What normalcy will it be? I don’t expect to simply go back to the way things were. The economy as it was structured in December 2019 is gone forever. The world is different now. The economy will be different, too.
Rather than going deep into one theme, this week we will do a “Random Thoughts” from the Frontline. Today we will cover several topics in shorter form: valuations, infrastructure, the debacle in Texas, and a lot more.
If, however, the pandemic continues into summer, it will mean the Gripping Hand is still squeezing us. Employment won’t recover and more small businesses will fail. This relief package, as large as it is, may prove necessary and maybe even too small.
Today I want to discuss an arcane-sounding but incredibly important term you need to know: Yield Curve Control. Several central banks are already using it and I see a strong possibility the Fed will join them. But first we must again consider the Gripping Hand.
I’m often asked if I foresee inflation or deflation. Both are possible in their own ways, and frankly I feel a little funny telling people I think we will see both. I would just like to have a growing economy and dependable money that holds its value.
The 2020s are going to be about rifle shots, not the shotgun approach of index funds.
Today we’ll begin by looking at new virus developments, some of which are good, some very good, and some frightening. We (the entire world) are in a very tight race with dire consequences if we lose.
This week’s letter is the first part of my 2021 forecast. There is simply too much to cover in one letter, and today we’ll start with the most important factor, a known unknown, that I think will be the driver for 2021.
We’ll take a closer look at the stock market and where it may be going.
The virus—or specifically the political response to it—is causing a mass extinction event for small businesses in certain sectors. At the same time, some large businesses are reaping a bonanza of revenue from the same pandemic.
Two weeks ago I talked about Peter Turchin’s idea of “elite overproduction” leading to social and economic crisis. While he doesn’t have any solutions, Turchin helps illuminate how we reached this point. Today we’ll go a little deeper and think about the implications.
A Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all my US friends. This year was different for many of us—sometimes by choice, sometimes not. But there’s one bit of good news I think we can all share: The holiday season means 2020 is almost over. Soon, we’ll be able to turn the page.
Today I’m going to blend a few thoughts about The Great Reset with some other historical analysis I recently discovered. It adds up to a disturbing outlook, even if (as seems likely, given the latest vaccine news) we’re past the pandemic by late next year. We’ll find different challenges on the other side.
Today we’ll talk about the political changes, what they mean for the economy, and then how the latest vaccine news may affect the outlook.
Today I want to use the election to illustrate just how complex a seemingly simple situation can be. This matters not just politically, but economically as well.
Today I want to look at what will not change. And though I will make a few comments on the election below, I want us to think today about what we can look forward to with an optimistic and realistic vision.
Today I want to discuss why the economy will recover, how that will happen and what it will look like. It won’t look like 2019, but the recovery will have its own flavor as we fast-forward future industries. I think that’s a good thing.vvv
We are in a debt trap. Our political process can’t reduce spending and/or raise taxes enough to balance the budget, so the debt grows and grows. As it does, paying the interest plus the accumulated debt load pulls more capital away from more productive uses. This depresses economic growth, thereby generating even more spending and debt.
Today I want to make some informed speculation about how the next year will unfold. We’re going to reach some key decision points in the coming months and you’ll make better decisions if you think about them before we get there.
I will try to make the case for a much slower recovery thus much higher debt by 2030. Note first, I’m not saying there will be no recovery. I am simply postulating it will look like the slow recovery from the Great Recession, unless the government makes it worse, which is a nontrivial possibility.
I’ve warned for several years now that our growing global debt load is unpayable and we will eventually “reorganize” it in what I call The Great Reset. I believe this event is still coming, likely later in this decade. Recent developments suggest it will be even bigger than I expected. You could even say I’ve been too optimistic.
In this letter I find myself recommending policies that not that long ago would have been extraordinarily distasteful to me. Yet, unless we pursue them, our economy will truly be turned upside down. I fully recognize these things have a cost. But the cost of inaction is much higher.
My theme today is on the pandemic’s future economic impact, especially in the United States.
The unintended consequences from recent Fed “policy” changes, not to mention those initiated in prior decades, have been at the very epicenter of some of the national problems we have. The Fed would vigorously deny this course, but the results are plain for all to see.
We’ll be okay, but we’ll have problems first. Both can be true; the difference is in the timing. It’s important to keep this straight in our minds. Extreme things can happen, for either good or bad, but they don’t last forever. We have to maintain mental balance between the extremes.
This depression/recession is unlike any we have experienced. Parts of our economy are doing well, parts are in recession, and a significant portion is already in a depression. As government guarantees wane in the future, more and more companies and people will slip into the depression category.
