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The Gas Inflation Crisis Is Far From Over – Where Will Prices Finally Stop?

June 24, 2022

By Brandon Smith

After a single Federal Reserve rate hike of 75bps I am noticing a trend among mainstream economists whipping out their crystal balls and predicting an almost immediate reversion to deflationary conditions. In their view, a recession will “balance everything out.” For most of these people I would suggest that they keep their crystal balls in their pants; they have been consistently wrong and it’s time for them to shut up. If you were predicting that inflation would be “transitory” last year, then you have no right to act like you are an economist today.

It’s going to take a lot more than one semi-aggressive rate hike from the central bank to stop the inflation problem, and when I say “inflation” I am talking about PRICE INFLATION, not the mere increase of the money supply or a bubble in stock markets. There are far too many financial analysts out there that don’t even grasp what true inflation really entails.

There are certain sectors of the economy that will indeed see deflationary pressures. Real GDP, for example, is witnessing declines. Retail sales are in decline. US wages are stagnant in comparison to prices. Housing sales are now falling rapidly. Manufacturing is dropping. Yet, prices continue to remain high. Clearly there is a mix of inflationary and deflationary elements within the same economic crisis. In other words, it’s a stagflation event.

An area in which prices continue to climb without much relent is energy. The mainstream blames this almost entirely on Russia’s conflict with Ukraine and the evolving sanctions against Russian oil and natural gas. However, gas prices were spiking well before Russia ever invaded Ukraine. Inflation in the overall economy hit 40 year highs long before Ukraine became an issue, as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell finally admitted this past week.

Let’s not pretend like we don’t know the cause of all of this. It is caused by fiat money printing by the Federal Reserve since 2008, and central banks in general are the culprits. The bankers can fund or refuse to fund whatever they wish. Government politicians play their role in creating inflation by ASKING for the money, but it is the Fed that decides if they create the money. The government has zero power to dictate policy to the Fed; as Alan Greenspan once admitted, the Fed answers to no one.

The central bank could print us into oblivion if they wished, and this is essentially what they have done. That said, there are other elements to our current crisis beyond too many dollars. There is also the issue of supply chain disruptions.

I am specifically reminded of the stagflation threat that occurred in 1970s. The oil and stagflation crisis of the late 1970s ran its course right before I was born, so obviously I can’t give a first hand accounting of what it was like, but when I study the events that led up to it I find a lot of similarities to the situation we are facing today. Though, the crisis that is developing right now has the potential to become far worse.

In the early 1970s Richard Nixon, at the request of central bankers, removed the dollar from the last vestiges of the gold standard. Central banks shifted away from gold as the primary trade mechanism between governments and started switching over to Special Drawing Rights; the IMF’s basket currency system. Not surprisingly, the dollar began an immediate spiral and its buying power began to crash. Stagflation became a household concern throughout the 70s.

This problem was mitigated eventually as the dollar’s world reserve status grew. Basically, we exported many of our dollars overseas for use in global trade, and by extension we also exported a lot of our inflation/stagflation. As long as the dollar remained the premier reserve currency, most of the consequences of central bank fiat printing would not be felt by the general populace. In terms of gasoline, the dollar has been the petro-currency for decades which allowed us to keep prices in the US lower than in many countries.

But things are changing. The dollar’s portion of global trade has been in decline for the past several years, and the Fed just keeps creating more greenbacks from nothing. In 2020 alone, the Fed conjured $6 trillion to fuel the covid stimulus response, pumping all that money directly into the system through covid checks and PPP loans. In order for this process to continue, the dollar’s global percentage of trade would have to keep growing in order to export US inflation overseas. This is not happening. The dollar’s percentage of global trade is in reversion.

We are dealing with the end of a cycle that started in the 1970s. We are going back to the beginning.

Furthermore, the gas crisis in the late 70s and early 80s was also driven by the Iranian revolution and the removal of Iranian oil supplies from the global market. This created a loss of around 7% of total oil from markets, but it resulted in gas prices exploding from 65 cents in 1978 to $1.35 in 1981. Prices more than doubled in the span of three years and never went back to where they were before the crisis.

As in the late 1970s, we also have a supply chain issue with an OPEC nation. The Russian portion of the global oil production was around 10% in 2020, but the nation is the 2nd largest oil exporter in the world. Only 3% of oil imported into the US comes from Russia, but Europe relies on Russia for around 25% of its total oil consumption.

