Mike Maroney Interviews Aftershock Investor co-author Bob Wiedemer - September 2017
Mike Maroney: Good afternoon! It's Wednesday, September 13th. My name is Mike Maroney and we are coming to you today from the Monex Precious Metals Studio. Today, we are very honored to have two special guests with us. We have Bob Wiedemer and his brother, Dave Wiedemer. The authors of Bubble Economy, After Shock, and After Shock Investor.
Now, I find these two gentlemen very interesting, because both are economists that actually have the ability to make things simple. Now, what I mean by that, in their books if you had a chance to read any of them, you would have found an easy read that explains the circumstances that exist in the economy that affect your individual portfolios. This is a skill that, quite frankly, is hard to find and these two gentlemen have it. I think you'll be very interested to hear this interview, because they're going to share some insight with us that will help you make decisions as far as what you want to do with your money as far as the future is concerned.
Now, I'm going to start with Bob. Bob has put together a very special Index for Monex. Before 2017 started, Bob came to us and said he believed that this would be the year of uncertainty. He felt that this would be a major catalyst as far as the markets were concerned and thought that a special Index should be created. We were fortunate enough to work with Bob. He's created this Index. Interestingly enough, if you watch this Index, you'll also find when this Index hits a certain number you have a tendency to see the volatility in precious metals pickup, but I'm going to let Bob explain a little bit more about what he feels the market has to offer and to talk a little bit about the Uncertainty Index.
Bob, good to see you today. Can you help our viewers understand why you put this Index together and talk a little bit about that silent bull market that you were talking about a little bit earlier?
Bob Wiedemer: Sure. So, what's happening this year... what I expected to happen at the beginning of the year when we talked about this Uncertainty Index is that with President Trump's election, with the big jump in the stock market, there could be a lot of animal spirits around it, but there'd be an underlying amount of uncertainty. In fact, just a few weeks ago the Wall Street Journal said that this year has shown a bull market in uncertainty. That's what's... part of what's propelling, well, the other bull market in gold. I think it's interesting, because if you look at it, without looking at uncertainty on the surface, you would think that gold would say be doing very poorly. Let's face it--stock markets record highs, real estate has jumped up back above pre-financial crisis levels, investor... retail investor optimism is at its highest ever and that means higher than Dot.com bubble. So, it's very high. All these things that tend to make you think that people are chucking gold, right? But, not true if you look at my Uncertainty Index, that uncertainty is rising. Underneath all this, people are concerned that something is up. Why are we up so much? What's going on... what's going on with North Korea? What's going on with our economy? I just am a little worried. Yeah, I'll put some money here in stocks, but I'm a little worried. I think I'll put some in gold. In fact, seven billionaires in the last few weeks have come out and said the market's overvalued. I think, Ray Dalio, one of those, indicated that gold would be a good thing to be in. Julian Robertson, who headed up Tiger Funds one of the best hedge funds managers out there in my opinion, he said, "This whole stock thing is a big bubble pumped up by the Federal Reserve as well as other Central Banks." So, this uncertainty that these billionaires are reflecting that the market is part of what's driving gold forward. I think that uncertainty is very, very important. Why we have the Index.
Mike Maroney: Now, it's interesting, because typically when markets make new highs, it has a tendency to draw more and more money in. We are seeing a very nice move in the precious metals markets, especially gold. Is gold actually outperforming stocks this year?
Bob Wiedemer: Gold is outperforming stocks, not by a ton. Of course, obviously, it can move week to week, but it is outperforming so far. Year-to-date, gold has outperformed. So, maybe it's up by a percent or two percent, we'll see where the year closes, but it's actually outperforming the S&P500 as well as the DOW. So, it is outperforming stocks. I think, again, it's the other bull market. It's a silent bull market people aren't looking at. Just fascinating to try to describe it any other way than that just, you know, an uncertain feeling about will this go on and what's going to happen. President Trump, love him, hate him, in-between, he brings a certain amount of uncertainty at this point. Things that people were certain of seven months ago, that we'd have a tax cut legislation through, or major infrastructure bill, we haven't had anything of significance like that. The agenda hasn't even started. So, there's a lot of uncertainty surrounding that as well as the very, very, high valuations we're seeing in the stock market.
