Steve's note: Regular readers know I'm bullish today. But eventually, the "Melt Up" will end – and when it does, my friend and colleague Porter Stansberry wants you to be ready. That's why this week, I'm sharing the first chapter of his book, The American Jubilee. In today's piece, he argues that the warning signs of a coming "Debt Jubilee" are already here...
If you study American history, you'll see that Debt Jubilees occur only in a unique type of extreme political environment.
After all, a Jubilee is a radical measure.
The government essentially steals money from one group and hands it to another.
In order for this to occur, four elements must be in place...
||The wealth gap must be getting dramatically bigger.
||There must be cultural threats from those with different values or from outsiders (in other words, minority populations and immigrants).
||The government must be ineffective at providing solutions.
||And there must be growing anger toward the "elites."
Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
We have the largest gap ever between the rich and poor...
We have huge increases in violent protests about immigration and race...
We have a completely ineffective government...
And we have extreme animosity toward the "elites" from both the left and right.
Check... check... check... and check.
There's actually a name for this type of political and social phenomenon. It's called "populism." And it emerges every 30 to 40 years...
Populist movements are characterized by extreme anger at the government, at the wealthy, at the establishments, and at "newcomers" and minorities.
As the director of an Alabama group that tracks violence and hate crimes around the country told Newsweek in June 2017: "There has been a massive explosion of violence across the country."
I'm sure you've seen this yourself.
The hatred and anger is like nothing I've witnessed in my lifetime. And it's coming from all sides. A member of my staff went to a book reading in Baltimore by one of the most famous left-wing authors in the country.
The author told the crowd that he wished he could go back in time and smother Donald Trump in his crib as a baby... or convince Trump's mother to have an abortion.
This epitomizes the political and social environment in America today.
From the protests and marches... to the refusals to stand during the national anthem...
From Black Lives Matter to the anti-immigration movements... to the rejuvenation of white supremacists... to the tripling of membership in the Democratic Socialists of America.
It's clear we are in the middle of an extreme "populist" period in America.
Ray Dalio, one of the richest men in America, studied the political environments of the past 100 years and concluded in March 2017...
The last time that it existed as a major force in the world was in the 1930s, when most countries became populist. Over the last year, it has again emerged as a major force.
Look at this chart. The big spikes show when populist politicians got the most votes in America and abroad...
So what does this all mean?
It proves that what we're experiencing today is eerily similar to what happened in the 1930s... right before the biggest and most radical Debt Jubilee in American history.
The economic comparison is stunning.
Interest rates hit zero leading up to each of these periods...
The government went into mega money-printing mode during both periods...
Printing money caused the stock market and other risky assets to boom during both periods... boosting the wealth of the rich, but doing nothing for the poor...
During the 1930s, just like today, the wealthy acquired a much higher-than-normal percentage of our nation's wealth...
And in both the 1930s and today, the percentage of the population who were foreign born was higher than normal... causing animosity among the "common man."
Just like today, the economic conditions of the 1930s caused extreme income inequality.
Back then, the top 10% earned 45% of all income (compared with 50% today) and owned 85% of the wealth (compared with 75% today).
Even the political characters are the same...
The 1930s saw a popular socialist presidential candidate, just like we had in 2016. Huey Long was a former governor of Louisiana and a U.S. senator. He proposed an income cap at $1 million... a 30-hour federal work week... and 100% income taxes at the highest level.
Long even established 27,000 "Share Our Wealth" clubs around the country and had a radio show that was listened to by one in five Americans.
So where did this all lead? It led to America's most dramatic Debt Jubilee to date...
: A financial revolution is already starting to take place across America. But you still have time to protect yourself. Porter and his team of analysts have put together a presentation to explain everything. You'll learn how the Jubilee will play out, as well as the steps you can take to survive... and prosper. Get the full story here
I believe we still have upside in U.S. stocks before the bottom falls out. But when the downside arrives, it's important to know how to navigate the market...
THE LATEST 'BAD TO LESS BAD' WINNER
Today's chart highlights the return of gluten...
Regular readers are familiar with Steve's "bad to less bad" trading strategy. If you buy assets dirt-cheap when no one is left to sell, you don't always need a complete turnaround to make massive profits. All you need is for things to get "less bad." Right now, we can see this with a bread and pastry maker...
Flowers Foods (FLO) owns popular brands like Nature's Own, Wonder, and Tastykake. But in 2015, FLO shares tumbled. The company was facing lawsuits for paying its drivers as independent contractors. Then it reported declining sales and a disappointing forecast for 2017. But now, things are getting "less bad"... Last quarter, sales and profits rose 0.6% and 10.3%, respectively, from last year. The company is restructuring to improve efficiency... And the bad press has died down.
Shares are up about 45% from their September 2016 low – and they recently hit new 52-week highs. As investor worries fade, watch for this "bad to less bad" rally to continue...