Announcer: Welcome to Creating Wealth with Jason Hartman, President of Platinum Properties Investor Network in Costa Mesa, California. During this program, Jason is going to tell you some really exciting things that you probably haven’t thought of before and a new slant on investing, fresh new approaches to America’s best investment that will enable you to create more wealth and happiness than you ever thought possible.
Jason is a genuine self-made multimillionaire, who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. He’s been a successful investor for 20 years and currently owns properties in 11 states and 17 cities. This program will help you follow in Jason’s footsteps on the road to financial freedom. You really can do it. And now, here’s your host, Jason Hartman, with the complete solution for real estate investors.
Jason Hartman: Hello and welcome to another edition of Creating Wealth. This is your host, Jason Hartman, and I’m glad you’re with us today. We haven’t had a show up in about a week and a half, so glad to be getting this one out. Thank you so much for continuing to listen, everybody. It looks like we have quite a following out there and we’re happy to be here, giving you the best investment advice, the most uncolored and hyped advice we can find out there at least, and really trying to be impartial and serve your needs and give you good ideas that you can use.
Obviously, we are ultimately in the business of investment property brokerage and arranging referrals to the different markets in which we operate all around the United States, 39 markets now. By the way, I have to mention we opened a new market that we’re quite excited about and that is Denver, Colorado. I’ve been looking at this market for several years now and it’s always been a little too expensive and the rents haven’t been good enough. But now, Denver is good and we like Denver now. We’ve been waiting patiently do more in Colorado and I think the time has finally arrived.
We had our Master’s Weekend last weekend and that is a twice-yearly event. Our next one should be in March. Maybe we’ll even move that up to February. It was really well done, I think. We had a good event. The room was packed. People said they learned a lot. It started Friday evening where we played the Cash Flow Game and then we went all day Saturday and Sunday, and I tell you, by the end of it, I was exhilarated, but also exhausted. It was a long weekend.
So be sure to join us for our next Master’s Weekend. And at the Master’s Weekend, we had our Colorado broker fly out, among many other experts. We had actually 17 experts on different areas, from different real estate markets, as well as different areas of the law. We had two attorneys speak. All of the people in the audience got their advice for a very, very low price, versus the normal hourly rate.
We had a tax specialist speak. We talked about asset protection, saving money on interest costs, loan modification, loan auditing, personal bailouts. We’re all probably somewhat upset and maybe a little envious of these bailouts for the rich that are going on on Wall Street, and bailouts for the irresponsible. How do we get our personal bailout? So we entitled one segment, “Dude, Where’s my Bailout?”
We had a whole bunch of different speakers. One of them was our Colorado broker, as I mentioned, and he flew out and did a great presentation on the Denver market and the surrounding markets, and we’re just really excited about that. So if you’re interested, go to our website.
By the way, we have a new part on our website that we just launched last week and if you go to www.jasonhartman.com, click on Properties, you will see the map of the U.S. as it was before, but you’ll also see a whole bunch of PowerPoint slideshows and we have a really nice player for them where you can watch them and just click play and sit back and watch as the slides change. Or you can actually go and click on .pdf and download .pdf, print it, email it around, whatever you like, and I think that will be very helpful to you. We don’t have all of our areas up yet, obviously, but we have about six or eight of them, I believe. And the Denver presentation is up there, so take a look at that.
And we have an exciting show for you today. I was very fortunate to interview Ellen Brown. Ellen is the author of Web of Debt and she is a frequent guest on various radio shows. I’ve heard her on the radio several times and has a really interesting take on the “300-Year Ponzi Scheme” that has been going on with the fractional reserve banking and central banking, and just the way the whole system works.
It’s constantly amazing to me the way things are handled at the highest levels of our global financial system and how if the little guy isn’t paying attention and isn’t playing the game right, is really in danger. There’s a real threat to their wealth. So I’m sure you’ll enjoy my interview with Ellen Brown. That’s coming up here in just a couple of minutes.
And also, I want to say that we had some very good presentations at the Master’s Weekend last weekend and some of them were by yours truly. Yes, I’ll pat myself on the back and say that we had some good presentations that I made and I’m going to, as soon as we get the audio from that, I’m going to take selected parts and put them on the podcast. So look for that on future shows because we really wanted to present some new stuff and I think we did, and I’ll make that available for the very first people who had attended the Master’s Weekend. So we will be broadcasting in a bridged version of some of those presentations on future shows, so you can listen in for that as well.
I have been a little bit behind on the Ask Jason questions. As you know, I love to get your questions and we haven’t had time to answer them because we’ve had so many guests and long interviews on the show. And next week, I’m really excited. I’m interviewing Harry Dent. He’s a big name obviously and many of you know who he is. So that will be next week, that interview. I’m not sure we’ll broadcast it next week, but the interview is going to be next week.
And also, this week, I am interviewing the head of Consumer Credit Counseling, who will talk about how to handle and settle credit card debt, consumer debt, and I’m sure we’ll go into the mortgage topic as well. So I think you’ll like that.
So let’s answer a couple of these Ask Jason questions. First of all, one that I cannot find, but it was asked, and I can’t remember the name of the listener, but I do appreciate you sending me this feedback. One of the shows we did recently was about the money merge account and it was about how to save interest on your mortgage or any debt you have, whether it be credit card debt, home equity lines, first mortgages, whatever.
And, you know, this was a little bit critical. The person said they really like my show and they like listening to Creating Wealth and had referred friends to listen to it as well, and I appreciate you doing that, and felt that that was a bit of a pitch for the Money Merge Network Marketing Program. And let me tell you something. I am probably one of the most skeptical people you will ever meet and I have been looking at that program for about a year and a half now, and I turned it down over and over. Several people approached me on it and I did not like it.
They made some modifications to the program and I started thinking about it, and I started thinking about we’re not into paying off mortgages. We love our debt, as long as it’s good debt, as long it’s fixed-rate debt, as long as it’s attached to good assets, and it has a negative interest rate. What I mean by negative interest rate, of course, is that it’s lower than the real rate of inflation, which is the big opportunity of our day.
