The End of America?

dollarmapThe Wall Street Journal’ Market Watch site posted an article by Brent Arends (April 25, 2011) that stated the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has set a date for when China will overtake the U.S. as the most powerful economy in the world.  They give us 5 years.

The article says, “According to the IMF forecast, whoever is elected U.S. president next year — Obama? Mitt Romney? Donald Trump? — will be the last to preside over the world’s largest economy. “

Their analysis looks at the “purchasing power parities” which compares what we, the people, actually earn and what is spent in our respective economies.

Ten years ago our economy was three times larger than China’s.  No more. The Journal quotes an unnamed European strategist as saying, “We are witnessing the end of America’s economic hegemony” [dominance].

The article is a real eye opener and I hope you read it: “IMF bombshell: Age of America nears end.”

Another brain shattering commentary, which is worth the hour long investment, is the “End of America” which was created by Porter Stansberry who has correctly predicted the collapse of other companies and banks.  Read the Market Watch’s summary of this video and a link to the video here. Get your beverage and your popcorn ready, it is a long video and it is pretty much just a listening event since there are no pictures; it’s like a very long PowerPoint slideshow, but compelling all the same.

Big question: what do we do?  Will our lives be affected?  What will this change for us?

Image: jscreationzs /

Thieves Make off with….Produce?

A new kind of thievery is making headlines this last week – large scale produce heists.  Bad weather has contributed sharply to rising costs in produce all around the globe and the unsavory element have added produce to their list of things to steal.  With tomatoes anywhere from $2.50 to $4.00 a pound now, apparently the highly prized veggie (or is it a fruit?) caught the eyes of thieves in Florida. 

A highly sophisticated group watched produce distribution and showed up with refrigerated tractors at the pick-up point.  They also made off with over $48,000 worth of meat.  In all the heist was worth over $300,000! 

Read the full New York Times article by William Neuman (April 14, 2011).


Going Back to the Gold Standard?

goldUtah is the first state to now accept something other than the U.S. Dollar as legal tender according to writer Huma Khan (April 14, 2011). Huma states that “More than a dozen other states are considering similar measures, and are expected to follow Utah's example. The move, proponents say, is caused by declining faith in the U.S. monetary system and concern about rising inflation.”

Back in January I posted a blog article (see here) about other states that were studying the options of using gold and silver instead of the U.S. Dollar.  It looks like  the dollar has certainly lost its luster.  However, Utah isn’t saying that people would literally purchase items with gold or silver, rather that the Federal Reserve would have to make the dollar redeemable in gold. 

The ABC news article quotes Lawrence H. White, a professor from George Mason University: “State lawmakers are "concerned about the future of the dollar, worried that [worse] inflation is coming," White said. "People need to have an alternative if the dollar melts down."

The article goes on to share that in February, J.P. Morgan Chase said it would allow people to use gold as collateral for their home mortgages. 

I would suggest that if inflation continues as it has been (look at your gas and food bills of late), it will be cheaper to pay off your mortgages in the devalued dollar rather than purchase gold to pay off your house.  That’s not to say you might not want to invest in some, possibly picking up some excellent returns on that investment along the way; or use it as a hedge, or insurance to protect your hard earned wages in something other than the falling dollar.

Oh where, oh where has my nest egg gone?  Oh where, oh where can it be?

Image: Salvatore Vuono /

Deposits on Luxury Bomb Shelter Soars


The Japan earthquake has rattled enough people that deposits on a Nebraska luxury bomb shelter has skyrocketed.  A reporter wrote an article about these high-end shelters Going underground? Sales of spaces in U.S. doomsday bunker soar 1000% after Japan quake reawakens nuclear fallout fears. The article has an April 1 date, so I felt I had to do a little bit more checking to make sure this wasn’t some elaborate joke which I was anticipating.  Much to my surprise, these bunkers do exist – in Nebraska.  What a fun bunch of reading I’ve had this morning!  Here’s what I found out.

