Expert Predictions for 2018 (Part II): The European Union Attacks America: How Will Its New Military Endanger Us?

By Lowell Ponte

Lowell Ponte, a veteran think tank futurist, predicts in the January 2018 issue of Real Money Perspectives that many factors that could devastate the American economy in the New Year. This is Part Two of the dangers he foresees. To See Part One of Lowell’s 2018 Predictions, click here.

The European Union Strikes Back

ue-gazyTo protect a battered Western Europe from Soviet invasion after World War II, the United States created the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, and extended our military nuclear umbrella over its members. This freed Western Europe from the cost of national defense, allowing its nations first to recover, then to build welfare states envied by American liberals that were, in effect, subsidized by American taxpayers.

Our European NATO allies are happy with this arrangement, taking offense when President Donald Trump asks them to pay the promised 2 percent of GDP. “Countries that are immensely wealthy,” said Mr. Trump on December 18, “should reimburse the United States for the cost of defending them.”

Most of Europe’s nations are being dissolved into the new empire of the European Union, in which national borders no longer control immigration or trade. As Craig R. Smith and I explain in Money, Morality & The Machine, this “Superstate,” as founder Jean Monnet envisioned it, was to be created piecemeal, by deception, with Europeans denied a democratic vote on whether to undo their national identity. The EU would be – and now is — run by an elite of unelected progressive Eurocrats.

The European Union is largely controlled by Germany, which is using it to try conquering the continent for the third time in 100 years – this time by economics and the Euro currency. No wonder that in June 2016 the United Kingdom, seeing it was being colonized, voted to Brexit, to leave the EU.

On December 14, 2017, 23 of the EU’s 28 members in the European Parliament agreed to PESCO, “Permanent Structured Cooperation,” which creates military cooperation, then integration, and ultimately replacement of national militaries with a unified military under EU command outside of NATO. For this, these nations have the money. The five EU members not agreeing to join PESCO are Denmark, Ireland, Portugal, Malta, and the United Kingdom, which is still trying to leave the EU.

This EU military, we argued, is designed to disarm nations and give the European Union the power to crush all future attempts of members to secede. PESCO will, indeed, be “permanent.” The EU would then feel free to be a military and financial rival rather than an ally subservient to that former European colony, the United States, which voted for Mr. Trump to assert its anti-globalist and nationalist values.

The European Union is the only bloc that now economically rivals the United States. The EU’s annual Gross Domestic Product is around $16.4 Trillion, approximately $2.2 Trillion less than ours. China’s is $11.2 Trillion, Japan’s $4.94 Trillion, and Germany’s $3.47 Trillion.

Russia, by comparison, ranks #12 in global GDP with only $1.28 Trillion – less than the United Kingdom, France, India, Italy, Brazil, Canada, or South Korea. California, if it seceded and became a nation, would have double the GDP of Russia.

But with its outsized nuclear arsenal, and its zeal to again be an empire, Russia plays the game of nations like a card shark. It has moved into the power vacuum that President Barack Obama left in the Middle East, aligning itself with Syria and with Iran’s nuclear ambitions and design for a “Shiite Crescent” flanking Israel and Saudi Arabia from Lebanon to Yemen. The new autonomous European military dangerously weakens America’s hand.

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To schedule a fascinating interview with Lowell Ponte, a former Reader’s Digest Roving Editor and veteran talk show host, contact: Sandy Frazier at 516-735-5468 or email sandy@mystic-art.com.

For a free copy of Lowell Ponte’s 2018 predictions in Real Money Perspectives, and/or a free copy of Craig R. Smith and Lowell Ponte’s latest book, Money, Morality & The Machine, contact: David Bradshaw at 602-918-3296 or email him at ideaman@myideafactory.net

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Expert Predictions for 2018 (Part I): Dawn of the Petro-Yuan – Will It Doom the Dollar?

By Lowell Ponte

“We are engaged in a new era of competition,” said President Donald Trump in his December 18, 2017 speech about America’s national security strategy. We face “rival powers, Russia and China, that seek to challenge American influence, values, and wealth.”

A week earlier, White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster foreshadowed President Trump’s meaning. China, said McMaster, was committing “economic aggression” and China and Russia “are undermining international order and stability.”

In his speech President Trump noted that “Economic vitality, growth, and prosperity at home is absolutely necessary for American power and influence abroad.” America’s might stands on two legs, one military and the other economic.

