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A Biased 2017 Forecast (Part One)

Discussion in 'Topical Discussions (In Depth)' started by Scorpio, Jan 6, 2017.



  1. Scorpio

    Scorpio Скорпион Founding Member Board Elder Site Mgr Site Supporter ++

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    A Biased 2017 Forecast (Part Two)
    Jim Quinn


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    In Part One of this article I discussed the failure of our brains to think rationally due to our biases and the relentless propaganda flogged by our Deep State ruling class. Viewing the future through the looking glass of the Fourth Turning keeps you focused on the three catalysts which will drive all events in 2017 and beyond. I’ve addressed my 2017 Debt forecast in Part One. Now I will make some guesses about what might happen in 2017 related to Civic Decay and Global Disorder.

    Civic Decay Forecast

    “Our comforting conviction that the world makes sense rests on a secure foundation: our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance.” Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

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    The presidential election and its aftermath tell you everything you need to know about the level of civic decay overtaking this country. The country is as divided as it was after the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. There is virtually no common ground between liberals and conservatives. The pure hatred and contempt between the winners and losers in the recent election does not bode well for the country over the next four to eight years.

    The social fabric of the country has been torn asunder. The Clinton supporters believe anyone not on their side is deplorable, racist, misogynist, and fans of Hitler. Trump supporters believe anyone not on their side is low IQ, Muslim loving, deceitful, math challenged, and fans of a criminal. The gulf between the two sides is unbridgeable.

    Barack Obama, the well-dressed, polished, articulate, empty suit, who has occupied the White House for the last eight years serving as the front man for the Deep State, has done more to destroy race relations and sense of community than any president in history. His divisive rhetoric and actions over the last eight years created the atmosphere for the acrimonious election and the violent protests that followed.

    His failure to quell the Soros funded Black Lives Matter terrorist organization has resulted in the slaughter of police across the country. Meanwhile, his hometown of Chicago has seen 800 homicides and over 4,400 shootings in 2016 – with over 90% blacks killing blacks. His legacy is one of complete and utter failure, but his hubris knows no bounds, and he actually believes his eight year reign of error was a resounding success. Facts be damned.

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    “A person who has not made peace with his losses is likely to accept gambles that would be unacceptable to him otherwise.”Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

    Obama fears his legacy will go up in flames. When you govern through executive orders, bypassing Congress, and flaunting the Constitution, your actions can be overturned with the stroke of a pen. When your crowning achievement – Obamacare – is derided by virtually everyone in the country as an epic failure and will be repealed and replaced in short order, you realize your entire presidency was a sham and a national disgrace.

    Obama is flailing about in his final weeks desperately trying to keep the attention focused upon him. He is gambling with the lives of his countrymen by doing everything in his power to provoke World War III with Russia and to inflame the Middle East with his UN engineered snub of Israel. Obama doesn’t like to lose and he is acting like a churlish spoiled brat as his time runs out. He has become a laughingstock around the world. He will fan the flames of discontent in this country until he is ushered out of the White House.

    Here are a few suppositions about what will happen next:

    • Obama trying to sow discord between the U.S. and Russia will fail, as Trump and Putin will meet and find common ground in the Middle East, the Ukraine, and Turkey. Republican neo-cons like McCain and Graham will be outraged. Liberal warmongers who once protested Bush’s wars will also be outraged. The mainstream media will continue to try and fan the flames of war.

    • Before leaving office Obama will poke a final stick in the eye of Trump and his supporters by pardoning Hillary Clinton for all possible wrongdoing. This will infuriate the right. Trump will do everything in his power to investigate the Clinton foundation and any issues which could incriminate Bill, Holder, Lynch or Obama. The peaceful transition of power has not been observed by the left, so all bets are off once Trump takes office.

    • Well-funded (by Soros) domestic agitators, including BLM and various femi-nazi groups, will attempt to disrupt the inauguration ceremonies. There will be violence, conflicts with Trump supporters, and police confrontations. This will further widen the divide in this country. The left have proven to be those who promote violence and will continue to do so. If they venture outside of their urban safe zones, they will be met with a white heavily armed populace.

