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Gold, Silver, Copper, Nickel and the Slow Death of Money

Gold, Silver, Copper, Nickel and the Slow Death of Money

A huge opportunity to hedge against both inflation and deflation is lying out there in the open. There are no transaction costs and right now there’s even a built-in discount. But most people will never realize any of this. In 1933 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 6102, which made it illegal for U.S. citizens to hold gold bullion. Prior to that, the $20 bill was essentially a warehouse receipt for a one-ounce gold coin. Prior to the Federal Reserve Act of 1914, the $20 bill actually told you this. After Executive Order 6102, $20 notes weren’t allowed to be exchanged for gold anymore. Americans couldn’t legally own or trade gold as money and savings, only as jewelry or collectible coins. A year after making monetary gold ownership illegal, FDR revalued gold from $20.67 per ounce to $35 an ounce with the Gold Reserve Act. The Act also required all gold and gold certificates to be turned over to the Treasury. The dollar was debased. A chunk of the gold it used to be good for was legally removed. Instead of  “containing” 1/20 an ounce of gold, each dollar now only contained (or represented) 1/35 an ounce. And of course you couldn’t actually own the gold itself. In 1971 Nixon severed the last official ties between gold and the dollar. The dollar quickly sunk to its real value, which had been debased by years of money supply inflation. By 1975 Americans were allowed to own bullion gold again, but during the roughly 40 years bullion gold ownership had been illegal, the dollar had been drastically debased. At its former lowest point in the summer of 1980, the dollar …

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Inflation in (Mostly) the Wrong Places

It is often claimed that inflation is a benign, even positive, force. People assume that prices, wages, and assets will all rise together… In the real world, inflationary episodes don’t play out that way. Wages don’t keep up, and bubbles form in unexpected (and unwanted) places. In America, compensation is clearly stagnant. And the outlook for future pay raises is not good, as this chart from David Rosenberg shows: Contrast that with this next chart, which shows the percentage of companies planning to raise prices: Combine stagnant wages and slow growth with high unemployment and rising prices, and you get a recipe for stagflation. This scenario is being played out around the world. In the UK, consumer prices rose 4% in 2010. As noted by the Financial Times , wages aren’t keeping up: The prices of everyday goods and services are rising about twice as rapidly as average wages, Tuesday’s inflation figures confirmed — which means that the standard of living of many Britons is already falling. According to the Bank of England, average pay at the end of this year will be able to buy no more than it could in 2005. It is the first time that the purchasing power of earnings has fallen so far since the 1920s. I expect this trend to continue as long as the Fed’s mad experiment is ongoing. The thing about Central Bank “easing” is you never know where inflation will pop up… Easy money will always fuel speculators, who have little skin in the game, to find another bubble to “invest” in. Silver, gold, oil With printing presses switched “on” for the foreseeable future, we remain bullish on precious metals. Silver is holding above $30 today and could hit $37.50 on the next leg up. Coal, oil, and natural gas investments should continue to do well. And as my colleague Nick Hodge of Energy and Capital says, “Buy it if it burns.” If you’re not yet convinced that Fed printing is directly related to rising commodity prices, examine the following chart. (The solid blue line represents the Austrian Money Supply (AMS), and the solid teal line represents commodity prices ( IMF Commodity Index )): Note: The version of money supply shown

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How Savings and Investment Increase an Economy’s Output

Filed in BP, Debt, deflation, economy, interest-rates, Lear, o, silver, Spot Gold, target, US Dollar by on February 14, 2011 0 Comments

Everyone who has held a job and a bank account understands the potential benefit of postponing consumption today in order to enjoy greater consumption in the future. However, many people — if pressed — would explain this increase in saver’s income by an offsetting reduction in the income of a borrower in the economy. This is certainly a possibility. For example, if Bill (the borrower) forgets his lunch money on Monday, he might ask his coworker Sally (the saver), “Can you lend me $10 and I’ll pay you back $11 tomorrow?”  If Sally agrees, then it is clear that her $1 in interest on the personal loan was paid out of Bill’s reduced income for that month. In other words, if Bill’s take-home pay that month were $5,000, then he would actually only have $4,999 to work with, because of his $1 expenditure in “buying a loan” from Sally. At the same time, if Sally’s normal paycheck were also $5,000, then this particular month she would actually have $5,001 to work with, after earning $1 in providing “lending services” to Bill. In the scenario above, what basically happened is that Bill financed his consumption with an “advance” made by Sally. On the Monday morning is question, …

