first majestic silver

A Trillion Here A Trillion There

"We are spending more money than we have ever spent before, and it does not work. After eight years, we have just as much unemployment as when we started and an enormous debt to boot." -US Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, May, 1939

I forget who first said it first but it was "A $ million here a $ million there, pretty soon we are talking about real money." It took approximately 20 years before it became "A $ billion here a $ billion there….." and it wasn't very long before "A $ billion … " became "A $100 billion…" Now, virtually overnight while no one was watching, it's become "A $trillion here a $ trillion there…" But are we still talking about real money?

Our government has just finished spending upwards of $15 trillion and what have we got to show for it: An economy that is sinking deeper and deeper into the worst recession since the 1930's and dragging the rest of the world down with us. However, this time, instead of being the world's largest and strongest financial super power, our country is now in the worst financial condition in its history and the powers at be are doing their best to panic us into doing more of the same as what got us into this situation in the first place. Their only justification is, "Don't just stand there do something."

The BIG QUESTION: Is doing the wrong thing better than doing nothing? The one thing I am certain of is letting Congress spend another $ trillion without even a moment's deliberation, with no transparency or oversight, is definitely the wrong thing to do and will most assuredly cause us a lot more harm than good. Somehow sometime we will have to pay back all those $ trillions.


Was McCarthy right when he kept shouting that he knew of 200 Communists in the Government? Right or wrong, his focus was and still is in the wrong place. Hillary, like McCarthy, was also only partially right when she warned about the "Great Right Wing Conspiracy." Right Wingers are individualists by definition and to have a great conspiracy of individualists is an oxymoron. It is and has always been the "Great LEFT WING Conspiracy" that began in the early 19th century and has become so successful that they have managed to completely take over our education system. We can no longer recognize who and what a conservative is and so we end up calling Keynesians Socialists, like Ben Stein and G.W. Bush NEOCONS and Conservatives. Even Nixon, a so called Republican President, formally announced just as he introduced price and wage controls "that we are all Keynesians now." No wonder that the only difference between Republicans and Democrats is a matter of degree and not substance. Is there any wonder that there is not one single Free Market solution out there even being discussed, let alone being implemented?

Almost every other country from Ireland to China and all of Eastern Europe are slowly shifting in varying degrees away from Marxism towards Capitalism. Even Cuba has finally begun to embrace Capitalism as they have just recently decided to allocate land to individual farmers in their desperate attempt to increase food production (just like our Pilgrims, but it only took them 3 years to figure it out). America has been moving slowly but steadily LEFT and has become, at least in its rhetoric, the single most anti-business country in the world. WHAT HAS HAPPENED?


Long time readers of my writings already know that in order to understand the small stuff and be able to read the tea leaves, one must always keep one's eye on the big picture. Otherwise, one ends up confusing cause and effect and not taking into consideration the unintended consequences. The real reason why Socialism cannot possibly work and why Capitalism always will is simply because Capitalism has what Socialism is constantly trying to undermine and get rid of: Profit and competition.

Can you imagine what would happen to a city, large or small, if there were suddenly no traffic lights? Gridlock, a massive traffic jam with nobody moving and nothing happening as everything comes to a complete halt. Sure, we could place police at every corner, but is that not just another form of a traffic light, only not as efficient and a lot more costly?

Well, profit and competition are the traffic lights of a Free Market Economy. They give the proper signals to everybody (buyer, seller and manufacturer) telling exactly how to behave without anyone carrying a gun because there is never any coercion. The consumer becomes the master of the dance. Can you imagine Walmart trying to sell their customers something they do not want and overcharging for it? Under absolute Socialism, the first thing that goes is free elections. The secret police become the biggest arm of government and the standard of living drops drastically because the factories no longer know what and how much to produce. They have no traffic lights.

That is exactly what is now happening to our country as Government interferes more and more in the economy thus confusing the necessary signals. With the Republicans having lost almost all power and influence, the Democrat leadership pushed through an $800 billion Spending Bill that was completely written behind closed doors with virtually no deliberation (traffic lights), leaving politicians only 15 minutes to read the bill before voting. Upon examination, the stock market went into a 500 point fall that even the eloquence of Obama could not do anything about it; with only the Plunge Protection Team preventing a total collapse. Not only will it not work, but within 6 months there will be clamoring and fear mongering for another new multi- $ trillion Bill, only this time it will be up for discussion. Pelosi and Reid, after the failure of the 1st Bill will not be able to keep their members in line without serious input and the express backing of the people, including a lot more Republican input. Unfortunately the results will be the same. There are no free Market Economists out there. Buy Gold!