Today we will explore what some smart minds are saying about the current economic environment. I'll also aim to help you navigate through its complexity.
As I file this letter Friday morning, people are reacting to the July jobs report. My own reaction: The headline report is absurd.
Big things have been brewing in Europe. The same continent that two years ago I said was going through “monetary drug withdrawal,” is now set to outpace US growth by a wide margin. And US growth, which had led the world for years, now looks likely to lag it.
We’ll start with a dozen or so charts showing the market is either very highly valued, or extremely overvalued, or merely stretched. But in general, you will see markets are indeed at the upper end of historical valuations. Then we’ll consider some reasons why this is so, and why stocks could even go higher.
Politicians love saying small businesses are important to the economy. In this case, it isn’t just rhetoric. The millions of little companies with a handful of workers are, collectively, more important than the few hundred large enterprises we see in the news.
Today we’ll look at the data, including some non-government sources. As you will see, millions of workers will stumble through this period, and they may be the lucky ones.
I read The Black Swan shortly after it came out. The financial crisis and Great Recession were brewing, and I was already beginning to predict a recession. We sensed something big was coming but didn’t know the details. Rereading my September 2007 review of Taleb’s book is an eerie glimpse into the past. It’s also a good reminder that more big events lie ahead.
In short, a demand-driven recession can’t end until demand returns. It doesn’t necessarily need to be the same kind of demand. Indeed, it probably won’t be. But something must restore consumer spending. A lot of entrepreneurs are spending late nights (and days) trying to figure out how to restore consumer spending.
Today I’ll defy the proverb, consider what we know and don’t know, and try to tell you where I think we’re going. In the long run (after The Great Reset in the late 2020s), I still foresee a wonderful new world. But we have to get there first.
In their effort to improve things/prevent pain, Fed officials past and present financialized the economy. That, along with more unintended consequences from government debt and regulatory interventions (all well-intentioned, you understand) brought us to where we are today. We can’t walk it back without a great deal of pain no one wants to take, including your humble analyst.
Today, we’re going to look at some actual data, both medical and economic. Spoiler alert: The unintended consequences of our response may be more threatening than the actual virus, unless we begin changing some things soon.
Today I’ll share some more insights from the Virtual Strategic Investment Conference. Frankly, I could go on for weeks like this, but this is going to be my last letter on the SIC. We had so much expertise and wisdom beamed in from all over the world. I’ll give you a few more highlights and then offer my own personal takeaway.
We finished the Virtual Strategic Investment Conference yesterday. I shared some highlights in last week’s letter, will tell you more today.
I knew this letter’s topic months ago. It was going to be a review of the Strategic Investment Conference, which would have just concluded fabulously in sunny Scottsdale.
Last week I ran across a powerful essay by Morgan Housel, whom I knew when he wrote for The Motley Fool. He is now a partner at The Collaborative Fund and still writing. His article looks at five lessons from history that, on the surface, have nothing to do with coronavirus, Trump, China, the Fed, or any of our other usual topics.
Some are greatly overestimating how fast the economy can recover. Entire industries, no longer viable in their current forms, must now figure out new ways to do business.
Today’s letter will be another hop-around review of the crisis landscape. I’ll touch on several topics instead of going deep into a single theme. So much is going on, it’s really hard to know where to start. There will be something to annoy everybody.
We don’t know how this will develop, or how quickly, but I think it is far more likely to bring asset price deflation than inflation. We are going to reprice the world. Probably including your part of it.
The first and most important question that we will deal with is prediction of significant inflation/hyperinflation coming from many quarters because of the massive amount of Federal Reserve intervention. This is wrong-headed fearmongering.
The new coronavirus is touching us all, one way or another. The virus is infectious but so are the preventative measures. Today I’ll continue last week’s “postcard” format and at the end give you a lightening round of things I have come across, some good and some not. I hope some of what I tell you makes you as angry as it does me.
With the economic and market situation changing by the day, I decided to approach this letter a little differently. Rather than go deep on one topic, I’ll share brief bullets on the many points swirling in my mind. Think of it as Postcards from the Frontline. These will be in no particular order and may generate even more questions.
Today in the real world, we also face a dark, implacable, powerful foe. It is a microscopic virus that we now know is a threat, a very serious one. We in the United States have just seen the beacons. The warning travelled not just a few hundred miles but around the world: from China and Korea, to Italy and Spain, and now here.
This is a short midweek note, something I haven’t done for years. But as we all know, these are very special and difficult times. I’ll give you two links. They describe the nature of the new coronavirus pandemic and its potential consequences. I have run this past the best medical professionals I know, and they agree.
The coronavirus could take us all someplace we really don’t want to go.