When light shines on the darkness, the evil is exposed. The Democrats use international and domestic economic policies to subvert your privacy and your freedoms. Those policies erode the confidence that our allies and our enemies have in our global power capabilities. On this episode we chat with Alex Ebkarian of Allegiance Gold to learn more about what liberals are doing and how you can become wise to their tricks. Alex shares about his family's struggles leaving war-torn Lebanon for what they thought would be a prosperous America. Plus, we chat about Mother's Day and the importance of celebrating those in our lives who raised us right.
Click here to learn more about Ben: http://bit.ly/3WJ1Czl
Kickin' Crab - go to https://thekickincrab.com/houston-tx-1
Gambit Construction – go to www.gambitconstruction.com
Follow on Twitter: http://bit.ly/3CeR2YJ
Follow on Instagram: http://bit.ly/3XfBADV
Follow on Facebook: https://bit.ly/3vw8ww4
Welcome, everybody. Today on the answer, we listened to another feel good story about a high school autistic kid who just found his new best friends. And we take some time to discuss the economy and our finances. What is the debt ceiling? Why is the government continually adding more debt? should you even care about it? And what as a conservative can you do? We answer these questions and more with our friend Alex of carrion from allegiance gold. Be sure to share this podcast with your family and friends. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook at Ben Armenta Texas. You can also find out more about my story at Ben armenta.com. This past week was Mother's Day. And I I really want to wish and I hope everybody, all our listeners, all the moms out there, I hope you guys were spoiled. Hope your spoiled rotten, and you had an amazing weekend. Hopefully it was everything that you want it to be. And for some of you that that might be going to church on Sunday and just going out to dinner or going to go into breakfast and spending time with your family. For others like my my wife, she was excited because my son had a baseball tournament she Nothing makes her happier than going and spending a weekend watching our daughter play basketball or my son play baseball. So whatever it was make going to the movies. Hopefully you were spoiled. And hopefully your kids or your your husband, your family. Hopefully they surprise you and gave you gave you something exciting what whatever it was, whether it was a gift, whether it was extra time whether they came into town, and you weren't expecting it. But it was your weekend, mom's and I I hope it was everything that you want it to be. And we don't we don't do enough for our parents, our dads to it, it's hard in our busy lives to just take a moment, catch our breath, and spend time. You know, as a father, I know more than gifts. I just cherish the time. I just cherish the time and the moments that I get to spend with my kids anytime they come up with an idea where it's just all about spending time with me. I'm pumped, I'm excited. I love experiences. I love trying new things. I really love trying new things with my family. We come up with some great stories, some great memories, we talk about it for years to come. We never forget it. So hopefully all you moms had a great, great weekend. I know we we had a fantastic one, as well. And the the other day I was I was going through social media. I was actually searching for some Mother's Day gift ideas and seeing what was out there. And I mean, you know, big brother's listening and Facebook, Twitter, you mentioned something or you listen to it. And you start getting ads for all kinds of things. And I got a video popped up a new story popped up from Kaicho you in in Houston, about this boy, who is a 15 year old, artistic high school student. And it it touched my heart and I was like you know what this is we need we need more stories. I watched it two or three times. And we need more stories like this in our lives. We can't just continually get sucked into the trash. That is the mainstream media, we can't get sucked into the trash. That is the back and forth between Democrats and Republicans. It's just exhausting. If we define our lives by the noise we listen to and how we respond to that noise, then it's going to be a very exhausting and troublesome life. It is for me anytime I get I go down a rabbit trail and I get really passionate about something. It takes away from a lot of things and most of which aren't all that important. And and that's that's not good. That's not good. You got to focus on family you got to focus on faith you got to focus on free You know, but you, you just can't get sucked into the trash. So anyways, this story came up, I loved it. And I loved how it it talks about his mom and what it means to her when her son made some new friends. For Rylan, Roberts, he's always had a bat and a ball in his hand. Baseball is life. Ah, he has autism. But at 15 years old Rylance pretty good at the game he loves, I like to play when he wasn't able to make the varsity squad, but the coach brought him on as Team Manager. It brought tears to my eyes, I would say on a weekly basis. This entire season, Kimberly watched her son from the stance he was just engulfed in the game, the enthusiasm that he had. And the guys were right there with him and just seeing all that just, you know, really touched me and made me feel like he had a place. He found more likes, he found a family, a band of brothers. He's a heart of our team. Everyone shows up plays for him. Oh. T was our height man from the get go. Rylan became a fixture on an off the baseball field. He's the first manager that's made an impact on Wildcat baseball, I've been played for years haven't had any manager like him. And his growth through the season impossible to ignore from the beginning of the season to now he's just opened up so much. And you can really see his true character. And it's just it's just a blessing to have him around the season now over but the bond unbroken. And for a mom who loves her son, that means everything he's always struggled to, you know, have have really good friends or to just have those people that he can rely on or dissociate with. And I just felt like these guys were there for him. And all those ways, this team, this family, ready to run it back next. In Tomball, Marcelino Benito HOQ 11 News, what you don't really see or you can't see, because you're not watching it. But in that video in that story from Kaicho, you were some really cool things. So first of all, that that young man, he, he's this whole, this whole interview is in I think, probably his backyard. And that is him and the varsity baseball team playing catch, and they're playing wiffle ball. And he is just over the moon, the joy you can see it on his face, you could hear him calling balls and strikes on the other kids. But the the the voices of the that we're talking about what he means to the team, those weren't of the coach. Those were of the players. So when they were saying he's the heart of the team, he was the height. He's the height man. These are juniors and seniors in this high school, who have made friends. It's a friendship. It's not just one way. It goes both ways. And you can tell from their voices. If you watch the video, you can see it they genuinely