E-Economic Newsletter

By: The Mogambo Guru | Wed, Dec 6, 2006
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Provided as a courtesy of Agora Publishing and DailyReckoning.com.

-- With the economic tension at a breaking point, it was obviously time for a Loud Mogambo Harangue (LMH), and I am helpfully yelling out of the window at the neighbors that the Federal Reserve has destroyed their money by the over-issuance of money and credit, and I was casually mentioning in a very loud voice how I am happy that they are going to be destroyed as a result, because I hate them for their stupidity in voting the way they have for the last 60 years, and for being so stupid that they are not buying gold even when faced with the stark reality of the inevitable consequences of their execrable actions, and how I admit that it was me who smashed their stupid mailboxes because mailboxes are supposed to match the color of your stupid houses, not clash, you tacky nitwits, when suddenly, out of nowhere, for no reason, scores of police are rudely banging down the front door and wrestling me to the ground! Everybody is sweating and cursing and grabbing while valiantly trying to clap the cuffs on me, tie me down, and stuff rags in my mouth, obviously trying to silence The Angry Voice Of The Mogambo (TAVOTM).

But I am fighting them the whole way, and trying to educate them as to why they should be angry, too, by yelling at them "Total Fed Credit was up $5 billion last week, you morons! Hell, even Currency in Circulation expanded by another $4.7 billion! Those are new cash dollars created in one freaking week! One week! We are being killed by monetary inflation! And now we are being killed by the price inflation that always results! What are you, some kind of mindless government robots that you can't see that, you stupid jerks?"

Well, the guy who had his chin in my ear and his arm around my throat said, through gritted teeth, that he did not like the "tone" of my voice, and the situation was made even more tense by my wife screaming for them to give me "More groin kicks! Smash his head with a nightstick! Hit him with the Tazer! Shoot him! Something!"

I knew that I would soon tire before these young, muscle-bound goon-squad commandos did, and I realized that I probably had one last, slim chance to impress upon these public servant numbskulls that my panic is justified. So I bellowed out "And Required Reserves in the banks sank, as a percentage of either assets or liabilities, to a new record of irresponsible nothingness! This is fractional-reserve banking gone absolutely insane, you stupid, fascist pig morons!"

In short, it was just another week in the Tragic Life Of The Mogambo (TLOTM), which would probably make a really good movie, starring, of course, Brad Pitt as me. As fantasies go, it ain't much, but it's all I have anymore, especially since I am spending so much time getting ready for Lord Klarrqqq the Implacable, Prime Overlord of this section of the galaxy, who is coming here for an "unofficial" visit; the end-game of this whole Earthling insanity of constant, excessive creation of money and credit in a fiat-money/fractional-reserve banking/Big Government economy is so weird, so bizarre, so lacking in learning from history, so bereft of common sense and so completely insane, that it is literally making news all over the universe.

And if there is one thing that Lord Klarrqqq really likes, it is a photo-op of him arriving in the middle of some inter-galactic media circus, happily sloshing around knee-deep in lower forms of life, like Earthlings.

And here is a little tip; if His Excellency, Lord Klarrqqq, asks "If I take a big old crap in the middle of Highway 301, will you try to get some of it into your 401(k) retirement plans?", don't laugh. He isn't joking. That shows you how much respect Earth people get because of the way they act.

His visit to witness an entire planet of economic knuckleheads, coincidentally, corresponds with the odd news that the terrific book by Addison Wiggin, Demise of the Dollar, rose to number 48 on AMZN overnight, and is, amazingly to me, sitting under Cramer's book on the business list.

I say "odd" because most people are so comfortable with economic ignorance (and thus the reason for the royal visit), that I am surprised that anyone buys Demise of the Dollar at all, and I say "amazingly" because if you read the disclaimer at the beginning of Mr. Cramer's TV show, he discloses that he is paid according to the stocks he recommends!

And people are buying more of that man's book, when they could read the Wiggin book and get the facts about economics presented in a literate and entertaining style, even though it does not contain any pictures of me whatsoever, nor any descriptions of my boyish charm and easy grace except when I am playing golf, and then I'm a total spaz that not even flagrant cheating can overcome?

But apparently people are not as fascinated as I am with photographs of me, and they couldn't care less that I am not in the book, and they are not writing angry letters of protest to the publisher about it, but are starting to want the facts, as the inclusion on the best-seller list attests. As Mr. Wiggin himself said "It's moving right now because -independently of our efforts - people are wondering what the heck's up with the dollar's weakness of late."