    • The left wing mainstream media will not be deterred in their efforts to bring down the Trump presidency. They will fire away on a daily basis as their ratings drop lower and lower. Their railing against “fake news” has backfired, driving more people to alternative media sites where they will not be inundated with Deep State approved propaganda. The press will do their utmost to agitate the masses, creating and promoting conflict. Trump will continue to bypass and scorn the media outlets by taking his message directly to the people.

    • Building the wall, shutting off the immigration pipeline of Muslim refugees, defunding sanctuary cities, and fully supporting local police across the country will trigger snowflakes, BLM terrorists, illegal immigrants, and various Soros funded radical groups to stage violent protests in the liberal urban enclaves. They are waiting for their next high profile police shooting to pounce. The civil chaos and violent protests will increase as the year progresses.

    • Whoever Trump nominates as his Supreme Court justice will face enormous scrutiny. The left wing media will stop at nothing to destroy the nominee. The hearings in Congress will be nasty, rude, and vitriolic. The animosity between the opposing sides will reach epic proportions. Both sides know the Supreme Court is of vital importance to the future course of the country.

    • With Obama failing to fade into the sunset and his enormous ego and arrogance spurring him to agitate the left wingers, there will be no de-intensifying of the rhetoric between the right and the left. As we’ve seen, the left are the proponents of violence as their chief weapon. An attempt on the life of Trump is a distinct possibility in his first year in office. A successful or unsuccessful attempt would have far reaching consequences that could lead to civil chaos.
    Global Disorder Forecast

    “We focus on our goal, anchor on our plan, and neglect relevant base rates, exposing ourselves to the planning fallacy. We focus on what we want to do and can do, neglecting the plans and skills of others. Both in explaining the past and in predicting the future, we focus on the causal role of skill and neglect the role of luck. We are therefore prone to an illusion of control. We focus on what we know and neglect what we do not know, which makes us overly confident in our beliefs.”Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

    The level of global disorder hasn’t been this high since the 1930s. There are dozens of potential flash points capable of producing a cascading crisis which could blow up the world. The highly touted establishment mantra of globalization has produced an interconnected web of trillions in global debt, with one quadrillion dollars of indecipherable derivatives layered on top, all dependent upon the sustenance of insolvent mega-banks and bankrupt nation states. The only thing keeping this global Ponzi scheme alive is the unfounded belief in the brilliance of central bankers and corrupt politicians.

    The detonator for these interwoven financial weapons of mass destruction is rising global interest rates. The global financial system will be blown sky high by a sustained high volume sovereign bond selloff. The bond market is always the canary in the coal mine. Bonds will sell-off before stocks and real estate. Bond markets have begun to sell-off in a relatively orderly manner over the last three months, with long term Treasuries falling 13%. Bill Gross recently described the growing risk:

    “Global yields lowest in 500 years of recorded history. $10 trillion of neg. rate bonds. This is a supernova that will explode one day.”

    Will that day happen in 2017? No one knows for sure, but the probability is much higher than biased “experts” believe. The substantial concentration of cognitive biases clouding the judgement of the supposed wise men ruling the world has blinded them to the tragic consequences of what happens when the mother of all bubbles explodes like a supernova.

    The complacency of those in charge and the trusting masses will eventually be dealt a death blow when the high frequency trading computers run amuck and wipe out trillions of faux paper wealth in a matter of minutes. The powers that be will declare no one could have seen it coming, when in actuality anyone with a basic understanding of math could have seen it coming from a mile away. Most have chosen to remain blind to reality, because dealing with it is too painful to consider.

    “We can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness.”Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

    Let’s get to a few prognostications regarding global events in 2017:

    • Obama, in a despicable act of trying to fence Trump in, has introduced further sanctions against Russia and Putin based upon no solid evidence other than the opinions of the same people who were sure there were WMD in Iraq. The MSM and the neo-con faction of his party are all on Obama’s side. I expect Trump to override Obama’s childish display of antagonism, while showing the neo-cons there is a new sheriff in town, by developing a working relationship with Putin and lowering the tensions between the two countries.

