Thursday, May 6, 2021

"What Will You Do When Inflation Forces U.S. Households To Spend 40 Percent Of Their Incomes On Food?"

Full screen recommended.
"What Will You Do When Inflation Forces U.S. Households
 To Spend 40 Percent Of Their Incomes On Food?"
by Epic Economist

"Over the past 12 months, US consumers have been seeing shocking price increases at grocery stores. Some staples shot up by almost 150 percent and several others are still facing shortages due to the latest supply chain disruptions. But experts are warning that this is just the beginning. The real problem actually goes much deeper than supply and demand imbalances. Rising prices are likely to persist throughout the whole year and well into 2022, as the U.S. economy starts to feel the impacts of inflation. So if you think things are already complicated at this point, get ready to see prices go on meteoric rises because from now on it is only going to get worse.

As food becomes increasingly expensive, Americans are forced to spend a larger share of their income just to ensure the same essentials. Before the health crisis began, consumers used to spend nearly 10 percent of their disposable personal incomes on groceries. According to data released by the USDA, in 2019, Americans spent 9.5 percent of their income on food, divided between food at home, representing 4.9 percent; and food away from home, 4.6 percent. However, data shows that when economic divisions are considered, Americans at the very bottom of the economic food chain spent significantly more than those at the top.

In 2019, low-income households spent an average of $4,400 on food, which accounts for 36 percent of their income, while the highest-income households spent an average of $13,987 on food, but that only represents 8 percent of their income. It is safe to say that those numbers are notably higher today. Economists are predicting that the percentage of disposable personal income that the average U.S. household spent on food in 2020 will near 40 percent, but official numbers from 2020 haven't been released yet. In any case, that would imply that for poor households, that percentage could be well over 50% - which means that millions of Americans are spending more than half of their income just to feed themselves.

And now that inflation has been on an upward climb, rising food costs will likely slice an even larger share of people's budgets. A recent Bloomberg article reported that over the past 12 months, the price of corn jumped roughly 142 percent to $7.56 per bushel, the highest price seen in eight years for the crop. Additionally, new shortages of chicken, dairy products and pork, have resulted in a price increase of 10 percent just in March for pork chops and chicken breasts, while eggs and cheese went up by 6 percent last month alone.

In other sectors of the economy, inflation levels may not appear as alarming to consumers just yet, but the truth is that by looking at all consumer goods as a whole, the latest inflation data in the Consumer Price Index from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates the largest month-to-month increase in almost nine years. And, of course, rising commodity prices go way beyond corn. At the gas pump, prices have surged over $1.20 compared to the same period in 2020, but that was when demand was dwindling because of stay-at-home mandates.

Meanwhile, the costs of lumber continue to skyrocket. Last week, lumber prices have pushed the price of an average new single-family home $35,000 higher, but this week, there was an increase of almost one thousand dollars in that figure. According to an analysis by the National Association of Home Builders, lumber is adding $35,872 to the cost of a new home.

That's what happens when the beginning stages of hyperinflation start to appear in the economy. The spending plan that was supposed to help the population to make it through the worse economic recession in decades, ended up deteriorating people's purchasing power to the point of snatching up half of the income of millions of US households so that they can buy food. Our leaders have let inflation run out of control so that they can continue to print, borrow and spend money recklessly, without considering how this is affecting our living standards. As the cost of everything continues to climb, soon we will see a major national crisis emerging because it won't take long for people to start to loudly complain about how nightmarish inflation has become and how the American Dream has been ruthlessly taken away from our hands."

"Stagflation; Costco Raises Prices Gives You Less; US Real Debt $163 Trillion"

Jeremiah Babe, PM 5/6/21:
"Stagflation; Costco Raises Prices Gives You Less;
 US Real Debt $163 Trillion"

Gerald Celente, "Trends in The News Live"

Gerald Celente,
"Trends in The News Live"

"Janet Yellen Panics the Market"

"Janet Yellen Panics the Market"
by Brian Maher

"Like a squall out of a clear sky… Janet Yellen sent investors under the awnings Tuesday: "It may be that interest rates will have to rise somewhat to make sure that our economy doesn't overheat." In reminder: Falling rates generally equal rising stocks. Rising rates generally equal falling stocks. Ms. Yellen’s rains gave the Nasdaq a quick 300-point drenching. That is because many technology stocks are “growth” stocks. These stocks have grown the stock market into a towering oak.

Growth stocks are uniquely sensitive to rising interest rates. Explains Mr. Peter Tchir of Academy Securities: "Companies relying on future cash flow growth experience much greater risk as rates rise, and that has been the part of the market that has really driven returns in the stock market. That is why some parts of the market, like the Nasdaq 100, which is heavy in technology stocks, is getting hit much more than the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which has less companies expecting outsized growth."

“I Didn’t Mean It!” But like a chronic liar who mistakenly mumbles a truth… Ms. Yellen hedged, hemmed, hawed… and rotated 180 degrees around. Late Tuesday - as the water came sheeting down - she insisted she did not “think there’s going to be an inflationary problem.” Why the turnabout? Perhaps someone took her by the ear? Perhaps she stole a glance at her plunging portfolio?

But what happens to the stock market when growth stocks finally cease to grow… when the nourishing saps run dry… when interest rates rise? Can trees truly scrape the sky? The market cap-to-GDP ratio informs us whether the market is undervalued, overvalued, or fairly valued against its historical average. It is Warren Buffett’s preferred yardstick.

Significantly Overvalued: If market cap ranges between 50% and 75% of GDP, the market is considered undervalued. Between 75% and 90%, it is considered fairly valued. Between 90% and 115%, overvalued. What is today’s market cap-to-GDP ratio? 198%. That is, stocks are obscenely overvalued - against historical averages. Only a $40 trillion economy would justify today’s gargantuan valuations. The United States does not run a $40 trillion economy. It runs perhaps a $21 trillion economy. The stock market has far outgrown its roots in the real economy. It is overextended mightily.

