It’s the end of the era of cheap credit and taken-for-granted “money”, and it’s the beginning of hard work, sacrifice, thrift, and savings…
People are about to learn what it really means to have a “special occasion”.
There used to be this saying Disney probably paid to have people say, but many moons ago, after some big event, like the Super Bowl, as players were walking off of the field after the big game, a reporter would inevitably ask one of the winners, say, a quarterback, or the person who made the game winning touchdown, or whatever, “Now that you’ve won the Super Bowl, what are you going to do next?”.
“I’m goin’ to Disney!”, was the standard reply.
Indeed, Disney was a big deal.
To many, perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
You see, back in the day, there were a good number of Americans who’d never even left the State where they were born.
Ahh, the wonders of an unbacked, debt-based fiat currency reliant on exponential growth!
Last summer, my family made a quick day trip to Cedar Point, and we didn’t stay in a hotel at all, meaning we left home, went to the amusement park, and drove home the same evening.
Needless to say, that little day trip, including gas, food, tickets, fast passes, etcetera, cost ‘ol Half Dollar over 1000 bucks to have some good old-fashioned American amusement park fun.
In other words, it was already getting kind of expensive, and that’s pre-coronavirus.
Which brings me to my main point: Over the past several decades, we’ve borrowed forward our consumption to make the once-in-a-lifetime event something you do every couple of years, and with access to cheap and easy credit, along with the world reserve currency, we’ve been able to all bid up the costs of these experiences higher and higher.
Exit free-spirited, whimsical experiences.
Today, I’m greeted by a small article in the mainstream media talking about how Disney is re-opening in Shangai, and it’s not so much the re-opening that’s interesting, but rather, it’s just how scaled-back Disney will be.
Anybody who’s been to Disney before will understand just how limited the experience will be, which is kind of the whole point about Disney anyway:
But the limited scope of the reopening in Shanghai underlines the scale of that task: While it welcomed more than 10 million guests in its first year after opening in 2016, the park will now restrict visitor numbers to 20% of daily capacity, or about 16,000 people – far below a level initially requested by the Chinese government.
As well as scrapping parades and fireworks – replacing the latter with an evening light projection show – Disney has shut interactive children’s play areas and indoor live theatre shows.
In a pre-coronavirus environment, you don’t pay 500 bucks a night with no crappy breakfast to stay in a mediocre Disney hotel because it’s a good deal deal.
You pay for the experience, and, the one extra hour of park time, which, coincidentally, many thousands of other people are also paying for when spread out among all of Disney’s hotels.
But I digress.
Some random thoughts on Disney’s reopening:
Disney may be operating at 20% of capacity, but that does not mean Disney’s costs went down 80%.
For example, operating roller coasters consumes a lot of power, even with less riders.
Who wants to go to Disney, but not see the parade, the fireworks, or the indoor shows?
Those are all staples to the experience!
There’s a ton of cool stuff that takes place at Disney indoors, and in enclosed, close-contact types of ways, so what will happen with those cool “4-d” rides, like the Star Wars ride?
There’s a point here: How much more is it gong to cost for a family to go to Disney, and how will the experience be when a family has to give up all of the things that make Disney what it is in the first place?
Finally, what if you planned your trip one year in advance, and, as luck would have it, we’re dealing with Sars-Cov3, and Disney abruptly shuts two days before your arrival?
Here’s the expedited answer to all of those questions: Disney becomes what it was decades ago, which is an expensive, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, only now there’s the added risk of abrupt shutdown, which could put an end to even the best made plans.
I didn’t even get into things like “what happens if I get Quarantined” or “what happens if I get stranded for a couple of days at the airport”.
Obviously, there is much more uncertainty going forward, and increased uncertainty means people will plan more and take less risk, all during economically depressing times when costs are rising and the job market has imploded.
At least there’s one thing that’s still dirt cheap:
Of course, that’s on paper, because in reality a person can get nowhere near that amount of silver for one single ounce of gold.
I do think silver began its move:
If they want to push silver lower, however, that’s fine by me because it affords smart people better opportunities to save, perhaps for those once-in-a-lifetime moments.
Gold’s daily chart looks very impressive:
I’m sure the chartists have a bull-wedge on their charts, too.
Not that I think technicals matter right now, of course.
Palladium has led the way for years, and I think this time, palladium will follow:
Palladium would first need to be seen as a “value” investment to do so, but then again, when the hyperinflation begins in earnest, all bets are off.
If silver breaks-out this week, I’d expect platinum to do the same:
I like silver’s chart better, but platinum’s been above its 50-day moving average for two days in-a-row, so there’s that.
Crude oil’s the big wildard:
If Americans are about to have fewer “experiences” overall, then their fuel consumption will never come back to what it was before.
I’m really interested in seeing what copper does this week in relation to crude:
That is to say, if crude oil turns out to be a dead cat bounce, and begins falling again to, say, the mid-to-high teens, but copper doesn’t drop in price, that would be further evidence the era of inflation has begun.
I’m staring to hear and read people saying the stock market is going to 10,000:
The sad reality is the very same people who say, “don’t fight the Fed”, have no clue that unless the people who say that are on the very deep inside, they will get wiped out.
Here’s another one of the “don’t fight the Fed” trades:
And nothing says “blow-up a trading account” like a short-vol strategy in 2020.
Zero-point-six percent again, that’s what:
If we are ending the era of cheap credit, those “experiences” will have to be earned and saved before they’re enjoyed.
And to think, this year would have been about as good as it gets:
Because even if the dollar “goes up” against others, it’s still all down from here.
Bottom line as we find ourselves here this beautiful Monday in mid-May?
Americans are about to learn a hard lesson in life’s “experiences”.
We’ve had cheap entertainment on cheap credit for decades.
But all of that has come to an abrupt end for most people.
Who will be able to afford Disney going forward?
It will be a once-in-a-lifetime event for most.
Even simple things like ordering pizza?
Indeed, simple things like that too.
Pizza will be for birthdays.
And not for Tuesdays.
Change is coming.
– Half Dollar