Monday, February 27, 2017

Ron Paul - Gold Has Never Failed as Money Throughout History


It may be difficult for some people to believe, but not too long ago, gold was the international medium of exchange. It facilitated economic growth like the world has never seen. Contrary to government propaganda, gold did not fail as money. It was government itself that systematically separated Americans from sound money. We discuss today on Myth-Busters!


Friday, February 24, 2017

How to Store Silver Bars and Coins at Home

Jeff Clark, Senior Precious Metals Analyst, GoldSilver

There are lots of reasons to buy silver—it’s a real asset, the coins are beautiful, it will likely outperform gold (and probably by a long shot), and it’s more affordable. But that affordability comes with a catch.

Once you start to accumulate, you quickly realize that silver requires a lot more storage space than gold. It’s relatively easy to hide some gold coins in a sock drawer or cookie jar, but those hiding places are impractical for the same dollar amount of silver.

So how do we store our silver bullion both efficiently and safely? And should it be stored at home anyway? This article has some potential solutions for those investors that are stacking silver…


Storing Silver Bullion at Home

Everyone should keep some silver (and gold) in a place that is easily and immediately accessible. One advantage bullion offers is its high liquidity in a period of crisis—no worries about bank closures, lack of access to funds, or internet problems.

So, if you have some bullion close by, you have the ability to fight through a crisis. On the other hand, if your silver is two days away or time-consuming to get to, its use as an emergency asset has diminished.

As I pointed out in my book, Guide to Investing in Gold and Silver, “I believe everyone should have gold and silver in his or her own private possession, where you can lay your hands on it, because they are one of the few financial assets that can be completely private and not part of the financial system.”

This doesn’t mean you should keep it inside your house. It means you want some of it readily accessible in an emergency, whether that emergency be a personal one or on a national scale. Here are the three factors to consider when storing silver at home:

1. Space and Weight Requirements

At today’s prices, dollar for dollar, you get roughly 70 times more ounces of silver than gold. On top of that, most silver is a lot less dense than gold. In fact, pure silver is 84% larger in volume than pure gold. Add those two facts together and it means that silver takes up as much as 128 times more space than gold for the same dollar value!

Here’s a couple practical examples of the difference: A one-ounce American Gold Eagle coin is about the same size as a U.S. $.50 piece, and can fit in your pants pocket along with your other change, keys, and cell phone. But, a one-ounce American Silver Eagle coin is significantly larger—your pants pocket would have to hold 70 of them and they’d weigh almost 5 pounds. The same is true with larger amounts: you can hold $50,000 worth of gold in one hand—but it would take 10 large shoe boxes to hold the same dollar amount of silver!

The difference in weight is also significant: $50,000 worth of gold weighs about 2.6 pounds—but the same value of silver would weigh about 189 pounds!

In other words, whether you’re dealing with coins or bars, you’ll need a lot more space to store silver bullion. It’s also more difficult, expensive, and cumbersome to transport.

The most popular form of silver is the one-ounce American Eagle coin. And the most popular order size is what’s called a monster box—a case of 500, 1-ounce coins, separated into 25 tubes of 20 coins each. A monster box measures 15” X 8.5” X 4.5”. Here’s how big that is:


A monster box of Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coins varies slightly (instead of 25 tubes of 20 coins, it contains 20 tubes of 25 coins), and measures: 10” X 8” X 5”.

If you’re stacking bars, the most popular size is the 100-ounce silver bar. The dimensions are roughly the same for most bars—here’s what one measures from the Royal Canadian Mint: 7.2” X 3.2” X 0.8”. It’s roughly the size of three or four large Hershey bars stacked on top of each other.

2. Personal Comfort Level

How much bullion are you and your confidant comfortable keeping in your home?

Your two biggest risks are theft and natural disaster. Here’s a checklist of questions to ask yourself about storing bullion at home…

• Does more than one person know you own precious metals? If so, who might they tell, even if it’s innocent? Do your kids know? Depending on their age and maturity, could they talk?

