Starting in September 2007, Elliot Doxer played an elaborate 18-month-long game of cloak-and-dagger with James Cromer, a man he thought was an Israeli intelligence officer. He handed over pages and pages of confidential data to Cromer, providing a list of Akamai’s clients and contracts, information about the company’s security practices, and even a list of 1,300 Akamai employees, including mobile numbers, departments and e-mail addresses.
Doxer delivered the information to a dead drop box, a predetermined location set up by Cromer where both of them could drop off documents for each other without actually meeting.
His motivation was to help Israel and to get information on his son and estranged wife, who lived outside the U.S., prosecutors said in court filings.
Unbeknownst to Doxer, his Israeli spy was actually a special agent with the counterintelligence squad at the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Pittsburgh field office. In October 2010, Doxer was arrested and charged with committing foreign economic espionage. He pleaded guilty on Tuesday, becoming only the eighth person ever to be prosecuted in the U.S. for trying to sell corporate secrets to foreign governments.
According to Akamai, there’s no evidence that Doxer ever managed to sell his secrets to anyone other than federal agents. Doxer’s lawyer didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment Tuesday.
Doxer worked in the finance department at Akamai’s Boston headquarters. Apparently out of the blue, he decided to send an e-mail to Israel’s Boston consulate on June 22, 2006, writing, “I am a jewish american who lives in Boston. I know you are always looking for information and i am offering the little i may have.”
When Cromer contacted him a few years later, Doxer quickly began delivering information. He visited the dead drop box 62 times in the next 18 months, authorities said. He asked for $3,000 for the data.
He also asked for information about his son, and he made this rather ominous comment about his estranged wife: “His mother is a terrible human being and has caused me tremendous suffering. Not enough bad things can happen to her if you know what I mean.”
Doxer faces 15 years in prison on the charges.
In my family we have a pot-pourri of successful careers, including a fashion designer, a rock musician, a helicopter pilot, a chef and a City trader. Yet not one of them went to university.
When I first told the careers adviser that, well, university might not actually appeal, the look on her face said it all. Just go, Polly, she said. You can worry about what comes next once you have a degree in your pocket.
From the age of 16, I studied the International Baccalaureate at a small, all-girls’ school and from the beginning I was comfortably under the impression that, by doing so, I might even have the upper hand to my A-level peers when it came to applying for a place at university. However, two years later, with results in hand and uni offers met, I am now wondering if this really is the right direction for me.
The norm for students of my age and attainment is to move straight from school into university in pursuit of that ticket to the future that is a degree, and, out of the eight of us doing the IB at my school, I am alone in my choice to put it off for a few years – if I go at all.
A massive amount of pressure is placed on 18-year-olds such as myself to apply for further education, particularly this year, given the fast-approaching rise in fees and, as much as anyone, I felt the strain. Of course, my school just wants what’s best for me and for me to achieve my full potential. Nevertheless, as a pupil at a conventional girls’ school, I can’t help but feel that they want me to achieve said potential in a conventional girls’ school way. In layman’s terms: finish school, get a degree, get a job, succeed at job. To stray from this line is rare, and certainly a cause for concern. Yes, I’m rather good at music but I have little to no intention of pursuing it further, and have not shown any signs of, or desire to be, the world’s next Richard Branson or Lord Sugar. As you can imagine, my school’s response wasn’t exactly one of immense elation.
I’ve done some research, and from what I can see, on average, the starting salary for a graduate is £16,000, or between £23,000 and 26,000 in a blue-chip company.
Interestingly, the starting salary for a non-graduate is the same and, generally speaking, rises each year depending on how well the employee does their job. It would seem the problem is more about getting the job in the first place. So what is the point, then? Uni is famously acknowledged for providing students with the best few years of their social lives; but other than that, will I actually miss out at all?
Theoretically, a school-leaver with enough drive and ambition could work from the bottom of a company up to the level of a newly-hired graduate, or possibly even higher, in the three years the graduate spent obtaining their degree. But the non-graduate has no student loan to repay and already has a job, whereas the graduate walks out of university searching for that one job that was snapped up three years ago by a classmate who followed a different path.
So I find it hard to understand why so many people subject themselves to the stress that is a Ucas application for a degree in a social science or humanity. I spent last week asking various companies about their views on degrees. I found that British Gas, for example, is known to encourage apprenticeships, and claims that some of its senior managers began as apprentices before progressing through the company.