    • Trump and Putin will come to an agreement regarding keeping Assad in power in Syria while turning both nations’ attention to obliterating ISIS and the so called “moderate” Al Qaeda terrorists in the Middle East. General Mattis and Trump’s team of rational thinkers will develop a feasible plan to destroy ISIS once and for all. Safe zones will jointly be created in Syria and Iraq by the U.S. and Russia to stem the tide of refugees pouring into the EU and U.S.

    • The U.S. dependency on Saudi oil will continue to decrease, further reducing their influence on U.S. policy in the Middle East. Saudi failure in Syria, Yemen and keeping Iran contained will lead to further discontent in the kingdom. Financial woes, declining oil output and religious tensions will fray the fabric of their insular society and lead to a religious uprising and civil war.

    • Turkey has been pushed into the Russian sphere of influence by U.S. meddling. The country is falling apart. A civil war on par with the Syrian conflict is likely to breakout. Russia would likely support the dictator Erdogan against rebel forces supported by NATO. Religious and sectarian violence will tear the country apart and create further tensions between Russia and the U.S.

    • Israel will pre-emptively take action either covertly or overtly to damage the Iranian nuclear program without informing the U.S. of its actions in advance. This will be supported by the neo-con factions in the U.S. government, but will strain relations between Netanyahu and Trump.

    • The crackpot efforts at demonetization by Modi in India will destroy the Indian economy and cause societal upheaval among his 1.25 billion mostly poor citizens. With the eighth largest economy on the planet imploding, the economic reverberations across Southeast Asia will be enormous, possibly being the trigger for the next step down in this ongoing global recession. India’s weakness could spur their enemy Pakistan to take aggressive border actions which could lead to military conflict.

    • With the fourth largest economy in the world in near permanent recession for the last twenty years, Japan’s debt to GDP ratio of 230% portends financial collapse. In the midst of a demographic implosion, with negative interest rates, and a central bank buying all the newly issued debt and billions in stocks, Japan is a bug seeking a windshield. When this Ponzi economy crashes, the worldwide impact will be significant. If Japan doesn’t trigger the global eruption, it will be a major contributor as the detonation spreads around the world.

    • China continues to steadily devalue the yuan against the USD and has eliminated all the gains since 2010. At the same time they have reduced their foreign reserves by over 20% since mid-2014. China’s third largest economy in the world is slowing rapidly as more bad debt builds up in their system. They have a real estate bubble that makes the U.S. bubble seem like a pimple on the ass of a fly. A trade war initiated by Donald Trump would be the pin bursting the Chinese debt bubble. The situation could intensify into a bond selloff and panic. If derivative positions of over-leveraged or poorly-hedged globally systemic banks begin to unravel, cascading losses could lead to a vicious cycle and a tragic outcome.

    • Potential military conflict between China and Japan/U.S. over the islands in the South China Sea ramps up by the day. No one wants a war, but all it would take is a careless stupid act by a low level military officer to create a crisis. China is already bent out of shape by Trump acknowledging the existence of Taiwan. China is still essentially a dictatorship. The country is racked by corruption. An economic collapse could be met with distracting the public through a military adventure against Taiwan. These scenarios are unlikely in 2017, but not out of the question.

    • The most likely and potentially most dire event which could affect the world in 2017 is the disintegration of the EU. Greece is still a basket case. Italy is on the brink. The EU area economy barely registers positive after years of negative interest rates and debt issuance. Unemployment rates, excluding Germany, range between 10% and 25%. Brexit and Trump’s victory portend a further shift to the right in the EU. The right wing party will win the French presidency. Merkel will be defeated in the upcoming elections. France and Italy are likely to have a referendum on leaving the EU. The departure of either will end the failed experiment. The insolvent Italian, French and German banks, specifically Deutsche Bank, will collapse in an EU disintegration scenario.