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Much of America’s prosperity since World War II came from the Western economic system of the Bretton Woods Agreement, which made the U.S. Dollar the World Reserve Currency, the global money used to trade key commodities such as oil. The U.S. Dollar was to be pegged to the value of gold, and the currencies of favored nations were to be pegged to the dollar.

When President Richard Nixon in 1971 suddenly severed the dollar’s anchor to gold – fearful that allies such as France were about to demand all the gold in Fort Knox in exchange for their mountains of paper dollars – its “exorbitant privilege,” as one French official called it, as the world’s Reserve Currency was saved by a deal with Saudi Arabia, which kept selling its oil only for dollars in exchange for the U.S. military’s arms and blood defending the Saudis. In other words, they would prop up the dollar if we propped up the ruling Muslim Saudi royal family. We switched from the precious metal-backed dollars of our Constitution to “Petro-Dollars.”

China now threatens this fundamental part of the “international order” by being on the verge of creating the “Petro-Yuan” through contracts backed by gold to sell oil in exchange not for dollars but for China’s currency. This will send the value of gold soaring, ZeroHedge predicts, as “China Kneecaps The Dollar.”

The Petro-Yuan could at least share and thereby dilute the power of America’s global reserve currency monopoly – and might be the beginning of its end.

Instead of a world where other nations must acquire the fiat dollars we print at virtually no cost to ourselves, in the near future the United States might be compelled to acquire Petro-Yuans or other foreign currencies.

Our economic advantage, and therefore our future as the dominant world power, could be quickly fading into history. Betting your future on the dollar or dollar-denominated things such as stocks, bonds, or retirement plans could be a bigger gamble than most people believe.

To schedule a fascinating interview with Lowell Ponte, a former Reader’s Digest Roving Editor and veteran talk show host, contact: Sandy Frazier at 516-735-5468 or email sandy@mystic-art.com.

For a free copy of Lowell Ponte’s 2018 predictions in Real Money Perspectives, and/or a free copy of Craig R. Smith and Lowell Ponte’s latest book, Money, Morality & The Machine, contact: David Bradshaw at 602-918-3296 or email him at ideaman@myideafactory.net .

TAXING TIME

by Lowell Ponte

“President Trump has called the $1.5 Trillion tax cut that Republicans are on the verge of passing a Christmas present for the entire nation,” reports the New York Times.

The first Christmas was shaped by taxes. The Bible tells how Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem because “there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed…and all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.”

Joseph, who “was of the house and lineage of David,” took his wife to the City of David, Bethlehem. And there Jesus was born, fulfilling the words of the Prophet Micah about the Messiah, according to the Gospel bearing the name of Jesus’ disciple Matthew, who had been a tax collector.

Christians ever since have smiled at the recognition that even Caesar – who ruled his empire through coercion, death, and taxes – was used to help fulfill God’s plan to give the ultimate gift of eternal life to humankind. The Roman Empire would later embrace Christianity as its faith.

10-5-17-toon-dem-take-a-knee-to-tax-cuts_origIf Republicans cut taxes, this will be “the end of the world…Armageddon,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi days ago. A chorus of Democrats claim that thousands of government dependents will literally die if taxes, and the size of government, are cut.

If Democrats want to take from the rich, then they should reach into the government’s pile of loot. The Federal Government, for example, owns 28 percent of the 2.27 billion acres of land in the U.S. – but such politicians want government ultimately to own everything, not to sell it when money is needed.

Why does government need taxes at all? In truth, the government can simply print all the money it wants or needs. The politicians tax us not for revenue but for two other reasons: (1) to take back enough of their mountains of cheap paper money that its value is not reduced to zero by a blaze of hyperinflation, as happened in Germany’s Weimar Republic in 1923, and (2) to politically benefit friends, punish foes, and control all of us. To empower its own money, the government requires that taxes be paid only in U.S. Dollars – not in Bitcoin or anything else.

The current tax reform is a battle between two political parties and ideologies. Democrats want to create millions of government welfare-dependent voters by heavy taxation of businesses, which then pass those taxes on to consumers in higher prices. This lets politicians pretend that they did not raise taxes on you. Under President Barack Obama, such anti-business policies greatly reduced economic growth and jobs. Free enterprise was crushed, but the welfare state and socialist ideology grew.

President Donald Trump aims to reduce taxes on business, shrink government, and spark economic growth that puts millions back to work. He is gambling that this stimulus will move companies to hire, not buy 75,000 robot workers as Amazon recently did. Trump is gambling that companies that bring trillions of dollars home from overseas will use it to expand, not simply buy back stock and reward stockholders.

