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In recent months, I’ve toured the worst zip codes America has to offer. The rhyming factor in each zip code is deterioration post ‘American High’ (mid-1960s). This weekend, I’m bringing you a treat from West Baltimore, where the homicide rate is spiraling out of control. In some areas, it’s so bad that mobile police stations in 40 foot RV’s are patrolling the streets. Block after block, it resembles a post-apocalyptic view of America, if industry fails to return. We’ll save this story for later.
“I am no Mussolini,” Venezuela’s beleaguered President Nicolas Maduro insisted on television early this month. But if things go on this way, he could end up like Mussolini. That would be very unfortunate for him and also for Venezuela.
The daily street protests against Maduro’s rule are in their second month, and around 40 people have already been killed, most of them by the police. “Molotov cocktails” (fire-bombs) are old hat; the new fashion is for “poopootovs” — containers of human or animal excrement that are thrown at the security forces. Nobody knows when it will all end, but most people fear it will end badly.
So another chain restaurant is “preparing” to bite the dust. Ignite Restaurant Group, which operates the Joe’s Crab Shack chain with 113 locations and the Brick House Tavern chain with 25 locations, and used to operate the Romano’s Macaroni Grill chain with 150 locations until it sold it in 2015, is preparing to file for bankruptcy, “people familiar with the matter” told Bloomberg.
180 years ago today, everyone panicked. On May 10, 1837, New York banks finally realized that the easy money they were lending was unsustainable, and demanded payment in “specie,” or hard money like gold and silver coin. They had previously been accepting paper currency that for every $5 was backed by only $1 in silver or gold.
Things culminated to that point after years of borrowing the paper currency to expand west, buy land, and build infrastructure. As silver came in from Mexico, banks lent out five times the amount of their deposits–fractional reserve banking.
As I’ve said here:
“If his webbot was unable to detect that Trump, just like Killary Rotten Clinton, is a Rothschild puppet, then it is (almost) completely worthless in predicting anything.”
H/t reader squodgy.
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The closure of thousands of retail chain stores last year and this year, with many more to come – from big anchor tenants such as Macy’s to smaller stores such as Payless Shoes – and the bankruptcies and debt restructurings ricocheting through the industry are having an impact on retail malls. And mall investors – that may include your retirement account – are getting crushed.
The commercial real estate industry has been claiming that these shuttered retail spaces are being converted into restaurants or fitness centers or smaller shops or whatever. And zombie malls are leasing out their parking lots to car dealers to store their excess new vehicle inventory, and that everything is going to be fine.
Two months ago, when quoting the CEO of cell phone insurer Assurant, who appeared on Bloomberg TV to discuss business trends, one of his quotes caught our attention: “the reality is, half of Americans can’t afford to write a $500 check,” Colberg said. We decided to look into the CEO’s claim about the woeful state of US finances. What we found is that according to a recent Bankrate survey of 1,000 adults, 57% of Americans don’t have enough cash to cover a mere $500 unexpected expense. Turns out the CEO was right. And while that may appear dire, it is a slight improvement from 2016, when 63% of U.S. residents said they wouldn’t be able to handle such an expense.