An Honest Assessment Of Main St (Or, The US Economy’s Very Sick & In Deep Trouble Right Now)

SD Outlook: The US economy is very sick right now, and if the Deep State distracts the mainstream with crashing “markets”, it’s about to get even worse…

Yesterday I drove three hours to get to the nearest Goodwill Outlet so my wife, my daughter and I could dig through “the bins”.

Don’t judge.

I did it for research.

For those who don’t know, Goodwill is a type of national, non-profit (I’m pretty sure they all are) thrift store, and in a few select cities in the United States, there are these certain types of Goodwill stores called “Goodwill Outlet”.

Yes, in the same sense that you can buy mis-sewn button-up shirts or last year’s fashion flop from the big-name apparel retailers at the “outlet malls”, Goodwill also has an outlet store for their crap that doesn’t sell.

People call it “the bins” because, well, all the crap for sale there is dumped in these huge, blue hard-plastic bins.

To give you an idea of how large the bins are, each bin is slightly larger than a pool table, and there must be 80 bins in the store that customers can dig through looking for deals.

What kind of a deal can be had at an outlet store for thrift shops?

Well, any deal you’d like, provided you pay $1.59 per pound for whatever you find, or $.59 per pound for books.

The commoditization of junk at its finest, ladies and gentlemen.

Yes, Americans are paying by-the-pound to pick through garbage.

And I’m not kidding when I say pick through garbage.

You see, for some reason people think they are doing good by donating their old, stained & crusty underwear, or their wool sweater from the 1980’s that smells like mothballs and is unintentionally covered with what is presumably cat hair.

Anyway, enough of the crash course, here are my observations on the economy.

THE DRIVE

It was roughly a three hour drive to a major city on major interstates and major highways.

There were also a few sections with highway construction and each direction of the interstate was funneled down into one single lane.

Now, ‘Ol Half Dollar has driven all over the United States, alone or with others, since he’s been 16 years-old, suffice to say he understands the interstate highway system very well.

What struck me as curious is that I did not see many out-of-state license plates on the road.

Where were the out-of-state cars?

You would think people would be travelling to-n-fro for vacations, family visits, or whatever, but this was not the case.

The better question is, what does the lack of out-of-state plates mean?

I think it means that people are doing less and less vacationing, traveling or visiting, which would require travelling across state lines, which means that people are not able to afford to travel right now, especially considering we should be in the prime summer driving season.

THE PEOPLE OF THE BINS

The behavior of grown adults at the bins is amazing.

Think Black Friday at Wal Mart, only more tense and what I can only describe as utter-desperation.

It seems the majority of people go to the bins to purchase crap-by-the-pound to resell on places like eBay and Amazon.

Yes, all those fancy Amazon Prime Members buying stuff “fulfilled by Amazon” are really buying garbage from Goodwill.

That “new with tags” fitted Nike tee-shirt I happened to find was balled-up and wedged between some mud-crusted jeans and a winter jacket with what was assumed to be vomit stains, although at the time I was unwilling to do the smell test to confirm my suspicion.

The adults, customers & staff alike don’t really like kids at the bins, only for reasons you might not be thinking.

You see, it’s not that the kids act-up like, well, kids.

It is the adults who are loud and generally causing a ruckus.

They are loud. obnoxious, they cuss, and kids get knocked over because grown adults digging through the bins are oblivious to their surroundings as they hone in like a laser on the items they want to grab, so said adults are generally unaware of bumping into other people standing beside them, be them children, adults, or otherwise.

In other words, children get in the way of adults throwing themselves and their thrift shop finds around.

Now, since a bin is like the size of a pool table, whenever they bring out freshly stocked bins, people wait around the bins much like people gather around the pallet waiting for the workers at Walmart to uncover that Thanksgiving Day 8:00 p.m. “in-stores only” $199 laptop bundle, so there could be 3 or 4 grown adults on each side of the bin, and when the race to the bottom of the bin is on, if two or more people ever grab the same item, at that point it becomes a “survival of the fittest” free-for-all and the complete stranger who is stronger and can therefore rip the item out of the other complete stranger’s grip, wins!

Seriously.

This happens every time a new bin is brought out.

And they bring ’em out in threes.

It’s even worse at the bins that hold nothing but books.

There you have people all decked-out in their reselling uniforms, which generally includes a fanny pack, leather gloves, a smartphone strapped to the wrist, and a bar-code scanner to instantly check prices on Amazon & eBay to find out whether than can make $1.00 profit on the book in-hand or not.

The same book, oddly enough, that I sneezed-on, some ten seconds prior, but let’s just keep that between you and me!

What is my point about the behavior at the bins?

People are desperate for anything of value, even if it is a race to the bottom for a dollar skimmed here and a dollar skimmed there.