But even if we’re borrowing at 6.5 percent and the true rate of inflation is 10 or 12 percent, we’re getting paid to borrow and we’ve talked about that on prior shows, and that’s great. But what if we could effectively reduce our borrowing costs from 6.5 percent to maybe 3.5 percent or 3 percent? And we still have a rate of inflation of 10 – 12 percent. Well, then we’re getting paid a lot more to borrow.
So I think that program is a good deal. I do think that the software is a little bit pricey and some people have said they can do that in Excel. Let me tell you something. If you think that, wake up and check your thoughts there because you’re wrong. You can’t do it. That is a very sophisticated system that is being offered.
So I think it’s worth it. I finally decided I would expose it to my listeners and again, it took me about a year and a half to come to that conclusion. I’m pretty skeptical and I don’t like sales pitches and I didn’t promote that, and I didn’t talk to you about it for a long, long time, although I heard about it a while ago and my personal feeling is that it’s worth checking out. I think it can reduce your interest costs and I think it’s a pretty reasonably good deal. So take it for what you will. That’s my opinion.
Okay, so another Ask Jason question here. This one comes from Joe Marshall. Joe, I appreciate your note and I appreciate you being a listener. He says, “I’ve been a listener to Creating Wealth with Jason Hartman Podcast from the early days and I’ve never written to say thank you. Jason, on a more recent podcast, you apologized for ranting and blamed it on too much coffee.”
Yes, I remember that one well.
“Well, I had to write and say that this was one of the best episodes I have listened to. I thought I actually heard from the real Jason Hartman and not just the company he stands behind. I understand that some listeners would rather just hear about real estate and not the broader economy in general, but they are certainly tied together and both need to be addressed. Please know that your commentary on the economic crisis is not going unheard. You refer to some of your guests as doom and gloom, but they are realists.”
And you know, by the way? I have to comment on that. I just want to sort of balance the opinion out because I think you’re referring to the interview with Peter Schiff a couple shows ago, and I like Peter Schiff’s philosophy. I think he’s mostly right. I think he’s about 80 percent or 85 percent right. He’s a gold bug. I’m not a gold bug. I think gold would be a good deal if it wasn’t manipulated by central banks and other of the rich and powerful that run the world, and also if you could rent it out, if you could finance it over 30 years at low, fixed-rate interest, and get tax deductions, and rent it somebody else. I think gold would be a pretty good deal. But you can’t do any of that. So I’m not a gold bug. Again, I’ve said it before, I like their premise, but I don’t like their conclusion.
So Peter Schiff I think is great. I really like him, but I think he is a little too gloomy. I’m not quite that gloomy and most people accuse me of being too gloomy. Compared to Peter, I’m a bit of an optimist, so for whatever it’s worth.
So Joe goes on to say, “I listen to that show at work and it always makes me feel better knowing that not everyone is going to just let themselves be robbed blind by this economic heist, without putting up a fight, and people are paying close attention to the grunch.”
Now, I had to say when I read that, Joe, I thought you meant “Grinch,” like the “Grinch Who Stole Christmas.” So I typed it into Google and the definition of that came up. Maybe many of you don’t know this because I certainly didn’t know what this acronym was. “Grunch” is an acronym, which stands for “gross universe cash heist.” And it talks about the trillions of dollars that are basically being diverted from society, which I couldn’t agree more. That’s definitely happening, Joe, so thank you for telling me about that new acronym.
Anyway, he goes on to say, “So thank you for everything you have done. When I get better positioned from the benefits of this economic crisis and what it’s creating in the future, I will know who to call to by my first six-pack of diversified properties. In thoughts and friendship, Joe Marshall.” Thanks for the note, Joe. I appreciate you listening and appreciate your comments.
Okay, another question comes from Ray Lopez, and Ray is a KABC radio listener. Ray says, “Jason, I’m 30 years old, married with one child. I work at Pepsi and I’m tired of living paycheck to paycheck. I sold life insurance for three years and I did well at it, but I couldn’t keep the fire burning and couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. How does someone like me, who thinks that the majority of people I know can’t afford a home, get into this” – meaning investing – “and get financially free without burning out, like I did when I sold life insurance?”
Well, Ray, keep the faith. Look, we all started somewhere. I tell you, I started in real estate back in 1985. I got my license when I was in college. I was 19 years old. And I started selling real estate. I bought my first investment property from a client, actually, a little condo in Huntington Beach on Coventry Lane, and then I bought my second property, which was another condo in Irvine. I lived in that one, but it really turned out to be quite an investment, even though I lived there for 11 months.
I borrowed my down payment from my grandmother and then I paid her back and made quite a bit of money. And over the years, I just kept buying more properties and more properties, and investing. I had some luck in there. I had some hard work in there and you know what? You will be surprised how quickly time passes and how quickly wealth can build in the real estate business.
If you go back and listen to the two shows we did on the Refi Till You Die, you really see that in seven short years, you can build some significant wealth by investing in sensible properties in diversified markets. Be careful; be prudent. Use debt responsibly, but use debt because we love debt, and just follow the techniques we’ve outlined here for you. It’s all free. You’re in Southern California, so I hope you’ll come to one of our events and I would love to meet you in person. Thanks for the question.
Last question before the interview with Ellen Brown on the Web of Debt. This one comes from Adrian McMillan and Adrian says, “Jason, I listen to the Creating Wealth podcast religiously. Thank you for continuing to provide the great information. I have a few investment properties and I’m very interested in working with Platinum Properties Investor Network on my future purchases. One of my investment properties is in Galveston County. The property was damaged by Hurricane Ike. I am trying to navigate my way through the insurance claim process.”
By the way, I have to mention that we had a lawyer at the Master’s Weekend speak on insurance bad faith. Let me go on and read the question and then I’ll make the rest of my comments here.
“So I am requesting advice on: No. 1, how to verify being treated fairly by the insurance adjuster and the insurance company; No. 2, how to expedite the process, if possible. You have mentioned on your podcast that your lender is your ally in this situation. How do I leverage the power of my lender? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.”
Well, your lender is your ally, so what I’m saying to you here is, No. 1, Adrian, I hope you didn’t have much equity in that property because the higher your loan balance, the better your insurance, so to speak. In other words, your lender wants to protect their collateral and whenever there’s a claim and whenever there’s a problem with the insurance company, insurance companies love to collect premiums, but they don’t like to pay claims very much. So when you have a high loan balance, your lender wants to protect their collateral and as such, they are going to go to bat for you and be your ally.
