AMA 42 – A Candid Investment Discussion with Doug Casey

Doug_Casey

Join Jason Hartman and Doug Casey of Casey Research for a candid discussion about the condition of America and what is to come. Doug feels we needed a depression, but it doesn’t have to be as long and dismal as it’s going to be for most people. The U.S. government has gone about everything completely opposite of the right way; it’s totally bankrupt. They’re selling money/debt to the Federal Reserve because no other country in the world wants to buy our devalued American dollar. Doug feels for the average American because he/she is not going to profit from it and is going to be turned into a common serf. Pension funds are in trouble and are nothing more than the government’s scheme to finance its debt. Listen in for more information at www.JasonHartman.com.

We may see more wars in the future as politicians look for someone to blame, as happened in the Great Depression of the 1930s. The rich will be those that own real estate around the world. Doug feels it’s too early to buy U.S. real estate unless it’s bought with low-interest, fixed-rate mortgages because the debt will be inflated away. Sharing a position with Jason, Doug is not a fan of the stock market and feels that commodities are going to eventually bottom out with all of the new nanotechnology. While he’s still bullish on commodities because he’s bearish on the dollar, Doug recommends buying real estate in other parts of the world, using Rothschild’s philosophy of buying when blood is running in the streets. Our biggest enemy is our government, so people must diversify politically, geographically, internationally, and most Americans don’t know anything about it. Looking at stocks, while Doug wants nothing to do with them for the most part, he sees mining stocks moving. They’re relatively cheap right now and while they’re a speculative venture, with thorough research, one can find a few good mining companies that are seeing strong returns.

Inflation is going to get a lot higher because the government has no choice but to print money to pay its debts. It’s the 11th hour and now is the time to act, to position yourself to ride out the storm. Doug’s guess is that when all of this bottoms, mortgage money will not exist and people the world over will have to purchase property with cash.

They will be paying real value versus the inflated values of mortgage companies. Doug expresses his concern that our current economic situation is very serious. As he looks around, he doesn’t see any real bargains. We’re still in the eye of the hurricane, and he forecasts that as we go back into the storm, it’s going to be a lot uglier than it was in 2008. He calls this the Greater Depression. This is a time when you don’t want to be rooted to a spot like a plant. In turbulent times, plants usually get eaten up. Doug is a widely respected preeminent authority on “rational speculation,” especially in the high-potential natural resource sector. He is a high respected author, publisher and professional investor, and graduated from Georgetown University in 1968. Since that time, Doug has literally written the book on profiting from times of economic turmoil. He is the author of Crisis Investing, which spent multiple weeks on the New York Times bestseller list in the No. 1 position, and became the best-selling financial book of 1980. Doug also authored Strategic Investing, breaking the record by receiving the largest advance ever paid for a financial book at that time. Doug’s next book, The International Man, was the most sold book in the history of Rhodesia. Doug Casey has been a featured guest on such TV shows and radio shows as David Letterman, Merv Griffin, Charlie Rose, Phil Donahue, Regis Philbin, Maury Povich, NBC News and CNN. He has also been the topic of numerous features in periodicals, such as Time, Forbes, People, and the Washington Post.

Doug divides his time between homes in Aspen, Colorado, Auckland, New Zealand, and Salta Argentina. He has written newsletters and alert services for sophisticated investors for over 28 years. He has lived in 10 countries and visited over 175. In addition to having served as a trustee on the Board of Governors of Washington College and Northwoods University, Doug has been a director and advisor to nine different financial corporations. Doug is currently the founder of Casey Research, a research company that watches every sector, looking for opportunities in the world. Casey Research is a believer in free markets and understands the fundamental reality that the more a government interferes in a market, the more likely there will be consequences…negative for those unaware, but positive for those who are aware. More details about Casey Research can be found at their website: http://www.caseyresearch.com/cwc. Also, this PDF is from Doug’s view of War on Terror:

http://my.caseyresearch.com/pdfs/crTcr20111116102350.pdf?ppref=RIV012SR1211A

Narrator: Welcome to the American Monetary Association’s podcast where we explore how monetary policy impacts the real lives of real people, and the action steps necessary to preserve wealth and enhance one’s lifestyle.

Jason Hartman: Welcome to the podcast for the American Monetary Association. This is your host, Jason Hartman, and this is a service of my private Foundation, the Jason Hartman Foundation. Today we have a great interview for you, so I think you’ll enjoy it. And comment on our website or our blogpost. We have a lot of resources there for you. And you can find that at AmericanMonetaryAssociation.org or the website for the foundation which is JasonHartmanFoundation.org. Thanks so much for listening and please visit our website and enjoy our extensive blog and other resources there.

