By the author of Be Ready for Anything and the online course Bloom Where You’re Planted
Recently, a lot of signs have been pointing to a financial crisis the likes of the Great Depression hurtling toward us, but no one wants to heed these warnings.
This weekend, I wrote about the continuing retail apocalypse, with thousands more brick and mortar stores slated to close down this year, taking tens of thousands of jobs with them. Quite a few people scoffed at my concern, feeling that a few retail jobs weren’t a sign of pending doom.
But I’m not alone in my apprehension. Not by a long shot.
Don’t expect the naysayers to agree anytime soon. It’s much more comfortable to believe that our economy has greatly improved under President Trump when in reality, we are already headed down the road to crisis without any brakes. Back when Trump was elected, Brandon Smith of Alt-Market warned:
I have been warning since long before the election that Trump’s presidency would be the perfect vehicle for central banks and international financiers to divert blame for the economic crisis that would inevitably explode once the Fed moved firmly into interest rate hikes. Every indication since my initial prediction shows that this is the case.
The media was building the foundation of the narrative from the moment Trump won the election. Bloomberg was quick to publish its rather hilariously skewed propaganda on the matter, asserting that Trump was lucky to inherit an economy in ascendance and recovery because of the fiscal ingenuity of Barack Obama. This is of course utter nonsense. Obama and the Fed have created a zombie economy rotting from the inside out, nothing more. But, as Bloomberg noted rightly, any downturn within the system will indeed be blamed on the Trump administration.
Fortune Magazine, adding to the narrative, outlined the view that the initial stock rally surrounding Trump’s election win was merely setting the stage for a surprise market crash.
I continue to go one further than the mainstream media and say that the Trump administration is a giant cement shoe designed (deliberately) to drag conservatives and conservative principles down into the abyss as we are blamed by association for the financial calamity that will occur on Trump’s watch…
…Every single stock decline from now on, as well as the ultimate economic crash, which will become visible to the public in short order, will be blamed on Donald Trump and conservatives by extension. As I said, he is the perfect scapegoat. (source)
It certainly makes sense from an establishment point of view to blame a financial disaster on a populist movement, particularly if they want to the American people to beg for a Socialist government. After all, then they’re just giving the people what they want, right?
But Smith isn’t the only person ringing the warning bell.
James Kunstler has been warning us for years, too.
James Howard Kunstler is a journalist, author, social critic, and blogger. He has written about the dangers of declining oil production, urbanism, and local economies. He’s been called a fearmonger and a grim extremist, but is that a case of people who are in denial?
He recently warned of something much darker coming our way and recommended that we “enjoy the last few weeks of relative normality.” Here’s how he sees the trouble going down.
The financial markets wobbled and puked on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, finally mirroring the tremendous stresses in our politics. They’ve been every bit as jacked on unreality as the two major parties for years now. The markets, after all, are not the economy itself, just indexes of the supposed values of things, stocks, bonds, gold, soybeans, etc., and the Federal Reserve has been jamming hallucinogens down their craw since the last little seizure in 2008.
The markets don’t seem to like the new chairman of the Fed, a cipher named Jay Powell. In his first big public performance since stepping into Janet Yellen’s tiny shoes this week, Powell managed to do a complete 180 in 24 hours on whether his outfit will stick to four rate hikes this year… or maybe just ride to the rescue of the floundering markets with their old tricks of lowering interest rates and “printing” shitloads of new “money” to get those animal spirits going again in the S & P. Absolutely nothing Powell’s Fed might try will work. In fact they will only make the cratering indexes fall deeper and harder, along with the value of the US dollar. Interest rates can’t go any higher, anyway, without blowing up half the paper obligations on earth. Businesses will be terrified to transact. You can’t do much with a crippled financial system. The authorities and the news media will call it a “recession” but a sore-beset public will know it is the start of something a whole lot worse.
As a nice side-dish to this banquet of consequences, the Democratic party will be deprived of its only reason to live the past two years: to shove Donald Trump off-stage. And the Republicans will be blamed twice over: once, for not coming to Trump’s defense, and again for getting behind him in the first place. (source)
It’s certainly no stretch of the imagination to agree that there are a lot of powerful people who want Trump gone. But Pence, his replacement, brings its own set of worries, such as a theocratic ruler with no concept of the separation of church and state.
Peter Schiff says we’re headed for the Great Depression 2.0
Peter Schiff is an economist, financial broker/dealer, author, and podcaster who accurately predicted the crash of 2008. He is convinced that another Great Depression is upon us and that this one will be far worse than the first one.
The bad news is, we are going to live through another Great Depression and it’s going to be very different. This will be in many ways, much much worse, than what people had to endure during the Great Depression. This is going to be a dollar crisis.
These hot inflation numbers that we’ve been getting are going to get a lot hotter…all this inflation that has been in the financial markets, in the stock markets, in the bond market, in the real estate market, everybody loved inflation when it was making you rich…the problem is going to be when it makes you poor. That’s when it starts showing up in the cost of living; all the things you need to buy end up being a lot more expensive.
When you are talking about the magnitude of the debt we have, that extra money [raising interest rates] is big. That’s going to be a big drain on the economy to the extent that we have to pay higher interest to international creditors…a lot of this phony GDP is coming from consumption, while the average American who is consuming is deeply in debt and they are going to impacted dramatically in the increase in the cost of servicing that debt…given how much debt we have, and how much debt is going to be marketed the massive increase in supply will argue for interest rates that are higher.
