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Analyzing the Three Best Small-Cap Stocks to Buy Now

The three best small-cap stocks to buy now include the most extensive digital learning platform in the world, an international shipping and logistics company…

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The three best small-cap stocks to buy now include the most extensive digital learning platform in the world, an international shipping and logistics company and a corporate partner of Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT).

Small-cap stocks are companies with a market capitalization between $300 million and $2 billion. Historically, small-cap stocks have outperformed their larger rivals, since young companies usually are in their peak growth stage.

Picking the right stock can result in triple-digit-percentage returns. Investing in the right small-cap company can be the equivalent of buying Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) in the early 2000s or Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) in the late 1990s.

However, small-cap companies vary widely, from hotshot technology startups to long-standing industrial manufacturers. Small-cap companies also carry greater risk than mid and large-cap companies. One reason is that many small-cap stocks are still relatively unproven. As a result, we have identified the top three small-cap stocks to buy now to aid you in your investment decision.

3 Best Small-Cap Stocks to Buy Now: #3

Global Ship Lease Inc. (NYSE: GSL)

Global Ship Lease Inc. (NYSE: GSL), founded in 2007, is a British multinational shipping and logistics corporation headquartered in London. The company has a market capitalization of $924 million.

Global Ship Lease does not move any products or cargo. Instead, the company purchases and then leases container ships to major freight corporations such as Denmark’s Maersk, France’s CMA CGM and Hong Kong’s OOCL.

The global supply chain crisis has been a boon to GSL’s business by fueling demand for container ships. The company has seen its revenue surge by 36.3% over the past three years. GSL purchased an additional 23 new vessels in 2021, on top of the 42 ships the company previously owned. Most nations around the world have begun returning to normal as COVID-19 continues its gradual decline. However, the supply chain crisis is far from over, with most analysts and economists predicting a global disruption until at least 2023.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is only expected to add to the supply chain disruption. Before the war, Ukraine accounted for 12% of the world’s wheat supply, exporting 4.5 million tonnes of agricultural produce monthly. Ukraine’s location in central Eurasia has disrupted multiple industries, from oil to automotive parts, as companies are forced to shift supply routes to avoid the conflict.

Ocean shipping accounts for 90% of global trade, and disruptions in the global supply chain have only increased demand for container vessels. As a result, GSL is projected to see its revenue jump by 75.6% in Q2 2022 and 32.4% over the entire year. The company has an excellent Stock Rover growth store rating of 95/100.

GSL has seen its share price surge by 36.3% over the trailing 12 months. The stock price’s performance is shown below, alongside a 50-day moving average to illustrate change better.

Chart provided by Stock Rover.

Furthermore, GSL’s leasing business model protects investors from current market volatility. The average outstanding GSL lease is for 2.4 years, ensuring stable cash flows for the foreseeable future. The consistent revenue streams also allow the company to pay dividends despite the uncertainty. GSL’s annual dividend payout ratio of 15.5% makes it worthwhile for dividend investors.

GSL is a uniquely attractive investment. The stock possesses immense growth potential for ambitious investors while simultaneously offering safety and stability for risk-averse individuals.

A discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis using Stock Rover values the stock at $36.50, 57.7% higher than its latest closing price of $23.15, earning GSL a “STRONG BUY” recommendation from Stock Rover and a place among our three best small-cap stocks to buy now.

3 Best Small-Cap Stocks to Buy Now: #2

Coursera Inc (NYSE: COUR)

Coursera Inc (NYSE: COUR), founded in 2012, is an international online education platform. The company is headquartered in Mountain View, California. Coursera has developed into the largest digital learning platform in the world with a market cap of $2.3 billion and registered users across 190 countries.

Ever-rising costs in higher education have sparked a renaissance in the education industry with the emergence of digital learning. Online classes permit students to learn whenever, however and at a lower price than traditional face-to-face education. Access to classes about machine learning, mathematics or photography is no longer restricted to attendees of elite universities. Students can be single parents or business executives.

