Just The Beginning, More Losses And Social Unrest, Great Depression 2.0 On The Way

January 3, 2009

Sad but true, the worst is yet to come. We’ve yet to even scratch the surface of the financial & social losses that are to come. It’s been over two years since I started sounding the alarm via e-mails and this blog, and not because I’m some sort of psychic, but rather because the writing has been all over the walls. It just took some reading. The threat of a recession was real then, and now that it is finally here (and for over a year now), the threat of a “Great Depression 2.0” is even more real.

There have been others that have been warning us all for much longer and I thank them for having alerted me as well. Among them were; Peter Schiff from Euro Pacific Capital and David Walker, former United States Comptroller General. Both of which continue to try to wake up the American public to the reality that is unfolding in front of us.

Nonetheless, there are still idiots and/or optimists that are saying that this recession will be all be over and done with come Q3 2009. Don’t believe it for a second. This recession we’re in is serious stuff. This is not your grandparent’s recession. This is the culmination of over 70 years of the collective mind forgetting every last piece of common sense in how to run global, government, corporate and personal finance. This time it will be much worse and it will be a depression.

Go ahead, call me what some people called me two years ago… a nut job, a Chicken Little, a pessimist, or a party pooper, but the worst IS yet to COME. Think LA Riots, think post-Katrina looting, think unemployed, homeless, hungry and angry inner city residents turning over and burning cars in protest of the sad state of affairs.

Rioters during the 1992 LA Riots turn over a police vehicle

Rioters during the 1992 LA Riots turn over a police vehicle

Once that begins to happen, our government will need to, regardless of what they might otherwise state publicly, detain thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people in camps. All in trying to maintain law & order.

This will be only part of the social consequences from our financial collapse and the economic decisions that have led to our over consumption, under production, outsourcing, deforestation, pollution, environmental, political and societal damage.

However, we will first have to experience further losses of jobs, homes, companies, banks, local governments, retirement accounts, life savings, followed by further bail outs, followed by a deflation/inflation roller coaster ride, and finally the total collapse of the dollar (potentially being replaced by the “Amero“). I think by then a large number of people will just lose it and crack under pressure. Then we’ll have a series of people going postal, rioting, looting and all out mayhem and disorder in the streets. Certainly some places more so than others (think NYC compared to Utah).

Add to that the increasing number of natural weather disasters that we are experiencing brought on by global warming (or just the natural cycle of things – if you don’t buy the whole global warming bit) and you’ll have even die-hard atheists converting to one of the many religions that promises eternal salvation before or after suffering through apocalyptic times.

Stay safe and have a plan of action!


The Economy Crisis Is Contained… Yeah, Right!

February 2, 2008

Some News Links From Contributing Editor RH:

NY TimesChina’s Inflation Hits American Price Tags…
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/01/business/worldbusiness/01inflate.html?_r=3&hp&oref=slogin&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

money.cnn.com‘It’s going to be much worse’ Famed investor Jim Rogers sees hard times ahead for the United States – and a big opportunity looming in China…
http://money.cnn.com/2008/01/30/news/international/okeefe_rogers.fortune/index.htm

bloombergU.S. Economy: Payrolls Fall for First Time Since 2003…
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=agPvpBGH.EX4&refer=home

CountrywideCountrywide And Chase sent letters to customers last week telling them they could no longer borrow against their credit lines because the total debt on the home exceeded the market value of the property. The lender says it is using computer modeling to determine which of its customers would have their cash spigot shut off…
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2008/02/countrywide-and-chase-shut-off-cash.html

Home DepotHome Depot to lower 10% of headquarters staff. For now!
http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/home-depot-lower-10-headquarters/story.aspx?guid=%7BB2D577A3%2DA185%2D4D73%2D9AAF%2D377BDC78AB6A%7D

bloombergSay It Ain’t So, Municipal Bonds Are the New Junk: Joe Mysak
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&refer=columnist_mysak&sid=auPmzvv3Al.g

Bush Says ‘Serious Signs’ U.S. Economy Is Weakening…
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aJZqcryZJIqw&refer=home

Where a recession is already hitting hard…
http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Banking/HomebuyingGuide/WhereARecessionHasAlreadyHitHard.aspx

It’s just the beginning… -RH

Chicken Smith View:

I know, you’re probably thinking; “boy, these people don’t let up that the sky is falling.” Well, it ain’t just us. It’s a lot of people all over the world that recognize the trouble we’re in and the uncharted waters we’re headed towards.

