Category Archives: Business

Are the Halcyon Days Over for Joe Biden? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Did Joe Biden have any halcyon days, his whole entire life? From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

On taking the oath of office, Jan. 20, Joe Biden may not have realized it, but history had dealt him a pair of aces.

The COVID-19 pandemic had reached its apex, infecting a quarter of a million Americans every day. Yet, due to the discovery and distribution of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the incidence of infections had crested and was about to turn sharply down.

By May, the infection rate had fallen 80%, as had the death toll.

Thanks to the Operation Warp Speed program driven by President Donald Trump, the country made amazing strides in Biden’s first 100 days toward solving the major crises he inherited: the worst pandemic since the Spanish flu of 1918-1919 and the economic crash it had engendered.

But Biden’s pace car has hit the wall.

Where economists had predicted employment gains of a million new jobs in April, the jolting figure came in at about a fourth of that number.

One explanation: The $300-a-week in bonus unemployment checks the Biden recovery plan provides may have been a sufficient inducement for workers to stay home until their benefits ran out.

Workers might reasonably ask: Why go back to work when we can take the summer off, with full unemployment, plus $300 a week?

After the crushing jobs report came the inflation figure from April.

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Don’t mention Ivermectin; it’ll upset the vaccine rollout, by Andrew Bannister

Ivermectin has boatloads more clinical and experimental verification for its effectiveness against Covid-19 and its safety than any of the vaccines. From Andrew Bannister at biznews.com:

What if there was a cheap drug, so old its patent had expired, so safe that it’s on the WHO’s lists of Essential and Children’s Medicines, and used in mass drug administration rollouts? What if it can be taken at home with the first signs COVID symptoms, given to those in close contact, and significantly reduce COVID disease progression and cases, and far fewer few people would need hospitalisation?

The international vaccine rollout under Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) would legally have to be halted. For an EUA to be legal, “there must be no adequate, approved and available alternative to the candidate product for diagnosing, preventing or treating the disease or condition.” The vaccines would only become legal once they passed level 4 trials and that certainly won’t happen in 2021.

This would present a major headache for the big public health agencies led by the WHO. The vaccine rollout, outside of trials, would become illegal. The vaccine manufactures, having spent hundreds of million dollars developing and testing vaccines during a pandemic, would not see the $100bn they were expecting in 2021. In a pandemic, and for the next one, we need big pharma to react quickly, and the best way to that, is to reward them financially. Allowing any existing drug, at this time, well into stage 3 trials, to challenge the legality of the EUA of vaccines, is not going to happen easily. On the 31st of March 2021, the WHO recommended against the use of Ivermectin for COVID treatment, citing safety and lack of large RCT proof.

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If Not Now – WHEN?? by Dennis Miller

The Fed is never going to do anything about inflation. It can’t, the government can’t pay higher rates and the Fed has to keep buying the government’s debt. From Dennis Miller at theburningplatform.com:

My grandfather was a WWII Army Sargent, an uneducated farmer with a Ph.D. in common sense. One of the lessons he preached; the longer you ignore a problem, the more it will grow.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell never met my grandfather.

This Schiff Gold article confirms my grandfather’s thinking: (Emphasis mine)

“During a webinar sponsored by the Economic Club of Washington DC, Powell said the economy can handle the current debt load. But he did warn that the long-term trajectory of the US budget is unsustainable.

‘The US federal budget is on an unsustainable path, meaning simply that the debt is growing meaningfully faster than the economy. And that’s by definition unsustainable over time. It’s a different thing to say the current level of the debt is unsustainable. It’s not. The current level of debt is very sustainable….’

Powell said the US government will eventually have to ‘get back to a sustainable path.’

‘That is something that is best done in very good times when the economy is at full employment and when taxes are rolling in. This is not the time to prioritize than concern.’

…. Newsflash – this will never happen.

Of one thing you can be certain – politicians will always find a reason to borrow and spend money.

…. Powell is right when he says the federal budget is on an unsustainable path. He’s wrong to imply anything will ever be done about it. The powers that be will stay right on that unsustainable path to the bitter end. And it will be a bitter end.”

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It’s Getting Serious: Dollar’s Purchasing Power Plunges Most since 2007. But it’s a Lot Worse than it Appears, by Wolf Richter

There are lies, damn lies, and government inflation statistics. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

Fed officials, economists “surprised” by surge in CPI inflation, but we’ve seen it for months, including “scary-crazy” inflation in some corners.

The Consumer Price Index jumped 0.8% in April from March, after having jumped 0.6% in March from February – both the sharpest month-to-month jumps since 2009 – and after having jumped 0.4% in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics today. For the three months combined, CPI has jumped by 1.7%, or by 7.0% “annualized.” So that’s what we’re looking at: 7% CPI inflation and accelerating.