The demand for digital education was evident even before COVID-19. From 2008-09 to 2018-19, students taking at least one online course grew by 151.2%. Industry growth is far from over. The online education market is projected to surge to $585.5 billion by 2027 from $269.9 billion in 2021, equaling a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.8%.

There are no other companies better positioned to capitalize on the rise of digital learning than the industry leader. Coursera’s  4,300+ courses provide it with a larger addressable market than most universities.

The company also possesses multiple avenues for expansion. An intriguing opportunity is formal degrees, the direct competitor to universities and a possible solution to rising education costs. The emergence of technology boot camps has proven the willingness of prominent corporations such as Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and Accenture (NYSE: ACN) to hire graduates from non-traditional degree-granting institutions. Coursera already offers more than 30 certificates and 20 degree-granting courses, providing the company with a significant foothold for further expansion.

COUR’s potential is evident in its financials. The company is forecast to see its revenue jump by 30.8% in 2022 and 24.6% in 2023.

Similar to nearly all other tech stocks, Coursera has encountered a slide in recent months. The company has seen its stock drop by 57.3% over the past year. COUR’s share price change is graphed below, along with a 50-day moving average.

Chart provided by Stock Rover.

COUR’s reduction is not in sync with the company’s underlying intrinsic value. The company’s stock price has fallen due to an overall decline in the technology industry. The NASDAQ has declined by 25.28% over the past six months. However, Coursera’s internal figures regarding revenue and users have all reached record highs. The company’s sales increased by 36.4% in 2021 and is projected to continue that growth. Despite COUR’s share price reduction, the company has improved its standing as one of the most attractive growth investments available.

A discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis, using Stock Rover, values the stock at $33.36, 105.6% higher than its latest closing price of $16.23, earning COUR a “STRONG BUY” recommendation from Stock Rover and a place among our three best small-cap stocks to buy now.

3 Best Small-Cap Stocks to Buy Now: #1

Perion Network Ltd (NASDAQ: PERI)

Perion Network Ltd (NASDAQ: PERI) is a digital advertising and search solutions company based in Holon, Israel. Perion, founded in 1999, has risen to a market cap of $897 million.

The rise of the internet has granted companies the ability to tailor and target their advertisements to specific audiences. However, once an audience is identified, implementing the advertising campaign is challenging. Search engine optimization (SEO) and monetization are murky subjects for many businesses, including for the largest corporations in the world. 57% of North American enterprises lack any SEO strategy.

Perion’s unique marketing approach involves not only funneling users to clients’ sites but also engaging consumers. Perion’s strategy, known as “Capture and Convince,” has been shown to engage consumers for up to six minutes by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. For comparison, a user’s average time on a website is only 45 seconds.

Perion Network also possesses a unique relationship with Microsoft. Perion’s products and services are integrated with Bing, allowing it to better identify and target an advertiser’s intended audience. Perion’s seamless fusion of AI and Bing has attracted dozens of Fortune 500 companies. The company’s client roster includes Honda (NYSE: HMC), Nike (NYSE: NKE) and Dell (NYSE: DELL), among others. Perion’s profit-sharing partnership with Microsoft has directly contributed to the company expanding to 34 countries and generating $800 million in revenue over the last four years.

Perion Network has seen its sales grow, on average, by 27.8% over the last three years. Despite being founded 20-plus years ago, the company still has a long runway to grow. Perion is projected to increase its revenue by 31.6% in 2022 and 16.4% in 2023.

The company’s performance has resulted in PERI being one of the few technology stocks to remain green over the last year, climbing by 27.0%. PERI’s movement is displayed below, alongside a 50-day moving average.

Chart provided by Stock Rover.

PERI is as close as possible to a no-brainer investment. Global ad search spending is forecasted to jump from $163 billion in 2021 to $222 billion by 2024, a CAGR of 10.9%. As a result, Perion possesses near-perfect Stock Rover growth and sentiment scores, 98/100 and 97/100, respectively.

A discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis, using Stock Rover, values the stock at $31.40, 51.0% higher than its latest closing price of $20.79, earning PERI a “STRONG BUY” recommendation from Stock Rover and a place among our three best small-cap stocks to buy now.

Capison Pang is an editorial intern who writes for www.stockinvestor.com and www.dividendinvestor.com.

The post Analyzing the Three Best Small-Cap Stocks to Buy Now appeared first on Stock Investor.

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Economics

Asia businesses struggle to offset losses from increased B2B bad debt, Atradius survey reveals

Asia businesses struggle to offset losses from increased B2B bad debt, Atradius survey reveals
PR Newswire
AMSTERDAM, June 28, 2022

Alarming 60% increase in business-to-business (B2B) write-offs expected to pose a severe threat to liquidity of comp…

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Asia businesses struggle to offset losses from increased B2B bad debt, Atradius survey reveals

PR Newswire

Alarming 60% increase in business-to-business (B2B) write-offs expected to pose a severe threat to liquidity of companies in Asia.

AMSTERDAM, June 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Chasing down unpaid B2B trade debt has become a major headache for Asian companies trading on domestic and export markets. They are facing sharply increased costs to manage customer credit risk in-house and thus protect cash flow from disruption caused by the current challenging economic and trading environment.

The problem becomes even more serious with long-term unpaid B2B trade debt (more than 90 days) that is written off as uncollectable despite several attempts to receive payment. In this situation businesses struggle to find additional sales, a measure that could help to offset their losses and thus avoid putting liquidity under pressure and a company's entire future at risk.

Severe warning signs of a mounting strain on business liquidity are evident in the staggering 60% increase in business-to-business (B2B) bad debts that could not be collected, compared to our survey in 2021. This is the major concern spelled out by businesses polled in seven markets in Asia (China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam) and in the United Arab Emirates for the 2022 edition of the Atradius Payment Practices Barometer Survey for Asia.

Taiwan sounded the highest alarm, with a bad debt write-offs figure nearly three times higher than found in our past survey of the market -- now at 8% of the total value of B2B invoices. Businesses in Hong Kong and Singapore also said they were taking a serious hit from increased write-offs, both seeing an average 50% increase. Another country suffering was Indonesia, with a reported 40% increase in write-offs. Vietnam was included in the survey for the first time and companies there said liquidity was being dented both by write-offs (at 6% of the total value of B2B invoices) and unpaid B2B trade debt, which was affecting around half of the B2B trade value.

A further worry for companies in the current challenging economic and trading circumstances is the difficulty of recovering profits when they are experiencing a high impact from write offs. The Atradius survey in Asia reveals that 20% more companies than in the previous year reported an increased willingness to extend credit to B2B customers. This is a signal that current market conditions are very competitive and that businesses struggle to get the additional sales revenue that would make good the losses from write-offs. The survey also found that a serious concern for companies in the months ahead is the ability to keep pace with demand (33%) as well as resilience of demand from B2B customers (25%).

All this has sparked increased awareness among most businesses polled about the importance of strategic credit risk management in B2B trade, with one in two companies across the markets polled expressing interest in insuring B2B trade receivables to mitigate the impact of customer credit risk on the business.

Andreas Tesch, Chief Market Officer of Atradius, commented: "The outlook for growth in Asia remains relatively robust at around 5% in both this year and 2023. But many of the region's businesses operate across the world in the current deeply unsettled period, where the ongoing impact of the pandemic and geopolitical upheaval has meant a downward revision of the outlook for global growth to just above 3%. Companies in Asia are feeling the pinch from this widespread disruption in the global trading arena. Facing the increase in bad debt write-offs can be a warning sign of a business environment under financial stress. This certainly explains why the need for strong strategic credit management was seen to be a crucial theme throughout our survey across the region's major economies."

