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February 2017

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Trump Accuses Obama Of Being Behind Protests, Leaks

In an interview with Fox & Friends that aired early Tuesday morning, President Trump blamed former President Obama for protests against him and other Republicans, as well as “possibly” some of the leaks from the White House: “I think President Obama’s behind it, because his people are certainly behind it.”

Trump was asked if he believed Obama was responsible for the town hall protests against Republicans this month: “It turns out his organization seems to do a lot of these organizing to some of the protests that these Republicans are seeing around the country against you. Do you believe President Obama is behind it and if he is, is that a violation of the so-called unsaid presidents’ code?” Trump was asked.

“No, I think he is behind it, because his people are certainly behind it. I also think it is politics, that’s the way it is,” Trump replied.

Trump discussed the leaks that have disrupted his first month in office: “You never know what’s exactly happening behind the scenes. You know, you’re probably right or possibly right, but you never know. No, I think that President Obama is behind it because his people are certainly behind it. And some of the leaks possibly come from that group, which are really serious because they are very bad in terms of national security. But I also understand that is politics. In terms of him being behind things, that’s politics. And it will probably continue.”

Trump did not offer any evidence for his claim in the clip released by Fox Monday night. CNN reported that it has reached out to Obama’s office for comment. A broad coalition of groups including Organizing For Action, the SEIU, and the Center for American Progress have been working to help with grassroots organizing around GOP town halls.

Organizing for Action, the group formed from Obama’s campaign organization, has 14 professional organizers, for example, who are involved in teaching local activists skills to effectively vocalize opposition to the GOP’s top agenda items.

Earlier this month, Trump told Fox News that reports of his calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia were caused by leaks from “Obama people.”

Trump’s administration has been plagued by leaks within his administration to the media, and he has continually railed against those doing the leaking and the media since taking office, even slamming the FBI for being unable to root out the leakers. He has said the leaks are damaging to national security.

* * *

And speaking of the leaks, Trump said that he would’ve handled the crackdown on government leaks differently than Sean Spicer, having “one-on-one sessions with a few people,” instead of the way White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer did it: in an “emergency meeting” for White House communications staffers where he asked them to dump their phones on the table for a “phone check” to prove they had nothing to hide.

* * *

Additionally, Trump also discussed accusations that he is a racist, especially in the aftermath of the Acamdey Awards where the topic prevailed, and wrote them off as “purely politics.”

“It just seems the other side whenever they are losing badly they always pull out the race card,” Trump said in response to a question on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends” about host Jimmy Kimmel’s comments Sunday night at the Academy Awards.

“I’ve watched it for years. I’ve watched it against Ronald Reagan. I’ve watched it against so many other people. And they always like pulling out the race card,” Trump added. “The fact is I did pretty well, much better than past people in the Republican Party in the recent election having to do with Hispanics, having to do with African Americans, did pretty well or I wouldn’t be sitting here. I mean if I didn’t get numbers that were at least as good or better I wouldn’t be sitting here.”

When asked if he takes the attacks personally, Trump responded, “I can’t” and added that “I consider it a very serious violation when they say it and I have to write it off as being purely politics.”

* * *

Finally, Trump said he would give himself an “A” in achievement but in messaging a “C or C plus.” “In terms of messaging, I would give myself a C or a C plus,” Trump said. “In terms of achievement I think I’d give myself an A. Because I’ve done great things, but I don’t think we’ve explained it well enough to the American people.”

Markets will be closely watching Trump’s address to Congress in just over 13 hours, and grading him on every word to come out of his mouth, with some speculating that lack of any explicit, and overdue, details about his economic plans could be the final nail in the nearly four month old reflation trade.


The NEW U.S. Economic Mythology

Original Link

The Corporate media lies to us, all of the time. This is not an assertion, merely an elementary observation. With a real “free press”, we see occasional moments where different media outlets may agree on the interpretation of particular events and/or the relative importance of events. All other times, we see a divergence of opinion between media outlets.

This is what we would expect to see. Homo sapiens are a contrarian species. We all have our own ideas – or at least we used to.

What do we see with the Corporate media today? We see a small collection of gigantic corporations which control everything we see and hear. That’s called an oligopoly. It is not even legal. And with rare exceptions, we see these gigantic corporations saying the same thing, all the time.

That’s not a free press. That’s a propaganda machine. And when a propaganda machine repeats the same message over and over, we have a name for that too. We call it brainwashing.

For example; for many, many decades, marijuana was supposedly one of the Demon Drugs. Not only did it pose several grave perils to our health, but it was a “gateway drug”. Let little Johnny or Janey get their hands on a joint, and next thing you know they would be shooting heroin.

Was any of that true? Of course not. It was all propaganda.

Today, we know that marijuana’s active ingredients have many benign and even therapeutic applications. As jurisdictions across North America now begin legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, the only difference being noticed by the governments of those jurisdictions is more tax dollars in their coffers – and less-crowded jails.

We’re not only fed legal propaganda and brainwashing, we’re also subjected to economic brainwashing. And nowhere do we see more intense brainwashing than with respect to the Mighty U.S. Economy.

For many, many years, when the U.S. economy was genuinely prosperous, successive U.S. governments had an overt and explicit “strong dollar policy”. A strong currency was good. Having each dollar in a consumer’s wallet stretch farther was good, because that consumer could buy more goods.

However, when the evil Alan Greenspan and his successor B.S. Bernanke were ordered by their oligarch Masters to begin to rapidly dilute and debase the U.S. dollar, the elementary logic of a strong-dollar policy became inconvenient for the oligarchs. New propaganda had to be invented.

Suddenly, a strong currency was bad. “Competitive devaluation” became the new mantra of the U.S. government and the subordinate puppets across the Western world. It was good to have a weak currency. It was good for each dollar in a consumer’s wallet to be devoured by inflation. It was good for consumers to buy less and less goods because their dollar was shrinking – not stretching.

It never made any sense. But the brainwashing has been repeated to us over and over, year after year, and so we (most of us) believe it.

Then these same oligarchs decided to manipulate the U.S. dollar upward , pushing it to absurd heights versus almost every currency on the planet. Has the (new) “strong dollar” hurt the U.S. economy? Apparently not, because what we hear every minute of every day is that the Federal Reserve is on the verge of pulling the trigger on higher interest rates because the U.S. economy is so damn strong.

Then we have oil.

For many, many years; we have been told that high oil prices are bad. Why? Because we use oil (directly or indirectly) in almost all human economic activity. Dramatically pushing up the price of a primary economic input is like a tax on the economy. Indeed, the mainstream media has often uttered precisely that phrase: “higher oil prices are a tax on the economy.”

Just as it is elementary logic that a strong currency is good, it is also elementary logic that high oil prices are bad – bad for everyone except oil producers. But this logic is suddenly no longer convenient for the oligarchs, so once again they have ordered their media foot soldiers to invent new propaganda. Note the speed with which this new propaganda message has been injected into the Corporate media megaphone.

The crazy idea that higher oil prices might be good for the economy right now

That propaganda headline was rolled out less than a year ago at the Washington Post. See how audacious this propaganda machine has become. It acknowledges that the mere suggestion that high oil prices might be good is crazy. Then the propaganda mouthpiece who wrote this propaganda goes on to “explain” to the insipid sheep reading the article why high oil prices are actually a good thing.

