When One Zombie Eats Another: Why UBS’s Rescue of CS Changes Nothing
Translation: even though UBS is issuing some $3.3 billion of its own shares to acquire Credit Suisse, it’s the Swiss government that is bearing much of the risk, and Swiss taxpayers who will ultimately pick up the tab if things go wrong.
The Costs and Consequences of the SVB Bailout
Banking regulators, along with the board of directors and management of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), each failed to see or prevent the problems that destroyed in less than a week one of the largest banks in the country.
Is Your Bank Safe Now?
The banking system is tottering, and the shriller the voices become insisting that everything is fine, the more we know we’re in trouble.
Is Your Bank Safe?
Is the broader banking sector at risk of contagion? This is the issue we must face as a matter of urgency.
Inflation Cannot Hide on Amazon Prime
I have often heard it said that the first step in recovery from addiction is to admit that one has a problem. Well, I’m not afraid to admit that...
One Year Later: Are Sanctions Against Russia Working?
Following the launch of Russia’s “special military operation” and invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Joe Biden and EU leaders confidently asserted that Western sanctions would bring the Russian economy to its knees.
What I Got Wrong (and Right) This Past Investment Season
One of the most important disciplines in investing, whether personally or professionally, is to look back on investments made and take stock not just of how they performed, but why.
Woke Policies Backfire on Wall Street
The rapid rise and near dominance of the ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) agenda in corporate board rooms and executive suites is one of the more remarkable business transformations of the twenty-first century.
The Coordinated Attack on Your Money
Like many governments around the world, the Biden administration seems determined to limit Americans’ monetary freedom by taxing it away, and by manipulating and controlling how they store and spend their money.
The U.S. Media Blackout on Ukraine
Americans are under a near total media blackout regarding the Russian position on the Ukraine conflict, whereas the French, agree or pas, are at least hearing and seeing both sides of the debate and conflict.
Double Digit Rise in Electricity Prices to Continue in 2023
There have been many sighs of relief exhaled across the United States in recent days as inflation continues to slow. New data shows that Consumer...
What is the Future of Money?
Like most transitions in life and in history, the monetary system’s transformation is occurring slowly, then suddenly, in that the changes are almost imperceptible but then, like all cataclysms, will eventually be impossible to miss.
Lessons Learned from House Speaker Election Drama
After a week of chaos and name-calling, the lower house of Congress can now carry on its business, including finally installing the newly elected representatives from the class of 2022, and maybe even get back to basic lawmaking.
Twelve Predictions for 2023
2023 is poised to present some equally challenging circumstances. Here are twelve trends, events, or surprises that may come to shape and define the year ahead.
Venal Congressional Leaders Slip One Past the Goalie
While most Americans were busy preparing for holidays with family and friends, the retiring leaders of the Senate and House spent their final days before Christmas wrangling through Congress the $1.7 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023.
FTX Dust Settles, Soiling Everyone
After weeks of speculation as to whether former billionaire now hapless adolescent actor Sam Bankman-Fried would be arrested for fraud surrounding...
Lumps of Coal in this Year’s Christmas Stockings?
As Americans anticipate the arrival of the holidays, it appears that many households may struggle to fill their family’s Christmas stockings this year.
When Did Congress Vote To Go To War with Russia?
We’re already engaged in a proxy war; and we are now tempting the dogs of war to slip off the leash well beyond our ability to control them. This is both extremely dangerous and foolish.
Why China and others are selling dollars and buying gold
Central banks are on a gold buying spree, and they are using their U.S. dollar foreign reserves to fund it.
Five Reasons I Moved to Florida
“Why, after three decades of life as a New Yorker, did you move to Florida?”… I’m often asked this question with a mix of wonder, as if I’d just traveled across Mongolia on horseback, tainted by Upper East Side disdain.
The Incredible Shrinking American Wallet
Americans are under increasing financial pressure, and the stress is beginning to show across multiple fronts.
U.S. Housing Markets are in Turmoil
The housing markets are in trouble, which means that Americans themselves are at risk. Moreover, the turmoil in the housing markets appears to be getting worse.
FTX Collapse Illustrates Dark Side of Technology Revolutions
With its most recent valuation pegged at $32 billion, and as much as $10 billion in client funds misappropriated, the collapse and bankruptcy of FTX has turned into a bloodbath for the crypto industry.