The EU now supposedly cutting off that supply of oil, though there are questions surrounding loopholes and how much Russian oil is actually still being supplied to European nations. As sanctions continue, the EU will have to go to other exporters to get what they need and this is reducing the amount of supply available to western countries. The Russians have simply adapted, and are now selling more oil as a discount to major eastern markets like China and India. But for the rest of us, Europe’s thirst for oil is going to continue to cause price expansion as supplies falter.

So where does this leave us? Our situation is similar to the gas crisis of the late 1970s because we have ongoing stagflation, a weakening currency as well as a major economic conflict with an OPEC producer. That said, things are measurably worse than the 1970s for a few reasons, notably the fact that our country is in far more debt, foreign treasury and dollar holdings are in decline, and the conflict with Russia is far more egregious than our troubles with Iran in the 70s.

I suspect we will see at least a 300% markup in gas prices from pre-pandemic lows, which were around $2.60 per gallon for regular. Meaning, prices will continue to climb over the course of this year and level out around $7.50 per gallon by the second quarter of 2023. I am basing the pace of the price increases according to the pace that occurred from 1979-1981.

Obviously, there will be market dips and pauses, but it is unlikely we will see prices at the pump fall dramatically anytime soon. There will be endless predictions in the mainstream media about when inflation will stop and many pundits will claim that the Fed will capitulate soon on rate hikes. All this clamor will affect oil markets to a point, but prices will continue to rise regardless.

Some people will argue that declining demand will stop rising prices, however, the stagflation problem does not only revolve around demand, there are many other factors at play. Unless we see a drop in demand similar to what we saw at the beginning of the pandemic lockdowns, there is little chance there will be a meaningful reversal.

Also, for anyone hoping that US shale or OPEC will pick up the slack from Russia, this is not going to happen. Oil industry experts have already noted that because of inflation and lack of manpower there will not be a major uptick in oil pumping and so shortages will continue for some time.

What does this mean for the wider economy? Inflation in necessities like gasmuch means an implosion in retail. People will divert funds away from other purchases to cover gas and energy costs. Expensive gas also means expensive freight rates, which means higher prices for everything else on the store shelves. Expensive gas will also cause smaller freight companies to go bankrupt or close up shop, along with much higher interest rates being instituted by the Fed. My own grandfather lost his trucking and freight company in the 1970’s for this exact reason.

In turn, less freight means less supply, which in turn means higher prices on everything. It’s a terrible cycle. The point is, you should expect gas prices to remain very high (into the $7 per gallon range) over the course of the next year, and this will affect EVERYTHING else in terms of your pocket book and your life. Don’t put too much stock in the people claiming deflation is on the way; not in prices of necessities it’s not.

Eventually, lack of demand will slow price increases but not until we are much higher than the current national average of $5 a gallon. And, if you live in a state with high gas taxes like California, then be prepared for double digit costs at the pump.

 

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After 14 long years of ultra-loose monetary policy from the Federal Reserve, it’s no secret that inflation is primed to soar. If your IRA or 401(k) is exposed to this threat, it’s critical to act now! That’s why thousands of Americans are moving their retirement into a Gold IRA. Learn how you can too with a free info kit on gold from Birch Gold Group. It reveals the little-known IRS Tax Law to move your IRA or 401(k) into gold. Click here to get your free Info Kit on Gold.

 

You can contact Brandon Smith at:

brandon@alt-market.com

You can also follow me at –

Parler: @AltMarket

Gettr:  @Altmarket1

Brandon Smith

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  • That thing June 24, 2022 at 2:17 pm

    Another useful article…

    One thing I would like to point out is that many if not most think this “energy” scam is all about going green and getting people into electric cars and “green energy”.

    They don’t want you in a battery powered car. They want you in NO CAR. They don’t want you paying a little more for electricity, they want you to live with no electricity. If you look at the worst possible outcome for all the things they are doing, you will find the true intent of the psychopaths.

    The little lies are just to get you to fall for the bigger ones….

    • David Homer June 25, 2022 at 12:01 pm

      I think you are correct, except I would say they really want you in a pine box.