Roeland Punt, Atradius Regional Sales Director for Asia, added: "Given the ongoing uncertainty in the market, we don't expect the bad debts trend to recover quickly. The anxiety about the longer time it takes business to collect overdue payments from B2B customers remains acute. The credit management processes of companies will be put to the test, and those businesses which have a flexible and holistic approach to the issue will be better well placed to navigate the troubled waters that may lie ahead."

The Atradius Payment Practices Barometer for Asia Pacific - June 2022 edition can be downloaded from the Atradius website at Atradius Group website (Publications section). It further provides in depth analysis of how businesses in key markets in Asia Pacific manage payment default risks related to selling on credit to B2B customers. Topics covered include: payment terms, the time it takes to collect invoices, managing payment delays, the impact of payment delays on business, and expected business trends.

About Atradius: Atradius is a global provider of credit insurance, surety and collection services, with a strategic presence in over 50 countries. The credit insurance, bond and collection products offered by Atradius protect companies around the world against the default risks associated with selling goods and services on credit. Atradius is a member of Grupo Catalana Occidente (GCO.MC), one of the largest insurers in Spain and one of the largest credit insurers in the world. You can find more information online at https://group.atradius.com.

For further information: 
Atradius Group Website
www.atradius.com.hk

Connect with Atradius on Social Media: 
Twitter
LinkedIn
YouTube

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SOURCE Atradius N.V.

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Economics

Winners and losers of this volatile housing market

Any market that pushes some businesses to the brink of insolvency also will create opportunities for others. Through numerous interviews with industry…

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The last two years have been good to Christian Dicker. 

Like many loan officers, Dicker was working nights and weekends, banging out refinancings and purchase mortgages at record-low rates for clients. It didn’t matter where he was — getting dinner with his family at a fancy restaurant or out on the lake on a boat, Dicker always had his phone on his hands to make sure he didn’t miss any of his clients’ emails or calls. About 40% of his business came from refis in the summer of 2021 even when his focus was on purchase mortgages his entire career. 

But the boom times are over, and he knows it.

One of Dicker’s clients this past weekend backed out of a $295,000 houmese purchase in Michigan this past weekend. That sort of thing was virtually unheard of a year ago, when rates were about 3%. 

“After hearing their monthly mortgage payment would be around $2,000 a month, my client backed out of the offer the next day,” said Dicker, a senior loan officer at Motto Mortgage. “Less than a year ago, my client could’ve bought the home with a monthly mortgage payment of $1,700.”

The rising rate environment has thinned Dicker’s pipeline, culling refis almost entirely. And he’s far from alone. Market conditions have forced countless LOs, including Dicker, to find creative solutions to lock down home purchases for clients whose purchasing power has diminished greatly in the past six months. Origination volume will continue its steady, significant decline, meaning smaller paychecks for LOs and their lenders. All while their prospective borrowers continually are priced out — meaning many will indefinitely postpone or give up the search for a new home entirely.

The sudden spike in interest rates – which rose to a high of more than 6% in mid-June before falling to the 5.75% range a week later – has proven a shock to the system for the mortgage industry. Lenders staffed up during the pandemic to take advantage of those low rates, and now find themselves hugely overstaffed as business falls dramatically. For Dicker and the industry at large, the future is increasingly uncertain and the overall outlook can feel like a losing proposition.

“There really are hardly any winners in the mortgage industry,” said Joe Garrett, founder of banking and mortgage banking consulting firm Garrett, Mcauley & Co. “The winners in terms of mortgage companies are the ones who have a lot of servicing because the value has gone up as rates have gone up. Outside of the mortgage business, the winners are homeowners who refinanced.” 

The Mortgage Bankers Association projects that of $2.4 trillion in originations this year, just $730 billion will be from refis. Compared with 2021, origination volume is expected to drop 40% from last year’s $4 trillion origination volume. Less business for lenders and real estate brokerages, in return, is hurting title companies, tech vendors, appraisers and mortgage insurance firms. 

But any market that pushes some businesses to the brink of insolvency also will create opportunities for others. Through numerous interviews with industry players, HousingWire assessed the rapidly changing housing market to determine who remains vulnerable to the higher-rate environment, and who’s primed to capitalize in the months ahead. 

