NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Yes, you are the fall guy.I should qualify the statement: if you are a homeowner, a taxpayer, a retiree, or someone with any savings, investments or dollar-denominated assets, you are the fall guy. What are you taking the fall for? Simple. You're already on the hook for bad mortgages on the books of banks like JP Morgan ( JPM), Bank of America ( BAC), and you've already backstopped General Motors ( GM) and Chrysler. "But Kevin, I didn't bail out those companies - the Government did." Well, Mr. Fall Guy, you know as well as I do that the Government doesn't have any savings, so the money and resources that it has given and promised to give insolvent corporations didn't come from some secret government rainy-day fund. In fact, the federal government has the opposite of savings. The federal government has debt, and that debt is nothing but a call on your current and future dollars. The government only has the ability to fund future bailouts, bank insolvency, and Treasury interest payments by transferring wealth from homeowners and taxpayers. The most obvious wealth transfer is called income taxation. We all know it, hate it and see it every paycheck. Another really obvious transfer of wealth is to let bankrupt institutions fail, let the chips fall where they may and let depositors, creditors and bond-holders take the hit. But there are a variety of much more subtle techniques that effectively have the same impact as taxation -- but are much less obvious. Perhaps the most devious technique is one you probably know about but haven't given a second thought to. It's so ingrained in our system, so hidden in plain sight that at first glance it seems normal, justifiable and familiar. I called it yield-curve manipulation. And simply put, it's when central bankers manipulate the interest rate yield to benefit banks. The Federal Reserve does so by buying short-term Treasuries which makes short term debt extremely cheap for banks (and only banks) that have sole access to the Fed's cheapest rates at the discount window.
Banks can borrow short term for cheap and then lend out at higher rates to their customers: This essentially transfers wealth from depositors (the fall guy) to banks. Normally, these banks wouldn't have the implicit, double-your-money-back promise from the market that rates would stay low short-term, and then steeply increase. This yield curve manipulation is entirely the invention of the Federal Reserve, and it all but guarantees that banks can slowly but surely chip away wealth from us, the fall guys. How can we avoid being the fall guy? In other words, how can we avoid being stuck with the bill in the future? Do we have a prayer? Well, for the latter example, the best way to avoid funding banks. You should avoid debt if at all possible. It's not a level playing field. Banks are guaranteed the lowest possible rates, which you can never get. There's no risk for them that their short-term rates will be higher than the rates they give to you to lend. There's not much risk that those rates will even come close to each other. And if the long rate and the short rate ever do get close, the Fed will likely buy more Treasuries to re-steepen the yield curve. The house is not going to let you get ahead, so avoid playing their game as much as possible. I'd also recommend buying assets that will benefit from government debt increases. For the record, I'm referring to precious metals like gold and silver, as well as companies that produce agriculture commodities. I like these assets for their obvious investment implications, but increasingly, I look at these assets as the only choices that make sense. The government is painting the fall guy into a corner, and commodities seem like the safest ways to preserve capital.
If I had to pick one asset to buy today, I'd pick silver. It's down over 10% over the past month, a mild breather to an amazing bull run over the past year. I'd look to start averaging into physical silver and silver stocks now ahead of the inevitable move higher. Good investing, Kevin McElroy, editor of Resource Prospector