• Is your income or assets high enough to make you a natural target? Do you work in the public eye? Have you talked positively about gold and silver, including on social media?

• Do you have an alarm monitoring system? This may not prevent a theft but would ideally give you an immediate police response.

• Are your hiding spots clever enough? To answer this, “think like a thief;” how long before a persistent and desperate robber finds your bullion?

• If you use a safe, is it fireproof? What level of protection does your safe have against other natural disasters?

• Is your safe small enough that a thief could walk out with it? If it’s secured to the floor in some way, how would you respond if a thief found it and demanded you open it?

• Do you have some decoy bullion or valuables?

• Is your bullion hidden so well that you couldn’t find it if you forgot where it was? Or your heirs would have a hard time finding it?

• Keep in mind that insuring your home-stored bullion is costly, and most home insurance plans may not cover the full value if silver rises a lot in price. Further, it breaks the golden rule of telling too many people what you have—insurance agents, office staff, corporate offices, appraisers and their staff—and don’t forget that they might tell someone! Insuring your home bullion is a personal decision, but we prefer the privacy.

Indoor storage is practical for small quantities. You can probably think of dozens of places in your home where no one would think to look.

The trick is to hide your bullion in such a way that it isn’t too complicated for you or your heirs to find, but is hard enough for a thief to find. Here’s a few tips on hiding locations (note that some of these come from customer input and are not necessarily what we would recommend)…

3. Hiding Tips

Nothing Obvious: No fake cookie jars, rocks, or carved out books. They’re too common. If you’ve seen your hiding spot in a movie, find another one.

Three Layers Deep: A good rule of thumb is to store your silver three layers deep, since most burglars look for things they can grab and go. For example, a floor safe, covered by floor boards, with carpet and a china cabinet over it.

Safes: A safe is certainly much better than behind some books, but keep in mind that no safe is 100% secure. A safe buys you time, nothing more. If you use a key safe, hide the key separately from the safe. If you use a combination lock, don’t assume you’re immune from robbery—a friend of my father’s had a gun pointed to his wife’s head while they asked him for the combination to his safe.

Another consideration is the weight of the safe. One that weighs, say, 100 pounds, could be moved (i.e., stolen) by one or two burglars with some basic tools like a dolly or straps. A 300-400 pound safe removes theft risk from a single person. Heavier than 500 pounds and you’re immune from most home burglaries, unless there’s a group of them and they have a heavy duty vehicle. Of course, the heavier the safe the more likely you’ll need it delivered and installed, which then tips your hand that you’ve likely got a lot of valuables in the house.

Midnight Gardening: A couple pointers if you bury your gold (the term “midnight gardening” comes from people who bury their gold at night so the digging won’t be noticed)…

• Try a container that is both airtight and waterproof (don’t use a coffee can, since the color on the metal can bleed). If you’re burying a lot of coins separate small piles of them into plastic baggies to avoid scratching.

• Consider how easy or too difficult it is to find. If it’s too easy, a thief could find it. But it it’s too difficult your heirs may have a hard time locating it. Find a place, on property you own, that you’ll always remember but isn’t obvious if someone learns you’ve buried something valuable. It’s probably not a good idea to leave complicated instructions; if you use a “treasure map,” give part of the instructions to one person you trust and the other part to a different confidant.

• Metal detectors can detect up to a depth of about 4 feet.

A related option might be to build a safe in the floor of a storage shed. The advantage here is that you can access your bullion without being seen, day or night.

Home Security Systems: The more metal you have at home, the more you need to consider a security system that comes with both cameras and monitoring. Or consider a nanny cam; they're not expensive.

Firearms: If you store metals at home and have a safe, and IF you feel comfortable having a gun in the house, a firearm might be a way to defend yourself in the event of a break-in while you're home. We don’t necessarily recommend purchasing a firearm, however, as there a number of considerations to keeping a weapon in the house.