CREATING JOBS (Real Private Sector Jobs)

I think it is worth examining what it takes to actually create a job in the private sector. In today's economy, executives are looking to increase their profit margins. So in most cases, they are actually looking to cut as many jobs as possible. The common theme in all the board meetings is how many jobs can be eliminated. Therefore in order for a job to be created at the margin, there has to be some visibility toward the permanence of demand in excess of current capacity. Presently, there is worldwide overcapacity. Consequently, there are not going to be many marginal, new jobs created until new capacity is needed. Similarly, the financial services sector is in disarray and again there is substantial overcapacity there too. In periods of recession, families trade down and don't go out to eat as often, so don't count on the restaurant and food service sector either. The list goes on and on. There are only a few sectors such a Healthcare that are still showing steady growth as the population of the developed countries rapidly ages. But then again Obama is attacking them. There is also a strong incentive towards replacing men with machines. The reasoning is quite clear: Machines don't SUE for being passed over or let go, they don't require paid sick leave to take care of other machines and they can be scrapped when new and better technologies can be applied. Oh yes, they don't vote to become unionized. So what are we doing? Why attacking and vilifying our biggest, most innovative and best domestic companies. Exactly as was done during the 30's. Blame the only wealth generators, while a plethora of lawyers hang around just waiting to sue someone or something for any trivial or imagined wrong. Do I hear "OUTSOURCING"?

I just don't see the current stimulus package doing much to help very many sectors. It seems to be nothing more than an ill conceived package of Pork that will make work through feather beading and creating a lot of non-wealth producing Government jobs. There is nothing in the package that will actually encourage the private sector to take risk and create new permanent jobs. Even in the devastated construction and infrastructure industry, I am not certain that those dollars won't just go to keeping work crews coming off old jobs employed building roads and bridges at 5 to 10 times normal costs. Billions will be spent on R&D but did you ever hear of government R&D spending actually discovering anything meaningful? After all, every cent spent, is political and not based strictly on meritorious achievement.

As an example: All stem cell research breakthroughs have occurred using adult stem cells even though all non-profit and government research funds have gone into the Politically Correct embryonic stem cell research. The Bush ban was not a ban on research it was just a ban on Federal Funding.

Tax cuts that are part of the package are essentially worthless; nothing more than a sugar-like high: If they were well thought out tax rate cuts; that would have been another story. However, minimal rate cuts to just the two lowest brackets, which are really disguised welfare payments, will NOT be helpful in creating new permanent jobs, as most of the additional spending will end up in China. The total may come to a staggering amount but in reality, how much good to our economy would $15 per month per family be? In addition, we will be left with the Debt, to be paid for by whom? ONLY new Investment can produce new jobs.

Economics 101: If you want to sell more, Lower the Price. Instead, we are doing just what FDR did in the 30's when he dramatically raised the cost of labor thus creating the biggest job destruction program in history as one company after another replaced workers with machines when and wherever possible. If we allow Pelosi and Reid to have their way, we will end up with almost an exact replay of that time. By increasing the power of the Unions we will, as in the 30's, increase the cost of labor, reducing the demand for labor and end up with a record amount of strikes, right in the middle of a depression - Terrific just what are economy needs.

Private Sector Risk Taking: The biggest problem is that there are no longer any checks and balances; the administration is now taking all of its advice from far left Socialists, unions, and billionaires without any opposing input what so ever. In addition, there is the background of anti-business rhetoric and scapegoating that does not create an environment conducive to the necessary risk taking, that goes hand in hand with job creation. I realize that many of those who had high hopes for the new administration don't want to hear this. Unfortunately, if the administration wants to create jobs, just spending money haphazardly won't cut it. They need to cultivate the trust of businesses by implementing business friendly initiatives and most importantly, change the rhetoric. Everything that is now being done is expressly contra and openly hostile to that notion. Even Geitner's talk of a Public/Private Bank can't possibly work: Would you trust the Government after all that compensation and oversight rhetoric? As a result, I see the economy headed towards the equivalent of the USA in the 1930's.


