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The Greatest Depression Is Coming
Financial Sense ^ | 11 Mar 2003 | John Finger

Posted on 03/11/2003 5:05:30 PM PST by sourcery

The Greatest Depression is Coming.

That’s no exaggeration. It will be worse in many respects than the Great Depression of 1929-1939. But those who are prepared will prosper.

The First Signs Are Already Here

The most noticeable sign is in unemployment. Sure, the official unemployment rate is low as of the time of this writing (5.7%), but the standard used to measure unemployment is seriously flawed. For example, that standard does not include “discouraged” workers; that is, those who have given up looking for work. It also doesn’t include the “underemployed,” who are highly trained but can’t find jobs in their own fields, leaving them to work in jobs for which they are overqualified and underpaid. Additionally, the Labor Department publishes new claims for unemployment benefits on a weekly basis. Economists consider anything less than 400,000 new claims a sign of a recovering economy. Yet 400,000 seems to be an average. With that many new claims each week and the help-wanted index hovering near 30-year lows, we can see that the official unemployment rate, regardless of the number, grossly understates the true percentage of unemployed.

How many people do you know who have been laid off? I know plenty. There are about 10 million of them in the United States. And very few of them are finding work easily.

Next, look at the stock market. The years 2000, 2001 and 2002 were all down years for all three major indices. The Nasdaq Composite has been impacted more severely than the other indices: it is down 74% from its high in 2000. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is down 33%, while the S&P 500 is down 47%. The stock market last saw three consecutive down years at the end of the Great Depression, 1939-1941. The last time we saw four consecutive down years was the period 1929-1932, at the beginning of the Great Depression. During that period, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell from a high of 381.17 in September 1929 to a low of 41.22 in 1932, a decline of 89%. You can see that the Dow can now decline a lot more and still not break any records.

Look at stock valuations. Go to Bigcharts.com and plug in “DJIA.” As of the end of February 2003, the Price-Earnings ratio of the DJIA was 20.30, while that of the S&P 500 (represented by the ticker “SPX”) was 27.59. Those figures are still very high as measured by historical standards. The reason they haven’t fallen that much is because both prices and earnings have fallen since the carefree days of early 2000. Historically, the P/E of the S&P 500 is between 13 and 14, depending on which source you follow. Assuming earnings don’t change in the meantime, that would imply that the S&P 500 should lose another 50% of its value before it is fairly valued. But that’s not the worst news: at the bottom of bear markets, the P/E typically drops to around 5. That would imply a further decline of more than 80% from the current value. Can you picture an S&P 500 value of around 170?

People choose to bury their heads in the sand and ignore stock market history. Even if the stock market is boring to you, you must understand one cold, hard fact: the stock market leads the economy. The economy was roaring along when the stock market topped out in both September 1929 and March 2000. When the market started declining, the economy soon followed. In the spring of 1930, people thought that the worst was over: the DJIA recovered to nearly 300 as the economy showed signs of improvement. But then the DJIA took a hard turn south, dragging the economy down shortly thereafter. The DJIA had five major bear market rallies before it bottomed in 1932. So far in this bear market, we have had four rallies, each leading to newer lows.

The stock market has likewise led the economy into other weak periods. Cases in point were bear markets in 1962, 1973-1974 and 1980-1982.

Individual players in the stock market will lie through their teeth, because they have a position to support. But the stock market itself never lies.

We’re seeing deflation for the first time since the 1930s. That’s right: downright deflation. Look at the list compiled by Comstock partners: PCs and peripherals; butter; TVs; toys; long-distance charges; used cars and trucks; audio equipment; women’s underwear, nightwear, sportswear and accessories; milk; men’s pants and shorts; pork chops; airline fares; new cars; electricity; ship fares; and kitchen, living room and dining room furniture. In most areas of the country, housing prices have started to drop. Rents are dropping. “For Rent” or “For Sale” signs appear at nearly every office building we look at, whether it’s here in Colorado, San Francisco, or anywhere. There are very few prospective tenants who are shopping for space. In fact, the only area where any inflation still exists is in health insurance and energy costs.

We have experienced several periods of disinflation since the Great Depression, but never downright deflation: that is, until now. In a period of disinflation, there’s no inflation or deflation. Prices remain stable.

The Federal Reserve Board is obviously concerned about deflation. In November 2002, Federal Reserve Board Governor Ben Bernanke made a now-infamous speech to a group of economists in Washington on his version of a remedy for deflation. Bernanke is quoted as saying:

"The U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press - or today, its electronic equivalent - that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.”

