Inflation Still Runs Hot, Gold and Silver Prices Stabilize

Mark Skousen Speaks Out on Central Bank Gold Buying, Investment Outlook

Mike Gleason Mike Gleason
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April 26th, 2024 Comments

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Welcome to this week’s Market Wrap Podcast, I’m Mike Gleason.

Coming up, don’t miss an exclusive interview with Mark Skousen, renowned economist and Founder and Producer of FreedomFest. Money Metals’ Mike Maharrey and Mark talk about the incredible resilience of gold and how and why central banks are snapping up gold like there’s no tomorrow.

So, make sure to stick around for a terrific conversation with FreedomFest’s Mark Skousen and Mike Maharrey, coming up after this week’s market update.

As economic data comes in worse than expected, investor uncertainty is rattling markets.

On Thursday, the Commerce Department released its estimate of Gross Domestic Product for the first quarter. GDP growth came in at a disappointing 1.6% -- well short of the 2.3% consensus forecast.

Stocks sold off on the news. But gold and silver markets bounced modestly off their lows from earlier in the week.

As of this Friday recording, gold is registering a weekly loss of 2.3% to bring spot prices to $2,348 per ounce. It’s the first down week for gold in six weeks. Gold had broken above the $2,400 level earlier this month but fell back below it in heavy selling on Monday. For now, the $2,300 level is acting as support.

Turning to silver, prices got slammed on Monday before quickly stabilizing. The white metal currently comes in at $27.43 an ounce – down nearly a $1.50 or 5.0% for the week. Platinum is dipping 2.1% to trade at $925. And finally, palladium is retreating 6.7% this week to post a price tag of $994 per ounce.

The setback in metals markets may be temporary as inflation jitters and economic woes appear likely to persist.

Of course, the Biden administration is attempting to reframe this week’s disappointing GDP data. Treasury Secretary and former Fed head Janet Yellen claimed the economy is actually stronger than what the data show. She insisted future revisions will show an improvement in estimated GDP growth.

Critics argue that real economic growth is likely even lower than reported due to an elevated inflation rate. The official GDP figure does reflect an inflation adjustment, but it tends to understate real-world costs of living – especially in the areas of housing, food, and energy.

But even the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation indicator is showing pricing pressures increasing rather than easing. Thursday saw the release of the latest core Personal Consumption Expenditures index, which excludes food and energy prices. The PCE surged from 2% in the fourth quarter of 2023 to 3.7% in the first three months of 2024. That jump far exceeded economist forecasts, as inflation reports have tended to do in recent months.

Persistently hot inflation readings are putting widespread expectations of Fed rate cuts this year in doubt. Now the Biden administration and its backers within the central bank are going to have to do a complicated political dance around the framing of the economy.

Team Biden hopes to get a boost from the Fed this summer heading into the election. But central bankers would have to brazenly throw all their historical rationales for setting monetary policy out the window if they were to cut rates in an environment of high and rising inflation coupled with an economy that is as strong as administration officials insist it is.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has paved the way for rate cuts by twisting and contorting the supposed 2% inflation target beyond recognition. What Powell has made clear is that inflation staying elevated above 2% won’t necessarily stop the Fed from pumping more cash into the economy. What remains to be seen is whether the PCE rising unexpectedly to 3.7% gives him any pause.

The more the Fed loses credibility on inflation, the more investors will be drawn to precious metals for wealth protection. Despite the recent setback in gold and silver markets, they are still in an impressive uptrend this year.

Gold and silver have run up more rapidly than even many bulls were expecting. Year-end gold price targets of $2,400 an ounce got hit before the end of April.

Gold’s surge to new all-time highs occurred without the help of any rate cut by the Fed. Gold has risen despite expectations for rate cuts this year being continually pushed forward and dialed down.

Even if rate cuts are cancelled entirely, there’s no reason to presume that precious metals markets cannot continue going higher. They are higher today than they were when Jerome Powell and company started raising rates in 2022. And there is sound reason to believe they will continue to move higher over the long run, in terms of depreciating U.S. fiat dollars.

How high is largely a question of how rapidly the currency loses value. Of course, fundamental factors such as mining supply, industrial demand, and investor interest in the metals can cause prices to experience cyclical swings.

