Our Newest ‘Fixer-Upper’

We spat on our hands and attacked a barn roof yesterday.

The stone building has been abandoned for at least 100 years. Nobody locally can recall it ever being used. Many didn’t even know it was there.

But the stone walls were largely intact. And since we need a place to put tools and firewood, we decided to rush on a new roof, and worry about the rest of it later.

The first step is to clean the tops of the walls, infested by roots…and even trees…so we can repair them.

We will take off the top layer of stone and relay it in a bed of cement. Then, we will bolt a 4-by-6 wooden plate on top of the wall, upon which we will put up rafters and the rest of the roof ensemble.

Reinforcements are on the way. One of our sons will come today to help. Another will arrive on Saturday.

S&P 500 index 23-07-18

An abandoned Irish barn, Bill’s most recent ‘fixer-upper’

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Sans souci

Meanwhile, the stock market was remarkably sans souci yesterday.

It was not troubled by the fact that the president of the US had been accused of treason a by former CIA director.

Per Fox News:

Former CIA Director John Brennan blasted President Trump with a scathing tweet following Monday’s press conference with Vladimir Putin, decrying his comments as ‘imbecilic.’

Brennan said Trump’s remarks that Putin “was extremely strong and powerful” in his denial of meddling were “nothing short of treasonous”’

Nor was the stock market troubled by the biggest debt default in China. From Bloomberg:

China this month recorded one of its biggest corporate-debt defaults yet, with the downfall of a coal miner that had ridden the country’s wave of credit until policymakers changed the game with their deleveraging campaign.

How the borrower ran up a 72.2 billion yuan ($10.8 billion) tab that he now can’t make good on illustrates why this year will be China’s worst yet for corporate defaults.

Nor was it bothered by the trade war…the IMF’s estimate that it may cost the global economy nearly half a trillion dollars…or by the fact that the biggest loser is likely to be the United States of America. The Guardian reports:

Rising trade tensions between the United States and the rest of the world could cost the global economy $430 billion (£324 billion), with America ‘especially vulnerable’ to an escalating tariff war, the International Monetary Fund has warned.

Losing ground

There’s also the problem of growing inflation. The latest reading of the Consumer Price Index — 2.9% — means that working-class Americans are now losing ground.

The Washington Post:

The 2.9 percent inflation for the 12-month period ending in June is a sign of a growing economy, but it’s also a painful development for workers, whose tepid wage gains have failed to keep pace with the rising prices.

The cost of food, shelter, and gas have all risen significantly in the past year. Gas skyrocketed more than 24 percent, rent for a primary residence jumped 3.6 percent, and meals at restaurants and cafeterias rose 2.8 percent.

And who cares if we’re headed towards another housing debacle?

CNBC:

The most competitive, tightest housing market in decades may finally be loosening its grip, and that could put pressure on overheated home prices. The supply of homes for sale in the second quarter of 2018, the all-important spring market, rose at three times the rate of the same period in 2017, according to Trulia, a real estate listing and research company.

Mortgage applications to purchase a newly built home plummeted nearly 9 percent in June compared with June 2017, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. This suggests lower new home sales going forward, despite higher prices.

Deep Staters

Oh, yes…Let’s not forget where we left off yesterday.

The Deep State is in control of US finances. As a win-lose business, it needs to extract wealth from Main Street in order to get wealth for itself.

Alas, the working stiffs do not submit to a tax increase readily. And their economy — burdened by so many bossy-pants regulators and SOB insiders — hardly yields new bounty as readily as in the past.

What can the Deep Staters do?

Borrow!

Over the last 30 years, debt has increased at twice the rate of GDP. And the federal government added $1.2 trillion to its debt in the last 12 months alone, so that the people Eisenhower warned us about — military contractors and their cronies in the Pentagon — would get more money.

The ship is headed down into the cold water and mud, for sure.

Why, then, are stock prices going up?

Does Mr Market know something we don’t? Or is he making one of his episodic Big Mistakes?

Tune in tomorrow…

Regards,

Bill Bonner


Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success and garnered camaraderie in numerous communities and industries. A man of many talents, his entrepreneurial savvy, unique writings, philanthropic undertakings, and preservationist activities have all been recognized and awarded by some of America’s most respected authorities. Along with Addison Wiggin, his friend and colleague, Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. Both works have been critically acclaimed internationally. With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance. Since 1999, Bill has been a daily contributor and the driving force behind Markets and Money.


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