I can guarantee you I get terrible views on this, as a LOT of my international readers love to hear about the decline of the US, and the decline of the dollar – but in this piece, I’m going to forecast out a little more into the future than the near term. To me, I feel my country has a strong future, albeit one that looks a lot different than today. In this future, there’s going to be a lot of good things happening, but this is only after a lot of turmoil has happened.
This summer, I want to read everything I can about the 4th turning. I have read the thesis, and with a 96 year old grandmother for reference, can tell you I believe a lot of this theory. Much like a bratty teen that doesn’t listen to anyone, the generational theory more or less feels that there’s some bad things coming because today’s generation doesn’t have the lessons of old to reference.
While a theory, I can see how a lot of this is coming true. This article isn’t so much about this, just giving you an idea of the “stuff” I think is coming, but what comes after that.
There’s so much doom and gloom on Twitter these days, I wanted to take some time and present some ideas which I think will come to be, and why we do have a good future ahead.
First, I want to discuss something about the millennials. Part of me feels they have had a raw deal, but the other part of me also sees a generation that has not had to deal with a recession. Meaning, the generation of avocado toast for $19, hasn’t been 24 and had to live off of a case of ramen for a month. You can say “housing prices are too high”, sure – but back in the day if prices were too high, we didn’t bitch, we rented and had roommates. At 23, we didn’t expect to buy a $600,000 house. I just feel here that this generation essentially has no idea how good they have it because they have never really seen suffering.
This leads us to where we are today in the generational side of things. When you have excessive decadence in a society, you lose focus on important issues and substitute them for fringe social issues. In the 1960s, it was a worthwhile cause of civil rights, and today, this society is dealing with Bud Light controversies. Other nations no longer take us seriously, and that is the fault of a society that forgot how things work, and substituted in their own rules. Nature has a way of dealing with bad ideas, and it doesn’t end well.
Before I get to the good that is coming, people need to keep in mind the bad that has to happen first. Big picture is our debt has gone insane, the interest on the debt has gone insane, and no politician in this country can ever win again saying they will cut items to pay down the debt. Anyone who says so will be defeated by a candidate who panders to others. We are now at the point in the game where people humble brag about “deficit reduction” over 10 years, and Janet Yellen, with a straight face, talks about zero issue with $50T in debt, because she is focused on rates.
Of issue, collectively, everyone is saying, “enough” and the politicians are still holding on to the model of business from the 1980s. Unless there are cheap rates here, we cannot exist anymore. But to continue the cheap rates, allows for exponential money creation, and with this, inflation into the real economy. Powell and company I believe are playing a game of chicken with Congress. Powell has essentially said the path we are on is not sustainable, and intimated they need to stop spending. He has a duty to the country, which I feel HE feels is best served by crushing demand for money with much higher rates. The Congress, instead of cutting costs, simply ring up the deficit more. And, instead of spending less, they want to hire 80,000 more IRS agents to take more money from you. Remember how they said people who make under $400,000 would not see taxes rise? Well, my property taxes went through the roof, and all of you have seen how inflation has been a silent tax on all of us.
The system is about to break. I feel that work from home is what is going to keep unemployment lower, for longer, but commercial real estate will be the first to be ditched. The low unemployment will mask the problems for some time yet, but eventually people will be cut. The machine will slow down, and soon.
I believe the next winner of the White House will use the social issues to leverage a win. With this, I feel that pain will continue on, but the problem of spending too much will come to a head, and with this, some form of cutting costs with making a smaller government is inevitable. I believe we will have cost cutting measures across the board, with tax relief, and this will jump start the economy again sometime in 2025.
But this could get pretty bad.
The good coming – work force
Corp tax rates – I believe we could be mired in a stagflationary situation for a lot of years while they continue to cut costs. But I believe the BIG thing will be to move to eliminate/reduce corporate tax rates over a 10 year period. My mom was about as far left as they come, and as a former CPA, defined benefit company president, and eventual higher up with Morgan Stanley, told me that she felt corporate tax rates were silly. This is for corporations to “pay their fair share”. But what people don’t understand at face value with taxes, is that it makes a lot more sense for lots of transactions in the economy to keep the VELOCITY of money up.
Meaning, if you remove/eliminate corporate taxes, you now have an incentive for a corporation to invest in your country. This means you can have more profits. Right? Yes, BUT – it also then means that the more businesses that want to invest, the more competition for employees, and the higher you must pay them. Companies on the other side of this become more productive and the income taxes collected from employees are higher and can offset the loss of corporate taxes. I’d do this over a 10 year period, so it can gradually work into the economy.