So the first thing I would do is I would pick up the phone, I would call my lender, I would write to my lender, and I would say, hey, I have damage to this property. I’m in trouble and I need some help here to make sure I can keep paying on this loan. That will get their attention. And you tell them who your insurance company is, provide all the contact information for the adjuster and the insurance company, and also talk to your insurance broker, the person who sold you the policy. And get everybody involved and have them bug that insurance company and you keep bugging the insurance company as well. And if worse comes to worse, you might have to hire an attorney.
But certainly, there are tons of resources out there. The legal system is riddled with cases for many, many years of insurance bad faith, when insurance companies don’t want to pay claims, and you’ve just got to make sure you get as many allies on your side as possible and certainly one of them is your lender. So I wish you the best in this and I hope that you have a high loan balance because the less equity you have, the more motivated your lender will be to go to bat for you and protect their collateral.
Okay, go to Ask Jason section of the website at www.jasonhartman.com and ask your questions, and before this goes too long, let’s go right now to the interview with Ellen Brown. I think you’ll enjoy this, so listen in.
Interview with Ellen Brown
Jason Hartman: It’s my pleasure to welcome Ellen Brown to the show. She is very knowledgeable when it comes to talking about Federal Reserve monetary policy and so forth. Ellen, how are you? Welcome to the show.
Ellen Brown: I’m fine, thank you.
Jason Hartman: Good to have you. Tell us a little bit about what’s going on in our country and what’s going on with the monetary system, and I really like how you refer to the 300-year Ponzi scheme, and that will maybe start us off.
Ellen Brown: Okay, well, the reason why we’ve had this sudden collapse in the market has actually been going on for 300 years. The way our money comes in to existence is actually based on a fraud or a Ponzi scheme or a pyramid scheme, where the banks take all of our money, except for coins, which are one-one-thousandth of the money supply. All of the rest is created as loans by banks. Most people think the government creates money, but that’s not really where it comes from.
So when you go to the bank and you take out a loan, they enter the money as a deposit into your account and they do it by double entry bookkeeping, so they have another entry they count as – on one side, it’s an asset to themselves and on the other side, it’s a liability to themselves so it comes out to zero. And so they will say no, we don’t create money because our books balance.
But in fact, that deposit is spent into the economy and that’s what becomes their money. But that means all of our money is debt and all of this debt accrues interest and the banks create the principle, but they don’t create the interest.
So you have this whole exponential curve that is a function of compound interest, where the amount of money necessary to service this debt that is our money supply gets larger and larger and larger, and that’s why we have an increasing debt and increasing money supply and inflation all over the world now.
So with this scheme, which has gone on since the 17th Century, called fractional reserve banking that grew out of a goldsmith, with that scheme, they’ve had to find more and more debtors to be sucked into the bottom of the pyramid to support the creditors at the top. So we pretty much indebted the whole rest of the world. I shouldn’t say “we.” It’s not us personally. It’s the private international banking system.
Jason Hartman: Every country in the world now has a central bank and a fiat currency, right.
Ellen Brown: Virtually.
Jason Hartman: Virtually every country that is playing the game.
Ellen Brown: Well, they’re not necessarily private. I mean almost all of them are. Iran, for instance, has a nationally owned central bank and you could make an argument that that’s one reason they’re one of our public enemies. I mean it’s a public enemy of our private banking system because in Iran – well, in Islam, they don’t believe in interest. They think interest is sinful.
Jason Hartman: They have other ways of structuring interest without calling it interest, though.
Ellen Brown: Yeah, it really is interest, but even so, it is a threat to the Western banking system, which is all built on interest and usury and so forth.
Jason Hartman: Well, talk about that a little more. That’s really interesting because I know that – I believe, at least, that you’re certainly not in favor of the Federal Reserve. I am not, as well. So we’re in agreement there, but as I understand it, you believe that the government should control the money supply, but still have a fiat currency, is that correct?
Ellen Brown: Well, I think we’re past having anything else.
Jason Hartman: Because going back to the gold standard would be virtually impossible is what you’re saying.
Ellen Brown: Right and well, the gold standard, it was a ruse, so it was what got us into this mess, the idea that these paper bank notes were backed by gold when most of them weren’t. I mean there was only one-tenth as much gold in the bank as there were bank notes supposedly drawing on it.
Jason Hartman: So there was always fractional reserve banking, right?
Ellen Brown: Right. It was always a fraud. But the easy credit part of it was actually a good thing. The problem is that it was controlled by private bankers and the interest went back to the banks and it was drawn off the top all the time. But in Pennsylvania, they had a public credit system, which is what I think they should put in place, and just let the banks collapse and don’t bail them out. Don’t change things because they’re going to collapse of their own accord because of this quadrillion dollar, or at least – depends on how you count it – but at least $180 trillion derivatives on their books. They have to collapse.
But anyway, so just let the banks go do their own private thing, but set up a public credit system so we can unfreeze the credit that is now frozen. They’re doing that anyway. The Federal Reserve is doing that. The thing that supposedly was responsible for this dramatic reversal in the market was that the Fed stepped up with this lending window for virtually anybody to use for their short-term loans, the short-term paper that they use to pay payroll.
The Federal Reserve has never done that before. They’re stepping way outside the parameters that are normally considered their area of what they have control over. Supposedly, originally, they only lent to their member banks, and then they expanded that as an emergency measure. There are a couple of clauses in the Federal Reserve Act that say that in exigent circumstances, they can lend to – well, first, they expanded it to non-member financial institutions, for instance, AIG and Bear Stearns.
Jason Hartman: Right, certainly not banks that are part of the Federal Reserve System is what you’re saying.
Ellen Brown: Right. So they expanded it that far and now they’re expanding it to every sort of company.
Jason Hartman: So the interesting thing here is, of course, that is very inflationary with all of these activities. I mean the Fed is becoming such an activist organization and they’re just pumping money into the system like crazy.
Ellen Brown: Well, the problem is they’re getting their money from the Treasury, which is us. So we the taxpayers are supposedly on the hook for all this money that they’re lending to – actually, it’s not so bad if they’re lending it to GM and things that are actually producing things. But still, we the taxpayers are still on the hook.
