I’ve been thinking about losses. Actually I’ve been thinking about the weather, the South, tornados, the North, flooding, my little PT Cruiser, the US dollar, and Japan. Losses are when we lose something, or have something taken from us. We expect the status quo to continue; then WHAM... in a matter of seconds, even minutes, or in some cases a few days; our comfort zone has been impacted forever. Something we treasure is gone from us. While losses are generally a part of life, the rate of such occurrences seems to have accelerated of late. Am I the only one to sense this?
You see every time I surf the web, or watch the NEWs, it seems that our world — locally, nationally and internationally — is falling apart. We seemingly have no control over this, but our character is surely being tested. Over the weekend in the deep South, we saw the devastation by a series of tornados. I know this is the tornado season, or rather the time of the year when we traditionally see wind storms in tornado alley, but never in at least a generation have there been the number, the size, and the severity in one day. More than 243 twisters have caused extensive damage from Oklahoma to Virginia since Thursday. A series of tornadoes ripped through 14 states and left at least 45 people dead over the weekend. We can only take some solace in that the deaths were not more prevalent. We also learned of many acts of heroism. Whole communities have been reduced to rubble. Now... we are told how more clusters of storms are predicted for the coming week. This is not the norm.
To our North, neighboring states have been inundated with rain, compounded by the water from the melting snow. Flooding is widespread. What would normally be small streams are now raging torrents that go well beyond their traditional boundaries. Water now covers square miles, and the water damage losses are setting records. This is not the norm.
Last week I said goodbye to my little silver PT Cruiser. Almost two weeks ago I was in an accident near my home. The other driver ran a stop sign and my car was totaled. The loss of that little vehicle hurt, but it did everything it was supposed to do, and literally saved my life. I still look pretty banged up from the airbag(s) impact, and the constraints of the seatbelt, but I am alive. The front end of the car collapsed to the windshield and absorbed much of the impact as was its design. (I am still black and blue, stiff and sore; but emphasize I am still alive.)
I want to thank all the locals who have called me, emailed me, or sent me notes sharing in the personal loss of a faithful and dependable little vehicle that I loved to drive so much. I also want to thank the first responders of the Creston Fire Department, the ambulance drivers, and the Rochelle Hospital Emergency Room staff. I had just taken the car into my dealership to have all the items replaced to insure another 100,000 miles of service — oh well. This experience was clearly not in the norm of things for me.
Losses go beyond what we see on the news, or the internet. There are stealth losses which we may not even notice, but they can impact us just as much as a tornado, a flood, or a car accident over the longer term. Our US dollar continues to hemorrhage against the other currencies of the world. We are told that inflation is under control and not to worry. We are almost past the time for worry and corrective policy shifts. One need only look to what we are paying at the gas pump or at the grocery store to appreciate the losses in purchasing power since the first of the year. The dollar has lost 93% of its purchasing power since the Federal Reserve Banking system came on the scene in the 1913 – 1917 period. These losses continue to the present day.
Such losses here were caused by no act of nature, nor by any accident. They were the direct result of bad policy and the quick fixes by the FED to regulate our economy serving the few with costs to the many. Losses in purchasing power affect us all. No nation in history has been able to monetize its debt (by printing money to cover its debt) without sowing the seeds of its own destruction. The programs of Quantitative Easing (of QE1 and QE2) have about reached their conclusion. They accomplished positive for the American people. Now we are being braced for a QE3 and QE 4. May God have mercy on us.
We are about to face losses which will eclipse the triple WHAMMY now facing Japan. These may not mirror those of the quake, the tsunami, or the nuclear meltdowns; but they will prove to be every bit as costly for us. Will we face them as graciously as the Japanese faced their travails? I doubt it...
I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.
Copyright 2010 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This story was published on April 18, 2011.