Housing

Jim Rogers On Best Ways To Invest In Agriculture

On Monday, I blogged about well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers and his steadfast belief that agriculture is where big money will be made in the future.

Late last night I was on the website of the Wall Street Daily website listening to an interview of Rogers that was conducted by Robert Williams, founder of the Baltimore, Maryland-based investment research/market commentary service. Considering what I just wrote, it was what the commodities “guru” had to say about the best ways to invest in agriculture that grabbed my attention. From their exchange:

WILLIAMS: Jim, what’s the most effective route into agriculture for our readers interested in playing this long-term bull market?

ROGERS: Well, there are many ways to do it. The best way is to buy a farm- become a farmer if you really want to get rich because I explained before, some of the serious, serious, key fundamental problems in agriculture. So if you like the outdoors, if you think you’d be good at it, you might consider becoming a farmer.

Now most of your readers are probably not going to become farmers, but that’s the way. Or buy a farm and lease it to a farmer- somebody who’s competent. You can buy stocks. Certainly you can buy stocks. If you buy the right stocks- seed companies, fertilizer companies, or whatever- you’ll make a lot of money.

You can buy countries. Some countries are more agriculturally-oriented than others. Pakistan is a country that lives and dies on cotton more than anything else. So it depends on the country.

If you’re going to buy a lake house, I would buy my lake house in Oklahoma, not in Massachusetts, because stocks are at all-time highs. And we just discussed what’s been happening in commodities. So lake houses in Oklahoma or Nebraska are probably a lot cheaper than in Massachusetts. You can get a Lamborghini dealership in Iowa, because the farmers are going to be driving Lamborghinis, in my view, in the future.

Or you can buy- for most people, obviously the best way is to buy an index. Many studies have shown that index investing is far and away the best way to invest in anything- stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities, anything else. And there are plenty of exchange-traded products where it makes it very easy these days to invest in commodities.

On buying a lake house in Oklahoma or Nebraska, the former investing partner of George Soros said something similar in an May 23, 2003, interview on the Wall $treet Week with FORTUNE TV program. Nailing the U.S. housing bubble a couple years before it burst, Rogers talked property (with an eye towards natural resources) with co-anchor Karen Gibbs. From the interview:

GIBBS: How about real estate?

ROGERS: Well, real estate, Karen, depends on where you are. There is a mania, a housing bubble going on. But if you’re going to buy a second home, buy a lake house in Iowa, because Iowa is a natural-resources-based state. I’m bullish on agriculture. I’m bullish on natural resources. So houses in Iowa will probably do well. Don’t buy it in Boston. Boston is a financial town. I’m not that optimistic on financial companies or financial areas. So buy in Oklahoma, buy in Colorado, buy in states where the economy is going to get better. Stay away from places like New York and Boston — where I live — because real estate there will probably not do well.

In a Barron’s interview that appeared on the publication’s website on October 12, 2013 (blogged about here), the Singapore-based investor who correctly-called the commodity bull market that began in 1999 expanded:

I could buy farmland and become a farmer—although I would be hopeless at it—or buy farmland and lease it out. Buy shares in farms, farm equipment, fertilizer and seed companies that trade on exchanges around the world. Stock markets in agriculture-producing countries should do better than those in agriculture-importing ones. Retailers, restaurants, banks in agricultural areas will do well. Buy a vacation home on a lake in Iowa, not Massachusetts.

Good stuff. You can listen to/read (transcript provided) that recent Wall Street Daily interview on their website here. And for a trip down memory lane, that Wall $treet Week with FORTUNE exchange here.

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Robert Shiller On Stocks: ‘I’ve Been Wondering If I Should Pull Out’

I haven’t mentioned Robert Shiller, the Yale professor credited with correctly-calling the “dot-com” and housing busts, on Survival And Prosperity since August. The “crash prophet” had just penned “The Mystery of Lofty Stock Market Elevations” on The New York Times website on August 16 and warned:

The United States stock market looks very expensive right now. The CAPE ratio, a stock-price measure I helped develop- is hovering at a worrisome level…

That being said, Dr. Shiller appeared on CNBC Tuesday morning and told viewers the following when asked what he’s doing with his own money:

I worry about valuation in the stock market. And I’ve been wondering if I should pull out. But I have not. And in fact I’m still thinking that even at the CAPE ratio of 27, the expected return is still higher than you expect to get on either housing, on real estate, or fixed income. So it still seems like- I feel a little trepidation because I know my own indicator is looking kind of scary. I wouldn’t over go into the market, but I wouldn’t be completely out either.


