This is the war on success that our government is waging...
With economic data serially disappointing in 2015, it is probably not entirely surprising that Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index fell to an average of -2 last week (with the biggest drop since July). This is the first time the index has had a negative weekly average since late December. Both the current conditions and outlook sub-indices tumbled but it was the future 'hope' index that fell the most with more people now saying the future will be 'poor' than believe it will be 'good'.
We are living in an era where a single statement of truth will drive a pin into the global bubble of phantom assets and debts, and the lies spewed to justify those bubbles.
Most Americans just assume that the economic numbers that we are being given accurately reflect reality. That is why it is so refreshing to have men like Gallup CEO Jim Clifton step forward and tell the truth. Don’t be fooled by all the happy talk from the mainstream media and from politicians like Barack Obama. The truth is that the percentage of U.S. adults that do have “good jobs” is actually far lower than 44 percent.
Given the spate of recent poor economic numbers in the U.S. and internationally, analysts are beginning to question the veracity of some of the U.S. government's economic statistics including their jobs numbers today. “The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie ...”
We can certainly "hope" that the markets will continue to march endlessly higher. However, "hope" has never been an effective portfolio management strategy. Considering that the decline in oil prices is supposed to good for the consumer, even though personal spending declined in the most recently reported period, the decline in dividends will certainly have a negative effect on those depending on those dividends. The current detachment between spending and the stock market will likely be corrected rather harshly at some point.
You know Merkel, Draghi, Dijsselbloem et al. have a problem when... More than one in three Greeks (35%) in 2014 approved of Russia's leadership, while fewer than one in four (23%) approved of the EU's leadership.
"There’s no other way to say this. The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie. And it’s a lie that has consequences, because the great American dream is to have a good job, and in recent years, America has failed to deliver that dream more than it has at any time in recent memory. I hear all the time that “unemployment is greatly reduced, but the people aren’t feeling it.” When the media, talking heads, the White House and Wall Street start reporting the truth -- the percent of Americans in good jobs; jobs that are full time and real -- then we will quit wondering why Americans aren’t “feeling” something that doesn’t remotely reflect the reality in their lives. And we will also quit wondering what hollowed out the middle class." - CEO of Gallup
In November of last year, Mikhail Gorbachev first warned "the world is on the brink of a new Cold War." Then around the turn of the year he escalated his warning, fearing "a war of this kind could lead to a nuclear war," hoping that no one "loses their nerve in this overheated situation." Today, in an interview with Russian news agency Interfax, the 83-year-old former Soviet leader, asks "have they lost their minds?" raging that "the U.S. has already dragged us into a new Cold War, trying to openly implement its idea of triumphalism," warning that "the 'cold' war will "lead to a 'hot' war," concluding "The U.S. has been totally 'lost in the jungle' and is dragging us there as well."
Is the BLS overstating employment growth? I guess it depends on whose data set you choose to believe. However, there is little denying the fact that with over 60% of the population living paycheck-to-paycheck, stagnant wage growth and declining net worth over the last five years, there is something that simply does not add up. If employment growth were indeed growing as strongly as in the late 90's, it would seem logical to expect that many of the disparities in the economic landscape should be starting to equalize somewhat. Unfortunately, that has yet to be the case.
In the early 1970s, there were about 200,000 new US businesses created each year (net of closures). Now, the number is negative. Why are Americans getting poorer? Look no further. No new businesses (net). No new jobs (again net). No new wealth. Under Obama and Draghi, crony capitalism flourishes. Real capitalism dies.
What we see now is the recovery of price discovery, and therefore the functioning economy, and it shouldn’t be a big surprise that it doesn’t come in a smooth transition. Six years is a long time. Moreover, it was never just QE that distorted the markets, there was – and is – the ultra-low interest rate policy developed nations’ central banks adhere to like it was the gospel, and there’s always been the narrative of economic recovery just around the corner that the politico/media system incessantly drowned the world in. That the QE madness ended with the decapitation of the price of oil seems only fitting.
The majority of the jobs "created" since the financial crisis have been lower wage paying jobs in retail, healthcare and other service sectors of the economy. Conversely, the jobs created within the energy space are some of the highest wage paying opportunities available in engineering, technology, accounting, legal, etc. In fact, each job created in energy related areas has had a "ripple effect" of creating 2.8 jobs elsewhere in the economy from piping to coatings, trucking and transportation, restaurants and retail. Simply put, lower oil and gasoline prices may have a bigger detraction on the economy that the "savings" provided to consumers.
The U.S. now ranks not first, not second, not third, but 12th among developed nations in terms of business startup activity as Gallup CEO Jim Clifton rages, for the first time in 35 years, American business deaths now outnumber business births. Wall Street, Clifton explains, needs the stock market to boom, even if that boom is fueled by illusion. So both tell us, "The economy is coming back." Let's get one thing clear, he exclaims, "this economy is never truly coming back unless we reverse the birth and death trends of American businesses."
It took Wall Street's "best and brightest"to admit what we said would happen back in October. In retrospect, we are amazed it only took them three months...