It took 25 years for stocks to recover ‘inflation losses’ from the 1970s

by Simon Black

The ink isn’t even dry on the $1.9 trillion ‘Covid stimulus’ bill that was signed last Thursday in the Land of the Free. Yet they’re already talking about another “big, bold” spending package.

This new bill will supposedly aim to fix up America’s dilapidated infrastructure, and it’s rumored to come in at another $1 to $2 trillion.

I say “supposedly aim,” of course, because 90% of these bills have little to do with their stated objective.

Most of the spending from last week’s ‘Covid stimulus’ had very little to do with Covid.

Hundreds of billions of dollars, for example, are earmarked to bail out bankrupt state, i.e. the ones who chased away their most valuable taxpayers with nonstop vitriol and exorbitant tax rates… and who imposed the most severe lockdowns and business closures.

This is particularly interesting because those lockdowns have now been proven to be completely ineffective.

Even the New York Times gets it; the paper published an article over the weekend acknowledging that Covid rates in the state of Florida, which has been ‘open’ for several months and never imposed a statewide mask mandate, are lower than many states which have severe lockdown orders.

So basically the Covid bill is nothing more than a bailout for the states which torpedoed their economies with ineffective and unconstitutional public health policies.

The next ‘infrastructure’ bill will likely be just as wasteful… and dishonest in its intentions.

But this is the norm now: no one cares how much money these people spend. Both the Federal Reserve, and the Treasury Secretary (who used to be the head of the Federal Reserve) publicly advocate for MORE spending.

And now that the Bolsheviks are in charge of the federal government, they’re emboldened to keep spending as much money as they want.

They know their opportunity is NOW; they can pass trillions of dollars of spending bills without anyone kicking up much of a fuss.

And it’s clear there’s going to be a flurry of spending with no end in sight.

A decade ago it was incomprehensible to spend a trillion dollars in a single piece of legislation; even the taxpayer-funded bailout of the banking system in 2008 ‘only’ cost $700 billion.

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Now they spend a trillion dollars like it’s nothing.

Of course, the federal government doesn’t have a trillion dollars to spend. So every one of these stimulus packages is funded by debt… hence the soaring national debt that will shortly hit $30 trillion, roughly 150% of GDP.

Here’s where it gets really interesting–

In the 12 months between early March 2020, just prior to the pandemic, and March 2021, the US national debt increased from $23.5 trillion to $28 trillion.

That’s an increase of $4.5 trillion.

In the same period, the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet increased from $4 trillion to $7.5 trillion… an increase of $3.5 trillion.

The numbers are pretty obvious: the Federal Reserve has monetized more than 75% of all US government debt that was issued in the last year.

In other words, whenever the government needs money for these massive spending initiatives, the Federal Reserve simply pushes some buttons, conjures trillions of dollars out of thin air, and ‘loans’ that money to the Treasury Department through its intermediaries in the banking system.

So the playbook is essentially to ‘print’ money and spend it wastefully.

This hardly seems like the path to prosperity. Yet astonishingly, both the Federal Reserve and the Bolsheviks who control the government are delighted by this practice.

Let’s be intellectually generous and say that there ‘might’ possibly be consequences to this course of action. Recklessly expanding the money supply typically results in inflation, and there’s already plenty of evidence to suggest that inflation is rising.

Inflation makes people poorer. Yet, again, both the Fed and the Treasury Secretary actually WANT inflation.

The Fed has already announced that it is willing to accept higher rates of inflation in the coming years; and the Treasury Department frankly NEEDS higher inflation in order to make the national debt more manageable. ($30 trillion will seem like a lot less money a decade from now if inflation is high.)

So in summary:

– The central bank is rapidly expanding the money supply at an unprecedented rate.

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– The federal government is borrowing money at an unprecedented rate.

– Both of these trends typically cause inflation.

– Key economic policymakers want inflation and view it as a good thing.

It seems pretty clear that their interests, and your interests, are clearly not aligned. And a rational person ought to at least consider the possibility of inflation, i.e. the purchasing power of your money will decrease.

During times of inflation, saving money makes you poorer each year. Bank deposit rates fail to keep up with inflation rates, so every year the purchasing power of your hard-earned savings dwindles.

Instead people typically buy assets– like stocks, real estate, private companies, etc. because asset prices tend to do very well during inflation.

But that’s not always the case.

For example, the S&P 500 stock index in the US was at an all-time high in late 1968. Inflation was already on the rise, though, thanks to massive government spending from the Vietnam War and LBJ’s ‘Great Society’ spending initiatives.

By 1974, inflation was more than 11%. But the stock market had lost more than 40% of its value.

It would take until 1993– TWENTY FIVE YEARS later– until the S&P 500 reached a level that, after adjusting for inflation, exceeded its high from 1968.

So, buying an asset class that’s already at its all-time high just prior to an inflationary period isn’t necessarily a no-brainer option.

This presents a perplexing challenge, because most major asset classes, including stocks and real estate, are already at record highs.

But there’s at least one asset class which is well below its all-time highs, and also has a track record of strong performance during inflation.

I’m talking, of course, about gold and silver. More on them later this week.

 

 

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