Nobody can say that our local volcano didn't give us plenty of warning before it exploded in 1980. The line isn't from dead silence to massive explosion; the line is hundreds of small earthquakes, a brief silence and THEN, the big explosion. The United States, politically, economically and spiritually, is in the swarms of earthquakes phase. In other words, we are in the lull before the storm. I realize many people feel we are at the height of the storm. Unfortunately for them, they are wrong. We are merely experiencing hundreds of 2 and 3 point Richter scale quakes rattling our nerves. Just wait. Trust me. Just wait until next year.
As an unrepentant Y2K doom and gloomer, I've been pondering this wave of global chaos since September. While I got the types of Y2K failures right, and I got the nature of them right, where I failed was in the scope and duration. The predicted computer failures were not widespread enough or last long enough to take out modern society. Last time I ever take government predictions seriously. Now that I wander the Internet aimlessly and come to my own conclusions thank you. But, Y2K is old history and besides, as the last eight weeks have shown: human beings are quite capable of unleashing chaos and anarchy upon the world. We may yet get the kinds of things I worried about in November, 1999, but we will do it to ourselves through our environmental, economic, social and political policies. For the record, Y2K doesn't officially start until December 31st of this year. For all I know, our computers may yet add to seething mass of lunacy happening all over the globe. Now, wouldn't that be ironic, as the pop song goes.
I believe these swarms of earthquakes come in three flavors: economic, political and spiritual. First the economic. It's time to face reality, bulls. Can you say bear market? Now, that wasn't so bad was it? Exactly how much more than a 45% loss does the NASDAQ have to go before the Wall Street Steer crowd throws in the testicles, so to speak? The NASDAQ peaked on March 10th, 2000 at 5048. It closed on 11-22-2000 at 2755. The NASDAQ 100 is way, way, below the magic 3350 mark and heading lower. The DOW is heading towards 10,000 yet again. Heating oil is at $1 a gallon, the highest price since 1979. Inflation rages throughout the economy; yet, the whore press repeats the lies from the government tyrants about how low it is. Really? Then why is the economy slowing down so much? Why are the December earnings pre announcements dreaded. I'll tell you why, giving credit to Mr. Fleckenstein, because they will be followed by the January earning reports.
Once those fourth quarter earnings reports come in January, and the bulls finally figure out much money they've really lost, look for the NASDAQ to collapse. NASDAQ 2000 nothing. The NASDAQ is like Wiley Coyote of the Roadrunner cartoon fame. Wiley always has one moment of recognition before he begins to fall towards the canyon floor. Wiley stares directly into the camera, mugs a little and then falls until there is a puff of dust when he hits. Only in the real life NASDAQ it won't be so painless. I wrote about it in "Boo goes Bust" and "Into Infinity and Beyond, Buzz NASDAQ." 130 dot.com's have failed so far in 2000. The Internet fantasy stock ride is over. All that is left is the final unwinding. Once the bulls figure out that eventually ALL Internet stocks will lose 90% of their value, the NASDAQ is roadkill. The bulls know they've lost money; however, they don't realize they've lost it permanently. By January, the realization will hit between their beady little eyes.
As for the rest of the economy, I'm becoming more of an Austrian every day. It's about credit. It's about debt. It's about carrying capacity and bankruptcy rates. Just like a cattle rancher who calculates how many head of cattle he can put on the rangeland. Only we've crapped in the stream, destroyed the vegetation and broken down the fences. All that is left is for the herd to die off and the cycle to begin again. It won't be pretty.
One final note about the US economy. Of all the economic perversions going on right now, and they are legion, two gall me the most. The first is falsifying government economic statistics to maintain a political illusion. Surplus' that don't exist. Inflation that does, but isn't reported. The second is the trade deficit. Any rational economist, even an untrained one like moi, understands the implications. The United States is long past eating the seed corn; we're turning into economic cannibals. Our trade deficit was 34.3 billion dollars last month. As of 9-30-2000, the total was 270 Billion dollars. THE ENTIRE TOTAL FOR 1999 WAS 265 BILLION DOLLARS. We are on schedule for a 360 Billion dollar trade deficit this year, including one with China that comes in around 7 billion dollars a month. Now you know where they get their money to buy the weapons they will use to sink our Aircraft carriers.
And yet, the people of America are blissfully unaware of their true economic situation. The negative savings rate. The massive debt levels of consumers, business and government. The trade deficit, plus the true government deficit and the savings deficit, total hundreds of billions of dollars. All flowing overseas. All piling up. All just waiting for a crisis of confidence, or a political crisis, or anything to pull the grenade pin. What happens when the foreigners begin to sell the hundreds of billions of dollars and bonds? Americans who physically own hard assets, like precious metals, will be in a relatively better situation than those who don't.
Enough economics. Anyone see a political crisis in the USA that could impact the dollar? All this fun and games down in Florida will have real consequences. Anyone besides me notice the NASDAQ is down nearly 20% since November 8th? I've no idea whether the child king intends to collapse the stock markets in order to declare martial law. I've no idea how we can avoid a multiyear period of political savagery, blackmail and extortion. Come to think about it, isn't that what the last eight years were about?
I do think this. I think Al Gore will steal the election in Florida. I think the 900 Republican FBI files will be used to keep the Republicans in line, just like during the impeachment trial. I think there will be no civil war and no great public uprising. I think the 50% who didn't vote don't care. I think the 25% who voted for Al Bore are the creation of America's version of the Roman mob. I think the Republicans are too stupid and vulnerable to blackmail to do anything about it. Any chance the 7 Florida Supreme Court Judges will be impeached? How about serious investigations into massive Democratic vote fraud? I doubt it.
There is no stomach in the land for a violent, armed confrontation. Will there be hundreds of thousands of Republicans rioting in the streets like Yugoslavia? No. So Al Gore will steal the election, the Republicans will boycott the Inauguration and people will try to ignore the spreading liberal tyranny and get back to their miserable lives. The American Republic will have ended. We will have Al the tyrant in charge. And no one will really care. The liberal liar media will give us our daily dose of televised Prozac. The executive, judicial and legislative will have merged with the media, business and education to give us a true oligarchic dictatorship. Wall Street will have won. They won't even have to take away our guns.
Only they won't be able to rest on their liberal laurels for long. Unfortunately for whoever wins the White House, the MidEast is likely to explode. The best case is for the current low level warfare to continue for the next several years. The worst case is for a regional war to break out. By regional war, I mean the kind where weapons of mass destruction come into play.
29 November 2000