ECB blames -you- for negative interest rates

May 3, 2016

Santiago, Chile

Just after sunrise on April 19, 1775, a large contingent of British military troops arrived to the town of Lexington, Massachusetts.

They were under orders to search for and confiscate all weapons and munitions from the colonials-- something the British army had done countless times before.

In many ways it was a routine operation. And yet, that morning, roughly 80 local militiamen stood blocking their path.

Paul Revere had ridden through Lexington only hours before to warn residents of the approaching threat.

There was a lot of yelling and tension between the two sides, and amid all the confusion, someone fired his musket. Then another. Then another.

(Historians are still unclear which side shot first, though much of the evidence points to Han Solo.)

And though few people realized it at the time, those turned out to be the opening shots of the American Revolution.

This is how revolutions often start-- people who have reached their breaking points engage in a small acts of defiance that quickly escalate out of control.

We’ve seen this pattern over and over again.

The Arab Spring uprising in 2011 started with a Tunisian fruit cart merchant who lit himself on fire. Revolution ensued.

The 2014 revolution in Ukraine started when police violently clashed with peaceful anti-government demonstrators.

Revolutions, of course, can take many forms. There are social revolutions, political revolutions… and even financial revolutions.

That’s what we’re seeing today: financial revolution.

Now that interest rates are negative in many parts of the world, the financial system has become an incredibly destructive force.

Negative rates adversely impact the livelihoods of just about everyone, from the average guy on the street all the way to the banks themselves.

A few key players have reached their breaking points and are starting to engage in acts of defiance.

I told you recently how the Bavarian Banking Association in Germany advised its member banks to hold physical cash instead of reserve deposits with the European Central Bank (ECB) at negative interest.

Some major insurance funds are also jumping on board, choosing to hold physical cash instead of bank deposits earning negative interest.

In its effort to avoid negative interest rates, the Canton of Zug in Switzerland asked its citizens to delay paying their taxes.

Now even the political and media establishments in Germany are rebelling against the ECB, saying that negative interest rates chip away at the savings of pensioners.

In response, the ECB opted for the ‘blame the victim’ approach, pointing the finger at all of us little people because we’ve been saving too much money.

So according to the unelected bureaucrats who printed all the money to begin with, people have been saving too much.

Consequently, everyone must be punished with negative interest rates. And you’re your fault.

That’s like a rapist saying, “she deserved it.” It was an appalling response, and astonishingly stupid.

You’re supposed to save money. That’s what the Universal Law of Prosperity is based on: produce more than you consume. Save more than you spend.

Penalizing savers is the exact opposite of what bureaucrats should be doing.

But people are starting to figure this out. The resentment is growing, even within the financial system itself.

Remember that modern ‘money’ is backed by nothing but unelected bureaucrats and their insipid economic theories.

The only way this system works is when there’s unquestionable confidence in the people running it, almost to the point of blind obedience and wilful ignorance.

When that confidence wanes, the financial system can spiral out of control very quickly.

We may be reaching that point soon and could look back on this period as the opening shots of the Financial Revolution.

If you recognize that the financial system is destructive and want to make a change, your most powerful option is to stop using it.

Or at least reduce your dependence on it.

Part of being a Sovereign Man is having a strong sense of freedom and independence… and that includes financial independence.

Last week we talked about the importance of holding physical cash.

You won’t be worse off for taking some savings out of the banking system.

And you’ll be protected against problems like negative interest, bank bail-ins, or withdrawal controls.

(All of these, by the way, already exist or have happened recently.)

But cash is not a panacea. Because if there really is a major reset in the financial system, your paper money might lose significant purchasing power.

That’s why it makes sense to hold gold and silver in addition to cash.

If there are greater problems in the monetary system, your precious metals will turn out to be an extraordinary insurance policy.

(Silver is a better bargain right now based on historical ratios, but it’s hard to imagine you can go wrong with either one.)

Until tomorrow,

Simon Black


PS. In a world of negative interest rates and negative bond yields, the entire investment landscape has changed. As my colleague, Tim Price, writes: if the game has changed, learn the new rules.