Your first reaction might be to scoff at making companies more rich. However, you have to understand that most of the country now has retirement accounts with pension funds or 401ks. The idea here is to ensure that your elders are taken care of, first, or they will be living with you. So, part one of this is lower corporate taxes can take care of grandma.
Part 2 of this is that lower corporate taxes can incentivize more hiring, at higher wages. Meaning, more “good jobs”. I’m leading off with this because it is a MAJOR cog of why the US has been successful.
Colleges – I believe the online schooling during COVID has had an ability for many students to understand how you can get taught online at a fraction of the cost. I did both brick and mortar and online schools – and online gets such a terrible reputation, but I can tell you that it can be incredible. I worked much better with this due to my weird schedules. I believe the “high cost of schooling” is about to come crashing down as many online schools can give you the same quality of education for a fraction of the cost. I think that many fringe majors are going to go away, as there are no real jobs for them. Many of these brick and mortar colleges will have to adapt or die out. They will need to lower tuition, by a lot, or offer a lot more online to compete. Engineering, metallurgy, energy sciences, robotics, AI, quantum computing, computer hardware engineering (Carnegie Mellon), geology, finance, business – these are where I’d be going.
Trade schools – We have such a lack of these right now that wages are going wayyyy higher to attract talent. These people will lead the 2030s and our massive comeback. I think there needs to be a focus on welding, machining, electronics – even mining/drilling if these things are even offered.
Military – every day I’m getting 22 year olds skilled in IT coming out of the military. In my field, you do not need a college degree to make bank. You need to have a brain for tech. Many can go in for 4 years, get trained in a technical area, then have a lot of college paid for afterwards with the GI Bill. People want “free college”? This is how you get it. Many of these people at 22 are far ahead of where I was at 22 coming out of a bachelor’s degree. At 28, they could have 10 years of experience and a college degree where I had 6 years of experience and a college degree. I believe these personnel are also provided with discipline, leadership skills, and can handle themselves in stressful situations.
The good coming – housing
Boomers – I’m at 47 years old, and am starting to see my friend’s parents wanting to downside from their bigger houses. It’s too much to clean, grand kids are now grown up, and there’s no need for the big house. Stairs are an issue. Around me, I’m seeing senior communities popping up now – 1 floor, 65+ to live there, pristine housing with a community. I feel a lot will start to move to a lot of these, and with this, you will start to see a lot of “boomer supply” come on to the markets. Remember, we have not had a recession in 14 years, and when the labor market starts going soft sometime this year, people will have to sell. They will sell due to moving for a job, or perhaps even a high mortgage they cannot afford, or even foreclosures. Supply will come, and rates will probably be normalized at 5% or so. This means housing prices will need to come down a lot from here.
AirBNBust – Amy Dixon came out on Wealthion awhile back and the conversation dealt with the 2+ million homes that were sucked into AirBNB. I know of a couple who bought a house in the finger lakes who rent it out most of the year and go up there for vacations. IF you have the right areas where demand will never be a problem, you might be ok. But the theory goes that with the soft economy, AirBNB bookings evaporated, and with this, many of these houses that were sucked up from hot markets will come to market – either through sales or long term rentals.
Ranchers – I believe there will be a come back of the rancher/split levels. The McMansions of the 2000s saw their end with the 2008 bust, but the last 15 years have all been big colonial types like I’m in. These are not first home purchases, but all that seem to be built. I believe this will lead to more ranchers/split levels coming to market as “more affordable” housing needs to be built. A construction company or five will find the market softening for their $400,000 houses, and with a great recession of sorts, may then offer models that are more affordable at perhaps $200,000. I think the “townhouses” were the 2000-2010 answer for affordable housing, but many of these now are essentially apartments or first homes.
The good coming – resources
Oil/natgas/coal – One of my friends once dated a “petroleum engineer” – I had never heard of that. But I can tell you I think by 2026, we will need a ton of them here. As well as mining engineers, geologists, etc. My country has a ton of natural resources, but the overall message has been “it’s bad for the environment” to drill or dig. Problem is, these same people want solar and EVs, but they have no idea how they get the materials. Because we are prevented from mining here, we then are forced to get it around the world. This is also a method of exporting USD. I feel in a BRICS+ world where dollars are less used, a world supply chain is fractured and this will required a LOT more resources being dug/drilled here. I live in PA, which is rich in nat gas and coal. I see a day where the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is low, gas is $4 a gallon, and reality starts setting in that the high costs of energy is absolutely destroying the margins for US companies. Prior to them moving operations elsewhere, at the 11th hour we reverse course and start producing cheap energy again.
