Now that Q2 is not shaping up to be much better than Q1, other, mostly climatic, excuses have arisen: such as El Nino, the California drought, and even suggestions that, gasp, as a result of the Fed's endless meddling in the economy, the terminal growth rate of the world has been permanently lowered to 2% or lower. What is sadder for economists, even formerly respectable ones, is that overnight it was none other than Tyler Cowen who, writing in the New York Times, came up with yet another theory to explain the "continuing slowness of economic growth in high-income economies." In his own words: "An additional explanation of slow growth is now receiving attention, however. It is the persistence and expectation of peace." That's right - blame it on the lack of war!
The graph shows that the true wealth generators of the economy continue to struggle, and now face the prospect of having to pay for the snowballing government debts in the not so distant future. With limited access to funds and rising taxes and costs (with the notable exception of labor, which has its own circular implications), how can they generate enough growth to restore the country’s finances? Bond yields better stay at historical lows indeed.
The “war on compassion” when it comes to the homeless in America continues. There are many reasons we find this topic to be of such tremendous importance. First and foremost, we think that if we want to see how the state and crony corporate status quo will treat everyone in the future, all you have to do is look at how the homeless are being “dealt with.” Secondly, random groups feeding the homeless in various venues is a great example of decentralized compassion. Political power hates decentralization and is quite intentionally trying to corral the homeless into the centralized bureaucratic channels over which it has total control. So this isn’t merely a humanitarian issue, it is also a front line battle in the key war of our time: Decentralization vs. Centralization.
If you had fallen asleep at your desk recently due to the absolute lack of anything noteworthy happening, this past week should have woken you up. A massive upset in the Virginia primary dethroned House Majority Leader Eric Cantor which sent moderate Republicans scurrying to shore up their voting bases. Al-Queda backed forces, ISIS, have advanced through Iraq and are not closing in on Baghdad which has sent oil prices rocketing higher this past week. Lastly, the mainstream media was completely baffled by the "sea of red" on their monitors which caused one anchor to quip: "Wow...stocks really can go down."
Yesterday, the IMF and World Bank issued warnings about rising interest rates, housing crashes and the global economy. The World Bank’s chief economist is inadvertantly offering important advice to investors and savers when he said that "now is the time to prepare for the next crisis ..."
Have you heard the one about the “economic recovery” in the United States? It’s quite funny, but it is not actually true. Every day, the establishment media points to the fact that global stock markets have soared to unprecedented heights as evidence that the economy is improving. But just because a bunch of wealthy people have gotten temporarily even richer on paper does not mean that the real economy is in good shape. In fact, as you will see below, things just continue to get even tougher for the poor and the middle class.
A shocker from Bank of America: "The number of new commercial loans made by BAC has declined notably over the first half of the year. Measured as an indexed level to cycle peak (which was December 2005), the data show that the recent drop was the largest since the recovery began." Oops. If this is accurate then not only is the Fed fabricating loan data outright, it is massively misrepresenting the general direction of loan creation altogether. In fact, if loans are contracting, when one adds the decline in reserve "asset" creation, then banks are set for a world of pain come October when QE is set to end!
THREE Charts That Prove We’re in a Depression and That the Federal Reserve and Washington Are Wasting MoneySubmitted by Phoenix Capital Research on 06/11/2014 13:28 -0400
The reality is that what’s happening in the US today is not a cyclical recession, but a one in 100 year, secular economic shift.
Remember when we reported that if it wasn't for Obamacare, the US economy would have contracted not by 1% as per the revised GDP estimate but by 2%. Guess what: according to the latest spending data, the BEA massively overestimated spending on medical care services, which it had pegged at a whopping +9.7% SAAR, while according to the latest Quarterly Services Survey, the increase was actually a decrease of 5.8% SAAR! End result: one after another bank today has sprung to revise their GDP data downward, by about half a percentage point, and here is JPM, cutting its Q1 GDP from -1.1% to -1.6%, which if realized will be the worst collapse in US economic growth since the recession.
- World Bank Cuts Global Growth Forecast After ‘Bumpy’ 2014 Start (BBG)
- Al-Qaeda Offshoot Threatens Iraq Oil Site After Taking Mosul (BBG)
- Fed Prepares to Keep Record Balance Sheet for Years to Come (BBG)
- EU investigates tax rulings on Apple, Starbucks, Fiat unit (Reuters)
- Cantor Loss Shocks Republicans, Dims Immigration Changes (BBG)
- More surveillance: Google to Buy Satellite-Imaging Startup for $500 Million (WSJ)
- Tea Party activist who defeated Cantor focused on budget, immigration (Reuters)
- Airbus Suffers Worst Order Loss as Emirates Deal Scrapped (BBG)
- Amazon.com plans local services marketplace this year (Reuters)
- Amazon Stops Taking Advance Orders for ‘Lego’ and Other Warner Videos (NYT)
Just how badly is Generation X doing? Bad enough to turn around the entire concept of middle-class prosperity in America - one where every next generation should do better than the preceding one - on its head. "Only one-third of Generation X households had more wealth than their parents held at the same age, even though most earn more, The Pew Charitable Trusts found." And there, in a nutshell, is your so-called recovery: two thirds of an entire generation - one which is in its prime working years - doing worse than the one before them!
Employment in the United States is becoming increasingly polarized, growing ever more concentrated in the highest- and lowest-paying occupations and creating growing income inequality. As the Dallas Fed explains, market changes involving middle-skill jobs in the U.S. are hastening labor market polarization. So-called "Routine" jobs have declined from 58% of employment in 1981 to 44% in 2011, while both types of non-routine jobs have expanded. Since 1990, none of the routine jobs lost in these downturns came back in the following expansions. This is a problem since middle-skill, routine jobs still account for almost half of all existing jobs; and as the Dallas Fed concludes, the pace of labor market polarization is unlikely to slow down anytime soon.
One major factor to the slow growth/low inflation in the U.S. is the Wall Street Yield Trade. By incentivizing unproductive use of capital, low interest rate via monetary policy is actually deflationary.
Yes, the nonfarm payroll clocked in at 138.5 million jobs and thereby retraced for the first time the point at which it stood 77 months ago in December 2007. This predictably elicited another “milestone of progress” squeal from the mainstream media. So you have to wonder. Did these people skip history class? Do they understand the vital idea of “context”? So if you want to try a little “context” absurdity recall this. So far we have created a trifling 100k “new” jobs since the last cyclical peak. During the equivalent 77 months in the Reagan era the US economy actually generated 150 times more jobs!
We have had The Great Depression, The Great Moderation, and The Great Recession... but now, thanks to central banks around the world, we have The Great Insanity. Nowhere is the disconnect between market rates and fundamental realities more evident than in European peripheral bond yields. While it is easy to look at the last decade and wonder how it is possible that such heavily indebted (and increasingly indebted) nations could have seen bond yields collapse... but as Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid explains, a glance at France, Italy, and Spain bond yields over the last 200 years shows that this really is a unique time in history (and not in a good way).