Today, we celebrate the birthday of Irwin Schiff, one of our nation’s most influential activists for free markets and limited government. Irwin was a proud, freedom-loving American who died a political prisoner in a Texas federal prison. Neither the irony of his passing nor his convictions escaped the millions of people Irwin inspired to become activists. He helped them understand the destructive consequences of an over-reaching and over-regulatory government.
Peter Schiff recently appeared on CNBC’s “Future’s Now” letting millions of American voters know that if they’re frustrated with Trump, they should blame the Federal Reserve. “If the economy was in good shape, not only would he have not been elected, he wouldn’t have been the Republican nominee.”
The price of gold is moving in contradiction to its economic purpose, which is to serve as an investor safe haven against inflation. Shortly after the election, the dollar index spiked as gold prices began a quick decline; however, recently the trend has reversed. Gold is now up around 7% since the Fed’s December rate hike, according to Bloomberg.
In Peter Schiff’s latest podcast, Peter discussed the Consumer Price Index and retail sales reports released last week. Janet Yellen provided the data in a report to Congress. The chairwoman’s testimony brought on a new wave of optimism in the markets that interest rate hikes would be coming sooner than last year’s cycle of promise-then-disappoint.
Yellen spoke to congress this week, and her remarks about the new Commander in Chief could be foreshadowing an upcoming battle between the Fed’s goals and Trump’s plan to weaken the dollar. The President also made amends with China’s President Xi Jinping, but has new problems to deal with as other foreign governments shed their US Treasury holdings.
Dan Kurz is a CFA with over two decades experience working in Zurich, Switzerland as a thematic strategist for Credit Suisse CIO Office. Dan’s site, DK Analytics, offers deep and broad analysis at the macro and micro level.
Spearheaded by legislative efforts in Utah, Texas, and Oklahoma, a substantial number of states have undertaken efforts to reinstitute gold and silver as money (according to the hyperlink-based sources, 24 have made efforts). Numerous states are increasingly concerned about the nation’s Fed-based fiat monetary system, which debases the dollar, enables protracted, yawning deficit spending and trade deficits, and runs up huge, unpayable debts. With Utah, Texas, and Oklahoma blazing a trail back to constitutional money, states such as Louisiana, Arizona, South Carolina, and Kansas have been inspired to once again make gold and silver legal tender with which to conduct commerce in their jurisdictions.
Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen testified before Congress today with a hawkish tone that sent gold prices downward and bond yields upwards prior and during her testimony. Gold spot prices were down around $11/oz. toward the end of Yellen’s testimony. The 10-year note rose to 2.5% from 2.43% while the 2-year note yield jumped to as high as 1.25 % from a low of 1.18% during her speech, according to CNBC.
Yellen’s comments strengthened the likelihood of interest rate increases for the foreseeable future, stating that “waiting too long” would be “unwise”. She qualified her comments with the warning that raising rates too rapidly could “risk disrupting financial markets and push the economy into recession.”
Last week 63-year-old Kenneth J. Plonski was charged in a Michigan court for defrauding the Copoco Community Credit Union of more than $70,000. Plonski claims he was also duped by a “friend” into wiring cash to Africa to buy gold. However, Plonski claims he never received any African gold.
The alleged scam is a classic case of “robbing Peter to pay Paul”. Plonski allegedly took out a mortgage with the CCCU in 2014 and began making his monthly payments. Court records show Plonski also used the mortgage to secure a Visa gift card with a $20,000 line of credit, according to a local Michigan network.
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Silver prices have been climbing steadily recently, rising almost 12% since the beginning of the year. The cost of silver is normally closely tied to the rise and fall of the price of gold, which has also seen a recent jump. Causes for the push in precious metals include a sluggish dollar, political and economic uncertainty surrounding Trump’s executive orders, and the Fed’s pass on an interest rate increase last month.
Another factor to consider is Trump’s stimulus plan, which promotes investments in infrastructure: roads, bridges, electrical grids and telecommunications. The industrial uses of silver would make it a high-demand commodity within such a pro-growth environment. Whether Trump’s stimulus plan finds enough congressional support among Republicans is still to be determined.