enjoy being around him. And they showed clips from the actual games and them surrounding him before they take the field. Working together as a team. He's hyping them up. What's really cool is he's not some kid wearing a helmet trotting out there in shorts and a T shirt. They have him in a uniform, he's got his his knickers up. He he's wearing his his baseball spikes. I mean, he is he is one of them. And he has a role to play on that team. And the joy that it brings his mom. I mean, it's palatable. I mean, you heard her say, that had brought tears to her eyes. Just because a coach and players were willing to invest in this kid. Just a little bit of time. So a little bit of love, a little bit of TLC, a little bit of saying you're one of us a little bit of saying we're in this together and that we You will be better young men, we will be a better team and will be a better high school. Because you're here and you can be a part of it. Man that matters. That matters. So I am super excited about this young man super proud that he went and tried out for the team, because this opportunity probably wouldn't have come his way, had his mom not encouraged him and raised him to take risks, take chances, follow his heart. But I want to give a shout out to the moms and dads, the parents of those other players. I want to give them props for raising fine young men, for raising the kind of young men that we would all be proud of having in our communities, the kind of young men that are going to go off to trade school or college or military and they're going to do that high school Tomball Memorial, they're going to do it proud. Because they are just being educated, the ABCs. They're not just being educated on arithmetic and reading and the basics. They're being educated on life. Those are principles, led individuals, principle led coach. It's inspiring. It's inspiring. I think about this, the school that my kids go to, very proud of it, and the school district that they're a part of very proud of it. And I hope that the experiences they're getting with their teachers and their coaches, that it's like that, that they put the lives of others first. That's what it's all about. That's what it's about. You know, as conservatives, we we do focus on individuals, we focused on your dreams, you as an individual are allowed to have a dream. And you're allowed to pursue it to the best of your ability. And that's what the American Dream is all about. And conservatism protects that conservatism protects your individual freedoms, and the right for you to live the life you want to lead to the best of your ability. And it's often forgotten. It's often forgotten in media and social media. The importance, the criticality of community, the criticality of culture, the importance of doing things like celebrating Mother's Day, taking a break from the chaos and distraction and embracing a holiday. A holiday that if you give the Democrats another year or two, they're gonna try to get rid of they get the canceled culture, everything, the canceled culture act, they even canceled culture, women, what they're trying to do with transgender ideology. Now anybody can be a mom, which is absolute Bs, and absolutely needs to stop. And I know many of you who listen to this podcast are doing everything you can to fight that crap. You're fighting it in your schools, you're helping fight it in your legislative lectures, you're doing everything you possibly can to kick that crap out of society. But one of the ways that you can do that, one of the ways that you can push against the bowl and the noise is to celebrate and be a champion for the good. So just like those young men, celebrate those that are champions celebrate those that put the community first celebrate those who are selfless, like moms who put their kids first Those are the things that matter. And those are the things that we as conservatives need to fight like hell for. Every day, we get up and we fight for the family. We fight for freedom, and we fight for our faith. That's what it means to be a conservative. And it's all, you know, under attack, we don't have the luxury of going back on our heels, we don't have the luxury of taking the third quarter off, and just playing the first half. And coming out strong and just playing in the fourth quarter, we don't have the luxury of doing that. We have to run full court press the entire time. We have to go all out we have to play not just our our starters. But our bench, and everybody has to be in the arena on the court. In the fight, we have to do it, if we're going to move the needle. One of the areas that is constantly under attack, and often very severely is finances. We see all kinds of things happening in society. You hear about the the Joe Biden administration wanting to spy on your financial transactions, you know, when you do a Venmo or Pay Pal? I mean, do I pay for my kids pitching lessons, or my daughter's trombone private lessons, or somebody picked up the dinner tab at a restaurant, and I pay them back? Through way Venmo or Zelle or all, you know, one of those app Cash App, whatever it is. People do that all the time. It is it's great, super convenient. But now the Biden administration wants to spy on you. And they want to track those things. And they want to report them to the IRS. What if you're, what if you're a small business owner, I mean, you should have the opportunity to manage your personal finances, you should have the opportunity to manage your business finances, you should have opportunity to look after all that privately. The government is on a need to know basis. They do not get to just peek in and see what's going on all the time. It's not how this works. It's not how this works. The government works for us, not the other way around. But it kind of feels like that kind of feels like that. I feel really bad for those of you that live in states that have state income tax. The really bad for you for some of those that live in cities that have additional income taxes because you work in the city, or you live there. That sucks. That's not how it's supposed to be. And then you got things happening on a macro and on a global scale, inflation all over the place. You've got all this talk about the debt ceiling and the federal government. All this back and forth negotiations, the speaker McCarthy and Joe Biden and they're arguing over raising the debt, they're gonna raise the debt, they always raise the debt ceiling. They love to print more money. The government loves to print more money. They love to take your money. They love to take on more debt. It never ends. It never ends. So you shouldn't expect it to. Or you can continue to vote and put people in office who will do what they can to tamp that down. Good strong conservatives in Congress or in the executive branch, doing what they can to reduce spending, cut regulations, give corporations give businesses and give individuals and homeowners and property owners give them their money back. I'm all for all four here in Texas. Lots going on at the state legislature level because in Texas we have a pretty significant surplus. So we have a lot of money, over $50 billion additional dollars on top of the rainy day fund For over $50 billion, and the state is trying to figure out what to do with it. Well, liberals, Democrats, you