RESEARCHING THE FUTURE
I research the past and the future of the U.S. and world economies, write, teach, and speak about these subjects on radio and TV. Some would say, “I understand researching the past. But how can you research the future?” You research the future mainly by researching the past. Like nature, there are laws of economics that don’t change. Mark Twain was right when he said, “History doesn’t always repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” Or, as my mom used to say, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
There are other ways to research the future. I study the Bible – a lot. God is the only one who knows the end from the beginning. So, it just makes sense to read His commentary of everything that affects mankind – including economics. I also pray. I ask the Lord to guide me to the proper resources, to give me insight into the truths I discover, to guide me to analysts wiser than I, and to draw my attention to truths that I might otherwise miss.
I also make use of experience. I have spent a lifetime in pastoral ministry that included counseling individuals, families, churches, and businesses regarding their finances. I worked during those four-plus decades to support my ministry, almost always in the areas of business and finance. I spent a lot of time talking to older people, asking them the secrets of their success.
IT'S REALLY JUST COMMON SENSE
But in the end, after all the books have been read, all the wise people have been interviewed, and all the classes and seminars have been taken, it all comes down to common sense. As the authors of “America’s Bubble Economy” (the only book that accurately predicted the Financial Panic of 2008 – two years ahead of the event) showed, sometimes the simplest truths are ignored when the crowd loudly proclaims the opposite.
The Weidemer brothers compared two charts. One was the untenable increase in the cost of housing. The other was the much smaller increase in real wages. It was apparent that housing was taking a bigger and bigger portion of family income. So, the housing market had to crash. The financial pundits savaged them, calling them every name in the book. “Fools” was the kindest word used about them.
In addition to the housing bubble, they accurately predicted four other bubbles: the stock market bubble, the US Dollar bubble, the consumer debt bubble, and the U.S. bubble – using the same logic to predict each.
DEBT AND TAXES KILL ECONOMIES
It doesn’t take a genius to see that the events unfolding before us will not come to a good end. The National Debt has grown beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. The U.S. is more indebted than any nation in history, yet it can barely pay the interest. The last time the Debt was reduced even slightly was 100 years ago under President Calvin Coolidge.
Our government is on a spending spree that is evocative of an alcoholic at an open bar – except that the drinks aren’t free. No one seems to care that this orgy of indulgence, of satisfying every whim and wish of voters to buy their votes is saddling our children and grandchildren under a mountain of debt they can never repay.
Taxes will double in the next four years. Don’t be fooled when they say, “Taxes will only go up for this group or that one.” Increased taxes affect everyone. “We’re going to tax the big corporations more and more.” Who are the corporations? You are, in two ways. If you have a pension plan, an IRA, a 401K, or any other type of retirement plan, your money is invested in stocks – stock is those big, mean corporations. As they are taxed more, fewer profits go to your retirement plan. The other way is that as we have raised taxes in the past, corporations have moved to other nations where taxes are lower. At the same time as they tell us they are going to create more jobs, they force the corporations to move your job to another country.
If you believe that higher taxes will just impact the big guys, think about this: Who actually pays those higher corporate taxes? Again, you do. As the costs of any business rise, they pass those increased costs on to you, the consumer by raising the prices of their products and services. They don’t just pass on higher costs in raw materials or wages. They also pass on the costs of higher taxation. Anyone who doesn’t get this has their head in the sand.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A GENIUS TO SEE THE FUTURE
So, you don’t have to be very smart to predict a crash. We live in a nation that is literally bankrupt; our government thinks – against all logic – thinks it can spend its way out of its problems; and we bear the burden of all of this are earning less and paying more taxes. More and more of our fellow citizens will spend the rest of our lives on welfare.
This all is as obvious as the example of the huge increases in the cost of housing and the weak rate of wage increases in 2006. Anyone could have seen the housing bubble coming, but only a few did. So why does almost everyone – including the so-called financial experts on TV – ignore the obvious?
