Over the past several years, I’ve noticed that “existential” crises seem to be identified with ever increasing velocity. They are proffered by the media, which tells me that my lifestyle, my financial security, my family, my own very personal (important-to-me) existence, and even America itself, are all under threat.
Is it just my imagination? Are these things really happening? In the deal-making of life did we really, somehow bargain ourselves into these kinds of choices? If we did, who in blazes did we bargain with?
Or maybe this is just some kind of evil, chardonnay-laced, game-show dream induced by a media constantly obsessed with chasing clicks/eyeballs; a dream that I’ll wake up from just as soon as I hear the next sonorous stutter of “C’mon man”?
Some examples for you to consider as I gently drift off. Hazily, I see door number one approaching:
“Left-wing HBO host Bill Maher slammed the ‘never ending woke competition’ that is engulfing America, warning that it has turned Americans into a ‘silly people’ and that China is ‘eating our lunch’ as a result,” read a recent article in The Daily Wire. “Maher said that while China is dominating in seemingly every arena that they enter, America is struggling because ‘half the country’s having a never ending woke competition deciding whether Mr. Potato Head has a d*ck” while others believe in conspiracy theories.'”
“We’re not losing to China. We lost,” Maher added. “The returns just haven’t all come in yet.”
Even more quickly, I am confronted with that ever-present, ever-evolving danger to national security, climate change (the threat behind door number two):
In a March 9 memo to senior Pentagon leadership announcing the formation of a “Climate Change Working Group,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III wrote, “Climate change presents a growing threat to U.S. national security interests and defense objectives. The changing climate is altering the global security and operating environments, impacting our missions, plans and installations.”
Before I could react to the weather, rampant inflation got pushed right in my face (good ol’ door number three).
I come upon an op-ed by Market Watch’ Brett Arends entitled “Opinion: A worry for retirees: Inflation forecasts hit 8-year high.” He informs us, “There’s quite a lot to be concerned about.”
Nobody suffers more from high inflation than retirees. Back in the 1970s, it was those in retirement living on fixed income that got hit the hardest as prices rose year after year. The investment returns from their bonds and cash fell way behind. Bonds were ruefully described as “certificates of confiscation.” Every year retirees got poorer.
Could this happen again? Many strategists on Wall Street say no.
And not everyone is convinced. The bond market, for one. Five months ago, just before the elections, the bond market was predicting inflation over the next 10 years of 1.6%.
It may not sound like much in real terms. It’s still lower than the historic average. But it’s a 40% rise in a short time and it’s the highest since 2013.
Finally I stumble across a Kitco News interview of Adrian Day, president of Adrian Day Asset Management.
Day noted that the rise in nominal 10-year yields would soon take its toll on the U.S. economy.
Day added that the U.S. central bank could not afford to raise interest rates or let bond yields rise much higher because of the growing government debt.
“If you look at the federal government today, only about 10% of federal receipts are going to interest payments. That’s the lowest rates in history,” he said. “If the 10-year yield goes to say 2.5%, which is still low on a historical basis, those interest payments would more or less double. That’s not a good place to be.”
Wait, wait … doom to the left of me, doom to the right of me. Is impending doom my only choice? Dear Media, let me review your gameshow nightmare to see if I understand.
The Chinese are going to (already do) own us
Climate change will somehow attack and defeat the U.S. Military, leaving us standing on the only patch of land on the planet that hasn’t been engulfed by rising oceans (Epstein’s New Mexico ranch)
Our collective lunch will be eaten by inflation, resulting from the out-of-control spending by the most out-of-control politicians ever assembled in the history of the not-so-free world.
Cue Media’s voice: Richard Edward, go ahead and ask the folks which of the three doors they would choose to usher in America’s demise.
Richard Edward: Sure. Yes, fellow citizens, these wonderful choices are all YOURS. Where else but in the modern American society can you have these kinds of choices, and more? So, what will it be?
Door number one? A once in a lifetime opportunity to learn to speak Mandarin. Be sure and pack a small bag for your stay in the re-education wing at Chairman Mao’s Kung Pao camp. Oh, and you people of faith, leave your Bibles at home. … The camp will supply you with little red ones for your reading pleasure.
Door number two? Just think how good you’ll feel getting in shape by walking everywhere after fossil fuels are totally banned. And, speaking of getting healthy, you’ll marvel at how quickly you’ll get used to huddling for warmth and when you get your two square meters of dry land at the ranch; well, just think of all the possibilities.
And last, but certainly not least, door number three: America, pick this door and we’ll give you a bushel basket to hold all of those freshly printed federal reserve notes that you thought had value. But wait, there’s more. Not only do you get the basket. Pick this door and we’ll erase all the stored wealth in your bank accounts and 401Ks. Just think of the free time you’ll have not worrying about balancing your check book and those investment percentages in your portfolios.
Then I hear a small, wavering voice in the distance, “C’mon man.”
Waking up, soaked with fear. Whew, that was a gameshow dream I’d rather not have, ever again. Just think what would happen to us if any of it were true…
If you think that Richard Edward’s evil gameshow dream could be more than just a nightmare about the next American Crisis, please leave a comment below.
— Richard Edward Tracy