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World in a Box

by John Rubino on December 7, 2014 · 18 comments

Of all the problems with fiat currency, the most basic is that it empowers the dark side of human nature. We’re potentially good but infinitely corruptible, and giving an unlimited monetary printing press to a government or group of banks is guaranteed to produce a dystopia of ever-greater debt and more centralized control, until the […]


Are Cars About to Crash?

by John Rubino on September 26, 2014 · 13 comments

New car sales have been one of the bright spots of the US recovery. And they’re still at it: September U.S. auto sales to rise 10 percent: JD Power, LMC(Reuters) – Strong demand drove U.S. new car and truck sales 10 percent higher in September, adding momentum to the industry’s best August in more than […]


They’re Lying To Us, Part 5: Fake Credit Scores

by John Rubino on August 10, 2014 · 6 comments

Like any other weak-willed entity, an over-indebted country eventually finds that formerly-easy things get harder to do. Today, for instance, banks are having trouble attracting customers with the kinds of credit scores that meet previously-set criteria for mortgages and car loans. As a result they’re writing fewer loans and the economy is seeing less debt-fueled […]


And That’s a GOOD Thing??

by John Rubino on July 28, 2014 · 18 comments

The past year has seen a long list of “XYZ is at its highest level since XXX” announcements. Some notable examples: NASDAQ tech stocks are back to 1999 levels The number of initial public offereings, including companies with no earnings, is back to 1999 levels Junk bond yields are even lower than in 2007 Junk […]


Happy Markets in an Unhappy World

by John Rubino on July 23, 2014 · 15 comments

The old Dickens quote “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” is pretty much always applicable to a world as big and complex as this one. But lately, as the disparity between financial markets (best of times) and geopolitics (worst) has grown to almost comical proportions, Dickens has been sounding […]


They’re Lying To Us, Part 4: Fake Pensions

by John Rubino on July 16, 2014 · 27 comments

Most people learn by the age of 10 or so that making promises is easier than keeping them. That’s why really big promises like corporate pensions and national retirement/health care programs are so easy to screw up. Offering someone a cushy retirement or a lifetime of healthcare feels great and generates massive goodwill from the […]


They’re Lying To Us, Part 1: Unemployment

by John Rubino on June 16, 2014 · 15 comments

One of the frustrating things about the monthly US jobs report is the way everyone focuses on the wrong number. The headline says “unemployment falls…” which sounds great, while the small print, which almost no one seems to read, explains that most of the improvement is due to people dropping out of the labor force. […]


We Are So Not Prepared For Another Oil Shock

by John Rubino on June 15, 2014 · 18 comments

In one sense, energy doesn’t matter all that much to what’s coming. Once debt reaches a certain level, oil can be $10 a barrel or $200, and either way we’re in trouble. But the cost of energy can still play a role in the timing and shape of the next financial crisis. The housing/derivatives bubble […]


Is THIS The End?

by John Rubino on June 2, 2014 · 21 comments

Eventually, every finance geek learns that calling market tops — at least publicly — is so hard that it’s not worth the reputation risk. This is especially true in an era of pervasive government manipulation, where price distortions can persist for far longer than any kind of rational analysis can justify. And yet. For US […]


US GDP Even Worse Than It Looks, Again

by John Rubino on May 29, 2014 · 11 comments

As expected, the US revised the most recent quarter’s GDP from barely positive to sharply negative today. But once again the true extent of the problem was hidden by some statistical sleight of hand, in this case wildly-optimistic inflation assumptions. Here’s an excerpt from the Consumer Metrics Institute’s just-published analysis: May 29, 2014 – BEA […]


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