We have certainly seen more mainstream interest in gold following its run to record highs. But that followed a lull in investor buying of bullion and exchange-traded products over the past couple years.

Silver remains almost completely off the radar of Wall Street and most ordinary investors.

The bottom line is that gold and silver markets are far from overbought on any sort of long-term basis. They are under-owned.

In the case of silver and the other white metals, in particular, they may be severely underpriced given their chronic supply deficits. Those deficits will eventually be closed either through plunging demand or higher spot prices that incentivize the creation of new supply.

Of course, ramping up mining production isn’t easy. It takes time – unlike ramping up the supply of new fiat currency.

Well now, without further delay let’s get right to our exclusive interview with economist and founder of FreedomFest, Mark Skousen.

Mike Maharrey and Mark Skousen

Mike Maharrey: Greetings, I'm Mike Maharrey, I'm an analyst and journalist with Money Metals, and I'm here today with Mark Skousen. Mark holds his PhD in economics from George Washington University, and he was recently named one of the top 20 living economists in the world, so that's pretty impressive. He has a long list of published works and teaching credits, and he's also the founder and producer of FreedomFest, which we're going to talk about here in a little bit. Mark, I really appreciate you taking a little bit of time to chat with me today, how are you?

Mark Skousen: Pretty good. We're on opposite coast, I'm on the West Coast and you're on the East Coast.

Mike Maharrey: Yep. We always joke though, I'm on the west coast of Florida, so I'm kind of on the West Coast too.

Mark Skousen: That's true, that's a good point. Those are the two most beautiful states in terms of weather, I think. Of course, very different in terms of their weather, but I'm still glad to have a home in both.

Mike Maharrey: Do people ever give you a hard time being a freedom guy that, how could you possibly live in California?

Mark Skousen: Yeah, my response is, don't leave, we're here to take it back.

Mike Maharrey: There you go.

Mark Skousen: That's my argument. And there are a lot of fine people in California, and so I haven't given up hope at all. Everything is a regression to the mean, as they say in finance, that things that are going bad, people see the problem and they reverse it. Just like in Argentina with President Milei making a major change there, I just wish it would happen in Venezuela and some of these other wayward countries.

Mike Maharrey: That's a really good point. One of my good friends, Michael Bolden lives in Southern California and he always jokes, I like my tyranny warm, at least you've got the good weather.

Mark Skousen: And a lot of it depends on what you do for a living, I teach at Chapman University, so I have a distance between me and all the bureaucrats who do destroy small businesses with high taxes and regulations and stuff, so I can write about it, but I'm not really facing it directly myself so far. Although certainly, taxation is a very big problem and it's one that concerns me as well as other residents here and why a lot of them are moving.

Mike Maharrey: Absolutely. We're seeing a lot of people moving into Florida, and I actually moved from Kentucky and for that reason, Kentucky's tax environment isn't nearly as bad as California's, but they still have a state income tax and city taxes and I got out of all that and it saves me.

Mark Skousen: Well, you could have moved next door to Tennessee.

Mike Maharrey: That's true, but it's not quite as warm. See-

Mark Skousen: No.

Mike Maharrey: ... I'm looking for that warm weather.

Mark Skousen: That's for sure.

Mike Maharrey: Well, I wanted to start off and talk a little bit about the news of the day on the economic front, we got the first round of GDP data for the year and wasn't great, came in at 1.6% annualized and then meanwhile we had the PCE, which is the inflation number that they used in the GDP and that was higher than they expected at 3.7%, so what do you make of this?

Mark Skousen: I've been arguing for some time, in fact, I wrote a Wall Street Journal article earlier this month that was published on my gross output statistic, which is major spending at all stages of production. It also includes what I call the B2B index, what business is doing in terms of spending and investment and so forth. And that's been trailing down now for several quarters, and so I think that's a danger sign. Plus inflation is elevated and has been for several years since the floodgates came out both in fiscal and monetary policy and we're still suffering from that. Friedrich Hayek made the point that inflation is like a tiger by the tail, and when you loosen it, you really have a hard time controlling it. We're seeing that right now where while the Fed policy is trying to tighten and try to bring down inflation, they're having a difficult time doing it.

