A growing list of authorities are now warning that one of the deadliest financial crises in U.S. history is set to level the U.S. economy beginning this coming New Year’s Day.
JP Morgan says that, barring a miracle in Washington, America will fall “head first into the fiscal meat grinder.”
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke agrees, saying that paralysis in Washington will cause America to plunge off the “fiscal cliff” on January 1, 2013.
And former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin warns that the impact of the fiscal cliff could be worse than the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis, which resulted in the worst recession since the Great Depression.
According to these insiders, this new crisis will vaporize millions more jobs in every sector of the economy …
Tear $1.6 trillion out of the hands of U.S. consumers and companies …
Bankrupt thousands of businesses …
And drive the unemployment rate to unimaginable levels.
Are they right? Is America’s economy only weeks away from one of the most traumatic collapses in memory?
And if so, how can you prepare?
In a very timely online briefing last week, my team and I provided answers:
The Great Fiscal Cliff of 2012-2013, Part I
Martin Weiss: As you know, ours is the only firm that specifically named — well ahead of time — nearly every major company that failed in the last debt crisis. And as you also know, we have been warning about a fiscal disaster for quite some time.
But now, two important things have changed:
* This is the first time high officials have added their dire warnings. And …
* It’s also the first time that the nation is careening toward an immutable, fixed deadline — the Fiscal Cliff of January 1, 2013.
Now, let me introduce you to a man who knows more about the Fiscal Cliff and its consequences than anyone I have ever met.
He will issue five forecasts on how these impending events will impact your income, the economy, corporate profits, your stocks, your gold and silver and more.
He will give you a clear roadmap of the coming crisis to help you invest wisely NOW so you can preserve your wealth — and so you can even grow it substantially.
Plus, before the end of this briefing, he will NAME three Fiscal Cliff investments to help you start immediately.
His name is Charles Goyette, and I am pleased to welcome him here today as the newest member of our Weiss Research team.
Charles has been an investment professional for over three decades — since the 1970s.
He’s the author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Dollar Meltdown and he has recently released a new volume, Red and Blue and Broke All Over.
Lew Rockwell, the chairman of the prestigious Ludwig von Mises Institute, says:
“Charles Goyette has been a rare beacon of freedom and common sense.”
Former Congressman Barry Goldwater Jr. asks:
“How did a country as prosperous as ours get ‘broke all over’? Charles Goyette makes a clear and compelling case that it is the result of a change in American ideals.”
And Congressman Ron Paul says:
” … my friend Charles Goyette does a great job explaining why America faces a looming financial crisis and outlines common sense strategies for individuals to protect themselves and their families.”
Charles, congratulations! The Von Misses Institute! Goldwater! Ron Paul! Those are some big names singing your praise!
Charles Goyette: Thank you!
Martin: Until recently, you were among a tiny handful of observers warning about a fiscal disaster.
And now, here we are, months later, and look who’s adding their voices: Fed Chairman Bernanke, JPMorgan, Former Treasury Secretaries and other credible sources saying these incredible things. Is it as bad as they say?
Charles: No. It’s worse because it’s the culmination of MANY years of Washington’s gross mismanagement of the economy. America will have no choice but to pay the piper, to suffer the consequences, to have its own financial judgment day.
This conclusion is based on my own research and that of Safe Money Report editor Mike Larson. We looked at the “heads up” you gave us of your questions. Then we worked together to provide our answers.
But today, I am presenting our joint conclusions from my perspective. Then, he’s going to do the same from his perspective as well.
Martin: I like that team approach! But tell me what’s unique about the fiscal crisis right now.
Charles: What’s unique now is that, unlike past brushes with disaster, we know precisely when this financial apocalypse is scheduled to begin: At one second after midnight, this coming New Year’s Day.
And what’s also very unique is that it’s coming at a time when the stock market is near the HIGH end of its big up-and-down gyrations of the last 12 years.
Martin: A lot of investors seem to think that’s a good thing.
Charles: But it’s precisely the opposite of what they think. It signals overvaluations. It signals extreme complacency among investors, and extreme VULNERABILITY to the looming fiscal crisis.
