As the saying goes, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.”
Albert Einstein is usually credited with that statement, although there isn’t any proof that he ever said it. Nevertheless, it’s certainly a good working definition of insanity. And by that definition, I have to conclude that socialists are insane.
Over the last couple of months, we’ve focused a lot of attention on the stock market bubble. But some analysts say we should be watching the bond market bubble. Last summer, former Fed chair Alan Greenspan issued an emphatic warning: Beware, the bond bubble is about to burst. And when it does, it will take stock prices down with it.
Last week, Mint Capital strategist Bill Blain issued a similar warning.
The truth is in bond markets. And that’s where I’m looking for the dam to break. The great crash of 2018 is going to start in the deeper, darker depths of the credit market.”
As we reported last week, investors are in an era of “irrational exuberance.”
The US stock market is at all-time highs. Meanwhile, market volatility is at lows not seen since the 1990s. In an odd juxtaposition of seemingly contradictory points of view, investors realize the market is overvalued, but at the same time, they believe it will continue to go up. According to a Bank of Ameria survey, 56% of money managers project a “Goldilocks” economic backdrop of steady expansion with tempered inflation.
In an article published at the Mises Wire, economist Thorsten Polleit adds some further analysis and asks a critical question.
Credit spreads have been shrinking, and prices for credit default swaps have fallen to pre-crisis levels. In fact, investors are no longer haunted by concerns about the stability of the financial system, potential credit defaults, and unfavorable surprises in the economy or financial assets markets.
Last week, the House passed its version of “tax reform,” along party lines. The final vote came in at 227-205, with the entire Democratic caucus opposing the bill. Thirteen Republicans joined the Democrats in voting no.
The debate now shifts to the Senate where things will likely become more contentious. Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson has already announced he opposes the current Senate plan. And the Senate bill differs from the House version – significantly putting off corporate tax cuts for a year. If the Senate can get something passed, the two chambers will have to figure out a compromise plan.
Peter Schiff has been saying the Republicans aren’t even really attempting to reform the tax system. He called the GOP plans “tax cuts masquerading as reform.” Peter is not alone in this thinking.
There’s a significant platinum shortage on the horizon according to an industry report.
According to a quarterly report released by the World Platinum Investment Council, a resurgence in demand for platinum jewelry, increasing industrial demand, along with falling production, will lead to a shortfall of 275,000 ounces in 2018.
According to data compiled by the Chicago Fed, financial conditions have reached the loosest level in the US since January 1994. This despite Federal Reserve tightening over the last year.
On Nov. 10, the Chicago Fed National Financial Conditions index hit -0.93. As Peter Schiff pointed out in his most recent podcast, that was early on in the dot-com bubble. The Fed has been raising interest rates and talking about shrinking its balance sheet. Why is it that financial conditions are looser now then when rates were still at zero?
Peter said it’s because the Federal Reserve is way behind the curve.
Over the last year, we’ve talked a lot about geopolitical risk. Could turmoil around the world now be the new normal?
Some analysts think so.