Thursday, October 15, 2009


McAlvany Weekly Commentary, Oct. 14, 2009

Is it the End of Quantitative Easing or is it QE2?

October 14th, 2009
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Gold Heading to $3000 Unless America Hits the "Reset" Button, Tice Says

Among the cavalcade of gold bulls to recently grace Tech Ticker's stage, David Tice is something of a centrist.

Gold will hit at least $3000 per ounce before the current rally ends says Tice, Federated's chief portfolio strategist for bear markets. The forecast falls roughly in between Peter Schiff's $5000 per ounce call and Jimmy Rogers' forecast of $2000.

With gold hitting yet another new high of $1064 Tuesday and bullish sentiment for the metal soaring, Tice is wary about the potential for a short-term reversal in the dollar down-gold up trend.

"We certainly could have a pullback," he says. "However, we believe this rally in gold is going to on for a long time." (more)

DOW 10,000!!!! Oh Wait, Make That 7,537

Another great representation of the amazing loss of purchasing power by the US public are today's oblivious statements about the Dow at 10,000. While in absolute terms the Dow may cross whatever the Fed thinks is a necessary and sufficient mark before QE begins to taper off (Dow crosses 10k just as Treasury purchases expire), the truth is that over the past 10 years (the first time the DJIA was at 10,000) the dollar has lost 25% of its value. Therefore, we present the Dow over the last decade indexed for the DXY, which has dropped from 100 to about 75. On a real basis (not nominal) the Dow at 10,000 ten years ago is equivalent to 7,537 today! In other words, not only have we had a lost decade for all those who focus on the absolute flatness of the DJIA, but it is also a decade where the US Consumer has lost 25% of purchasing power from the perspective of stocks! You won't hear this fact on the MSM. (more)

'Silver has more possibilities to appreciate than gold'

The Gold Report: We've seen quite a rebound in the markets since we spoke in May, and governments across the world have begun releasing some positive economic news. Are we out of the recession as Bernanke has told us?

Byron King: I don't agree with that all. It's like at the funeral home where they put really good makeup on the corpse and people walk in and say, "Oh, he looks so good." Then you think to yourself, "Wait a minute. If he looks so good, why is he dead?" That's where we are now, I think, with our economy. We're still in the recession, it has been well-masked. (more)

Gerald Celente explains ‘Obamageddon’ forecast amid call for The Great American Renaissance

Gerald Celente, founder of The Trends Research Institute and publisher of the quarterly Trends Journal, is a staple of news and Internet media. Dubbed “The Martial Artist of Trend Forecasting,” Celente is world-renowned for his authoritative forecasts on events in financial markets and socio-political movements. Over the past 30 years, Gerald has been interviewed and extensively quoted around the world; in the US, he has been featured in every major newspaper, and has been a guest on CBS Morning News, Glenn Beck, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, and The Oprah Winfrey Show, among other TV shows.

Equally prominent in the blogosphere, Gerald can also be followed on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. I’m of course a fan of Gerald on Facebook – Nouriel Roubini and Peter Schiff, too – but let’s not get off topic. On the Internet, Celente has generated a high level of public interest; his forecasts are commonly discussed at prominent forums, as well as on websites that support conspiracy theories. (more)

A Media Failure Compounds The Financial Failure

We know that Wall Street has not learned much from the crash it helped instigate. We know that our government, whatever its stated desire to clean up the markets and reform the financial behemoths, lacks the willingness and perhaps the clout to rein in the real power centers. We are not sure if they have been “captured” by them, or just lack the guts to take on institutions and individuals that helped fund their rise to power.

But do we know that, even now, much of our media, despite the sheer volume of coverage may be missing the real story? Do we know that if we want to find missing facts and the real context we have to turn away from the failed media system that never really investigated the failed financial system (more)

Rogers: Gold to $2,300, Oil to $200

Demand for commodities will outstrip supply during the next two decades and will fuel a rally for raw materials, says investment guru Jim Rogers.

Gold could hit $2,300 an ounce, which would allow the precious metal to break a record when adjusted for inflation.

Oil could hit somewhere between $150 and $200 a barrel.

“I don’t see any adequate supply situation in any commodity market over the next decade or two,” Rogers told Bloomberg News.

“The commodities boom is not over and the bull market has several years to go.” (more)

Wisely Avoid Paper Silver Fraud

Most silver investors are still deceived by "paper silver". Over 99% of silver investments are paper silver, rather than real silver.

