US President Barack Obama gave a speech accusing Republicans of "social darwinism" with budget cuts they are proposing, calling them antithetical to the country's history as a land of opportunity. But how much opportunity is there left exactly. We speak with Dr. Marc Faber, publisher of the Gloom Boom & Doom report. He says that wealth destruction and social unrest may be on the way for Western economies, whose citizens are being outcompeted by those in emerging economies who are willing to work harder and are far hungrier than Westerners are.
And yesterday, Wall Street had a strong start to the second quarter, with the S&P 500 marking its highest close since mid-May 2008. And the FOMC minutes today reveal the Federal Reserve is holding off on more monetary easing unless US economic growth falters or inflation goes below two percent. So is this inflation or deflation? Is this risk on or risk off? And what does it mean for the economy that this is the way we are always looking at things? Marc Faber has his own thoughts on the matter. He believes that this debate is not quite so simple. He says inflation in money and credit can cause bubbles, but it is hard to know where they are, and it is not easy to know where inflation is taking place. Governments hide inflation through various official numbers and estimates, and also, much of that inflation goes into asset prices. We do not know exactly how much the Federal Reserve, the ECB, the BOJ, etc. are propping up the prices of stocks, commodities, etc. We can only estimate. The money printing and loose language of the central bankers and policy makers around the world certainly does distort the price mechanism, however, and Marc Faber is not optimistic about the ramifications of these actions.
And finally, we've heard talk about the possibility of a student loan bubble -- a more than $1 trillion debt problem. Well, it appears some senior citizens are on the hook along with kindergarteners. But what is the value of education really? After all, central bankers and economists have PhD's from the best ranking universities in the country. We'll break it down for you during our segment of "Loose Change," though Marc Faber weighs in on student debt as well.