    • The influx of Muslims into Europe is destroying their culture and leading to violence, terrorism, bloodshed, and now retribution. The left wingers have made a dreadful mistake in allowing hordes of Muslims to invade their countries. Their already fraying social welfare states are now completely bankrupt and citizens are afraid to go into the streets for fear of being attacked by members of the religion of peace. With the right gaining power in France, Germany and Italy, the blowback against Muslims will be violent and bloody. European cities will be rocked with violence throughout 2017.
    “Confidence is a feeling, which reflects the coherence of the information and the cognitive ease of processing it. It is wise to take admissions of uncertainty seriously, but declarations of high confidence mainly tell you that an individual has constructed a coherent story in his mind, not necessarily that the story is true.”Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

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    I think it is pretty obvious my pessimism bias may have skewed my predictions for 2017. I’ve been pessimistic for the last eight years and the stock market is up 200%. I try to assess the world from a logical fact based frame of mind, but for the last eight years the world has been kept afloat by a combination of debt, delusions and denial.

    The Deep State propaganda machine has convinced the masses we are living in normal times, despite the fact the Fed printed $3.5 trillion out of thin air and handed it to the criminal Wall Street banks, interest rates have been kept at or near zero for eight years, revelations from Snowden that we truly live in a surveillance state far exceeding Orwell’s dystopian vision, the national debt doubling to $20 trillion, proof that all financial markets are rigged, undeclared wars being waged across the globe, and a reality TV star defeating a criminal to be president of the United States. Sounds pretty normal to me.

    My confidence level in my predictions is quite low. But, if one or two of the low probability events comes to fruition, the financial and/or human devastation will make 2008 look like a walk in the park. I don’t have an agenda in putting forth these predictions. I’m not selling anything or hawking stocks, bonds, or gold. I don’t tout myself as an expert like the over-confident, arrogant pricks on CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, or FOX. I’m just trying to understand what is happening in this crazy universe. We live in an uncertain world. I believe an unbiased appreciation of uncertainty is the cornerstone of rationality and reason. Not acknowledging the role of luck or chance in the course of human events is setting you up for a fall.

    Our countries, central banks, financial complex, military industrial complex, sick care complex, global mega-corporations, and government bureaucracies are ruled by men whose hubris, arrogance, greed and hunger for power has warped our world, producing unfathomable ill-gotten profits for the financial class who can abuse justice with impunity while the average man is bullied, pillaged and abused with disregard.

    These well dressed, highly educated, sophisticated, soulless barbarians hide their evil deeds behind the trappings of culture, but they are revealed by their grotesque schemes, murderous policies, and war profits soaked in blood. When they lose control of this global Ponzi scheme, I hope they pay the ultimate price for their traitorous deeds. Will it happen in 2017? I don’t know. But it will happen before this Fourth Turning climaxes.

    “The risk of catastrophe will be very high. The nation could erupt into insurrection or civil violence, crack up geographically, or succumb to authoritarian rule. If there is a war, it is likely to be one of maximum risk and effort – in other words, a total war. Every Fourth Turning has registered an upward ratchet in the technology of destruction, and in mankind’s willingness to use it.” – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning





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    James Quinn has held financial positions with a retailer, homebuilder and university in his 29 year career. Those positions included treasurer, controller, and head of strategic planning. He is married with three boys and is writing these articles because he cares about their future. He earned a BS in accounting from Drexel University and an MBA from Villanova University. He is a certified public accountant and a certified cash manager. These articles reflect the personal views of James Quinn. They do not necessarily represent the views of his employer, and are not sponsored or endorsed by his employer.








    www.theburningplatform.com

    http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/01.17/biased2.html
     
  2. Scorpio

    Scorpio Скорпион Founding Member Board Elder Site Mgr Site Supporter ++

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    A Biased 2017 Forecast (Part One)
    Jim Quinn

    [​IMG]


    “The idea that the future is unpredictable is undermined every day by the ease with which the past is explained.”Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

    A couple weeks ago I was lucky enough to see a live one hour interview with Michael Lewis at the Annenberg Center about his new book The Undoing Project. Everyone attending the lecture received a complimentary copy of the book. Being a huge fan of Lewis after reading Liar’s Poker, Boomerang, The Big Short, Flash Boys, and Moneyball, I was interested to hear about his new project. This was a completely new direction from his financial crisis books. I wasn’t sure whether it would keep my interest, but the story of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky and their research into the psychology of judgement and decision making, creating a cognitive basis for common human errors that arise from heuristics and biases, was an eye opener.