The competition is plentiful and ferocious, and that dynamic will only increase from here on out, in my opinion.

THE ITEMS IN THE BINS

Having spent much time in my life both giving things away and getting things for free, I kind of have a sense of how Americans go through the crap they own.

It used to go like this: Average Deplorable buys a crappy product, and then a new-and-improved crappy product comes out, so Average Deplorable will sell, donate, or simply throw-away the initial crappy product because even though it still is wonderfully crappy, well, it just doesn’t have the same features as the new-and-improved one, and we just can’t let Mr Jones see us with the crappy, older thing.

That is how it used to go.

Nowadays, it seems Americans have pretty much given away everything crappy that they own because in my estimation, 95% of the stuff in the bins was pure garbage, with the exception of the book bins.

Why is this important, and what does it have to do with the economy?

There seems to be less “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” available in the Land of the Free.

It’s now pretty much only “one man’s trash” with very slim pickings for “another man’s treasure” strewn in.

This means for those at the lowest rungs of society, those who gladly accept that trash, are out-of-luck because there is now so much competition that’s now paying for junk, and overall, there’s less junk to be had.

This is further evidenced by the now multiple crappy pick-up trucks I see circling my neighborhood on “trash day” looking for treasures discarded at the curb.

What is my point about the crap that Americans own and the crap that finds its way into the bins?

I think Average Deplorable already has the “latest & greatest” of pretty much everything that he or she wants, so they won’t be upgrading to the latest and greatest TVs, clothes, knick-knaks, and everything else any time soon, and probably not at all.

Is a wave of 65-inch ultra-high definition flat-panel television buying coming?

I don’t think so, and besides, who sees that good anyway, or who has a room large enough to put it in?

Is a wave of one-step-above-Sears apparrel buying coming?

I don’t think so because Average Deplorable already has way more clothes than he or she needs anyway.

Is a wave of buying cheap Chinese trinkets coming?

I don’t think so because when you’re already nickel-n-dimed to American-style poverty, there are no additional nickels or dimes for cheap Chinese trinkets.

In other words, I think that retail sales are about to plummet.

ROAD FOOD

We grabbed Taco Bell, to-go, for the drive back.

I know, steering with your knee at 70 mph through a construction zone while applying hot sauce to a Chalupa is not the easiest thing to do, but I never decide where to go, I only adapt to what I’m told, so hot sauce and shredded lettuce falling into my lap it was.

Why am I mentioning Taco Bell?

For two reasons: First of all, it was dirt cheap.

And when I say dirt cheap, I really do mean dirt cheap.

We all got full and bloated, and it all cost less than $11 to do so.

Seriously.

That’s three people eating for less than $11.

Here’s my point: I’m not sure Taco Bell actually serves food?

Additionally, the people inside of the Taco Bell seemed to be in a weird mental state which could only be described as the type of activity inside the brain that takes place as a person turns from being a human into a zombie.

I’m not kidding.

What are they putting in that “food”?

Meh.

More importantly, why am I bringing this up?

Well, I’m catching a cold right now, and when people eat stuff like that, with no real nutritional value other than calories, eating like this does not make for a very healthy population, much less with strong defenses for fighting off infections, and we’ve known poor diet has done that for decades, but it’s seems we are now at the peak of poor diet, sort-of like how the number of cigarette smokers peaked and has been on the decline ever since, so too we seem to be at a peak with the quality of food we eat, as in the peak of eating the worst quality foods, and it will matter.

How will this peak in eating crappy fast food matter for the economy?

Because quality food is expensive.

And I get it: Tomatoes and strawberries at the grocery store are relatively cheap, but I would argue the quality in even that “fresh produce” is not even there, especially when said tomatoes or strawberries are picked way before they’ve had a chance to vine-ripen, and are instead picked devoid of critical nutrients and trucked across the country.

Living in general, which if you’re like me includes eating, is about to get a whole lot more expensive.

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS

The American economy, that is, Main Street, is very sick right now.

There are barely any “small businesses” around.

Most of the small businesses I saw along the drive were closed down, so this whole birth-death-model in the jobs report is a crock of crap.

People are desperate for any income they can get, so if that means grabbing a pair of American Eagle booty shorts from a sixty-something woman’s hand at the Goodwill Outlet, then so be it because not only is every penny of income needed, but every penny of current income is simply not enough to get by on.

I also ate at a Wendy’s once last week.

It is the second time I have eaten at this particular Wendy’s with the same scatological result.

My point?

Businesses are cutting corners everywhere they can, and in the case of this particular Wendy’s, it is obvious they are not changing out their fryer oil as they should, and while you may be thinking “it’s just fryer oil, so by the time it is heated again any bacteria would have been killed”, the food at that Wendy’s still acts as Liquid Plumber for the intestines even if the bacteria from the dirty fryer oil does get killed upon reheating it.