know what they want to do with it, it's burning a hole in their pocket. They want to spend it all put it towards social services as they want to. They want to pay people to stay home and not work. That's what the Democrats want to do. They want to give out more free health care. Sounds like socialism to me. Conservatives are trying to give that money back to the taxpayers, give it back, reduce and eliminate our property taxes. That'd be a start. So we'll see where it goes. But finances and economy drives everything. It drives everything, money, drives everything. When you think about the we talked on our prior episode about tech sit, and the Texas nationalist movement, we met with Daniel Miller, who's the president of TNM. And he talked about the opportunity for Texas to control and own its its own currency and its own international economic policies. So the interesting concept for sure, no different than what happened when the United Kingdom or when Britain left the EU. Same thing, same thing, money drives everything. Money drives everything, like the oil and gas access from Russia that China now is having because they got in bed with with Putin. It's money. It's power, gives him the flexibility and the ability to do things that never been able to do before. And the United States we've been very fortunate for a very long time. 75 plus years, a large global the world leader, economics, military. peace through strength. That's our policy or has been, at least when conservatives are in power. So there's a lot going on with with money with finances with economics. And today that that's a topic we want to spend a little bit of time on. And we want to talk with with an expert. So today, we're joined by Alex of Karen. He's the co founder of a financial services firm allegiance gold that specializes in Investing in Precious Metals. We hear a lot during these times about diversifying portfolios, managing the fluctuation of the dollar by investing in gold, silver, and here on the answer, we thought it'd be interesting to chat more about why that is our economics, global economy, challenges and opportunities. So having Alex on is a great opportunity for us because he's a strong conservative, small business owner. He's an he's an immigrant to the to the US from from Lebanon. It's just got a great story. So Alex, welcome to the show. Thank you, Ben. Pleasure being here. So before we dive into economics and all things money, tell us a little bit about your background. When When did you immigrate to the US? Sure. I'm originally we visited the US back in 1994. And the plan was to actually flee the civil war that occurred in Lebanon. Growing up, we were in a very modest middle class, my parents would spend nearly 40% of their income to put us in a private Catholic school just because of the Christian base faith and along with the values. But as my parents were getting older, they realized that the opportunities were getting less and less. It wasn't a matter of the meritocracy. It wasn't a matter of the freedom of being able to grow a business. A lot of different political agendas influence the shape of Lebanon. Now it is the only Christian Arab country, but it has 18 different religion. The Civil War really impacted the dismantled a lot of families. We used to live in a building where we had Muslims as our neighbors and growing up I remember During Ramadan, I would be the kid that would go and taste the food and tell them whether there was enough salt or enough pepper. But that all changed. And my father and my mother, were able to see that the future was not going to be great for us. So they decided to do the ultimate sacrifice where they had to leave everything and start from the beginning. When we migrated in early 1994, my brother went to a public high school. And at that point, some of the teachings we had were were not aligned with our values. So my parents were not happy. And we went back. And we needed to restart from the beginning, all the way back then, huh. All the way back then. And I remember my brother was in fourth grade, there was some sort of different types of education that it wasn't aligned with our with our teachings. Long story short, we ended up going back and we have to restart. You know, when you start from the beginning, it kind of does two things. Number one, it gives you a new, a fresh slate, it's a new perspective. You can either dwell on the past and say, Oh, this is where we were, now we're starting from the bottom. Or you can take it as an opportunity and say, This is how we're going to grow so early in my life, where I had a little bit of a setback, but the biggest setback was when we migrated back when I was 16. Back in 2002, after 911. The language was a barrier, the culture was a barrier. I ended up going to high school and because financially, we were struggling. I was working four days a week at a restaurant just to provide and support my parents, what did what did your parents do for a living? What did they do in Lebanon? And then what did what did they do when they came here? Sir, my dad made custom made suits, and my mother was a seamstress. So you know, growing up, we the sound of the sewing machine at a very young age, it was always a reminder that the only way to perseveres through hard work. So one thing that I learned from my parents is that really never complain. And always be optimistic about the future. But really put your head down and do the work. Now, when we migrated here, you know, my parents were always they had their own business. And it was difficult for them to work for someone else really understand that the barrier of the language, like I said, because we're French educated. So that's when I had to really support the family and help. And when I worked four days a week I remember Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and sometimes on Tuesdays, and this was not an easy work. I worked at a restaurant. On Fridays, it was from five o'clock till midnight, Saturdays, it was a 12 hour shift. Sunday's was almost like an eight hour shift. But I knew that this is the part of process that I needed to go through, I needed to get better with my social skills, I needed to understand the culture, I needed to become independent. Now, education was big in our family. Although my brother and I were the first individuals that actually have a college degree. My father doesn't speak, doesn't read. He can speak English, but he does not read any different language. So their hope was let's put you into the education system. Let's because you're going to have a lot more opportunities. So while working, I attended college for years, I did not want to get any student loans. While at college, I was tutoring math. I was working at a couple different places. And where was where was this was it? Yeah. It was in California, okay. Cal State Northridge. Okay, I started as an electrical engineer. And then I realized that I had a fascination of numbers, but I always liked what was happening with the markets. And I wanted that to be connected. Now, when I switched in career, I felt like I got school really prepared me to for the corporate world. So in terms of the skill set, it was all theoretical skill sets. I was ready for the corporate world. But the second problem occurred in 2008. As I