These companies know that sooner or later the socialist Democrats will regain power, and expropriate their earnings with sky-high taxes and regulations. They also know that many progressive Republican officeholders love big government as much as Democrats do.

Thanks to America’s Framers, we retain a vestige of separation of church and state – so long as our churches remain silent about the Left’s cultist efforts to create Heaven on Earth, a new human-made collectivist Eden without biblical morality or belief in God. What we need is real separation of church and state, not tax exemptions only for subservient churches. We also need real separation of free enterprise and state.

What about taxation, Jesus was asked. “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,” he replied, “and unto God the things that are God’s.” As the godless Left now sees it, everything is Caesar’s. Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukkah.

To schedule a fascinating interview with Lowell Ponte, a former Reader’s Digest Roving Editor, contact: Sandy Frazier at 516-735-5468 or email sandy@mystic-art.com .

For a free copy of Craig R. Smith and Lowell Ponte’s latest book, Money, Morality & The Machine, contact: David Bradshaw at 602-918-3296 or email him at ideaman@myideafactory.net .

Our “Downsized” Future

By Lowell Ponte

Republicans cutting taxes would be “the end of the world…Armageddon,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi days ago. This could certainly be the end of her world, because Democratic Party power comes largely from taxing and redistributing to its voters the earnings of Republicans.

HO00005106Congressional leaders of both parties understand that their money and power have come at a terrible cost to America’s liberty, prosperity, and individual independence. To make itself big, government has made many of us small, like the people who decide to save money by being shrunk to 5 inches tall in Matt Damon’s insightful forthcoming movie “downsizing.”

We are headed for the end of America, as our nation’s Framers dreamed it, if our citizens cannot make their courage and self-reliance big enough to force our government to be small again – small enough to fit inside the Constitution.

Look what we have become. Instead of honest hard money, our dollar has been turned into “an elastic currency,” as the enabling legislation of the Federal Reserve called for. Now our government simply prints as much as it wishes to spend, leaving us to pay for this with the invisible tax of inflation.

Today our central bank, the Fed, aims deliberately to create 2 percent inflation per year – which would mean that your savings lose 20 percent of their purchasing power every 10 years, and 80 percent of their worth or more over a 40-year life on the job.

But according to a new measure by the New York Federal Reserve Bank, its “Underlying Inflation Gauge” (UIG), for the past year real inflation has been running close to 3 percent – devouring your earnings and savings purchasing power at a rate of 20 percent in less than 7 years, and shrinking your working life savings by at least 80 percent in less than 28 years.

How much will you need to retire one day? Even if you have saved a $1 Million nest egg, according to CNBC, this would provide you only enough to live less than 12 years in Hawaii, and barely 16 years in California or 17 years in states such as New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, or Oregon.

And these calculations were done assuming 2 percent inflation, not 3 percent. Your Social Security payments are supposed to have Cost-Of-Living Adjustments (COLAs) to protect you from your dollars losing value to inflation, but during 8 years of Barack Obama’s Administration COLAs were reduced essentially to zero, even as hamburger and gas prices doubled or worse.

Government, you see, has its own problems. The politicians have already looted $2.66 Trillion from the Social Security Trust Fund. Pension funds for government employees were underfunded by many trillions of dollars. Many millions of Ms. Pelosi’s voters have saved little or nothing, expecting (as her class warfare rhetoric called for) that others would be heavily taxed so they could continue to ride through life for free.

The price of everything (especially the voters Pelosi pays to buy her party’s power) keeps rising. To Progressives like Pelosi, you can always get by with less – but what government takes and spends is non-negotiable and can never be cut (except Constitutionally-authorized defense spending). You will be further “downsized” by taxes so that obese government and its cronies continue to grow larger and fatter.

No wonder that Millennials hope not for wages but wagers on get-rich-quick Bitcoin and lottery tickets. No wonder that some financial advisors now predict that the legalization of California marijuana businesses on January 1st will make investors rich – even as it makes Pelosi’s Golden State stoned and deluded.

How long until California imitates Hawaii, where those using medical marijuana have just been ordered to surrender any guns they own because they are no longer in their right minds? This is the way the free world ends – with a toke and a Bitcoin token as its new highest values. As comedian Steve Martin joked, “Let’s get small.”
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To schedule a fascinating interview with Lowell Ponte, a former Reader’s Digest Roving Editor, contact: Sandy Frazier at 516-735-5468 or email sandy@mystic-art.com .

For a free copy of Craig R. Smith and Lowell Ponte’s latest book, Money, Morality & The Machine, contact: David Bradshaw at 602-918-3296 or email him at ideaman@myideafactory.net .