Rod Aldridge, founder and former executive chairman of Capita, strongly believes in teaching young people about entrepreneurship at school in order to help those who struggle in academia to make it in the business world.
Aldridge left school at 16 and had no business experience when he set up Capita. What he did have, however, are the qualities that he believes are crucial for success: “We look at the attributes for an entrepreneur, which are risk-taking, determination, passion and looking at life differently.”
My research has confirmed, in my mind, that I won’t apply for university in September. Who knows, maybe one day I will go, and maybe it will only take a year for me to work out that that is what I really want. But, until then, I think I’ll risk starting at the bottom and work my way up – and without £50,000 of debt hanging round my neck.
Three out of five firms say it “makes no difference” whether a job candidate has a degree. A poll of employers also found that 80% would prefer a school-leaver with three years’ work experience than a graduate. All the managers and directors quizzed for the poll, commissioned by Santander, were involved in staff recruitment. The firms came from the financial services, IT, manufacturing and education sectors.
Small firms, in particular, were unimpressed by the value of a degree. However, just 12% said school-leavers had the same aptitude for learning new skills as graduates, while 58% thought graduates would be quicker learners.
Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the umbrella group for vice-chancellors Universities UK, urged teenagers to remember that, on average, graduates earn “considerably more” than non-graduates over their working lives. Graduates were more likely to be employed than non-graduates.
“It is also important to remember that the job market is changing,” she said, adding that: “The CBI predicted earlier this year that by 2017, 56% more jobs will require people to hold graduate-level qualifications. A university education does not just increase your chances of getting a job on leaving university, but also provides you with skills for life.”
According to the Office for National Statistics, figures to April 2011 show that degree holders earned an average of £12,000 a year more than non-graduates over the past decade. The median salary for someone aged 22-64 with a degree was £29,900, compared to £17,800 for someone without a degree. But the figures reveal that having a degree doesn’t really pay off until you are in your 30s. For people aged 22, average wages are roughly the same, whether the person has a degree or not. But degree holders saw their incomes increase faster for each year of age, reaching a peak at 51.
Unemployment among new graduates has risen in recent years, hittingreaching 18.5%, according to Labour Force Ssurvey figures. But it’s even worse for those who left school without going to university. A total of 44.3% of 16-17 year olds who are out of school were unemployed in the third quarter of 2010 (the most recent figures available), while 27% of 18-20 year olds out of school are “economically inactive”. The figures are the highest since records began in 1992.
The following quotes are from Jesse L. Livermore.
“Of course I loved to trade heavily and they called me the Boy Plunger; but I also liked to study the moves. I never thought that anything was irksome if it helped me to trade more intelligently. Before I can solve a problem I must state it to myself. When I think I have found the solution I must prove I am right. I know of only one way to prove it; and that is, with my own money.”
“After spending many years in Wall Street and after making and losing millions of dollars I want to tell you this: It never was my thinking that made the big money for me. It always was my sitting. Got that? My sitting tight!.”
“The reason is that a man may see straight and clearly and yet become impatient or doubtful when the market takes its time about doing as he figured it must do. That is why so many men in Wall Street, who are not at all in the sucker class, not even in the third grade, nevertheless lose money. The market does not beat them. They beat themselves, because though they have brains they cannot sit tight.”
“Disregarding the big swing and trying to jump in and out was fatal to me. Nobody can catch all the fluctuations. In a bull market your game is to buy and hold until you believe that the bull market is near its end. To do this you must study general conditions and not tips or special factors affecting individual stocks.”
“One of the most helpful things that anybody can learn is to give up trying to catch the last eighth – or the first. These two are the most expensive eighths in the world. They have cost stock traders, in the aggregate, enough millions of dollars to build a concrete highway across the continent.”
“I think it was a long step forward in my trading education when I realized at last that when old Mr. Partridge kept on telling the other customers, “Well, you know this is a bull market!” he really meant to tell them that the big money was not in the individual fluctuations but in the main movements – that is, not in reading the tape but in sizing up the entire market and its trend.”
“I believe there are no good stocks or bad stocks; there are only money making stocks. So there is no good direction to trade, short or long; there is only the money-making way to trade.”
On Saturday, August 13th, Texas Governor Rick Perry joined the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Gov. Perry made sure his announcement was timed to quash any bump that other Republican candidates might get from the straw poll held the same day in Ames, Iowa.
