When we discuss an "economic collapse," most people think of a collapse of the financial markets; and without a doubt, one is coming very shortly. But let us not neglect the long-term economic collapse that is already happening all around us. If you stand back and take a broader view of things, what has been happening to the U.S. economy truly is quite shocking. The following are 12 ways that the U.S. economy is already in worse shape than it was during the depths of the last recession...
Australian consumers are more worried about the medium term outlook than at the peak of the financial crisis, and rightfully so. As The Telegraph reports, by the end of the first quarter this year, Australia’s net foreign debt had climbed to a record $955bn, equal to an already unsustainable 60pc of gross domestic product, and is set to rise as RBA's bet that depreciation in the value of the country’s currency would help to offset the decline in its overbearing mining industry hasn’t happened to the extent they would have wished. Furthermore, as UBS explains, China's real GDP growth cycles have become an increasingly important driver of Australia's nominal GDP growth this last decade. With iron ore and coal prices plumbing new record lows, a Chinese (real) economy firing on perhaps 1 cyclinder, and equity investors reeling from China's collapse; perhaps the situation facing Australia is more like Greece than many want to admit, as Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest woman and matriarch of Perth’s Hancock mining dynasty stunned her workers this week: accept a 10% pay cut or face redundancies.
"What Europe Wants" - to use global issues as excuses to extend its power:
- environmental issues: increase control over member countries; advance idea of global governance
- terrorism: use excuse for greater control over police and judicial issues; increase extent of surveillance
- global financial crisis: kill two birds (free market; Anglo-Saxon economies) with one stone (Europe-wide regulator; attempts at global financial governance)
- EMU: create a crisis to force introduction of “European economic government”
"I think that if Greece were to leave the Euro things would get very complicated for them... and this would create the same very unhealthy situation as we have in Argentina. Why? If people start storing value in a foreign currency, in this case Greeks using Euros, this will create a huge lack of transparency and affect normal trade flows and transactions. And we know that the parallel economy in Greece is already quite large the way it is. So imagine an exponential version of that. It would be a very difficult period for Greece."
The one undeniable truth about the debt drama in Greece is that each of the conventional narratives - financial, political and historical - has some claim of legitimacy. These facts matter not only because contagion from Greek debt defaults may ripple in dangerous ways through the financial system, but because they are also true for many other members of the Eurozone. The Euro is a fatally-flawed monetary concept and what we now seeing playing out was eminently predictable from the start.
Despite endless assurances that the Greek debt crisis is contained, the reality is that the ragin' contagion of debt crises will spread not just to other deeply indebted nations but to the mercantilist economies that depend on selling goods to borrowers. Strip out the borrowing, and you strip out most of the customers for German, Dutch and Chinese goods.
The US trade deficit increased from $40.7 bn to $41.8bn, slightly lower than expected. Impoorts fell a mere 0.1% (despite a record amount of imported auto parts) but exports fell 0.8% (driven by a decline in Aircraft sales), nudging GDP expectations lower. The trade deficit with China rose notably and exports to Europe dropped.
The Export-Import Bank died last night when its charter expired. After 81 years, what is commonly known as Boeing’s Bank is headed toward Washington’s trash bin. When Congress returns it could revive Ex-Im, which primarily subsidizes big business exports. But a proper burial for what Barack Obama once called “corporate welfare” would save Americans money, reduce economic injustice, and promote economic growth. Ex-Im’s closure is a very rare victory for the good guys in Washington. Crony capitalism is running rampant in America, undermining confidence in a market economy.
After March's six-year high disastrous kitchen-sink trade deficit revised down to -$51.4 billion, April saw a bounce back to just $40.9 billion deficit (considerably lower deficit than the $44 billion expectation). The imporvment was driven by a big shift in imports - dropping 3.3% (after a 6.5% jump in March) as exports rose just 1% (which is still the most in 2015).
A non-bombastic look at the week ahead and a number of key events in June. These could set the tone for Q3 and beyond.
History has not been kind to major trade blunders. Just as the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 sparked a global trade war that may well have put the “great” in the Great Depression, Congressional enactment of enforceable currency rules today could spark retaliatory actions that might devastate the free flow of trade that a sluggish global economy desperately needs.
With US markets closed for the Memorial Day holiday, and some of the key European markets likewise shuttered for public holiday including the UK, Germany and Switzerland, it is difficult to find where one can observe or trade the weekend's newsflow, which is once again centered on developments in Europe, where on Sunday Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party suffered its worst result in a municipal election in 24 years while Greece continues to threaten with default 5 some years after it should have officially pulled the plug.
"The public criticisms of the TPP have been vague. That’s by design—anyone who has read the text of the agreement could be jailed for disclosing its contents. I’ve actually read the TPP text provided to the government’s own advisors, and I’ve given the president an earful about how this trade deal will damage this nation. But I can’t share my criticisms with you. I can tell you that Elizabeth Warren is right about her criticism of the trade deal. We should be very concerned about what's hidden in this trade deal—and particularly how the Obama administration is keeping information secret even from those of us who are supposed to provide advice."
Moments ago, in an embarrassing setback for the president, Senate Democrats in a 52-45 vote - short of the required 60 supporters - blocked a bill that would give President Barack Obama fast-track authority to expedite trade agreements through Congress, a major defeat for the president and his allies who "say the measure is necessary to complete a 12-nation Pacific trade deal that is a centerpiece of the administration’s economic agenda." But don't count it out yet: the WSJ cites Mitch McConnell who told reporters shortly before the vote, which he expected to lose, that “This issue’s not over" adding that "I’m hopeful we’ll put this in the win column for the country sometime soon.”
While we are sure President Obama will find a way to comment on today's jobs number (focusing on the unemployment rate we suspect and not the quality of jobs or record number of people out of work), his main topic of discussion is how wonderful the ultra-secret "Trans-Pacific Partnership" deal is for Americans... and why congress must pass it asap.