Signs Of The Time, Part 86

Back in 2007 when I was running Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog On Wall Street,” I came across an article which illustrated just how ridiculous the housing bubble had gotten. Several California homeowners were asked about future price appreciation for their homes. Most, if not all, had wildly optimistic expectations about how much their properties would be “worth” down the road.

Fast forward to July 24, 2015, and Robert Shiller, the Yale professor who correctly-called the “dot-com” and housing busts, wrote the following in a New York Times piece entitled “The Housing Market Still Isn’t Rational”:

Extravagant expectations do lurk in parts of the market. In the 2015 Yale School of Management survey of recent home buyers that Karl Case of Wellesley College, Anne Thompson of Dodge Data and Analytics and I direct, our preliminary results confirmed the overall Pulsenomics conclusion yet found that some people have strikingly unrealistic expectations.

In San Francisco, for example, we found that while the median expectation for annual home price increases over the next 10 years was only 5 percent, a quarter of the respondents said they thought prices would increase each year by 10 percent or more. That would mean a net 150 percent increase in a decade. These people are apparently not thinking about the supply response that so big a price increase would generate. People like this could bid prices in some places so high that eventually the local market will collapse…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“The Nastiest Wife on Television”
Uploaded April 11, 2006.
And we all know what happened to housing right after that…
YouTube Video

Irrational exuberance is alive and well, it seems. You can read Dr. Shiller’s entire article on the Times site here.

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

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Mike Maloney On Latest Gold, Silver Action

Back on January 20, I blogged about a discussion on YouTube.com between “crash prophets” Peter Schiff and Mike Maloney concerning the state of the U.S. economy/larger financial system and where gold fits into the equation. Well, Maloney- a precious metals expert, advisor, and author who runs GoldSilver.com- is back on YouTube with a new video about his thoughts on what’s going on with silver and gold right now, and what’s to come for these precious metals. In the July 21 upload, Maloney said:

What we’re going through right now – this huge pullback that we’ve been going through for the past few years- is something that I’ve been predicting and waiting for because- and I knew that the pullback of 2008 was not the capitulation pullback. There was a panic, people were trying to get into it, into gold and silver, badly. And this time around, there has been some capitulation. We are seeing some people selling. And it’s a shame. I think they’re going to be selling it at lows. I do expect that gold will bottom in here sometime soon. It will probably break 1,000 and go lower. I encourage you to read that Clive Maund article. But remember, that is the spot price. As shortages develop, the physical will diverge from spot. So if you’re going to buy futures contracts and stuff, go ahead and wait for that bottom. But if you wait for that bottom to buy physical, you may end up paying a whole lot more, not less. But there will also be, when that bottoms, some tremendous values in mining stocks available.


“Silver & Gold Price: The Breakdown with Mike Maloney”
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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Crain’s Chicago Business: Pension Reform Ruling Could Cost Taxpayers Extra $200 Million A Year Through End Of Decade

In my Sunday post about Chicago’s pension reform legislation being ruled unconstitutional, I blogged:

Chicagoans- let that last line from Dardick and Pearson sink in real good:

“Taxpayers could eventually be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars more in annual payments to those city funds — before the even worse-funded police and fire retirement accounts are factored into the taxing equation…”

How many hundreds of millions are we talking about here?

Greg Hinz wrote in his blog on the Crain’s Chicago Business website Monday:

The court decision throwing out a deal to refinance two Chicago pension funds appears to be among the most costly in the city’s history, in some ways ranking right up there with the Great Chicago Fire.

Exact figures are not available and vary some depending on who’s doing the estimating. But based on statements by city officials and documents filed by the pension funds themselves, it’s likely that the decision by Cook County Circuit Court Judge Rita Novak will cost city taxpayers around $200 million a year through the end of the decade—and will keep rising for decades thereafter.

