Welcome to another rousing edition of Black Coffee, your off-beat weekly round-up of what’s been going on in the world of money and personal finance.
And away we go …
“We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”
— Winston Churchill
There are three things in the world that deserve no mercy: hypocrisy, fraud, and tyranny.
— Frederick William Robertson
Credits and Debits
Debit: Want more evidence that the world’s financial system is an unmitigated fraud? Since the 1960s, Germany has claimed that 70% of her 3396 tons of gold reserves were stored at major central banks in New York, Paris, and London. But a Bundesbank news release now admits their offshore-gold likely never existed in physical form — only via accounting book entries.
Debit: That bankster subterfuge helps maintain confidence in the world’s over-printed fiat currencies by suppressing the true price of the yellow metal. The rehypothecation of existing gold stores permits creation of paper claims for physical metal that far exceed available supply. It’s modern-day alchemy — and it’s deeply immoral.
Credit: Fortunately, the Bundesbank’s admission proves banksters are rapidly running out of the unencumbered physical gold needed to keep their con game afloat. But when that day finally arrives, the international monetary system will violently correct itself, living standards will fall — and those without physical precious metals in their possession will discover they’re not as wealthy as they thought.
Credit: Did you see this? A Chicago man is suing McDonald’s. No, not for indigestion. It’s because he discovered that the cheeseburger “extra value” meal sold at his local Mickey D’s — which includes two cheeseburgers, medium french fries and a drink for $5.90 — is 41 cents more than the individually purchased items. Good for him. After all, it is deceptive advertising.
Debit: I bet that guy from the Windy City wouldn’t have bothered to lawyer-up if he had one of those gold-plated government pensions like the ones civil “servants” get in El Monte, California; people working in the private sector certainly wish they did.
Debit: One retired El Monte city manager currently collects $250,000 per year; another retiree gets $216,000. And both get annual “cost-of-living” increases of up to 5%. As for the city’s taxpayers, well … they get the shaft.
Debit: Of course, the El Monte politicians who authorized those ridiculous pensions don’t have a monopoly on corruption. Last week the European Central Bank lowered Deutsche Bank’s capital requirements so the teetering bank could pay out millions in bonuses to its managers — yes, the same ones who have guided Deutsche Bank to the brink of bankruptcy. No, really.
Debit: By the way, 28% of El Monte’s taxes go towards retiree pensions. You know what that means: they’ll soon be adopting a soda tax like the one recently passed by the
politicians morons in Philadelphia. Thanks to a 1.5-cent per ounce levy on sugary drinks, residents there now pay $3.69 for a gallon jug of sweetened tea priced at $1.77. Uh huh. That’s a 108.5% tax. Still, no revolution. At least not yet.
Debit: Unfortunately, Philadelphia isn’t alone. San Francisco and Oakland followed Berkeley’s lead by approving a similar penny-per-ounce soda tax. Will the Big Government
suffragists control freaks in the Bay Area who agreed to this kind of highway robbery ever get the courage to stand up, shed their chains, and tell their tyrannical masters enough is enough?
Debit: Then there are the
voters numbskulls in Boulder, Colorado — they just passed a two-cent per ounce levy on sugary drinks. Yep. For you taxpayers counting at home, that’s an extra $1.35 consumers must pay on every two-liter bottle. Unbelievable. I’d ask what Colorado’s electorate is smoking … but I already know.
Credit: Speaking of Colorado, I see restaurants there are planning to eliminate more waiters in response to a recent increase in the minimum wage. It’s just more proof that government can’t legislate higher standards of living by the mere stroke of a pen.
Credit: Here’s a better idea, Colorado: cut your government bureaucrats by half, and sharply reduce taxes. Boulder can start with their sugary-drink levy.
Debit: It’s not just waiters whose jobs are suddenly in danger. While manufacturing and fry cook jobs are already being replaced by robots, it turns out that white collar workers are suddenly vulnerable too, as evidenced by the life insurance company in Japan that will soon replace claim adjusters with a software robot from IBM. What job will the machines take next?
Credit: Finally … a prospective homebuyer found a mummified body in a Detroit garage last week. Heh. Crazy, isn’t it? No … not the mummy — the fact that there are still people who are actually looking to buy a home in Detroit.
By the Numbers
Believe it or not, I only saw one of the 10 biggest movies of 2016, listed here for the curious. Can you guess which one?
1. Finding Dory (US domestic gross: $486 million)
2. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ($424 million)
3. Captain America: Civil War ($408 million)
4. The Secret Life of Pets ($368 million)
5. The Jungle Book ($364 million)
6. Deadpool ($363 million)
7. Zootopia ($341 million)
8. Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice ($330 million)
9. Suicide Squad ($325 million)
10. Doctor Strange ($230 million)
Source: The Numbers
Insider Notes: “Creditism” vs. Capitalism
I’m putting the final touches on my annual State of the Household, Net Worth and Annual Expenses article for you, which I plan to publish this coming Friday.
In the meantime, I wanted to share a brief — but really important — insight on something called creditism. You’ve probably never heard of the term, but it is precisely why our international monetary system is on its last legs.Hey! You need to be an Insider to view the rest of this section! If you’d like to join, please click “Insider Membership” at the top of my blog page.
Last Week’s Poll Results
Do you think 2017 will be better or worse than 2016?
- Better (58%)
- I’m not sure (22%)
- Worse (20%)
More than 1200 Len Penzo dot Com readers responded to last week’s question and nearly 3 in 5 of them think this year will be better than 2016. Optimism clearly reigns in 2017 — we shall see. In any case, the results represent a big improvement from last year’s poll: at the time, just 44% of respondents said they expected 2016 to be better than the year before it.
The Question of the Week
Other Useless News
Programming note: Unlike most blogs, I’m always open for the weekend here at Len Penzo dot Com. There’s a fresh new article waiting for you every Saturday afternoon. At least there should be. If not, somebody call 9-1-1.
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Letters, I Get Letters
Every week I feature the most interesting question or comment — assuming I get one, that is. And folks who are lucky enough to have the only question in the mailbag get their letter highlighted here whether it’s interesting or not! You can reach out to me at: Len@LenPenzo.com
After reading my article on how six tiny money leaks cost me $1702, Woody left this comment:
Two dollars a day for lunch? Surely that’s a typo.
Um … Did somebody send you pictures of me at the last company picnic?
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.
Photo Credit: brendan-c