      • Nacho June 26, 2022 at 6:07 pm

        Ha !,really or in a body bag… for cost savings you know !!

      • Kulafarmer July 2, 2022 at 7:52 pm

        I was thinking more like a mass grave like Stalin or Mao

  • Mairin June 24, 2022 at 2:19 pm

    Off topic – but very curious as to your thoughts about the red flag laws that they just passed today. Is this their move to try to confiscate as many firearms as possible? What do you think we can expect? Super nervous about this development… mainly because they’re so brazen about blatantly disregarding the constitution (this doesn’t surprise me when it comes to the left, but it seems to me that the 15 RINOS that went along with it must have had some sort of incentive to do so?) Any law that goes against the constitution is null/void – but how many Americans know that? Interested to see where this goes…

  • wappy-john June 24, 2022 at 2:20 pm

    Ok then how do we profit from this? Oil futures?

  • Nigel+Gould June 24, 2022 at 3:09 pm

    So the Fed will not backtrack and start lowering rates from later this year on?

    • Brandon Smith June 24, 2022 at 3:58 pm

      If price inflation continues on it’s current trajectory, then no, they won’t. In fact, I expect them to continue to raise rates into recession. They’ve done it before, and I think they are following a pattern.

  • Serge June 24, 2022 at 3:35 pm

    This beginning of summer 2022 reminds me more and more of summer 2008; but with a result certainly worse than 14 years ago.
    I think that Europe, to begin with, will be much more affected than the USA this fall and especially this winter because of the energy shortage voluntarily created by the “stupid” (for who?) and suicidal decisions of European leaders.
    The continuous and increasing rise in prices related to current household consumption will cause colossal economic and social damages.
    Large-scale social unrest is to be expected from September/October in the West.
    P.S: Regarding the cover of the annual special edition of the globalist magazine “The Economist”, i’d like to remind or note the change in the title between “The World in” of previous covers and “The World ahead” of this year…
    2022 is shaping up to be a very chaotic, and apparently decisive or key year for the globalist psychopaths.
    And I don’t even mention in detail the occult and cabalistic meaning of 2022 (666)..

  • Serge June 24, 2022 at 4:11 pm

    In the introduction to his latest article, F. William Engdahl has perfectly summarized the current global issues and their genesis. Quote:
    “Since the creation of the US Federal Reserve over a century ago, every major financial market collapse has been deliberately triggered for political motives by the central bank. The situation is no different today, as clearly the US Fed is acting with its interest rate weapon to crash what is the greatest speculative financial bubble in human history, a bubble it created. Global crash events always begin on the periphery, such as with the 1931 Austrian Creditanstalt or the Lehman Bros. failure in September 2008. The June 15 decision by the Fed to impose the largest single rate hike in almost 30 years as financial markets are already in a meltdown, now guarantees a global depression and worse.

    The extent of the “cheap credit” bubble that the Fed, the ECB and Bank of Japan have engineered with buying up of bonds and maintaining unprecedented near-zero or even negative interest rates for now 14 years, is beyond imagination. Financial media cover it over with daily nonsense reporting , while the world economy is being readied, not for so-called “stagflation” or recession. What is coming now in the coming months, barring a dramatic policy reversal, is the worst economic depression in history to date. Thank you, globalization and Davos.”, in “Global Planned Financial Tsunami has Just Begun”(cf exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”).
    Again and again,”Order out of chaos”: a path to totalitarianism 3.0?!

    • Marty June 24, 2022 at 11:21 pm

      Not often mentioned but on the list of disasters I would include the failure of Long Term Capital Management. That’s when Greenspan reversed his lifelong position and started blowing bubbles, leading to a series of actions and counter-actions that have never been resolved. I suspect we came close to economic meltdown to justify that extreme reaction.

  • JACK+SHULL June 24, 2022 at 4:31 pm

    Brandon, curious of what you think the futures prices on gold and silver will be in the second quarter of 2023? Keep up the great writings, I am always on the lookout for your next article! Jack

  • Elaine June 24, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    “In the early 1970s Richard Nixon, at the request of central bankers, removed the dollar from the last vestiges of the gold standard.”

    What I don’t understand about the problem of removing the gold, is if Nixon had not done that, wouldn’t our store of gold be soon depleted? Isn’t that why he did that?

