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Stephen Roach: "The American Consumer Is Not Okay"

Tyler Durden's picture


Authored by Stephen Roach, originally posted at Project Syndicate,

The spin-doctors are hard at work talking up America’s subpar economic recovery. All eyes are on households. Thanks to falling unemployment, rising home values, and record stock prices, an emerging consensus of forecasters, market participants, and policymakers has now concluded that the American consumer is finally back.

Don’t believe it. First, consider the facts: Over the 21 quarters since the beginning of 2008, real (inflation-adjusted) personal consumption has risen at an average annual rate of just 0.9%. That is by far the most protracted period of weakness in real US consumer demand since the end of World War II – and a massive slowdown from the pre-crisis pace of 3.6% annual real consumption growth from 1996 to 2007.

With household consumption accounting for about 70% of the US economy, that 2.7-percentage-point gap between pre-crisis and post-crisis trends has been enough to knock 1.9 percentage points off the post-crisis trend in real GDP growth. Look no further for the cause of unacceptably high US unemployment.

To appreciate fully the unique character of this consumer-demand shortfall, trends over the past 21 quarters need to be broken down into two distinct sub-periods. First, there was a 2.2% annualized decline from the first quarter of 2008 through the second quarter of 2009. This was crisis-driven carnage, highlighted by a 4.5% annualized collapse in the final two quarters of 2008.

Second, this six-quarter plunge was followed, from mid-2009 through early 2013, by 15 quarters of annualized consumption growth averaging just 2% – an upturn that pales in comparison with what would have been expected based on past consumer-spending cycles.

That key point appears all but lost on the consumer-recovery crowd. In recent speeches and discussions with current and former central bankers, I have been criticized for focusing too much on the 0.9% trend of the past 21 quarters and paying too little attention to the 2% recovery phase of the post-crisis period. At least it’s a recovery, they claim, and a sign of healing that can be attributed mainly to the heroic, unconventional efforts of the US Federal Reserve.

This brings us to the second part of the argument against optimism: analytics. One of the first concepts to which an economics student is exposed in a basic macro course is “pent-up” consumer demand. Discretionary consumption is typically deferred during recessions, especially for long-lasting durable goods such as motor vehicles, furniture, and appliances. Once the recession ends and recovery begins, a “stock-adjustment” response takes hold, as households compensate for foregone replacement and update their aging durable goods.

Over most of the postwar period, this post-recession release of pent-up consumer demand has been a powerful source of support for economic recovery. In the eight recoveries since the early 1950’s (excluding the brief pop following the credit-controls-induced slump in the 1980’s), the stock-adjustment response lifted real consumption growth by 6.1%, on average, for five quarters following business-cycle downturns; spurts of 7-8% growth were not uncommon for a quarter or two.

By contrast, the release of pent-up demand in the current cycle amounted to just 3% annualized growth in the five quarters from early 2010 to early 2011. Moreover, the strongest quarterly gain was a 4.1% increase in the fourth quarter of 2010.

This is a stunning result. The worst consumer recession in modern history, featuring a record collapse in durable-goods expenditures in 2008-2009, should have triggered an outsize surge of pent-up demand. Yet it did anything but that. Instead, the release of pent-up consumer demand was literally half that of previous business cycles.

The third point is more diagnostic: The shockingly anemic pattern of post-crisis US consumer demand has resulted from a deep Japan-like balance-sheet recession. With the benefit of hindsight, we now know that the 12-year pre-crisis US consumer-spending binge was built on a precarious foundation of asset and credit bubbles. When those bubbles burst, consumers were left with a massive overhang of excess debt and subpar saving.

The post-bubble aversion to spending, and the related focus on balance-sheet repair, reflects what Nomura Research Institute economist Richard Koo has called a powerful “debt rejection” syndrome. While Koo applied this framework to Japanese firms in Japan’s first lost decade of the 1990’s, it rings true for America’s crisis-battered consumers, who are still struggling with the lingering pressures of excessive debt loads, underwater mortgages, and woefully inadequate personal saving.

Through its unconventional monetary easing, the Fed is attempting to create a shortcut around the imperative of household sector balance-sheet repair. This is where the wealth effects of now-rebounding housing prices and a surging stock market come into play. But are these newfound wealth effects really all that they are made out to be?