Start of Interview with Doug Casey

Jason Hartman: My pleasure to welcome Doug Casey to the show. He is the author of several books, including Crisis Investing which spent multiple weeks as the number 1 spot on The New York Times Bestseller list and became the bestselling financial book back in 1980 with nearly a half million copies sold. And I think today you’ll get a very international perspective on what’s going on as far as the global economy and economies in various countries and it’s just a pleasure to welcome Doug from a beautiful city known sometimes as the Paris of South America and that is Buenos Aires. Doug, welcome. How are you?

Doug Casey: Very good, Jason, thank you.

Jason Hartman: It’s good to have you on the show. And I’ve been following your work for a long time – very, very fascinating. What is your take on what is going on in this world today? The Chinese have that saying “May you live in interesting times” and I don’t think they mean that in a positive way. Times are pretty interesting now, aren’t they?

Doug Casey: Yes. And they’re going to get more interesting from that point of view. My view is we’ve entered upon what I call the greater depression. I call it the greater depression because it’s going to be much more serious. . .

Jason Hartman: Than the great depression was back in the 30s, huh?

Doug Casey: Exactly, but also much different from that, at least in many crucial aspects. So where are we in this adventure? I would say that we’re still very early in the depression. It was necessary that we have a depression simply because actions have consequences, but it’s not necessary that this depression be as long and as dismal as it’s going to turn out to be. Because the government, which everybody believes should control the economy, is doing not only the wrong things but exactly the opposite of the right things. So it’s going to be quiet unpleasant for most people.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, well let’s of course talk about the strategies for success through this because every problem creates an opportunity and what seems to be happening now, at least in The US or especially in The US is that there’s just this attack on the middle class. It seems like the middle class that has been the great stabilizing force in America is just under attack and it’s just disappearing. And a small number of the middle class are moving up into the upper classes, but the vast majority are being pulled down into the lower middle class. And I think that problem is going to continue and it’s going to get a lot worse if you consider that to be a problem as I do.

Doug Casey: I totally agree with you. I don’t worry about the rich people. Uh, they can take care of themselves. They can write politicians to have laws passed in their favor. They can hire accountants to juggle their taxes. And if they need to get out of dodge, they can hire a travel agent. They may be eaten in the long run, but for the moment I don’t worry about the rich. And of course it’s unfortunate that so many of the rich have, uh, made their money in the corporate world in ways that I think are unsavory. We can talk about them or not, it doesn’t matter. And the poor people, I think it’s very unfortunate that they’re being cemented to the bottom of society by all of these government programs that actually make it in some ways advantageous to be a poor person.

Jason Hartman: That’s an interesting way you look at it, cemented to the lower classes. Because politicians, they want to build and cement, using your words, I love the way you put it, this permanent voting block in by providing handouts and really keeping people down through these various government programs whereas the foundational ideas of America was rugged individualism and the fact that anybody coming from anywhere from any background can make it in America and in other western less socialized countries but that’s really changing, isn’t it?

Doug Casey: It is. And it’s going to have very, very nasty social and political consequences in the future the way The US has changed. And incidentally, I don’t refer to The United States of America as America anymore. And the reason is America was an excellent and unique idea but unfortunately it’s changed enough that I no longer want to besmirch the idea of America with what’s happening in The United States because The United States now is just another one of 200 other nation states that cover the face of the globe like a skin cancer at this point and there’s really no difference anymore between The US and the other place on the planet I can think of.

Jason Hartman: Well, tell me more about that. That’s an interesting and depressing statement at the same time. But expand on that idea if you would a little bit.

Doug Casey: Look, my country is wherever freedom lies. That’s what Thomas Paine said – he’s quite correct. And The US was, no question about it, the best place to be for many years. But at this point, things have changed radically. Now, I’ve been to 175 countries, most of them several times. I’ve lived in 12 at this point. Right now we’re speaking from Argentina. So I had to figure out where I really wanted to spend most of the time, where I could maximize my personal freedom and my financial opportunity. And it’s not in The US anymore. There’s much more opportunity outside The US at this point, I’m sorry to say, for the average American. And I suggest that an American who may be feeling down on his luck put his grip in his suitcase or his backpack and hit the road.

Jason Hartman: That’s a very interesting point and I want to maybe take issue with you on that, just a little bit. I do fundamentally agree with you. I give you this example and I’ve talked about it on the show before. A friend of mine, he spent the last 7-8 months in China, opened a business there, has been there many times and loves it. He has a company in China now, Ireland, and The United States. And I would only say that I agree with you that the direction of The US is so wrong and it is so bad to see it going in this direction. However, and this is a very large however, I think The US, Doug, has an awful long way to fall.

For example, a lot of other countries are going in a better direction than The US. But before the two meet in the middle, I think The US just has a lot further to fall. I agree that it’s going the wrong direction. Government is getting way too big here. But still, if you think about it, as messed up as it is, and boy it is messed up with crazy political correctness, massive distractions of stupid things this idiotic celebrity culture we have here that when there are major issues going on in the world the news media’s covering the lightest, dumbest things like the Kardashians or whatever, it’s just sickening almost. But we do still have the constitution that maybe 47% of the country still believes in but 53% don’t.

Doug Casey: That might be an overestimate because I would say that if we were to take the constitution in front of us and read it line by line, we find that all of the important aspects of it are dead letters. The only parts of the constitution that are observed are technical parliamentary type of things like uh where it says the Vice President shall be the President of the Senate. Okay, they observe that and they observe other things of that nature. But the important things in the Constitution such as the Bill of Rights, but there are a number of other things, too, that are almost equally important, like the fact that there are only 3 federal crimes listed in The Constitution, they’re totally disregarded. The whole thing is a dead letter at this point.

Jason Hartman: We’ll get off the constitutional thing in a moment, but every time they want to attack the bill of rights, and I agree it’s completely under attack, it’s still a big fight to do it. I mean, Hirohito, back during World War II times when asked if he was going to consider an invasion of The US, he said are you crazy? There’s a gun behind every blade of grass in The US. There’s still about 300 million guns in the hands of citizens in The United States. We still have the world’s reserve currency. We still have the largest, most powerful military on Earth, we still control every ocean on the planet. Yes, a lot of things are wrong, but gosh, don’t we have a lot further to fall?

Doug Casey: I mean, yes, we do. I think it was Adam Smith that said there’s a lot of ruin in a country and the Roman Empire didn’t fall in a day. But let’s take the things that you mentioned. Fortunately, we do have a lot of guns in the country, but at this point the government is very, very anti-gun and if you have more than a couple of weapons or if you have more than a bit of ammunition, you can wind up as being on a terrorist suspect list. And homeland security just recently came out and said exactly that.

As far as having a gigantic military that controls the world’s oceans, I don’t particularly see that as a good thing.

Jason Hartman: Well, I agree because we’re overreaching and overspending for sure.

Doug Casey: The point of the fact, The US government and The US as a country is totally bankrupt at this point. The government is running a $1.5 trillion dollar per year deficit and that deficit is going up, not down. And where are they getting the money? They’re selling it all to the federal reserve because the Chinese, the Japanese, other foreigners aren’t buying the debt anymore. They upped their gills in it. Americans can’t afford to buy it. So they’re printing money quite literally at this point and it’s gonna destroy the national currency.

So there’s a lot of problems here but I don’t want to look just on the dark side. I mean, you can profit from all this stupidity on an individual basis. I’m just very sorry that the average American is going to be turned into a serf in the years to come because he’s not gonna profit from it.

Jason Hartman: And that is a great thing that you just said. You can profit from all this stupidity. And a few years ago, I guess about 2007 I started changing my tune and saying I am no longer an optimist. Nobody could accuse me of being an optimist. I am very pessimistic but I am an opportunist. So I’ve moved from optimist to opportunist and there are ways to exploit this complete stupidity that is going on. And it seems like all the wrong behaviors are being rewarded.

For example, before 1971, when we were on the gold standard, saving money, my grandmother’s idea, that was great. But now it seems like the person who were rewarded is the person who has the most debt.

Doug Casey: This is a disaster because the people who are prudent that produce more than they consume and save the difference, that’s how the world gets better. That’s how you improve your station. Most people save in terms of dollars. But they forget what’s going to happen when those dollars are literally destroyed which is going to happen in the years to come. It’s going to wipe out the middle class.

Jason Hartman: And the reason it will wipe out the middle class is because they will just be inflated to death, right? You’re an inflation believer I’m sure, right?

Doug Casey: Let’s put it this way. We could have a catastrophic deflation. It’s possible. It’s possible that mortgages can be defaulted on, bonds can be defaulted on, that banks could fail faster than the Federal Reserve can bail them out because they’re not the most competent people in the world. But, uh, that’s the best case scenario. The worst case scenario is that they succeed and print up enough dollars to keep all these failing institutions alive because that will mean that the currency will be destroyed and that is worse than what we had in the 1930s when we had a credit collapse.

Jason Hartman: So is that why you call it the greater depression because the destruction of the dollar and just massive inflation will occur?

Doug Casey: Yes, that’s exactly right. And like the 1930s in other ways, I’ve got to say, I mean you’re not gonna have long lines of people waiting for sticky tub cooked stoops because you’ve got 46 people that have little credit cards where they can go the 7/11 and buy Twinkies instead of waiting in a line. So things are different that way. But there are other things that are gonna be the same.

For instance, the 1930s led to the 1940s rather naturally because when things go badly, politicians look for somebody to blame. And it’s very easy to blame another country for your own problems. So I expect that we’re going to see much more serious wars in the future, not that we don’t have enough already.

Jason Hartman: So, when we talk about inflation, the question everybody wants to know, and it’s always a prediction, but how much and when? It seems like we have inflation on the necessities nowadays, but deflation in a lot of other things, technology of course which is generally deflationary due to advancements but deflation in major assets. But inflation in food prices, energy, I just started noticing about a year ago, I never paid much attention to them in all my life, but utility bills, I mean utility bills are becoming a significant issue, whether it be water, gas, electricity, they’re getting pretty high.

Doug Casey: Yes, exactly. This is one of the reasons why real estate has been very good to me over the years. And I’ve owned real estate in a half dozen countries around the world and I watched the US real estate market – we may disagree on this: I think it’s too early to buy US real estate. I hate to be a market timer. That’s a dangerous game to play. I’d rather be a fundamentalist. But utility bills, which you pointed out alone, are one thing that are gonna be more than a lot of people can bear to pay.

And their tax bills are going to go to the boon because it’s time to eat the rich. And who’s the rich? The rich are people that own real estate. So your tax bills are going up because of all these local governments being bankrupt. Incomes are gonna keep heading down I’m afraid and the fact that you can get a mortgage today at artificially low, subsidized rates, that’s not gonna be available in the future. I think that the whole real estate market in The US is built on a sea of debt, a sea of credit, and it’s gonna collapse and wash away. So I think it’s too early at this point.

However, and I know you’ll agree with me on this, if you can buy real estate with a low interest rate fixed mortgage, at least that mortgage will be inflated away. So that’ll make up for your possible losses on the market itself.

Jason Hartman: Right. More than 100 shows ago, I had Pat Buchanan on the show and he had a great quote about that. He says “What do you think about all this mortgage debt and other debt people have?” And he said “Jason, their debt will be washed away on a sea of inflation”.

Doug Casey: He’s right. The only problem with that, we gotta look at the good news if you’re a debtor, but the bad news is that that’s somebody else’s asset.

Jason Hartman: Right, no question. So it’s going to impoverish somebody or just create more inflation through bailing out an institution that holds that debt one way or the other. It’s either taxes or inflation, it’s one way or the other.

Doug Casey: We’ve gone beyond the point of no return at this point. It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when and the when is happening right now as we speak. This is not a projection for the future. It’s happening right now in the markets and it’s very serious.

Jason Hartman: So since a lot of our listeners are really interested in real estate investing, I thought I’d just expand on that with you a little bit more if I could. Number one, when you look at US real estate, it’s so problematic because the country is so darn large. Most people look at the Case-Shiller Index which only profiles 20 cities. And when you look at those cities, every year we publish a forecast. Only really about 1/4th of them are of interest I think to any investor with a brain and that is markets like Dallas or Phoenix. So it’s just weighted in favor of saying, yeah, the market is overpriced and if you look at a place like California, you look at New York, most of Florida is still a disaster, Illinois just a complete corruption government disaster, I couldn’t agree with you more.

But when you look at areas where basically you get free land and you buy below the cost of construction and you get a 3 decade long fixed rate mortgage and 4, 5, 5 ½ percent maybe for an investor, wow. Think of it today. You take out a mortgage now and it’s not gonna be paid off until 2041. What kind of inflation would we have?

Doug Casey: I understand the argument. It can make a lot of sense, it really can. And you have to do something with your capital now if you have capital. You have to do something with it. And so to me this is a logical possibility, not one that I favor above some others but I understand what you’re saying and I think it makes sense.

Jason Hartman: So, when you look at that, what else do you think is the thing to do? I mean, I’m sure you’re paying a lot of attention to the precious metals world because obviously inflation oriented or commodities in general. Everybody on earth needs only 3 things basically: food, clothing and shelter. And it seems that maybe commodities of some sort or any sort really are the place to be. It feels like the equities markets. Even with these great corporate profits we’ve got, the stock market just feels like an abject scam to me in so many ways.

Doug Casey: Yeah, I have no interest in the stock market at this point for a number of reasons. And when it comes to commodities, one thing I observe about that is the longest bear trend in history is commodities. The price of commodities have been going down for roughly the last 4000 years. And with the advent of things like nanotechnology and further increases in other types of technology, commodity prices are going to start approaching 0. We don’t have time for me to explain why I feel that but that is the history so far.

That being said, I’m still bullish on commodities, mainly because I’m bearish on the dollar. So, when it comes to gold and silver, they’ve been extremely good to me for many years. And they’re not cheap anymore. They used to be giveaways, they used to be free. But now they’re reasonably priced. I think they’re going considerably higher, but they’re no longer a one way street where you can make huge speculative gains. They’re more for preservation of your wealth or cash at its most basic form.