Mike Maroney: Now, it's interesting, because right as President Trump was being elected, we actually saw gold hit a high of $1,338 and in the last few days we actually exceeded that high. We're getting a little bit of a pullback, but one of the things that took place was President Trump got together with the Democrats and actually said, "Hey, this debt ceiling thing is a problem. Let's figure out a solution. Instead of working with the Republicans, he put a deal together with them and it's almost like he's trying to brush that variable off the table. Can you explain a little bit about what took place?
Bob Wiedemer: Well, he brushed it aside, but not off the table. So, we're only just postponed talking about the debt, the Federal Budget, until three months later. So, we'll talk about that in December. That was partly to get the funds for hurricane Harvey to Houston and hurricane Irma to Florida. So, part of that was just the necessity of doing something on that quickly, but you're right it is interesting that he worked with Democrats on that and that certainly upset Republicans and adds, I think in my mind, more uncertainty. He didn't solve the debt ceiling problem. I mean, you've got to get one passed. He didn't solve even the budget problem, but what he's done now is undercut what friends he had in the Republican Party, yet I don't think he's going to be able to come up with the tax cut plan and probably not even a debt ceiling plan with the minority party, the Democrats. So, I think it's more of an example of... good we got the aide to Florida and Texas, but bad that, I think, we're just raising that uncertainty level. It's just...how's he going to get this all worked out, now that he's upsetting the majority party in Congress, which also happens to be his party?
Mike Maroney: Exactly. Now, it's interesting, because we have the Federal Reserve coming up and a lot of people heard a new word six or seven years ago, it was quantitative easing. Suddenly, it became very in vogue. We've seen the U.S. use quantitative easing. We've seen Britain use quantitative easing. We've seen the European Central Bank. We've seen Japan. A matter of fact, the balance sheets as far as Central Banks are concerned in the last eight years increased from $6 trillion to over $20 trillion dollars, but now they're talking about a new catch phrase, it's quantitative tightening. Now, I'm going to ask David this question, because I think he might help us a little bit understand what the possible ramifications of quantitative tightening could be. David, what do you think about that?
David Wiedemer: Well, quantitative tightening... First, we have to go back, these are both... quantitative easing and quantitative tightening are weasel words, they're not really saying what the Central Banks are really doing, which is printing money. In other words, when they are saying they're doing quantitative easing, what that really means that they're printing money and we know what that means. Always and inevitably, all throughout history it has meant eventual inflation. It could be quick. It could be... take a long time to occur, but it will occur. So, quantitative tightening is just the opposite of that. In other words, rather than printing money, we're pulling money back out of the economy. Why would you want to do that? Because otherwise you would have inflationary pressure. So, if you printed $3 trillion dollars, you pull $3 trillion back you aren't going to get any inflation. The problem is... is that that can be devastating to the economy and the reason is... is that as that money gets pulled out, credit becomes tighter, interest rates rise, bond prices fall, real estate prices fall, stock prices fall, very bad. I think this is probably the best argument I can think of for buying gold, because we can see this can happen now. They may not do quantitative tightening for very long, but just starting it off can damage the economy. Where do you go? Do you leave all that money in? Cause a lot of inflation? Inflation will also destroy those asset values in real estate, stocks and bonds. So, you've got a very difficult lose-lose situation. I mean, you either print money and you lose. You pull money back and you lose. What can you do under those circumstances? Buy gold. That's why I'm here is I want to tell people this is really virtually your only real protection, monetary protection.
Mike Maroney: Now Dave, I'm curious, because in the past a lot of people assumed that if a country came out and printed trillions of dollars that, that currency would become somewhat diluted, and inevitably that currency would drop in value, but what we've actually seen over the last six years is when the U.S. was quantitatively easing the value of the dollar increased. Then the Europeans started quantitative easing and then inevitably their currency started to increase in value. Now, the word is out that potentially we're going to see interest rate increases and quantitative tightening, but the dollar has been dropping precipitously. Do you see a connection to that?
