Perhaps the fifth try is the winner.
Seriously, this is (at least) my fifth try at writing this. I get interrupted to help with the GrandThings (not a problem, but still frustrating when you’re on a roll), help a neighbor (ditto), or the well of words runs dry. I come back later and find that what I’ve written now smells like week-old garbage, so I trash it and start over. Enough.
It’s now mid-evening, and there’s not much outside of feeding cats and emptying litterboxes to interrupt me. I have to wonder if this is when WW III will start.
I’ve decided that rather than reworking the categories too much, I going to rework them as little as possible and drive on. So without further ado…
Health Care Concerns (was Wuflu)
It started late last year with yet more new Wuflu variants and a quick public reaction that rendered that a non-started for even the blindest Deep Stater saw the handwriting on the wall and that story disappeared.
So the WEF thought quickly on its feet and came up with Disease X, a zillion times more deadly than Wuflu. We’re all aware how many people were–and weren’t–killed by The Covids. Interest in Disease X is restricted to the fawning sorts at the WEF and the know-nothings who main-line the WEF’s comings and going with near-religious fervor. The rest of us know that there has always been a chance that some disease will crop up and knock off a high enough percentage of the population that we’ll have no civilization when it’s over.
That said, I don’t put it past some state actor to decide that we all need a dose of the product-improved version of Wuflu, which winds up with the same result. Either yesterday or today there were some stories about Chinese gain-of-function experiments with the old Wuflu resulting in a 100% fatal Wuflu. While that would be as hard on the victor as the vanquished, mistakes happen.
Continue stocking up on your medical supplies and knowledge. If you need it, you have it. If you don’t, you have it for when you need it.
A new year brings new ways to foul up our global, national and local economies. Inflation is already ramping up. Large companies are laying off large numbers of workers. People who spent big enough in December to raise the retail sales numbers are now cutting back just as hard. The federal government continues to borrow and create new money at epic rates. No elected official wants to be the one who says the quiet part out loud, so they all just keep spending and hoping for a miracle. We now have a third shiny war, this one in the Mideast, and it’s actually starting to cause global problems in the shipping industry and thus our still-strained supply chains. At least the Russia-Ukraine war didn’t muck that up nearly so much as we feared.
Get your financial house in order. If you don’t have 3-6 months of full-bore spending in cash in your hands (not in the bank), you need to get on that. Pay off debt as much as possible and don’t take on new debt while interest rates are high. That said if an “advantageous real estate acquisition” comes your way, you might want to consider that, even if you have to take on debt. But keep your old furniture, your old TV and your old vehicles a while longer.
The US Treasury will need to refinance something like $1 trillion in bonds at significantly higher rates. They weren’t smart enough to refinance the whole thing a couple of years ago at lower rates and do it for 30 years. Around $1.3 trillion in commercial real estate loans will have to be refinanced this year, right when commercial real estate is tanking. State and local governments, along with businesses left and right are going to get caught in this same trap.
Baby Boomers are now retiring with a will, and the Social Insecurity “lock box” (I still smile when I say that) will be empty, I think somewhere between 2030 and 2033. They’re also sucking all those IRA and 401(k)s empty, making capital even harder to get. Refinancing those bonds and loans just got harder still.
Throwing a Hail Mary, I expect to see a major automaker go belly up this year. My money is on Ford. Expensive new labor contracts, big recalls and a bet on electric vehicles that isn’t paying off will be the triple whammy that does the Blue Oval in. Maybe the Chinese will buy them.
In the US, the fact that energy prices have come down across the board may be the only thing keeping a lot of people’s heads above water. For the rest of the world, things remain unchanged. I don’t expect to see this status stay quo all year. If the Mideast really heats up, the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf to India, China and Japan will get all kinds of screwed up. I don’t care much about India one way or the other, but I hope China takes it in the shorts. We should be able to help Japan across the Pacific, even if it is expensive.
I don’t see anything like famines, although I can see food insecurity ramping up across the Third World, between the effects of drought, floods and wars. The poor always suffer the worst when times are hard.
The Supply Chain
Just when things seemed to be getting at least some better, a bunch of third-rate goat…herders had to go out and slaughter a bunch of Israelis who were doing nothing more harmful than dancing and sleeping in. Now we have Israel working hard to turn Hamas into a lot of little pieces of burned flesh and a bad memory. A different bunch of well-armed goat…herders are lobbing missiles and drones at everything coming and going in the Red Sea/Gulf of Aden area and starting to really muck up the supply lines that flow through there. Iran is probably starting to believe they are smarter than the third-rate goat…hearders they are, and that’s it’s own very special kind of dangerous.
To make matters worse, the US and the US Navy, guardians of the sea lanes for 70 years, are now showing that they are over-aged, over-stretched and under-supplied in everything from ships to sailors to weaponry. For the first time in my memory, we can’t guarantee the safety of navigation in a vital sea lane. We look weak. That alone makes every other category here worse.
This will not end well. Stock up on imported items now while you can. Remember, if it isn’t food, it’s probably imported or made from “global parts”.
Oh Lord, please don’t let it get much worse. Please.
We have active wars in Europe, the Mideast, and sundry African countries. We have one that may be brewing in South America. China has not moved on Taiwan for reasons only they know (but I suspect they don’t believe that they can steamroll them quite as easily as they once thought they could). Europe, the Mideast and China-Taiwan could go nuclear with one unplanned meeting engagement or due to the actions of one hot-headed commander (or NCO, or even grunt).
Every night, I ask God to please keep World War III bottled up for another day. So far, the answer has been yes. I dread what happens if it changes to no.
This one is out of our hands, and possibly beyond our ability to prepare adequately for. As I have, do what you can.
So there we are–my predictions, such as they are. While I think there are a lot of ways for things to go badly, I’m going to take this one day at a time. I’m going to continue to do what I can to be ready, and I’m going to keep on taking care of babies, mowing grass and playing on my radios. Mostly because I don’t want to go crazy.
The alarm on my phone that says “Feed the cats!” just went off. Out here.