Saturday, August 3, 2013
Daily Briefing For Saturday, August 3, 2013
Lest You Ignore News From The Insurance Industry...
I'm inundated with news and information from the insurance industry on a daily basis. It goes with the territory of being a government affairs guy for the industry. Today, a couple of articles that came through the pipelines caught my interest.
First, consider this short piece in the Insurance Journal, where we learn "sustained high prices for corn, soybeans and wheat combined with record U.S. crop-insurance payouts are encouraging farmers to plow fragile lands and put ecosystems at risk." I can't speak to the accuracy of the ecosystem allegation, but it does serve to confirm what I've discussed for quite some time now in this blog: grain prices remain strong. For those of us buying bulk grain for storage purposes, this can present a challenge.
Next, peruse the Insurance Council of Texas' latest newsletter. If the thought of that makes your head hurt, just consider this portion of it, summarizing the comments of Dr. Robert Hartwig of the Insurance Information Institute: construction, energy, health care, natural resources, agriculture, technology and manufacturing are industries poised for growth in the next 10 years. Again, this confirms what we've covered here from time to time - investments in tangible assets like real estate, energy, agriculture and commodities may prove to be top performers in the coming years. This should also serve those of you with kids in high school and college thinking about what career path to take.
So important is insurance that this afternoon I decided to take some of my own medicine. I've set up an insurance review with my insurance agent for later this month to discuss our current coverages, deductibles, and life needs to ensure we have what we need. A thirty minute discussion with your agent playing "What if" can save you hundreds if not tens of thousands of dollars when a small catastrophe strikes your life. As I've said before, prepping is about executing the basics well, even when doing so isn't a lot of fun.
Speaking Of Getting A Job In America...
The July job numbers came out today. Looks like the guessers were a little hot in their estimates, as only 162,000 jobs were created last month. The ABC News video accompanying the link tries to spin the latest data in a positive way, claiming that government hiring is on the uptick (failing to mention, of course, that hiring in the private sector is what creates the necessary production to fuel government spending.)
Meanwhile, Drudge provided three links today that tell a more sobering story:
953,000 Jobs Created In '13 -- 731,000 Part-Time!
Study: Record Number 21 Million Young Adults Living With Parents...
BLACK TEEN UNEMPLOYMENT RATE 41.6%...
The Daily Reckoning came out with its own take on today's numbers with the sobering headline "We Are Becoming A Nation Of Burger Flippers." From the article:
Of the 162,000 jobs created in July, only 35% were full time. Zero Hedge noted this morning that June’s numbers were equally ominous: Part-time jobs exploded higher by 360,000, while full-time jobs dropped by 240,000. This is according to the BLS household survey data.
These stories are further proof our economy is not really "rebounding" despite those who try to wish it to do so. We are witnessing the effects of what may be a multi-generational recovery, much like that of the Great Depression. And could this possibly lead to intense global conflict, perhaps even World War III? That very possibility continues to be discussed in the financial media.
Do you own research. Draw your own conclusions. I remain waiting on someone to explain to me, using math and data, how this will turn out well for most Americans.
Why Worry About WWIII When You Can Worry About EMP?
This story is making the rounds, and I will tell you up front - I am a bit skeptical about the threat of a solar flare creating a world wide catastrophe. I'm not saying it isn't a serious concern, as many believe it is. But what I'm trying to figure out - and I haven't done much research on this, so I reserve the right to change my mind - is whether the people who are advocating for hardening of our infrastructure will personally profit from the federal funds that would likely be spent doing so. Perhaps I am too cynical, and these folks are truly serving as much needed sentinels for this particular peril.
And before you try to call me out on being inconsistent by criticizing the EMP crowd and giving the financial gloom and doomers a pass, let me be clear - there's no doubt in my mind the people who are pessimistic about our economy stand to profit from seeing it come to fruition. The difference is those financial experts who are gloom and doom will eagerly tell you they plan to profit from what they see coming in the future; do we have that same level of transparency from the EMP preparedness advocates?
Oh Yeah - How Are Those Folks In Newtown Responding To The Sandy Hook Tragedy These Days?
Well one thing's for sure - they sure as hell aren't running away from gun ownership. Quite the contrary, in fact, as evidenced by this story. In a nutshell: "Through July 24, more than 200 people in Newtown have received new local pistol permits, according to a review of local records, surpassing the 171 new permits issued for all of last year." Said one Newtown resident: "I think people realize that you can't call the police all the time and expect them to save you. It's sinking in to some folks that 'I need to take responsibility for keeping my family safe.' "