My prediction, which I made in the Wall Street Journal and in my newsletter of stagflation, I think is a very real possibility. Probably the only thing that is going to keep Biden from winning re-election is if we have a bear market and we have a economy going into recession, he's spending as much money. He's buying so many votes that even in the polls and even the election betting odds now have Biden ahead of Trump, so it's pretty discouraging out there. I think that things are not looking very good right now in terms of outlook for taxes, spending, government control of the economy, all of these things. I'm by nature an optimist and tend to be vulnerable in the stock market, it's done well for me, but every once in a while it is easy to get discouraged.

Mike Maharrey: Definitely, for sure. You mentioned the federal spending from the Biden administration is at over half a trillion dollars every single month, it's just mind-blowing when you look at how much money the federal government is spending.

Mark Skousen: And his approach is to buy votes, there's no question, the student loans and just violating Supreme Court decision right and left and getting away with it. What's tragic about this country is the divisiveness, if you turn on CNN and MSNBC, they only interview Democrats who support Biden. Then you switch over to Fox News and Newsmax and they only interview Republicans who are against Biden and pro-Trump. Well, if there is one great thing about FreedomFest, by the way, is that we're going to have a presidential debate with the minority candidates and we've invited Robert F. Kennedy Jr who was actually at our Memphis conference this last year, as well as all the other minority candidates to get their perspective rather than the two major candidates.

Mike Maharrey: You're doing the job that the corporate presses won't do?

Mark Skousen: They really won't. In fact, I thought it would really be fun if we could get CNN and MSNBC to interview only Republicans for a day, and then we have Fox News and Newsmax interview only Democrats. I think it would increase dramatically the number of people watching to see how they handle those questions, but they just won't talk to each other. Really the only time you see any kind of interaction is when the Senate brings in the government officials and you have this back and forth, which can get quite testy, but it's really fun to watch to see the Senators go after these various individuals.

Mike Maharrey: Yeah, it's always interesting. I always say that one way you can get bipartisan agreement though is if you want to have a war or you want to spy on people, that seems to be the two things that the federal government's willing to come together and do.

Mark Skousen: And also if a government is collapsing or they have a shutdown, they all tend to agreement to raise the debt ceiling, they eventually come to an agreement on that and they raise the ceiling and they borrow money more. As an economist, I have to say we were taught in all the textbooks by the Keynesian textbooks that, well, when you have unemployment then you run a deficit, but when you're at full employment, you're supposed to run a surplus to balance off the deficits of the past.

And look at what's happening right now, anybody who says they're a Keynesian now must be rolling over in their grave saying, my gosh, we're supposed to be running balances with these trillion dollar deficits that continue on. As Milton Friedman said, "the balance wheel is always unbalanced," and that's the problem when you leave the barn door open in the back, that all the animals, they leave, and that's what's happening.

Mike Maharrey: You mentioned the Keynesians, I'm curious as to how they're going to spin the latest economic data because in the Keynesian framework, if you've got a strong growing economy and good employment numbers, then that tends to drive inflation higher. But if you're having a slowdown in the economy, then they would expect that price inflation to come down. And as you mentioned, we're seeing a trend more towards stagflation, how do you think they'll spin that?

Mark Skousen: Well, they definitely talk about, Biden has several times said, "look, I'm bringing the deficit down and all this sort of thing."

Mike Maharrey: Well, he's bringing it down from the craziness of the pandemic year, but that's about it.

Mark Skousen: Yeah, it's twisting the data for sure. And look, the Phillips curve, frankly, if you do have strong real growth and the money supply is not growing, then prices should come down, that's mortgage chasing less money, so that should be positive. And I do think the inflation rate is coming down, but it's a very slow process, and like I say, it's tiger by the tail and you don't get instant gratification.

Milton Friedman himself talked about the lag times of six months to two years, once you inflate the money supply, who knows where it's going to go. And on top of it, you have the Biden administration spending money like water, and frankly, the deficits were also pretty serious under Trump as well, he thought we could produce more with the tax cuts, it's the supply side argument that I have a problem with supply siders too. None of them seem to have docked the classical model, the Adam Smith model of balanced budgets even in the good times, there's a number of supply siders say deficits don't matter, and that's unfortunate, I'm more of a classical economist in that respect.