The Lumberjacks Are Getting Ready: The market cap-to-GDP ratio scaled 100% in the deliriums of 1929. Prior to the 2000 “” devastation, the ratio came in at 175%. At today’s 198%... we must assume the lumberjacks are readying the saws.

Today’s valuations suggest stocks will return negative 2.9% per year - dividends included. Here we speak of averages. Whether stocks turn in greater than negative 2.9%... or lesser than 2.9%... we can offer no answer. It is in the lap of the gods. And there it shall remain.

‘We Can Borrow All We Want Because Borrowing Costs Are So Low’: Total United States debt - public and private - runs to some $82 trillion. The debt mongers among us argue that the United States can plunge deeper into debt because interest rates are so fantastically low. Borrowing costs are historically low, it is true - though they have inched higher.

But if the price of hemlock was historically low… should you store in a heavy inventory? Are historically low rates - that is - a warrant to plunge deeper into debt?

By our lights… they are not. Here is a question: Would you rather service a $100,000 debt at 5% - or a $1 million debt at 1%? The $100,000 debt at 5% will burden you $5,000 per year. The $1,000,000 debt at 1% will throw a $10,000 shackle upon you. You are doubly bound in debt. You can take the load if your income rises with it. But if it does not?

Three Times More Debt Than Growth: Since 2007 total United States debt… public and private… has ballooned an impossible $30 trillion. Meantime, the gross domestic product has expanded only $7 trillion. Today’s rates fall substantially beneath 2007’s rates. Yet due to today’s dizzyingly greater debt volume… each incremental rate increase weighs further upon the shoulders.

How much heavier? Mr. Larry McDonald, publisher of the Bear Traps Report: "A 50 basis point move today in yields relative to 10 years ago wipes out literally the entire budget of the marines, the navy and the army. In other words, because there's so much debt today relative to 10, 15 years ago… a small move in yields, 50 basis points in yields today is equivalent to 2% 15 years ago."

For emphasis: A 50-basis point jump in yields today equals a 2% jump in 2006. That is, a jump from 1% to 1.50%... equals a jump from 1% to 3% in 2006.

“You Just Can't Afford a Big Move up in Yields”: What happens if yields rise 100 basis points - 1%? Old McDonald: "You just have... a ton of wealth that... a 1% move up in yields, number one, it bankrupts the U.S. in terms of your budget right now…. 70% of the budget in the United States is entitlements and interest, so you just can't afford a big move up in yields."

Here is Mr. Michael Kosares, founder of USAGOLD, in 2017: "As interest rates have declined over the last several years, the interest paid by the federal government has increased markedly due to the rapid growth in size of the accumulated debt…

In 2008 when the national debt stood at $10 trillion, the federal government paid $336 billion in interest. For a measuring stick, the 10-year Treasury bill drew an average interest rate at the time of around 3.66%.

In 2012 when the debt crossed the $16 trillion threshold, the interest payment was almost $456 billion. The 10-year Treasury bill drew an average interest rate of 1.80%.

In 2016 with the national debt approaching the $20 trillion mark, the interest payment was $497 billion. The 10-year Treasury bill drew an average interest rate of 1.84%. It is difficult to overlook the fact that 2016’s interest payment was an all-time record at the second-lowest rate [in 46 years]."

Doomed: The present year is 2021. The national debt does not approach $20 trillion… but $28.3 trillion. At today’s levels, each percentage-point rate increase heaps some $225 billion upon existing debt service. Recall, a 0.50% bump in 2021 equals a 2% leap in 2006. If rates return to historical averages - 3-5% - debt service could wash out the entire budget. Can the Federal Reserve keep its finger in the dyke? The market’s fate depends upon it. That is, the market is doomed..."

Gregory Mannarino, PM 5/6/21: "Be Prepared For A Debt Market Hyper-Bubble IMPLOSION And MASSIVE Inflation!"


Gregory Mannarino, PM 5/6/21:
"Be Prepared For A Debt Market Hyper-Bubble

"What Will You Do When Inflation Forces U.S. Households To Spend 40 Percent Of Their Incomes On Food?"

"What Will You Do When Inflation Forces U.S. Households 
To Spend 40 Percent Of Their Incomes On Food?"
by Michael Snyder

"Did you know that the price of corn has risen 142 percent in the last 12 months? Of course corn is used in hundreds of different products we buy at the grocery store, and so everyone is going to feel the pain of this price increase. But it isn’t just the price of corn that is going crazy. We are seeing food prices shoot up dramatically all across the industry, and experts are warning that this is just the very beginning. So if you think that food prices are bad now, just wait, because they are going to get a whole lot worse.

Typically, Americans spend approximately 10 percent of their disposable personal incomes on food. The following comes directly from the USDA website… "In 2019, Americans spent an average of 9.5 percent of their disposable personal incomes on food - divided between food at home (4.9 percent) and food away from home (4.6 percent). Between 1960 and 1998, the average share of disposable personal income spent on total food by Americans, on average, fell from 17.0 to 10.1 percent, driven by a declining share of income spent on food at home."

Needless to say, the poorest Americans spend more of their incomes on food than the richest Americans. According to the USDA, the poorest households spent an average of 36 percent of their disposable personal incomes on food in 2019… "As their incomes rise, households spend more money on food, but it represents a smaller overall budget share. In 2019, households in the lowest income quintile spent an average of $4,400 on food (representing 36.0 percent of income), while households in the highest income quintile spent an average of $13,987 on food (representing 8.0 percent of income)."

Needless to say, the final numbers for 2020 will be quite a bit higher, and many believe that eventually the percentage of disposable personal income that the average U.S. household spends on food will reach 40 percent. That would mean that many poor households would end up spending well over 50 percent of their personal disposable incomes just on food.