So it seems to me a better system would be for credit to originate with the government, but it’s still credit because it goes out as a loan. I mean we need loans right now. We’re desperately short of credit and that’s why they’ve done this. So it’s not inflationary nonsense that you’re making loans because without those loans, businesses can’t even operate if they can’t meet their payroll and they’ve relied on those for decades, and now, suddenly, that’s been shut off because the banking system is all screwed up.
The Federal Reserve is doing it by putting us in debt, we the taxpayers. And the Federal Reserve is a private banking corporation. I mean we have no control over what they do, but they just report every few months or whatever, quarterly, I think, or whatever it is they report. But that’s all it says in the Federal Reserve Act, that they have to report to Congress. That’s all the control there is. We just wait to hear what it is they’ve done and then everybody rushes out and invests accordingly.
So as long as they’re virtually going to be the bank of the country anyway, I mean that’s the way it’s going. They’re nationalizing all these banks. They’re buying equity in banks. But they’re only half nationalizing them. They’re still letting the CEOs control – well, first of all, they take huge salaries and bonuses. I guess they’re going to put some cap on that.
Jason Hartman: But that will be abused. I mean we know that. That won’t really come true, of course.
Ellen Brown: And they can still use the money. There’s no requirement that they take this money that we’re investing in these companies, in these banks, and use them for loans, which is the whole idea to get the credit market going again. They can use that money to clean up their books and their books can’t be cleaned up. It’s impossible to wipe out those credit default swaps that are on their books without bankrupting the taxpayers in the meantime.
So they can still go bankrupt in the end, but what they can do is clean up their stock enough that they can make off with and settle in South America or somewhere. I think what they’re doing is just bailing out a sinking ship, trying to preserve as much of their profits as they can.
Jason Hartman: Well, what I see happening is really, really scary in my opinion. I see this huge transfer of wealth going on into and the consolidation in amongst the very wealthy. It seems like the world’s wealth is being pulled into private vaults and that is definitely not benefiting the middle class. In fact, it’s dramatically hurting the middle class because this bailout, I don’t think the government will make a profit on it. I don’t think the government will get its money back and that’s inflationary to all of us. Do you agree with that?
Ellen Brown: Totally.
Jason Hartman: So this will be nearly a trillion dollars down the drain and it will really enrich certain very wealthy people and companies that are on the insider’s game, Goldman Sachs, of course, being one of them, and we’re going to see the rest of us get hurt through inflation by this.
Ellen Brown: And by interest rates on the Federal debt that are going to be so high that at some point, they’re going to take over the whole debt. We won’t be able to be paying anything but interest or we’ll default. Although we can’t – one thing about it, because our debts are in dollars, we can’t really default. What we can do is drive it into hyperinflation because they’ve already got the power to print the dollars to pay this thing off.
Jason Hartman: And the real benefit we have there and the reason the world still seems to be playing along is No. 1, we’re the world’s reserve currency, the dollar, and I don’t know how long that will stay that way. I’d love to get your take on that. Any thoughts?
Ellen Brown: Well, they’re definitely switching over. We’re not the sole reserve currency. Many countries are trading among themselves without dollars.
Jason Hartman: Right, in other currencies, of course. And many people, and it’s sort of been a funny thing to watch, about a year ago in Amsterdam, the exchange houses wouldn’t accept dollars. They wanted Euros, at least at that time. And then Gisele, the famous super model wanted her pay in Euros, not dollars. We’re starting to see little signs of this all around and of course, OPEC; they want to get off the dollar as well.
But when you talk to someone about this subject of inflation, personally I believe we’re in a period and we’re going to be facing a lot more of it in the future, of rampant monetary inflation, while we seem to be having asset deflation. Do you agree and if so or if not, can you smoke out your thoughts on that a little bit?
Ellen Brown: I think it’s manipulated. First of all, it was driven artificially. Gold, silver, oil, food, they were all driven way, way up by speculation. It was a huge pump and dump scheme really and then it was all – the plug was pulled in July intentionally in order to turn things around. That’s when gold was shooting through the roof and the dollar was plunging, and the Federal Reserve got together with the central banks of Europe and Asia and they all bought dollars. And then that drove the dollar up and it made other currencies weaker, and they trashed the price of gold and brought down oil. They can manipulate.
Now, Paulson’s got $700 billion that he can do whatever he wants with it. Who knows what he’s doing? He’s busily printing Federal debt, we know that, and nobody’s really – as far as I know, nobody’s really overseeing what he’s doing with it. So I don’t know if you noticed, gold plunged yesterday by $60.00, like in the space of a few minutes and absolutely nothing happened to cause that. If anything, it should have been going the other way.
Jason Hartman: It’s because our new fourth branch of government, the “plunge protection team” and Paulson and his gang seem to be just interfering in the stock market and the commodities market dramatically, right?
Ellen Brown: Well, the whole idea is to hold commodities down. You don’t want a “go-to” investment. Historically, people have fled to gold and silver when the stock market goes bad. So in order to prop the stock market up, they have to make everything else look bad. There’s no other alternative that’s better. But it’s no longer capitalism. It’s enough to make – I’m ready to pull all my money out.
Jason Hartman: Well, where would you go? What would you be doing with your money? See, that’s the problem with precious metals. They’re a flight to quality type of investment, but they’re subject to so much manipulation and the question you have to ask yourself is how long can they continue to manipulate them. And so what do you think about that?
Ellen Brown: Well, they’ve certainly been doing it for decades. Paul Volker said that his mistake – and that was in 1980 – was not depressing the price of gold, and I think they’ve been doing it ever since.
Jason Hartman: And Volker was sort of a tough character. He was willing to let the economy take its medicine and break the back of inflation, kind of traditional in that mindset. What do you think of the future of gold and silver prices? How do you see it?
Ellen Brown: Well, you can’t get gold and silver anymore. You have to wait for months.
Jason Hartman: For the physical stuff.
Ellen Brown: Yeah, the real price of gold is going up and up.
Jason Hartman: Well, I just talked to a gold dealer today. The premiums seem to be going up, but the spot price is low. So if you want to buy a gold eagle, your premium is almost $100.00, whereas just a year ago, it was about $30.00. So whatever the spot price is, because it’s so hard to get, they are saying that they just have to charge a big premium and so it’s this sort of disconnect between spot price and the physical market for these assets.
