Is Everything Going to Hell or am I just Paranoid?

It has been almost three months since I started here at Dent Research. For several years, I’d been traveling a lot as an on-location photojournalist and writer. It was my dream job, but it proved exhausting. That thrill of the hunt out there for the story, the perfect shot at the right moment, talking to the right people, the occasional spot of “danger”… it was nothing if not interesting.

Robert Johnson Cairo Business Insider

This was about as tame as Tahrir Square became during my two weeks in Cairo in the spring of 2013. The Muslim Brotherhood had just razed the string of tents and shanty’s before setting flame to whatever they could – before watching it burn.

I thought I’d miss it, but I really don’t

At my new job I quickly learned that I work with some really, really smart people and they all bring to the table a largely unique take on markets and the economy. What they all have in common, from Adam to Rodney, is that like me, they love the hunt. The right story, the perfect trade at the right moment… talking to the right people.

It’s a blast and I learn something new almost every day.

When Peak Income hit inboxes on Thursday, I felt Charles’ calm, steady demeanor slip away as he enthusiastically outlined his reasoning for an energy buy two-thirds into his newsletter and it finally hit me. Our editors also love the thrill of chasing down a good lead and delivering it fresh to our readers.

Trading may not be like dodging mobs and bullets in Tahrir Square, but I’m OK with that. It has its own thrills. And my wife, Jessica, isn’t complaining either.

Not that I would have heard her above the groans and mad scrambling from the HRC newscycle last weekend, as Hillary’s team took another hit by scandal that just keeps on giving.

She accepted her party’s nomination after another 30,000 hacked emails, pulled from her private server, got a new lease on life via Wikileaks  Wikileaks and Julain Assange.

As the DNC went off beneath this fresh and fragrant cloud of fixed smiles and Pollyanna sound bites, all seemed about normal when, Lance began the week explaining how it just might be worth beating bonds at their own game and overcoming those pathetic yields.

The most extreme economic turning of the screw we can see at this point might be when central banks give up on the questionable benefits of quantitative easing and skip the intermediary by pumping fresh, hot currency straight into consumers’ pockets. Or, well, at least into their bank accounts.

Robert Johnson Detroit Hospital

Not that I ever needed to go as far as Africa to find trouble. This is from a once prominent, now abandoned, Detroit hospital. It wasn’t Cairo, but it didn’t feel all that much safer at 2 p.m. on a cold Thursday afternoon in January 2015.

That’s the danger: when the unthinkable becomes plausible… the new normal.

On Wednesday, the Hon. David Walker stepped in to explain our current Debt-to-GDP ratio is as much as 555%, when including unfunded obligations like pensions and healthcare. Terrifying and definitely worth a read.

On Thursday, Harry let us know that global corporate debt is on target to hit $75 trillion by 2020, an additional $24 trillion on top of to today’s record high $51 trillion. Not an ideal scenario considering that just over a week ago, the Wall Street Journal announced corporate profits sat poised to shrink for the fourth consecutive quarter.

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And as another sweltering week ends here at Dent Research, Rodney closed the week off with some advice on municipal bonds:be careful.

The craziness Puerto Rico is trying to pull in their default play is not encouraging and debt everywhere continues to mounts to historic records with no end in sight.

As Rodney said: “No one wants to wake up owning bonds issued by the next Detroit or Puerto Rico.”

No kidding.

How Will Trump Restore the Dream of the Golden Years?

President Trump has come into office with a tall order at hand to restore faith in our ability to retire on time… or at least come close. But the numbers aren’t in his favor… or ours.

Our new infographic, How Will Trump Restore the Dream of the Golden Years?, dives deep into U.S. retirement figures, to analyze a scary trend in the U.S. and gain perspective on the future of the retirement landscape.

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Categories: Economy

About Author

Robert is a U.S. Army veteran who attended NYU's Arthur J. Carter Journalism and Stern Business School on the GI Bill. He was a Founding Editor and Senior Correspondent at Business Insider for more than three years. His written work has appeared in the USA Today, CNN, Mail Online, Huffington Post, Us, Drudge and Yahoo Finance. He holds the Missouri Press Association - Best Business Feature Award - 2011 and his photojournalism is printed, and online, throughout the world.