It’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy a little joe …
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.
Well … another busy week is behind us. So with that in mind, let’s get this party started …
A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.
– Yogi Berra
The house rots for 50 years, but it collapses in one night.
Credits and Debits
Debit: Did you see this? Last week the Bureau of Lying Statistics (BLS) quietly revised the CPI higher for four of the past five months, with one month unchanged. Just in case you were beginning to believe the mainstream media’s accusations about your “lying” eyes.
Debit: As for this week, the same BLS released the latest inflation data for January and it shows that inflation is still raging. In fact, the rising living costs have now outpaced US workers’ income gains for the 22nd month in a row. Or to put it another way: For nearly two years, Americans have seen an uninterrupted decline in their standard of living. (In case you haven’t already noticed.)
Debit: In other news, the push for CBDCs continues, although the commercial banks are their biggest obstacle. Why? Because the introduction of a retail CBDC administered by the Fed would render those banks obsolete. Macroeconomics analyst Connor O’Keeffe believes that any “rollout of a retail CBDC straight to individuals would most likely occur during a banking collapse when (politicians) could drop the nation’s banks without fear of reprisal.” Then again, I suspect most financial experts would say that dreadful day is still several years away. Well … at least the ones who have no qualms making forecasts far into the future.
Debit: Not surprisingly, O’Keefe also notes that CBCD proponents will “vilify anyone trying to roll back the program.” How so? Here’s one way: Big Government politicians could assert that without CBDCs, the poor will be cut off from the economy. O’Keefe calls it “an implicit threat cloaked in compassionate language.” And even though such an assertion is absurd on its face, many people will simply nod in agreement. The good news is CBDCs are unlikely to ever be rolled out because Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) has been working just fine. Oh, wait …
Credit: Unfortunately for all of us, O’Keeffe warns that “CBDCs represent the next stage in the corruption of money brought about by governments. But if enough people are made aware of the dangers posed by a nationalized banking system, the retail CBDC program may never get off the ground. As it’s much harder to roll back a government program than it is to stop the implementation of one, the time to loudly and assertively berate the government for even daring to consider such a blatant power grab is now.” He can say that again.
Debit: Strangely, despite incontrovertible evidence Fed monetary policy has been an abject failure for many decades – thereby revealing it has absolutely no idea what it’s doing – investors and markets still hang on every word that comes from our inept central bank. If that isn’t proof we’re all living in a clown world, I don’t know what is.
Credit: Speaking of puzzling markets that seemingly depend on the Fed’s “forward guidance,” the always-entertaining financial commentator, Franklin Sanders posited this: “Picture in your mind, if you can, this ludicrous, risible, laughable, preposterously bizarre spectacle, the greatest economy in the world held hostage to the pronouncements of a clown who don’t know sic ’em from come here about the real economy, who never broke a sweat setting a fencepost or sweeping a room or cleaning a toilet, most likely.” Uh huh. In other words, someone who is probably related to this guy:
Credit: But, wait … Mr. Sanders was just getting started: “I honestly don’t know which is more ridiculous, (Fed Chair Powell) – or the investors who hang on his every word. All because the yankee government in 1913 granted a monopoly of money creation to a private central bank, the Fed – and that’s the source of all market and monetary turmoil, misinformation, disinformation, and malinvestment. It’s high time we put a wooden stake into this vampire sucking the nation’s lifeblood.” I second the motion! Heck … while we’re at it, we should probably toss in some holy water, a few cloves of garlic and maybe even a silver bullet too. Just to be extra sure.
Debit: On a somewhat related note, I see the nickel market is being manipulated by the usual grifters again. It turns out that one of the world’s largest commodity traders, Trafigura Group, is facing $577 billion in losses after discovering the metal shipping containers of nickel it bought didn’t actually hold the metal they were supposed to. Apparently, the Trafigura Group was unaware that there are plenty of sharks on the high seas that are eager to take advantage of hapless victims:
Credit: Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Bloomberg notes that nickel is a popular metal with fraudsters. That’s because a single container of nickel can be worth $500,000, and yet it’s traded in relatively large volumes and without the strict security that accompanies shipments of precious metals like gold. Although, to be fair, most gold and silver fraud tends to occur during the price discovery process. Not that the US commodity regulators actually care. After all, they’ve got far more important things to do – like trying to protect the failing debt-based fiat-dollar monetary system.
