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Latest Select($) Janszen Commentaries
2013 Review and 2014 Forecast - Part II: Global Manic Depression - Eric JanszenThe End of the Debt and DelusionPeak Cheap Oil Update - Part II: The First Peak Cheap Oil CycleOn Track for a Bond Market Crash - Part II: What will collapse the U.S. Treasury Bond market? - Eric JanszenThe Post-Market Economy - Part II: The Crash of 2014 - Eric JanszenMeeting at the Boston Fed Oct. 19/20 "Long-Term Effects of the Great Recession"Why I don't Believe in Peak Oil - In One ChartHope and Fear - Part II: Year of Peril - Eric JanszenReality Check, Election Edition Part II: One crisis away from catastrophe - Eric JanszenSite question

Trip Report: I Survived Real Estate 2011 - Eric Janszen

October 18, 2011, iTulip

On Friday, October 14, 2011 I participated on the “I Survived Real Estate 2011” panel at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California to discuss the state of the real estate market including on-going industry regulations, upcoming legislation, bailouts, and opportunities for real estate investors. The panel was moderated by Bruce Norris, President of The Norris Group, a residential real estate firm that invests in California real estate, funds millions in hard money loans for investors every month, and produces education and resources for real estate professionals.

An October interview of me by Bruce Norris is available here.

Also on the panel with me were:

• Doug Duncan, Chief Economist, Fannie Mae
• Sean O’Toole, President, ForeclosureRadar
• Debra Still, Chairman-Elect, Mortgage Bankers Association
• Gary Thomas, First Vice President, National Association of Realtors
• Sara W. Stephens, President Elect, Appraisal Institute

Doug Duncan went on the record saying that Fannie Mae views the likelihood of a Greek debt default as “100% probable. The only question whether the default is orderly or not.  More ($ Subscription) …

No inflation celebration for us

November 17, 2010, iTulip

Rising October retail sales numbers are being reported as a sign of economic recovery, especially auto sales, but the stock market knows better. We’ve been tracking producer price inflation increases since early 2009 on the expectation that six months to a year after input costs rise in response to monetary policy, consumer prices will rise disproportionately to rising demand as the economy recovers. Retail sales data are not inflation-adjusted and our analysis indicates that the widely reported increase in retail sales to consumer is in fact largely inflation. Consumer price inflation is finally arrived and the stock market doesn’t like it one bit.   More …

What do I think of the World Bank President's call for discussion of a new gold standard?

November 9, 2010, iTulip

World Bank chief surprises with gold proposal

The world’s largest economies should consider gold as an indicator to help set foreign exchange rates, the head of the World Bank said on Monday in a proposal that threw open the acrimonious currency debate just before a summit of G20 nations.

Writing in the Financial Times, World Bank President Robert Zoellick called for a new monetary system to replace the floating rates adopted in 1971 known as Bretton Woods II.

AntiSpin: On January 3, 2006 I started a site called The Fourth Currency where I asserted:

A return to the Bretton Woods international gold standard created in 1944 is inevitable.

Thirty-seven years ago the world’s economies started on the circular track back to Bretton Woods. We will sooner or later be back where we started, with international transactions guided by a fixed gold price.

So there’s your answer. It was inevitable to me in 2006. Still is.

America’s free ride is almost over. Thank the leaders of both parties who built the FIRE Economy on the foundation of the Dollar Cartel since 1971.  More …

Economic MAD approaching its logical conclusion?

More bad craziness from our economic policy leadership. This is Smoot-Hawley version 2.0.

The Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 turned a major recession into The Great Depression by launching a trade war in the middle of a global downturn. World trade fell by 66% between 1929 and 1934. As Milton Friedman said, governments never learn.  More …

What kind of Socialism?

Have Real Estate industry subsidies been good for the country? No, they’ve been a disaster. It’s time to roll them back.