“Scary market indicator: Shiller”
CNBC Video

Shiller mentioned that the CAPE ratio is now 27. It should be noted that in that August 16 Times piece he added:

I wrote with some concern about the high ratio in this space a little over a year ago, when it stood at around 23, far above its 20th-century average of 15.21. (CAPE stands for cyclically adjusted price-earnings.) Now it is above 25, a level that has been surpassed since 1881 in only three previous periods: the years clustered around 1929, 1999 and 2007. Major market drops followed those peaks.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’d feel a little trepidation too knowing what’s happened to the stock market when that CAPE ratio surpassed 25.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

Source:

Shiller, Robert. “The Mystery of Lofty Stock Market Elevations.” The New York Times. 16 Aug. 2014. (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/17/upshot/the-mystery-of-lofty-elevations.html?_r=1&abt=0002&abg=0). 10 Dec. 2014.

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Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 Bonds, Crash Prophets, Housing, Investing, Stocks No Comments

Illinois Named Worst-Run State In America In 2014

“‘We don’t have the time to mess around. We are in deep, deep trouble financially,’ [Illinois Governor-elect Bruce] Rauner told a meeting of the Illinois Farm Bureau at a downtown Chicago hotel. ‘The next 24 months are going to be rough. And I apologize. I ain’t going to be Mr. Popularity for a little while. That’s OK. Four years from now I think, though, everybody will appreciate what we did.’”

-Chicago Tribune website, December 8, 2014

Talk about lists you don’t want to be on. In 2012 and 2013, Illinois was the 3rd worst-run state in the annual best- and worst-run states in America survey conducted by New York City-based financial news and opinion organization 24/7 Wall St.

So how did the “Land of Lincoln” fare in 2014? From the 24/7 Wall St. website on December 3:

How well run is your state? Assessing a state’s management quality is hardly easy. The current economic climate and standard of living in any given state are not only the results of policy choices and developments that occurred in the last few years, but can also be affected by decisions made decades ago, and by forces outside a state’s control.

Each year, 24/7 Wall St. attempts to answer this question by surveying various aspects of each state. To determine how well states are managed, we examine key financial ratios, as well as social and economic outcomes. This year, North Dakota is the best-run state in the country for the third consecutive year, while Illinois replaced California as the worst-run state

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Ouch. Worst part is, the people who brought us this mess are the same ones still in charge, more or less. It will be interesting to see how much of a difference Governor-elect Rauner- who ran on the Republican ticket- can make in the Democrat-controlled state.

24/7 Wall St. went into more detail about my home state’s latest “honor.” From the piece:

Illinois is the worst-run state in the nation. Like many other low-ranked states, more people left Illinois than moved there. Illinois lost more than 137,000 residents due to migration between the middle of 2010 and July 2013. A poor housing market may partly explain the exodus. Median home values fell 16.2% between 2009 and 2013, the second largest drop nationwide. Illinois has extremely poor finances by many measures. Just 39.3% of Illinois’ pension liabilities were funded as of 2013, worse than any other state. Further, the state’s reserves are estimated at just 0.5% of its general fund expenditure, the second lowest reserves rate nationwide. Both Moody’s and S&P gave Illinois the worst credit ratings of any state, at A3 and A- respectively. According to Moody’s, the state’s rating reflects its low fund balances and high pension obligations, as well as its “chronic use of payment deferrals to manage operating fund cash.”

As for our neighbors, Indiana is ranked 28th and Wisconsin comes in at 26th in 2014- down from 19th and 21st- respectively.

That’s quite a hit (9 places) the Hoosiers took from last year. Wonder what’s behind the drop?

Curious as to where 24/7 Wall St. ranked your state in 2014? Head on over to their website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Marc Faber, Peter Schiff Issue Another Bubble Warning

“I think we are in a gigantic financial asset bubble.”

