Here's Glenn's theory on where the economy is headed in 2015

On Wednesday's Glenn Beck Program, Stu laid out Glenn's theory for where the economy was headed in 2015. A lot of people are excited about declining gas prices, but is there something concerning happening below the surface?

Below is a transcript of this segment

Stu: So, here’s where I attempt to lay out what Glenn was hoping to lay out before he…well, he was laid out. Today, the economy, what can we expect going into 2015? There’s a lot of speculation about how America’s economy is set to perform this year. You’re hearing a lot of optimism about the supposed coming growth boom, and then they’re right. Are they? Is it a lot of wishful thinking?

Well, it’s true that America is inching very slowly forward at the moment. It won’t matter much if the rest of the globe tanks, as many were predicting is going to happen. We have to look ahead. We’ve got to look ahead at what’s to come.

Let’s look back first though to 2008 when the economy came crashing down. What was the root cause? Remember this fancy word? Oh, I missed all the constant conversation about derivatives, didn’t you? Mainly in the form of subprime mortgage loans. The economy was seemingly fine before that hit. Lots of people were getting rich. There were jobs, but there were warning signs—too much borrowing from people who couldn’t afford it.

Politicians didn’t care because they could use that to say Americans were owning homes for the first time. Look how successful we are in Washington. Seven years later, here we go again. Derivatives are back in the news. After the billions in bailouts, all the regulations, banks were supposed to increase transparency and reduce risk. They’ve done the exact opposite.

The top four banks are now holding $217 trillion in derivatives. That’s 93% of the total 233.9 trillion in derivatives held by all banks. In 2008, the number of all derivatives for all banks in the entire country was under $200 trillion. What possible incentive could banks have for taking on more risk?

One reason is because the bigger they get, the more important they get, and the more important they get, the more likely politicians will declare them too big to fail, and then they get all those fancy bailouts. Remember TARP, abandon the free market principles to save the free market system? Citibank seems to have taken this strategy to heart. They’ve gone from $1 trillion in derivatives to 70 trillion, surpassing J.P. Morgan as the top holder.

Pretty risky…or is it? Because jammed in the CRomnibus bill at the last minute was a measure that ensured the big banks would once again receive bailouts, putting taxpayers on the hook for their risky banking adventures again. Guess who helped craft this legislation…Citibank. So, that’s the first thing to watch. I mean, look at this graphic. On the left you see the Citibank ideas. This is what we think the bill should look like, and on the right you see what the bill actually looked like.

Now, you might say hey, wait a minute, the thing in green looks just like the other thing in green, and the thing in yellow looks like the other thing in yellow, and the thing in blue looks like the other thing in blue. The thing in grey looks like the other thing in gray, almost identical, but what you’re missing here is that the one and the two in the real bill are A and B, so there was a big change there. That’s what you elected your representatives for. They changed the one and two to A and B. This is something to watch. The big four banks now are holding 93% of all derivatives and adding more and more risk.

Next, oil…Glenn has said a million times on this program that we can’t sustain oil at $130 or $140 a barrel, but that theory works in the opposite direction as well. Oil has now fallen below $50 a barrel. Many countries have pegged their entire budgets to a much higher price of oil, and so the longer it stays below that number, the longer these countries hemorrhage cash.

So why is that bad for us? Famed investor Jeff Gundlach says…he warned of terrifying consequences. “If oil falls to around $40 a barrel then I think the yield on ten year treasury note is going to 1%. I hope it does not go to $40 because then something is very, very wrong with the world, not just the economy. The geopolitical consequences could be—to put it bluntly—terrifying.”

Somewhere around 15 and 20% of the junk bond market are energy-related, so when you have oil prices staying where they are for several months, which is probably likely because that’s a policy decision that some oil producers have made, some of these companies will start really running into financial troubles.