Gov. Perry is a sharp political contender. He has never lost an election since entering politics in 1984 and is a tenacious campaigner. Many Republicans see him as their best chance to win back the White House in 2012. Texas is doing well economically—Gov. Perry claims some of the credit for that—and he appeals to both social and economic conservatives. By uniting both groups, Gov. Perry could conceivably win the nomination.
Gov. Perry’s campaign manager, Dan Carney, is just as sharp. He is a New Hampshire native, and knows the Granite State’s presidential primary politics very well. The Texas Observer says that “though a Republican, he’s not ideological,” which tells us something about Gov. Perry.
The Texas governor’s strongest Republican rivals are said to be Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Both have flaws that primary observers are beginning to notice, and some see Mr. Perry as a promising alternative.
Rep. Bachmann talks a good game for conservatives—the immigration reform group NumbersUSA gives her the best score on immigration—but she has no executive experience and may not be able to win over a wider electorate. Gov. Romney has executive experience and is generally seen as more electable than Rep. Bachmann. However, the conservative voter base worries about the liberal and moderate positions Gov. Romney took in the past.
Enter Rick Perry. He is seen as a politician with pizzazz who is electable, credentialed, and holds conservative views that appeal to the Republican base. He may well be able to unite the social and economic factions of the Republican Party, but there is a growing number of what I call “nationalist” conservatives whose views need to be courted too. In the past, foreign policy conservatives, or “hawks,” were the third leg of the Republican stool, but the hawks got us into quagmires overseas, and Rep. Ron Paul’s paleo-libertarian challenge has somewhat muted them for this election cycle.
Nationalist conservatives care more about securing our own borders than securing the borders of other countries. They are against handouts for illegal aliens. They want a wall built along the Mexican border to stop illegal aliens and gangs. They’re against amnesty, oppose birthright citizenship, and believe illegal aliens should be deported, not coddled. They believe jobs should go to Americans first, and not to illegal aliens. They may not be AR readers yet, but they have a growing sense that something has gone badly wrong with their country.
How good a candidate is Gov. Perry on these issues? He stinks. He is the worst of the Republicans and here are 10 reasons why:
1. Open Borders: Former Congressman Tom Tancredo, in a devastating article that appeared in Politico on August 11, 2011, notes that Gov. Perry gave a 2001 speech in Mexico, no less, saying he supported completely open borders, in which he called for the “free flow of individuals between these two countries who want to work and want to be an asset to our country and to Mexico.” Apparently, there can never be too much immigration from Mexico for Gov. Perry.
2. Border Fence: If you’re for open borders, you don’t want a border fence. The AP reported that in the same 2001 speech in Mexico, Gov. Perry says, “But the idea that you’re going to build a 1,200 mile wall … is idiocy. It absolutely would not work.”
3. An Arizona-style Immigration Law for Texas: Gov. Perry is against interior enforcement of our immigration laws. During the debate over Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration SB 1070, he opposed enacting something similar in his state, saying, “It would not be the right direction for Texas.”
4. Amnesty: Gov. Perry said Congress didn’t have the “maturity” to reform our immigration laws, by which he meant granting amnesty. The “Washington Watcher” at Vdare.com notes Gov. Perry has called for a “guest worker program that takes undocumented workers off the black market and legitimizes their economic contributions without providing them with citizenship status.” In other words, at a time when a record number of Americans are out of work, Gov. Perry’s job-creation plan is to make it easier for foreigners to take more of our jobs.
5. Birthright Citizenship: An article at Youth for Western Civilization’s blog notes that Gov. Perry “supports granting citizenship to children of illegal aliens, and opposes legislation to change the current policy which grants citizenship to any child of an illegal alien.” According to the Washington Post, he has said any change of our current birthright citizenship policies would be “unconstitutional.”
For generations, politicians were afraid to touch the question of birthright citizenship, but thanks to Tea Party groups, that is starting to change. By means of a deliberate misinterpretation of the 14th Amendment, any pregnant woman who manages “to fly, crawl or flop across our borders” as Jared Taylor once put it, can give birth to an American citizen. Professor Lino Graglia of the University of Texas has ably refuted this absurd view of the 14th Amendment.
As Mr. Perry’s views become better known among conservative Republicans, they could turn against him. Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann have both spoken out against birthright citizenship.
