The high-profile financial pundit Max Keiser doesn’t shy away from crystal-clear, unmistakable statements. The following exclusive interview is no exception. Mr. Keiser sees an attack launched against the majority of people in the U.S., sets out why gold is in no bubble at all, points at a remarkable move by the Harvard University, and has an advice to some US-American billionaires disguised as noble philanthropists: “Just pay your taxes and shut up!”
By Lars Schall
Max Keiser, born January 23, 1960 in New Rochelle, N.Y., USA, has been involved with markets and finance for 25 years. He started his career as a stock broker on Wall Street after graduating in economics from New York University.
He is the inventor of the „Virtual Specialist Technology“ (US patent number 5950176) – a software system used by the Hollywood Stock Exchange, and is the creator, co-founder and former CEO of HSX Holdings/Hollywood Stock Exchange, which allows traders to exchange virtual securities such as „MovieStocks“ and „StarBonds,“ and a convertible virtual currency, the Hollywood Dollar. The Hollywood Stock Exchange remains until today the highest volume stock exchange in the world.
Mr. Keiser presented / produced TV and Radio formats at NBC, CBS, BBC, BBC World News, and the English programme of Al-Jazeera. For Iran’s Press TV he’s the host of “On the Edge,” and with his co-host, Stacy Herbert, he presents for the Russian broadcaster RT TV the “Keiser Report” (see for more at: http://maxkeiser.com/). In addition, he has appeared as a financial pundit on a number of news-networks.
Mr. Keiser, in your initial email you wrote to me:
“The key to understanding the current situation is to understand that house prices, jobs, wages, and pensions in the US are all being attacked with original-issue debt dollar junk.
This will continue until the middle class has been completely wiped out.”
Can you elaborate on this, please?
Yes, it’s a Financial Holocaust. It is on purpose to destroy the American middle-class. We face an original-issue deflation, if you will. If you look at the work of Steve Keen (http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/), an economist in Australia and one of a very few economists, who got the crisis of the past three years accurate, you understand that the banking system does not work on a system where deposits are the basis for fractional reserve. The banking system works on the basis of loans.
That means, that the origination of all the fractional reserve lending that is going on is just debt. And when you understand, that debt is at the bottom of the pyramid and that there’s no equity at all, or capital as this term is usually understood, then you understand that the banks and the policy makers are continuing a programme at the behest of Wall Street to commit a Financial Holocaust to eliminate the majority in America, which is the middle-class.
So would you agree with Paul Krugman, who wrote not a long time ago that the lights in the U.S. are about to go out?[i]
Paul Krugman is a salon monkey. You can quote me on that.
Okay, no problem (laughs).
He is a tool of the New York Times. If it wasn’t for the New York Times, no one would read Paul Krugman. He has absolutely nothing credible to say. He is merely a mouthpiece for neo-liberal clap-trap. Any minute you spend reading Paul Krugman is a minute of your life that you’ll never get back.
How does the mainstream media not only in the U.S., but in the Western hemisphere in general, play its part to ascertain its recipients that everything is more or less alright?
Well, the mainstream media is owned by the banking system. There is no widely disseminated media-outlet that is not owned by the banking system. Every media-outlet in the United States – Fox News, CNN, the New York Times etc. – is an extension of CNBC and James Cramer.
How do you feel in this context about the attempts to regulate the internet?
It’s a sad chapter, because the internet came into being as the result of the good will of the American taxpayer. Now you have private corporations like Google and Verizon, who are stealing it. That’s unconscionable. It’s a hanging offense. If there would be any justice, the principles of Google and Verizon would be severely executed.
Will those attempts have bad effects for the journalism that’s going on in the internet?
What is your take on the “Financial Reform Act” that passed Congress a few weeks ago? Does it deserve its name?
No. I’ve talked with Bill Black about this and he made all the salient points: it’s purely cosmetic, does nothing to address the structural problems and is dead on arrival.[ii]
You’ve already mentioned the problem of deflation. The Federal Reserve tries to fix this problem, allegedly, with a new round of quantative easing. Will this not make everything worse?
Well, getting back to the original question: the Fed can only issue debt. So they’re trying to fix the debt-deflation problem by issuing more debt. Whatever drugs Ben Bernanke is on, he should either take less, take more or change his prescription.
Related to the deflation in the U.S., many pundits compare the United States with the deflationary Japan of the early 1990’s until today. Do you agree with this analogy or do you rather share the opinion as it was expressed by Egon von Greyerz, the co-founder of “Matterhorn Asset Management AG” in Zurich, who said that the U.S. is in a very different situation than Japan was and is?[iii]
When Japan started their deflationary spiral, they had huge savings. America has no savings. The best comparison for me is to compare the U.S. in 2010 with Argentina in 2000.
Because the problem in America is that the bankers and the politicians conspire to loot the country of whatever money they can yet steal. We see a kleptocracy in action and the people will be left homeless and starving.
This is done by design?