Mike Maharrey: I think that we're finding that deficits do matter when interest rates are higher. When you start looking at the amount of money that the federal government is now having to spend just on making interest payments, it actually-

Mark Skousen: Michael, this is where the crisis will hit the fan because the interest on the debt is now growing so fast with these higher interest rates that I think the interest on the debt exceeds the defense spending.

Mike Maharrey: ... It does, I was about to say that.

Mark Skousen: It's hard to believe because we keep increasing defense spending in whatever wars out there, never ending wars, and we're seeing a huge increase in the military budget, giving money to Ukraine and to Taiwan. This is money we don't have, so it's all deficit spending and there's no real tax increase to go along with it. So it's totally irresponsible fiscal policy and it will reach a crisis stage, they're already talking more and more about, all this interest that we're paying to these bondholders and who are the bondholders? Well, they're institutions and they're wealthy investors, so we're transferring wealth from the four in the middle class to the rich with deficit spending. Exactly the opposite of what Democrats believe about, don't give the special deals to the wealthy people, well, we are with deficit spending.

Mike Maharrey: Yeah, the whole policy is designed that way. Speaking of interest rates, do you think that the Fed is going to deliver the much vaunted rate cuts later this year?

Mark Skousen: I think they are between a rock and a hard place, they can't possibly lower interest rates for two reasons. One is, the price inflation is elevated, so that's one reason. The other one is political, it's really going to look bad if Jay Powell starts cutting interest rates right before the election, that's going to make it sound like he's totally dependent to the government. The Fed is supposed to be independent, and they relish this idea that they're independent, so this would be a blatant violation of Fed independence by lowering rates right before the election. I don't put it past them, but it would be rather blatant.

Mike Maharrey: That's a good point. Forget about the politics and as much as they talk about being detached and above the political fray, I think that's more smoke and mirrors than reality. So what's your take on the recent bull run that we've seen in precious metals, gold and silver over the last month and a half or so?

Mark Skousen: Well, I think gold itself has done a lot better than the gold stocks. We used to think that mining stocks were a leveraged way to really make money in gold and silver, but boy, those mining stocks have struggled for years. So I'm more bullish on ... sorry, I got a call here from Joe Biden, he'll just have to wait. But I have gold, I have GLD, the iShares Gold shares bullion position in my portfolio, and I do trade the mining stocks, we just got stocked out of several of them on the recent bull run, which is really good to see.

What's really interesting is that gold is finally moving, even though the dollar is holding up pretty well, it's not showing much weakness, but I think that it's just everybody's taking their terms. So you had the stock market reach an all-time high, you had tech stocks reaching an all-time high, you had Bitcoin reach an all-time high, and finally gold is catching up with that, I don't know, it's hard for me to figure, other than it's gold's time to finally perform, so I'm glad to see it because it's really been a struggle. You would think with inflation taking off and increasing dramatically in 2020, in 2021, that gold would've just really taken off, but it's only been in the last year that gold has finally started to move. So there's quite a lag there, and I'm not sure how to completely explain it, but I'm in it because it looks good to me.

Mike Maharrey: Yeah, exactly.

Mark Skousen: And I hear also, you may know more about this, that central banks are buying record numbers of gold. I don't know if that's true or not, but that's what I've heard.

Mike Maharrey: Yeah, it's definitely at, I think two years ago was a record, and then last year was close to that, and of course most of it is coming from emerging market, central banks, and then China, so that's where you see it. And I think it's a little bit of the de-dollarization trend, they're trying to shield themselves from getting under the thumb of the US using the dollar as a foreign policy tool.

Mark Skousen: I should tell you, about 10 years ago, I was in China and I was honored, I received an award and everything from the mayor, I got the keys to the city to Beijing, can you imagine that? So there was this big banquet that they had in my honor, and they came up and they said, "listen, we want to get out of the dollar, what do you recommend?" And they specifically asked about gold, they seemed to think that gold was the place to go, and I agreed with them, I thought, that's your best bet to move out of the dollar, out of the bond market, the treasuries and buy gold. So I think they just want a confirmation of what they're doing, I don't think it's necessarily that they followed my advice, but it was interesting what they were interested in doing.

Mike Maharrey: Yeah, for sure. And that's exactly what you're seeing, the treasury holdings are dropping and their gold holdings are climbing on a monthly basis.