Today I received the following email from a conservative friend. As a small L libertarian, what do I think of the new real estate tax? I’m glad she asked for my opinion but I’ don’t think she’s going to like my answer: it’s time to cut taxes on productive economic activity and raise them on non-productive pursuits.  More …

A bull market in amateur gold commentary
Soros Calls Gold the ‘Ultimate Bubble’
Sep 15, 2010

Billionaire George Soros, whose hedge fund, Soros Fund Management LLC, has been heavily invested in gold and gold-mining companies, told Reuters on Wednesday that gold prices might continue to rise after printing record highs this week, but warned that the precious metal is the “ultimate bubble.”

Reuters: “Gold is the only actual bull market currently. It just made a new high yesterday. In the present circumstances that may continue,” he said at a Thomson Reuters Newsmaker event.

“I called gold the ultimate bubble, which means it may go higher. But it’s certainly not safe and it’s not going to last forever,” he said.

According to Reuters, Soros also said that “after asset classes set new highs there are almost always immediate reversals that disappoint investors.”

Spot gold on Tuesday set a new all-time high of $1,270 per ounce, well above the previous all time high of $1266.50 per ounce.

The gold price Wednesday has traded as high as $1,273.50 and as low as $1,266.80.

AntiSpin: Soros joins a long line of “experts” on gold who did not identify the bottom of the gold market and buy at $270 in 2001 when we did but entered the market recently after gold had already increased more than three fold in price. Gold cannot have been a bubble for the past nine years. The idea is patently absurd. Gold did not suddenly turn into a bubble just because Soros or anyone else happened to start to notice in 2008 what we noticed and acted on nine years ago, that the gold price was due to rise. Our price target of $2500 to $5000 made then when gold traded at slightly more than 1/10 to 1/20 of that price sounded insane at the time. Now that it sounds likely it’s parroted by a small army of gold market tourists.  More …

Retail sales indicate rising inflation not rising consumption
August retail sales up 0.4 pct., best in 5 months
Sept. 14, 2010
WASHINGTON (AP) — Retail sales rose in August by the largest amount in five months, adding to evidence that a late spring economic swoon was temporary and not the start of another recession.

Retail sales increased 0.4 percent last month, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. It was the second straight monthly increase and the biggest gain since March.

Excluding a decline in autos, retail sales increased 0.6 percent. That followed two relatively flat months and a sharp drop in May.

AntiSpin: Today’s retail sales numbers are misleading. Consumers are not buying more stuff, they are paying more for it. Consumer price inflation is rising. That’s why gold prices spiked from $1250 to $1270 on today’s retail sales news.  More …

Technology bubble ten years later: The money’s not back

August 3, 2010, iTulip

Good news, bad news, and another word of caution for the housing bubble hopeful

I started in 1998 to warn readers that the technology bubble was not just an investor “party” or a neat way to force technology onto the market but was an efficient way to savage the heart and soul of the American economy. In 2005, five years after the bubble collapsed, I was at a Stanford investment conference moderating a VC panel hopefully titled “The Money’s Back.” It wasn’t.

Five years later it still isn’t. Today Thomson Reuters published its PricewaterhouseCoopers/National Venture Capital Association MoneyTree™ Report and Data: only three technology market segments show positive growth over 1999 investment levels with the remaining segments still off 13% to 98% more than a decade after the bubble peak.  More …

Six years ago today, Robert E. Rubin, Allen Sinai, and Peter R. Orszag embraced Ka-Poom Theory. Then what happened?

July 29, 2010, iTulip
Six years ago today the Brookings Institution released a report Sustained Budget Deficits: Longer-Run U.S. Economic Performance and the Risk of Financial and Fiscal Disarray that speculates the outcome that we outlined in our 1999 theory of a final asset price deflation and reflation cycle that pushes the U.S. economy over the edge into a debt and currency crisis. Where are we six years later?  More …

Part I: The Last Bubble - Eric Janszen

January 31, 2014, iTulip

• Stock market crash, right on schedule. Time to Short?
• Is the Yellen Fed doing a Roy Young?
• China’s Great Wall of Money crumbles. Who will be America’s IMF this time?
• Why do they call them Emerging Markets? Because it’s hard to get your money out in an Emergency.
• Gold says, “I’m not dead yet!”