“You’d have to go back to either the Depression or the Great Fire to find a comparable situation in which the city faced either greater challenges or more painful decisions,” Civic Federation President Laurence Msall said. “It’s clearly going to result in increased taxes and reduced services.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Remember, that additional $200 million hit to Chicago taxpayers would come on top of addressing fire and police pensions. And bailing out the Chicago Public Schools, which had its credit rating reduced to junk status today by Fitch Ratings. In May, I noted Moody’s downgraded the Chicago Board of Education (the primary debt issuers of CPS) three notches to junk.

You can read Hinz’s entire blog post on the Crain’s Chicago Business website here. If I were still a Chicago resident, I’d probably find it disturbing. But at least I’d be clued in as to what could be coming down the line.

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

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The Survival Podcast’s Jack Spirko Thinks Coming Recession Is Not The ‘Big One’

I recently listened to an episode of The Survival Podcast (named a “Resource Of The Week” back in March 2011) that really caught my attention. Modern survivalist and host Jack Spirko wrote in the intro to episode 1608 (July 21, 2015), “The Next Recession or the One that Never Went Away?” on The Survival Podcast website:

Officially the recession of 08-09 ended in late 09, or 6 years ago, well, typically we never make it 10 years in the best of times with out at least a minor recession. The questions at this point are not is a recession coming and will it effect us, they are when will it get here and how badly will it effect us…

The big question for most preppers is, “Is this the big one”. My gut is no. Keep in mind I said “the big one would be after after a false recovery, a marked drop in unemployment and likely to occur in late 2015 to mid 2016″, as long ago as 2009 when many were claiming that recession was “the big one”. So why do I now disagree with myself, tune in today to find out, and to find out why not the big one, doesn’t really mean, “not so bad”.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Actually, Spirko has suspected the next recession wouldn’t be the “big one” for some time now. I blogged about episode 1127 (May 9, 2013), “Risk Assessments and Readiness Audits,” back on May 22, 2013, where the modern survivalist said:

And sooner or later we are going to get to a point where inflation, the devaluation of money, the ridiculous level of debt and the interest there on it, do their full-scale, whole cancer-style damage, eat the patient from the inside, and we wake up to terminal financial illness as a nation.

But that’s not happening tomorrow. That’s not happening next year. That’s not even happening in the next 5 years. There could be recessions and things in the middle. But that day is probably at this point 10 years into the future or more.

And I don’t claim to be Nostradamus. I don’t know the exact timeline. I can just do math and can say with mathematical certainty this system at some point must fail.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Spirko laid out what needs to be done now in his July 21 show. He advised:

We need to, I think at this point, assess our preps for hard financial times, more than anything else right now. I’m not talking about economic collapse, I’m talking about economic struggle. Everybody’s waiting for economic collapse, no one understands we’re standing in the middle of it. We’re standing in the middle of it…

Buck up your preps guys. Get ready for tougher times ahead…

The United States economy does not have to collapse for your personal economy to collapse. Nine million people found that out the hard way last time. Be prepared this time. Be prepared. Prepare to feed yourself, clothe yourself, take care of yourself, provide for your own security. Start thinking about the efficiencies of your energy usage, and get very, very diverse with your skill set, your knowledge, your ability to earn income. That’s how you prepare for what’s coming.

Somber stuff. You can listen to episode 1608 via The Survival Podcast website here.

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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Cook County Gun Violence ‘Czar,’ Task Force Proposed

Why do I have the suspicion the following will result in yet another push for more gun “control” in Cook County? Michael Romain reported on the Austin Weekly News (Chicago) website last Thursday:

Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (D-1st) has proposed an ordinance establishing the appointment of a Cook County gun violence czar and the establishment of a Cook County Gun Violence Task Force…

According to the proposed ordinance, the gun violence czar and task force “will serve as an investigative and fact-finding body with the objective of recommending a set of policies to the president and County Board designed to reduce gun violence in Cook County over a period of six months.”

The nine-member task force — which the ordinance notes will comprise members appointed by the Cook County board president, the Cook County state’s attorney, the Cook County sheriff and the chief judge of the county’s circuit court — will hold public hearings chaired by the gun violence czar.

