I like to think of myself as an optimistic guy. Not today. Today, I have to come to grips with an ugly truth. And yes, there’s an investment angle in this.
As a nation, we depend on our leaders to guide the country along, hopefully to a better tomorrow. Too bad for our children, then, that Wall Street and Washington are joining forces to loot America to its bare bones rather than build for the future.
Now, I expect some people to argue that “America is the greatest nation on Earth.” And sure, by many standards, that’s still true. But the future is out there, and it ain’t pretty.
I’ll give you just one example:
By next year, China’s Gross Domestic Product, the broadest measure of the economy, will overtake the GDP of the U.S. year.
China! We’re losing to Communist China!
What’s more, within another decade, India will push the U.S. even further down the list, as this chart from Standard Chartered Research shows:
This is happening even though China’s GDP growth is projected to slow down. It’s that just ours will slow down even more.
Truth be told, thanks to the government shutdown, we don’t have the data to accurately forecast U.S. GDP. But using what’s available, the Atlanta Fed forecasts that fourth-quarter GDP in the U.S grew at 2.8%.
Meanwhile, China is growing at around 6.5%.
So, what happened? America stopped investing in roads, bridges, water systems and other infrastructure. We stopped investing in innovation and invention.
Meanwhile, we tax people too much to pay for multiple foreign wars at the same time.
Here’s a quiz for ya: The White House admits that the U.S. is actively involved in SEVEN foreign wars right now. How many can you name? I mean, without clicking through on that link.
Fun fact: Donald Trump didn’t start ANY of them. These are wars that already existed … some of which we’ve been fighting for years!
But sending our brave men and women overseas to fight in wars that Americans know little — and care even less — about is only part of the problem …
We also spend billions and billions of dollars for warplanes that are too expensive to fly into battle and warships that have guns too expensive to fire. Weapons systems that, by the way, even if they worked, are little use in these expensive brush-fire wars Uncle Sam keeps jumping into.
Does our government waste money on other things? Yes! I’m only scraping the tip of the iceberg here. But I think you get the picture.
And we don’t spend money on things we SHOULD fix. Flint, Mich., still has undrinkable water, five years after that crisis started. And you know what? Thousands of American cities and towns have polluted water. Flint isn’t even the worst!
Another fun fact: By 2020, the average American water pipeline will be 45 years old, and some will have been in the ground for as many 150 years.
From water pipes to roads to bridges — our infrastructure is literally falling apart. That’s your investment angle. Through individual stocks or Exchange-Traded Funds.
Two ETFs to consider are the Invesco S&P High Income Infrastructure ETF (NYSE: GHII) and the ProShares DJ Brookfield Global Infrastructure ETF (NYSE: TOLZ). Both pay nice dividends. Dividends are a plus in the kind of bear market we’re in now.
Oh yeah, we’re in a bear market thanks to the same feckless elites who are looting America. I told you about it HERE and HERE and HERE. And research shows dividend-payers and -growers are cushioned against the worst of a bear market’s downside while still offering plenty of upside.
So what are the elites doing about America’s infrastructure crisis? Well, they’re stuffing their pockets with taxpayer money, whether they work on Wall Street or in Washington. They’re building up big cash hoards, probably in preparation for fleeing to offshore bolt-holes for when the manure really hits the fan.
Sure, they’ll say otherwise. I’m just judging them by their actions.
What You Can Do About It
#1. Get involved. Start voting. If the rascals in office are looking out for corporate fat cats, and not for you, then throw them out! If they won’t hold Wall Street accountable, find someone who will.
#2. Work toward your own independence. Americans have grown used to having a government that will bail them out. People from Puerto Rico to Louisiana to California will tell you things are changing. You can’t count on Uncle Sugar anymore.
#3. Invest like your future depends on it. One part of independence is financial independence. Start taking control of your own investments. Do the research. Get ready for a wild ride in the markets.
The future isn’t written in stone. America doesn’t have to hit the rocks. But we need better leaders if we’re going to steer to smoother waters. And when I look at the chuckleheads in power, I just don’t see it yet.
Good luck to us all,