As you can probably see, people are only now starting to wake up to this, just as I started waking up to this towards the end of 2006, and others, much smarter than I, have been predicting a decline for much longer than I have (check out Peter Schiff). Sooner or later you’ll have to recognize it. If you don’t see the signs that we’re in a recession and possibly headed for worse, I can only think of a few excuses for that reasoning at this point in time:

1. Your wealthy – I figure if you’ve got a lot of cash coming in, and someone else is managing your money, you might not feel all the cash that’s going out. I’m choosing to define wealthy as someone who’s combined household income after taxes is above $750,000. Although if you make that amount, chances are you probably have lost some money in the stock market recently, so you must have felt it.

2. You’re a hard working schmuck and your wife handles your money – Well, here’s how I figure it; the more inflation hits us, the more you have to work, the more you work, the less time you have to stop and see what’s really going on. As the bills come in, your wife simply insists that you have to work more, ok, well maybe she’s working more too, but the point is you can’t afford to stop to smell the roses.

3. You’re a student – Everything is already expensive, you already owe a lot of money, and you don’t know any better. Keep reading and learning, these are tough economic times we’re headed towards, similar to our depression years that started in 1929 and lasted well over 10 years.

If you don’t fall into one of those categories above, then surely you must be seeing it everywhere, from food prices to heating prices, from housing crises to financial crisis, from social woes to political woes, from health insurance to home insurance, from the falling dollar to the negative savings rate. Even global weather is lining up right along the rest of our economic uncertainties to produce the “perfect storm” of a world financial collapse that is being spear headed by the U.S. Granted, unless those terrorists decide to attack us again, we’ll all survive this and things will eventually get better, but they’ll certainly get worse before we even see the light at the end of the tunnel.


Employment Plunges, Credit Tightens, Gold Climbs, Market Crash Forecast, Great Depression Ahead

September 8, 2007

The behavior in what we are observing in the last seven weeks is identical in many respects to what we saw in 1998, what we saw in the stock-market crash of 1987,” Greenspan was quoted by the newspaper as saying… http://www.reuters.com/article/ousiv/idUSN0640900320070907

Citigroup Unit Won’t Take New Mortgage Bank Clients… http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aP1Ebhaa1J30&refer=home

The utterly ugly employment figures for August (a fall in jobs for the first time in four years, downward revisions to previous months’ data, a fall in the labor participation rate, and an even weaker employment picture based on the household survey compared to the establishments survey) confirm what few of us have been predicting since the beginning of 2007: the U.S. is headed towards a hard landing…. http://www.rgemonitor.com/blog/roubini/213894

33 percent of home loans didn’t close last month. A third of home loans originated by mortgage brokers failed to close in August as investors shied away from riskier borrowers, a new survey says… http://www.mcall.com/business/local/all-mortgages.6029291sep06,0,7164270.story

Countrywide May Cut Staff by 12,000. Countrywide Financial Corp., the nation’s biggest mortgage company, may reduce its workforce by 10,000 to 12,000 in the next three months, a 20 percent cut… http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aQhytb8fv1Tk&refer=home

LEHMAN CUTS 850 MORE JOBS: Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., which shut its subprime mortgage business last month, is cutting 850 more jobs, mostly at a U.S. subsidiary catering to borrowers with decent credit scores…http://www.nypost.com/seven/09072007/business/lehman_cuts_jobs_in_alt_a.htm

IndyMac to Cut 10 Percent of Jobs; May Post a Loss… http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=azgqnpf9trLM

Don’t you just feel real sorry for gold? Look at that poor chart below and weep. …Actually weep for those idiots who cannot recognize a gold bull market when they see one. Hah! Gold will yet go where gold wants to go and perhaps where it has never been before– higher Margarita… http://www.kitco.com/ind/vaughn/sep072007.html

Gold Prices Climb As Stocks, Dollar Fall… http://www.forbes.com/fdc/welcome_mjx.shtml

Debugging Wall Street’s funky math. Big chunks of investment banks’ earnings are from assets that few know how to value. Should investors and regulators be concerned??? http://money.cnn.com/2007/09/06/magazines/fortune/eavis_level3.fortune/index.htm?postversion=2007090710

As Housing Market Cools, Far Fewer Become Agents… http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/07/business/07agents.html?em&ex=1189310400&en=78ece3289daf0498&ei=5087%0A

America is already in a recession and the U.S. Government is flat broke to the extent of 8.9 trillion dollars. In other words, every man, woman and child in America owes $29,672 dollars in Government debt… http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_allen_l__070830_america_broke__2f_aver.htm

