On the heels of the IMF downgrading their global growth forecast, below is a shocking look at what the elderly are already doing just to survive.

Here is a portion of today’s note from Art Cashin:  Grandpa Goes To Jail – Willingly – The incredibly sharp-eyed Grant Williams found a disturbing new trend in Japan, which was described in an article in the FT. Here’s how the article began:

Japan’s prison system is being driven to budgetary crisis by demographics, a welfare shortfall and a new, pernicious breed of villain: the recidivist retiree. And the silver-haired crooks, say academics, are desperate to be behind bars.

Crime figures show that about 35 percent of shoplifting offences are committed by people over 60. Within that age bracket, 40 per cent of repeat offenders have committed the same crime more than six times.

There is good reason, concludes a report, to suspect that the shoplifting crime wave in particular represents an attempt by those convicted to end up in prison — an institution that offers free food, accommodation and healthcare.

The mathematics of recidivism are gloomily compelling for the would-be convict. Even with a frugal diet and dirt-cheap accommodation, a single Japanese retiree with minimal savings has living costs more than 25 per cent higher than the meagre basic state pension of Y780,000 ($6,900) a year, according to a study on the economics of elderly crime by Michael Newman of Tokyo-based research house Custom Products Research.

Even the theft of a Y200 sandwich can earn a two-year prison sentence, say academics, at an Y8.4m cost to the state.

The geriatric crime wave is accelerating, and analysts note that the Japanese prison system — newly expanded and at about 70 percent occupancy — is being prepared for decades of increases. Between 1991 and 2013, the latest year for which the Ministry of Justice publishes figures, the number of elderly inmates in jail for repeating the same offence six times has climbed 460 percent.

If it weren’t so, so sad, it would be positively elegant. You are an elderly Japanese person who can’t get by. You are not aggressive so you want to commit a crime with no threat or hostility. So, you commit one of the most non- hostile crimes possible – shoplifting.

When the authorities insist you leave and return to poverty, your simple recourse it to repeat the same crime, may even in the same store.

Human adaptation is an absolute wonder to behold. Government planning, however, is prone to bring unintended consequences, usually of the worst order.

Overnight And Overseas – The yen cooled down after straight days of rallying. That allowed the Nikkei to rally 1.1%. China saw a split with Shanghai lower and Hong Kong up a smidge. India was a bit higher as were most emerging markets. In Europe markets are turning mixed after early optimism on the Italian bank fund begins to fade. The fund is 5.7 billion euros and Italian “bad loans” are estimated at over 350 million euros. Crude is rallying yet again. Base metals are firm and gold looks unchanged. U.S. futures are fighting to hold a small uptick.

Consensus – Some moving averages hint at possible intermediate resistance in the market. That will call for careful scrutiny as we approach the “sell in May and go away” period. Bulls need to regroup and make a stand here. Stick with the drill – stay wary, alert and very, very nimble.

***KWN has now released the extraordinary audio interview with legend Art Cashin discussing his greatest fear and the the implication of this for the gold market and much more and you can listen to it by CLICKING HERE OR ON THE IMAGE BELOW.

KWN Art Cashin mp3 4:10:2016

***KWN has also now released the fantastic audio interview with Rick Rule discussing the gold and silver markets and what he is doing with his own money right now and you can listen to it by CLICKING HERE OR ON THE IMAGE BELOW.

KWN Rule mp3 4:10:2016

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