6. E-Verify: E-Verify is a federal program that lets employers make sure their workers are here legally. Vdare’s “Washington Watcher” notes that when Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson challenged Gov. Perry for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2010, she called for E-Verify for all Texas state employees. Even that was too much for Gov. Rick Perry, who stated: “E-Verify would not make a hill of beans difference when it comes to what’s happening in America today.”
Illegal immigrants who are secretly working for Al Queda or MS-13 could get jobs as state employees, but Gov. Perry is opposed to even the most basic effort to weed them out. Apparently, it doesn’t make a “hill of beans difference” to him.
7. Illegal Aliens as “Undocumented”: The same Youth for Western Civilization article reports that in a talk about his big ideas for Texas school students, he said, “And that vision must include the children of undocumented workers.” (Emphasis added). “Undocumented” is the pro-Amnesty Left’s favorite code word for illegal aliens. Needless to say, that “vision” includes college education, jobs, and everything else. It is easy to foresee a Republican-promoted amnesty of the “undocumented” under a Perry administration, just like the one the last Bush administration served up.
8. In-State Tuition for Illegal Aliens: In 2001, Gov. Perry supported and signed the Texas “DREAM Act,” which lets children of illegal aliens pay in-state tuition at Texas universities. It you live in neighboring Arizona, no in-state rates for you; but if your family sneaked illegally into Texas, Gov. Perry wants to give you tuition breaks.
Even the voters of liberal Maryland managed to upend the liberal elites’ goal of passing a “DREAM Act” in that state. So unpopular was the law there, that after a successful petition drive, Maryland voters can now decide its fate themselves in 2012.
9. Bragged About it in Mexico: After he signed the Texas DREAM Act, Gov. Perry went to Mexico to brag about it. According to the Washington Times, he said in Spanish: “Educacion es el futuro, y si se puede.” (Education is the future, and yes we can). Gov. Rick Perry, a supposedly conservative governor from the conservative state of Texas, brags in Mexico about transferring more Texas gringo money to more illegal aliens.
In 2009, Mr. Perry received the “Defender of Jerusalem” award, which is given to public figures who show a commitment to defending Israel and Jerusalem as its capital. “I have long supported the right of a Jewish state to exist in the Middle East,” said the grateful Mr. Perry. He is obviously unconcerned about the rights of a Texan state.
10. Giuliani for President in 2008: There were many conservatives running for the 2008 Republican nomination. Gov. Perry could have backed Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA), former Sen. Fred Thompson (TN), or fellow Texan Rep. Ron Paul. Instead, he supported fellow open-borders advocate, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
He said he supported Mr. Giuliani for national security reasons, but somehow failed to see how securing our borders is a matter of national security. Perhaps in his heart, and despite his conservative rhetoric, he feels closer to Mr. Giuliani’s worldview.
Gov. Perry has made unusual endorsements before. In 1988, when he was still a Democrat, he endorsed Al Gore for president. According to the Houston Chronicle, he even served as Mr. Gore’s Texas presidential campaign chairman. It is true that other prominent conservatives were once Democrats, and that Mr. Perry claims he has seen the error of his Democratic ways. Obviously he has not seen all his errors.
Completely Useless on Immigration Issues?
Has Gov. Perry done anything worthwhile on immigration? According to the AP, he talks of sending small teams of Texas Rangers to the border to halt drug trafficking, but the AP also notes that there are only 144 Texas Rangers in the whole state. And as Gov. Perry himself notes, there are 1,200 miles of border between Texas and Mexico that he’s happy to keep fenceless and unsecured.
Also according to AP, Gov. Perry got $2 million in federal grants that were supposed to go to border sheriffs so they could place 200 cameras along the border. Somehow, few were ever built, and the ones that were built didn’t work.
This year, Gov. Rick Perry made a half-hearted attempt to pass a bill that would prevent Texas cities from giving “sanctuary” to illegal aliens. The bill failed, but Gov. Perry will probably tout this on the campaign trail whenever anyone doubts his immigration credentials.
To his credit, he did get a Voter ID bill passed, but that is about it for Gov. Perry.
According to data from the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform (FAIR), illegal immigrants cost Texas more than $4.7 billion every year for education, medical care, and jail costs. Even if the estimated tax contributions of illegal aliens who are working (many of them aren’t) are subtracted, net outlays still amount to more than $3.7 billion per year. This means illegal immigrants drain every Texas household of about $725 a year. On top of that, illegal immigrants get free treatment for drug addiction and mental illness. If they ever get amnesty, the costs will soar because they will become eligible for yet more handouts.