For proof, see
The Tiny Silver Market, IV October 8th, 2009
The Tiny Silver Market, III October 6th, 2009
The Tiny Silver Market, II October 1st, 2009

If the dollar amounts were represented 1 to 1 by people, then,
very few silver investors (1%) have the discernment and wisdom to avoid the paper silver frauds. But fortunately, the wise investors are probably a bit more numerous, since many individual people are not "sophisticated" or rich enough to get trapped by the offers of paper silver.

I've had quite a few discussions with people about this, so let me see if I can help.

Many people justify paper silver, saying, "it's cheaper". Sure it is. That's the point! How else would they convince you to buy it? They can't float on your money if they charge you higher than normal premiums! Look, I can sell you all the silver you like at 5% UNDER SPOT or even 10% UNDER SPOT, if you promise to never take delivery, and never sell. (NOT REALLY, because I'm honest!) What will it take for people to realize that such offers are totally fraudulent? (more)

Worshipping Mammon

Below is an email I received from Howard Ruff of the Ruff Times ( I am copying it in it's entirety because it is probably the most important article I have read since I started Totalinvestor. When you read it you will know why. I only ask two things from you: 1) send this link out to all your friends and family to read, and 2) print it out and place it somewhere where you will have access to it every day.

The love of money is a two-edged sword. The older I get, the more intrigued I have become with studying the impact of the search for money on character and true happiness. The quest for riches can help or destroy you.

Those who are champing at the bit to join the acolytes of Mammon may wonder why I believe this is an important financial issue. In my 34 years as a financial publisher, I have observed that not much in life challenges us emotionally and spiritually as much as money – or the lack of it. More happiness has been lost because of misplaced devotion to money than most other causes put together.

Money profoundly affects you, depending on whether or not you worship Mammon, the heathen God who symbolized worldly financial success. Getting rich is not a sin, but it’s a real test of what you are down deep inside, and how you react to monetary success triggers a lot of consequences. I have known some very happy rich men who left this life with a legacy of spiritual and moral riches and big estates, and I have known just as many rich but miserable men. Their Mammon-worship made them rich, but then cost them fortunes and families.

Mammon’s phony religion always leads to slavery, but you can become rich and also escape Mammon’s chains.

I have included some real-life stories of men who all became very wealthy. One worshipped Mammon, and found misery; two defied Mammon and lived full and rich lives full of faith.

Sad Example

Here is a sad but true extreme example of how worshipping Mammon (money) can lead to misery and loss of money at the same time.

Back in the 1920s, a very talented man was one of the founders of the chain of stores which later became Safeway. He was their Chief financial Officer, and making money was his whole life. He could run his finger down a long column of figures six-digits wide and give you a total at the bottom. He could inventory a store in his head and write it down on the train on the way to the next town.

Getting rich was his tragic undoing.

He not only neglected his wife and family in the pursuit of business, but when his wife became pregnant for the second time, which he considered to be very inconvenient to his career, he forced her to have an illegal abortion. When she got pregnant again, he tried to force her to have another abortion, but this time she refused. He was drinking heavily by now, and in a drunken rage, he beat her savagely to try to cause a miscarriage, which injured her so badly that her doctor recommended a therapeutic abortion to save her life, which she also refused. She then went to bed for seven months to save the baby, and she gave birth to a healthy son.

Flashing further back, some months earlier he had decided to get really rich, so he liquidated his company stock and went to New York to make a real fortune on margin in the stock market. It was 1929 and he was wiped out in two days in the October crash!

He then turned to gambling to try to recoup his lost fortune, and lost the family insurance money. Months later, when his wife was nursing the baby, he walked into the room, put a gun in his mouth, and blew his brains against the ceiling. And there was no insurance money.

He was my father!

There are those who may think the world would be a better place if my mother had had an abortion, but I am not among them.

The unifying thread running through this story was “sacrificing on the Altar of Mammon.”

The Other Side of the Coin: Happy Example #1

J. Willard Marriott, Senior, was the founder of the Marriott Hotels, always put family and church first. He was one of my real-life heroes. He changed my life permanently one evening at a party in his home. (I was 20 years old at the time.) Out of a clear blue sky, he put his arm around my shoulders and said, “Howard, you’re an entrepreneur. Never work for another man.” So I didn’t.

