Tag Archives: bi-polar world

What’s Important to You?

World is in different place than ever before. That’s true with every generation over the history of time. Ah, but do you know what pitfalls are this time? Have you taken steps to minimize effect of disasters, natural or government induced?

What’s different this time?   Most countries are broke.

So what are most countries doing? And why do you care?

They are relying on printing presses creating a rapidly expanding money supply.  Historically this has happened to many countries at one time or another. We all know the boom bust times in various South American countries.

This time it’s happening at the same time to most industrialized countries at the same time. Think China, Japan, Great Britain, US, India, almost all of Europe and Africa. Governments are increasingly tied to each other in the ways they exchange money and honor currencies.

Japan and China own trillions of the US debt. Countries have huge amounts of actual US dollars. That means re-pegging the value of US dollar won’t work. In past we were tied to gold standard. That would no work in US this time around. Countries that hold trillions of dollars outside the US could still sell the currency for any amount they wanted and US could not stop it.

Back in 2009 US public and private dept was in neighborhood of $55 trillion. That debt had significant impact on US economy. Today, US public and private debt has climbed to $65 trillion. Total US debt is up 150% since 2000. Additionally rest of world has added another $57 trillion in public and private debt.

This is referred to as “hot money” lending. But does it matter? McKinsey points out that debt, around the world, is outpacing economic growth. When economic growth can’t finance all these loans, only governments are willing to step into the breach.

This debt can only be paid off in 3 ways:

-Paid off by the people, businesses, and countries that took on the debt.
-Inflation
-Declaring the debt null and void…destroying relationships with those who provided the money in the first place. This has been used by many countries over the history of the world…but never by a number of countries in a very short period of time. No one knows the effect if several countries started down this path.

Federal Reserve Richmond, VA branch recently reported that 61% of all liabilities in US are now guaranteed by the government, implicitly or explicitly. In 1999 the percentage was 45% (mostly Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). Today more and more of our financial institutions rely on the government to access credit.

Unfortunately, government guarantees are not shown on any government balance sheet…in US or elsewhere in the world. Governments are relying on massive currency and interest rate manipulation to fund themselves. World has never experienced anything like this by the major economic powers of the world.

Sooner or later this bubble will pop, like many others have over the years. But when?

Nobody knows. But what it means for your personal wealth is known. The biggest threat to your wealth isn’t a stock market crash. Instead it’s from confiscation and/or devaluation by our government. Think Greece last year that took 25% of savings from citizens bank accounts.

In the 1930’s people and companies suffered massive losses. But the actual wealth didn’t disappear. Wealth transferred from creditors to lenders. This time around we will have the above, but will also have major collapse in governments politically. The US government has pledged a large amount of the wealth of the citizens to other people…through all kinds of government programs. We are all familiar with Detroit bankruptcy. That will occur within America and many other countries…within a few years.  What’s a few years? Again, no one knows for sure, but within 10-20 years seems realistic.

Once inflation takes off it can have devastating effects quickly. Think back to the Carter years when inflation in US hit 20%.

US, and most countries of the world can’t sustain government spending that is vastly outstripping tax revenues coming in. Sooner or later the piper has to be paid.

Previously the world would have a 1930’s situation where loans would be called. Difference then and now? Governments were not the primary financiers of the world debt.  Banks and financial institutions had the primary role.  If government can’t pay all the people that have been promised money there will be riots on massive scale.

So what can individuals do?

10,000 doctors every year are refusing to serve Medicare patients. That means many people won’t be able to get doctors appointments. What you can do? Doctors, not participating in Medicare are starting to charge patients monthly fee to see them. In effect doctors are signing up the patients they want to see to give doctors the income they want. These patients at least are assured medical opinions will be available to them. Start understanding medical coverage options in other countries…like Costa Rica or Panama (there are lots of others.) Those two countries have doctors that were educated in US and majority speak English. Last those countries are just few hours away and charge fraction of US doctors and hospitals.