Mark Skousen: And by the way, gold is still acceptable there, Bitcoin is not, it's illegal to mine Bitcoin there, I don't know if it's enforced, but that's what the law says. So gold is really the only alternative, and it's had a longstanding tradition in China, many people left China to go to Hong Kong through the gold teals that they had.

Mike Maharrey: Right. You are a contrarian compared to some people in our circles, we have a lot of doom and gloomers, I'm probably in that category a lot of times, give me your best optimistic case.

Mark Skousen: If you look at the book stocks for the long run, there's several different studies that have shown that for some reason, and there's probably a variety of reasons, American stocks have out-performed all over the country funds and have always made a comeback after wars, after great depressions, after the inflations of the seventies and so forth, gold or stocks are down, but never out. And two out of every three trading days for the last hundred years, the US stock market has been going up. So why is that? Well, it could be because of ... and by the way, they've outperformed all other stock markets, all other country funds have underperformed compared to the US market. In the 20th and 21st century, it's still going on, so you have to say, what is it?

And of course, I don't think it's automatic at all, I do think that America still is the breadbasket, the place for technology, it's where the American dream can be fulfilled despite every effort by the Republicans and Democrats to tax us and to regulate us and to inflate the dollar and all of these different things. For some reason, we can still attract the Elon Musk, and Nadella, and all these other people from all over the world to come over and use their talents to make America the leader of new technologies. And so if you look at the five biggest companies in the world in terms of market cap and influence and so forth, you can name them, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, all of those companies, and Silicon Valley and everything, so despite all the taxation and stuff, that's still going on. And once we kill the golden goose, which I think is still possible, we can overdo it to the point where we're overloaded with regulation and we destroy the golden goose, then you'll be right, the gold bugs will be right and so forth.

But I haven't been able to reach that point yet. Look at what's happening with AI and with all the tremendous breakthroughs that have happened over the last few years with Chip making and all of this sort of thing, even though the Chip making is all around the world, it's still US companies that are driving the technology. So I'm thinking that I'm going to ride this horse until the horse gets too old or dies, that bull markets never die on their own, they're murdered, that's a saying in Wall Street, my maximums of Wall Street, which has gone through 10 editions, that's a great quote in there, that bull markets are murdered, they don't die, they're murdered by the government or by the Fed acting, but we always seem to make a comeback, so that would be my biggest argument for that.

But it's no guarantee, you may be right at some point, but you may be dead before you're right. Look, I have on my bookshelf a whole section of doom and gloom books all the way back to the seventies, the Howard Ruff book, How to Prosper During the Coming Bad Years that came out in 1980 when Ronald Reagan was elected, Doug Casey's, Crisis Investing, I've got all of those, the Depression of 1990 that never happened, Bankruptcy 1995 by Harry Figgie that never happened. The Harry Dent books that predicted a collapse, even Robert Kawasaki, who should know better, he is a real estate guy, so why would you be doom and gloom?

But Robert Kawasaki talks about Rich Dad's Prophecy, well, what is Rich Dad's Prophecy? Not the mother of all bull markets, but the mother of all bear markets. And he is been wrong too, and by the way, he's speaking at FreedomFest, and I'm going to bring that up to him because when you're wrong, what should you ask? This is really important. When year after year you've been predicting the end of the world scenarios and it doesn't happen, you have to ask yourself one question, what am I missing? And I think it's this dynamic American exceptionalism that has not yet been killed as hard as the government's tried, they haven't been able to do it.

Mike Maharrey: I agree with you actually, and I've even told people, and like I said, I don't know, my whole personality tends to be doom and gloom to begin with, but I've told people even if there was a significant economic collapse, I still think that the United States would ultimately come back because we have resources, we have generally educated people, and Americans still have this motivation to work hard so that the things that make the real economy are still underlying no matter what kind of malfeasance the governments and the central banks can put on us.

Mark Skousen: I should also add, in the Austrian School of Economics, we talk about the boom bust cycle and the Austrian theory, the business cycle of Mises and Hayek, I'm sure you're familiar with it and your readers may be too. But I've always pointed out, I said, there's not just the bust, there's also the bull, the rise in the market.

Mike Maharrey: Right, the boom.