There is even a site, http://www.isecureonline.com/Reports/AFP/Dollar/ that showcases it and basically tells you what is in the book, which is an education in itself, especially if, like me, you're kind of stupid, and having to slowly sound out each word, syllable by syllable, is too slow to ever read a whole book.

-- From Doug Noland we learn the enlightening news from Dow Jones that Richard Fisher, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, laughably said "If the U.S. Federal Reserve had been aware of actual inflation prior to its recent tightening cycle, policy would probably have been more restrictive sooner. If we had had the correct figures at the time, we probably wouldn't have kept interest rates so low, for so long."

This is startling news, as he is admitting that inflation was higher than "the then-available data" showed, which is the data that he and his little friends at the Fed and government compile!

This is beyond fabulous! I love this! Now, the next time I have to trudge my Big Mogambo Fanny (BMF) up to the CEO's office to try to explain how my incompetence caused another annual loss, I can say with pride that it wasn't my fault! I was misled by those erroneous quarterly reports that showed everything was going so well all year!

And, thanks to the Federal Reserve setting this remarkable precedent, I don't even have to admit that I fabricated the quarterly reports by exaggerating the good data, to make me look good, or how I "explained away" all the bad data, because they made me look so bad. And now, in keeping with this terrific new Official Federal Reserve Policy, I can escape all responsibility, censure and punishment because I was misled by errors in "the then-available data"! Hahaha! This is fabulous fabulous fabulous!

After filing away this handy technique for future reference, I also notice that while he has recognized that inflation was higher back then (as everybody else did back then, and everybody was laughing at him back then, because only he and his little friends at the Fed were the only ones who couldn't see it back then), he doesn't mention the fact that price inflation is even higher now!

Perhaps this has something to do with FT.com reporting that the core personal consumption expenditure (PCE) index, "the central bank's favoured inflation measure", rose 0.2 per cent in October. The article reminds us that the Fed has made clear that a 2.4% annual rate is considered "uncomfortably high".

All this fits in with a good news/bad news article from MarketWatch.com titled "Fed's Big Worry Gets Revised Away". It reports that "A huge spike in wages and salaries in the second quarter proved to be an illusion, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Affairs." The toxic good news/bad news cocktail is that "Slower wage growth means less inflation, but also less growth."

The bad news, which is what I fixate upon because that is the pitifully miserable way I am, is that slower wage growth means that "consumers don't have as much money as everyone thought they did ... $100 billion less on an annual basis." A hundred billion bucks less income than they figured! Whew!

Viewed in another light, "The new data show that, instead of growing at a 7.4% annual rate in the second quarter, employee compensation actually grew just 1.4%." Apparently, those are nominal gains, and are not adjusted for inflation. A sneer of contempt crossed the handsome face of The Mogambo (played by, if you recall, Brad Pitt), and they instantly knew that they had made a mistake! Quickly they added "The new data shows that real disposable incomes fell in the second quarter by 1.5%, rather than rising by 1.7%."

Real, inflation-adjusted incomes fell! Not rose! Fell! By this time I can feel a scream of panic rising in my throat, and I am kind of surprised that "panic" tastes sort of like the leftover burrito I had for breakfast. With a Heroic, Manly Mogambo Effort (HMME), I force myself to keep reading, and I am sorry I did, as "Consumers didn't earn the money they spent in the second quarter, they borrowed it. The personal savings rate dipped to negative 1.4%, the lowest since the Great Depression, except for the negative 1.5% seen in the fourth quarter of last year after Hurricane Katrina." Since the Great Depression of the '30s! Seventy years ago!

In case you are keeping score, and I am sure that you are, the savings rate has now been negative for 19 straight months, which is another world record. To give you an appropriate metaphor as to what this portends, I recall that, as a clever teenager, I discovered the miracles of caffeine and alcohol at the same time, and I was roaring drunk and completely crazy for 19 straight, buzzing hours once, and it ended very, very, very badly, which I think may be very instructive.

Continuing on the theme of income diminution, Bloomberg.com sported the headline "Bernanke Scrutinizes Labor Costs for Inflation Signs (Update5)" It says that "Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said a new source of inflation may be emerging in rising wages and salaries even as energy prices retreat."

