downhill for the dangerous pathogen that has disrupted lives and economies worldwide.
Brent Johnson's Dollar Milkshake Theory
Brent Johnson is CEO of Santiago Capital. He has been creating and managing comprehensive wealth management strategies for the personal portfolios of high-net-worth individuals and families since the late 1990s.
If you watch no other video on money, gold, or finance, this is the one you definitely should see.
Also, Mike Maloney's GoldSilver.com is an excellent resource. Recently, Mike has been doing pretty much daily videos with consolidated information from a wide variety of sources, funneled through his intuitive, calculating mind. Here is a recent entry with some revealing charts by the incredible analyst John Hussman, another number-crunching maniac who's been studying and disseminating information on the economy in a series of market commentaries at his Hussman Funds website.
Here is Mike Maloney's April 3rd video:
Make sure to get Mike's free e-book, Guide to Investing in Gold & Silver, the #1 All-Time Bestseller On Precious Metals Investing, available at his site.
At the Close, Friday, April 2, 2020:
For the Week: