French Protests Reaffirm The Global Popular Revolt

French Protests Reaffirm The Global Popular Revolt

Whether you love him or hate him, it is uncanny how often President Trump is right. How do you get a Trump reference in a blog about the Yellow Vest protests in France?  Simple:

1. Macron decided to verbally rebuke the President at the World War I memorial service in November in Paris.

This is particularly galling to insult Trump, because it was an insult to all Americans. The French had to shoot their own soldiers in World War I for refusing to fight – the reason most gave was they were waiting for the Americans to arrive to save them … which we did.  Never mind the liberation of Western Europe in World War II.  Obviously, the volume of American blood and treasure spent on defending and saving the French (and all Western Europe) should only result in one form of public statement whenever French leaders speak – and that is to say – “thank you.”

2. Macron has been forcefully pushing policies moving France and the EU away from the United States, such as a new currency regime with Iran, and a European defense force. This was a direct affront to Trump.

Never mind the Europeans cannot even meet their NATO goals of 2% GDP spending on their own defense, Macron has been forcefully pushing for alternatives to the American-led defense order.  His support of German proposals to work with the Chinese and Russians to create a currency facility with Iran – which would circumvent US sanctions and damage dollar hegemony – is par for the course from this French leader.  This goes against the America’s current Iran policy.

3. Macron has positioned himself as the de facto European leader on the issue of climate change. He is Europe’s Al Gore – regularly deriding Trump over the Paris Accord withdrawal, and bragging about his fuel tax increase. That is, until now.

And that is where we find ourselves now – the protests in France known as the Yellow Vest Protests were a rejection of the massive higher fuel taxes the Macron government imposed upon the French people primarily to meet their Paris Climate Accord requirements.  Laughably, and predictably, the French people rose up to reject this fool-hardy plan.  Since then the protests have grown, with wide-spread riots and property damage on a massive scale.  Macron went on TV to try and calm the masses, and to give in to most of their demands … eerily reminiscent of the Jimmy Carter’s malaise speech as many analysts have stated.  It was a colossal failure, and grandiose defeat, of epic proportions.  Macron’s public rebuke of Trump, only to follow with such a disastrous policy failure … and lower approval ratings as Trump points out … makes this issue tailor-made for a Trump tweet assault.  And of course, he delivered.

French Protests Reaffirm The Global Popular Revolt

French Protests Reaffirm The Global Popular Revolt

The French Yellow Vest protests are a protest against fuel tax increases and other government fee increases that have had a huge negative impact on the home finances of France’s middle class.  These protests are reaffirming what we knew a few years ago – first with Brexit, then with the election of Donald Trump:  there is a popular revolt against the globalist elite political agenda.

That populist, nationalist revolt includes:

1. “A rejection of the Paris Climate Accords and global climate policy“: It’s not that people wish to harm the environment, or that they don’t believe man impacts the environment. They just are rejecting radical changes to their lifestyle and giving more power to government’s that already don’t deliver on their promises.  The public does not see the science as overwhelming, and they see politicians and big business ready to enrich themselves over the changes to economic policy (see Solyndra).  Macron’s fuel taxes and the Yell-Vest protests are another prime example of this issue.  That has inspired the push-back.

2. “A rejection of open borders”: This is the most glaring, and most obvious of all.  The Italian government was elected on the platform of closing the borders … all of Eastern Europe and Poland have elected governments specifically on the issue of secured borders … Brexit voters primary motivation was rejecting open borders … German alt-right parties have won more seats than since the Nazi era, and Merkel had to provide a resignation date, solely on the issue of closing borders … Donald Trump’s signature issue was building a wall … the importance of this issue to actual citizens in each country cannot be disputed, or over-looked.

3. “Taxation without representation is still a potent ignition of populist anger”: It may not be the Boston Tea Party, or the American Tea Party protests of 2009-10, but the French Yellow Vest protests have been unmistakably anti-government and anti-taxation in nature (and certainly violent, as compared to the peaceful US protests in ‘09-‘10). The public will only take so much … while the rich and powerful jet across the world and seem to take no responsibility for climate change, they instead force the working masses to pay the price for these policies and economic changes through higher taxes. That will always be met with public rejection and the visceral anger you see in the Yellow Vest movement.

So back to Trump – exiting the Paris Climate Accord was met with global derision and disdain.  But as of today, how is everyone else doing in meeting their climate accord goals?

The answer:  not a single country is reducing their emissions … France and everyone else has increased their emissions above their historical averages.  So not only has the rate of increase not slowed, but the increase has accelerated!!!

The only countries currently compliant with the Paris Climate accords are:

Bhutan

Costa Rica

Morocco

Gambia

Ethiopia

India

The Philippines

Seven countries in total, none of whom are known as large, industrial powers to begin with.

 What are the takeaways?

 1) The US was right to withdraw from an accord that was not ratified by the Senate, that no other country is committed to and that, as now proven, does not work.

2) Macron’s fuel taxes and the Yellow-Vest protests are proof that globalist climate change policies pushed by the elites are not welcomed by the voters.

3) Western elites are growing further and further apart from their voters, and this is causing great upheaval in what used to be traditionally stable countries.

