Category Archives: Daily Default

The DC Budget/Debt Ceiling Drama is Reaching a Crescendo

10/7/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

The current scenario in Congress which has managed to entangle the Federal Budget, the Debt Ceiling, and Obamacare in the same line of debate is quickly reaching a crescendo as the rhetoric in Washington has degenerated into personal attacks and accusations that the other side is unwilling to compromise.

We recently saw reports that a number of Congressmen reeked of alcohol as they exited the chambers the night the Government shut down.  Apparently the only thing worse than the pressure of public office is these days is having to face it sober.

As we’ve said before, this type of stalemate in terms of budget matters is absolutely normal and to be expected of technically bankrupt entities.  As the US Government is the largest bankrupt entity on the planet, it should come as no surprise that its dramas will dominate the airwaves until they appear to be resolved.

We have been here before, you can read our commentary back when all of this latest round of bickering began back in 2011:

US Debt Ceiling Vote to Ignite Armageddon in Bond Markets? Key Indicators all Point to Inflation

This time, as both sides appear to be playing a dangerous game of chicken, the dire warnings of what will happen should the government default appear to be reaching a deafening crescendo.  The Chinese and Japanese governments, both large holders of US Treasury paper, are both pressuring Washington for some sort of assurance on their “Investments.”

US Financial Executives, who find themselves in the shoes of the Chinese, albeit on a smaller scale, are also beginning to sweat.  In a recent survey on the perceived effects of the debt ceiling breach, the Association for Financial Professionals summarized their findings in this way:

“Financial executives see dire consequences to prolonged political theater in Washington and a potential U.S. government default, according to a survey released today by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP).

On October 3-4, AFP surveyed financial executives in the corporate treasury and finance departments of a broad range of U.S. companies across many industries, receiving 964 responses. The survey found that in the near term, finance executives believe political wrangling in Washington will lead to reduced demand for goods and services and that a failure to raise the debt ceiling in time will result in reduced capital expenditures and reduced hiring or layoffs at many companies.

But the damage goes beyond just short-term consequences. Forty percent of organizations report that they are holding back on making growth-oriented investments in the U.S. because they are having difficulty evaluating U.S. investments, due to the recurring battles over budgets and debt limits.”

As for effects on short-term investment preferences, the report goes on to state:

“A default would make U.S. Treasury securities, an investment vehicle used in many companies’ short-term investment portfolios, far less attractive. The survey found that one-sixth of U.S. organizations currently holding U.S. Treasury securities would shift out most or all of those investments if the debt ceiling isn’t raised in time. Another 36 percent of organizations would hold onto their current holdings of Treasuries, but would not purchase these securities going forward.

Meanwhile, half of the respondents say that a government default would harm their organization’s access to, and raise their cost of, capital. An increase in the cost of bank credit and higher cost of debt financing were each cited as possible outcomes by 27 percent of financial professionals.”

Scary stuff, right?  A default would cause a nearly instantaneous shift in short-term investment preferences for almost anyone holding US Treasuries.  You can read the entire horror story in the report via the following link:  AFP Survey: The Federal Budget and Debt Limit.

Joe Weisenthal over at the Business Insider presents a Goldman Sachs chart which refutes the argument floated by some that the US Treasury could continue to pay interest on its debts once it hits the debt ceiling.

Treasury Payments

It appears that once Halloween passes and the Federal Employees and Social Security recipients come calling on November 1, the well will be dry.

The well has been dry for some time now, and while it makes for great theater, it is difficult to see why it is in the interest of the government and its direct dependents to let it play out.  If it does, it can only mean that a new monetary system will be imposed, for the Mushroom Shaped Dollar Debt Sponge will have been squeezed.

However, should the US default on its debt, we reiterate our position that it “matters not,” for while the US Government and its dependents will be in a world of hurt, there will be a flood of new money available to private enterprise.  For, contrary to popular belief, Federal spending acts as a damper on the Federal Reserve’s loose money policies, and a US default may represent the ultimate in monetary stimulus, if not true economic growth.

It would be a wild and rapid adjustment but, while the numbers of those who depend directly on the US Government have risen steeply in recent years, the increasingly interconnected US and global economies are exponentially larger and the US, sans its government, is in an extremely strong competitive position both demographically and geographically.

A default may be just what the country needs to shake itself free of its economic doldrums.

So relax and choose your Halloween costumes wisely this year, as it could be dangerous to step out as your favorite politician, if indeed you still have one.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus!