He was right, but his comments led investors to sell dollars and buy Euros and gold. Moreover, Mr. Bernanke forgot one minor detail: Germany, faced with huge deficits caused by reparations requirements after World War I, tried the same thing in the 1920’s. Pictures soon appeared worldwide, showing people with wheelbarrows full of Reichmarks lining up to buy a loaf of bread. The country was still in a Depression, despite the printing presses having worked overtime. This led in large part to the rise of Adolf Hitler.

What else can the Fed do? They have already knocked the Fed Funds rate from 6% to 1.25%, the lowest rate since 1962, and it hasn’t worked. Japan has knocked short-term rates down to 0.25%, and that country has been in a deep slump for most of the last 11 years. But we’ll be lucky if we go down Japan’s road: at least Japan is a country of savers. We are a country of spenders.

The Trade Deficit

People tend to not care about the trade deficit since they don’t see it. But it’s huge and getting worse. Moreover, when the last Great Depression started, the United States was the world’s largest creditor. Now, we’re the world’s largest debtor nation. In 2002, our trade deficit hit a record $435 billion, and we’re currently borrowing about $10 billion per week. For economists, the trade deficit is now 5% of GDP, a huge amount. All of this occurs despite a weaker dollar. The United States buys goods that are made overseas, because countries like China, India and Mexico have far cheaper labor costs than we do. When we buy their products, our dollars leave our shores and go to the sellers. The sellers have to do something with those dollars. Until recently, those sellers would typically repatriate the money by buying American stocks and bonds. Now, however, with declining stocks, low bond yields, lowering real estate prices and a falling dollar, those expatriate dollars have nowhere to go in America. Think about it: if you have a large amount of dollars, where would you put them right now? Foreigners have that same problem. Since they’re not investing here, investment in our infrastructure declines, which weakens our economic picture even more.

Budget Deficits And The National Debt

The only thing in existence that can afford to pile on debt and keep right on going is the U.S. Government. President Bush has proposed a budget for fiscal 2004 with a record $300 billion in deficit. That’s before the cost of a war with Iraq, which could add another $85 billion to the tab. Moreover, if the economy remains weak, the government will take in fewer taxes, causing the deficit to balloon even more. The current year’s debt gets added on to the already-staggering national debt, which is currently $6.7 trillion.

Who pays for all this debt? Tax receipts pay for part of it. Our kids and grandkids, however, will pay for the vast majority of it. In order to cover the debt, the government issues U.S. Treasury securities. Investors finance the debt by buying these securities. Their payments come from tax receipts.

At some point, however, the government won’t be able to afford to pay on its obligations. The debt burden is too huge and has been caused by politicians of both parties who are more concerned for their own political lives than they are for the country’s welfare. They slip their pork projects into budgets in order to look good in front of the voters, even though our tax burdens are very heavy. And the voters are just as guilty, because we always ask the politicians, “What are you doing for our district?” This form of representative government goes on all over and will eventually leave bondholders high and dry.

Herbert Hoover will never be remembered as a great president. But he maintained a disciplined fiscal policy through the depths of the Great Depression. As a result, the federal government never defaulted on its obligations, even after Franklin Roosevelt took over and exacerbated deficit spending. It is too bad that the government will be starting off the next depression in such sorry financial state.

The government’s coming default on its obligations will cause a financial calamity. There is no more secure a financial instrument than U.S. government bonds. In fact, every other bond in the world is measured against our own government bonds in terms of stability. All bonds will sell off when that happens. Interest rates will rise sharply, as investors demand higher yields in return for investing in “risky government bonds.” And current bondholders, typically senior citizens who live off of the interest, will be left high and dry.

The federal government isn’t the only government in deep fiscal mud. Once all of the states have updated their figures for the current fiscal year ending on July 31, 2003 for most states, the total deficit could come to $50 billion. Projections for deficits in fiscal 2004 reach as high as $80 billion. The deficit in California alone is projected to be $35 billion this fiscal year. The federal government is spending money it doesn’t have by giving the states $100 billion in fiscal stimulus. As you can see, though, most of that will be eaten up by state government deficits. Many state constitutions require balanced budgets. This will require states to both raise taxes and cut spending. And the raising of taxes during difficult economic times results in an even worse problem.