-Marc Faber on Bloomberg Television’s Street Smart, January 14, 2014

“We have an entire economy that is supported on a foundation of bubbles.”

-Peter Schiff in a MoneyShow Las Vegas presentation, May 12, 2014

These days, the U.S. economic landscape feels a lot like 2007- if you ask me. There’s a tremendous amount of bullish sentiment out there from rising asset prices. Likewise, a number of threats are simmering in the economy and larger financial system- as was the situation seven years ago.

And just like in 2007, “crash prophets” Marc Faber and Peter Schiff are again sounding the alarm on asset bubbles.

Remember- while most other financial types were predicting clear sailing ahead back then for the U.S. economy and housing market, Faber and Schiff correctly-forecast the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble and the financial crisis that reared its ugly head by the autumn of 2008.

Peter Schiff, CEO and Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital, wrote the following on his company’s website Wednesday:

The truth is the Fed knows the economy needs zero percent rates to stay afloat, which is why they have yet to pull the trigger. The last serious Fed campaign to raise interest rates led to the bursting of the housing bubble in 2006 and the financial crisis that followed in 2008. This occurred despite the slow and predictable manner in which the rates were raised, by 25 basis points every six weeks for two years (a kind of reverse tapering). At the time, Greenspan knew that the housing market and the economy had become dependent on low interest rates, and he did not want to deliver a shock to fragile markets with an abrupt normalization. But his measured and gradual approach only added more air to the real estate bubble, producing an even greater crisis than what might have occurred had he tightened more quickly.

The Fed is making an even graver mistake now if it thinks the economy can handle a measured reduction in QE. Similar to Greenspan, Bernanke understood that asset prices and the economy had become dependent on QE, and he hoped that by slowly tapering QE the economy and the markets could withstand the transition. But I believe these bets will lose just as big as Greenspan’s. The end of QE will prick the current bubbles in stocks, real estate, and bonds, just as higher rates pricked the housing bubble in 2006. And as was the case with the measured rate hikes, the tapering process will only add to the severity of the inevitable bust

According to “Doctor Doom” Marc Faber, the extent of the bubbles goes even further than what Schiff identified. Appearing on CNBC’s Squawk Box earlier today, the publisher of the monthly investment newsletter The Gloom Boom & Doom Report warned viewers:

Today, the good news is we have a bubble in everything, everywhere- with very few exceptions. And, eventually, there will be a problem when these asset markets begin to perform poorly. The question is- what will be the catalyst? It could be a rise in interest rates not engineered by the Fed, because I think they’ll keep interests rates at zero on the Fed funds rate for a very long time… We could have essentially a break in bond markets at some point. We also could have a strong dollar. A strong dollar has already happened in the last two months signifies that international liquidity is tightening. And when that happens, usually it’s not very good for asset markets.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

Source:

Schiff, Peter. “A New Fed Playbook for the New Normal.” Euro Pacific Capital. 17 Sep. 2014. (http://www.europac.net/commentaries/new_fed_playbook_new_normal). 19 Sep. 2014.

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Posting Resumes Next Week

I’ve been tied up with some personal matters the last couple of days, so I haven’t been able to blog on Survival And Prosperity as much as I’ve wanted to.

New posts are scheduled to be published next week starting Sunday.

Have a terrific weekend!

Christopher E. Hill
Editor

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 Housing No Comments

Marc Faber On Stocks: ‘A Rebound Is Underway’

Swiss-born investment advisor and money manager Marc Faber is uncharacteristically bullish these days. “Doctor Doom” told CNBC Squawk Box viewers this morning:

Now, a rebound is underway, in my opinion. But, I doubt we’ll make new highs…

In general, I think we’ve moved into a very low growth environment. And given the inflated asset markets- real estate, equities, and bonds- I think the future returns will be very low.


“Perma-bear Marc Faber: We’re seeing a rebound”
CNBC Video

The other week, the publisher of the monthly investment newsletter The Gloom Boom & Doom Report told a CNBC Halftime Report audience:

I rather think that we’ll make a peak sometime between the next 30 to 60 days and then go down meaningfully.