You needn't have been an economist to have seen this train wreck coming. The signs were evident by simply observing the multiple Starbucks in small towns and on every downtown street corner in large cities, credit card machines in grocery and fast food stores and 1000's of $500,000+ homes being built in towns where the median income is under $50K a year. Normally sensible, responsible people, have now turned to credit cards and loans for everything they desired, and cars were traded up on an annual basis, while still underwater on their trade-in. Common sense should have told us that you can't solve this problem by doing more of the same, but sadly, too many people are blind to this as their desire to continue spending money they don't have is just too great. I STILL see people signing up for a Kohl's or Target's and now even Wal-Mart credit cards so that they can buy a cartful of goods they don't have the cash for.

People were not really that unreasonable in expecting house values to rise. We have had consistent inflation for over 70 years and consequently, housing prices have risen steadily. Everyone knew this -- bankers, rating agencies, brokers, and buyers. A house was an investment which protected the buyer by the government's commitment to steady Inflation, which everybody is erroneously convinced, is good. The big error was the media not seeing that inflation was being incorrectly measured and interest rates were far too low to be sustained. Especially with a complete disregard for bond and CD investors (savers) that must ultimately lead to a crisis in the fractional reserve banking system.


We are all at a crossroads with regards to the role of the state in our lives. This is a matter that no thinking individual should ignore. The impetus for a vast increase in the expansion in the role of the state is coming from our current financial crisis further influenced by panicked macroeconomic policy advice. It proclaims , and almost all economists agree, that even a flawed package is better than none and time is of the essence. Unfortunately, much of the policy advice being offered is shockingly superficial. It is reminiscent of the simple prime-the-pump ideas of the early Keynes thinking: However It neglects to acknowledge Keynes's own later cautions and qualifications, limiting the value of priming the pump as expressed in his advisory work for the UK Treasury in the 1940s.

Resource-Dislocation issues that are at the heart of both the current situation and its underlying causes are being completely ignored and the complexities of our system are thus generating policies that will not bring a lasting recovery or even any recovery at all.

The economist and political philosopher Friedrich Hayek said in his book, "The Road to Serfdom" that democracy and central planning are incompatible." His argument was that "society" does not naturally have a comprehensive hierarchy of values about how resources should be spent. Therefore, any large-scale plan - like the current stimulus package - will, if considered in detail and with the requisite amount of time, reveal deep disagreements among various political constituencies. The current "stimulus rush," is only partly about the perceived economic need to do something fast. After all, according to the Congressional Budget Office; most of the spending will not take effect in the current calendar year. Furthermore, there is no economic evidence that, despite its size, it will be noticeably more effective than the stimulus bill passed last year. I believe the real reason for the rush is the belief that if the bill was not pushed through immediately, its support would crumble as the people find out what is in the bill and evaluate it according to their different values and opinions. That is exactly what is now taking place. What this experience exposes is that when the state moves beyond its generally agreed-upon basic functions, the legislature will be seen to be more and more as "ineffective grandstanding" as small (d) democratic values of deliberation, discussion, and consultation are seriously compromised.

We must remember that the current economic state of affairs started way back in the 30's with the ever increasing expansion of the role of Government in the affairs of the economy (Socialism). Finally, the straw that broke the back of Capitalism was the Federal Reserve's excessively low interest-rate policy while gutting the Glass-Steagle Act that led to significant economic distortions and imbalances, ultimately crashing the system. Once this occurred, other problems in the financial sector played a significant compounding role. Yet, were it not for the unsustainable misdirection of resources that we are now calling the "housing bubble," we would not now be faced with our current major problems.

Low interest rates tend to favor stocks, consumer durable goods (like houses and automobiles) and capital projects because their present value is greatly increased relative to what they would be at higher rates. Resources then tend to move into these areas as entrepreneurs react to the manipulated market demand. Then when interest rates rise, these areas must readjust to the downside. Mortgage rates and other bank lending rates rise. Capital projects that were unfinished remain so as resources move out of these areas. Others, like homeowners who borrowed on the assumption of continuing low rates, find that they cannot pay off their loans. Banks that loaned on this assumption, and those who purchased securities based on these mortgages, lose capital. This in turn hurts the availability of credit from bank sources and from the destruction of the continued securitization of other assets.

