Signs Of The Time

Signs Of The Time, Part 107

Personally, I believe that whoever wins the White House in November will be inheriting a “poisoned chalice” when it comes to the economy.

I strongly suspect the United States will enter into recession (if it’s not already in one) shortly.

And I fear the next (final?) stage of a U.S. financial crash I first started warning about back on Memorial Day Weekend 2007 may be helped along with the election of one particular candidate to the highest political office in the land after spotting the following this morning on the CNBC website.

John Harwood reported Monday:

One of President Barack Obama’s economic advisers will join Hillary Clinton’s campaign in another sign of close coordination between the White House and the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Jacob Leibenluft, deputy director of the National Economic Council, will become a senior policy adviser as Clinton prepares to fill out her economic agenda for the general election…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Anyone looking forward to four (eight?) more years of “Obamanomics”?

If so, it sounds like that could very well be what’s in store for the country again after November 8, based on this news and other developments I’ve been following.

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

Source:

Harwood, John. “Hillary Clinton to add Jacob Leibenluft, Obama’s long-time economic adviser, to campaign team.” CNBC.com. 20 June 2016. (http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/20/hillary-clinton-to-add-jacob-leibenluft-obamas-long-time-economic-adviser-to-campaign-team.html?utm_content=buffer72413&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer). 21 June 2016.

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Signs Of The Time, Part 106

From the celebrity news website TMZ this morning:

The Game believes he’s dodging real bullets in Chicago now that a judge has granted his request to postpone a court hearing.

According to legal docs, the rapper asked the judge to push a June 16 hearing for his sexual assault lawsuit in Illinois. He cited a massive outbreak of violence over Memorial Day weekend in the city … where about 70 people were shot and 6 died.

Game thinks it’s likely there will be a bunch of revenge shootings, and fears he could be caught in the crossfire…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

According to TMZ, the plaintiff didn’t oppose The Game’s request and the judge has signed-off on it as well.

You can read the entire piece on TMZ.com here.

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

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Signs Of The Time, Part 105

Lausanne, Switzerland-based IMD World Competitiveness Center, publisher of the World Competitiveness Yearbook, “the leading annual report on the competitiveness of countries,” has just released its 28th edition of the publication. From their website:

The USA toppled as world’s most competitive economy
IMD World Competitiveness rankings released

30 May 2016 – The USA has surrendered its status as the world’s most competitive economy after being overtaken by China Hong Kong and Switzerland, according to the IMD World Competitiveness Center.

The sheer power of the economy of the USA is no longer sufficient to keep it at the top of the prestigious World Competitiveness Ranking, which it has led for the past three years.

The IMD World Competitiveness Center, a research group within IMD business school, has published the ranking each year since 1989 and it is widely regarded as the foremost annual assessment of the competitiveness of countries.

The 2016 edition ranks China Hong Kong first, Switzerland second and the USA third, with Singapore, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Canada completing the top 10…

“USA third”

Disappointing to hear, but not altogether shocking.

You can read the entire piece on IMD’s website here.

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

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Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 Asia, Europe, North America, Signs Of The Time No Comments

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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Survival And Prosperity
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Christopher E. Hill, Editor

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