The hearings — which will take place “over a period of time not to exceed six months” — will gather testimony and data from a variety of professionals about the “economic, social and cultural causes of gun violence” in the county and will “culminate in a written set of policy recommendations […] designed to reduce gun violence in Cook County effective January 1, 2016.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Czar” or “tsar.” Russian take on the Latin “caesar.”

Yeah, nothing suspicious about something so authoritarian sounding, right?

Still, I hope I’m wrong here, and that any resulting policy recommendations aren’t merely additional gun “control” measures.

Guess we’ll find out soon enough.

You can read the full article on the Austin Weekly News website here.

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

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Rich Dad Author Robert Kiyosaki: ‘I’d Rather Have Gold And Silver And Guns And Bullets’

“Gold futures settled near a five-and-a-half week low on Friday, with expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will soon lift interest rates helping to send prices down for a fifth straight week…”

-MarketWatch website, July 24, 2015

“Gold is doomed”

The Washington Post website, July 25, 2015

Back in February, I blogged about Robert Kiyosaki, an American entrepreneur, educator, investor, and author of the New York Times best-selling book Rich Dad Poor Dad. Kiyosaki appeared on the Alex Jones Show on February 17, 2015, and warned viewers:

It doesn’t make me happy that I’m getting richer and richer, and I see my friends getting poorer and poorer. I’m very concerned right now about my generation- the Baby Boom generation, the biggest generation in history. And they bought that program of put all your money in a 401(k) and invest for the long term. Now, I wrote a book called Rich Dad’s Prophecy back in 2002. That was 13 years ago. And I said the biggest stock market crash in the history of the world was coming in 2016. I was kind of guessing. But unfortunately, I didn’t write it to be right. I wrote it out of concern. If I’m correct that in 2002 what I said the biggest market crash was coming in 2016, that means millions and millions of Baby Boomers, their kids, their grandkids, will feel the effect of that when their retirement savings are wiped out. I hope I’m wrong. But so far, my numbers look accurate and it’s holding course right now. So I don’t write because I want to be rich or poke fun or want to be righteous. I am rather concerned about my fellow citizens.

Kiyosaki revealed one way he was preparing for the crash while discussing his new book, Second Chance: for Your Money, Your Life and Our World. From the exchange:

I like silver personally. I love gold. I have a lot of gold and silver.

While there’s no shortage of precious metals bears these days, Kiyosaki remains bullish on gold and silver- in addition to two other “metals.” In a Palisade Radio interview uploaded onto YouTube on June 28, he told viewers:

You should buy gold and silver because eventually the tug of war between deflation and inflation, somebody’s going to quit, and I think it’s going to be hyperinflation. So that’s why gold and silver make sense to me…

So I’m pretty optimistic. I’m going to make even more money when the crash comes. But unfortunately, like I said, for those who are not prepared, gold and silver are probably the best investments. But you have gold and silver, two other precious metals, guns and bullets (laughing). The reason for that, I laugh about it, but my friend reminds me of this. He says you rich guys can buy gold and silver. Poor guys buy guns and bullets. So I can understand that mentality is this gap between the 1 percent and the 99 percent. I’d rather have gold and silver and guns and bullets. This is why I don’t live in California (laughing). I live in Arizona, where they already respect guns and bullets.


“Robert Kiyosaki: Biggest Stock Market Crash in History Coming in 2016 – June 28, 2015”
YouTube Video

According to Kiyosaki, 2016 to 2030 is “going to be very tumultuous.”

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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Marc Faber Identifies Investment Opportunities

Swiss-born investment advisor/money manager Marc Faber was in Chicago Thursday giving a presentation at the CFA Analyst Seminar. The publisher of the monthly investment newsletter The Gloom Boom & Doom Report warned his audience that all asset markets are overvalued- just like he did late last month when he said “everything is in a bubble” on the Fox Business Network (blogged about here).

That being said, “Doctor Doom” does see opportunities in real estate and emerging markets stocks, and likes cash to be able to acquire assets when bubbles pop.

There’s also gold. Timothy Pollard, covering Dr. Faber’s Chicago visit, reported on the Pensions & Investments website Thursday afternoon:

And of course, given his bearish stance, Mr. Faber recommended holding gold in a portfolio — his recommended allocation is 25%.