All this could not be happening at a worse time for the U.S. economy.
Let me show you how and why — based on my own research and also based on Mike Larson’s Safe Money Report.
Look at the median wealth of U.S. families! Over the past five years, it has plunged more than 30%.
And look at how many families are still under water on their mortgages! Nearly a third! Instead of a great retirement asset, our homes have become huge liabilities.
Next, unemployment! The official unemployment rate remains stubbornly above 8%. It’s been there ever since February 2009, the longest stretch in the 64 years that the government has been keeping track!
Martin: And that’s just the official unemployment.
Charles: Correct. The real unemployment rate – including all underemployed and discouraged workers — is nearly three times higher: A staggering 22.9% and rising, according to Shadow Government Statistics.
Martin: Inside the Beltway, some politicians may get away with calling 22.9% unemployment “a recovery.” But to the 12.8 million jobless Americans who wonder where their next meal is coming from, this is a flat-out depression!
Charles: Plus, among the jobless, a whopping 29.5% are now out of work for more than a year, the worst in history. That’s 3.9 million Americans in near-permanent limbo — more than the total population of Chicago and San Francisco combined.
This is why America’s middle class is shrinking rapidly.
A staggering 43.6 million Americans, many formerly from the middle class, are now living in poverty — more than at any time since the government began keeping records.
Nearly one-fifth of U.S. household income now comes from government assistance of some kind.
A record one in every seven Americans is now living on food stamps.
Martin: It boggles the imagination. And what’s most ironic is that they call this a “recovery.” Why do you think things have turned so sour?
Charles: Primarily because of debt and the dramatic changes that society must make to adapt to the huge debt burdens.
But we owe our huge debt burden to …
The red and blue wings of the Washington political party …
The Republicans AND the Democrats …
The Tweedledums AND the Tweedledumbers of deficit spending!
They have buried us under the largest mountain of debt in world history.
Martin: You blame them both.
Charles: It’s not me — it’s the facts! When George W. Bush came into office, the federal debt ceiling was less than $6 trillion. When he left office, it was nearly double that — over $11 trillion.
But while Bush presided over seven increases in the debt ceiling and added $5 trillion to the national debt after eight years in office, Obama has presided over five increases and added more than $5 trillion in debt in just three years in office.
The official federal debt of nearly $16 trillion works out to $211,000 for a family of four.
Add in obligations for Social Security, Medicare and veterans, and you have a total government debt of $120 trillion!
Martin: And you believe even that number could be greatly understated.
Charles: Yes. Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff, a former senior economist with Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers, demonstrates that the debt is much larger. He shows how Washington’s total debts and obligations are now $222 trillion. That’s about $2.8 MILLION for every family of four in the nation.
And now, with the fiscal cliff, THREE FISCAL TIME BOMBS are set to explode on New Year’s Day — each of which has the power to wipe out what’s left of our so-called economic recovery:
Fiscal Cliff Time Bomb #1:
The Budget Control Act of 2011.
Remember the summer of 2011: Washington was dead broke; out of money.
Unless something was done — and done quickly — the United States of America, the most powerful nation on Earth, would have had no choice but to default on its debts for the first time in history.
That’s why Standard & Poor’s revoked Washington’s triple-A credit rating.
And that’s why, at the last moment, Congress reached a makeshift compromise — The Budget Control Act of 2011.
That new law raised the debt limit by $2.1 trillion — enough to keep the government from collapsing until the end of 2012. But in return, it imposed spending caps that will slash spending by $109 billion per year for nine years, beginning on January 1, 2013.
Martin: Run through those for us.
Charles: Defense — $54.7 billion in cuts
Health and Human Services plus other discretionary program — $38.6 billion in cuts.
Medicare and other entitlements — $16.2 billion.
Total: $109.5 billion pulled out of the economy and out of people’s pockets, starting this coming New Year’s Day and every year thereafter.
According to a recent university study, these and other cuts will destroy more than two million jobs throughout the economy.
Martin: The hardest hit sector?
Charles: The U.S. defense industry! A whopping 49.9% of the cuts will come out of America’s military budget.
