Friday, January 10, 2014

Pop Goes The Economy

As I predicted, gas prices would begin to drop but this time in July. The small number of ads were shocking to the crew in advertising. Many whole departments had been closed like classified which was now totally automated over the internet. People wanting a classified ad in the paper simply created their own ad without dealing with an employee at the paper over the phone like in the olden days. Those workers were simply fired and sent to the unemployment lines. This was very unusual for the paper - really unprecedented. The normal procedure was to buy out the worker rather than go through unemployment which would drive up the paper's cost for government unemployment insurance. So it was a shock to the remaining employees. Everyone was on edge now. The tiny number of back to school ads was to say the least shocking to everybody.

Also shocking was Tom getting pushed into early retirement. With a wife who didn't work, a big mortgage payment worthy of a Washington Post manager and an expensive lifestyle the last thing Tom needed was the puny retirement check that he would receive along with the buyout money. He would be in trouble and everyone attending his retirement party could see that on his face. He was not happy about it and haggled to be allowed to stay an additional month on the job to earn ten years and more retirement money. The paper acquiesced granting him his extra month on the job. Dave several times could hear Tom apparently having an argument over the phone with his wife because he sat nearby. This was not a good time for Tom and that last month he spent grousing around about the paper. For most of the staff they saw the irony in Tom being forced out after being so heavy handed and forcing out so many others before him. For some his fate seemed appropriate but everybody was nervous now. Though Randy, me and Tumbleweed had seen heads of advertising operations roll before, most of the staff were newer hires and had never seen a top guy get retirement-fired. That made everyone feel vulnerable including Dave who'd recently become a manager himself though he was one of those recent hires.

I believed top government officials were in on staging 9/11 and now I'd learned about their involvement in other acts of treason like the Oklahoma City bombing that included a daycare center with little children. But on the operations floor Dave being a manager, managing, saw people milling about with nothing to do. I noticed him looking at me and I nodded to him. I was thinking it was more obvious the paper wanted to shed as many employees as possible including Dave, me and Tumbleweed too. I still felt without hesitation that the paper was involved in covering up these attacks and that was a worrisome thought. One quick way to cut the staff at the paper would be to blow us all to pieces. Initially, me and everyone at the paper worried they might all be blown up from an attack outside the building. Most still felt that way but I now worried an attack would be from the inside. The elevator work had worried me while it was ongoing but now that it was completed it actually looked pretty stylish. So hoped it was a simple an actual renovation. My former manager was now the head of advertising operations. As far as I knew he had never looked at the link I gave him. So I felt frustrated.

Crystal appears at my desk. "What do you think about this bad economic stuff?" She asks me. "It's worse than people realize. You need to get your 401k money and any kind of investment like stocks turned into cash right now." Crystal sighed, "I can't. The paper won't let me at my 401k unless I'm in distress economically." I don't quite understand these investment rules because I've never invested any of my life there. "What do you mean?" She explains her situation. "I'm not paying my mortgage now. If I get six months behinds then the paper will let me at my 401k money. As it is now they take my 401k contribution and it vanishes into a black hole. It drops every month and the paper no longer matches the contributions." I remark flatly, "Get out from it as soon as you can." This is all Vera can take as she listens in nearby. "Tomas you always talk conspiracy nonsense. Investments go up and investments go down. Over the long haul if you just stay pat you will make money in the market. Crystal is young and impressionable and you are giving her bad advice once again!" Crystal and I both shut off our conversation not wanting any trouble now that we were so expendable. After work as Crystal and I left for the night I had parked several blocks away and Crystal said she'd give me a ride to my car.

As we got into Crystal's Civic she started her car then began to cry. "What's wrong dear?" I asked Crystal putting my arm on her shoulder. "Oh, I haven't paid the mortgage and the entire condo experience has been a nightmare. You were right. You warned me not to buy the damn condo when everybody else was coaxing me on - the realtors, the bankers. I should have listened to you. I should have listened." She breaks down sobbing which freaks me out and I'm not sure how to respond at the moment. However, I've been reading more and more of the emerging alternative media over the net. Recently large banks had collapsed leaving depositors waiting for their money, I had been warned several weeks earlier but not by the mainstream media. I had heard about the banks being in danger of failure over the Internet. Then sure enough weeks later the banks did fail. I figured sticking with the truth was what Crystal still needed. "Here's the thing hon'. So what if you're not paying your mortgage? It will be years before the bank can work their way through all the foreclosures to get to you. This time around for the bust cycle you have lots of Americans in the same boat as you not paying their mortgages. The banks are in a trap of their own making. They know if they kick you out of the house now before they have buyers then the place will deteriorate and constantly drop in value. You could live here three or four years and pocket all the money you would have paid to the mortgage." Crystal has stopped crying and asks. "You think there are that many people not paying their mortgages now?" I nod my head. "Oh yeah dear. Big time! You're just not hearing about it on the tube. Bernanke recently even claimed he'd never seen such a strong Real Estate market. Yeah but Ben hasn't been looking at the Real Estate section every week with the same properties available for less money like I have. I think the economy is ready to take a dive. It's the end of the business cycle which is really the end of the money cycle. The central banks of the world have jacked up a huge real estate price bubble and locked in a lot of people like you Crystal into high priced adjustable rate mortgages. Now they're popping the economy by cutting the supply of money which will cause prices to fall. It always does because of supply and demand. When the supply of money in the economy declines the money still in the economy increases in value. I've seen it before after the 1970's. Something tells me this is not going to be another run-of-the-mill recession though."

Crystal drives Dave to his car. She has perked up emotionally after the talk. At least she's not crying anymore. She thinks I may be right about her being able to just stay in the condo which in itself is a relief at least temporarily. After she parks by Dave's car they hug for a few seconds then Dave gives her a kiss on the cheek. "I'm sure everything is going to work out find dear." I smile at her. Crystals nods and smiles back at me while I out of her car. I got into my car for the drive home wondering about things myself. How would the economic bust affect me this time?

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