The culling

“You’re going to start to see the housing market price a lot of people out, which means there’s going to be fewer loans out there to be done, which means you’re going to probably see a lot of people starting to exit,” said Coley Carden, vice president of residential lending at Winchester Co-Operative Bank

Banks, including Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase, which  own and hold portfolios of mortgage backed securities (MBS), as well as nonbank lenders, have borne the brunt of rising interest rates thus far. Both depositories have instituted large-scale layoffs at their mortgage divisions, and Wells Fargo has indicated it plans to pull back on its mortgage business.

Nonbank lenders, including Pennymac, Mr. Cooper, loanDepot, Guaranteed Rate, Fairway Independent Mortgage, Interfirst Mortgage Co., Movement Mortgage, New Rez/Caliber, First Guaranty Mortgage Corporation and Better.com, all have conducted at least one round of workforce reductions this year, and further staff eliminations are expected to continue as volume falls. More than 10,000 industry jobs likely have already been shed during the past year, analysts told HousingWire. 

While industry observers say originators are in a better position now than during the financial crisis in 2008, largely as a result of  the refi boom over the past two years, analysts including Argus Research’s Kevin Heal, expect gain-on-sale margins to decline in coming quarters due to volatility and lenders selling loans in the secondary market with lower gains, or at a loss. 

“With today’s rising interest rates, combined with inflation, prospective buyers have seen their buying power reduced greatly,” said Sean Dobson, chief executive officer at Amherst Holdings. “This will likely cause some, who may have been ready to purchase otherwise, to take a pause.”

Brokerages prepare for leaner times

Reduced buying power means fewer closed deals for real estate brokerages, whose agents used to receive love letters from home shoppers desperate to win bidding wars.

However, real estate brokerages aren’t immune from the current market environment. Because their agents are typically 1099 contractors, they are thought to be more insulated than mortgage lenders, whose employees generally receive W2s.

In early June, luxury-focused Side, which has raised more than $200 million at a valuation of $2.5 billion, laid off 40 workers, or about 10% of its staff

“In our efforts to meet demand, we grew the team faster than we could train, support and develop everyone to meet the demands of changing roles and processes,” founder and CEO Guy Gal said in a written statement. “Considering this paired with the macroeconomic trends shaping the real estate market, we decided to slow down and get better organized so that we can speed up again.”

Tech-fueled Redfin laid off 470 employees, or about 8% of its workforce, saying housing demand fell short of expectations in May. But the brokerage is unusual in that it has salaried agents and a business model that is stretched thin during housing market downturns. Compass, which similarly has a tech bend and is also unprofitable, eliminated about 450 positions, roughly 10% of the brokerage’s employees. Compass also announced it would halt any merger and acquisition activity for the rest of the year.

Other top brokerage leaders were quick to say such troubles didn’t necessarily mean stronger headwinds for real estate brokerages.

“You have to be an ant putting away crumbs when the weather is good to have enough food when the weather is bad,” Frederick Peters, CEO of Coldwell Banker Warburg Peters, told RealTrends. “Compass never did that.”

Still, many large brokerages are taking a hard look at their physical footprints, vendor relationships and other potential means of trimming the fat as volume drops.

Demand falls for homebuilders

Fewer buyers in the market also means homebuilders are enticing shoppers with incentives, which negatively affects margins. 

“Things like buying down a customer’s rate, or offering buyers free upgrades to their house and lowering lot premium don’t really count as cutting prices, it counts as giving them away stuff for free,” said Carl Reichardt, a homebuilding analyst at BTIG

Despite the negative effect on builders’ bottom line, such incentives still aren’t luring buyers. A combination of higher home prices, rising interest rates, consumer concerns about the future of the real estate market and the lack of new home inventory has resulted in a decline in sales and traffic, according to Reichardt.

