As you can imagine there is a lot to talk about, it’s been a while since my last SitRep. My last one was SitRep – 9/18/2019 (click here to read more). But, before I get started and before you read more I want to give you a very stark warning…do NOT waste your time reading this SitRep if you are expecting me to be like all the other prepper authors and websites. I am not one of those and will not regurgitate their pabulum. So if you want a fresh, unbiased, agenda-free, level-headed, commonsense view from a trained, experienced professional…read on. If you want anything else…go somewhere else.
Wow! Talk about attitude…I am full of it.
Yeah, I heard what you were thinking…maybe full of more than just attitude 😉 But you decide after you read it all. And if you think this SitRep is a different view wait until I publish my COVID19 article.
One other note…I am not going to go into extensive detail and long commentary. Very different from what you normally see from me I know. But I feel it important to get this out there for you in a timely manner to see and digest. If there are items that motivate you into an action…well, that is the important part not some long winded blathering on my part.
So here are the areas I will cover…
Here we go, hang on…
If you have followed my SitReps all along you know I am not an optimist when it comes to the economy. Yes, the markets have done well…until recently. Yes, the job market has done well. Yes, interest rates are low. There are some positive parts of the economy and I give credit where credit is due, and that includes President Trump in many ways. But…and that is a huge “but”…the underlying problems are worse than ever.
What?????? I just complemented the President and talked about parts of the economy that are doing so well. Now I try to walk it back? No. I am not walking my positive comments back. I am expanding the view to include the most fundamental aspects, the foundation if you will, of the economy.
Private debt has skyrocketed! The real question is “why?”, then follow it up with “quality?” Consumers have been spending money like crazy, and I mean spending it…big time! So that adds to retailers, etc. doing well and showing good corporate P/L statements. So what’s the problem, isn’t that a good thing? Ah, no. Reason? They, the consumers, are borrowing money to spend. Credit card usage/spending is at an all-time high. Car loans are rampant, especially subprime car loans. Home equity loans are surging as well. But, the equity that consumers are pulling out of their homes isn’t going to reduce existing debt (i.e. credit cards), it is being spent. So, the economy is doing well in many aspects but it is almost all fueled by debt. And what happens when people stop borrowing…or can’t? And worse yet, what happens when people begin to have problems paying their credit cards, car loans, mortgages, student debt, etc.?
Here is the other shoe dropping…default on subprime car loans is rising and has been for the last year. Generally speaking that means a portion of people have stopped paying their subprime car loans AND the loan companies keep loaning more money into the subprime market. Why? Because it is one of the few places the finance companies can make a high interest return on their money. And their loses are not outweighing the gains…yet. So what happens to them when those loses climb and do overcome their gains? Ah, remember 2008 and 2009 with the home loan market, especially the subprime market? Yup, same thing…crash.
And now the biggie…federal spending and borrowing. Remember the movie Dumb and Dumber? That is federal spending and borrowing…dumb and dumber. And under President Trump it is exponentially worse than any other President or any other time in the history of our country. Yup, it’s true!
But, there is a third leg to this pending disaster…income tax. Ah, but Trump did a tax cut so we are good, right? Nope!!! We are worse off…by far.
You can look at the tax cut at the micro or macro level. If your tax hit went down then you obviously think the tax cut was awesome…that is the micro view. But, a more realistic view would be this, the macro view…after the tax cut there was a HUGE increase of tax revenue collected by the federal government. Hey, that’s a good thing right? It shows that the economy is doing well, people make more money and pay more taxes, and that gives the federal government more money to pay down the debt. Good…right? Ding, ding, ding…NO!!!!!
When money flows from the private sector to the federal government the private sector can’t spend that money on what they (i.e. individuals and families) think is important. Instead that money goes to the government for it to spend on what it, the federal government and politicians, thinks is important. And here’s the test… do you think the government and politicians spending money on what they think is important is a good thing or not? And FYI…studies show that the individual is 10 times more efficient in spending money than the federal government.
So the next time you get your paycheck remember this…you just paid for Senator Chuck Schumer’s cheese cake habit. Yup, he has spent almost $10,000 in recent years on cheese cake. Must be nice…for him and his cronies to have you, the tax payer, buy their cheese cake!
