This Crazy Extend & Pretend Economic World

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In no particular order the following is a list of what many people think are contemporary insanities. Since most of these have been widely discussed, links have not been provided. The information is easily available via Internet searches.

Paper Pushers & Money

Nixon temporarily closed the “gold window” in 1971. It is still closed. How long is “temporarily”?

The Japanese government spends 24% of its annual revenues on interest expense, but only because the average interest rate is quite low. If interest rates rise to 2.2%, their interest expense will consume 80% of the government revenues. Japan has been described as “a bug in search of a windshield.” Since their economy has a huge impact on the rest of the world, the inevitable disaster that results from crazy economics will not be pleasant for Japan or the rest of the world.

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Abenomics (Japan) wants a 2% inflation rate but expects long-term (JGB) government bonds to yield only 1%. This seems like a disconnect in thinking that happens in a crazy world.

Unbacked paper money has always, throughout history, failed to maintain its value and eventually failed as a currency. Yet all modern countries use unbacked paper money. That is indeed crazy for all except bankers and politicians!

The Federal Reserve is annually creating “out of thin air” about $1,000,000,000,000 to purchase US Treasury debt and to buy toxic assets from bankers. If it sounds crazy, it probably is crazy.

Because the US dollar is the world’s reserve currency, the US can import large amounts of crude oil and consumer items and pay for them with newly created dollars and Treasury debt paper. For many years this has allowed the US to “live beyond its means,” but it has also encouraged other countries to find ways to bypass the dollar in international transactions. By abusing the privilege of the reserve currency status, the US has created the conditions whereby the dollar will be dethroned from that status and our standard of living must decline. What would happen if Americans actually had to pay for imports with either our own exports or physical gold bars?

We know that most sovereign governments are insolvent and will never repay all the debt they have issued. If this is so, why do individuals and corporations purchase the debt of insolvent countries knowing that it probably will not be repaid if “the music stops”? Crazy, delusional, or few other choices?

Quantitative Easing (printing money – monetizing debt) seems crazy. But, the US, Europe, and Japan all print money because it is “necessary” to buy sovereign debt and to purchase “toxic waste” from bankers. Why did so many people do so many stupid things such that QE is now supposedly necessary? If QE 1 & QE 2 had worked, why would QE 4, 5, & 6 be necessary? If QE 1 & 2 did NOT work, why promote the same failed policy? Unfortunately, the answer is that it works for bankers and politicians in a crazy world.

Social & Political

Extra-judicial assassination is “legal” in the United States. The current head of the DOJ says so. When and HOW will this “thinking” be applied next?

Almost 50,000,000 people in the US are receiving food stamps, and over 11,000,000 are on disability. The percentage of employed adults is declining. Yet we are told the economy is improving. The stock market is selling at nominal highs. Strange! But for how much longer?

A significant percentage of children and adults in the US are reported to be taking drugs for anxiety, depression, and various attention deficit disorder related conditions. This is another sign of a crazy world.

Detroit: There are numerous reports of graft, corruption, and fiscal mismanagement … maybe the leaders should convene in Hawaii at an exclusive hotel to discuss solutions to their self-created dilemma.

The Prado in Madrid, Spain advertised for 11 low-level jobs. Over 18,524 people applied for those 11 positions. Unemployed youth become impatient quickly.

Student loan debt in the US has exceeded $1,000,000,000,000, and in excess of 11% is now delinquent. There are 37,000,000 individuals with student loan debt. This will not end well.

HSBC, one of the world’s largest banks, was declared “too big to fail” and its officers are “too big to jail” because, according to the DOJ, indictments might destabilize the financial system. Indictments for a decade of money laundering of billions in drug money and for financial support of terrorist countries were not issued. The profits from the illegal transactions were substantially larger than the relevant political contributions.

Congress has an approval rating of perhaps 10%, but the incumbents are reelected at better than a 90% rate. Only in a crazy world!

Politicians in the US are elected by people who do not need to show identification to vote, but those politicians passed many laws requiring identification to, for example, open a bank account, buy a cell phone, and to buy liquor.

Nobel Prize winning economists strongly advocate for more debt, more deficit spending, and more inflation to improve the US economy and to address the problems of excess debt and revenue shortfalls. I have been told they use many equations and complex mathematics to “prove” more spending and more debt will solve the excess spending and excess debt problems.

The world’s monetary system runs on credit, which is supported by faith and collateral. Faith in governments and economies seems to be weakening. Collateral is iffy – how much collateral has been hypothecated – a fancy term for loaning out what probably does not belong to you? The (former) account holders in MFGlobal understand what happens when the company loans out the assets supposedly protected in supposedly segregated customer accounts. Has much of the collateral in the global financial system been loaned out once or several times? It all works until it stops working, as in 2008. Multiple layers of hypothecated debt are completely crazy!

The solution to an excess of debt is more debt but at a lower interest rate. That is the official story, and they are sticking to it. Do you think this will end well?


There are many more insanities in our financial and political systems than have been mentioned here. The consequences will be unpleasant, but we expect no material systemic change without a major crisis. This suggests a crisis is inevitable. When? It will occur when some event destabilizes the system and interrelated cascading failures occur – probably within the next few years. Cyprus was the warning! Cyprus was the “Mayday!” and the “SOS” to the world. Are you prepared? Did I mention real money – gold and silver?

GE Christenson
aka Deviant Investor

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