More than half of the 86 homebuilders surveyed by the BTIG/HomeSphere State of the Industry Report reported a year-over-year decrease in sales, marking the largest share of builders to experience an annual decline in sales in more than four years. Only 20% reported year-over-year traffic growth, the lowest level since April 2020, at the start of the pandemic.

Landlords hold the cards

The phrase “cash is king” has perhaps never been more apropos – home prices remain high, and rising rates put mortgage seekers at a disadvantage.

Even if mortgage rates are hovering in the 6% range, homes are still going to sell, loan officers said. Though not necessarily to buyers with financing. Homebuyers who offer cash were four times as likely to win a bidding war as those who didn’t in 2021, according to data from Redfin. 

The median existing housing price surged 14.8% from a year ago to an all-time high of more than $407,000 in May, exceeding the $400,000 level for the first time, a report from the National Association of Realtors showed. 

Motto Mortgage’s Dicker recalls providing loans in the mid- 3% level in October. “Not even a year ago rates nearly doubled to just above 6%. You can’t get something of a newer quality and bigger size compared to last year,” he said. 

All-cash sales made up 25% of transactions in May, with 16% coming from individual investors or second-home buyers taking advantage of the rising demand for renting, according to the NAR.

“More people are renting, and the resulting rent price escalation may spur more institutional investors to buy single-family homes and turn them into rental properties,” said Leslie Rouda Smith, president at NAR. 

Amherst Holdings, which acquired more than 46,600 rental homes across the country with an estimated value of more than $7.6 billion, sees potential for more business in a downmarket for the mortgage industry. The spike in borrowing costs means consumers will find themselves unable to purchase the same home that they might have been able to afford a year ago. 

“If demand for household buyers of properties cools off, we may see more opportunities for companies in the leasing space to supply single-family rentals to those who have been priced out of the homebuying market,” said Amherst’s Dobson. 

“It seems desirable properties whether it be a new single-family home that has all the bells and whistles or if it’s an apartment for rent they are renting up at higher prices and they’re also renting faster,” added Aaron Sklar, partner at Kiser Group.

Rents for apartments in professionally managed properties were up 12% nationally in the first quarter of 2022 from a year earlier, with increases in several metro areas exceeding 20%, according to a report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. 

Rent for single-family homes rose even faster than those for apartments, pushed up by demand for more space among households working remotely, the report said. Single-family rents nationally rose 14% in March 2022, marking the 12th straight month of record-high growth, according to CoreLogic data.

“It’s definitely a landlord’s market,” said Kiser Group’s Sklar. “Rents seem to be going up just as high as the interest rates are. I don’t think it’s a win for anyone on the lending side. But I do think that owners of properties, and single-family home operators, they’re the real beneficiaries of higher interest rates.”

The post Winners and losers of this volatile housing market appeared first on HousingWire.

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Economics

Victor Davis Hanson: America Is More Fragile Than The Left Understands

Victor Davis Hanson: America Is More Fragile Than The Left Understands

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via AmGreatness.com,

"There is a…

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Victor Davis Hanson: America Is More Fragile Than The Left Understands

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via AmGreatness.com,

"There is a great deal of ruin in a nation."

- Adam Smith

The Left has been tempting fate since January 2021 - applying its nihilist medicine to America on the premise that such a rich patient can ride out any toxic shock.

Our elites assume that all our nation’s past violent protests, all its would-be revolutions, all its cultural upheavals, all its institutionalized lawlessness were predicated on one central truth—America’s central core is so strong, so rich, and so resilient that it can withstand almost any assault. 

So, we can afford 120 days in 2020 of mass rioting, $2 billion in damage, some 35 killed, and 1,500 police injured. 

We can easily survive an Afghanistan, and our utter and complete military humiliation. There was no problem in abandoning some $70-80 billion in military loot to terrorists. Who cares that we tossed off a billion-dollar new embassy, and jettisoned a $300-million refitted air base, as long as our pride flags were waving in Kabul?