Yes, the stock market is now at an all-time high – but only in current dollars. In real terms, the S&P 500 is still 20% below its January 2000 peak. Similarly, while the Case-Shiller index of US home prices is now up 10.2% over the year ending March 2013, it remains 28% below its 2006 peak. Wealth creation matters, but not until it recoups the wealth destruction that preceded it. Sadly, most American households are still far from recovery on the asset side of their balance sheets.

Moreover, though the US unemployment rate has fallen, this largely reflects an alarming decline in labor-force participation, with more than 6.5 million Americans since 2006 having given up looking for work. At the same time, while consumer confidence is on the mend, it remains well below pre-crisis readings.

In short, the American consumer’s nightmare is far from over. Spin and frothy markets aside, the healing has only just begun.


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Sat, 06/01/2013 - 12:36 | 3616574 22winmag
22winmag's picture

House of cards... propped up with duct tape and bailing wire, soon to come tumbling down.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 12:41 | 3616580 El Oregonian
El Oregonian's picture

Yep, and the markets for the civilians is a total joke. Though the Sheeple seem to always come B-A-A-A-H-H-K... When will they learn that it's all fixed... Not fixed in a good way, but fixed in a bad way.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 12:58 | 3616597 Beam Me Up Scotty
Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

"the healing has only just begun"

Where exactly is the "healing" you are talking about?  You could call giving a terminal cancer patient chemo therapy healing I suppose.  Maybe he lives 6 months longer.  Not sure that would qualify as healing though.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 13:15 | 3616614 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

That is by far the most protracted period of weakness in real US consumer demand since the end of World War II – and a massive slowdown from the pre-crisis pace of 3.6% annual real consumption growth from 1996 to 2007.

So... Americans are buying less over-priced crap from shitty companies on credit from TBTF, Roach is saying this like it's a bad thing. 

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 13:21 | 3616623 Kaiser Sousa
Kaiser Sousa's picture

"Where exactly is the "healing" you are talking about?"

yeah, he should have left that shit out...aint no mother fucking healing goin on...everywhere i turn people r broke ass hell and aint getting no work...and im talking about contractors, mortgage brokers, Title Company workers and the lot that thought good times were here to stay back in 07'.....


Sat, 06/01/2013 - 14:28 | 3616736 toys for tits
toys for tits's picture

Healing my ass.

Apparently, even he's sucseptible to the media barrage of phony good news.  So while not drinking the koolaid, he did take a sip.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 14:51 | 3616800 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

By healing, he must mean that Obummercare has not yet slaughtered the last of the small businesses. 


Sat, 06/01/2013 - 15:30 | 3616858 El Viejo
El Viejo's picture

I hear a new Internet Tax is in the works. Just like the Self Employment Tax of Reagan politicians can't wait to kill off the cradle of new business with a tax. Soon we will see a Fetus Tax payable shortly after birth.



Sat, 06/01/2013 - 17:13 | 3616977 jbvtme
jbvtme's picture

with the onset of robots, digital printers (worker widow makers) and drones...this nightmare is just getting started. an economy built on consumption was bound to fail.  i'm long undertakers.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 13:26 | 3616628 kridkrid
kridkrid's picture

Within the context of a credit/debt based monetary system, it is, in fact, a bad thing... unless, of course, you are rooting for total collapse, which is a valid POV. I'm willing to bet, however, that only 1 out of 10 who talk of "bring on the collapse" are actually prepared for said collapse. The one who is prepared can't possible plan for every scenario. And so I'm clear... collapse in inevitable... kicking the can is just kicking the can. There is no solution, only timing.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 13:58 | 3616678 Jugdish
Jugdish's picture

Just because one hopes for a total collapse doesn't necessarily imply one intends to survive it. This system must die. It is dying....slowly. 

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 14:07 | 3616690 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

Collapse of what is my quesiton. It makes me think of a plantation or something, the slave owner is experiencing the effects of a downturn in the economy and the slaves are terrified that if the owner stops getting work they'll all be out a "job" instead of thinking "hey what can we do about this whole slavery thing?" 

