This week as your visiting with parents and friends at your kids' sporting events, throw a few of these jump balls out there to see who wants to join you in the scrum:
- Families worldwide are hoarding cash. "Families continue to spend cautiously and have pulled hundreds of billions of dollars out of stocks, cut borrowing for the first time in decades and poured money into savings and bonds that offer puny interest payments, often too low to keep up with inflation."
- The socialism laboratory that is Venezuela has become an economic train wreck, shocking many who believe letting the government run industries is a good idea. "The army has been sent into toilet paper factories, fights for basic foodstuffs have resulted in several deaths and new, multi-million dollar oil tankers are sitting idle in dock. And, despite sitting on the world’s largest oil reserves, Venezuela’s socialist government can’t quite manage to keep the lights on."
- Austerity is inbound if we don't raise the debt ceiling. "But if Congress hasn't raised the debt ceiling, borrowing to bridge the difference won't be possible. Instead, lawmakers would have four options to choose from that would have to be implemented abruptly:
- Slash discretionary spending (including defense) by 33% every month.
- Cut mandatory spending (such as spending on Social Security) by 16% every month.
- Raise taxes by 12% every month.
- Or some combination of all three."
- "Obama’s APEC absence symbolic of US waning influence in Asia.” "Meanwhile, China’s vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao has been wagging his finger at the US Treasury Department, warning that “the clock is ticking” and that Obama should “take decisive and credible steps to avoid a default on its Treasury bonds.” All this comes at a time when the US has been caught red handed spying on the rest of the world, including its own people… and its allies. This prompted the Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to cancel an official visit to the United States this month....The Russians are preventing a US military invasion. The Chinese actually have to step in and say something publicly to ensure that the US government pays its bills. The Brazilians are too disgusted to even visit Washington DC.
I'm not going to suggest a particular opinion for you to have on these subjects, but I do want you to be aware of them. Because there's only so much time you can spend talking about Miley Cyrus or that family Bruce Jenner married into or Duck Commando Killers.
The stories about Obamacare and the closure of the national parks are important for us to know, folks, but don't be distracted from the bigger picture. Not to diminish the importance of the story about the shutdown, but there's much more going on beyond that.
We are living in interesting times to say the least. I think all of us - regardless of political persuasion - would agree with Thomas Paine's sentiment: "If there be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace." If we are to see improvement in our country's finances, our civil liberties, and our economy in our lifetime, we have to be willing to endure some economic turmoil. I don't say that with any glee or anticipation. It will be difficult for all of us, especially those in the lower economic tiers of our country. But it is necessary.
If you agree with me that a reset in our economy is necessary, are you ready for that turmoil? And if you don't, tell me why I'm wrong. I'd love for someone to convince me otherwise.