If Dr. Faber doubts new highs will be reached in this rebound, did the peak already come and go, somewhat earlier than originally expected?. It kinds of sounds that way.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Monday, August 11th, 2014 Bonds, Crash Prophets, Housing, Investing, Stocks No Comments

Peter Schiff On Direction Of Interest Rates, Housing, And Gold

Last Friday, “crash prophet” Peter Schiff added a new entry to his YouTube video blog- The Schiff Report. The CEO/Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital warned viewers that the Federal Reserve is bluffing about raising interest rates. Schiff- who correctly-called the bursting of the housing bubble in addition to the 2008 economic crisis- also touched on the direction of the residential real estate market and gold. On interest rates and housing, he pointed out:

The risk is that the Fed doesn’t tighten at all, which is exactly what’s going to happen, because they can’t tighten. If the Fed actually tightens, the recovery is over. The recovery that is supposedly giving them the confidence to raise rates- it can’t exist if they raise rates. In fact, if the Fed could raise rates, they would have already raised them. I mean, it’s been over five years. They’re still at zero. And they’re saying rate hikes are a year way maybe. Why? If the economy is recovering, why can’t the Fed raise rates? Because if the Fed raised rates, we’d be right back in recession. Because it’s a phony recovery. That’s what people have to understand. It’s not real. It’s only here as long as the Fed can artificially sustain it, which she might. The minute they raise interest rates, that party’s over. The stock market’s going down. The real estate market’s going down.

And by the way, we had a plethora of negative numbers all week for the housing market. You could put a fork in this phony housing recovery, because it’s done. The market is going down. Housing prices are heading back down. Housing activity is slowing. I think a lot of layoffs are coming in construction because this market’s grinding to a halt…

The Fed is bluffing. This is all bark and no bite. It is impossible for the Fed to raise interest rates. If they could do it, they would have already done it. If they raise interest rates now, they destroy the very recovery that the low interest rates created. The problem is, if it isn’t a real recovery, it’s phony. If it was real, it wouldn’t need the Fed to support it. The only reason it does need the Fed’s support is because it’s imaginary. It’s phony. Because the actual economy is getting worse.

What the Fed is doing to goose the stock market, and the real estate market, to create this phony wealth effect, is undermining legitimate wealth creation. All the money we’re borrowing to spend is interfering with legitimate, genuine economic growth. And we’re just digging ourselves into a bigger and bigger hole…

The problem is, we’re going to have the next recession, and the Fed’s still going to be at zero. They’re still going to have this bloated balance sheet. And again, it’s not that the Fed is never going to raise rates. They’re just not going to do it voluntarily. They’re not going to do it as a decision. They’re not going to do it until they have to. And it’s not going to be a strong economy that’s going to force them to raise rates. Because I don’t care how strong the economic data is- they ain’t going to raise rates. And it doesn’t matter how bad the inflation data is- they’re still not going to raise rates. They’re not going to raise rates until the dollar collapses. Until foreigners no longer want to hold the dollar, because they understand the predicament that the Fed is in. They understand that it is QE forever. That it is all just talk. There is no exit strategy. There never was. Because exit is too painful. This is the end game of QE. This is the all in. This is the overdose.

On gold, Schiff predicted:

Janet Yellen is not going to wage war against inflation. She has already surrendered to inflation. It’s just that a lot of people haven’t figured that out yet. So, because people think that Janet Yellen might raise interest rates sooner rather than later because of inflation, they sold gold. If they knew the truth, that Janet Yellen isn’t going to care about the inflation, that’s she’s just going to let it get worse because she is too afraid to challenge inflation for fear of what it will do to the economy, to the stock market, to the housing market, the job market. So she is going to allow inflation to not only continue, but accelerate. And that is what’s good for gold.


“Ending QE is Bad, Not Ending it is Worse”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Does Robert Shiller See ‘Froth’ In U.S. Housing And Stocks?

I first blogged about Robert Shiller, the Yale professor credited with correctly-calling the “dot-com” and housing busts, on Survival And Prosperity way back on December 29, 2010. I wrote:

Back when the housing bubble was fully-inflated, I happened to catch a CNBC special on housing in which Robert Shiller, an economics professor at Yale University and co-creator of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, appeared with a number of individuals tied to the housing industry. When it was Professor Shiller’s turn to speak, he warned that there was a bubble in residential real estate.

