Happy Independence Day!

Just wanted to wish readers of Survival And Prosperity a happy Independence Day.

Be aware of the terror alerts, enjoy the parades and fireworks, and remember those sacrifices that achieved and protected our country’s independence.


Schoolhouse Rock!, Fireworks (1976)
YouTube Video

Christopher E. Hill
Editor

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Saturday, July 4th, 2015 Freedom, Housekeeping No Comments

Argentina Crash Survivor’s Advice For Greeks

“As Greece descends into financial crisis, its citizens and investors globally are turning to hedges old and new.

European demand for the age-old safe haven of gold coins has risen in recent weeks, as has the relatively new concept of investments in digital bitcoins, market participants say.

As the situation in Europe grows more precarious, the price of both have risen in recent weeks as concerns have grown about the threat to banks in Greece and the risk that turmoil could spread to other countries in the eurozone and elsewhere…”

The Wall Street Journal website, June 30, 2015

Any Survival And Prosperity readers have any family/friends in Greece? I don’t, but my girlfriend was telling me recently how a female acquaintance of hers just had family over from Greece. They returned to their home country… just in time for the default.

If anyone has family/friends over there, they might want to consider watching the following video Argentinian survivalist and author Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre just uploaded onto YouTube. As I’ve mentioned before, FerFAL has first-hand experience of what those in Greece are going through (and may very well be encountering soon), having lived through the Argentine economic crisis that reared its ugly head back in the early 2000s. FerFAL, who now resides in Northern Ireland, hammered home five things that those living in Greece should be doing right now (in his opinion) if they haven’t done so already:


“Greek Crisis: Five Tips for People in Greece”
YouTube Video

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

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Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 Europe, Preparedness, South America No Comments

IMF Statement On Greece

The Greek sovereign debt crisis has now entered a new, more disturbing phase. From an International Monetary Fund press release Tuesday night:

Statement by the IMF on Greece
Press Release No.15/310
June 30, 2015

Mr. Gerry Rice, Director of Communications at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), made the following statement today regarding Greece’s financial obligations to the IMF due today:

I confirm that the SDR 1.2 billion repayment (about EUR 1.5 billion) due by Greece to the IMF today has not been received. We have informed our Executive Board that Greece is now in arrears and can only receive IMF financing once the arrears are cleared.

“I can also confirm that the IMF received a request today from the Greek authorities for an extension of Greece’s repayment obligation that fell due today, which will go to the IMF’s Executive Board in due course.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 Debt Crisis, Defaults, Europe No Comments

Quote For The Week

“Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.”

-Robert H. Schuller (American Christian televangelist, pastor, motivational speaker, and author. 1926-2015)

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Monday, June 29th, 2015 Preparedness, Quote For The Week No Comments

Chicago Board Of Education Could Borrow More Than $1 Billion With $600 Million-Plus Pension Payment Due Next Week

I fear Chicago’s celebratory mood post-Stanley Cup could be fast disappearing as the city’s financial reckoning day rapidly approaches. Juan Perez, Jr., reported on the Chicago Tribune website tonight:

The Chicago Board of Education on Wednesday approved plans to borrow more than $1 billion in an effort to manage an immediate cash crunch and get through the coming budget year.

The borrowing is on top of an existing line of credit of up to $500 million. The initial $200 million in borrowing authorized Wednesday could help the district cover its bills through the end of June, but the district would be short of cash to cover payments shortly after that, according to documents obtained by the Tribune.

A separate line of credit of up to $935 million would take the district through the coming budget year. The loans will be secured with the promise of future property tax revenue.

The board’s unanimous 5-0 vote in favor additional borrowing came one day after the Illinois House fell 18 votes short of approving a three-week extension on a $600 million-plus pension payment due next week

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Democrats have a supermajority in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly, and “Machine”-controlled Chicago still couldn’t get that pension payment deadline extended.

Oh well. Long-time Survival And Prosperity readers shouldn’t be the least bit surprised about the latest bad news concerning Chicago’s public schools. I blogged way back on September 13, 2012:

By now, many of you have probably heard about the teachers strike going on in Chicago. Day 4 and counting. While many Chicago public school teachers are probably worth every red cent of the $71,017 median salary they command- and more- when all things are considered, considering the precarious financial situation of the Chicago Public Schools, a larger crisis looks to be right around the corner.

Looks like we’re almost there.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Perez, Juan. “Chicago school board approves more than $1 billion in new borrowing.” Chicago Tribune. 24 June 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-school-board-meets-met-0625-20150624-story.html). 24 June 2015.

