It’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy a little joe…
Welcome to another rousing edition of Black Coffee, your off-beat weekly round-up of what’s been going on in the world of money and personal finance.
I’m still recovering from my vacation, so I am a bit behind the 8-ball this week. Let’s get right to it, shall we?
The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts Of Mine You May Have Missed
From September 2010:
21 Reasons Why Corner Lots are for Suckers – I’ve posted almost 1000 articles on my blog since December 2008 — and this is among my readers’ 10 most popular. It’s one of my favorites too.
Credits and Debits
Debit: As the great Peter Schiff has noted many times, the Fed’s $85 billion per month quantitative easing campaign (QE) cannot end without driving interest rates on mortgages and US Treasury debt higher — and that will destroy home prices, increase unemployment, and roil the stock market.
Debit: Of course, Schiff has been warning for a long time now that the Fed’s QE injections would turn the US economy into an addict. And that’s exactly what happened.
Debit: Last week, the Fed had to choose between a very painful period of QE cold turkey that would wreak havoc on the markets, an uncomfortable weaning — or taking the easy way out and prolonging the misery.
Debit: Guess what. Despite the overwhelming consensus of media pundits and financial analysts who believed otherwise, the Fed tacitly admitted the economy was an addict by announcing that there would be no QE tapering. At least not now.
Credit: I wasn’t surprised. No, really. As I’ve suggested many times before (including here, here, and here), the Fed can’t stop tapering because it’s the only thing that’s keeping our badly-leaking economy afloat.
Debit: Apparently, the Fed is afraid that the economy is so dependent on QE that it can’t even handle a fractional reduction in the current dosage. That’s scary. Does this signal that they’ve resigned themselves to just buying time now?
Debit: After all, the Fed’s decision not to taper QE increases the risk of ratcheting up the currency war between the world’s central banks.
Debit: And you can bet prolonging QE won’t do anything to stop the war on the petrodollar paradigm that’s now being conducted by nations who are tired of the US abusing its exorbitant reserve currency privilege.
Debit: In fact, the US is now so deep in debt that, without the petrodollar and its waning reserve currency status, the greenback would be worth just a fraction of what it’s worth today. And that day of reckoning is coming, folks, because it’s not a matter of if the petrodollar dies, but when.
Credit: When it does come, America will be fundamentally transformed forevermore if only because the “free lunch” era that got us into the irreversible fiscal mess we now find ourselves in will finally be over — and then we can learn from our mistakes and start anew. I hope.
Debit: Unfortunately, most people will never see the end coming until the day it happens. Even worse, many otherwise innocent people will be completely wiped out financially by the biggest transfer of wealth in human history that will inevitably occur on that fateful day. Sad.
Debit: The day the US dollar dies is the day wasteful government spending — such as that undertaken by officials who decided it would be prudent to model the NSA’s so-called “Information Dominance Center” after the flight deck of Star Trek’s Enterprise — will stop cold. I know.
Debit: Speaking of “free lunches,” did you see this? According to Forbes, “Obamacare will increase insurance rates for younger men by an average of 97% to 99%, and younger women by an average of 55% to 62%.” I thought everyone’s premiums were supposed to drop by $2500?
Debit: By the way, thanks to Obamacare, average healthcare rates in Tennessee will double for men and triple for women. In North Carolina, women’s rates are tripling too. And the men? Well, they can expect their healthcare rates to quadruple. Nice.
Credit: It’s a good thing Obamacare doesn’t force anyone to buy healthcare insurance if they don’t want to — especially younger folks who don’t typically need it. Oh wait …
Credit: Finally … Last Friday, the Venezuelan government took over a toilet paper company in a last-ditch attempt to ensure TP supplies can finally meet demand. And now you know why all socialist revolutions eventually become the, um, butt of jokes the world over.
The Question of the Week
Last Week’s Poll Results
How many siblings do you have?
- 1 (25%)
- 2 (24%)
- 0 (20%)
- 4 or more (18%)
- 3 (13%)
More than 300 people responded to last week’s question. I figured more than half of the respondents would come from two-sibling households — but I was way off the mark. In fact, two-sibling families barely nudged out those with three siblings! I was also a bit surprised to find that fully 1 in 5 respondents to my poll are only-children. Then again, according to Parents.com, that result actually lines up perfectly with current US Census Bureau figures. Shows you what I know.
By the Numbers
According to Forbes, big families are back in style. Here are a few more facts on family size:
74.1 million Number of children currently in US who are 17 years-old or younger.
2.06 Average number of children per woman in the United States today.
8 Average number of children per family in the 19th century.
36 Percentage of children under 18 that made up the US population in 1964 — the last year of the so-called post-WWII “baby boom.”
23 Percentage of children under 18 that make up the US population today.
$400,000 Household income threshold that has seen a significant rise in three- and four-children families.
$1 million Estimated lifetime earnings lost by the typical college-educated woman after having just one child.
36 Percentage of Americans between 18 and 31 years-old who are currently living with their parents.
17 Percentage of children between 20 and 34 years-old who lived with their parents in 1980.
Other Useless News
Here are the top 5 articles viewed by my 5268 RSS feed and weekly email subscribers over the past 30 days (excluding Black Coffee posts):
- Early vs. Delayed Retirement: Which Path Is Harder?
- Key Info to Keep for Your Financial Records
- How I Live on Less Than $40,000 Annually: Jeff from Washington
- Why I Shouldn’t Have Got Behind the Nice Lady in the Supermarket Line
- The 10 Commandments of Personal Finance
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Letters, I Get Letters
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The Len Penzo dot Com complaint box was stuffed to the gills this week. Here’s one from Sawdust, who decided enough is enough:
“You’ve changed the format. The typeface is so small now I can’t read it. You used to be good but it must have gone to your head. Let me know when you get your (stuff) together and I’ll subscribe again.”
Hey, wait a minute … I used to be good?
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.