Robert Wiedemer: Awaiting The Aftershock
Submitted by Adam Taggart of Peak Prosperity,
Bob Wiedemer, author of the best-seller The Aftershock Investor: A Crash Course in Staying Afloat in a Sinking Economy, regards the 2007 puncturing of housing market prices and the 2008 financial market swoon as the precedents to two much larger and much more dangerous bubbles.
These more pernicious threats are the dollar bubble ("printing money") and the government debt bubble ("borrowing money"). While both are expanding at a sickening pace, in the near term they deceptively make things seem much better than they are.
But, like all bubbles, they are unsustainable. And when these collapse, they are going to take the entire financial system, and very possibly the currency, with them (a.k.a. the "aftershock")
Bob predicts the rupture of both these bubbles will most likely happen in the next 2-4 years and accelerate astonishingly rapidly once it begins. Part of the reason for this is that the Fed, now boxed in by its committed course of action, will print like mad to slow the process down -- which ultimately will serve instead as fuel for the fire. This will be the point at which the Fed loses control of interest rates.
Wiedemer is fairly confident that the Fed is well-aware of this dire probability, but finds itself increasingly stuck to avoid it. At this point, the major financial markets (stocks, bonds, housing) are so dependent on Fed liquidity that any efforts to withdraw the punchbowl will send prices lurching downwards, threatening the weak global economy. It's now a binary choice between damned-if-it-does and dammned-if-it-doesn't.
As Chris summarizes, the Fed's main strategic consists completely of "hope". It's backup strategy? "Panic"
Not surprisingly, Bob and Chris discuss the wisdom of focusing on preservation of purchasing power, and positioning one's financial assets safely before the aftershock arrives. For many, that will include working with a financial adviser who understands the nature of the risks in play and can help you allocate your assets accordingly (a reminder that we know a few, if you're looking).
The main thesis in Aftershock is that these bubbles – this dollar bubble and this government debt bubble – will burst. It is not as if it will not burst for 15 or 20 years. We say it is somewhere in two to four years. You need to be prepared for it.
The debt will always be funded as long as the Federal Reserve stands willing to buy all the bonds that the government sells. At some point, that creates inflation: that pushes up interest rates. The Fed will fight those interest rates going up. At first, they can do it. They just print more money. That keeps interest rates down, but ultimately that inflation will force them up. We cannot just pull the money out and raise interest rates now; it's going to pop the real estate and stock bubbles.
What is going to happen is the Fed is going to lose control of those interest rates. When you print too much money, it gets you control short-term, but it is a recipe for losing control long-term. With those interest rates going up, what is going to pop? The stock market and real estate bubbles. All of that is what kicks off the big problem going forward. Normally you would say the bond market is going to be the problem, but I would tell you that it is actually going to be more stocks and eventually even real estate combined. Then ultimately, the bond market starts to go down, and down quickly once it starts.
When the dam finally breaks, it will break quickly. Literally, it is in a matter of months or certainly no more than a year once it really starts to go.
You get very, very high inflation. We could have stock market holidays and things like that.
The big difference between now and the depression is that the government is also in trouble at this point. We are really not going to have a huge failure until the government kind of comes to its wits' end. It will, but it comes as a last massive orgy of money printing to try to save everything - unlike anything you have seen yet. QE1, QE2, QE3 is nothing like what the Fed has to do when this thing starts to fall. They have to print, buy, and buy, and buy, and try to keep up the falling house. They will not be able to do it, but that will be the reaction.
Then at some point, it is not going to work and the whole thing goes.
Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Bob Wiedemer (40m:50s):