The Fed thinks they create economic growth…by [saying] ‘let’s jack up the stock market and then the economy’s going to grow and people are going to go out and spend more money.’ It’s actually doing damage. If you create a bunch of phony wealth, and people end up spending money that they otherwise would have saved, you are undermining economic growth.
Everything the Fed has done has undermined real economic growth, that is why this coming collapse is going to be so devastating. (source)
Debt is an exceptionally big problem. Personal debt in America was up $605 billion BEFORE the predicted $682 billion in Christmas spending. As interest rates and inflation increase, as jobs get lost, the looming question is, how are people going to pay this off?
Answer: they can’t.
Brandon Smith is also pointing a finger at the Fed.
Smith believes that Jerome Powell, the new chairman of the Federal Reserve, will knowingly trigger a stock market crash of historic proportions, based on something he said back in 2002. In a speech, he discussed how simple it as to manipulate the market for the profit of a few, wrapping it up with this chilling statement.
…we look like we are blowing a fixed-income duration bubble right across the credit spectrum that will result in big losses when rates come up down the road. You can almost say that that is our strategy.” (source)
Smith points out that he has changed his tune since becoming Chairman of the Fed and is parroting Janet Yellen, while knowingly manipulating the market to the point that implosion is near.
Powell’s first day as Chairman was greeted with the sharpest drop in U.S. equities in years. Yellen’s parting gift to investors in January was an $18 billion reduction in the Fed balance sheet, $6 billion more than the Fed originally claimed would occur. It is clear to me that just as stocks climbed in direct correlation to the Fed balance sheet, so too will they fall in direct correlation to the Fed balance sheet. Only a week after the balance sheet was cut more than expected, stocks fell by nearly 10%.
So, the question now is, will Powell continue this trend of rate hikes and balance sheet reductions, being that he is recorded as knowing what the results will be? I believe that this is exactly what he will do. Why? Because the Fed’s goal is the deliberate controlled demolition not only of U.S. markets but also U.S. debt instruments and the dollar.
If I am wrong, then Powell, knowing the threat, will reverse rate hike policies and stop dumping the balance sheet in an effort to prop up the system. If I am right, then we will see Powell continue these policies over the course of 2018 and allow the system to implode…
…It will not take very many Fed meetings to discern whether or not the central bank will continue to back up stocks. To me, it appears that the decision to pull the plug has already been made. (source)
Simon Black shared a chilling analysis of the February stock market volatility.
Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, and the founder of Sovereign Man. His insight on the market comes from years of experience all over the world.
Earlier this month, the market dropped a very speedy 10% from its all-time high.
The selloff occurred because higher-than-expected wage growth stoked inflation fears. Higher inflation means the Fed may have to raise interest rates sooner than expected. All else equal, higher interest rates mean lower stock prices.
And this panicked selling was based only on the fear of higher interest rates…
…In short, the market doesn’t know what to do with negative inputs today… much less some really bad news…
…when the selloff started on February 5, the VIX jumped 116% in one day (the largest move ever). And the volatility targeting crowd ran for cover, selling potentially hundreds of billions of dollars in equities.
People have also been betting outright against volatility, which again, has been a profitable strategy for years. The VelocityShares Daily Inverse VIX Short-Term ETN (XIV), which moves inversely to the VIX, was one of the most popular tools for this.
But, when the VIX jumped 116% in a day, that fund lost about 95% of its value. Then XIV announced it would liquidate (the fund had $1.8 billion at its peak). Investors were wiped out.
And it wasn’t just individual investors using this strategy… Even pension funds and sovereign wealth funds were getting in on the action as a way to generate income, which is totally absurd. These are supposed to be the safest and most conservative investors around…
…But that’s just a taste of what’s to come. Imagine the selling we’ll see when there’s actually bad news. (source)
Whether you invest in the market or not, whether you have a pension fund that plays the market or not – no matter who you are, a stock market crash can and will affect your life. Here’s what you need to know about surviving a crash and here’s what you need to know to protect your wealth.
Then there’s this steel tariff business.
President Trump isn’t the first leader to put a tariff on steel in the hopes of bringing this industry back to the United States. But it backfired in 2002 when President George W. Bush tried it, and chances are, based on the international outrage this has invoked, it will backfire again.
Zero Hedge reported:
Immediately after the announcement, the European Union announced that it would impose retaliatory tariffs on the United States, risking the start of a major trade war. To decide whether or not the steel tariffs were fair, a case was filed at the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Switzerland, Brazil and others joined with similar cases.
In a decisive decision, on November 11, 2003, the WTO came out against the steel tariffs, saying that they had not been imposed during a period of import surge—steel imports had actually dropped a bit during 2001 and 2002—and that the tariffs therefore were a violation of America’s WTO tariff-rate commitments. The ruling authorized more than $2 billion in sanctions, the largest penalty ever imposed by the WTO against a member state, if the United States did not quickly remove the tariffs.
In retaliation, the European Union threatened to counter with tariffs of its own on products ranging from Florida oranges to cars produced in Michigan, with each tariff calculated to likewise hurt the President in a key marginal state.
But it was the market’s response that broke the camel’s back: what followed immediately after the tariffs were announced was a 30% plunge in the S&P 500, a slump in the dollar and a rally in bonds that slashed 10Y yields in half. (source)
The bottom line
The bottom line is, a financial crisis is coming. It doesn’t matter who is in office or the numbers espoused by the government. You need to be prepared by creating an emergency fund, building a stockpile, getting out of debt and living frugally, and learning self-reliant skills. America as we know it is in for a drastic change, and we’re populated with a country full of consumers instead of producers. The best (and some might say only) way to survive what’s coming is to be a producer.