Debt Crisis

Bills Filed To Scrap Illinois FOID Card

In the state of Illinois, unless specifically exempted by statute, any Illinois resident who acquires or possesses firearm or firearm ammunition within the State must have in their possession a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card issued in his or her name. The FOID card was created in 1968 by the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act (430 ILCS 65), and the Illinois State Police is tasked with identifying those persons eligible to acquire/possess these items.

James Stratton reported on the website of KWQC-TV 6 (Quad Cities) Thursday night:

Two bills have been filed in the Illinois Legislature to repeal the Illinois Firearm Owner Identification Act.

Senate Bill 1324 was filed by State Senator Neil Anderson Thursday, and House Bill 0492 was filed last week to do the same.

“In my opinion,and the opinion of a lot of people, the FOID card is nothing more than a cash grab for the state of Illinois,” said Senator Anderson (R) of Moline…

Senator Anderson says the law is redundant, and an infringement of Second Amendment rights.

“When I, in Illinois, go buy a firearm, I have to go through the same federal background check, in addition to having the FOID card,” Anderson added…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“IL State Senator Neil Anderson files bill to repeal FOID Act”
KWQC-TV 6 Video

To see the latest legislative activity with Illinois HB0492, visit the Illinois General Assembly website here. With Illinois SB1324, head here.

I’m not too sure what the likelihood is the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act will be repealed.

If anything, I suspected Springfield was going to hike the price of the FOID card considering the dire financial straits the state is in.

Stay tuned…

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

Source:

Stratton, James. “IL State Senator Neil Anderson files bill to repeal FOID Act.”
KWQC-TV 6. 9 Feb. 2017. (http://kwqc.com/2017/02/09/il-state-senator-neil-anderson-files-bill-to-repeal-foid-act/). 12 Feb. 2017.

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Illinois House Adopts ‘Zombie Preparedness Month’ Resolution, Schedules ‘2nd Amendment Preservation Act’ Hearing

While bills related to the ongoing budget impasse are drawing the bulk of attention these days, there has been activity in the Illinois House of Representatives on two other pieces of legislation that may interest Survival And Prosperity readers.

First, there’s House Bill 413, which seeks to create the “2nd Amendment Preservation Act.” From the Illinois General Assembly website:

Short Description: 2ND AMENDMENT PRESERVATION

House Sponsors
Rep. David B. Reis

Hearings
Judiciary- Criminal Committee Hearing Feb 15 2017 3:00PM Capitol Building Room 114 Springfield, IL

Synopsis As Introduced
Creates the 2nd Amendment Preservation Act. Provides that other than in compliance with an order of a court, notwithstanding any law, regulation, rule, or order to the contrary, no agency of this State, political subdivision of this State, or employee of an agency or political subdivision of the State acting in his or her official capacity shall: (1) knowingly and willingly participate in any way in the enforcement of any federal Act, law, order, rule, or regulation issued, enacted, or promulgated on or after the effective date of the Act regarding a personal firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition; or (2) utilize any assets, State funds, or funds allocated by the State to local entities on or after the effective date of the Act, in whole or in part, to engage in any activity that aids a federal agency, federal agent, or corporation providing services to the federal government in the enforcement or any investigation under the enforcement of any federal Act, law, order, rule, or regulation issued, enacted, or promulgated on or after the effective date of the Act regarding a personal firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Some might ask if this pro-2A legislation is even necessary considering the Republican-controlled Congress and an NRA-backed President who seems to support gun rights.

From what I understand, its purpose is to have something in place to combat some future Oval Office that’s made gun control and civilian disarmament a priority.

As indicated above, a “Judiciary-Criminal Committee Hearing” on Illinois HB0413 has been scheduled for next Wednesday, February 15.

Moving on to Illinois House Resolution 30, seeking to designate October 2017 as “Zombie Preparedness Month” in the state. From the Illinois General Assembly site:

Short Description: ZOMBIE PREPAREDNESS MONTH

House Sponsors
Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch- Grant Wehrli and Tim Butler

Synopsis As Introduced
Designates October 2017 as “Zombie Preparedness Month” in the State of Illinois, and urges all Illinoisans to educate themselves about natural disasters and take steps to create a stockpile of food, water, and other emergency supplies that can last up to 72 hours…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I just learned this morning that Illinois HR0030 was adopted by the House Thursday.

