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On this episode of the Authors Corner, Ethan Yang sits down with former hedge fund manager and founder of Signals Matter, Matt Piepenburg, to discuss his book Rigged to Fail. Matt brings his years of experience in the financial industry and his academic scholarship to offer a nuanced discussion on both the stock market from an investor’s perspective and the Federal Reserve from a policy standpoint. His background includes managing billions of dollars for a variety of clients from individual investors to banks like Morgan Stanley. He holds degrees from Brown, Harvard, and a J.D. from the University of Michigan.
Article and video by Ethan Yang from AIER.
Piepenburg’s strategy as an investor is highly defensive and skeptical of short-term trends in favor of more reliable assets. His views on monetary policy are as pedigree as any guest worthy of appearing on this show, drawing from great economic thinkers such as Adam Smith, Ludwig von Mises, and Joseph Schumpeter.
This episode was one of the earliest on the podcast series so forgive us for the lack of video or Ethan’s awkwardness.
To start off, Matt discusses the title of his book, which immediately suggests that the stock market is fundamentally unhealthy due to heavy levels of intervention from the central government. He explains that although we don’t know exactly how the market will move, sound economics tells us that what’s going on isn’t good. There are natural economic forces of supply and demand and business cycles that are important for the normal functioning of the stock market. The Federal Reserve, through its constant involvement in the market, distorts these natural forces. Policies such as quantitative easing, bailouts, and low interest rates are often used for short-term political gain while potentially setting the economy up to fail.
From an investor’s standpoint, that means that many companies are likely overvalued or propped up by government support and can’t stand on their own. The market itself, which has recently been supported by constant money injections and low interest rates, may be highly overvalued. However, at the same time, the government can’t afford to let the market correct at this point. They would rather punt responsibility for that down the line to future generations. At the same time, the potential crash may grow in size as the bubble is inflated until it can no longer be sustained. A good analogy would be a frat party where everyone just keeps drinking to keep the party going and to avoid having a hangover. Eventually, that party has to end, and the longer it goes, the worse the hangover. The responsible thing to do would have been to simply not drink so much to begin with or to end the party earlier in exchange for a more manageable hangover.
From a policy perspective, the Federal Reserve is causing dangerous distortions in the market that nobody really understands the full consequences of. Politicians seeking to gain short-term popularity cheer on the use of money injections and low interest rates, even though in the long term these are not sustainable or safe. The longer they keep it going, the worse the potential crash could be. It’s a vicious cycle that will require bravery and honesty to confront. Although such a trend has been ongoing since the 2008 Recession, with quantitative easing following almost in lockstep with GDP growth, it has been further exacerbated by the Covid-19 stimulus spending. Eventually, this debt-fueled party has to come to an end.
This perilous circumstance is what inspired Matt’s title Rigged to Fail because he justifiably sees tremendous danger in such reckless behavior. It’s possible that the crash could be soon, or it could be far into the future. However, nobody can deny that such behavior can’t persist in the long term without consequences. In response, he gives some basic investing advice. Be wary of trendy assets, especially those that are benefitting from short-term euphoria such as those that did unusually well because of Covid-19. Keep a lookout for signals such as 10-year Treasury Bond yield curves which can provide insight on whether or not the market is turning for the worse. Diversify into different sorts of assets, whether that be different industries or ETFs and certainly look into precious metals which could not only hold their value but serve as a hedge when fiat currencies go south.
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The ultimate takeaway is to be skeptical of the current status quo of highly experimental and adventurous monetary policy. Wall Street often serves as a cheerleader for such policies rather than a critic, so you should always be skeptical. Finally, it is always better to be safe rather than sorry, especially now with the market in such uncertain territory.
American Patriots Uniting to Fight Tyranny from, Well, Everywhere
We’re building a new conservative news network. Based on responses from fellow patriots, we’re heading in the right direction.
It may be hard to believe based on what we’re seeing around the nation today, but there are many reasons to be hopeful. First and foremost, the false narrative that most of America hates traditional values or the foundations of our nation are finally being proven false. Despite the best efforts of globalists and Neo-Marxists, patriotic Americans are starting to unify in droves. Meanwhile, Joe Biden can barely muster a half-filled auditorium to deliver his message to the scant few watching CNN and the paid shills in the “crowd.”
The “silent majority” that drove Donald Trump to victory in 2016 and 2020 (yes, he won by a landslide but was robbed along with the American people) is finally starting to realize we cannot stay silent any longer. We used to win with our votes, but those are being stolen. We used to win with truth, but the radical left and their agents in mainstream media, Big Tech, and academia are building a post-truth society to drown out reality. Today, we are waking up to the realization that only through direct action and fearlessly spreading the truth can we overcome the nefarious forces working against us.
