Signs Of The Time

Signs Of The Time, Part 104

In the May 2016 issue of The Atlantic there’s an article entitled “The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans.” Neal Gabler writes:

Since 2013, the Federal Reserve Board has conducted a survey to “monitor the financial and economic status of American consumers.” Most of the data in the latest survey, frankly, are less than earth-shattering: 49 percent of part-time workers would prefer to work more hours at their current wage; 29 percent of Americans expect to earn a higher income in the coming year; 43 percent of homeowners who have owned their home for at least a year believe its value has increased. But the answer to one question was astonishing. The Fed asked respondents how they would pay for a $400 emergency. The answer: 47 percent of respondents said that either they would cover the expense by borrowing or selling something, or they would not be able to come up with the $400 at all. Four hundred dollars! Who knew?

I didn’t know.

But I’m really not surprised to learn of it either.

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

Source:

Gabler, Neal. “The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans.” The Atlantic. May 2016. (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/05/my-secret-shame/476415/). 24 May 2016.

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Signs Of The Time, Part 103

Last week I saw the following e-mail from Crain’s Chicago Business in my inbox. The subject line was:

Chicago is in crisis. Let’s talk. Be there.

And the body of the e-mail:

Crain’s Future Of Chicago Conference

Chicago is at a tipping point and the world spotlight is directed squarely on us

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Been warning about this situation for how many years now?

There was also this:

Business, government, education and civic leaders are coming together at this pivotal point to forge a way forward at a Crain’s conference like no other…

I wonder how many of these “leaders” helped bring about the present crisis? And if they were involved in the debacle, does it really make sense they should be relied upon to fix it?

I won’t be attending the conference, but I wish participants the best of luck with their attempt to “forge a way forward.” They’re going to need it.

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Wednesday, May 18th, 2016 Debt Crisis, Signs Of The Time No Comments

Signs Of The Time, Part 102

From the official website of the National Association of REALTORS- realtor.com- this past Tuesday:

“Prepping for Doomsday: Bunkers, Panic Rooms, and Going Off the Grid”

Excerpts from the article included:

“If the booming sales of panic rooms are any indication, more and more city dwellers these days are obsessively worrying about everything from home invasions to terror attacks…”

“Some real estate companies are seeing big increases by specializing in ‘survivalist properties’…”

“Survivalists are also particularly hungry for metal containers they can convert into shelters and bury underground…”

While there’s the expected mocking tone to the piece (“Welcome to the brave (and for some, highly profitable) new world of paranoia”), it’s still an interesting look at what’s going on with panic/safe rooms, survival real estate, and (underground) shelters- topics I’ve blogged about from time to time over the last several years.

You can read the entire article on realtor.com here.

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

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Signs Of The Time, Part 101

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed “spelling” seems to be less important to a growing number of Americans these days?

Genevieve Bookwalter reported on the Chicago Tribune website on April 28:

Outraged Naperville residents are demanding that Hassert Boulevard be renamed, mistakenly believing the road honors former U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, who admitted this week he sexually abused students when he was a Yorkville high school wrestling coach.

Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico said he’s received dozens of emails from angry constituents.

“People are upset,” Chirico said. “You have a street named after a pedophile?”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Bookwalter continued:

The confusion also prompted the village of Bolingbrook to post a note on its website, http://www.bolingbrook.com, alerting residents that the street name was Hassert, not Hastert.

On his Facebook page, Bolingbrook mayor Roger Claar posted a photo of a sign reading, “Hassert Blvd is Named After The Hassert Family NOT Dennis Hastert The former Speaker.” Claar said Thursday evening that his staff will post six of the blue-and-white metal signs, which stand about three feet by five feet, along Hassert Boulevard by the end of the day Friday

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I don’t know what’s worse. That people can’t tell the difference between “Hastert” and “Hassert,” or that taxpayer money may have been needed to address this shortcoming.