Foreign countries share our misery when it comes to budget deficits. Despite a European Union mandate to the contrary, France's budget deficit is likely to have exceeded 3% of gross domestic product in 2002. Don’t be surprised if Germany and other countries offer the same confession. Country defaults are not uncommon. The “Asian Flu” broke out in 1997. Russia defaulted in 1998. Argentina and Brazil defaulted in 2002. Last year, the Argentine economy fell 10%. The peso lost 70% of its value. And consumer prices rose 40%. Half the population lives in poverty, say press reports. Crime is rising. Columbia has been in a civil war for 30 years. Venezuela has an ongoing strike against its president. Latin America is an economic tinderbox, prone to elect extremist leaders and leaving its citizens to try any method possible and get to the Promised Land. When anybody or anything defaults on its debts, the debt collector also hurts. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and several giant money-center banks have lost billions when those countries defaulted, and they continue losing money today.

Consumer Debt & Real Estate

As of December 2002, the latest month for which figures are available, total consumer debt stood at $1.722 trillion, just $4 billion below the record set in the prior month. Not surprisingly, a record 1.5 million bankruptcies were filed in 2002, the largest ever. As in the case of country defaults, somebody in addition to the debtor will hurt when a bankruptcy is filed. Those “somebodies” are the creditors, including banks, savings & loans, retailers and wherever else the debtor shopped before he dropped.

Home foreclosures are not yet hitting records, but it won’t take long. Over 5% of all home mortgages are now delinquent, yet new construction spending rose 1.7% in January 2003. The amount spent during that period was $877.9 billion. It appears that somebody hasn’t yet received the word that the economy is somewhere between the “slow-growth” and “depression” end of the scale, depending on the realism of the interviewee.

We all know how refinancing has kept one leg up under the economy. In fact, many of us believe that refinancing has been the only leg holding up the economy. Low interest rates, helped along by 12 Fed rate cuts, have given consumers the opportunity to pay off those high-interest credit cards. Unfortunately, though, the process didn’t end there. Consumers bought houses and ran up credit card debts. Since their houses appreciated in value, consumers took out second mortgages or refinanced the firsts, giving them enough money in pocket to pay off the credit cards. But then they loaded up on the credit cards again, either because they had to have that big-screen television (made in Japan) or because they were laid off and simply needed the money to pay living expenses. Many of the mortgages were (and are) the 125% variety, whereby the bank lends the homeowner up to 125% of the value of the property. This shows the level of insanity that builds at the end of any bubble: at the end of the 1990s, lenders were hot to make stock loans. Now that the stock bubble has burst, lenders are looking for other items that have held their value relatively well. Residential real estate is one of the few items left.

Back in the 1990s, if you ever noticed a fixer-upper house with a “for sale” sign in front of it, bidders would appear from everywhere. Now those ugly houses are just sitting there. Why? There are three reasons. First of all, most insurance companies who covered those houses under a “builders risk” policy are no longer underwriting those properties, just because of the liabilities involved. That means any entrepreneur would have to fix up the house without insurance, and this is a very risky proposition. Second, many former entrepreneurs have been burned by falling rents and slowing sales and no longer have the capital or credit to fix up such houses. For the third reason, see “The War On Terrorism” below.

The commercial real estate bubble has burst already. Almost every commercial building has a “for sale” or “for lease” sign in front of it. For example, as of December 2002, 150 Class “A” office buildings in Denver stood empty. The situation has only gotten worse since then.

All areas of the country, with the notable exception of California, are experiencing either flat or declining residential real estate values. And now, even lofty California is beginning to see things turn lower. Properties are vacant longer. The days of the buying frenzy, where buyers bid above the asking price in order to get the property, are either gone or on their way out. Bidding frenzies occur at the end of every bubble, as we saw three years ago before the bottom fell out from under stocks. he bursting of the real estate will be severe, since it will involve many more people than did the stock market bubble and it involves an illiquid asset. Prices declined 50% during the Great Depression. That should be a conservative figure this time around: look for an even more severe decline in the bubble markets such as California.

Rents and prices will drop over the next few years. And debts that aren’t paid off will be discharged, hurting the banks and other lenders even more.

Frivolous Lawsuits

For many people, the only way to make money during hard economic times is to sue somebody. Whether the claim has any merit is irrelevant. In American society, if you get sued, you lose. It doesn’t matter if the claim is completely baseless. The defendant always loses. His reputation is slung in the mud. He spends fortunes defending himself. Even if he wins, he is still stuck with the bill of attorney’s fees and possibly court costs on top.

Most plaintiff personal injury attorneys (attorneys representing those who file the lawsuit) take their compensation on a percentage basis, somewhere between 25% and 40%. In other words, if you sue someone for $100,000, the attorney on a 35% contingency plan will get $35,000 of your award if you win. If you lose, the attorney gets nothing. In fact, the attorney loses money in such a case, since the attorney typically pays all of your costs, including court fees and investigative costs, up-front, in the hope that they will be able to settle the case or win at trial. Most attorneys who draw compensation from contingency fees aren’t really looking to go to trial. What they want is a settlement. The settlement will pay them and the client the fastest, since many courts have backlogs of 2 or more years.

