Fifty Years of Fiat

          An important anniversary is approaching this week.  Although it won’t be widely observed or likely even mentioned, it’s the anniversary of the event that led to current economic and investing conditions.      

          This coming Sunday, August 15 will mark 50 years since the US Dollar became a fiat currency.  On August 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon gave a televised speech during which he announced he would be instructing Treasury Secretary Connolly to temporarily suspend the redemptions of US Dollars for gold to protect the US Dollar from speculators.

          Nixon, during his speech, also stated that he wanted to address a ‘bugaboo’, namely that there were many who were concerned that the move would negatively impact the purchasing power of the US Dollar.  Nixon stated that you might spend more if you wanted to buy a foreign car or take an overseas trip, but if you were among the overwhelming majority of Americans who didn’t make those purchases, your dollar would buy just as much in the future as it did presently.

          50 years later, we know that the redemptions have been permanent, and the US Dollar has lost more than 95% of its purchasing power.

          As I have often discussed, it was at that point in time that the US Dollar began to be loaned into existence.  At that point in time, money became debt, and the money supply was expanded by expanding credit.

          More debt meant more money.

          The Austrian economist, Ludwig von Mises, perfectly articulated the outcome of this money transformation in my view.

          He said, “There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought on by credit expansion.  The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner because of voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.”

          In other words, the currency creation ceases, and the crash happens, or the currency is destroyed, and the crash occurs.  Neither outcome is desirable and both eventualities are painful to endure.  Survival requires an understanding of this principle and preparation in your personal finances.

          Egon von Greyerz, who often offers perspectives on this topic wrote another piece last week as the US Dollar’s fiat currency birthday approaches.  (Source:

The beginning of the end of the current monetary system started exactly 50 years ago. In the next few years, the world will experience the end of another failed experiment of unlimited debt creation and fake fiat money.

Economic history tells us that we need to focus on two areas to understand where the economy is going – INFLATION AND THE CURRENCY. These two areas are now indicating that the world is in for a major shock. Very few investors expect inflation to become a real problem but instead believe interest rates will be subdued. And no one expects the dollar or any major currency to collapse.

But in the last two years, money supply growth has been exponential with for example M1 in the US growing at an annual rate of 126%!

Von Mises defined inflation as an increase in the money supply. The world has seen explosive growth in credit and money supply since 1971 and now we are seeing hyperinflationary increases.

Hyperinflation is a currency event. Just since 2000 most currencies have lost 80-85% of their value. And since 1971 they have all lost 96-99%. The race to the bottom and to hyperinflation is now on.

          Mr. von Greyerz published this chart that illustrates the price of gold per ounce in various currencies.  Using this metric, from 1971 to the present, the US, the UK, Europe, and Canada have seen their respective currencies decline by 96% to 99%.

          To say that we are on a slippery slope would not be accurate, we have already made the slide down the proverbial slippery slope, we are now just awaiting the outcome that von Mises forecast.

          As many past guests on RLA Radio have stated, hyperinflationary events tend to escalate rapidly and climax relatively quickly as well.

          Von Greyerz offers some terrific perspectives on this principle too.  This is from his piece:

Since the Great Financial Crisis in 2006-9, there has been an exponential growth in US Money Supply.

Looking at US M1 money supply, the graph below shows how it grew from $220 billion in August 1971 to $19.3 trillion today.

From 1971 to 2011 the growth seems modest at a compound annual growth (CAGR) of 6%. If the dollar purchasing power declined by the same rate, it would lead to prices doubling every 12 years. Or put in other terms, the value of the currency on average would drop by 50% every 12 years.

Then from 2011 when the Money supply started growing in earnest, M1 has grown by 24% annually.  This means that prices in theory should double every 3 years.

Finally, from August 2019 to August 2021 M1 has gone up by 126% a year. If that was translated to the purchasing power of the dollar it would lead to prices doubling every 7 months.

          Von Greyerz goes on to explain that von Mises defined inflation as an expansion of the money supply rather than an increase in prices.  To this point, there has not been a lot of price inflation experienced by consumers but there has been inflation in asset prices as I have discussed in previous issues of “Portfolio Watch”.