Is the IRS Taking Control of Bitcoin?

By Lowell Ponte

The widespread fascination with Bitcoin, the digital cryptocurrency, has been in part from its pirate-like mystique as “money,” not created nor controlled by any government, that could be used anonymously to buy and sell privately, free from tax collectors’ prying eyes and greedy grasp.

1500_aHR0cHM6Ly9jb2ludGVsZWdyYXBoLmNvbS9zdG9yYWdlL3VwbG9hZHMvdmlldy82Zjk2YmY3MDVhMGUyZTliY2Y5YThmNmExMmFlYjRhYi5qcGc=On November 28, after more than a year of a legal case by the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Corley ordered Coinbase, the San Francisco-based largest Bitcoin dealer in America, to turn over to the IRS the names, addresses, and taxpayer identification numbers of at least 14,355 people who were some of its customers between 2013 and 2015.

The IRS originally had sought the identity of all Coinbase clients as potential tax evaders after it found that only 802 Americans nationwide in 2015 had declared either losing or gaining any money related to Bitcoin. From 2013 to 2015, according to Fortune Magazine, “the price of Bitcoin soared from $13 to over $1,100.”

Federal Judge Corley instead also ordered Coinbase to provide the IRS the identity of anyone who through them bought or sold $20,000 worth of Bitcoin.

The price of a single bitcoin in recent days skyrocketed beyond $11,000. This ruling, therefore, could become a legal precedent requiring dealers such as Coinbase to report anyone to the government tax authorities who buys or sells two wildly-fluctuating bitcoins or less. Will bitcoin owners soon have to kiss their aspirations of financial freedom and anonymity goodbye?

Money is whatever human beings accept as money. Right now many people value bitcoins as money, and this gives the computer-generated Bitcoin its value. This is also why the financial industry and the IRS want their fat pieces of the profit. And perhaps, as its sellers and advocates claim, Bitcoin is the future of money….but it may be a darker future than people expect.

Yes, Bitcoin is a delusion, says financial editor Derek Thompson of The Atlantic magazine, but so is the fiat paper dollar no longer backed by anything. The biggest thing making our conjured-out-of-thin-air dollars “real” is that the government accepts only dollars as payment for taxes, and the Saudis, until recently, accepted only dollars as payment for their oil in exchange for the U.S. militarily defending them.

The value we put on things varies. One Christmas shoppers pay premium prices for Cabbage Patch dolls that a year later stores can scarcely give away. In the early 1600s in the Netherlands, during a famed financial frenzy people paid the price of a house for a single tulip bulb…until the hypnotic spell was suddenly broken and tulip prices collapsed to nothing overnight.

Why do so many at the moment ride the Bitcoin roller coaster as it gains or loses thousands of dollars a week? Bitcoin is far too volatile to be a reliable store of value or medium of exchange on which we can plan a future.

But in a world where many Millennials see their future being little better than a dependable welfare check, perhaps throwing the dice to strike it rich, like wagering your future on a lottery ticket, seems strangely reasonable. Look at those folks who only a few years ago made a two-bit bet on bitcoins that cost 25 cents apiece and now can sell each bitcoin for $11,000. Trouble is, bitcoins no longer cost 25 cents.

Our government has long wanted to banish cash, because it gives citizens too much freedom and anonymity. As Craig R. Smith and I document in our book Money, Morality & The Machine, this is why your bank is now required to notify the IRS of any “unusual” financial activity with your accounts.

And this is why government is delighted to see people switching to Bitcoin, so long as it has surveillance, control, and taxation of what everybody has. Bitcoin can provide more control than old-fashioned paper money, because in this version of government’s preferred “cashless” society, your savings and spending can be turned off at the flip of a computer switch. You can be made completely dependent on government if and when the government takes control of Bitcoin, as it started to do a few days ago. Was this the master plan all along? Bitcoin-Cover-Front-1-Web-300

There’s a way to escape the trap of a debased dollar and of Bitcoin. For a more detailed look at both sides of Bitcoin, get a new free White Paper; Bitcoin: The Future of Money? by calling 800-289-2646.
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To schedule a fascinating interview with Lowell Ponte, a former Reader’s Digest Roving Editor, contact: Sandy Frazier at 516-735-5468 or email sandy@mystic-art.com .

For a free copy of Craig R. Smith and Lowell Ponte’s latest book, Money, Morality & The Machine, contact: David Bradshaw at 602-918-3296 or email him at ideaman@myideafactory.net .