Look at it from the other side. If you are sued, your attorney won’t take his compensation on a contingency-fee basis. Your attorney will want an hourly fee. Who pays that fee? You do. Even if you win the case, you’ve lost all that money in paying for an attorney, your share of court costs, investigations, etc. That’s why most defendants are prompted to settle a case, even if the case against them is completely without merit. Plaintiff attorneys know this all too well. So, if they can find out ahead of time that the defendant has money or other assets, it’s worth the attorney’s while to bring suit. Many attorneys bring suit even if it is without merit, since the system as it’s established rewards such dubious efforts.

If you think that this type of system doesn’t affect you, think again. Even if you have never been involved in a lawsuit, you are paying for the legal system we have. How? If you have insurance, you are paying higher insurance premiums because your insurance company has to figure costs of litigation, even spurious lawsuits, into the premiums you pay. When someone spills hot coffee on herself at a fast-food restaurant and sues, the prices will go up. When baton-twirlers sue their school after being cut from the majorettes, your property taxes will go up in order to pay the costs of that lawsuit. When a woman gets a $2,699,000 judgment against a grocery store for falling on her back while opening a jar of pickles, you will pay higher grocery prices. When a burglar breaks into your house and sues you when you’ve shot him, you’ll pay, along with your insurance company and others who are insured with the same insurance company.

When your doctor gets sued, her malpractice premiums skyrocket, regardless of the suit’s merit. Most gynecologists pay annual insurance premiums well in excess of $100,000, and some pay over a million dollars per year. Not only do you pay higher fees for office visits, but also doctors will order all sorts of seemingly unnecessary tests as a result, so that, if you ever bring a claim, the doctor can safely say she ordered all precautionary steps to protect you. Frivolous lawsuits drive future doctors into either foregoing medical careers or going into specialties without such a high incidence of lawsuit filings, such as dermatology. The next time you want to have a baby and you can’t find a doctor who will deliver it, now you’ll know why.

This is insane. President Bush is trying to remedy the problem by capping punitive damage awards. That, in my opinion, is the wrong solution. Many lawsuits do have merit, and many defendants do deserve to lose big. What we really need is to stop the frivolous lawsuits from being filed in the first place, and we can eliminate most of them by adopting “loser pays” laws. If you lose a lawsuit, you will pay everything. That way, anyone who thinks of bringing a lawsuit will think twice. Plaintiff lawyers will also think twice, since they are fronting the costs of suit in hopes of making a profit later. If they don’t collect, the plaintiff attorneys will lose big. A “loser pays” law will discourage many such attorneys from bringing suit in the first place. Conversely, anyone who is sued will think twice about defending the suit. If the case has merit and the defendant faces not only damage awards but also costs of litigation on both sides, the defendant will be prompted to settle. If, however, the case has no merit, the defendant knows he has a high likelihood of being compensated when the case is decided in court.

Truly legitimate lawsuits are put on ice for two years or more in our nation’s clogged court systems. Watch how fast cases would be settled and how fast insurance premiums would drop if the frivolous lawsuits were cleared out of the way. But that won’t happen anytime soon.

The War On Terrorism

This is one wrench that we can’t get out of the cistern. Even the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who masterminded the attacks of September 11, 2001, couldn’t turn around a lackluster stock market. You can rest assured of how terrorism will affect the equities markets: if terrorism occurs, the markets sell off. If no terrorism occurs, the markets are neutral.

All governments are required to drain precious funds in an area which was unfathomable thirty years ago. That means less funds are available for needed spending and saving elsewhere. The incorporation of terrorism planning means fewer freedoms for honest, law-abiding citizens. A case in point is the Patriot Act of 2001, the rushed-through, unconstitutional legislation that gave the FBI and Justice Department broad new authority to use wiretaps, electronic eavesdropping, and a number of other information-gathering techniques on all of us. Now a successor version, officially called the “Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003,” dubbed “Patriot II” is making its way through the cloakrooms of Congress and will take away even more of our privacy. The goal may be laudable, but the methodology stinks. When the government, using terrorism as its excuse, limits the very fabric of freedom and privacy upon which our country was founded, Osama bin Laden has won himself a victory he couldn’t have imagined when he saw the television on 9/11.

Think about this: the weapons of choice for the 9/11 hijackers were razor blades. Does that justify the government abridging our Constitutional rights? In my opinion, any act including the word “Patriot” should apply just to non-citizens.