Decoys: Consider keeping two safes, one of which is cheap with a few items in it so the thief thinks he got your stash, and then the real one well hidden in a different part of the house with your silver and other valuables.

Diversify: Use more than one hiding spot. But don’t use so many that you forget where they all are!


Should We Use a Bank Safe Deposit Box?

Easy, simple, and relatively inexpensive—those are the advantages to using a safe deposit box at your local bank. But consider the drawbacks…

• Your access is restricted. You can only get to the bullion during regular banking hours. No evening, weekend or holiday access. In fact, during 9/11, some banks were closed for a period of time.

• No insurance against robbery or disaster. Think about the customers whose safe deposit boxes were washed away with the tsunami in Japan in 2011.

• Lack of privacy. If the government or an aggressive attorney comes after you, they’ll thank you for the generous clue you provided them of where some of your assets are stored.

• Silver takes up so much space that you’d likely be forced to pay for a larger box. And it might not be an option at all… a monster box of silver is too big for most any safe bank deposit box.

Remember, one reason we own physical bullion is to protect against the banking system. If you go this route, be aware of the risks and only place a small portion of your metal there.



What About a Private Vault?

Once your stash starts to grow, I recommend you consider private storage. Not only do you run out of space at home but your risk grows as you accumulate more and more metal. You don’t want to be wiped out if something happened to your stash at home.

The keys to professional storage are that your metal be held: 1. Outside the banking system. 2. Fully segregated or allocated in your name, and fully insured. 3. Easy online access.

I’m proud to say that GoldSilver’s program meets all these criteria and more. These are the same vaults Mike and I use. Highly liquid, 100% insured, and can be done online instantaneously. Again, use this option once you have a reasonable amount of bullion stored at or near home, but have reached a point where it would be wise to divvy it up.


The Ideal Solution to Home Storage

The message here is that no storage location is 100% secure (though professional storage is 100% insured). Therefore, the best way for storing silver is to diversify your locations. The more you accumulate, the more you should utilize several methods for storing silver.

Don’t put yourself in a position where you’re left silver-less if something happens to your stash. Silver bullion is a tangible asset that serves as inexpensive insurance against all types of crisis. We’re convinced you’re making a wise decision by owning it. But review your storage methods to determine the best ways to hold on to your silver.

- Source, Gold Silver

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Recession 2017? Ominous Signs Emerge

According to Gallup, U.S. economic confidence has soared to the highest level ever recorded, but meanwhile a whole host of key economic indicators are absolutely screaming that a new recession is beginning. And if the U.S. economy does officially enter recession territory in 2017, it certainly won’t be a shock, because the truth is that we are well overdue for one. Donald Trump has inherited quite an economic mess from Barack Obama, and it was probably inevitable that we were headed for a significant economic downturn no matter who won the election.

One of the key indicators to watch is average weekly hours. When the economy shifts into recession mode, employers tend to start cutting back hours, and that is happening right now. In fact, as Graham Summers has pointed out, we just witnessed the largest percentage decline in average weekly hours since the recession of 2008…


In addition to the decline in hours, Summers has suggested that there are a number of other reasons to believe that a new recession is here…

The fact is that the GDP growth of 4%-5% is not just around the corner. The US most likely slid into recession in the last three months. GDP growth collapsed in 4Q16, with a large portion of the “growth” coming from accounting gimmicks.

Consider the following:

Tax receipts indicate the US is in recession.
Gross private domestic investment indicates were are in a recession.
Retailers are showing that the US consumer is tapped out (see AMZN’s recent miss).
UPS, another economic bellweather, dramatically lowered 2017 forecasts.

To me, even more alarming is the tightening of lending standards. In our debt-based economy, the flow of credit is absolutely critical to economic growth, and when credit starts to get tight that almost always leads to a recession.