What? You thought it could go on forever? The asset bubbles and re-bubbles and re-re-bubbles?

While the usual bearish crowd was busy capitulating over the past six months and calling for continued growth and a good year for the markets in 2014, maybe not as booming great as 2013, I’ve been following the data and it takes me to a different place, to an epic and virtually unstoppable calamity.

If you have a strong stomach and a firm grip, grab your helmet and jump in for a guided tour of the Last Bubble.  More …

Note: Political ads do not represent an endorsement of any candidate
The Post-Market Economy - Part I: Chaos on Planet ZIRP - Eric Janszen (revist)

December 8, 2013, iTulip

• Late gold investors on board since 2008 exit market as the USD again becomes GAGFO as Europe, Japan, and China falter
• Credit Bubble temporarily reflated
• Stock market temporarily levitated
• U.S. oil import trade deficit and dollar crisis temporarily averted
• Housing market temporarily… you get the idea

Six months. That’s how long we’ve wrestled this greased pig, this drunken monkey, this long, stinky cat running for its life barely inches ahead of a pack of rabid coyotes.

These markets. This economy.


The problem is not in understanding human nature. That never changes.

We want. We hope. We kid ourselves.

We fuss about the house. Fix the broken gutter, the rotted trim, the chipped paint, the cracked concrete step. But our hair is on fire.

We don’t notice. No one told us and there are no mirrors on Planet ZIRP.

No, we understand human nature. Humans want and what we want more than anything is to be told what to believe.

A story that makes sense of the world, that puts it all together in logical order with a happy ending.

The good and hard working, the brave, the smart, and the righteous, will prevail.

“We” deserve to win, don’t we?

Except those are not the rules on Planet ZIRP.

I get this all the time. The questions.

What’s with the stock market? Bonds? Housing? Gold?

My answer: Do you really want to know?  More …

The Post-Market Economy - Part II: The Crash of 2014 - Eric Janszen (Revisit)

December 8, 2013, iTulip

What is the market price for a U.S. Treasury Bond (UST) today? Who knows? The Fed has held bond prices up and yields down for so long through its price fixing – ahem – “yield curve shaping” and QE operations that trying to determine a market price of UST is like guessing at the market price of copper pipe after the government has spent five years filling two dozen warehouses with it to keep the price up, and is promising to keep at it.

One thing is certain in my view: interest rates have been suppressed for so long that when the artificial scarcity ends and bonds are finally marked-to-market the re-pricing will be sudden and violent.

Who will want to own copper pipe once the Fed throws open the warehouse doors? The market will rationally back-track prices fully to the start. Interest rates will adjust accordingly.

Last week Bernanke hinted that the Fed’s pipe buying binge might end some day. The bond market answered by selling off and sending rates through the roof.  More ($ Subscription) …

Hope and Fear – Part I: Year of Promise - Eric Janszen

January 23, 2013, iTulip

How did the doomers get 2012 so wrong? They spied the Mayan calendar and saw end-times December 21. Less credulous eyes saw the 13th Mayan Baktun, each Baktun lasting 144,000 days, ending on December 21. To the instant that end was followed by the 14th Baktun. This, the new and current Baktun that we are in, will end in another 394.3 years. Then another Baktun will start. On and on forever, as was the Mayan’s philosophy of time.

Lesser doomsday scenarios also failed to materialize for the same reason: careless analysis.

The euro zone didn’t disintegrate, Japan’s bond marked didn’t blow up, China’s economy didn’t melt down, oil prices didn’t crash, and the U.S. economy did not collapse into a second Great Recession.

Defying expectations of doom, the benign economic events of 2012 set the stage for complacency in 2013, despite lingering post-financial crisis anxiety. Above the distant clatter of war sabers in Asia and a metastasizing Islamic extremist threat in North Africa, the comforting hum of recovery dominates the sphere.