Now, prior to the adoption of this legislation and even as recent as Friday morning, some are criticizing this resolution as being a distraction from more pressing matters facing the state, like the budget/debt crisis.

I don’t know. While this part of the country is generally thought to be less disaster-prone than other regions, major emergencies and man-made/natural disasters can strike anyplace at anytime. Besides the significant earthquake danger posed to southern Illinois (just blogged about Tuesday), other threats to the state include severe weather, terrorism, nuclear power plant accidents, and economic collapse, among others. And I’m guessing the majority of Illinoisans probably aren’t prepared to deal with any of these.

Since the zombie fad is still “hot” these days, why shouldn’t Springfield capitalize on it NOW and use the Zombie Apocalypse as the vehicle to get Illinois residents prepared for future emergencies/disasters?

Plus, did any critics take a moment to consider it’s possible (likely?) Representatives Emanuel “Chris” Welch (D-Hillside, Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville), and Tim Butler (R-Springfield) were shrewd enough to figure out that introducing this resolution and getting it adopted when they did- in the middle of a raging budget battle- would generate significant publicity about Zombie Preparedness Month?

Query the event in a search engine and you’ll see what kind of attention their action is getting.

All for a good cause, if you ask me.

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

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Chicago Tribune Editorial Board Recognizes ‘Illinois Diaspora’

“You mean that oft-repeated yarn about the state’s population loss being predominantly due to residents being fed up with our winters and moving to warmer destinations like Florida and Arizona isn’t true?”

Survival And Prosperity post yesterday afternoon regarding 86,000 Illinoisans “escaping” to Wisconsin from 2006 to 2015 (hat-tip Illinois Policy Institute)

I had to chuckle when I spotted the following on the Chicago Tribune website this afternoon. The Tribune Editorial Board penned last night:

Property taxes here are among the highest in the nation. And certain parts of the state aren’t just jobs deserts, they’re becoming depopulated deserts. More people moved away from Illinois during the last two years than from any other state in the country. Many moved to other Midwestern states. So don’t repeat the lie that it’s the weather.

Here’s what else a prospective employer sees in Illinois: No state budget in nearly two years. A credit rating nearing junk status. Inability to pay bills as they come due, a basic definition of insolvency. And political impasse in the General Assembly. An attempt at compromise legislation to get a budget passed hit a snag in the Senate on Wednesday. Senators, keep working…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Great minds think alike?

Nope. Not at all. Just very concerned Illinois residents who have arrived at the same conclusion regarding where this is all heading if Springfield and voters can’t get their act together. Like, yesterday.

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

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Rise Of The Survival Communities

Fast and Furious.

No, not the alleged Obama administation gun-running progam.

Rather, the number and frequency of articles concerning the rich buying “luxury bunkers” these days.

That being said, I spotted a piece over on The Atlantic website (slated for next month’s print edition) which I think might interest readers.

In “A Resort for the Apocaypse,” Ben Rowen wrote:

On July 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy spoke to the American people of a need “new to our shores” for emergency preparedness, including fallout shelters. The bunkers of that era- Brutalist, cement, with foldout beds and stockpiled food- were designed to protect families in the event that the Cold War turned hot.

It never did, but fears of cataclysm- nuclear and otherwise- are back. So are shelters, with a twist. Growing numbers of “preppers” hope to ride out various doomsday scenarios in luxury

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Rowen brought up Rising S Company, “one of several companies that specialize in high-end shelters,” and which I just blogged about here. But he also pointed out “a handful of bunker companies are building entire survival communities in remote locations.” From the article:

One project, Vivos XPoint, involves refurbishing 575 munitions-storage bunkers in South Dakota; Vivos Europa One, in Germany, is a Soviet armory turned luxury community with a subterranean swimming pool.

By contrast, Trident Lakes 4, a 700-acre, $330 million development in Ector, Texas, an hour and a half north of Dallas, is being built from scratch…

Seriously, what is it with Texas and bunkers?