So the fact that lending standards have now tightened for medium and large sized firms for six quarters in a row is very bad news. The following comes from Business Insider…

“Although modest over the past couple of quarters, it is still worth noting that this is now the sixth quarter in succession that standards have tightened for large and medium sized firms,” Deutsche Bank economist Jim Reid wrote in a research note to clients.

“This usually only happens in recessions.”

Reid is 100 percent correct on this point. This is precisely the kind of thing that we would expect to see if a new recession was beginning, and if this trend continues it is hard to imagine that the U.S. economy will be able to continue to grow.

And it is interesting to note that job growth at S&P 500 companies has gone negative for the first time since the last recession, and so large firms are definitely starting to feel the pressure.

Simultaneously, lending standards are also tightening up for consumers…

“The most notable tightening in standards though was in consumer loans,” the Fed said. “During the quarter, banks reported an 8.3% net tightening in credit standards for credit cards and 11.6% net tightening for auto loans.”

US consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity and is thus a key driver of growth in the world’s largest economy.

Those numbers for credit cards and auto loans are major red flags.

It is very simple. Tighter credit means less economic activity which means slower economic growth. The U.S. economy grew at a dismal 1.9 percent annual rate during the 4th quarter of 2016, and it would be absolutely no surprise if we end up with a negative number for the first quarter of 2017.

One of the big reasons why lending standards are tightening is because bankruptcies are rising.

As I reported the other day, consumer bankruptcies just rose on a year-over-year basis in back to back months for the first time in almost seven years. Commercial bankruptcies had already been rising on a year-over-year basis throughout 2016, and so the fact that consumer bankruptcies have now joined the party is a very bad sign.

And we have also just learned that real median household income declined in 2016…

Its official! The spectacular Obama/Fed “recovery” produced no increase in real medin household income in 2016 (the last year of Obama’s reign of [economic] error). In fact, real median annual household income in December 2016 ($57,827) was 0.9 percent lower than in December 2015 ($58,356).

Yes, I understand that there is a tremendous amount of optimism out there right now because of Donald Trump.

But the truth is that it is literally going to take some sort of an economic miracle to avoid a recession.

And if a recession is going to happen anyway, the Trump administration should want it to occur as quickly as possible.

You see, if a recession starts a year from now, it will be much more difficult for Trump to blame it on Obama. But if a recession starts right now, he will definitely be able to argue that it happened because of the mess that he inherited from the last administration.

In addition, the sooner the next recession ends the sooner the next recovery can begin. If a recession is still going on during the 2020 campaign, that would be really bad for Trump, but if a recovery is well underway by then that would be really good for his chances.

If you doubt this, just go back and look at the 1984 campaign. After a very difficult recession, the U.S. economy bounced back strongly and Ronald Reagan was able to ride that momentum to an easy victory.

So this may sound very strange to many of you, but the truth is that if a new recession is coming Trump supporters should want it to happen as rapidly as possible.

Unfortunately, once a new recession begins it may not play out like recessions normally do. The U.S. government is 20 trillion dollars in debt, we are in the midst of one of the biggest stock market bubbles in history, and our planet is becoming more unstable with each passing day. So even though Trump is in the White House and Obama is gone, let there be no doubt that a catastrophic economic crisis could literally erupt at any moment. I continue to encourage my readers to do all that they can to get prepared, because those that are prepared in advance will have the best chance of successfully getting through what is coming.

Unfortunately, a lot of people out there seem to believe that all of our problems have somehow evaporated just because Donald Trump is now living in the White House.

That is simply not true, and we all need to be praying for guidance and wisdom for Trump and his team as they prepare to deal with the great challenges that are ahead for our nation.



Friday, February 10, 2017

US Trade Deficit In 2016 Was The Biggest In Four Years

In a report that will be closely watched by Donald Trump, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis announced that the US trade deficit in December decreased modestly last December: In the last month of 2016, the US deficit decreased from $45.7 billion in November (revised from $45.2) to $44.3 billion in December, less than the $45 billion expected, as exports increased more than imports.