    • Brandon Smith June 24, 2022 at 7:33 pm

      Nope. Our store of gold was under no threat of being depleted. He did it because the IMF wanted to introduce their Special Drawing Rights (SDR) basket system as a replacement for gold in nation-to-nation trade.

  • Marty June 24, 2022 at 11:33 pm

    Unlike Inflation which only goes up, the price of poll has been a roller coaster. Several times since 1981 it has fallen 30-50%. under a dollar in the early 90’s, went up to $1.50 in the early clinton years then back under a dollar a few years later. In the high $3’s before the housing collapse then fell more than 50% before reaching some stability for a decade until 2021.

  • Black Cat June 25, 2022 at 8:03 am

    I’ve seen two articles in like the last 10 days stating small trucking companies are beginning to break.

    I operate a small septic company and between diesel and a huge increase in disposal fees we had to raise our rates like 80%!

    I do believe we are at that historical place in the long cycle of massive and explosive change. All of the dots are being connected and the full picture is emerging.

  • JustOneGuy June 25, 2022 at 10:52 am

    One additional point receiving little coverage thus far is central to the fuel prices being seen of late and it’s not the supply of crude oil…it’s refining capacity.
    In the last 40+ years (actually beginning in 1977) no additional refineries have not been built in the US due to regulatory burdens and our remaining infrastructure is approaching decrepit. Point in fact, we have lost refinery capacity due to obsolescence.
    Recently, this point was addressed after Biden penned a letter to the Oil companies chiding them derisively for failing the American people. The almost immediate response by those laid out in detail the mess which attempting construction of new facilities has become.
    That aside, the appearance is exactly that of a pre-planned demolition of the economic basis in the US decades in the planning. Please bear in mind that the political side and the oil companies are hardly other than co-conspirators in said demolition since Big Oil has for the last century had it’s hand around the throats of politicians via the funneling of campaign donations.
    Just another version of “Kabuki Theatre”.

    JOG

  • Keith June 25, 2022 at 11:25 am

    I remember the 1970s oil stagflation well. I wasn’t supposed to as I was about 13, but I was and still am a news geek.
    We had alternate day rationing based on your license plate. Like the LGBTQWTF messages of today, pretty much all advertising was on conserving energy reducing speeds etc. Then came the double digit inflation and interest rates of the Volker years. I remember my dad taking me to the bank to cash in my CD that I earned with lawn and snow shoveling money and refinancing it from 6 to 11%. Usually we went somewhere for spring break a la the Griswolds, but they stopped it for a couple of years.

    Mom and dad kept it hidden from us but there were times we went to powdered milk etc. We didn’t have to worry about food shortages though.
    The big difference between then and now is that there wasn’t the ideological divisions then as there are today. Blacks and whites got along fairly well considering it was only ten years after MLK, but certainly better than today. People weren’t so angry at each other. They were angry at Carter who we would love to have now, but the general feeling was Carter was a nice president who was in over his head. He wasn’t actively trying to destroy the country like Bidet.
    It was a tougher, but more tranquil time. And not as much government intrusion. Given that todays economics resemble that of 1979-80, I’ll take going back to those years over today if I could

    • Brian June 25, 2022 at 9:46 pm

      I very much enjoyed reading your account of the 1970s, Keith. That transports me more than a history book every could. A necessity, since I was born in 1980.

      • Keith June 26, 2022 at 11:38 am

        Thank you. I got into news during the 1976 election when I was ten because my boy Ford (Michigan connection). Mom and dad let me stay up an hour past my normal bedtime to watch the returns, but it wasn’t called until about 3AM. When I woke up the next morning and saw Carter won, I did not toss my desk in my fifth grade classroom. Mom and dad told me about the electoral process and someone had to lose. Fun fact, In 1976 and 1980 when NBC covered the elections with Chancellor and Brinkley, the states were lit up the OPPOSITE of today (ie Ford the Republican, was in blue, and Carter the Dem was in Red. Took several elections to get me out of that mindset

      • Keith June 26, 2022 at 11:48 am

        Oh I totally agree Klaus and his stooges are all behind this. My birth mom (huge fan of this site) is all about putting the damage they are doing in perspective.