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

Source:

Bookwalter, Genevieve. “Outraged residents confuse Hassert, Hastert; demand street sign removal.” Naperville Sun. 28 Apr. 2016. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/naperville-sun/news/ct-nvs-naperville-hassert-confusion-st-0429-20160428-story.html). 3 May 2016.

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Signs Of The Time, Part 100

A milestone has been reached with the “Signs Of The Time” series of posts.

I wasn’t sure what material I’d use for post number 100, when manna from Heaven suddenly appeared in the form of a headline on the home page of my Internet service provider:

Why people won’t say the economy is booming

By most measures, the economy is doing great. So, why are people reluctant to admit it?

Obama: ‘We went through a really scary time’

In the accompanying piece, Sam Ro, managing editor at Yahoo! Finance, wrote Sunday:

By most measures, the economy is doing great. The US labor market is creating around 200,000 jobs a month, which has brought the unemployment rate tumbling to 5%. Meanwhile, home prices are up and stock prices (GSPC) are near all-time highs.

So, why are there so many people so reluctant to acknowledge how good things are today?

One word: trauma.

“Some people are still recovering from the trauma of what happened in 2007-2008,” President Barack Obama said in an interview with Yahoo Finance’s Nicole Sinclair. “You know, we went through a really scary time.”

Trauma has the ability to distort how we perceive our present reality…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Just when you thought you’ve heard everything, right?

It gets better. Ro continued:

Consider the joy that comes from jumping on a trampoline or the thrill one gets from speeding downhill on a bicycle. For many folks, the unexpected and painful reality of a nasty spill and a couple of fractured bones will forever take away the bliss that once came from those activities. The trampoline and bicycle will continue to offer the same experience, but the trauma can be so intense that it can force many to keep their feet on the ground.

Losing your job, getting evicted from your home, and watching the value of your retirement savings crash can be deeply distressing. And so even when you get a new job, move into a new home, and recoup all of your investment losses, that new persistent feeling of uncertainty that followed the traumatic will discount everything you have…

Any readers ever see that iconic sports film The Natural, starring Robert Redford? Is it just me, or does all this kind of remind you of that part in the movie where the club hires a shrink to talk to the players when everything is going wrong?


“Losing is a disease”
YouTube Video

No, not that bit where the ballplayer gets hit in the (g)nards. But that “losing is a disease” speech.

And just like Roy Hobbs rolled his eyes and walked out of the locker room, I wouldn’t blame any of you for moving on from this post after reading that stuff about “trauma.”

“Trauma has the ability to distort how we perceive our present reality”

I suspect the “present reality” is crystal-clear for a growing number of Americans- trauma not needed.

And in more than a few instances, their economic “reality” definitely does not match what’s being peddled by Washington and its allies in the mainstream media these days.

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

Source:

Ro, Sam. “Obama uttered a single word that explains so much about America today.” Yahoo! News. 17 Apr. 2016. (https://www.yahoo.com/news/obama-us-economy-americans-recovering-from-trauma-175254482.html). 18 Apr. 2016.

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Signs Of The Time, Part 99

Sandwiched between “Kobe goes out healthy” and “Over-the-top Best Kiss win” in the headlines of my Internet service provider’s home page Sunday was this:

Don’t panic over awful earnings season

Energy and materials sectors will be hit hard, but investors shouldn’t drop everything and run for the hills yet…

And Monday night I spotted the following headline over on the MarketWatch website:

Risk of a recession may be higher than you think

Q1 profits expected to decline by 9%, according to FactSet…

Some might construe all this as the mainstream media trying to prevent Main Street from dumping stocks while at the same time conditioning the American public for the real possibility of an economic recession in the coming months.

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 information 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. Christopher E. Hill, 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 presented on the site.)