Ellen Brown: It’s a clear sign of manipulation. But it’s so blatant. It’s almost like – well, I remember back in January when there was a big stock market crash and Hilary Clinton said she thought that the Plunge Protection Team should – well, she called it the President’s working group, that financial markets should get in there and prop the market back up, as if that was their job, and everybody knew that. She was kind of letting the cat out of the bag because people don’t usually talk about it.
But now, it’s expected and most people, I suppose, are with the regular stocks and so they think that’s just fine. But it just means that you don’t have any certainty in anything you do. There’s another player in there that somebody is making a lot of money with all these market manipulations.
Jason Hartman: Right, it’s sort of like a new version of Adam’s Myths Invisible Hand. The problem is the invisible hand now is the government with an unlimited printing press. Isn’t that amazing, though? Yeah.
Ellen Brown: Where it’s connected to a big player or a hedge fund.
Jason Hartman: It sure is. I just want to make sure I get a clear take on this because we kind of diverged a little bit. Your opinion, if you have one, on the future of gold prices and silver prices, for example.
Ellen Brown: Well, they should shoot way up and the question is how long. If you have $700 billion to play with, you could probably manipulate them down for a long time.
Jason Hartman: Do you think they’ll go down further? I mean there will be more manipulation, right?
Ellen Brown: I bet the next time they get up to a $1,000.00, they’ll push it back down again.
Jason Hartman: That’s just unbelievable that they can do this, but I think you’re seeing that disconnect like we talked about between the spot price and the real price, which is the real market. So good point. Clear sign of manipulation there.
Ellen Brown: I heard someone say – I can’t remember who it was; it was on a talk show – he said I’m heavily diversified. I have some in a mattress, some under the floorboards, some in the backyard.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, right, exactly. See, that’s why I like rental properties because they’re subject to relatively little manipulation. Whenever you can deal in anything in the real economy versus the smoke and mirrors economy of Wall Street and Washington, I think you’re better off. Of course, if people can’t obtain financing for real estate, that’s a manipulation in a way, right. Tax laws. There are factors, no question, but I want as little outside manipulation as possible in any investment I have. And it seems like the government really has a very vested interest in propping up the dollar and every government has a vested interest in propping up their fiat currency.
And they also, because the stock market is really a fiat currency also, stock certificates, electronic stocks, they have a very vested interest in propping that up, too. What is more important to our government and to our central bank? Is it seeing inflation be under control? Is it seeing the stock market reach new highs? Is it seeing the dollar be strong? To me, that answer is they want to prop up Wall Street and they don’t seem to care much about anything else. But what are your thoughts?
Ellen Brown: Right and it’s the Roman circus of today where 50 percent of the population has been sucked into this black market because bonds, the interest rate has gone so low that you can’t really put your money away for old age in bonds and expect it to pay for your old age unless – I mean you have to have at least whatever, $600,000.00 or $700,000.00 to be able to live on what you can make on bonds, depending on your lifestyle.
Jason Hartman: And after inflation, those bonds are just being destroyed in value.
Ellen Brown: Yeah, so people feel compelled to gamble in the stock market and the Dow only has 30 stocks in it, so it’s actually fairly easily manipulated. They can drive the futures up every morning. That’s very easy to do. It doesn’t necessarily hold, but they can manipulate a few big stocks and then that’s enough to get the ball rolling in a particular direction.
So it seems to me that they use that as a measure. Well, before when the Dow was doing well — a year ago, it almost broke 14,000 and they would point to that and they would say, “What economic problems? Look at the Dow. It’s doing wonderfully.” And that was their standard of how the economy was doing, but of course, everybody knew that a lot of people were out of work and that companies were folding and things weren’t really doing so well.
Jason Hartman: And when you adjust those new record highs for official inflation rates, you see that they’re not too spectacular at all, and then adjust them for real inflation rates and it’s really depressing. And now, take them down to almost half.
Ellen Brown: And now, we’re down to breaking 8,000 on the downside.
Jason Hartman: I know, so it’s really scary when you look at that. I mean there’s a lot of paper wealth has no doubt disappeared from the system. But it seems like all the insiders are still doing fine with their big salaries and their golden parachutes and so forth. What do you think the real rate of inflation is?
Ellen Brown: Do you know John William’s site?
Jason Hartman: Yes, I believe so.
Ellen Brown: The last I looked, it was something like 15 percent, but that was a while back.
Jason Hartman: So you agree that it was about 15 percent or so?
Ellen Brown: Oh, it’s definitely way higher than what the official numbers are. You can tell just by going to the grocery store.
Jason Hartman: Sure, no doubt. And my opinion is I would have said about 12 percent, so I’m close. Yeah, no question about it.
Ellen Brown: And gas has dropped down because it’s sort of a showpiece, but I haven’t seen the price of eggs dropping down.
Jason Hartman: Yeah. So inflation is 15 percent, but gas is getting a little bit cheaper. Of course, it’s cheaper off a ridiculous high. Some things are getting less expensive. Certainly, stocks are less expensive. Certainly, land values are lower in most places. How do you reconcile that? Our listeners have trouble with that because I know we get questions on it all the time.
Ellen Brown: Well, prices are going up. One reason they have to go up is because the whole money supply is created out of debt. You have to always be covering this interest, so you have to continually be raising your prices. So it’s not necessarily a sign. It’s not because things are necessarily more secure. And then there’s the speculation problems, so speculators are driving up the price of food around the world and it’s not because people are eating more or the population growth is nothing like the increase in the price of rice last spring, for instance.
What’s driven it up is speculation or money. You don’t have more people competing for the same goods, driving the price up. What you have is more money competing for the same goods and so that money, well, in the case of commodities right now, it was the hot money that came out of the real estate market when it was no longer such a great investment. It had to go somewhere and so commodities look like the next best thing, so everybody fled to commodities. But of course, that’s what the Plunge Protection Team had to look at and say, well, this is getting out of hand, and so they crashed the commodities market.