Consumer price inflation is the politically correct way of saying the consumer dollar – everything denominated in dollars for consumers, such as their labor – is losing purchasing power. And the purchasing power of the “consumer dollar” plunged by 1.1% in April from March, or 12% “annualized,” according to BLS data. From record low to record low. Over the past three months, the purchasing power of the consumer dollars has plunged by 2.1%, the biggest three-month drop since 2007. “Annualized,” over those three months, the purchasing power of the dollar dropped at an annual rate of 8.4%:

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Looks Like We Can’t Find Any Gazzuline, by Eric Peters

A jump up in gas prices after the pipeline hack may last even after the pipeline is fully functional, courtesy of the Federal Reserve. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

 
 

Mad Max drove around looking for gas. At least he was able to do that.

Many Americans  will wake up today to find they have no gas – or rather, that none’s available. Hard to drive around looking for it when you haven’t got any – and can’t get it, either. Which is also a function of not being able to pay for it – a problem Max never had.

Thanks to the “cyber attack” on the Colonial Pipeline by “Russian hackers”- in air quotes to emphasize the questionability of “cyber” whatever to do what is alleged to have been done (I have discussed this with some knowledgeable people in the business who tell me they smell a rat; that the story has all the ring of truth of a Fauci press conference) there is no gas at many stations along the east coast – especially the Carolinas and Virginia, where Gesundheitsfuhrer “Coonman” Northam just declared a state  of emergency (again) over not just the lack of gas but the Max Max behaviors the lack of gas might prompt.

The fuel shortage is probably temporary but – as with the weaponization of hypochondria – the damage may last longer.

Fuel price spikes are happening; I spent almost $70 filling up my old muscle car with premium (which it needs) which I may need, if the situation gets ugly.

 

I also fueled up all my five gallon jugs and my bikes and my truck. Looks like I’ve found some gazzuline. For now.

It may not be much, but it’ll keep me mobile, for awhile.

It’s not just cars that won’t move, either, when the pumps run dry. Food – and practically everything else people need – gets delivered by trucks that use gas (and diesel) and when these stop moving, the food and the rest stops showing up – and that’s when people tend to go Mad Max.

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The ‘Take This Job and Shove It’ Recession, by Charles Hugh Smith

A lot of people are walking away from the unsatisfying job, tax donkey, and debt slave merry-go-round. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

o hey there Corporate America, the Fed and your neofeudal cronies: take this job and shove it. This time it really is different, but not in the way the Wall Street shucksters are claiming.

Conventional economists, politicos and pundits are completely clueless about the unraveling that’s gathering momentum beneath the superficial surface of “reflation” because they don’t yet grasp we’re entering an unprecedented new type of recession: a ‘Take This Job and Shove It’ recession which is unlike any previous downturn.

Long-time readers know I’ve addressed the emergent class structure and systemic decay of the socio-economic order for many years. Just as a quick refresher, here are a few of the dozens of essays I’ve written on these topics:

America’s Nine Classes: The New Class Hierarchy 4/29/14

The Managerial/ Professional Class Is Burning Out 3/28/16

America’s Metastasizing Class Wars 8/27/20

This Is How It Ends: All That Is Solid Melts Into Air 9/10/20

This Is Why Inflation Will Rip Everyone’s Face Off 9/17/20

What the chattering class of apologists, toadies, lackeys, factotums and apparatchiks missed about the pandemic lockdown was the tidal change in perceptions of work and life enabled by a withdrawal from the deranging frenzy of work: once people had time to reflect on their lives, mortality, goals, identity and the soaring costs and dwindling rewards of their efforts to “get ahead” via slaving away in a dead-end job / career, the tune that began to haunt their subconscious ruminations was Johnny Paycheck’s timeless classic, Take This Job And Shove It (2:31).

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Doug Casey on How COVID Lockdowns Will Become Climate Lockdowns

Now that they know they can lock us down and very few will protest, we can expect to be locked down again and again. From Doug Casey at internationalman.com:

climate change lockdowns

International Man: It’s been over a year since the COVID lockdowns started, and they have established a terrible precedent.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has issued what they call a “dire warning.” They say there will be a 5% increase in carbon emissions as global economies reopen after the COVID shutdowns this year and that it will be “anything but sustainable” for the environment. This implies that the shutdowns have been good for the environment and that returning to normal is bad.

There has also been a flood of articles in the mainstream media advocating for the use of lockdowns to address so-called climate change.

Do you think that the COVID lockdowns could become climate change lockdowns?

Doug Casey: Without exception, almost everything they say in the above article is either an overt and intentional lie or just factually incorrect. Things that are controversial at best are presented as incontrovertible facts.

Let me first reiterate a few facts about COVID.

It’s hard to be sure because everything about it has become highly politicized, but COVID itself seems no more serious than the Asian Flu, Hong Kong Flu, Bird Flu, or Swine Flu that have come and gone in recent decades and is not even remotely comparable to the Spanish Flu of 1918.