David Wiedemer: There is, but it's a complex connection. In other words, there are a lot of variables that affect the price of the dollar. One of the most important is, right now and for the past 30 years, has been investment demand. In other words, as U.S. investments perform well for whatever reason and we know this is a bubble, that's the main reason that they're performing well, that attracts money into this country. When money is attracting in this country, that increases demand for dollars that raises the dollar price and vice versa, but then we also have trade flows and then we also have other economic considerations. So, it gets complicated, but I think the basic takeaway has to be that when you see these dollar fluctuations that are not really based upon trade, you've got a problem. In other words, when they're based on bubbles, you know, stock bubbles, real estate bubbles, whatever, this is very dangerous and this is something people need to be very aware of and need to be very careful of.
Mike Maroney: Do you think potentially there was collusion with the other Central Banks, because it doesn't seem as if it's possible that suddenly the United States, Europe, Japan, and China would all suddenly create $4 or $5 trillion of additional capital each? Is that a way of almost balancing things out so no one currency gets affected too much?
David Wiedemer: Well, it... there is... Okay, first in terms of collusion, yes. All of the Central Banks do collude. They collude explicitly, talk to each other a lot. They coordinate their policies, but what's happening in that case is basically market pressures. In other words, if they don't print money in Europe or in China or in the U.S., their asset values fall. They will put their economies into a deep recession, eventually a depression. This is very, very serious. So, they basically have no choice but to print, because that's what keeps us out of a depression temporarily, but it means that later we're going to have a much worse situation.
Mike Maroney: I see. Now, obviously, the stock market is at time highs and potentially many of the top investors around the world are saying, "Hey, this is a bubble and people should be aware that now is a good time to hedge your bets and owning some gold before this quantitative tightening period begins." Because have we ever seen a period of quantitative tightening in history?
David Wiedemer: Not very often. We have occasionally and the results are usually very bad. I mean, but the reason they do quantitative tightening is because you have massive inflation. When you have inflation, inevitably there will be a period of quantitative tightening afterwards, which will... so think of it as when you have the inflation, initial inflation, it very much damages the economy and particularly those asset values--stock, bonds, real estate. That's why we like gold. Stocks, bonds, and real estate are all very dependent on interest rates. Interest rates are very, very dependent on inflation. If you have inflation, those assets are very, very bad assets to hold. If you have inflation, gold is wonderful, because gold is not dependent on interest rates. Gold is a... sort of think of it as your last resort for safe investments. This is something that will protect you if nothing else can and or will. That's why, you know, when you have inflation, you need gold. When you have quantitative tightening, you need gold.
Bob Wiedemer: Let me add to that. I think one issue is people might be asking you, "Yeah, we don't have inflation around here. I mean, we don't see it." Of course, my response is always, "Well, if that's true, you know, more of a good thing, let's just print more of it," and people are, "Well, no we want to tighten. We want it to go back to normalcy." Well, really, why? The only reason you would ever want to tighten or go back to normalcy is you're worried that inflation is coming down the road and of course it is. People sort of know that when you print money you will get inflation. If not, let's print more. Let's drop taxes 50% and let's just borrow the money, right? Let's just drop tax 100%. If printing money doesn't cause inflation, these are all very legitimate ways to get our economy moving even faster. So, people know it will create inflation. Right now, it's not, but that doesn't mean it never will. That's something important to kind of recognize and it can come up very quickly too when inflation does hit... it can come up very quickly. That's also why it's important to look at uncertainty, because that's part of what's underlying all of this, Mike. Why I want to look at uncertainty. For example, let's say this market does correct as many as the billionaires say--goes down 20% to 30%. Well, I can guarantee you the Fed will come in and reverse QT and go into QE and that will push the market back up. Well, that should make everybody happy and gold go down, but I don't think it will necessarily. This is getting more unusual. There's a lot of uncertainty that maybe this money printing will create inflation. Well, of course that's a guarantee. It's just more of a matter of when. Well, why are we having to even print money in the first place to push the market back up? A lot of uncertainty out there and I think that's going to be something that's a constant. So, my Uncertainty Index is not just for this year. I think it's going to be an important thing for the next few years. In that we might, you know... we have this period of the Fed coming in and saving the market, the market going back up, everything looks great, but yet a lot of uncertainty underlying, which means gold could do well, very well, both in the down parts of the market and even the up parts of the market.
