Election Eve…….Does Anyone Really Want to Win?

As all signs point to the Republicans taking over the House and the Senate, one has to ask “Do you really want to be in charge now?”  Think about the campaign you witnessed, the Republicans put forth absolutely no vision for the future simply saying “We oppose President Obama and my opponent is a vote for Obama”.  The Democrats pretended that the President magically disappeared and they themselves have no memory of the man being elected or that they ever supported any of his policies.

Well could it be that the monetary gymnastics that both the Republicans and Democrats have been playing courtesy of Federal Reserve is finally beginning to unravel?

If you want to see what is coming down the road look no further than our friends in Europe, Don Quixote is easily one of the most entertaining books of the Renaissance and what better way to show the folly of Central Banking market and currency manipulation than with a story of a delusional character. 

You know the basic plot line—Alonso Quixano becomes fixated with the idea of chivalry and sets out to single-handedly resurrect knighthood.  His wanderings take him far across the land where he gets involved in comic adventures that are terribly inconvenient for the other characters.

He famously assaults a group of windmills, believing that they are cruel giants. He attacks a group of clergy, believing that they are holding an innocent woman captive.  All of this is based on Don Quixote’s completely delusional view of the world. And everyone else pays the price for it.

Miguel de Cervantes’ novel is brilliantly entertaining. But the modern-day monetary equivalent is not so much.

Central bankers today have an equally delusional view of the world. Just three months ago, Mario Draghi (President of the European Central Bank) embarked on his own Quixotic folly by taking certain interest rates into NEGATIVE territory.  Draghi convinced himself that he was saving Europe from disaster. And like Don Quixote, everyone else has had to pay the price for his delusions. Currently the Federal Reserve rate is at 0%, so not yet negative.

On November 1st, the first European bank has passed along these negative interest rates to its retail customers.  So if you maintain a balance of more than 500,000 euros at Deutsche Skatbank of Germany, you now have the privilege of paying 0.25% per year… to the bank for holding your deposits.

This has already been seen at the institutional level: commercial banks in Europe are paying the ECB negative interest on certain balances.  And large investors are paying European governments negative interest on certain bonds.

Now we’re seeing this effect bleed over into retail banking.

It’s starting with higher net worth individuals (the average guy doesn’t have half a million euros laying around in the bank). But the trend here is pretty clear– financial repression is coming soon to a bank near you.

It almost seems like an episode from the Twilight Zone… or some bizarre parallel universe. That’s the investment environment we’re in now.

Bottom line: if you’re responsible with your money and set some aside for the future, you will be penalized. If you blow your savings and go into debt, you will be rewarded.

If we ask the question “cui bono”, the answer is pretty obvious: heavily indebted governments benefit substantially from zero (or negative) rates.

On the ECB’s own website, they say that negative interest rates will “benefit savers in the end because they support growth and thus create a climate in which interest rates can gradually return to higher levels.”

I’m not sure a more intellectually dishonest statement could be made; they’re essentially telling people that the path to prosperity is paved in debt and consumption, as opposed to savings and production.

These people either have no idea how economies grow and prosper, they’re outright liars, or they’re completely delusional.

Speaking of delusional, President Obama met with the Chairwomen of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen on Monday to discuss the outlook on the economy.  The charlatans are out of tricks.

So winning tonight could be the worse nightmare of all, because the answers to these problems are painful and most of the world isn’t ready for the disaster, I fear may be in store.  They inherit an $18 trillion dollar debt and potentially a faltering economy. The energy bubble has burst, which one is next virtually every asset class is over valued and at all time highs from housing to the stock market?

Do you feel better or worse if either one of these two have to make hard decisions 20141104_dumbanddumber

As Don Quixote himself said, “Thou hast seen nothing yet.”

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