The other panel members subsequently ripped Shiller a new one.

Subsequently, those panelists were made to look like major asses as the bubble turned into a bust, while Dr. Shiller was vindicated.

So what does Shiller think of the recent run-ups in U.S. stock and housing prices?

You make the call.

From a piece he penned and which appeared on The Guardian (UK) website Tuesday:

We have had only three salient global crises in the last century: 1929-33, 1980-82, and 2007-9. These events appear to be more than just larger versions of the more frequent small fluctuations that we often see, and that Stock and Watson analysed. But, with only three observations, it is hard to understand these events.

All seemed to have something to do with speculative price movements that surprised most observers and were never really explained, even years after the fact. They also had something to do with government policymakers’ mistakes. For example, the 1980-82 crisis was triggered by an oil price spike caused by the Iran-Iraq war. But all of them were related to asset-price bubbles that burst, leading to financial collapse.

Those who warn of grave dangers if speculative price increases are allowed to continue unimpeded are right to do so, even if they cannot prove that there is any cause for concern. The warnings might help prevent the booms that we are now seeing from continuing much longer and becoming more dangerous

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Personally, I think Robert Shiller may see the current housing and stock market booms as being “frothy.” Consider what I noted back on December 1, 2013- the last time I really brought him up on this blog:

These days, Dr. Shiller is worried about U.S. stocks once more. Madeline Chambers reported on Reuters.com this morning:

An American who won this year’s Nobel Prize for economics believes sharp rises in equity and property prices could lead to a dangerous financial bubble and may end badly, he told a German magazine.

Robert Shiller, who won the esteemed award with two other Americans for research into market prices and asset bubbles, pinpointed the U.S. stock market and Brazilian property market as areas of concern.

“I am not yet sounding the alarm. But in many countries stock exchanges are at a high level and prices have risen sharply in some property markets,” Shiller told Sunday’s Der Spiegel magazine. “That could end badly,” he said.

I am most worried about the boom in the U.S. stock market. Also because our economy is still weak and vulnerable,” he said, describing the financial and technology sectors as overvalued.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

And now, several months later, as I keep reading/hearing the term “new all-time record” in the financial mainstream media outlets?

Yep. I’d venture to guess he’d say frothy- at the very least.

You can read his entire piece on The Guardian website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Peter Schiff: ‘We Have An Entire Economy That Is Supported On A Foundation Of Bubbles’

Tonight I watched Peter Schiff’s presentation at the MoneyShow Las Vegas back on May 12, 2014. The CEO and Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital shared his current assessment of the U.S. financial landscape in “Too Big to Bail: Why the Next Financial Crisis Will Be Worse Than the Last”- as well as where he thinks we’re heading. Schiff warned attendees:

There is no economic recovery in the United States at all. There is no evidence of an economic recovery. The U.S. economy is in far worse shape than it was on the eve of the 2008 financial crisis. We have never been in as worse shape as we are right now. But they say, “Whoa! But the stock market went up.” Yeah, of course the stock market went up. You print enough money, you can make the stock market go up. Yes, the Federal Reserve succeeded in reflating the stock market bubble. But that’s all that it did. That isn’t evidence of a strong economy. Stock prices went up from 2002 to 2007. Does that mean we had a sound economy? No. We were on the verge of a complete implosion. The main difference though between the stock market bubble that we have today and the one that blew up, let’s say, in 2000, is that fewer individuals are participating. This is the bubble for the 1 percent. This is for the hedge funds, the private equity guys… The overwhelming concentration of buyers are very wealthy people. The average American is not participating in the stock market to the extent that he was in the 1990s. And so the Fed is not getting the boost to consumption that you would normally have from the wealth effect because a lot of people aren’t feeling the effects of the wealth because they don’t own stocks.