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Marc Faber Warns Of Massive Deflation In Asset Prices, Shares Buy Recommendations

Monday, Swiss-born investment advisor/money manager Marc Faber was on the phone with Trish Regan of the FOX Business Network show The Intelligence Report. The publisher of the monthly investment newsletter The Gloom Boom & Doom Report warned viewers that:

Everything is in a bubble.

Dr. Faber subsequently predicted massive deflation in asset prices was coming. When Regan asked him what he would recommend people buy, the man famous for advising clients to get out of the U.S. stock market one week before the October 1987 crash offered up:

I tell you it will be very difficult to hide, because even bank deposits may not be safe. But, relatively inexpensive are gold mining shares, silver mining shares, and physical gold and silver. But you have to hold it physically and preferably outside the U.S.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Regan asked Faber why outside the United States. He replied:

Because in the U.S., and even in Europe and Switzerland, there is a threat that one day when things really will go bad, central bankers will blame the gold holders for the disaster, and they will say, “We’ll have to take the gold away,” and so forth. This is less likely to happen in Asia.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Marc Faber warns of ‘colossal systemic risk’ in markets”
FOX Business Network Video

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

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Cook County Sales Tax Hike Coming?

Cook County, Illinois, could soon have one of the highest sales tax rates in the country (again). The Chicago Tribune Editorial Board wrote on the paper’s website this evening:

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is weighing the idea of imposing a penny-on-the-dollar increase in the local sales tax to balance the county’s books…

Preckwinkle is lobbying Cook County Board members to raise the county’s portion of the sales tax by 1 percentage point, which would push Chicago’s tax rate to 10.25 percent, among the highest in the nation

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

This should come as no surprise to regular readers of Survival And Prosperity. I blogged back on April 10 of last year:

For a while now (last time being earlier this week), I told my girlfriend we were lucky to have escaped the fiscal debacle and revenue grab going on in the city of Chicago.At the same time, I pointed out that as Cook County residents we’re still on the hook for the same type of nonsense.

Brian Slodysko reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website yesterday afternoon:

Hoping to ward off another credit rating downgrade, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said Wednesday that she will soon present a plan to reform the county’s underfunded pension system.

And she’s leaving the door open to hiking property, sales and other taxes.

When asked repeatedly about the possibility of tax increases, Preckwinkle responded: “We’re looking at all the options. Everything is on the table.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

According to the local press, it’s the sales tax hike Preckwinkle’s now pushing.

And considering Cook County’s fiscal challenges, it shouldn’t surprise blog readers to hear of hikes on “property… and other taxes” down the road.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Editorial Board. “Editorial: Watch out for the Toni Tax.” Chicago Tribune. 23 June 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-tonitax-0624-20150623-story.html). 23 June 2015.

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Chicago Tribune: ‘Chicagoans Should Consider A Modest Property Tax Increase Inevitable’

Coming on the heels of last Thursday’s post and an earlier one about Chicago-area property/other taxes was an article by Chicago Tribune business columnist Melissa Harris entitled “Chicago isn’t Detroit- and it’s not going bankrupt.”

In the June 20 piece, Harris attempted to argue exactly what the title says (critics are panning it as “Machine”/union propaganda). But what interested me were statements like this:

More revenue will be required soon, most likely in the form of a property tax increase.

Not only is Chicago’s property tax rate lower than those in many suburbs, Chicago’s effective property tax rate ranked 49th out of the 50 largest cities in each state, according to 2009 U.S. Census data…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

And this:

Chicagoans should consider a modest property tax increase inevitable, though how much of an increase it will be could be affected by Moody’s decision, which made it more expensive for Chicago to borrow money…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

If one believes claims the Chicago news media routinely carries Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s water, increased tax hike chatter and growing comparisons of the city to other municipalities by the local press could be sending a strong signal to Chicagoans that they’ll be required to bust out their wallets shortly.

You can read the rest of that column on the Chicago Tribune website here (registration required)

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Quote For The Week

“A financial crisis is a great time for professional investors and a horrible time for average ones.”

Robert Kiyosaki (American financial literacy activist, businessman, investor, and author of Rich Dad Poor Dad. 1947- )

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Sunday, June 21st, 2015 Investing, Main Street, Wall Street No Comments

Property Tax Blues For Chicago, North Suburban Homeowners

While Chicagoland was preoccupied with the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup victory parade Thursday, the Cook County Clerk’s office released the following:

Cook County Clerk David Orr released the 2014 property tax rates for the county’s more than 1,400 taxing agencies on Thursday, the final step in the tax process before bills are mailed out. The average homeowner in the city of Chicago and the northern suburbs will see their tax bill increase slightly, while the average homeowner in the southern suburbs will see a slight reduction in their tax bill.

