And just like that Q1 GDP may have turned even more negative, after the March trade deficit ended up being worse than the $40.0 billion expected, printing at $40.4 billion. However, the one offset may be that the February deficit was revised from $42.3 billion to $41.9 billion, in effect being a wash to the Q1 GDP number, which as most already know, is set to be -0.4% at the first revision. Among the reasons for the (smaller than expected) decline in the deficit was a "decrease in imports of services mainly accounted for by a decrease in royalties and license fees, which in February included payments for the rights to broadcast the 2014 Winter Olympic Games." For once (not so) harsh weather (in USSR 2.0) was a boost to the economy.
The "middle class" has atrophied into the 10% of households just below the top 10%. The truth is painfully obvious: a middle class lifestyle is unaffordable to all but the top 20%. This reality is destabilizing to the current arrangement, i.e. debt-based consumerism a.k.a. neofeudal state-cartel capitalism, so it is actively suppressed by the officially sanctioned narrative: that middle class status is attainable by almost every household with two earners (a mere $50,000 annual household income makes one middle class) and middle class wealth is increasing.
Simply put, there is overwhelming evidence of inflation during the decade long era in which the central bankers have been braying about “deflation”. What is more worrisome, David Stockman presents some startling evidence of the complicity of the government statistical mills in using the inflation that is not seen (i.e. “imputed”) to dilute and obscure the inflation that is seen (i.e. utility bills).
The US non-recovery summarized in a nutshell: nobody can afford to buy anymore, so everyone is forced to rent. The result: homeownership rate plunging to 19 year lows, while median asking rents just soared to a new all time high. Thank you Ben Bernanke for the "New Normal American Dream."
The similarities between 2007 and 2014 continue to pile up. And you know what they say - if we do not learn from history we are doomed to repeat it. Just like seven years ago, the stock market has soared to all-time high after all-time high. Just like seven years ago, the authorities are telling us that there is nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, just like seven years ago, a housing bubble is imploding and another great economic crisis is rapidly approaching.
It is oddly appropriate that moments after we reported that capex at Caterpillar (and virtually every other company we have looked at in detail) tumbled by 50% year over year, that the Census Bureau released the latest Durable Goods report. In it we find that unlike previous months, when headline durable goods tumbled because of "harsh weather" in March it apparently not only did it not snow (although the New Homes Sales report may have something to say about that) but the weather so so balmy, that the headline print came in stronger than the expected 2.0%, printing at 2.6%, up from a downward revised 2.1%. The bulk of the margin however was due to Boeing, which reported some 163 new aircraft orders, compared to 74 in February.
It's not just beef, pork, shrimp, eggs, and orange juice... If you think that the price of food is high now? Just wait. If current trends continue, many of the most common food items that Americans buy will cost more than twice as much by the end of this decade. Even if nothing else bad happens (and that is a very questionable assumption to make), our food prices are going to be moving aggressively upward for the foreseeable future. But what if something does happen? In recent years, global food reserves have dipped to extremely low levels, and a single major global event (war, pandemic, terror attack, planetary natural disaster, etc.) could create an unprecedented global food crisis very rapidly.
Whatever your position is on income inequality or the “great wealth divide,” there is little argument that it currently exists. The question is whether something should be done about it. Raising taxes on “the rich,” forced redistribution, increases in social welfare, etc. all have potentially negative economic consequences which affects everyone. There is clearly no easy solution. However, for the upcoming mid-term elections this debate will be waged to swing votes in favor of those who want to remain in political office on both sides of the aisle. This is ironic considering that the majority of those individuals are currently in the top wealth brackets in the U.S. Maybe we should just start there?
Did you know that the number of Americans getting benefits from the federal government each month exceeds the number of full-time workers in the private sector by more than 60 million? In other words, the number of people that are taking money out of the system is far greater than the number of people that are putting money into the system. And did you know that nearly 70 percent of all of the money that the federal government spends goes toward entitlement and welfare programs? When it comes to the transfer of wealth, nobody does it on a grander scale than the U.S. government. Most of what the government does involves taking money from some people and giving it to other people. In fact, at this point that is the primary function of the federal government.
In this day and age, it is imperative that we all learn how to think for ourselves. The foundations of our society are crumbling, our economic system is failing and the blind are leading the blind. If we do not learn to make our own decisions, we are just going to follow the rest of the herd into oblivion. In addition, we all need to start taking a long-term view of things. Just because the economic collapse is not going to happen this month does not mean that it is not going to happen. When you step back and take a broader view of what is happening, it becomes exceedingly clear where we are heading. Sadly, most Americans will never do that.
So much for those already abysmally low Q1 GDP forecasts. Moments ago, the Census Bureau released trade data for February which crushed expectations of an improvement from $39.1 billion (revised to $39.3 billion) to $38.5 billion, and instead rose 7.7% to $42.3 billion, the highest monthly trade deficit since September. This was driven by a 0.4% increase in imports to to $231.7 billion offset by a drop in exports of 1.1% to $192.5 billion. The goods deficit increased $2.2 billion from January to $61.7 billion in February; the services surplus decreased $0.8 billion from January to $19.4 billion in February. Most notably however, is that as a result of this "unexpected" surge in the deficit, the Q1 GDP forecast cuts, anywhere between 0.2% and 0.4% are set to begin.
It was so fitting that Obama sauntered into the Rose Garden on April Fools day to proclaim the wonderful success of Obamacare. We are the fools for allowing this fool and his fellow fools in Congress to further bankrupt our country with this disastrous government run clusterf*ck. Their is so much propaganda, spin, disinformation and outright lies circulating in the captured mainstream media that the dumbed down, distracted, disinterested American populace believe the sound bites from Obama and the talking heads on MSNBC and the rest of the Obama loving media. You may have noticed the non-stop 30 second ads trying to convince iGadget addicted morons to sign up for Obamacare over the last three months, building to a crescendo in the last few weeks. Let’s assess the tremendous success the Savior was blustering about yesterday. He sold the plan to the American public back in 2009 with a number of promises.
Analysis suggests that commentators and policymakers need to better distinguish between the ways in which the US shale gas boom constitutes a ‘revolution’ and the ways in which it does not. The US unconventional energy boom has reversed the decline of domestic production, significantly lowered oil and gas imports, reduced gas costs for consumers, and created a political space for tougher regulations on coal-fired power plants. But it is not a panacea. Even if current estimates of production turn out to be accurate, the benefits to the US economy in the long run are relatively small, and the benefits to manufacturing competitiveness in most sectors are even smaller.
Bank of America No Longer Even Bothers To Blame The "Weather" Or "Storms" For Weak Consumer SpendingSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/28/2014 09:35 -0400
Two weeks ago, when Bank of America found that its weekly retail spending data has continued coming in far weaker than expected compared to 2013, it did the laughable: it blamed not the weather in general, but one storm in particular, to wit: "once again adverse weather potentially impacted spending last week, as the storm “Titan” moved across the US over the weekend of March 1st and 2nd and was followed by yet another cold spell." Two weeks later, after shockingly BofA finds precisely the same weakness continuing into the end of a balmy March, it no longer even bothers looking for excuses. The sad reality: there are none.