Do Americans actually think that the current class hierarchy of the US is a good thing? That on balance the US is a force for good in the world? That a system with heavy corruption on every level should be sacrificed for? 

All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 14:33 | 3616750 kridkrid
kridkrid's picture

I agree with everything you say.  I don't think that on balance the US is a force for good in the world; quite the opposite, really.  I don't think that current class hierarchy is a good thing, and I think the plantation metaphor is fair.  To your point "from popular culture to the propaganda system..."... I actually don't differentiate between the two. 

All that said, however, I'm not terribly optimistic about life during the coming transition, nor am I terribly optimistic about what things will look like on the other side.  We shall see.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 15:23 | 3616849 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

A lot of the coming 'transition' has already happened, the elite are sounding the alarm bell because they're terrified of what they see. 

The institutions of corporatism have failed and are currently being propped up synthetically (and due for another well-deserved collapse) but a world without those institutions would be a better place. 

That doesn't mean they'll go down easy, they'll inflict as much pain on as many as possible - whether through fascism, poverty etc. but that's always been the case anyway, they're just good at hiding their transgressions. 

We have two American flags always: one for the rich and one for the poor. When the rich fly it means that things are under control; when the poor fly it means danger, revolution, anarchy.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 14:37 | 3616761 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

A lifetime of continual false dichotomy on all fronts.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 15:13 | 3616833 Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

But not because they've seen the errors of their ways, only because they've maxed out the last charge card.

Sun, 06/02/2013 - 13:23 | 3618354 dracos_ghost
dracos_ghost's picture

Steven Roach is a literal roach. Let's not forget it's this "thought leader" that promoted BRIC(primarily China) at all cost which destroyed the US consumer and the US economy.(Hey Stevie, no jobbie that went offshore, no money to buy things). This attempt at self-absolution by historical deflection is nauseating. It has been his economic policy recommendations and the rest of his fellow economist  warlocks that screwed the pooch.

This guy is on par with Krugman as a despicable human being in my book. Another pompous Ivy League d-Bag who thinks he's above everyone. If history had any integrity, this guy would be listed in the top 10 for the destruction of the world economy.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 19:16 | 3617188 jerry_theking_lawler
jerry_theking_lawler's picture

in real 'life'...that terminal patient could make it longer than you or I is up to God to decide our path....


i know one thing is certain, you will not make it out of 'this' alive.


so the moral....don't sweat the little stuff....and remember, everything is little.

Sun, 06/02/2013 - 13:28 | 3618366 Kayman
Kayman's picture

Duct tape and bailing wire now made in China.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 12:40 | 3616577 apberusdisvet
apberusdisvet's picture

See-through retail strips were rife in 2008.

Guess what?






Sat, 06/01/2013 - 12:43 | 3616581 Dareconomics
Dareconomics's picture

It's all about income growth.  The US economy is dominated by consumer spending, and the majority of consumers are experiencing stagnant or falling incomes.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 12:54 | 3616595 Beam Me Up Scotty
Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

And its about stealth inflation.  They don't want to report the REAL inflation rate.  If your income grows by 3% but inflation is 8% you are still going backward.

Stealth inflation is everywhere too.  From government data that doesn't tell the whole picture, to smaller container sizes, to things that only last half as long, inflation is MUCH worse than we are told.  2% my ass!!

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 21:13 | 3617411 yogibear
yogibear's picture

The shrinking package size has become very noticeable.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 21:14 | 3617417 akak
akak's picture

You know they have Viagra for that now.

Sun, 06/02/2013 - 13:31 | 3618371 Kayman
Kayman's picture

"things that only last half as long,"