Robert Vicino heads a company which is selling space in these bunkers to provide safety for the end of the world 2012 scenario.  Vivos’s website “The Underground Shelter Network for Long-Term Survival of Future Catastrophes” allows interested parties to sign up to be a member (free).  Only co-owners can use the shelters when the pending catastrophe arrives.  They even have a countdown clock on one of their pages that shows, as of my writing this on April 1, only 629 Days, 15 Hours, 38 Minutes left for civilization as we know it. They have several videos and eerie music that starts up on several of their pages.

How do you get to be a co-owner?  Their website states, “Vivos then selects the best candidates for co-ownership of each shelter from the current pool of active members.  We first look for those individuals who may best contribute to each Vivos shelter community, providing the greatest chance of long-term survival of the entire group.  Each co-ownership candidate is reviewed based on a number of criteria.

As final candidates are selected, they are extended an invitation to purchase an interest in a specific Vivos shelter closest to their home area.  Those selected candidates are then provided a reservation agreement to reserve their space in a specific Vivos shelter.” 

Photos of the shelter show a very modern-looking facility, complete with medical facilities, common rooms and even a jail.  The shelter is designed to withstand a 50 megaton blast and hold enough provisions to last 950 people for 1 year.  The layout allows for approximately 100 square feet per person. Let’s hope you like the other 949 people you are holed up with!  It is unclear to me if these shelters are actually completed or if they’re still selling space to raise the money to build these.  By their own countdown clock, if they’re not done, they are clearly running out of time.

Take a peek at some of the pictures from the article here.  Enjoy Smile(I’d put them on the blog but then I’d be violating copyright laws.)

Stock Up!

RiceBy now, most of you should have been hearing about price increases that I’ve warned about for nearly six months on this blog.  Every day the news on inflation and price increases gets louder and more dire.  Please don’t sit back and do nothing.  Stock up your pantry when there are sales and use coupons to keep costs down.

Even the CEO of Walmart came out and warned of "inflation this week. Jane O’Donnel from USAToday (March 31, 2011) wrote: “U.S. consumers face "serious" inflation in the months ahead for clothing, food and other products, the head of Wal-Mart's U.S. operations warned Wednesday.”  “…inflation is "going to be serious," Wal-Mart U.S. CEO Bill Simon said during a meeting with USA TODAY's editorial board. "We're seeing cost increases starting to come through at a pretty rapid rate."

Bloomberg’s (March 31, 2011) Nicholas Larkin wrote an article Food Commodities Rise Seen Swamping Consumers with Inflation. In it he says, “Coffee, sugar and cocoa prices will rise five- to 10-fold by 2014 because of shortages that will mean consumers getting “swamped” by food-price inflation…”  He quotes Aaron Smith of Superfund Financial who said ““There’s a tremendous shortage of food, there’s a tremendous shortage of arable land,” Smith said in interview in London. “Any kind of food products are going to increase.”

Note that the article states five to ten fold.  That’s not 5 % – 10%, that’s 500% to 1,000%!  So if coffee or sugar costs $10, and it raises five fold, it is now $50.

Hershey has announced a 10% raise in their candy prices, according to CNBC’s Patti Domm (March 31, 2011).  In her article Inflation Getting Stringer than a “Whiff” she states, “The threat of inflation is even more worrisome now that oil has crossed above $105 per barrel and looks set to stay high due to unrest in the Middle East. Some commodities have also seen shortages for other reasons and that has combined to drive prices. For instance, cocoa, trading lower Thursday, has been driven higher by civil war in Ivory Coast.”

Not only are prices rising due to our weak dollar (our dollar buys less), but global food shortages due to a variety of factors (drought, natural disasters, etc) add a sizable amount of pressure on prices.  We are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to inflation.

So fill up your pantry and don’t forget to donate to your local food banks.  There are a lot of people that are going to be needing the help more than ever.

Image: winnond /