          Von Mises and von Greyerz are discussing the same phenomenon that Thomas Jefferson described when he warned of inflation followed by deflation if the American people ever allow private bankers to control the issue of their currency.

          Historically speaking, this cycle has repeated itself with amazing frequency.  Fiat currencies have a 100% failure record.

          I remain solidly in this camp even though there are many respected, highly educated analysts who have different opinions.  Those who believe the US Dollar will be a safe haven moving ahead are coming to that conclusion assuming confidence in the US Dollar continues.

          While confidence may continue for a period, over the longer term, confidence will have to disappear unless as von Mises said, there is a voluntary abandonment of credit creation.  While that would be the preferred outcome of the two von Mises describes, it does not seem that the current crop of politicians and policymakers will pursue this ugly, yet more desirable outcome.  Instead, they appear to be opting to kick the can down the road as long as possible, postponing the crash for as long as possible even though the crash will be worse as a result.

          My new book “Retirement Roadmap” an updated version of last year’s “Revenue Sourcing” book will be released within the next 10 days.  It offers strategies for you to consider in your own, personal financial situation to help protect you from this eventuality.

If you or someone you know could benefit from our educational materials, please have them visit our website at  Our webinars, podcasts, and newsletters can be found there.

Greenspan the Gold Bug?

         Markets were once again quiet last week. 

         Emerging market stocks continue to show weakness and the bond markets may be beginning to show signs of life.

         Last week, I shared a chart of the “Buffet Indicator” a stock valuation tool that was named after Warren Buffet after he revealed in an interview it was his favorite method to use to value stocks.

         Using that indicator, stock valuations are now 20% higher than at the peak of the tech stock bubble.  That statistic alone validates a cautious approach to investing.  Dollar-cost averaging into portfolios that have hedged stock positions or exit strategies are techniques to consider at this juncture in the markets.

         This past week, I read an article that revealed that Alan Greenspan, the former Chair of the Federal Reserve is actually a gold bug.  (Source:

         The article was penned by Egon von Greyerz, whose work I often read.

         It will come as no surprise that Mr. von Greyerz concludes that politicians and policymakers often speak with “forked tongues”.  Here is a bit from his piece:

That politicians speak with forked tongues is a well-known axiom. The day they put the political cap on, it is impossible for them to tell the truth.
The same with the heads of the Federal Reserve. Whatever views the appointee previously had about sound money is completely blown out of the water, once he/she enters the Eccles building.

My colleague Matt Piepenburg wrote about the author of the “Everything Bubble” Alan Greenspan last week. And the “Maestro” is the epitome of someone who lost all his senses as he had to violate virtually every single principle he stood for when he became chairman of the Fed.

            Egon then went on to discuss an essay that Mr. Greenspan authored in 1966 titled, “Gold and Economic Freedom”.  It is important to note that Greenspan wrote this piece five years prior to the United States reneging on the Bretton Woods agreement in which the United States agreed to back the US Dollar with gold.  The US agreed to exchange US Dollars for gold at a rate of $35 per ounce as part of that agreement.

          Here is an excerpt from Greenspan’s 1966 essay (Source:

“Thus, under the gold standard, a free banking system stands as the protector of an economy’s stability and balanced growth. When gold is accepted as the medium of exchange by most or all nations, an unhampered free international gold standard serves to foster a world-wide division of labor and the broadest international trade.”

          Sure makes Greenspan sound like a gold bug, doesn’t it?

          Mr. von Greyerz points out that Greenspan has taken this position regarding gold more than once.  This, again, from Mr. von Greyerz’s article:

In a 1978 Congress hearing, Greenspan stated:

“In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value.”

          You read that correctly.  In testimony before congress, Greenspan said that without using gold as money, it is impossible to preserve wealth and protect that wealth from the ravages of inflation.

          But, then in 1987, Mr. Greenspan became the Chair of the Federal Reserve and, at that point, it seems, his position changed.  It was Greenspan who began the practice of money creation.  While he served as Fed Chair prior to the advent of quantitative easing and helicopter money, Greenspan did manipulate the money supply by controlling interest rates.

          It seems that during his tenure at the Fed, Greenspan suppressed his true feelings about gold as money.  As von Greyerz notes in his article, Greenspan is the father of the everything bubble in which we now find ourselves.