So we have historic amounts of money being sucked out of the private sector through increased tax revenues, we have a huge increase of federal government spending (historic high actually), and the largest national debt in the history of our country…and that debt is growing faster than it ever has with no end in sight. A three legged stool of disaster just waiting with a big smile on its face for something to come along and tip it over.
Digest that and see what you think about the economy now.
Let me just touch on the virus effect to the economy…
The stock markets: How the market is doing depends entirely on your viewpoint. Some folks are panicking amid the recent market loses…which are substantial. Others are saying it is a wonderful buying opportunity due to stocks being “on sale”.
If you have a short view…stocks have fallen 23% since the beginning of the year, down 15% in the last two weeks, or 7.5% so far just today. Oh my gosh!!!!!!! We are collapsing!!!!! It is the end of the world as we know it!!!!! The dollar is worthless!!!!! It is the apocalypse straight out of the Book of Revelations!!!!!!
If you have a longer, more mature view…stocks are down about 15% from a year ago, up about 23% from five years ago, or up about 200% from 2009 (11 short years ago) when people were crying once again it was economic Armageddon.
Here’s my view…money left in a high quality index based mutual fund has more than doubled in value since the last so-called financial Armageddon. And if you want more historical fact…the markets have recovered and performed extremely well after every single dip, recession, correction, or even depression/crash. Further, I am not a day trader so I don’t worry much about daily, weekly, or even monthly performance. Our IRA money is in there for our retirement…NOT day trading. That means it is in there for years not days or even weeks. I figure we will spend it out over the next 15 – 20 years…not the next 15 – 20 days.
That being the case I have “bought the dips”…meaning I have made three modest purchases of our growth mutual fund in the last couple of weeks. I will probably do one or two more in the coming month as far it looks now. If I need money out of the IRA for an emergency I will draw it out of the money market portion allowing the growth portion plenty of time to grow out of the dip…just like the market has always done.
You say, “But you are a prepper…and the world is coming to an end…and your IRA will be worthless!!!”
Well, I’ve been a prepper since the late 70’s…yeah the 1970’s and the world has not come to an end. And if I had followed that TEOTWAWKI philosophy exclusively all along, my wife and I would have no retirement savings. How does that sound?
So I hedge my bet, I don’t put all my eggs in one basket…I think maturely and use common sense. I plan that TEOTWAWKI won’t come during my lifetime…but bills will. However, if TEOTWAWKI does come…I am as prepared for that as possible. Hence, I don’t fear TEOTWAWKI or retirement…for I have prepared.
World Trade: World Trade is taking a serious hit. Why? Panic!!! And that is the truth. Yes, the virus scare is the underlying cause of the panic in the world trade situation. Remember COVID19 has only killed about 3500 people around the world. That is .5% of what the regular flu kills each flu season. Yes….you read that right! COVID19 has killed about 1/2 of 1% of those that die from the regular flu each flu season. And that is FACT!!! So, no…the COVID19 virus is not the reason of the current trade problems…it is the panic and hysteria that is resulting from COVID19.
But isn’t that the same? Absolutely not!!!! If the virus was the reason/cause then it would be fact-based, medical reasoning. Since the medical FACT aspect of the COVID19 shows it to be almost a non-issue, then it is the panic and hysteria that is being pushed upon the world’s population. And it is that panic and hysteria that is causing the trade problems.
Will it get worse? Of course it will. Mob mentality has taken hold. It has gripped normally rational intelligent people and they are panicking and falling into hysteria more and more each day. And the more the panic/hysteria spreads the more trade and resulting economic conditions will worsen.
Employment: While the most recent employment and unemployment numbers look good, things will change…sooner rather than later…maybe sooner and later. With trade taking a hit, and the economy soon will, and employment will suffer. Some companies will lay off folks. Other companies will undoubtedly go out of business due to this mess. So yes, employment is going to suffer…how badly remains to be seen and is entirely dependent on how deep the panic and hysteria goes.