So where do you put your money? Look, I bought a lot of land here in Argentina after the crisis when it was very, very cheap. It’s not so cheap anymore. Recently with some friends, I am buying apartment buildings in Cairo. Now, you might think well that’s crazy. That place is in the middle of an Islamic revolution. But I’d say that you’ve got to refer to Rothschild’s famous victim. You have to buy when blood is running in the streets. And we can get incredibly beautiful buildings on the Nile so cheaply that I don’t actually care if we lose and I don’t think we will. So, I’m always looking for things like that.

Jason Hartman: Boy, that one is pretty exotic. I mean, I would be scared of Islamic countries in general because I hear that foreigners don’t have rights in their courts and things like that. That’s just a real exotic one.

Doug Casey: Well, there’s problems all over the world. Look, I spent a lot of time in Zimbabwe, starting to go there during the war. And it was Zimbabwe I guess about 5 years ago. If I thought I could manage farm land in Zim, which I probably could by hiring the right people, I might look at that. So, I’ll look at anything anywhere in the world if the price is right.

But one thing that’s critical, absolutely critical, and all your listeners are Americans I think, that the biggest risk you have in the markets today is not the markets, it’s political risk. Your biggest enemy is your own government. It’s hunting you like a lion hunts an antelope out on the veld. And if you’re not diversified politically, you’re not diversified geographically, internationally, you’re in a world of trouble. And this is something that most Americans are completely innocent of. They don’t know anything about it.

Jason Hartman: Right, that’s a very good point. And I’d say the first step to that is the one I took when I left the socialist republic of California several months ago. And I’m so glad I did as just to get into a more business friendly state. Someone listening to this is not thinking, well gee, I’m gonna leave California or move to Argentina or something like that which is a pretty big step. And even you would agree. But just get into a more business friendly state and diversify throughout the states, a lot of asset protection, things that you could do within The US alone. But for the wealthier people listening and the people who are willing to do something that’s a larger step, couldn’t agree with you more.

We’ve got to be thinking like citizens of the world, not just citizens of a neighborhood or a city or a state even. At least be a citizen of The United States if you’re listening and you’re an American and think about different states and diversify. I always say with my real estate investors take the most historically proven asset class – now you may have a different opinion with me but I think you’ll like real estate somewhat or if not as much as I do – but diversify geographically. So couldn’t agree with you more. Great point.

Doug Casey: Absolutely. A lot of people are unaware of the fact that during the last depression when there wasn’t nearly as much borrowed money under the real estate market as there is today. The real estate prices on both coasts fell about 90%. In other words, they fell about as badly as the stock market itself did from top to bottom. And unlike stocks, which I’m not a fan of, at least good companies pay dividends. Well, good real estate gives you a heel too. But don’t forget, as we point out before, the utilities, the taxes, the maintenance, and when you rent the rent real estate, you’ve got to deal with the people that are paying the rent and this can be problematical.

Jason Hartman: It’s problematic, especially in areas where, like you said, political risk is the big risk. And I see all these investors investing in such landlord unfriendly states like California, like New York, at least especially New York City. The landlords just have no rights. And that’s a part of political risk. When you’ve got to go collect from a tenant, a deadbeat tenant, you’ve got to be doing business at a place that is as friendly to your cause as the landlord, right?

Doug Casey: Yep, absolutely correct. So it’s a real caveat. There are very few bargains in the world today at this particular moment. As I look at all the markets across the board, commodities and real estate, holding cash and metals and stocks, and look everywhere, I don’t see many bargains today. And so I’m not active, looking for them in the past because the time to buy is when there are super bargains, when there is blood running in the streets which is why I’m doing this Cairo real estate for instance.

But I think in a year or two when there’s complete chaos in the financial markets, that might be a time to cherry pick, but not at this particular moment. We’re kind of in our twilight zone. We’re still in the eye of the hurricane. We went through the leading edge of the hurricane in 2008-2009 and then we came out of the eye as they printed up trillions of currency units all over the world, not just The US and now we’re going back into the storm and it’s gonna be a lot uglier than it was in 2008.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, I think the home ownership rate is going to drop dramatically. I think we’re headed for a huge reduction in home ownership in The US. Because, like we talked about before we started recording, The US real estate through Fannie and Freddie has really been subsidized since The Great Depression. And whenever you subsidize something or promote something, you cause the price to go up. You cause the ownership rate to become imbalanced to where it’s higher than it should be.

And there are too many homeowners. George Bush had this whole ownership society thing which sounds good on a political campaign, but in reality some people just shouldn’t own and you shouldn’t push them into owning.

Doug Casey: You’re absolutely right. It almost forces them to stay with their house because it’s their major asset that they can’t sell it or almost turn into the equivalent of a medieval serf where they can’t leave the house, they can’t leave the land as it were. I totally agree with you.

Jason Hartman: I agree and that’s one of the things I think, and I know we differ on this a little bit, is really beneficial for investors to be offering housing out there because the most thing anybody can have on a job resume nowadays is mobility, to be able to go where the jobs are.