We are currently gearing up for a war against Iraq. Although our government alleges that that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction (WMD), it has shown us only the al-Samoud missiles as evidence. We also know that Iraq has used WMD in the past, both against its own Kurdish population and against Iran. However, it is very sobering to find that United Nations weapons inspectors have found no other weapons, despite the so-called information-sharing agreement they have struck with the U.S. intelligence community. Even if we win a quick victory before Saddam Hussein can blow up his oil fields or use WMD, millions of more enemies will rise to take his place. As many as a million military personnel would be stuck in Iraq as an occupying force, and when would we leave? Moreover, the United States and Great Britain would foot the bill for everything, since no other nation would commit troops to such an operation. Finally, the last thing any Arab neighbor would want is a democracy in Iraq.

A far greater threat to our country and the world is North Korea. Unlike Iraq, North Korea actually tells the truth about half the time. It was honest in saying it was pulling out of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. It was honest in saying it was restarting the Yongbyon nuclear reactor. Then, there’s the other half: where it alleges that the reactor will just be used to produce electricity. In reality, North Korea has no capacity to deliver any electricity from that reactor to other parts of the country. And, when a government would rather let its citizens eat grass and tree bark while it feeds its military and MWD projects, we cannot believe that it would have the desire to supply its citizens with electricity. North Korea has violated agreement after agreement, and it just doesn’t care. Why? Because it has nukes. That’s why we’re pursuing a “diplomatic” option with North Korea while pursuing war preparation with Iraq. Any real trouble with North Korea will devastate our economy even more.

Look at the war on terrorism from the insurance standpoint. When the terrorists flew those airplanes into the World Trade Center, insurance companies had an enormous amount of claims to pay. Warren Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, had to shell out more than $2 billion in 9/11 claims. Most insurance companies themselves buy insurance, a process called reinsurance. That process protects them against devastating losses such as what happened on September 11, 2001. Nonetheless, it causes all premiums to rise. Moreover, many insurance companies have since excluded coverage for terror-related incidents, while others include new riders (and extra premiums) for those who want to maintain coverage in the event of a terror-related incident.

Unlike past wars, the war on terrorism will never end. There are no defined boundaries, no finite set of enemy leaders or foot soldiers. It will be a continuing drain on governments and economies around the world into the foreseeable future.

The Good News

After reading all this bad news, you must think that there is nothing you can do but stick all your money under the mattress, load the .45 and store canned goods. That needn’t be the case at all. The world’s most famous stock trader, Jesse Livermore, earned $100 million on Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929 by shorting stocks. Joseph P. Kennedy, the father of a future president, earned his third fortune by doing the same thing in the Great Crash. Opportunities to earn a fortune are even greater now: data is available at the touch of a keystroke, unlike during the Great Depression. You can now invest in mutual funds whose performance goes up when stock indices go down. It’s easy to short stocks, and it’s even easier to short exchange-traded funds (ETFs), since those funds have no up-tick rule. You will always find at least one asset that performs well, even during tough economic times. Gold, for example, gained strongly during the Great Depression, as it has since 2001. Bonds have performed very well. The entire energy complex is hitting highs not seen since the Gulf War. Any asset can turn abruptly, as we all know, so check with a financial advisor before investing in any of them.

Speaking of financial advisors, the worst thing you could do is to seek out an advisor who is in the “buy and hold” category. Find one who is independent and realistic. If you want to make your own financial decisions, fine. Just have a sound basis for making your decisions, realize when you have made a mistake, cut your losses short, and let your profits run.

If you bought a tech stock at $100.00 per share and it’s now at $4.00, you’re tempted to “wait it out.” Don’t. You’ve made a mistake. Get over it. Take a loss, pick up your marbles and move on to another game. New opportunities present themselves every day in the investment world. Jesse Livermore knew that, as did Joe Kennedy. Do you?

© 2003 John Finger The Money Management Firm, Inc. finger@swisscomp.com


TOPICS: Business/Economy
KEYWORDS: 1buyandeatgoldnow; 1whataloadacrap; 1whopayssourcery; auricgoldfinger; finonsense; getgoldfingeredhere; goldbuggery; mineshafted; prozac; takethemineshaft
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Winter comes. Denial is futile. You will be deflated.
1 posted on 03/11/2003 5:05:30 PM PST by sourcery
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To: sourcery
Wellll, I guess we are just screwed.
2 posted on 03/11/2003 5:21:46 PM PST by U S Army EOD (Served in Korea, Vietnam and still fighting America's enemies on Home Front)
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To: sourcery
I've never read so much BS in one article.
3 posted on 03/11/2003 5:21:53 PM PST by Auntie Mame (Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.--Mark Twain)
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To: sourcery
It will be worse in many respects than the Great Depression of 1929-1939.

