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November 29, 2022

Be Prepared if the Recovery Fails, Part II

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for angry bear.jpgIn the first part of our two part interview with Financial Armageddon’s Michael Panzner, we dealt with the ugly part, but what about the bright side? I guess one wouldn’t expect a doom and gloomer to have a silver lining tucked into his rain cloud but trust me, it’s there and it’s not nearly as bad as it seems.
In case you mi=”http://www.goingconcern.com/2009/09/do-it-like-an-eagle-scout-be-p.php”>it may be found here.
Of all of the things we got out of speaking with Panzner, two key points resonated above all the fear and panic and fright: A) though it’s bad and will likely be bad for quite some time, what results once we flush out the garbage will leave us better off than we were before the shit hit the fan and B) it’s actually really not as bad as it appears.
Huh?
Continued, after the jump


Panzner insists that while China may have the upper hand at the moment, they are also of the pack mentality; meaning that they may not be entirely equipped to cut and run like investors in the West and instead loyal to an ideal that dictates following the pack is sometimes the safest move one can make. What the hell does that mean?
A little bit of Panzner wisdom:

China and other emerging economies have for years used various methods to “protect” domestic industries, including managing foreign exchange rates and creating lots of hoops for outsiders to jump through to do business in domestic markets. So it is probably fair to say that the notion of widespread protectionism is not something new. But with economic circumstances becoming decidedly more hostile, it shouldn’t be surprising to see more and more countries adopting strategies that give local concerns an advantage over outside firms. Not all of them will look like traditional trade barriers, however.

Protectionism is a threat but not all that unlikely of a scenario. Some – Panzner among them – argue that bailouts could be translated as protectionism, and it is no small wonder that sovereign nations would adopt such a strategy in times of economic turmoil. But China doesn’t appear to be prepared to pull the trigger on the economic WMDs, at least not now.
“In the short run, I don’t see the Chinese resorting to the ‘nuclear option,’ where they decide that the strategic advantages of dumping the dollar outweigh the damage they might do to themselves,” he says, reminding us that screwing the US means screwing themselves, something Asian investors tend to find distasteful, to say the least.
As we pointed out in the first part of this Panzner brain-picking, the best strategy to adopt is one of preparedness in the face of uncertainty. This means you, little accountants.
“If the events of the past few years have not convinced people to ask plenty of questions and challenge any sort of assumptions, I don’t know what will,” he tells us. “I would suggest that everybody — including accountants and CFOs — take the Boy Scout motto to heart in their personal and professional lives. That is, hope for the best, expect the worst, and be prepared for whatever happens.”
The “expect the worst” isn’t pretty, at least from Panzner’s qualified perspective, and whether or not you agree with his assessment (as yours truly does), it can’t hurt to be reasonable about the long hard slog called “recovery” ahead of us. “In the end, wishful thinking won’t make it go away, but having a firm grip on reality might make the experience a lot less painful. Ultimately, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but I personally think that point could be up to a decade away.”
His is but one opinion of many and as always, it is all in perspective. Regardless of what you believe lies ahead, it can’t hurt to consider the many possibilities that we find in our particular fork in the road. With unemployment climbing and the fate of the dollar in the hands of financial crack addicts at the press, it makes sense that he and others would believe in a future that is only slightly less rosy than the one painted by the powers that be in hopes that we’ll hit the mall and kick consumer spending in the ass once again.
The days of big screen TVs and SUVs are gone but your future remains. It’s all in how you handle that.
We are not here because our central bank did or didn’t do anything, Panzner reminds us, we are here because there has been a crisis of faith in our money, in markets to work their regulatory magic naturally, and in the traditional weapons of monetary policy and politics to scare events into compliance along the way. Does that mean it’s all hopeless and we should just curl up in a ball and cry?
Well no. Didn’t you read the damn interview?
Thanks go out to MP for letting us pick his brain, and we’d love to revisit again 6 months down the road if everything hasn’t fallen apart by then. Just a reminder, you can find him blogging over at Financial Armageddon and When Giants Fall, as well as Huffington Post, Seeking Alpha, and pretty much all over the Internet. Love ya, MP, even though you make me cry sometimes!

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for angry bear.jpgIn the first part of our two part interview with Financial Armageddon’s Michael Panzner, we dealt with the ugly part, but what about the bright side? I guess one wouldn’t expect a doom and gloomer to have a silver lining tucked into his rain cloud but trust me, it’s there and it’s not nearly as bad as it seems.
In case you missed part 1, it may be found here.
Of all of the things we got out of speaking with Panzner, two key points resonated above all the fear and panic and fright: A) though it’s bad and will likely be bad for quite some time, what results once we flush out the garbage will leave us better off than we were before the shit hit the fan and B) it’s actually really not as bad as it appears.
Huh?
Continued, after the jump


Panzner insists that while China may have the upper hand at the moment, they are also of the pack mentality; meaning that they may not be entirely equipped to cut and run like investors in the West and instead loyal to an ideal that dictates following the pack is sometimes the safest move one can make. What the hell does that mean?
A little bit of Panzner wisdom:

China and other emerging economies have for years used various methods to “protect” domestic industries, including managing foreign exchange rates and creating lots of hoops for outsiders to jump through to do business in domestic markets. So it is probably fair to say that the notion of widespread protectionism is not something new. But with economic circumstances becoming decidedly more hostile, it shouldn’t be surprising to see more and more countries adopting strategies that give local concerns an advantage over outside firms. Not all of them will look like traditional trade barriers, however.

Protectionism is a threat but not all that unlikely of a scenario. Some – Panzner among them – argue that bailouts could be translated as protectionism, and it is no small wonder that sovereign nations would adopt such a strategy in times of economic turmoil. But China doesn’t appear to be prepared to pull the trigger on the economic WMDs, at least not now.
“In the short run, I don’t see the Chinese resorting to the ‘nuclear option,’ where they decide that the strategic advantages of dumping the dollar outweigh the damage they might do to themselves,” he says, reminding us that screwing the US means screwing themselves, something Asian investors tend to find distasteful, to say the least.
As we pointed out in the first part of this Panzner brain-picking, the best strategy to adopt is one of preparedness in the face of uncertainty. This means you, little accountants.
“If the events of the past few years have not convinced people to ask plenty of questions and challenge any sort of assumptions, I don’t know what will,” he tells us. “I would suggest that everybody — including accountants and CFOs — take the Boy Scout motto to heart in their personal and professional lives. That is, hope for the best, expect the worst, and be prepared for whatever happens.”
The “expect the worst” isn’t pretty, at least from Panzner’s qualified perspective, and whether or not you agree with his assessment (as yours truly does), it can’t hurt to be reasonable about the long hard slog called “recovery” ahead of us. “In the end, wishful thinking won’t make it go away, but having a firm grip on reality might make the experience a lot less painful. Ultimately, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but I personally think that point could be up to a decade away.”
His is but one opinion of many and as always, it is all in perspective. Regardless of what you believe lies ahead, it can’t hurt to consider the many possibilities that we find in our particular fork in the road. With unemployment climbing and the fate of the dollar in the hands of financial crack addicts at the press, it makes sense that he and others would believe in a future that is only slightly less rosy than the one painted by the powers that be in hopes that we’ll hit the mall and kick consumer spending in the ass once again.
The days of big screen TVs and SUVs are gone but your future remains. It’s all in how you handle that.
We are not here because our central bank did or didn’t do anything, Panzner reminds us, we are here because there has been a crisis of faith in our money, in markets to work their regulatory magic naturally, and in the traditional weapons of monetary policy and politics to scare events into compliance along the way. Does that mean it’s all hopeless and we should just curl up in a ball and cry?
Well no. Didn’t you read the damn interview?
Thanks go out to MP for letting us pick his brain, and we’d love to revisit again 6 months down the road if everything hasn’t fallen apart by then. Just a reminder, you can find him blogging over at Financial Armageddon and When Giants Fall, as well as Huffington Post, Seeking Alpha, and pretty much all over the Internet. Love ya, MP, even though you make me cry sometimes!