And I don’t know if you happen to catch it, but I think it was Time Magazine about a year ago September did this article about how home ownership is actually stifling America. And they profiled all these different cities where the home ownership rates are high and they made this hypothesis that causes high unemployment because it traps people, like you talked about the medieval serfs who can’t leave the land. When you’re a renter, you’ve just got a lot more mobility.

And when I was trying to leave California, I tried to leave my house 2 years ago, was unsuccessful after months and months and months on the market. I finally sold it the following year but gosh, if I was a renter I could have just bargained with my landlord to get out of the lease, maybe pay a couple extra month’s rent, replace myself with a new tenant or just wait until my lease is up. But as an owner, I was just literally trapped, confined. And now I’m a renter and I love it because I’ve got mobility and I can do my job from anywhere on the planet nowadays. And a lot of people can.

Like here we are meeting through Skype – you’re many countries away from me. And it’s just like being here.

Doug Casey: Absolutely. This is a time when you don’t want to be rooted to a place like a plant because we’re going to very tough times and being a plant is not a good survival strategy in turbulent times.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, better to be mobile and to be flexible so that you can make decisions and change as the opportunities arise in different geographies. One thing I did want to ask you, Doug, is we talked about the equities market and the stock market. And you say you’re not interested in stocks. Neither am I because I just think there’s too many criminals in that whole supply chain that I call Wall Street the modern version of organized crime. And I don’t like them but I’m just frankly surprised at the performance of the stock market. I can’t believe with what is going on in Europe and elsewhere around the world that the stock market is actually holding its own. I mean, it’s not in real dollars but in nominal dollars it seems to be.

Doug Casey: Yes, I’m surprised, too. And that’s why I don’t want any part of it, regardless of the high reported earnings of many corporations today. The only part of the stock market that I’m actually really interested in are the mining stocks, because with metals as high as they are today, the mining stocks are actually making a lot of money.

Typically, let’s say the average cost mining an ounce of gold is $600 an ounce. Well, gold is $1700 an ounce. These are big margins. Now, there are big problems with the mining business but those are excellent margins. And my area special has always been the mining exploration stocks which are the most volatile and most risky class of securities on the face of the planet. But the good news about them are they are volatile and moves 10 or 50 or 100 to 1 or more are not unusual.

And I think that with the governments continuing to create trillions more currency units, there are going to be other bubbles inflated in different parts of the economy. And I think there’s a good chance there’s going to be a bubble created, not just in the precious metals but in the companies that mind those metals. So I think that’s something that you can look for. They’re relatively cheap right now, something that I think will draw people’s attention to take a look at.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, and I would agree with you. The only challenge you have there other than the environmentalists making trouble for the minors and so forth is that you have the intermediary party risk of are you going to participate in the profits or are you going to be subject to the crookery of the management and so forth.

Doug Casey: You’re totally correct on that. That’s why I view them as a speculative vehicle, but you can be aptly rewarded for taking those risks if you choose the right company. And of course there are literally thousands of mining companies around the world, so you have your hands full doing research on them.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, that’s for sure. Hey, when we talk about inflation and really the destruction of the dollar and the destruction of a large part of the middle class, can you put some numbers on it? The problem is that we look at the historical situation, we look at Zimbabwe, we look at Hungary, we look at the Weimar Republic, we look at Argentina, we look at these different crises around the world that have happened historically and some of them, like Zimbabwe of course, the poster child for inflation. But in The US, I think our inflation rate now is nearing 10%. In reality, of course, it’s not the official number. Are we looking at 20% inflation annually? 100%:? 15%? What do you think?

Doug Casey: I think it’s entirely reasonable that’s going to happen because as shocking as it is and as big a country as The US is and as much capital wealth as exists, there’s no limit to the amount of money – or I shouldn’t say money – I should say currency that The US government can print up to pay its bills and it’s gonna have to do it or it won’t pay its bills. So yeah, I think inflation’s going a lot higher. And you’re at the 11th hour right now to position yourself before everybody really knows it. So yeah, absolutely, this is something of historic importance that we’re facing at the moment.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, it sure is. And that’s why I like the real estate so much because, think about it, if you have 100% inflation in one year, that means your debt gets wiped out in a year. You have no mortgage debt and then you do have commodities. You have all those materials, those building materials, and those usually keep pace with inflation.

Now, I know what you said about nanotechnology and technology can change that. But when the really low-tech things like sticks and bricks and concrete, I sort of wonder how disruptive nanotechnology can be in those types of materials. Certainly in electronics and other materials like that, no question – huge disruptions in terms of pricing and models and so forth. But that’s why I just like the real estate so much. I just don’t know what else to do.