Scarcely more than six months later; we see this propaganda headline from the hardcore brainwashing machine known as Bloomberg News.

What Will Lift World Economy? Goldman Says Higher Oil Prices

Suddenly, the “crazy” idea that higher oil prices are a good thing is no longer being introduced in a sheepish, almost apologetic manner. Now it is being presented to us as the new wisdom, uttered by none other than the economic sages (i.e. compulsive liars) of Goldman Sachs.

We’re brainwashed with various forms of ludicrous mythology on a regular basis. The point of this article is not to merely point out that the Corporate media has once again been caught passing off ridiculous lies. That’s nothing more than another “dog bites man” story.

The real importance of pointing out the New U.S. Economic Mythology comes in looking past the mere propaganda itself. There could be no possible reality where imposing a “tax on the economy” could be good for the economy. It might be good for the government collecting the tax, but it’s certainly never good for the economy itself.

How has the propaganda machine endeavoured to pass off this ridiculous lie? Why has the propaganda machine been told to pass off this ridiculous lie?

First the “how”. Why are high oil prices now supposedly “good for the economy”, when this could never possibly be true? It’s because – get ready for this – there is “not enough inflation”. There’s nothing at all new about that lie. The prostitutes of the Federal Reserve have been peddling this nonsense for years. From 2013, and once again from Bloomberg :

Why the Fed Worries Inflation Is too Low

Regular readers already know that this is a heinous lie. Inflation is economic cancer . Inflation is exactly like “a tax on the economy” because as with a tax, it claws away our purchasing power. It is impossible for a human being to have “not enough cancer”. It is impossible for an economy to have “not enough inflation”.

Making this lie especially heinous is that we have much too much inflation. Food prices are soaring at a double-digit rate, with only brief lulls between the next explosion in prices. Housing prices are soaring higher at a rate never before seen in our lifetime. We have far too much inflation, yet the liars of the Corporate media and the liars of the Federal Reserve and the liars of our puppet governments tell us there is “not enough inflation”.

So why bring oil into this? Why try to pass off two utterly absurd lies together, simultaneously? We need higher oil prices because there is not enough inflation.

To understand the necessity for the Corporate media to attempt to pass off two ridiculous lies simultaneously requires turning back the clock a few years, back to when the U.S. government chose to manipulate the price of oil to a rock-bottom level. That’s what we were told.

Barack Obama publicly boasted that lower oil prices were “part of the U.S. strategy” to punish Russia. Of course in reality the actual manipulation of oil markets was carried out by the banking crime syndicate, known to regular readers as the One Bank . But the bankers kept oil prices too low for too long.

Russia is still standing. However, a few more months of $30/barrel would have completed the vaporization of the much-hyped U.S. shale oil sector. That would have been embarrassing for the oligarchs. Shale oil had to be saved. Oil prices had to rise. But now another problem.

How does the Corporate media continue to pretend there is a “U.S. economic recovery” as oil prices rise significantly? How can the Federal Reserve continue to pretend that it’s “about to raise interest rates” with oil prices rising? More potential embarrassment for the oligarchs and their lackeys.

New mythology was necessary. Higher oil prices are good (a lie) because there is not enough inflation (a lie). And those lies are now necessary because the Corporate media has been ordered to continue to pretend there is a U.S. recovery (a lie) and pretend that the Federal Reserve is “about to raise interest rates” (a lie).

Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

One caveat on the last of the Big Lies currently being passed off about the U.S. economy. It is possible that the Federal Reserve may suddenly begin to normalize interest rates – once their oligarch Masters give them the word that it’s time to torpedo the U.S. stock market bubble.

Warren Buffett is 86 years old, and currently sitting on a cash hoard of $85 billion vampire-dollars. Those two numbers both tell us that the Next Crash is coming sooner, not later.

Jeff Nielson is co-founder and managing partner of Bullion Bulls Canada; a website which provides precious metals commentary, economic analysis, and mining information to readers and investors. Jeff originally came to the precious metals sector as an investor around the middle of last decade, but with a background in economics and law, he soon decided this was where he wanted to make the focus of his career. His website is

4 Simple Step To Picking The Best Credit Card

Finding the best credit card is part art, part science.

No single credit card is better than all others in all categories — or for all people. But by understanding your options and asking the right questions, you can find the card that’s the best fit for your spending habits and credit situation.

Follow these four steps to find the best credit card for you.

1. Check your credit

Find out what credit card offers you might be eligible for by checking your credit score. The better your score, the greater your chance of being approved for cards with better perks. Among ways to check your score:

If the number isn’t what you expected, check your credit reports to see what’s causing the problem. You can then start figuring out ways to improve it, from changing your spending habits to disputing an error on your reports, if you need to. Federal law entitles you to one free copy of your credit report from each of the three major bureaus every 12 months. Get your free reports at, a federally authorized site.

2. Identify which type of credit card you need

There are three general types of credit cards:

  1. Cards that help you improve your credit when it’s limited or damaged.
  2. Cards that save you money on interest.
  3. Cards that earn rewards.

The best card for you is one with features designed to meet your specific needs. If you don’t travel much, for example, then the best travel card in the world isn’t going to do you a lot of good.


Student credit cards, unsecured cards meant for college students who are new to credit, are easier to qualify for than other types of credit cards. So are secured credit cards, which generally require a security deposit of $200 or more. Your deposit is returned to you when the account is upgraded or closed in good standing.


A card with an introductory 0% APR and ongoing low interest could be a good match for you if you plan to use your credit card in case of emergencies, or if you have an irregular income and carry a balance from time to time. A balance transfer offer could help you pay off a high-interest debt interest-free. Keep in mind that these offers may be harder to find if you have average or poor credit.

MORE: Find the best low-interest or 0% APR credit card with this flowchart.


A rewards credit card is a good match for you if you pay off your balance in full every month and never incur interest. These cards typically have higher APRs, but offer larger sign-up bonuses and give you points, miles or cash back on every dollar you spend.

3. Narrow your choices by asking the right questions

Visit NerdWallet’s credit card comparison tool and search for the type of credit card you’re looking for, filtering results according to your credit score and monthly spending. As you go through the top picks, consider these questions.


  • Will this card help me build my credit? Look for a card that reports your credit card payments to the three major credit bureaus. Many secured cards don’t do this.
  • How much does it cost to open an account, including the annual fee? The rewards on these cards generally aren’t high enough to warrant an annual fee. Unless you have very poor credit, you can likely avoid this expense. For secured cards, the lower the security deposit, the better, although your credit limit may be tied directly to how much of a deposit you make.
  • Can I graduate to a better card later on? Choose a card that will let you build your credit and upgrade to a card with more competitive terms. This makes it easier to leave your card open longer, boosting your average age of accounts in the long run.


  • How long is the 0% APR period, and what is the ongoing interest APR? Look for a card that gives you enough time to pay off your debt interest-free. If you’re planning on carrying balances over several years, consider a credit card with a low ongoing APR.
  • What is the card’s balance transfer policy? If you’re doing a balance transfer, look up a card’s balance transfer fees. Find out what types of debt you can transfer and whether there’s a limit to how much you can move over. Note that the balance transfer APR on a card may be different from the purchase APR.
  • Does the card offer rewards? If you’re looking for only a few months of 0% APR — perhaps instead of a sign-up bonus — you may be able to find a card that doles out generous ongoing rewards as well.