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


Key Indicators for October 7, 2013

Copper Price per Lb: $3.28
Oil Price per Barrel:  $103.03
Corn Price per Bushel:  $4.49
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.63%
Mt Gox Bitcoin price in US:  $137.00
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,322
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.3%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.1%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  14,936
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,556,500,000,000
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,726,300,000,000

The time to short Apple, as in $AAPL, is nigh

11/29/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Here at The Mint, we don’t generally comment on individual stocks.  In general, we see equity prices as subject to monetary policy whims and HFT (High Frequency Trading) bots.  As such, it is rare that the perceived fundamentals of a stock match its bid in the markets at any given time, no matter how perfect the market’s knowledge may be.

Add to this the fact the Corporations are, at their base, socialist enterprises, and you too, fellow taxpayer, will begin to see equities in a whole new light.

That said, sometimes things come to us so clearly and are of such significance that we can ignore the fact that we are talking about an equity and simply study the phenomenon which it represents.  In the case of Apple, the brainchild of Steve Jobs that has given the world the IIe, the Macintosh, and the Ipod-phone-pad craze, among other things, the phenomenon we are witnessing demands a response.

In summary, we believe that about the time that Santa Claus makes his annual jaunt around the world, dropping Apples I-whatevers in the stockings of children, both young and old, of well heeled parents all over the world, it will be time for wise investors to short Apple, big time.

Why such a bold call?  Other than a hunch, confirmed by a recent analysis we were fortunate to read, we will attempt to articulate our reasoning for this prediction as follows:

1.  Reliance on patents as a business plan is equivalent to capitulation in the technological sector.  A short time ago, we wrote briefly regarding the lawsuits which Apple has launched against Samsung and others who have dared to “imitate” its mobile technology:

Apple’s use of Patent Law indicative of an inferior product offering

Relying on litigation either for revenues or to protect revenue streams is a losing strategy.  It not only hurts your competitors, but the public in general.  Since innovation got Apple to where it was, why not continue?  It shouldn’t be difficult with the largest cash hoard in corporate history at their disposal.

We once “got in” on an IPO for a company called “Caldera Systems,” and hung on for dear life, waiting for them to profit from the rising tide of Linux Operating Systems.  We then watched helplessly as their strategy degenerated from trying to profit from open source software to changing their name via an acquisition to SCO Group and initiating a lawsuit against IBM which boiled down to a few lines of code that SCO claimed was theirs.

As far as a business strategy, pursuing Intellectual Property claims is last ditch effort to save face.

2.  Steve Jobs is gone.  Mr. Jobs was a rare creative genius as well as the gravitational center of Apple.  Without him, Apple was bound to turn into the technological equivalent of the break up of the Roman Empire, or any Empire for that matter, with brutal wars for territory and resources, no matter how abundant they may be, which will eventually leave the Empire a shadow of its former self.

3.  Fund Manager window dressing.  Apple stock has minted a 44% return year to date at the time of this writing.  It has also become a big part of the Nasdaq and S&P 500.  As a consequence, many institutional investors have large direct or indirect stakes in Apple which has a juicy return that is begging to be booked before year end.  Sell.

4.  The moronic Fiscal Cliff.  This is crushing business confidence and by extension, the US Consumer.  The combination of the unprecedented uncertainty surrounding legislation with wide ranging economic consequences, such as Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank act, coupled with the debt ceiling, spending sequester, and sun setting tax provisions has utterly paralyzed American businesses as some 1,000 in Washington bicker over numbers they do not understand.  Washington will get a deal done and it will be bad for all involved.  Unless the payroll tax holiday gets extended, the US consumer is toast.

This is why we think Apple is ripe for the picking.  However, we learned long ago to ignore our gut feeling until it is confirmed.
Enter Chris Vermeulen.  In a recent post over at the Market Oracle, Mr. Vermeulen defines the terms for the upcoming demise of Apple’s stock price in terms of the psychology of market swings.  For specifics on the phenomenon at hand and a possible short signal (which, as near as we can tell, will be when $AAPL touches $640 in late December), we refer you to his insightful article:

Apple, How Market Booms Turn to Busts, Trading from New Paradigm to Despair

In our humble assessment, which should be taken with the same grain of salt which all free advice must be taken, we believe that Mr. Vermeulen has put into numbers and graphs what we have felt, generally, ever since we purchased our first Android:  Apple’s days as king of the mobile computing realm are numbered.  People will not pay for things that they can have for free, and, as the commercials from Designer Imposters long ago reminded us.

“You can patent a mix of chemicals, but you can’t patent a smell.”