People steal money on purpose (laughs). The people steal money, because they want to steal money. They don’t accidently steal money. It’s done for a purpose. Thieves steal money, because they want the money.
Let’s take a look at the crisis of the euro. It seems to be less acute for now, but it will come back, right?
Everything is going to be devaluated against gold.
And gold is not in a bubble?
Anyone who says gold is in a bubble, is talking out of their head. When assets go into the price that is a bubble-price, you have an extremely wide ownership of that asset. Take for example the dotcom-stocks in the 1990’s or the S&P in the 1980’s – you had a very large percentage of the population participating in the formation of those bubbles. In the case of gold bullion, less than one per cent of the global investable assets are in gold. Not only isn’t is in a bubble, it hasn’t even started. It’s still in a bear-market. Let me it put to you that way: gold is still in a bear-market.”
During an interview with me, the President and Chief Investment Strategist of the investment research and wealth consulting firm SmartKnowledgeU, LLC (http://www.smartknowledgeu.com), J. S. Kim, told me the following:
“I think if U.S. regulators stepped in and said Goldman Sachs, HSBC and JPMorgan couldn’t participate in the gold and silver futures-market for three weeks – I really think you would see the gold and silver price more than double in that time.”[iv]
Do you agree on that estimation?
Yes, he’s probably true. For instance in the case of JP Morgan, they have something like 30.000 contract short in the silver futures-market. So if they would have to close up their shorts, the price of silver would at least double.
Would you then also agree that the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee, GATA, had a good reason to cause some trouble for the CFTC related to this problem?
The Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee are a dedicated group of whistleblowers that I hope will continue in their work to expose the market-manipulations and insider-tradings that are plaguing the precious-metal markets.
What are your thoughts with regards to the recent statement by the central bank of China, the People’s Bank of China, to implement a regular gold market in its country, and that the commercial banks in India are asking the Indian central bank to do the same?
At the moment there is an enormous what you might call game-theory. There are China, Russia and Germany as the three biggest players in a global exercise in game-theory. Probably one of those three countries will be the first to announce a gold-backed currency. At that moment, every other central bank in the world will have to announce a similar move, because if they don’t, then they risk losing a huge capital flight out of their currency. It is just a matter of time before one of these countries announces a gold-backed currency.
In the case China, obviously they want to squeeze every last drop out of the brain-dead American consumer. When the American consumer has bought the last plastic item from Wal-Mart that he can buy from the borrowed money on the credit-card and he can’t consume one penny more, then China will drop the bomb by announcing a gold-backed curreny and the sell of a trillion in U.S.-government securities.
In the case of Germany, you really believe it would be able to issue a gold-backed currency?
Germany has always held on to their gold. Germany isn’t a country that is anxious to get rid of its gold. It has a very substantial position in gold and I am surprised that the Bundesbank has not announced increased purchase of gold yet. Maybe they have something cooking on the side, I don’t know. But I believe that the gnomes in Zurich and Berlin are smart to enough to see what’s happening. They know that a country with a large gold position is going to do well.
One final question on precious metals: do you think that silver could outperform gold in the long run?
Okay, then let’s change the subject. What is your opinion on BP’s so called “oil spill”? Do we really get the information that we would need in order to assess the true magnitude of the catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico?
The most revealing aspect of the BP oil spill was that it showed to the world that America currently has no President.
In the sense that Mr. Obama is something like a doppelganger of Mr. Bush during Katrina?
Much worse. At least with Bush you knew where he stood. I believe with Obama there is nobody home. He is a ghost. He doesn’t do anything. He is a Manshurian Candidate, he is a robot, he is nothing. He has done nothing, he is doing nothing, he will never do anything. Obama is just waiting to get a job at Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan in three or four years time and that’s it. The White House is a way to improve his resume. The BP oil spill revealed that America is running with no leadership at all. There is nobody at the helm of the ship. It’s running wild with no leadership whatsoever.
Do you expect BP will go bankrupt because of the oil spill?
Well, the principles of BP are going to make lots of money, no matter what happens. The shareholders of BP are going to struggle, but the insiders of BP will be fine.
Will the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico have effects for the price of oil and commodity prices in general?
The biggest driver in oil price has got to be the global contraction in production. The three biggest fields in the world, Ghawar in Saudi-Arabia, Burgan in Kuwait, and Cantarell in Mexico are the only super-fields we have. There never has been a super-field discovered in 20 years. Cantarell in Mexico is down sharply, so that Mexico will be an energy-importer soon. Burgan in Kuwait – down sharply. Ghawar in Saudi-Arabia – my sources tell me, there are similar losses of production to Kuwait. Of course, the Saudis publicly say that their reserves are being replaced exactly as it happened for the last ten years. But I have travelled in the region and have talked to people in the region. There is no reason to believe that this information is correct.