Mark Skousen: And the boom, so why can't we profit from the boom? Yes, we know the bust is coming at some point, but use some kind of stop order to protect yourself from the downside, but meanwhile, take advantage of the rising. By the way, my favorite JP Morgan story, who was a permabull, he was super bullish on America. So there was this commodity trader from Chicago who was always talking, he was was a bear because he was a gold bug and so forth, and he would exchange letters with JP Morgan in the early 1900s, and they were always disagreeing and stuff. Well, finally, the Chicago commodity trader said, "listen, I've never been to New York, I'd like to come in New York and visit you." And so he came and visited and they spent some time together at 23 Wall Street overlooking Wall Street, and so then Morgan said, "well, let's go to lunch together," because they had obviously disagreed on the market right then and there.

They're walking up Fifth Avenue, and as though they're walking up Fifth Avenue to go to lunch, the commodity trader says, "my gosh, I've never seen skyscrapers like New York City, we don't have anything like this in Chicago." There's the Woolworth building and there's the very ... I don't know all the different buildings there, but New York was the first city to really have giant skyscrapers. And finally, JP Morgan stopped and said, "it's a funny thing about all of those skyscrapers, not a single one was built by a bear."

Mike Maharrey: That's a good point.

Mark Skousen: Yeah.

Mike Maharrey: Well, before I let you go, let's talk a little bit about FreedomFest, it's coming up in July, it's going to be July 10th through 13th in Las Vegas this year. And I'm curious, it's a great docket of speakers, of presenters, who are you most excited about having on the FreedomFest docket this year?

Mark Skousen: I'll tell you this much, we've lined up a bunch of speakers, including Steven Pinker from Harvard, who's written about Enlightenment Now and how violence has declined and so forth, he's an optimist, so looking forward to his point of view. As well as Matt Ridley from the UK who's written a book called How Innovation Works, and he's from the UK. These are public intellectuals, Michael Shermer, Alex Green, John Mackey of Whole Foods, Steve Forbes is coming, we have over a couple of hundred speakers, but we took three.

The number one speaker that everybody asked us for, they said, you've got to get this guy, and this guy was rated higher than Donald Trump or Elon Musk, they wanted Javier Milei from Argentina. The new president, the libertarian Austrian economist who somehow won the presidency by election, not by military force like Chile, but by democratically elected, was like 60% of the vote, lots of youth support and stuff, we've got to get this guy. And it took us three months and we went through four different handlers and so forth, we finally got him. Mainly because he knew about FreedomFest and he wanted to speak to us and we're making it happen. So he is going to appear at FreedomFest, and this is creating incredible amount of buzz. We think we'll have several thousand people there standing room only to hear him speak.

It's historic because Milei has the potential, hasn't achieved it yet, but has the potential to transform all of Latin America, if not the world if he can turn Argentina around, which a hundred years was one of the top 10 most prosperous countries in the world. And then unfortunately, through one Perón and the Peronistas and the unions destroyed that country, and Chile now has a higher per capita income than the Argentina, and that really sticks in the craw of Argentines, they were very proud people having won the World Cup and all of this sort of thing. But this is so exciting to have Milei coming in and this is your chance to meet him in person to ask questions, we're going to have Q&A session and so forth, we're very excited about this. So he's obviously my favorite choice.

We have Ice-T coming, who's the most longstanding actor in Law and Order, he speaks his mind on free speech and stuff like that. So we have some interesting characters who are joining us this year. And we have our film festival that my wife does, the Anthem Film Festival, she's got a great lineup of movies, libertarian films and stuff. We have the financial conference, the investment conference that I'll be heading up. So we have a great conference, so I hope people can come on that July 10th through the 13th in Las Vegas, it's really going to be a first-rate conference this year. Historic, it's like when Donald Trump showed up on 7-Eleven in Vegas in 2015, it was his lucky day because his poll numbers totally changed around because he was on TV all day long from FreedomFest. So we're taking full credit or blame for Donald Trump being elected president.

Mike Maharrey: It depends on how you want to look at it, right?

Mark Skousen: Yeah, that's right.

