Monday, July 16, 2018

Week of 07/16/2018

The Coming Fall
“Pride comith before the fall”, as the old saying goes.
A warning about pride, borrowed from various interpretations of the King James bible.
Unfortunately, too many people in America are well beyond pride.  They’re firmly in the category of blind, stinking, self-serving, self-righteous arrogance.  You know who those people are.  And if you don’t, then you’re probably one of them.
And that’s dangerous.
Pride itself makes us reckless.  It’s okay to be proud of your achievements; but being too proud always blinds us to when we aren’t doing our best.  It excuses and overlooks the mistakes that we make and the wrongs we commit.
And it makes what happens next hurt even worse.
There is an economic crash coming, people.  And it will hurt.  It will hurt you and me and everyone except those in the tippy-top of the food chain in America.  It’s not a matter of “if” it will happen; it is a matter of “when”.
I’m not saying this to scare you.  I’m saying this to warn you.  And I know that I’m not the only one saying it. 
Even the best economists are saying that a recession will happen, and it’ll happen either at or just before 2020. I happen to think they may be optimistic.  It may come sooner than that.
Understand that I’ve been seeing the trends for years.  You can pit my record of seeing the ups and downs since 1988 against the so-called “experts” and you’ll find I’m right every time.  Every time.  I predicted the mini-recession of 1988.  I saw the 2000 recession two years before it happened, and I even predicted the media would be silent about it until after the election.  I was warning people about the Great Recession long before it hit.  You don’t have to be an “expert” to see the signs.  You just have to have eyes and ears and know what to look for, and to also know when you’re being lied to by those same “experts”.
Now, it is easy to dismiss doomsayers, especially when you’re so full of pride and arrogance, and especially when the media and the politicians are telling you what a wonderful economy we have.  “Unemployment” is almost non-existent.  Profits are sky-high.  Wall Street may be unstable, but that instability creates wealth, right?  Someone’s buying, someone’s selling, money is being made either way.  Our narcissistic president, Donald Trump, and his cadre of GOP butt-kissing sycophants and their propaganda prostitutes are all saying everything is hunky-dory thanks to him and the GOP and their “blessed” tax breaks. 
But we’ve been down this same road before, over and over again, and let’s get brutally honest here... things are not as rosy as we wish them to be.
Retail stores have been closing left and right.  Big names like Sears, Toys R Us, Rue 21, Walgreens, Gymboree, Sam’s Club, The Gap, Teavana, J Crew, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Macy’s have either shut down completely, are shutting down, or are closing a lot of their stores.  Even franchise restaurants like Chipotle, Subway, and Starbucks are shutting down.  McDonald’s... McDonald’s of all places... are laying people off!  The big malls are becoming the modern-day versions of ghost towns.
Now “the script” being regurgitated by the media is blaming all of it on the rise of online business activity in places like Amazon and eBay.  But... seriously... Subway?  Teavana?  McDonald’s?  Mc-freaking-Donald’s?  Something is seriously wrong with this picture to suggest that Amazon can compete with delivering a made-to-order Quarter Pounder with cheese, fries, and a large Coke faster than going to the actual Golden Arches and getting it from the drive thru.
But I want you to think about this for a minute: these are all stores that depend on consumers having money to spend.  If our economy is as strong as it ever was – as according to our narcissistic President and his sycophants and their propagandist prostitutes – then wouldn’t these places be flush with business and money?
Now with Toys R Us, their downfall was nothing short of criminal, and you can thank Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital for that.  They took a page straight out of “The Sopranos” and stabbed a lot of children in the heart... and all in the name of blind stinking greed.  But the other stores and even the restaurants?  There’s no excuse for what is going on other than they are losing customers because they can’t afford to spend money.
So where’s the money going?  If the business world is flush with it, if corporations are posting record profits with it, if the economy is so goddamned stable as we are being told it is, then where is the money going?
I can tell you where it is not going, and that is into the pockets of the very hard-working Americans that need it!
