The Corruption of America

I used to have a negative view of Porter Stansberry. I’m starting to see that my sources of information on Porter were biased and incorrect. And, because of an awesome article that he wrote this month…

And, from listening to some of his podcasts…

I’m seeing Porter Stansberry in a new light.

His article on corruption in America hits the nail on the head. More than anything else, it is corruption – not US Presidents or Fed chairmen – that is at the heart of America’s problems. If we don’t solve OUR corruption, America stands no chance at all.


Here’s an excerpt from Porter Stansberry’s article…

The Corruption of America

The numbers tell us America is in decline… if not outright collapse.

I say “the numbers tell us” because I’ve become very sensitive to the impact this kind of statement has on people. When I warned about the impending bankruptcy of General Motors in 2006 and 2007, readers actually blamed me for the company’s problems – as if my warnings to the public were the real problem, rather than GM’s $400 billion in debt.

The claim was absurd. But the resentment my work engendered was real.

So please… before you read this issue, which makes several arresting claims about the future of our country… understand I am only writing about the facts as I find them today. I am only drawing conclusions based on the situation as it stands. I am not saying that these conditions can’t improve. Or that they won’t improve.

The truth is, I am optimistic. I believe our country is heading into a crisis. But I also believe that… sooner or later… Americans will make the right choices and put our country back on sound footing.

Please pay careful attention to the data I cite. And please send me corrections to the facts. I will happily publish any correction that can be substantiated. But please don’t send me threats, accusations against my character, or baseless claims about my lack of patriotism. If I didn’t love our country, none of these facts would bother me. I wouldn’t have bothered writing this letter.

I know this is a politically charged and emotional issue. My conclusions will not be easy for most readers to accept. Likewise, many of the things I am writing about this month will challenge my subscribers to re-examine what they believe about their country. The facts about America today tell a painful story about a country in a steep decline, beset by problems of its own making.

One last point, before we begin… I realize that this kind of macro-economic/political analysis is not, primarily, what you pay me for. You rightly expect me to provide you with investment opportunities – whether bull market, bear market, or total societal collapse. And that’s what I’ve done every month for more than 15 years.

But that’s not what I’ve done this month. You won’t find any investment ideas at all in these pages. This issue is unlike any other I have ever written.

I’m sure it will spark a wave of cancellations – costing me hundreds of thousands of dollars. I fear it will spark a tremendous amount of controversy. Many people will surely accuse me of deliberately writing inflammatory things in order to stir the pot and gain attention. That’s not my intention. The truth is, I’ve gone to great lengths throughout my career to protect my privacy.

I am speaking out now because I believe someone must. And I have the resources to do it. I am sharing these ideas with my subscribers because I know we have arrived at the moment of a long-brewing crisis.

Our political leaders, our business leaders, and our cultural leaders have made a series of catastrophic choices. The result has been a long decline in America’s standard of living.

For decades, we have papered over these problems with massive amounts of borrowing. But now, our debts total close to 400% of GDP, and America is the world’s largest borrower (after being the world’s largest creditor only 40 years ago)… And the holes in our society can no longer be hidden…

We’ve reached the point where we will have to fix what lies at the heart of America’s decline… or be satisfied with a vastly lower standard of living in the future.

How do I know? How do I statistically define the decline of America?

The broadest measure of national wealth is per-capita gross domestic product (GDP). Economists use this figure to judge standards of living around the world. It shows the value of the country’s annual production divided by the number of its citizens. No, the production isn’t actually divided among all the citizens, but this measure provides us with a fair benchmark to compare different economies around the world. Likewise, this measure shows the growth (or the decline) in wealth in societies across time.

So… is America growing richer or poorer based on per-capita GDP? Seems like a simple enough question, doesn’t it? Is our economy growing faster than our population? Are we, as individuals, becoming more affluent? Or is the pie, measured on a per-person basis, growing smaller?

This is the most fundamental measure of the success or the failure of any political system or culture. Are the legal and social rules we live under aiding our economic development or holding us back? What do the numbers say?

Unfortunately, it’s a harder question to answer than it should be. The problem is, we don’t have a sound currency with which to measure GDP through time. Until 1971, the U.S. dollar was defined as a certain amount of gold. And the price of gold was fixed by international agreement. It didn’t actually begin to trade freely until 1975. Therefore, the value of the U.S. dollar (and thus the value of U.S. production, which is measured in dollars) was manipulated higher for many years.

Even today, our government’s nominal GDP figures are greatly influenced by inflation. The influence of inflation is particularly pernicious in GDP studies. You see, inflation, which actually reduces our standard of living, drives up the amount of nominal GDP. So it creates the appearance of a wealthier country… while the nation is actually getting poorer.

The only real way to accurately measure per-capita GDP is to build our own model. The need to build our own tools tells you something important – the government doesn’t want anyone to know the answer to this question. It could easily publish data far more accurate than the indexes it puts out. But government doesn’t want anyone to know. And it wants to be able to say “those aren’t the real data” when studies like ours produce bad news.

So pay attention to how we built our charts. You can see for yourself that our data are far more accurate than the government’s figures. Our data are based on the real purchasing power of the currency, not the nominal numbers, which are completely meaningless in the real world.

The question we are trying to answer is: What would per-capita GDP numbers look like, if we used a real-world currency, like gold, or a basket of commodity prices, instead of the paper-based U.S. dollar? What would the figures be if we measured GDP in sound money instead of the government’s funny money?

Here’s how we figured it out. We took the government numbers for nominal GDP and measured them first against commodity prices, and later (after it began to trade freely) gold. We used a standard commodity index (the CRB) up to 1975 and gold post-1975. The result of this analysis shows you the real trend in U.S. per-capita GDP, as measured on a real-world purchasing power basis.

Our analysis shows you what’s actually happened to our real standard of living. The results, we suspect, will surprise even the most bearish among you.

America is in a steep decline.

Read all of Porter Stansberry’s excellent article here.

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