At one time that would have been unimaginable, but now everything is changing. As I noted above, the price of corn his increased 142 percent since this time last year… "Corn prices have jumped roughly 142% over the past year to $7.56 per bushel, the highest price seen in eight years for the crop. A drought in Brazil and increased demand in China have put pressure on global suppliers."

In other areas we are seeing more moderate inflation, but overall we just witnessed the largest increase in food inflation “in almost nine years”… "The average prices in March of 2021 for pork chops and chicken breasts are both up more than 10% compared to March of 2020. Eggs and cheddar cheese are both up 6%. Looking at all consumer goods as a whole, the latest inflation data in the Consumer Price Index from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the largest month-to-month increase in almost nine years."

Meanwhile, the price of lumber just continues to shoot even higher. In New Jersey, one man says that the total cost of lumber used in building his new home will reach $70,000… "Tom McCarthy can’t finish building a home in Bergen County, New Jersey because of the lumber shortage. “There are pieces of wood that we can’t find,” said McCarthy, a real estate broker with the Chen Agency who also builds homes with his father on the side. McCarthy estimates the cost of lumber for the home will hit $70,000, nearly double the cost of building the exact same home in a nearby town just eight months ago."

Isn’t that nuts? Instead of building a new home, you could try buying an existing one instead, but real estate prices in many areas have gotten completely insane. In northern California, one house recently sold for more than a million dollars over listing price… "When a house in Berkeley sold for more than $1 million over its list price in late March 2021, it was covered in media outlets across the Bay Area, including this one."

While the Berkeley sale was particularly sensational - it sold for double its list price and received 29 offers - these individual stories are becoming more common in today’s real estate market, according to recent data and anecdotes from real estate professionals. I never imagined that I would see such a thing happen.

But one real estate agent says that such wild bidding wars are becoming increasingly common… "And that’s especially true in the East Bay. “People are not surprised when a home goes $1 million over,” said Josh Dickinson, the founder of real estate agency Zip Code East Bay. “When my clients see a house for $1.9 million they’re almost conditioned to think it’ll go over $3 million in Piedmont or North Berkeley.”

This is what the beginning stages of hyperinflation look like, but Federal Reserve officials insist that we have nothing to be concerned about. In fact, Eric Rosengren just told the press that the crazy inflation we are seeing now “is likely to prove temporary”… "Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren in an interview with MarketWatch on Wednesday dismissed talk of scaling back asset purchases as premature, and said temporary factors pushing up inflation this spring won’t last. “My view is that this acceleration in the rate of price increases is likely to prove temporary,” Rosengren said Wednesday."

Do you believe him? I don’t. As Simon Black has pointed out, the federal government is just going to continue to borrow and spend trillions upon trillions of dollars… "This is the big one. The US federal government is hoping to spend a whopping $11 TRILLION this year, between the regular budget, COVID stimulus already passed, and all the new legislation they’re proposing."

And it’s only May. Obviously Uncle Sam doesn’t have the money. So they have to borrow it. Almost everybody loved it when the federal government started sending out big, fat stimulus checks. But you aren’t going to love it when a cart of food costs you $400 at the grocery store.

Whenever the government hands out “free money”, someone has got to pay for it, and one way we are paying for it is through higher prices. If you do not believe that this is a major national crisis yet, you will soon, because it won’t be too long before most of the country is loudly complaining about how nightmarish inflation has become."

Musical Interlude: "Dance of Life • Relaxing Fantasy Music for Relaxation & Meditation"

Full screen a must for this beautiful video!
Peder B. Helland,
"Dance of Life • 
Relaxing Fantasy Music for Relaxation & Meditation"

"A Look to the Heavens"

"NGC 3199 lies about 12,000 light-years away, a glowing cosmic cloud in the nautical southern constellation of Carina. The nebula is about 75 light-years across in this narrowband, false-color view. Though the deep image reveals a more or less complete bubble shape, it does look very lopsided with a much brighter edge along the top. 
Near the center is a Wolf-Rayet star, a massive, hot, short-lived star that generates an intense stellar wind. In fact, Wolf-Rayet stars are known to create nebulae with interesting shapes as their powerful winds sweep up surrounding interstellar material. In this case, the bright edge was thought to indicate a bow shock produced as the star plowed through a uniform medium, like a boat through water. But measurements have shown the star is not really moving directly toward the bright edge. So a more likely explanation is that the material surrounding the star is not uniform, but clumped and denser near the bright edge of windblown NGC 3199."

Chet Raymo, “Life”

by Chet Raymo


"The first string of letters above represents an actual sequence of amino acids on human chromosome 10. The second string is the corresponding sequence for an elephant. I copy the strings from a New Yorker article on Neanderthals by Elizabeth Kolbert. She tosses them in more or less at random just to show what a DNA sequence looks like. Still, they jump off the page. Humans and elephants. A four-letter code.

Four molecules called neucleotides, arranged in pairs along a spiraling ladder, the double-helix – adenine, thymine, guanine and cytosine, represented by the letters A, T, G and C. A always pairs with T, G with C. The complete human genome is a string of something like 3 billion As, Ts, Gs and Cs. Ditto for the elephant. Some 30,000 sequences, of variable length, are genes. Most of the strings are apparently non-functional; so-called “junk.” Give the sequence to a genomist and she can tell you if it belongs to a human or an elephant. Or, for that matter, to an Asian elephant, and African elephant, or an extinct woolly mammoth. Or a modern human or a Neanderthal.

There have been some pretty exciting discoveries in science in my lifetime – plate tectonics, for example, or the cosmic microwave background radiation – that have revolutionized our understanding of the Earth and the universe. But to my mind nothing has been more stunning than the recognition that we share with all of life an elegantly simple four-letter code that determines what we are as a species. And not only our species, but the color of our eyes and the dimples in our cheeks. An identical arm’s-length of DNA in every one of the trillions of cells of our bodies (except red blood cells). And somewhere in that sequence of 3 billion As, Ts, Cs and Gs is presumably the variation that let modern humans prosper at the expense of our Neanderthal neighbors.”

"The Psychology of Conformity"

Full screen recommended.
"The Psychology of Conformity"
by Academy of Ideas

"This video, building on the ideas of Ernest Becker, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Emerson, examines why we are so susceptible to conformity and looks at why nonconformity, or the cultivation of one’s uniqueness, is such an important ingredient in a life well-lived."

The Daily "Near You?"

Forest Lake, Minnesota, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

“You Want Rights? Well, Sunshine… Here’s What You’re Missing”

“You Want Rights? Well, Sunshine… Here’s What You’re Missing”
So Many Rights, So Little Understanding
by Chris

“Sometimes when I sit down to share my thoughts with you I know I’m going to piss off a bunch of people. Today is one of those days. So if you’re bitterly hostile, suffer from low self esteem, have nihilistic tendencies, and offer to the world a bag full of self contempt and not much else, then you need to read on. You’ll hate me for it but really… this is for you!

You’ve been fighting for all sorts of “rights” and sadly society is actually taking you seriously rather than treating you as they should, which is to say one with a mental illness. Instead, here we find ourselves in an environment where criminals are and will be made out of perfectly decent, honorable, good people.

For example, if you don’t get “affirmative consent” before getting jiggity with a partner, it’s considered rape on some university campuses. And the same goes if your partner has been drinking. By this criteria most every male in the world is a rapist, myself included. When you’re “in the moment”, nobody’s stopping, saying, “Hey, hang on a moment, sweetheart. Please, can you provide me with your affirmative consent to ravage you?” What the hell?  And if you and your partner had a glass of wine beforehand, you’re definitely a rapist.

Islamophobia is another. Listen, I could care less about your religious affiliation or lack thereof. If you’re not fearful of an ideological belief which champions ending your life if you’re not going to follow the doctrine, then you’re an idiot, and so it’s only idiots that campaign against common sense rational prudence.

As I mentioned talking about the virtues of discriminationDo you discriminate when you steer clear of a group of young men with an aggressive swagger walking at night? I sure hope so. This is not prejudice it’s bloody prudence.

Now, you might ask yourself what on earth has this got to do with markets, Chris? This all matters a great deal, and I explained well before it happened (and shocked everyone). So yes, it matters and capital flows are affected. And it’s not just America or even North America. Because this is prevalent in Britain and Europe as I wrote about in what the silent majority is really sayingIn a mad bid to prove “acceptance” and “tolerance” the West have gone entirely off the deep end ignoring and condoning comments and actions completely antithetical and incompatible with modern Western Civilization.

While we’re on the topic of insane political correctness we can’t leave out gender equality (a ludicrous term because, by our very nature, women and men are not equal). Our very unequal-ness is what allows us to interact on a mutual and agreeable basis. And yes, the liberation of and freedom of women is easily one of the most positive forces that any country could possibly move forward on. That doesn’t mean we’re equal. I sure as hell can’t give birth, and I’m nowhere near as organized as my wife, and studies have shown that women are unequivocally more organized while men for example are more industrious. It’s how we’re wired. Trying to make us the same is pathologically stupid.

The Washington Post ran an article on how you and I will become criminals by inadvertently calling a spade a spade… a woman and woman… and a man a man. You can be fined for not calling people “ze” or “hir,” if that’s the pronoun they demand that you use. In fact, apparently there are 56 pronouns now to be used including such beauties as “gender-fluid” and “two-spirit”. You can’t make this sh*t up!
Perhaps we should just keep safe and use “oy” for everyone. That ought to sort the problem out. As for myself, I think I’m going with “Milord”.

Look, I could care less if you’re a bloke who lopped your diddle off and now wants to be called Sally, but this shouldn’t govern society, for goodness sake. Freedom of expression is one thing but this incipient, creeping cancer (because that’s what it is) attempts to dictate what are trivialities and it’s dangerous. Very dangerous! It’s an ideology and ideologies are extremely dangerous.

The Flip Side to Rights… are responsibilities. The “right” to free healthcare entails someone to provide that healthcare. That’s a responsibility and it takes effort, capital, skill, intellect, and hard work.

The same is true of all rights, and I want to emphasize this with flushed cheeks, waving hands, and spittle. All rights are someone else’s responsibility. It can’t be any other way. Take away the responsibility and your “rights” are just words because they’re as useless as Mike Tyson in a spelling bee. I mean go into, say, Zimbabwe and legislate universal free healthcare. Well, since there’s nobody responsible that’ll actually make that happen, it’s a waste of time.

And here’s the problem that bleeding-heart liberals fail to understand. The West is educating and grooming generations of useless, bedwetting, irresponsible intellectually vapid children (because, despite their age, that’s what they are). And lacking from this tsunami of the cotton-wool-clad crowd is ANY responsibility. Try foist it on them and they screech “triggered” and retreat to a “safe space”.

So pray tell, what happens when a real crisis hits? When the sovereign debt bubble bursts and the socialist systems that have been built on this funding mechanism (sovereign debt markets) and which are completely expected to simply provide for these “children” rapidly run out of funding?

Try explaining to these “children” that a mere 1% rise in bond yields could trigger a bond crisis the likes of which we’ve never seen before in our lives. And try further explaining what this means to all their “rights…” and you may as well be talking to your dog because intellectual rigor is not something they’ve ever been exposed to. Instead, they’ve spent their lives ensuring they’re shielded from it. The inescapable logic that being “two-spirit” could (and will) be rapidly superseded by the need to fill one’s belly is indeed entirely missed.

What happens next? I’ll tell you what happens next. We’ve the most fertile grounds you could imagine for tyranny because you know what? There ain’t gonna be nobody strong enough to stop it happening. What’s a sane person to do? Probably best to simply position accordingly.”

“Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most 
aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty.” 
- Plato
Personally, I’d agree with Christopher Hitchens…

"And That's Why..."