Wages have been stagnant for hard-working Americans for a very long time.  Too long.  Year-after-year, we are being forced to make do with less and less.  But the cost of living doesn’t stagnate.  It keeps going up.  The healthcare industry and the insurance companies are the new robber-barons in America, gouging all Americans worse than Big Oil ever did and getting away with it.
Basic rule, people: if your so-called “raise” is less than the increased cost of living, then you are not getting a “raise”.  You are getting a slap in the face.  And the hard-working Americans have been getting pretty sore from being slapping around.
Our government, even before it was being led by a narcissist, still operates on Ronald Reagan’s old “Trickle Down” delusion.  You give the rich all the breaks, they get all the breaks, and then it magically “trickles down” to the rest of us.
Only it’s not.  The people at the top of the economic pyramid are not sharing it.  They’re keeping it.  Because sharing it would be an expense, and that diminishes their ever-precious profits.  And our business world worships profits at all costs.
Now this is nothing new at all.  The same lie has been regurgitated over and over and over again, but it is still just a lie.  The problem is that this is happening as we are still trying to recover from the Great Recession from ten years ago.
You remember the Great Recession, right?  All of those people out of work, all of those homes foreclosed and all those people left homeless?  All of those banks collapsing and getting away with huge stinking bailouts?  Remember that?
How many of you got all of your money back from that?  How many of you were able to rebuild your savings?
Now, remember hearing about how “low” the unemployment numbers are?  Those numbers didn’t get that way because millions upon millions of hard-working Americans that were laid off suddenly got jobs.  That’s not how “unemployment” is measured.  That’s never been how “unemployment” is measured.  They only count the people getting assistance from the government.  But if you deplete that assistance, or if it is cut, or if you suddenly “don’t qualify”, then you cease to exist according to the government.  Voila!  Unemployment goes “down” without ever spending a single dollar in job creation.
Numbers magic from the same people that gave us Enron!
All of that... all of it... is taking its toll on our economy.  You can only “carry on” for so long before you run out of money.  You can only “make do with less” until you don’t have it.  You can only cut and scrimp and penny-pinch until you run out of pennies.  If you’re spending more and more money on healthcare, then you’re not spending it on clothes or food or the things that keep the economy going.  Uber and AirBNB and the rest of the “sharing economy” are not growing because of a “new dynamic”.  They’re growing out of economic necessity and desperation.
And you’ll notice that I haven’t even spoken one word of President Donald Trump’s trade war rhetoric yet!  Nothing about the tariffs that will hit all of us soon, thanks to our Narcissist-in-Delusion and his protectionist racket.
Here’s a little reality check: the tariffs that are being imposed will not be paid by the countries Trump is targeting.  At all.  Ever.  They pass those costs on to the rest of us, the consumers of those goods and services.  We will be paying for Trump’s tariffs.  Not China.  Not Canada.  Not Mexico.  Oh, and Mexico still won’t be paying for Trump’s ego-wall either.  We will.
Speaking of, all of those regulatory safeguards that were put in place after the Great Recession have all been disabled thanks to Trump and his complicit crew.  It’s 2007 all over again as far as Big Corporate is concerned.
Now... put all of that together.  Do you see a strong economy in that mess?  If you do, then you are operating on a different reality than the rest of us.
That’s why this coming crash will be hurting us harder than before.  We don’t have that cushion we had ten years ago.
And if you’re still living in that Trump delusion, then the coming crash will hit you like a freight train.  That MAGA hat you got on your head and that Trump-Pence bumper sticker on your car will not protect you.  Nor will your pride and arrogance make it magically go away any more than an it would save you from an actual train.
Again, I’m not saying this to scare you.  I’m saying this to warn you.  The crash is coming.  Even the best people in the field, the ones that get paid to see these things, are seeing it coming.  The only question is whether or not you will be ready.

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