Economic Analysis

The Pension Train Has No Seat Belts

Thoughts from the Frontline

June 15, 2018

In describing various economic train wrecks these last few weeks, I may have given the wrong impression about trains. I love riding the train on the East Coast or in Europe. They’re usually a safe and efficient way to travel. And I can sit and read and work, plus not deal with airport security. But in this series, I’m concerned about economic train wrecks, of which I foresee many coming before The Big One which I call The Great Reset, where all the debt, all over the world, will have to be...

Debt Clock Ticking

Thoughts from the Frontline

June 8, 2018

Rather go to bed without dinner than to rise in debt.

—Benjamin Franklin

What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?

—Adam Smith

There are no shortcuts when it comes to getting out of debt.

—Dave Ramsey

Modern slaves are not in chains, they are in debt.

—Anonymous

Debt isn’t always a form of slavery, but those old sayings didn’t come from nowhere. You can find hundreds of quotes on the Internet discussing the problems of debt....

The Italian Trigger

Thoughts from the Frontline

June 1, 2018

Train wrecks and their financial analogues are a worldwide phenomenon. Europe, as I have written for several years, remains a giant accident waiting to happen—as Italy reminded us last week. You may have noticed the results when US trading resumed Tuesday. A wider crash may not be imminent but is certainly possible and will have worldwide effects if/when it happens. So now is a good time to review what’s already happened and what could be coming.

High Yield Train Wreck

Thoughts from the Frontline

May 25, 2018

My still-unfolding Train Wreck series is getting a lot of attention. It’s not exactly good news, but people at least appreciate the warnings. Thanks to all who sent thought-provoking comments. I always consider them carefully.

Train Crash Preview

Thoughts from the Frontline

May 18, 2018

Today we will summarize something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. Exactly how will we get from the credit crisis, which I think is coming in the next 12–18 months, to what I call the Great Reset, when the global debt will be “rationalized” via some form of nonpayment. Whatever you want to call it, I think a worldwide debt default is likely in the next 10–12 years.

Credit-Driven Train Crash, Part 1

Thoughts from the Frontline

May 11, 2018

In last week’s letter, I mentioned an insightful comment my friend Peter Boockvar made at dinner in New York: “We now have credit cycles instead of economic cycles.” That one sentence provoked numerous phone calls and emails, all seeking elaboration. What did Peter mean by that statement?

Thoughts from the Mailbox

Thoughts from the Frontline

May 4, 2018

Since last week’s letter, I have flown enough to send me over 100,000 miles on American Airlines this year and make Executive Platinum. That is not necessarily a good thing. But wow, I learned a lot between all those flights.

Economy with a Fever

Thoughts from the Frontline

April 27, 2018

Getting a fever is no fun. You likely get chills, you sweat, and you’re just generally uncomfortable. You get tired easily and need to rest. But here’s the weird part: Fever isn’t the real problem. It’s a symptom of something else. You must treat whatever that is to relieve the fever.

Us vs. Them

Outside the Box

April 25, 2018

This is the final Outside the Box. It is a little emotional to me, like parting with an old friend. How can one possibly sum up almost 14 years? Well, quite simply, you can’t. I would like to say, however, that it is been my extraordinary pleasure to send out more than 600 issues of Outside the Box, and I sincerely hope they helped your research and thinking.

While reminiscing on Outside the Box this week, I meandered through the archives and stopped at the very first issue, sent on September...

China Plays It Cool

Thoughts from the Frontline

April 20, 2018


Photo: Getty Images

China is the world economy’s elephant in the room. We can’t possibly ignore it, yet many try anyway. Admitting China’s influence forces us to admit the world is changing—and we all must change with it.