Big Texas Financial Donors Want Open Borders
What accounts for all this “compassion” for illegal aliens? Much of it could be due to the big donors to the Texas Republican Party, many of whom rely on cheap, er, “undocumented” labor. According to the AP, the Texas Association of Business (TAB), which is one of Gov. Perry’s strong backers, adamantly opposes immigration control. “The economy would suffer without undocumented workers,” says TAB president Bill Hammad. “We need them.”
Vdare.com points out two other big financial backers of the Texas Republican Party, Bob Perry (no relation to Rick Perry) of homebuilding company Perry Homes, and grocery chain owner Charles Butt. Both helped kill the bill that would end sanctuary cities in Texas. Bob Perry was Rick Perry’s biggest donor in 2010. When you include Big Agribusiness, there are plenty of wealthy donors who want their steady supply of cheap, illegal labor, and could care less about the costs to the social fabric and to the taxpayer.
AR readers oppose illegal immigration, not just because it’s illegal, but because of the long-term demographic threat it poses to this nation. Ninety percent of both legal and illegal immigrants come from the Third World, and this will eventually make whites and their descendants a hated minority in their own country.
A mostly Third-World population will turn us into a Third-World country, but such an elementary insight is beyond the grasp of Rick Perry. He hisses that people like former Rep. Tom Tancredo are “racist” for supporting immigration control.
Most Republican presidential contenders will probably be too cowardly to attack Gov. Perry directly on immigration, or if they do, they will not press him for fear of being called “racist.” So it will be up to us to get the word out to friends and family, and to link up with organizations that don’t want an open-borders fanatic as the Republican nominee.
Gov. Perry’s record on immigration should keep him from getting any Republican votes. Rep. Bachmann and even Gov. Romney are better, so immigration reform activists need to make stopping Gov. Perry their number-one priority. If they succeed, it will be a strong message to other Republicans that it’s not enough to tout the conservative line on social and economic issues alone. Nationalist questions are important, too.
Right now, we don’t even get lip service on national issues. In the past, Republican voters have given the nomination to candidates who were bad on immigration, such as George W. Bush and John McCain, and this is one of the reasons nationalist interests are not taken seriously within the party. This needs to change, and it would send a sharp message if Rick Perry were to be stopped.
Exiting the Eye of the Storm
L: So, Doug: London has suffered more damage from recent rioting than from anything else since the Blitzkrieg; the stock market had its most volatile week in years; gold shot well north of $1,800; and the U.S. government almost crashed into its debt ceiling. Smells like blood in the streets. What does a street fighting man like you make of all this?
Doug: Well, it was about 40 years ago in 1971 [laughs] when I read Harry Browne’s first book, How to Profit from the Coming Devaluation. In that book, Harry said that if gold went as high as $200, it would be a sign runaway inflation was coming, and readers might need their survivalist retreats, etc. He was actually right about everything he said in the book, and for the right reasons, but things didn’t get as bad as quickly as Harry thought they would.
That just goes to show that if you predict any particular number or outcome, you should not say when it will happen, or if you predict a time for important events, you should not say specifically what will happen.
Anyway, I’m very uncomfortable predicting serious gloom and doom for two reasons: One, most individuals intuitively look out for themselves by producing more than they consume and saving the difference – so the amount of net wealth in the world grows. Two, technology continues to improve – Moore’s Law and all that.
L: I’ve heard you say that before, but you’re the guru, so you don’t get off so lightly. What do you feel comfortable telling us?
Doug: My sense is that we are definitely exiting the eye of the storm at this point, and we’re heading back into the raging winds of financial, political, and social turmoil. The riots you see now are just an indicator of what’s ahead – an appetizer… hardly the main course.
L: That’s a pretty bold statement, Doug. We’ve been talking about the so-called recovery really being nothing more than the eye of the financial storm that hit in 2008. But the U.S. and other governments around the world have been able to animate the corpse of the 20th-century economy and keep an appearance of life in its zombie motions longer than we thought possible. To say we’re exiting the eye of the storm implies that zombie is going to stop moving and the smell of decay will soon overpower everything else. Are you ready to make that call?