        Biden is the more front and center figure. Sooner or later, the MSM won’t be able to cover up the WEF. It will be interesting to see long they can hold out

      • Keith June 26, 2022 at 12:15 pm

        Also too, we went to school and were 100% certain we would come home. We were expected to play outside until dark unless it was raining or we were sick.

        Parents looked after their kids friends, and they weren’t afraid to yell at us or tell our parents if we got out of line. We had detention and paddling in schools. Was there bullying? Sure and that’s the thing That should have been eliminated by now, especially after Columbine. People were more
        Likely to be held accountable for their actions.

        Finally, TV and music were so much better. You had black comedies that were FAR better than the woke crap they shove down our throats today. The Jeffersons, Sanford and Son, and Good Times were Hall of Fame shows that taught us about the black culture without forcing the message the way Blackish or the New Wonder Years do today. Watch “ The First Store” episode of The Jefferson’s from 1980, and you will respect black history far more than any show or commercial on today

    • Rodster June 26, 2022 at 10:46 am

      “He wasn’t actively trying to destroy the country like Bidet.”

      Except it’s the Globalists not Bidet who are purposely trying to takedown the USA. Biden is at the point in his life mentally, that he probably isn’t even aware he’s the US President. He now functions publicly with cue cards which his staff provides to him.

      I’m also a child of the 70’s but growing up in NY I only had public transportation. Yes things were tough back then but I had a job when I turned 17. Things are different this time as the globalists are wanting to takedown the system and replace it with a global communist system. “You will own nothing and you will be happy”.

      • Keith June 26, 2022 at 11:41 am

        Oh I totally agree Klaus and his stooges are all behind this. My birth mom (huge fan of this site) is all about putting the damage they are doing in perspective.

        Biden is the more front and center figure. Sooner or later, the MSM won’t be able to cover up the WEF. It will be interesting to see long they can hold out

    • Gauntlet33 June 30, 2022 at 1:26 pm

      Hey Keith, I also enjoyed your stories. BTW, they say that Jimmy Carter was a freemason, and I generally tend to believe that you don’t get elected to be “President of the free world” unless it’s true.
      Also, I liked your comments about how black TV shows were so much better back in the good old days.

  • David Homer June 25, 2022 at 12:05 pm

    I’m not an economist but I have always thought that when corporations are in deep debt, raising interest rates will increase their expenses and they will have to raise prices to cover the cost of increased interest. It takes a much larger increase than .75 to make a difference in the money supply. Small gradual increases are done to continue or even increase inflation and collapse the economy while claiming that they are doing their best to help. Brandon gets it right as usual.

  • Serge June 25, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    Massive layoffs, particularly in the banking sector, have already begun and will continue throughout the second half of the year and beyond.
    Consider the latest JP Morgan press release from this week:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2C4YB70Z4TU
    Jamie Dimon’s prediction seems to be coming true.

    • woody188 June 28, 2022 at 8:44 pm

      Jamie Dimon should be in prison, not running one of the largest banks of the USA. This is what happens when you don’t arrest bankers and let them convince you that crony capitalism is the only way forward. (Too big to fail.) Quite the lie.

      • Ava Cassise June 30, 2022 at 1:31 am

        Who gonna arrest who lol. They are all criminals

  • Serge June 25, 2022 at 12:35 pm

    Brandon, Perhaps your articles inspired J. Dimon to make “his prediction”: “a hurricane is coming!”…

  • Leethal June 25, 2022 at 2:48 pm

    They are shooting for $10. Watch and burn…….

  • Dennis June 25, 2022 at 4:37 pm

    Hi Brandon, thank you for this article. Here in The Netherlands we pay $9,50 per gallon and the price is still rising 🙁

  • Serge June 26, 2022 at 2:47 am

    Without surprise, and due to the general inflation underway, a different kind of wave is expected by this fall:
    https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/prepare-tidal-wave-evictions
    P.S: Concerning the energy crisis “linked” to the war in Ukraine, India buys cheap Russian oil and sells them 3x more expensive to Europeans…

    • Dennis June 26, 2022 at 7:47 am

      🙂 LOL

    • Rodster June 26, 2022 at 10:49 am

      The government would love nothing more, than for that to happen only for them to step in and then prevent it. Just in time for the mid term elections. Nothing says, thank you for your vote than free stuff from a politician.

