San Francisco, May, 2012
The Perfect Storm Revisited 2012
by Robert Tillman, Member of Gerbsman Partners Board of Intellectual Capital
The term Perfect Storm refers to a rare combination of circumstances that aggravate a situation drastically. I believe that a number of situations may well come to a head simultaneously by the beginning of 2013.
- The fall of the Euro. Given the recent elections in France, Germany and Greece, the dissolution of the Euro zone is looking far more likely. European voters are consistently rejecting austerity and turning left, but European governments are running out of money to pay what those voters demand. The result is a mess. Read more here.
- A war in the Middle East. The recent formation in Israeli of a strong coalition government under Netanyahu has cleared the way for an attack on Iran. The various Sunni governments, and even Hamas, have signaled their approval of such an attack. It must happen soon or it will be too late. With it will come a major spike in oil prices.
- A slow down in growth and a bursting of the economic bubble in China. This past month China showed a decline in imports. The downfall of Bo Xilai shows the rottenness in the Chinese system. Given the corruption in their system and the opaqueness of their accounting, the Chinese do not themselves understand the financial reality of their situation. See more here.
- The end of the Bush tax cuts beginning 2013, resulting in a large tax increase in the United States. The result will be substantial downward pressure on stock prices. Who would not consider selling stocks when Federal capital gains rates will increase from 15% to 25% and Federal dividend tax rates will increase from 15% to 39.6%. See more they will hurt greatly in the short term.
- The necessary decrease in both the Federal and State budgets. California is in particularly bad shape with a estimated $16 billion shortfall that is almost certainly understated. While such spending reductions are absolutely necessary in the long term, they will hurt greatly in the short term.
- After the November election, the largely liberal press will no longer have an incentive to tell us that the economy is getting better, when the opposite is true. If Obama is elected, they will need to start telling the truth so as to preserve the shreds of their credibility. If Romney is elected, they will have a great incentive to portray the economy as even worse than it is.
Each of these events will be hastened by the others and will also cause major unforeseen consequences. We are living in an incredibly interconnected and interdependent world. We are also living in a world in which governments have no reserves and in which they have already used up the tools that that have to influence events. There will be no TARP III or a larger European Bailout Fund. We are about to enter a very bad period and we are tapped out.
Hold on. It will be a rough ride.
About Gerbsman Partners
Gerbsman Partners focuses on maximizing enterprise value for stakeholders and shareholders in under-performing, under-capitalized and under-valued companies and their Intellectual Property. Since 2001, Gerbsman Partners has been involved in maximizing value for 70 Technology, Life Science and Medical Device companies and their Intellectual Property and has restructured/terminated over $805 million of real estate executory contracts and equipment lease/sub-debt obligations. Since inception, Gerbsman Partners has been involved in over $2.3 billion of financings, restructurings and M&A transactions.
Gerbsman Partners has offices and strategic alliances in Boston, New York, Washington, DC, Alexandria, VA, San Francisco, Orange County, Europe and Israel. For additional information please visit http://gerbsmanpartners.com or Gerbsman Partners blog.