  • How do I spend my money? Look for a card that delivers the highest rewards for the categories you spend the most on. If you’re a big spender, consider getting a card with an annual fee, if your rewards earnings would offset the cost. If you’re planning to use the card abroad, look for one with no foreign transaction fees and chip-and-PIN capability, rather than the chip-and-signature technology that’s standard in the U.S. This goes for other types of cards too.
  • How complicated is this credit card? If you don’t want to contend with limited award seat availability, spending caps, rotating bonus rewards and loyalty tiers, consider a card with flat-rate cash-back rewards.
  • How quickly will I earn rewards, and how much are they worth? Read NerdWallet’s rewards valuations to find the answers to these questions.

4. Apply for the card that offers you the highest overall value

Narrowing your choices is the easy part, but deciding between two or three similar cards can be quite difficult. If you’ve already found a clear winner after Step 3, go with that one. If not, it’s time for a tiebreaker round.

Look closely for differences. All other values being equal, here are some factors that might set a card apart:


  • Credit limit automatically increases. Certain cards let you increase your limit after a few consecutive on-time payments.
  • Interest paid on your deposit. Some secured cards place your security deposit in an interest-earning CD. This way, you can earn a small amount of money on it.


  • Debt payoff planner. Some issuers let you create your own debt payoff plan on an online portal, a valuable tool if you’re overwhelmed with debt.
  • No late fees or penalty APR. Certain cards waive these charges. If you fall behind on payments, this could come in handy.


  • Lower required spending. The less you need to spend to qualify for a sign-up bonus, the better.
  • No expiration date on rewards. On some cards, you can use your rewards as long as you keep the card open.

When you finally pick a card, keep in mind that, on the application, you can include all income you have reasonable access to, not just your personal income. For students, that can include money from grants and scholarships, or allowances from parents. For others, it may include a partner or spouse’s income.

So you’ve found the best credit card. What’s next?

Choosing the best credit card is an important decision, but don’t stop there. Use your card the right way to get the most for your money. If you’re trying to establish credit, pay your bill in full every month and don’t use too much of your available credit. Stick to your debt payoff plan if you snagged a 0% APR deal. And if you’re trying to rack up rewards, use your card for everyday purchases and pay your bill in full every month.

The credit card you choose should help you achieve your financial goals in the most affordable, efficient way possible, whether you’re trying to build credit, borrow money or earn rewards. Don’t settle for less.


10 Dividend Stocks Increasing Payouts

The S&P 500 Index rallied nearly 2% last week to reach a new all-time high and has now returned more than 10% following the U.S. Presidential election. Investors remain optimistic even as the Federal Reserve hinted at a potential interest rate increase as early as March. Many dividend stocks are optimistic as well.

10 Dividend Stocks Increasing Payouts – RY SRE LAMR WR MTB CM ETN XEL DHR ESS

Ten notable dividend stocks raised payouts over the past week, including three banks, two industrial manufacturers, three electric utilities, and a large real estate investment trust.

Here are ten dividend stocks increasing payouts:

Royal Bank of Canada (NYSE:RY) increased its quarterly dividend by 5%, raising its payment to CAD 87 cents per share from 83 cents. The financial services company will pay shareholders of record as of April 25 on May 24. The stock’s shares trade ex-dividend on April 21.
RY Dividend Yield: 3.41%

Lamar Advertising Company (NASDAQ:LAMR) rewarded shareholders with a 9% raise to its quarterly dividend, increasing it from 76 cents per share to 83 cents. Shareholders of record as of March 15 will receive their higher dividends on March 31 from the outdoor advertising company. LAMR shares will be ex-dividend on March 13.
LAMR Dividend Yield: 4.09%

Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE) announced a 9% raise to its quarterly dividend, increasing its payout from 75.5 cents per share to 82.25 cents. The gas and electric utility will send its higher dividends out on April 15 to shareholders of record as of March 23. SRE shares will trade ex-dividend on March 21.
SRE Dividend Yield: 2.77%

Westar Energy Inc (NYSE:WR) raised its quarterly dividend from 38 cents per share to 40 cents, representing a 6% increase. The electric utility will pay out its higher dividends to shareholders of record as of March 9 on April 3. WR shares traded ex-dividend on March 7.
WR Dividend Yield: 2.97%

M&T Bank Corporation (NYSE:MTB) raised its quarterly dividend by 7%, increasing it from 70 cents per share to 75 cents. The bank holding company will pay its higher dividend to shareholders of record as of March 6 on March 31. MTB shares will trade ex-dividend on March 2.
MTB Dividend Yield: 1.78%

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (USA) (NYSE:CM) increased its quarterly dividend by 2% to CAD $1.27 per share from $1.24. Shareholders of record as of March 28 will receive dividends from the global provider of financial products and services on April 28. The company’s shares will go ex-dividend on March 24.
CM Dividend Yield: 4.29%

Eaton Corproation, PLC Ordinary Shares (NYSE:ETN) announced a 5% increase to its quarterly dividend, raising it from 57 cents per share to 60 cents. Dividends will be paid from the large industrial conglomerate on March 17 to shareholders of record as of March 6. ETN shares become ex-dividend on March 2.
ETN Dividend Yield: 3.33%

Danaher Corporation (NYSE:DHR) moved its quarterly dividend higher by 12%, increasing it from 12.5 cents per share to 14 cents. The diversified industrial manufacturer will pay its higher dividend to shareholders of record as of March 31 on April 28. DHR shares traded ex-dividend on March 29.
DHR Dividend Yield: 0.65%

Xcel Energy Inc (NYSE:XEL) increased its quarterly dividend by 6%, raising its payment from 34 cents per share to 36 cents. Shareholders of record as of March 15 will receive dividends from the electric utility on April 20. XEL shares will be ex-dividend on March 13.
XEL Dividend Yield: 3.32%

Essex Property Trust Inc (NYSE:ESS) grew its quarterly dividend from $1.60 per share to $1.75, representing a raise of 9%. The residential real estate investment trust will pay out its higher dividends to shareholders of record as of March 31 on April 17. ESS shares are expected to trade ex-dividend on March 29.
ESS Dividend Yield: 3.02%

As of the time of this writing, Simply Safe Dividends did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.


A 66 Percent ‘Smart’ Money Trade Call & Put Option Sells

Elections have consequences, and one of the most surprising consequences of November’s election has been the sharp increase in economic optimism. This can be seen in surveys of investors or business owners.

The general mood of the nation is captured by Gallup, which published a number of surveys. Their Economic Confidence Index shows some recent weakness, but is up sharply since the election.


Digging deeper, we see that there is a sharp divide based on political affiliation but, on average, Americans seem happier today than they were in early November.

The same is true of small businesses, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Index.


NFIB notes that “the stunning improvements in the Index components that occurred after post-election were improved in December and confirmed in January.” These improvements should lead to higher business spending and more jobs. If we see that, economic growth this year will begin to outperform 2016’s.

Surveys are important, but economic growth will result only if spending follows the optimism. We should know by the middle of the year whether that’s the case. I’ll be watching economic data to see whether business and consumer spending rise enough to deliver the expected growth.

One advantage of being a trader instead of an economist is that we can get sentiment measures that show what investors are doing with their money instead of what they are saying they plan to do with their money. This is especially true in the futures markets.