Resource Misallocation at the fundamental level was revealed at the time interest rates rose. Too many resources had gone into various sectors that were not sustainable (over building of homes). This was going on before, but was masked by the low interest rates that were not clearly visible. The rise in rates revealed that this had been a mistake all along.

Autos: At the same time, other independent sector shifts have been occurring. In particular, the Big Three automobile companies have for many years been in decline in their ability to compete. The market has been revealing that the allocation of resources going into these three firms in particular and the industry in general was a huge mistake, creating huge overcapacity. But here, too, the fall in interest rates temporarily masked many of the problems as the demand for automobiles rose dramatically but were nevertheless not sustainable.

Stimulus should not stimulate or reinforce the misallocation of resources. What is the object of stimulus anyway? Trying to prop up housing prices or injecting capital into areas of misallocation are both bad ideas. It prevents the market's corrective mechanisms from working. Wealth should not be continually destroyed once the errors of the bubble have been revealed. This is just throwing good money after bad while the economy goes from bad to worse.


The one greatest difficulty is trying to gauge the correct market prices for anything, especially mortgages and houses under controlled market conditions. Free Markets are valuable precisely because no one knows what the "right" price is. Prices are the outcome of a process of discovery in which trial and error (profit and competition) have their crucial roles. At least this much should have been learned from the failure of Socialist economies and the debates on Socialist calculations in the 1940s. One of the problems in evaluating mortgage-backed securities is due to confused expectations on the part of market participants. Will the markets be allowed to find their real bottom? What kind of political intervention will there be in the housing or mortgage markets and for how long? What will be the effect of that intervention beyond just pushing the problem into the future?

Stimulating certain sectors through government spending is likely to create it's own form of unsustainable resource misallocation. In the worst cases, this spending will attempt to either restore or maintain, due to political considerations, depressed markets to their previous overvaluation. In other cases, it will prop up certain sectors like "infrastructure" and whatever else the near-trillion dollars will be spent on, but then what happens when government spending runs out especially when the government spending becomes inconsistent with the overall voluntary preferences of the people (Tax Payers)?


More importantly, will lenders and related businesses know when the stimulus will end or shift? If not, policy uncertainty will compound our problems. Investors and economic decision makers will be unable to calculate expected rates of returns on possible investments. Consequently, extenders of credit will have poor guidance as to what they should do. (In fact, the current uncertainty is due in large measure to the policy uncertainty about the future. In order for the Stimulus to be viable, it would have to stimulate output "permanently" outside of the directly stimulated sectors with the cooperation and use of private investment. The historical evidence is not encouraging.

Stimulus should create net economic value and not destroy it. Employment (work) should not be the goal in itself: Creating wealth or value must be the ultimate goal. To create value, stimulus will have to attract resources that are currently producing less value than would be produced in uses engendered by the stimulus package. Given that, more than 90% of the labor force is currently employed - this is not obvious. The areas stimulated by government spending will not conveniently use only unemployed resources. Secondly, the actual activities promoted by new government spending would have to be of positive value, especially in the aggregate. This problem will be exacerbated by the political reality that areas in which misallocations are already greatest will experience the greatest pain, thus attracting compensatory spending. Thirdly, the debt created to finance this spending will require either higher taxes in the future or it will generate inflation. In either case, future wealth will be lost as productive activities will be penalized. Will the wealth created today be worth the cost of future losses and will it be able to pay for itself?

What should be done? The first thing to keep in mind is that activities that prevent or inhibit the re-allocation of resources out of their bubble-induced misdirected uses (homes and cars), will not only prolong the current recession but can actually turn it into a depression. This kind of stimulus is not better than nothing - It is worse than nothing. My own preference is to first allow market adjustments to take place. When entrepreneurs and investors are confident that prices will be allowed to find their own true levels, they will begin to invest their own private capital, without government assistance. Values of resources and assets will become more transparent. It may be necessary also to devise transaction-cost-reducing structures to allow for the efficient valuation of complex assets.