Mike Maroney: So, what we have right now is a scientific experiment that the World Central Banks are mixing together with test tubes and nobody really understands what the potential outcome will be, but based on historic precedent, what we've seen in the past, when we've seen these types of events much smaller, is we've inevitably seen inflation, we've inevitably seen depreciation as far as currency is concerned, and we've seen gold and precious metals shine in those types of environments. I think you've talked about this in your book many times, Bob, everybody wants their bubble back. If suddenly the stock market pops, then everybody is going to be saying give us QE and nobody is going to really worry about it, but when does some sort of normalcy step into the market place or is this the new normal?
Bob Wiedemer: People will say, "Aw well, we don't have to worry about this anymore. We can print without getting inflation." Well, that's one way to guarantee we're going to print enough to get inflation, because if there's no immediate downside the tendency will be to print to help us out whenever we need it. So, no, it's not a new normalcy. It's just an unusually long bubble is what I would say and that's for a very simple reason. Bubbles in the past tended to be privately pushed, sponsored, supported, by private investors. Sometimes by investors who are trying... well, sell Florida land or whatever, right, unscrupulous investors, or just manias get together, but never before have we had a bubble that has been so massively supported by such a large and powerful government and government treasury. Our ability to print money, borrow money, is massive and unprecedented right now and now we're bringing that in for bubble support and that's why we're getting not a new normal, but a very expected normal when you're bringing that kind of fire power in. It used to be shooting it out sort of with 30 caliber rifles. Now, you've brought in the 16-inch guns and that's going to make this go longer, but of course it also does make the fall harder. The bigger they come, the harder they fall. That's why I'm still saying during this period though, I think there's going to be a lot of uncertainty. Everybody kind of knows I'm right. When you say, we're trying this experiment, I don't think it's an experiment. I think people know that it's not going to work. They're just hoping beyond hope to get away with it like stealing a bar of gold. Hopefully, nobody will notice. Well, if I can steal one, I'll steal another, and I steal another. So, yeah... we'll print more and more. It's a problem, but I think in the end that it finally blows up. Of course, gold does well and you know things adjust, but even during the period as we're moving up to it, that uncertainty even if there's not a ton of inflation which normally push gold up. Even if it's not a ton, I think we'll find there's a lot of uncertainty about what we're getting into. It's just a matter of time and again very reasonable given that the U.S. government has gotten involved in pushing up this bubble.
Mike Maroney: Now, it's interesting and we had an opportunity to talk a couple of weeks ago about a merger that took place in the defense industry. You outlined the overall situation as far as not four times book, not four times earnings, they sold the company for four times revenue. Historic precedent as far as valuation is concerned. I mean, we have never seen that type of valuation placed on companies. If you go back to Graham and Dodd and just calculate true valuations has everything changed or is it just morphed for a short period of time and inevitably reality will come back very quickly when perceptions change and are we on the brink of seeing something like that?
Bob Wiedemer: I think you are. I think that's what these seven billionaires are talking about. No, they didn't mention that specific thing, where an old lying company, United Technologies, bought another old lying company, Rockwell Collins. They're both aerospace companies and paid $23 billion for a company that only has about $5.5 billion in sales in 2016. That's just unbelievable. That's what our guys are saying, our billionaires, that perception of valuation, I think, is changing and we will have a downturn. I don't know if it will be this month or next month or next year. They don't either, but it's coming, but that won't be the end. That's when the Fed will pump it back up. I think all that's going to raise uncertainty. I don't know if it's going to pump it all the way back up or what it's going to do, but what I can say is the fact that the Feds having to come in to do it will be a big, big, cause of concern. People may not say it. Just like nobody said this was sure a high valuation, which they should of. I mean, maybe it's a good merger, but got...incredible valuation. Almost nobody said that. So, we can ignore it, but underneath it it's fragile and you're right, perceptions will change, reality will change, and it can pop very, very quickly.
