For those of you not familiar with the giant con, it is the idea that our economy is growing when, in fact, it hasn’t had growth in decades with the exception of the late 1990?s. The giant con is entirely a function of debt. The cost to the working class of falsify economic growth is beyond redemption. In the end, the path is set and there is no escaping from the debt trap in which we snagged ourselves. And so we bide our time until the weight of exponentially increasing debt collapses in on us. But then we rebuild.
It feels like a good time to review what we can expect when our government and its agencies attempt to create wealth out of thin air. We can see the absurdity and hubris of our policymakers who believe they can circumvent economic laws in the following excerpt from the “The National Homeownership Strategy: Partners in the American Dream”. This little gem which we are suggesting is the document that led us to the economic devastation from which we are yet to crawl out. "For many potential homebuyers, the lack of cash available to accumulate the required downpayment and closing costs is the major impediment to purchasing a home. Other households do not have sufficient available income to to make the monthly payments on mortgages financed at market interest rates for standard loan terms. Financing strategies, fueled by the creativity and resources of the private and public sectors, should address both of these financial barriers to homeownership." So what lesson did we learn the hard way? Looking around today, absolutely nothing.
Underneath the Propaganda, the Economy Is In BAD SHAPE …
"This last 1900 point Dow Jones push upwards - and the Ebola events leading into it - it was so orchestrated and heightened at critical points but the ascent and push straight up in price, and sideways nonreaction after was completely unlike anything I've seen before. After going up for a record-breaking amount of time the last five or so years, in a nonlinear exponential mania type of ascent, there should normally be tremendous volatility that follows... After this year and especially this last 1900 point Dow run up in October, and post non-reaction, that I am 100 percent confident that that one buyer is our own Federal Reserve or other central banks with a goal to "stimulate" our economy by directly buying stock index futures."
What's Really Happening?
When we last looked at the amount of $100 bills printed by the Treasury's Bureau of Engraving and Printing, we were a little concerned because it appeared that the Fed's infatuation with growing bank reserves had finally spilled over into the physical money printing arena, after a record 4.4 billion $100 bills were printed just a year after the Treasury had, at the Fed's request, printed another 3 billion of the new banknotes. In retrospect this wasn't a case of the Fed wishing to unleash Weimar upon the US - at least not yet - but merely part of the ongoing process of replacing old $100 bills with the new "plastic" ones. This amounted to over $750 billion in new $100 bills alone being unleashed on the market, well over half of the entire amount of US paper currency in circulation.
Extend the trendlines in these charts, and then ask yourself: where do they end? What will they trigger as they push ever deeper into uncharted waters?
For a long time, Fed printing via balance sheet expansion has been the key to understanding markets and the predominant driver that has trumped all other matters. Investors have been able to ignore significant global events, tensions, and economic conditions in faraway places, because a lower real and perceived risk premium from implicit Fed promises was the single most important aspect driving asset prices higher. This game is quickly coming to an end. As the Fed’s asset purchase program ends next month, global events and global economic fundamentals will have to be taken into account and priced accordingly.
The pool of greater fools willing and able to buy assets at higher prices with leveraged free money has been drained by six years of credit/risk expansion. Those who believe the stock market can continue rising despite the end of the Fed's "free money for financiers" programs are implicitly claiming that the pool of greater fools is still filled to the brim. Simply put, speculating with leveraged free money and extending credit to marginal borrowers is not sustainable or productive, and the stock market seems poised to reflect these three dynamics...
Back in 1930, Keynes looked out into the future and saw that with the proper management of the economy, monetary policy and the like, the world could attain a type of utopian stasis: Keynes expected growth to come to an end within two to three generations, and the economy to plateau. He referred to this imaginary state of equilibrium as "bliss," noting “thus for the first time since his creation man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem - how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure, which science and compound interest will have won for him, to live wisely and agreeably and well." However, Keynes did say this would happen if mankind avoided any calamitous wars and if there was no appreciable increase in population. Two more flawed base assumptions there could not have been.
The Fed’s strategy of targeting higher stock prices to boost economic growth has done the exact opposite. This strategy has pulled money away from effective macroeconomic investments and into ineffective macroeconomic albeit effective short term microeconomic investments. The end result is that we have all time high stock prices but no economic growth. We will be stuck in this economic lull until the Fed is ready to admit defeat and allow for a new more effective strategy to be implemented.
A recent Fed paper reports that the Fed's wild money printing orgy has failed to produce much CPI inflation because “consumers are hoarding money”. It is said that this explains why so-called "money velocity" is low. Sadly, they are misinformed: In short, “hoarding” cannot possibly harm the economy. The same, alas and alack, cannot be said of money printing.
The Status Quo is desperate to mask the declining fortunes of those who earn income from work, and the Misery Index 2.0 strips away the phony facade of bogus unemployment and inflation numbers.
Under the imposition of StealthFlation, the Velocity of Money lies dormant while increasing Inflationary risks build below the surface.
Before you jump on the Bull market bandwagon of "don't fight the Fed," perhaps you should take a look at the quality of the debt the Fed has enabled and the diminishing returns on all that debt.