I do the metals. I recommend people do the metals because it’s a preservation of wealth, the defense of strategy I think. But to be offensive, you’ve got to have debt and commodities in the combination of the two, and plus yield at the same time if you have rental yields.

Doug Casey: No, that’s a very good argument. My only point of disagreement is I think the market could go lower but maybe it is not important because right now interest rates are artificially suppressed by the government. And from Fannie and Freddie which shouldn’t put out of existence. . .

Jason Hartman: Of course. They definitely should. I’d love to see them go away because there would be a lot more renters.

Doug Casey: While there’s silver and giving away money, yes you should borrow it and that will all be wiped out in the future. So, yes, I think it’s a very cogent point you make.

Jason Hartman: It would just be so nice if you could acquire those dead assets against other things like a business or precious metals even that real estate is the most debt favored asset, that’ll give you more debt at lower rates than on anything else, unless you’re part of the Federal Reserve scam, then you get to borrow for nothing also and you get to borrow against nothing.

Doug Casey: Well, my guess is that after this crisis bottoms, and I don’t know when that’s going to be, but I would think at least 3 or 4 years from now, that at that point mortgage money isn’t going to exist in The US at that point and the market in The US is going to be more like it is here in Argentina or for that matter most of South America or Africa or anywhere except for Europe at this point. And that means if you want a piece of property, you pay cash for it. And that is that the prices are real – they’re not inflated by a bunch of borrowed currency units.

Jason Hartman: Right. But what surprises me is when you have to pay cash, I was in Argentina, I was in Buenos Aires a couple of years ago, and it is not inexpensive there and there is no financing. I mean, you pay $300,000 US for a little apartment. And it’s old and there’s no financing at all.

Doug Casey: It depends on where you look. Like the place I’m sitting in right now, it’s a penthouse apartment in the best part of the city. It’s a building with a 24 hour concierge and a doorman. This apartment has decks and verandas and it’s 5500 square feet, 14 foot ceilings and all this type of thing. And 3 years ago I paid $900,000 for it. Now if I tried to buy this apartment in New York, I promise you I would pay. . .

Jason Hartman: $14 million for it or something like that.

Doug Casey: I would say in that area at least, yes. You’ve got to look for these things. So since I bought it, this place has about doubled. But still, for what I got, $2 million is like free by comparison with other major cities in the world.

Jason Hartman: So it has doubled since you bought it 5 years ago, and mortgage financing went away. There was some mortgage financing before the crisis, right?

Doug Casey: No. There hasn’t been mortgage financing in Argentina for years and years and years. I don’t know the last time. Maybe a seller will give you financing for 2 years to get the deal done, but that’s about it.

Jason Hartman: The last thing I want to ask you about, and this Argentina obviously had quite a situation with this one, is the retirement accounts. As our hungry, intrusive, overbearing spendthrift government in The US looks for money to feed its machine of handouts and vote buying, I am very much thinking that one of the places it’s going to start looking very soon is to nationalize people’s retirement accounts.

Doug Casey: You’re absolutely correct. That’s what they did here in Argentina. This government here is way ahead of The US in tricks like that. It’s almost like The US is taking less of this.

Jason Hartman: They’re using Argentinian playbook.

Doug Casey: Exactly. So, yes, I think if you have an HR10 or a Keogh or these different types of pension funds, you’re gonna find in The US that they’re going to say we’re going to make it a law you have to buy half or more in government debt for your own safety of course. And that’s just a scam to finance their budget. So your pension is in great danger. Let me point something out. There are ways around this. We talk about this on our website where it’s possible still to internationalize your pension and to buy real estate in a foreign country and they can’t nationalize that. It’s very hard to make somebody sell real estate.

But you’re quite correct. This is a huge shoe waiting to drop or the average American who has a pension or thinks he has a pension.

Jason Hartman: No question. The way I feel they’ll probably pull it off, Doug, is they’ll manufacture some sort of financial crisis, not that we don’t have enough of those. But they’ll manufacture a fraud or something and they’ll say, well, just like social security, the government needs to step in and protect the people. Of course the left will come out with people being broke in retirement and all of these types of things which of course they’re broke anyway because their retirement’s been inflated away.

Doug Casey: Of course. Social security is nothing but a Ponzi scheme anyway.

Jason Hartman: Couldn’t agree more. It’s pretty amazing. And that’s one of the reasons I think if people take and they create a self-directed plan as did I a couple of years ago through one of these custodians like Entrust or any of the other companies out there that do it, a self-directed plan where they can buy real estate or they can invest in trust deeds within that plan, that’s awfully hard to nationalize but all the suckers who are in the stock market, that’s just a paper transaction. That can be nationalized very, very easily. And if you’re gonna have a plan, a retirement plan like that, I say get it as a self-directed plan because it’ll be a lot harder for the government criminals to nationalize it.