US Economy: Drowning in Debt… http://www.opednews.com/maxwrite/link.php?id=21979

American Dream Slashed Along with Home Values… http://www.opednews.com/maxwrite/link.php?id=37915

The Great American Dream still exists — in Iraq! http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_jane_sti_070329_the_great_american_d.htm

America’s House of Cards Economy… http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_michael__070814_house_of_cards.htm

Economic Armageddon Is Coming… http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_joel_s___070423_economic_armageddon_.htm

Bush’s Economy Is Poverty Stricken, Bleeding Jobs and Ready to Crash… http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_dan_meri_070524_bush_s_economy_is_po.htm

China’s Passenger Cars Leave US in the Dust… http://www.opednews.com/articles/genera_braden_g_070327_china_s_passenger_ca.htm

Chicken Smith View:

I know what you’re thinking; “how can this great, rich, powerful, generous and glorious country collapse?” Well, starting with the fact that the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Turks, the Ottomans, the Romans, the Mayas, the Spanish, the British and basically anyone that’s ever been in or part of a “great empire” all thought the same thing (even more so right before it collapsed), and then proceeding to the fact that we are facing similar historical events that preceded their demise, I think it’s highly likely that our great nation can see a reversal of fortunes in the near future.

What to do? Save your money! Have some gold and/or silver (no I don’t sell any). Consider the possibility of moving overseas (or across the border, Canada eh?). Get some useful skills such as learning to modify a car to run on cooking oil, building a solar panel, fortifying your home against intruders, digging a well in your back yard, learn another language, and anything else that can prep you for some tough economic times (which in turn can lead to some tough social times). Hey, if nothing else happens, at least you’ve got some good skills that will help you in our new world economy.


It’s Not Just Sub-Prime, It’s Credit And Debt Everywhere

August 20, 2007

New York MagazineNow these funds, which were supposed to be brimming with cash—the “liquidity” you hear about all of the time—turn out to have not much at all, and there are virtually no buyers anywhere for these mortgage-backed bonds, because who knows if the mortgages that are in them are worth anything? We only know that each day they are worth less than the day before, because every week, thousands of borrowers are being foreclosed.”New York Magazine, 08/20/07

Chicken Smith View:
A lot can change in a month, however, if you’ve been following financial news for the past year, you’ll know that the general media has only recently been waking up to our economy’s financial disaster and even so they are still quick to pigeon hole it as a sub-prime problem. The truth, however, is that our forthcoming financial collapse is not limited to just one part of the mortgage industry.

What we’re experiencing is a credit problem on a grander scale. Since 2001, there has been too much easy money going around. Whether it’s sub-prime mortgage loans, re-finance loans, grade A business loans, auto loans, credit card loans, or even student loans, the interest rates (often introductory rates) have been too low not to take advantage of. And that’s just what every Tom, Dick, and Harry did. They made use of their credit, worthy or not, and took on loans through the nose.

Enter debt. Eventually all loans need to be paid, and because many folks have been borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, some of these debts were never, realistically, going to get paid. That’s when defaults, bankruptcies, and foreclosures happen. Enter disaster. It’s almost too surreal to believe, but none of the lenders thought that the day would come when a good portion of these debts would not get paid.

Ok, maybe not none of them, but beside the sub-prime lenders, many lenders thought they were investing in safe and secure lending practices. After all, they’re just following the Fed’s lead (aka Alan Greenspan’s deluded measures to avoid previous “corrections”). And the real money is in the late fees, right? And if customers can’t pay those, the loans can simply be sold off to collection companies or hedge funds? And if the hedge funds lose, well, at least it’s all been chopped up into so many pieces that no one will get hit with the full brunt of the losses, right? Wrong.

None of this will bail anyone out if the majority of borrowers are not paying back their debts. This is yet to be seen, however it can happen. The outsourcing of white collar jobs is expected to increase over the next few years. Yes, accountants, graphic designers, middle-management, etc. Basically, anything that does not require a physical body state-side. That in addition to any blue collar jobs that might be remaining will all but disappear.

Money will be harder to come by as banks and other lenders tighten up their lending practices. There are already 20% down prime loans that are being denied. Some credit card companies are no longer allowing a double-digit minimum payment (ie $15) to carry an over 4-digit balance (thousands). So many who have been using credit cards to help them through the tough times, will not be able to do so anymore.

But wait, there will still be jobs such as construction, entertainment, dining, etc., right? Well, yes and no. While yes there will still be some of those jobs, it will primarily be to cater to the wealthy who will still need such services, however for middle-class America, there won’t be much money to put food on the table, let alone going out for dinner and a movie and renovating the kitchen, so a lot of those jobs will see a decline.