The main reason is something called “normalcy bias.” Normalcy bias, or normality bias, is a cognitive bias that leads people to disbelieve or minimize threat warnings. Consequently, individuals underestimate the likelihood of a disaster, when it might affect them, and its potential adverse effects.
Cognition is the mental process of knowing, including aspects such as awareness, perception, reasoning, intuition, and judgment. When you have a cognitive bias, you know – or think you know - how to evaluate the likelihood of a threat materializing.
In simple terms, normalcy bias leads you to believe that the way things have been, and the way things are, are the way they will always be. Your mind tricks you into ignoring obvious threats because they are unpleasant, and you don’t want to believe bad things will happen. You become like the child who believes if he closes his eyes, the bad thing will disappear because he can’t see it.
THE BIBLE TEACHES US TO BE PREPARED
But the Bible teaches us to prepare for, not to ignore, what is before us.
“The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” Proverbs 24:27
“Be prepared, and prepare yourself, you and all your companies that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them.” (Ezekiel 38:7)
“By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household.” (Hebrews 11:7)
“Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man's dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.” (Proverbs21:20)
WHAT WOULD A CRASH LOOK LIKE?
I receive many emails from my readers, my radio audience, and those who attend the Christian Financial Concepts conferences and webinars about what an economic crash would look like. I have taught about various aspects of this subject in the past. But based on the urgency of many of these questions recently, I felt it was time to lay out the way I see events unfolding in a more comprehensive way. I do not presume to be a prophet, but based on what I have said so far, it is not too difficult to look into the future. This is not designed to cause fear, but rather to accomplish the opposite. If we know what we face, we can prepare for it as the Bible teaches – and then there will be no need for fear.
I speak almost every day to people who tell me that the Lord has been telling them to prepare financially. Often, they don’t know how to describe what they believe is going to happen. The word I hear most often is “crash.” But they also speak of hyperinflation, the Dollar losing value or becoming worthless, bank runs or bank failures, a debt collapse, another Depression, worries about the safety of insurance companies, and widespread concern about investments like stocks that carry great risk and offer little in the way of return after the effects of inflation are calculated.
I also keep in close touch with many people I have gotten to know when we spoke on the same stages at both Christian and secular financial conferences. I trust these people and their assessments of the current economic dangers created by globalism, the grave economic dangers that Communist China poses to our nation and the world, and the likelihood of a global debt collapse. They describe the same concerns as those mentioned by the everyday people I mentioned, although their descriptions of our future are couched in more formal economic terms.
WHAT KIND OF CRASH?
The bottom line is that almost everyone believes there will be a crash. But what kind of crash? I believe there will be multiple crashes, each of which will exacerbate the danger and pain of the previous one. I believe I know the order in which these will develop. But whether they develop in a different order, they will all occur without a miracle. Can God perform such a miracle? Of course. Will He do so? I don’t know. But I do know that He has allowed His own people Israel to suffer economic disasters, slavery in Egypt, defeat by their enemies, and much more because of the disobedience to Him.
There are two things about the economic future that I know with absolute certainty. First, there will be no warning. No one will place a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal proclaiming in large black letters, “A CRASH LIKE THE GERMAN HYPER-INFLATION WILL BEGIN ON JULY 1.” Second, if we walk closely with the Lord and prepare as His Word commands, Christians will be fine.
“I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread.” (Psalms 37:25)
PREDICTIONS FROM 30,000 FEET
So, here is my “30,000-foot view” with predictions of our economic future.
The world, and our nation, will be controlled more and more by Socialism. My daughter Sarah calls Socialism “Communism Light” – and she is correct. Both are Marxist atheistic belief systems that directly oppose the principles written in the Word of God. The farther society moves towards Marxism, the further it moves from God.
I spoke about this with a young lady recently, and she asked, “Isn’t Communism about equality?” My wife, who was born in Communist Cuba during Fidel Castro’s regime, answered, “Yes. The people are equally poor. And the Party leaders are equally rich.”