Mike Maroney: Now, this quantitative tightening situation, could the Fed lead the interest rates path based on their number, but by utilizing quantitative tightening that will cause interest rates to go up very quickly.
David Wiedemer: It certainly will. Yes! And that's why I don't think they'll do it for very long, because what will happen is as they do... What they're doing when... when they call it quantitative tightening, but what they're really doing is they are basically pulling money out of the banking system and basically just erasing it. It's an electronic transaction. As that money is removed from the banking system, you are... are... you have less money to invest in bonds, stocks, directly and then indirectly, and real estate. So, interest rates start to rise. Those asset values start to fall.
Mike Maroney: Now, I think I remember there was a phrase called crowding out. When you utilize $20 trillion and print it, then suddenly have to take that out that $20 trillion has to be replaced by something and that's money that comes out of the stock market, comes out of the real estate market, and suddenly you have a much different situation. If our stock market starts to fall, which you said has drawn money into the United States, suddenly our dollar could be in big trouble.
David Wiedemer: It sure can and that has huge consequences, because one of the reasons U.S. investments are so attractive to foreigners is they not only get the very nice returns that they've had in the domestic investors do, but they also get an extra return from the dollar rising. That's why they like it so much, but if that reverses then we're in for huge trouble.
Mike Maroney: I was a stock broker back in '87 and a lot of people don't even realize that the dollar had dropped from $1.65 all the way down below $.90 and a lot of people feel that the main reason for the stock market crash in '87 could have been that precipitous drop that we saw on the dollar.
David Wiedemer: Absolutely. And this time it's going to be a lot worse. So, it can create a huge panic situation in the stock and bond markets and real estate markets.
Bob Wiedemer: Well, I think, Mike, you were entering a period where the dollar.... I mean we were attracting more and more money from overseas. That's been a trend over the last 20-30 years. More overseas money has been coming into the U.S. So, I think that's why Dave says now that's even more of a problem than when you were seeing it in '87 when it was more of a problem than it would've been in '55 or '65. That foreign money is starting to come into the U.S. You know, they've gotten more money. They're way past World War II and all those problems. So, yeah, when it happens as it happens in the future even more of a problem to have that foreign money going and that's not just for stocks and bonds, but our real estate too getting a lot of dependence and support from foreign money.
Mike Maroney: Yeah, I heard somebody interviewed the other day and they were talking about stocks and they said, "It doesn't matter if you buy high, because you're going to be able to sell higher," but inevitably don't we get to that theory called the greater fool theory, where somebody's going to have to buy it from you and pay such a high price that it just runs out of buyers?
Bob Wiedemer: Right, eventually there's no one more foolish. Although I think it was Dwight Eisenhower that said, "There's never an answer to the question of, "How dumb can you get?" Never seems to be answer. Well, yeah, we're finding out real fast that there are buyers that are pretty foolish and will get foolish, but at some point, No, it changes. It's just why Dot.com couldn't go on forever. It's why housing couldn't go on forever. It's just a period of time and you can't even say it's a trigger. I mean, people ask me what's the trigger for all of this. Don't know. There may not even be one. People just change. When your market's dependent on psychology, I've heard some people say, "Well, that's great, because that means it can never go down, because we always want the market to go up, right? That will never change." But, no it's actually the most fragile thing to depend on is the psychology. It can change and it can change in a heartbeat. If it's all based on fundamentals, markets won't fall. It's that psychological element that makes it very, very vulnerable to a fall and it can change. In fact, at the time when people are often the most excited, January 2000, February 2000, Dot.com mania was near its height. March 2000, it collapsed.
