“America’s budget deficit is set to balloon as its population ages, the cost of handouts swells and the government’s interest rate bill rises.” — The Economist, May 6, 2023 issue
Special Announcement: You have only one more week before the $77 discount for FreedomFest ends (May 31). See below — our new celebrity speaker will be revealed!
What is the most pressing problem facing the United States today? Pundits and presidents have suggested the following nominees:
–Poverty and inequality
There’s plenty to choose from, but the one big elephant in the room that has been largely ignored by politicians is the ballooning national debt, which is now approaching $32 trillion. Watch it grow here: https://www.usdebtclock.org/
The debt-ceiling debate has brought this issue to the forefront: When is the government going to learn to live within its means? It can’t even do it when we have full employment. Nobel Prize-winning economist James Buchanan rightly called it “Democracy in Deficit,” as the legacy of Keynesian economics. And yet, even Keynes favored balanced budgets and even surpluses during the good times of full employment.
Friends like columnist George Will and financial writer Alex Green of the Oxford Club are natural optimists, but when it comes to the national debt, they are worried.
According to George Will, federal spending is out of control and unsustainable. He notes, “The American Main Street Initiative, a think tank, says the Obama, Trump and Biden administrations compiled more debt held by the public, adjusted for inflation, than did all previous presidents combined. And if the national debt rises for 60 years at the rate it has risen during the previous 30, it will then exceed $1.5 quadrillion. (A quadrillion is a thousand trillions).”
And Alex Green agrees: “I am a long-term optimist. Except for one issue: the debt. It is now politically impossible to reform our runaway entitlement spending. Not hard. Not tricky. Impossible. The Democrats — and the public — will not stand for it. And that cannot help but have extremely negative consequences down the road. The only question is when …”
America Needs Two More Amendments to the Constitution
State governments solved the problem long ago by adopting a balanced budget amendment to their state constitutions. Every state has one except Vermont. The only downside to these balanced budget requirements is that most state legislators resort to raising taxes when they are in deficit instead of cutting spending. That’s why sales tax rates have been rising over time.
Governments of all sizes need two weapons to control their spendthrift habits: a balanced budget amendment and a tax limitation amendment. The federal Constitution has neither.
The debt-ceiling requirement is a must in a de facto balanced budget amendment, but the fact that Congress repeatedly raises the debt limit suggests there is no real fiscal discipline in Washington.
As a result, inflation will remain a persistent and permanent feature of our country. It means that the dollar will continue to lose its purchasing power over time, and the best inflation hedges are investment assets, such as gold, silver and stocks in the long run. I wouldn’t be selling any of them any time soon.
Announcing Our ‘Great Catch’ at FreedomFest
FreedomFest is famous for attracting top celebrity speakers — William Shatner, George Foreman, Kevin O’Leary and John Cleese, to name a few.
I’ve been dying to tell you who our celebrity speaker is for FreedomFest this July 12-15 in Memphis.
Now, finally he’s confirmed, and you are in for a treat. I call him “the man who has restored my faith in America.”
Yes, Mike Rowe, Executive Producer of such TV series as “Dirty Jobs,” “Somebody’s Gotta Do It,” “How America Works” and “The Story Behind the Story,” will appear in person at FreedomFest.
Mike Rowe is the author of the New York Times bestseller “The Way I Heard It” and podcaster extraordinaire (https://mikerowe.com/podcast/). I’m reading his book right now, and it’s fun to read every page.
He is one of the most in-demand speakers in the world, and he’s coming to Memphis.
An American Hero Liked Across the Political Divide
One thing I really like about Mike Rowe is that he brings Americans together. Here’s an American hero for hard working men and women and someone who can talk comfortably with Chris Cuomo on NewsNation (and CNN before that) and Tucker Carlson on Fox News. How rare is that!
You won’t want to miss his upbeat message about how he is making a difference in reinvigorating America’s work ethic. His mikeroweWORKS Foundation (https://www.mikeroweworks.org) is committed to improving skilled trades and has awarded over $6 million in work ethic scholarships to over 1,500 men and women. (He even donates part of the online profits from the sale of his Knobel Tennessee Whiskey (https://knobelspirits.com/) to his foundation; go online and grab a bottle, or stop by their booth at FreedomFest!)