We are proud to be working our way up to the tip of the conservative media spear. Our network is growing. We’re establishing strong partnerships with like-minded news outlets and courageous journalists. Even as Big Tech suppresses us, the honest messages they’re trying to quash are finding their way to the eyes and ears of patriots across the nation. With the help of new content partners like The Epoch Times and The Liberty Daily, we’re starting to see a real impact.
Our network is currently comprised of nine sites:
- NOQ Report
- Conservative Playlist
- Truth. Based. Media.
- Freedom First Network
- Based Underground
- Uncanceled News
- American Conservative Movement
- Conservative Playbook
- Our Gold Guy
Some of our content is spread across all of these sites. Other pieces of content are unique. We write most of what we post but we also draw from those willing to allow us to share their quality articles, videos, and podcasts. We collect the best content from fellow conservative sites that give us permission to republish them. We’re not ego-driven; I’d much rather post a properly attributed story written by experts like Dr. Joseph Mercola or Natural News than rewrite it like so many outlets like to do. We’re not here to take credit. We’re here to spread the truth.
The slow and steady reopening of America is revealing there was a lot more economic hardship brought about from the Covd-19 lockdowns than most realize. While we continue to hope advertising dollars on the sites go up, it’s simply not enough to do things the right way. We are currently experiencing a gap between revenue and expenses that cannot be overcome by click-ads and MyPillow promos alone (promo code “NOQ” by the way).
To overcome our revenue gap and keep these sites running, our needs fluctuate between $2200-$7800 per month. May, 2021, for example, was amazing and we almost broke even. June, revenue was sluggish at best and we had to make up a big difference out of our pockets. But we’re not just trying to get out of the red. If and when we start getting enough contributions to expand, we will do just that. Very few get into journalism to try to get rich and we’re definitely not among those who do. Our success is driven by spreading the truth, profitable or not.
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The best way you can help us grow and continue to bring proper news and opinions to the people is by donating. We appreciate everything, whether a dollar or $10,000. Anything brings us closer to a point of stability when we can hire writers, editors, and support staff to make the America First message louder. Our Giving Fuel page makes it easy to donate one-time or monthly. Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal or Bitcoin as well. Bitcoin: 3A1ELVhGgrwrypwTJhPwnaTVGmuqyQrMB8
Time is short. As the world spirals towards radical progressivism, the need for truthful journalism has never been greater. But in these times, we need as many conservative media voices as possible. Please help keep NOQ Report and the other sites in the network going. Our promise is this: We will never sell out America. If that means we’re going to struggle for a while or even indefinitely, so be it. Integrity first. Truth first. America first.
Thank you and God Bless,
Yes, We Need Your Help
I hate being “that guy” who asks people to donate because I think our conservative news network is so crucial, but here I am…
When I left my cushy corporate job in 2017, I did so knowing that my family would have to make sacrifices. But I couldn’t continue to watch the nation slip into oblivion and was inspired by President Trump’s willingness to fight the good fight even at his own personal expense. What I didn’t realize then is that conservative media would be so heavily attacked, canceled, and defunded that the sacrifices would be extreme.
Many in this nation are struggling right now even though we weren’t struggling just a few years ago. I’m not alone. But I wake up every morning and operate the sites we’ve been able to build because there’s really no other choice. I refuse to be beholden to Big Tech like so many other conservative news outlets, which is why you won’t see Google ads here. With that said, it’s often challenging to pay the bills and it’s even harder to expand so we can get the America First message out to a wider audience.
The economic downturn has forced me to make a plea for help. Between cancel culture, lockdowns, and diminishing ad revenue, we need financial assistance in order to continue to spread the truth. We ask all who have the means, please donate through our new GiveSendGo. Your generosity is what keeps these sites running and allows us to expand our reach so the truth can get to the masses. We’ve had great success in growing but we know we can do more with your assistance.
We currently operate:
- NOQ Report
- Conservative Playlist
- Uncanceled News
- Based Underground
- Truth Based Media
- Five other conservative news sites
I would even be willing to entertain investments and partnerships at this stage. I’ve turned them down in the past because editorial purity is extremely important. I’ll turn them down again if anyone wants us to start supporting RINOs or avoid “taboo” topics like voter fraud, vaccines, or transgender supremacy. But I’d talk to fellow America First patriots who want to help any (or all) of our 10 news sites. Hit me up at jdrucker (at) substack (dot) com if you’re interested.
For those who have the means and just want to help keep the mission of spreading a conservative, Christian message to the nation, please consider a generous donation.