was graduating, and the market crashed, and it was very difficult to find a decent paying job, especially with very strong accolades with a dual degrees. And then that's when I realized that as much as I thought that I was in control, I wasn't. But what really bothered me was this. After almost six years being in the US, my parents were able to establish themselves. They had their business, they had their real estate, they were able to build their retirement accounts, and then all of a sudden 2008 occurred. Not only were they significantly impact did. But what really bothered me is I remember vividly like in September, I walked into my parents house, I see my dad losing his confidence, thinking about how he's going to make not only the rent for the for the store the mortgage payment, along with the payroll. Yeah, and and then oh eight crisis. Clearly it was global absolutely had significant impact all across the US. But California was hit very hard. And the the housing bubble that went along with that was amplified all across California. So I can imagine that that was very difficult for them. Yeah, it's, it's one thing for to see your net worth your assets, your retirement accounts, your bank account, drop your credit card limit being cut, with no reason. And then, at the same time, not being able to make the income. So it wasn't just an impact on one, one side of the equation, it was almost like a double impact. And even for me, someone who was starting my my professional career, it was even difficult to find a job that would make sense. But this entire time, as I was growing up in the corporate world, I started with Smith, Barney, helping a financial advisor. Essentially, my job was to make appointments, sit down with professional engineers and understand what their objectives were. But as time went by, I realized that there's some sort of a flaw in the system. And the system was that the banks Wall Street, the government, there were all all of them. I felt like at the time they were all in cahoots. Okay. And what I mean by that is this, the middle classes is the one that's gonna get impacted. And that occurred based on the jobs that occurred based on the the real estate values along with their retirement portfolios. Right. So then I switched my career into banking, banking from private equity venture backed a lot of real estate transaction, helping small to medium sized businesses, really understanding their struggle, and it actually helped having parents that own their own business to understand what they go through how they're how they're planning for the future, how are they going to spend their money? Why is it that they don't like paying taxes, it wasn't about paying taxes, it was about not having control of how that resource was being spent, especially in California, like, I remember exiting my freeway and go into my parents, and all of a sudden, under the bridge, we have a lot of homelesses. And you ask yourself, we are in a state that is the fifth largest economy in the world, we have, we pay the highest almost state income tax, and and all these services should actually be more pro businesses. So from the state is very employee focused, as opposed to employer first, for example, I knew that from my father's business, along with our business, the regulation, it didn't feel like someone was supporting you for growth. So that's a fascinating way to talk about I haven't heard somebody mentioned it like that before the employee focus versus the employer focus. Yeah, it sounds good to say employee focused. But the reality is, is that it's the employers who are creating the opportunities that they build that it's it's all about creation, it's creating opportunities, creating, breaking into markets, creating new products, new services, and they need skilled, capable, competent, enthusiastic employees to do all those things, regardless of what industry they're in. And so you know, that old adage, rising tide lifts all boats, really, it's the employers that are the tide. So if you can invest in the the employers, that then it's going to lift everybody up, including the employees and the communities that everybody works in. That's a fascinating way to describe it. And I haven't heard anybody say that before. Yeah, I mean, look, the reason why my parents came here is because of the financial opportunity and freedom that's going to allow us when you have a cup, like let's just say Lebanon, for example, it's a mix between like a dictatorship a socialist is if you don't have a lot of opportunities, okay? Here as a capitalist country, you have the opportunity to actually start something and fail, but at least you have the freedom to start. So what I feel like is this, this whole divide that's been occurring politically as a Late. That's that's impacting the economy. It's almost reminding me of what's happened in Lebanon. And just to give you an example, right now, Lebanon has the highest inflation, they lost nearly 90% of the value of their currency. The banks placed limits on a monthly basis, you cannot take more than x dollars. So a lot of people saw their wealth vanish overnight, and they're not in control. And a lot of the policies that we're hearing here, it's making me question, what is our privacy of the financial down the line? Yeah, we are we are in a position where we're being questioned, how much more do they want to do, like, for example, when Janet Yellen two years ago said, Any transaction above $600, we want to be able to report that to the IRS, all of a sudden, they increased IRS agents to 90,000. Fast forward, they're talking about let's go in and do a testing through an executive order by them signed, let's allow the research on the security of a digital currency that was March of 2022. Then, during Thanksgiving, when everyone was so focused on on the planning their holidays, the New York Fed, along with love leading banks, they introduced a pilot program of the digital dollar. Now, I've been in the precious metals business for a while now. And 10 years ago, this was some sort of a conspiracy theory, right? The central bank currencies digital, fast forward, we're seeing things unfold. Okay. And the recent announcement a couple months ago, is that the Federal Reserve is going to allow the Fed now payment. So you take a step back, and you say, you just look at the sequence of events. Why is this happening? what's the implication? And there's a lot of question work. And one of the things I've learned is that I'm not going to take things at face value, I want to question it. And I want to be able to speak with someone that has a different point of view, but at the very least question things as opposed to just following the herd mentality. So in my opinion, you know, one of the things that I loved about your what your work that you do, you focused on the faith, family and freedom, the three F's that's, I feel like that's the pillars that you have. And that reminds me of the pillars of gold. The privacy, the protection and preservation and the profits. And I feel right now we're at a time where the importance of gold is being publicized. It's almost like the perfect storm. You look at what's happening to the to the market. Everyone's talking about the debt ceiling. Okay. This is like the topic du jour. It is, ironically, since 