Another year has come and gone. We have gone from the year that was called the “Worst recession since the Great Depression,” To “The Great Recession.” The price of oil is up to 90 dollars a barrel and silver just hit 30 dollars an ounce (Ben denied printing any money on 60 Minutes).
The debate in Congress for the coming year will revolve around jobs. Of course the new hires will be off shore where there are no mandatory health care insurance premiums to pay.
Look for a Congressional investigation of the retirement funds, CalPERS will be center stage. A lot of life insurance companies could also be in very bad shape; not many annuity models were built on a 2 percent return on equity.
Several States will run out of funds for operation. Technically they can’t file for bankruptcy but they will be insolvent just the same (a vendor or a citizen can’t sue a state for non-payment). You might have to wait 100 years to get paid. Of course that won’t stop several hundred cities from declaring bankruptcy and adding to the frenzy. This could lead to local governments outsourcing emergency 911 calls to India.
Nationwide, expect the median price of homes to increase -- why buy a starter home when you can purchase a McMansion for 20K more ---with low interest and nothing down government financing.
Several European governments could collapse or repudiate their debts; Greece and Ireland come to mind. The problem not fully understood here, is that the real wealth of these countries is their educated youth. These people will vote with their feet if things don’t change and emigrate to other lands.
Iceland’s repudiation of its debt is kind of like a cat walking in front of a chained dog (i.e. the Euro Union). Will the Germans pay to keep the toilets clean in the rest of Europe? This could become another tea party movement, a goose-stepping one on steroids.
The idea that big is better in business, kind of falls apart during bad times. Fixed costs and tight profit margins can kill you. The A & P Tea Company, one of the nation’s largest grocery stores just filed for bankruptcy. Look for several more big names to file for BK this year.
The commercial loan sector is exhibiting severe signs of stress. A lot of non renewable 2 to 5 year loans are coming due. Bernanke is going to have a rough time trying to wall paper over this mess. More debt to add to the residential real estate bank losses.
Congress will have to deal with Social Security and Medicare. The new medical plan will be called Shaft-care---the Democrats and Republicans will unite together and shaft the silver foxes.
Look for oil to go higher and silver and gold to drop in price. It’s a normal reaction when you need to raise cash. Sell the good stuff and hold on to the dogs hoping they will come back. In reality people should be selling the dogs for what they can get, while they are still worth something. Retirement funds will save the garbage because it stays on the books at cost. Of course Ben and the Banks do the same thing.
Tomorrow brings in the New Year. It will be time to figure out how much we owe in taxes for last year. Thank God that we don’t have to pay for everything that Congress bought, where would we get the money?
Have a Happy New Year everyone, and God Bless.
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