PARIS – What’s going on now? In all the excitement we risk losing the plot.
Close the border with Mexico? A trade deal with China? A WWE wrasler punched in the mouth?
No news report is so foolish and so obviously insipid that it fails to be taken seriously. But what matters? What doesn’t?
Let’s back up and see if we can figure it out… As you will see, there is a real national emergency… a genuine catastrophe at least equal to Prohibition… shaping up.
But it has nothing to do with the Rio Grande.
Before we get to that, we’ll give you a quick travel update. Something very unusual happened in the Calchaquí Valley, last week. It rained.
No one could recall rainfall this late in the year. And no one didn’t like it.
But it caused problems.
“Boss, I’m not sure you’ll be able to get out,” said our foreman.
“The rain washed out the road. And even if you get to the river, you may not be able to get across.”
We recalled that a neighbor once went for three years without being able to visit his property. Every time he came up to the valley, the water was running fast. He couldn’t cross the river.
But we have grown to like our 4-wheel-drive Toyota pickup. It’s the small model, not available in the U.S., favored by drug dealers in South America and terrorists in the Middle East. It is comfortable and reliable, and it goes almost anywhere. So, we headed out.
After two days of rain down in the valley, the mountains on both sides were covered in snow. Sharp blue sky. Bright white snow. The scene was breathtaking.
The valley, after two days of rain
A view from Bill’s pickup truck
Snow on the mountains
Another breathtaking view of the valley
The road out of the property turned out to be in pretty good shape. There were deep ruts here and there, but nothing that would stop us. But when we arrived at the river, there were cars and motorcycles beside the road.
They had not been able to get across. So, they simply camped out on the riverbank, waiting.
Ahead of us was a river, perhaps a hundred yards across, running with red water, of unknown depth, and mud the color of an unfired brick. Behind us, in the back seat, was Nolberto.
A retired ranch hand, Nolberto had asked for a ride to town. We were happy to oblige. But now we turned to the old-timer for help.
“Well, Nolberto, what do you think? Take a chance? Try to get across?”
“Sí… go for it,” said the old man, a broad smile on his face. Asking Nolberto for driving advice was like asking Natalio to proofread our letters. Natalio is illiterate. And Nolberto has never driven a motorized vehicle in his life.
But we didn’t like the idea of waiting; and judging by two people who were wading across, the river was only about knee-high. We gunned the engine and headed into the red muck. At first, the truck seemed to sink and slow down.
But then, the wheels must have found the bottom and it moved forward, throwing up muddy water but advancing steadily. Finally, it emerged triumphantly on the other side.
Nolberto smiled. “Ah ha… no problema.”
So, here we are in Paris… and today, we turn our attention to some serious dots that need to be connected.
When Donald Trump was elected, the Obama Team and the Bernanke Fed had already set the stage. The national debt had increased $9 trillion in the last eight years, and the Fed had printed up an additional $3.6 trillion to buy bonds.
Those things weren’t the end of the show… they were just the opening act… like the guy who would eat a live chicken on stage, warming up the crowd for Shakespeare… But if they kept to that script, it would end up as a tragedy. GDP is increasing at 2.5% per year. Federal debt is increasing twice as fast. No way is that going to have a happy ending.
But the Democrats insisted that they had everything under control. They only increased the deficits so much because they had to… or so they claimed. The crisis of 2008-2009 was a national emergency; thenceforth, the deficits would be coming down.
The Fed, too, had begun “normalizing” interest rates and planned to remove the $3.6 trillion of emergency funny money it had put in the system.
“Don’t worry about it,” they said… “we know what we’re doing.” But in Obama’s last year, the deficit was still $590 billion – a shocking amount for a boom year.
We opined at the time of the 2016 election that neither foreign terrorists, nor illegal immigrants, nor cottoning up to Russia, nor Iran constituted a real threat to the U.S.
The real threat was homegrown… in the swamp of Washington, D.C., not overseas.
Unless the White House and/or Congress figured out how to walk on two legs – with some foresight and backbone – the country would go broke…
And that – as we’ve seen in Weimar, Germany, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Brazil, and Argentina – is not just a matter of money.
When the money breaks down, other things tend to break down, too – politics, order, justice, civil society… almost everything.
But getting something for nothing is a hard habit to break. And by 2016, people were hooked. The baby boomers were retiring; they paid taxes – including Social Security – all their lives. They expected to be taken care of in their old age.