Falling Meteorite FTX Scorches Crypto Landscape
After several months of calm in the crypto industry, characterized by a role reversal in which equities were highly volatile and cryptocurrencies flat and boring, a familiar if tragic drama reminiscent of Icarus is now playing out.
The Case for a New Exceptionalism
“Why America Matters” argues that because of the multitude of crises we face, and the social disintegration that has already begun in our nation, America faces a critical choice.
Death of the American dream (of home ownership)?
Something has changed in recent years. Global financial institutions are now crowding out traditional home buyers, and they are being financed by these same government sponsored entities in an apparent dilution of their legislated mandates.
Why are we not being told the truth about Ukraine?
While I wish it were otherwise, the unpleasant fact is that Ukraine cannot win the war against Russia.
Should We Trust the Market’s Rebound?
Should this rebound be trusted as an indication that we’ve seen the bottom of the bear market, and that we’re now on the path to a true recovery?
Forget gas prices. Diesel reveals the real crisis
As the Biden administration continues to drain the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve in a dangerous gamble to suppress gas prices and win votes before the mid-term elections, another fuel crisis is brewing.
Can Inflation be Tamed?
September’s CPI inflation result came in above expectations at 8.2 percent, marking the seventh straight month of consumer inflation above eight percent. Gone is any talk from U.S. Treasury or Federal Reserve officials of price inflation being “transitory.”
So long, Saudi Arabia. Hello $10 gas
Gas prices are on the rise. Here’s why.
Something is Rotten in Denmark
Who sabotaged the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea, near the Danish island of Bornholm?
Have the markets found a bottom?
While the fourth quarter has only just begun, the end of the year can’t come fast enough for Wall Street.
Silence Equals Compliance
The fact that EVERYTHING IS CHANGING could be missed by someone not paying attention, simply because each individual change has been marginal, apparently insignificant, or unconnected, and unnoticed by the inattentive. But these changes are accumulating and in plain view for those who are watching.
‘Magic Money’ Is Your Money
I ask the rhetorical question, “Who pays?”—that is to say, who pays for the various Biden administration programs, whether it be student debt forgiveness, the Green New Deal, inflation, aid to Ukraine, or pandemic relief payments?—the answer is always the same: you do
The Dollar’s Batteries Are Running Low
Money is like a battery in that it is a store of energy for future use. In the case of money, that stored energy is financial value. Money stored as savings is the purchasing power than Americans hope to eventually use to buy a home, provide an education for their children, or retire in security. But what happens when that battery can no longer hold its charge?
Still No Answer to the Question: Who Pays for Loan Forgiveness?
It has been more than a week, and there is still no coherent answer out of the Biden administration to the question of who will pay for student loan forgiveness, which may cost Americans anywhere between $300–500 billion by the time it’s all done.
Three Things That Could Kill Crypto
Bitcoin is up 37 percent and the price of Ether has doubled since the June lows. Prices will go up and prices will go down. Volatility will persist. This isn’t the point.
Canceling Student Debt Is Wrong on Every Level
It turns out that the idea of fairness, a concept related to justice, is intuitive from an early age. Even 3-year-olds understand that merit is fundamental to fairness.
A price worth paying
This is about liberty, righteousness, and justice. This is about whether Good wins over Evil. (Spoiler: It must, and it will.)
How to Save Our Democracy
Congress has abdicated and handed over its power to undemocratic institutions run by officials neither elected by nor accountable to the electorate. If we fix that, maybe we can fix America.
The Case for Strategic Reserves
The world is facing a looming food crisis. The Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, said at the end of June 2022, “There is a real risk that multiple famines will be declared in 2022. And 2023 could be even worse.”
Russia Sanctions and Central Bank Policies Backfire, Hurtling America Into Economic Storm
War sanctions against Russia, along with misguided U.S. central bank and trade policies, are likely to fuel an economic storm that will catapult America into a major crisis
Three Ideas On How To Fix It
If we want to solve America’s current economic crisis, at least three things are necessary. These initiatives may only be possible after mid-terms and a new Congress, but it’s not too early to start thinking about solutions.
The Folly of Banishment
But we should remember, too, that sanctions simply aren’t going to work—in neither economic nor political terms.
Everything is fine. Except for food and fuel.