Here’s your chance to hear and meet the man behind the “Dirty Jobs” and the incredible stories about successful skilled tradesmen and entrepreneurs in America. He’s an inspiration and proof that the American dream is still alive.
After his general session talk and interview, you will get a chance to ask him a question… and then an opportunity to “meet and greet” him afterward. Only at FreedomFest.
We expect a full crowd in July. We will honor our $77 discount for subscribers. Use the code EAGLE77 to get $77 off the registration fee by going to www.freedomfest.com. Or call Hayley at 1-855-850-3733, ext 202.
The $77 discount will end in six days on May 31. No exceptions. So, sign up now, and the join me at “the world’s largest gathering of free minds.” We expect over 200 speakers, 180 exhibitors and 2,000 attendees.
And there’s more…
Our line-up also includes Steve Forbes, John Fund (National Review), Steve Moore (Heritage Foundation), Tulsi Gabbard (a former Democratic congresswoman), Michael Shermer (Skeptic magazine), Enes “Freedom” Kanter (a former NBA basketball player), David Boaz (Cato Institute), Bryan Kaplan (GMU), Douglas Brinkley (“America’s Historian”), Grover Norquist (Americans for Tax Reform), Art Laffer (famed economist), Richard Epstein (New York University law professor), Amity Shlaes (historian), Magette Wade, Barbara Kolm (VP of the Austrian central bank) and many more. Go here for the full lineup.
Our master of ceremonies is Lisa Kennedy, host of Fox Business.
We also have the Anthem film festival, a libertarian comedy festival and a full three-day investment conference, including such financial gurus as Alexander Green (Oxford Club), Louis Navellier and David Bahnsen. Plus, there will be a special interview with Jeremy Siegel, the “Wizard of Wharton,” and Burt Malkiel (Princeton). Our financial editors at Eagle Publishing will all be at FreedomFest — Jim Woods, Bryan Perry, George Gilder, Roger Michalski and Paul Dykewicz as part of our three-day investment conference. Stop by our booth!
FreedomFest is three glorious days of “great ideas, great thinkers and great fun”! See you in Memphis.
P.S. Come join me and my Eagle colleagues on an incredible cruise! We set sail on Dec. 4 for 16 days, embarking on a memorable journey that combines fascinating history, vibrant culture and picturesque scenery. Enjoy seminars on the days we are cruising from one destination to another, as well as dinners with members of the Eagle team. Just some of the places we’ll visit are Mexico, Belize, Panama, Ecuador and more! Click here now for all the details.
When I was a student at BYU in 1971, my economics professor Larry Wimmer arranged for me and one other student to do research for Stanley Engerman, co-author of “Time on the Cross,” with Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Fogel. I never met him, but we talked on the telephone several times.
Here’s what I wrote in my diary:
“At the end of the month, I had another job opportunity for the summer — really exciting. This involved working as a research assistant for Robert Fogel of University of Chicago and Stanley Engerman of Rochester on their econometric studies of the slave trade and industry in the ante-bellum South. We were instructed to go through court and probate records in the Salt Lake Genealogical Society’s microfilm section and write down names, dates, places, description of slaves. This was surprisingly interesting work. I worked with Keith Allred most of the time, and we’d go up to Salt Lake each day. One time we made a particularly lucrative find and our joy was so apparent that several Mormons asked what we had found — when they saw we were talking about slaves, they really wondered [about our lineage].”
The work was quite fascinating. You could see how some slaves were valued more than others, depending on their age and occupation.
You could also see the inflation going on during the Civil War with prices going up for everything.
>What surprised me the most was that slaves were still listed on probate records after the Civil War, as if nothing had happened. On the official estate records, slaves were still considered property past 1865, and well into the 1880s! It was a real shock.
Their book came out in 1974, and caused a sensation. Fogel and Engerman argued that slavery was highly profitable, so much so that it required a civil war to end it. They questioned the view that slavery would die out on its own.
Fogel won the Nobel Prize in economics in 1993 as a developer of “cliometrics” (quantitative economic history). Because of “Time on the Cross,” Fogel was sometimes accused of being a racist, even though he was married to an African-American woman. Fogel died at age 87 in 2013.
