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Monday, April 9, 2018

Markets Sending Mixed Signals-Major War or Major Recession. Which Is It?


 

Poor Man Survival

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The market is sending signs a major war and/or a major recession may be imminent…

 
We’ve seen the Middle Class living standard steadily degrade over a generation, with a slight uptick under President Trump.  But it may be too late for a rescue to undo all of the damage which has been done to our economy due to our wasteful non-stop wars and other wasteful spending [Trump’s latest budget certainly won’t help in the long run]…

 
When will the downtrodden finally have had enough, and turn on their powerful oppressors?

The worms should finally turn against the privileged elites -- those who have benefited so greatly from globalization, corruption, central bank stimulus and the profiteering of state-enforced cartels.

The government essentially steals money from one group and hands it to another.

In order for this to occur, four elements must be in place...

1.  
The wealth gap must be getting dramatically bigger.
 

 

2.  
There must be cultural threats from those with different values or from outsiders (in other words, minority populations and immigrants).
 

 

3.  
The government must be ineffective at providing solutions.
 

 

4.  
And there must be growing anger toward the "elites."


Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

We have the largest gap ever between the rich and poor...

We have huge increases in violent protests about immigration and race...

We have a completely ineffective government...

And we have extreme animosity toward the "elites" from both the left and right.

 

The central banks of the world have failed: colossally, completely and dangerously.  Yes, they will try to rescue the “markets” once again, as they did in 2011 and 2016 when things similarly looked to be falling apart.

The reason they might not be able to succeed this time?

They are out of rabbits to pull from the proverbial hat. 

Our new Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is fairly unconcerned with economic theory or asset prices. What he cares most about is regulation and the continued functioning of markets. So as long as credit -- the lifeblood of the global economy -- is flowing, he may not care much where prices end up...

Note: For all those investors expecting the Fed to step in to backstop the recent weakness seen in the stock market: The cavalry isn't coming.

After years of force-feeding too much liquidity into world markets, the central banking cartel is now aware of the Franken-markets it has created. And now with a new head at the US Federal Reserve, and soon at the ECB, central bankers have shifted their priority from supporting asset prices to now actively engineering lower prices.

The specifics about the future elude us today, “predicting” the macro trends most likely to influence the coming decades is very doable:

Rising trends:

·         Populism in politics

·         Federal debt levels

·         Geopolitical tensions

·         Interest rates

Falling trends:

·         Funding levels for pensions [47 states are in very real trouble…IL is at the top of the list]

·         The numbers of insects world wide

·         Confidence in the future among the younger generations

·         Wealth and income equality

Collapse is a process, not a singular event. It happens over time, not overnight… set in motion in most cases by people in positions of power, but helped along by useful idiots among the masses [usually those who hope to gain something, usually wealth, power and/or control over another group].

·         “In general, I regard the future as a multitude of possibilities, but most of them don't look good,” Elias Schwartzman, 29, a musician, told me. “When I'm at retirement age, around 2050, I think it's possible we'll have seen a breakdown of modern society.” Schwartzman said that he saw the future as encompassing one of two possibilities: an apocalyptic “total breakdown of industrial society,” or “capitalism morphing into a complete plutocracy.” “I think the argument can be made that we're well on the way to that reality,” he added.

·         Wood, 32, a political consultant, told me via Twitter that she felt similarly. “I don’t think the world can sustain capitalism for another decade,” she explained. “It’s socialism or bust. We will literally start having resource wars that will kill us all if we don’t accept that the free market will absolutely destroy us within our lifetime [if] we don’t start fighting its hegemony,” she added.

·         (Source – Salon)

 

What the older generations don't yet understand is that the economic and social models that rewarded them so richly well are not doing the same for younger folks.  In fact, those old models are visibly breaking down. And confidence in them is failing, too.