He lived happily and died greatly loved by his family and everyone else who knew him. He passed his values on to his family, and his son, J. Willard Marriott Junior, is not only CEO of the Marriot financial empire, but followed in his father’s footsteps as a husband, father and church leader.

Happy Example #2

Another role model was one of my ancestors, Joseph Younger Mayberry. During the deadly anti-Mormon persecutions in Missouri and Illinois during the 1830s and ‘40s, he was thrown into jail because of his religion, never charged with a crime, and forgotten about for six years. When he was finally released, he made his way to the Rocky Mountains and was one of the first settlers in what later became Franklin, Idaho, and he became a very prosperous farmer and rancher.

Throughout his life he rarely turned down a request for help or a loan. Even in times of poverty and famine, he shared his wheat and wool and the lumber and firewood he dragged down from the canyons through the heavy snows. He even tolerated it when he knew needy people were stealing from him and he said repeatedly, “I can’t seem to give it away as fast as God blesses me with it.” He died a greatly loved man -- and a wealthy one by the standards of his day. And never at any time was he less than a completely dedicated husband, father and neighbor.

Unrequited Love

The love of money is usually a composite of two things: 1) loving wealth for wealth’s sake usually egged on by the greedy desire to be richer than the next guy; and 2) the love of the things money can buy that confer status and the appearance of success.

Some people may have made a lot of money by loving it to the exclusion of any other thing. Maybe they even became very rich, but are miserable, having lost a lot of things that they eventually learned to their horror were more important than money. And their money never loved them back. You can’t cuddle up to it on a cold night.

A Parable for Our Times

Many people are like the Guadalcanal Island monkeys. Our Marines thought these cute simians would make terrific pets, so they would hollow out a coconut and fill it full of rice, leaving only a small hole, and secure it to a tree. The monkey would put his hand into the hole and grab a fistful of rice, but couldn’t get his hand out without letting go of the rice, as his clenched fist full of rice was too big to get back out through the hole. They were easy prey for the Marines, as the greedy little animals were trapped. They had the rice, but they had lost their freedom.

This is a parable for our times. Poverty has corrupted some people, but so has wealth and its accompanying greed. The older I get, the more positive I am that genuine, lasting happiness depends on intangible matters of character and spirit, and wealth or poverty test them all.

Loving your money too much can cause you to lose it. Although putting money ahead of family, church and country – can and sometimes does lead to wealth, it too often leads to misery. You may have the Midas touch, but if you love your money too much, the Midas touch can, to coin a new metaphor, turn everything into old mufflers. There is nothing sadder than a person who has sacrificed marriage and family on the altar of Mammon (money), due to stupid, greed-driven decisions, or even uncontrolled spending on vices, only to find Mammon is a fickle god who breaks his promises.

Conversely, love of money can lead to loss of wealth because it spawns greed, fear and covetousness, which can lead to costly emotion-driven bad decisions.

Sacrificing on the Altar of Mammon -- Loving Money More than Family, Church and Country – can lead to misery.


A letter to Dear Abby illustrates the point.

Dear Abby,

“I didn’t know I had a problem until the day my wife/lover/best friend walked out on me two weeks before our 13th anniversary.

“All our married life I worked a seven-day-a-week factory job on second shift, and in the mornings managed my own retail business.

“I thought everything at home was great. Our house and cars were paid for. We even owned a boat. It turns out that all my wife wanted was for me to hold her, love her, and ‘be there’ for her.

“I learned my lesson the hard way. I closed my business, but it’s too late. Abby, please warn your readers about the danger of becoming a workaholic. Material things are not worth the price of losing the one person who shares your life.”

You can decide to be prosperous and miserable, or you can decide to be prosperous and happy. It’s really that simple -- I said “simple,” not “easy.”

I have evolved some rules to help you put money in its proper place in your life so you can not only make it and keep it, but use it to enhance your happiness, not blight it.

The first set of rules, aimed at the fathers of traditional two-parent families, will insulate them from money’s most corrupting influences and make it a source of blessing for the whole family!

Rules for Fathers

Rule #1: Choose a profession that allows you to spend plenty of dedicated time with your spouse and children, even it means less money and a step down in lifestyle. The lost years of your offspring’s childhood can never be recaptured. I know personally many men who have had successful careers and fulfilling family lives at the same time; they can and should go together. If you are struggling over the temptation to trade off riches for family life, let family win the debate. Maybe you need to settle for mere prosperity instead of wealth. Attend every major or minor event in your children’s lives -- dance recitals, soccer games, etc. -- and elevate your wife to Queen of your home, but don’t be an absentee sovereign.