In the south suburbs residential tax bills will on average be 1.0 percent lower. In north suburbs there will be an average increase of 2.4 percent, and most Chicago homeowners can expect an increase in their bill of 2.8 percent.

For the average single family home, this will translate to a decrease of $51.33 for south suburban homeowners, an increase of $155.49 for north suburban homeowners, and a property tax bill that is $89.44 higher than last year’s for Chicago homeowners…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

By the way, that $89 plus change property tax increase is based on an “average home with market value of $199,000″ in Chicago. Good luck finding a decent-sized family home that cheap in my old neighborhood on the northwest side of the city.

That being said, even a low three figure dollar increase in property taxes would likely be welcomed around my old stomping grounds compared to what could be coming down the line. John Byrne reported on the Chicago Tribune website this afternoon:

The threat of much steeper property tax hikes looms in Chicago. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is trying to find enough money to make police and fire pension payments set to balloon next year, and CPS faces a $1 billion budget hole driven by pension shortfalls of its own…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You can read the entire press release on the Cook County Clerk’s website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Byrne, John. “Chicago property taxes to rise $90 on average.” Chicago Tribune. 18 June 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-cook-county-property-tax-rates-met-0619-20150618-story.html). 18 June 2015.

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Thursday, June 18th, 2015 Education, Entitlements, Government, Housing, Taxes No Comments

CHIEF Supply Offering Free Shipping For 3 Hours Thursday Night

Tonight I received an e-mail from affiliate marketing partner CHIEF Supply (reviewed here). According to the Charlotte, North Carolina-based vendor of public safety equipment and apparel:

3 Hours Only

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Use Promo Code 3HRSHIP In Cart

Some brands excluded

Click on the banner ad below and see what CHIEF Supply has to offer. Please note that by clicking on the ad and purchasing a product (be sure to use that promo code!), I receive a commission from the sale.


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Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Marc Faber: ‘I Think We Could Very Well Be In A Recession In The U.S. Within 6 Months’

Swiss-born investment advisor/money manager Marc Faber was on the phone with Brian Sullivan of the CNBC TV show Training Nation earlier today. The topic was the Federal Reserve. Responding to Sullivan’s assertion that the U.S. economy has “done well,” the publisher of the monthly investment newsletter The Gloom Boom & Doom Report replied:

But I don’t think the U.S. economy is doing particularly well. One of the problems is affordability and cost of living increases. For most households, the cost of living has gone up very substantially, and so their spending power is limited. In addition to that, if you look at tax revenues in the U.S., corporate tax as a percent of GDP is essentially flat. However, what has gone up a lot as a percent of GDP- individual taxes. So, it has some negative impact on the economy, and I think we could very well be in a recession in the U.S. within 6 months.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Marc Faber on the Fed”
CNBC Video

To be fair, while Dr. Faber is noted for making some great money-related calls (he’s famous for advising clients to get out of the U.S. stock market one week before the October 1987 crash), from a Survival And Prosperity post back on May 30, 2012:

“Doctor Doom” Marc Faber did a live interview on CNBC’s Fast Money last Friday in which he warned of a fast-approaching global economic recession. Here is an excerpt from the exchange between the Swiss-born investment adviser/fund manager and CNBC’s Scott Wapner:

WAPNER: You’re not looking for a recession though here in the United States, are you?
FABER: Well, I think that we could have a global recession sometime, say, starting in the 4th quarter of this year, early 2013. Yes, that’s a distinct possibility.
WAPNER: Where would you put it at, if it’s on a scale of, say what, 50 percent possibility, 1 in 3 chance? Where would you rate it?
FABER: I would rate it at 100 percent certainty…

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Niles, Illinois, Gun Range Saga Not Over?

Speaking of Cook County, there’s good and (possibly) bad news regarding that proposed gun range/shop in northwest suburban Niles, Illinois. While a Circuit Court of Cook County judge just dismissed that well-publicized lawsuit from the gun “control” crowd, more legal action appears forthcoming. Lee V. Gaines reported on the Chicago Tribune website on June 11:

Skokie-based gun control advocacy group plans to file an amended lawsuit against the village of Niles and the owner of a gun shop and range in what has been a nearly year-long attempt to prevent the facility from being built within one mile of five schools.

Circuit Court of Cook County Judge Franklin Ulyses Valderrama granted the village’s attorneys’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit at a hearing Thursday afternoon at the Richard J. Daley Center in Chicago.