In futures markets, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issues a weekly report showing how many contracts various groups of traders own. The weekly report is known as the Commitment of Traders (COT) report. Traders are divided into three categories: Commercials are usually considered the smart money, hedge funds are included in the section reporting large speculators, and small speculators are individual traders.

Commercials are the producers and users of a commodity and are considered to be the smart money in a market because they know the fundamentals better than anyone else. Commercials will often be short a commodity in the futures market because they’re hedging their positions. A miner produces gold so always has a long position in the mine, at refineries and in inventory. To hedge that position, they can sell gold short in the futures market.

The grey line in the chat shows a zero position for each group. Other groups are shown as colored lines, which are labeled. Notice that commercials are almost always short. Large speculators tend hold large long positions when prices peak and smaller positions when prices bottom.


To make this data easier to understand, I convert the positions to an index that places the position into a range from 0 to 100. A reading of 100 indicates the group is holding its most bullish position over the time frame measured with a reading of 0 showing extreme bearishness. The timeframe used in the next chart is six months and as you see, commercials are more bullish now than they have been since the major bottom that occurred in late 2015.


Commercials, the smart money in futures, are bullish on gold. We can trade alongside them using gold mining stocks.

The reason to invest in miners is that they’re a leveraged trade on the price of gold. This is because production costs tend to remain relatively constant under normal market conditions, and increased market prices in gold can result in larger percentage gains in the profits of miners.

My favorite gold miner right now is Agnico Eagle Mines Limited (NYSE: AEM).

You can buy AEM shares outright to play the upside in gold, but that’s not what I’m recommending in Income Trader, my premium newsletter. Instead, I’m suggesting readers sell puts on the shares and collect a 66% annualized “yield.”

Giving away the exact trade wouldn’t be fair to my subscribers. But if you’re interested in learning more about selling puts, or even getting the exact details of my AEM trade, I put together a presentation you’ll want to see. Click here to access it.


‘Everything Will Grind To A Halt’ After March 15th

J.C. Penney and Family Christian Stores are the latest retail giants to announce widespread store closings. As you will see below, J.C. Penney plans to close between 130 and 140 stores, and Family Christian is closing all of their 240 stores. In recent months the stock market has been absolutely soaring, and so most people have simply assumed that the “real economy” must be doing well. But that is not the case at all. In fact, the retail apocalypse that I have been documenting for quite some time appears to be gaining momentum.

J.C. Penney is not in as rough shape as Sears is just yet, but it is definitely on a similar trajectory. In the end, they are both headed for bankruptcy. That is why it wasn’t too much of a surprise when J.C. Penney announced that they are getting rid of about 6,000 workers and closing at least 130 stores

J.C. Penney (JCP) plans to close 130 to 140 stores and offer buyouts to 6,000 workers as the department-store industry sags in competition with online sellers and nimble niche retailers.

The company said Friday that it would shutter 13% to 14% of its locations and introduce new goods and services aimed at the shifting preferences of its customer base.

Meanwhile, many observers were quite surprised when Family Christian Stores decided to fold up shop for good. They were known as the largest Christian retailer on the entire planet, but now after 85 years they are going out of business forever

Family Christian, which bills itself as the “world’s largest retailer of Christian-themed merchandise,” announced Thursday it is closing after 85 years.

The non-profit company, employing more than 3,000 people in 240 stores in 36 states, said in a brief statement that the retailer had been facing declining sales since filing for bankruptcy protection in 2015 and had no choice but to shut down.

These two announcements are part of larger trend that we have been witnessing all over the country. As I have documented previously, Macy’s announced that it would be closing 100 stores earlier this year, and about the same time Sears said that it would be closing another 150 stores.

Back in 2010, Sears had a staggering 3,555 stores.

Before their recent announcement, Sears was down to 1,503 stores, and now this latest round of cuts will leave them with somewhere around 1,350.

Of course it won’t be too long before Sears has zero stores, and my regular readers know that I have been talking about the demise of Sears for a very long time.

The cold, hard truth of the matter is that the “real economy” is a total mess, and that is one of the primary reasons why these ridiculous stock market valuations that we are seeing right now are not sustainable.

One expert that agrees with my assessment is former Reagan Administration White House Budget Director David Stockman. In a recent interview, he explained why he believes that “everything will grind to a halt” after March 15th…

Stockman, who wrote a book titled “Trumped” predicting a Trump victory in 2016, says, “I don’t think there is a snowball’s chance in the hot place that’s going to happen. This is delusional. This is the greatest suckers’ rally of all time. It is based on pure hopium and not any analysis at all as what it will take to push through a big tax cut. Donald Trump is in a trap. Today the debt is $20 trillion. It’s 106% of GDP. . . .Trump is inheriting a built-in deficit of $10 trillion over the next decade under current policies that are built in. Yet, he wants more defense spending, not less. He wants drastic sweeping tax cuts for corporations and individuals. He wants to spend more money on border security and law enforcement. He’s going to do more for the veterans. He wants this big trillion dollar infrastructure program. You put all that together and it’s madness. It doesn’t even begin to add up, and it won’t happen when you are struggling with the $10 trillion of debt that’s coming down the pike and the $20 trillion that’s already on the books.”

Then, Stockman drops this bomb and says:

“I think what people are missing is this date, March 15th2017. That’s the day that this debt ceiling holiday that Obama and Boehner put together right before the last election in October of 2015. That holiday expires. The debt ceiling will freeze in at $20 trillion. It will then be law. It will be a hard stop. The Treasury will have roughly $200 billion in cash. We are burning cash at a $75 billion a month rate. By summer, they will be out of cash. Then we will be in the mother of all debt ceiling crises. Everything will grind to a halt. I think we will have a government shutdown. There will not be Obama Care repeal and replace. There will be no tax cut. There will be no infrastructure stimulus. There will be just one giant fiscal bloodbath over a debt ceiling that has to be increased and no one wants to vote for.”

In that same interview, Stockman also predicted that “markets will easily correct by 20% and probably a lot more“, and he noted the glaring disconnect between current stock prices and how the U.S. economy is actually performing

“The S&P 500 has been trading at 26 times earnings while earnings have been dropping for the past six or seven quarters. There is no booming recovery coming. There is going to be a recession and there will be no stimulus baton to bail it out. That is the new fact that neither Trump nor the Wall Street gamblers remotely understand.”

It is very difficult to argue with Stockman on this.

There are some people out there that seem to think that Donald Trump can miraculously turn the U.S. economy around just because he is Donald Trump.

It doesn’t work that way.

We are 20 trillion dollars in debt, and we are currently adding about a trillion dollars a year to that total. There is no possible way that Trump can cut taxes, increase military spending, build a border wall, spend much more on veterans and spend an extra trillion dollars on rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.

We are flat broke as a nation and there simply is not money available to do everything that Donald Trump wants to do.

So we shall see what happens after March 15th.  Unfortunately, I happen to agree with Stockman that economic reality is about to come knocking and Trump and his supporters are about to get a very rude wake up call.


The low-risk way to make 30% a year in stocks

My team and I recently made a critical breakthrough… And it reinforces what I’ve been saying for years.

You don’t need to take big risks to make big money in the stock market.

You don’t have to find the needle in a haystack. You don’t have to get extremely lucky by picking the right tech stock.