Mike Maroney: Now, it’s interesting, because what we're talking about the very beginning is in the midst of all of this silently gold has rallied $140 since the beginning of the year and billionaires are coming out and saying, "Hey guys, just get some. Stick it away." The rest of the world, China and the Asian countries they seem to be accumulating a lot of gold. Do they see the writing on the wall a little bit better than we do or are they more long-term as far as their thinking or strategies are concerned?
Bob Wiedemer: Even as I said in my book, sometimes dumb luck can be a real help. In this case, I'm not saying Chinese or Indians are dumb, but they have a social background that's more geared towards gold. I think they're making the right decision, but I can't tell you it's all because of great strategy or investment strategy. They have a social background that says golds work. They don't have a long background in stocks or banking system or any of these things that have been that successful. They have huge problems in those. So, I think just basically on the lucky side and I don't see that changing in any way shape or form. Those social standards are going to continue. I mean, the social comfort zone is to buy gold more so than the U.S. It's going to continue and of course I think as people get rewarded for doing that... yeah, they'll do a lot more.
Mike Maroney: So, gold now is trading $600 below its highs. Stock markets are crazy. I have houses in my neighborhood that have doubled in the last six or seven years and you can't even believe what people are paying. What could happen to the price of gold and silver suddenly if we see that same sort of capital flow into that sector?
David Wiedemer: Well, I'm going to take that one because...
Mike Maroney: You looked like you were excited about that one.
David Wiedemer: This is remarkable, because what's happening is as stock, bond, and real estate prices fall you've got all this money. Their say, "Hey, I want to protect my kids. So, I'm selling out here and I'm going into gold, which is going up rapidly." But gold is a fairly small asset base. In other words, you look at huge asset bases for stock, bonds, real estate there's a lot of money. All this money is trying to go into this very small pile of gold assets. Well, you know what's going to happen? It's going to explode in value. It's just going to go up unbelievably. We've never seen anything like this before in history, because you have so much money now trying to go into this very small asset base and that's...
Bob Wiedemer: From all over the world.
David Wiedemer: Right, and so it's sort of like, people are complaining, you know, that gold goes up and down, up and down. As you said it's down $600 from its high. During the peak of this, gold could easily go up $600 in a month. You know. It's that powerful.
Mike Maroney: Now, the interesting thing is these crypto currencies that are being created and Bitcoin has had a tremendous move, I mean, $1,500 to $4,500, and people don't even seem to understand what it's all about. The block chain and everything else, but now China just came out and basically said, "No, we're not going to allow it to happen." You would think that would have knocked it down. Are these crypto currencies going up because of the uncertainty, Bob?
Bob Wiedemer: I think they are and I also think they're just a fun bubble. I'll be honest. I think people like to play with them. I know kids and so forth that are playing in crypto currencies and it's fun. I think it's just another bubble. By the way, it's down to under $4,000 now. Not that I follow it daily. Not part of my portfolio, but it's a reflection of that uncertainty. Yes, but honestly I think it's more... it's a bit of a bubble. Like any bubbles, there's some reality behind some of it like block chain technology and so forth, sure. But honestly, I think it's just more reflection of the bubble times than it is uncertainty. I think people will try to find the next bubble and that makes sense. In a bubble economy, you'd want to do that, but then you also mentioned how much things have gone up. Let's put that into perspective. As of January, of last year, just last year, January of last year, the market had hardly risen on inflation adjusted basis from 2007 to 2016, almost 10 years. People go, " Oh, I made great money." If you look at the DOW, it's at $14,700 in 2007. It's at $15,700 in 2016. It's almost 10 years and just a little inflation in there, basically it's flat. So, what's really happening in many markets... and I'm not saying about your housing market or whatever, but in a lot of housing markets all they've really done is just get back their losses. Sure, if you bought a house or stock at the very bottom, you'd be doing great and you'd have massive markets, but they’re really just making up their losses. Now, I bet a lot of people didn't do that. Might add though, on gold, it is down and you know, if it makes back its losses as housing and gold did, you bought it now as opposed to just held, you'd be seeing those spectacular trends as well, but that's only because you'd have to had bought at the low and ridden it back up to its previous highs.