Nuclear/uranium – I believe that US-based companies in the next 5 years are about to get crazy busy getting uranium, as a fractured world may keep Kazakh uranium from coming here. Obviously you have cigar lake with Cameco, but I also believe that resources will start to be drilled/dug at each national level, WITH incentives. I believe there will be a time when we realize we must increase our nuclear production as wind/solar cannot be relied on for baseload generation.
Gold/silver/copper – Load up on these, as I believe that there’s a time where the Ghanas of the world that force 20% of the product to be bought in local currency is EVERYWHERE. This will strip supply from international markets, and a race will then ensue to ensure each nation can get a strategic reserve of gold/silver. Last I heard, China has a warehouse of silver with strategic usage in mind, and the US obviously has the 8100 tons of gold. Gold fever strikes, as gold hits $4,000-$5,000 an oz and projects start getting greenlit across the country. My US-based developers/explorers look like lottery tickets.
Rare earths – I don’t think we have a ton here, but lots of efforts I believe are going to start looking here. Needed for EVs and electric motors.
The good coming – tech
Chips – I believe we are starting to look into building chip factories here in the southwest due to our high reliance on Taiwan. If Taiwan is, at some point, prevented to export chips to us – then our tech world crashes to a halt. I think this is in the works now and in the next few years we may have primary supply chains for chips made locally here.
Quantum Computing – I recently sold my IONQ position due to wanting to dive more into nat gas and PMs. But these guys are on the cutting edge and are about 90 mins from where I live. There’s a LOT of specific types of problems this stuff will solve. Battery chemistries, alloys, conductors, and support AI.
Artificial Intelligence – while most are focused on how deflationary this can become, I am taking the opposite side of this trade. Meaning, if you looked at the beginning of the PC revolution as a means of putting people out of work, we’d be living in Mad Max right now. What you must understand, more than anything, is that this is a means of increasing productivity. I think this is lost on the masses. They only see existing productivity going to AI. They are missing how things like research time to understand things can be significantly reduced. Imagine you needed to research a topic and it might take you 8 hours to get a good understanding, but with an AI bot you can get your specific topic summarized in 2 pages in 35 seconds. I believe the implications of this tool as research assisting is completely overlooked. There are political issues with this, at the moment, but the best products that are politically agnostic will rise to the top.
Robotics – The coup de gras here is tying a lot of the above together. I believe that there is a manufacturing revolution coming here in the US, and it’s coming much faster than you think. I’ll cover the WHY with the dollar below, but what this promises here, I believe, is to take production of a LOT of goods we get from southeast asia using human labor that we outsourced in the 1980s-2000s and replace their human labor with robotics/AI with extremely high levels of efficiency and quality control. This will be why we need the engineers and the programmers and the AI experts as well as the chips and ability to support big picture understanding with quantum computing.
The good coming – finance
Financing things – Things look bleak at the moment, but this is froth rising and about to get culled as part of a cleansing process. What I believe is in our favor is we have a lot of smart bastards that can figure out ways to finance anything – and we have a lot of rich bastards who can finance things with venture capital (VC) – AND we have a LOT of cash on the sidelines that will need to find a home.
Cryptos – I believe that cryptos are the wave of the future, but not like you think. Version 1.0 for me was the “non-asset backed” digital currencies that flooded the markets and made millionaires out of people overnight. This speculative bubble with zero regulations caused lots of issues. Regulations will wipe out most of this sector, but the blockchain was born from this. My belief is that version 2.0 of this has to do with “asset backed digital currencies” and with this, you get things like gold tied to the blockchain.
Exchanges – I believe that with BRICS+ exchanges, we will see gold as the pricing mechanism ultimately, and this is what commodities are traded in. Gold will once again reign supreme. This may go hockey stick in USD terms, but what this then also does is lift up all other commodities that trade relatively to gold. So assume for a second the last 100 years you had a 1.2g per barrel oil price on average. If gold runs to perhaps $5,000 per oz, you are looking at $160 per gram, or about $200 per barrel of oil. This is a function of the below
USD going down – let’s not mistake the DXY as a measure of the USD against the Euro, CAD, JPY, GBP and see it as what it is – less global demand, by a lot, will significantly have an impact on the supply of USD which then drives up the price of things in USD terms. Many cannot bake their noodle on this concept. $5,000 gold brings up ALL commodities prices, in USD terms. This makes everything a LOT more expensive. There’s a catch 22 here which will hurt in the near term, but be great, long term.