But that’s not a good thing either because then you have human beings who are in control of markets behind the scenes and there’s such a great room there for them to make huge profits themselves. They know which way they’re manipulating things and we don’t. That’s very frustrating if you try to invest reasonably.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, no question about it. I think someone needs to sue the government for manipulating the markets. I mean people are losing real money because of this. Investors who bought copper, investors who bought oil, investors who bought corn, they’re losing money because of the government’s really, somewhat secret, market manipulation. I can’t fathom that in a capitalist society where we supposedly have free markets. That’s unbelievable.
Ellen Brown: Yeah, and people have even come to expect that. But I think that our real leverage – we do have to get organized in some way and that the only way we can stand up to – the idea of electing one of two political candidates to solve the problem, I think everybody has seen through that by now. Neither candidate seems to be apprised of the real issues. So if we want to have some leverage, what we need to do, I think, is some massive lawsuits. That would be something that would get some attention.
Jason Hartman: Lawsuits against the government.
Ellen Brown: Well, there are a number of different types of lawsuits you could bring. You could have homeowners. Subprime homeowners have a good defense to foreclosure because often the trustees on these mortgage-backed securities don’t have the paperwork to prove that they have standing to foreclose. So that’s a lot. I mean you could have millions of people who could stand up to their foreclosures. I’m not saying that’s a good thing. A lot of people would get out of mortgages that they should justly be paying, etc.
Jason Hartman: I think that’s going to continue to happen anyway, though, right?
Ellen Brown: Yeah, and it is a form of financial clout. And then, of course, the investors have been cheated. All over the world investors have been cheated. All those people that thought they were investing in safe Triple A securities, or pension funds – they’re only allowed to invest in Triple A securities and that Triple A seal was a fraud. It was based on derivatives that were a form of insurance that is not insurance and they don’t have the ability to pay up. So they have a good lawsuit. They could have a lawsuit against the trustees, which are the banks that set up these mortgage-backed securities.
Jason Hartman: Right, certainly, you can’t trust Moody’s for your future, right, because Moody’s did the ratings.
Ellen Brown: Well, even Moody’s could have a claim. Everybody has been cheated here in one way or another. So if you have a lot of lawsuits filed – of course, nobody trusts the court system either – but at least you have many judges all over the place. It’s not like you’re going to –
Jason Hartman: Subject to one particular judge.
Ellen Brown: Yeah, the head of the Federal Reserve or something or to your Congressman to get justice. At least you can go right into a court.
Jason Hartman: Okay, so that’s good talking about action plans, so litigation. What else can we do to stand up to this tyranny that’s going on?
Ellen Brown: Well, the more information that gets out there, I think the better because outrage is the first step toward changing things and right now, we don’t have – we’re still at the stage where people are blaming themselves, thinking they made a bad investment, or oh darn, I should have put it here instead of there, but it’s not really their fault. And the more they wake up to that and realize that they’ve been cheated, that the whole system is –
Jason Hartman: Is fixed.
Ellen Brown: Yeah, exactly. It’s rigged.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, it is rigged. So what is your opinion on the future of the Dow and the S&P? Where do you think we’ll – two years from now, where do you think we’ll see those numbers? Any ideas?
Ellen Brown: I think they’ll go lower yet.
Jason Hartman: Wow. And you know what scares me the most about the stock market is the fact that we’re in this position where we’re seeing them go lower, and by the way, I do agree with you that they’ll go lower. When this starts to sort of work its way through the system, there’s always a business cycle to things. Ultimately, then, we have the baby boomer retirement issue where we’re going to see the entitlements being paid and then at the same time, we’re going to see the boomers sucking money out of the stock market and either spending it, which, of course, most of the spending is in the S&P, but I think that because this is a Ponzi scheme, it’s more important that Wall Street have shareholders than customers. By customers, I mean consumers of products the companies make.
So 2012, that’s what’s going to happen. We’re going to start seeing all the baby boomers taking money out and we’re in for a further collapse. Do you agree with that?
Ellen Brown: Well, it certainly could be disastrous if it continues to go the way it is, but that’s why I think we need a totally new system and I think it could be fixed. What you could do, what should be done, I think, is in the 1930s, Hoover set up something called the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, which it was a government bank basically. It was set up to make loans to the banks and it was supposed to bailout the banks, but, of course, it didn’t work because the banks didn’t need more loans. They were drowning in loans.
What they needed was some customers and so Roosevelt came along and used that same mechanism and funded things that would put people back to work, from building roads and bridges and dams and all those projects that they did in the New Deal. And then they used the same mechanism that Reconstruction Finance Corporation defined World War II and so they set up all these tools that then went on to make us a great industrial power for the rest of the century.
But the only thing wrong with Roosevelt, that particular system, was that they borrowed the money that they lent. So it seems to me what you could do, since banks create the money they lend out of nothing and the money they lend is only backed by the full face of credit in the United States. The United States could set up its own lending system, its own credit system. Just ignore the banks. Let them go bankrupt. Don’t bail them out and don’t try to suppress them. Just let them go and set up your own credit system that would then issue credit to state and local governments for half a percentage or something very, very marginal, to pull them out of it. They’re all going bankrupt.
Jason Hartman: California, where we live – you live in California, I believe. I’m in Orange County and so we’re probably going to see our own state go bankrupt soon, right?
Ellen Brown: Right. Half of the cost of everything now is interest, so if you made like zero percent interest loans or half a percent interest loans to state and local governments, they could be doing things – well, for instance, they could buy up – they could do low cost housing or buy up all these subprime. They could fix all these neighborhoods that are falling apart and re-rent them to people, and then the rent would go back to pay off the loan. So it’s not like you’re just issuing money and issuing money. It’s a loan and it’s supposed to come back to the issuer, which would be the federal government, but the federal government doesn’t have to borrow and go further into debt to find the money to make these loans. The credit starts with the federal government. That’s what I think. That’s the definition of credit, the full face of credit of the United States.
Instead of the Treasury borrowing from the Federal Reserve, which is a private banking corporation and that money is initiated at the Federal Reserve, the money should initiate with the government. The government, right now, prints all the money they need, but they print it in the form of bonds, which are debt. They print these little pink pieces of paper and they call it bonds, and then they trade them with big green pieces of paper, printed by the Federal Reserve, called Federal Reserve Notes. Of course, most of it is just created electronically, but that’s the basic principle.