“Gold is insurance if the banking system fails,” he said. “As an investor I’d like to own something outside the banking system, and that includes real estate, art and gold.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Just last Tuesday, I noted that fellow “crash prophet” Peter Schiff tells people to have ten to fifteen percent of their portfolio in gold.

Pollard went into more detail about Dr. Faber’s presentation- and the investment opportunities he’s identified- on the Pensions & Investments website here. It’s an insightful read.

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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Judge Rules Chicago’s Pension Reform Legislation Unconstitutional

Here’s the latest on Chicago’s public pension crisis. Hal Dardick and Rick Pearson reported on the Chicago Tribune website last night:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration said it will appeal a Cook County judge’s decision Friday that ruled unconstitutional a state law reducing municipal worker pension benefits in exchange for a city guarantee to fix their underfunded retirement systems.

The 35-page ruling by Judge Rita Novak, slapping down the city’s arguments point by point, could have wide-ranging effects if upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court. Her decision appeared to also discredit efforts at the state and Cook County levels to try to curb pension benefits to rein in growing costs that threaten funding for government services.

The issue of underfunded pensions, and how to restore their financial health, is crucial for the city and its taxpayers. The city workers and laborers funds at issue in Friday’s ruling are more than $8 billion short of what’s needed to meet obligations — and are at risk of going broke within 13 years — after many years of low investment returns fueled by recession and inadequate funding.

Without reducing benefits paid to retired workers, or requiring current workers to pay more, taxpayers could eventually be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars more in annual payments to those city funds — before the even worse-funded police and fire retirement accounts are factored into the taxing equation

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Chicagoans- let that last line from Dardick and Pearson sink in real good:

“Taxpayers could eventually be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars more in annual payments to those city funds — before the even worse-funded police and fire retirement accounts are factored into the taxing equation…”

And the City’s response to the ruling? Mayor Emanuel’s Press Office countered Friday:

Statement of City of Chicago Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton on SB1922

“While we are disappointed by the trial court’s ruling, we have always recognized that this matter will ultimately be resolved by the Illinois Supreme Court. We now look forward to having our arguments heard there. We continue to strongly believe that the City’s pension reform legislation, unlike the State legislation held unconstitutional this past spring, does not diminish or impair pension benefits, but rather preserves and protects them. This law not only rescues the municipal and laborer pension funds from certain insolvency, but ensures that, over time, they will be fully funded and the 61,000 affected City workers and retirees will receive the pensions they were promised.”

As to the City of Chicago’s credit rating possibly getting whacked after the decision? Timothy W. Martin reported on The Wall Street Journal website Friday afternoon:

Moody’s said Friday’s ruling had no effect on Chicago’s bond grade. But rival Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, which currently has an investment-grade rating for the city, said that “regardless of the ultimate outcome” of Mr. Emanuel’s pension law, it “will likely lower” its Chicago rating in the next six months, unless city leaders chart out a solution to address its pension problems.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Like I’ve been saying for a couple years now, that proverbial brick wall keeps approaching for Chicago.

Since City Hall can’t get its affairs in order, Chicagoans might want to look at straightening out theirs if they intend to stick around for the long haul.

Sources:

Dardick, Hal and Pearson, Rick. “Judge finds city’s changes to pension funds unconstitutional.” Chicago Tribune. 24 July 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-chicago-pension-ruling-met-20150724-story.html). 25 July 2015.

Martin, Timothy W. “Chicago’s Pension Overhaul Plan Tossed Out by Judge.” The Wall Street Journal. 24 July 2015. (http://www.wsj.com/articles/judge-rules-2014-law-to-reduce-chicago-pension-shortfall-unconstitutional-1437754525). 25 July 2015.