Mike Maroney: Now, we've got some issues over in Europe. They have an immigrant problem. They have elections coming up. It seems like that continent is becoming very fractured. Needless to say, if the Euro runs into some major issues, where will that money go? Nobody really knows for sure. Really what it looks like in general, the world population seems to be losing faith in government, right now. Is it based on the fact that fiscally they haven't really done a really good job. This experiment exists and nobody knows how it's going to turn out. All of these programs that get put on the table and suddenly cost billions and billions more than expected. Is the crypto currency, the gold, is that just people saying I'm scared and they don't know? What could be about to happen is when people start to get real scared if the stock market drops or anything like that, this thing could get crazy and who knows what could happen. Do you see any sort of scenario out there that's going to fix all this?
Bob Wiedemer: Well, in a sense having it pop is the first step towards fixing it. Back to your point though is NO. I think what you're talking about is what I call rational panic. Meaning, people get scared, they move into gold and they'll be rewarded for it. It's rational. It will go up. It will do better as Dave says it traditionally does better in high interest rate environments. So, it'll be a rational panic. In terms of fixing things, well, I'm very much the optimist that long-term will fix this, but I think you fix it maybe the way they fixed Chicago after it burned down is they rebuilt it. But, I'm afraid we're kind of going down to a point where we're going to burn down things before we have to fix it, instead of remodeling. But, that's all you're doing with each year you push this thing forward. You're getting to the point that if the market... I mean if the Fed comes in saves the market when it dips, about the only time you're going to get a big correction is when the Fed can no longer save the market. At that point, well you have more of a meltdown and that you shouldn't do. You should remodel instead of completely rebuild, but you know... that's clearly the choice we're not making.
Mike Maroney: So, back during the Great Depression, there were a lot of people that had hedges in place and they ended up being the benefactor of being able to buy assets at incredibly low prices. I think I remember in one of your books you talked about this a little bit. By owning some precious metals, if things go the direction that you feel they could that asset could actually provide the capability to buy many other assets at very low prices and it really just makes a lot of sense. So, is that really, I think, what you guys in that book are trying to explain to people, just in case, you've got to have these types of investments in place?
Bob Wiedemer: And as you said, not just because those investments will do well during a crisis period, but they will provide a base for investing in other things that will do very well as Dave has said more real money will be made during that period than has ever been made in the last 30 years. So, the people with the capital, who made it through, got the capital in place and have grown it, will also have the greatest opportunity to benefit from that when you rebuild and you move forward again.
Mike Maroney: So, I think what we're dealing with in today's economy is one, a lot of uncertainty. Bob, has tried to help us with that by providing us with an Index that really gives you an idea month to month what's happening and he talks about geopolitical issues, he talks about political issues, he talks about economic issues. I think the message that we're trying to get across right now is the fact that we definitely live in the uncertain times, we have valuations the likes of which we have never seen, and nobody knows for sure what sits out on the horizon, and in this type of environment doesn't it make sense to own precious metals? Even if this situation continues to move forward and stocks go higher and higher, you'll benefit from that situation, but having that insurance in place literally could save your portfolio and potentially put you in a position to benefit in ways that you probably wouldn't have even expected. I hope that many of you have an opportunity to read some of the books that these gentlemen have written. Bubble Economy, when I read it and then a couple of years later I was absolutely amazed it was like a fortune teller that had it all right. Now, we're talking about Aftershock and Aftershock Investor. I think what we're dealing with now is a little longer term situation, but all of the key pieces of the puzzle are in place. Now, may be one of the most important times in history to understand what's happening in the world and make sure that you can take advantage of these variables. Gentlemen, it's such a pleasure meeting with you again today. Looking forward to today's meeting this afternoon. Once again, give us a call if you haven't had a chance to receive one of Bob's reports or his Index, we'll get that out to you absolutely free. No matter what you do right now as far as your portfolio is concerned, I think the important thing to do is think. Think about why we are where we're at and where we could be going. Thank you very much. Have a great day.