In fact, in preparation for these cuts, thousands of military personnel are already being let go and being added to unemployment rolls.
Martin: My father, who was a Wall Street analyst in the late 1920s, not only lived through the Great Depression but actually predicted it.
And if he were here today he’d be dumbfounded. Because after the Great Depression, it was thanks to massive increases in defense spending, for World War II, that the unemployment rate finally dropped.
This time around, it seems the government is doing just the opposite. The real unemployment rate is over 20%, and Washington is cutting defense spending — laying off civilian and military personnel.
Charles, lay out for our viewers how this impacts everyday Americans?
Charles: If you or a family member has a job with the government or the defense industry, that job’s at risk.
Defense contractor Lockheed Martin has warned that most of its 100,000-plus workforce is at risk of being laid off. Other defense companies say they’re set to send layoff notices to “hundreds of thousands” of employees this coming November.
Plus, if you have family members or friends working in an area that benefit from government or military spending — construction, manufacturing, retail sales and many others — they could also find themselves without a paycheck.
And of course, millions of investors own defense stocks — Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, and others — that are likely to fall sharply due to these cuts.
Martin: Before the actual fiscal cliff deadline, or after?
Charles: Well before the deadline. Smart investors don’t wait. They sell in advance of the deadline.
Martin: Right now, Congress is sharply divided and deadlocked, especially during the presidential election campaign. But many investors are hoping that, between the election and year-end, they could reach a compromise to cancel all these spending cuts.
Charles: That is possible. But even if some of these spending cuts are delayed, many experts are warning that there’s another, larger blow to the U.S. economy hitting on New Year’s Day. I’m talking about …
Fiscal Cliff Time Bomb #2:
It’s a $440 billion tax hike on the entire Middle Class … on every wealthy American … on retirees … on every employer in the nation, and on YOU!
That’s why The Washington Post calls it “Taxmageddon”: Tax cuts in seven different categories are scheduled to expire.
Martin: Please tell our viewers how that impacts them.
Charles: Right off the bat, your basic income tax rate — the percentage of your money that goes directly to Washington – will rise significantly. Plus …
> If you have kids at home, your tax credit for each child will be cut in half …
> If you have long-term investment profits, your maximum tax rate will be raised by a third …
> If your investments earn dividends, the tax on those dividends could more than double …
> If you own a business, the deductions you get for investing in that business will be dramatically slashed …
> Many of your personal exemptions and itemized deductions will be cancelled, including tax deductions for married couples.
Make no mistake: If these tax increases go forward, it will NOT be just a tax hike on the rich. It will be the one of the largest tax increases in history on nearly EVERY American company and family.
According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, a whopping 96% of all middle income earners will see their taxes rise an average of $1,800 per year.
Martin: If the so-called “recovery” were robust, maybe we could survive this.
Charles: Exactly. But the recovery is fragile, probably more so than in any recovery in over 100 years. That’s why so many experts are saying these tax hikes alone could cause massive damage.
And even if Congress is able to come together and delay some of these tax increases in the nick of time, Americans will have to start paying the equivalent of five NEW taxes under Obamacare on January 1.
Fiscal Cliff Time Bomb #3:
The virtual end of Washington’s bailouts and stimulus.
Look at the last four years.
Washington laid out $475 billion to rescue the banks with TARP.
Then Obama spent another $840 billion on his stimulus package, the American Recovery and Investment Act.
The Fed jumped in with even bigger bucks: $1.7 trillion with its first round of money printing — QE1 — and another $600 billion with its second round of money printing — QE2.
Grand total: $3.6 trillion in failed attempts to revive the economy and prevent this crisis.
That’s an average of $900 billion — nearly $1 trillion — in stimulus every year that has kept this economy going over the past four years.
But now, that money is gone. For the first time since 2008, we will NOT have that stimulus to fuel the economy or the stock market – and the impact could be severe.
Martin: I’m watching the election campaigns and what I find unique and surprising is that no one in the Romney camp OR in the Obama camp is talking about NEW fiscal stimulus, NEW bailouts, or NEW rescues.