“I don’t believe in ‘original sin.’ I don’t believe in ‘guilt.’ I don’t believe in villains or heroes – only right or wrong ways that individuals have taken, not by choice but by necessity or by certain still-uncomprehended influences in themselves, their circumstances, and their antecedents. This is so simple I’m ashamed to say it, but I’m sure it’s true. In fact, I would bet my life on it! And that’s why I don’t understand why our propaganda machines are always trying to teach us, to persuade us, to hate and fear other people on the same little world that we live in.”
- Tennessee Williams

"Time to Get Hosed!"

"Time to Get Hosed!"
by Bill Bonner

YOUGHAL, IRELAND – "Yesterday, we saw that some investments inevitably go bad. People make mistakes. The private world of win-win deals routinely corrects them. Death, divorce, default, destitution – many are the ways it sets things right. But the public world… the world backed by tanks and armed police… the world of wars and sanctions… regulations and money-printing… uses its considerable might to resist correction. No matter how stupid… no matter how wasteful or harmful to the public weal – government programs are rarely and reluctantly discarded.

The Definition of Eternity: Dear readers who doubt this is true are invited to recall the real nature of government. It is an organization that has only one real goal – to protect and promote the people who control it. And as we’ve seen, illuminated by the great Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, it is always controlled by a small segment of the society – the elite.

We’ve seen also that the “investments” made on behalf of the public most often benefit only the elite. And, protected by their beneficiaries, errors persist and accumulate. Even the most temporary and woebegone government agency becomes eternal. Crises – forgotten by the public for decades – still trouble the sleep of well-paid agents of the federal government.

Programs that should have been a source of shame and embarrassment continue indefinitely, while the people who put them in place – who should have been bankrupted… run out of town on a rail… or at least had the good grace to resign from office, or like German general Erwin Rommel, to accept the cyanide pill – stay proudly at their posts year after year.

Elections are supposed to “throw the bums out.” But apart from a few headliner acts, the show remains little changed… with the same clowns, misallocating the same resources, over and over.

How It Ends: And yet, as American economist Herbert Stein remarked, things that can’t go on forever must come to an end. But how? When? Those are our questions for today. And we won’t beat around the bush. The answer is this: Deprived of regular hygiene, public life gets dirtier and dirtier… until finally, we all “take a bath” on the feds’ bad investments. We pause to back-fill…

Errors – even in public life – are usually limited by money. The feds may want to spend $2 trillion on infrastructure… or on climate control… but they lack the means. This forces them to make trade-offs… hard choices – cutting here to spend there… raising taxes… or borrowing. Raising taxes tends to upset those who pay them, imposing a barrier that politicians are reluctant to cross. And even when Congress passes a tax increase, it doesn’t mean that the feds will actually collect more tax revenue. People duck and dodge. Even without cheating, they change the way they do business and how they spend their money.

In the end, tax revenue, as a percentage of GDP, tends to stay fairly constant, as tax rates rise or fall. And borrowing brings its own problems. First, a dollar must be earned before it can be saved. Then, it must be saved before it can be borrowed.

This century, federal deficits have far outstripped GDP growth and savings rates, which is why the feds have had to resort to the printing press. Besides, even when there is money available from private lenders, borrowing by the feds will “crowd out” private borrowers, driving up interest rates, depressing the economy, and putting voters in a sour mood. It is only because our fake-money system permits the feds to spend so much, without depleting savings or raising taxes, that they can make so many bad “investments.”

(An important note: As prices begin to rise, the Federal Reserve will come under pressure to “taper” off its money-printing ways. Most likely, next month, as higher inflation rates are reported, we will see some fireworks at the Fed… and in the markets… Stay tuned.)

Extraordinary Scrubbing: In addition to the bad investments on existing wars – against terrorists, poverty, recessions, bear markets, and drugs – the Biden Administration has proposed an additional $4 trillion to do battle against temperature changes and viruses… as well as allegedly improving the nation’s families and its infrastructure. Some of these proposals will be adopted. Money will be misspent. Debt will increase. And the grime will grow thicker and greasier than ever. With no routine way of cleaning it off… an extraordinary scrubbing will be needed.

Wars, revolutions, economic collapse – the ways in which elites are finally punished… and their bamboozles eventually corrected… fill the history books. They’ve been explored by historians and catastrophists such as Edward Gibbon, Arnold Toynbee, Oswald Spengler, Joseph Tainter, Peter Turchin… and many others. Each has his own theory… his own “spin”… on the issue. Some emphasize foreign competition. Others focus on the degeneration of the elite themselves. Some lay the blame on economic mismanagement or resource depletion. Others insist the real problem is a moral failure.

Joseph Tainter put forward the idea that governed societies are fundamentally problem-solving organizations. Each problem requires a solution. Each solution adds costs… and increases the complexity of the organization. Eventually, the complexities and additional costs become unbearable; the society collapses.

Parasitic Living: Another way to look at it is that the elite is fundamentally parasitic, living off the labor of others. As time goes by, more and more people naturally wish to join the elite. They learn to speak the language of business schools and The New York Times. They send their children to college. And then… the college graduates feel entitled to an elite lifestyle, and take their places on Wall Street, in the government, a university, or a non-profit organization. Thus are more and more people turned into quasi-rentiers, contributing little to the real wealth of the society, while relatively fewer remain to make the plumbing work.

Here at the Diary, we pretend no precision. Our analysis is broad-brush… like a barn door painted by a blind man. During our own lifetimes, America’s elite has degenerated greatly. Funded with almost unlimited fake money, it has become arrogant, corrupt, and incompetent. And now… caught in an “inflate or die” trap… its “investments” become more desperate and less productive than ever… And since the elite controls both soap and water… the dirt builds up. And then, we all get hosed."