Doug: You’re asking me to do what I just said was unwise: to say both what and when. But yes, it does look grim to me. With the markets fluctuating so wildly, the Dow going up and down hundreds of points per day, that’s very likely to spook the government, investors, business managers, and consumers even more than they already are. Normally I don’t pay much attention to consumer confidence; it’s an emotional state, and emotions can change in a New-York second. But at this point the economy rests on nothing more substantial than confidence. It’s a confidence game. And confidence can blow away like a pile of feathers in a hurricane.
L: So what we’re looking at is not just a bump in the road. It’s going to change priorities and marching orders for market participants – and for those who interfere in the markets in various ways.
Doug: Yes. It’s the kind of thing that accelerates a negative spiral, in good part because everybody wants the government to “do something,” in the idiotic belief that it can improve things by doing more. Actually it can only help by doing less.
L: So… the economy slows more. Why can’t the government reanimate the corpse one more time, turning up the juice on the stimulus heart-shock paddles?
Doug: They’ve already created trillions more currency units. Most of these are currently sitting in banks rather than circulating. That’s partly because people are afraid to borrow and banks are afraid to lend, but also because the Fed is paying banks interest to keep what are considered to be excess reserves locked up. So these trillions of dollars that were created to bail the banks out are sitting there, but they’re not going to sit there forever. Once those dollars start circulating in the economy, prices will rise rapidly.
The other way for prices to really explode would be for the foreigners holding some six or seven trillion hot-potato dollars to start dumping them. With the U.S. government clearly unable to deal with its debt and the consequent credit rating downgrade – which was both inadequate and long overdue – those foreigners are getting pretty nervous holding dollars. Almost any sort of financial calamity could spook some central bank into exiting its dollar position wholesale. And once one of them starts, the race will be on, because no one is going to want to be left holding the bag.
These are two time bombs that are ticking away right now – the trillions of dollars outside the U.S. that could come pouring back in, and the trillions of dollars inside the U.S. that were created to paper over the leading edge of the storm. Either of those things could bring on the end of the dollar as we knew it, and both may well happen at once.
L: Okay … But the state has been very good at convincing people to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. If the markets settle down, why can’t people go back to imagining that everything’s fine?
Doug: I’m not sure that many people really ever believed there was a recovery under way. Wall Street acted like there was – but only somewhat, since banks never started lending again. But unemployment has remained high; it’d actually be about twice the official 9% level, if it was calculated the same way it was 30 years ago. And outside of the price collapse of certain asset classes – like real estate – the cost of living has increased greatly for most people; the calculation of the government’s CPI is as corrupt as its unemployment numbers. I think it’s a mistake to talk about a double dip in the economy; we entered the Greater depression in 2007 and are still in it. A “jobless recovery” is not a recovery. The only thing that’s recovered is the stock market, to some degree. Aside from government hocus-pocus, the mirage of corporate earnings, and foolish investors wanting to believe it was safe to get back in the water, things have not gotten better. And they are about to get much worse.
L: That may be so, but the government, the press, and corporate America have all been talking about a recovery. With the Fed promising easy money, if the markets calm down, couldn’t the illusion of recovery be reestablished?
Doug: I don’t think so. The economy isn’t going to stay in the eye of the storm for much longer. The stab of panic we saw last week gave lie to the emperor’s new recovery clothes. It’s not just the losses on the stock market, but gold hitting significant new all-time highs in nominal terms, and Bernanke saying that the Fed would hold interest rates close to zero for another two years. That’s huge – and a huge mistake. It tells me that Bernanke has truly panicked. The impact this will have on the dollar cannot be overstated; it’s a guaranteed disaster. It assures that people will do all sorts of things they would not do without that artificially easy money.
L: Okay, but if they go into debt to buy houses and cars, they’ll create jobs and there will be more appearance of recovery, won’t there?
Doug: That’d just be digging the hole deeper at this point. What needs to be done is to let the market raise interest rates, to encourage savings – the accumulation of the capital needed to start moving forward on a solid basis. Instead of encouraging people to work, spend less than they make, and save the difference, these low interest rates encourage profligacy. They encourage people to liquidate savings and live above their means. As usual, the government isn’t just doing the wrong thing, it’s doing the exact opposite of the right thing.
