A new generation of revolutionary central bankers must be called to arms for all of our sake. Their battle cry: We commit to never returning rates to zero or below again, to never let be money be free and forever ensure there is a true cost associated with borrowing. Release the markets to set interest rates now and forever! Will it work? Stranger things have been known to succeed in capitalistic economies with competitive and freely functioning markets.
Confirming The Conference Board's earlier disappointment, it appears the American public is chock-full of "cynics" and "fiction-peddlers" as Gallup reports Americans' confidence in the U.S. economy reached its lowest weekly level so far in 2016, with 60% saying it is "getting worse."
The dangerous divergence will then take a nasty turn. The bottom half of the 1% will now be as angry as the 99%. Any attempt by the establishment to further screw the nation by bailing themselves out will be met with violent disapproval. The country is a powder keg. The upcoming election is guaranteed to inflame opposing factions. A stock market crash in the next six months would sow the seeds of financial, political, and social upheaval not seen in this country since the 1960s. The established social order will be swept away in a swirl of chaos and retribution. The dangerous divergence will be resolved.
With the Dow Jones industrial average near its record high, slightly more than half of Americans (52%) say they currently have money in the stock market, matching the lowest ownership rate in Gallup's 19-year trend. And the worst news for Yellen: "although Americans in all income groups are less likely to have stock investments now than before the Great Recession, middle-class Americans have been the most likely to flee the market"
Those that were hoping for an “economic renaissance” in the United States got some more bad news this week. It turns out that the U.S. economy is in significantly worse shape than the experts were projecting. Retail sales unexpectedly declined in March, total business sales have fallen again, and the inventory to sales ratio has hit the highest level since the last financial crisis. When you add these three classic recession signals to the 19 troubling numbers about the U.S. economy that we wrote about last week, it paints a very disturbing picture.
We were wrong: several minutes ago when we documented the collapse in the Gallup Economic confidence, we said that "we look forward to the UMich confidence report to beat expectations when it is released in just a few minutes." Moments ago the official print came out and it was not pretty: sliding from 91 to 89.7, not only did the print miss expectations of a rebound to 92.0, but was the lowest print since September 2015. The reason for the drop? Consumers reported a slowdown in expected wage gains, weakening inflation-adjusted income expectations, and growing concerns that slowing economic growth would reduce the pace of job creation.
It turns out that ordinary people are not as excited about the US economy as those who are cheerleading minimum wage job creation and market levels being close to all time highs, and certainly not as excited as that group of people called each month by either the Conference Board or UMich, the two far more closely tracked confidence indicators."Americans are confronted with presidential candidates using the economy as one of their talking points, mixed signals from national economic reports, volatility in the stock market and an apparent end of sub-$2 gas prices nationally -- all of which may be affecting their economic assessments."
As Hillary and Bernie launch this evening's "critical", according to CNN, debate in Brooklyn, the tide has shifted somewhat for both candidates and especially for Hillary the news is not good. According to newly released favorability ratings from Gallup, Hillary's image is at an all time low. And in even worse news for Hillary, the latest Fox News poll shows Clinton's national lead imploding and after having a comfortable +13 digit lead in March, she is effectively tied with the socialist, as her lead in April has plunged to just 2 points, a 48%-46% split which falls within the margin of error.
"They're pretty bad," said Democratic strategist Brad Bannon, who connected the poor poll numbers to separate findings that show a broad number of Americans don’t trust Clinton. As The Hill reports, only 40.2% of people view Hillary favorably (drastically lower than Obama's 62% at this point in the presidential-cycle and Bush's 63%). As one commentator noted "the political impression that I think she leaves strikes a lot of people as inauthentic, as something they can’t quite trust."
Like the “little Dutch boy,” the Fed currently has a finger stuck in every hole of the dike. The only question is how long is it before the Federal Reserve runs out of “fingers” to plug the next leak?
A yuuge surge in stocks - amid collapsing earnings and GDP expectations - appears to have enabled a modest bounce off 2-year lows for consumer confidence. The Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence increased to 96.2 in March from 94 a month earlier - but still below January's levels. The bounce was driven purely by "hope" as expectations for the future rose and current conditions dropped to 4-month lows. At the same time Gallup's consumer confidence survey plumbes new depths to its lowest since 2015.
"Donald Trump won’t debate his Republican rivals again but he will continue to argue on Twitter. On Thursday the businessman demanded an apology after we—“the dummies at the @WSJ Editorial Board”—accurately noted that Hillary Clinton has received about a million more votes than he has. The truth hurts, though Mr. Trump would rather walk down Fifth Avenue shooting the messenger."
Whatever Trump is, his popularity does indicate a rising tide of discontent within the U.S. The damage to America has for the most part already been done, and there will be no avoiding the consequences. That said, how we rebuild can still be determined. No political leader including Trump will ever be able to heal the American system or the American psyche, but the efforts of millions of independent and liberty minded Americans can. We have a long and terrible struggle ahead of us, but to look at it from an “optimistic” perspective, at least Americans are becoming sick of the status quo. That is a start.
"The amount of debt Americans carry is staggering and grows every day.... These data suggest that a significant portion of every generation is buried under a mountain of several different kinds of consumer debt. Though sizable slices of each generation carry no debt, the sheer magnitude of how much Americans with debt do owe is a cause for concern."