Q: I live in the mountains of Western North Carolina and in good weather get the chance to listen to the rebroadcast of your show on WSB early on Monday mornings as I deliver newspapers. I respect your opinion.
Now, I want to ask you for your opinion, and please note that I did say opinion. There is a blog that I read sometimes called Financial Armageddon. The basic thrust there is that the sky is falling and we are soon to experience a much worse economy that we have even now. Can you give me an opinion as to the possibility of a financial collapse much worse than what we are already experiencing? Thank you for your time.
A: I took a look at Financial Armageddon. I do believe that the author has made some interesting points. This “all is well” mentality seems not to jibe with the true level of suffering I’m seeing from folks on Main Street. When 10 percent (official number) of the working population is jobless (a number that really exceeds 16 percent when all is factored in), and a third of homeowners who still have a mortgage are underwater (meaning that their house is worth less than the mortgage balance), and foreclosures, mortgage and credit card delinquencies are continuing to increase, that’s a lot of people who aren’t figuring out how to make ends meet.
Good will and green shoots are great – but they’ll only take us so far. I agree that if the Obama administration hadn’t provided some clear solutions and plenty of cash, the economy would have fallen into a tailspin earlier this year. However, I think that we’re sitting on a knife’s edge, and I’m not sure whether we’ll have a clear path forward, or see some backsliding.
In my mind, a rise of 30 percent in the Dow seems unrealistic at this point. Whether we’re heading for another turn at 6,500 I don’t know. But I do think that unless the rest of the world starts to participate in a recovery, ours will be a short-lived.
Bottom line: Financial Armageddon II is a possibility, but I’d have to read the book to know why he is so pessimistic.
Thanks for your kind words about the show.