China Auto Sales Jump 55% Year Over Year As Price Cuts Continue To Move NEV Metal
Retail sales of passenger vehicles scorched higher in May, with 1.76 million units sold, according to preliminary data from the China Passenger Car Association released this week.
The sales figure represents 8% growth from the month prior. As has been the case over the last several years, new energy vehicles continue to grow disproportionately to the rest of the sector, driving sales higher.
Last month 557,000 NEVs were sold, growth of 55% year over year and 6% sequentially, according to a Bloomberg wrap up of the data.
The sales boost comes as the country slashed prices to move metal throughout the first 5 months of the year. In late May we noted that China's auto industry association was urging automakers to "cool" the hype behind price cuts that were sweeping across the country.
The price cuts were getting so egregious that the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers went so far as to put out a message on its official WeChat account, stating that "a price war is not a long-term solution". Instead "automakers should work harder on technology and branding," it said at the time.
Recall we wrote in May that most major automakers were slashing prices in China. The move is coming after lifting pandemic controls failed to spur significant demand in China, the Wall Street Journal reported last month. Ford and GM will be joined by BMW and Volkswagen in offering the discounts and promotions on EVs, the report says.
At the time, Ford was offering $6,000 off its Mustang Mach-E, putting the standard version of its EV at just $31,000. In April, prior to the discounts, only 84 of the vehicles were sold, compared to 1,500 sales in December. There was some pulling forward of demand due to the phasing out of subsidies heading into the new year, and Ford had also cut prices by about 9% in December.
A spokesperson for Ford called it a "stock clearance" at the time.
Discounts at Volkswagen ranged from around $2,200 to $7,300 a car. Its electric ID series is seeing price cuts of almost $6,000. The company called the cuts "temporary promotions due to general reluctance among car buyers, the new emissions rule and discounts offered by competitors."
China followed suit, and thus, now we have the sales numbers to prove it...
Most people in the mainstream concede that the economy is heading for a recession, but the consensus seems to be that downturn will be short and shallow. Projections by the World Bank undercut that optimism.
According to the World Bank, global growth in 2023 will slow to the lowest level since the 2008 financial crisis.
In other words, the World Bank is predicting the beginning of Great Recession 2.0.
You might recall that the Great Recession was neither short nor shallow.
In fact, World Bank Group chief economist and senior vice president Indermit Gill said, “The world economy is in a precarious position.”
According to the World Bank’s new Global Economic Prospects report, global growth is projected to decelerate to 2.1% this year, falling from 3.1% in 2022. The bank forecasts a significant slowdown during the last half of this year.
That would match the global growth rate during the 2008 financial crisis.
According to the World Bank, higher interest rates, inflation, and more restrictive credit conditions will drive the economic downturn.
The report forecasts that growth in advanced economies will slow from 2.6% in 2022 to 0.7% this year and remain weak in 2024.
Emerging market economies will feel significant pain from the economic slowdown. Yahoo Finance reported, “Higher interest rates are a problem for emerging markets, which already were reeling from the overlapping shocks of the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. They make it harder for those economies to service debt loans denominated in US dollars.”
The World Bank report paints a bleak picture.
The world economy remains hobbled. Besieged by high inflation, tight global financial markets, and record debt levels, many countries are simply growing poorer.”
Absent from the World Bank analysis is any mention of how more than a decade of artificially low interest rates and trillions of dollars in quantitative easing by central banks created the wave of inflation that continues to sweep the globe, along with massive levels of debt and all kinds of economic bubbles.
If you listen to the mainstream narrative, you would think inflation just came out of nowhere, and central banks are innocent victims nobly struggling to save the day by raising interest rates. Pundits fret about rising rates but never mention that rates were only so low for so long because of the actions of central banks. And they seem oblivious to the consequences of those policies.
But being oblivious doesn’t shield you from the impact of those consequences.
In reality, central banks and governments implemented policies intended to incentivize the accumulation of debt. They created trillions of dollars out of thin air and showered the world with stimulus, unleashing the inflation monster. And now they’re trying to battle the dragon they set loose by raising interest rates. This will inevitably pop the bubble they intentionally blew up. That’s why the World Bank is forecasting Great Recession-era growth. All of this was entirely predictable.