The commodities traders sitting in Geneva and Houston who buy and sell oil and gas for their industrial clients have a stern message for us. We haven’t yet seen the worse of the fuel crisis.
Crypto is far from dead
…the political and economic events of the past year have strongly reinforced some of the original motivations behind crypto, including the need for financial decentralization, anonymity, and transaction immutability, along with the right to ownership of one’s data, online privacy, and individual autonomy…
Reminder: It’s not a chinstrap.
A Federal Court ruled that the Center for Disease Control’s so-called Mask Mandate was unlawful as it “exceeds the CDC’s statutory authority and violates the procedures required for agency rule making …” When the TSA quickly accepted the ruling, most Americans let out a collective sigh of relief.
The Ant and the Grasshopper
It is a parable President Biden ought to take to heart. America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) is intended for use in times of genuine emergency, not as an economic tool to lessen the blow of rising energy costs.
The Ukraine invasion was avoidable
Russia invaded Ukraine after months of preparations and years of warnings, yet the world still seemed surprised. Western leaders and media have declared Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin “mentally unstable” or “deranged,” perhaps suffering from “roid rage.” The reality is that he has been both calculating and opportunistic, and has played the imperfect hand dealt to him.
No, Prices Won’t Stabilize in 2022
January’s headline inflation of 7.5% was the highest in the United States in forty years. Consistent with previous months, the biggest driver of higher prices was energy, rising 27%, but cars and groceries (especially proteins) also pressured the numbers.
While Fed Chairman Powell had retired the word “transitory,” he and other officials have stopped short of characterizing the inflation as “persistent,” a phrase loaded with negative connotations for economic historians. Rather, what economists and business practitioners now seem to be invoking is a pricing plateau, a one-off re-leveling, resulting from the unleash of post-pandemic demand combined with a lag in supply. Because of lockdowns, travel restrictions, vaccine mandates, recently reimposed energy regulations, and other sources of supply chain disruptions, aggregate supply has fallen, but will eventually rebound.
Freedom Convoy is just the beginning
It’s all happening now. After two years of tyranny, manifesting in authoritarian response from Statist bureaucracies around the world, citizens of democratic countries have said enough is enough.
Half of America are domestic terrorists?
The Biden administration has made domestic terrorism a keystone priority. By domestic terrorism, they did not mean Islamic infiltration into America, illegal immigration across our southern border, or the homegrown liberal white perpetrators of the Antifa/BLM riots, but rather anyone whose ideas were contrary to the Left’s agenda and who dared to express them publicly.
On Vaccine Mandates and the “Tyranny of the Majority”
The object of this essay is to assert one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the moral coercion of public opinion.
A word of thanks on Veterans Day
Thank you for continuing to uphold your oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
Come unto Me … all who labor and are weary (unless you’re unvaccinated – then keep away!)
How is it that our society has determined that it’s acceptable to segregate and discriminate against the unvaccinated? And, even if civil society does, how dare a supposed house of God – always and forever in opposition to the “might equals right” values of Caesar – keep anyone away for political reasons from the sacrament and the chance to humble one’s heart before God?
Happy Halloween? The ghosts of inflation have arrived
High inflationary environments benefit the elite – capitalists and rentiers (those who make money from interest and dividends, rather than their labor) – at the cost of nearly everyone else. It’s not just retirees on fixed incomes who lose, it’s the working and middle classes who suffer most from rising prices on everything from housing to food to energy, and who find that their wages simply cannot keep up.
By the end of 2021, the majority of Americans, including many Democrats and Independents, are suffering from buyer’s remorse over the Biden presidency. Recent polls indicate that the majority of Americans believe the Biden administration is on the wrong track and is leading the country in the wrong direction.
We should never underestimate the politics of fashion….An entire sub-genre of Riot Fashion has emerged, with particular attention to fabrics that provide better resistance against flammables, tear gas and other chemical contaminants, and to military style yet fashionable shoes such as Doc Martins to complete the look. The purpose is multi-fold.
Let Them Eat Cake … But Make Sure They’re Wearing a Mask
The Met Gala was like watching Marie-Antionette and the luxurious pomp of the Court of Versailles fête themselves on the eve of the French Revolution.
What if Reagan had acted like Biden?
Let’s run a thought experiment and imagine ourselves back in 1986. I tried to get Elon Musk to provide a time machine, but apparently he’s waiting...