Thank you Chicken Little

4 posted on 03/11/2003 5:22:07 PM PST by Puppage (You may disagree with what I have to say, but I will defend to your death my right to say it.)
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To: sourcery
Looks like most are still in denial so I guess we have a long way to go yet.

Richard W.

5 posted on 03/11/2003 5:27:17 PM PST by arete (Greenspan is a ruling class elitist and closet socialist who is destroying the economy)
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To: sourcery
No problem.
6 posted on 03/11/2003 5:28:05 PM PST by Consort
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To: sourcery
Any asset can turn abruptly, as we all know, so check with a financial advisor before investing in any of them.
© 2003 John Finger The Money Management Firm, Inc. finger@swisscomp.com

"Gee who should I call......?"

7 posted on 03/11/2003 5:28:15 PM PST by CGASMIA68
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To: Auntie Mame
Agree. The basic underpinnings of the US economy has kept the swings of the economy fairly low and brought it back to earth when it went too high. After the tech bubble burst, under the old economy, it would have gone into deep depression, but it cannot. It is robust. This sounds like a lot of the buy gold crowd who have been consistently wrong. Or he is selling a book. Take a look at all the books that talk of the 'coming depression" of fill in the year. You get more than a few each decade.
8 posted on 03/11/2003 5:29:06 PM PST by KeyWest
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To: sourcery
My GAWD this is one of the worst "The sky is falling" articles I have seen in a while....
9 posted on 03/11/2003 5:30:18 PM PST by smith288 ("The reason I am not a liberal is because im not as certain about my guesswork" -Dennis Miller)
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To: Auntie Mame
It's only BS to those that don't understand reality. Don't know what indicators you focus on but if you think things are going swell you need to take one of those inflated pieces of fiat currency and go buy a clue.
10 posted on 03/11/2003 5:31:45 PM PST by american spirit
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To: sourcery
© 2003 John Finger The Money Management Firm, Inc. finger@swisscomp.com

Remind me never to let this guy touch my money. He knows nothing about economics.

11 posted on 03/11/2003 5:32:41 PM PST by mlo
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To: sourcery
I am going to take a short in Prozac.
12 posted on 03/11/2003 5:34:59 PM PST by kcar
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To: sourcery
I think there's some sense to this. Factor in inflated housing costs where people are buying overvalued homes at low interest rates. When the bubble bursts, and we know it will, what's going to happen then? I don't see anything good in this economy. If someone wants to set me straight...be my guest.
13 posted on 03/11/2003 5:37:31 PM PST by Hildy
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To: sourcery
As long as I have Viagra, I will never be deflated!
14 posted on 03/11/2003 5:37:47 PM PST by snopercod
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To: sourcery
um...we took steps to ensure another Great Depression would not occur.
15 posted on 03/11/2003 5:38:13 PM PST by rwfromkansas (Soli Deo Gloria!)
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To: sourcery
Such a load of Road Apples!!
16 posted on 03/11/2003 5:40:51 PM PST by caisson71
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To: sourcery
Dennis Leary wrote a song about you...
Your the guy in florida walking around in the summer saying "hey how bought this heat"

17 posted on 03/11/2003 5:42:08 PM PST by Free2think
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To: Puppage
Falling skies are a real bitch.
18 posted on 03/11/2003 5:43:30 PM PST by Cyber Liberty ( 2003, Ravin' Lunatic since 4/98)
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To: sourcery
The one thing he left out was that PLANET X/Nibiru is coming close to earth in May causing a pole shift on the entire planet.....talk about Depression!!! /sarcasm
19 posted on 03/11/2003 5:45:11 PM PST by BossLady (ChIRAQ & Saddam sittin' on W.O.M.D...........K.I.S.S.I.N.G......)
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To: KeyWest

While I do not agree with all of the editorials conclusion, I am more in the camp that thinks the 00s will in many ways resemble the 70s in terms of the economy, though a bit worse and painful than the 70s was, you have to understand what has kep the economy afloat in the last 2 years.

It is not high tech, it is not productivity(BLS numbers are trash anyways). It is artificlaly low rates that have enabled people to re-fi their homes and the auto makers to sell cars at 0% rates. Now the automakers are starting to choke, and the last string holding up the economy is housing. Yes rates are low, but how much more can the economy sustain with the job losses?
20 posted on 03/11/2003 5:48:49 PM PST by JNB
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To: sourcery
If you bought a tech stock at $100.00 per share and it’s now at $4.00, you’re tempted to “wait it out.” Don’t. You’ve made a mistake. Get over it. Take a loss, pick up your marbles and move on to another game.