Rule #2: Set aside a regular night for a Family Night. We use Mondays. Use it for family activities and outings, game nights, family councils, and lessons on things that are important to your family’s moral, spiritual and ethical growth. This is your only chance to systematically pass on your family’s values, history and traditions so they become part of the family continuum. You can use this time to teach them the American History they are not learning in school, or old-fashioned virtues like “work,” “worship” or “freedom.” If you fail to pass on the family baton, they will grow up like a ship that is all sail and no anchor, drifting with every vagrant wind, and are the vote-hungry politician’s lawful prey.

This is a hard rule to consistently execute as the kids are drawn in a million directions by school, their social life and other activities on Monday nights. Our performance in the Ruff house has been less than perfect, but we have tried hard, and it has paid dividends in family togetherness and offspring with character and a sense of belonging to an extended family unit with standards and traditions.

Rule #3: Go over the family finances regularly with the whole family. Don’t just be a bank with what looks to the kids like an apparently endless supply of money. Make sure the kids know that hard financial choices are a routine part of life. In family financial conferences, you can implant in them a long-term perspective. The kids will moderate their demands on The Bank of Dad if they understand the family’s financial parameters.

Rule #4: Don’t have a secret financial life with un-accountable amounts of money to spend. No man would become a secret gambler or be tempted to have a mistress on the side if his personal finances were totally transparent. Not doing that can lead to divorce -- which is always a financial catastrophe, as I will discuss later. Secret money that is available to finance secret vices can permanently crumble the character of a good man, and the subsequent cover-up lies can become a reflexive way of life, turning a good man into a chronic liar.

Rule #5: Put aside at least 10% of what you make for debt reduction, investments, bulk buying, entrepreneurial ventures and bargain hunting, and it’s the beginning of your retirement program. It’s also a huge deterrent to irresponsible spending.

Rule #6: If you must bring work home from the office, make it a rare exception, or save it until the kids are in bed. Making more money is not a good excuse, and if you consistently spend family time working at home or always stay late at the office, your wife and kids will get the clear message that you care more about your work than you do about them.

Rule #7: Tithe. One evening we were having our regular family prayers, and one of our sons was leading us. Like a lot of kids, he had some ritualized clichés that are the easy substitute for genuine spiritual thought. He asked God to “bless the poor, the sick and the afflicted,” and I had an epiphany; “why are we giving back to God the job he gave us?” From that time on, our prayers became, “God, lead us to those whose lives we can bless as thy servants.” Giving money to a good cause is an effective way to eliminate greed and keep things in perspective, as well as to gain the genuine satisfaction and great self-image that comes from knowing that you have made a difference in someone’s life. We tithe to our church; you can do it to any worthy cause. A tithe is a tenth, and is the cure for greed and selfishness. If you give away one-tenth of your paycheck ev! ery month, it will condition you to not love your money. Consider your income and assets, current and future, as a stewardship to bless other’s lives.

There is a real payoff for this. The Old Testament prophet, Malachi, promised us that if we will no longer “rob God” by not paying our “tithes and offerings,” God will “open the windows of Heaven and pour out a blessing so great you can hardly receive it.” He may be talking about things that are more important than money.

Rule #8: Save at least 10%. If you save at least 10% of what you make every month to build up a real nest egg, you will have found the antidote to greed and covetousness and the key to financial discipline and a cushion against a job loss or an economic catastrophe, like now. Most prosperous people in your neighborhood (and there are probably several of them) have built up small or large fortunes by consistent savings over the years. The average American family earns about $3,000 a month, and $300 a month invested prudently can become a huge sum in 10, 20, or 30 years.

With the resulting stash, you can take advantage of bulk buying. You can pay cash for a car or refrigerator, or you can pay the bills if you are sick or laid off. You can provide the seed money for that dream of a business you had. You can also swing for the fences on that great day in the future when the markets offer irresistible values.

Rule #9: Be generous. This is the ultimate inoculation against the love-of-money disease. Never miss an opportunity to help someone in need. Who might that be? They are all around you. Be a soft touch, without thought of reward or even repayment. My great-grandpa Mayberry learned the Law of Compensating Returns; you can’t give it away faster than God blesses you with it. I really believe this works in the real world.