The same thing is happening in the real estate bubble, which the Fed has managed to reflate. The difference again between the real estate bubble we have now and the real estate bubble that popped in 2007 is again- the average American isn’t participating. Home ownership rates are at 19-year lows. You have hedge funds and private equity companies that are buying up real estate. Last month, I think 43 percent of all the properties purchased in America were purchased for cash. These are not typical Americans buying houses to live in. These are investors buying houses to flip, buying houses to rent out. This is not a healthy market. It is an extremely speculative real estate market thanks to the Federal Reserve.

So the Federal Reserve has managed to reflate two bubbles simultaneously.

And of course, the biggest bubble of them all is the bubble in the bond market.

So we have an entire economy that is supported on a foundation of bubbles…


“Peter Schiff at Las Vegas Moneyshow 2014”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Peter Schiff Warns Of Coming Inflation, Accompanying Propaganda

“Crash prophet” Peter Schiff sees inflation getting worse in America. And with it, Washington, the Fed, and the mainstream media spinning rising prices as something that’s beneficial for the general public. The Euro Pacific Capital CEO and Chief Global Strategist added a new entry Tuesday on his YouTube video blog The Schiff Report, and warned viewers of the following:

It’s going to get worse. And, what is the Fed going to do about it? Because the problem is, no matter how high that inflation number gets, they can never admit it’s a problem. Because if they admit that it’s a problem, they’ve got to do something about it. But they can’t do anything about it. Because if they want to fight inflation, what tools do they have? Just one. They’ve got to raise interest rates, which means they’ve got to end quantitative easing. And in order to raise interest rates, they’ve got to start selling their bonds and their mortgages back into the market. That will collapse the real estate market, collapse the stock market, send the economy into a sharp recession, and bring about a financial crisis worse than 2008. So because they can’t do that, they can’t do anything. So they’re going to have to tolerate inflation, no matter how high it gets. They’re going to have to convince us that it’s good for us, no matter how high it gets. They’re going to say, “Oh, well, maybe it’s transitory,” “It’s because of the weather,” “Oh, you know, we had such low inflation for so long, we need a few years of higher inflation to even it all out.” Who knows what kind of excuses Janet Yellen is going to come up with to rationalize why whatever the inflation number is- no matter how high it is- it’s always going to be a good thing?

But I wonder if the media- if the guys at Bloomberg or the guys at The New York Times or the AP or the Financial Times- will ever see through this charade. Will they ever see through this smokescreen and come out and call the Fed out on this? Will they ever say, “You know what, we’ve got too much inflation- this is not good. Do something about it.” And when the Fed doesn’t do something about it, that’s going to be a big problem for the dollar. Because that’s when people realize that this is QE Infinity, that inflation is never going to stop, that the dollar’s value is going to erode away in perpetuity. That’s when the bottom drops out of the market. That’s when the real crisis comes in. Because now the dollar really starts to cave, and puts more pressure on the bond market. That means the Fed has to print a lot more money. A lot more dollars that nobody wants to buy the Treasuries that nobody wants to keep the market from collapsing. That accelerates the inflationary spiral, and puts the Fed in a real box. Because then, it just can’t print the dollar into oblivion. It can’t turn it into monopoly money. Then it has to slam on the breaks. Then it has to really jack up interest rates. Not just a few hundred basis points- ten percent, fifteen percent, twenty percent. Paul Volcker style. Of course, the medicine won’t go down nearly as smoothly as it did back then. Not that it was so great tasting- we had a pretty bad recession in 1980. But that’s nothing compared to what we’re going to go through, because we have a lot more debt now than we had then- it’s not even close. We don’t have the viable economy. We don’t have the trade surpluses or the current accounts surpluses. And we don’t have a federal government that has a long-term financing on the national debt. It’s all financed with T-bills. And we have all these adjustable rate mortgages. We have all these corporations, individuals that are so levered-up. We’ve got all these student loans and credit card debt. We have all this stuff that we didn’t have back in the 1980s that we’re going to have to deal with- thanks to the Fed.


“Media Reports Rising Food Prices as Positive News”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Bearish Peter Schiff Debates Bullish Nouriel Roubini

“How long was I warning about the housing bubble and the financial crisis before it happened? It was years. It takes a while for these problems to surface. We do have an inflation problem. We do have a bubble. And commodity prices are rising. Gold prices are rising.”