The housing market correction that began in 2006 leveled off in 2012. Prices begin to rise as long-term unemployment finally eases. The kids move back out of Mom’s and Dad’s house where they took refuge after the crisis. New households begin to form again and relocate to new jobs that are at last appearing.

The debt ceiling standoff will end in a stalemate as did the fiscal cliff. The ECB will pledge more funds to prevent a liquidity crisis in the euro zone next time one arises. Barring war, China will continue to shuffle paper and fib its way to meet growth expectations.

All of these salubrious trends, taken together, may not be enough to excite the animal spirits into speculative fervor but will be enough to lull investors into the kind of complacency that can later lead to bullish optimism and all of the errors of judgment entailed.

What could possibly go wrong, outside of the unlikely event of Japanese and Chinese warships or fighter jets bumping into each other as they contest awkwardly for the Insecure Nations Sovereign Defense Vigilance Prize in the East China Sea?  More …

Hope and Fear - Part II: Year of Peril - Eric Janszen

January 23, 2013, iTulip

CI: How do you forecast a recession in this environment?

EJ: Not the same way we forecast the 2007 to 2009 recession, or the 2001 recession. Recessions are like snowflakes. No two are alike but they all share similarities. All recessions are caused by a sudden decline in demand, but the causes of that demand hit differ with each recession, depending on the special circumstances of the economy at the time. The last recession was triggered by a credit market collapse. When we forecast it for Q4 2007 a year ahead of time in the fall of 2006 we focused on the MBS market, the nexus of the credit crisis. Needless to say the BMS market is irrelevant today in a recession forecast, as a trillion plus of it still resides forlorn and unloved on the Fed’s balance sheet. The recession before that was set off by a stock market crash. Via a combination of the negative wealth effect and plain old fear, consumers headed for the hills as producers laid them off. In those days our recession forecasting focused on the timing stock market bubble collapse itself, which we got right to the month. But the stock market crash as a cause of future recession is irrelevant today. We had to develop a completely new set of indicators to detect the next recession.  More ($ Subscription) …

Reality Check, Election Edition – Part I: 1936 Election Recycled - Eric Janszen

November 5, 2012, iTulip

• 1936 political cartoon depicts the Democratic Party whistling past a graveyard of tombstones carved with themes echoed by the Republican Party in the 2012 election

• $11 billion debt increase due to New Deal policies is today $183 billion adjusted for 66 years of inflation

• Actual debt increase during President Obama’s first term: $6 trillion or $360 billion in 1936 dollars

• 1936 unemployment rate 15%, down from a 1933 peak of 25% versus 8% today from a peak of 10% in 2010

The 2012 presidential election bears a striking resemblance to 1936 election. Both followed on the heals of economic crisis precipitated by a credit bubble and bust. But FDR cut unemployment nearly in half by spending 1/3 as much as the Obama administration has spent to cut unemployment by only 1/5th, from 10% to 8%. The worst of both worlds: massive pubic debt from fiscal stimulus but without the jobs.  More …

Reality Check, Election Edition – Part II: America's Future Energy Isolationism - Eric Janszen

November 5, 2012, iTulip

The flawed framework of the election debate is bigger than a misconstrued labor market problem. The greatest risks to the economy going forward are either framed in fallacies or are not discussed at all. We call them the Elephants in America’s Parlor.

Elephants in America’s Parlor

• Housing Bubble: The gift that keeps on taking
• US Treasury bond in extremis: Set-up for disaster
• ZIRP Purgatory
• Post-Bubble Deficit Trap
• Energy Isolationism

As I write this I am reminded of Argentina where to two parties, one socialist and one conservative, have taken turns turns ruining a model economy by steps for decades.

But the fourth elephant in the parlor that was never discussed by either the Obama or Romney campaign trumps all others: Peak Cheap Oil. By the end of our next president’s term it will be the dominant public policy issue.  More ($ Subscription) …


Election as Forcing Function - Part I: On Track for a Bond Market Panic

Railway behind Walden Pond, Concord, Massachusetts, August 2012 - © 2012
September 13, 2012, iTulip

• No QE3 but the Fed throws Bill Gross a bone
• The world’s largest public housing project
• When is a bond not a bond? When it’s money.
• Who just bought a pile of gold?

