I wrote the first three parts of this article back in September and planned to finish it in early October, but life intervened and truthfully I don’t think I was ready to confront how bad things will likely get as this Fourth Turning moves into the violent, chaotic war stage just over the horizon. The developments in the Middle East, Europe, U.S., China and across the globe in the last months have confirmed my belief war drums are beating louder, global war beckons, and much bloodshed will be the result. Fourth Turnings proceed at their own pace within the 20 to 25 year crisis framework, but there is one guarantee – they never de-intensify as they progress. Just as Winter gets colder, stormier and more bitter as you proceed from December through February, Fourth Turnings get nastier, grimmer, more perilous, with our way of life hanging in the balance.
In Part 1 of this article I discussed the catalyst spark which ignited this Fourth Turning and the seemingly delayed regeneracy. In Part 2 I pondered possible Grey Champion prophet generation leaders who could arise during the regeneracy. In Part 3 I focused on the economic channel of distress which is likely to be the primary driving force in the next phase of this Crisis. In Part 4 I will assess the social and cultural channels of distress dividing the nation, Part 5 the technological, ecological, political, military channels of distress likely to burst forth with the molten ingredients of this Fourth Turning, and finally in Part 6 our rendezvous with destiny, with potential climaxes to this Winter of our discontent.
The road ahead will be distressful for everyone living in the U.S., as we experience the horrors of war, economic collapse, civil chaos, political upheaval, and the tearing of society’s social fabric. The pain and suffering being experienced across the globe today will not bypass the people of the United States. Winter has arrived and lethal storms are gathering in the distance. Don’t think you can escape. You can prepare, but this Crisis will reshape our society for better or worse, and you cannot sidestep the consequences or cruel environment we must survive.
The issue for many insurers is they were encouraged to participate in the exchange in return for a temporary risk sharing program called Risk Corridors. Under this program, all insurers paid into a pot of money and the firms suffering excessive losses were to share the funds based on a formula. However, a budget deal passed late in 2014, the ‘Cromnibus’ Spending Bill, required the program to be budget neutral. The losses far exceeded the pot of money collected by the program. Insurers have only received about $0.13 cents on the dollar of what they would have gotten under an opened-ended program.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has affirmed insurers will get their money. But the question is: where it is going to come from? CMS has $363 million to divvy up while insurers have requested $2.87 billion.
Why are insurers losing so much money? In my original article, I stated the exchange plans are suffering adverse selection due to the perverse regulations which drive up costs – making health coverage a bad deal for all but the sickest enrollees. The only people enrolling are those who are eligible for the most generous subsidies. Consider what Larry Levitt, a health insurance analyst with the Kaiser Family Foundation, told Bloomberg.
One popular delusion that won’t seem to go away is the notion that policy makers can stimulate robust economic growth by setting interest rates artificially low. The general theory is that cheap credit compels individuals and businesses to borrow more and consume more. Before you know it, the good times are here again.
Profits increase. Jobs are created. Wages rise. A new cycle of expansion takes root. These are the supposed benefits to an economy that central bankers can impart with just a little extra liquidity. Unfortunately, this policy antidote doesn’t always work out in practice.
Certainly cheap credit can have a stimulative influence on an economy with moderate debt levels. But once an economy has reached total debt saturation, where new debt fails to produce new growth, the cheap credit trick no longer works to stimulate the economy. In fact, the additional credit, and its counterpart debt, actually strangles future growth.
Present monetary policy has landed the economy at the unfavorable place where more and more digital monetary credits are needed each month just to stand still. After seven years of ZIRP, financial markets have been distorted to the point where a zero bound federal funds rate has become restrictive. At the same time, applications of additional debt only serve to further the economy’s ultimate demise.
Paul Craig Roberts – former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under President Reagan, former editor of the Wall Street Journal, listed by Who’s Who in America as one of the 1,000 most influential political thinkers in the world, PhD economist – wrote an article about the build up of hostilities between the U.S. and Russia titled, simply: “War Is Coming”.