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Quote For The Week

Regular readers know I’ve been listening to podcasts of Tom Gresham’s GUNTALK, “the only nationally syndicated radio talk show about firearms, shooting and gun rights,” for several years now (named “Resource Of The Week” back on July 15, 2011). Gresham welcomed new listeners to the show in the first hour of his July 19, 2015, broadcast, saying:

If you’re brand new here, let me just tell you- welcome. This is GUNTALK. I’m Tom Gresham. We talk about guns and shooting. We’re the good guys. We’re the good gals. We’re the ones you don’t actually hear a lot about in the news. We’re the 100 million people who own guns and don’t commit crimes with them. We’re also the 5 percent of the adult population- newest numbers in- 5 percent of the adult population in the U.S. that has a carry permit. That seems pretty high, going up. We’re looking at 12, 13 million people that have carry permits. And of course in some states you don’t have to have a permit at all to carry a self-protection firearm so you can take care of yourself and your family, your loved ones, your children, your wife, your husband, your parents. As in my case, maybe even your grandchildren. Lots of people have analyzed this. A lot of people have looked at it realistically and made the leap- and it is that- to say, “I get it. Every story I see, every report I read, every newscast I see, I realize that there are bad people everywhere.” “It is foolish”- this is the thinking- “It is foolish.” And it’s hard to get there- I give you props- everybody who has gotten there. It is hard to get there to say “it is foolish for me to continue to pretend this is not the case.” There’s a, I don’t know, maybe a psychological pathology involved here. Completely understandable, it’s a human thing, I guess you’d call it human nature. People don’t want to feel- people don’t like being afraid, I mean truly afraid. They like to go to movies and all that, we go to scary movies. But they don’t want to be truly afraid. And so one of the ways people don’t worry about things are- try to make sure they’re not afraid- they simply pretend that there is no threat. That there is no risk. They literally don’t want to think about it. They want to stick their fingers in their ears and say, “Na na na na na na na, I can’t hear you. I don’t want to think that there are bad people out there who could hurt me. That will take my children and rape them, and then kill them, and cut them up, and throw them in the lake. That’s horrible. I don’t want to the think about that. So therefore, I choose not to think about that. If I buy into that, if I say, ‘Wow, maybe nobody really can take care of us.’ Maybe the police really mostly write reports about things that already happened and they don’t stop the crime from happening- which we know is mostly the truth. If I acknowledge that, if I accept that as reality- this is the process going on in their heads without them actually knowing what’s going on- if I accept that then I accept that I am not completely and utterly safe all the time. I’m not in this lovely, warm bubble that I like to live in. So I like my bubble. And the way I can maintain this imaginary bubble of safety is I simply do not acknowledge there’s a real threat out there. And the way I do that is I reject everyone who has chosen to take care of herself or himself. I must make fun of you. I must demonize you. I must denigrate you. I must marginalize you. Because if I can say ‘you’re a kook,’ ‘you’re a nut,’ ‘you’re a screwball,’ then it’s easy for me to reject the kind of thinking that says, ‘You better take care of yourself.’”

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Guns & Ammo Publishes ‘Best States For Gun Owners 2015’

Yesterday I happened to come across an article entitled “Best States for Gun Owners 2015” on the Guns & Ammo website. Keith Wood wrote Tuesday:

For the third consecutive year and first time in print, Guns & Ammo presents our assessment of each state’s gun laws in a format that ranks them from worst to first for gun owners…

G&A has conducted a thorough review of each state’s laws and considered initiatives pending in state legislatures. Every effort has been made to create a ranking system that is fair, equitable, accurate and objective. States were ranked numerically in each of five categories: right-to-carry, right to own “black rifles” (i.e., firearms possessing a tactical appearance), presence of the Castle Doctrine, subjects relating to the National Firearms Act (NFA) and a catchall miscellaneous column…

Interesting. Considering the amount of activity in the state recently as it concerns gun rights, I was real curious to see where Illinois ranked on this list. From the piece:

