The Social Security Administration has just released wage statistics for 2013, and the numbers are startling. Last year, 50 percent of all American workers made less than $28,031, and 39 percent of all American workers made less than $20,000. We are witnessing the slow-motion destruction of the middle class, and very few of our leaders seem to care.
Barack Obama and the Federal Reserve are lying to you. The "economic recovery" that we all keep hearing about is mostly just a mirage... For those out there that still believe that we are doing "just fine", here are 19 more facts about the messed up state of the U.S. economy.
The level of micro-management by the Fed appears to have reached a new shockingly high plateau. Recently prices have been driven more by liquidity, fear, greed, and Fed policy, than by valuation. It is time that the Fed stops being a source of interference and confusion. There are also two less obvious or less discussed economic reasons why the Obama administration may be urgently focusing more on the Ebola crises.
“The Census Bureau estimates that 30 percent of all apartments in the quadrant from 49th to 70th Streets between Fifth and Park are vacant at least ten months a year.” There is absolutely nothing healthy about this reality. When such a high percentage of properties are built solely to serve as bank accounts, and not a space to live in, you’ve got a severe case of malinvestment on your hands. If you are an oligarch and you didn’t see this coming, we don’t know what to tell you. The pied-à-terre tax is now on the agenda in New York City.
The U.S. government is borrowing about 8 trillion dollars a year... The only way that this game can continue is if the U.S. government can continue to borrow gigantic piles of money at ridiculously low interest rates. And our current standard of living greatly depends on the continuation of this game. If something comes along and rattles this Ponzi scheme, life in America could change radically almost overnight.
New Home Sales rose a magnificent (seasonally-adjusted annualized rate) 18% in August - the biggest monthly rise since January 1992 albeit with a 16.3 90% confidence interval, meaning the final number may well be +1.7%. At 504k, new home sales are back at May 2008 levels (though obviously massively below the 1.4 million homes sold at the peak in 2005). As a reminder, May's 504K new home sales print was later revieed later to 458K. But even more stunning, new home sales in The West rose a mind-numbing 50% in August (and up 84.4% YoY - nearly double). And just to confuse matters, the average new home sale price rose to a new record high of $347,900. So as existing home sales are sliding (and prices dropping), new home sales are surging (to new record highs) - makes perfect sense. We await the extrapolations for how great this move is. (or the realization that it is entirely seasonal-adjustment-biased and unsustainable given the realities of mortgage applications).
The U.S. economy has had six full years to bounce back since the financial collapse of 2008, and it simply has not happened. Median household income has declined substantially since then, total household wealth for middle class families is way down, the percentage of the population that is employed is still about where it was at the end of the last recession, and the number of Americans that are dependent on the government has absolutely exploded. Even those that claim that the economy is "recovering" admit that we are not even close to where we used to be economically. Many hope that someday we will eventually get back to that level, but the truth is that this is about as good as things are ever going to get for the middle class.
The exuberant images this weekend of lines-around-the-block at Apple stores were met with triumphant flashing red headlines this morning when Apple announced the sale of more than 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models (more than expected). Typically, new product launches do not move the needle on aggregate US economic data. Apple’s iPhone has been the most notable exception, with past launches occasionally having a substantial effect on core retail sales. However, Goldman notes, with the launch of the new iPhone 6/6+ this month, estimates (based on historical data) of a 0.1 to 0.7ppt boost to September core retail sales is highly uncertain due to seasonal adjustments that have been highly erratic, and could easily take a big bite out of the Apple effect.
It has been quite an eventful week between Scotland's battle over independence, the Federal Reserve's FOMC announcement and the markets making new all time highs. The FOMC announcement was more comedy than anything else as the continued facade of the Fed's forecasting capabilities was revealed, it appears the biggest factor in the world of investing and for this weekend's list of "Things To Ponder" we have accumulated a few reads relating to the Fed.
When you see the headlines touting strong retail sales, you need to consider what you are actually seeing in the real world. RadioShack will be filing for bankruptcy within months. Wet Seal will follow. Sears is about two years from a bankruptcy filing. JC Penney’s turnaround is a sham. They continue to lose hundreds of millions every quarter and will be filing for bankruptcy within the next couple years. Target and Wal-Mart continue to post awful sales results and have stopped expanding. And as you drive around in your leased BMW, you see more Space Available signs than operating outlets in every strip center in America.
What will $1 million buy in New York City? A diamond-encrusted Cartier men’s watch. A small fleet of 2014 Bentley Continentals. Or maybe your very own parking spot in SoHo... "Parking is in serious demand and has proven an excellent investment with no sign of a decline."
It’s not just homeowners who have to worry about rising interest rates, the Federal government might soon get a taste of its own medicine. From the admittedly partisan Republican Senate Committee on the Budget comes this report outlining how federal interest outlays will dovetail with other expenses in the future. "By the end of the budget window in 2024, however, CBO forecasts that interest payments will nearly quadruple to an astonishing $880 billion."
Nowhere is the "financialization" of the US economy more evident than in this chart showing the relative net worth ratio of quntile to the next quintile right below it. Quote Census: "The distribution of net worth became more spread out between 2000 and 2011. The ratio of median net worth of the highest quintile to the second quintile increased from 39.8 to 86.8 between 2000 and 2011, and the ratio of the highest quintile to the third quintile increased from 7.7 to 9.2. The ratio of the highest quintile to the fourth quintile was 3.0 in 2000 and showed no statistically significant change over this period."
Why So Much Anger In Ferguson? 10 Facts About The Massive Economic Gap Between White & Black AmericaSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/19/2014 21:48 -0400
When people feel like they don't have anything else to lose, they are likely to do just about anything. Many in the mainstream media seem absolutely mystified as to why there is so much anger in Ferguson, but as I pointed out yesterday, all of this anger did not erupt out of a vacuum. Economic conditions in Ferguson, and for African-Americans as a whole, have been deteriorating for years. Sadly, many white Americans are totally oblivious to any of this.
The failure to understand money is shared by all nations and transcends politics and parties. The destructive monetary expansion undertaken during the Democratic administration of Barack Obama by then Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke began in a Republican administration under Bernanke’s predecessor, Alan Greenspan. Republican Richard Nixon’s historic ending of the gold standard was a response to forces set in motion by the weak dollar policy of Democrat Lyndon Johnson. For more than 40 years, one policy mistake has followed the next. Each one has made things worse. What they don’t understand is that money does not “create” economic activity.