You: OK, touchy subject since I don’t know each of you personally, although I wish I did. If you are drawing a social security check, that income stream is good. If you are in the travel or related industry you are going to see the negative effects. If you are a healthcare worker you will do well because of overtime. Yeah…I don’t know how you will do personally but it won’t take much deliberation on your part to figure it out. And I am not telling you what to do with your 401k or IRA…or how yours will perform. I told you what we are doing. You have to decide what’s best for you. But, I suggest you review history and go on facts and reality not all the hype and hysteria that is being pushed.
To sum is up…It Sucks!
We have Joe Biden, head of the infamous Biden Crime Family, appearing to be the Democrat Party nominee. He has a slim chance to win in November…provided he is not in prison.
If Joe is sitting in a prison cell, which he should be, or somehow otherwise falls out of the race (i.e. gets admitted to a mental institution) then Comrade Bernie Sanders will be the Democrat Party nominee. He will lose against Trump in the biggest landslide most people have ever seen in this country. And the pre and post election violence will be considerable.
As long as the economy doesn’t seriously tank and stock markets don’t crash President Trump will be the Republican Party nominee. And he will win handily. Should the economy tank and/or stock market really “crash” his chances of winning fall substantially regardless of the Democrat Party nominee.
If it is Trump vs Biden and the economy only does a minor tank and/or stock market only does a minor crash then I see it being 50/50 on who wins. Biden may gain a small advantage over Trump but not much of one. That is also dependent on Biden’s mental condition not worsening. And yes, you read that right. Joe Biden is slipping badly, mentally speaking. He was never very bright to begin with, but his mental capacity is slipping more and more each day. Yes, I am saying he is mentally unstable and becoming worse. I don’t know his condition…it could be Alzheimer’s, dementia, or some other mental disease…but, whatever it is, it is getting noticeably worse. Should he be elected he will probably not serve out his full term. The 25th Amendment will be invoked and he will be removed as President before the end of his term as I see it now with his mental condition. Well, that is the case unless they would cover up his mental incapacity…and that is always a possibility when dealing with Washington.
My biggest concern right now is what the politicians are doing in Washington under the cover of the virus panic. Well, there is also the concern what the more minor state-based politicians are doing during this panic also. I am telling you flat out…all of the politicians are using this manufactured crisis as an opportunity to take power from the people. I have no doubt of that. What exact form that takes remains to be seen…but it is happening.
Let me repeat what I wrote earlier…”COVID19 has only killed about 3500 people around the world. That is .5% of what the regular flu kills each flu season. Yes…you read that right! COVID19 has killed about 1/2 of 1% of those that die from the regular flu each flu season. And that is FACT!!!”
And if you are in the United States…well, let’s do it this way just for dramatic effect…
If the number of deaths in the United States is 100 times worse than what is currently being reported…that means for every person actually reported to have died, it is actually 100 people have died for my dramatic scenario. Then the COVID19 has killed 4% of those that normally die during the flu season each year. Yes, only 4% of the regular flu season deaths.
Yes, that means that fact…FACTS!…well, technically inflated facts…show that the COVID19 virus is far, FAR less deadly than the normal flu season. If you use only the actual reported number of deaths, not my inflated dramatic scenario number of deaths (100x), then the actually rate is .04% of the normal flu season deaths.
Now, that being said…is there the potential for a higher death count? Yes. There a chance it could get worse. No actually, not a chance…it WILL get worse. OK, then will it be worse than a normal flu season? We don’t know that yet. But all the figures, the facts, the actual numbers show that it won’t be worse…but those numbers might change…but only “might”. There are no actual facts showing that it will be worse…or even close to it.
If you go back 20 years we’ve had the Bird Flu, Swine Flu, MERS, and SARS…all of which were pandemic scares. Each time many “experts” claimed that it was the end of the world pandemic that will decimate the world’s population. And what came of all those apocalyptic predictions? Absolutely nothing of any significant note!!!
Yeah…I am NOT a panic pusher, I am NOT a hype hustler, I am NOT a fear promoter. I use my professional experience, my training, my knowledge, reality, and history to deal in FACTS. And the FACTS indicate that this COVID19 is not the worldwide killer that wackos are trying to make it out to be.
Dang! How do I possibly summarize this SitRep?