-Peter Schiff, debating with noted “bear”-turned-“bull” Nouriel Roubini on CNBC’s Fast Money yesterday


“Roubini vs. Schiff: Who’s “Doomier” on US Economy?
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Chicago Launching ‘Summer Surge’ Initiative To Combat Violence

Those who live and frequent Chicago may be happy to know another “surge” is being launched by the City of Chicago to fight the violence that’s making national and international headlines (again) these days. Frank Main reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website last night:

The Chicago Police Department is getting ready to combat violence this summer with special overtime patrols in parks and public housing and on public transit, officials said Tuesday.

The partnership between police, the Chicago Transit Authority, the Chicago Housing Authority and the park district is part of what the city is calling the Summer Surge initiative.

Each agency will contribute to pay the overtime of 100 additional officers on weekdays, 200 on weekends and 300 on holiday weekends, a police spokesman said. Those agencies will help the police department determine where to deploy those officers, said Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy.

He said the program is being launched in stages and should be “fully operational” on June 1…

These “surges” are nothing new for the city. Hal Dardick and Jeremy Gorner reported on the Chicago Tribune website back on February 24, 2013:

Chicago police plan to double the number of officers working overtime on their days off beginning Friday in an effort to tamp down the number of homicides plaguing the city, the Tribune has learned.

Police brass have told subordinates that 400 rank-and-file officers and 40 sergeants will be needed every day of the week as part of the department’s overtime violence-reduction initiative to supplement the thousands of officers working their usual shifts, according to sources. Since the initiative began last summer, an average of 200 officers and about 20 sergeants were needed for overtime shifts five days out of the week…

The violence appears to be on the upswing again. I can’t help but wonder if 2014 isn’t going to be a lot like 2012 despite these “surges.” I hope not.

But I know one thing for sure. The City’s relentless blaming of “lax” gun “control” laws for their predicament has become as ridiculous as that war cry they often trot out (“it’s for the children!”) to “justify” some potential controversial initiative on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s agenda.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Main, Frank. “More cops will patrol parks, transit system to curb summer violence.” Chicago Sun-Times. 29 Apr. 2014. (http://www.suntimes.com/27138224-761/more-cops-will-patrol-parks-transit-system-to-curb-summer-violence.html#.U2D-S1eq_R5). 30 Apr. 2014.

Dardick, Hal and Gorner, Jeremy. “Overtime surge for Chicago police.” Chicago Tribune. 24 Feb. 2013. (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-02-24/news/ct-met-chicago-police-overtime-20130224_1_overtime-initiative-police-officers-chicago-police). 30 Apr. 2014.

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Gallup Poll: U.S. Adults Think Real Estate, Followed By Gold And Stocks, Is Best Long-Term Investment

Gallup just conducted an Economy and Personal Finances telephone poll from April 3-6 where they asked 1,026 U.S. adults the following question:

Which of the following do you think is the best long-term investment — [ROTATED: bonds, real estate, savings accounts or CDs, stocks or mutual funds, (or) gold]?

Their findings?:

-30 percent said real estate
-24 percent said gold
-24 percent said stocks/mutual funds
-14 percent said savings accounts/CDs
-6 percent said bonds

Now here’s something interesting. Rebecca Rifkin reported on the Gallup website yesterday:

Lower-income Americans, those living in households with less than $30,000 in annual income, are the most likely of all income groups to say gold is the best long-term investment choice, at 31%. Upper-income Americans are the least likely to name gold, at 18%…

Upper-income Americans are much more likely to say real estate and stocks are the best investment, possibly because of their experience with these types of investments…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Last April, real estate (25 percent) edged out gold (24 percent) in the poll, with stocks/mutual funds coming in at 22 percent.

In April 2012 and 2011, gold (28 and 34 percent, respectively) beat out runner-up real estate (20 and 19 percent, respectively) by significant margins.

Anyone else starting to think that the overall selection of “best long-term investment” for any particular year may be correlated with recent performance?

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

Sources:

Riffkin, Rebecca. “Americans Sold on Real Estate as Best Long-Term Investment.” Gallup.com. 17 Apr. 2014. (http://www.gallup.com/poll/168554/americans-sold-real-estate-best-long-term-investment.aspx). 18 Apr. 2014.