So the money that the government is printing as bonds might as well be printed as U.S. notes or whatever, as dollars, because it would not be anymore inflationary than printing bonds because those bonds are never, ever paid off. That debt just grows and grows and grows, and that money goes out into the system, and it’s just rolled over and rolled over, and that is our money supply.
But it’s an interest-bearing money supply that we, the People, have to service all the time and it’s holding this weight over our heads that we owe this debt to someone, whereas if it were just issued outright, you would have the same amount of money in the money supply, but you would not have the debt and you would not be interest-bearing or be a permanent money supply, or be out there until this pays back for some reason.
Jason Hartman: So my question is aren’t you just making the Federal Reserve federal then?
Ellen Brown: That would work. You could do it either way. [Inaudible] very different.
Jason Hartman: Instead of it being private, right, it would be –
Ellen Brown: Or you could nationalize it. Either one would work.
Jason Hartman: So you’re saying that a nationalized Federal Reserve is better than a private one and I agree with you on that. But we’re letting politicians control the money supply rather than private bankers. It seems like either one of them is going to end up in all sorts of crookery and pandering.
Ellen Brown: Well, but the trouble is politicians are already controlling it because they’re the ones that issued the debt. But they’re at the mercy of the bankers. The bankers are basically calling the shots. So if they should be at the mercy of the people, it should be the people calling the shots and overseeing this whole process. So if it was just our elected officials issuing it as loans that would come back to the government, it wouldn’t even have to involve taxes.
Jason Hartman: Interesting. I agree on the first step. It just seems like we’re going to have the same problem. It’ll just be maybe a little more accountable and less of a problem.
Ellen Brown: Well, and we won’t owe interest on it. We won’t have a big debt over our heads.
Jason Hartman: That’s true. We’re not paying the interest to private bankers, exactly, and federal. You mentioned that about Iran, which I was not aware of at the beginning of our talk today. You said that Iran does have a central bank, but it’s a government central bank. Is that the distinction?
Ellen Brown: It’s owned by the government. They are making steps toward complying with Western banking principles.
Jason Hartman: But they have terrible inflation in Iran. I heard it’s like 20 – 23 percent.
Ellen Brown: I read that that was not true.
Jason Hartman: Oh, really?
Ellen Brown: Yeah, well, you know a lot of Western sources make things look bad.
Jason Hartman: Could be the only thing I’ll comment on that is I do have an Iranian friend, who had put a bunch of money in Iranian banks and the interest being paid was really high, but the debasement of currency was higher than the interest being paid. So it apparently didn’t really work out, as a net result, to be a very good deal.
Ellen Brown: Well, they’re being boycotted and so it’s not easy to manage an economy all by yourself when you’re that small. China did it, but China was huge and so they managed – they were blockaded or boycotted by the rest of the world for years and that’s where they kind of got their strength. They developed on their own. The same as the United States did back in colonial days. We didn’t have anyone to rely on, but us, and so we developed internally.
Jason Hartman: Right, we became rugged individuals. So a couple more things here. The government raised the debt ceiling a few weeks ago, so I think it went from $9 trillion, with a “T,” to $11 trillion. Because of this bailout, they had to raise it. And we have this huge debt and I think that this giant debt plus all the entitlements coming at us are going to create a lot of additional inflation. Is there anybody in Washington or anybody anywhere with any real plan? What will the government ultimately do? Will the U.S. government just default on all the money it owes to other countries and go bankrupt in essence? Could that happen? What would happen? How does this debt ever get repaid?
Ellen Brown: Well, it can’t be the way they’re going now, but I think there’s a solution to that, too. When a debt comes due, we have the power to put dollars in. So when the debt comes due, they always pay off the bonds. They never default on their bonds. But what they do is then they roll it over with more bonds. They raise more money by issuing yet more bonds and if nobody will buy the bonds, then the Federal Reserve funds them by just printing money.
So it seems to me that what they could do is just pay off the bonds as they come due and don’t roll them over. I mean who’s to even know whether they rolled those bonds over or not. They pay them in the ordinary way and then the debt’s just gone.
Jason Hartman: Pay them by printing more dollars?
Ellen Brown: Right. And who’s to know? You just put it in the account. They’ve done that before where they actually have called bonds because the interest was too high. So all they did was they sent out this notice that said this bond series, whatever it is now, is being recalled and you will be paid. We’ll pay you the face amount of the bond. But the point is you’re not going to get any more interest from us. Go invest your money somewhere else.
Jason Hartman: So we would say – so the U.S. government, for example, would say that to China.
Ellen Brown: Well, it’s just the bond issue would come due and then they just write into the Chinese account and say your bond has been paid in full, but we’re not renewing this series, so go invest it somewhere else.
Jason Hartman: So don’t you think, though, that the bondholder would understand that there is a lot of money being printed just to do that and that money is worthless?
Ellen Brown: But that’s what happens anyway. They do pay off the debt, the bonds, but then they allow them to roll it over into a new series, and it’s only a matter of an entry, an accounting entry. It’s not like you even have to run the printing presses.
Jason Hartman: Interesting, okay. What do you see as the future of the dollar and do you see an Amero coming? There’s a lot of talk about that now. It used to sound really conspiratorial and outlandish, but I’m hearing about it more and more.
Ellen Brown: I think that’s definitely a plan, but I don’t think they can pull it off. I don’t think the U.S. is that strong, like Canada. It’s not to the benefit of Canada or Mexico.
Jason Hartman: Now why isn’t it to the benefit of Canada or Mexico?
Ellen Brown: Canada, right now, they own their central bank. They still borrow from it, which just makes no sense, but at least the central bank is technically a government bank, a nationally owned bank. And the Federal Reserve would be the head of this whole system, no doubt. Their whole idea is to bring in Canada and Mexico to feed us oil that we don’t have ourselves. Well, that’s not going to help the Canadians.
Jason Hartman: What about Mexico?
Ellen Brown: I wouldn’t think it’s going to help them either. We want them as our vassals.
Jason Hartman: Do you believe – I’m sure you probably believe we’re in a recession. I think we have been for about a year and a half, two years. Do you think we’re in a depression or on the verge of one?
