Paul Farrell's 7 Reasons Why America Needs A "Good Depression" Now...Or Face A Great Depression Later
Another must read from one of the "less cheerful" people on MarketWatch.
1: Capitalism’s now a lethal soul sickness, needs a reawakening
What’s the real problem? Not the economy, not markets, nor even politics. Yes, our economic pains are real. But they’re just symptoms. Something’s structural wrong. Since 2000 endless bad news: Greed, deceit, stupidity, corruption, unethical behavior, lack of moral conscience.
The real problem’s deep in our character, the “mutant capitalism” Jack Bogle warned of in “The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism.” Sadly, that battle was lost. With it we lost our soul, our moral compass. America’s character is measured by our net worth.
2. We’re already in the early stages of a Great Depression
Comparing today with the Great Depression is common sport. In a Newsweek special “Seeing Shades of the 1930s,” Dan Gross wrote: “Wall Street, after two terms of a business-friendly Republican president, self-immolated on a pyre of greed, incompetence and excessive optimism.” Today’s “new normal” economy means high unemployment for years, inflation driving prices, rising interest rates, more debt, chaos.
We are destroying ourselves from within. Former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker warns that “there are striking similarities between America’s current situation and that of another great power from the past: Rome.” Three reasons “worth remembering: declining moral values and political civility at home, an overconfident and overextended military in foreign lands, and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government.” We are becoming more vulnerable to external enemies.
3. Good Depression exposes our self-destruct bubble-thinking
Before the 2008 crash, “Irrational Exuberance” author Robert Shiller warned in the Atlantic magazine that “bubbles are primarily social phenomena. Until we understand and address the psychology that fuels them, they’re going to keep forming.” Housing inflated 85% in the decade: “Historically unprecedented … no rational basis for it.”
Bubble thinking is an toxic virus that infected everyone. Shiller warns of another coming: “We recently lived through two epidemics of excessive financial optimism … we are close to a third episode.”
4. Good Depression will stir outrage, force real reforms
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Jim Grant, editor of the Interest Rate Observer, wrote: “Why No Outrage? Through history, outrageous financial behavior has been met with outrage. But today Wall Street’s damaging recklessness has been met with near-silence, from a too tolerant populace.” Grant worries that Wall Street will run “itself and the rest of the American financial system right over a cliff.”
But we only went to the edge in 2008. Today, a rebellious “throw the bums out” hostility is blowing a new kind of bubble: Three years ago we did not have Tea Party, union fights, the Arab Spring and Greek austerity riots, all signs of an dark angry future sweeping across America.
5. Good Depression forces Wall Street to think outside the box
In a powerful Bloomberg Markets feature, “No Easy Fix,” we’re told Wall Street’s “profit formula has hit a wall.” Their “money-making machine is broken and efforts to repair it after the biggest losses in history are likely to undermine profits.”
Even Mad Money’s Jim Cramer openly admits hedge fund managers are pocketing megaprofits at capital gains rates while laughing at the stupidity of a broken political system that gives hundreds of billions in tax breaks to the richest, then takes taxes off the table as our middle class is dying under massive unsustainable deficits. Soon angry mobs will “fix” Wall Street.
6. Good Depression will deflate America’s warring soul
The American economy is a “war economy” driven by a egomaniac. I saw it firsthand as a U.S. Marine. Americans love being king of the hill, world’s cop, the global superpower. Why else spend 54% of our tax dollars on a war machine, 47% of the world’s total military budgets.
Why? Our war machine generates such “spectacular profits that many people around the world” are convinced America’s “rich and powerful must be deliberately causing catastrophes so that they can exploit them,” warns Klein in “Shock Doctrine.” No wonder the GOP takes military spending, like tax cuts for the rich, off-the-table: The war industry is a major political donor.
7. Good Depression now … avoids a far bigger depression later
In “The Price of Liberty: Paying for America’s Wars,” Robert Hormats, undersecretary of state and a former Goldman Sachs vice chairman, traces America’s wartime financing from the Revolutionary War to present wars. He warns that today we’re “relying on faith over experience, hoping that sustained growth will erase deficits and that the ballooning costs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will be manageable in the coming decades without difficult reforms.”
Absent a brutal reset, we are on a historically predictable course says Kevin Phillips, Nixon strategist and author of “Wealth & Democracy:” “Most great nations, at the peak of their economic power, become arrogant and wage great world wars at great cost, wasting vast resources, taking on huge debt, and ultimately burning themselves out.” Yes, burned out, unprepared.
So pray for a Good Depression earlier rather than later. Choose now and we can be prepared for whatever comes. Or a Great Depression will hit later, when we’re least prepared, the problems bigger, our faith weaker … don’t raise the debt ceiling.
And the take home message:
Totally predictable: No Black Swans in 2000, 2008 … nor in 2012
Yes, all was predictable: The events of the past few years were well known in advance. In fact, the events of the entire decade were predictable. The rich got richer off the backs of the middle class and the poor. Why? “There’s class warfare all right,” warns Warren Buffett. “But it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
And they are also blind and deaf to the havoc their free-market Reaganomics policies are creating, selfishly undermining America, the world’s greatest economic power.
Lessons learned? Zero. Why? Wall Street, Washington and Corporate America are focused on one narrow-minded short-term strategy: Economic g-r-o-w-t-h, bull markets, megabonuses, tax cuts. In good times they tout “free markets.” But when greed bombs, they throw free-market “principles” under the Reagan Revolution bus and unleash their mercenary lobbyists to go whining to Congress for huge taxpayer bailouts and access at the Fed discount window, to siphon off more taxpayer money. And they’ll do it again soon,
Wall Street and their cronies are doing such a miserable job, America needs a new strategy: First, stop “kicking the can down the road.” Let a good old-fashioned Good Depression do the job that our hapless, happy-talking leaders refuse to do. Take our medicine. Let a new depression clean house and reawaken Americans to core values.
Trust me folks, it’s either a Good Depression now … or a Great Depression 2.
Absolutely spot on. Yet it will be completely ignored - the status quo's steamroller will not be denied: after all just think of all those insolvent entitlement and cheap, cheap credit that Joe Sixpack stands to lose if July 4th was a day of true independence from debt slavery...