    In psychology, heuristics are simple, efficient rules which people often use to form judgments and make decisions. They are mental shortcuts that usually involve focusing on one aspect of a complex problem and ignoring others. These rules work well under most circumstances, but they can lead to systematic deviations from logic, probability or rational choice theory. The resulting errors are called “cognitive biases” and many different types have been documented.

    Heuristics usually govern automatic, intuitive judgments but can also be used as deliberate mental strategies when working from limited information. Kahneman and Tversky created the heuristics and biases research program, which studies how people make real-world judgments and the conditions under which those judgments are unreliable. Their research challenged the idea that human beings are rational actors, but provided a theory of information processing to explain how people make estimates or choices. Kahneman won a Nobel Prize in economics for his work in behavioral economics.

    To put their research into terms the common person can understand, human decision making is extremely flawed due to our biases, feelings, irrational thought processes and beliefs in falsehoods. It’s over-confidence in our decision making ability that causes us the most problems. For the average person this can result in financial hardship, frustration or a premature death.

    When high level government officials, bankers or corporate executives make flawed decisions due to their biases, it can mean war, financial disasters, depressions, or disastrous legislation like Obamacare. Hubris, egotism and faulty reasoning, as noted by Mark Twain one hundred and fifty years ago, can kill you and in some cases lead to war and unthinkable levels of death and destruction.

    “It’s not what you don’t know that kills you, it’s what you know for sure that ain’t true.”Mark Twain

    In the seven weeks since the election of Donald Trump as our next president, I’ve witnessed the largest case of hindsight bias in world history. Hindsight bias, also known as the knew-it-all-along effect or creeping determinism, is the inclination, after an event has occurred, to see the event as having been predictable, despite there having been little or no objective basis for predicting it.

    On November 7 the “expert” pollsters like Nate Silver; every corporate mainstream media network, newspaper, and website; along with elitist economists, professors, Hollywood movie stars, Wall Street bankers, and billionaire oligarchs; were 100% sure Hillary Clinton was going to be elected president. Only the deplorables thought otherwise – and they spoke loudly. Putin had nothing to do with the result.

    These very same “experts” and “deep thinkers” now act as if Trump’s election was foreseeable, predictable and the likely outcome. They bloviate about how and why he won as if they knew it was going to happen. When 99% of all establishment “experts” were sure Trump was going to be crushed in a Clinton landslide, why should anyone listen to a word they say?

    The same people who didn’t see even the faintest possibility of a Trump victory now expect the ignorant masses to believe their analysis of what will happen next. I would like to attribute their obtuseness to cognitive biases, but I believe it is more insidious. The Deep State propaganda machine is hard at work spreading falsehoods.

    “A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth. Authoritarian institutions and marketers have always known this fact.”Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

    The onslaught of 2017 predictions from a myriad of Wall Street “experts” talking their book, highly educated economists demonstrating their lack of prescience, mainstream media pundits peddling propaganda and cheerleaders cheering for their home teams, has already begun. I haven’t written an annual forecast article in a few years because I was tired of being wrong. Since I have no newsletters or books to sell, no investments to peddle, and no agenda to push, an annual forecast will just be my best guess at what will happen in 2017.

    The two biases most likely to color my analysis are confirmation bias (The tendency to focus on information in a way that confirms my preconceptions) and pessimism bias (The tendency to overestimate the likelihood of negative things happening). My family and friends think I’m a pessimist. I think I’m a realist. I try to use data to back-up my conclusions, but as George Dvorsky points out, our brains often lead us astray.