After all, artificially low interest rates are the mother’s milk of a global economy built on easy money and debt. When you take away the milk, the baby gets hungry. That’s what’s happening today. With interest rates rising, the bubbles are starting to pop.
And it’s probably going to be much worse than most people realize. There are more malinvestments, more debt, and more bubbles in the global economy today than there were in 2008. There is every reason to believe the bust will be much worse today than it was then.
In other words, you can strike “short” and “shallow” from your recession vocabulary.
“We expect DNAmFitAge will be a useful biomarker for quantifying fitness benefits at an epigenetic level and can be used to evaluate exercise-based interventions.”
Credit: 2023 McGreevy et al.
“We expect DNAmFitAge will be a useful biomarker for quantifying fitness benefits at an epigenetic level and can be used to evaluate exercise-based interventions.”
BUFFALO, NY- June 7, 2023 – A new research paper was published inAging (listed by MEDLINE/PubMed as “Aging (Albany NY)” and “Aging-US” by Web of Science) Volume 15, Issue 10, entitled, “DNAmFitAge: biological age indicator incorporating physical fitness.”
Physical fitness is a well-known correlate of health and the aging process and DNA methylation (DNAm) data can capture aging via epigenetic clocks. However, current epigenetic clocks did not yet use measures of mobility, strength, lung, or endurance fitness in their construction.
In this new study, researchers Kristen M. McGreevy, Zsolt Radak, Ferenc Torma, Matyas Jokai, Ake T. Lu, Daniel W. Belsky, Alexandra Binder, Riccardo E. Marioni, Luigi Ferrucci, Ewelina Pośpiech, Wojciech Branicki, Andrzej Ossowski, Aneta Sitek, Magdalena Spólnicka, Laura M. Raffield, Alex P. Reiner, Simon Cox, Michael Kobor, David L. Corcoran, and Steve Horvath from the University of California Los Angeles, University of Physical Education, Altos Labs, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, University of Hawaii, University of Edinburgh, National Institute on Aging, Jagiellonian University, Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin, University of Łódź, Central Forensic Laboratory of the Police in Warsaw, Poland, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Washington, and University of British Columbia develop blood-based DNAm biomarkers for fitness parameters including gait speed (walking speed), maximum handgrip strength, forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), and maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) which have modest correlation with fitness parameters in five large-scale validation datasets (average r between 0.16–0.48).
“These parameters were chosen because handgrip strength and VO2max provide insight into the two main categories of fitness: strength and endurance , and gait speed and FEV1 provide insight into fitness-related organ function: mobility and lung function [8, 24].”
The researchers then used these DNAm fitness parameter biomarkers with DNAmGrimAge, a DNAm mortality risk estimate, to construct DNAmFitAge, a new biological age indicator that incorporates physical fitness. DNAmFitAge was associated with low-intermediate physical activity levels across validation datasets (p = 6.4E-13), and younger/fitter DNAmFitAge corresponds to stronger DNAm fitness parameters in both males and females.
DNAmFitAge was lower (p = 0.046) and DNAmVO2max is higher (p = 0.023) in male body builders compared to controls. Physically fit people had a younger DNAmFitAge and experienced better age-related outcomes: lower mortality risk (p = 7.2E-51), coronary heart disease risk (p = 2.6E-8), and increased disease-free status (p = 1.1E-7). These new DNAm biomarkers provide researchers a new method to incorporate physical fitness into epigenetic clocks.
“Our newly constructed DNAm biomarkers and DNAmFitAge provide researchers and physicians a new method to incorporate physical fitness into epigenetic clocks and emphasizes the effect lifestyle has on the aging methylome.”
Read the full study: DOI:https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.204538
Corresponding Authors: Kristen M. McGreevy, Zsolt Radak, Steve Horvath
Keywords: epigenetics, aging, physical fitness, biological age, DNA methylation
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Launched in 2009, Aging publishes papers of general interest and biological significance in all fields of aging research and age-related diseases, including cancer—and now, with a special focus on COVID-19 vulnerability as an age-dependent syndrome. Topics in Aging go beyond traditional gerontology, including, but not limited to, cellular and molecular biology, human age-related diseases, pathology in model organisms, signal transduction pathways (e.g., p53, sirtuins, and PI-3K/AKT/mTOR, among others), and approaches to modulating these signaling pathways.
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