CI: Hope you enjoyed your summer.
EJ: I did, thanks. Hope did too and took my advice from June to rest up. I’m expecting a long, cold winter.

CI: For this interview we’ll cover the state of the U.S. economy, talk about the Fed and QE, gold, housing, and the state of household balance sheets here in Part I. In Part IIwe cover a smorgasbord of topics, ranging from the euro to Peak Cheap Oil and conclude with your ideas about how the 30 plus year bull market in bonds ends (aka the Janszen Scenario). We’ll start with your June 2012 prediction for new QE3 until “The White of Their Eyes,” that is, not until a clear and present crisis will the Fed act. That is absolutely contrary to the universal belief that QE3 will be announced on September 13th. Bill Gross has staked his reputation on a QE3 announcement today. Do you still expect the Fed to hold back on the 13th? Also, after languishing in the low $1,600 range all year gold finally broke above $1,700 last week. Is that just gold hoping for more cash from the Fed along with stock market investors after the jobs report came out?
EJ: Six out of ten dentists and economists say the gold price rise was caused by the announcement of bad US employment numbers. The markets interpreted the BLS report, on top of other data that show the U.S. economy slowing, as a virtual guarantee of a QE3 announcement on the 13th. As I explained back in June, it isn’t going to happen. No Fed action before the election unless there is an acute crisis. In recent weeks the financial media has talked itself into a major announcement from the Fed on Thursday. I think Gross took the lead or has been the most outspoken. I think they are going to be disappointed. We may get a minor tweak to policy, like an extension of an existing program, but nothing new. However, the impact of that disappointment will not be the same for the stock market as for the gold market because stock prices and gold prices moved at different times and for different reasons over the past two weeks. Gold will move but not as much as stocks. Keep in mind that short-term forecasting is not my forte, but that’s how I see it.

CI: Gold did not rise on September 4 on QE3 hopes?
EJ: The problem with the theory that a bad jobs numbers report was the gold price rise catalyst is that if that were the case the dollar (USD) price of gold should have risen more than the euro (EUR) price because a promise by the central bank print more money should cause the dollar to weaken relative to the euro (EUR), which had recently strengthened versus the USD anyway because of the ECB’s promise to buy euro bonds until the cows come home to ease the euro zone liquidity crisis. Instead gold went up in both EUR and USD in equal amounts at the same time. (more…)

Janszen Scenario Update Two – Part III: Practice Run - Eric Janszen

June 19, 2012, iTulip

• Macro fatigue
• Bull market in gold misinformation
• Scared into Bonds

Editor’s Note: At the suggestion of several iTulip subscribers we have renamed Ka-Poom Theory the Janszen Scenario. We will use both terms for the next several articles before switching over to Janszen Scenario.

CI: The main memes in the financial media since we last talked are synchronized global slowdown, falling stock markets, gold bear market then not, euro breakup, China weakness and stimulus, and QE3 anticipation. And “fiscal cliff.”
EJ: Anything to fill the time between the last shoe to drop and the next, I suppose. The anticipation is driving everyone nutty. A friend told me the other day he’s suffering from “macro fatigue.” I don’t think he’s alone.

CI: Eye of the storm? How much longer until the next big crisis?
EJ: Eye of the storm is one way to put it, but it’s already been a very big eye. The leading wall of the hurricane receded and the trailing wall has approached for three years now. A wall of sorts in Europe isn’t hard to make out but it’s part of the escalation process that’s been going on for years and may go on for years more. Hard to tell if it concludes in a 2008 level liquidity crisis as the world’s central banks expect in three weeks or three months or another three years. If we’ve learned anything by running this site since 1998 it’s that even the most clearly foreseeable disaster in the making takes longer to arrive than the cruelest imagination can conceive. It’s summer. Time to stop and smell the roses. The IMS will collapse soon enough. What’s the hurry?  More …