Let me try…
We are in a world of hurt! Why? Because our economic system is a house of cards waiting for a breeze to come along and blow it up. The panic from COVID19 is running rampant and turning people into hysterical idiots. And idiots make very, very poor decisions. But, politicians around the world, and in the United States, will use this crisis to remove more and more power from the people. That is what governments do…they grow themselves stronger not weaker. And the way they grow stronger is taking power away from people. For it is the people who God gave power to…God did not, does not, give power to governments. People either willingly give power to governments or governments take power from people.
And in this current world-wide panic I am seeing people plead to, beg to, demand of, and cry for governments to act. And those same people are ever so willing, standing in line, to allow governments to seize more and more power. That power is seized through declarations of emergencies, either at the state level or the federal level, and the passage of emergency legislation. Those declarations and legislation give governments, state and/or federal, tremendous control over people and draw even more money out of the private sector. And the sheeple appear to be perfectly fine with that.
And many people who claimed to be patriots, the ultimate preppers, prepper website owners, even prepper leadership have fallen prey to this mess and have become nothing more than more sheeple following the other sheeple right over any cliff that the government and/or the media points to. Sad…very, very sad to see. However, not unexpected…I’ve seen it before.
Critical thinking, common sense, independent thought, dependence on facts, even intelligence, has, for the most part, evaporated. This current panic virus situation is a perfect example of people having talked a good game…but when it comes right down to it…they can’t walk the walk…they were/are all talk.
I am begging you to not fall into that trap!!! Please don’t be another sheeple following these people off the cliff. There is absolutely no need to fear!!!!! Yes, you should be aware and concerned about what is going on…that makes perfect sense. And then prioritize what the threats really are and take sensible and practical action to mitigate those threats and risks.
The #1 threat as I see it now are the people, companies, governments, media, and websites (especially prepper websites) that have become panic pushers, hype hustlers, fear promoters, etc. They have their own agendas…even if that agenda is utter ignorance. But, I only wish it were ignorance…but it is far worse from what I am seeing. It may be in support of large, more powerful governments, or commercial gain, website clicks, paid membership, or who knows what. But there is the biggest threat…those that are promoting fear through the promotion of the COVID19 virus scare.
So here is my list of “to-do” items, my solution for my wife and I:
1 – We will not get caught up in the fear, panic or hysteria. And I will not promote any of it either.
2 – I will review my own preparedness to ensure I can self-quarantine for 30 days with no unbearable discomfort.
3 – I will improve my immune system. By increasing my intake of those things such as potassium, magnesium, garlic, vitamins C & B, etc.
4 – I will plan to deal with those who do panic and look at me for some kind of forced physical relief.
5 – I will regularly review the 7 Common Risks/Threats and ensure I am on-track to mitigate each. (click here to read more)
6 – I will do what I can to spread the facts and reality of our situation.
8 – I will take appropriate steps with our IRA money to hedge our bet against TEOTWAWKI.
9 – I will prepare for idiots who wish to and will force TEOTWAWKI through their utter stupidity and/or ignorance…or their personal agenda.
10 – I will prepare for government to force a police state under the guise of this manufactured crisis.
And I will do all of this while I continue to finish building our house so we can enjoy it and my wife will be happy 😉
So there you go…I lied!!!! I said this would be a brief SitRep…I lied, I admit it now in retrospecct. I look at the stats and it is no shorter than normal, longer than some. So deal with it…it could have been longer and much more boring.
In closing…You come to my website for a specific reason. I run a small website, relatively small number of visitors each day, not a paid site, not a site full of ads, not a site pushing books, coins, food, or private newsletters. You come to this website for original content, independent thinking and uncommon views…and my opinions from an experienced professional. Or maybe just for a good laugh from someone you think to be a clown.
Now, take what you have read today and don’t believe a word of it!
But, ponder it, verify whatever you wish, discredit whatever you wish. Then I ask you to pray about all of it and take whatever action you feel prompted to take for you and your family.
Remember the tag line of this website…
”If ye are prepared ye shall not fear!”
Go forward and continue to prepare…and don’t fear.