    “The human brain is capable of 1016 processes per second, which makes it far more powerful than any computer currently in existence. But that doesn’t mean our brains don’t have major limitations. The lowly calculator can do math thousands of times better than we can, and our memories are often less than useless — plus, we’re subject to cognitive biases, those annoying glitches in our thinking that cause us to make questionable decisions and reach erroneous conclusions.” – George Dvorsky

    My predictions will be framed by my belief we are midway through a Fourth Turning era of crisis. The three catalysts framing this Fourth Turning are debt, civic decay, and global disorder. No amount of normalcy bias, optimism bias, over-confidence, or desire for the status quo, will take precedence over the uncontrollable mechanisms propelling this Fourth Turning.

    We are in the midst of a once in a lifetime crisis and there is only one thing more frightening than not knowing what is coming next, and that is living in a world run by “experts” who think they know exactly what is going to happen next. These are the same “experts” who didn’t see the 2005 housing bubble, the 2008 financial collapse, the EU implosion, Brexit, or the Trump presidency.

    “It’s frightening to think that you might not know something, but more frightening to think that, by and large, the world is run by people who have faith that they know exactly what is going on.”Amos Tversky

    I try to understand the world around me every day, but the hyper-complexity, noise, Deep State propaganda, and volume of data points is overwhelming to our easily distracted brains. I have constructed a story in my mind of how things will develop over the next five to ten years based upon the generational theory put forth by Strauss & Howe in their book The Fourth Turning. It is not a story with a happy ending.

    I don’t have high confidence that I understand how it will play out and what specific events will propel history in the making. I can admit my deficiencies, while people in power with the ability to blow up the world overestimate their understanding of the world and ignore the role of chance in events.

    “We are prone to overestimate how much we understand about the world and to underestimate the role of chance in events.” Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

    Knowing what I don’t know about the unknowns, I’ll try and use what I do know to make some prognostications about 2017:

    Debt Forecast

    It is fascinating to me no one seems all that worried about the systematically dangerous levels of global debt supporting essentially bankrupt governments, banks and consumers. Global debt stood at $142 trillion at the end of 2007, just prior to a worldwide financial meltdown, caused by too much bad debt in the financial system.

    To “fix” this problem, central bankers around the globe ramped up their electronic printing presses to hyper-drive and created another $57 trillion of debt by mid-2014. They haven’t taken their foot off the gas since. Today, global debt most certainly exceeds $225 trillion and has surpassed 300% of global GDP. Rogoff and Reinhart made a pretty strong case that when debt to GDP exceeds 90%, disaster will follow.

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    Global debt issuance reached a record $6.6 trillion in 2016, with corporations accounting for $3.6 trillion – most of which was used to buy back their stock at all-time highs. What could possibly go wrong? The level of normalcy bias amongst financial “experts”, the intelligentsia, and the common man is breathtaking to behold. We are in the midst of the mother of all bubbles, never witnessed in the history of mankind, and we pretend everything is normal, with no consequences for our reckless disregard for honesty, rational thinking, or simple math.

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    The 2000 dot.com bubble and the 2008 housing bubble were one dimensional. This mother of all bubbles required the global coordination and unprecedented irresponsible intervention of the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank (ECB), the Bank of Japan (BOJ), the Bank of England (BOE) and the Swiss National Bank (SNB) to lead the world to the brink of monetary disaster. The highly educated theorists running these central banks have created tens of trillions in unpayable debt while suppressing interest rates to zero or below at the behest of their Deep State masters.

    The result is simultaneous bubbles in stocks, bonds and real estate. The pin destined to pop all the bubbles is slightly higher interest rates. The 1% increase in the 10 Year Treasury is already causing havoc in the housing market, the bond market and is hammering pension funds. With the hundreds of trillions in globally interconnected derivatives primed to detonate, 2017 could be an explosive year.

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    Here are a few things I think could happen in 2017 on the economic front:

    • The national debt stands at $19.9 trillion and will reach $20 trillion before Obama departs. With spending on automatic pilot and tax revenue in decline, the national debt will reach $21 trillion in 2017. With most of the debt financed short-term, the increase in rates will ratchet the interest on the debt from $433 billion to over $550 billion.