Investment adviser Larry Edelson – who has long studied the “cycles of war” – recently wrote:
This year … we will also be hit by another ramping up of the related war cycles.
All part and parcel of the rising war cycles that I’ve been warning you about, conditions that will not abate until at least the year 2020.
Former Goldman Sachs technical analyst Charles Nenner – who has made some big accurate calls, and counts major hedge funds, banks, brokerage houses, and high net worth individuals as clients – says there will be “a major war”, which will drive the Dow to 5,000.
Race and sexual identity now make up a good portion of all media distractions. According to political activists, “symbols of oppression” now include Halloween costumes, the Confederate flag, and the color of Starbucks coffee cups. So shallow is our collective identity, that this now defines our most passionate debate. While the global economy deteriorates and our government pursues endless conflict across the planet, this is what Americans are most concerned about.
Identity issues make the perfect media story. For the 24-hour TV and internet rage business, these symbolic, but mostly linguistic fights generate strong emotional responses while being non-threatening to advertisers or to the government.
These relatively innocuous symbols have become lightning rods for attention, while real issues go ignored. We wrote in a previous article back in June: “[R]eal problems like mass incarceration, torture, endless war, the end of privacy, and widespread poverty are ignored. This is more than just a corrupt media distracting us with meaningless trivia. Americans literally cannot tell the difference between symbols and reality.”
I have long maintained that these sham fights are a symptom of a society that collectively no longer has any sense of identity. What makes life worth living? Family? That hardly seems true for many Americans. Family cohesion has been disintegrating for some time. A few of us try to define ourselves by hard work and material gain. Maybe that works for some, but how far does that go in an economy with 46 million people on food stamps and a shrinking middle class?
No, declare war on Apps. Specifically, apps that siphon off your location (and often other) data on an unchecked, constant basis once loaded. with many of them making a diligent effort to keep you from stopping them.
Reality is this: “Free” apps aren’t free. The price is that they want to advertise to you. Location-based advertising is more-accurate in terms of value to the advertiser in that it’s more likely to result in a sale. Fine — as long as you’re actively using a given app — that is, as long as it has focus, or is on the display. It’s also fine if it’s something like a fitness tracking app while you are actually performing some activity you’re trying to track (like a run, hike, etc.)
But it’s not ok for an app to keep doing this sort of thing when it doesn’t have focus and is not in some activity you’ve asked for. There are many reasons for this, which I will outline here:
Turkey’s decision to shoot down a Russian warplane was a provocative and portentous act.
That Sukhoi Su-24, which the Turks say intruded into their air space, crashed and burned — in Syria. One of the Russian pilots was executed while parachuting to safety. A Russian rescue helicopter was destroyed by rebels using a U.S. TOW missile. A Russian marine was killed.
“A stab in the back by the accomplices of terrorists,” said Vladimir Putin of the first downing of a Russian warplane by a NATO nation in half a century. Putin has a point, as the Russians are bombing rebels in northwest Syria, some of which are linked to al-Qaida.
As it is impossible to believe Turkish F-16 pilots would fire missiles at a Russian plane without authorization from President Tayyip Recep Erdogan, we must ask: Why did the Turkish autocrat do it?
Is the decline of the West inevitable? Demographics can’t be manipulated like unemployment rates. A big shooting war in the next ten years, killing hundreds of thousands of young men, would seal the West’s fate.
The United Nations projects that over the next 50 years, the population in the industrialized world (US-Europe-Japan) will DECLINE, not expand. The population is suffering from growing old and the youth are so burdened with taxes they are not getting married (marriages off by 50%) and are not having children. The decline in birth rates and the migration of people from the outer regions into the old core is typical.
The UN is now supporting immigration to keep the pension funds alive. They have stated that immigration now “require[s] comprehensive reassessments of many established policies and programmes, including those relating to international migration.”