In my Investment Advisory, we’re business junkies. We love great businesses. And usually, the kinds of businesses with staying power aren’t exciting or glamorous.

Last week, I told DailyWealth readers about my latest project to investigate the stocks that returned an incredible 1,000% or more over the past 20 years.

My team and I found a way to identify these stocks – the small, under-the-radar companies that have huge growth potential.

Today, I’ll explain one of the secret ingredients to boosting boring investments and making double-digit annual returns, without taking on more risk…

Regular readers know “capital efficiency” is one of our key metrics to finding successful businesses. (Read our educational essay on the subject here)

When we say “capital efficiency,” we’re measuring how easy it is for companies to grow revenues without heavy reinvestment. That’s how you find great, healthy investments. These are the companies that will keep growing and will never go out of business. It’s the one sure way to get rich in the market.

My colleague Bryan Beach puts it this way: When you think about capital efficiency, think about what you would want to see if you were the company’s owner.

In other words, when you have a business that’s growing like crazy but you aren’t making more money, you wouldn’t be excited to own that business. You’ve probably had to hire more people and deal with more problems. If cash isn’t left at the end of the day for the owners, what’s the point?

Personally, I look at it in a bigger-picture way… like a seesaw. On one end of the seesaw, you have growth. On the other end, you have profitability.

Think about my own company, Stansberry Research. If we wanted to spend $100 million on advertising, we could grow our business and sales tremendously, but it won’t lead to more profits. Or we could cut back our marketing budget to almost zero and live off the renewal income and the incremental sales, and we could report a great, profitable year. It’s really difficult to do both at the same time. And the businesses that can do that are exceedingly rare.

One of our big tests is whether a company can grow its revenues by 25% or 30% and still be capital efficient. When a company can make $0.25 or $0.30 in cash on every dollar of revenue AND continue to grow, you’ve found an extraordinary business.

Now here’s the really surprising thing about all this. Like I said, these are unique, unusual businesses. But more often than not… they’re boring.

When we investigated the stellar performers of the past two decades, the results we turned up weren’t necessarily the high-flying tech stocks. Most of them fit the same boring industry categories we’ve been writing about for years…

You find these stocks with the same process that we put all of our best recommendations through in my Investment Advisory. For instance, chocolatier Hershey (HSY) and insurance firm W.R. Berkley (WRB) were great investments because they had tremendous growth and were incredibly capital efficient.

But with our new system – the kind we’re using in Stansberry Venture Value – you see even better growth (and therefore, even bigger returns) buying the exact same kinds of stocks. Instead of making 6%-8% a year, these stocks can return 20%-30% a year.

Consistent, double-digit returns every year… without taking more risk… without crossing your fingers and hoping you picked the next big winner. The same reliable types of companies we recommend in my Investment Advisory… but with the ability to deliver 20% or 30% a year on your portfolio.


Porter Stansberry

Crux note: Capital efficiency is just one piece of the puzzle. Now you can learn how to find the next McDonald’s, or the next Hershey, with a metric called the “D-Factor.” It’s the key to Porter’s new “10x Project,” designed to help you make 10 times your money or more in the markets. Get all the details by watching Porter’s brand-new presentation right here. (Or click here for a transcript.)


Looks like Ron Paul was right about the gold standard

In the aftermath of the dot com crisis Greenspan cut interest rates to near-zero in the early 2000s, igniting the housing bubble, which neither he nor anyone else at the Fed was able to detect along the way. He even made it into the dictionary, as the “Greenspan put” became the term for government bailing out its Wall Street benefactors. From this the leveraged speculating community learned that no risk was too egregious and no profit too large, because government – that is, the Fed – had eliminated all the worst-case scenarios. Put another way, under Greenspan profit was privatized but loss was socialized.

Then, another metamorphosis took place: after Greenspan retired from the Fed in 2006 he began morphing back into his old libertarian self. A cynic might detect a desire to avoid the consequences of his past actions, while a neurologist might suspect senility. But either way the transformation has been breathtaking.

Consider Greenspan’s latest public address. In an extended interview published in the World Gold Council’s Gold Investor February issue, Greenspan repeated his now standard warning about the risk of coming stagflation, which would send the price of gold higher: “The risk of inflation is beginning to rise… Significant increases in inflation will ultimately increase the price of gold.” As such, “investment in gold now is insurance. It’s not for short-term gain, but for long-term protection.”

Going back to his libertarian roots, it was the idea of returning to a gold standard that Greenspan focused on: a gold standard that he said would help mitigate risks of an “unstable fiscal system” like the one we have today.

“Today, going back on to the gold standard would be perceived as an act of desperation. But if the gold standard were in place today, we would not have reached the situation in which we now find ourselves,” he said.”[T]here is a widespread view that the 19th Century gold standard didn’t work. I think that’s like wearing the wrong size shoes and saying the shoes are uncomfortable! It wasn’t the gold standard that failed; it was politics.

And the punchline: “We would never have reached this position of extreme indebtedness were we on the gold standard, because the gold standard is a way of ensuring that fiscal policy never gets out of line.”

To be sure, this is something we discussed exactly two years ago, when we showed a chart showing the sudden end of prosperity for the “bottom 90%” of US earners at the time Nixon ended the US Gold Standard in August 1971, unleashing what ultimately would be the “Great Moderation”, an unprecedented increase in US debt, and the stagnation of real incomes and net worth for all but the “top 1% of earners.”

As we said then, in retrospect it is no wonder “why the 1% hates the gold standard” and added that the chart above, “should also clarify just why to the “1%”, including their protectors in the “developed market” central banking system, their tenured economist lackeys, their purchased politicians and their captured media outlets, the topic of a return to a gold standard is the biggest threat conceivable.

As for Greenspan’s repeated attempts to undo the past by admitting his mistakes, the jury is out. As Rubino concludes, “one of the nice things about the information age is that public figures leave long paper trails and can’t therefore easily escape their pasts. Greenspan’s past, being perhaps the best documented of any central banker in history, will haunt him forever.”

That said, at least Greenspan is going out a gold bug.

* * *

Below are the key excerpts from his Gold Investor interview:

Q. As inflation pressures grow, do you anticipate a renewed interest in gold?

Significant increases in inflation will ultimately increase the price of gold. Investment in gold now is insurance. It’s not for short-term gain, but for long-term protection.

I view gold as the primary global currency. It is the only currency, along with silver, that does not require a counterparty signature. Gold, however, has always been far more valuable per ounce than silver. No one refuses gold as payment to discharge an obligation. Credit instruments and fiat currency depend on the credit worthiness of a counterparty. Gold, along with silver, is one of the only currencies that has an intrinsic value. It has always been that way. No one questions its value, and it has always been a valuable commodity, first coined in Asia Minor in 600 BC.

* * *

Q. Although gold is not an official currency, it plays an important role in the monetary system. What role do you think gold should play in the new geopolitical environment?

The gold standard was operating at its peak in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a period of extraordinary global prosperity, characterised by firming productivity growth and very little inflation.

But today, there is a widespread view that the 19th century gold standard didn’t work. I think that’s like wearing the wrong size shoes and saying the shoes are uncomfortable! It wasn’t the gold standard that failed; it was politics. World War I disabled the fixed exchange rate parities and no country wanted to be exposed to the humiliation of having a lesser exchange rate against the US dollar than it enjoyed in 1913.