Charles: For politicians, that’s kind of refreshing, but it also means a severe withdrawal for an addicted economy. With trillion-dollar deficits, and with the fiscal cliff looming, they’d look like fools if they talked about more big spending plans. So new bailouts and stimulus aren’t even on the table for discussion.
The economy is moribund and stagnating again, but the entire debate is about how much to CUT and take OUT of the economy — not how much to pump in.
Martin: Has this ever happened before?
Charles: Not in our lifetimes.
Martin: We have the recovery already disappearing. We have no big government rescues on the horizon. We have the fiscal cliff looming. What next? Give us your forecasts for what happens during and after the Fiscal Cliff.
Charles: Fiscal Cliff forecast #1 is that interest rates will jump higher.
This is my first forecast because it’s the most immediate.
The Fiscal Cliff is shorthand for government paralysis: Congress is paralyzed. The Treasury Department is paralyzed. And now, even the Federal Reserve is stuck between a rock and a hard place, unable to launch any new major initiatives. None of the things it has tried have been anything other than more of the same failed policies.
So with the Fed on the sidelines, interest rates are naturally moving back up, even as we speak.
Martin: Everyone knows that zero, or near-zero interest rates are an absurdity — unsustainable in the real world.
Charles: So as soon as the Fed is paralyzed or inactive, they naturally bounce back up to more normal levels.
The only reason interest rates are not far higher is because the Fed has been holding them down like the lid on a pressure cooker. Now with the Fiscal Cliff and the Fed taking a back seat, that lid is likely to pop and interest rates could explode higher.
Fiscal Cliff forecast #2 is a sudden collapse in the economy!
In the past, we could always count on the government to try to spend money it doesn’t have to support the economy … and over the years, everyone has become ADDICTED to the next big fix.
Martin: Now, though, we are facing a big withdrawal of new spending.
Charles: No, actual cutbacks!
There has never been a time when our clueless leaders gave us some of the biggest tax hikes in history, plus some of the biggest spending cuts in history — all smack-dab in the middle of high unemployment and depressed conditions for millions of Americans.
Martin: To you and me, it’s obvious this could pull the rug right out from under the stock market. But with the market at the upper end of its range, like you said, it’s also obvious that most investors are still extremely complacent. They just can’t imagine the U.S. government will let anything bad happen. What do you say to them?
Charles: I say: Just look at the United States since the year 2000. What do you see? Two recessions, including the worst recession since the 1930s!
Was the government able to prevent them? Of course not! In fact, the government caused the recessions by blowing up bubbles that inevitably popped. Resulting in recessions. By the time the government finally responded, it was too late. The recession was already well under way.
My main point today is that, this time, it’s far worse. The Federal Reserve has forced interests lower with printing press, that’s a bond bubble, and it has been explicit that it has been designed to prop up the stock market. It’s a bubble too. And they are about to pop.
Martin: Because of the Fiscal Cliff.
Charles: Yes, because of the Fiscal Cliff, and because anything Congress might try to change at this late hour will be too little, too late. The U.S. economy is already stagnating.
Or just look at Europe since 2009! Despite the trillions of euros Europe has spent to save bankrupt banks — and entire countries — what do you see? You see new, virulent recessions spreading like wildfire — to eight countries and counting — including big ones like the UK, Spain, Italy, and soon France.
Martin: So anyone who thinks the government can prevent a recession is ignoring history in the U.S. AND ignoring what’s happening in Europe right now.
Charles: They’re also ignoring the immediate, unavoidable consequences of recessions, which leads me to
Fiscal Cliff forecast #3: Corporate profits will collapse.
Look. Consumers make up 70% of the U.S. economy, and they’re scared right now.
With nearly one in four workers unemployed or underemployed, they know a lot of people who are out of work. They’re terrified that they could be next.
Many have snapped their pocket books shut. And now, with the country on the brink of this great “Fiscal Cliff,” they’re getting stingier than ever.
That’s one big reason corporate earnings are failing to meet expectations.
The other reason is that CEOs themselves are terrified of the Fiscal Cliff. So they’re cutting back on every kind of hiring and expansion program imaginable.