Minor correction: Things that last half as long, but cost twice as much. Our New Normal.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 14:05 | 3616687 Seeking Aphids
Seeking Aphids's picture is all about income growth or the lack thereof.....and this article fails to point out that the loss in income growth has been going on for decades, not just post 2008.....we have not seen real income growth since the 1970's in NA. This has been covered over and made up for to some extent by the huge increase of credit and by the addition of a second salary (the wife) to many households. That has not been enough, however, to make up the shortfall and we are increasingly living on credit just to get by....there can be no true economic growth without income growth and it is still going the wrong way....until this changes we are just shifting the seats on the deck of the titanic......QE will just end in a huge hangover for those who binged on it and a huge debt for the rest of us......get ready for a lower $$ and higher inflation. NA's will have to adapt to lower and lower standards of living until the rest of the world catches up....then we can hope to see salaries go up (to catch up with the Chinese). Sad, sad, sad.................buying gold stocks may be one way for those with investment $$'s to protect their savings heart goes out to the poor fucking NA peasants (myself included) screwed over by the 1% who could have averted this situation by paying taxes on some of their outrageous wealth instead of socking it away in tax havens (don't tell me taxing the uberwealthy and multi-nationals is a bad thing....if you think that and are not part of the 1% you have been brainwashed).

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 14:18 | 3616711 Beam Me Up Scotty
Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

Its not even the 1%.  Married people making $250k are supposedly in the 1%.  They aren't living like Warren Buffet or Bill Gates.  Its more like the .1 % that have the most wealth.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 14:36 | 3616752 Seeking Aphids
Seeking Aphids's picture

Ok.... point 1% if you prefer....we all know who we are talking about here.......the distribution of wealth is increasingly and astoundingly being concentrated into the hands of a very few incredibly wealthy people and businesses who pay virtually no tax while the rest of us flounder in a sea of taxes, fees and 'charges'...............the US was created as a result of people's outrage at taxatation without representation........we are now ruled by a few who pay no tax and who represent no one but themselves....where is the outrage?? Oh, I forgot, the Tea Party co-opted it and then left the manipulation by the .1%!

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 14:44 | 3616779 kridkrid
kridkrid's picture

I don't now if the "Tea Party" co-opted it, or if the Tea Party was co-opted by the Republican wing of the one party finance fascism, MIC party.  And it doesn't really matter, because it has, in fact, been co-opted.  I feel the same way about OWS.  I think both movements had a moment of sincerity, but were essentially captured.  Ironically, the core tenants of both movements are they same, even if those involved don't understand it.  We can't have anything nice.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 22:11 | 3617501 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

This is so true Scotty. My husband and I make between 225k and 250k depending if he gets a bonus. Twenty years ago we made a combined income of 100k. So we have had a dramatic increase in income. However there is a DRAMATIC difference in our life style. Twenty years ago we could comfortably pay our bills and lived a good life, albeit frugal. Today every month is a nail biting challenge to stay in budget. We cannot save adequately to anticipate unexpected expenses ( struts went out on my car last month and we had to use the heloc to cover the $2000...that would have been anathema 10 years ago) Every luxury we used to take for granted we've cut out. Taxes and inflation have sucked the life out of us. If you had told me at 16 I was going to make this kind of money I would have assumed I would be living the life of Riley. Not that I don't appreciate my job and life because I am execedingly grateful for what I have. But, frankly , earning this income is quite meaningless when it's all taken away.


Sun, 06/02/2013 - 02:27 | 3617756 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

The buyong power of that $200,000 is a lot less than that $100,000 was 20 year sback - but the accompanying costs - especially TAXES (income and property, sales and everythign else) keep going up - while you're making NOTHING on your savings and investmernts (IF you have any).

High salaries usually go with high priced areas BUT if you live in a high priced place you're screwed.  The median household income around here (NYC burbs) is $200,000 but the cost of living is brutal.  Local property taxes have more than tripled in the last 20 years and the cost opf pretty much anything has gone trhough the roof.  Heating oil has gone from under $1 a gallon to over  $4.   Food is nuts - a pound of bacon went from Around $4 to over $7 in the last year.....  BACON.   A rib roast is obscenely expensive.

But $200,000 puts you in the 'top 1 or 2%' nationwide.  Doesn't feel like it.  My brother in NC has a far better lifestyle on a lot less income.

Sun, 06/02/2013 - 18:47 | 3618915 debtandtaxes
debtandtaxes's picture

I can only confirm what you say. It sounds crazy! But I am in Toronto where housing, property tax, income tax, life/auto/health insurance and food prices are just killing us. Thankfully we haven't been sucked into "buying up" into a 500k mortgage like many of my friends and colleagues. We live modestly - still haven't renovated our kitchen - but manage to afford decent quality furniture, clothes and foods for our kids. And save a bit, too. But unlike my friends, I will own my house in 10 yrs!