So the reserves are running out. This will obviously put a floor on the price of oil. Now, on the demand-side you still have strong demand in Asia and elsewhere in the world. The Peak-Oil story is really the number one driver. The BP aspect is a minor part of the overall Peak-Oil story.
Would you say that the Peak-Oil story deserves much more coverage and attention by the media, policy makers and so on?
The entire economy of the world runs on oil. This is a story that is ignored, because the implications are really catastrophic. It would mean that all trade stops. So global trade ends as we know it.
Therefore Peak Oil means the end of Globalization?
Globalization peaked as well about two or three years ago. We hit Peak Globalization. Globalization is on the vain.
One country with the largest deposits of oil and natural gas in the world is Iran. Do you think that the beating of the war drums, that we can hear at an increasing level, are much closer connected to this fact than to an alleged nuclear weapons programme?
Well, clearly it has always been the story since the 1970’s, that the world reserve currency, the US dollar, is backed by the Saudi Petrodollarization. Everything is related to the Saudi-Petrodollar story over the past 35 years. But the most interesting thing that I find related to the pending attack by Israel of Iran, is this: a few days ago, Harvard University divested themselves entirely out of all their Israeli investments. Why did they do that? In my view they anticipate that the United States will not be behind Israel when it will attack Iran. The United States will do to Israel what they did to South Vietnam, which is to say that they will abandon Israel. Nobody will supporting it. So the shekel and the Tel Aviv stock exchange are probably gonna marked down by 80-90%. Harvard University obviously understands this. That’s why they dumped every shekel-based security they have in their portfolio, because that exchange is gonna go belly-up.
Paul Craig Roberts wrote in an essay called “The Ecstacy of Empire: How close is America’s Demise?”, that was published this week, the following:
“The United States and the welfare of its 300 million people cannot be restored unless the neocons, Wall Street, the corporations, and their servile slaves in Congress and the White House can be defeated.
Without a revolution, Americans are history.”[v]
Do you share my opinion that the United States belongs to the least places in the world, where a revolution has to be expected right now?
America died two years ago. It’s a walking dead-zombie country, and anybody who still lives in that country they should get re-familiarize themselves with cotton-picking, because once the dollar crashes, the only crop that America will be able to export, is cotton. It will be King cotton. It will be 1840 again. The only job available will be as a cotton-picker working for a Wal Mart or Goldman Sachs plantation. This is the reality of the situation. There is no turning back at this point. The die has been cast. America lived from 1776 to 2008. Those were the years it was alive. But the second Obama took office, it died. That was the end. Every day since then has been Post-America.
At the end of this interview I would like to know what you think about this PR-event by some of the most prominent billionaires in the U.S., who announced that they will donate a large portion of their wealth in order to disguise them as a noble bunch of philanthropists, I assume.
I think it would be better if those guys just pay taxes. What percentage of the Fortune-500 companies pay tax? Something like only 10 per cent. How about just pay your taxes and shut up!
Thank you very much for taking your time, Mr. Keiser!
[i] Paul Krugman: “America Goes Dark”, published at the New York Times on August 8, 2010 under:
[ii] Compare Lars Schall: “Bill Black bei Max Keiser / Mike Norman zum ,Bankrott der USA’“, published at chaostheorien.de on August 13, 2010 under:
[iii] Compare Egon v. Greyerz: “THERE WILL BE NO DOUBLE DIP…”, published August 16, 2010 under: http://matterhornassetmanagement.com/2010/08/16/there-will-be-no-double-dip/
Mr. von Greyerz stated with regards to the often used analogy between Japan and the United States: “In our view the US is in a totally different situation for the following reasons:
- In the early 1990s Japan could still export their production to the rest of the world.
- In the current downturn all countries (even China and India) will suffer and there will be no one to export the problems to.
The ability to export made Japan a creditor nation with major payment surpluses. US are a major debtor and have been for 25 years.
Japan had a very high personal savings ratio at the time (which has now disappeared). US has had a declining savings rate for years (the US savings rate is now going up which it always does in a downturn).
The balance of payments and the personal savings surpluses made it possible for Japan to finance their budget deficit without resorting to QE. Very soon he US will only be able to finance their deficits with QE and so will most of the rest of the Western world.
- Japanese unemployment in 1992 was 2% and went slowly up to 5% by 2000 where it is now. Real US unemployment is 22% and increasing.
- Many major sovereign states are now virtually bankrupt and the financial system is on life support. This was not the case in the 1990s.
The above are some of the reasons why the current US situation is totally different to Japan. QE will accelerate in the US and worldwide.“
[iv] compare Lars Schall:, “We Don’t Need Central Banks”, published at chaostheorien.de on March 15, 2010 under: http://www.chaostheorien.de/interviews/-/asset_publisher/rAD9/content/we-dont-need-central-banks?redirect=%2Finterviews
[v] Paul Craig Roberts: “The Ecstasy of Empire: How Close Is America’s Demise? Without a revolution, Americans are history”, published at Global Research on August 16, 2010 under: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20650