Janszen Scenario Update Two – Part IV: The Whites of their Eyes - Eric Janszen

June 19, 2012, iTulip

• The Fed’s fed up with Congress
• Euro Beta but no upgrade
• Output gap trap snaps shut

CI: You attended Janet Yellen’s speech at the Boston Fed week before last. You asked her a question during the Q&A session and after. What did you ask her? What did she say?
EJ: The Fed has been out selling the “fiscal cliff” message with all their might and she is doing her part. Yellen told us that the CBO had weighed in with an estimate of a 4% of GDP decline, from 2% to -2%, in the event that Congress allows the Bush tax cuts to expire in July, and unemployment benefits to expire at the end of 2012, and statutory budget cuts to go into effect in 2013. They are giving combination of all three of these “fiscal accommodation” measures gets the B horror movie title Fiscal Cliff. What they’re really doing is trying to keep their QE3 powder dry for the inevitable global liquidity crisis from Europe’s eventual and perhaps imminent banking crisis.  More ($ Subscription) …

The Postcatastrophe Economy September 2, 2010 "The Postcatastrophe Economy" by Eric Janszen available now.

Welcome to the False Recovery April 2010: Harvard Business Review "Welcome to the False Recovery" by Eric Janszen available now.

Harper's Next Bubble

March 2008: Harper's Magazine cover article "The Next Bubble" by Eric Janszen now available here.

In the Press

May 3, 2009, iTulip

Could Energy Innovation Create A ‘Green Bubble’?
- by Jeff Brady, National Public Radio, May 01, 2009
One argument for a major overhaul of the U.S. electricity grid is to encourage the development of more renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar. President Obama certainly has gotten behind green energy, and his administration is part of a concerted effort to help the industry grow.In the wake of the housing bubble, that has some asking whether the country is headed for a renewable energy bubble.

Eric Janszen founded the financial advisory company iTulip in the midst of the Internet stock bubble. Janszen, whose company was named for the Dutch tulip bulb bubble in the 1630s, has made a career out of studying financial bubbles. He says bubbles start…(full text, video & discuss it)

November 8, 2008, iTulip

Should the government bailout the auto sector?
Watch Eric Janszen interview tomorrow (11/09/08) on CBC News: Sunday airs Nov. 9th, 2008 @9:30 AM (EST) on Canadian Broadcasting main TV network (Ch.6), and 24-hour cable television channel CBC Newsworld.

February 7, 2008, iTulip

See Eric Janszen Interviewed on CNBC today January 25, 2008 at 2:20 PM Eastern. “Street Signs” covers the top stories of the day with Erin Burnett.

Discuss the interview here. We’ll post the video later for those who miss seeing it live.  More …

January 22, 2008, iTulip

Eric Janszen Interview on NPR: Recession? Stagflation? Bubble Deflation? A Look At The State of Our Economy

Steve Scher interviews Eric Janszen on KUOW public radio in Seattle on Tuesday, January 22 at 9:20AM to 10:00AM Pacific.

Guests: Peter S. Goodman has been a national economic writer for the New York Times‘ business section since October 2007. Previously, he was the Shanghai–based Asian economic correspondent for The Washington Post, where he spent a decade.

Eric Janszen is the founder and president of iTulip, Inc. He formerly served as managing director of the venture firm Osborn Capital, CEO of AutoCell, Inc., and Bluesocket, Inc., and entrepreneur in residence for Trident Capital. His article “The Next Bubble: Priming the Markets for Tomorrow’s Big Crash” appears in the February 2008 issue of Harper’s Magazine.  More …

mmfn_logo.gifMay 23, 2007, iTulip
November 2006: Money Matters host Gary Goldberg interviews Eric Janszen about the new book America’s Bubble Economy.

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Market Solution to the US Household Debt Problem: Debtors’ Prisons - Jane Burns
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Risk Polution
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China vs USA Politics
New Army of the Unemployed
Immigration: Enforce the Law the Way We Used To
Thoughts on US-China Decoupling

Background I: Internet Bubble II: Housing, Hedge Funds and other Bubbles Retrospective

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