"How It Really Is"


Gregory Mannarino, AM 5/6/21: "UPDATES: Economy, Inflation, Stocks, Crypto, DASH, Gold, Silver, Dollar, Crude"

Gregory Mannarino, AM 5/6/21:
"UPDATES: Economy, Inflation, Stocks, 
Crypto, DASH, Gold, Silver, Dollar, Crude"

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

"100 Non Food Items You Should Stockpile To Prepare For The Imminent Economic Collapse"

Full screen recommended.
"100 Non Food Items You Should Stockpile 
To Prepare For The Imminent Economic Collapse"
by Epic Economist

"We're living in times when broken supply chains and empty grocery shelves are becoming the new normal. Widespread shortages are driving the price of everything to unprecedented highs, and our growing inability to find the supplies we need is putting us in a dangerously vulnerable position during the economic collapse. While more turbulence and chaos arise with each passing day, we're unconsciously becoming incapable of preparing in advance for the challenges that lie ahead.

Most people tend to think that, when it comes to prepping for an emergency, food is the most important product to have on your stockpile. In some cases, that might be true, but if things go south and you need to rapidly relocate, there are other essential non-food items you should have on hand to help you find resources and shelter, and also to keep your group safe when everything else starts to fall apart.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how much food and water you have in your pantry if you lack the tools you need to ensure your survival. And surviving an economic collapse is much more complex than most people can imagine. But there are some simple products that can help you to escape a turbulent environment and gather enough supplies for you and your family. That's why today, we selected 100 non-food essential items you should start stockpiling right now before they disappear from the stores.

But before we check this list, we would like to remind you that another essential thing to have is common sense. Don’t rush into the stores and wipe out all shelves in a panic-buying spree like many did during lockdowns. That’s not prepping, that’s hoarding. And it compromises other families’ ability to protect themselves in such dark times. Just take what you will actually use and what you will actually need. It’s important to stay focused and do not let panic take over in a situation like this.

Don’t find yourself battling over a toilet paper package with someone in a supermarket line. We do understand that things can drastically change overnight, but until they do, take your time to start prepping consciously and respectfully, because it’s our connections with one another that will allow us to thrive when the rest of the world collapses. And the last thing you want to make is unwanted enemies.

Keep a close eye on the events that might turn into a catastrophe and start getting ready as soon as you can because things are vanishing from the stores at a very rapid pace - but there's still time to come up with an escape plan and stay away from the imminent economic collapse. So you need to act right now."

Musical Interlude: Gnomusy (David Caballero), "Dolmen Ridge"

Gnomusy (David Caballero), "Dolmen Ridge"

"A Look to the Heavens"

"A gorgeous spiral galaxy some 100 million light-years distant, NGC 1309 lies on the banks of the constellation of the River (Eridanus). NGC 1309 spans about 30,000 light-years, making it about one third the size of our larger Milky Way galaxy. Bluish clusters of young stars and dust lanes are seen to trace out NGC 1309's spiral arms as they wind around an older yellowish star population at its core.
Not just another pretty face-on spiral galaxy, observations of NGC 1309's recent supernova and Cepheid variable stars contribute to the calibration of the expansion of the Universe. Still, after you get over this beautiful galaxy's grand design, check out the array of more distant background galaxies also recorded in this sharp, reprocessed, Hubble Space Telescope view.”

"A Little Late In The Game..."


“The Loss Of Dignity”

“The Loss Of Dignity”
by The Zman

“If you step back and think about it, the normal man can probably list a dozen things he cannot say in public that he grew up hearing on television, usually as jokes. Then the jokes were no longer welcome in polite company and soon they were deemed “not funny” by the sorts of people who worry about such things. The same was true of simple observations about the world. Somehow noticing the obvious became impolite, then it became taboo and finally prohibited.

The reverse is true as well. Middle-aged men can probably think of a dozen things that were unimaginable or unheard of, which are now fully normal. Of course, normal is one of those things that is now prohibited. It implies that something can be abnormal or weird and that itself is forbidden. The proliferation of novel identities and activities that demand to be treated with dignity and respect is a function of the old restraints having been eliminated. When everything is possible you get everything.

The strange thing about all of this is there is seemingly no point to it. The proliferation of new taboos was not in response to some harm being done. In most cases, the taboos are about observable reality. The people turning up in the public square with novel identities or activities demanding respect did not exist very long ago. If they did, not one was curious enough to look into it. The public was happy to ignore people into unusual activities, as long as they kept it to themselves.

Of course, none of what we generally call political correctness is intended to be uplifting or inspirational. The commissars of public morality like to pretend it is inspiring, but that’s just a way to entertain themselves. These new identity groups are not demanding the rest of us seek some higher plane of existence or challenge our limitations. In fact, it is always in the opposite directions. It’s a demand to lower standards and give up on our quaint notions of self-respect and human dignity.

In the "Demon In Democracy", Polish academic Ryszard Legutko observed that liberal democracy had abandoned the concept of dignity. This is the obligation to behave in a certain way, as determined by your position in society. Dignity was earned by acting in accordance with the high standards of the community. In turn, this behavior was rewarded with greater privilege and responsibility. Failure to live up to one’s duties would result in the loss of dignity, along with the status it conferred.

Instead, modern liberal democracy awards dignity by default. We are supposed to respect all choices and all behaviors as being equal. There are no standards against which to measure human behavior, other than the standard of absolute, unconditional acceptance. As a result, the most inventively degenerate and base activities spring from the culture, almost like a test of the community’s tolerance. Instead of looking up to the heavens for inspiration, liberal democracies look down in the gutter.

Dignity comes from maintaining one’s obligations to his position in the social order, but that requires a fidelity to a social order. It also requires a connection to the rest of the people in the society. In a world of deracinated individuals focused solely on getting as much as they can in order to maximize pleasure, a sense of commitment to the community is not possible. Democracy assumes we are all equal, therefore we have no duty to one another as duty requires a hierarchical relationship.

In the absence of a vertical set of reciprocal relationships, we get this weird lattice work of horizontal relationships, elevating the profane and vulgar, while pulling down the noble and honorable. The public culture is about minimizing and degrading those who participate in the public culture. In turn, the public culture attracts only those who cannot be shamed or embarrassed. The great joy of public culture is to see those who aspire to more get torn down as the crowd roars at their demise.

