The first thing investors and analysts alike want to know is whether or not the president's jobs bill will work. The answer to that question is "no" - not as it stands, anyway.
The second question is whether or not Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will further extend the central bank to help the economy. Well, I do think the Fed will intervene, but I don't believe for a second that the central bank's intervention will help the U.S. economy.
As a result, we're likely to see stocks enter into a bear market and retest their March 2009 lows.
I know that's a terrifying thought. But to be perfectly honest, there's nothing President Obama or Bernanke can do at this point. If companies don't want to spend the $2 trillion worth of cash they're hoarding, there's very little the government can do to encourage them to loosen their purse-strings.
That said, I want to give you five specific steps to take to protect yourself from the looming bear market, preserve your sanity - and even profit.
But before I get to that, you need to understand the dangers that are fast approaching.
A Roadblock to RecoveryPresident Obama and Chairman Bernanke can toss all the money they want at the economy. But no amount of spending can change the fact that we need the following three things to get our market moving again. They are:
- Sustained demand.
- A solution to the European sovereign debt crisis.
- And a bottom in housing prices.
That's pathetic for a nation that spent more than $1.4 trillion of borrowed money on "stimulus." This lackluster growth is also evidence that the Obama administration's $800 billion stimulus plan - and the Fed's two rounds of quantitative easing - did absolutely nothing to salvage our economy.
Citizens are scared silly. Businesses are uncertain. They're uncertain of regulatory changes, uncertain of taxes, and uncertain about their overall economic environment. So they're doing what rational people do when confronted with the unknown: They're hunkering down.
And with good reason.
The typical U.S. family got poorer during the past 10 years due to a decade-long income decline. Median household income fell to $49,995 last year, and is now 7% below where it was in 2000. The number of people living in poverty has risen to 15.1%, the highest level since the U.S. Census began tracking this information in 1959.
It should also be noted that a large portion of that decline is directly attributable to inflation, which the Fed continues to assert is "transitory."