A big sell-off yesterday. The Dow down 283 points. The 10-year T-note yields only 1.87%. And the price of gold barely budged.
In our opinion all three should be going down. Because the world is edging towards a global depression…
…with the US consumer unable to spend…
…the Chinese economy slowing down…
…and Europe preparing for defaults…
Assets should be going down. Except for US Treasury debt…which should be going up. That’s what happens in a depression.
All of which is making our “solution” to the financial pile up of ’08-’09 look better and better all the time. You’ll recall that we promised to tell you how you could fix the problem in our last exciting installment. This must have left you on the edge of your chair. It sure left us on the edge of our chair; we had to think of a solution overnight!
But it is really very simple: give collapse a chance.
Remember how desperate officialdom was to “prevent a catastrophic collapse?” Both in Europe and America. The European banks bailed out their speculators. Then the governments bailed out their banks. Then, they bailed out the countries that had bailed out their banks.
In America, the government bailed out the banks…the insurance companies…the automakers… About the only industry that wasn’t bailed out was the financial publishing industry. Guess we didn’t send them enough campaign contributions…
Then, the Europeans and the Americans bailed out each other.
And they’re still bailing. The US is running a budget deficit so large that we’ve lost track of it…was it $1.5 trillion? $1.8 trillion?
And the Europeans are preparing another big bailout for Greece…Italy…and who knows who else.
And every bailout makes the world poorer. Because it’s clearly bad money after good. Greece does not suddenly become a good credit risk just because you lend it more money. And Americans won’t be made richer because the feds offer them more debt at an even cheaper rate!
The problem is that doing more of something that doesn’t work is not a good idea. When you lose money on every sale you can’t make it up on volume! Nor is it a good idea to put more money into an investment that isn’t paying off….or to allocate more resources to an industry that stopped producing real benefits a generation ago.
Yes, that’s when the education industry turned sour — in the 1970s. Since then, it’s gotten sourer and sourer…with more and more money spent on education but not a bit of progress to show for it. The youngsters are as dumb as ever.
And the oldsters are even dumber. They want to continue to bailout, subsidize, give credit where it isn’t due, and otherwise funnel huge amounts of money to worn out, unproductive institutions. And for what? So they can avoid “a catastrophic collapse.”
Well, here at The Daily Reckoning we say ‘bring it on.’ Let’s have that catastrophic collapse and get it over with. Better now than later. It will only be worse if it is postponed.
But seriously, how would we ‘fix’ the situation? Well…that is how we’d fix the situation. We were being serious. We’re always serious. And earnest. And trying to do our best to help.
But that’s not all we would do. The problem really has two parts to it.
One part is natural, inevitable…it can’t be fixed. When you borrow too much money, you have to pay it back. Or default. Better to do it as soon as possible.
Likewise, if your company isn’t profitable…if your industry can’t take resources and add value to them…then you should go broke. Again, the sooner the better.
In these cases, the ‘fix’ is obvious. Bite the bullet.
But there’s more. There is also the zombie factor. This is something that can be fixed easily. As institutions age — including private industries — they attract parasites. The next thing you know you’re meeting with lawyers and working with regulators. There’s an agency hounding you about one thing…and a department on your tail for another.
And there are taxes up the kazoo. And debt. And extra costs.
You pay for stamps and handicapped parking places. You pay for well-meaning kids to offer advice to hardened heroin addicts…and lobbyists can get a break in the next tax bill. You pay for goons to frisk you are airports and hit squads to take out “insurgents” in cities you never heard of.
Oh, and don’t forget the kid who takes out loans so he can get a degree in the Emotional Life of Fruit Trees…and then defaults on his student debt. And the slob who uses Medicaid and disability to avoid having to go to work.
It’s all part of the picture of a society in need of a revolution…or a kick in the pants.
We propose one or the other.
How? Easy peasy. First, allow businesses and nations to go broke. No subsidies. No bailouts. No below-market loans. Just let them crash and burn. It will be fun to watch.
Second, cut taxes to 10%. That’s all. Just 10%. Like a tithe. With no deductions. No ifs…ands…or buts. Russia already has a tax like this. And it is booming.
And prohibit borrowing. Or money printing. These measures would solve the US debt problem overnight. They would protect the dollar. They would reassure investors, businessmen and householders.
They would also reduce the total US budget from about $3.6 trillion today down to less than $1 trillion. We don’t much care what the feds do with the money. They will surely waste most of it. But so what? A flat 10% tax rate would cut out most of the zombies. Freed from the dead hand of zombidom the private sector could get back to work.