Above is only one example. Many people have majority of their wealth tied up in value of their homes. What happens in major downturn when housing prices drop? In 2009 housing values dropped by over 50% in some markets. For most Americans that means there houses are worth far less than they paid. What can you do? Work to eliminate as much debt as possible, especially credit card debt and auto loans. If you can, pay off your house…or go to 15 year mortgage. Objective is to reduce debt so you can cover any remaining debt in a down turn.

Wages have remained flat in US for many years. How many? Depends whose figures you want to use. Assuredly since at least late 1990’s. Differences in years typically depends on rate of inflation that is applied.

To minimize this, acquire the things you need if times get tough. For some that’s food storage, for others it’s cash, or other products and supplies that are important to them.  If there’s run at supermarkets toilet paper becomes pretty valuable. Natural disasters have cleared the shelves of supermarkets many times. The economy doesn’t have to tank to cause major disruptions. People who have taken, even just a few steps, to prepare for emergencies that would affect them sleep better.

Most people live day-to-day. They assume things won’t happen. They listen and believe the media. Remember, no government cares much about their citizens. We are each just a number. Any of us that think differently aren’t thinking.

This ‘N That 4/24/14

Central Planning Always Fails in the End-Now it’s Yellen’s turn to learn.
Ms. Yellen is strong proponent of central planning. Shortcoming is not using practical rules. She prefers economic models with names like “optimal control” or “communications policy.”  To Yellen, ‘optimal control” equates to abandoning current conditions and substituting a policy to keep rates lower longer. She believes that by communicating the Fed’s intentions individuals will “get the message,” making decisions on investments, spending, and borrowing based on promises of lower rates. That in turn will lead to increased demand, strong economic growth and higher employment. When that occurs the Fed can start to withdraw support so inflation doesn’t occur.

That’s her theory. How about reality? The Fed is trying to change consumer psychology. The trouble occurs if it succeeds. Once consumers change philosophy it’s very hard to get them to change back. Kind of like putting the tooth paste back into the tube. The Fed would like inflation at 3% or so. Fed believes they can control it. But like all central planning that rarely happens.
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We live in a bi-polar world. There are practical solutions. This is longer than practical here. Published on SecurEmploy Blog 4/12/14 Just scroll down.
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It’s All a Matter of Perspective. We are all aware of self-serving nature that fill politicians minds, and how dysfunctional our government is. But the larger picture is pretty good and we each need to remind the pessimists of the world how good we have it. We have a stable “democracy.” A military power that is the primary defender of the free world. Our economy is still the largest. Our dollar is still involved in 87% of currency transactions. Our financial markets are the freest. Our free enterprise system is still envied. Our economy is expanding. Unemployment just hit a 5 year low. New technologies are driving additional and new manufacturing.
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71% of US workers actively looking or open to new opportunities. If 71% are looking for new jobs how come we are making recruiting employees so difficult? Only two things are needed for successful recruitment. First, make sure recruiters are spinning the dial…calling prospects, calling peers in position to ask for leads, etc. Second, Require every manager in your organization to refer at least 4 “A” candidates to your company every year. What’s an “A” candidate? The types of employees you need the most. Recruiting should be the responsibility of the managers who have the direct responsibility for the function. Remember: Every new employee should make a contribution to profits = to at least 5 times their salary the first 12 months on the job. Sales people 10x.
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Degenerate Capitalism. What’s implication for our industry? Three thoughts. This one is little longer than fits here. Published on SecurEmploy blog April 23. Just scroll down.
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Foreign Investment. Last year, foreigners invested a record $38.7 billion in commercial property, according to real estate brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle. That’s a 44% increase from 2012.