To show you the utter cluelessness of this Bernanke character about how the world works, he says he thinks it is a "worrisome possibility'" that companies will "pass all or part of their higher labor costs through to prices." Hahaha!

I can see it now! CFOs and accountants around the world will slap their foreheads and say "That is where we made our big mistake! We lost money because we set our prices too low! We forgot to add in labor costs when we set prices! Hahaha! The jokes on us!"

And it is not, I am sorry to say, just Bernanke, either. As equally clueless is Amar Mann, an economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in San Francisco, who says "It's too early to tell if higher labor costs are being passed on to consumers." Hahahaha! Well, if it ain't being passed on to the consumer, then it is being passed on to the business owners in the form of less profits, because all expenses have to be passed along to the consumer, dork! So is one better than the other? Hahaha!

Well, I don't think we have to worry too much about profits, as the Commerce Department said "Corporate profits from current production rose 31 percent in the year through September, the biggest 12-month gain in 22 years."

But in keeping with the depressing news about incomes, they go on to say that increasing productivity (less labor per unit of output) means that more people do not have jobs producing these units of output, as we learn from Bloomberg.com reporting "Private sector wages as a share of the cash that corporations are generating from production fell to 50.5 percent, a post-World War II low, according to calculations by Bloomberg News using figures compiled by the Bureau of Economic Analysis."

If you want another huge source of cluelessness, then I proudly present the ludicrous Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who is to be the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and who said that he is "troubled to hear" that Bernanke is more concerned about inflation than an economic slowdown! Hahaha! This is too rich! The man doesn't know the first thing about economics! What in the hell is the matter with Massachusetts that they elect these sorts of people? How embarrassing for them. And how disastrous for the United States!

So, here's a Big Important Mogambo Economic Note (BIMEN) to Barney Frank, which I will keep short, so as not to overly-tax his puny Earthling brain: There is nothing more important than preventing inflation when it comes to economics. Nothing. Preventing inflation is THE thing to worry about.

And in case Rep. Frank asks, which he probably will since he has proven himself to be so clueless, "Who in the hell is this arrogant Mogambo idiot (AMI), and what do I do with this interesting fact?", tell him that I said "Read it. Learn it. Live it. Make us proud for a change, instead of embarrassing yourself and making me so mad that I would love to come up there and slap your stupid little face so long and so hard for saying something so idiotic that you would never, ever say such a thing again, or even think it."

-- The Really Big, Really Bad News (RBRBN) is that the Chicago Purchasing Managers' index dipped below to 49.9%, which means actual economic contraction. And the decline was rapid, too, as it fell from 53.5% in October!

And since businesses are contracting, there is no need for workers, which fits exactly with the report going on to note that "The number of U.S. workers applying for jobless benefits (First-time claims) climbed by the highest amount in more than a year last week, to 357,000, the Labor Department said."

Continuing the bad news, they report "The number of workers continuing to collect unemployment benefits jumped by 45,000 during the week ending Nov. 18, to 2.48 million. The four-week average of continuing claims also rose, by 18,750 to 2.45 million." So, it looks like not only are people getting fired right before Christmas ("Happy Holidays!"), but they aren't finding new jobs, either ("And a Happy New Year!"). Bummer, huh?

Perhaps this has something to do with MarketWatch.com reporting that "Led by falling orders for new airplanes, demand for U.S.-made durable goods fell 8.3% in October, offsetting September's 8.7% gain, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. It was the biggest drop in orders for durable goods since July 2000."

-- If you want some more really bad news, then consider that the measly 2% increase in GDP growth is less than a third of the $850 billion current account deficit, which is about 7% of GDP. We are literally giving away to foreigners, who hate our guts for any of a zillion reasons, one out of every fourteen dollars that this whole country earns! And we owe a net $3 trillion to foreigners, which, at even 5% interest, comes to paying them $150 billion a year!

If that is not enough to make a donut turn to dirt in your mouth, then fixate on the dismal fact that the federal government's budgeted deficit is 3.5% of GDP! Hahaha! And this is just the "official" budget deficit! Not only is Congress going to spend about 25% of GDP, per the budget, but they are budgeting themselves to spend a whopping 3.5% of GDP that they must borrow!

And the news gets even worse, as the actual deficit, as is always spent through supplemental appropriations and various emergency appropriations throughout the year (and so never appears in the budget at all), will be more than $700 billion this year! And you don't think we are screwed? Hahaha! This is monstrous fiscal madness! No wonder I am screaming for you to buy gold!

