They’re taking a wrecking ball to the “American Reality”

Last September– a bit more than seven months ago– my father died. Technically he was my step-father, but he was every bit my dad, and I loved him. The loss was hard.

We didn’t do a memorial service right away, though. My mother understandably just wasn’t in the right frame of mind. So we waited… until last weekend, and held the memorial service at the George Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

It was a good thing my mother booked such a large venue; the memorial service was incredibly well attended, and nearly 500 people came to pay their respects.

After the service was over, I wanted to get my mind off the day’s events, so some friends and I popped upstairs to check out the Bush presidential museum… which was currently presenting an exhibit aptly named “Freedom Matters”.

I couldn’t agree more.

Access to the museum, however, is tightly controlled. And you can only enter after going through an airport-style security checkpoint. You know the drill– empty your pockets, take off your clothes, and submit to an angry authority who treats you like you’ve just been booked at the county jail.

My friend Jim was lucky enough to receive extra screening; after setting off the metal detector, he was pulled aside and assumed the “I surrender” pose while gruff security personnel waved a magnetic wand near his genitals.

Curiously the security wand kept going off, prompting the increasingly irate guard to demand “what is this? What’s in here?”

I couldn’t help myself and shouted, “It’s his dignity!” Apparently Jim forgot to remove it before going through security.

The irony seemed to be lost on the guards, whose brusque treatment of museum visitors was taking place directly in front of an exhibit literally called “Freedom Matters”.

At the front of the exhibit was a large banner– I snapped a photo– defining freedom, according to a former Soviet dissident:

“Can a person walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm? If he can, then that person is living in a free society. If not, it’s a fear society.”

I thought about this quote for a few moments, glanced back at the security guards wanding another unlucky visitor, and quickly realized– based on this definition– that the US is quickly becoming a fear society.

You can no longer freely express views without fear of reprisal anymore– especially if those views conflict with the radical woke left.

Personal opinions can easily be viewed as hate speech, misinformation, violence, etc. And we’ve all seen too many instances of people’s lives being ruined by cancel culture. But I’ll come back to this.

After wandering around the museum for a while and enjoying some jokes with my friends, I finally returned home to the AirBnb I’m renting with my family, very close to where I grew up in the Dallas area.

It’s the quintessential American suburb: clean, quiet, safe, and stable. The house where I’m staying is at the end of a picturesque tree-lined cul-de-sac, and on the other end of the street is a large park where small children were playing organized sports in the afternoon.

Parents chatted with each other on the playground while their kids bounced around the jungle gym. Retirees were out walking their dogs. Even the postman drove by and greeted some of the residents by name. Everyone was happy… and it was basically perfect.

This isn’t the famous ‘American Dream’. It’s not a dream. This is real life as it’s supposed to be… the pinnacle of civilization, the product of more than two centuries of hard work and responsibility. It is the American Reality.

That’s why it’s so frustrating to watch the people in charge dismantle it. Brick by brick, neighborhood by neighborhood, they’ve been chipping away at this vast, enviable middle class prosperity, ripping it away in front of our very eyes.

They’ve encouraged “mostly peaceful” violence and caused an alarming rise in crime as a result of their soft “criminal first” policies.

They’ve sent the cost of living to record highs, and yet have no understanding how their spending practices could have possibly contributed to inflation. They’ve expanded the national debt to a record high $31.5 trillion and plan to keep overspending tax revenue by trillions of dollars every year.

They’ve worked hard to re-engineer childhood education (and have succeeded in many school districts). Biology has been rewritten to conform to new woke ethics. Math is racist. And parents who complain about the decline in educational standards are threatened by the federal government.

The most comical part of this suffering is the abject political dysfunction that’s on display every single day of our lives.

Consider that, amid deadly and toxic train derailments, airplanes around the country that have been grounded, total chaos at the national seaports, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s priority right now is ensuring that Ford and General Motors use female crash test dummies.

It’s so ridiculous it almost sounds made up. And yet it’s completely true.

Or consider that the Treasury Department is now weeks away from defaulting on the national debt, once again, having reached its statutory debt limit. Congress is required to pass a law to raise the debt ceiling.

Yet the President of the United States refuses to negotiate a single penny in spending cuts in order to reach a compromise with the House of Representatives. Not a penny.

Simultaneously the guy was shown on video recently unable to remember how many grandchildren he has, or even the fact that he had recently returned from a trip to Ireland.

These examples of extreme incompetence never end. It’s so aggravating. Even terrifying.

That’s why I write so much about taking simple, sensible steps to reclaim control.

For example, if you think Pete Buttigieg is doing a great job as Transportation Secretary, then by all means, please continue to overpay your taxes and give him as much of your money as possible.

If, on the other hand, you recognize that he is demonstrably incompetent, completely unqualified to be Transportation Secretary, and was only given the position because he checks a diversity box (and agreed to endorse candidate Biden in 2020) then you might want to consider the multitude of completely legal ways to reduce your tax bill… and stop giving Pete so much money to waste.

It’s perfectly normal to feel angry or disgusted with America’s terrible leadership. But it’s a lot more effective to channel some of that energy into reducing their impact on your life.

There absolutely are ways to reduce your tax bill, to mitigate the effects of inflation, to still make phenomenal investments, to fund your retirement, and to ensure that you’re in a position of strength no matter how destructive they become.

There’s no downside in doing this. If this decline reverses and America starts to dig its way out of this hole, you won’t be worse off for putting yourself in a stronger position.

And that is actually still a possibility. This country has so much potential upside from its entrepreneurial brilliance, talented workforce, immense resource wealth, and more. That’s why it’s so bewildering to see how badly the people in charge are screwing it up.

At the moment, though, it’s difficult to see any real change on the horizon. As President Biden said in his re-election announcement, he wants to “finish the job”. By that I presume he means completely destroying the country.

This is nothing new; history is full of superpowers who eradicate themselves from within. They lay waste to the very ideals that made them strong and prosperous to begin with, they create divisions and disunity, and they subject themselves to horrendous, weak leadership.

But it’s one thing to understand the decline of empires and civilizations through the lens of history. It’s quite another to watch it happen from your living room window.


from Sovereign Man

Welcome to “Future Headline Friday”

Today, we’re trying something new and unique. In a world brimming with bewildering headlines, we spend a lot of time thinking about the future… thinking about where this trajectory leads.

So, today we’re launching our inaugural edition of “Future Headline Friday”. This is our satirical take of where this world is going if we stay on this current path. While it may be humorous and exaggerated, rest assured that it is rooted in actual events, news stories, and legislation.

April 28, 2032: Health Canada Now Fast-tracks Assisted Suicide to Fight Cimate Change

Ever since 2029’s national debt default, the waiting period for Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) provided by Canada’s national healthcare program has stretched to more than two years.

Canadian public health officials noted that requests for assisted suicide skyrocketed after the government imposed another 8-month stay-at-home order during the 2030 chicken pox pandemic.

However, after last year’s full government restructuring, when Health Canada became a subsidiary agency of the Ministry of Climate Change, officials soon realized that this lengthy waiting period for assisted suicide was damaging to the environment.

“We all know there are simply too many people in the world. The science is very clear on this point,” the Minister told reporters in a virtual press conference yesterday morning.

“The government’s first responsibility is to the planet, and when we have such a long list of heroic Canadians who want to do the right thing and reduce their carbon footprint, we need to prioritize their transition.”

The Ministry further announced that, in addition to fast-tracking assisted suicide to fight climate change, it would also update the medical guidance to ensure that physicians now recommend assisted suicide as treatment for a variety of conditions ranging from kidney stones to restless leg syndrome.

A new panel is also exploring whether to offer assisted suicide to those who have no underlying condition, but have opted to upload their consciousness to the meta-cloud.