Mike Maharrey: You've been kind enough to provide us with a coupon code for Money Metals people who want to go to FreedomFest, and you should do it, and you can enter coupon code moneymetals50@checkout, and you'll get $50 off the current attendee ticket price, which is a pretty darn good deal if you ask me. So folks should go to, you can see the entire lineup and you're not going to be able to see everything, that's how big this is. So it's a fantastic event and I know people that have been able to attend and speak at it, and everybody just raves about how incredible it is, so kudos for putting it together, we really appreciate that.

Mark Skousen: My pleasure. I've always thought it's so important, we've been losing this battle for freedom, and the only way we can get it back is if we all get together all the Freedom lovers and our think tanks, Reason, Heritage, Cato, Students for Liberty, all these, and the financial conference as well, all the financial people, the gold bugs, everybody. If we can all come together, it's like Ben Franklin said, "we must all hang together or we will surely hang separately." So if you take some time out of those three days to come to FreedomFest, it will change your life, I guarantee you people just love it and they come back year after year.

Mike Maharrey: The other thing that's great about events like this is that we are talking about optimism, it is easy to feel isolated and get despondent because you're constantly being bombarded by negative messaging from whether it's Twitter or X or whatever we're calling it now, or social media, to get together with people that may have their disagreements and certain issues, but are fundamentally committed to liberty and freedom to get together and to realize that you're not alone is a powerful thing in and of itself.

Mark Skousen: We do get a lot of people who say that very thing that they felt isolated and to come together with like-minded people really makes a difference and lifetime friends, and we've even had marriages that come out of FreedomFest. So there's a great opportunity for people to mingle, and we create all kinds of situations, we have a comedy hour, we have dancing, a lot of socializing and so forth. The idea is to learn from each other, to network, to socialize, and to celebrate liberty all at the same time once a year, we all live busy lives. So we can get people like Steve Forbes who is two years in advance, what he does and so forth, but he always puts on his calendar, FreedomFest, and he's there all three or four days, so is John Mackey, the CEO, we have Lisa Kennedy from Fox News, she's been our MC for the last couple of years, she's excited about coming back again.

There's a lot going on, and the exhibit hall is just incredible, you walk into that exhibit hall, the buzz that you feel, I've never seen anything like it. And we have our FreedomFest Bookstore, we have authors Autographing their books and answering your questions, we have entertainment, we have great food. And then it's also in Las Vegas, so in the evening you can go out and spend some time going to the shows or gamble or whatever you would like to do, it's non-stop action 24/7, that's for sure.

Mike Maharrey: What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, so there you go. Well, I know you've got another interview coming up, I don't want to take any more of your time, but I do want you to have an opportunity to let people know where they can go and follow your work, send them to at least one place where they can go check out all things.

Mark Skousen:, S-K-O-U-S-E-N, is my website. But also, let me mention because that's where you can find the maximums of Wall Street and my two books on economics, well, I've got several books on economics, go and look at that list of various book titles, you might find that interesting. Every one of the books is selling at a discount from what Amazon charges, so it's definitely worth going to

Mike Maharrey: Nice. We all love it, a good discount. Well, I appreciate you taking a little time out of your day to chat, and it's been a delight as always to talk to you, and we'll talk to you again soon.

Mark Skousen: Well, a big thank you, Michael, and we'll see you in Vegas.

Mike Maharrey: Absolutely, thank you.

Another fantastic interview there from Mike Maharrey, and I trust you enjoyed that as I did.

Well, that will do it for this week. Be sure to check back next Friday for our next Weekly Market Wrap Podcast. And don’t forget to tune into the Money Metals Midweek Memo, hosted by Mike Maharrey as well. To listen to any of our audio programs just go to or find them on whatever podcast platform you prefer.

Until next time, this has been Mike Gleason with Money Metals Exchange, thanks for listening and have a wonderful weekend everybody.

Mike Gleason

About the Author:

Mike Gleason is a Director with Money Metals Exchange, a precious metals dealer recently named "Best in the USA" by an independent global ratings group. Gleason is a hard money advocate and a strong proponent of personal liberty, limited government and the Austrian School of Economics. A graduate of the University of Florida, Gleason has extensive experience in management, sales and logistics as well as precious metals investing. He also puts his longtime broadcasting background to good use, hosting a weekly precious metals podcast since 2011, a program listened to by tens of thousands each week.