          Greenspan did slip once during testimony before the House of Representatives in 1998 when he said, “I am one of the rare people who still have a nostalgic view of the old gold standard, as you know, but I must tell you, I am in a very small minority among my colleagues on that issue.”

          After he left his post as Fed Chair, Greenspan once again spoke openly and freely of his affinity for gold as a currency.  In 2014, Greenspan said, “Gold is a currency.  It is still, by all evidence, a premier currency, where no fiat currency, including the dollar can match it.  Yet gold has special properties that no other currency, with the possible exception of silver, can claim.  For more than two millennia, gold has had virtually unquestioned acceptance as payment.  It has never required the credit guarantee of a third party.  No questions are raised when gold or direct claims to gold are offered in payment of an obligation.”

          Mr. von Greyerz points out that subsequent Fed Chairs have not shared Greenspan’s views on gold.

          Former Fed Chair, Ben Bernanke, while being questioned by Ron Paul stated “the reason people hold gold is to protect against a tail risk, a really, really bad outcome.”

          When Dr. Paul asked Bernanke if gold was money, Bernanke replied, “No, it is an asset.”

          Paul then followed up by asking Bernanke why central banks hold gold.  Bernanke replied by saying, “Well, it is a tradition.”

          Not a great answer.

          Current Fed Chair Jerome Powell seems to be clueless about gold.   This from von Greyerz’s article:

The current Fed head also has, not unexpectedly, very little understanding of gold. In a recent discussion at the Bank for International Settlement (BIS) Powell described Bitcoin as an asset that is not backed by anything.

So far I will clearly agree with him. “Crypto assets are highly volatile and therefore not useful as a store of value,” he said. It is a speculative asset that is essentially a substitute for gold rather than for the dollar”.

So yet another clueless Fed head!

The obvious question to ask Powell is:

Why the hell don’t you sell your 8,000 tonnes (allegedly) of gold and buy Bitcoin instead??
That is the obvious conclusion if Crypto assets are a substitute for gold. Also, imagine the costs you would save Mr Chairman as 8,000 tonnes of gold is $4.4 trillion and would fit on a small memory stick that you could keep in your pocket.

          History teaches us that the basic rules of economics and currency cannot be changed.  Ultimately, it is my firm belief that gold or gold and silver will once again become money.  From that standpoint, I am in agreement with Mr. Greenspan.

          Meanwhile, the massive money creation in which the Fed has been engaging is creating inflation in many areas of the economy.  Food and lumber are just two examples.

         Massive new money creation being distributed as helicopter money to the masses is creating a banana republic look in the United States.

          The Chicago PMI Index has not been at the current level since 1980, when then Fed Chair, Paul Volker raised the Fed Funds rate to 22% to combat inflation.  The chart illustrates.

          Yet, the Fed sees no inflation?

          Last week, the Fed issued a statement that conveyed the Fed intends to keep interest rates near zero and continue ‘bond purchases’ (a.k.a. money creation) of $150 billion per month.

          Mr. Powell made the following statement to reporters last week.  “We want inflation to run a little bit higher than it’s been running the last quarter century.  We want it at 2%, not 1.7%.”

          The Fed’s policy moving ahead is clear.  Print, print, and print some more.  Interesting that Mr. Powell subtly changed the inflation narrative once again suggesting that the Fed is now averaging inflation over a 25-year time frame.

          When you couple that fact with the truth that the Fed’s measure of inflation is severely flawed and underestimates the inflation rate by a significant margin, seems that we might all take Mr. Greenspan’s advice and make sure we’ve hedged our assets by owning gold and silver.

If you know of someone who could benefit from our educational materials, please have them visit our website at  Our webinars, podcasts, and newsletters can be found there.

Gold, the Dow and the Dollar

Except for the US Dollar Index, all markets were ugly last week.  Silver led the way as far as declines went, falling a whopping 14.32%.  As I have warned, when markets rise parabolically like silver did, a pullback is highly likely.  We are now seeing that pullback.

          I believe the current pullback is another opportunity to accumulate metals and I am holding to my long-term forecast of the Dow to Gold ratio reaching 2, or even 1.  For new readers, the Dow to Gold ratio is calculated by taking the value of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and dividing by the price of gold per ounce.  The present Dow to Gold ratio stands at 14.59 which is only marginally changed from last week.