But I digress.

People are not travelling.

In a normal, healthy economy, driving through a construction zone on a Sunday on a major interstate in peak summer driving season would result in traffic slowing down significantly with likely back-ups from time to time where the interstate is reduced to one lane, but the lack of out-of-state license plates and the ease of the drive leads me to think people just aren’t out traveling like they used to.

I could go on, but I think I’ll stop there.

Why am I bringing all of this up right now?

Well, I needed to zoom-out from the dominate news from this weekend.

Whatever happened to that sick, evil pedophile in that jail cell is a victory for the Deep State.

If there is one single person in this world who could be protected more than any other, it would have been him.

But he wasn’t, so it makes you wonder…

…ah, nevermind.

Dead Men (assuming he’s dead) don’t talk, so I had to take my mind off of yet another win for the Deep State.

Smart investors can get free gold by choosing to stack silver over gold right now:

The move lower in the gold-to-silver ratio is barely getting started, and I personally will stack 100% silver until the ratio gets below 75, at which point I will begin to diversify my humble stack with some gold.

I seriously doubt the cartel wants to paint a bull-wedge on silver’s daily chart:

Between gold’s break-out above $1500 and silver’s golden cross, however, the cartel doesn’t have a whole lot of options right now.

I’m content with gold consolidating at $1500 this week:

Consolidation here would build some near-term support for the yellow metal, and, if gold consolidates yet silver moves higher?

That would be super bullish because it would how the chart watcher that silver is confirming gold’s move above $1500.

Palladium continues to consolidate above $1400:

Palladium has been waiting for the other precious metals and for the commodities in general to confirm palladium’s move higher, and I think that will in-fact be the case.

Platinum is looking like a wonderful opportunity to deeper-pocketed investors:

The opportunity with platinum gets even better the more gold moves to the upside with platinum yet to make even an initial run.

I think copper is in the process of carving out a bottom here:

The fundamental outlook for copper is bullish, despite the ugliness of copper’s daily chart.

Crude oil has been generally banging around $50 and $60 since the rally at the beginning of the year:

I’m looking for crude oil to break-out above $60 very soon.

The VIX is looking like it wants to spike:

If we start getting VIX spikes again this week, then the metals might not spend the week consolidating, but instead make another surge higher.

For the chartists out there, the stock market is clinging on to the support of its 50-day:

With the Epstein complication for the Deep State, we may get accelerated plans to bring the stock market down.

Yes, I do think pain in the “markets” will be timed to the 2020 election, but if the Deep State needs to distract from this Epstein SNAFU, bringing the stock market down now would only ensure even more economic misery and financial ruin to even more people in general, and Americans specifically.

Another reason gold & silver could make another move higher this week depends if yields keep plunging:

Recall that in the beginning of the year, there was still talk about the potential for rate hikes, but after coming down all year, and after really starting to plunge since August, gold & silver have some additional pricing-in to do, in my opinion.

If the Deep State needs to speed-up the stock market decline, they may also need to speed-up the dollar decline:

A plunging dollar will also help take the attention off of the Deep State and off of Jeffrey Epstein.

They could find other ways of distracting, but bringing the dollar down would certainly do it.

What’s the bottom line as we find ourselves here this beautiful Monday in mid-August?

In general, I’m looking for gold to consolidate with silver to begin a move higher.

If the Deep State decides to distract from Epstein by way of the “markets”?

Then I think we could be in for a wild ride this week in all of the markets.

You see, false flags can be picked-apart by the alt-media in 48-hours.

But many people believe the “markets” are free from manipulation.

So Deep State could bring them down, and who would know?

The US economy is very sick right now, just look around.

I saw it in many ways on Sunday, more than I shared.

Americans have already been living on the edge.

Now, however, they’re falling over the edge.

What is coming is not going to be pretty.

And I keep saying sooner than later.

But with the whole Epstein thing?

Deep State needs to distract.

So it’s much sooner now.

Gold, silver & skills.

But In that order?

In any order.

One can.

Yes.

Stack accordingly…

– Half Dollar


 

About the Author

U.S. Army Iraq War Combat Veteran Paul “Half Dollar” Eberhart has an AS in Information Systems and Security from Western Technical College and a BA in Spanish from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Paul dived into gold & silver in 2009 as a natural progression from the prepper community. He is self-studied in the field of economics, an active amateur trader, and a Silver Bug at heart.

Paul’s free book Gold & Silver 2.0: Tales from the Crypto can be found in the usual places like Amazon, Apple iBooks & Google Play, or online at PaulEberhart.com. Paul’s Twitter is @Paul_Eberhart.

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