Ask Employees to Tell Their Friends About Your Job Openings We all know the value of employee referrals. Have you asked your employees to tell friends and family about your openings? Or do you just assume they do that? Expand your network of referrals. Be sure to offer an incentive for any referral hired.
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French social commenter and political thinker Montesquieu once wrote, “There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.”
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Why is Russia really interested in Ukraine? Why doesn’t US have a dog in this fight. SecurEmploy blog post 4/21. Just scroll down.
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Crimea is resource rich. Rest of Ukraine is resource poor. Crimean resources are very important to Russia. Without Crimea, Ukraine can not continue to exist. Russia can threaten and bluster but starve Ukraine into submission. Inflation in Ukraine is already at 25%. Russia is Ukraine’s largest trading partner making up 70% of Ukraine’s exports. Take away Crimean commodities and Ukraine doesn’t have enough to export to survive.
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From Chicago: “In Chicago, armed civilians justifiably killed three times as many violent criminals in past 5 years as did the police.’”Civilians defending themselves captured, wounded, killed or scared off criminals in 75% of confrontations.” Professor Don B Kates Jr, St Louis University law professor, Laissez Faire Today.
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China’s trade agreements to use Yuan to replace $. Good or bad?

Already, China has trade agreements with Brazil, Australia, the European Union, and other nations. Most international trade is conducted in dollars

Last year, the yuan surpassed the euro as the second-most-used currency in the world… It made up 8.7% of global trade in October 2013 compared with 6.6% for the euro. In 2012, the yuan only made up 1.9% of trade compared with the euro’s 7.9%.

If the world rejects the dollar in favor of the yuan – or any other standard for trade – it would end US ability to print a limitless number of dollars and issue limitless amounts of debt

OR WOULD IT?American public seems to have no ability to stop government printing presses. Politicians certainly have no reason to stop the presses. Perhaps the only thing that will get US to address our issues is by losing the Dollars position as world currency of choice.
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Two numbers the government can’t fudge. Employment-to-population (currently just under 59%) and Participation Rate the actual percentage of the population, of working age, that is working (currently 63%, down from a high of 67% in 2000). US had 118.5 million full time and 26 million part time workers in 2013. That means that 37.5% of residents are working to support the other 62.5%. That’s not sustainable. Only part of that 62.5% are children.
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Current Career Opportunities Corporate, Hotel, and Resort opportunities.

Training for Revenue Generation by Ed Iannarella.

 

The Bipolar World

The Bipolar World-The Problem with Politicians is their inability to say “no” to runaway spending and special interest groups. Today the problem is bigger than individual countries.

In USA, entitlement spending is projected to grow at more than $8 trillion per year. Let’s see, corporate income tax from all US corporations is $1.6 trillion. Adjusted gross income of all Americans making more than $66,000 is another $6.7 trillion. Not enough to cover just the increase in entitlement programs.

While I’m certainly no fan of Obama, there’s a good reason he didn’t mention spending reform. It’s got to start with cutting benefits to seniors, political suicide.

Public sector regulations cost American’s $1.8 trillion a year. (That’s $14,768 per household. Throw in deficit and unfunded liabilities and it works out to $1,250,000 per taxpayer.

There’s always a solution for every problem. The above can be defeated by commerce which always trumps politics. Government is about coercion. Business is about individual choice and freedom. Private sector strives daily to bring people better goods and services that are longer lasting and cheaper.

Congress has 6% approval rating…and 91% re-election rate. With that result don’t expect them to quit kicking the can down the road. Voters either have to kick them out of office or impose term limits. Until that happens don’t expect responsibility from elected officials…at any level. Expect some nasty things to happen in the investment and business world from time-to-time. Swings like we experienced in 2008-09 are going to happen with increasing frequency.

That means more business disruptions. Understand and invest accordingly both personally and professionally. And push for term limits. We each need to be more active politically if we hope to mitigate the damage done by politicians and governments. Ideally we need to have federal balanced budget annually, just as states do. With nothing off-budget. That would force politicians to be little more pragmatic. When you are with young people and others who support the government grab for power and wealth, point out how close it is to hitting them in the pocket book.

“Tell me your philosophy and I turn off and go to sleep. Tell me something that negatively affects my spending money and you get my interest.” (Perhaps reluctantly, but you will get it, especially if you just give facts without editorializing. Think about the way we all need to communicate with teenagers to get our point across. The velvet hammer works better than the sledge hammer or pile driver.)

Take a more active interest in politics.