Sat, 06/01/2013 - 12:42 | 3616582 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

The huge number of government employees and retirees in this area are flush.  New homes, remodels, new BMWs, Lexus, and Mercedes, are everywhere.  Government people are doing really well right now.


Sat, 06/01/2013 - 13:37 | 3616641 shuckster
shuckster's picture

I've lived inside the DC Metro area for most of my life, and never before have I seen so many (previously any) Maserati's, Ferrari's, etc etc. Here in Northern Virginia, the excess is palatable. A ten minute drive through Middleburg, Chantilly, Roundhill, you will see 100 $1,000,000 + houses and probably just as many $10,000,000 houses. Its trickle down, but it only trickles down from the $35+ million tax brack to the $18 million tax bracket. Lobbyists, lawyers. Rich Afr Americans in 7 series' everywhere. They are all gov't employees or work with the government and they are living LARGE. Its not the economy, its the government, STUPID!

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 16:28 | 3616927 Whiner
Whiner's picture

Visited several horse spreads in Middleburg and about. Many of the first generation owners had mysterious consulting jobs with agencies. It was hard to understand what real value they were delivering to Uncle. As Ike said to the peeps upon turning over the keys to the White House,"Beware of the [bankers and] the military-industrial complex." The bracketed part was excised by his pol adviser. He could see the real fiat flows and the coming of The Oligarchs. People dont listen, don't want to hear. Rather be happy than free. Sweep on you fat and greasy citizens. The days of your harvesting will turn to slaughter. VTY, A. Hitler, J. Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 17:01 | 3616965 shuckster
shuckster's picture

They say Potomac is for millionaires, Middleburg is for billionaires. How did anyone become a billionaire on $400,000 a year, which is roughly the highest paying government salary?

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 19:22 | 3617196 jerry_theking_lawler
jerry_theking_lawler's picture

yeah, and people actually 'donate' almost 1,000,000,0000 dollars to get a man elected to a 400,000 per year job. yep, there is no political favors here to see. move along.

Sun, 06/02/2013 - 12:58 | 3618309 shuckster
shuckster's picture

Now that we've reached the guilty verdict, what would you suggest the sentence be?

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 17:31 | 3617008 dolph9
dolph9's picture

My boss is a black lady who grew up poor in the south and now drives a Mercedes and is a disabled parking cheat.  She is promoted up the ranks by the federal government.  I shit you not.

Ain't America grand.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 14:39 | 3616766 Mrmojorisin515
Mrmojorisin515's picture

it was bound to collaspe as soon as they started fudging the numbers in the 80's.  They learned their lesson during that period, people get angry when they know the truth.  Also you can add higher education and healthcare to your list of government employees.  Sometimes i'll watch a video of some financial type, and they'll be talking about how QE is bad and then suggest investing in healthcare, and that industry won't go down and is only going to grow.  I suppose i fail to understand how anything is going to grow when everyone broke...... i must be missing something.  Anyways, lots of healthcare people are going to be unemployed when this shit pops

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 12:48 | 3616586 Son of Loki
Son of Loki's picture

House prices are beginning to "correct" ...revert to the mean as mortgage rates rise. The buyers who were sucked into the spin that the house market has stabilized now get to watch thier houses sink in value. In my neighborhood nothing is selling...very quiet for the so-called "peak RE time of year."



Sat, 06/01/2013 - 16:52 | 3616653 shuckster
shuckster's picture

Houses are going back to their 1995 prices, which is where they were before FHA (via Clinton) started giving mortgages out to those who neither had any intent to pay them nor were capable if they wanted to. When those borrowers defaulted, the government made the banks whole by printing money away from good citizens

*I mean Fair Housing Act, not Federal Housing Administration. These abominations are a cancer on the market and no I do mean to offend

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 12:47 | 3616587 Goldilocks
Goldilocks's picture

Cornershop-Brimful-Of-Asha (4:01)

Brimful Of Asha-Cornershop (ORIGINAL VERSION) (5:15)

Cornershop - Brimful Of Asha, Norman Cook Mix (Tjinder Singh) Official Music Video (3:57)

Cornershop - Brimful Of Asha (Live Jools Holland 1997) (4:36)

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 13:35 | 3616639 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

thanks for sharing.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 16:24 | 3616922 tenpanhandle
tenpanhandle's picture

I did, thanks.  Hope the arrows pierce the armor.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 12:51 | 3616589 repete
repete's picture

Here's the Plan.