Governments will have a hard time enacting new taxes when their elites live better, and more apart, from their voters than ever before.  There is no “trust” between the governing and the governed, and without radical changes to the standards and ethics of those in power in the near term, long-term planning and execution of important government policy will prove difficult to achieve.

This unstable marketplace means stability for your portfolio has never been more important.  Call now! (877) 912-1919

Pearl Harbor: A Day Which Will Live In Infamy…

Seventy-seven years ago, the country was attacked in secret.  On December 7, 1941, forces from the Empire of Japan secretly attacked American Naval and military positions on the island of Oahu, in the Hawaiian Islands. You know it as Pearl Harbor. It was the final act which brought the United States into World War II.

Pearl Harbor: A Day Which Will Live In Infamy

With each passing year more and more of “Greatest Generation” pass away – so named for combating the scourge of Nazism, overcoming the Great Depression, and unconditionally defeating the Japanese.  Their passing makes it more difficult for younger generations to understand the level of sacrifice made by those who came before us in helping forge this greatest nation in world history.

While for many, 9/11 remains the defining event of their lives – the event where “you remember where you were” when it happened.  At the same time, we cannot and should never forget the events of December 7, 1941.  Those events changed America, and they changed the course of world history.

Here is the speech from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, made to Congress on December 8th.  His words capture this gripping moment in history, and they should be a reminder to Americans to always stay vigilant.  Like 9/11, let us never forget.

“Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives: Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

 Pearl Harbor: A Day Which Will Live In Infamy

 It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace. The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

 Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya. Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong. Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam. Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands. Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island. And this morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

 Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation. As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

 But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

 Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger. With confidence in our armed forces—with the unbounding determination of our people—we will gain the inevitable triumph—so help us God.

 I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.”

 Never Forget … and God Bless America!

When have we seen this volatility before?”

When have we seen this volatility before?

The market has seen a prolonged period of volatility over the last several weeks, with more down days than up since September, and a significant decline since November 5th, the last major high we saw on the Dow at 25,989. When have we seen this type of volatility before?

Many market analysts have been reporting this is a likely a correction, a bear market warning signal, or signs of another 2008-style collapse.

To answer that question, the data paints an interesting picture:

I. Top 3 reasons the market volatility is not a cause for concern:

  1. “VIX is operating in a narrow range”: The volatility index, known as the VIX, shows how volatile stocks are trading. At the time of writing this blog, the VIX was around 21 … the historic average is 20.  Not exactly tremors of a market melt-down.  Surging VIX data sometimes represents buying opportunities or the market searching for a trend line.  In either case, it is not necessarily a call for a bear market.  In the summer of 2008, the VIX was averaging a 19 and we were already in a recession.  In 2000, the VIX was averaging a 22 before the broad market declines of the dot.com bubble burst.
  2. “Credit market stress having a greater impact”: Credit market stress and the pricing of debt due to recent rate hikes by the Fed have influenced stocks more than volatile trading. We have never had a policy environment of zero interest rates for 8 years, and then raising them from zero in such a short period of time.  There is no historical record to compare it to.  Congress changing hands has also had an impact. Congress cannot implement new policy, but they sure can hinder implementation of existing policy.  Markets are reading this information – volatility is not the issue – a downward turn in the markets due to increased borrowing costs is one of many.
  3. “Retail sales setting records”:  Cyber Monday was the biggest sales day in US history, topping $7.9 billion … this was on top of the $6.2 billion in sales on Black Friday.  The combined weekend numbers were 20% higher than 2017 and support an ongoing narrative on Wall Street – the US consumer is driving, sales, profits, and in turn – markets.  The 3.5% third quarter GDP number should be higher by the time 2018 wraps up.

II. Top 3 reasons the market volatility IS a cause for concern:

  1. “Stock market ‘down days’ have not been this bad since the ‘08/’09 crisis”: Stocks have moved 1% or more 50 days this calendar year – significant volatility not seen since the 2008-09 financial crisis. Five of the top ten all-time single day record losses have occurred this year in 2018, including the top three all-time daily losses ever, and two of the top 20 occurring this past month of November.  This data suggests volatility is an understatement.
  2. “Volatility worse than 2015 Chinese yuan devaluation”: In August of 2016, the VIX spiked to 40.75 and remained in the 23-25 range in the fall and winter. The Chinese began devaluing their currency without public notice and traders were caught off guard.  Doom and gloom were all the rage … markets took six months to find their bottom … and then, as we know, the market proceeded to continue its historic rise.  And that is the whole point – 2008, 2010 flash crash, Chinese devaluation … we have seen volatility before that has not pushed us into a bear market, we are obviously due for that correction.
  3. “2018 most volatile year for markets since … 2009”: When have we seen markets this volatile before???  Exactly, 2009, the second calendar year of the financial crisis.  As stated above, the VIX before the crisis was moving within its traditional range, so not a predictor of trouble ahead per se.  But once the crisis had hit and was in full force and effect, the VIX shot above 80 and remained in a range of 50 for much of 2009.  According to MarketWatch, compiling data since 1980, 2018 was the third most volatile over the last 38 years.

Data can be used to make an argument one way or another.  There is only one way to not have to worry about market shifts – and that is through having your money in principal protected products in the first place. If you want to have your money protected against market losses and growing at the same time, give us a call. (877) 912-1919