With less jobs, comes less money, comes less consumption, come less corporate profits, comes less jobs, comes a whole new vicious downward spiraling cycle. But wait, I heard that employment is up, corporate profits are up, GDP is up, inflation is moderate, our economy is strong, and you expect me to believe this crap?

As the famous 19th century prime minister of England, Benjamin Disraeli, once said; “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

Don’t believe it? Just wait and see. When looking at stats, look at charts, don’t just see what’s up or down today. BTW, core inflation looks dandy, but it’s not reality. Unlike the Fed’s idea that it shows long-term inflation rates, it really just covers up the fact that current inflation is quickly rising. And don’t forget, we’re nowhere near the bottom, we’ve barely just begun.


Media Outlets Taking Notice Of The Pending U.S. Financial Crisis

July 13, 2007

More Clippings About Our Economy From Contributing Editor RH:

New York PostIts going to get worse before it gets better. How much worse, I don’t know,”
http://www.nypost.com/seven/07122007/business/hedge_horror_business_paul_tharp.htm

Financial Times.comThe catalyst for this latest dollar weakness is concern that the US consumer, for years the mainstay of the economy, could be flagging. Such worries followed evidence that the US housing market still does not appear to be finding a bottom along with news that retailers are suffering….
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/9d692cde-2fdb-11dc-a68f-0000779fd2ac.html

Wall Street BearThe Coming Crash — Winners and Losers…
LOSER: People who actually believe that Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Wachovia, JP Morgan Chase, etc. actually give a crap about your retirement account, you personally or your money. If you actually go out and read the news, you will see the numerous stories where companies like these have been “fined” for misusing and abusing your accounts and your money. Churn and burn baby, because if you still think they care, you need a lobotomy. The disaster underway is of their doing and they will have all the help they need from you, the taxpayer to straighten it out.
WINNER: All homeowners who are in secure industries who did not take out an exotic re-finance agreement, have no credit card or other unsecured debt, and are actually able to save money. This means having a financial plan including a retirement program which includes safe investments (precious metals, non-US government bonds, etc.) and having at least three to six months salary socked away safely in case of sudden unemployment….
http://wallstreetbear.com/board/view.php?topic=47743&post=152263

ReutersThe dollar dropped to a record low against the euro as
troubles in the U.S. mortgage and credit markets continued to dampen the currency’s appeal…
http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUKN1238289820070712?rpc=44

ABC NewsForeclosure Rates Continue to Climb Around the Nation and Taking Major Jump in California…
http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=local&id=5469514

Wall Stree Journal OnlineDisappointing results from retailers are renewing concerns that the housing market’s troubles may start weighing more heavily on consumer spending…
http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2007/07/12/economists-watch-for-housing-to-weigh-on-spending

Times OnlineAfter the credit binge, markets fear the crunch is on the way
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/economics/article2062073.ece

Chicken Smith View:
The forthcoming economic collapse of our nation is under way. What’s been predicted for so long, with so many media outlets outright denying that we’re in any danger, many of them are now starting to see what’s happening and, actually reporting on it.

Keep reading reports from around the world and do not rely on any one source for all your news. However, do learn to spot trends and market movements. The Dow Jones is obviously not a good indicator, as it is highly illogical and mainly motivated by emotions and ignorance rather than actual market conditions. Otherwise, why would the Dow Jones be doing so well, while the dollar continues to make all-time record lows?

Are companies really doing that well? Look at retail numbers, look at employment numbers. Look at entire industries such as manufacturing. Look at our debt and you’ll know all is not well. Start saving your pennies gold, as financial and, might I add, social devastation the likes none of us, not even our grandfathers who went through the Great Depression have seen, will begin affecting every facet of society.

These are new times. While we have greatly advanced in many areas such as science and technology, we as a society have not advanced in financial literacy, nor have we been as financially prudent as we should have been. Instead, we’ve been taught how to be mindless consumers with absurd levels of debt that shackle us to our jobs, yes, even those who are self-employed are shackled. The victors? Corporations and their shareholders… for the time being, however the collapse will affect many. Some will be better off, most will not.