“My body is really redundant at this point,” said Diane Young, a vocal proponent of assisted suicide. “Downsizing to only meta-life reduces my carbon footprint by 97%. It’s a no brainer. It would be selfish to not do so.”

April 28, 2031: Chairperson of Autonomous Seattle Says Diplomatic Immunity Was Breached in Recent Trip to US

Entering its second year of federal recognition as an independent socialist commune, Autonomous Seattle still depends on the US government for nearly all of its financial assistance.

However, last years’ $64 billion in aid only covered about 70% of Autonomous Seattle’s budget.

This paid for non-negotiable programs such as Universal Basic Income, annual reparations, and ethical drug-use parlors. However, Autonomous Seattle was forced to close its fire department, and cut its Adaptive Compassionate Aid Battalion (or ACAB), formerly known as the Seattle Police Department, by 50%.

To secure a larger 2032 operating budget, the Chairperson of Autonomous Seattle, Comrade Che, visited President Newsom in Washington last week.

However all did not go according to plan as the Chairperson overheard a low-ranking official in the Newsom administration refer to “her travel schedule.”

Comrade Che is, of course, nonbinary, and misgendering is a serious crime under Autonomous Seattle’s Universal Human and Animal Rights Charter.

While the US official was immediately terminated, no charges were brought forward over the misgendering, which Comrade Che referred to as “literal violence.”

As the violent act was perpetrated by a US government official, the Chairperson says this is a breach of diplomatic immunity.

Chairman Che said they are willing to drop the complaint if the Newsom Administration agrees to a $40 billion 2032 aid package.


from Sovereign Man

How attractive is Egypt’s Citizenship By Investment program in 2023?

Citizenship By Investment (CBI) programs – and the European ones, in particular – have come under mounting pressure from Brussels in recent years. Yet occasionally, new programs still come online. Egypt’s Citizenship By Investment (CBI) program has been in existence since March of 2020. But is it worth considering?

In today’s episode, we find out…

How attractive is Egypt’s Citizenship By Investment program in 2023?

Before we get into today’s topic, it has to be said…

There is a massive difference between having a CBI program, and having a CBI program that actually works. The five Caribbean CBI programs typically run like clockwork.

And if you work with Sovereign Man’s trusted suppliers in Turkey, you should have a seamless experience there too. But in places like North Macedonia? Not so much.

And if you risked it in Vanuatu, you’ll now be the proud owner of a very expensive, bright green booklet that doesn’t get you into the EU.

(NOTE: Grenada CBI applicants experienced some temporary delays around mid-2021 due to a dispute between the government and one of the country’s flagship CBI property developers. But according to a trusted supplier on the ground, applications there are once again running smoothly.)

So whenever a new program launches, we first take a wait-and-see approach, and obtain credible feedback from our network before reporting on it.

But with that said, let’s take a look at Egypt’s CBI program, which recently turned three years old…

The Egyptian CBI program at a glance

In March 2020, Egypt enacted its brand-new Citizenship By Investment program, with a donation amount starting at $250,000, and a real estate investment option starting at $500,000.

Back then, the program did not strike us as particularly attractive.

Neighboring Turkey offered a much better deal, requiring applicants to invest only $250,000 in any property in the country.

And besides the lower investment threshold, the Turkish passport beats the Egyptian one as a travel document (C-grade versus D-grade).

And Turkey is arguably much more livable than Egypt… if you ever decide to live in either of these places.

So two years ago, Turkey was the clear winner.

But since then, two things have happened that altered this comparison to some degree:

Turkey increased its real estate-related threshold to $400,000, and
Egypt has lowered its investment and donation requirements.

On March 7, 2023, Decree 876/2023 introduced various changes to the Egyptian CBI program.

Here are the current investment requirements…

Egyptian CBI: The current investment options at a glance

Donation of $250,000. The amount did not change, but applicants can now pay the sum in installments over one year. During that year, applicants receive temporary residence permits, and only receive citizenship after paying the amount in full.

Real estate investment of $300,000 (down from $500,000), plus a $100,000 non-refundable donation to the Egyptian Treasury. Applicants can pay in installments over one year.

However, as a rule, only new, government-owned property qualifies. And you will need to hold the property for at least five years. (In Turkey, you can buy anything you want, including secondhand properties. More on this below.)

A bank deposit of $500,0000 with a holding period of three years. After the holding period, applicants can withdraw the money in Egyptian pounds at the current exchange rate and with no accrued interest.

A capital investment of $350,000 (down from $400,000), accompanied by a $100,000 donation. Also, there is no longer a requirement to own at least 40% of a company’s shares. This means applicants can invest in any Egyptian company, whether established or new.

Did these changes make the program more attractive? Not really.

In our opinion, the donation option is still overpriced – it’s at least twice what CBI programs in the Caribbean charge for a much better passport.

And the bank deposit option is an almost-guaranteed way to lose money. (The Egyptian pound undergoes periodic devaluations against the US dollar.)

The only investment option that piques our interest is the property route – albeit with a couple of caveats.

Given the shift to government owned properties only, the argument that Egypt’s burgeoning population growth will drive up residential property prices may become largely irrelevant.

Also, considering Egypt’s history of political instability, coup d’etats, economic crisis and currency devaluations, the Egyptian property market will likely still see plenty of turmoil in the years to come.

And in the past ten years, the inflation-adjusted local property prices have decreased by 50%.

So based on all of the above, we are of the opinion that the Egyptian CBI could arguably make for an interesting longer term real estate play… provided that you have hair on your teeth, and that you are willing to hang on to it for substantially longer than the minimum five-year lock in period.

Additional factors to consider

We contacted one of the leading Egypt-based service providers for more details about the latest round of program changes.

They confirmed that:

  • Generally, only new projects qualify, and
  • Developers must be government-owned.

In addition, if you want to sell your property before the five-year hold period is over – but still want to keep your citizenship – you must donate $250,000 to the Egyptian government. After five years, you can sell the property and keep your citizenship.

And besides the $300,000 property investment, remember that you must also transfer $100,000 directly to the country’s Treasury once your application is approved.

This amount is non-refundable.

The total amount you will need to pay to become Egyptian will be just over $400,000 – pretty much in line with Turkey.

But in Turkey, the entire sum goes towards the property purchase, with no donations. This makes the Turkish CBI program more attractive in our opinion, especially considering that Turkey is arguably more livable and objectively boasts a better passport.

In conclusion

At Sovereign Man, we are in the business of presenting our readers with options. And while the Egyptian CBI program is not going to appeal to a lot of people, as far as “uncorrelated passports” go, Egypt’s travel document scores very highly.

So for some people, it could be a valuable asset. But given the program’s high price point and lackluster passport power, we don’t see this program gaining significant traction.

Yours in freedom,

Team Sovereign Man


from Sovereign Man

Hard data that confidence in the dollar is cracking

It is becoming increasingly clear that the world is losing faith in the United States dollar… and rapidly turning to alternatives. And that’s a huge deal for the United States.

For nearly eight decades, the US economy and US government have enjoyed the unparalleled benefits of the dollar being the world’s reserve currency.

This means that nearly every government, central bank, commercial bank, and large corporation  in the world holds at least some US dollars. Foreign companies use the dollar to trade with one another. Foreign governments and corporations often issue bonds in US dollars.

And most of the world’s major commodities, including oil, are priced and traded in US dollars.

The dollar’s dominance is so ridiculous that even when Airbus— a European aircraft manufacturer— sells jets to Air France, that transaction is settled in US dollars.

This has been an enormous benefit to the United States; every other country in the world that engages in international trade and commerce HAS to hold US dollars… which means that foreign institutions end up parking vast sums of money in the US financial system.

