I like “ranting” Andy Hoffman. He’s intelligent, articulate and passionate about the economy and gold–plus, nobody hyperventilates like he does.
Below, you’ll find Andy’s December 18th interview. He communicates his sense of shock, outrage urgency and even hysteria over what he perceives to be happening to the global and, soon, US economies.
I generally agree with Andy. Things are moving too fast. Too many events of significance seem to happening almost daily. It’s not merely impossible for Andy Hoffman, me or you to keep up with these fast-changing events–I think it’s even impossible for people in the government and/or Federal Reserve to “keep up”.
It feels to me as if we are caught in the outskirts of a hurricane. The wind is blowing faster and faster. And, although the wind isn’t yet fast enough to blow the roofs off our houses, I can’t help believing that roofs will start to fly, and not so long from now.
Given that today is December 21st, I know that it’s foolish to say so, but I’m not convinced that the US economy can survive even to the the end of this year (ten days from now) without suffering some sort of major dislocation. I have no evidence other than the velocity of news and my “gut” to support that suspicion. But I’m telling you that something feels dangerously wrong. We are on the verge of something unpleasant and significant.
I’m not predicting an economic “crash” in the next ten days. But I am “feeling” the presence of a significant downward step in the economy that will probably help to precipitate a later “crash”. We’ll see that downward step fairly soon. The world will not instantly “come to an end”. The government will “paper over” this downward step, assure the public that everything is under control and perhaps remind us that, “There’s nothing to fear, but fear itself”. But, while our roofs may not yet fly, the hurricane’s wind speed will rise closer to “lift-off velocity”.
Although I don’t have any real evidence, I can offer a little speculation as to what or why the economy may take a sudden “hit” in the next ten days:
1) If the “hit” happened within the next ten days, it could blamed on the current Congress rather than the one that’s going to take office in two weeks. That’s not a powerful argument, but it’s timely and worth contemplating.
2) Within 10 days we might see evidence of a sufficiently bad Christmas shopping season that everyone may have to admit that the economy is in deep trouble. Again, that’s not a powerful argument. But, on the other hand, if the government and economists were forced to admit that “all the Fed’s horses and all the Fed’s men, couldn’t put our Humpty-Dumpty economy back together again” in time for Christmas merchandise season, it might become apparent to Americans and/or the world that there’s been no real “recovery” from the Great Recession of A.D. 2008 so far, and none can be reasonably expected. The resulting loss of confidence might push the public to recognize that were are already in a recession and in, or near to, an economic depression. If public sentiment turns substantially negative, there’ll be little hope that government and/or the Fed can do anything to prevent the Greater Depression.
I don’t want to be an alarmist and I don’t want to “sell” fear. On the other hand, rightly or wrongly, I see myself as a “watchman on the wall,” and if I see (or even think I see) something potentially dangerous on the horizon, I feel obligated to sound a warning.
Therefore, although I realize that I may wind up looking foolish by publicly suggesting that we might see some significant decline in our economy within the next ten days, my “gut” tells me to risk playing the fool. I know that the 10-day temporal “window” is so small that the probability of some major economic problem happening in such a short period is simply too small to consider. And, I know my “gut” is probably wrong. But, even so, unless something dramatic happens to shore up our economy in the immediate future, I will be nearly astonished if some sort or irreparable and undeniable downward step does not occur within the next 90 days.
Given the acceleration of the rate of adverse economic news, if the US and global economies are still still standing and no worse off by the end of next March than they are today, I’ll doff my hat to the government and Federal Reserve as gesture of genuine respect. I don’t see how they can hold this mess together much longer. If they do, I’ll be not only impressed, I’ll be amazed.
Assuming that my “gut” feelings have any value (and they might not), I think it may be incumbent on each of us to recognize that time may be running out, and we must all move quickly to prepare for a serious and imminent downward step in the economy.
• Here’s Andy Hoffman’s current take on our economic circumstances. As he points out, we are in more economic trouble right now than we’ve ever before seen. Andy’s not “pessimistic” about our chances to avoid the coming debacle. “Pessimism” admits that there’s still a chance, however slim, that we can still avoid the Greater Depression. Although Andy admits that an economic collapse can be postponed for another year or so but, like me, he sees no chance whatever that an economic disaster can be avoided. That opinion is beyond “pessimistic” and instead describes an inevitability.
For the moment, Hoffman and I agree that there is nothing sure but death, taxes–and an economic collapse.