More Signs of the Times…

June 20, 2007

From Around the Web (thanks to contributing editor RH):

bloomberg.com“It’s a blood bath,” said Mark Kiesel, executive vice president of Newport Beach, California-based Pacific Investment Management Co., the manager of $668 billion in bond funds. “We’re talking about a two- to three-year downturn that will take a whole host of characters with it, from job creation to consumer confidence. Eventually it will take the stock market and corporate profit.’
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=akV2sasSGUY8&refer=home

Conde Nast Portfolio.comThe Financial Times and CNBC are reporting that J.P. Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch have been selling more than $1 billion in investments seized as collateral from two troubled hedge funds at Bear Stearns.
http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/top-5/2007/06/20/Gunning-for-Bear

BusinessWeekAn investor in Europe, who didn’t want to be identified, says he’s been trying to get his money out of the hedge fund since February
http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/jun2007/db20070612_748264.htm

Financial Times.com“We were restrained by a slowing US economy,” said Fred Smith, FedEx chairman, president and chief executive. “The weakened industrial sector is currently limiting demand for transportation services.”
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/7315b590-1f2a-11dc-ac86-000b5df10621.html

MSN MoneyA wealth of conflicting market signals that no one seems able to explain makes it difficult to figure out when the music will stop and the bills will come due. But it’s time to get ready…
http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/ContrarianChronicles/TheMarketsGameOfMusicalChairs.aspx

Chicken Smith View:
The articles speak for themselves. There are way too many negative market conditions (not to mention governmental & social ones) that are lining up to form what could be a tremendous collapse to our economy and, in turn, our society. The storm clouds are gathering… will you be prepared for the storm?


The Coming Of The Second Great Depression

May 3, 2007

Here’s a quote from an insightful interview with Warren Brussee, author of The Second Great Depression. Read the entire interview when you get a chance.

If people had been saving, some cushion could have been found through reducing the savings amount. But people have had a negative savings rate for the last 24 months. People have been living on the edge, and there is no cushion. The economy has been carried by the money that housing put into the economy. With that source gone, and with people now beginning to have to repay their loans, we are going to be driven into a deep recession, followed by a probable depression.

Chicken Smith View:

Another brief re-cap of some of the major events that will prompt the next depression:

1. 2000 – 2003 In an effort to avoid a recession, due to several quarters of negative GDP, the Fed lowers the Federal Funds Rates from 6.5% in May 2000 down to 1% in June 2003.

2. 2001 – 2005 Housing market soars as demand for homes exceeds supply. New homes are built. A huge sub-prime mortgage sub-sector of consumers purchase homes that they otherwise wouldn’t qualify for by taking out adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs).

3. 2002 – 2006 Consumers cash out on their rising property values by taking out equity mortgages to pay for travel and non-durable goods.

4. 2003 – 2005 A huge surge in the economy results from all the spending prompted by the cash out. Excessive spending causes Americans to deplete their savings and assume more debt. Inflation begins.

5. 2004 – 2005 In an effort to reduce the inflationary effects of the economic boom caused by the housing market and the increase in consumer spending, the Fed begins to raise the Federal Funds Rate. The rate goes from 1% in 2004 up to 5.25% in June 2005.

6. 2006 – 2007 The housing market reaches its peak and begins its downward path as interest rates rise and most demand has been met. Home builders all but stop new construction. Housing related businesses begin to see unemployment due to lower sales. ARMs begin to reset and homeowners experience sticker shock as their mortgages rise by as much as 50%.

7. 2007 – 2010 The American economy goes into a depression due to the domino effect that the housing market has on the rest of the economy.

I believe the Fed interest rate adjustments were just a band-aid on what would have been normal cycle recession and we simply delayed it and made it worse. We are now facing a major depression precipitated by the fact that we no longer have any savings and now-a-days every Tom, Dick and Harry have money in the stock market. It’s no longer something the informed investor does, rather something anyone with an internet connection can participate in.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average recently rose to 13,000 in seven weeks, when it took more than seven years to reach 12,000. Capital spending is down and companies are buying up their own stock. Consumer spending is only temporarily up right now, as that will take a big hit once everyone wakes up. The price of consumer goods as well as food staples such as corn and milk are going up, that in turn, raises the price of all sorts of products that come from those prodcuts and food prices usually don’t come back down.

The best advice I can offer is to save your money, but don’t keep it in a volatile place (ie, not the stock market), have some tangible assets (ie, a home that’s already paid for, maybe gold, maybe a bio-fuel car, or solar panels), and have a plan to ride out a downturn in the economy (ie, a backyard vegetable garden, maybe some canned goods).

If history is any indicator, things should get better. I say should because there are other factors that will come into play here that have not been part of previous recessions and the Great Depression, factors such as the devaluation of the dollar, foreign ownership of US companies and US debt, and a general disdain for all things American in some parts of the world. So even if our dollar is cheap, world-wide interest in some of our products has been diminishing, so there may not be an increase in our exports due to our devalued dollar.