Taxes: The current atmosphere of uncertainty has created an increase in the demand to hold money and a reluctance to lend, borrow, invest, and consume. And yet the dangers of an outright deflation seem slim. Nevertheless, a neutral stimulation would do a great deal of good by letting the Free Markets work. By "neutral" stimulation, I mean one than does not encourage unsustainable lines of spending and production or reinforce the misdirection of resources. Tax reductions seem to be the only likely way to accomplish this because, to the extent that they encourage economic activity, they do so in accordance with the voluntary decisions of economic agents. These are more likely to express the underlying preferences of consumers, investors and resource owners and hence be sustainable.

However, simple one-time rebates and lump-sum credits are not as likely to work as well as a reduction in marginal rates. This is because rebates and credits do not offer incentives that will offset the disincentives to spend generated by generalized uncertainty. And this reduction should be across the board. It is important that taxes on capital income be reduced. It would also be useful to cut or even abolish the corporate income tax in part to increase the internal financing of businesses and make them less dependent on bank credit or other forms of external finance and last, but far from least, to make companies more competitive internationally. If the tax revisions are going to favor only the "middle, lower classes" then the incentives to invest will probably not be enhanced. Even Keynes did not think that consumption spending alone could lead us out of recessions.

TAXES AND INFLATION AND GOVERNMENT SPENDING: However, to avoid the impact of later tax increases or inflation to pay for the current spending increases, a credible commitment must be made to cut government spending later. A very liberal use of sunset provisions should be made in spending bills. Even more radical, but perhaps politically not feasible, is the idea that the current legislation should incorporate the concept that renewals of spending bills will require a two-thirds vote in favor. And, of course, a commitment to entitlement reform must be also made. These must be done if we ever hope to avoid depression. Unfortunately, the temper of the times has it that tax cuts for the "rich," are the cause of our woes. It also has it that middle-class entitlements are a problem, but only later on. To make lasting progress toward a sustainable recovery, these ideas, which reflect current delusions, must be fought, brought to light and refuted: Otherwise we are doomed.


The sad truth is that Europe, especially Eastern Europe, is in far worse shape than we are. So is Japan and Korea and while China and South East Asia are in better shape, they too are in recession.

Eastern Europe has borrowed an estimated $1.7 trillion, primarily from Western European banks. And much of Eastern Europe is already in a deep recession bordering on depression. A great deal of that $1.7 trillion is at risk, especially the portion that is in Swiss francs. The Polish zloty has basically dropped in half compared to the Swiss franc. That means if you are a mortgage holder, your house payment just doubled. That same story is repeated all over the Baltics and Eastern Europe. Austrian banks have lent $289 billion (230 billion euros) to Eastern Europe. That is 70% of the Austrian GDP. Much of it is in Swiss francs they borrowed from Swiss banks. Even a10% impairment (highly optimistic) would bankrupt the Austrian financial system, says the Austrian Finance Minister. The problem is the size of the banks in terms of the GDP of the country in which they are domiciled is all out of proportion. They are as if the bank bailout package were in excess of $14 trillion. In essence, there are small countries that have very large banks (relatively speaking) that have gone outside their own borders to make loans and have done so at levels of leverage which are far in excess of the most leveraged US banks. The ability of the "host" countries to nationalize their banks is simply not there. "It is East Europe that is blowing up right now," Erik Berglof, EBRD's Chief Economist said the region may need €400bn in help to cover loans and prop up the credit system. Europe's governments are making matters worse. Some are pressuring their banks to pull back, undercutting subsidiaries in East Europe. Athens has ordered Greek banks to pull out of the Balkans.

"The sums needed are beyond the limits of the IMF, which has already bailed out Hungary, Ukraine, Latvia, Belarus, Iceland, and Pakistan -- and Turkey next -- and is fast exhausting its own $200bn (€155bn) reserve." We are nearing the point where the IMF may have to print money for the world. I could go on and on but the story is the same for each country and if one country defaults, that could set the stage for a round of trade protectionism and competing currency devaluations that would spread the depression around the world. If you want to know why the US $ has been strong in the face of our problems, the answer is simple: Except for China and Singapore, the rest of the world is far worse off.


On the 50 Contracts each that I took on QLD, SSO and IBM for a total of $27,500, I got stopped out on Monday for a 50% loss. It was not looking like a very good birthday, until I checked my 18 contracts each of BGZBN, which I bought for $4050 and sold on Tuesday Morning for $18,000, a $13,950 Profit and the FAZBJ that I paid $6,300 for that I also sold on Tuesday for $25,200, a $18,800 profit. So, all in all, I had a pretty good birthday present: $32,750 in profit - $14, 200 in losses for a total gain of $15,550 in 4 days.


