Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The Difference Between What and When

Prophets and Crashes

Further to our recent post on the threat to Western economies from debt and the addiction to government spending that will eventually result in spectacular national calamities around the world, you may want to check out the following new book: The Real Crash: America's Coming Bankruptcy---How to Save Yourself and Your Country by Peter Schiff.

The blurb on Amazon reads as follows:

You might be thinking everything’s okay: the stock market is on the rise, jobs are growing, the worst of it is over.

You’d be wrong.

In The Real Crash, New York Times bestselling author Peter D. Schiff argues that America is enjoying a government-inflated bubble, one that reality will explode . . . with disastrous consequences for the economy and for each of us. Schiff demonstrates how the infusion of billions of dollars of stimulus money has only dug a deeper hole: the United States government simply spends too much and does not collect enough money to pay its debts, and in the end, Americans from all walks of life will face a crushing consequence.

We’re in hock to China, we can’t afford the homes we own, and the entire premise of our currency---backed by the full faith and credit of the United States---is false. Our system is broken, Schiff says, and there are only two paths forward.  The one we’re on now leads to a currency and sovereign debt crisis that will utterly destroy our economy and impoverish the vast majority of our citizens.

However, if we change course, the road ahead will be a bit rockier at first, but the final destination will be far more appealing.  If we want to avoid complete collapse, we must drastically reduce government spending---eliminate entire agencies, end costly foreign military escapades and focus only on national defense---and stop student loan or mortgage interest deductions, as well as drug wars and bank-and-business bailouts. We must also do what no politician or pundit has proposed: America should declare bankruptcy, restructure its debts, and reform our system from the ground up.

Persuasively argued and provocative, The Real Crash explains how we got into this mess, how we might get out of it, and what happens if we don’t. And, with wisdom born from having predicted the Crash of 2008, Peter Schiff explains how to protect yourself, your family, your money, and your country against what he predicts.
Blogger Patterico has the same perspective:
Every major crisis we have had in the last 25 years was easy to see coming. Each time, you had a phenomenon that was clearly out of kilter. It seemed wonderful on one level: everyone was getting free money. Everyone knew that it couldn’t go on forever, but somehow it seemed like it might, so nobody really seemed very worried. And then the crisis came, as we knew it would.

First there was the stock market crash. In the 1990s, stocks kept going up and up and up. It seemed wonderful on one level. Everyone was watching their stock holdings grow and grow and grow. Everyone knew it couldn’t go on forever, but somehow it seemed like it might. So nobody seemed very worried.
And then there was a crash.

Then we had the real estate bubble. In the 2000s, property values kept going up and up and up. It seemed wonderful on one level. Everyone’s house value was skyrocketing. You could take out loans on the equity and do fun stuff. Everyone knew it couldn’t go on forever, but somehow it seemed like it might. So nobody seemed very worried.

And then there was a crash.

Now we have the government debt bubble. Government spending keeps going up and up and up. It seems horrific to us, because we are paying attention — but to most people, frankly, it seems wonderful. We’re getting all these government services and we don’t have to pay for them! It’s utterly unsustainable, and everyone knows it can’t go on forever, but somehow it seems like it might. So people don’t seem very worried. Certainly, they’re not worried enough to vote out of office someone who has exploded our national debt to unimaginable levels.

There is going to be a crash.
There can be little doubt over the coming collapse.  Certainly no Western country will be immune.  Some, however, will weather the storm better than others.  Those nations that have pulled their finances into line will do it hard, but will work through it--we are thinking of countries such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.  The UK, US, and Europe will be gone-burger.  At least that's how the chess board shapes up at the moment. 

The political and popular will simply does not exist to confront the problems and take evasive and corrective action.  Narcissistic cultures and peoples simply do not bite the hand that feeds them.  National governments are feeding the people with cake paid for by money which does not exist.  When the calamity falls there apparently are only two options: hyperinflation, leading to social and political fragmentation and systemic breakdown; or, governments defaulting on their debts, leading to a dislocation of the global financial system.  Our money, if you would excuse the pun, is on hyperinflation because it is the more politically expedient option. 

A word of caution, however.  That a crash is coming is certain.  When, is an entirely different matter.  The crash we are speaking of has been predicted by some economists for over fifty years.  The West may limp on for another fifty before the calamitous day arrives. 

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