43. Illinois

Illinois has gone from one of the worst states for gun owners to “not so bad as long as you don’t live in Chicago” these last few years. The state’s “shall issue” concealed carry permit system is up and running for both residents and nonresidents, and the sky did not fall. Illinois’ Firearm Owner’s Identification, or “FOID,” requirement remains in effect for all residents wishing to touch a firearm or ammunition except for those possessed by nonresidents in accordance with state law. Suppressors are not permitted in Illinois, though a bill to change that is currently before the legislature. Short-barreled rifles are not allowed. At the point of sale, there is a three-day waiting period before picking up a handgun, and a 24-hour waiting period is applied to all long guns. The state has strong use-of-force laws, and all tactical rifles are legal outside of municipalities such as Chicago and Highland Park…

To expand on that bit about “all tactical rifles are legal outside of municipalities such as Chicago and Highland Park,” Don Babwin reported on The State Journal-Register (Springfield, Illinois) website back on July 20, 2013:

According to the Illinois State Rifle Association, at least 16 municipalities – including Chicago – enacted ordinances banning or regulating assault weapons. Every one of them was in the Chicago metropolitan area. Around 30 other municipalities took up the issue but voted down the bans.

The list of towns that took action includes places such as Evanston, Highland Park, Hazel Crest and Calumet Park…

So that’s Illinois. How about north of the state line where I pursue the bulk of my outdoor activities (when I have the time, that is)? From the article:

25. Wisconsin

Life improved markedly for gun-owning Wisconsin residents when former Gov. Jim Doyle was replaced by Gov. Scott Walker. Wisconsin’s hard-won CCW law gets good marks for strong reciprocity and very limited “gun-free zones.” The state has a Castle Doctrine statute on the books and doesn’t restrict NFA items or tactical-looking firearms. A bill to repeal the state’s 48-hour waiting period on handgun purchases was recently signed by Gov. Walker, yet another step forward for gun owners. Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is about as outspokenly pro-gun as it gets, which is a rare thing in a major metro area…

Nearby Indiana, by the way, actually placed 16th in this year’s rankings. Nice job.

Where does your state fall in the 2015 list? Head on over to the Guns & Ammo website here to find out.

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

Source:

Babwin, Don. “By deadline, few Illinois towns pass assault weapons bans.” The State Journal-Register, 20 July 2013. (http://www.sj-r.com/article/20130720/News/307209909). 23 July 2015.

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Chicago Board Of Education Authorizes Another Billion Dollars Of Debt

On June 24, I blogged about the Chicago Board of Education approving plans to borrow more than $1 billion to meet its financial obligations .

And then I found out the Board of Education was seeking yet another cool billion to help pay the bills. Lauren Fitzpatrick reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website yesterday:

Chicago’s newly constituted Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday to authorize up to $1.2 billion in long-term bonds so the district can pay for ongoing capital projects, fees on past borrowing and some costs of refinancing old debt.

That’s on top of the $1.1 billion the board approved last month in short-term lines of credit — and it won’t stave off about $200 million in cuts and 1,000-plus layoffs the district already announced

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

All this brought to mind the lyrics of an Aerosmith song my buddies and I used to listen to back in high school:

It’s the same old story, same old song and dance, my friend…

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

Source:

Fitzpatrick, Lauren. “Chicago Board of Ed votes to approve $1.2 billion in borrowing.” Chicago Sun-Times. 22 July 2015. (http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/7/71/814622/cps-seeks-permission-borrow-1-2-billion). 23 July 2015.

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Thursday, July 23rd, 2015 Debt Crisis, Education No Comments

Downtown Chicago Diners Could See 11.25 Percent Sales Tax In 2016

Back on July 16, I noted the total sales tax rate in Chicago and the rest of Cook County looks to rise to 10.25 percent again in the coming year, making it one of the highest rates in the nation.

But diners of certain downtown Chicago eateries could be hit by an even higher sales tax rate. Pointing out an additional sales tax (“McPier tax”) downtown that tacks on an additional 1 percent to food/beverage bills, Lauren Choolijian reported on the WBEZ 91.5 website yesterday:

For restaurant patrons that dine south of Diversey Parkway, north of the Stevenson Expressway, east of Ashland Avenue and west of Lake Michigan, the Cook County proposal means an 11.25 percent sales tax will be added to their tab in 2016. The McPier tax affects all food and beverage purchases prepared for “immediate consumption,” and that includes soft drinks and alcoholic beverages…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Actual and proposed fee, fine, and tax increases are making the headlines quite often these days in the Chicago area. If my suspicions prove correct (these hikes are just the first of many due to steadily eroding financial conditions), Chicagoland residents, workers, and prospective visitors will increasingly seek alternatives (for example, dining out closer to home as it concerns the above), local government revenue collection will plummet, and public services will continue to be scaled back.