Two words:  Short Apple

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


Key Indicators for November 29 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.52
Oil Price per Barrel:  $86.62
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.60
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.62%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,719 THE GOLD RUSH IS ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.9%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.1%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  12,985
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,329,700,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,303,600,000,000

Full Disclosure and friendly warning:  We do not own any shares of $AAPL, nor do we plan on shorting them with our own money, as stock market speculation is a great way to lose a ton of dough if one doesn’t know what they are doing!  Furthermore, we are hardly qualified to give specific stock or portfolio advice to persons we do not know or do know but do not have intimate knowledge of their finances and tax situation.  If you choose to do so as a result of reading this article, you do it completely at your own risk or reward. – Commodity Brokerage shuts down citing lack of confidence in wake of MF Global collapse

Ann Barnhardt, on how MF Global really effectively took the system down.  Her parting message is on November 17th. Time to exit and watch the madness from the sidelines: – Commodity Brokerage

Oh My, The Giant Snowball is now Rolling Down Hill, can the Central Banks Stop it?

8/8/2011 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Oh my.  Two words, four meager characters, made famous by Jesse “The Body” Ventura during his ringside blow by blow commentary in the glory days of the WWF (circa 1986).  These words, which so eloquently summed up the effects of a pile driver, seem strangely appropriate to describe what is occurring in equity markets around the globe during their first chance to “react” to the S&P downgrade of the US Government’s sovereign debt rating.

As we write, the Dow is down 5%, ditto for Oil.  Gold is up over 4% and the downgraded bonds of the US Government of the 10 year variety are up (in other words, yields have fallen) approximately 4%.

What is going on?  We will give you a clue, Bank of America (BAC) is down almost 20% on massive volume.

Still guessing?  We won’t keep you in suspense.  This downgrade, whether deserved or not, early or late, is wreaking havoc with mutual fund investment policies which call for excess funds to be held in AAA rated debt.  There are not enough German bunds or UK gilts in circulation to pick up the excess funds gushing out of Treasuries.

The obvious implication is that USD bank deposits should rise.

More deposits that it can’t lend at a profit would tank behemoths like B of A, and Uncle Sam may have trouble saving it.  That, and B of A is being sued for fraud, again.

Enough of B of A, back to the money flying out of US Government obligations by investment policy edict.  Where will this money go?  That is what is currently being sorted out in the markets.  And at the moment it is UGLY for equities on a global scale.  Don’t worry, by late next week, so much money will be pumped into the system that equities will have no choice but to rise.

We can’t help but think back to this chart (BELOW) showing the proliferation of AAA debt in the world.  It seemed as if it was everywhere, like pine trees in a forest.  Now, with one simple action, those who trust S&P’s judgment (which history has show is at one’s own peril) find themselves with at least $14 Trillion less AAA issues to choose from.  More, if you count the implied downgrades of government agency and other government guaranteed debt.

"AAA" Government dominates the market and it is beginning to smell funny!

Stepping away from the technicalities of investment policies and looking at the downgrade in a philosophical sense, it is like a minor earthquake that triggers a tsunami that the financial world is now helplessly watching roll ashore, or like a giant snowball has been pushed downhill and threatens to start an avalanche.

The financial world is looking at these twin disasters and now realizes that the only thing standing between them and the demise of the current financial and currency systems is, are you ready for this?

The Central Banks of the World!!!  Not exactly knights in shining armor, if you ask us.  We might be more comfortable if Pee-wee Herman were on the case.  At least he could provide entertainment as the demise unfolds!

The downgrade is another chink in the armor of the world’s largest knight in shining armor, the United States of America.  Every day, more people are coming to grips with the fact that the US of A cannot provide security and social benefits at such low rates.   Bill Bonner of the Daily Reckoning regularly explores this decline of the American Empire. 

As we touched on the other day, what man calls nations today are, for purposes of analysis, simply competing security agencies which have a man-made geographical monopoly.  The problem, as any businessman will tell you, is that nowadays the agency’s customers can’t take the price hikes.  Neither can they easily choose to move their business to a competitor.  Expatriating is not cheap and involves a host of logistical problems.

The book of Isaiah, chapter 40, God refers to the nations as a “drop in the bucket” and “dust on the scales.”  The obvious implication is that nations do not last, and in extreme cases, dealing with a government may feel like one is dealing with the Mafia.  The need to preserve a geographical monopoly can make an analysis of the actions of a government or a mafia eerily similar.

Seen through this lens, S&P is like the snitch who broke Omerta and tells everyone that the Mafia boss can’t pay on his contracts.  Now the boss will likely face an increase in the vig on what he owes the loanshark. 

How long before the rat gets whacked?

Don’t forget to keep your eye on events in the Middle East, especially Palestine.  Something bigger than we image is brewing there and our guess is that the eyes of the world will soon be focused there.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


Key Indicators for August 8, 2011

Copper Price per Lb: $3.97
Oil Price per Barrel:  $83.36

Corn Price per Bushel:  $6.78
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.37%

FED Target Rate:  0.09%  TIGHTENING?  NOT!

Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,718 PERMANENT UNCERTAINTY

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  2.00%
Unemployment Rate:  9.1%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  -0.2%!!!  PULL OUT THE HELICOPTERS!!!
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  10,899  TO THE MOON!!!

M1 Monetary Base:  $2,012,200,000,000 RED ALERT!!!
M2 Monetary Base:  $9,226,100,000,000 YIKES!!!!!!!

Waiting on Armageddon in the Bond Markets, A Freaky Chart form the BIS

7/18/2011 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

We are taking the week off here at The Mint.  As the world observes the pitched battle between default and inflation, we will be roaming the cornfields of Northeastern Nebraska waiting to attend a cousin’s wedding.

To default or not to default, that is the question.  The financial world is on the edge of its seats waiting for the answer.  What will congress do?

Regular Mint readers know that once QE started, the US essentially defaulted.  Everything that is happening now is a mere attempt to avoid openly admitting it.

There has been a startling graph from Bank of International Settlements that has been circling the internet and is worth a look.  You may want to ask the children to leave the room, it is downright scary.

"AAA" Government dominates the market and it is beginning to smell funny!

Do you now understand why what happens in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy and the US in the coming weeks is of the utmost importance for the bond markets?  In a very short period of time, sovereign debt issues have become predominant.  The scary part of the chart is that any sane person can tell you that there simply ain’t that much AAA rated paper out there, no matter who issues it or who rates is.

With what is sure to be an action packed week as the financial world braces for the next of its many brushes with Armageddon.  Not matter what happens, the only clear winner promises to be the volatility index (which you can conveniently trade as VIX).  If there truly is the threat of a default, try TBT, the Ultrashort US Treasuries EFT.

Better yet, head down to your local coin shop, load up on physical Gold and Silver, and come roam the cornfields with us, worry free!

Stay Fresh,

David Mint


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Key Indicators for July 18, 2011

Copper Price per Lb: $4.39
Oil Price per Barrel: $97.12
Corn Price per Bushel: $7.01
10 Yr US Treasury Bond: 2.91%
FED Target Rate: 0.06% JAPAN HERE WE COME!
Gold Price Per Ounce: $1,594 PERMANENT UNCERTAINTY
MINT Perceived Target Rate*: 2.00%
Unemployment Rate: 9.2%
Inflation Rate (CPI): 0.2%
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 12,479 TO THE MOON!!!
M1 Monetary Base: $2,027,500,000,000 RED ALERT!!!
M2 Monetary Base: $9,265,600,000,000 YIKES!!!!!!!

*See the MINT Perceived target Rate Chart. This rate is the FED Target rate with a 39 month lag, representing the time it takes for the FED Target rate changes to affect the real economy. This is a 39 months head start that the FED member banks have on the rest of us on using the new money that is created.

The MINT’s Daily Default: Fjordbank Mors

Fjordbank Mors is a small lender in Denmark which went bankrupt as an indirect result of another Danish bank failure, Amagerbanken.  Due to the incestuous nature of their collective balance sheets, banking systems are by nature (and sometimes by law) doomed to rise and fall together.

72 Hour Call for June 27, 2011

Today’s Call:  Spain 5yr Credit Default Swap to rise.  Currently 315.20.

Rationale:  Spain has been out of the news for some time as Greece’s debt problems have taken center stage.  However, the chance of increasing unrest along with the realization that banks will likely have to roll over existing sovereign debt in Europe will likely raise risk premiums on all sovereign debt, with Spanish debt being one of the more vulnerable.

Result of Call for June 22, 2011:  Yield on 10 US Treasury to fall, price to rise.  Was 2.99%, Currently 2.93%.  Bad Call.

Calls to Date:  Good Calls: 31, Bad Calls: 27, Batting .534

Daily Default:  Los Angeles Dodgers

Key Indicators for Monday, June 27, 2011

Copper Price per Lb: $4.07
Oil Price per Barrel:  $91.30 A FAILURE TO INFLATE

Corn Price per Bushel:  $6.60   MONETARY POLICY IS NOT WORKING
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.93%
FED Target Rate:  0.08%  UH OH!


MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  2.25%
Unemployment Rate:  9.1%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.2%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  12,044
M1 Monetary Base:  $1,895,400,000,000 RED ALERT!!!
M2 Monetary Base:  $9,086,900,000,000 YIKES!!!

 *See the MINT Perceived target Rate Chart.  This rate is the FED Target rate with a 39 month lag, representing the time it takes for the FED Target rate changes to affect the real economy.  This is a 39 months head start that the FED member banks have on the rest of us on using the new money that is created.