    • With the CPI increasing by over 3% in the first few months of the year, the Fed will continue to raise rates, and the 10 Year Treasury will breach the 3% level.

    • Home prices have surpassed the 2006 peak, even though existing home sales are still 20% below 2006 levels and housing starts are 50% below 2006 levels. The entire “recovery” has been engineered by the Fed and Wall Street at the high end of the market. With mortgage rates up 1% already, the further increase will result in existing home sales and housing starts falling by 20% in 2017 and home prices falling by 5% to 10%.
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    • The short-term OPEC agreement will allow oil prices to move back to $60 per barrel, further eating into consumer discretionary spending. Desperate fracking companies needing cash flow to service their debt will ramp up. Bankrupt or near bankrupt countries like Venezuela, Mexico, and Iran will also increase production. With a slowing global economy and surging supply, prices will collapse again into the $40s in the second half of the year.

    • Holiday sales for the bricks and mortar retailers will be reported in January as lukewarm at best. By February, the store closing announcements will reach into the hundreds. Sears will finally declare bankruptcy and shutter at least 50% of their stores. Mall developers will begin to declare bankruptcy as vacancies and rising interest rates create a perfect storm.

    • Consumer debt will reach the previous high of $1 trillion, as subprime student loan and auto debt continues to accumulate at an astounding pace. The spigot for student loans is likely to be tightened under Trump, with over 25% of the loans effectively in default. Auto sales (if you can call six year financing and 40% leases, sales) peaked in 2016. Millions of auto buyers are underwater on their loans, subprime auto loans are going into default quicker than you can say Cadillac Escalade, and higher interest rates will price out more potential suckers.

    • The faux jobs recovery is running out of steam. With non-existent wage growth, surging costs for rent, health care, energy, and credit cards tapped out, American families will hunker down and reduce spending further. With consumer spending accounting for 68% of GDP, this will lead to an official recession by the middle of 2017.

    • All the recent surveys showing consumer confidence soaring and optimism for 2017 are based on nothing but hope. The promises of a Trump administration will not come to fruition until 2018 at the earliest. He will meet resistance from Democrats across the board and resistance amongst his own party. His grand plans for massive tax cuts and spending increases will run into the reality of $1 trillion annual deficits. As reality sets in, and recession arrives, the unwarranted optimism will fade rapidly. Tax cuts will be tempered by reduced spending plans.

    • The USD hitting fourteen year highs against the basket of worldwide currencies does not bode well for bringing manufacturing jobs back to make America great again. The reason for the strong dollar is because we are the best looking horse in the glue factory. With Europe and Japan promoting negative interest rates and the Fed slowly raising rates, the dollar will continue to rise. This will hurt our manufacturing businesses, increase our $500 billion annual trade deficit further, and depress the profits of our global corporations.

    • With rising inflation, rising interest rates, stagnant wages, falling corporate profits, stock valuations at all-time highs, and corporations no longer able to finance stock buy backs at no cost, the stock market will finally hit the wall after a seven year bull market. This last surge of euphoria, based on nothing but Trumpmania sweeping Wall Street, will constitute the final blow-off. The market is currently valued to provide nominal returns of less than 1% over the next twelve years and is likely to experience an abrupt sell-off of 50% in the near future. I believe the near future will be 2017. I think the powers that be will be testing Trump’s mettle in his first year to see if he’ll play ball and do their bidding.
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    “The illusion that we understand the past fosters overconfidence in our ability to predict the future.”Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

    In Part Two of this article I will ponder how much further our civic decay and global disorder will advance in 2017. Over-confidence, hubris and arrogance of our leaders will be the driving factors.





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    James Quinn has held financial positions with a retailer, homebuilder and university in his 29 year career. Those positions included treasurer, controller, and head of strategic planning. He is married with three boys and is writing these articles because he cares about their future. He earned a BS in accounting from Drexel University and an MBA from Villanova University. He is a certified public accountant and a certified cash manager. These articles reflect the personal views of James Quinn. They do not necessarily represent the views of his employer, and are not sponsored or endorsed by his employer.








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    http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/01.17/biased.html
     

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