Anyway, check out Choolijian’s piece on the WBEZ site here for the full details of the 11.25 percent sales tax hit.

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

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Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015 Fiscal Policy, Government, Taxes, Tourism No Comments

Peter Schiff: ‘Gold’s Going To Take Off’ When Fed Doesn’t Raise Interest Rates, Starts QE 4

Economist, financial broker/dealer, and author Peter Schiff appeared on the Fox Business Network yesterday. As the price of gold hit a 5-year low, the noted gold bull was asked his thoughts. Referring back to the dot-com bust and gold’s subsequent lift-off into the 2000s, Schiff told viewers:

I think people are making the same mistake again. They have faith in the Fed. They have faith in Yellen. This is the biggest bubble ever. And I think people should be buying gold, but they don’t know enough to do it.

Schiff, who correctly called the housing bust and 2008 economic crisis, added later:

The dollar has been rising on the idea that the Fed is going to raise rates. But I don’t think that it’s actually going to happen. I don’t think the Fed can raise rates. That’s why they’ve been at zero for seven years. This bubble is so big that even a small rate hike will prick it. So I think all the Fed can do is talk about raising rates. They know that they can’t do it. Now, could they do a 25-basis point hike just symbolically to pretend that they’re going to do more? Maybe. But I don’t even think they’re going to do that. I think they’re going to do QE 4, and when the market comes to terms with reality, gold’s going to take off. But when people are going to wake up? I can’t tell you. It’s amazing that they’re so clueless for so long.


“Gold Will Take Off Once Market Comes to Terms With Reality”
YouTube Video

The CEO and chief global strategist of Euro Pacific Capital remarked that he tells people to have ten to fifteen percent of their portfolio in gold, and still stands by the recommendation.

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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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Authorizes National Guard To Carry Weapons On Duty

I try to spend as much time as I can at my family’s place in Wisconsin. And it’s my opinion that these days, Illinois could learn a thing or two from its neighbor to the north, particularly as it concerns combatting terrorists- both foreign and domestic. From a press release issued today from Wisconsin’s Office of the Governor:

Madison – Governor Scott Walker today issued Executive Order #168 allowing Wisconsin National Guard members to carry weapons while on duty.

“Safety must be our top priority, especially in light of the horrific attack in Chattanooga,” Governor Walker said. “Allowing our National Guard members to carry weapons while on duty gives them the tools they need to serve and protect our citizens, as well as themselves. I am also directing Adjutant General Donald Dunbar to evaluate longer-term plans to ensure the safety of our service members.”

A copy of Governor Walker’s Executive Order is attached.

I’ve read similar directives have been issued in Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.

As for Illinois?

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

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Tuesday, July 21st, 2015 Military, Public Safety, Terrorism 2 Comments

Chicago-Area Military Training Being Conducted In Tinley Park

Tinley Park is one of the Chicago-area locations where that ongoing military training exercise I first blogged about on July 13 is taking place. Dennis Robaugh reported on the Tinley Park Patch website Sunday:

For three nights beginning Monday, July 20, the Department of Defense and regional law enforcement agencies will use the grounds and buildings of Tinley Park’s shuttered mental health center at 183rd Street and Harlem Avenue to conduct urban-training exercises.

The choppers, including the famed Black Hawks, will use the village’s helipad off 183rd Street, too. Operations, which will include explosions, are expected to end by 11 p.m. each night…

Robaugh added that similar exercises were held in the south suburb in April and July of 2013.

For more information, head on over to the Patch website here.

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

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Tuesday, July 21st, 2015 Military, Public Safety, Training No Comments


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