Ellen Brown: I do, but it could be a good thing because it’s only when systems break down that you have the possibility of putting in a better system and we’ve been in a pretty oppressed system for a long time for most people. I mean now both parents have to work to pay off the mortgage and even then they can’t do it and now they’re defaulting, etc. So our lifestyle has gotten more and more difficult for your average middle class person than it was even like when I was a child. My dad managed to pay off the mortgage and support us all and my mom didn’t work.
Jason Hartman: I agree and I think we’re going to see that standard of living diminish even further for most Americans, especially those with savings or equity in real estate or money in the stock market and bonds because it’s all denominated in dollars and that dollar value is declining dramatically. And I think we’ll see further decline.
Ellen Brown: I’ve heard that things aren’t so bad in depression in some ways because people have a lot more time to read if they don’t have jobs, assuming you can –
Jason Hartman: Boy, you are a real optimist, aren’t you?
Ellen Brown: Well, I just think we have to change the system and when enough people are out of work and are outraged, we will change the system. What you could do, for instance, say in Michigan or –
Jason Hartman: So a very bad economy, more like Michigan’s, that’s what you’re talking about.
Ellen Brown: Yes, a very bad economy. It’s somewhere where people are looking for solutions. Actually, I have to give a lecture there soon and that’s why I’m thinking about Michigan.
Jason Hartman: The first thing they could do is de-unionize, if you ask me, and bring some business back to Michigan, but go ahead.
Ellen Brown: I’m thinking of how you could bring business back would be to have state-owned banks. A state can own a bank. They do have such things as state banks, but a state bank could then issue dollars in the same way the private bank does, issue credit. All the loans that banks create are created with nothing. Well, have the state bank create loans out of nothing for state purposes and lend it to the state for all those things that Michigan thinks they don’t have the money to do. It would be loans and it would be paid back, but all that credit that they think they don’t have, they could easily create just with their own state banking system.
Jason Hartman: Boy, I agree with all of your philosophies until you get to the part where you just seem to have a lot of faith in government and I think that’s largely what got us into this mess. A state-owned bank.
Ellen Brown: I think government hasn’t had enough power. They’ve been crippled by a corporatacrocy that has control. [Inaudible] took over 100 years ago. We haven’t even had a real government for a long time.
Jason Hartman: Well, in a sense, I do agree with you there. As much of a capitalist as I like to think I am, I do believe that the corporatacracy is running the government essentially and they’re using the government as like a big vacuum cleaner to just vacuum up tax revenue and make regulations that help the big corporatacracy and that’s why I don’t like big and I don’t like unreal – by unreal, I mean smoke-and-mirrors games like Wall Street, central banks, etc. The real economy is when I trade with you and we both benefit from the trade. That is the most real thing out there. If you need a place to rent and you rent my place, that is the real economy. We’re in engaging in commerce that benefits both of us.
If you need a widget and I sell you my widget and the widget improves your life, it’s all good. That can’t be manipulated very much. The problem is all of the money has been sucked out of the real economy and it’s going to Wall Street and it’s all centralized. Too much control in Washington and on Wall Street.
Ellen Brown: Well, it seems to me there to have a capitalism that works, you have to have this umbrella of a system that protects the weak, basically, so you have to have rules, you have to have a legislature, you have to have a judiciary, you have to have police, and so forth. So really, all money is is like you said, an agreement between people. Somebody wants somebody else’s labor and then they pay them with a little receipt, acknowledging that they received value, and then that person can use that receipt acknowledging a certain amount of value to buy something else that he needs.
But you need a system that enforces all those agreements and that is what the full face and credit of the United States means. It means that you can take your little agreement, or let’s say you’re – what banks do is basically be the middleman. The seller wants his money now and the buyer doesn’t have it, so the buyer says, well, I’ll pay over time and the bank says we’ll take the risk that maybe you won’t pay. We’ll pretend to have advanced this money to the seller, although we’re not really advancing real money. We’re just going to write it into his account because it’s really just a liability on our own books, to ourselves. And then you pay us interest for us taking the risk that maybe you won’t pay it back.
But the problem is, of course, that the bank then is taking much more money in, in the form of interest, and scooping it off the top, and so the system ultimately had to break down mathematically.
But you could have that be a public function, deposits and transferring funds from one person to another, writing checks, and so forth, and advancing credit between people. So then you have this government. The purpose of the government then would be to enforce, to make the rules, to make sure it’s fair. Like we need things like glass, steel, and all those things that are repealed. It’s true that corporations are passing laws in their favor, but they’ve also gotten rid of all the laws that are in the favor of the small business, the little people, the ordinary people.
So anyway, you need the legislature to make the rules that are fair and hopefully, you have a democratic government where you actually make fair rules, and then you have a judiciary that will enforce the rules, and police that will do garnishment and all those things if you need it, and bankruptcy laws to let people off the hook so they don’t have to go to jail for not paying if they’re sick or something like that.
So you have this whole system of protections in place that insures a fair race and then you can have competition within that umbrella, fair competition.
Jason Hartman: Fair enough. I think that largely I just think that I like a little more free market than that, but I think what you say is better than what we have now. We’ll definitely give you that. Good. Well, any thoughts in closing, Ellen?
Ellen Brown: Well, I’m just writing on how the free market is dead.
Jason Hartman: I agree with you that it is dead.
Ellen Brown: So we need to do something to get it back and it seems to me that we need to – or the first thing we have to do is take back our government.
Jason Hartman: Well, that’s definitely true. Do you think that’s ever possible, though, with everybody being bought and paid for in Washington?
Ellen Brown: Well, I wouldn’t think it’s possible just by voting for one of the two major political candidates.
Jason Hartman: No, the voting everybody gets so worked up about, voting for McCain or Obama, and either way, in my opinion, they’re both status, they’re two versions of the same kind of thing, and it seems as though that’s all we get every election when it comes to a president.
Well, I’d love to talk to you a little bit more about that. You’ve got some interesting thoughts there on a future show and Ellen Brown, thank you so much for being on the show. You have a website, I believe?
Ellen Brown: Yes, it’s www.webofdebt.com and my book on this subject is Web of Debt.
Jason Hartman: And it’s an interesting read, so I’d recommend it to all of our listeners. Thanks so much for being on the show. I hope you’ll join us again.
Ellen Brown: Thanks. It was nice talking to you.
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Duration: 67 minutes