Economics: Ponzi Schemes & You

A few things before we get started:

  1. Lack of regular (and good) posting bothers me too. I’ve taken on a second day gig because it’s an opportunity that cannot be ignored. I guess I will sleep when I’m dead.
  2. Regular day gig is still in transition.
  3. Family outranks all of this.

So, I wanted to talk about this Zerohedge post from yesterday afternoon.

Here’s the summary:

Foreign, central banks are directly investing into US stocks with their reserves.

Now, under the Fed’s mandate, this in itself is not only unethical, but illegal based upon the explicit wording in it’s own charter. Not that it matters as the Fed has gone so far past it’s mandate at this point, that actually adhering to the rules set would be laughable. BTW, never throw out a complicated conspiracy when you can just chalk it up to shocking levels of incompetence.

Denninger covers it here as well.

Extend. Pretend.

There is no evidence that this trend will cease. Based on previous history, it is only a matter of time before this comes to an end. I stand behind the statement that at some point they will run out of places to blow these bubbles.

From the Zerohedge piece:

In other words, while the Fed’s charter forbids it from buying US equities outright, it certainly can promise that it will bail out such bosom friends as the Bank of Israel, the Swiss National Bank, and soon everyone else, if and when their investment in Apple should sour.

Luckily, this means that the exponential phase in risk is approaching as everyone will now scramble to frontrun central bank purchases no longer in bonds, but in stocks outright, leading to epic surges in everything risk related, then collapse and force the Fed to print tens of trillions to bail everyone out all over again, rinse repeat, until this chart becomes asymptotic. We say luckily, because it means that the long overdue systemic reset is finally approaching.

Do you see the trend/ What did the Dow close at yesterday? 12,900?

Harkening back to a discussion I had in 2005 with John Dvorak, I believe we have one hell of a ramp up, but when you start to approach 20,000, it’s time to run for the hills.

BTW, on another note, expect a run on ammo and guns sooner rather than later – meaning prior to the election. I’m starting to see incremental price increases based upon demand alone. My favorite vendors are running low on bulk, but doing ok on the premium stuff. If you are inclined to spend some cash on ammo stocks, I would advise that now is a good time.

I still think we have a long way to go. However, the darkness approaches, and at a steady pace. Keep your wits about you. Watch your six & keep your powder dry.


Agreed – Fair Warning from Denninger

I completely agree with Karl.

It is not often that one gets this sort of rotational warning in such a clear form, but you’re getting it now.  The same thing is true in the DOW, with IBM being the power mover there.

Beware folks.  Be very, very careful.

Though, my opinion is that we will see a run up to uncharted territory before the fall if crude doesn’t skyrocket over the summer. When you see the DJIA in the 19,000 to 22,000 range, it is literally time to head for the hills. The end result of that one will be five times what 2000 & 2008 were.

Prelude to the Opening Act

Sense of Events does the math:

Now, where is all the money to pay for our retirement centers, medical care and vacations in Costa Rica going to come from? It will come from the equity investments we made before we retired. In short, we are going to sell stocks, bonds and mutual funds like crazy starting very soon. And because each successive year adds millions more to the retired ranks, the selloff will accelerate every year into the late 2030s and almost certainly well into the ’40s.

The fate of traditional equity markets, beginning, oh,
next year. Found at Boomer Cafe.

The plain fact is that tens of trillions of dollars are going to disappear from the value of the DJIA and other stock indices over the next 20-30 years. And with each year, as the selloff accelerates, the decline in equity-companies’ market value will drop even more – because each successive year, boomers will sell more equities than the year before, both as a group and individually, just to stay even.

In fact, if the near-term retiring boomers cash out only $1,500 of equities per month, starting with zero retired boomers and adding about 360,000 every month, then in only six months more than $3 trillion of sold-share value will be reached.

Read this slowly: Three. Trillion. Dollars. Sold off every six months. That’s in addition to the previous semiannual’s sum. That’s $18 trillion of equities sold in just the first 18 months. And it only goes much higher from there. Folks, we are looking at possibly hundreds of trillions of dollars of equity sales over boomers’ retirement years.

There are two huge problems with this. First, the total world market’s valuation is only $37 trillion. So boomers’ simply cannot cash out enough equities to maintain their standard of living because there is literally not enough money in the world to do it, assuming that boomers need only about $1,500 of sold principal per month to make up a shortfall of dividends and interest. Even if you halve the figure, the numbers can’t be sustained.

So – we boomers simply are not, as a population group, going to enjoy in retirement the high standard of living we are accustomed to.

But wait, there’s more:

The second problem is that Generation X, boomers’ successors, doesn’t have nearly enough money to match as inflow into equities what we boomers are going to take out. Gen-X is the generation hit hardest by the multi-year Great Recession. Enormous numbers of them have already sold out just to stay afloat financially. And even before the recession hit, they were piling up debt like madmen.

The Gen Xers, generally defined as those born from 1965 through 1980 — now 27 to 43 years old — have even less assurance than the boomers of receiving company pensions and projected Social Security benefits.

In 1979, when the oldest Gen Xers were teenagers, the sole retirement plan for 62% of workers was a traditional pension, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). By 2005, when most of the Gen Xers had joined the workforce, that number had flipped: 63% of employees found themselves covered only by voluntary 401(k) plans. So much for the corporate safety net.

On top of that, the Gen Xers’ life expectancies, and thus their retirements, will likely exceed even the boomers’. They’ll need to save more aggressively. Yet, burdened by high housing costs, stifling college debt, stagnating wages and outsize health insurance and gas prices, Gen Xers are saving too little for retirement, just as workplace benefits have shrunk.

According to the EBRI, more than one in three workers ages 35 to 44 aren’t setting aside any money for retirement. Among those ages 25 to 34, 45% aren’t saving.In short, the traditional US equities markets – the Dow, the S & P and the NASDAQ – are heading over the falls and there is nothing they can do about it. Anyone younger than 50 today is going to get clobbered if they keep investing for retirement with the old “buy and hold” method of investing in funds or stocks.

I have nothing in the markets as of today. I cashed out this year, and took the tax hit. It was substantial, but Mrs. Matson and I collectively decided that we wanted to be cash heavy rather than watch our investments dwindle to nothing.

On another note, my parents (62 & 60) are retired boomers. While they are financially as stable as anyone you have ever heard of, their standard of living is higher than at least 99% of the world and likely 95% of Americans. With the probability of life into their eighties being fairly high, my guess is that at some point in the next five to ten years, they will be living with my family in our tiny suburban compound and working a day gig.

Couple that economic impact with creeping state control and you have a blueprint for one of the most brutal time periods the western world has ever seen.