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Excellent SitRep. I absolutely agree with your economic analysis. The analogy I’ve been using is, river rafting. The river seems calm right now, with an occasional stump or rock that rocks the boat a bit. There are occasional rapids that actually get the heart racing, at least as long as they last. But then we go back to a very nice river.
None of that changes the fact that this river ends in a massive waterfall, and a whole lot of boats are likely to get smashed on the rocks below.
So, the economy will be good…until it isn’t. Then, it will be very, very bad.
I guess my advice would be to take advantage of the economy to make money (legally) while you can…but use the money to prepare wisely.
Thank you Jim! Coming from you that is a real compliment. I like your analogy…spot on! Hang in there Jim and keep spreading the word!!! AH
Good to see you back in action! I keep check to see when your posts are released, I’m old and patient. You stay consistent and measured (well, not all the time 😉), that is what keeps us coming back for your treasure trove of experience. I thank you for all you do! Best of luck and life to you and your wife. My wife and I escaped CA last year and are settling in, in Idaho. Great people here, and we don’t intend to try and change anything here. It’s like we’ve come home! Just stocking up on previsions and bugging in!! Good luck to everyone out there!
Hey DC, Glad to see you in a safe location and doing well. And, thank you for the kind an generous compliments. Yeah, I think we can do with a good dose of luck on top of our preparing! AH
Thank you for sharing! Glad to see there are others that are not getting caught up in being stupid.
Let the sheeple panic and become hysterical.
Let others who wish to control or destroy the sheeple, promote the fear, panic, and hysteria.
Let those of us that know better, act better than that.
Stay calm…Carry on!
One thing not mentioned about the stock market is that it is largely based on stock buy-backs and raising dividends rather than investment in research or infrastructure.
I personally view COVID-19 as a Black Swan flapping its wings. The disaster hasn’t taken off yet, but it is warming up.
As stated, the disease is less dangerous than the potential effects of the mindset it generates. Our society is, like the world’s currencies, based on the “full faith and credit” people give it. Eventually, we’ll find the tipping point.
There are a lot of reasons people are scared, some reasonable, some not.
One reason is lack of knowledge.
How long is the incubation period?
How long is an infected person contagious before they become symptomatic?
How many strains are there?
Can you be re-infected, and is it worse the second time?
How long can it survive on surfaces, and for different surfaces (paper, cloth, skin, or non-porous)?
Must it be inhaled, or can it be contracted through the eye?
What is the real morbidity rate for various classes of human?
What will it look like in the NEXT flu season?
I’ve seen wildly different answers to all these questions, including “We don’t know yet”.
The common wisdom is “elderly and those already sick or with compromised immune systems”- and what the hell does that mean?
My wife and I are considered “elderly”, but are both pretty damn healthy.
Does the “compromised” category include BP or cholesterol meds? Hormone therapy? Or what?
If anyone has firm knowledge of the answers, I’d be happy to hear it.
Another reason is the virulence of the spread, and the unheard of actions to mitigate it.
When was the last time a major European country was locked down as Italy is?
Has the NBA ever stopped a season of play?
Reason two is the media.
How idiotic is it when the media/leftist line one minute is “Trump is an idiot, COVID-19 is out of control, and we are all gonna die” and the next minute it’s “”We don’t need no stinking border controls”? Yeah, brilliant.
Invite the world in, and it’s free healthcare for anyone who can fly, drive, walk, crawl or swim their ass to the States.
The talking heads on the MSM have done everything they can to spread fear, particularly the idea that Trump is incompetent… and so is every action taken by the administration. Politics and the “elect a democrat agenda” in full swing.
This is particularly harmful when a large part of the population already doesn’t trust one or the other or both political parties.
Reason three is that no matter the stated “overall death rate”, for the people who die, it is 100%, and people know it. That is how humans work.
Am I worried? You bet. Have I been panic buying? Nope, but I have topped up on a few things, and I see nothing wrong with that. The extra hundred pounds of pinto beans and 60 pounds of rice will still be there in 5 years.
While we were in WalMart yesterday (I was getting a haircut) my wife watched a family spend $1700.00 on a variety of things from motor oil to corn meal. I thought “Better late than never”, and was glad I have the years of slow and steady work behind us, rather than the fearful sprint.
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