Doug: Because of the false belief that printing money stimulates the economy. The artificially depressed interest rates of today will result in very high inflation and very high interest rates in the near future. A healthy economy gets naturally low interest rates as a result of a lot of savings, a lot of capital creation. A healthy economy has stable interest rates that relate to the amount of new wealth being created, typically just above the natural rate of inflation that results from real money – gold – being mined out of the ground. Artificially low interest rates stimulate malinvestment.
The Fed is also keeping rates low because of the government’s massive debt problem. The U.S. is already running trillion-dollar deficits – if interest rates go up, say, to 12% like back in the ‘70s, that would add another trillion to the deficit right there. Financing a $16 trillion debt at 12%, rather than 2%, equals another $1.6 trillion of spending – just for interest.
This really means they have no choice. The situation is completely out of control – the U.S. financial house of cards is irredeemable at this point, even with interest rates at close to zero. The whole financial structure is close to collapse, and that’s why I think we’re exiting the eye of the storm.
L: The Titanic has been struck, but Captain Obama just doesn’t yet realize how badly?
Doug: Exactly. And – adding insult to injury – not only are they doing the opposite of the right thing, they are actively punishing people who did the right things, who worked hard and saved. Pensioners living on fixed incomes are being forced to reach for higher and higher yields, which means they are being forced to put their nest eggs into riskier and riskier investments. This guarantees that the pensioners and the savers will be wiped out.
L: Unless they put their savings into gold.
Doug: Sure, but nobody but crazy goldbugs even thinks about that. And it gets worse: The current course guarantees the total destruction of the U.S. dollar. Again, I cannot emphasize enough how serious this is. People all around the world save in dollars. If the dollar is destroyed, it won’t just be Americans who’re hurt, it will be all the hard-working people around the world who’ve struggled to scrimp and save and put money away for future needs. All these people who were wise and frugal, they are going to be wiped out. They are going to be left with absolutely nothing. This is criminal – it’s the stuff revolutions are made of. And that’s exactly what I expect we’ll see plenty of, all around the globe.
L: Seems so clear – what could they possibly be thinking?
Doug: Perhaps Bernanke’s making the same mistake people with maxed-out credit cards make, when they think hyperinflation will wipe out their debts. They forget how nasty, brutish, and short life can be in a society in a hyperinflationary collapse. And think about it: What happens if you wipe out these debts? Who are the debtors? They are the most profligate people in society. So these artificially low interest rates reward the most irresponsible and punish the most responsible people in society.
L: Absolutely perverse.
Doug: [Chuckles] Took the words right out of my mouth.
L: Easy enough to do in this case.
Doug: Well, there’s your answer. What’s going on now really is creating the foundation for revolution, and not just in the U.S. The riots in London and Chile, and other outbreaks of chaos around the world aren’t anomalies – they’re a warmup. An overture before the symphony starts. Things will be especially bad in British and European cities, where there are millions of people who’ve never worked. Ever. They’ve just lived off the state.
L: Maybe we’ll hear the music on November fifth.
Doug: “Remember, remember, the fifth of November…” That would be interesting indeed. Readers should rewatch V for Vendetta to put them in a proper frame of mind on how serious things are. I mean… it is going to be a time when Street Fighting Man will be a most appropriate theme song. Turn up your speakers.
L: I agree with you, Doug, but I have to say it makes me a bit nervous to come out and say we’re exiting the eye of the storm. The powers that be have proven far more adept at keeping the balls they are juggling in the air than I ever thought they could be. Every time I think it can’t get worse without things coming apart, it does get worse, and somehow things don’t come apart, they keep going.
Doug: Of course. As I started out saying, Harry Browne’s prediction 40 years ago was essentially the same that I’m making today. Harry was a bit early – and I was too, in 1980. But this time really is different, with so many unprecedented actions and reactions between the market and the state. I truly see no way out for the state this time, and it’s going to be much, much worse than it would have been had it collapsed back then. I can’t say for sure exactly when things will fall apart, but I’m more convinced than ever that they will, and that we are about to plunge deeper into the Greater Depression.
L: What if you’re wrong?
Doug: I honestly hope I am, because if I’m right, the global economic devastation is going to have a very real and significant death toll. The price in human suffering these fools in government are setting us up for is truly monstrous. As a human being, of course I’d rather see good times.