Britain, for example, chose to return to the gold standard in 1925 at the same exchange rate it had in 1913 relative to the US dollar (US$4.86 per pound sterling). That was a monumental error by Winston Churchill, then Chancellor of the Exchequer. It induced a severe deflation for Britain in the late 1920s, and the Bank of England had to default in 1931. It wasn’t the gold standard that wasn’t functioning; it was these pre-war parities that didn’t work. All wanted to return to pre-war exchange rate parities, which, given the different degree of war and economic destruction from country to country, rendered this desire, in general, wholly unrealistic.

Today, going back on to the gold standard would be perceived as an act of desperation. But if the gold standard were in place today we would not have reached the situation in which we now find ourselves. We cannot afford to spend on infrastructure in the way that we should. The US sorely needs it, and it would pay for itself eventually in the form of a better economic environment (infrastructure). But few of such benefits would be reflected in private cash flow to repay debt. Much such infrastructure would have to be funded with government debt. We are already in danger of seeing the ratio of federal debt to GDP edging toward triple digits. We would never have reached this position of extreme indebtedness were we on the gold standard, because the gold standard is a way of ensuring that fiscal policy never gets out of line.

* * *

Finally, buried at the very end of the interview was perhaps the most interesting statement by Greenspan: the former Fed Chair’s implicit admission that Ron Paul was right all along:

Q. Against a background of ultra-low and negative interest rates, many reserve managers have been large buyers of gold. In your view, what role does gold play as a reserve asset?

When I was Chair of the Federal Reserve I used to testify before US Congressman Ron Paul, who was a very strong advocate of gold. We had some interesting discussions. I told him that US monetary policy tried to follow signals that a gold standard would have created. That is sound monetary policy even with a fiat currency. In that regard, I told him that even if we had gone back to the gold standard, policy would not have changed all that much.

You can read the full story at ZeroHedge right here…


The Alt Media Strikes Back, Nathan McDonald

Get the popcorn ready. You’re about to witness some amazing fireworks that could possibly change the course of history and send the lying, dying Mainstream Media into retreat, licking their wounds as they attempt to recover from the damage they are about to receive.

Project Veritas , lead by James O’Keefe, and who is most notably known for “stings” on corrupt organizations, has set his targets on the Mainstream Media in 2017 and his first victim has just been announced : CNN.

This comes as no surprise, as CNN has been attacking the Alternative Media ever since Donald Trump surprised so many and won the election. They have attempted to label James O’Keefe and many other prominent Alt Media sources as “fake news”, a campaign that has since horribly backfired in their faces.

In fact CNN was just recently upgraded from “fake news” to “very fake news” by President Trump in a recent press conference, where he proceeded to eviscerate the MSM for their smear campaign against him.

O’Keefe has stated that he has “hundreds of hours” of raw footage and voice audio from within CNN, leaked by an employee who is obviously greatly displeased with his employer and the stance that they have taken in the journalist world.

What exactly does O’Keefe have on CNN? Well, to find out the full story, we are simply going to have to wait and see, as they plan on releasing the information in a Wikileaks style format, slow dripping the information out to the public so that this massive amount of information can properly be digested and consumed.

Either way, if the past is any indication of what is to come, then the information is going to be crippling to CNN, as all past leaks released by Project Veritas have blown the subject of their focus out of the water.

So get your popcorn ready, melt the butter, sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top and enjoy the show. History is about to be made.

Nathan McDonald is a libertarian, entrepreneur and precious metals enthusiast. He has always taken a keen interest in free markets and economics since an early age, which naturally led him to become a true believer in precious metals and all that they stand for.

Nathan served eight years in the Royal Canadian Navy as an electronics technician, seeing the true state of the world, before starting his first successful business. He has since gone on to create a number of businesses, all of which are still in operation and growing.

In addition to this, Nathan runs a network of successful precious metals blogs, and a growing newsletter that has attracted readers from all around the world.

He is a regular and highlighted writer for the highly respected Sprott Money Blog, which covers world events, geopolitics and of course precious metals.

The views and opinions expressed in this material are those of the author as of the publication date, are subject to change and may not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprott Money Ltd. Sprott Money does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, timeliness and reliability of the information or any results from its use.


ETFs Might Be a Bad Way To Play The Infrastructure Boom

When the president-elect pledged to facilitate a $1 trillion infrastructure-spending binge, exchange-traded funds with “infrastructure” in their name seemed like a sound way to cash in.

But that narrative was upended on Wednesday when the biggest product in that category — the iShares Global Infrastructure ETF (IGF) — suffered over $161 million in outflows; its largest one-day withdrawal on record.

IGF US Equity (iShares Global In 2017-01-05 09-38-40
Source: Bloomberg

Those hunting for the proximate cause of this exodus are less likely to find it in the taunts Donald Trump lobbed at Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who has expressed support for the future president’s infrastructure plan, than in the realization that with these funds, the wrapping paper often belies the present.

Read the rest of the article at Bloomberg


Here Comes The First Bitcoin ETF

If you’re excited about the idea of investing in a bitcoin-tracking exchange-traded fund, you’ll have to wait a bit longer to learn if you can—again.

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday designated March 11 as the date by which it would either approve or disapprove the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust ETF, which would be the first to exclusively track the digital currency.

A decision would represent the end of a multiyear campaign to bring a bitcoin ETF to market. Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, who run Winklevoss Capital, first announced plans for one in 2013; the pair also run both WinkDex, a bitcoin price index, and Gemini, a bitcoin custodian and exchange.

Winklevoss Capital didn’t immediately return requests for a comment.

Visit MarketWatch for the rest of this article


2016 Was a Record Breaking Year For ETFs

Exchange traded funds tracking major stock indexes were mixed Thursday morning as investors digested mixed news on job cuts and jobs growth.

SPDR S&P 500 (SPY) dipped 0.4% on the stock market today in early trade. This ETF, a proxy for the broad U.S. market, has shuffled sideways since posting an all-time high of 228.34 on Dec. 13.

ETF inflow in 2016 set a record at $284 billion, $39 billion more than the previous record set in 2015, according to a new report from State Street Global Advisors.

Highlights from the report include:

  • Fixed-income ETFs gathered more than $90 billion in assets, nearly doubling the 2015 total of $58 billion. Bond-based funds surpassed the 2015 record in August, and added $30 billion more to close out the year.
  • Equity ETFs fell short of the record $196 billion inflow in 2013, but broke the record for highest monthly flow in November with $49 billion of net inflow — and broke the record again in December, attracting over $58 billion.

Read the rest of this article at Investors Business Daily


The Best 7%+ Dividends For 2017

What will 2017 hold for income investors?

Let’s sort through the current hysteria regarding interest rates, Trump and inflation. Thanks to some first-level insanity, there are once again pockets of value that pay meaningful dividends of 6%, 7% or better.

And many have some price upside to boot! Why?

Because Rate Hikes Will Probably Disappoint

This time last year, the Fed was promising four rate hikes over the next twelve months. The “smart money” crowd (via Fed Funds futures prices) was betting on two. And both parties were too aggressive as we saw just one rate hike in 2016.

Today we have Yellen & Co promising three hikes in 2017, while the futures markets say just two:

The Smart Money Bets 2 Hikes in 2017


Given their track records, I’m inclined to take the “under” on both predictions. But it doesn’t really matter if we see one rate hike or two (or even three) next year.