It didn’t matter to them that the feds had already squandered every penny. As for the finances of the government – that was someone else’s problem.
But whose? Let’s look at that tomorrow.
TECHNOLOGY INSIGHT: THIS WILL IGNITE A NEW JOBS BOOM
Editor’s Note: Regular Diary readers know Jeff Brown as Bill’s go-to technology expert. With over 30 years of experience as a high-tech executive, Jeff has insights that nobody else does… and that few have access to.
And today, he reveals one of the hottest trends in tech right now… and why, despite what most think, it will create an explosion in productivity and jobs…
By Jeff Brown, Editor, The Near Future Report
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the most disruptive trend in technology right now… by far.
In the past, I’ve said that artificial intelligence will usher in a modern industrial revolution.
Steam power and mechanization automated many of our simple physical tasks during the Industrial Revolution… leading to a dramatic shift in the workplace. Machines took over many of the grueling jobs humans aren’t well-suited for.
Rather than dooming humans to unemployment, this led to an explosion in productivity that ultimately created many more jobs than it took.
And that’s exactly what’s happening again, today…
There is a tremendous shortage of workers who are trained in artificial intelligence.
What we see above is the number of AI job postings per million jobs (the blue line) compared to the number of job AI job searches per million jobs (the gray line). In short, there are about 2.9 times more jobs than there are applicants in this industry. That’s how hot the market is.
Simply put, AI will be the hottest area for jobs over the next 20 years.
The field is so hot that AI specialists with little to no industry experience can expect to make between $300-$500k per year (in salary and stock), on average.
Think about that – half a million dollars right out of school… with no work experience. With experience, the numbers get even more impressive – often into the $1 million-plus range.
No doubt you have seen the dystopian articles about how the robots are coming to take our jobs…
Clearly, that narrative is only half true.
The robots will take some jobs. But there has already been an explosion of new AI jobs. And as the technology advances, AI will lead to the creation of entirely new jobs that we cannot possibly predict today.
– Jeff Brown
P.S. Artificial intelligence will remake our world. But it won’t happen overnight.
Whenever new technologies are introduced, there’s always a period where they’re misunderstood by the masses – and Wall Street. That’s when investors should stake a claim… And that time is here.
If you’d like to learn how to pinpoint the AI companies on the verge of exponential growth, go right here.
The IRS Took on the Wealthy… It Didn’t Go Well
Ten years ago, the Internal Revenue Service began to take on the ultra-wealthy. The tax agency formed a special team to unravel some of the loopholes the nation’s wealthiest people use. But big money has fought back with accounting talent and the best legal teams. It’s looking like this “special team” never had a chance…
Economists Sound the Alarm on “Grade Inflation”
Consumer credit scores aren’t dodging artificial inflation. And according to economists at firms like Goldman Sachs, this steady rise of credit scores has led to “grade inflation.” The consequence? Debtors may be riskier than their scores indicate…
The Fed’s Next Desperate Move
As Bill put it recently, America’s Federal Reserve has now abandoned any pretense of sensible monetary policy. Come the next recession, the usual “toolkit” won’t suffice. The Fed will get desperate. And Dan Denning, Bill’s coauthor on The Bonner-Denning Letter, shows just how desperate…
In today’s mailbag, one dear reader wishes Bill were president… again…
Thank you, Bill, for your wonderfully insightful and right-on “Conversations with a Ghost” and “A Message From the Future.” As I said before, you should be president. You would be so amazingly good at saying it the way it is and managing things much better, that people would wonder how and why they tolerated crooks, fools, militants, puppets, and reckless spenders in government so long. Politics has been, and is, a messy, fraudulent, crooked business. However, if you have the courage, and can raise the support and money, please run for president. You would be a very refreshing, welcome leader for us Americans. Many presidents, including Trump, had no previous political experience, so don’t worry about that. Just speak what you see, think, and write.
– Kevin A.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…
Tomorrow, Bonner and Partners’ chief technology analyst Jeff Brown will release his most important prediction to date…
When Jeff makes a prediction like this, it pays to listen. He picked the No.1 stock in the S&P 500 in 2016 and 2018… And the latter has handed his readers over 160% so far…
Now, he’s pounding the table on a new idea… One that’s earned him the nickname of “America’s Cockiest Investor.” Read on here for all the details.