Jacobe, Dennis. “Gold Loses Luster in U.S. as Investment; Real Estate Gains.” Gallup.com. 16 Apr. 2013. (http://www.gallup.com/poll/161909/gold-loses-luster-investment-real-estate-gains.aspx). 18 Apr. 2014.

Saad, Lydia. “Gold Still Americans’ Top Pick Among Long-Term Investments.” Gallup. 27 Apr. 2012. (http://www.gallup.com/poll/154232/gold-americans-top-pick-among-long-term-investments.aspx). 18 Apr. 2014.

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31 Percent Of Chicago-Area Homeowners With Mortgages ‘Seriously Underwater’

Memorial Day Weekend 2007. I had just launched my first blog, Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog On Wall Street,” from my apartment on Chicago’s Northwest Side. I remember thinking to myself, “Well, I don’t want to just focus on turmoil in the financial markets as part of a coming financial crash. I also need to talk about the housing bubble and when that monstrosity bursts as well.”

All of it happened (except Washington and the Fed managed to postpone the crash I was- and have been- warning about, leaving us with the “Panic of ’08” and the Great Recession instead), providing me tons of material to blog about over the last seven years.

Now, my girlfriend and I were lucky enought to spot and sit out the housing bubble, eventually picking up a place last year for $117,000 less than it was at the height of the madness (according to one valuation). Regrettably, a number of friends and acquaintances in the Chicagoland area bought homes during the market’s craziest years, when price levels were incredibly high (in my neighborhood, some barely inhabitable “shacks” were on the market for half-a-million dollars back then). I really hope they aren’t “underwater”- owing more on their mortgages than their properties are worth- but I suspect a number of them are. Mary Ellen Podmolik reported on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

Despite improving home prices, 31 percent of Chicago-area homeowners with a mortgage were seriously underwater in March, owing at least 25 percent more on their home loans than the property’s value, a new report shows…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

31 percent? That’s bad news for the Chicagoland residential real estate market. The last time I talked about the “underwater people” on this blog was last fall, when I blogged:

This past Sunday, I spotted the following about underwater mortgages in my Chicago Tribune. Mary Ellen Podmolik wrote:

A lack of inventory is frustrating potential Chicago-area homebuyers, and a report last week from Zillow explains why some homeowners might like to sell their properties but can’t. Despite improving home values, 35.4 percent of Chicago-area homeowners with a mortgage were underwater at the end of June, meaning they owed more on their loan than the home was worth, Zillow said. That means those homeowners would have to sell their properties through a bank-approved short sale.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

So will that 31 percent “seriously underwater” rate improve anytime soon? Here’s hoping. But considering the economic headwinds still working against housing- I’m not going to hold my breath (no pun intended).

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Podmolik, Mary Ellen. “Almost 1/3 of Chicago-area homeowners still significantly underwater.” Chicago Tribune. 18 Apr. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-homeowners-underwater-20140417,0,7135589.story). 18 Apr. 2014.

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Peter Schiff Predicts Future Fed Moves

Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital released a new entry Monday on The Schiff Report YouTube vlog. The “crash prophet” talked about a number of financial topics, including future activity by the U.S. central bank. Schiff predicted:

I think that with the weakening in the stock market, the softness we’re seeing now in the real estate market- with the fact that we’re going to be getting weaker jobs numbers in the spring that cannot be rationalized away based on the weather- the Fed is going to have come forward at some point and acknowledge which should have already been obvious. That they were mistaken. They were overly-optimistic on their assessment of the economy. That for whatever reason they’ll come up with an excuse to save face- they can blame it on some external factor- but the Fed is going to have to come out and they’re going to have to halt the tapering process, and ultimately reverse it.

How much time there will be between the pause and the reversal?

I don’t know. I don’t think it will be more than a couple of meetings, at best. But that’s what’s coming….

Schiff, who correctly-called the U.S. housing bubble and subsequent burst along with the 2008 global economic crisis, went on to speculate what all this might mean for gold and stocks.


“Warmer Weather’s Failure to Stoke Jobs Chills Stocks”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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