1960s. Okay, we've had nearly 80 times that Congress raise the debt, the recent level was at about 31 point 4 trillion. Currently, we're at about 31 point 7 trillion. Now, history tells us that we're always going to increase it. It appears that right now there is some sort of a stalemate. But ultimately, we know that if there is no debt increase, this is going to have an impact on the government shutdown, Social Security payments will not be made. There will be default on the bonds and treasuries that will lower the rating of the US from triple A Yeah, so that that is so for our listeners. So that is basically the government not able to pay back its bonds. And if it's, if it's unable to do that the confidence that lenders have in the United States Government following through on its promises, falls, and then our rating drops, and we become less of a economic force across the globe. Is that Is that fair to say, Alex? Absolutely. And I'd like to take it even a step further, that will undermine the strength of the US dollar. Yeah. Yeah. So. And speaking of the dollar, we're at a timeframe where let's just go back two years during COVID. What they did is they decided to sacrifice the currency to save the economy. In other words, they printed nearly 50% of the dollar in circulation was printed in the last two years. What a simple way to look at what happened is this. When President Trump was in office crazy, our national debt was about 22 trillion. Right now. We're at 31 Point 7 trillion. Okay, roughly 10 trillion increase. The size of our economy was about 22 trillion at the time, the GDP. Today, our economy is about 26 trillion. Okay, there's a fascinating website, it's called the National US debt clock, it'll actually show you what's happening. The problem is, think about it. From a personal perspective, you have a credit card and you have a limits. If you get to a point where you're overspending the credit card provider is going to drop that, right. But in the case of the US, there is no limits. We continue to print into print and print. Because we're no longer backed by gold ever since President Nixon took us off the gold standard. Essentially, we're a fiat currency, the whole the faith of the viability of the US is what's promoting oldest printing. Now, at the same time, the Federal Reserve doubled its balance sheets, in simple layman's terms, they had about $4 trillion. Now, they're nearly about $9 trillion. They decide to print, there's nothing backing it. So at the time, all that money went through PPP loans, people were incentivized to stay home and collect unemployment and unemployment insurance. And I can share with you a quick story, we were trying to hire this individual. An individual was let's just say in his 30s. And this was a very much of an ad hoc type of project, nothing exciting, nothing extensive skill sets. And we were paying above market rate, that individual declined the offer. And his reasoning was, I'm going to be getting paid more to stay home. Why should I work? Yeah. Yeah, I mean, which, and can you really blame him for reaching that conclusion? I mean, it's, it's, you know, he is incentivized to take care of himself. And the federal government, instead of providing a hand up was providing handouts. And what why would he contribute to the economy, he's just going to take instead of contribute, right? I mean, it makes perfect sense. That is not the America that my parents sacrifice for me to come to. Right. This is not the core values of this country. And that's the problem. This is how they're changing the fabric, okay? You have kids, it's not it's no longer just about you right now. And you're at a position where you think about your parents, and you think about the next generation. So if you start thinking about that, and you say, how are my kids going to understand this? Are they going to follow the same structure, it'll be devastating. So the coming back to the dollar, and the reason why I say they sacrificed the currency at that point to save the dollar is to kind of try to control the population and keep them at home and make sure that they're, they have enough money to eat. When you print and people take that money and spend it on pizza and beer, it is not reviving the economy. Okay. So, right now, we're at a point where there is internal threats on the dollar, let it be the debt ceiling. Inflation is essentially the symptom of a weak currency. And it's not a surprise that inflation is what it is. Just ask yourself anytime you go to the grocery store. One was it in our lifetime, that a dozen egg was almost $8. Right? When we, when we were paying about two or$3. But you look at the data that the government provides, and they'll say, inflation is getting under control. It's no longer eight 9% It's only 5%. But inflation, in actuality, it is the cruelest form of taxation 100% 100% You can't really do a lot about it right? Now. And the worst part about inflation is it becomes normalized. People get conditioned to it, your your, you just get conditioned to the fact that it's going to cost that much now going forward. And it sucks because you look back at what you used to be able to do six months prior six years prior, and it hurts, but the government doesn't really look back and say we gotta go back to that. They they they continue to plow forward. They continue to cause inflationary pressures. It's it, it's a problem. It's a huge boom. That is so an all this recent effect about raising the interest rates, you know, people don't understand the impact of that. Number one, let's just talk about weed had 10 consecutive interest rate hikes. Okay? We are at the highest interest rate in the last 16 years. Now for historical context, the highest interest rate we've had in the US was about 17%. That was back in the 80s, early 80s. See, a lot of people did not live through that. So they don't understand what it means like to have a mortgage rate at about 15 16%. Yeah, we got all this cheap money that was printed. People were buying homes at three and a quarter percent. And let me give you a simple example to understand the impact of this. Back in February of 2022, the interest rate was about three and a quarter on a 30 year fixed mortgage. Today, the same product is about 7%. Yep. If you were someone who was going to afford a $2,200 mortgage payment, you could afford having the loan of 500,000. Right now, the same $2,200 payment can only give you about 327,000. In the loan amounts. Yeah. Yep. In other words, it's almost 35% less. So when you hear in the news in the headlines that the real estate market is softening the the commercial real estate market, that's another problem that we're experiencing, by the way, that's the size of that market is about 20 trillion. But a lot of the loans that they get, it's typically a five year loan, and there's a maturity. And when that matures, the interest rate will fluctuate, and we'll adjust to the current market rates. There's over $1.5 trillion of loans that will hit in the next 12 months at a much higher rates. We are in a market where there's high vacancy, because again, COVID train companies and individuals that want to work from home as opposed to want to go to the office. So the impact of the interest rate, it's not just on the credit card interest