Signs Of The Time, Part 98

“Well, if they’re in Illinois today, they’re probably so much in love with Illinois that they’re not going to leave”

-Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, on whether a proposed tax hike on millionaires might drive them from the state, Chicago Tribune website, March 21, 2014

According to a report last month from the Johannesburg, South Africa-based research firm New World Wealth, about 3,000 individuals with net assets of $1 million or more, not including their primary residence, moved out of Chicago in 2015. From the March 2016 report entitled “Millionaire migration in 2015”:

The following cities had the biggest net outflows of millionaires in 2015

Country/Outflow of millionaires in 2015/Millionaires, 2015/% lost

1. Paris, 7 000, 126 000, 6%
2. Rome, 5 000, 73 100, 7%
3. Chicago, 3 000, 134 000, 2%

Destinations:

• Paris: most moved to the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and Israel.
• Rome: most moved to the UK and USA.
Chicago: most moved to other parts of USA (internal migration)

Why did they leave?

We interviewed migration experts and HNWIs to find out on their reasons for leaving. Notable reasons that they mentioned included:

• Paris: Rising religious tensions, lack of opportunities.
• Rome: Economic slump, lack of opportunities.
Chicago: Rising racial tensions, rising crime levels

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Shocking, right?

The entire report can be view on the New World Wealth website here.

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

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Signs Of The Time, Part 97

From Kathianne Boniello over on the New York Post website Easter Sunday:

Greedy parents ruined Easter in Connecticut, violently shoving kids to the ground to snatch up all the eggs for themselves during a chaotic holiday event.

More than 9,000 eggs were hidden on three separate fields for families to find Saturday in the third annual Easter egg hunt at the PEZ Visitor Center in Orange.

But parents blew off the staggered start times, designated by age group, and rushed the fields, tearing down the posted rules and leaving bewildered youngsters in tears.

“Shame on that parent that broke the little boy’s bucket causing him to lose the few eggs he had, that someone else then picked up. Shame on the person that bloodied another child’s nose and to those of you that hogged all the eggs for your own kids,” mom Lisa Stahl wrote on the candy company’s Facebook page.

“If anyone is to blame for what happened today it’s the parents who tore down the signs and those that encouraged the kids to go from field to field instead of staying in their designated area,” she fumed…

“Grown adults pushing 3 & 4 year olds [sic] to get plastic eggs with some PEZ candy inside,” one mom wrote on Facebook. “This is how truly pathetic society has become. We watched the same thing occurring for all age groups. I guess even 9 year olds can’t pick up their own eggs.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“This is how truly pathetic society has become.”

No surprise on this end should these accounts prove to be true.

Imagine how these “parents” might act should the s**t hit the fan.

And here I was concerned about crazed drug addicts and hardened criminals all this time.

Disturbing. You can read the entire article on the Post’s website here.

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

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Signs Of The Time, Part 96

This week’s “Signs Of The Time” post features an actual sign for once.

Widely-circulated on social media yesterday was this mock “motivational poster”:

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

ANY CHARACTER HERE

According to one conservative-leaning blog, the sign was spotted in Illinois.

No surprise there. If anyone “gets” socialism, it’s certainly the inhabitants of the “People’s Republic of Illinois,” right?

Sadly, I don’t think my “comrades” get it at all. But they will soon…

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

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Signs Of The Time, Part 95

From a headline on the USA TODAY website last night:

“Oscar ratings drop 8% amid diversity push, awards fatigue”

Gee, big surprise there.

Forgot to mention Hollywood/celebrity fatigue though, with the seemingly non-stop talking down to “ordinary” Americans on how we should think and act.

And often against a backdrop of “do what I say, not what I do.”

Oh well. Duly noted here.

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

Source:

Levin, Gary. “Oscar ratings drop 8% amid diversity push, awards fatigue.” USA TODAY. 29 Feb. 2016. (http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2016/02/29/oscar-ratings-drop-8-amid-diversity-push-awards-declines/81108254/). 1 Mar. 2016.

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Tuesday, March 1st, 2016 Main Street, Signs Of The Time No Comments
Survival And Prosperity
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Christopher E. Hill, Editor

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