To be forewarned is to be forearmed: A major cataclysmic, once in a life time, stock market crash will soon be upon us. It could start as early as tomorrow, but most probably not before April or May at the latest. This time there will be no place to hide and it will make this past year's sell-off seem like just a correction. But before that starts, I am still looking for that one last tradable rally as Obama with his Stimulus Bill in hand and with his soon to be Bank and Foreclosure Bailout plans will stop all his negative talk bashing the economy and come back to the Hope and Can Do optimistic rhetoric that won him the Presidency.

Dow Theory Primary Bear Market Trend reconfirmation On Thursday, February 19th the DJII closed at 7,465.95, which is below its previous closing low on November 20th of 7,552.29: This confirms the lower closing low by the Transports giving us that long term Dow Theory Primary Bear Market Trend reconfirmation we have been expecting. Trannies had their initial closing low of 2,988.99 on November 20th, but have now dropped significantly below that on Thursday, to close at 2,708.30. Dow Theory considers this a primary trend Bear Market reconfirmation. This I expect will be an almost exact replay of what happened during the stock market collapse of Nov 29, 1929, then a suck in rally in1930's, followed by a second and much worse crash into 1932 for a total loss of 89% leading into the Great Depression.


Short-term, we have some interesting developments that lead me to still believe that a short-term rally, one that lasts a month or so, is still possible and probable. Premiums are now too high to allow for another Strangle Strategy here. There are however a number of major Bullish Divergences that occurred last week. While the DJII hit new closing and intraday low's which was the lowest since October 9th, 2002, the S&P 500 did not follow suit. The S&P 500's lowest level for the Bear Market remains November 21st's intraday Low of 741.02. Thursday's intraday low, remained above that at 777.03 - this is a significant short-term Bullish non-confirmation.

When the Industrials fell to 7,552 on November 20th, new lows reached 1,894. Friday's new lows were a far cry from that, at only 555 with prices even lower, hitting 7,249.47 intraday, which is a significant Bullish divergence. So short-term, I remain Bullish, while intermediate and long term I am very Bearish. We also are inside a Fibonacci Cluster turn window from last Friday, February 13th through Monday, February 23rd. Hopefully It should lead to a multi-week rally which will be the last good chance to raise cash before the BEAR MARKET resumes its downward spiral in earnest.

TRADERS & SPECULATORS ONLY: If the market opens up down, buy the same calls that we got stopped out of last week only this time it is March Calls (QLD, SSO IBM, FXI). Remember to use 20% stop losses and do not use more than 10% pf your capital. For more prudent L.T. Investors, continue to build your cash positions by selling into any rallies. STAY IN CASH and wait for your opportunities to go short, while staying with your Gold Positions as you continue to search for junior Gold and Silver stocks that you want to buy.


I don't have much to say on Gold as I think I covered most of the meaningful comments in "RIDING THE GOLDEN BULL." Anything else I could say would just be patting myself on the back, which is a waste of time since you all know what the truth is. So all I have to stay is: Stay with the Game Plans as I have outlined them over the last 8 years. We are on the verge of either breaking out to a new all time high or the bullish sentiment is now so positive that we are in for a $150-$175 pull-back. Either way buy into the Pullback or buy after the Breakout. Nothings changed: My long term projection is still $6,250 and the short term really does not matter.Stay with your positions. I am still expecting $1,200 to $1,500 and possibly as High as $2,500 before the end of this year.


Since all my loyal followers having been making money for the last 8 years while most investors have lost between 28% at best and 68% at worst Don't you think you owe it to your friends to introduce them to UNCOMMON COMMON SENSE?


The one-year subscription is a reasonable $259 and a two-year subscription is a modest $449:

Existing Subscribers can still extend their subscriptions at their original prices. It is my way of saying thank you for loyalty and helping me get this letter off the ground.



Aubie Baltin CFA, CTA, CFP, PhD.
2078 Bonisle Circle
Palm Beach Gardens FL. 33418
[email protected]

The melting point of gold is 1337.33 K (1064.18 °C, 1947.52 °F).
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