Rowen went on to write a good deal about the Trident Lakes project, being billed as a “5-star playground, equipped with DEFCON 1 preparedness.”

He also noted the following about the deep-pocketed clients of luxury underground survival shelters and communities:

Jeff Schlegelmilch, the deputy director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, told me that the luxury-bunker trend is “not just a couple of fringe groups; there is real money behind it- hundreds of millions of dollars.” But why are wealthy people buying?

Some customers appear to be motivated by old anxieties, recently revived- the threat of nuclear war, or a national-debt default that leads to unrest. Others have newer fears: climate change, pandemics, terrorism, far-left and far-right extremism. The presidential election has brought new faces into the fold, namely liberals (who also contributed to a record number of background checks- an indicator of gun purchases- on Black Friday)…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Interesting. But are any of the survival communities mentioned potentially within the budget of the not-so-well-heeled? Well, Vivos xPoint, which is being billed as “the largest survival community on earth,” advertises this on their project web page:

Priced At Just $25,00 Per Bunker
No Per Person Charge

The biggest feature is the extremely low and affordable price. Each bunker is being privately and exclusively provided under:

A Bunker Lease for 99-years, with a one-time, upfront payment of just $25,000 per bunker;

coupled with,

A Ground Lease for 99-years, with an ongoing payment of just $1,000 per year

Your bunker will be your blank canvas to prepare as much, or as little as you like, with no restrictions on how many people will share it with you when the moment of truth (aka SHTF) arrives. So, you may bring as many friends and family as you like to accommodate in your private bunker, at NO EXTRA CHARGE!

If you shelter 10 people in your bunker, the effective cost is just $2,500 each. With 20 people, the cost is just $1,250 per person. Do the math, there is no lower cost shelter solution, anywhere


Vivos xPoint Promo Video

Watching that marketing video, Vivos isn’t kidding about that “blank canvas” bit.

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity might remember The Vivos Group from a June 2013 post about the planned construction of “the world’s largest private underground survival shelter”- Vivos Survival Shelter & Resort- in an existing below-ground complex in Atchison, Kansas. Alas, the project was cancelled as “numerous concerns arose related to the geological stability and safety of the cave structure that we believe may compromise its ability to withstand the anticipated forces of future catastrophic or earth changing events.”

From the looks of things, that setback hasn’t stopped Vivos from charging ahead with new projects.

You can read “A Resort for the Apocalypse” here on The Atlantic website.

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

(Editor’s note: Posting of information about any product/property offerings is not to be construed as being a recommendation from this blog and its editor, unless specifically indicated. 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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Treasury Department Issues Reminder About Debt Limit Deal Expiration

“They are going to be in a crisis within weeks. The debt ceiling was suspended arbitrarily until March 15. When it comes back into effect there will be $20 trillion of debt. And before they can do anything on all of this stimulus they’re talking about they’re going to have to raise the debt ceiling and where are the votes going to come from? It’s going to make 2011, if you remember the debt ceiling crisis in 2011, look like a Sunday school picnic. We’re in bad shape.”

-David Stockman, Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan, speaking on the FOX Business Channel on January 25, 2017

Last Wednesday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued the following reminder about the March 15 expiration of the debt limit deal reached two years ago. From a press release on their website:

The debt limit places a limitation on the total amount of money that the United States government is authorized to borrow to meet its existing legal obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, interest on the national debt, tax refunds, and other payments. The debt limit does not authorize new spending commitments. It simply allows the government to finance existing legal obligations that Congresses and presidents of both parties have made in the past.

The Bipartisan Budget Act suspended the debt limit through March 15, 2017. If Congress fails to increase or further suspend the debt limit by March 15, Treasury can take certain extraordinary measures to continue to finance the government on a temporary basis.

Extraordinary measures will allow the government to continue to meet its obligations for a period of time after March 15. That said, it is impossible to provide a precise forecast as to how long the extraordinary measures will last. Treasury will provide greater clarity at a later date regarding how long extraordinary measures will allow Treasury to continue to borrow…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

So how is this setting up for the next couple of weeks?

