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.
Okay, off we go …
Credits and Debits
Credit: I see McDonald’s has stopped selling Big Macs in the People’s Socialist ParadiseTM of Venezuela. Apparently, they’re having trouble sourcing the middle bun that’s used to separate those two all-beef patties from each other. And you thought their national TP shortage was a travesty.
Debit: Then again, considering that a measly serving of McDonald’s fries sells there for around $133 at the official government exchange rate, it probably doesn’t matter anyway. No, I didn’t forget a decimal point.
Credit: And things will only get worse for Big Mac lovers in Venezuela next year because the inflation rate is expected to top 1640%. Prolly no big loss; who would pay $8000 for two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions on a sesame seed bun? Heck, I won’t even pay $3.99.
Credit: Socialist economic fairy tales aren’t only crumbling in Venezuela; they’re being exposed in the US too. It turns out yet another Obamacare exchange went out of business this week. For the record, 16 of 23 exchanges have now officially flatlined, putting Obamacare one step closer to oblivion. Nope. Nobody ever saw that coming. No, siree.
Credit: Those fables are doozies but, if you ask precious metals expert Ted Butler, neither are the greatest lie ever told. He says that dubious distinction belongs to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s claim that the silver market isn’t manipulated. He has a point.
Credit: After all, silver is currently selling for 86% less than it did in 1980 on an inflation-adjusted basis — despite the National Debt growing 20-fold over that same period. (Psst. Maybe you should consider getting some.)
Debit: Meanwhile, more than 1000 men slept on the streets of New York City this week for a chance at landing a few plumber jobs that pay between $40 and $67 an hour. You’d think in a, um, “booming” economy employers would have trouble finding potential applicants.
Credit: Maybe those would-be pipe-fitters should consider a career in manufacturing instead because, if the latest data is to be believed, manufacturing payrolls surged at the fastest pace in 12 months and new business expanded at the fastest clip since last November. Hooray!
Debit: If that good news is true, then the Fed has absolutely no excuses — none, zilch, 0.0, nada — for avoiding a tiny 25-basis-point interest rate hike at their next meeting. But they will. So connect the dots, dear readers.
Debit: Those of you who enjoy having politicians and bankers blow smoke up your backside can continue living life with your head in the sand. The truth is, the Fed can’t raise interest rates to any appreciable degree because the global financial system is now breaking down at an almost unimaginable pace.
Debit: Mathematically, the current system is doomed to failure. That’s bad news if you plan on relying on a pension in retirement — public or private.
Credit: Don’t think that the central banks aren’t aware that the international monetary system is on its last legs; they most certainly are. Once you accept this, the fact that they’re committing collective financial suicide begins to make sense. Well … in a twisted sort of way.
Credit: Needless to say, the only way to extricate ourselves from the economic mess we find ourselves in is by repudiating the massive debt and impossible financial promises that have been made over the years, coupled with a return to sound money.
Credit: Of course, that will bring out the torches and pitchforks — which is why the bankers and politicians will muddle on until the current system finally goes belly-up. Unfortunately for them, time is no longer on their side.
By the Numbers
The Pokemon GO craze makes me embarrassed to be a part of the human race, but this too shall pass. Read on to find out just how big it is:
3 Weeks since Pokemon GO was originally released to the public.
10.8 Percentage of all US smartphones that had the app installed on them during the first two weeks.
72,999 Number of times the smartphone app has been downloaded in the last 15 minutes.
$163,099 Earnings the game developer pocketed during the same 15 minute period.
$15,657,504 The game developer’s estimated daily earnings.
Source: Silicon Angle
The Question of the Week
Last Week’s Poll Results
What is your favorite personal finance board game?
- Monopoly (60%)
- Life (21%)
- Something else. (10%)
- Settlers of Catan (7%)
- Payday (1%)
Nearly 1000 people responded to last week’s question and, I’m sure to no one’s surprise, Monopoly was the personal-finance game of choice for a large majority of Len Penzo dot Com readers. I actually prefer Life to Monopoly — if only because I could always count on finishing the game in about a half hour.
Other Useless News
Here are the top 5 articles viewed by my 10,618 RSS feed, weekly email subscribers and followers over the past 30 days (excluding Black Coffee posts):
- This Amazing Fruit Reduces My Grocery Bill by $300 Every Year
- 18 Amazing Facts You Didn’t Know About ATM Machines
- 14 Things You Should Never Spend Money on While Traveling
- 5 Tips for Avoiding Buyers’ Remorse That I Learned the Hard Way
- Is It Better to Buy, Lease or Hire-Purchase a New Car?
Hey, while you’re here, please don’t forget to:
1. Click on that Like button in the sidebar to your right and become a fan of Len Penzo dot Com on Facebook!
2. Make sure you follow me on Twitter!
3. Subscribe via email too!
And last, but not least …
4. Consider becoming a Len Penzo dot Com Insider! Thank you.
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
Michael wrote in this week to tell me he’s had enough:
I’ve deleted your trashy website from my favorites. Hope your blog improves in the future. Good luck.
Don’t hold your breath, Michael. It’s been all downhill since my first post in 2008.
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.
Photo Credit: brendan-