Continue to harvest the wealth of of the middle class while paying off the welfare class.  

When done with that default on everyone.

Brutally repress the violent social reaction and lower the population with advanced weaponry.

Live happily ever after.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 15:21 | 3616846 Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

The wealth of the middle class is their labor, their small amount of property, and their essential role as the semi-permeable barrier between the lower and upper classes.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 16:55 | 3616959 shuckster
shuckster's picture

Anyone who didn't have their thumb up their ass and a dick in their ears saw this coming 500 miles away. Default is such a legal term. .gov defaulted when it took out JKF which was our Julius Caeser moment. Anyways, there is and never has been a need to say "I will no longer be paying the debt" 

It said that the day it started printing money. Ask Lenin about debauching a currency

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 12:52 | 3616590 gjp
gjp's picture

Healing hasn't even started.  The 99% are stringing along by accessing government benefits or not paying their mortgage.  Labour's share of GDP is still steadily decreasing and inflation in 'non-core' necessities like food and energy is squeezing budget's relentlessly.  Where does Roach see healing beginning exactly?

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 16:29 | 3616926 tenpanhandle
tenpanhandle's picture

My wallet has healed quite nicely.  Whereas in the past it had a gaping opening full of cash and cards it now has completely healed shut with nary a scar to ever show that it once hemorrhaged cash.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 12:51 | 3616592 syntaxterror
syntaxterror's picture

Who gives a shit about the consumption zombies?

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 16:30 | 3616929 tenpanhandle
tenpanhandle's picture

zombie banks.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 12:53 | 3616593 Never One Roach
Never One Roach's picture



I went to the mall yesterday. Dead silent.


I am checking it again today to see if those 60% reduced racks with "Take an additional 40% off" signs do anything. The people I do see buying are only looking at stuff about 90% off, or so.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 13:02 | 3616603 Jack Sheet
Jack Sheet's picture

an author who has recent  intercourse with "current and former central bankers"..... impressive


Sat, 06/01/2013 - 13:04 | 3616604 Crash Overide
Crash Overide's picture

The game is over. 

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 13:06 | 3616606 Kaiser Sousa
Kaiser Sousa's picture

added to the analysis above, this should cheer ya'll up .....

cheers, and remember to thank and then shoot a banker...


Sat, 06/01/2013 - 16:32 | 3616933 tenpanhandle
tenpanhandle's picture

I think you got your order of events wrong.  Didn't you mean to shoot and then thank?  After all, the only reason I can think of thanking a banker for is ...well you know.  Gotta run now and I mean literally.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 13:13 | 3616613 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

But…ZIRP & QE2, 3, 4 & 5 are designed to jump start the economy?  Color me shocked when high employment shackles the ‘Get into the debt game to fluff your FICO score and accumulate more’.


Let’s flood the US with illegal immigrates, so we can absorb lost tax revenues due to our high unemployment levels thru globalization magic. Everyone can surly see how that fucked up thought backfired in the UK? This desperation of power is hanging on a thread.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 13:42 | 3616647 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

"in the absence of law" (and we are for all intents and purposes living in a lawless society right now) "you get true capitalism." in my view the Government is moving around the foodie dish "and seeing what happens." and that's about it. having seen it first hand and up close gotta say it's surprising how predictable we all can become in this "new normal." having said that "possession is 9/10's (or is it 9/11's?) the law." if i simply "move in" don't i own the place now? i mean there is a point where nobody really is paying for anything anymore.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 13:15 | 3616616 Waterfallsparkles
Waterfallsparkles's picture

Just wait until Obama Care kicks in.  Plus, so many people that worked full time being pushed into part time because of Obama Care.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 13:52 | 3616668 youngman
youngman's picture