rate, it's not on the mortgage, it's not on the commercial loan, even the government, they're spending 500 billion of just interest payments, as the debt goes up, and the interest rate goes up. bigger portion of the budget goes to just servicing the loan, yeah, they're not able to pay down the principal. So I want to go back to some of the conversation around the value of the dollar. And, you know, what we have learned over the last 20 years is that when there is a void or a whitespace, China steps into it, and sometimes they do it quietly, sometimes they do it boldly. But either way, when there's an opportunity or a crack, they they step into it. And you know, I read an article just just recently about the Chinese currency, overtaking the dollar for for the first time as it relates to being used for cross border transactions. And, you know, we hear more and more about the US dollar, perhaps not being considered as a world reserve currency in the next five years or so. Is that a trend that we're gonna reverse over time? Or is this just inevitable that the dollar is going to continue to be its value is going to be eroded? And we're going to be having to deal with a different world currency? What are your takes on that? Yeah, that's a great question. And I don't mean to be pessimistic, but I'd like to look at the facts. I like to look at the historical events. Today, the dollar remains the world reserve currency. But we have a, we have a power powerhouse, that it's really challenging that position. And in order for you to understand that you just have to go back about 30 years, when Clintons allowed China to get to get into the World Trade Organization. At in 1990, their size, the economy was about a trillion dollars, our economy was about 9 trillion. Essentially, we were nine times larger, fast forward, they start allowing they wanted the US to have access to the Chinese market. What happens? China's economy has grown from and they're moving away from manufacturing to service and they're investing a lot in technology. How did they do that? Very simply, they forced the American companies to say you want to have access to our economy, not a problem. We're going to create A joint venture 51% is going to be controlled by the Chinese government. And 49% is going to be the American company. Now, here's the condition. Do you have to show your hands? We need to know what your copyrights are. We need to know what your patents are. We need to know your trade secrets, all the no house that the US accumulated over the years. So they come in here, all of a sudden, they have access to all this information. And that accelerates their growth. Okay, right now, China is the second largest economy behind the US at the pace that they're growing is inevitable that they could surpass the US. But what they're doing is this, they're investing in strategic alliances. While we are funding wars, while we are paying countries just so that way we can have their support. They are investing in infrastructure, they are investing in the underlying metals, they are investing in creating alliances. Look at the BRICS nations Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. They are recruiting. They're recruiting. What is it? They're recruiting the Saudis, so that way they can bypass the petrodollar. One of the strength of the US is that a lot of the commodities were based on the dollar. So remember, earlier, I was talking about the internal threats, how we have our policies, or we have inflation or spending or a budgetary deficits, right, the external threat is the international community, ever since the war on Ukraine and Russia and Ukraine, they realize that we can actually bypass the US dollar. That's right. So the question is, could the viability of the US Dollar as a world reserve currency down the line being question? And in my opinion, if we don't see any change in policies, it's almost a war. And today, wars are not happening just with the missiles. It's just a currency war, when they create alliances when they're trying to get bigger than us than our viability is going to be in question mark. They're even trying to recruit the European members. So to understand the strength of a currency, you want to know if if this is becoming a store of value? Do they have confidence that the dollar is the main currency of exchange? Well, if you print a lot of it, and you're lowering the value, they're not going to be incentivized to use the US dollar. And it's, it's in their best interest. So what is China and Russia doing in the background? And all those central banks? They're hoarding gold? Yeah, they're doing that that's their way to vote against the paper US dollar. So in a nutshell, historically, every century, we've had a change of power. And if a nation loses the world reserve currency, it impacts their economy significantly. So it is not in our best interest to lose that position. Yeah, not for sure. When we we have to elect officials who are prepared to change their policies domestically and internationally. So that we can regain our economic strength and positioning in the world we have to tell tell us a little bit Alex, around what is the Outlook with digital currencies? What do we need? What what are what should people be paying attention to with digital currencies? What are what are the concerns that you have around digital currencies? What is What are the next five years hold for, you know, from your perspective around that? All right. Look, the problem would money start slowly and escalates quickly, almost in an instant. And the reason why I say that is you just have to look at the early warning signs. And you start you want to start questioning it. If they have access to digital currency, and they want to make that they want to enforce that on the public, which by the way, a lot of other countries are doing the background. Is the privacy of the individual in question. If they don't like your political opinion, if they don't like the organization that you're spending, in supporting, and all of a sudden they come in place restriction on how much you can spend where you can spend. And by the way, let's not go a lot further. Let's just look at Canada what they did with the trucker community not too long ago. They were protesting and the government intervened with the banking system and they they froze their bank accounts. So what they're after, in my opinion is control, and the way they want to be able to control that is invading our privacy. What's ironic is that the people elect the politicians, okay? Instead of the people being able to influence, what's happening is the government is actually taken over and invading a lot of our privacy's with these policies right now, is there room for some sort of digital currency, we already have a little bit of a digital dollar in the background, when the Federal Reserve prints, they're not actually printing all those dollars, they're also creating the digital version of it. So my opinion, the outlook is going to be this, we're at a biggest wealth exchange from the Baby Boomers to the next generation. And it's a way for, for this generation and next generation to be prepared for some sort of a digital currency. Biggest thing we have to think about, will there be a one to one conversion? What will the privacy aspect