By Ron Cocquyt
Since none of us are doing anything of significance these days, I’ve been spending a great deal of time noticing how many people have tattoos. My rough estimate is that at least 15% of the population of this country have tattoos, and of that 15%, 90% have more than two. The average tattoo, based on my Google research, is $250. That means that about 45 million Americans have spent more than $750 on drawings that, most of the time, they can’t even see. If you add body piercings and vaping, the amount of money that’s being wasted by young people is staggering. In fact, if that money would have been put in savings accounts (not the stock market) or annuities, it is highly likely that the U.S. would not be in the financial crisis it faces today.
You see, the banking industry has a great deal to do with this. Together with the Fed, banks have been able to depress interest on savings, thus discouraging the long-existing habit of putting money away for a rainy day. Banks make a fortune on credit cards, and therefore they discourage saving and encourage spending by using high-interest credit cards.
The Fed and the financial management industry then funnel Americans to the stock market, the largest casino operation on the planet. Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, mortgage bundling, etc. are all laid out in front of investors/gamblers just the way a casino uses lights, noise, and color to attract gamblers. We have been told for decades that cash is critical, but like everyone else, we see “sparkle” and opportunity in distraction and chase after growth, margins, and profit, ignoring the fact that we may and always do eventually need cash.
Once again, not only individuals are looking for a bailout, but so are industries in this country that know they can gamble every day and not have to worry about the repercussions. The airline industry should have enough cash and reserves to withstand this crisis. The same goes for the cruise industry, major hotel chains, and the list goes on and on. But instead of managing businesses with a degree of sobriety, boards and CEOs run off, chasing stockholder equity and sacrificing sound business principles.
Once again, our government, always seeking votes and making sure voters are aware of who’s “covering their ass,” are prepared to print and distribute a trillion dollars in monopoly money, just to buy your vote. The hell with telling you the truth. I’d love to hear the rock stars at Harvard and Wharton and Michigan and Stanford argue and tell me I’m wrong. They are just as guilty as the markets, the banks, and the crazy people who think they’re getting some kind of value having pictures drawn on their arms, legs, and necks.
Hylander Management LLC