The goods deficit decreased $1.2 billion in December to $65.7 billion, offset by a services surplus increased $0.3 billion in December to $21.4 billion.

The breakdown: exports of goods and services increased $5.0 billion, or 2.7 percent, in December to $190.7 billion. Exports of goods increased $4.8 billion and exports of services increased $0.2 billion.

The increase in exports of goods mostly reflected increases in capital goods ($3.3 billion) and in industrial supplies and materials ($0.7 billion).

The increase in exports of services reflected increases in transport ($0.1 billion), which includes freight and port services and passenger fares, and in travel (for all purposes including education) ($0.1 billion).

Imports of goods and services increased $3.6 billion, or 1.5 percent, in December to $235.0 billion. Imports of goods increased $3.6 billion and imports of services were nearly unchanged.

The increase in imports of goods mostly reflected increases in automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($1.6 billion), in industrial supplies and materials ($1.1 billion), and in capital goods ($1.0 billion).
The change in each category for imports of services was less than $0.1 billion.

Of particular note was the geographic breakdown, something Trump will be especially focused on:

The December figures show surpluses, in billions of dollars, with Hong Kong ($2.1), South and Central America ($1.0), Singapore ($0.9), Saudi Arabia ($0.4), and Brazil ($0.2). Deficits were recorded, in billions of dollars, with China ($30.2), European Union ($12.9), Japan ($6.8), Germany ($5.2), Mexico ($4.6), Italy ($2.8), India ($2.0), South Korea ($1.8), Canada ($1.5), Taiwan ($1.0), OPEC ($1.0), France ($0.7), and United Kingdom ($0.2).
The deficit with Canada decreased $1.7 billion to $1.5 billion in December. Exports increased $1.0 billion to $22.4 billion and imports decreased $0.7 billion to $23.8 billion.

The deficit with Mexico decreased $1.2 billion to $4.6 billion in December. Exports increased $1.6 billion to $20.7 billion and imports increased $0.5 billion to $25.2 billion.




That was the good news; the bad news is that for all of 2016, the goods and services deficit was $502.3 billion, up $1.9 billion from $500.4 billion in 2015, and the biggest going back to 2012.


Exports were $2,209.4 billion in 2016, down $51.7 billion from 2015. Imports were $2,711.7 billion in 2016, down $49.9 billion from 2015. In short, a substantial slowdown in trade all around.

The 2016 increase in the goods and services deficit reflected a decrease in the goods deficit of $12.5 billion or 1.6 percent to $750.1 billion and a decrease in the services surplus of $14.4 billion or 5.5 percent to $247.8 billion.

As a percentage of U.S. gross domestic product, the goods and services deficit was 2.7 percent in 2016, down from 2.8 percent in 2015.

- Source, Zero Hedge

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Why Trump’s Economic Justice Warriors Will Crash The US Dollar

From Jeff Berwick:

For the last eight years we’ve seen the rise of the Social Justice Warriors (SJW’s), as they had lobbied their man, Obama, for the political power required to direct the force of government in the name of their own peculiarly relativist brand of “social justice.”

While they are still busy demonstrating the violent soul of what is inherent in all brands of statism by breaking storefront windows (masked), under the Trump epoch a new type of statist “warrior” has emerged… let’s call them the Economic Justice Warriors (EJW’s).

Like the SJW’s, the EJW’s ultimately also want to direct the “force” of government in the name of justice, albeit slightly different. And, much like the SJW’s, this new form of economic justice isn’t just at all. In fact, it is antithetical to the goals of the EJW’s.

One of the big rallying cries of the EJW’s has been to “build a wall” across an entire continent!

This is silly for a few reasons.

One is that there already is a wall across most of it… but all it takes to defeat a wall is a ladder or a shovel. Or a boat.