The counter argument being made is that the troubles will be confined to just the energy sector. It’s only a pocket of the economy, after all, but the problem with that argument is it’s the same freaking argument that was used about subprime mortgage loans. Because so many countries have based economies on higher oil prices, sustained low oil prices will also have a huge negative impact.

Russia is one country under enormous pressure because of this, and look, we know what Vladimir Putin is doing. He’s openly accusing America of gaming the economy to punish Russia. Leaders often start wars when there is pain and tension like this. Now, the probability of Russia starting war certainly with us is low, but I think the risk of Russia going off the reservation is much higher with oil at $55 or $45 or $40 than it was at 95 or 110.

Here’s another thing to consider, since 2007, Texas has created 1.2 million net jobs. The other 49 states have created 700,000 jobs combined. Energy is a huge factor in that growth. If the energy sector plummets, so will Texas. Since the rest of the country isn’t, you know, exactly doing so hot, we’re looking at difficult times if that happens. There’s a good chance that 2015 will be a difficult year for the global economy, and if that happens, America will become the scapegoat. But even more than America, capitalism itself will be put on trial.

Now, we all know capitalism is always on trial, but this will be the boot-on-the-neck attempt to put the final nail in the coffin. So, where does that leave freedom? Where does that leave you and me? It leaves the world in the hands of madmen, and the world begins to look a lot like it did in France this morning.

On Wednesday's TV show, Glenn Beck sat down with radio show host, author, political commentator, and film critic, Michael Medved.

Michael had an interesting prediction for the 2020 election outcome: a brokered convention by the DNC will usher in former First Lady Michelle Obama to run against President Donald Trump.

Watch the video below to hear why he's making this surprising forecast:

Use code BECK to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

On Thursday's "Glenn Beck Radio Program," BlazeTV's White House correspondent Jon Miller described the current situation in Virginia after Gov. Ralph Northam (D) declared a state of emergency and banned people carrying guns at Capitol Square just days before a pro-Second-Amendment rally scheduled on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Jon told Glenn that Gov. Northam and the Virginia Legislature are "trying to deprive the people of their Second Amendment rights" but the citizens of Virginia are "rising up" to defend their constitutional rights.

"I do think this is the flashpoint," Jon said. "They [Virginia lawmakers] are saying, 'You cannot exercise your rights ... and instead of trying to de-escalate the situation, we are putting pressure. We're trying to escalate it and we're trying to enrage the citizenry even more'."

Glenn noted how Gov. Northam initially blamed the threat of violence from Antifa for his decision to ban weapons but quickly changed his narrative to blame "white supremacists" to vilify the people who are standing up for the Second Amendment and the Constitution.

"What he's doing is, he's making all all the law-abiding citizens of Virginia into white supremacists," Glenn said.

"Sadly, that's exactly right," Jon replied. "And I think he knows exactly what he's doing."

Watch the video to catch more of the conversation below:

Use code BECK to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Ryan: Trump Louisiana Finale

Photo by Jim Dale

Part One. Part Two. Part Three.

At the end of Trump rallies, I would throw on my Carhartt jacket, sneak out of the press area, then blend in with everyone as they left, filing out through swinging doors.

Often, someone held the door open for me. Just 30 minutes earlier, the same person had most likely had most likely hissed at me for being a journalist. And now they were Sunday smiles and "Oh, yes, thank you, sir" like some redneck concierge.

People flooded out of the arena with the stupidity of a fire drill mishap, desperate to survive.

The air smacked you as soon as you crossed the threshold, back into Louisiana. And the lawn was a wasteland of camping chairs and coolers and shopping bags and to-go containers and soda cans and articles of clothing and even a few tents.

In Monroe, in the dark, the Trump supporters bobbled over mounds of waste like elephants trying to tiptoe. And the trash was as neutral to them as concrete or grass. They plodded over it because it, an object, had somehow gotten in their way.

It did not matter that they were responsible for this wreckage.Out in the sharp-edged moonlight, rally-goers hooted and yapped and boogied and danced, and the bbq food truck was all smoke and paper plates.