Certainly, we can afford to restructure all our universities, eliminate free expression and speech, and institute Maoist cultural revolutionary fervor in our revered institutions of higher learning—once the world’s greatest levers of scientific advancement and technological progress. 

We can jettison merit in every endeavor, from banning the world’s great books to grading math tests to running chemistry experiments. And still, a resilient America won’t notice.

We assumed that our foundational documents—the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution—our natural bounty in North America, our cherished rule of law, our legal immigration traditions that drew in the most audacious and hardworking on the planet, and our guarantees of personal freedom and liberty led to such staggering wealth and affluence that nothing much that this mediocre generation could do would ever endanger our resilience.

But such inheritances are not written in stone. America, as the world’s only successful multiracial democratic republic, was always fragile. It was and is always one generation away from disappearing—should any cohort become so foolish as to mock its past, dismantle its institutions, revert to tribalism, redistribute rather than create wealth, and consume rather than invest. 

We are that generation. And we have an accounting with nature’s limitations, given there is always a corrective, not a nice one, but remediation nonetheless for every excess. 

Our major cities are no longer safe. Somehow, the Left has nearly wrecked San Francisco in less than a decade. A once beautiful and vibrant city is lawless, dirty, toxic, often boarded up, and losing population. It has turned into a medieval keep of well-protected knights in secure fiefs while everyone else is engaged in a bellum omnium contra omnes.

We know it is so because California public officials talk of anything and everything—Roe v. Wade, transitions to electric cars, hundreds of millions of dollars in COVID-19 relief for illegal aliens—to mask their utter impotence to address feces in the street, the random assaults on the vulnerable, and the inability to park a car and return to it intact.

Ditto the Dodge City downtowns of Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Baltimore, Washington, and a host of others. In just four or five years, they have given up on fully funding the police, aggressive prosecutors indicting the violent, and ubiquitous civil servants ensuring the streets are free of trash, vermin, flotsam, jetsam, and human excrement. 

There are natural reactions to such excess. The most terrifying is that our once-great cities, especially their downtowns, will simply shrink into something like ghost towns—our versions of an out-West Bodie, or an abandoned Roman city in the sand like Leptis Magna, or a Chernobyl. 

But the culprit will not be a played-out mine, or encroaching desert, or a nuclear meltdown, but the progressive leadership of a worn-out, bankrupt people who no longer possess the confidence to keep their urban civilization safe and viable. And so, they either fled, or joined the mob, or locked themselves up in fortified citadels, both in fear to go out and terrified of losing what they owned. 

We are seeing that deterioration already in our major cities. Stores are boarded up. Women cease to walk alone after sunset. Police officers walking the beat are now rare. Hate crimes, smash-and-grab robberies, and carjackings go unpunished. Streets are filthy and littered. Commerce and human interaction cease at dusk, as if in expectation that zombies will emerge to control the streets. Criminals when arrested are not always identified—the media censoring names and descriptions on their own selective theories of social justice.

But again, the culprit is not the COVID plague or want of money. It is us, we who turned over our cities to the incompetent, the selfish, the timid, and the violent. 

There is again an antidote. But doubling the police force, bringing back broken-windows policing, electing tough prosecutors, moving the homeless from the downtown into hospitals and supervised shelters beyond the suburbs, arresting, convicting, and incarcerating the guilty—all that seems well beyond this generation’s capacity. 

Would not such efforts be unfair to the mere rock-thrower? Who says the fentanyl user has no right to defecate on the street? Would not our jails become overcrowded? Would the incarcerated be unduly overrepresented by this or that group?

Joe Biden took a strong economy—albeit one that after three serial spendthrift presidencies faced huge national debt and a rendezvous with fiscal sobriety—and has utterly ruined it. 

He discouraged labor participation with federal checks. He ensured that his minions on the politicized Federal Reserve Board would keep interest rates artificially low. Biden inflated the money supply while debasing the value of the currency. He brought back mindless regulation and put ideological commissars in place to ensure the corporations, banks, and Wall Street would be woke, allowing ideology to warp ancient economic laws that kept prices stable, supply and demand in balance, and incentives to work and profit. 