Doug Casey: That’s right, Jason, because of course people unfortunately conflate the US government with US society, but they’re two different things. And the government has a life of its own and interests of its own and it’ll look out for itself first. And that’s got nothing to do with what they’ll do with the average American citizen who they treat as a milk cow. And if they have to, they’ll treat you as a beef cow.

Jason Hartman: Boy, that’s ugly, a milk cow versus a beef cow. I get the metaphor there, no question about it.

Doug Casey: Incidentally, I’ve gotta say that’s one of the investments that I do like and that I’ve gotten into quite a bit in recent years is cattle ranching. Cattle is a business that nobody’s made any money on, most places for decades. It’s been a horrible business.

Jason Hartman: And you’re talking about dairy or meat or beef cow?

Doug Casey: Especially beef but I have dairy, too. So what I decided to do is get into the cattle business down here which I did about 5 years ago. And we built our herd up to about 1600 breeding heifers at is point. We’re going to take it to 10,000 breeding heifers. And I think that one commodity that I am bullish on, that’s why I got in on the business, is beef. For a lot of reasons we don’t have time to go into now, but I draw your listener’s attention to that particular area. I’m not talking about speculating and commodity contracts. I’m talking about owning the land and growing cows on it. And of course down here our cows are all grass fed and we don’t put them in feed locks. . .

Jason Hartman: Pump them full of hormones and stuff like that.

Doug Casey: Steroids, antibiotics and terrible conditions. That’s not the way it works down here.

Jason Hartman: It works in a much more natural way and Argentina’s famous for their beef and it’s fantastic down there I must say, definitely agree with that. Well, Doug, I want you to give out your website but I want to ask you one more thing just before you go. And I appreciate you spending so much time with us today. Your thoughts on the Occupy Wall Street movement?

Doug Casey: It’s very interesting. They have a very justifiable beef because there’s so much criminality of the stock market and in Wall Street at this point. Wall Street is about 10 times larger than it serves in a useful purpose for being. This is largely because of the government, and executives and businesses that they didn’t found or essentially are ripping them off with gigantic salaries and bonuses and stock options because they can. So these people are justifiably angry, I understand that.

On the other hand, they’re rather inchoate in their rage. And their solutions seem to be exactly the wrong thing. The idea is to make the government smaller which will collapse all these parasites on Wall Street as opposed to try to regulate them even more and tax them even more which is what these people seem to want. So I understand the point of their range, but they’re counterproductive.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, they just don’t get it. And one of the things the rage is about is so many of these just total Wall Street scams. And I notice that on CaseyResearch.com, you’ve got an article about MF Global. Any thoughts on that before you go?

Doug Casey: Yeah, this was a shocking thing to me that I can’t wait until the truth comes out on this. This is really almost unprecedented that a commodity firm went down and took all of its customers with it. We haven’t heard the end of this. And this is really shocking. It means that you really can’t trust any financial institution with your money today. That’s really what it means. So we’re just barely end of storm now.

Jason Hartman: Very good point. And one of the things I have thought for a few years now is that the COMEX exchange is a Ponzi scheme potentially. Who knows if there’s any real metals behind that with all these ETFs. It’s just crazy. It’s probably all fiat money.

Doug Casey: Yeah, you’re right. This is corruption. It just rules the day throughout the financial markets. So the wisest thing you can do is have some gold and silver in your own possession and own some real estate – good idea. Diversify internationally. But corruption is rampant everyone.

Jason Hartman: It sure is. And take on a lot of debt, that’s the other thing you didn’t mention but have a lot of long-term fixed rate debt.

Doug Casey: But make sure it’s long term fixed interest rate debt which I’m sure you mentioned.

Jason Hartman: Couldn’t agree more. Well, Doug, thank you so much for joining us today. CaseyResearch.com is your website. Did you want to give out any others, tell people where they can get your books or anything?

Doug Casey: No. If people go to CaseyResearch.com, we have free blogs and all kinds of stuff that I think they’ll find of interest. And, Jason, I want to thank you. This has been most pleasant talking with you.

Jason Hartman: Well, likewise and thank you so much for joining us and you have a great holiday.

Doug Casey: Thanks, you too.

Narrator: The American Monetary Association is a nonprofit venture funded by The Jason Hartman Foundation which is dedicated to educating people about the practical effects of monetary policy and government actions on inflation, deflation and personal freedom. Our goal is to help people prosper in the midst of uncertain economic times. This show is produced by the Jason Hartman Foundation, all rights reserved. For publication rights and media interviews, please visit www.HartmanMedia.com or email [email protected] Nothing on this show should be considered specific personal or professional advice. Please consult an appropriate professional if you require individualized advice. Opinions of guests are their own and the host is acting on behalf of The Jason Hartman Foundation exclusively.

The American Monetary Association Team

Transcribed by Ralph

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