But Valderrama dismissed the lawsuit without prejudice, meaning that the advocacy group, People for a Safer Society, has the opportunity to file an amended suit addressing several issues outlined in Valderrama’s written ruling, said the attorney for the group, Tony Hind…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know that I’ve been following status of the proposed Sportsman’s Club and Firearms Training Academy (gun shop and range) at 6143 Howard Street for some time now. Here’s hoping for a favorable outcome on behalf of the Village of Niles and 6143 Howard Partners Inc.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Gaines, Lee V. “Lawsuit over proposed gun range in Niles dismissed.” Chicago Tribune. 11 June 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/niles/news/ct-nhs-gun-range-hearing-tl-0618-20150611-story.html). 17 June 2015.

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Moody’s Downgrades Cook County’s Credit Rating, Issues Negative Outlook

The following is kind of stale, but the local press didn’t really publicize it and Cook County residents are entitled to know the financial health of the local government unit in these uncertain times. The Global Credit Research division of Moody’s announced on their website back on June 5:

Rating Action: Moody’s downgrades Cook County, IL’s GO to A2 from A1; outlook negative

A2 rating applies to $3.6B of GO debt

New York, June 05, 2015 — Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded to A2 from A1 the rating on Cook County, IL’s general obligation (GO) debt. The county has $3.6 billion in GO debt outstanding. The outlook remains negative…

The Global Credit Research division explained:

The A2 rating incorporates credit pressures associated with Cook County’s unfunded pension liabilities. Based on the Illinois Supreme Court’s May 8 overruling of the State of Illinois’ (A3 negative) pension reforms, we perceive increased risk that the county’s options for reducing unfunded pension liabilities have narrowed considerably. As it currently stands, Cook County-despite its home rule status-has little direct control over its single largest liability. Whether or not the statute that governs Cook County’s pension plan stands, we expect pension-related costs will place increasing strain on the county’s financial operations. Furthermore, approximately half of Cook County’s tax base is highly leveraged by the debt and unfunded pension liabilities of the City of Chicago (Ba1 negative) and the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) (Ba3 negative). We believe that the revenue demands of these entities could place practical limitations on the county’s ability and willingness to increase revenue to fund its pension costs. Other credit challenges for the county include enterprise risks inherent in operating the Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS)…

As for that negative outlook:

The negative outlook reflects our view that Cook County’s credit quality could weaken given continued uncertainty in the county’s future pension funding framework. Our outlook on the county’s credit is also informed by our expectation of growth in the pension costs of the local governments that share half of the county’s tax base. Finally, the negative outlook incorporates continued pressures in the health care sector, improved financial results for CCHHS notwithstanding…

On June 8, the major U.S. credit rating agency also announced a downgrade of the Cook County Forest Preserve District’s general obligation debt to A2 from A1, with a negative outlook as well.

You can read that entire June 5 Moody’s rating action on their website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Wednesday, June 17th, 2015 Credit, Debt Crisis, Entitlements, Government No Comments

Illinois State Rifle Association Annual Range Open House On June 20

The Illinois State Rifle Association is holding their 13th Annual Range Open House this coming Saturday, June 20. From the ISRA website before the weekend:

NRA Day at the ISRA Range 13th Annual Range Open House – JUNE 20, 2015
Directions: 1589 N 7000 W Road
Time: 10:00-4:00
Bring your family and friends!
FREE Admission!
FREE Parking!

The ISRA range is located in Bonfield (near Kankakee), and according to the open house flyer:

All law-abiding citizens are invited… even those who do not own a gun or have never fired a gun before.

Also from the flyer:

Factory representatives from major manufacturers will be on hand to answer your questions about your favorite firearms. You can test-fire the guns of your choice and try your hand at archery, too. A small fee for ammunition will be required.

A BB gun and an air rifle range will be set up for our younger guests—a great opportunity to get the whole family involved, RAIN or SHINE! Food and soft drink vendors will be on site to make sure you don’t go hungry or thirsty.

We will also have information available on a wide variety of ISRA and NRA programs. We encourage you to stop by and pick up a pamphlet on your particular area of interest.

The ISRA Range has numerous amenities to offer NRA Day attendees, including:

• Free safety orientation
• Covered firing points
• An opportunity to shoot a wide variety of firearms under the direct supervision of instructors. Shooting disciplines will include:
-Rifles
-Pistols
-Shotguns
-Muzzleloaders
-Airguns
• Covered picnic pavilion
• Indoor restrooms and showers


“Illinois State Rifle Association- NRA Day 2014″
YouTube Video

I also spotted this:

• Military encampments and reenactments for WWII, Vietnam and the French and Indian War.
• A variety of military vehicles and an MP guard booth will be on display.

Sounds like a fun time to spend a Saturday as summer kicks offs. For more information about the event, head on over to the ISRA website here where you can obtain the flyer (.pdf document) for the 2015 ISRA Range Open House.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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