And that money creates additional capital that gets put to work to grow the US economy.

Think about that again: rather than invest their own money to grow their own economies, foreign governments and institutions are essentially forced to invest a big part of their savings for the exclusive benefit of the US economy… simply because they need access to the world’s reserve currency.

A lot of that money ends up in the hands of the US federal government; in fact, foreigners own roughly $7.5 trillion of US government bonds… which has been an absurdly good benefit for the Treasury Department.

Whenever the federal government has come up with some stupid, expensive idea… like paying people to stay home and NOT work… foreigners have always helped pay for it by buying more US government bonds— again, simply because they need to own US dollars.

But as I wrote to subscribers as far back as August of 2015, the dollar’s reserve currency dominance “is by no means written in stone. The US dollar is not the first global reserve currency, and it won’t be the last.”

Throughout history there have been many reserve currencies, from the ancient Greek drachma to the gold solidus of the Byzantine empire, the Venetian gold ducat, the Spanish real de ocho, to the British pound. No reserve currency lasts forever.

History shows that a reserve currency is displaced whenever the rest of the world loses confidence; this typically happens when the government’s finances deteriorate severely.

Back in 2015 I warned that America’s finances were also deteriorating, which posed a risk to the dollar’s dominance: “The US government is insolvent. Its major institutions and pension funds are insolvent. The central bank is borderline insolvent.”

That assertion is even more true today. In fact I would remove the qualifier “borderline” when describing the central bank; the Federal Reserve is, according to its own calculations, totally insolvent.

And the rest of the world is really starting to take notice. The French in particular have been complaining for years about the US dollar, and just recently the French President has been urging Europeans to seek financial independence from the United States.

Leaders from countries including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Malaysia, Brazil, and India have all recently expressed openness, or even desire, to move beyond the US dollar in international trade.

Saudi Arabia is flirting with the idea of selling oil in Chinese yuan, and just a few weeks ago the first Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) contract in Chinese yuan was transacted.

These are just anecdotes, of course. But there’s a lot of hard data showing that the dollar’s reserve status is waning.

According to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT, the U.S. dollar is currently used to settle about 40% of international trade.

That’s still a lot. But even as recently as 2014, SWIFT reported the dollar was used for 52% of global trade.

Dollar reserves held by foreign governments are also declining.

According to the International Monetary Fund, the US dollar now accounts for 58.4% of foreign reserves held by central banks around the world, compared to roughly 70% in the late 90s.

Foreign central banks also seem to dump their US dollars in exchange for a more traditional store of value; that’s why central banks around the world bought more gold in 2022 than they have since 1950.

This is all hard data showing that the world’s discontent with the US dollar has finally translated into action. And it suggests that the US dollar’s loss of global reserve status is only a question of when, not if.

Again, this is a huge deal for America.

The only reason the US government has been able to get away with a $31.5 trillion national debt, multi-trillion dollar deficits “that cost nothing”, and all the other insane government dysfunction, is because the dollar is the world’s reserve currency.

What do you think would happen if the government of Bulgaria ran a massive deficit every single year… or if the President of South Korea shook hands with thin air?

Their currencies would probably plummet and their bonds markets collapse.

Just last year, in fact, we saw the British pound go into freefall, the bond market plummet, and the Prime Minister forced to resign, simply because investors did not like her economic plan.

But the US government has been able to do whatever it wants… for decades… simply because they have the reserve currency.

You’d think that the federal government would do everything in its power to protect such an extraordinary privilege.

But instead they seem to be going out of their way to destroy it. It’s pure insanity.

Even now, with the country weeks away from defaulting on the national debt, the President of the United States still refuses to negotiate a single penny in spending cuts in order to raise the debt ceiling.

Foreigners are watching this mess… and they’re not impressed. And this is yet another reason why they’re moving so quickly to reduce their dependency on the dollar.

Frankly this might be a good thing. The US government is like a spoiled, hard partying rich kid who has squandered the fortune that his great grandfather worked so hard to build.

Maybe the kid needs to go broke and have his fancy cars repossessed in order to (hopefully) relearn the value of money, responsibility, and conservative financial management.

It’s important to remember, in fact, that the United States became the most powerful economy in the world BEFORE the dollar became the global reserve currency. Same with the UK and British pound before.

So it’s possibly that losing some of the dollar’s reserve status might just be the spark that the US government needs to get its act together. Only time will tell.


from Sovereign Man

We’re done with “gradually”. We’ve now reached the “suddenly” part

By the summer of 1563, all of Britain had plunged into chaos over religion and the Reformation.

King Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic church back in the 1530s, sparking a near civil war within the kingdom. Protestants killed Catholics, Catholics killed protestants, and extreme social tensions lasted for decades.

Universities were at the heart of this conflict; rather than focus on real subjects like science and mathematics, students and professors became radical social activists and turned their schools into ideological echo chambers. Sound familiar?

One of the few students who actually wanted to learn was a Scottish teenager named John Napier; Napier had been enrolled at the University of St. Andrews at the time, but he quickly realized that he would never learn a damn thing in that environment. So he dropped out… and started traveling in search of a real education.

No one quite knows exactly where he went or what he did. But when he returned to Scotland eight years later as a young man, Napier had become an intellectual giant.

You might not have ever heard of him, but John Napier was truly one of the great minds of his era. And modern science owes a tremendous debt to his work… in particular his development of logarithms.

If it’s been a few years since you studied math (or ‘maths’ for my British friends), logarithms are the inverse of exponential functions.

Simple example: we know that 102 (or 10 squared) = 10 x 10 = 100. So, the number 10 raised to the power of 2 equals 100.

The inverse of that is to say that the ‘base 10’ logarithm of 100 = 2. Or in mathematical terms, 100 log10 = 2

Napier devised an entire system of logarithms. And this was actually a tremendous leap forward in mathematics, because logarithms made it so much easier for scientists and researchers to calculate solutions to complex problems.

One of the many important applications to come out of Napier’s work is the concept of ‘logarithmic decay,’ which models many real world phenomena.

The idea behind logarithmic decay is that something declines very, very slowly at first. But, over a long period of time, the rate of decline becomes faster… and faster… and faster.

If you look at it on a graph, logarithmic decay basically looks like a horizontal line that almost imperceptibly arcs gently downwards. But eventually the arc downward becomes steeper and steeper until it’s practically a vertical line down.

Logarithmic decay is like how Hemingway famously described going bankrupt in The Sun Also Rises– “Gradually, then suddenly.”

In fact logarithmic decay is great way to describe social and financial decline. Even the rise and fall of superpowers are often logarithmic in scale. The Kingdom of France in the 1700s infamously fell gradually… then suddenly.

We can see the same logarithmic decay in the West today, and specifically the United States.

The deterioration of government finances has been gradual, then sudden. Social conflict, censorship, and the decline in basic civility has been gradual, then sudden. Even the loss of confidence in the US dollar has been gradual… and is poised to be sudden.

Back in 2009 when I started Sovereign Man, I spoke a lot about ideas that were highly controversial at the time.

I suggested that Social Security’s trust funds would run out of money. That the US government would eventually be buried by its gargantuan national debt. That the US dollar would eventually lose its international reserve dominance. That inflation and social conflict would rise.

The main thesis, quite simply, was that the US was in decline. And whenever I spoke at events, I used to talk about logarithmic decay, saying:

“As a civilization in decline, you never really know quite where you are on the curve. You could be way over here on the horizontal line, at the very beginning of the decline… or you could be standing on the precipice about to hit the vertical slide down.”

Well, now we have a much better idea of where we are on that logarithmic decay curve. Because these ideas about the national debt, inflation, social security, social conflict, etc. are no longer theories. Nor are they even remotely controversial.