We have to understand two important principles about governments - capitalist, communist, or dictatorship. First, governments produce nothing, so they have nothing to give. Second, based on the first principle, no government can give what it has not first stolen. So, when you receive something from the government – like a stimulus check – they are simply giving you something they previously stole from you, or someone else.
TAXES CRUSH THE PEOPLE
It is important to understand this because, throughout thousands of years of history, every government that has taxed its people more than 50% of their income has failed. When you consider ALL taxes – not just federal, but also, state, local real estate, and dozens of other taxes, the U.S. is perilously close to that 59% threshold. For some Americans, particularly in high-tax states like California and New York, many citizens are being taxed far me than 50% already.
Unless it is stopped by an act of God or by the election of fiscally conservative legislators, the government will continue its mindless binge-spending. That will require massive tax increases. People who can afford to are already fleeing high-tax states for low-tax states like Florida and Texas. This means that the people who are left will be taxed even more because their states will not spend less. Eventually, some of those states will fail and have to be bailed out by the federal government – which will in turn raise taxes on the rest of us to pay for the foolish spending of those failed states.
A STOCK CRASH WORSE THAN 2008
I foresee a stock market crash like the Financial Panic of 2008 – only worse. Stocks dropped 32% in 2008 – much more than a correction, but not a major crash. Sadly, retirement accounts dropped 50 to 55% due to mismanagement by retirement fund managers. I, along with many others, believe the U.S. stock markets will crash 50% or more.
We remember 2008 as a stock market crash, but it was actually precipitated by a real estate crash. I believe that this time – which will be within the year – it will be the opposite. Stocks are so overvalued that they will crash first. I believe real estate may suffer temporarily as a result of the stock crash, but it should recover quickly. My reasoning is that stocks and mutual funds, and other vehicles that invest in stocks - like life insurance policies, annuities, and hedge funds – are simply paper assets. Remember, “If you can’t hold it, you don’t own it.” These will all go up in smoke in a full currency collapse, whereas hard assets like real estate and precious metals, will protect your assets.
Don’t listen to the talking heads on the financial channels. They are paid to be cheerleaders for stocks. Using a non-biased search engine like DuckDuckGo.com (forget Google – they are the epitome of publishing paid advertisements as news), you will see headlines like these:
“Warren Buffet’s Right-Hand Man Says U.S. Stock Market is Overvalued”
“How We Know a Stock Market Crash is Coming in 2021”
“Beware: Overvalued Stock Market”
“FORTUNE: 4 Metrics that Show the Stock Market is Wildly Overvalued – by As Much as 33%”
“The Stock Market is At or Near its Most Expensive Levels”
STOCKS ARE GREATLY OVERVALUED
If FORTUNE Magazine is right – and they usually are – a 33% drop could take us down to Dow 22,000 – or lower. When stocks are overvalued they are expensive. You wouldn’t buy a small business if it was priced at many times its earnings. So why buy a big business that’s overpriced? That’s what you’re doing when you (or your 401K) buy stocks – you’re buying a piece of a big business.
On average, stocks are down one out of every three years. The longer a bull market goes, the more likely it is that the odds will catch up with you. Stocks have always been a roller-coaster. Ask yourself – have you ever seen a roller coaster go straight up? Don’t be fooled by a normalcy bias. This market has gone up for so long that it seems normal – like it will always go up. But remember what happened in that last big bull market in the 1990s. I warned everyone who would listen, but when the markets crashed in 2000 everyone seemed surprised. If you followed your broker’s advice (“Be Strong;” “Stay the Course;” Don’t be a Wimp!”) you lost all of the gains made in 10 years over the next two and a half years.
U.S. GOVERNMENT DEBT COLLAPSE
The crash in stocks will hasten the drop of the next shoe – a debt collapse. Our $30 Trillion National Debt is so monstrous that it will take extraordinarily little to cause its collapse. We used to be the only nation in the world with a AAA credit rating by all three major agencies. Now three nations have that honor – and the U.S. is not one of them. We lost our AAA rating in 2011. That’s why so few foreign nations will buy our debt anymore. We already owe almost every nation on earth; they don’t want to dig themselves into a deeper hole. So, we have resorted to “smoke and mirrors” trickery. The Federal Reserve System “buys” the debt other nations used to buy. That’s akin to you taking $100 out of your left pocket, putting it in your right pocket, and saying you “loaned” yourself $100. This kind of deceit cannot go on forever.