          I have intentionally avoided making a prediction as to what these levels will be.  In an outcome that is more deflationary, a Dow to Gold ratio of 1 could have both the Dow at 5,000 and the price of gold per ounce at $5,000.

          An inflationary outcome, or hyperinflationary outcome could see the numbers much higher.  But I would still expect a ratio of 2 or 1.

          Egon von Greyerz, of Matterhorn Asset Management, shares this perspective.  He expects the Dow to Gold ratio to reach 1.  However, considering current monetary policy he expects parity between the Dow and Gold to be at high levels, perhaps as high as 50,000.  If the Dow were to rise to 50,000, it would represent an approximate doubling.  If gold were to rise to $50,000 per ounce it would represent more than a 25-fold increase from these levels.

          While those are hard numbers to swallow given current levels, in an outcome that is highly inflationary, which is the outcome that Mr. von Greyerz sees, they are possible.  When reading an article he published in March and comparing it to a recent article, it seems his views have changed slightly given current Fed policy.

          Mr. von Greyerz recently published a piece in March that explains his views.  He begins his piece by making an extremely ominous statement.

This is it!  The party is over.  The world is now facing the gravest economic and social downturn in modern times (18th century).  We are now entering a period of global crisis that will change the world for a very long time to come.  This should come as no surprise to the people who have studied history and also read my articles for the past few years.  Many others have also warned about the same thing.  But, since Main Stream Media never talks about the excesses in the world or the risks, 99.9% of people are totally unprepared for what is coming next.

           Mr. von Greyerz forecast that the Dow and property, both in a bubble, decline at least 90% in real terms.  This is congruent with what we wrote in last week’s issue of “Portfolio Watch”:

This dual reality is that unless Federal Reserve policies are suddenly and dramatically changed, we will have inflation in US Dollar terms but deflation in terms of gold which has historically been money.

Here’s our take:  as prices in US Dollars continue to rise, prices in gold will continue to decline.

          In his March article, Egon states this about the Dow to Gold ratio:

I expect the ratio to initially reach the 1980 level of 1 for 1.  What the levels would be is hard to predict, but let’s say Dow 10,000 and gold $10,000.

          As noted above, Mr. von Greyerz published a new piece last week which touched on the same topic. 

As I have stated previously, Coronavirus which started in early 2020, is not the reason for the current economic downturn in the world economy.  It was just a catalyst.  For some reason, when cycles are about to accelerate hard down, the trigger seems to be the worst possible.  Although I have often talked about disease as one potential catalyst, I did not expect it to come now and cause a total lockdown of parts of the economy and society in so many countries.

When you are approaching the end of a financial era or cycle, it is very difficult to predict exactly how it all will end.  Very few people understand that we are now living on borrowed time.  But there is absolutely no doubt that we are now at the end of a major cycle.

The risk is here now and if you don’t prepare for this, you are not just likely to lose whatever wealth you have but also your job, pension, or social security depending on your circumstances.  And if you live in a city, you are also likely to be affected by social unrest and crime plus a breakdown of services like medical care, schooling, law, and order, etc.

Many people are today trying to get out of the cities as a result of Coronavirus and the shutdown of offices and shops as well as increased crime rates.  For the wealthy minority, this is not a big problem but for normal people, it is not self-evident to just move out.  But it is very clear that home working will become much more prevalent and many cities will become ghost towns.  Tax revenue will decline dramatically and the authorities will not be able to keep up even simple services such as water, sanitation, or cleaning.  Also, many retail outlets and restaurants, as well as offices in cities, will close due to lack of customers, crime, and out of town or online shopping.  This trend has of course already started in many cities.  In the City of London (Financial District), there are now very few people working.  Only some shops or restaurants are open and the ones that are, are hemorrhaging financially.

          von Greyerz estimates that at the outside it will take 8 years for the “artificial edifice” the world has created to collapse but adds it could happen a lot more quickly.  von Greyerz defines “artificial edifice” as all the fake assets that have been created due to central banks’ deliberate recklessness. 

          I agree.

          The Federal Reserve is a private entity that was given complete control of monetary policy back in 1913.  Then, in 1971, when Nixon closed the gold window which turned the US Dollar into a fiat currency, this private entity was now free to create as much money as they wanted.