Martin: And all this is already affecting profits.
Charles: You bet it is! Mike Larson just pointed this out in his last report: Second-quarter earnings are on pace to drop year-over-year for the first time since 2009.
Texas Instruments’ profit plunged 34% from a year earlier in the most recent quarter — and it warned of lousy future demand. Their competitors, Advanced Micro Devices and Intel, also missed targets and cut forecasts.
Major industrial firms are talking about a worldwide slowdown. The biggest U.S. chemical firm, Dow Chemical, reported a 31% plunge in its second-quarter profit.
Restaurants like Starbucks and McDonald’s warned that business is slowing sharply.
Giant retailer Amazon.com missed profit and margin targets.
Transportation companies, a faithful indicator of growth or contraction in the real economy, are getting hammered!
Financial giants like Morgan Stanley are missing earnings estimates badly.
You also have a bursting bubble in the over-inflated social media sector. Facebook, Groupon, Zynga — all plunging.
Martin: What about the third quarter?
Charles: Negative third-quarter outlooks from America’s largest companies are already outpacing positive forecasts by the widest margin in 11 years.
And now, the fear — and reality — of the Fiscal Cliff could turn this incipient earnings slump into an outright profit collapse!
That’s yet another prop to be knocked out from under stocks, which leads me to …
Fiscal Cliff Forecast #4: Stocks will begin the third bear market of this century.
Just since the year 2000, U.S. stocks have seen two devastating bear markets.
The first bear market, the Tech Wreck, cut the S&P in half and wiped out three-fourths of the Nasdaq’s value.
The second bear market, the Housing Bust, was even more dramatic, driving the S&P 500 below its prior bear market low and gutting its value by 57%!
Now, a third bear market, which could go down in history as the Fiscal Cliff bear market, is very near!
Martin: What would you say is the BEST-case scenario for a Fiscal Cliff bear market?
Charles: That it will be no worse than the first two bear markets of the 21st century.
Martin: And the likely scenario?
Charles: That it will be deeper.
Martin: In response to our survey, one of our readers commented:
“This certainly isn’t the first time you’ve warned about a bear market. So why now? And why don’t we already see signs of all the troubles you’re talking about?”
Charles: No signs? Are you kidding? Everywhere you look, the handwriting is on the wall …
U.S. durable goods orders just fell the most since January.
Used home sales just fell the most in 16 months, while new home sales dropped more than 8%, despite 30-year mortgage rates that recently fell to a record low.
The official unemployment rate remains stubbornly above 8%. It’s been there ever since February 2009, the longest stretch in the 64 years that the government has been keeping track.
You have unprecedented, trillion-dollar federal deficits year after year!
You have the collapse of Europe, the largest economy in the world!
And now, you have the Fiscal Cliff — the trigger that brings all these crises to a head.
Step aside from the trees and look at the forest.
In 2008, we had big banks on the brink. Now, in addition to big banks in trouble, we also have entire NATIONS on the verge of default.
In 2007, just before the last bear market, the federal deficit was $160 billion. This fiscal year, it’s coming in at $1.3 TRILLION — over EIGHT times larger.
And the clincher is this: Futile steps Washington took in 2008 to fight the recession with more stimulus has dramatically deepened our debt crisis, making things much worse for us now.
Now it has mostly exhausted that ammunition and is on the verge of doing the opposite — turning off the money faucet that people have become dependent on.
Martin: Where does this take America? How will it all end?
Charles: Right now, the Fed is in a state of paralysis.
Martin: That’s now.
Charles: Yes. But fast-forward to the future. At the outset, we told you what high officials are saying in public about this crisis.
But we haven’t told you what they fear in private, in a worst-case scenario …
Extended unemployment benefits expiring and government programs slashed, leaving jobless workers, the elderly and the poor desperately searching for ways to feed their families.
Millions forced into poverty, homelessness and dependence on underfunded charities for food and shelter.
Once-proud U.S. states and hundreds of major cities forced into bankruptcy.
Thousands of small retail stores, restaurants and more boarded up; shopping malls and entire neighborhoods transformed into ghost towns.
