If you have any interest in what is going on in the United States economically, and why things are not working out as the "talking heads" from the Obama Administration to CNBC keep promising us they are, then you need to listen to this book.
We know something is wrong. And it is not as simple as Democrats versus Republicans.
Chapters 32 and beyond tie up all the loose strings and takes a look at where we are today, why things are worse than we believe, and what, if anything can be done to change our direction.
Not to be pessimistic, but it will take a seismic shift to change things for the United States, and that shift will not be painless.
But it will be less painful that what we have coming if we just do nothing.
I have been a student of the economy for many decades. But I was never able to tie the role of government malfeasance together with what was happening beyond the last one or two administrations.
Stockman makes it perfectly clear. This is not and has not been a Democratic or a Republican created crisis. Instead, it is a crisis of meddlers in an economic system called Capitalism, and they have meddled with it without grasping what they were doing.
We have sacrificed long term gain for short-term jumps in consumption over and over again, with no regard for how we are going to replace that consumption that we pulled from the future into today's market.
And we have sacrificed a solid money supply for one of fiat money, where budgets do not matter(Thank you Richard Nixon).
Meanwhile we approach $20 trillion in deficits with artificially low interest rates, which have encouraged even more borrowing. Thank you Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke.
If you think the rules of the the United States economy have changed and you think the rules of investing have changed, you are right.
Stockman goes back to the roots of this rotten tree and explains in very good detail how we got here, and why we are dying economically, even though we are told over and over and over again that the economy is turning the corner. It isn't.
This book is long, but well worth the listening time to complete. Our future economic success has been placed into the hands of just a few single points of failure.
It's important you know why it's failing, so that you can prepare for what is certainly coming in the not too distant future for the United States.
The Goldfinch is definitely worth listening to more than once. Despite it's length, the relationships defined within the story build upon each other in such a way, that you certainly will discover key bits of information that may be overlooked the first time through, but that connect in retrospect, with clarity.
I've tried to listen to several longer productions in the past. Often there are so many characters, so many places, that it because difficult to keep track of all the players. Not this story. The development of characters is easy to follow. There are stories within stories that all tie together. The flow is somewhat seamless.
Mr. Pittu does an excellent job of narration. I listened at both normal speeds and 1.5x speed. The voices were believable and appropriate for the types of characters included in this tale.
Relationships can break the Chains that Bind
There was, as far as I am concerned, some unfinished business with some of the characters. I am not sure how I feel about that. I can, in my own ways, paint my own conclusions, but I will always be wondering how close I was to being right about them.
This book highlights some subtle and not so subtle changes in the markets over the last 10 years or so. As an investor myself, I have noticed some of these changes without fully grasping the extent to which this game has changed. Listen to this book and you will be asking yourself "What the hell is going on?" And you deserve an answer.
This book is similar in concept to "The Big Short", which dealt with mortgage backed securities. Something is going wrong, and this is where we should have been looking. The advantage this time is that we are getting a look at what is going on before the house of cards we call the markets implode.
I've watched interviews with many experts in the financial world comment on this book. There have been several that I have the utmost respect for that have come out and dismissed it.
If they have dismissed it, they have not read it. What is going on is NOT just about the spread between buyers and sellers. It extends far beyond that.
And, unfortunately, we simply cannot grasp the speeds at which today's computers are operating, so when we discuss milliseconds, we have no frame of reverence when the transactions are occurring in thousandths of a millisecond.
From a scale perspective, these High Frequency traders are so far ahead of you when you place a trade, that they could buy and sell your shares hundreds if not thousands of times, before your trade gets executed.
And when they can read the wires and get the transcripts from the Fed for instance, parse the comments, and instigate trades based upon nearly every conceivable phrase, you are not just behind in the game, you are out of it.
We are being had, and at this point there is little we can do about it. But the one thing you can do is to never, ever make a market trade.
Listen for yourself, and if you are not angry, you were just not paying attention.
The Real Crash is one of the best economic books I have listened to. The topic is current and will stay current until one of two things happen: We address the problems discussed with solutions that are suggested, or We Crash.
Peter Schiff does not just lay blame on players in our economic crisis. He offers real understandings and real solutions that if we are honest with ourselves, we know we must do.
Even better, he offers a series of solutions that might be described as good, better and best. That is something politicians stay as far from as possible.
Schiff, on the other hand, speaks clearly and concisely. He will not be backtracking from his statements in the future because he knows how things work and more importantly why they work in our economy.
This book was compelling enough to listen to as quickly as I could. There are sections I even repeated, taking notes, and making investment plans for the future.
This book should be required reading or listening for any candidate you are considering voting for in the upcoming elections.
As we seem to be compounding our mistakes, if even a few officials begin to realize the truth included in this book, we could probably not avoid the coming crash, but we could minimalize it's impact on America, and come out stronger in the long run.
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