And it is not just us, as I gather from GoldMoney.com's James Turk, who writes "Gold is rising against all of the world's currencies. The rates of increase are of course different as some currencies are weaker than others. But regardless, it is clear that gold's long-term trend is rising."

"What's more," he says, "gold is still undervalued. There is any number of ways to make this point, but perhaps the simplest is to look at the price of gold in inflation-adjusted dollars. In 1980 inflation-adjusted dollars, gold today is only $250 per ounce, which is not even one-third of the $850 record high reached that year."

I jealously see the way everyone is slavishly hanging onto his every word, and being envious and petty, I am dying to get a little attention. Cleverly, I was going to interrupt him to note how the explosion in the monetary aggregates around the world, as central banks everywhere create more and more money, creates price inflation, which makes gold go up in price. But before I could put my clever plan into effect, he, in a burst of ESP or something, abruptly says "All national currencies are being debased by inflation and/or other monetary disorders."

Damn! Thwarted, but thinking quickly, I was then going to use that as a springboard ("boiiiing!") to demonstrate, full circle, how this meant you should buy gold, but again he anticipates me! He says "So what would you rather hold? Gold, or some national currency?"

Relentless in my childish thirst for fame and attention, I am getting frantic. So I thought I would bring up the fact that monetary and price inflation have been going on for a long time, and then I would somehow relate that to the rising price of gold. But then James Turk busts my chops again! But he did it so neatly, and so elegantly, when he said "A dollar purchases today what 10 cents purchased in 1971" that it overwhelmed my natural outrage of disappointment and raw jealousy.

But as for inflation, exactly! And since thinking about retirement is all the rage, this means that every day since 1971, every step of the way, more and more people retired or otherwise converted to a fixed income for one reason or another. And every one of them saw inflation eat their guts out as prices rose but their incomes did not, more and more, every day until they died, or until today (or both, if you count Zombie-Americans), and all along the way they continuously wailed to Congress to give them more money and benefits, which the government happily did the whole way, but their standards of living still declined because of the increase of money and credit with which to pay for it caused more inflation, and now any person still alive that retired in 1971 is receiving the equivalent of one-tenth their initial retirement non-government income!

So, if it takes a dollar to buy what a dime bought in 1971, what was the average compounding inflation? 6.8% per year! Hahaha! Less than inflation right now (when measured the same old-fashioned way). It's getting worse! Welcome to the hell of inflation!

-- I get mail from people who lament the fact that they, too, have tried to educate their bonehead friends and relatives about gold and silver, but they were, predictably, rebuffed. Our consolation must be that these people are the majority, and it is a rule of investing that the majority has to be wrong. That is the only way for the minority, who are right, to make money.

Ergo, we who are buying gold and silver are the minority that will be right, and we will be the ones that make a lot of money.

And the way it works is that as time goes on, as silver and gold rise and rise, and commodities rise and rise, and the majority find out that they were wrong in trying to make money with stocks, bonds, houses, and government contracting.

Then the majority, who have been burned again, will become even more frantic after having lost so much money on their stock, bond and real estate investments, and are even more desperate for profits, as retirement is nearer and nearer and almost here, and all the money they planned on having is gone. And then more and more people will climb on board the gold and silver and oil and commodities train because that is where profits are being made, driving prices up and up until, one day, a slight majority of people are in commodities, and only a slight minority are not.

And then it will still continue, as more and more people move into commodities, and prices will rise and rise the whole way in response to this exponentially-growing demand, attracting more and more money, until the overwhelming majority are now invested in commodities in general, and gold and silver in particular. Then that whole bubble will collapse, too, and the majority will, again, lose, as they must.

That is why you, in the minority, will make a lot of money for a long, long time by just buying gold and silver now, and why the majority, who are not, are wrong.

In that regard, it is again proved by Tim Iacono, of Iacono Research, who says that when you walk into a coin shop, "you're more likely to see people selling than buying - it's kind of depressing and ironic at the same time actually. It is surely a sign of the times when soaring metal prices cause financially stretched individuals to sell family heirlooms or other precious metals - all during an era of supposedly low inflation."