To me, it is absolutely inconceivable that the Fed will sit idly by under those circumstances, which takes me to …
Fiscal Cliff forecast #5: The Fed will ultimately unleash a new round of money printing, setting up some of the worst inflation in our history!
The Fed will use those printed dollars to supposedly “pay” America’s gargantuan debts. But it will be a de-facto default. And it will flood the world with those unbacked dollars.
As always, each newly printed dollar will reduce the buying power of every other dollar in circulation. So if history is any indication, we’ll be sentenced to years of skyrocketing inflation.
You will see a worldwide panic to buy gold, and there’s no limit to how high it will go when measured in devalued U.S. dollars. You will see a parallel panic to buy silver, also with no ceiling to how high it can go.
Food, energy and other commodity prices will rise to levels that are unimaginable today.
These are our forecasts, and despite any crosscurrents or intermediate up-and-down moves, I see nothing that will alter this course. The debts are very real and will have consequences. To think the Fed can create trillions in money out of thin air and the government can get buried in hundreds of trillions of unfunded debt without consequences is simply magical thinking.
Martin: Give our viewers specific steps to prepare.
Charles: Let me start with the basics. Then I’ll name the three investments I personally recommend to buy right now.
Step #1. Get your money to safety!
Take advantage of this rally in the market to get the heck out of most stocks. Yes, there are some exceptions. But don’t let them cloud your vision of the big picture.
Despite all of Washington’s efforts and despite all of Wall Street’s hoopla, the entire post-crash rally in the market since 2009 is still among the weakest in modern history.
Even in the best-case scenario, we are headed back down again to the bottom of this range. And in the most likely scenario, down to new lows.
Last time, most investors waited until the market was ALREADY down close to 50% before running to cash. Don’t make that mistake! Move most of your money to CASH now!
Martin: Most people don’t want to do that because cash earns so little.
Charles: True, but that fact is itself a major warning of big trouble to come. It’s proof of the Fed’s impotence. I said it before, but let’s not forget it: The Fed has shoved interest rates down to zero, and STILL we have the weakest economic recovery in history. Imagine what happens as interest rates move back up!
Step #2. Profit directly from the Fiscal Cliff.
You can buy investments that will not only help protect you as a hedge, but also give you the potential for some tremendous growth. So I’ve chosen these as long-term investments — a way to get your feet wet.
Martin: Name them please.
Charles: First, TBT. This is an exchange-traded fund that any investor can easily buy, designed to rise in value as interest rates go up.
And right now, there simply is no other place for them to go!
The 10-Year Treasury yields recently fell to a record low of 1.4%! After subtracting the current inflation rate of 2%, investors were actually paying Uncle Sam one-half percent real interest for the privilege of parking their money at the U.S. Treasury.
That’s crazy, and it’s already starting to turn the other way.
My second recommendation is SEF. This is also an exchange-traded fund that any investor can buy. But this one is designed to go UP in value when bank stocks go DOWN in value.
When we fall off the fiscal cliff, the shock to the financial system will be similar — or even larger — than the shock of the housing bust. And I don’t know of any other sector that will be more reliably devastated than the big banks.
The more they fall, the more you can make.
Third, Royal Gold. This big company has one of the highest profit margins in the entire industry. Plus, most of their properties are located in the Americas, making it one of the most stable players in this industry. You get a steady stream of income. Plus, you can make money when precious metals prices rise.
Martin: I’m very familiar with all of these. They did very well in similar situations in the past. And they’ve had some rough spots in between.
Charles: Either way, don’t drive your portfolio by looking in the rear view mirror. Look straight ahead, and you should be able to see the road ahead plain as day. You will see rising interest rates. You will see banks getting hit hard. You will see a flight to gold for safety. That’s why I think you should buy these kinds of investments.
Martin: We’ve covered a lot of ground together.
We’ve seen why America is about to plunge over a great Fiscal Cliff — and why the impact is likely to be far more devastating than our leaders or the media have even begun to report.
But there’s still time left for you to prepare — provided you begin immediately.
Stay tuned to your inbox for our continuing updates.