The Economy is good! If good means failing.

Gold Liberty EagleIt seems to be this way for most all presidential administrations, they try to show that the economy is doing well under their thumb and there’s nothing to worry about. What president would ever say that their time in office was horrible? Can you hear any former president saying, “man, I screwed this up something fierce!”

Someone can fact check this for me if you’d like – I can’t find it – I have to think that Herbert Hoover was the closest to admitting that he sucked (yes, the Hoover vacuum cleaner pun was intentional and yes, Hoover’s presidency was pretty much a disaster).

There will always be a debate as to where the economy is going.  Of course it depends on who you ask and which wealth brackets you live in. The top 1%, I’m guessing, would say they are pretty happy in the “great recovery” since 2012. The top earners in this country have increased their financial positions, quite substantially in many areas over the last 8 years, and it seems to be set up for that to continue.

Are the rest of us being trickled down up on? None of this “trickle” is hitting me! As a matter of fact, I’ve cut a lot out of my budget and I’m not not able to save any more because most everything I do need has gone up in price, or is taxed more.  The University I teach for has increased class sizes and lessened the amount of course we teach, I’m losing money.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently said that in one out of every five families no one has a full time job, and in many cases no one has job at all. All I can do is trust that this is true, there’s nothing else I can do. The government makes it near impossible for a small business to hire anyone. The costs of having employees along with the increases in minimum wage, which increases works compensation insurance and increases all payroll taxes, it’s a small business slaughter house. Not to mention the plethora of other regulatory chains and shackles that are industry specific.  A small business owner has no incentive to hire (or even start a business) unless they figure out a way to pass those increased obligations to the customer, for which you are risking driving away customers.  What can you do?  You do what a potential record number of stores are doing this year, you close your doors. We’ll talk about that in a moment.

The problem (one of far, far too many) is that, while the numbers don’t lie, the people presenting all these numbers do.

Let’s use old faithful for this example, the unemployment numbers.

It goes something like this, we are at 4.8% (give or take) unemployment rate, but the Bureau of Labor says themselves that one in five families no one has a job – if that is true would the unemployment be around 20%? It’s not that simple, of course.  Saying we are at 4.8% unemployment is a straight forward number, how that number is comprised isn’t.

You have to count these jobs, but don’t count those, add in these people, but leave those out because of this or that or the other thing. Oh, and you can’t count part-time, unless a person has two part-time jobs then they count double, unless they are laid off of only one, then they don’t count at all, and once we get that figure, then you have to make sure that you deduct those who worked more than six straight months, but less than nine (or is it more than four months but less than 11, no wait, you count them if they worked at least six hours, not months or is it…whatever, it doesn’t matter, take them out out of the count. That’s how they configure the unemployment rate. Or something like that.

Of course I am being facetious, but I think you get the point. The agencies can say what they want for the most part, we’d never truly know. It’s based on and backed by full faith and credit of the United State’s government.

If you recall, if not here is a link, Trump said that he thinks the real unemployment rate is 42% more higher.  We haven’t heard him harp much of that number now that he’s judged by the number. If asked now I wouldn’t be surprised if he said he meant 4.2%, not 42%.

No matter how they get the numbers, I think we all can agree that our economy is worse now than it was a year ago. If you don’t believe that you haven’t seen the statistics. Didn’t just say that they lie about the numbers? Who do you believe?

The GDP numbers came out at 0.7%, no matter how they figured it, they determined that 0.7% is the worst we’ve seen in three years.

Who do you believe? When it comes to the economy and protecting yourself from all this, you believe in the only thing that has been proven over all of our recorded history to have protected wealth when the people in power get as greedy as they always do. You trust gold and silver.

Let’s revisit the employee and employer crisis. I mentioned the other week that brick and mortar business closures and bankruptcy filings have increased exponentially this year.  That rate continues to expand, faster than we thought, even as of two weeks ago.

CNN is projecting that over 8600 stores will close in 2017. The worst year on record was 2008, when 6,163 stores closed. We are on pace to destroy a record that was set nearly a decade ago. Where is this economic recovery we had? How did I miss that?

While we’re comparing, there were 5,077 stores closed in 2015 and 2,056 in 2016. There has already been more bankruptcy filings in 2017 than all of 2016, and those numbers came out prior to the end of month four (April). In the first four months of 2017, we’ve beaten figures for the entire year of 2016. That’s quite the accomplishment. Hooray Government!

Add to all the retail closures the fact that factory output is falling, automakers are having a hard time and restaurants are failing. It doesn’t add up to anything good (unless you are an owner of Amazon.com that “store” is doing pretty well).

Want to add something else in there? We can.  We can add in the increase in commercial and consumer debt and bankruptcies.

Mix it all together and you have a master piece of poop. (Sorry mom, if you are reading this I know saying it is a master piece of poop is crude, I apologize).

Here are a few more things that are not looking well for our economy right now.

We already talked about the potential for 8600+ stores to close by the end of the year and that number of retailers that have filed for bankruptcy so far in 2017 has already surpassed the total for the entire year of 2016.

Credit Suisse came out and stated that already in 2017 49 million square feet of retail space has closed down. If we keep this pace we’ll see approximately 147 million square feet of retail space shut down by the end of the year, the all-time record was 115 million square feet closed out in 2001.  What will landlords to pay mortgages, there’s more loan defaults coming up.

What about the trucking industry who supplies all these stores that are closing? They won’t have any more deliveries, cut jobs in the trucking industry.  All you have to do is think briefly about the domino effect that one store closing has on many different industries and the people in those industries, now multiple that by 8600.

Hopefully doing all that figuring didn’t make you hungry. According to this article by Black Box Intelligence foot traffic to chain restaurants dropped 3.4% from a year ago. Restaurants are losing business.  Many chains tried (or are trying) to increase their prices a bit to compensate for the lost revenue. As I mentioned above, that rarely ever works as means to drive business back to you. As a matter of fact it has seemed to have back fired, usually does.

Rumor has it that many are increasing their prices and cutting their portions.  I have never been one to eat out often at all.  Ask anyone who knows me, I can survive off a box of jello and a bag of marshmallows for a week, no problem.  When my wife is up in Alaska for a week or so, or gone any amount of time, that is my typical menu – don’t get me wrong, I can cook a mean bowl of rice too – I’m a survivor.   What are you laughing at?

Those who do not have financial insurance will not be laughing when the time comes that the dollar is either devalued, revalued, suffers a series of mini-crashes, a major crash or is totally uprooted by any numbers of scenarios.  If any of these things happen you and I will not be laughing either, but at least we’ll be protected, we will have had financial insurance.

Are you protected?

 

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