If you consistently report on the imminent doom your steadfastness is likely to pay off sooner or later. You don’t have to look very hard to find you tube-channels that year after year warn us about asteroids, planet x, rogue planets and free-floating objects in our galaxy, Illuminati, anti-Christ, collapse of the US dollar and the union of fifty states etc. The people who so eagerly wanted to educate us on the Mayan calendar a few years ago were fully hedged because they weren’t talking about 2012. The Mayans claimed, as far as I understood it then, that the calendar represented a cycle that repeated itself, presumably indefinitely, but they believed that the transition between cycles was a period of unrest and turmoil. That gives you a wider time frame in case nothing happens for a while, which could come in handy because nothing has happened so far.
The people with the best arguments for something negative happening in 2016 might be those talking about the economy, especially the US economy. The interesting thing is that these are not just the conspiracy buffs because if you compare some of the mainstream news you might get a similar picture, one of an economy that may not not be as healthy as the official diagnose say it is. The USA will need to deal with their debt at some point, which amounts to about $ 160 000 per tax payer at the moment (according to usdebtclock.org).
US unemployment is down to 5,1 %, which is the lowest in 7 years, and according to this article in the Washington Post there are more and more new jobs being created. This still hasn’t increased wages, which is a major problem. Productivity goes up, costs go down, but people don’t make more money, which means that the gap between rich and poor is getting wider. This has been happening since the 1970’s, but it seems to be getting worse. This is partly because 6,5 million of the Americans that work part-time, want a full-time job. CNBC writes about the so-called U-6 rate, which is an index for the unemployed and underemployed (people that want to work full time as well as job-seekers that have given up. I suspect there are also some people that would work more if they didn’t lose benefits. In other words, people should be encouraged to work). The U-6 rate is also declining, but it is still at 10,3 %.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t understand economics, but I still think something strange happened in the USA about a week before Christmas. The Federal Reserve raised the interest. This was expected and many media outlets wrote about why this was a good idea. CNN seems to have drawn a sigh of relief. The recovery is finally over. Maybe I’m dense, but I don’t see why it was necessary to slow down the spending before Christmas, but the stock market clearly thought it was a wise decision. The reason I find it hard to understand is that the experts have been using the word recovery for 7 years. The US economy has been in recovery for that long. Recovery, as I understand the word, means a process towards a normal or desired situation, in this case growth. I guess it would be a good idea to raise the interest if the recovery is over and growth is high enough that it could lead to inflation. It will be interesting to see whether the Americans are experiencing growth in 2016 or whether the critics have a point, that the authorities are hiding weaknesses in the economy.
Thom Hartmann published the book The Crash of 2016 two years ago. He points to the fact that more and more Americans are spending 100 % or more of their income, which means that they rely on various form of credit. This could create a false impression for a while that people have money to spend, but according to USA Today millions of Americans never recovered from the recession. That was written in August 2014, but is the situation any better today? The Obama administration and the market say it is, but what if it isn’t? Thom Hartmann chose 2016 because that’s when Obama leaves The White House (in November). He argues that the financial crisis didn’t start in 2008, but with the housing bubble in 2006. The Bush administration’s strategy, according to Hartmann, was to do whatever they could to postpone the crisis, and almost succeeded. It was clear the last few months of Bush’s presidency that there was a recession. Hartmann thinks that Obama has followed the same strategy, which means the recession isn’t over. The economy is, if this is correct, still recovering and not growing. I don’t believe in a complete disaster, but if Hartmann is correct we will probably see some signs at the end of this year that the economy hasn’t recovered from its afflictions.
Thom Hartmann also points out that the USA has taken a big step forward after previous economic collapses. This might suggest that it could be an advantage to let banks go bankrupt, and even the union (or individual states). The transition will be extremely painful, however, and that could be why no one wants to allow it on their watch. There are already many Americans that couldn’t manage without the help from relatives..What happens when these relatives need help as well?
I’m not going into the various conspiracy theories, but there are some that believe that a seemingly unrelated incident could be used as an excuse. It doesn’t need to be as big and dramatic as some of the most creative proposals have described. If the economy is weaker than what most people think, it doesn’t have to be big. The administration could then say that their politics worked; it was this incident that got in the way.
I don’t know if Puerto Rico is big enough, but what if that is just the start of something? CNN reported a few days ago that Puerto Rico is not going to pay the whole amount of $ 1 billion at the deadline on January 4th. It doesn’t sound very dramatic yet, but when you start getting into this kind of trouble it takes some dramatic measures to get out of trouble. What happens if the economy is weaker in many states than people realize?
We may think that good things happen because our leaders make the right decisions, and if something bad happens, it was just a coincidence beyond our own leaders’ control. When we go to war we always have a solid motivation. We are just doing the right thing. We are just defending democracy, and if the oil price and some country’s currency is struggling this was just bad luck, right? Of course it is!
Thom Hartmann encourage everyone to actively work for what is important. He wants us to hold political leaders accountable. I guess we have to do this on all levels because there won’t be a change of direction when we vote for the other candidate. Hartmann uses the phrase Tag You’re It on his blog. Or to put it in another way: You are democracy.
That sounds like a New Year’s resolution.