I am loathe to do these, in large part because a) I sound like a broken record when I do, or perhaps even like a Chicken Little - which is far worse, b) the majority of you who regularly read this blog already know much, if not all, of this, and c) it detracts from talking about what we should be doing rather than why we should be doing that. As yesterday was Bastille Day, I suppose it's appropriate to review the latest from the Good News Express:
- The Los Angles Times (not Glen Beck) quotes "a fiscal policy advisor for the California League of Cities to say 'Some [California] cities may not go into a bankruptcy, but they may dissolve. They may cease to exist.''' California has seen three cities file for bankruptcy protection this month. Other cities "teeter on the abyss." As a result, "cities across California are slashing day-to-day services and taking other drastic actions to skirt a similar fiscal collapse." Please note the phrases "they may cease to exist," "teeter on the abyss," and "fiscal collapse" are not my words. Those are direct quotes from the article.
- Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve (not Alex Jones) issued a report concluding - wait for it - that the stock market could have been 50% lower over a decade had the Fed not intervened. Which begs the question that many who've regularly been dismissed as the lunatic fringe have asked for years: what is the true value of the equity markets, sans Fed involvement? Furthermore, should we expect this to continue?
- Over at CBS - the Tiffany Network - we hear that Chicago Police leadership lament the crime wave in that city, calling it "tribal warfare."
- U6 unemployment - those are the folks who aren't working as well as those who have stopped looking or are underemployed - ticked up slightly again in June to 14.9 percent.
- Food prices will continue to climb over the next decade, due primarily to inflation, two different alphabet organizations announced last week. And the Financial Times asked on Friday if we were entering another food crisis.
So what does it all mean?
For starters, we're not creating enough jobs fast enough. This contributes to our economic malaise, including the lack of interest in equities as an investment. The average volume of shares traded on the major stock indices continues to drift downward as it has over the last twelve months. People are reluctant to invest.
We're 115 days away from a Presidential election. From the countless blogs and articles I read, I get the sense people who are paying attention are pensive about how things will go through the election in November. The vast majority of America, however, continues to slumber along, consuming a steady diet of processed foods and reality television shows.
In the end, my analysis remains the same. Anything you do to improve your ability to be self sufficient, be it storing food away, learning self defense strategies, taking up back yard gardening, or brushing up on first aid is not a futile effort. Yes, it sounds odd when you say it out loud or even type it. In the context of the news items above, however, what other viable options do we have?