Our nation’s financial condition will not improve in the near term. Two huge factors: employment and inflation.
Companies that have closed doors, mostly small businesses, the real lubrication of the machinery and engine of American enterprise, these businesses will remain closed. Not all, but WAPO estimates 60%. It’s the lockdown, as if that isn’t bad enough, but also the uncivil disobedience, the rioting and attendant lawlessness and stupidity.
Even the remaining businesses will have draconian restrictions fueled by irrational fear and arbitrary bureaucratic rules, like governing 25% of restaurant capacity.
None of this gets better.
The artificial buoyancy of stimulus and unemployment checks will run its course, and fast.
Already wholesale layoffs of busy companies are occurring, good companies now have determined that white collar “back office” work can be done with a fraction of the staffing of a year ago. The team that had 10 people organizing widgets can now do it with five, or less. Besides, there is less discretionary money floating around, and fewer sales.
And still there is money to be made. Consider that tech companies can do amazing things today that was science fiction 20 years ago. The problem for you and me is that tech giants will only spoon feed tech improvement in little bits. There is lots of money to be made in incremental rollouts of the Next Big Thing.
Why waste the potential for looting people’s personal interest not to lose out? I have an iPhone 7. I love it. I have the secular knowledge of the universe at my fingertips. It is stronger than my computer (which speaks volumes). My wife has an iPhone 11.
What happened to 8, 9, 10? The X, XR, and Max? All good products, I’m sure, but these incremental improvements were known years ago. Apple needed field testing and that was done on your dime, not theirs.
So too with jobs. Companies may do an incremental shut down, but the smart ones, the business that doesn’t grow by definition and provides a static good or service, will just use fewer people. The iPhone will prevail.
As to insidious inflation, since the Fed can print money out of thin air, the price of goods must go up to maintain the trickle of the economy. Have you noticed that coupons in grocery stores have dried up? That ten widgets for ten dollars is a thing of the past?
The good crazy and impulsive bargains of the past will go one of two ways: either prices go up or we get less for the buck. That’s insidious inflation. It is unlikely that the US goes the way of Venezuela with hyper-inflation. But insidious inflation is here now for keeps. It has to be. The stock market is a crucial engine, of course, but there are a lot of shuttered storefronts and those companies do not pay rent and do not pay employees.
Bestselling author and financial genius Jim Rickards calls it the velocity of money and he predicts it’s all coming to a screeching halt, and soon. Fewer people working, bankruptcies, defaults, and fear of rational risk.
I may understand very little about economics and Rickard’s substantial body of work, but I do know this: getting out of debt and having something in the mattress is a good hedge against what will prove to be a volatile year ahead.
One last thing… philanthropy.
All charities, from churches to food banks to veteran service organizations, have been hit with both a higher demand for assistance and a reduction in donations. I ask that you try to find something to give your time and treasure to.
My current passion is giving to veteran service and support organizations.
My new novel, A Face on the Flag, will come out in November of this year and I have committed to giving 100% of all pre-sale order royalties to veteran organizations we all know and love, from giants like the Gary Sinise Foundation to small ones like Purple Heart Heroes and The Warrior Alliance.
See my website www.kevinhorganbooks.com
When the book rollout starts in a couple weeks, look for it, order yours, and share the links and emails if you are so inclined. Thanks much.