The puzzle is why this is a feature of liberal democracy. Ryszard Legutko places the blame on Protestantism. Their emphasis on original sin and man’s natural limitations minimized man’s role in the world. This focus on man’s wretchedness was useful in channeling our urge to labor and create into useful activities, thus generating great prosperity, but it left us with a minimalist view of human accomplishment. We are not worthy to aspire to anything more than the base and degraded.

It is certainly true that the restraints of Christianity limited the sorts of behavior that are common today, but he may be putting the cart before the horse. The emergence of Protestantism in northern Europe was as much a result of the people and their nature as anything else. Put more simply, the Protestant work ethic existed before there was such a thing as a Protestant. The desire to work and delay gratification evolved over many generations out of environmental necessity.

Still, culture is an important part of man’s environment and environmental factors shape our evolution. It is not unreasonable to say that the evolution of Protestant ethics magnified and structured naturally occurring instincts among the people. With the collapse of Christianity as a social force in the West, the natural defense to degeneracy and vulgarity has collapsed with it. As a result, great plenty is the fuel for a small cohort of deviants to overrun the culture of liberal democracies.

Even so, there does seem to be something else. Liberal democracy has not produced great art or great architecture. The Greeks and Romans left us great things that still inspire the imagination of the man who happens to gaze upon them. The castles and cathedrals of the medieval period still awe us. The great flourishing of liberal democracy in the 20th century gave us Brutalism and dribbles of pain on canvas. The new century promises us primitives exposing themselves on the internet.

There is something about the liberal democratic order that seeks to strip us of our dignity and self-respect. Look at what happened in the former Eastern Bloc countries after communism. Exposed to the narcotic of liberalism they immediately acquired the same cultural patterns. Fertility collapsed. Religion collapsed. Marriage and family formation collapsed. These suddenly free societies got the Western disease as soon as they were exposed to western liberal democracy.

The reaction we see today is not due to these societies being behind the times, but due to seeing the ugly face of liberal democracy. It is much like the reaction to the proliferation of recreational drugs in the 1970’s. At first, it seemed harmless, but then people realized the horror of unrestrained self-indulgence. That’s what we see in the former Eastern Bloc. Their leaders still retain some of the old sense of things and are trying to save their people from the dungeon of modernity.

That still leaves us with the unanswered question. What is it about liberal democracy that seems to lead to this loss of dignity? It is possible that such a fabulously efficient system for producing wealth is a tool mankind is not yet equipped to handle without killing ourselves. Maybe we are just not built for anything but scarcity. Want gives us purpose and without it, we lose our reason to exist. Either way, without dignity, we cannot defend ourselves and the results are inevitable.”

The Daily "Near You?"

Dallas, Georgia, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

The Poet: Paul Laurence Dunbar, “We Wear The Mask”

“We Wear The Mask”

“We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,-
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be overwise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!”

- Paul Laurence Dunbar

"The Cruelest Joke Of All...

“The smallest decisions made had such profound repercussions. One ten-minute wait could save a life… or end it. One wrong turn down the right street or one seemingly unimportant conversation, and everything was changed. It wasn’t right that each lifetime was defined, ruined, ended, and made by such seemingly innocuous details. A major life-threatening event should come with a flashing warning sign that either said ABANDON ALL HOPE or SAFETY AHEAD. It was the cruelest joke of all that no one could see the most vicious curves until they were over the edge, falling into the abyss below.”
- Sherrilyn Kenyon


Gregory Mannarino, PM 5/5/21:
"Critical Alert! 

"How It Really Is"


"Covid Has Triggered The Next Great Financial Crisis"

"Covid Has Triggered The Next Great Financial Crisis"
by Charles Hugh Smith

"Imagine a once modest but sturdy home built near a cliff to maximize the vistas. Over the decades, the foundation slowly degraded and the house moved imperceptably closer to the unstable edge of the cliff. Those who observed the slippage and the potential for eventual disaster were either derided as alarmists or ignored.

Given the enviable location and views, the home rose in value and a series of increasingly gaudy additions were added, completely obscuring the once-modest exterior with cheap imitations of long-lasting, time-tested materials (plastic trim and brittle fake-marble veneers). The foundations of these ostentatious additions were slapdash, shallow and poorly made, as the goal was not durability but appearance.

The low-quality additions accelerated the slide to the unstable cliff edge, and in 2019 the viewing deck broke away and crashed into the canyon below. The repairs were hasty and the residents were assured all was well - in fact, better than ever. In 2020, the weak foundation of the gaudiest, lowest-quality addition crumbled. The response of the owners was to fill the widening crack in the decaying structure and spray on a new coat of paint. There--good as new, the residents were told. But this was not true. The house is now teetering on the precariously unstable cliff edge. Ironically, the vast majority of the residents have moved to the game room, which is now cantilevered over thin air. The slightest movement will tip the entire decayed structure over the cliff.

That decayed, precariously unstable structure is the U.S. economy, and Covid was the catalyst that nudged the economy right to the edge. Gordon Long and I discuss the causes and consequences in our new video program below, "Covid Has Triggered The Next Great Financial Crisis" (34:46).

Chief among the many causes is a very basic one that's easy to understand: America has consumed more than it has produced for decades, and filled the gap with imports purchased with borrowed money and currency created out of thin air. As Gordon and I explain, this is a very well-worn path to instability and collapse: governments (which now include nominally independent central banks) have always responded to declines in productivity and affordable energy/materials, the expansion of a parasitic elite and excessive spending with the same bag of financial tricks:

1. They borrow more money, eventually borrowing more to pay interest on existing debts, greasing the slide to default and insolvency.