          Think about that for a moment.  These private banks can create money out of thin air, loan it out and then get it back with interest.  Pretty good deal – if you’re a banker.  As Egon points out in his article, there is a huge benefit to standing next to the printing press.  Zimbabwe’s former President Mugabe had this figure out.  By using the money from the printing press first, he could buy tangible items quickly or exchange the newly created currency for US Dollars before the value of the Zimbabwe Dollars collapsed completely.

          Mr. von Greyerz makes a great point in his most recent piece – printed money does not reach the “regular folks” who could use it the most. 

In the US, the Fed has since the latest crisis started in August 2019, printed $3.3 trillion, and most of it since March 2020.  Very little of this money has reached ordinary people.  If it had, it would have meant a contribution of $25,000 to every one of the 130 million households in the US.  Although printed money is basically worthless, it might have had some short-term beneficial effect on the broad economy.

But no, money printing is not for ordinary people.  It is for the bankers and the wealthy and adds more fuel or liquidity to already massively overvalued asset markets rather than reaching the people who really need it.  This has caused the NASDAQ to go up by 62% since late March and the Dow by 52%.

          Egon then discusses his revised view of the Dow to Gold ratio and the potential numbers that we could ultimately see. 

In a recent article, I discussed that we could see a liquidity fueled melt-up in stocks making the Dow double to say 50,000.  Since I expect the Dow to Gold ratio to reach 1 to 1 or below (like in 1980 Dow 850 Gold $850), gold could at the same time reach $50,000 as inflation rises.  As I consider stocks overbought and overvalued today, there is no fundamental or even technical reason for this to happen.  Since markets, today have nothing to do with fundamentals or sound valuation principles but are only liquidity-driven, this kind of move is not impossible.

          As noted above, this outlook is consistent with my view that we will see inflation in terms of US Dollars and deflation in terms of gold.  This means that US Dollars will lose purchasing power as the purchasing power of gold increases.

          Mr. von Greyerz makes this point as well.

And don’t for one second believe that the assets you own whether they are stocks, bonds, or property are really worth the thousands or millions that they are valued at in fake money.

The imminent wealth destruction will soon reveal to investors that their assets are only worth a fraction of the imaginary value they have today.

Central banks will not save the world, they can’t.  Because how can you solve a debt problem with more worthless debt or how can you create wealth by issuing more debt?  That Ponzi scheme is now finished for a very long time.

Physical gold and silver will in the next few years reveal the total delusion that the financial system has rested on.  Investors who are not protected should take heed.

          While timing is difficult to predict, current central bank policies will inevitably lead to the outcome I’ve forecast.

          Make sure you’re protected.

Banking Failures and Rising Prices?

As I note in this month’s “You May Not Know Report” which will be mailed to clients in about one week, there are two schools of thought as to where the economy and financial markets go from here given that debt levels are extreme and money creation is off the charts.

Those analysts who believe debt levels will dominate economic activity moving ahead are those who are in the deflation camp.  Excessive debt levels are deflationary.  Banks, which have debt as assets, can become insolvent when massive levels of debt go unpaid.

There are other analysts who are of the mind that excessive money creation will dominate in the future.  At a certain level of money creation, inflation is the only possible outcome.

Here’s the rub.  No one knows for certain what level of money creation tips the scales from deflation to inflation.  And, no analyst knows for certain what the inflation rate will be once the inflation tipping point is reached, assuming we get there.

On my radio program, we interview some very bright economists and financial commentators.  One thing is sure – there is not a common, widely accepted opinion.  That’s why in the book “Revenue Sourcing” I advocate using a revenue sourcing map to protect yourself from either outcome.

Given the extremes at which we find ourselves currently, I am confident that the outcome will also be extreme.  Once one fully understands the economic data, it’s absolutely impossible to imagine how investing the traditional way will produce the same outcome that it’s delivered historically.

The first and very real threat to your finances is the solvency of the banking system.  This was the issue during the financial crisis and looking at the data, it’s likely going to be an issue again, probably soon.