The chart below would seem to deflate that statement handily.

21 posted on 03/11/2003 5:49:25 PM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts ()
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To: american spirit
I suggest you go back and re-read the article if you can stand to, it's so poorly written. Be that as it may, it starts off with how bad unemployment is, then says, well, the numbers aren't bad, but.....

Then, it goes on to the stock market with more lies.

Then, the article touches on deflation. Give me a break. There isn't any deflation, but he gives examples and they are bogus.

Then he has the example of houses sitting empty and nobody will buy them because they can't be insured until they're fixed up. Huh?

The author is deranged. Believe this crap if you wish.
22 posted on 03/11/2003 5:52:34 PM PST by Auntie Mame (Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.--Mark Twain)
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To: BossLady

I know where much of this BS comes from when people try to say the economy is fine, and attack anyone else who trys to present them with the facts. All these posts seem to be quite a bit like what Limbaugh says on his show "Oh the Democrats want to make the economy look bad" or "Oh the sky is not falling". As much as I respect Limbaugh intelligence on govrenmnet, politics, human nature and society, he knows very little about economics.
23 posted on 03/11/2003 5:52:48 PM PST by JNB
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To: JNB
In the 90's, the population of the US increased by some 30 million. Our birth rate remains above replacement and immigration continues. All of those people have to live somewhere. Housing isn't going to collapse. There will be problem areas, but there always is.
24 posted on 03/11/2003 5:54:22 PM PST by LenS
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To: Bloody Sam Roberts
Did you look at the portion of the chart from the mid 60s to early 80s? Yes, there are long term secular bear markets.
25 posted on 03/11/2003 5:54:29 PM PST by JNB
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To: Auntie Mame
I've never read so much BS in one article.

You must not read "Financial Sense' too often. This is par for the course.

26 posted on 03/11/2003 5:55:31 PM PST by Always Right
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To: JNB
Feel free to buy all the gold you want. It's your money to waste.
27 posted on 03/11/2003 5:55:49 PM PST by LenS
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To: LenS

As secuality gets tighter, and the economy grows at a slower rate, or even shrinks, immigration will go down and the birth rate will decrease. The changes to the INS under Homeland Security are massive, though change does not happen all at once, but the net effect will be immigration will be more difficult in the upcoming years.

As for housing, sorry, but without job growth, housing will maybe not collapse, but will go down in value.
28 posted on 03/11/2003 5:56:37 PM PST by JNB
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To: Bloody Sam Roberts
The chart is slightly-mislabeled. It's log-linear, not log-log, since the years are equally spaced.
29 posted on 03/11/2003 5:57:29 PM PST by supercat (TAG--you're it!)
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To: sourcery

Don't worry. With a work ethic like this, this country will come out smelling like a rose...

30 posted on 03/11/2003 5:58:07 PM PST by Tulsa Brian (i)
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To: LenS
Feel free to believe in the "new economy" and hedonistic accounting. I am not a gold bug by the way, and I think talk of $1000 gold is nonsense, but the gold ruse for high tech is over.
31 posted on 03/11/2003 5:58:29 PM PST by JNB
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To: arete
How many people do you know who have been laid off? I know plenty.

I don't know anybody who voted for Al Gore.

Does that mean he didn't get any votes?

This is the dumbest article in the financial realm I've ever read.

32 posted on 03/11/2003 5:59:32 PM PST by sinkspur
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To: Always Right
No, I've not read Financial Sense before. And I hope to never again. I can't believe I actually read this entire article.

; - )
33 posted on 03/11/2003 5:59:34 PM PST by Auntie Mame (Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.--Mark Twain)
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To: sourcery
When Abbey Joseph Cohen valued Yahoo stock at $1000 and rated it as a 'strong buy' a few years back, she was doing the same thing that John Finger is doing here. When a financial expert makes dazzling promises or doom and gloom predictions, an investor is wise to follow an opposite path.
34 posted on 03/11/2003 6:01:21 PM PST by eeriegeno
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To: sourcery
Wow, I am really DEPRESSED after reading this. I need something to cheer me up...

There, I feel better now.

35 posted on 03/11/2003 6:01:55 PM PST by SamAdams76 (California wine tastes better - boycott French wine!)
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To: Auntie Mame

It amazes me how strongly people attack these articles. Yes, the conclusion is exterem, but the autjor points out the problems the economny is having right now.