2. They defraud the users of their currency by devaluing the currency. In the old days, this was accomplished by substituting base metals for silver or gold in the minting of coinage. Eventually the coins contained only a trace of silver. Users soon caught on and the result was the coinage lost purchasing power, a.k.a. inflation destroyed the value of the officially issued money. In today's fiat currency regime, central banks create trillions of new units of "money" with a few keystrokes, effectively diluting the value of all existing currency.

3. Desperate for revenues, governments raise taxes, which despite all claims to the contrary by political leaders, fall most heavily on the productive middle class. Since the parasitic elite will never accept any consequential reduction of their wealth or power, the higher taxes and economic stagnationthat result from these three policies crush the middle class, which was the engine of productivity and demand that enabled the parasitic elite to live large.

These are key dynamics in what Gordon calls the killing of the golden goose, the productive synergies that generate widespread prosperity and opportunity. What's left are the fatal synergies of soaring debt and leverage, diminishing returns on stimulus, the substitution of credit for savings and the coming deflationary tsunami (53 min) that pops all the speculative bubbles, setting up the destabilization and cliff-dive of the entire decayed, flimsy structure--The Next Great Financial Crisis that cannot be papered over with more central bank legerdemain."
There's more in our 34-minute video program:

"We Are Dangerously Close To 'The Tipping Point'”

"We Are Dangerously Close To 'The Tipping Point'”
by Michael Snyder

"Every dollar that the federal government borrows and spends puts us even closer to a day of reckoning. Many Americans (especially those on the left) seem to think that we can endlessly spend trillions upon trillions of dollars without ever suffering any consequences. If that was true, why hasn’t any other society in all of human history ever been able to do such a thing? Unfortunately, the truth is that the United States is not immune to the laws of economics. Wildly creating money and driving up our national debt to absurd heights is inevitably going to crush our economic system. And at this point, our debt-to-GDP ratio is already higher than Greece’s debt-to-GDP ratio was when the economy of that country finally collapsed

But it’s worth noting that the US debt-to-GDP ratio - essentially a country’s debt compared to its annual economic output - was 129 percent at the end of 2020. In other words, the official US debt was nearly a third larger than the entire US economy. That is considerably higher than Greece’s debt-to-GDP ratio in 2010, when it received a bailout from the International Monetary Fund to avoid defaulting on its obligations.

Even though we are already at such a dangerous level, the Biden administration wants Congress to pass another four trillion dollar spending package… "Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Monday that he did not expect any Republican senator to support President Biden’s push for a $4 trillion spending package on infrastructure and other projects.

Biden has outlined a two-part tax and spend proposal with funding for physical infrastructure projects as well as initiatives favored by his administration, such jobs training, elderly care and universal preschool. McConnell reiterated that the $4 trillion price tag was a nonstarter for Republicans, as well as some Democrats, who favor a smaller plan directly tied to infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges."

We simply don’t have the money to do what Biden wants. In fact, we didn’t have the money for any of the “stimulus packages” that have been passed since the start of the pandemic. We had to borrow every single dollar that went out in the “stimulus checks”, and now Democratic lawmakers are “clamoring” for a fourth round of those checks… "Democratic lawmakers in both chambers of Congress are clamoring for a fourth round of stimulus checks to help Americans who are still struggling financially during the coronavirus pandemic. Such a move could lift more than 7 million people out of poverty, according to a recent analysis from the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank."

If more money is the solution, then why don’t we send out five billion dollars to every American citizen? That would certainly fix all of our problems, right? Everyone would be a “billionaire”, and then life in American would be glorious. Or not.

Sadly, the truth is that our “leaders” are systematically destroying the value of our currency and are plunging us into an abyss of debt from which our nation will never recover. I warned that once the government started sending checks directly to the American people that it would never be enough.

At this point, people are begging for more checks even though 34 percent of all U.S. income now comes directly from the federal government… Putting that number in perspective, in the 1950s and 1960s, transfer payment were around 7%. This number rose in the low teens starting in the mid-1970s (right after the Nixon Shock ended Bretton-Woods and closed the gold window). The number then jumped again after the financial crisis, spiking to the high teens. And now, the coronavirus has officially sent this number to a record 34%!

And that’s how creeping banana republic socialism comes at you: first slowly, then fast. We are not on the road to socialism. We are already there. In fact, the U.S. has been a socialist country for quite a while now. We may not use the term “socialist” to describe ourselves, but that is precisely what we have become.

As our system melts down right in front of our eyes, many in the financial community are trying to figure out how to protect themselves. For example, legendary investor Sam Zell has never been very enthusiastic about gold, but now he is suddenly changing his tune… “Obviously one of the natural reactions is to buy gold…It feels very funny because I’ve spent my career talking about why would you want to own gold? It has no income, it costs to store. And yet, when you see the debasement of the currency, you say, what am I going to hold on to?”

Other Americans are preparing for the coming meltdown in other ways. As crime rates in our cities continue to spike, more Americans than ever before are buying guns… "The FBI conducted more than 3.5 million gun-related background checks last month, a 20% year-over-year increase from April 2020, according to the latest FBI figures released Monday. Nearly 1.7 million of those gun background checks were specifically for gun purchases, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearms industry trade group that cross references FBI data with actual sales figures provided by gun merchants to determine how many guns are sold monthly. NSSF spokesman Mark Oliva said the firearms industry sold more guns last month than in any April on record."

Deep in their guts, most people can feel that our society is rapidly approaching a “tipping point”. Nobody knows the exact moment when we will have passed the point of no return, but just about everyone can sense that it is coming. Every single day, U.S. consumers go into even more debt. And every single day, U.S. corporations continue to binge on debt as if tomorrow is never going to arrive.

State and local governments continue to pile up record levels of debt, and the federal government is literally stealing more than 100 million dollars from future generations of Americans every single hour of every single day. We should be thankful that this unprecedented debt bubble has been able to persist for as long as it has, but there is no way that this party can go on forever. Soon it will end, and that means that our current way of life will soon come to an end as well."