Debit: Of course, although few people realize it, central banks have been working in concert with their respective governments to suppress the price of the yellow metal ever since the world abandoned the gold standard shortly after World War I. Even so, $100 in nickels would still buy you almost five troy ounces of gold as late as 1933. Today, it takes nearly $10,000 in nickels to buy the same amount – and yet the yellow metal is still undervalued. Frankly, it’s quite a trick. Although not as good as this:
Credit: Remember, as our current fraudulent debt-based monetary system continues to unravel, gold is likely to play a major role in the next global monetary system. And with government spending out of control around the world, gold is increasingly being recognized as the only remaining trusted currency – as it should be. After all, because the yellow metal is money, it has weathered every currency crisis in human history – which is why responsible people don’t buy it for investment or speculation purposes. Instead, they buy it to insure their wealth.
By the Numbers
Now that the January CPI has been released, here are the latest “official” year-over-year price inflation numbers for select products. Do they comport with what you’re experiencing?
-11.6% used cars
+5.8% new cars
+8.2% food away from home
+11.3% food at home
+26.7% natural gas
+27.7% fuel oil
Source: King World News
The Question of the Week
Last Week’s Poll Result
Did you watch this year’s Super Bowl?
- No (47%)
- Yes (46%)
- Commercials only (7%)
More than 1900 Len Penzo dot Com readers answered last week’s poll question and it turns out that, by the slimmest of margins, more people chose not to watch “the big game.” However, if you count the 7% of people who passed on the game but had their eyes glued to the $7-million-a-pop commercials, then a slight majority did indeed have their boob tubes tuned into the Super Bowl.
If you have a question you’d like to see featured here, please send it to me at Len@LenPenzo.com and be sure to put “Question of the Week” in the subject line.
Useless News: Special Day
A chicken farmer goes to the local cafe. He sits next to a woman and then orders a glass of Champagne.
The woman says: “That’s weird; I’ve just ordered a glass of Champagne!”
“Well … it’s a special day for me,” says the breeder. “So I’m celebrating.”
“Wow! I’m celebrating a special day for me too!” says the woman.
“That’s quite a coincidence!” the breeder says. “What are you celebrating?”
The woman said, “My husband and I have been trying to have a child for years, and today my gynecologist told me that I was pregnant!”
“What a coincidence!” said the chicken farmer. “I’m a breeder of poultry and for years all my hens have been infertile — but today they all laid fertilized eggs.”
“That’s great!” said the woman. “So how did you make your hens fertile?”
“I used a different rooster,” he replied.
The woman smiled and said: “What a coincidence!”
(h/t: RD Blakeslee)
More Useless News
Here are the top — and bottom — five Canadian provinces and territories in terms of the average number of pages viewed per visit here at Len Penzo dot Com over the past 30 days:
1. Alberta (2.20 pages/visit)
2. Quebec (2.00)
3. Newfoundland & Labrador (1.94)
4. Saskatchewan (1.87)
5. Ontario (1.73)
9. British Columbia (1.58)
10. Yukon (1.50)
11. Manitoba (1.44)
12. Northwest Territories (1.33)
13. Prince Edward Island (1.13)
Whether you happen to enjoy what you’re reading (like those crazy canucks in Alberta, eh) — or not (ahem, you hosers living on the frozen Prince Edward Island tundra) — please don’t forget to:
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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 me at: Len@LenPenzo.com
I got this note from John who commented on my utter disdain for Miracle Whip:
I absolutely love the tangy taste of Miracle Whip! Sadly, I had to stop using it after they poisoned it with high fructose corn syrup.
Uh huh. And what were they poisoning it with before they switched to high fructose corn syrup?