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Weekend: The Fool Proof Retirement Plan

Welcome to the Wealth Daily Weekend Edition— our insights from the week in investing and links to our most-read Wealth Daily and sister publication articles. As I wrote earlier in the week, dividend reinvestment plans — or DRIPs — are a great way to secure your financial future. All you need is the time and patience to stick to the blueprint… The best part is these plans are offered by more than 1,100 companies and are available to investors of all stripes, making it possible to purchase shares of stock without using a broker. This allows investors to buy stock directly from the company in very small amounts— something that can be more difficult and costly when compared to buying shares through your broker. In fact most companies don’t charge a fee, and the minimum investment can be as low as $10. Advertisement 60 Minutes Reports on Growing Body Parts Call it what you want: biotechnology, tissue engineering, cell therapy, regenerative medicine. The famous newsmagazine has reported on one doctor about to make multiple medical problems disappear forever. Lucky for you, that same doctor sits on the board of a $3.00 company that will bring these solutions to market— making shareholders rich in the process. Check out the 60 Minutes clip to learn the name. The plans also reinvest all or partial dividends paid into more stock, thus the name “Dividend Reinvestment Plan.” And in this case — since the investment is based on dollar amounts — you can purchase fractional shares. In addition, investors can choose to add a monthly contribution to the plan, boosting the amount of wealth the DRIP can create. That means you can start out with as little…

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How Gold Could Save America from Nazi Theory

Keynesian economics is the root of economic problems for most countries around the world today. So it’s important to understand both what Keynesian economics stands for and what the opposing brand of economic thinking called Classical economics maintains. In a nutshell… Classical Economics: Keynesian Economics: Thrift, hard work, and productivity are virtues. The classical gold standard restrains the state from inflating and provides a stable monetary environment in which the economy can flourish. Government should strive for balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility. The state should adopt a general policy of laissez-faire of non-interventionism in economic affairs: low taxes, free trade, and minimal bureaucracy. Production is more important than consumption. Say’s Law: Supply is more important than demand since supply of one good creates the demand for another. An increase in savings can contract income and reduce economic growth. Consumption is more important than production, thus turning Say’s Law upside down. There is no need for a gold standard; fiat currency is preferable. Demand is more important than supply. Teaches that governments and politicians can be trusted. It’s no wonder politicians love Keynesian economics over Classical economics. To control the economy, most governments around the world have been using Keynesian economics for the past 75 years. It is the only economic thought that is taught in the schools and universities. “They” want us to believe they are wise and intelligent souls who know what is best for us. But nothing could be further from the truth throughout most of economic history… Read this quote from Adolf Hitler, who openly embraced Keynesian ideas: Gold is not necessary. I have no interest in gold. We will build a solid state, without an ounce of gold behind it. Anyone who sells above the set prices, let him be marched off to a concentration camp. That’s the bastion of money. The Nazis’ economic success when Hitler first came into power was a result of Hitler cooking the books. The rest of his time in power goes down in history as one of the worst atrocities in the history of mankind. Only two other twisted power-seeking devils in the annals of time are responsible for the killing of more people than Hitler &mdash…

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A Self-Employed Carpenter’s Continued Thoughts on the Future

Filed in BP, Debt, deflation, economy, Gold, inflation, Lear, o, silver, US Dollar by on February 11, 2011 0 Comments

My first article on this topic concerned the sharp contraction of the residential construction industry in the U.S. I am a self-employed carpenter. The main thrust of that article was that the housing market is not going to recover to anything approaching its zenith. Bloomberg Business reported in January that housing starts fell again in December to a 529,000 annual rate. The annual rate in a good economy is considered to be a million new homes per year. The recent peak in 2005 was 2 million homes. Nationally, production for the residential construction industry has dropped about 75% off its peak. Inflation, lack of wealth, and rising energy costs preclude any great gains in housing output in the near future. The majority of the skilled construction workers will be doing something other than residential construction in the near future. What is it that we’ll be doing? First off, we are craftsman. “Craftsman” is a mind-set, a personality type. Throughout history, craftsmen have exchanged their labor, skills, and ideas for the expendable wealth of those who have it. That is the ball upon which we need to keep our eye. Many of us will likely still be craftsman in the next economy. The best-run construction companies will be able to get lean enough to live through the hard times and carve out a niche in the new residential construction industry. Most companies and individuals will not make it back. The current overextended financial situation in the U.S. will cause our world to “shrink.” Inflation and sharply rising fuel prices will force a lot of economic activity back down to the community level. Many things that we currently take for granted will become more difficult to obtain. Acquiring food, fuel, heat, and shelter will take on a greater importance in the day-to-day life of the middle class. I’m not talking about the Apocalypse. I’m just saying that things will not be as comfortable as they once were. You and your fellow middle classers will be conducting more business within your neighborhoods and communities. What do we craftsman do in the transition? First of all, keep your hand in the old construction game as long as you can. Do not create new debt for yourself. Do not bid jobs so close to the bone that you have no wiggle room. If something goes awry, and it usually does, you will have either new debt or legal problems. Speaking of new debt, get out of your old debt. The leaner you emerge from this transition period, the better your choices will be. If you have any liquid assets, consider owning some physical silver. Cash will be eaten …