A debt collapse in modern times typically triggers the worst – a currency collapse. When the people lose confidence in their currency, they start to look for something solid and dependable – real money like gold and silver. They don’t want “fiat” money – currency that is only considered my because a government decree (a fiat) says it is. When they see that their money is backed by nothing (something the U.S. Treasury website actually admits) they don’t want it anymore.
The government prints more and more money in larger and larger denominations, creating more and more debt. This makes the problem even worse. Eventually, no one will give you anything for your paper money – your Monopoly money.
IS HYPERINFLATION IN YOUR FUTURE?
The best-known Hyper-Inflation is Germany’s. When it started, 4 German Marks were equal to one U.S. Dollar. Within four decades they were printing multi-billion Mark notes, and it took 4.2 TRILLION Marks to get $1 U.S. Things were so desperate that Germans were burning stacks of Billion Mark notes to stay warm – because the bills were worth less than coal.
Argentina once had the world’s fifth-largest economy. But just a few decades ago, because of government over-spending and a mounting National Debt, Argentinians lost confidence in their money so quickly that the store shelves were bare in a matter of hours. Employers had to pay their staff twice a day, because the money they were paid at lunchtime would be worth 50% less at the end of the day.
Almost every nation in the world has experienced a currency collapse and Hyper-Inflation. 20% of modern nations have done so in the last 40 years. France’s currency has collapsed four times; Germany’s twice. Other modern nations include Hungary, Venezuela, Iran, Turkey, North Korea, Austria, China, Brazil, Poland, Russia, Yugoslavia, Peru, the Philippines. In ancient times, a few notable examples are Egypt, China, and the Roman Empire. In fact, inflation was the primary cause of the fall of Rome.
The most severe Hyper-Inflation in modern times was that of Zimbabwe in the early 2000s. Zimbabwe was a prosperous nation with a dollar almost equal to that of the U.S. Dollar. But in four short years, they were printing $1 Trillion bills that were worth three-cents U.S. It took a bushel of the huge denomination notes to buy lunch. All because of government debt.
So, don’t be fooled by supposedly fiscal conservatives like Dick Cheney who famously said, “Deficits don’t matter.” Yes, they do, Mr. Cheney, because every year the deficit - the amount of money the government had to borrow to meet its obligations – is added to the National Debt. And eventually, debt brings every nation down if it doesn’t come to its senses.
WOULD YOU SELL ONE OUNCE OF GOLD FOR $1 MILLION?
Can you imagine a situation in which someone offers you $1 Million in Federal Reserve Notes for an ounce of Gold that you bought before the crash for $2,000? That’s the way it will be in a full currency collapse. Merchants will no longer accept cash, checks, credit cards, or debit cards. They will refuse anything except the only money that has been universally accepted as such for 6,000 years – Gold and Silver. Gold and Silver are the only Biblical Money, and they are the only Constitutional Money.
People ask me if stores will accept Precious Metals after a currency crash. I tell them, “Your grandparents wouldn’t ask that question, because their money was Gold and Silver, or paper money backed by Gold.” It amazes me that in just two generations the bankers and politicians have convinced us that worthless paper, backed by nothing, is money. But believe me, after a crash, all the stores will have signs saying. “Paper money not accepted; only Gold and Silver.”
THE GOOD NEWS
As always, when I bear bad news, I like to offer solutions. Send me an email and I will send you the 10-10-10 Financial Survival Plan. In a Dollar Crash, Gold will be King, and Silver will be the Prince. The plan shows you how to allocate a portion of your assets to Precious Metals, and how those assets should be divided among the three major types of Precious Metals everyone should own to protect the assets God has given them.