There is no happiness like that found in giving service or other help to someone. The recipient may not even appreciate it. An old half-true statement says, “No good deed goes unpunished,” but it doesn’t matter; you know, and God knows, and peace of mind and serene nights of sound sleep are the result.

Get Thee Behind Me, Greenback

Men who put money ahead of wholesome family recreation, church, charitable works, etc. usually live blighted lives. Most prosperous people who got their money by single-minded dedication to making money at the expense of other much more important things are either divorced or have desperately unhappy marriages. They have become easy prey for gold-diggers less than half their age. What they have gained is dwarfed by what they have lost.

Rules for Married Women

Now, let’s talk to the married ladies:

You are the principal steward for your children, and you are your husband’s conscience in keeping emotional and spiritual balance for your family.

Rule #1: If there are minor children, make sure one of you is a stay-at-home parent during the pre-school bonding years, and I don’t care which one. I am not hostile toward working or professional women; I was raised by one. If you must work, don’t leave your children with minimum-wage day-care workers. If there is a great tug of war between money-making and having a parent in the home, one of them will lose, although the damage to your children may not show up for years. Once you have a child, you are no longer a completely free agent. If one of you is not there during the day, you will miss out forever on all the important events of a child’s life -- the first crawl, the first step, and the first words. They will instead be witnessed by some emotionally uninvolved worker -- if they are even watching. All those great teaching moments will be lost forever. Accept a smaller home, an older car, a smaller,! older TV, in exchange for a precious bonding experience. That’s worth all the money, personal professional fulfillment and prestige toys in the world. Some parents have worked it out by having staggered working schedules so one is always home when it matters. The rule is simple; kids come before all other supposed treasures.

Rule #2: Be the custodian and enforcer for the family savings account. Your husband is likely an overgrown kid on the loose all day. If he has unaccounted-for money burning a hole in his pocket, he’ll spend it. You must keep it out of his juvenile reach. Get him to agree on a small, fixed allowance he can spend as he chooses and not have to account for, and claim the same for yourself.

Rule #3: Train yourself to be a widow or divorcee. The odds are that you will not have a husband all your life. You will probably be alone for five to ten years, and your adult kids will have to be a part of your financial life. If they have been taught well, they will be there for you when you need them. Many widows or divorcees come to me for advice because their husbands had kept them in the dark about the family assets and income. You need to know the location of the insurance policies (and the phone number of your agent), the location of the stock certificates, the CDs, the checkbooks, the mortgage and the payment books, etc.

Rule # 4: Don’t let your husband become a workaholic. Insist on a weekly date to some inexpensive restaurant, movie, stage show or sporting event. Gently but relentlessly suggest (demand?) that he preside over a weekly family night and/or family council and attend all the kids’ special events and games and recitals, creating everlasting bonds that will become more and more precious as your lives wind down. Don’t let him neglect his familial duties.

Rule #5: Stay out of the expensive social whirl. It will only lead to the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses syndrome, and that will blow the family budget. When the philosopher said, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,” he must have meant the Joneses with their Mercedes, their boat and their relentless, interest-laden credit-card bills.

Rules for the Unmarried

Rule # 1 through 10: Get married, and stay married. A growing numbers of singles are postponing marriage until some undefined time in the future. Sometimes, it’s because they are getting lots of free sex without commitment in this increasingly permissive and sexualized world. Sometimes they are cohabiting with an undefined future —“We’ll probably marry someday.”

Often they give financial excuses, “well, we’d like to get married, but we need to wait until we can afford children,” or “but we want to wait until we can afford a real nice home.” They are sliding into a Hell on Earth on their buts.

Numerous studies have confirmed that married people are ultimately healthier, happier and richer. They are more emotionally stable, have more savings and investments, and make better employees and more-successful entrepreneurs. Postponing marriage and child-bearing does not seem to help them be more financially successful, perhaps because nothing concentrates the mind like having hungry mouths to feed and the emotional security of loving, being loved and being committed to a joint future.

Divorce: the Fortune Wrecker

A divorce is always a train wreck. It is an intolerable burden to the divorced husband, and there is rarely enough money to support two households. Poverty-stricken divorced women are almost a cliché, and many men don’t make enough money to pay the court-ordered alimony and child support and also support a new marriage and family as they try to rebuild their ruined lives. They are society’s most unsympathetic villains. The chances of either party to ever have a great future are small indeed.

I’ll say it again: Get married and stay married, or be prepared to suffer from the terrible financial penalties that go along with a divorce.