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Jaguar Mining (NYSE:JAG) Closes $100 Million Senior Notes Offering

Filed in Gurupi Project, jaguar-mining, o, Senior Secured Notes, silver by on February 9, 2011 0 Comments

Jaguar Mining (NYSE:JAG) announced they’ve closed on their $99.3 million senior notes offering. The aggregate principal amount was $103.5 million. Included in the issuance was $13.5 million aggregate principal amount of notes following the full exercise of the over-allotment option granted by Jaguar to the original purchasers. The 5.5% senior convertible notes will be due 2016. Net capital raised

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General Electric (NYSE:GE) Secures 30-year Repair, Overhaul Deal with HAL in India

Filed in GE Aviation, General Electric, Gold Prices, HAL, o, silver by on February 9, 2011 0 Comments

General Electric Co.’s (NYSE:GE) GE Aviation announced they’ve signed a 30-year deal with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to overhaul and repair aircraft systems for the Hawk MK132, an advanced jet trainer for the Indian Air Force.GE Aviation will “develop, supply and commission” test equipment under the terms of the licensing agreement. They’ll also provide training and technical data for

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Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), AIG (NYSE:AIG) Drag Financials Down

Filed in AIG, Gold Bullion prices, Keycorp, o, RBC Capital, silver, Wells Fargo by on February 9, 2011 0 Comments

The overall financial sector in the U.S. is under downward pressure, dragged down by Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) and AIG (NYSE:AIG).Wells Fargo fell on the abrupt news Chief Financial Officer Howard Atkins was retiring for personal reasons. Atkins had been indispensable over the last several years to the company, and his leaving is a real blow to Wells.AIG dropped after the company announced it was

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A Self-Employed Carpenter’s Thoughts on the Future

The world is changing. Currently, as a nation, we have a large and well-trained section of our work force dedicated to residential construction. Unemployment within the construction industry now exceeds 20%. That number takes into account only workers getting unemployment compensation. There are also many self-employed individuals, ineligible for unemployment compensation, who have simply run out of customers and work. That is the bad news. Now the worse news: Not only are those jobs not coming back, but the construction industry will continue to diminish for the foreseeable future. The real estate glut is not on hold; it is over. Waiting for its return is similar to waiting for next the big surge in typewriters, 35mm cameras, and home phones. Why are the construction jobs not coming back? There are three main reasons, the first of which is inflation. Decades of credit expansion and the recent printing of money (quantitative easing) have increased the overall volume of our fiat currency: dollars. Therefore, the value of each dollar unit has been reduced, causing prices to rise. This results in increased costs in construction of new homes. Higher new construction costs make staying in and repairing older structures, or renting, more attractive. The second reason is fuel costs. Living rurally and working in urban areas is becoming very expensive. Reasons one and two will keep an increasing number of younger workers and couples living and renting closer to work. Why take the financial and mobility risks associated with homeownership? The third reason is we are broke. Who are “we”? Western civilization, comprised mainly of the U.S. and Europe. Consider this…there are gold and silver coins and bullion: actual wealth storage vehicles. There are paper dollars: temporary wealth storage vehicles. And there are also trillions of “dollars” represented as pixels on screens in accounting software programs. When I say that we are broke it is because I don’t believe those pixel dollars represent anything. All of the wealth supposedly held in those pixels does not exist. It is a classic Ponzi scheme. If you go today and convert your pixels to actual dollars, everything is just fine. But if 10% of us go today and try to convert our pixels into dollars, the banks will shut down…Why? Because the money doesn’t exist. There is no actual wealth stored in any of those pixels. Spain and Portugal may require financial bailouts in 2011. Part of the fallout from the Greek financial crisis last year was the creation of a eurozone bailout fund of $1.01 trillion. That fund could be used to assist Spain and Portugal if necessary. Where did that $1.01 trillion come from? Was it removed from another sector of Europe’s economy? Supplied in gold bullion to EU headquarters in The Hague? Removed from the savings accounts of earnest Europeans? No, none of those could supply …

