Broker Check

Whistling Past the Graveyard

November 20, 2023



         Oft in the lone churchyard at night I’ve seen,

By glimpse of moon-shine,

Chequering through the trees,

The school-boy, with his satchel in his hand,

Whistling aloud to bear his courage up…

                            Robert Blair, Scotland, 1743


Are we putting our best face to the wind to rebuff the financial storm about to break? I wonder...

Let’s begin with a few financial facts:

         Real GDP growth expanded to by nearly 5% (annualized) in the third quarter.

         Unemployment is low at 3.8%

         Service employment supports this figure – low paying, high turnover, unskilled jobs

         Consumer spending grew at 4% - based almost entirely upon increasing credit card debt.

         Real salaries net of inflation continue to decline

         Capital investment continues to drop – by nearly 4% in equipment – as CFOs have finished refinancing their long debt to very low rates

         US GDP grew by $400B, while US debt expanded by $1.3T – that is a three to one ratio to the negative

         Cost to service this debt is at $890B this year. $1T next year.


Half of these are positive, half are negative. But these are each backward looking figures. They state what has happened. Looking forward, the last four are of real concern. US government debt is rising vertically, corporate debt has stabilized, consumer debt is following government figures skyward.


Next year, US government debt costs will be the major expenditure in the economy. This cost will drive out much useful expenditure. This $1T will continue to grow. As long as the fed folks continue with their MMT racket (Modern Monetary Theory), the electronic printing presses will continue to roll…past the graveyard.


Their experiment may work. It has never been tried before. Well, almost never, except in Germany, Argentina, Zimbabwe, & Venezuela. In those countries, printing presses ran out of paper and fuel oil before they ran out of ideas. Ideas that destroyed their economies in the 1930s, 1980s, 2000s, and now.


Put this in the perspective of your own household. Imagine that your income is $80K/yr. and you spend $120K/yr. you borrow the $30K you do not have, from yourself, from your future or from your grandchildren’s inheritances. Gives new meaning to the license plate frames, “we are spending our children’s inheritance”. Keep this up for a few decades and suddenly you are broke.


The Sun Also Rises. E. Hemingway. “How did you go broke?” Mike Campbell is asked. “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”


Many of us are awaiting the 2nd event. As brought to you by the U S governments – local, state and federal.


Speaking of second coming, you read my rife a few days ago on Yeats, The Second Coming. ‘The blood dimmed tide is loose and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned’.


In the next commentary, we shall do our annual book reviews. But from an entirely different viewpoint. What are the Arabs reading these days…?


Eat wisely

Sleep well

Love with Abandon!



John Graves, AIF, CLU, ChFC                        

Registered Principal
The Renaissance Group, LLC



805.652.6942  fax 805.652.6930
199 Figueroa Street, Suite 101A  Ventura, CA  93001


CA Insurance License 0689525


Securities offered through Registered Representatives of Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a broker-dealer, member FINRA/SIPC.  Advisory services offered through Investment Advisor Representatives of Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, a Registered Investment Adviser.  Financial Planning Services offered through The Renaissance Group, LLC.  The Renaissance Group and Cambridge are not affiliated.



The information in this email is confidential and is intended solely for the addressee. If you are not the intended addressee and have received this email in error, please reply to the sender to inform them of this fact.


We cannot accept trade orders through email. Important letters, email, or fax messages should be confirmed by calling (your phone number). This email service may not be monitored every day, or after normal business hours.


 "These are the opinions of John Graves and not necessarily those of Cambridge, are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized investment advice."