sent 1-26-08, posted 2-05-08
In light of the rapid fall in stock prices, and the rise in gold prices to all time highs, I’d like to share a true story of stupidity and denial at the highest levels of the financial profession.
In 2004, as a member of the Sonoma County Estate Planning Council, I regularly attended dinner meetings at a nice restaurant with members of the financial service profession.
This included Estate Planning attorneys, CPA’s, life insurance agents, investment professionals such as stock brokers and financial planners, as well as trust officers and portfolio managers. These people are really the cream of the crop in terms of the financial and estate planning professions.
One fellow I was introduced to was the portfolio manager for the trust department of the Exchange Bank, the well respected local bank that touts its charitable policy of scholarship aid to local students. The institution seems to be well run. I have banked there myself for years, mainly to keep my money out of the predatory money center banks like Wells Fargo and Bank of America.
So I talked with the fellow and said the following (remember this is early 2004).
“The US is currently spending about $500 Billion on its military.
It has a budget deficit of about the same amount of money.
Right now, we have military bases that encircle China– South Korea, Okinawa, Japan, Thailand, probably the Philipines, as well as new bases in Central Asia such as Kyrgizstan, Uzbekistan (since then we were thrown out by the Uzbek government), etc.
The Chinese government is buying massive amounts of bonds from the US, essentially financing this massive military build up which clearly threatens them.
I continued, “Suppose the Chinese say, ‘you know we really don’t appreciate your military surrounding our country and we certainly don’t see the point in our financing it, so you know what, we want our debts repaid and we don’t want to finance you anymore”
I asked, “What do you think the financial and economic consequences to the US stock market would be? As a portfolio manager, what do you think about this?”
He replied, (my italics), Let’s have a drink.
He then turned away from me and headed for the bar.
Let’s have a drink..
Doesn’t that give you a comfy feeling about the foresight and consciousness of the people who are responsible for investing our money? Not to mention the leaders of our government, who have orchestrated this whole thing, while suppressing legitimate vote counts, and instituting laws that clearly violate the Bill of Rights.
Another woman in the Estate Planning Council, who worked as a fund raiser for a local college once said to me that the reason why I didn’t fit in well at the Rotary Club was that I was “Too political” She didn’t mean that a criticism, just that my views didn’t fit in.
So here we are today. The military cannot defeat two pitiful countries that we have been devastating since 1980 (both Iraq, through fomenting the Iran Iraq war, and two Gulf Wars, as well as Afghanistan, where the CIA created and nurtured Osama Bin Laden, and the Taliban. Google it and see if you don’t believe it.
The whole ponzi scheme debt pyramid, war and death machine is approaching its downfall. While the whole real estate mortgage loan fiasco is certainly a major factor as well, it has all been so predictable. For years I scratched my head, and asked how spending trillions of dollars on products that destroy–soldiers and weapons, instead of investment in the citizens in the form of education health and infrastructure, could not end in anything but social and financial disaster?
But you see, for all these years, when confronted by that reality, the solution in one form or another has been the same.
Let’s have a drink.