  • Gotheart👍 June 26, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    This is our solution. Interconnected composite communities with determination to solve problems and the ability to adapt. That’s how we’ll win.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=l1pjPQaLtWg

  • Serge June 26, 2022 at 1:20 pm

    @ Daniel V, Thanx for link and news.
    Chaos comparable to or worse than that of 2020 could unfold during the mid-terms.
    The Biden/Harris administration, in the wake of a “major crisis”, such as a large-scale attack related to “domestic terrorism”, could implement martial law with disastrous consequences for constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms.
    K. Harris or J. Yellen could even become president if “Joe” is ousted.
    Let’s not forget that the incompetent VP Harris hates the 2nd Amendment and “Conservatives” – especially “white supremacists”.
    As reported in the link, other federal agencies may purchase more ammunition than they normally need.
    As we know, the globalists will do anything to bring down the most important piece of the Western chessboard (i.e U.S).

  • helot June 28, 2022 at 8:47 am

    Another aspect of the rising gas prices is it assists the NWO to erode trust between everyone they hope to rule.

    For one example, besides the obvious, like people buying more security systems to protect their cars from gas theft, etc… : I live next to a town with only one gas station. Recently, they installed new pumps. For awhile there was an option to, ‘Pay Inside’ like was true for every gas station in America at one time.

    It was a nice experience not having to pre-pay for fuel. That all changed the other day, the option to ‘Pay Inside’ is gone and there’s a big sign on the door saying to pre-pay only, or with a credit card at the pump.

    Perhaps the change was due to more ‘drive-offs’ or the expectation of an increase of such, whatever the case, it just means there’s less trust (and being penalized for using cash – gotta make two trips back & forth and in the Winter – that’s a penalty).

    The idea of only trusting ‘the experts’ is being institutionalized bit by bit.

    Some might respond by saying, “well, what other company lets you get stuff before paying first?” as if it’s simply not an acceptable way to do business.
    I would counter that there are – or, were – many thousands of true restaurants where people would sit down and ‘fill up their tank’ with a good meal before paying for it. That element of trust is not a part of the experience when purchasing a meal at a corporate chain like MacDonald’s.

    It seems like a trend, replace the institutions which had elements of an informal cultural & traditional trust with those which are based on, ‘trust the experts’.
    Clever rats, those WEF NWO types are.

  • woody188 June 28, 2022 at 8:52 pm

    It is different this time around Brandon. We had plentiful and reliable coal fired power plants back then. They won’t be happy until the USA is once again an agrarian economy and mostly unpopulated.

  • Luke June 29, 2022 at 7:45 pm

    –As usual fantastic diagnosis of our fall from grace. We either become a Phoenix or a Doe Doe. I think deflation is coming but in major assets only. Real Estate might also be as you suggested in another article where the govt mandates price controls on rent but allows normal selling to go unabated. This will encourage the sell from private hands into corporate trusts. Unfortunately staples like gas & food prices are not going anywhere. They may hold but that’s as the economy shrinks and people lose work.
    –Bought some physical metals today. First time ever. It was a sizeable part of my nest egg but I did NOT do it to create wealth. Hell I don’t even care if I lose my ass. If I am wrong so be it, I won’t complain as long as a surveillance state doesn’t await. Even with nuclear war possibilities the technogulag still terrifies me the most for whatever reason. I acquired the metals to store wealth not profit from it. I know if all of a sudden G&S shoots to the moon it is at the detriment of everything else.
    –We need something to happen soon; divine inspiration perhaps. As humans we have that ability to make our own luck. History is full of stories where the tables were turned on an impossible situation. I just don’t know what that looks like yet. I do believe God will present us a window of opportunity. Again, no idea what that could be but know that when it arrives we better seize it. Keep your eyes peeled Gents!!

  • Gauntlet33 June 30, 2022 at 1:57 pm

    Hi Luke, I agree with you that the last thing we want is for gold and silver to shoot to the moon, because that will mean that the dollar and our entire economy is totally destroyed.

    • Luke July 2, 2022 at 8:32 pm

      Yes indeed, Gold & Silver spot prices tell the story. Shoot up very bad, lose almost all value very very bad. Free markets are the greatest measure of human intuition and instincts on the planet. These markets (definitely) G&S are not free. God help Western Civ if they spread their wings.

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