The income investments I like best have already been discounted well in excess of their rate hike risk. I’ll highlight a few in a minute – but first, let’s address the long-term rate boogeyman, too.

The Long Bond Needs a Breather

The 10-year Treasury rate has nearly doubled off its summer lows. It pays 2.5% today and, quite frankly, needs a breather:

The 10-Year Yield Won’t “Go Parabolic”


When everyone believes long-term rates have nowhere to go but up, you know what happens – they drop. Get ready for a pullback that will surprise everyone.

Read the rest of this article at


3 Dividend Stocks That Are Insanely Cheap

The S&P 500 is currently trading for about 26 times trailing earnings. That’s at the high end of its historical range, which is making it hard for value investors to find attractive stocks to buy. Thankfully, even during times of market euphoria, investors can still find value if they’re willing to turn over enough rocks.

Let’s take a closer look at three income stocks — Scripts Network Interactive(NASDAQ:SNI)Amgen(NASDAQ:AMGN), and Carnival (NYSE:CCL)(NYSE:CUK) — that all pay out solid dividends and trade for below-average multiples. With analysts calling for earnings growth over the long term, could they be attractive buys today?

Overcoming cord-cutting

Investors have serious concerns over what the future holds for cable TV, which has caused them to approach companies like Scripps Networks Interactive with caution. This company owns a number of hit cable channels like the Food Network, HGTV, and the Travel Channel that are all dependent on attracting eyeballs in order to keep the revenue flowing.

With all signs pointing to cord-cutting being a trend that isn’t going to reverse itself anytime soon, traders have cut Scripps’ P/E ratio nearly in half since early 2014. As a result, share now trade for less than 12 times trailing earnings, which could be a ridiculously cheap price.

SNI PE Ratio (TTM) Chart


Thankfully, Scripps Networks’ strong programming has largely helped it to overcome the downward pressure on viewing. Ratings on the company’s top channels are actually on the rise, which has translated into increased ad and affiliate fees. That allowed the company’s sales to grow by more than 3% last quarter, which was a far better showing than larger rivals such as Walt Disney and Time Warner can claim.

Looking ahead, market watchers believe Scripps’ strong programming will help it overcome the effects of cord-cutting and allow it to put up profit growth of more than 10% annually over the next five years. That’s a solid growth rate for a company that offers up a 1.4% dividend yield and is trading at such a cheap valuation.


Is Your Sears Or KMart Store About To Close?

One day after Macy’s announced it would fire more thousands of workers after another holiday spending debacle, and will shut down dozens of stores as the overhyped consumer recovery fails to materialize for the 7th consecutive year, today struggling Sears Holdings, owner of K-Mart announced that the near-insolvent, anachronistic retail chain has obtained some more last-second liquidity after selling its Craftsman brand to Stanley Black and Decker for $900 million. That was not enough however, as Sears needed another billion dollar which it got courtesy of its controlling shareholder Eddie Lampert who gave the company a $1 billion loan.

The company, which has been near death for years and years, issued the latest dire warning about its holiday business on Thursday, when it announced same-store sales fell as much as 13% in November and December, compared with a 2.1% drop at Macy’s Inc.

As a result, “vendors had gotten really spooked,” said Gary Herwitz, a managing director of CoMetrics Partners, which advises companies that supply goods to Sears. “But now it seems that Sears bought themselves another year.”

Meanwhile, it now appears that instead of a long-overdue “big bang” bankruptcy, Sears will continue instead melting away with periodic closures of its thousands of badly run, inefficient stores. And indeed, this morning Sears said it would continue to shrink by closing 108 Kmart and 42 Sears stores, including the original Kmart location that opened in Garden City, Mich., in 1962. Over the past decade, the company has closed or sold more than 2,000 stores, or two thirds of its locations.

So is your neighborhood Sears or KMart store one of the 150 that are about to shut down as the heat around the melting Sears ice cobe is raised by one more degree? Find out on the chart below.


Investing According to Ideology Can Be Dangerous

Robert Murphy, an economics professor at Texas Tech University, has said that an understanding of economics is a necessary but insufficient condition for the successful investor. Jeff Deist, the president of the Mises Institute, agrees.

Mr. Deist, who is also Ron Paul’s former chief of staff, adds that investing according to one’s ideology can be dangerous.

In a recent Power & Market Report interview, Jeff offered his insider’s perspective on some recent political events and his general philosophy on investing (see interview transcript below).

He also extended an invitation to all of us, particularly those of us in the southern California area, to attend his upcoming Mises Institute event in San Diego on February 25th featuring Patrick Byrne, the founder of

I will be in attendance and would love to see you there.

Interview Highlights (edited for readability)

Albert: I think this interview is long overdue. How are you?

Jeff: I’m doing great. Thank you, Albert.

Albert: Just before we get started, I just want to tell you how much I’ve appreciated what the Mises Institute has done throughout the years, particularly more recently I’ve been a regular at the Houston Mises Circle and I understand you have an event coming up in San Diego, so just as we start off, could you tell us a little bit about that?

Jeff: Sure. We’re going to be in Southern California this coming weekend, next week on the 25th, Saturday, in the Point Loma area. So anybody who’s in Los Angeles, Orange County or San Diego, I will put up a graphic later with our link to the event. But we’d love to see you. We got some great speakers. Albert is going to be one of our panelists, but we also have Patrick Byrne who’s the very libertarian CEO of, who’s really becoming a huge voice in the blockchain community. Not so much talking about bitcoin but talking about the practical applications and really world-changing potential applications of blockchain.

We’re going to have Nomi Prins as a speaker. She is also a Southern Californian and an absolutely fantastic writer and historian when it comes to the Fed and central banks generally. So she’s going to be a very interesting guest. We’re going to have Tom Woods who I’m sure some of your listeners and viewers are familiar with. Tom is a leading voice in libertarianism. So we’re looking forward to it and we’d love to see anybody in driving distance from Southern Cal attend.

Albert: And certainly appreciate you guys making the trip all the way over here to the west coast. I’m a big admirer of Patrick Byrne and he incidentally did a talk at the Mises Institute some time ago. You reposted it on your website, so if I remember, I’m going to make sure I link to that because it’s a fascinating talk that he gave about his own background. He is connected to Warren Buffett. They had a relationship—

Jeff: Yes.

Albert: For many years, he ran one of Mr. Buffett’s companies and I thought it was just a wonderful interview. So I’ll make sure I link to that. Jeff, I’ve heard you speak many times, but I rarely hear you talk about yourself, your own career and that’s of interest to me actually because Economics in general compared to other sciences—this is my opinion, but it’s sort of an intellectual desert. The Austrian School is this oasis in the middle of that desert. I’m not kidding. I come from the sciences and, you know, most sciences they don’t go about business that way. You can’t talk about alien space invasions and be taken seriously, let alone given Nobel prizes. So, how did you convert to Austrianism or discover the School of Austrian Economics.

Jeff: Well, really, I discovered it through a friend of mine who was attending UNLV getting a graduate degree in Economics and he chose UNLV because Murray Rothbard was teaching there at the time. So he specifically went out of his way to find an Austrian-friendly professor. I was sort of a garden variety libertarian at the time, but I didn’t really have much of a background or grounding in Econ which I think you have to have to make effective arguments for liberty and against the state. I think it’s really important that economics is in your arsenal and I’m a layperson. I’m an attorney, but I think we all have an obligation to know something about economics and be able to discuss it competently.