They were even more pumped than they had been before the rally, like 6,000 eight year olds who'd been chugging Mountain Dew for hours. Which made Donald Trump the father, the trooper, God of the Underworld, Mr. Elite, Sheriff on high horse, the AR-15 sticker of the family.

Ritualistic mayhem, all at once. And, there in Louisiana, Trump's supporters had gotten a taste of it. They were all so happy. It bordered on rage.

Still, I could not imagine their view of America. Worse, after a day of strange hostilities, I did not care.

My highest priority, my job as a reporter, was to care. To understand them and the world that they inhabit. But I did not give a damn and I never wanted to come back.

Worst of all, I would be back. In less than a week.

Was this how dogs felt on the 4th of July? Hunched in a corner while everyone else gets drunk and launches wailing light into the sky? configurations of blue and red and white.

It was 10:00 p.m. and we'd been traveling since 11:00 a.m., and we still had 5 hours to go and all I wanted was a home, my home, any home, just not here, in the cold sweat of this nowhere. Grey-mangled sky. No evidence of planes or satellites or any proof of modern-day. Just century-old bridges that trains shuffled over one clack at a time.

And casinos, all spangles and neon like the 1960s in Las Vegas. Kitchy and dumb, too tacky for lighthearted gambling. And only in the nicer cities, like Shreveport, which is not nice at all.

And swamp. Black water that rarely shimmered. Inhabited by gadflies and leeches and not one single fish that was pretty.

Full of alligators, and other killing types. The storks gnawing on frogs, the vultures never hungry. The coyotes with nobody to stop them and so much land to themselves. The roaches in the wild, like tiny wildebeests.

Then, the occasional deer carcass on the side of the road, eyes splayed as if distracted, tongue out, relaxed but empty. The diseased willows like skeletons in hairnets. The owls that never quit staring. A million facets of wilderness that would outlive us all.

Because Nature has poise. It thrives and is original.

Because silence is impossible. Even in an anechoic chamber, perfectly soundproofed, you can hear your own heartbeat, steady as a drum. A never-ending war.

I put "Headache" by Grouper on repeat as we glided west. We were deadlocked to asphalt, rubber over tarface.

And I thought about lines from a Rita Dove poem titled "I have been a stranger in a strange land"

He was off cataloging the universe, probably,
pretending he could organize
what was clearly someone else's chaos.

Wasn't that exactly what I was doing? Looking for an impossible answer, examining every single accident, eager for meaning? telling myself, "If it happens and matters the next year, in America, I want to be there, or to know what it means. I owe it to whoever cares to listen."

Humans are collectors and I had gone overboard.

Because maybe this wasn't even my home. These landmarks, what did they mean? Was I obvious here? When I smiled, did I trick them into believing that I felt some vague sense of approval? Or did my expressions betray me?

Out in all that garbage-streaked emptiness — despite the occasional burst of passing halogen — I couldn't tell if everything we encountered was haunted or just old, derelict, broken, useless. One never-ending landfill.

Around those parts, they'd made everything into junk. Homes. Roads. Glass. Nature. Life itself, they made into junk.

I cringed as we passed yet another deer carcass mounded on the side of the road.

As written in Job 35:11,

Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?

Nobody. Look at nature and you feel something powerful. Look at an animal, in all of its untamable majesty, and you capture a deep love, all swept up in the power of creation. But, here, all I saw were poor creatures who people had slammed into and kept driving. Driving to where? For what reason? What exactly was so important that they left a trail of dead animals behind them?

So I crossed myself dolorously and said an "Our Father" and recited a stanza from Charles Bukowski's "The Laughing Heart"

you can't beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.

Out here, nothing but darkness. Needing some light, by God. Give me something better than a Moon that hides like an underfed coward.

Jade told me about some of the more traumatic things she'd seen while working at the State Fair.

"Bro, they pull roaches out of the iced lemonade jugs and act like nothing happened."

"All right but what about the corn dogs?"

"You do not want to know, little bro."

She looked around in the quiet. "Back in the day, the Louisiana Congress refused to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21," she said. "They didn't want to lose all that drunk gambler money. So the federal government cut off funding to highways."

We glided through moon-pale landscape for an hour before I realized what she had meant. That there weren't any light poles or billboards along the road. Nothing to guide us or distract us. Just us, alone. And it felt like outer space had collapsed, swallowed us like jellybeans.

Like two teenagers playing a prank on the universe.

In the cozy Subaru Crosstrek, in the old wild night, brimming with the uncertainty of life and the nonchalance of failure, we paraded ourselves back to Dallas. Alive in the river silence that follows us everywhere.

New installments come Mondays and Thursdays. Next, the Iowa caucuses. Check out my Twitter. Email me at

The Iowa primary is just around the corner, and concerns of election interference from the last presidential election still loom. Back in 2016, The Associated Press found that a majority of U.S. elections systems still use Windows 7 as an operating system, making them highly susceptible to bugs and errors. And last year, a Mississippi voter tried multiple times to vote for the candidate of his choice, but the system continuously switched his vote to the other candidate. It's pretty clear: America's voting systems desperately need an update.

That's where blockchain voting comes in.

Blockchain voting is a record-keeping system that's 100% verifiable and nearly impossible to hack. Blockchain, the newest innovation in cybersecurity, is set to grow into a $20 billion industry by 2025. Its genius is in its decentralized nature, distributing information throughout a network of computers, requiring would-be hackers to infiltrate a much larger system. Infiltrating multiple access points spread across many computers requires a significant amount of computing power, which often costs more than hackers expect to get in return.

Blockchain voting wouldn't allow for many weak spots. For instance, Voatz, arguably the leading mobile voting platform, requires a person to take a picture of their government-issued ID and a picture of themselves before voting (a feature, of course, not present in vote-by-mail, where the only form of identity verification is a handwritten signature, which is easily forgeable). Voters select their choices and hit submit. They then receive an immediate receipt of their choices via email, another security feature not present in vote-by-mail, or even in-person voting. And because the system operates on blockchain technology, it's nearly impossible to tamper with.

Votes are then tabulated, and the election results are published, providing a paper trail, which is a top priority for elections security experts.

The benefits of blockchain voting can't be dismissed. Folks can cast their vote from the comfort of their homes, offices, etc., vastly increasing the number of people who can participate in the electoral process. Two to three-hour lines at polling places, which often deter voters, would become significantly diminished.

Even outside of the voting increase, the upsides are manifold. Thanks to the photo identification requirements, voter fraud—whether real or merely suspected—would be eliminated. The environment would win, too, since we'd no longer be wasting paper on mail-in ballots. Moreover, the financial burden on election offices would be alleviated, because there's decreased staff time spent on the election, saving the taxpayer money.

From Oregon to West Virginia, elections offices have already implemented blockchain voting, and the results have been highly positive. For example, the city of Denver utilized mobile voting for overseas voters in their 2019 municipal elections. The system was secure and free of technical errors, and participants reported that it was very user-friendly. Utah County used the same system for their 2019 primary and general elections. An independent audit revealed that every vote that was cast on the app was counted and counted correctly. These successful test cases are laying the groundwork for even larger expansions of the program in 2020.

With this vital switch, our elections become significantly more secure, accurate, and efficient. But right now, our election infrastructure is a sitting duck for manipulation. Our current lack of election integrity undermines the results of both local and national elections, fans the flames of partisanship, and zaps voter confidence in the democratic system. While there's never a silver bullet or quick fix to those kinds of things, blockchain voting would push us much closer to a solution than anything else.

Chris Harelson is the Executive Director at Prosperity Council and a Young Voices contributor.