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Naughty or Nice: Find Out Who Deserves Coal

by Lobo Tiggre
Thursday, December 21, 12:00pm, UTC, 2023

by Kyle Johnson


Some key figures in the global economy were up to no good in 2023. I’m not Santa. But if he asked me for help with his list, this is what I would tell him.


Joe Biden

He talks a big game about reducing carbon emissions and securing energy independence. But he took steps to build a monument on uranium-rich deposits in Arizona.

Uranium began the year at around $50/lb. It’s now over $90. Securing America’s energy needs by filling up the Strategic Uranium Reserve will only become increasingly expensive.

It’s unclear if Biden understands the supply and demand problems for energy. He says we’ll need oil for “at least” 10 more years. He also floated the idea of blocking out the sun to manage the climate—while promoting solar energy.

His messaging about the economy is similarly confused. Scroll social media for just a few minutes and you’ll find Americans discussing their struggles to make ends meet. Can’t imagine that’s fun when Biden claims his administration has created the “strongest economy in the world.”

Recommendation: Naughty.


Jared Bernstein

Bernstein is chairman of Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers. He’s likely responsible for Biden’s curious messaging about the economy.

In October, Bernstein did an interview with CNBC. The host discussed a poll showing that many Americans believe they’re falling behind financially. Bernstein rejected the validity of popular opinion by citing PCE, core CPI, GDP growth estimates, domestic clean energy production, electric vehicles, and battery production.

Perhaps he misspoke, but Bernstein reasoned that falling inflation numbers means prices are “coming down.” In reality, they’re merely rising less quickly. He sneered at criticisms of Bidenomics, insisting they’re “completely belied by statistics.”

Bernstein would have voters ignore their lived experiences. Instead, they should be happy about politicized statistics and projections.

Economists shouldn’t advise presidents while arrogantly dismissing feedback from voters.

Recommendation: Naughty.


Janet Yellen

In the wake of the Silicon Valley Bank collapse, Secretary Yellen publicly admitted that small and rural banks would not be given the same treatment as larger campaign donors—I mean, more systemically important banks.

After famously saying that she didn’t “see” another crisis in her lifetime, she said last April that she didn’t “see” anything that would change her forecast of moderate growth with inflation “coming down.”

In June, she testified before Congress that she was unprepared for China to dump treasuries.

Debt-servicing payments have nearly doubled since 2021. There are no serious budget cuts on the horizon. Fitch downgraded US debt—a move Yellen called “puzzling and unwarranted.”

Her reaction isn’t puzzling, given her statement that America can “absolutely” afford two wars.

Recommendation: Naughty, with dishonorable distinction if possible.


Jay Powell

In 2023, Powell’s captaining of the economy has been downright impressive, at least as measured by some official statistics. But even critics must admit that things could have been much, much worse.

As a fan of Austrian economics, I’d prefer central banks not exist. But we must deal with reality, not hypotheticals. And the fact is that the US economy hasn’t imploded (yet).

Recommendation: Nice.


Christine Lagarde

Last February, she said that no EU country would be in recession. Q1 data proved her wrong.

In June, she said inflation comes from climate change.

All year, she promoted CBDCs and emphasized the ability of bureaucrats to surveil and control end users.

Recommendation: Naughty.


Ursula von der Leyen

At the recent climate summit in Dubai, she called carbon dioxide a pollutant, and stated that if you pollute, you must pay a price (tax). If you want to avoid her tax, then you must innovate and decarbonize.

Interestingly, the emissions from her private plane aren’t cause for concern. She and other bureaucrats have proposed various exemptions from her own carbon tax scheme.

She flew around the world promoting a global digital ID that will be used to track and surveil people’s most important and trivial expenditures, “from paying taxes to renting a bicycle.”

Seems like she needs to learn how to mind her own business.

Recommendation: Naughty.


John Kerry and Al Gore

Apparently, being centimillionaires isn’t very satisfying. These two fly around on private jets warning that everyone else flying is ruining the environment.

Recommendation: Naughty.


Panamanian Mobs and President Laurentino Cortizo

The misinformed masses in Panama and their spineless, kleptocratic politicians have just told the world that the country is not safe for business by shutting down the Cobre Panama mine. This after First Quantum—the company operating the mine—agreed to pay an additional $375 million per year in state extortion, not in its original contracts.

Ironically, the abrupt closure of the mine and continuing illegal roadblocks to the site may cause more environmental harm than allowing the mine to continue would have.

Recommendation: Naughty.


Argentinian Voters and Javier Milei

Argentinian voters elected Javier Milei president. As an Austro-libertarian, Milei understands free-market economics and the importance of private property.

Hopefully, his presidency will help correct decades of government mismanagement and poor economic policies.

Argentina is mineral-rich. But a string of kleptocratic governments made mining projects there off limits for speculators. A great many projects will come online if Argentina can establish a credible rule of law that allows investors to profit from taking risks.

Perhaps the phrase “as rich as an Argentinian” will make sense once again.

Recommendation: Nice.



Society would collapse without the people legally and ethically extracting resources for our consumption.

And let’s not forget that, like good soldiers, miners literally risk their lives so that the rest of us can live a better life.

Recommendation: Nice.


One Last Thing

This cast of characters (and many others) isn’t going away any time soon. But you can profit from the chaos they create. Learn how by subscribing to our free, no-hype, no-spam newsletter—the Speculator’s Digest.

I’m sure it will help keep your portfolio off next year’s naughty list.



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