Just last week, US Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy said in a speech that “America’s debt is a ticking time bomb”. Social Security’s looming insolvency is now openly discussed in Washington and regularly reported in the Wall Street Journal.

We’ve all seen with our own eyes (and even experienced) inflation, social divisions, and censorship.

And as for the dollar, we continue to see a multitude of cracks in its dominance. Most notably, Saudi Arabia is considering a plan to sell oil not just in US dollars, but also in Chinese yuan.

Plus the international development bank of the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) announced earlier this month that they will start moving away from the dollar.

Is it any surprise? The US government is weeks away from defaulting on its national debt over the latest debt ceiling debacle. And yet the guy who shakes hands with thin air refuses to negotiate a single penny in spending cuts to help reduce trillions of dollars in future deficit spending.

The whole world is watching in utter disbelief at the astonishing level of incompetence that has infected the highest levels of America’s once hallowed institutions, including news media, big business, and the government itself.

America– and the West by extension– really are on the precipice of that logarithmic decay curve… the part where the horizontal line becomes a vertical line down.

It has taken years… even decades to reach this point, gradually. We’re now at the “suddenly” part.

Now, it’s important to note that the outcome is far from inevitable. Plenty of declining superpowers in the past have pulled themselves out of a tailspin, at least temporarily.

Aurelian’s reforms helped re-establish Rome’s dominance in the late 200s after nearly a century of chaos. The declining Ottoman Empire recovered substantially during the Tanzimat period in the 1800s. King Charles III of Spain made many successful reforms to revive his crumbling empire in the 1700s.

There are many historical precedents for recovery, so all is not lost. But at the moment there is little evidence to suggest any major change on the horizon.

I’m not saying this to be alarmist. Quite the contrary, in fact. Because one of the key pillars of our thinking here at Sovereign Man is that, despite the ineptitude of our governments, we as individuals have the tools, power, and freedom to solve these problems for ourselves… and even prosper doing so.

Simple example: Social Security’s trust funds will run out of money within a decade, and this will be a huge problem for literally tens of millions of people who depend on the progam.

However there are numerous tools available to solve this problem; a more robust and powerful retirement structure like a self-directed, solo 401(k) plan, for example, allows you to set aside up to $73,500 per year for your retirement.

Similarly, if you expect a government with deteriorating finances to raise taxes (which they almost always do), you can take completely legal steps to reduce what you owe.

If you anticipate inflation continuing, you can arrange your investments to capitalize on the surge in real assets, like minerals, energy, and productive technology.

You can also take steps to diversify geographically, even internationally, to reduce risks to your family’s freedom.

These solutions barely scratch the surface of the plentiful options at your disposal. All it takes is a sensible understanding of the problem… plus the willingness to take action.

And rational, informed action is always a better option than despair.


from Sovereign Man

Greek Golden Visa: A look at the Steady Eddie of EU Golden Visas

Amidst a slew of recent Golden Visa program closures across Europe, the continent’s top residency by investment program is more popular than ever – AND its imminent price increase for certain areas has been delayed.

In today’s episode, we take a look at some of the factors contributing to the program’s success…

A look at Europe’s most popular Golden Visa program (and why you should consider it)

Frequently promoted internationally as “a giant open air museum”, Greece is a truly fascinating country. It is the cradle of democracy, and birthplace of Western civilization.

The country offers an excellent climate, healthy, sumptuous food and a relaxed, welcoming vibe. It’s a wonderful place to spend time; especially if you avoid the crowds of dusty Athens and the throngs of Instagram “influencers” in Santorini.

Plus it’s part of the EU and the Schengen Area, so residents enjoy access to both.

The country’s cost of living is low — and the cost of housing, currently, is exceptionally affordable:

The low cost of living aspect, in particular, caught our attention, especially because the Greek Golden Visa program grants residency in return for a real estate investment of just €250,000 (~$274,000)

Quick Greek Golden Visa program facts

  • Top-selling EU Golden Visa program – over 28,000 residency permits issued to date
  • Currently the most affordable property-based option (€250K – tied with Latvia)
  • No minimum in-country presence requirement (0 days per year)
  • Residency permits issued within 2-3 months
  • Multiple properties with the combined value of €250K can be used to apply.

Moreover, given that the Portuguese government has decided to shutter their (until now) acclaimed Golden Visa program, the option to still get a property-based Plan B in Southern Europe should not be squandered:

If getting a relatively affordable, super flexible EU Plan B in place is on your to-do list, then now is NOT the time to vacillate. (More on that in a bit.)

But first, let’s take a look at the program’s investment options below:

Greek Golden Visa Program Summary
Program Investment 




Minimum Stays Does it lead 

to citizenship?

€250k (~$274K): Real Estate. 

(Increasing to €500k (~$548K) in several of the country’s more attractive locations later in 2023.)


€400K (~$438K): Term Deposit, or investment in VC Funds, Greek Treasury Bonds, Mutual Funds or Alternative Investment Funds, etc.


€800K (~$877K): Corporate Bonds or Shares

Additional 24%

VAT on new

construction projects, 


Transfer tax of 3%

on other properties;


Service provider fees (variable)

Legal fees (variable).

None Yes, after 7 years of residency, along with a number of important requirements we discuss  in more detail below.

(Greece allows dual citizenships.) 

Caveat emptor: Considering the paltry financial situation of the Greek government and the country’s banking sector, we cannot recommend you pursue anything other than the real estate option. And if you do, make sure you understand all the risks associated with your investment very well…

What makes the Greek program so compelling?

The Greek Golden Visa has two major factors going for it:

First, its low minimum investment requirement, and second, the fact that you don’t need to visit Greece to keep your residency active.

As long as you maintain your investment, you can renew your visa indefinitely every five years.

The downside — a Greek passport, in practice, is hard to obtain. At the time of naturalization, you’ll need to be fluent in the Greek language, and be highly knowledgeable regarding Greek culture and history.

And while you can renew your GV residency permit without living there a single day, it takes seven years of residency to become eligible for naturalization.

And during this time you cannot be absent for more than six months per year. Moreover, the Greek authorities will also be checking whether you paid Greek taxes during this period.

Greece: Another Golden Visa Program that’s going through changes…

To qualify for the Greek Golden Visa, applicants must purchase a property (commercial or residential) with a value of at least €250,000 (~$274,000). This is the lowest investment amount required among all programs in Europe (if you’re purchasing a property).

And combined with the general affordability of the Greek housing market, investors flooded the Greek GV program. This has fuelled sharp real estate price increases in the country’s main cities, and started making local real estate unaffordable for locals.

Just like in Portugal, this issue prompted the government to enact new restrictions (in Greek).

The minimum investment threshold will soon go up to €500,000 (~$548,000) for real estate purchases in certain parts of the country.

You now have until July 31 of 2023 (instead of April 30) to put down a 10% deposit on a property in these areas, otherwise you will have to pay double in some parts of Athens (namely North, Central and Southern Sectors of the city), Thessaloniki, Vari-Voula-Vouliagmeni, as well as the entire islands of Mykonos and Santorini.

You’ll still, however, have to complete the transaction inside of 2023.

If these areas are your preference, then you need to hurry up. Even though the price increase has been delayed by an additional three months, you will be running against the clock to identify and buy a suitable property…

Watch out for VAT charges on new RE projects…

Depending on the type of property you opt to purchase, additional VAT charges – a whopping 24%, to be exact – may apply. The good news however, is that the current center-right government decided to waive these charges on new properties until 2024.

This means that Greek real estate is now even cheaper for foreign investors.
And you can rent out your property for profit, with no restrictions.

A word on your tax situation in Greece

With a GV residency permit, you don’t have to live in Greece. But if you do decide to reside in Greece, you need to consider the country’s taxation. The good news is that in the past few years Greece enacted several important tax incentives.