Obama care will be a nightmare...many small business´s will not be able to pay it...and the employees will find many a lawyer to sue if they don´t get it...many people will lose their jobs or get cut back....but the politicians will change that law..and require insurance for part timers too..they have to costs go up 20-50 %....can they be passed on....????  Don´t know but it could be the fire that starts hyperinflation in my mind

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 13:24 | 3616626 Waterfallsparkles
Waterfallsparkles's picture

If you live in Maryland you get hit from all sides.  Our dear O'Malley has raised the taxes on your toilet flushes, your water bill, increased Gas Taxes, A Tax for the Restoration of the Chesapeake Bay of $75. on your Property Tax bill and now a Rain Tax.  Plus, whenever possible a huge increase on your Property Taxes with Assessors over valuing you house.

Plus, if you are a Landlord they fine you if your Tenant does not keep the lid on your Trash Can $250. per incident and the amount progressively goes up for each fine.

No wonder no one has any Money to spend.

Sun, 06/02/2013 - 11:02 | 3618105 Two Feet Studs Up
Two Feet Studs Up's picture

Yes. Plus you get the luxury of extreme gerrymandering. Elijah Cummings who grew up and lives in inner city Baltimore is now representing farmers. People I know around here are leaving in droves. Businesses as well. The rain tax will be the death knell of the so called Free State. Take a drive around the wealthier office parks in Baltimore DC area and take note of all of the office space for lease....those businesses are NOT coming back- at least not with impending Rain tax.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 13:35 | 3616635 Waterfallsparkles
Waterfallsparkles's picture

As far as the note about Debt reduction, I can see why.  If you have a Credit Card that you are paying 9% on, why would you not use your Savings to pay it off.  After all the Bank is only giving you .05% on your Savings Account.

I had a friend and we were talking about the interest rates the Bank was giving.  Interesingly enough he had enough Money in his Savings Account to pay off his 5% Mortgage.  I said why would you only get .05% in your Savings Account and still pay 5% on your Mortgage.  Pay the Mortgage off and the Money you save by not having Mortgage payments can become your Savings.  He agreed and paid off his Mortgage.

So, why keep Money in Savings when you can use it to pay off Debt with a much higher interest rate?  Thanks Bernanke.  Many of us are becoming Debt free.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 13:52 | 3616666 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

what hasn't happened is an asset price failure...and by that i DON'T mean 2008...but 2008 as being "just the tip of the iceberg." in other words "the problem is so big is defies explanation" let alone solution. for those stuck in hunky-dory land they still believe the Fed can "QE" their way out of this thing...but at some point you get a prop 13 problem. there's a reason why California real estate is going sky high yet again...and that's because you can only get more "tax revenues" via massively increasing the value of said real estate. this simply is not true in the rest of the country which has been tax and spent to exhaustion. Wall Street is going to provide those revenues Federal Government? hahahahahahahaha. "just like it did in 2008"?!!! hmmmm. "you better have a pretty small Government then"...or at least one VERY efficient at delivery services for every tax dollar spent. how's that score card looking?

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 14:08 | 3616692 css1971
css1971's picture

Many? No. Few.

Debt is never allowed to decrease. Decrease in debt is literally a recession. When they say growth, what they mean is growth in debt. Debt is never extinguished in the current monetary system it's only ever moved from one debtor to another, and the debtor of last resort is the government.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 13:54 | 3616671 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

Off topic


I have a question. Since all x-ray machines have been removed from all US airports, where has the taxpayer monies gone? Does the manufacture bare the financial loss or does the taxpayer get raped on a reform that was funded thru multiple airline fee charges. Show me where the money flowed and who’s pocket was seeded for a failed experiment. 