Many thought Biden would have needed at least four or five years to wreck such a strong economy with such nihilism rather than a mere 16 months.

Yet nature is about to step in with a recession and perhaps even a depression to correct the Biden madness. If interest rates rise, capital dries up, businesses close, employers cut back, consumers no longer have access to easy money, and the nation becomes inert, then the country will be worse off, spend less—and that too will be a brutal solution of sorts to Biden’s hyperinflation and stagflation.

Still, it is hard to see how anyone in the government might prefer the proper and necessary medicine at this late hour. An updated Simpson-Bowles plan still could address long-term insolvency. Meaningless regulations could be pruned back. The tax code could be radically altered and simplified to encourage investment rather than consumption. Entitlements could be calibrated by incentives to become productive rather than to remain inert. All of that might return us to a sound currency, a strong GDP, long-term financial solvency, and general prosperity for all. But are not such medicines perceived as worse than the disease?

There is an answer to the open border, when upwards of 4 million illegal aliens will flow into the United States in a mere two years, for the most part without audits, English, capital, income, and vaccinations—and with no idea how to house, feed, or provide health care for millions without background checks.

At this late date, the corrections of stopping catch and release, ending amnesties, hiring more border patrol officers and immigration judges, or building more detention centers are too little too late.

Eventually, Americans will become acculturated to large enclaves of endemic poverty, as millions with no familiarity with the United States are neither assimilated nor integrated. 

The border will then disappear, and northern Mexico and the southern United States will become indistinguishable, as millions simply drift back and forth in the manner of an ancient Gaul or Germania. Large areas of Texas, Arizona, and California are already returning to such pre-state status.

Or the alternate corrective will be the completion of a massive wall from the Pacific to the Gulf, with strict audits of all would-be immigrants, immediate deportations for lawbreakers, and legal only immigration that is measured, diverse, and meritocratic.

We are reaching the inflection point quickly and will either experience the absolute destruction of the border or a radical backlash, given that the current mess is unsustainable. Either a nation with borders survives or a tribal and nomadic region supplants it.

If America chooses to shut down refineries, put our rich oil and natural gas fields off-limits, cancel pipelines, and demonize the fossil fuel industry, then, of course, prices for carbon fuels will explode. 

The Biden Administration talks nonsensically about Teslas, batteries, and electric replacements. But it is not greenlighting mining for the critical minerals needed for batteries. It is not encouraging nuclear power plants to provide enough power for a clean fleet of 200 million electric cars. There is no Marshall Plan to wean America off mostly non-polluting natural gas and gasoline onto electricity-hungry engines.

Instead, Biden begs the Saudis, the Russians, the Venezuelans, and even the Iranians to pump the fuel he will not. He seeks to drain the Strategic Petroleum Reserve that can supply only a fraction of the oil America gulps daily. He defines his own pre-midterm, self-created mess as a national emergency to tap a reserve he could never fill or refill.

So, what is the natural corrective to unaffordable fuel? 

A likely Biden recession or depression, in which the middle classes simply do not enjoy jobs that pay enough to afford $6-9-a-gallon gas. And so, they will not drive. Vacations, optional shopping trips, and visits to friends—all that and more will taper off. Gas will stabilize at near-European levels, and the people, as planned, will be rerouted into dirty and unsafe subways and mass transit. 

Biden will be happy. But America won’t be the same mobile country. 

America’s bounty was predicated on each generation following the prompt of the prior, modulating when change was necessary, but not daring to tamper with the foundational principles and values that explained our singular wealth, power, and leisure. 

This generation in its arrogance tested fate. It felt itself smarter and morally superior to its betters of the past. It lost that wager and now we the public are paying for its foolishness. To destroy America as we have always known it, there was far less necessary to ruin than our elite believed.

Like a stunned adolescent whose reckless incompetence totaled the family car, the Left seems shocked that America proved so fragile after all.

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/27/2022 - 16:20

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