For starters, they introduced a flat income tax rate of 7% for foreign pensioners who transfer their tax residence to the country.

Then, to attract wealthy individuals, the government announced a Non-Dom tax regime, allowing you to pay a flat tax rate of €100,000 (~$110,000) per year on any of your income derived outside of Greece. (You will also need to invest €500,000 (~$548,000) or more in the Greek economy, however. Real estate qualifies.)

And not to overlook employees and self-employed individuals, Greece also allowed a 50% discount on your income generated in Greece, making it a rather attractive place to relocate to.

NOTE: Sovereign Confidential members – remember that you have access to a deep-dive Black Paper on Europe’s Golden Visa programs, including Portugal, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Latvia, Italy and Ireland.

In addition, you also have access to deep-dive reports on the above tax incentives and those found elsewhere across Europe.

The bottomline…

Having the option to live in Greece whenever you want – or need to – is the kind of optionality we can get behind. Greece offers a generous, streamlined, fast and predictable Golden Visa program.

And given the current low pricing, PLUS the option to buy any piece of property on the open market, it’s one the most compelling programs of its kind still remaining in 2023.

So if this is something you’re considering, don’t let this opportunity get away from you.

PS: Sovereign Confidential members – we have an exceptional legal supplier for this program, with offices based in both Athens and Thessaloniki. (AND they’ve got access to quality, available property stock, so get in touch if you’d like their details.) 


from Sovereign Man

We’ve waited nearly 15 years for this

Thousands of years ago on the 27th of July, 54 BC, the famed Roman senator Cicero wrote a letter to his friend Atticus complaining about all the corruption and bribery that was destroying Rome’s political system.

There was an important election taking place that year for Roman consul, which had once been considered among the highest political offices in the republic.

But by 54 BC, the consuls were just political stooges… because the real power was held behind the scenes by none other than Julius Caesar, and his rival Pompey the Great.

Caesar and Pompey both spent enormous amounts of money to make sure their people won the elections; it was very similar to how today’s biggest political donors spend millions of dollars to push their hand-picked candidates into office. The politicians are just puppets; the real power is the money behind them.

Caesar and Pompey were certainly wealthy guys at the time. But the election of 54 BC set off a financial arms race between the two, with each one trying to out-spend the other to manipulate the election.

One of Pompey’s candidates– a man named Scaurus the Younger– was actually charged with extortion.

Two other candidates allegedly attempted to bribe a large voting bloc known as the centuria praerogativa for a whopping 10 million sesterces; this would be the equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars today.

Another candidate alleged that the two outgoing consuls had been bribed with four million sesterces. The bribery allegations went on and on.

The election of 54 BC was so corrupt and cost so much money that Caesar, Pompey, and their candidates had to borrow heavily from investors to finance all the bribery.

And this is what led Cicero to remark to his friend Atticus, “Bribery is raging. And I will show you a sign of it: the interest rate has gone up from 4% on the 15th of July to 8% [on the 27th of July].”

In other words, the politicians and their financial backers spent so much money to rig the election that they had borrowed nearly all of the capital in Rome’s financial system… causing a spike in interest rates.

This makes sense when you think about it: the election of 54BC created a sudden, overwhelming demand for loans; Caesar and Pompey borrowed heavily in a very short period of time. Just like the basic law of supply and demand, that surge in demand for capital caused an increase in the “price of money”, i.e. interest rates.

Now, imagine being an ancient Roman businessman in the summer of 54 BC looking for a small business loan, perhaps to finance expansion or fund the season’s agricultural harvest.

But then you find that there’s no more money… or only very expensive, high-interest loans available… because the politicians had already borrowed all the money in the financial system.

Economists call this the ‘Crowding Out’ effect, i.e. what happens when someone borrows so much money that there’s very little capital left over for everyone else.

In modern times that ‘someone’ is typically the government, i.e. government borrowing is so extreme that they monopolize all the liquidity in the financial system, thus causing interest rates to rise and ‘crowding out’ the private sector from accessing capital.

And we’re starting to see the Crowding Out effect in our daily lives.

For most of the past 15 years, the Federal Reserve kept interest rates in the US at nearly zero. Capital was infinite. And if the government wanted to borrow more (which they did every year), the Fed simply created more money.

Between 2008 and 2022, in fact, the size of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet soared from $850 billion to $9 trillion… a more than 10x monetary expansion.

One obvious effect of such reckless monetary policy has been historically high inflation… which ultimately prompted the Fed to reverse course and hike interest rates.

What few people talk about, though, is that the Fed has also begun the lengthy process to reduce the size of its gargantuan balance sheet… essentially draining liquidity from the financial system.

Right now the Fed’s balance sheet stands at around $8.6 trillion, down from a peak of $9 trillion a year ago. So there’s still a looooooong way to go before they get back to the 2008 level of $850 billion, or even the pre-pandemic $4 trillion.

And this takes me back to the Crowding Out effect.

We all know the federal government is addicted to unsustainable spending. Just look at the debt ceiling fiasco– the Treasury is weeks away from default, and yet the guy who shakes hands with thin air refuses to make any spending cuts.

The Congressional Budget Office currently projects an average $2 trillion annual budget deficit, EVERY YEAR, for the next 10 years. And this estimate is probably quite optimistic; it doesn’t take into consideration any exigent funding requirements like war, natural disasters, or pandemics.

Nor does it take into consideration the multi-trillion dollar bailout required to save Social Security in only a few years’ time.

But even if we go with the government’s own projection of $2 trillion per year, that’s STILL a lot of money to borrow.

For most of the past 15 years, the government never had to worry about borrowing; the Federal Reserve was always standing by to create more money and lend it to the Treasury Department at record low rates.

But now the Fed has reversed course. They’re not loaning any more money to the federal government… meaning Uncle Sam has lost its #1 lender.

One of the government’s other top lenders– Social Security– is also out of the picture. Social Security has loaned trillions of dollars to the federal government over the years. But now the government is going to have to pay back those loans in order to keep the program funded, PLUS provide an additional bailout on top of that.

Another major lender– China– is also off the table. In fact China has SUBSTANTIALLY cut its holdings of US government debt, from a peak of $1.3 trillion, down to $848 billion today… a reduction of more than 34%.

You’re probably starting to see this ‘Crowding Out’ effect; with nearly all of its top lenders gone, yet absolutely no plans to restrain spending, the federal government is already starting to monopolize debt markets.

The amount of available capital in the financial system is falling due to the Fed’s new monetary policy. And the government is sucking up every available penny for themselves.

That leaves very little capital (compared to the last several years) available for businesses… which is actually fantastic news for investors.

Over the past decade when the money supply was expanding and capital was abundant, businesses could easily raise money from investors or borrow from banks.

And the investment terms were usually very one-sided in favor of the business; companies with no hope of ever turning a profit commanded valuations going into the tens of billions of dollars. And some businesses even sold bonds with negative yields.

But today’s conditions are totally different: businesses have to compete with the government for scarce capital. And as a result, many deals are now outrageously good for investors.

Just because the economy has slowed doesn’t mean there aren’t great investments out there. Quite the contrary. There are incredibly productive and innovative businesses all over the world that can achieve enormous success, regardless of economic conditions.

In fact the most successful company in the world today– Apple– is a great example. Even during peak stagflation of the 1970s, Apple earned sensational profits after releasing its highly innovative Apple II.

There will most certainly be similar examples from today’s businesses. And yet, because of this Crowding Out effect, they’re all having to roll out the red carpet to investors in order to raise money.

Well it’s about time. Investors have spent the last several years overpaying for stocks, bonds, real estate, NFTs, and just about every asset under the sun.