In a desperate attempt to mask the costs of of slower and lower growth, the world's central banking cartel has deployed its  “one weird trick”: lowering interest rates to historic rock-bottom levels. This has allowed for more debt to be crammed into the system for a few more years, to keep the mirage of the party continuing for just a little bit longer. 
Because of that hail Mary, we have ended up in this very bizarre situation where our debt has been growing at twice the rate of our income -- which clearly will end up in a solvency crisis:

Perversely, the central banks are doing everything in their power to defend and propagate this unsustainable status quo, even though fourth grade math tells us it will surely end in ruin. How is it possible that this very simple observation eludes so many of those in positions of power?  You’d have to be an intellectual yet idiot to hold that view. 

 
Your decisions today will control which outcome you experience.

 
The US has been going deeper and deeper in debt simply to maintain the appearance of "economic growth".  This whole illusion is being limped along for just a little while longer.

 


Don’t count on currency “money” retaining its purchasing power. 

States (governments) always follow the same pathway: when financial promises can’t be kept, states debauch/devalue their currencies as a politically expedient short-term solution.

Many people reckon the US dollar (USD) is the weakest, and perhaps they’ll be right, but I think the Chinese yuan (RMB), Japanese yen and EU euro will lose purchasing power first.

 
For the first time ever, young Americans have less consumer confidence than their parents…

 

The most curious feature of the Frugalwoods’ saga is what’s missing from the narrative, and what gets magnified. Here’s one example: in the Guardian piece, which is culled from the book, Liz dedicates multiple paragraphs to describing how she and Nate started “insourcing” various household projects that might otherwise be farmed out to contractors, like painting their kitchen cabinets. What’s weird is the book’s assumption that hiring a cabinet painter is an expense that Millennials are liable to encounter — and that doing the job yourself is somehow empowering, innovative, and thrifty. Which leads to the Godzilla-sized question that overshadows so much of what the Frugalwoods write.

How much money do they have, and where does it come from?


Now, I’m not saying the market is headed that way at the moment. But manufacturers, aluminum producers and steelmakers’ shares slid sharply lower this week over trade war concerns. Add to the mix worries over inflation, rising interest rates and falling technology shares … and you can see why the market has been so volatile lately.

 

 Bruce, the Poor Man, free thinker, social critic & cynic

 

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How Good are Your State's Consumer Laws?Dollar Tree and Dollar General are the two largest dollar stores in the US. The stores are neck-and-neck in terms of store count and annual sales. But, there are some big differences in the shopping experiences you'll have at these stores. Bargain-hunting has been the flavor of the past decade. In the wake of the recession, cost-conscious consumers have flocked to off-price, thrift, and dollar stores in search of good deals. As a result, these stores have seen a surge in sales. From 2010 to 2015, dollar store sales grew from $30.4 billion to $45.3 billion in the US, and hundreds of stores have opened. Credit-rating agency Moody's said in a report on Dollar Tree that it is expecting 8% growthDollar Tree and Dollar General are the two largest dollar stores in the US. The stores are neck-and-neck in terms of store count and annual sales. But, there are some big differences in the shopping experiences you'll have at these stores. Bargain-hunting has been the flavor of the past decade. In the wake of the recession, cost-conscious consumers have flocked to off-price, thrift, and dollar stores in search of good deals. As a result, these stores have seen a surge in sales. From 2010 to 2015, dollar store sales grew from $30.4 billion to $45.3 billion in the US, and hundreds of stores have opened. Credit-rating agency Moody's said in a report on Dollar Tree that it is expecting 8% growth

The National Consumer Law Center just released a study of how effective each state's consumer laws are. This chart summarizes how good or how bad each state is on various consumer topics. One important note: the best consumer laws are useless if your state attorney general and/or office of consumer affairs just sits on its hands and doesn't enforce those laws vigorously.

The Cheapskate’s Guide to the Good Life…

The Wall Street Journal has compiled a list of 50 ways you can indulge in the good life with ideas of how to score affordable luxury from style steals to d├ęcor discounts to steep travel bargains.

 

More Retirees Want a Side Gig. Here's How to Get One: Whether by choice of necessity, nearly three out of four Americans plan to work beyond traditional retirement age - at least on a part-time basis. CNBC
 
 

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2 comments:

Larry said...

It's all a crap shoot.

DAR said...

I'm with you-our crystal ball is cloudy. Things change rapidly & it is a challenge to stay ahead of the curve.