But, even that is silly because there have been more Mexicans leaving the US than migrating there for the last five years (“More Mexicans Leaving the US Than Entering” – New York Times). Most say they leave due to how unfree the Land of the Free is nowadays.

In fact, Americans may be building a wall that eventually will keep them in. The IRS has just announced that it will be notifying the State Department of anyone with overdue extortion (tax) payments. Anyone with overdue tax payments will not be given a passport to defect from the country.

Adding insult to injury on building this useless wall is Trump’s idea on how to “make Mexico pay for it”. His way of “making Mexico pay for it” is to charge American’s 20% more on anything imported from Mexico.

Mexico is one of the biggest importers into the US and two of its biggest imports are petroleum and food… so get ready for food and gas to rise 20% in price in order to build a wall that is already mostly there and is useless.


But, imposing tariffs on foreign imports and building walls isn’t just useless and increasing the cost of things for Americans. It actually threatens to destroy the entire American economy.

TDV’s Senior Analyst wrote this in our last issue to subscribers:

Like most Americans, [Trump] is unaware of the role that international trade has played in developing wealth, not only for American corporations, but also, American consumers and the many countries engaged in it.

Ed points out that Trump doesn’t make the proper distinction between trade and globalism.

Besides failing to grasp the mutually beneficial nature of trade, he doesn’t understand the complexities involved in the balance of payments theory, which has long been discredited as an old mercantilist doctrine. He uses it to attempt to define who the winners and losers are in trade. But, Ed points out, the accounts are always in balance; the other side of a “trade deficit” is a “capital surplus.”

When enough money is put into American goods and services – and when people who trade with Americans also store their money in the US – the US can develop a “capital surplus.” As Ed explains, a country can have a trade deficit because its capital markets are attractive. It is after all trading financial claims for goods and services.

A country may also have a trade deficit if it prints more currency than its trading partner, but this kind of cheating tends to self correct via exchange rates eventually.

On the contrary, the US has had a “trade deficit” for as long as the US dollar has floated freely, and probably longer. Sometimes this is the result of its inflationist policy, but mostly it is because the US has always offered a relatively more attractive – i.e., more diverse and more liquid – and more politically stable capital market environment to store wealth.

That’s one of the ways the US dollar became a reserve currency – by offering a home for all those mercantilist governments around the world who would debase their own currencies in order to give their exporters an edge into the American market. How many times have you heard the argument about the Japanese or Chinese banks funding US deficits and consumers.

Yet this is precisely the kind of thing Trump thinks of as exploitation.

But America gained from it too. Because people all around the world wanted to trade with people in the US, its currency circulated broadly; in fact, combined with the beneficial aspects of trade on productivity it helped the Fed manage the fallout of its policies on local prices.

But Trump thinks having a trade deficit is a bad thing and wants to wipe it out. He will try to, and in the process he will do a lot of damage to the American economy, as Ed points out. For, by eliminating the trade deficit he will also eliminate the capital surplus, and reverse all the benefits that have accumulated not only to the economy, but also, the dollar over the decades.

Trump is wrong to target the trade deficit. Trade is not a win-lose concept. Nations are not necessarily better off because they export more physical goods than financial claims if there is a competitive advantage on each side discovered voluntarily in the market by entrepreneurs.

The policy will radically shrink America’s sphere of trade. It will lower labor productivity as a result, and real wages in the process. It may even more radically accelerate the dollar’s global demonetization (de-dollarization) as those who have traded with America over the years finally repatriate their dollars.

Just this week, Iran announced it will stop using the US dollar in response to Trump’s bans.

EJW’s think they are going to improve things in the US by limiting trade and enforcing tariffs and bans. What they’ll get is the exact opposite.

Trumponomics is a US dollar crisis in the making.

Protecting Yourself From The Trump/EJW US Dollar Crisis

Given the precariousness associated with the US economy and Donald Trump, you will certainly want to keep your assets safe and well positioned to profit during the incoming turmoil.



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