To all those who say bitcoin is the new gold: You haven’t lived long enough
Generally, bitcoin investors are fun. Gold bugs are the people we avoid at cocktail parties. While they have similarities, bitcoin hasn’t been around long enough to stand the test of time that gold has.
The Colonial Pipeline Attack
Our infrastructure is terribly vulnerable, and we remain at risk of a catastrophe. We’ve recently had 2 serious incidents. Let us wake up.
China’s Digital Currency and Monetary Warfare
Today, the news is full of excitement about Bitcoin. Yet, China’s creation of its digital currency may, in the long-term, be more significant.
Election Integrity Remains In The Spotlight
We show IDs to board planes, rent cars, check into hotels and pick up baseball tickets, so why not to cast a ballot, the highest responsibility and privilege of citizenship?
The Fed vs. The Real World
There’s the Fed.. and then there is everyone who lives in the real world. The Fed’s recent statements stand in increasingly sharp contrast to the real world in which ordinary Americans live.
Biden infrastructure plan ignores jobs to pursue Democrats’ agendas
Under Biden’s infrastructure plan, I fear we are similarly on a road to nowhere.
Are masks becoming a class issue?
Beyond the cultural and political implications, mask are also becoming another unneeded symbol of class division.
Racial Violence and Identity Politics
Race or other identity based violence is always and everywhere despicable. The good news is that the vast majority of Americans of all sorts and stripes feel the same, and eschew racially-based (or any) violence as a means to address perceived wrongs. As Americans, we must unite in opposition to what we’re seeing in this country.
Inflation Will Destroy the Middle Class
Throwing more stimulus money at pork-barrel projects will not only not solve our problems but will have severe unintended consequences over the long run.
Texas as Warning: The US Grid is in Trouble
The power grid failures in Texas and elsewhere have made it clear: The electrical grid in the United States is at risk.
A Bubble Is Inflating. Where Can Investors Hide?
Let’s settle one thing up front. We’re clearly witnessing a speculative bubble in the financial markets.
The Insecurity of the Biden Administration
For a call to unity to work, there has to be a rallying point around which Americans might gather as one. This is missing from the Biden appeal.
The Biden Administration Faces A Legitimacy Crisis
A substantial number of Americans believe there was systemic election fraud. That isn’t conducive to national unity.
How America Can Prepare for the China Threat
There are certain things that the US government, companies, and individuals should be doing differently in this environment to prepare for the threat of China.
Russia Did It! Or maybe not
Let’s have some healthy skepticism of the “Russia did it!” narrative. I wouldn’t surprise me to see a shocking plot twist revealed shortly.
Listen to this: Podcast appearances discussing Stormwall: Observations on America in Peril
I’ve recently been featured on various podcasts to discuss my book, the economy and more! Check the episodes out here.
The Folly of America’s Mushrooming Debt
The U.S. government has been in a long period of self-deception with regard to a 20-year-long run of deficits and growing indebtedness to fund them. The consequences of this multi-decade wooden-headedness are beginning to be revealed.
Pandemic, Insolvency and Inflation?
A pandemic, a solvency crisis and inflation may seem a strange combination. But 2020 has been a strange year in more ways than one – 2021 might even outdo it.
Is an uptick in inflation on the horizon?
I recently spoke with Newsday about the risks of inflation in the near future and what that could impact.
Decoding the coming economic crisis
Come January, the president will face the daunting challenge of sustainably reviving the US economy following what has been a most difficult year for American business.
Inflation is the election outcome Americans can count on
As both citizens and investors, now is a good time to take care and take cover with inflation on the horizon.
The Most Contentious Election Ever
It has been called the most contentious and controversial US presidential election ever. The nation never seemed more divided.
The Spectre of Inflation
For economists, tales of hyperinflations are the academic equivalent of a reading of the Apocalypse in the book of Revelation.
Winter is Coming
Winter may be coming, but there is still time for a spring-like renewal for the United States.
How Should Leaders Decide?
Today, around the world, national, regional and local political leaders, along with their corporate and business peers, are facing in COVID-19 a leadership test unseen in generations.
Will COVID-19 Derail the African Century?
We cannot permit COVID-19 to halt Africa’s progress. The continent’s leaders and its developed-country partners can and must contain the pandemic.