According to MarketWatch’s Greg Robb on on February 1:

During the Obama administration, Republicans in Congress sought to use the debt limit vote to force spending cuts.

Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin said he would like to see Congress act to raise the debt limit “sooner rather than later.”

But Trump’s choice to head the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, was a leader of the House Republican effort to use the debt limit vote as a lever to reign in spending…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Stay tuned folks…

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

Source:

Robb, Greg. “Raising the debt ceiling is now Trump’s problem. MarketWatch. 1 Feb. 2017. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/raising-the-debt-ceiling-is-now-trumps-problem-2017-02-01). 7 Feb. 2017.

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Illinois State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D) Proposes Wide-Ranging Anti-Gun Tax

Now that the November elections are over, it was only a matter of time before the next assault was launched against the Second Amendment in Illinois.

The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action published the following on their website Monday:

Illinois: Anti-Gun Tax Proposed on Exercising Second Amendment Rights

Last week, the Illinois Senate received Senate Amendment 2 to Senate Bill 9 from state Senator Toi Hutchinson. In an attempt to address the ongoing budget problem in Illinois, Sen. Hutchinson decided to tax Illinois residents’ Second Amendment rights, and by extension, their right to safety.

Under SA 2, a 5% tax would be imposed on any membership or access fee for gun clubs, shooting ranges, hunt clubs, training classes and match fees. Not only is this an abhorrent tax on your Second Amendment rights, it also requires that any of those places/people to register with the state and pay an annual fee of $75 just so that they can offer their service or membership with the 5% tax added.

By increasing the price of self-defense classes as well as any fee spent on range time and practice, this amendment is making it more expensive for Illinoisans to seek training to be able to defend themselves. SA 2 to Senate Bill 9 effectively sees Illinois residents’ right to safety as an opportunity to ease the budget burden on the entirety of the state. Further, any “repair, servicing, alteration, fitting, cleaning, painting, coating, towing, inspection, or maintenance of tangible personal property” is also taxable under SA 2. This section would include all gunsmithing and gun refinishing under taxable services.

It is extremely important that NRA members and Second Amendment supporters contact their state Senator and strongly urge them to oppose Senate Amendment 2 to Senate Bill 9. The Second Amendment rights and right to safety of Illinoisans is not something that the legislature should tax

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The NRA-ILA offers opponents of Senate Amendment 2 to Senate Bill 9 a way to take action via their website here.

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

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State Of Illinois Downgraded By Fitch Ratings

Fitch Ratings, a major U.S. credit rating agency, announced this afternoon it had downgraded the State of Illinois. From their news release:

Fitch Ratings has downgraded the following ratings of the state of Illinois:

Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘BBB’ from ‘BBB+;
$25.9 billion in outstanding general obligation (GO) bonds to ‘BBB’ from ‘BBB+’;
–$431 million Illinois Sports Facilities Authority sports facilities bonds (state tax supported) to ‘BBB-‘from ‘BBB’;
–$2.6 billion Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority McCormick Place expansion project bonds to ‘BBB-‘ from ‘BBB’;
–$267.8 million city of Chicago motor fuel tax revenue bonds to ‘BBB-‘ from ‘BBB’.

The Rating Watch Negative is maintained…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

With this downgrade, Illinois’ new credit rating is just two notches above “junk” status.

Fitch noted:

The downgrade of Illinois’s IDR and related ratings reflects the unprecedented failure of the state to enact a full budget for two consecutive years and the financial implications of spending far in excess of available revenues, which has resulted in increased accumulated liabilities and reduced financial flexibility. Even if the current attempts at a resolution to the extended impasse prove successful, Fitch believes that the failure to act to date has fundamentally weakened the state’s financial profile….

Fitch expects to resolve the Rating Watch within the next six months based on an assessment of the state’s fiscal trajectory as it starts fiscal 2018. If the state continues on the current path, a further downgrade would be warranted

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You can read the entire Fitch Ratings news release here on their website.