look like? And once they know what you have, where you have? What is their intention? Yeah, so how does how does an investment in precious metals offset some of these risks, whether it's, it's for our economy as a whole, or for individuals to share this a little bit about about that? Sure. Now, the more the problems there are from the banking collapse to the D dollarization, or the digital dollar zation, along with the market, which by the way, the market, we've had the longest bull run since 2008. We've haven't we haven't had a recession, we had a blip in the radar with 2020. But we haven't had an actual recession. So if you look at all the risks that's been happening, and you ask yourself, in an environment that the stock market is risky, does it make sense for me to have all my eggs in the baskets? When you think about the bond, for example, the bond, the biggest misconception is people think it's the most secure, it's, it's secure. But one thing they forget is the interest rate. Think about a bond like as a teeter totter, okay? It's just like a pen. If one side of the pen goes down, the other side is going to go up, and vice versa. Right now, what's happening is there's an inverse relationship between the interest rates and the bond. Interest rates are going up, the bond values are dropping. And then you look at a real estate's and you ask yourself is that is the increase in interest rates impacting the values? So if you take a step back, and you understand the current cycle that we're in, and what is the consumer confidence about the outlook, you just have to pay attention to what the big players are doing. Warren Buffett liquidate a big portion of his portfolio and he's sitting on cash. Why is he doing that? That signals that he doesn't have confidence about the outlook and stocks, but he's a value investor. It doesn't mean he doesn't like the stocks, it's just the current valuation are overvalued. And he believes that he wants to lock some of the gains. You'll look at the real estate, as we talked about. So the question is, Why gold and why now? Number one, it's a way to actually diversify your assets. All these assets that we talked about are paper based. If you have stocks, bonds, cash annuities, they're all paper based, it doesn't mean they're all bad. But in order for you to have a truly diversified portfolio, number one, you want to have some physical diversification and goals. Now, all these assets need something for it to work. Like if you have a real estate, you want to make sure that your renter is spank. And one of the things I realized with real estate, although it's an asset, it could become a liability, especially when your renter is not paying or when the government incentivizes the renter not to pay. He saw that during COVID. We did for stocks to perform, they need to be able to generate some sort of a profits. If you look at the s&p 500 Okay, only 10% of those companies are actually in the green. Okay, 90% of those companies, they're almost zombies, they're not as cashflow positive. So, for stocks to perform, you need the company to be profitable for bonds to perform. You need someone to pay their debts and if someone is isn't the there's a question mark for the fault. That raises the the problem. And for real estate, you need the tenant. But for gold, you don't need anything. It is the only asset that is not dependable on anything else. It eliminates what's called a counterparty risk. You're in control. Your money is not tied to something else. Look at what happened to the banks if the FDIC did not intervene, and whoever had more than 250 The $1,000 that we're going to lose out. So gold does few things, it is a store of value because it preserves your buying power. One way to understand that look at the long term, if we can just go back 22 years, let's go back at the beginning of 2000, gold was about $300. Right now it's above 2000. If you had a million dollars in cash, today, that million dollars will have a buying power of about 480,000. So we know as time goes by the value of the dollar is going to drop, and you're gonna have less to work with. And that's the compound effect of inflation. So it preserves your buying power, number one, during uncertain time, it gives you the profit potential. During 2008 and 2011, when the market was dropping, gold increased about three times from a spa price perspective between October of 2008 and April 2011. And at the same time, silver increased five times. But let's just go back to the fundamentals, it's all about supply and demand. Gold has scarcity. It is not manmade, whatever God has placed it on Earth, that's all we have. Right, the entire population of gold is about three swimming size pool, it's not a lot. And gold, unlike other commodity, it is not consumed. It's not like oil, where you can decide how much you want to pump, you can influence the supply overnight and impacted demand. And once you use it, you lose it. Gold is not like that. You have there's a reason why central banks are buying. But ironically, Wall Street doesn't want you to have it. Banks don't want you to have it. Government doesn't want you to have it. And our boils down to one simple aspect, which is they want to keep you within their control. They keep you in their ecosystem. It's not it's not in their best interest because it's in your best interest. I mean, it makes it makes perfect sense. So when someone goes and invests in in gold or silver, do they do they just get boo yawns showing up at their front door or gold bars? Like what is? What does that process look like for the everyday investor? Sure. So we believe everyone should have a little bit of gold. And the reason why we started our company is founded on the values of education. See, we thought we knew a lot because of our finance and banking background. Little did we realize that when my parents were suffering, when a lot of people were losing their retirement accounts, gold was increasing at the time. So the process of acquiring gold is very simple. That all depends on the vehicle, you can actually use your personal funds, where you can do a direct purchase, the metals, let it be a bullion coin, a bar won't be delivered discreetly, it'll be fully insured. That typically, is one way for you to have it in your hands. It's just that investment that you can hold. Alternatively, if you have a qualified retirement account, let's say a 401 K or an IRA, and you want to consider having a better way of diversifying as opposed to just paper, we can actually do the same thing. And there are many strategic benefits of doing so. So the average person, depending on their financial profile, whether they have a lot of their wealth in their personal checking and savings, or if they also have a retirement account. They can actually utilize either or, and that's where our specialty is. And then one thing we do, it's we look for developing a deepened relationship. When we started the company, almost a decade ago, we realized a lot of firms are transactional. And we understand there's a lot of good firms. Yeah, but what we what we learned is that there's so much power in the education, there's so much power in building that deepened relationship. Because at the end of the day, people do business with people. And we care. And we believe that gold is one way to provide the safety, the peace of mind and have truly diversification and control over your assets. As fascinating what what's the number one misconception you hear about when it comes to precious metals? It's a great question. Let me tell you two things, if I may. Number one, people weren't are not aware that they can actually invest in gold that way. They think gold is just from the jewelry aspect. They don't look at it as an insurance on their wealth. And number two, they think it's illiquid, meaning a lot of people think about gold is is an asset. It's very old asset. People don't care about that. But those are the two biggest misconception in big part of our processes educating the benefit the process how easy and simple it is, you know, you have all these brokerages, financial institutions and banks that spends millions and billions of dollars on advertisement. And I remember this vividly when I was with Smith, Barney sitting in a room and these guys from Blackstone, these guys from JP Morgan, they're coming in, they're basically presenting their fund. And I asked the simple question to the advisor that I work with. I said, Why don't we put a portion of their portfolio in gold. And he looked at me, he said, gold. So yeah, it's a good way to have an asset that is not directly correlated. Sure, and want to have true diversification. Gold, as a matter of fact, you don't want gold to do extremely well. Because if gold is doing extremely well, that means the opposite is actually getting less and less. So if you approach gold as an insurance on your wealth, and have a perspective of mid to long term, it's not a day to day investments. Once you understand that parameter, then you'll have the confidence it makes perfect sense to have a little bit of diversification. So to answer your question, again, the lack of education about gold is the biggest challenge that we see. And that's why we exist. That's why we have served over 1000s of clients. That's why we've been able to grow our organization to expand not only the California market and the Florida market, as we talked about, and hopefully in the Texas market. Yeah, come on, man, we love we love when they're strong. Conservatives leave the blue states and come to Texas and make it make it even better. Right. I, you know, I was sharing with you before this podcast that I come across a lot of people and who are and they'll say, Man, those those folks that are coming from California, or they're coming from New York, they just want us to turn into, you know, liberal cities and liberal state and I say, look, a lot of the people I've met, are really political refugees. And they're looking to come and be a part of, of individual freedoms of, you know, conservative policies. And so, yeah, when you when you guys get ready to come to Texas, I think you're going to think you're going to enjoy it. Sure. You said something. As far as blue states. In the last two months, we're hearing about bank failures, okay. Three of the four largest US bank failures occurred in the last two months. You know, what's ironic about those three banks? What's that, that they're all in blue states, to in California, one in New York, Silicon Valley Bank, first republic Signature Bank, okay. And you start to think about this, because it's when when, when people come to California, they think California, it is the oldest Hollywood the public the publicity that it has. But when you start going out, and you start thinking, and you start seeing and having dialogue with with people that value their freedom, they they value, their privacy, they don't want to have too much restriction, they want to be able to grow, and they want to feel that they have a state governor and the policymakers that are promoting that your entire perspective changes. So the, you know, the conservative values are important. The the ability to grow businesses, because it's at the end of the day, small to medium sized businesses are the ones that are the engine of the economy, oh, man, they're the heartbeat. Look at yourself, you're doing the hard work. It's you have a mentality that I need to create, I need to be able to add value. And if I don't do that, I'm not going to be able to provide to my family. And those are the simple principle of capitalism that we have to go back to and understand that the American dream is not about just working and buying a house, the American Dream is having the freedom of choice of building a business and growing and having an impact not on you and your family. But your revolving community. 100% I mean, it's life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And happiness is defined uniquely by every individual, every citizen of this country. And you know, and that's what conservatism espouses is, in giving people the tools, the resources, the opportunities, the Brotherhood, whatever it is, in order for them to be able to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So, look, Alex, I appreciate you joining us today. I learned a ton, I hope I hope our our listeners did as well. I'd love to have you back again. I think we're gonna have a lot of fascinating, evolving things occurring with the economy as we get into the 2024. election. And beyond. I'd love to have you on again, chat more about what you're seeing what you're what you're sensing. And if you're, if you're interested in that, I think our audience would be as well. I look forward to it. And hopefully next time, I'll be in Texas. I'll meet you in person. Yeah. Yeah. Well, we'll have to do that and tell our audience again, where can they find out more about about your company, shirt. So the name of our company is allegiance gold, just like I pledge allegiance to the flag, we pledge our commitments to provide you the highest quality of service and educate you on the metals, you can visit us on allegiance gold.com, you can visit all the socials, feel free to reach out, we're a phone call away. Like I said earlier. We care. We believe in and we're extremely passionate about the importance of gold. And we believe everyone should look into having a portion of their assets in gold. Alex, again, I appreciate you appreciate the work that your colleagues are doing as well to help folks diversify. Appreciate your commitment to conservative values and supporting your community. And thank you again for joining us today. Very good. Thank you so much for your time. Thank you so much for listening. As always, you can email me your thoughts to Ben at Ben armenta.com. As conservatives, our way of life and our aspirations for making the world a freer and safer place for our kids is under attack. And this includes our finances. Keep paying attention to the leftist policies, and listen to Alex's advice, do everything you can to protect your privacy and your money. Keep listening, learning and staying in the fight. Until next time. Thank you again. And God bless. The answer with Ben Armenta is sponsored by the kickin crab, the latest and greatest Cajun concept to hit the southwest. They offer down home flavors and it's one of those places where you're gonna want to take the kids, no plates, just good times brought to you by folks that have strong conservative values like you and me. Visit them off of Highway six in Houston or at the kicking crab.com