But right now, finally, investors can get fantastic deals on great businesses. We just don’t know how long these generous conditions are going to last.

Personally I think the Federal Reserve is going to chicken out– and we’ve talked about this before.

Their rapid interest rate hikes have already caused so much financial destruction, including multiple bank failures. Next up we’ll probably see defaults in commercial real estate, corporate bonds, municipal bonds, and even a sovereign government or two overseas.

Most importantly, though, the Fed’s higher interest rates will eventually bankrupt the US government. The national debt is already $31.4 trillion, and it increases by $2 to $4 trillion per year. They simply cannot afford to pay 5% interest.

The Fed knows this… which is why I expect them to chicken out and start slashing rates again. The survival of the government depends on it.

And when they do, financial conditions will reverse again. Companies will easily be able to raise capital, and the deals that we see now will no longer exist.


from Sovereign Man

Maybe it’s time to think about a different approach…

If you open up U-Haul’s website and have a look at the discount page, you’ll see a huge graphic at the top of the screen advertising “Discounts on One-Way Rentals from the Midwest to the West Coast.”

It shows a map highlighting middle America, with arrows pointing west to California, and urging customers to “Take advantage of huge discounts… for select routes.”

The price to go from Dallas to San Francisco, for example, is discounted 44% compared to going in the other direction.

I find this absolutely hilarious.

It means that so many people are booking one-way U-Hauls OUT of California, that U-Haul is desperate to find ANYONE to drive their trucks back to California.

And is it any wonder why?

California has some of the highest living costs in the country when it comes to rents, home prices, and energy. They also have one of the highest tax burdens in the nation.

And what do California’s residents get for all of these costs and taxes?

Well, San Francisco spends about $58,000 per homeless person… and still can’t manage to keep them, their feces, and their syringes off the streets.

Unsurprisingly, San Francisco County has lost 7% of its population just since 2020 according to Census data.

And it’s not just individuals and families who are fed up. Businesses are wringing their hands as well.

Whole Foods is the latest major business to close its flagship San Francisco store after operating for just 13 months, citing rampant crime in the area.

This follows Amazon closing all of its cashier-less “Go” stores in the city, and Walgreens also shuttering many locations.

You’ve probably seen the videos of the mobs running into stores and grabbing everything they can carry, or shoving merchandise into giant garbage bags, and then simply walking out of the store.

Yet ultra-leftist progressive prosecutors allow it to happen. California even recently amended the laws to decriminalize this type of “petty” theft. I imagine if you own a retail store in California that is routinely plundered, the problem doesn’t feel petty to you.

On a larger scale, California is doing everything it can to force businesses out of the state.

I’m not just talking about the insane taxes and regulations which have forced multiple corporate headquarters to relocate to places like Texas, Florida, and beyond.

The latest absurdity is that the State of California passed a new law where a special commission of political insiders now has the power to regulate the profits of oil and gas refiners.

File this one away under “Most Destructive Ideas Ever”. I mean, a state committee is literally empowered to establish the maximum profit margin for an entire industry. How is this not full-blown modern communism?

The state’s politicians are practically begging oil and gas refiners to shut down, or to take their business elsewhere. And this is pretty insane for a state that has a history of severe energy shortages.

Yet California’s politicians are actually cheering this as a victory, praising their own courage and heroism. The governor himself said, “California took on Big Oil and won… With this legislation, we’re ending the oil industry’s days of operating in the shadows.”

(Bear in mind that most of these oil companies are publicly-traded corporations which issue hundreds of pages of financial disclosures and public filings every single year… so we’re curious to which “shadows” the governor is referring…)

Amazingly enough, after all of their anti-business, anti-productive policies, California’s governor is lamenting that his state will have a $22.5 billion budget deficit this year.

Gee I wonder why. Who could POSSIBLY have predicted that productive businesses and talented individuals would leave the state!?!

It’s the same story in so many places — New York, New Jersey, Chicago, etc.

In fact Chicago just elected an ultra-progressive, super-woke mayor who blames everything from high crime to dysfunctional education on ‘greedy corporations’.

Yes, it certainly must have been the greedy corporations that were responsible for this past Saturday night’s mayhem in Chicago, in which hundreds of teenage kids descended upon downtown Chicago to wreck havoc and destroy property.

Yet the Mayor-Elect’s grand solution to this chaos is to “find the revenue” by raising taxes on companies operating in the city.

In completely unrelated news, Walmart announced that they will be closing about half of their Chicago-area stores, because they simply can’t make money amidst so much crime and political cannibalism.

Furthermore, census data shows that Cook County, where Chicago is located, has lost nearly 3% of its population since 2020.

One mover was Ken Griffin, the billionaire founder of the $62 billion hedge fund Citadel, who moved the firm and himself from Chicago to Miami last year.

But Griffin said taxes weren’t even the biggest reason: it was safety. After a colleague was robbed at gunpoint in broad daylight in the financial district, Griffin knew it was time to go.

Yet Chicago’s new mayor has supported the “defund the police” movement, and he pledges to send fewer cops to respond to calls, opting instead to put Emergency Medical Technicians in the line of fire.

It’s extraordinary how these politicians keep doubling down on the same destructive actions… and are then PROUD of themselves for doing such a great job.

Even more bizarre is that these people keep getting voted back into power.

The United States Congress, for example, has an approval rating right now of 18%, which is near a record low. Almost everyone agrees the organization is a total failure.

And yet every two years when Congressional elections take place, the incumbent (on average) wins more than 90% of the time. Isn’t that astonishing?

Let’s be honest with ourselves: it’s nice to hope for the best. But when the representatives of a failed institution win re-election more than 90% of the time, the odds of any meaningful change are quite low.

So whether it means simply heading to a new county, crossing state lines, or even moving abroad, perhaps it’s time to at least consider the option of voting with your feet.


from Sovereign Man

Cyprus Digital Nomad Visa program 2023: Program Overview

Cyprus’ Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) has not garnered as much media attention as the Portuguese or Spanish DNVs. And while its requirements aren’t super lenient, the island is nonetheless a highly compelling option – especially for English-speaking digital nomads.

Let’s have a look at the program below…

Cyprus: An excellent island destination for English-speaking digital nomads

Fancy an extended remote working stint in a gorgeous island location? Located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, Cyprus is a truly unique and alluring place.

And while neither the country’s cost of living nor its DNV program’s financial requirements are exceptionally low, it broadly scores really well as a quality lifestyle destination:

Source: Sovereign Cost of Living Index

Cyprus is the third-largest (and third-most populous) island in the Mediterranean, and it’s been a coveted trophy among conquering nations for centuries.

Populated mostly by ethnic Greeks, the country also boasts a substantial Turkish population. Tensions between these two groups led to outright conflict in 1974, followed by the island’s division into two countries — The Republic of Cyprus (Greek), and the internationally unrecognized Northern Cyprus (Turkish).

(Note: The Republic of Cyprus is a member of the European Union, and it is their Digital Nomad Visa program we’re focusing on today.)

Scores of global airlines fly to Cyprus on a weekly basis, and a flight from Athens to Larnaca, for example, only takes around one hour and 40 minutes.

Given the island’s history as a British colony, almost everyone on the island speaks English. So if you are looking for an English-speaking environment (and an amazing climate), Cyprus should suit you well.

And while the country’s median fixed broadband internet download speed is fairly slow – only 38 Mbps – you’re not likely to experience any issues in its major population centers. Also, its mobile internet is much faster, with an average download speed of 73 Mbps.