TSA Eliminates All Invasive, 'Gumby' X-Ray Machines 

Why we should “Israelify” our Airport Security-2010 

This comedy roars with laughter. Everyone knows why/who is creating this fucked up mess. The global community will not need to engage in war to stop this madness. The perpetrators can run, but never hide.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 17:02 | 3616973 Umh
Umh's picture

The money was removed long before the machines were removed.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 13:54 | 3616675 maskone909
maskone909's picture

Got to have jobs to buy shit. Food stamps and cash aid only go so far.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 14:46 | 3616700 prains
prains's picture

zombie apocalypse 4,3,2....


the american consumer is a hollowed out carcass and like an exoskeletion it has all the appearances of body but upon closer inspection it really is just a shell. The economic ponzi model upon which the american consumer was an integral part of the global economy is dead, just like an exoskeleton. Time will turn it to dust and voila, the entire ponzi goes with it. The new master > police state > surveillance > drones will be employed to keep the defunct american consumer at bay and away from the 1%. Make sure to bring a tank or two to the gun fight, they'll come in handy.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 14:22 | 3616718 Snoopy the Economist
Snoopy the Economist's picture

Subprime lending hasn't stopped. The only way they can get even these pathetic sales numbers is to give the crap away to people they know will never pay for it and stick the bill to the taxpayer once more.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 14:37 | 3616749 StarTedStackin'
StarTedStackin''s picture

Will Obama intentionally crash the economy now that many know it's true state? He's in more hot water than the average clown American is capable of imagining.



"never let a crisis go to waste" especially when if it's a crisis of your own manufacture......



I think the Obowel Movement's original plan was to crash a few months ahead of the mid term election, then attempt to blame it all on the Republicans........



Perhaps the timeline will be sped up when the revelations that The Obowel Movement has given surface to air missles to Al Qaida surface in the MSM.......




I mean even the dumbest of the braindead American electorate will know that's wrong......right?????





Sat, 06/01/2013 - 16:08 | 3616891 Manipuflation
Manipuflation's picture

Is the following not all that needs to be said?


"Don’t believe it. First, consider the facts:"


I am pretty sure that most ZH'ers do not require the prompt.  How to make others.... It's just us.



Sat, 06/01/2013 - 16:18 | 3616910 world_debt_slave
world_debt_slave's picture

yeah, I'm trying to figure out about the rosy picture of the economy painted by the MSM and believed by the pleebs.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 16:23 | 3616923 luna_man
luna_man's picture



Not by choice, but...THAT MANIPULATING CRIMINAL, will be starved along with me!


feel the pressure CRIMINALS

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 17:54 | 3617075 q99x2
q99x2's picture

It is only 70% of the top 20% the lower 80% could all die and the statistic would remain the same.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 18:21 | 3617110 AgLand
AgLand's picture

Clinton helped hollow out the economy with NAFTA, now Obama will usher in the TPP. More jobs to leave as more cheap goods flood in, and the TPP, once signed, is not up for review.

But don't worry, it will all be okay until the EBT cards run dry. At that point all the FEMA camps in the world will not contain the mayhem.

And me? I'll be on a one way plane anywhere else until the fires have all burned down, the smoke has cleared, and the FED will be an ash heap. Hopefully wel'll still have a Democracy of some sort.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 19:19 | 3617192 bugs_
bugs_'s picture

I am sure many no longer consider themselves consumers.  They have made a lifestyle change/choice.  They only buy what they need to survive and the infrequent treat.

The former American Consumer IS okay and IS improving.  Those on the outside looking in still think something is wrong.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 19:35 | 3617223 Westcoastliberal
Westcoastliberal's picture

Perhaps part of the "meltdown" will result in turning back to what worked before.  Just one example; with all the monopoly industries allowed to dominate markets today, can you imagine the resultant "new hires" from breaking these companies up? The "efficiency of scale" benefit steals hundreds of thousands of jobs.  And a tax on Wall St could fund a lot of infrastructure-rebuilding activity.

First we have to remove the corrupt government that looks the other way while these companies, TBTF banks and Wall St steal us blind.

Sun, 06/02/2013 - 10:47 | 3618076 Red Raspberry
Red Raspberry's picture

The banks are doing what they do with the approval of the FED.

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 22:45 | 3617551 robnume
robnume's picture

The healing won't begin until all of the bubbles that the Fed blew are burst. Many of us live paycheck to paycheck these days and I remember when that wasn't so. I remember having discretionary income. People had reasonably well-paying jobs and if you didn't have a job back then, it was because you were a lazy fuck. I'd rather feel the "pain" in the short run rather than dragging out all this shit through QE and bubbles. But hey, that's just me.

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