Wage inflation – If gold is $5,000 due to the USD breaking down against things, and people are buying things on BRICS+ exchanges for gold, producers will sell their items on BRICS+ exchanges for gold rather than COMEX for USD. Why? Gold will be the universal translator in ANY currency, and revert back to the “money of kings” – in this case, international commerce. But that catch 22 is now this for the rest of the world – where it might have cost $300 to import a chip from Taiwan, due to the costs of everything going up for imports, in USD, it means that chip might now be $900. However, in this case, we may find we can make that chip here for $600 with all of the above mentioned. This allows, from the ashes, to then pay people higher wages than they are making today to work in this chip factory in the US. This then has the effect of imports that are now through the roof in USD cost can now be made here, for a LOT cheaper than if we imported it, by our highly technical workforce who can use robotics, AI, and quantum computing to make things cheaper here than ANYWHERE ELSE on the planet.
Cities revitalized – the big issue we’ve had with cities the last 50 years is “good paying jobs” have gone overseas. I believe they are coming back, and cities like Detroit who have highly capable auto workers will have a LOT of the type of workforce we need with robotics coming back. Cities that have been decimated now offer CHEAP real estate, CHEAP commercial real estate for offices, CHEAP labor who are trained with tech schools, military, and college, and using all of the above – can now transform a lot of these cities into green paradises. Many of the city blocks or regions of abandoned housing are leveled for parks. Much of the congestion of cars honking with gridlock are replaced by a lot of ubers/car shares with no drivers that can take you all around the cities. Lots of telework can also be done from the suburbs for programming robitics and doing research/analysis, so less fuel is being used for driving to the office. More workers being hired also allows for tax revenues to come back to the cities and deal with blight, hire more police, and crack down on crime.
I am a dollar bear, for sure, but I don’t care about the DXY. What I see is the world moving on from our abuse of the world’s reserve currency, and what you are seeing now is our country trying to desperately hold on to that advantage. For me, the last straw was seeing our media become complicit in trying to gaslight our people into policies. That was it for me. And I believe everyone else is thinking the same thing. A cleansing is going to happen. We saw newspapers die out, and we will now see alternative news like Tim Pool take over from the CNNs of the world. Meaning – people will be seeking out authentic journalism over a highly funded and programmed news media. The cleansing is starting now.
But with survival of the fittest, you often have the weakest ideas, the weakest species, the weakest – die off. From those ashes rise a stronger group of ideas a stronger species, and stronger people. It took my grandparents world war 2 to come out of that as the greatest generation, and the hope is that with the 4th turning here our war is more ideological and cold-ware type than “hot war”. At no other turning like this in history did they have many nations nuclear capable, so the concept of “Mutually Assured Destruction” was never present then. Hot wars were then fought for resources.
In this turning, I believe excess cash is about to be drained from the system, and sucked up into precious metals, commodities, and technology for what is to come a few years down the road. In the nearer term of 5 years, the dollar, in real terms, is losing the war of world’s reserve currency to gold. Make no mistake, the dollar is still needed, but nations are shunning its usage, one after another. Less trade is being done in it. And with this, the power of it will diminish, as well as the demand. This creates massive supply excesses, which will slosh around and find energy and precious metals as the safest way to ride inflation to its natural end.
While I’m not calling for a hyperinflation, there is a potential world inside 10 years where gold is $10,000. This isn’t because “gold went up”, it’s because USD from around the world started trading their paper identity for metals identity. If BRICS+ trade is done in gold, it makes sense if you are Ghana or some other African nation to take your USD and trade it for gold in USD. This gold will be bought “cheap” as front runners are now getting in. When the time comes to buy into these BRICS+ markets, a great arb will happen, where the value of gold will rise exponentially in USD terms as all nations then realize they need gold more than they need USD.
While you will still have companies from the US obviously requiring payment in USD, remember, gold then went from $2000 to $5000 and they gladly sell you the gold at $5000 to then buy stuff 40% cheaper than a few years before. Eventually, the COMEX suppliers will start to sell on BRICS+ exchanges for gold rather than USD, thus forcing the US inside of 10 years to then also trade in gold, or risk losing all of their food exports worldwide. Failure to adapt will leave farmers here all unable to grow/sell. Starvation is in the books, and people know it, if we do not adapt.
I feel politicians here will shake things up and win based on cultural issues plaguing us. These politicians also tend to be those who drill more, explore resources more, and lower taxes more. Pain will be endured for years as imports cost more and more, squeezing the middle class to exhaustion. And….then come the robot factories, where our industries roar to life. Year 2030-2040 to me will be the generation of rebuilding manufacturing from the ground up here.
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