-- Things remind me of the Mel Brooks film "Blazing Saddles." The scene was the one where Gov. William J. LePetomaine, played brilliantly by Mel Brooks himself, is informed that a frontier town is desperately, desperately appealing for law enforcement help against a barbaric crime spree of murderous outlaws. He springs to his feet, and this is the attitude we see here, announces with fervor "Gentlemen! We have got to do something to protect our phony-baloney jobs!"

And right now, the government's job is to stimulate the bull market in stock prices, bond prices and real estate prices, and (hopefully) keeping everything going up forever, or until midnight December 31, which closes the books and locks-in profits and (most importantly) taxes owed.

And part of this "doing something" may be showing up in the Fed's repo market, as one day last week saw over $28 billion in repo activity! $28 billion! In one day! Who in the hell has a temporary, overnight need for $28 billion? What in the hell is going on here?

-- For some reason, I think there is a message in this news from Chron.com, who write "The average American motorist drove 13,657 miles in 2005, 40 percent farther than 25 years ago, thanks to longer commutes, the continuing expansion of the nation's suburbs and greater use of the car for daily chores. On average, the American driver consumed 703 gallons of gas." Huh? So consumer spending went down, and the economy went down, when gas went up by seventy-five cents a gallon in price, but then we had an increase in consumer spending and a growing economy because the price of gasoline went back down by seventy-five cents per gallon? And all of this happened because the price of gasoline caused the average American to have a swing of $44 a month in disposable income? Eleven bucks a week? Wow! Things are more highly-leveraged than I thought!

-- "Why Paulson Will Face Disappointment in China" by William Pesek of Bloomberg.com. He writes "All the excitement about China allowing its currency to rise versus the dollar ignores a basic fact: China's main focus is on creating millions of jobs, and that augers against a sharp rise in the yuan." To buttress that claim, he quotes Donald Straszheim, vice chairman of Roth Capital Partners "Central to China's growth and economic modernization is to maintain their currency at a level that allows them to export ever more manufactured goods to the developed world."

And this is true now, and will be true until the point where domestic demand gets big enough. Then they will want a strong yuan, so that imports of raw materials and other goods and services will be cheaper. The only question is when. I say anytime they are ready, and all China needs is enough weaponry to fend off the United States, which has never shown any reluctance to invade any country it wanted, and kill as many people as it wanted, for as long as it wanted, if there was the least bit of a temporary advantage in doing so, mostly by Congress spending lots and lots of money on armaments and making their friends rich.

-- "Derivatives Deluge Multiples Real Risks and Potential Profits" by Deepcaster.com reports that "262 trillion is the notional amount of OTC Interest Rate Derivatives which existed as of June, 2006. This figure was 24% higher than six months previously. So reports the Monetary and Economic Department of the Bank for International Settlements ("BIS" - - the Central Bankers Bank) in its November, 2006 report 'OTC Derivatives Market Activity In the First Half of 2006'". I gulp in dread. $262 trillion is about six times the entire yearly global output of all goods and services produced by everybody and every business on the entire freaking planet! And in just six months these derivatives grew by more than the total of everything else on earth? And grew to that preposterous size by gaining another 24% in six months? Yow! I quickly check to make sure I am wearing my tin-foil hat and some artillery, because, brother, this is serious business here!

The good news is that, as Bill Bonner of DailyReckoning.com figures, over the last three years, more money was created than more gold was dug out of the ground. When comparing the two, it "gives us a total of about $240,000 for every ounce of gold added to the world supply." So those who own gold own something that is getting more valuable every day!

And if you compare the increase in the $262 trillion glob of derivatives to the increase in gold, I think I am on safe ground to say that gold and silver are the two most undervalued commodities in the whole investment universe, and if you don't agree, then there is something seriously, seriously wrong with you. Ugh.

****Mogambo sez: Something bad is coming soon, and when it gets here, you will be very happy that you own gold and silver, and those who don't will envy you and hate you for your success. But you will be so rich you don't care, and you can move away to someplace nice where you don't have to put up with such riffraff or relatives.

 


 

The Mogambo Guru

Author: The Mogambo Guru

Richard Daughty, the angriest guy in economics
The Mogambo Guru

The Mogambo Guru

Richard Daughty (Mogambo Guru) is general partner and COO for Smith Consultant Group, serving the financial and medical communities, and the writer/publisher of the Mogambo Guru economic newsletter, an avocational exercise to better heap disrespect on those who desperately deserve it. The Mogambo Guru is quoted frequently in Barron's, The Daily Reckoning, and other fine publications.

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