The Cypriot Digital Nomad Visa program at a glance

The “Cyprus Digital Nomad Visa” program allows nationals from outside of the EU to work remotely in Cyprus for one year. (EU citizens don’t need special permission to live and work in Cyprus. And if you’d like to stay longer, you can. More on this topic below…)

Let’s take a look at what you can expect…



Visa validity Initial validity: 1 year (12 months);

Renewals: 2 years, for a total stay of up to 3 years

Recurring income requirements Monthly income requirements (after tax):

    • Primary applicant: €3,500 (~$3,844); 
    • Spouse: Additional 20% – €700 (~769);
    • Per dependent child: Additional 15% –  €525 (~$576);
  • Family of 4: €5,250 (~$5,767). 
Fixed local address required Yes
Clean criminal record required Yes
Health screening requirement Yes
Health insurance required Yes
Can the DNV lead to PR 

or citizenship?

Digital nomad tax situation Standard conditions apply: Residence-based (worldwide) taxation after 183 days on the ground. Many tax breaks are available, however…

And how does the program’s income requirements compare to those of other DNVs in Europe?

DNV Program Iceland Cyprus Greece Portugal Croatia Spain
Monthly income requirements: Primary applicant ISK 1 million (~$7,338) €3,500 (~$3,845) €3,500 (~$3,845) €3,040 (~$3,340) €2,365.45 (~$2,598) €2,160 (~$2,373) 

As you can see from the above table, Cyprus’ financial requirements are on the pricier side of the spectrum – but it’s still pretty accessible; especially for solo applicants.

Unfortunately, however, you won’t be able to apply for the Cypriot DNV on the basis of savings only; for that, you’ll be better off investigating the Croatian program.

To check out some of the other European Digital Nomad Visa programs, click here.

Another downside of the Cypriot program – if you want to apply for it, you must first travel to Cyprus, as online applications aren’t possible. Consult this website to learn more about the application procedure.
Finally, as of March 3, 2022, there is an active cap of 500 residence permits to be issued to digital nomads. However, we suspect the ceiling will be raised if the program proves successful…

What can I expect to spend on living expenses?

Cyprus is fairly inexpensive, especially if you settle outside of Limassol, the county’s primary tourist hotspot.

For example:

A one-bedroom apartment in an expat area in Nicosia — the country’s capital — will cost you around $630 per month. And $1,100 will get you a nice three-bedroom apartment.

In Limassol, however, rentals are more expensive. You can expect to pay upwards of $1,100 for a one-bedroom apartment, and $2,300+ for a three-bedroom place.

The difference between the cost of living in these cities is significant, so be sure to do your homework properly when you’re investigating accommodation options.

A word on Digital Nomad taxes in Cyprus

In Cyprus, you typically become a tax resident after you spend the initial 183 days in the country. And with a top tax rate of 35% on personal income, Cyprus does not look like a tax haven.

Yet, Cyprus can be very tax efficient, depending on your situation. The Cypriot government offers multiple tax breaks and exemptions for expats relocating to the island. You will likely pay no taxes to Cyprus on your worldwide income, even if you spend more than six months yearly on the ground there.

Also, Cyprus has multiple double-taxation treaties, which can help you avoid being taxed twice on the same income.

The bottomline…

If working remotely from an English speaking island location, combined with EU visa-free travel privileges sounds like your bag, then the Cypriot DNV program could be well worth a look.

And given the country’s relatively low cost of living, idyllic location and attractive tax incentives, you may well be tempted to stay there longer term.


from Sovereign Man

10 Quotes by Sovereign Man’s Simon Black to enhance your perspective on world events in 2023

Sovereign Man’s founder, Simon Black, has long held some fairly contrarian views. Discover ten of his most recent hard-hitting quotes on subjects ranging from the Fed’s mismanagement of inflation and SVB’s demise to the banking crisis and government hypocrisy – all sourced from recent episodes of the Sovereign Podcast.

And if you like what you’re reading, be sure to sign up for The Sovereign Podcast now.

1. On the disastrous behavior of the Fed:

My favorite one to beat up on, though, is the Federal Reserve… Seriously, I actually think it’s very important to beat up on the Federal Reserve because the Federal Reserve, the central bank in the US, is the most cared for agency.

Nobody says an unkind word about the Federal Reserve, right? …people beat up on the SEC. They beat up on the White House. They beat up on Congress… They beat up on the national parks. They beat up everybody in government. But not the Federal Reserve, right? Technically, the Federal Reserve is independent from the government, but it obviously has this huge role in the US… and there’s a lot of overlap between the Fed and the government.

But nobody says an unkind word. Nobody scrutinizes the Fed. Nobody criticizes the Fed… everybody just sort of bows down to [it].

The Fed says, let there be 0% rates, and it was good. And nobody questions the almighty Fed, partly because I think people are afraid of looking stupid, because so many people… don’t understand central banking, so they’re going to sit in a room with a guy who’s the chairman of the Federal Reserve.

This is the great and powerful Oz, and they’re terrified of the man behind the curtain. So they don’t want to look stupid, so they just go, okay, well, the Fed raised rates. The Fed cut rates. Nobody really questions any of this, but they should, because what the Federal Reserve does [this] over and over again, they engineer these bubbles.

They engineer huge consequences. [And] they’re totally asleep [at the wheel].

From: What Else Are The “Experts” Ignoring?

2. On the decline of the US:

But the major trend is essentially the decline – the peak and decline – of the United States, the dominant superpower. And you could say, really, the West in general, but specifically the US… And I don’t think it’s controversial anymore to say that the US. Is in decline.

I started saying this when I started Sovereign Man back in 2009, and it was a very controversial thing to say back in 2009.

But I was one of the people saying it in 2009, saying, look, this is not a pretty picture. You got a lot of debt, you got a lot of deficits, you got wars, you’ve got really funny stuff happening with the currency and the central bank and so many things that just don’t make sense.

This is obviously a place that’s past its peak, and I don’t take any pleasure in saying that, but I think it’s important.

Again, I went to West Point. I served in the military. I have absolutely no pleasure in saying that the United States has passed its peak. But I think any rational individual who’s being intellectually honest has to take a very sobering appraisal of the facts, the actual objective facts, not the political spin, but the actual facts and data that are publicly available and out there for everybody to see and make an honest assessment.

Because… throughout history… there’s never been a dominant superpower that’s lasted forever…

From: Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse proves the US is in obvious decline

3. On the cyclicality of civilizations:

History is so cyclical. Rise and fall, rise and fall… Quite often, most dominant superpowers – the Romans and the French and everybody – at a certain point just simply assumed that their power and dominance would last forever.
But it never does.

And if you understand those cycles of history, you understand, [if] you take… an intellectually honest approach to examine the facts and circumstances that are publicly available for anybody to see…

I think any rational person would draw the same conclusion, saying, this is a place that’s in decline, it’s past its peak, and that doesn’t mean the world is coming to an end.

It doesn’t mean that civilization and life as we know it is going to fundamentally disappear forever. No, of course not.

That would be super dramatic. There are, of course, people out there talking about the collapse of this and the collapse of that. But that’s silly. The world isn’t coming to an end. Nobody’s going to spontaneously combust.

But a shift to transition away from US dominance, a shift in transition away from the dominance of the dollar as the main predominant reserve currency in the world, that’s a really big deal.

It means that people, I think, especially in the US… have some thinking to do, have some planning to do…, and you really have to take some steps to reduce the risk and your exposure to some of that, because it’s a really, really big deal.

Again, if you look to history and you see the economic effects of transition from being the dominant superpower to going into decline, it’s usually a really big deal.

Very seldom, if ever, do we have an example of some dominant superpower that goes into a period of decline and everything’s just fine. There’s [major] economic consequences, there’s [major] social consequences.

From: Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse proves the US is in obvious decline

4. On the demise of Silicon Valley Bank:

… how are future historians going to regard our time? There’s going to be something that they circle on the calendar. It’s going to be some iconic event that’s going to say this is what really signaled the decline. What will that be? Will it be the withdrawal from Afghanistan? Will it be COVID-19?

