– Four key lessons from 2013 (Sovereign Man, Jan 2, 2014):
1) Politicians believe there are no consequences for destroying our liberty…
Stimulus and response. That’s the easiest way of summing this up. When politicians steal, and there are no consequences, they’re going to keep stealing.
Cyprus proved this point handily. The government froze bank accounts for everyone in the country (of course, the big bosses got their money out in time). And yet, there was no violent revolution in the streets. People just accepted it.
Poland nationalized pensions. Argentina imposed severe capital controls. The French are taxing everything under the sun. The US government was caught red-handed spying on… everyone.
And yet, there have been ZERO consequences. Citizens have been trained like caged animals to simply roll over and acquiesce. I imagine the politicians are thinking, “Holy Cow! I can’t believe we just got away with that…”
It only reinforces their behavior. With each destructive act, they become more bold, more brazen in dismantling our liberties, confident that they can continue to act with total impunity.
2) …Central bankers and economists believe there are no consequences to printing money…
The Fed expanded its balance sheet by $1.1 TRILLION in 2013, a whopping 38.5%. Nobody seems to mind. The stock market surged to all-time highs, the bond market remained stable, and everyone pronounced the ‘recovery’ was in.
I attended a dinner a few months ago where Ben Bernanke himself touted how much his quantitative had helped US economic conditions.
They really believe in what they are doing. They really believe that conjuring endless quantities of money out of thin air is the path to prosperity.
Not to mention, our modern society awards its most esteemed prizes for intellectual achievement to the likes of idiot savants like Paul Krugman who tell us that the Fed should be printing even MORE money. And people listen to him.
So we can only expect Ben “I can raise interest rates in 15 minutes” Bernanke, and his heir apparent Janet Yellen, to give us more of the same.
3) …Investors think there are no consequences to deficits, or debasement…
In 2013, headlines like “the US deficit is -only- $700 billion” were actually considered good news.
And markets have given all of these fiascos a pass– from the government shutdown to record-shattering debt levels to downgrades by the rating agencies. AA became the new AAA in 2013.
Nobody cares that the US government ‘borrowed’ a record amount of money from the Social Security Trust Fund. Or that they spent a record amount just to pay interest on the debt at a time when interest rates are at all-time lows.
Rather, they just keep investing… without a single thought to the possible risks. The fear of missing the big boom is greater than the fear of losing money. But then again, it’s not their money at risk. It’s yours.
4) …But Joe Six-Pack knows this is all crap.
In 2013, the collective net worth of the 300 richest people in the world grew to $3.7 trillion, 16.5% higher than 2012. Corporate profits were also at record levels.
Fortune 500s, the super-rich, rich, and even upper middle class have largely been beneficiaries of the central bank induced asset bubble.
But everyone else is getting hammered by inflation… watching their savings and livelihoods melt away before their very eyes.
A report from the US Census Bureau this year showed that median household income has declined for five straight years. And those living in poverty, using food stamps, or receiving unemployment benefits remained at record high levels in 2013.
Meanwhile, the wealth gap has grown to its largest since 1929– the year of that fateful financial collapse.
It’s time for a reality check: something is wrong with this picture.
We’ve become desensitized to everything. “Unprecedented” monetary policy. Record debts. Massive wealth gap. Government surveillance. Theft. Deceit. Inflation.
We’ve become so accustomed to getting screwed, it’s just par for the course now. We sit quietly and wait for the next round of beatings, shrugging it all off as the new normal.
This isn’t normal. This is not how a free society is supposed to function.
A free society does not spy on its own people, threaten them with drone assassination, and award an unelected banking elite with supreme authority to rob purchasing power from the masses in favor of a bubbly stock market.
And despite the conventional wisdom, this is not a consequence-free environment.
History is full of examples of entire nations that reached their breaking points… shouting from the rooftops “I’m mad as hell! And I’m not going to take it anymore!”
2013 already saw violent unrest in some of the most stable countries in the world like Singapore and Sweden, all underpinned by absolute disgust for the status quo.
Whether today or tomorrow, this year or next, there will be a reckoning. The system is far too broken to repair, it must be reset.
It’s simply absurd to look at the situation objectively and presume this status quo can continue indefinitely… that this time is different… that we’re somehow special and immune to universal principles.
This is not some prediction for doom and gloom. Far from it.
It’s actually a message of optimism. For the sooner these crackpot criminal politicians and their central banking ilk are stricken from power, the better off we’ll all be.
Unfortunately there’s going to be quite a bit of turmoil to get there.
Here’s to 2014. It’s going to be a hell of a year.