Blogs on How to Invest, Gold & Silver, and Economics 101

Silver and Golden Choice to Expand Options in Money?

Arizona legal tender bill SB1096 attempts to account for details of implementation which Governor Jan Brewer said was the main reason for her veto despite enthusiastic support of her constituency in 2013.

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Big Oil, Big Spills—Your Tax Dollars At Work

March 22, 2014, witnessed another oil spill in U.S. waters when a tanker full of marine fuel oil crashed into a barge in the Houston Ship Channel. The spill closed all traffic through the channel for three days. Nearly 12% of the U.S. refining capacity came to a halt during the closure. The spill came as the nation marked the 25th anniversary of the catastrophic Exxon Valdez spill that dumped 11 million gallons of oil on the Alaska coast.

Just a month before, on February 23, an oil barge collided with a tugboat Near Vacherie, Louisiana. The resulting oil spill closed a 65-mile run of the Mississippi River and endangered water supplies for communities along the river. Dozens of critical shipments backed up behind the spill location.

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Declining Ore Grades, Mine Slowdowns Add Up to Gold Supply Squeeze

As happened decades ago, a drop in gold prices is having an impact on production. One key factor—difficult, if not impossible—to reverse is a steady decline in ore grade. With consumer gold demand soaring to an all-time high in 2013, the drop in production points to a growing supply shortage and ultimately rising prices. In a cyclic reaction, prices will eventually push production up as well, but restarting idled mines or ramping up exploration and development requires years of lead time. For the ever-declining ore grades there may be no solution.

Twelve straight years of rising gold prices, through 2012, finally kick-started global gold mining operations, which picked up in earnest around 2009 and peaked in 2012 at 2700 metric tons delivered to market, according to an August 2013 report by Scott Wright of Mining.com.

But the 2013 gold panic took a rapid toll on production, Wright continues, causing most miners to delay or shelve development of new mines and to cut back dramatically on exploration efforts.

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Austrian School Resurgence Reflects Desire for Better Solutions to Economic Malaise

Once virtually abandoned by the mainstream, many ideas associated with Austrian School economics have been increasingly in the spotlight, and in the public consciousness, in recent years. Some of the attention resulted from the popularity of Congressman Ron Paul, who, particularly during his third presidential run in 2012, captured the attention of the millennials, the last generation born in the 20th century.

The appeal of Paul’s anti-establishment economic theories is understandable: raised on expectations of upward mobility instilled in their baby boom parents, today’s young people have emerged into adulthood to face the sad reality that their prospects aren’t as good as their parents’ were, and furthermore, may never be. It is a turbulent, uncertain era that is prompting many to examine what they’ve been taught to believe about what creates prosperity and how economies function. Even if Main Street remains unfamiliar with the terms “Austrian economics” or “Keynesian economics,” its citizens can plainly see that the status quo isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and conclude that different solutions are needed.

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Who Benefits from ‘Moderate’ Inflation?

The fallacy that inflation is beneficial has gained great traction in recent years. The generation of working, saving U.S. taxpayers that lived through the runaway inflation of the 1970s came out of it convinced that inflation must be stomped out at all costs. But it turned out zero inflation wasn’t so great for the sectors of society with the most the economic and political power—government and political leaders, financial institutions and the banking system. So a process of re-education of the public began, with central bankers and politicians explaining that a certain level of inflation was necessary to create jobs and allow the economy to grow, and mainstream media obligingly echoing the conventional wisdom.

From that highly effective propaganda campaign emerged what is now widely accepted as economic dogma, that a slow, steady rise in inflation at some pre-determined rate is the optimal condition for healthy economic growth.

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Will Data Breaches Force U.S. Consumers to Kick the Plastic Habit?

Wave after wave of credit- and debit card breaches, perhaps most famously the theft of the financial and personal information of some 110 million Target customers during the holiday season, have left consumers shocked and increasingly wary of using the plastic in their wallets. The consequences are not limited to fraudulent charges and the inconvenience of having to re-establish identity: With the interconnection between retailers and financial institutions, large-scale breaches could conceivably bring down large banks and cripple the financial system. Perhaps even more concerning to government and central bankers is the possibility that a plastic-shy population might learn to live within its means, potentially shutting down the debt-fueled engine that keeps the economy humming.

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