Sorry people, but a quick victory over Iraq is at best a short term fix, the years of mis managment by Greenspan will take years to fix. I just hope McTeer does not become the next FED chair, talk about going from bad to worse.
36 posted on 03/11/2003 6:03:08 PM PST by JNB
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To: JNB
I think we can all see that the economy is not the greatest right now, however, some people seem to think they know better than us....that's what I don't like.

I also think people have had it pretty good for so many years that a little hardship freaks them out. Decisions we as individuals AND the go'ment make affect us all....and for a long period of time. And have you noticed, when we are in the middle of an up cycle, some cannot see that eventually, a down cycle is going to happen....no matter what....

37 posted on 03/11/2003 6:03:57 PM PST by BossLady (ChIRAQ & Saddam sittin' on W.O.M.D...........K.I.S.S.I.N.G......)
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To: Bloody Sam Roberts
Its interesting how the chart plateau's at 1000 in the 70's and now we could plateau at 10,000 or so..
38 posted on 03/11/2003 6:04:47 PM PST by revtown
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To: sourcery
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
39 posted on 03/11/2003 6:05:04 PM PST by ChadGore (Next time there's a war in Europe, the loser has to keep France.)
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To: Bloody Sam Roberts
Your chart is misleading, for several reasons:
40 posted on 03/11/2003 6:06:15 PM PST by sourcery (The Oracle on Mount Doom)
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To: LenS
In the 90's, the population of the US increased by some 30 million. Our birth rate remains above replacement and immigration continues. All of those people have to live somewhere. Housing isn't going to collapse. There will be problem areas, but there always is.

Do some searching through the archives of the San Jose Mercury News. Immigrants in CA are living in garages and 3-4 families in a house. They're not building new houses.

41 posted on 03/11/2003 6:08:10 PM PST by valkyrieanne
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To: sourcery
Even in your chart, an investor who bought in 1929 would have had to wait 20 years just to break even--not counting trading commissions, taxes, inflation or opportunity costs.

True. And a more reasonably-defined "break-even" would be 30-40 years. On the other hand, if someone isn't expecting to retire for 30-40 years, that may not be so much of a concern. Obviously for people who will need their money sooner than that, having enough invested in other things to last until the cyclical bear is over is a very good idea.

42 posted on 03/11/2003 6:10:14 PM PST by supercat (TAG--you're it!)
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To: BossLady

Truth be told, people like Buffet and Sir Tempelton, who do know more than most of us, are not too thrilled about the economys prospects in the next few years. Again, I do not think we are headed for a depression, but I think the enxt few years will be worse than the 70s. It will combine asset inflation with financial deflation.
43 posted on 03/11/2003 6:10:15 PM PST by JNB
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To: arete
Looks like most are still in denial so I guess we have a long way to go yet.

I don't agree w/ the parts about deflation (WHAT deflation? Has he priced health insurance lately?) However, the part about housing is spot on. The economy *is* being fueled by home equity loans. There *is* an insurance problem with buying shells & fixer-uppers. The middle class *is* being squeezed into higher & higher-priced markets (meaning they're taking on big mortgage debt, even if the borrowing rates are low), and at some point there is going to be a housing correction. Coming on top of unemployment / underemployment, it is going to hit some people very hard, and will reverberate through the whole economy.

44 posted on 03/11/2003 6:12:00 PM PST by valkyrieanne
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To: arete
Kind of like my dear wife. I keep saying "buy gold" and she keeps saying "golds not worth anything". I've given up.
45 posted on 03/11/2003 6:14:27 PM PST by dljordan
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To: sourcery
Gold, for example, gained strongly during the Great Depression, as it has since 2001.

I knew that was where this article was going!

46 posted on 03/11/2003 6:19:28 PM PST by Grut
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To: sourcery
Wow!!! This sounds worse than Y2K was gonna be. And about as likely.
47 posted on 03/11/2003 6:20:51 PM PST by templar
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To: sourcery
Auto sales are going down, Ford has trouble with $44 billion debt
plus unfunded pensions. If auto manuf lays off thousands, that
could further hurt real estate. We could see a depression if
real estate prices fall and defaults continue to increase.
48 posted on 03/11/2003 6:25:31 PM PST by BlackJack (Is it a bull market yet?)
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Comment #49 Removed by Moderator

To: sourcery
HAHAHAHAHAHA.....


Jesse Livermore died BROKE.

His (in)famous quote? "It's easy to time the market"

HAHAHAHAHAHA..........
50 posted on 03/11/2003 6:26:52 PM PST by narses (Christe Eleison)
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