…I think they could point to… elections… they could point to so many different things.

But to be fair, I think it’s possible that the Silicon Valley Bank collapse last week could be one of the things that they circle as that iconic event.

I’m not trying to be dramatic but I think it’s important to understand that the Silicon Valley Bank collapse and the subsequent consequences… this is a really really big deal and I think a lot of people don’t fully appreciate how big of a deal this really is.

I want to briefly summarize some of these points because the long-term implications for this are really extraordinary.

Number one, it’s important to remember Silicon Valley Bank did not go bust because they had bought some crazy high risk investment.

Banks notoriously take their customers money and they go and buy stuff with it. They go and buy assets, they make loans, they buy bonds, they do all sorts of stuff.

Back in 2006, 2005, banks were going out and buying these ridiculous super-high-risk mortgage bonds.

They were out making loans to unemployed homeless people and they were doing it with your money, with our money, with depositors money, taking these crazy risks and pretending like there was never going to be any consequence to that whatsoever.

Obviously it was stupid. It almost brought down the entire US economy, the entire US financial system, the global financial system, which is why they called the global financial crisis the GFC when it finally busted in 2008.

Silicon Valley Bank wasn’t doing any of that.

Silicon Valley Bank didn’t go bust because they’d been making loans to unemployed homeless people. They went bust because they bought US government bonds…

From: Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse proves the US is in obvious decline

5. On Barnie Frank and stress-testing legislation for banks:

Barney Frank was hardcore left leaning, hated big businesses, hated big banks, loved high taxes, all that sort of stuff. He was the guy who was the architect behind the legislation that requires stress testing and deeper supervision and scrutiny of banks.

Well wouldn’t you know it? This guy, after he retired, suddenly discovers capitalism, embraces his newfound love for capitalism… became a director on the board of directors of one of these banks that just went under.

This is the guy that wrote the legislation, and a lot of good that did.

And it’s just another example of politicians [who] just don’t actually understand the problem. They might have had good intentions, but it doesn’t matter because they go and they create these rules.

Fast forward ten or 15 years and it turns out all the rules ended up doing absolutely no good whatsoever. What’s going to happen now? They’re going to come up with new rules, right?

This is what they always do. They come up with new rules. They go, oh well, the old rules didn’t work, so what do we need? We need new rules. So they come up with more rules and more rules and more rules and this ridiculous cycle never ends…

From: Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse proves the US is in obvious decline

6. On what went wrong at Silicon Valley Bank (SVB):

Yes, Silicon Valley Bank was stupid about the way they did it.

They bought $120,000,000,000… in bonds. Most of that was long-term bonds with maturities going ten to… 30 year maturity.

I mean they were taking on huge interest rate risk. At some point somebody in that bank should have been like, hey guys, you realize if interest rates go up to like three 4%, we’re going to be totally screwed.

But apparently nobody realized that. So they just kept buying these ultra-long-term government bonds. And again the regulators saw it. It’s not like the regulators didn’t have access to that information.

The regulators were supervising them the whole time and said, oh great job Silicon Valley Bank. Nothing to see here. You’re doing a great job.

So Silicon Valley Bank is not some innocent babe in this whole scenario. They were totally stupid. And obviously the fact that senior management was selling stock before the collapse, it looks really bad, but a lot of things they’re doing look really bad.

But you got to look at the government’s role in all of this, passing all these rules that amounted to nothing. The regulator’s rules. The regulators saw all of this information and not just a couple of months ago.

It’s going back two years. I mean the regulators should have seen in 2020, hey, you guys are loading up on a lot of long term debt that’s going to expose you to interest rate risk. But they didn’t. Nobody said a word.

From: Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse proves the US is in obvious decline

7. On the US government failing its own audits:

…Twenty years ago Congress passed something called the Sarbannes-Oxley Act, which imposed CRIMINAL penalties for company executives who fail their audits.

If the federal government were held to the same standard as the private sector, dozens of officials should be facing jail time right now. Instead they’ll retire to their generous, fully-funded pensions and receive lavish board seats and prestigious awards.

They will never be held accountable.

You, on the other hand, will have to bear the costs of their incompetence, in the form of higher taxes, inflation, reduced Social Security, and other broken promises.

Personally I find it extremely unethical and unjust that the irresponsible, criminally incompetent decisions of politicians and bureaucrats should be paid exclusively by the citizens. It’s just like all the destructive decisions they made during the pandemic.

They will never be held accountable for the mental health crisis, the suicides, the substance abuse, the entire generation of children who fell behind.

Nope. There will never be so much as an inquiry. Instead they’ll make millions from their memoirs where they cast themselves as heroic saints who saved the world.

From: Biden is a liar, and these financial documents prove it.

8. On the merits of international diversification:

Most people have a peasant mentality. Throughout human history, in fact, the vast majority of people never thought much beyond their tiny village, let alone traveled. But there have always been some people who have had the intellectual courage and curiosity to think far beyond their own borders.

And they’ve often been richly rewarded for it. Adopting a global mindset essentially means thinking about the entire world when considering your options. And more options is almost always more beneficial….

…The larger point here again, isn’t to suggest like, oh, you should get on a plane tomorrow or go set up a company in Timbuktu or anything like that.

The idea is really just to highlight that point, that sophisticated people throughout history have always understood that there is great opportunity beyond their own borders. And this is still absolutely true today.

And the basic logic behind this is that when you start thinking globally, you give yourself a lot more options.

From: Why it makes so much sense to diversify internationally

9. On small groups of non-government elites having major influence on public policy:

…This is nothing new; in fact it’s quite common for arrogant, narcissistic ‘experts’ to force their ideas onto a society.

The WEF is only the latest modern incarnation. And even though it has lost much of its credibility, it’s important to remember there are always going to be ‘experts’ out there who want to tell you how to live your life.

This is ultimately what ‘freedom’ means… we’re talking about your right to make your own decisions and control your own life.

If you don’t care about your freedom, you can’t expect anyone else to care about it…
And you can probably expect others (like the WEF) to try and take it away.

And that’s why it makes so much sense to have a simple, sensible Plan B. Because there are just too many of those lunatics out there…

From: The one thing that Ron DeSantis and Greta Thunberg agree on

10. On politicians’ hypocrisy and double standards:

[During Covid]: The High Priests of Public Health decided that if anyone died for lack of cancer screenings, a drug overdose, or suicide, that was OK. As long as you didn’t die of COVID.

If your kids lost two years on their social and educational development, if your business closed, if your entire life was turned upside down, that was fine too. Everyone was expected to sacrifice for the greater good.

Everyone, of course, except for the politicians.

We’re starting to see this same attitude applied towards Climate Change. Most recently, the ruling class had its big climate summit in Egypt called COP27; they flew in on their private jets and ate expensive steak, while their ideas for the rest of us include travel restrictions, taxes on cow farts, and eating bugs and weeds.

You just can’t make up this level of incompetence and hypocrisy. The trend, though, is very real.

Momentum towards climate regulation is only picking up speed. And it doesn’t look like there’s anything on the horizon to stop it. It would at least be somewhat digestible if their ideas were actually sensible. But instead their ‘solutions’ are borderline insane. They spent an entire day at COP27 talking about gender identity, as if that has something to do with the climate.

They obsessed over incredibly inefficient sources of energy (like corn-based ethanol, which has soundly been proven to be one of the WORST and most INEFFICIENT forms of energy).

But was there any discussion at COP27 about nuclear power? None.

And that makes it really difficult to take these people seriously. They reject good ideas. And they keep coming up with bad ideas… which ultimately means less efficiency, more taxes, and more regulations.

From: Climate Change is the new human sacrifice

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from Sovereign Man