Give it a whirl. Let us know how it works out.
Bill Bonnerfor The Daily Reckoning
Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success and garnered camaraderie in numerous communities and industries. A man of many talents, his entrepreneurial savvy, unique writings, philanthropic undertakings, and preservationist activities have all been recognized and awarded by some of America's most respected authorities. Along with Addison Wiggin, his friend and colleague, Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. Both works have been critically acclaimed internationally. With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance. Since 1999, Bill has been a daily contributor and the driving force behind The Daily Reckoning. Dice Have No Memory: Big Bets & Bad Economics from Paris to the Pampas, the newest book from Bill Bonner, is the definitive compendium of Bill's daily reckonings from more than a decade: 1999-2010.
FYI, the phrase is “throwing good money after bad.” The “good money” is the money you have, that you can do something good with. The “bad money” is the money you’ve already blown and can’t get back.
WORLD GETS POORER?
“And every bailout makes the world poorer”
Sounds logical, but is is?
The real wealth of the world is all its resources. All the accumulated knowledge of man, all the farms, the houses, the stores, the office buildings, all the manufactured “stuff” and that factories taht make stuff, all the hair salons and massage parlors and on and on. All the clothing and shoes in our closets all the inventory in the system. That is the tangible and intellectual wealth of the world.
Bailing out one entity makes another entity or group poorer. But the wealth of the world is intact.
This world has supported us in a wonderful life-style. Why should that change? In the net this world owes no money to anyone. Not a cent has been borrowed from the martians (though we would if we could. Not a cent has actually been borrowed by the world as a whole from future generations.
Well guess what. The Dow was down another 390 today and gold was down over 65.00. This is just the beginning. Nothing has changed in the world banking system since 2008. There are still trillions of junk sitting in the banks. Good ole Summers and Geithner have done their jobs. A word of warning to the gold bugs. Hold on to your hats. You are going for a fall. Every body will jumping back into the dollar. Why, hell if I know.
I thought the same, Rip, but didn’t want to say it. Some people (not me, but others) don’t like internet grammarian and idiom police busybodies, so I try not to piss them off.
LOL. Evidently, BB doesn’t think a collapse would land on his toes (or head).
Even the Fed has fled to safe, long term USgov bonds, turning in the short term bonds for long term ones. They can’t find anything better to do with their money either.
Ouch. Copper, the metal with a Phd in economics, is down 32¢ a pound (if I am reading that right).
I wonder how much money Harry made today.
Too Late, a Revolution is Better, wipe out all private property. That never be an option again, no more greedy bankers, entreprises. Just people working for a better future.
“Just let them crash and burn. It will be fun to watch.” I was in Seattle earlier today. Ironically, I was thinking of just this very thing while watching the MSM financial media. If it does crash and burn, I will prefer to watch it from my cabin in Montana….”Oh, the humanity”
By the way Bill, this is one of your best posts ever. So, so very poingnant.
No loans for anyone? Why not give it a try. It’s the one thing the Fed hasn’t tried yet, applying Islamic Shariah based law forbiding the charging of interest on money. Wait a minute! We’re almost there already!! At the rate we’re going (pun intended) we will be down to 0% interest in no time. Those tricky middle easterners will have converted us without anyone even realizing it. Allah akbar(!) Or should that be “Bernanke akbar!”??
We have to let the market correct the malinvestment. It’s going to be very painful for awhile. 60 years of too much government and reserve-currency privilege will take a long time to unravel.
finally figured out how mr. bonner’s prediction of lower gold prices could happen. it looks like europe is about to roll up like a carpet. if it does then a vast amount of money is going to wind up here, driving up the value of the dollar. that will drive down the price of gold though not its value – at least not immediately.
of course this would not fix our problems, just mask them a little longer.
“There’s an agency hounding you about one thing…and a department on your tail for another.”
better than standing back and waiting for private business to do things like dump waste mercury into rivers. ’cause they will if it’s more cost-effective to do that than anything else.
I watched Wall Street with Gordon Gecko this morning. This was the 80′s but it seems the antibiotic used in the 90′s didn’t kill the greedy banking bacteria. It just came back way greedier in the 00′s. Will it ever die?
We should have known collapse would be BB’s solution. The education he gave as to Jubilee and all that not too long ago.
He’s right on this one. The money can’t be paid back so lets forgive the debt and start over. The problem with this solution is that it is an economic solution and not a political one.