Egon von Greyerz, the founder of Matterhorn Capital Management in Zurich, recently noted in a piece he published that there is a very strong historic correlation between the unemployment rate and commercial loan defaults.  He published this chart to provide an illustration.

When reviewing the chart, one notes that the commercial bank loan delinquency rate has tracked the unemployment rate closely.  During the financial crisis, the official unemployment rate was just under 10% and the commercial bank loan delinquency rate was between 7% and 8%.

While there is some debate about the true current unemployment rate given the calculation methodologies used, by eyeballing the chart, one might easily conclude that the commercial bank delinquency rate could exceed 12%. 

Mortgage loan delinquency rates more than doubled from March to May and that’s with the extra $600 per week in federal unemployment benefits still being paid.  Those benefits are set to stop at the end of this month.

I expect delinquency rates to jump significantly as a result; my best estimate would be 20%, perhaps as high as 30%.

Most of the loans that are currently delinquent have not been reported by the banks.  But these bad loans will be reported over the next quarter or two.

Alasdair Macleod, an analyst who has been a past guest on my radio program had this to say about debt levels, the banking system and the response by the Federal Reserve (emphasis added):

But for now, monetary policy is to buy off all reality by printing money without limit and almost no one is thinking about the consequences.
Transmitting money into the real economy is proving difficult, with banks wanting to reduce their balance sheets, and very reluctant to expand credit. Furthermore, banks are weaker today than ahead of the last credit crisis, and payment failures on the June quarter-day just passed could trigger a systemic crisis before this month is out.
Sooner or later bank failures are inevitable and will be a wake-up call for markets.  Monetary inflation will then become an obvious issue as central banks and government treasury departments become desperate to prevent an economic slump by doing the only thing they know; inflate or die.
Foreigners, who are incredibly long of dollars and dollar assets will almost certainly start a chain of events leading to significant falls in the dollar’s purchasing power. And when ordinary Americans finally begin to discard their dollars in favor
of goods, the dollar will be finished along with all fiat currencies that are tied to it.

Since banks are experiencing loan delinquencies and soon loan defaults, they are not in a hurry to extend credit to customers.  Since the last several economic expansions were fueled by debt accumulation, when debt accumulation stops, the economy stops with it.

Mr. Macleod published this chart to demonstrate the banks’ balance sheets have begun to contract.

Alasdair also compares the current, looming crisis to the financial crisis of 2008 (emphasis added):

Following Lehman’s failure, a similar pattern to the one unfolding today of a rapid increase in bank assets through the newly invented QE was followed by a contraction of bank credit which lasted about fifteen months. But that crisis was about financial assets in the mortgage market, which had knock-on effects in the non-financials. Difficult though it was, its resolution was relatively predictable.
This crisis started in the non-financials and is, therefore, more damaging to the economy; its severity is likely to lead to a banking crisis far larger than the Lehman failure and possibly greater than anything seen since the 1930s depression.
Commercial bankers are now waking up to this possibility
. For them, the immediate danger is associated with this quarter-end just passed, when demand for credit to pay quarterly charges increases significantly. Already, businesses are in arrears as never before, with many shopping malls, office blocks, and factories unused and rents unpaid. It is this problem, shared by banks around the world, which due to the severity of current business conditions is likely to tip the banking system over the edge and into an immediate crisis. The extent of the problem is likely to be revealed any time in this month of July.

Bank failures are deflationary by nature as the money supply contracts as borrowers’ default on debt.

Mr. Macleod states that since this crisis is a far larger one than Lehman was, the bailout required will be far larger and there is only one way that such a bailout will be funded – more money printing.

This will lead to stagflation, a condition under which the economy sees low output but rising, likely rapidly rising prices.

Mr. von Greyerz, referenced above, noted that since COVID-19 hit, world governments and central banks have borrowed and printed a combined total of $18 trillion.  Mind-boggling.

To help put that number in perspective, if you counted quickly and never made a mistake, it would take you 32,000 years to count to a trillion.

If you’ve not already done so, I would suggest that you consider owning some precious metals.  If you’re unsure as to how to get started, give the office a call at 866-921-3613 and we’ll arrange a free, no-obligation, educational call to help you understand your options.

We’d also suggest checking out the safety rating of your banking institution.  Given the high probability of bank failures moving ahead, diversification with your cash assets is also advisable.