L: But as a speculator…
Doug: Yes, as a speculator, I know the crisis will create phenomenal opportunities. If we lived in a stable society, with a stable monetary order and a non-predatory government, it’d be impossible to be a reliably successful speculator, because there’d be few or no politically induced distortions in the economy to take advantage of. So, always looking on the bright side, we can look forward to many new bubbles to result from the state’s massive interventions today and in the future.
L: Such as?
Doug: There will be a huge bubble in gold ignited, and maybe soon. That seems pretty much baked in the cake at this point.
L: That’s interesting. A lot of people say gold is already in a bubble – that the recent surge up to $1,800 per ounce is a sure sign of that. But you’re saying it hasn’t even started yet?
Doug: Well, I hate encouraging people to buy gold at $1800 an ounce, because that level is already more than 700% above the bottom in 2001, and I’m a bottom fisher. I like bargains, and I can’t call gold a bargain today. But it’s plain as day that gold is going to go higher. There’s simply no other place for people to try to safeguard their wealth as the dollar, euro, and other currencies plummet toward their intrinsic values. What else could people buy as they get more and more afraid of paper currencies losing acceptance? What are corporations going to do with the billions of dollars in their treasuries when their management gets frightened? Where else can they go when they need to get rid of dollars, euro, yen, and yuan? Central banks, too – what will they do when they need to dump dollars in favor of something that will hold value?
This is why I see a bubble in gold still ahead. It has nothing to do with the supply and demand for gold in the jewelry trade, or whatever – it’s going to be a result of there being no viable alternatives when the paper-money con game is over. Gold is the ultimate cash, and that’s where people will go when there’s a global, total, panic to cash.
L: Agreed. Other investment implications?
Doug: Gold mining stocks. Most good ones aren’t bargains, even though they’ve been lagging gold in recent trading, maybe because of the fear in the marketplace. But they’re going higher.
L: Of the two major forces that drive markets, greed and fear, which do you think will predominate going forward? Because there are different buying patterns, depending on whether it’s greed or fear in the driver’s seat…
Doug: You’re quite right. I think it will be a market driven primarily by fear for some time, and that will favor profitable producers, emerging, high-margin production stories, and maybe the best of the best explorers advancing projects with obvious merit towards production. Nobody buys the risky junior exploration plays when fear is driving the market.
L: Except a bottom fisher.
Doug: Except a bottom fisher, yes. There will be some fantastic opportunities in earlier-stage exploration companies that will get smashed because of fear. But speculators looking for those have to be patient. Many junior explorers will dry up and blow away during the fear-induced drought. Eventually, the best will come roaring back when the bubble inflates and the real mania phase of this bull market kicks in. Then, everything with “gold” in its name will trade at ridiculous premiums, even the crappiest juniors whose only gold is in their name.
L: How long before greed kicks back in?
Doug: There you go asking for a time as well as a prediction again. I don’t know, but it could be a while: A lot of greed has been washed out of the system with the big panic of 2008, the real estate collapse, and the stock market really going nowhere for the last ten years. Plus, when the bond market collapses, as I think it will, that will be the final blow. That’s really The Big One on the horizon these days – the bond market is three times the size of the stock market, so a major reversal there will cause enormous damage.
L: So, stay away from the junior explorers?
Doug: Just the crappy ones – and as you well know, 95% of explorers have nothing and never will have anything. But there are some which actually have gold or silver in the ground – or clear drill indications that they are close to being able to report having such assets – the kind you specialize in finding for the International Speculator. Those stocks are going to benefit from the flood of money hitting the precious metals sector. Remember, the whole gold market is trivial in size. It’s only a tiny fraction of the oil patch, and not even a rounding error compared to the global market. When the average investor wakes up to the need to own gold for safety and the potential profit from owning gold stocks for leverage to gold, it’s going to be like trying to fit the contents of the Hoover Dam through a garden hose. Prices will go ballistic, and there will be plenty of money hitting even the smaller juniors that have good stories.
L: Good reminder about safety.
Doug: And that’s another factor that will be driving the price of gold: It won’t just be speculation, it will be prudence – the flip side of fear. Prudence will drive people into buying more physical gold. Greed will drive people into gold stocks. I own a lot of physical gold already, but I’m still buying, even at these levels. And I own a lot of gold stocks, but I’m still accumulating those too, when we dig up good opportunities.
I look forward to seeing the pictures I know you’ll take on your next rock-kicking expedition, trying to dig up one of those good opportunities. ‘Til next time.
L: All right then – ‘til next time.