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Carlos Slim Catches Gold Fever

Carlos Slim Catches Gold Fever

Carlos Slim beat both Warren Buffett and Bill Gates in stock market performance last year. The reason: a hell-bent plan to start a brand-new gold and silver mining company in Mexico. Slim’s publicly disclosed holdings jumped 37% to $70 billion in 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg . Meanwhile, Buffett helped return a 22% gain for Berkshire Hathaway last year, and Gates’ Microsoft fell, hurting his overall annual returns even as he spread his investments into other sectors… The World’s Richest Man catches gold fever Slim — who made his fortune by building one of the world’s biggest telecommunication empires — has recently been making significant investments in gold and silver, particularly with a focus on precious metal mining in Mexico. Carlos Slim became the world’s richest man in 2010 with an estimated net worth of $55 billion. And a new spin-off mining company may help him widen his lead atop the global wealth list… Back in August, Slim’s holding company, Grupo Carso, S.A.B. de C.V., announced it would spin off a new precious metal mining company that would be focused on gold and silver mining in Mexico. The news added billions to Slim’s already ridiculous fortune as the plan to spin off the new company sent shares of Grupo Carso soaring in 2010, making it his best-performing asset last year. The new company (called Minera Frisco) produced nearly 200,000 ounces of gold and 5.5 million ounces of silver from its Mexican projects in 2010. Frisco recently reported plans to spend nearly $750 million this year to ramp up gold and silver production. The company estimates production from new mines in Mexico will more than double the company’s gold production to 440,000 ounces and nearly quadruple its silver production to 19.1 million ounces in 2011. Shares of Minera Frisco began trading Mexican Stock Exchange at the beginning of this year. But Slim and his family received nearly 80% of the new shares of Minera Frisco, and the stock is very thinly traded. Most analysts and investors will most likely avoid covering or owning this stock… However, there are many suitable alternative companies with a focus on gold and silver mining in Mexico. The largest of Minera Frisco’s publicly-traded competitors is the London-based silver major Fresnillo plc (LON: FRES) . Fresnillo plc Exchange: Symbol London: FRES P/E 39.76 Share Price 1,450 GBX Divided 5.90 GBX Market Cap 10.41 Billion GBP Yield 1.12% Fresnillo is the …

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Why Economists Are Not Popular

Filed in BP, deflation, Ford, o, silver, US Dollar by on February 7, 2011 0 Comments

One of the many reasons why economists are unpopular is that they keep reminding people that things have costs, that there is no free lunch. People already know that — but they like to forget it when there is something they have their hearts set on. Economists don’t have to say anything when people are buying things at a shopping mall or at an automobile dealership. The price tags convey the situation in unmistakable terms. It is when people are voting for nice-sounding things which politicians have dreamed up that economists are likely to point out that the costs ignored by politicians are going to have to be paid, one way or another — and that you have to weigh those costs against whatever benefits you expect. Who wants to put on green eye shades and start adding up the numbers when someone grandly proclaims, “access to health care for all” or “clean air” or “saving the environment”? Economists are strictly party-poopers at times like these. They are often gate crashers too, since usually nobody asked them how much these things would cost or even thought about these issues in such terms. Some of the more persistent or insensitive economists may even raise questions about the goals themselves. How much health care at the taxpayers’ expense? In Britain, a 12-year-old-girl was given breast implants. That much health care? Meanwhile, Britain’s skyrocketing medical costs of taking care of things that people would never have spent their own money to take care of forced cutbacks and delays in more urgently needed medical treatments. One woman’s cancer operation was postponed so many times by the British health service that, by the time the system could take her, the disease was now too far gone for medical help — and she died. Economists could have told anyone in advance that making things “free” causes excessive use by some, leaving less for others with more urgent needs that have to remain unsatisfied. Rent control, for example, has led to more housing being occupied by some, who would not have paid the …

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