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Are Today’s Accountants Already Occupying Wall Street?

Caleb and I had a talk last night and it made me think about this whole Occupy Wall Street thing. More importantly, it made me think about what I am and am not doing to support it. I haven’t been to a rally, even to take pictures (last time I tried to do that, I was the only one out in front of the Federal Reserve Board at 6 in the morning except for the lone Fed cop patrolling the perimeter).

I get that people are pissed off. I’m pissed off too. I’ve been pissed off, don’t tell me about being pissed off. I was lugging around aFed sign made on top of “Ron Paul ’08” acrylic three years ago, you don’t have to tell me about being pissed off. (Here I am in 2009 on SF Citizen in a “Bernanke 00%” t-shirt at an anti-Iraq war rally)

And I get that for some people, all there is to do is go downtown with a drum and some poorly-written signs on cardboard ripped from your mom’s Costco packages in the recycle bin. That’s totally fine, everyone has their own way of sticking it to the man.

For a lot of Going Concern readers, sticking it to the man means showing up every day in business casual pretending to give a fuck about COSO but actually knowing that it’s all a lie. They work you to the bone until you leave or submit and get promoted to manager. Partner if you’re lucky. Run on that hamster wheel, here have this bonus, keep going and one day you can beat your own subordinates into submission. Go, go, go… Many of you get that this is bullshit but keep showing up every day anyway, and to me, you are your own special kind of protester. Same as last year, motherfucker, it’s the ultimate form of rebellion.

Too much?


Point being, everyone has their own way of screwing the establishment. Francine does it railing against the Big 4. Bill Sheridan and Tom Hood do it at the MACPA with professionalism. Tom Selling does it by riling up fellow academics. Professor Dave Albrecht does it by being seen in public canoodling with known incendiaries like yours truly.

I do it by ripping on the IASB as often as I am allowed to, infiltrating the Hill to sniff out what’s the latest in CPA lobbying efforts and getting in as many F bombs as I can on the dry subject of accounting. That’s all I can do. I can’t abandon my day job to hang out in Manhattan eating vegan paninis. I can make and distribute offensive Bernanke fridge magnets.

I completely understand why people are attracted to Occupy Wall Street; the part I’m struggling with is why so many of the 99 Percenters seem obsessed with this thing called “fairness” that does not, in fact, exist. Is it fair that any of us have to drag our asses to work every day and do what we do? Is it fair that Becker costs $3,000 and doesn’t pass the CPA exam for you? Is it fair that many of you are drowning in student loan debt and seemingly forced to get Master’s degrees just to work in your field? Is it fair that Caleb gets listed in all the accounting publications and I’m stuck as the sidekick hack who always manages to piss people off? This world is unfair, sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I have to write about accounting every day of my life, it’s un-fucking-fair, we get it.

In my view (for whatever that is worth, which is probably not more than our company pays me to write this post), the ultimate rebellion is assimilating and infiltrating the establishment to enact real change from the inside. Are partners scared as shit of this website? Yes. If they’re threatening you with termination if you even dare to write us for advice, we’re doing something right. And I didn’t even have to not shave my armpits to accomplish that (but Caleb probably shaved his).

Are any of you going to independently revolutionize the accounting industry? Probably not. But collectively, you have scared the pants off of lazy ass recruiters and partners across this country who thought you didn’t have it in you. They read us because they feel like they have to or else they’ll lose touch with what you guys are thinking, and it scares the living shit out of them. In my mind, that’s a far more effective message to send the The Establishment, whoever the hell they are.

I fully support the fundamental sentiment of Occupy Wall Street but much prefer fulfilling my incendiary duties here trying to get accounting kids riled up and questioning why they put up with the shit they do. Working mothers in public accounting should be allowed to have children. Interns should be allowed to ask questions (even dumb ones). Auditors should be expected to question last year’s logic. It’s not complicated but it’s important work that a lot of you do, and I hope that you get that.

It is not your fault that we’re here. Many of you just followed the rules.

Thanks for letting me be a part of that. Beats standing around with a fucking sign, that’s for sure.

Earlier:
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