The numbers show that COVID is a risk for people over 70, the obese, and the sick—but a medical non-problem for everyone else. That’s why the average age of decedents is 80, even though it appears that everyone who dies with the virus in their system is reported as a statistic—even if they die of an auto accident or a heart attack. People with zero symptoms are, nonetheless, listed as “cases” if they fail the overly sensitive and very expensive PCR test.

We might ask: “What’s behind this insane flu hysteria—which is radically restructuring the world’s political and economic landscapes? And why now?” It seems very oddly coincidental with a few other phenomena.

One is that the world is on the cusp of a fantastically devastating depression due to the insane creation of currency units all over the world by central banks. Is the phony COVID hysteria—and, yes, I believe it’s 80% phony—being used as an excuse for the coming collapse, a way to recuse those responsible for the insane economic policies causing the depression? In other words, is the COVID hysteria an artificially constructed force majeure used to distract from the real cause of the Greater Depression?

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A Dolorous Imbalance, by Fred Reed

The Chinese are kicking America’s butt in a lot of different fields of economic endeavor. From Fred Reed at unz.com:

First, America increasingly relies on strong-arm tactics instead of competence. For example, in the de facto 5G competition, Washington cannot offer Europe a better product at a better price, so it forbids European countries to buy from China. The US cannot compete with China in manufacturing, so it resorts to a trade war. The US cannot make the crucial EUV lithography equipment to make advanced semiconductors, as neither can China, but it can forbid ASML, the Dutch company, from selling to China. Similarly, the US cannot compete with Russia in the price of natural gas to Europe, so by means of sanctions it seeks to keep Europe from buying from Russia. This is not reassuring.

Second, the Chinese are a commercial people, agile, fast to market, cutthroat, known for this throughout Asia. America is a bureaucratized military empire, torpid by comparison. America has legacy control over a few important technologies, most notably the crucial semiconductor field and the international financial system. Washington is using these to try to cripple China’s advance.

A consequence has been a realization by the Chinese that America is not a competitor but an enemy, and a subsequent explosion of investment and R&D aimed at reducing dependence on American technology. There is the well-known 1.4 trillion-dollar five-year plan to this end. One now encounters a flood of stories about advances in tech “to which China has intellectual-property rights” or similar wording.

They seem deadly serious about this. Given that Biden couldn’t tell a transistor from an ox cart, I wonder whether he realizes that every time the US pushes China to become independent in x, American firms lose the Chinese market for X, and later get to compete with Chinese X in the international market. Anyway, give Trump his due. He lit this fuse.

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US Core Consumer Prices Explode Higher At Fastest Pace Since 1981, by Tyler Durden

Inflation is in the ascendancy, thanks to nonstop debt monetization since the end of 2019. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

After March’s blowout 0.6% MoM surge in headline CPI, analysts expected a modest slowdown MoM, but surge YoY due to the base-effect comps from April 2020’s collapse. However, it appears analyst massively underestimated as headline CPI surged 0.8% MoM (4 times the +0.2% expected) and exploded 4.2% YoY. That is the biggest YoY jump since Sept 2008 (and biggest MoM jump since June 2008)

Source: Bloomberg

Core CPI was expected to rise by the most this millennia, but it was hotter than that. The index for all items less food and energy rose 3.0% over the past 12 months; this was its largest 12-month increase since January 1996… and the MoM jump of 0.92% is the biggest since 1981

Source: Bloomberg

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Jim Grant: The Fed Can’t Control Inflation, from SchiffGold

It’s a comforting notion to many people, the idea that wise bureaucrats can manage something as complicated as the economy. Too bad they can’t do it. From Jim Grant at schiffgold.com:

 

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell insists inflation is “transitory.” As prices have spiked throughout the economy, Powell’s messaging has essentially been, “Move along. Nothing to see here.”

Peter Schiff has been saying the central bankers at the Fed can’t actually tell the truth about inflation because even if they acknowledge it’s a problem (and it is) they can’t do anything about it.

In a recent talk, Jim Grant, investment guru and founder of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, echoed Peter, saying the Fed can’t control inflation.

During a webcast sponsored by State Street SPDR ETFs, Grant said he thinks “there’s a gale of inflation of all kinds in progress,” adding that he believes it will take the Fed by surprise and “overwhelm our monetary masters.” Grant said, inflation is “clear and present and will manifest itself in our everyday lives.”

That sounds like the exact opposite of Powell’s “transitory” mantra.

Peter has said that once the Fed is forced to admit that inflation isn’t transitory, it will be too late to take action. Grant made a similar prediction, saying inflation will “catch the Fed flatfooted. In response it will “prevaricate” – meaning speak or act in an evasive way. In fact, that already seems to be the central bank’s strategy.

The question is can the Fed actually control inflation. Grant doesn’t think so.

I think the Fed is under the misconception that it controls events. Sometimes, events control the Fed, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was one of those times. The Fed thinks that not only can it control events, but it can measure them. It believes it can pinpoint the rate of inflation.”

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