So, driving up to UNLV from San Diego at the time—this was in the 1990s—I went into my friend’s classroom and here is this kind of short guy with a bowtie speaking rather quickly, and I said, “Oh my God, who is this guy?” And I started to learn about Murray Rothbard and from there, obviously I began to read Mises and Hazlitt and Hayek and some others. But prior to that, I mean if you think back to the dark, dark ages before the internet existed, for libertarians, there was no one out there in terms of what was available in Austrian literature. If you went to your local physical brick-and-mortar bookstore, they might have someJohn Kenneth Galbraith. They might have Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose, stuff like that, but Mises and Rothbard and Hayek, you know, this literature wasn’t widely available.

So, the digital revolution has been such a leveler. I mean it’s just absolutely incredible to think about what digital technology allows us to achieve. You know, what was unread literature, unheard of literature is now available anywhere in the world with a few clicks for free generally in a PDF or HTML format. So, compared to the 1990s when I met Murray Rothbard, we’re in great shape.

Albert: It seems like it. And, boy, I’m so envious. Jeff, it’s very rare that I ask that question and the answer is, well, Murray Rothbard, not the books but the person. What a great story and I can see how you would have been swept away by some of these ideas.

You write at and following the Superbowl, you had an article titled Human Action Beats Stats in the Superbowl. I enjoyed that thoroughly. Can you tell the viewers what you’re getting at there in that piece?

Jeff: Well, what’s inflamed economics in the past few decades is “mathiness.” We’ve started to treat economics like a physical science. We’ve started to treat it as a predictive mathematical exercise and modeling much like we view statistics and probability where they’re a subset of math. And, of course, math and physics are physical disciplines. Economics is a social science. I think we forget that. And because we forget that, we tend to view economic principles or economic theories as hypotheses that we should go out and test. “Well, if we raise the minimum wage, will unemployment increase or decrease? Hmm, I don’t know. Let’s go test that.” Hypothetically. Or I should say empirically, excuse me. But we can know—without testing, we can know a priority that all other things being equal, if you raise the price of something, the demand for it will fall. That includes wages.

So as a result of this mathiness that has infected economics, I think the profession has gotten very far afield and I think it’s a failing profession. I think both in terms of professional economists in the business world and academic economists at universities, I think econ is failing us. It’s failing to describe the world as it is and it’s failing to produce a benefit for society. As a matter of fact, I think it’s harming society. I think the post-Keynesian demand-side stimulus world we live in has created huge amounts of harm, and I think we saw that in the crash of 2008. I think we’re going to see it in a nastier series of events and shocks in the coming year. So, economics is not math and the attempt to make it math I think has done more harm than good. So the article is just a whimsical attempt to point that out.

Albert: And the parallel you drew was, of course, Superbowl where we have this historic comeback by the New England Patriots. If you just looked at statistical probabilities in the third quarter, what did you say? I think the chances that they gave the Patriots winning were less than half a percent or something miniscule. Anyway, but having followed that team myself for over 20 years and more recently over the last 15 years with the new regime, the Belichick regime. I knew something about that team that probably was not captured in the numbers and that is that they just would not quit. I just knew that and there’s a human element that the numbers don’t capture and when you sort of translate that to economics and markets, it’s really funny you have a group of Fed governors who expect people, actors in the market, to conform to their models and, therefore, be predictable and while at the same time, they don’t even know what they’re going to do with interest rates 3 months from now. They themselves admit that they’re looking at data and they don’t know and they put up this meaningless dot plots. They’re examples of human action, yet they don’t even realize it. I find it totally absurd.

Jeff: Well—but we should take heart in our understanding knowledge. Economics is really a subset of a greater field of human action because when we talk about the economy or the global economy, what we’re really talking about is 7 billion people, individuals all who get up every day and for the most part, except for the deeply irrational or mentally ill, almost all those 7 billion people try to better or advance their material lives every day. So, no matter what governments and central banks do to thwart this, there’s a natural human desire to get a little bit better off each and every day and so that’s an awfully tough thing to suppress. So, that’s something that should give us optimism or long-term hope for the world economy, is that—you know, if we look back in history, even horrific wars and horrific collectivist actions by totalitarian governments have never really been able to suppress the market. It always grows up through the cracks. So while we—as libertarians, we tend to fret about government. We tend to think about it maybe too much and let it dominate our thinking. We should sometimes take a, you know, more high-level view and say, “Look, all these billions of people are not just going to stop what they’re doing. They’re going to keep doing it and we should be hopeful.”

Albert: You make just a very important point and that is the focus or the obsession that many libertarians have on government as coming from the investment side. My impression has been that many libertarians focus in their investments on institutions, avoiding institutions, fear and take almost a deer in the headlights approach to investing because they’re so concerned about these problems we see which are all real. But, at times they just end up shooting themselves in the foot. What do you see—do you have any thoughts on investing given your background in Austrian economics? What approach do you take? I know you don’t have an official recommendation or you’re not in the business of giving advice, but what are your thoughts on investing in general?

Jeff: Well, I think investing according to one’s ideology can be pretty dangerous. You know, I remember Bob Murphy told me one time that his thought was that—and I’m sure a lot of your viewers are familiar with Robert Murphy, the economist at Texas Tech. He said understanding economics is necessary to be a good investor, but it’s not sufficient. In other words, you still need to go out and do homework and research on lots of different things. You know, I think that people should look at people who are more successful than them financially and emulate them. I mean that seems to me the simplest approach. I would never invest or spend money on anything I don’t understand, and since I only understand a few little things, that’s why I’m investing.

But if you look at Warren Buffett whom you mentioned earlier, he talks like a Keynesian but he acts like an Austrian. The companies Berkshire Hathaway tends to invest in are not—for the most part, not sexy, not glamorous, not high-tech and they tend to have physical features to them, actual property and plants and equipment, actual manufacturing. So, you know, Warren Buffett is not out there investing in He’s out there investing in tangible stuff.

And for me, anyway, as a fan of Jim Rogers, with my limited amount of time and my limited ability, I can understand commodities and physical stuff in a way I can’t really understand market sectors or industries or even companies and their particular management. So, I personally like to read about and think about stuff and so that’s sort of my focus as an investor.

Albert: Great answer, Jeff. And I agree 100% on your observations of Mr. Buffett—speaks like a Keynesian, big government person, but if you look at the way, at least to the extent that we have vision into his business and his life, he definitely is. However, the fact that he is not a tech buff I think really owes more to his age, I think.

Jeff: Right.

Albert: But, he focuses on individuals. If you look at the way he runs his group of companies, he really focuses on people because he knows that—like you said before, humans are going to keep doing what they’ve been doing and the right management team if you let them go, they’re going to adapt to the environment and produce positive outcomes. I totally agree with that.

So, as we close, I just want to remind people, go to It’s going to be Saturday, February 25th, is the Mises Circle in San Diego. Really looking forward to that. I’m going to be there, so please come out. Meet Jeff. Meet Tom Woods. Meet Patrick Byrne. It’s going to be a wonderful time. Thank you very much, Jeff, for joining me today. I hope we can do it again soon.

Jeff: Sure, thank you.