Are We Better Off Today Than Two Years Ago?

Two weeks from now Americans will head to the polls to vote in what has been billed as “the most important election of our lifetime.” That may be a bit of hyperbole, but it will no doubt be one of the most important – maybe not as important as the previous one in 2016, but certainly a close second.

Since then, there have been some huge changes in the financial markets and the economy, nearly all of them wildly – and demonstrably – positive. CNBC was nice enough to quantify them the other day in this chart, and the numbers are startling.

I’ll just mention a few:

  • S&P 500: Up 32% since the 2016 election.
  • Average hourly earnings: Up 5%, to $27.24 from $25.88.
  • Nonfarm payrolls: up 4.4 million, to 149.5 million from 145.1 million.
  • Unemployment rate: 3.7%, down from 4.9%.
  • Consumer confidence: up 37 points, to 138 from 101.
  • Corporate tax rate: 21%, down from 35%.
  • Assets held by the Federal Reserve: down 6%, to $4.22 trillion from $4.52 trillion.

Needless to say, there have been some negatives: Continue reading "Are We Better Off Today Than Two Years Ago?"

Janet Yellen Nails it

From an earlier post by Biiwii.com guest Doug Noland:

Senator Dean Heller: "A quick question about quantitative easing: Do you see it causing an equity bubble in today’s stock market?"

Yellen: "I mean, stock prices have risen pretty robustly. But I think that if you look at traditional valuation measures, the kind of things that we monitor, akin to price-equity ratios, you would not see stock prices in territory that suggests bubble-like conditions. When we look at a measure of what’s called the equity risk premium, which is the differential between the expected return on stocks and safe assets like bonds, that premium is not – is somewhat elevated historically, which again suggests valuations that are not in bubble territory."

Thank you Ms. Yellen for testifying to my point.  Equities are not in a bubble by "traditional valuation measures", just as I have been saying.  If you are sincerely and actively bearish the market you had better be bearish because you either think monetary policy is about to fail (i.e. its efficacy is going to wane) or that policy makers are going to be forced to cease and desist, most likely by the Treasury bond market. Continue reading "Janet Yellen Nails it"

How Large is the US Federal Debt?

For today’s guest blog post I contacted Mike Hewitt from DollarDaze.org. He sent me an interesting article breaking down the enormity of the US Federal Debt. Enjoy this post. For more daily financial commentary from Mike be sure to visit DollarDaze.org

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At the time of writing this article, the current US Federal Debt stands at $10.7 trillion. The sheer magnitude of that number is difficult to comprehend.

In order to illustrate just how large that number is, consider the following...

The size of a dollar bill is 6.6294 cm wide, by 15.5956 cm long, and 0.010922 cm in thickness. It would take approximately 96,721,648 dollar bills to make up one square kilometre.

The volume taken up by these dollar bills would be 12,068,253 cubic meters. This would fill over 90% of the largest building in the world, the Boeing Plant in Everett, Washington designed to assemble Boeing 747 planes.

If we were to cover an area with enough dollar bills equal to the current US debt it would have an area of 110,493 square kilometres which would nearly cover the entire state of Virginia!

When stacked, the number of dollar bills required to represent the US debt would be 1,167,243 km high. This is about 3 times the distance to the moon!

Laid end to end the dollar bills would measure 1,664,460,767 km which is longer than the distance of Saturn at its furthest point from the Sun. Uranus is 2.974 million kilometers away from the sun (about $19.1 trillion required).

Thought of in this context, we can truly say that the US debt is astronomical!

Best,

Mike Hewitt

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Mike Hewitt is the editor of DollarDaze.org, a website pertaining to commentary on the instability of the global fiat monetary system and investment strategies on mining companies.