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China, Russia, and the End of the Petrodollar

by John Rubino on October 9, 2012 · 66 comments

Say you’re an up-and-coming superpower wannabe with dreams of dominating your neighbors and intimidating everyone else. Your ambition is understandable; rising nations always join the “great game”, both for their own enrichment and in defense against other big players. But if you’re Russia or China, there’s something in your way: The old superpower, the US, […]

Last year the US ran a $272 billion trade deficit with China, which means we sent the Chinese that many extra dollars in return for the clothes, toys and iPhones they sent us. This lopsided relationship has been in place for a long time, allowing (or requiring) China to accumulate about $1.7 trillion dollars of […]

The Low-Interest-Rate Trap

by John Rubino on August 15, 2010 · 15 comments

Pretend for a second that you recently retired with a decent amount of money in the bank, and all you have to do is generate a paltry 5% to live in comfort for the rest of your days. But lately that’s been easier said than done. Your money market fund yields less than 1%. Your […]

Euro Crisis, Part II

by John Rubino on August 12, 2010 · 17 comments

Remember the euro-zone crisis? Front page news for weeks, and then…nothing. Could they have found the secret formula for eliminating an overwhelming debt load without hyperinflation or depression? Nah. They were just taking a break, and now they’re back. Greece’s economy is contracting and Spain’s regional governments are being shut out of the debt markets. […]

A Sign of Things to Come?

by John Rubino on August 11, 2010 · 11 comments

This isn’t how it normally goes. For the past couple of decades — that is, during the parabolic phase of the global credit bubble — the financial markets have responded to US Fed announcements of easier money like kids whose daddy has promised them a trip to Disneyland. The euphoria doesn’t always last, but the […]

Here’s another take on the inflation/deflation debate from Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow and Financial Times columnist Sebastian Mallaby: Forget Jesus and ask the hedge funds The US stimulus debate features two warring camps. The Obama administration insists that a failure to stimulate will open the door to a double-dip recession. Its foes retort […]

Classic Videos: Retirement Armageddon

by John Rubino on June 19, 2010 · 17 comments

Here’s a wake-up call from Gary North of the Ludwig von Mises Institute on why our idea of retirement will turn out to be a cruel joke. A few quotes: Social Security will go bankrupt…The average American is going to have a miserable retirement. There’s not much a recent retiree can do. They’ve walked into […]

Deeply Disturbing, For Different Reasons

by John Rubino on June 16, 2010 · 20 comments

A couple of articles appeared today that couldn’t be more different in tone, content, or point of view, but dovetail in a really disturbing way. The first is from University of Texas economist James Galbraith on how we’re rich enough to afford pretty much whatever we want: The national security shell game Deficit hawks are […]

Europe Takes the Other Road

by John Rubino on June 14, 2010 · 25 comments

On its long journey to the land of bankruptcy, the Western world recently arrived at the last and most important crossroad. One branch led to a 1930s-style collapse under the weight of already-accumulated debt, while the other led to hyperinflation, as printing presses ramp up to stave off collapse. The U.S. didn’t even slow down; […]

Munis About to Blow Up

by John Rubino on May 24, 2010 · 20 comments

So I’m sitting here trying to turn a pile of (mostly terrifying) data on muni bonds into a post that explains why this is the next domino to fall, and here comes Time Magazine with a feature on that subject: Municipal Bonds: The Next Financial Land Mine? As Wall Street nervously watches the sovereign debt […]


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