Art Bell was joined by Wall St. insider Michael J. Panzner, who discussed the dire economic circumstances in America and around the globe. According to Panzner, the U.S. is not in a typical recession. Instead, he believes the crisis more closely resembles a depression, in which we can expect an extended period of economic contraction accompanied by deflation.
Panzner said the largest players in our banking system are insolvent. He explained their current situation was brought on by a combination of factors, including exposure to trillions of dollars of mortgage backed securities, derivatives and default swaps, and suggested that bailouts and stimulus packages will only postpone the inevitable, not resolve the nation's financial troubles. "What got us here, decades of excesses, decades of imbalances, you can't just stop them by saying, 'OK, we're determined and we're going to think positive,'" Panzner remarked.
What does Panzner see on the horizon then? Our currency will continue to be devalued by the ongoing "printing press" policies of our government, he said, and we can expect an inflationary environment. Real estate prices will fall even further, perhaps not reaching final lows until 2012 at the earliest. There will be multiple "lurches down" in the stock market, Panzner continued, noting the Dow might fall by as much as 75% from its current level. The retail sector could also be wiped out as the "religion of consumerism seems to be dying," he said. At the extreme, Panzner foresees the U.S. breaking apart, conflict with Mexico, and perhaps another world war.
Parts of the country will become "suburban wastelands" due to water and energy issues, Panzner further speculated. He exhorted listeners to adjust their attitudes and lifestyles accordingly, and to accept the reality that the current economic downturn is not short term -- it's the new norm. He recommended people pay down debt and live within their means, and advised investors to look at precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum.