Double dip really means depression

credit market debt percent us debt 1915 2002

price wage deflation

One of the fundamental problems is that the central government, the central bank, and the commercial banking sector are the three essential components to “managing” an economy. The first two inherently have to manage for the long-term and in the interest of stability. The third is a shareholder driven, profit maximization, quarterly return oriented, private enterprise that MUST be regulated to ensure that its essential role in the overall health and management of an economy is also fulfilled. The banks are “partners” in economic management.

The deregulation and inclusion of high risk speculative investment banking within these organizations, and not as discrete, arms length, subsidiaries, compromised the public responsibility that banks have, and put the public at risk. As a result, private risk was transferred to public debt in order to save the global economy.

One wonders why governments around the world could not see this fundamental problem as it was unfolding over decades. There has been a lot of of speculation on that question.

The G-20 document does reflect a desire to return to “appropriate” banking regulation. Hopefully that will help, but that the world trying to swallow this enormous hangover (overhang) is the crisis du jour. Indeed, with all the reckless spending by government bureaucracies the world over, so called advanced economies are about to experience monetary upheaval such as hyperinflation and/or deflation.

What Makes Deflation Likely Today?
Bob Prechter, Deflation Survival Guide

Following the Great Depression, the Fed and the U.S. government embarked on a program…both of increasing the creation of new money and credit and of fostering the confidence of lenders and borrowers so as to facilitate the expansion of credit. These policies both accommodated and encouraged the expansionary trend of the ’Teens and 1920s, which ended in bust, and the far larger expansionary trend that began in 1932 and which has accelerated over the past half-century. Other governments and central banks have followed similar policies. The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and similar institutions, funded mostly by the U.S. taxpayer, have extended immense credit around the globe.

Their policies have supported nearly continuous worldwide inflation, particularly over the past thirty years. As a result, the global financial system is gorged with non-self-liquidating credit. Conventional economists excuse and praise this system under the erroneous belief that expanding money and credit promotes economic growth, which is terribly false. It appears to do so for a while, but in the long run, the swollen mass of debt collapses of its own weight, which is deflation, and destroys the economy. A devastated economy, moreover, encourages radical politics, which is even worse.

The value of credit that has been extended worldwide is unprecedented. Worse, most of this debt is the non-self-liquidating type. Much of it comprises loans to governments, investment loans for buying stock and real estate, and loans for everyday consumer items and services, none of which has any production tied to it. Even a lot of corporate debt is non-self-liquidating, since so much of corporate activity these days is related to finance rather than production., May 26: “US money supply plunges at 1930s pace… The M3 money supply in the U.S. is contracting at an accelerating rate that now matches the average decline seen from 1929 to 1933, despite near zero interest rates and the biggest fiscal blitz in history.”

Deflation is suddenly in the news again. It’s a good moment to catch up on a few definitions, as well as strategies on how to beat this rare economic condition.

credit market debt percent us debt 1915 2002

According to Investing Meetup, here are 10 reasons to think that a there will be a recession [third cycle in depression] soon:

  1. The ECRI weekly leading indicators have dropped to minus 7.7%. There has been no case since its existence when a recession didn’t take place if this indicator fell to minus 10%. This doesn’t mean that it has to fall that low, a recession is still very likely if it even gets close. Falling below zero and staying in that range for any period of time also signals a recession. In the 2007, the recession began three months after this indicator turned negative.
  2. Global shipping has experienced a collapse in the last six weeks. The Baltic Dry Shipping Index has fallen from 4209 on May 26th to 2018 in early July, a drop of over 50%. The BDI is now as low as it was in May 2009. Its high in 2008 was 11,793.
  3. Interest rates on U.S. treasuries have been falling rapidly and this indicates a weakening economy. The yield on the two-year note even hit an all-time low recently, dropping below its rate during the Credit Crisis in late 2008 when the global economy was in freefall.
  4. The stock market is turning down and the Dow Industrials and S&P 500 have both given bear market trading signals. The small cap Russell 2000 has already experienced a bear market loss. The stock market peaked only two months before the 2007 recession began.
  5. U.S. Consumer confidence took a nosedive in June falling 10 points to 52.9. A reading of 90 or above indicates a healthy confidence level. Confidence hasn’t gotten anywhere near that level during the recovery. Prior to the Credit Crisis, consumer spending was responsible for 72% of GDP. The consumer is the 800 pound gorilla that determines the fate of the economy.
  6. The jobs picture hasn’t improved and isn’t likely to get better for a long time. Weekly unemployment claims were 454,00 this week. Anything around or above 400,000 indicates a recessionary environment. Claims have not even gotten that low at any point during the recovery. Surveys indicate that job offers for 2010 graduating students are few and far between. Long-term unemployment is far higher than it has been in any post-War recession.
  7. Housing, the epicenter of the Credit Crisis, is getting worse. New Homes sales fell to an all-time low recently.
  8. Government stimulus is declining and turning into retrenchment globally. The 2009 U.S. stimulus package’s impact on the economy peaked this spring and spending will run out by the end of this year. It is highly unlikely a new stimulus package will appear in 2011. Government spending didn’t just stimulate the recovery, government spending WAS the recovery. Without it, there will be a sharp drop in economic activity.
  9. Taxes are increasing globally and higher taxes are a drag on economic growth. In the U.S., the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of the year. In the UK, capital gains are going up from 18% to 28% and the VAT is being raised from 17.5% to 20.0%. In Japan, there is a proposal to double the national sales tax from 5% to 10%. In the EU, countries are trying to outdo each other in imposing new and higher taxes.
  10. The eurozone debt crisis is not yet resolved, but has been temporarily postponed. Greece could still default and problems are likely to continue in Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Italy. These can continue to negatively impact the global economy for a long time to come.

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