If you enjoyed this edition of Black Coffee and found it to be informative, please forward it to your friends and family. Thank you! 😀
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.
Photo Credit: stock photo
Lauren P. says
Good morning Len, and thanks for another informative cuppa! Fascinating ‘nickel’ info. I’ve saved nickel coins for a few years, and as of now, the melt value of $1 in nickels is worth $1.30. Not quite gold or silver, but interesting. Re: the January CPI numbers, I wish someone would tell our local used car dealer that prices have dived 11.2% so they’ll FINALLY accept our offer! 😉
Len Penzo says
Hi Lauren! I know there are some people out there who save nickels because they believe it is grossly undervalued. I am surprised the current melt value of a dollar’s worth is “only” $1.30.
As for used car prices, the trouble with car dealers is they are looking to make a profit on any used cars they buy, so you’re almost always better off buying and selling with private parties.
I’m sure your car dealer is more than content to just ignore your reasonable offer and wait until some sucker comes around and actually pays whatever ridiculously high price they are asking for the car.
Sara King says
It’s amazing to think that it wasn’t that long ago that $100 of nickels was worth 5 oz of gold!
Here’s another one for you. Back then $1 million could buy 50,000 oz of gold. Today somebody with a million bucks can only buy 500 oz of gold.
That kind of takes the luster off being a millionaire these days!
Have a great weekend everybody!
Great example, Sara! Never thought of it in those terms. I guess billionaires are now what millionaires used to be. Thanks for the cuppa, Len!
Len Penzo says
That definitely puts things in perspective, Sara! While still nice, having a million bucks today isn’t as impressive as it used to be.
Another good round up. Luke Gormen’s tweet was almost spot on, but I have one modification. We’re headed for a depression and THEN “face ripping” inflation after that thanks to Fed panicking and printing like mad.
Len Penzo says
We shall see, Hubbard. If we go into a depression, the Fed will not let it fester too long because the debt-based monetary system will not be able to tolerate it.
I wish natural gas was only up 26.7%. I’m paying more than double over last year!
Me too, Julie!
Len Penzo says
Me three, Julie! We have a friend here in California whose nat gas bill last month was $850. Ours was just a hair under $300 – and we kept our heat at 68 degrees for almost the entire month.
I have family in the Northeast with similar stories for heating oil.
I can’t believe how long the system has stayed together. It boggles my mind how it keeps chugging along despite all of the debt.
Len Penzo says
You aren’t the only one, Ted.
Look at those inflation numbers! I think it was just taking a breather and it’s on the next leg up. My last grocery bill confirms it.
God, I hope not.
Len Penzo says
Our grocery bill is up more than 25% over the same period a year ago.
RD Blakeslee says
Our lack of clout to get out of the financial mess created by severance of the fiat dollar from convertibility to gold may be eventually be remedied by “States rights” action. A recent example:
Len Penzo says
I think this will be a trend that will be spreading to other states in the coming months/years.
As usual, another enlightening Black Coffee! Thanks for the excellent weekend reading.
Len Penzo says
Thank you, Nemo!
Five things not to do with your money in a recession:
1. Take financial advice from someone who is bad at finance.
2. See 1.
3. See 1.
4. See 1.
5. Ignore sound advice from Len and Mr. Dave.
(If you message me, I’m going to tell you to message Len. Stupid people work my nerves.)
Len Penzo says
Bill, if you keep leaving comments like that, I am going to have to send you a fruitcake for Christmas. 😉
The nickel scam has been going on for years. Trafigura takes nickel “delivery” through the London Metals Exchange, where they wait until they can sell it to another speculator. When you’re just flipping nickel warrants to other speculators, there’s no need to inspect shipping containers and there is no auditing done by the LME. Nobody verifies delivery of any metal. They just verify paper titles – whether the title is for actual metal or not. Somebody took advantage of that and sold empty containers into the nickel casino. AND IT IS THE SAME STORY FOR SILVER.
Len Penzo says
Yes … most metals markets are corrupt. It’s a total fraud. The sooner the exchanges break from the fraud, the better.