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

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State Of Illinois’ Unpaid Bills Could Spike To $15 Billion By July

Bad news about the State of Illinois’ finances keeps rolling in. Monique Garcia reported on the website of the Chicago Tribune this morning:

The state has a record stack of unpaid bills that’s expected to hit $15 billion by July if nothing is done, and it must fork over interest when it’s late paying them. Putting a hard dollar figure on those interest costs is difficult, however…

The potential price tag is high enough that Senate leaders from both parties are pushing a plan to borrow billions of dollars to help whittle down the bill backlog and limit interest payments…

Under the plan being pushed by Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate, Illinois would borrow $7 billion over seven years to pay down the bill backlog and bring the payment cycle closer to 30 days…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The Tribune article comes after Governor Bruce Rauner pointed out in his State of the State address last Wednesday:

We haven’t had a full year budget of some kind in a year-and-a-half- and we haven’t had a state budget that is truly balanced in decades. We have more than $11 billion in unpaid bills, a $130 billion unfunded pension liability, and the worst credit rating in the nation. We have the 5th highest overall tax burden and one of the lowest rates of job creation of any state

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Garcia’s piece took a close look at the interest payments associated with the bill backlog debacle, which you can read about here on the Tribune site.

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

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Reagan Budget Director David Stockman: ‘We Are Heading Into An Absolute Fiscal Bloodbath’

I’ m pretty sure I’ve never brought up David Stockman before on this blog, but what he’s warning about the nation’s finances is worth mentioning tonight. Stockman is a former two-term Congressman from Michigan, Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan, Wall Street veteran, and author. On Wednesday, he appeared on the FOX Business Channel show Mornings with Maria and talked about President Trump and the national debt. Stockman warned viewers:

We are heading into an absolute fiscal bloodbath. As the CBO put out yesterday, there’s $10 trillion of more debt built into the next decade, even before one dime of tax cuts from Trump or infrastructure spending or increasing defense like he wants to. And so what I suggest is that we have an even more absurd fiscal proposition from Donald Trump today than we did back in 1981 when we tried to cut taxes, increase defense substantially, and balance the budget. They are going to be in a crisis within weeks. The debt ceiling was suspended arbitrarily until March 15. When it comes back into effect there will be $20 trillion of debt. And before they can do anything on all of this stimulus they’re talking about they’re going to have to raise the debt ceiling and where are the votes going to come from? It’s going to make 2011, if you remember the debt ceiling crisis in 2011, look like a Sunday school picnic. We’re in bad shape.


“David Stockman: We are heading into an absolute fiscal bloodbath”
FOX Business Channel Video

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

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is 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 contained herein.)

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Jim Rogers On U.S. Stocks, Dollar, Markets, And Economy Under Trump

Well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers speculated about the economy under President Trump in a MarketWatch piece published this afternoon. The former investing partner of George Soros in the legendary Quantum Fund talked about:

-U.S. stocks- “He very much wants a trade war. And if that happens, sell everything”

-U.S. dollar- “This is a good time to add dollars.” According to reporter Sue Chang, Rogers believes “the greenback will continue to rise through this year into 2018.”

-U.S. financial markets/economy- Chang added:

The one certainty that the markets can bet on, according to Rogers, will be more chaos under Trump, which may coincide with an economic turmoil on a global scale.

“We are overdue for a crisis,” he said, reiterating his steadfast view that debt levels across the world, including in the U.S. and China, continue to swell while interest rates are at historic lows…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know that last summer Jim Rogers revealed he was basically short U.S. equities and long the dollar.

There was also this warning from the Singapore-based investor in May:

The world is facing some very complicated and difficult times. Once you become knowledgeable, you’re going to get very worried, which you should, and then you might get prepared, because not all of us are going to survive what’s coming in the next few years. I hope I survive, I hope everybody listening to this survives. But it’s going to be a very, very damaging and difficult time. So be worried. Be prepared

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Head on over to the MarketWatch site here to read the entire article.

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

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; a qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is 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 contained herein.)

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Monday, January 23rd, 2017 Asia, Crash Prophets, Currencies, Debt Crisis, Interest Rates, Investing, Preparedness, Stocks, Trade, Wall Street, War Comments Off on Jim Rogers On U.S. Stocks, Dollar, Markets, And Economy Under Trump
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