The pols and their cronies created this mess and they have to be the ones to fix it or else why we would need them. The solution has to be one that keeps the Full Faith and Credit of Government alive and well in the hearts and minds of those inclined to such belief.
The Zombies are a worrisome bunch. You’ve met them, I’ve met them. They are as passionate about the goodness of government as Cowgirls fans are as passionate about that over-rated football team.
These Zombies prefer stability over chaos. To many of them capitalism is chaos. Gov institutions and gov. favored industries are stability. Better to work for someone with consistent revenue, in some cases legally mandated revenue, than one without.
Many of them even believe that Gov is great, gov is good, let us thank ‘em for our food. How will they respond to an impending collapse?
Did anyone notice that California a few days ago put together a committee to study a CA State Bank?
This is huge. The bank would lend to the state at zero interest and to Californians at low interest. The profits are put back into the State.
North Dakota ia already doing it and they’re doing phenomenally whereas the ret of the Nation is suffering.
This State Bank would obviate the Fed for the State.
This idea is huge, people – and could end the banksters malevolent grip on the Nation caused by creating money as debt.
Printing money is all about WHO gets to print it, at what rate of inflation and most importantly whether it’s created as debt (as with the Fed) or by say Congress (as mandated by teh Constutution) where it’s not.
BTW: Bill forgot to mention regulatins. It’s really not all about taxes.
“The bank would lend to the state at zero interest and to Californians at low interest.”
let me guess. they’ll fund its initial launch with a loan.
Investor’s Moron -
Is the destruction of risk capital and the simultaneous penalization of accumulating and deploying new capital pools a positive for stocks? Should we be concerned, or do economic contractions not ever occur?
Your worldview is simplistic fantasy. In the real world, wealth can be destroyed. Finance is not a closed ecosystem where it simply shifts from place to place, always enlarging with the virtuous ‘barnacles of interest’ picked up in the shuttling process…..
But…. You’ve got a perspective to defend. I suspect it difficult to do through the window of that short-bus, though……
Hello Bill: My only comment to your great work is how I appreciate you and all you have given to me for the last few years. I can appreciate, you do not need any “stroking”; you must be content with youtself. I think it is me who feels a need to give at least a “thank you”. I’ve been thinking of Ron Paul, and how attentive I would watch him, if he were elected the next President. Great to know you Bill. Doug
Thank you, I am most gratified by your attention.
Money is not wealth itself. Money is a claim on who gets to own and consume the real wealth, the stuff I listed in post 2 above.
Yes of course real wealth can be destroyed. We can bulldoze some houses, that destroys wealth. We can crush some cluker cars, that destroys wealth.
We can pay people to do nothing useful, that destroys the potential products and services that those people could have created.
But if Greece defaults on its loans, the real wealth of the world is not impacted immediately by that. Instead the people who were owed the money have less claims on the real wealth. Greek citizens who had claims against their wealth find those claims extinguished so their net position is better.
If the defaults plunge us into recession then we have people idle and not creating things and yes that destroys potential wealth.
It would be wise detach some portions of the economy from the monetary system, build some redundancies, and that should prevent serious collapse.
Please don’t feed the trolls.
Ah, BB, so you’re still alive. Where’s the latest column, mate?
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Even if tech giants like Facebook and Apple have a down day now and then, that doesn't mean they aren't still sound companies with upside potential. Of course, some people aren't convinced... which is why the word "bubble" has now reentered the conversation. Dave Gonigam has the full story...
Gold has had a rough go of it since the 2008 financial crisis. But according to Matt Insley, there is now a very clear price floor for the yellow metal. And what's more interesting, he comes to this conclusion by way of a glass of chocolate milk and Janet Yellen's actions from here throne at the Eccles Building. Read on...
The recent spate of new tech-based IPOs has a few prominent investors (Ahem... David Einhorn) touting the return of the '90s tech bubble. But there are some very good reasons why this market is nothing like the '90s, and why investors should be wary of any advice to the contrary. Paul Mampilly explains...
Generic drugs are supposed to lower healthcare costs and provide you with another medical alternative. That's what it says on paper. But there's a real danger that goes along with these drugs. A danger even your doctor might not be aware of... Dr. David Eifrig has the full story. Read on...
The solar panel turns 60 on Friday, but this birthday celebration will be unlike any other the industry has seen so far. In the past, solar energy's high price tag meant its wide-spread usage was nothing more than a pipe dream. But now, after six decades, solar power may finally be cheaper than oil and Asian liquefied-natural-gas. Greg Guenthner has more...