Guest Post: Is An Economic Deluge Nigh?

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by David Galland of Casey Research

Is An Economic Deluge Nigh?

If history has taught one certain lesson, it is that the less fettered an economy, the better humankind is able to do what it does best: run from trouble and run toward opportunity. In this way mistakes are quickly resolved and progress assured.

Conversely, the deeper the muck of regulation, mandates, taxes, subsidies and other bureaucratic meddling, the slower we humans are in following our natural instincts until the point that progress is slowed or even stopped.

It is said that history doesn't repeat itself, but it often rhymes. In the current circumstances, it appears that enough time has passed that current generations have completely forgotten the critical connection between the ability of humans to freely pursue their aspirations and economic progress.

You can see this ignorance in the popular demand for even more, not less, meddling in the affairs of humankind. Should this trend continue – and for reasons I will touch on momentarily, I firmly believe it will – then the aspirations of the productive minority will soon be dampened by ever higher taxes and other attempts to "level the playing field" and the global economy, already in tatters, will fall off the edge.

There is no more timely nor acute example of this growing trend than what is currently going on in France. I refer, of course, to the first round of the presidential election process, scheduled for this weekend.

In France, if no candidate attracts no better than 50% of the vote, then the two leading candidates go to a decisive runoff vote, this time around to be held on May 6.

The current president, Nicolas Sarkozy, a conservative in name only, was running at a fairly steady gait toward re-election (thanks to the head start awarded all incumbents), when leading socialist candidate Francois Hollande came out with a proposal to tax anyone with an annual income of over one million euros at a rate of 75%. He also promised to add a tax on all financial transactions and increase taxes on France's biggest companies to 35% – securing bragging rights as levying the world's third-highest corporate taxes, the US being #1. This all on top of a 25% VAT, one of the world's highest. By some calculations, the result of Hollande's new taxes is that effectively 100% of all incomes over one million euros will now be stripped away by the state.

For good measure, Hollande also promised to reverse the recent modest increase in retirement age from 60 to 62 pushed through by Sarkozy. While I am sure it is mere coincidence, I found it noteworthy that Mssr. Hollande's campaign slogan is "Change – Now!"

Remarkably, at least for those with some small understanding of economics, as a result of leaning into the microphone with these proposals Hollande has galloped ahead of all other potential contenders and is now projected to finish nose by nose with Sarkozy.

After which the also-rans will be removed from the race, freeing their supporters to share their affections elsewhere. Given that the leading contender for third place with an estimated 14% of the vote is one Jean-Luc Mélenchon – charitably categorized as "far left", a label that can be applied to most of the other candidates – it is projected that the "conservative" Mssr. Sarkozy will go down in double-digit flames come May 6.

Bringing to mind the prophetic utterance of Louis XV: "Après moi, le déluge."

The deluge in Louis' case manifested as the murderous affair commonly known as the French Revolution. In the case of Mssr. Hollande taking up residence in the Palais de l'Élysée, the deluge is likely to manifest in the form of rising interest rates as investors look to protect against an acceleration in the country's debt to GDP ratio, already projected to hit almost 90% this year, exacerbated by a flight of capital, investors, entrepreneurs and large businesses.

As is the nature of such things, because of the aforementioned predilection of humans to run from trouble, we likely won't have to wait for Mssr. Hollande to be formally enshrined in the gilded halls for the trouble to start – it will begin within days and maybe even minutes of the handicappers concluding that his ascendency is a sure thing.

Given that France is the third-largest economy in the already-troubled Eurozone, one can expect the deluge to spread, with potentially devastating consequences. That the guillotines may soon be rolled out across Europe can be better understood by taking into account that the Eurozone sovereign deadbeats are on the hook for roughly nine trillion euros in debt, some significant percentage of which has to be rolled over to ready buyers over the next couple of years. Adding weight to the problem is that, according to the latest figures out of the IMF, Europe's banks may have to sell off up to 3.8 trillion euros in assets, many of them questionable, between now and the end of next year. At least, if they want to remain solvent.

Across the pond, the United States also has aggressive funding needs, given that the "change" we experienced ourselves in the last presidential election has left the government gasping for about $1.4 trillion in additional funding each year. Then there is Japan, officially the world's largest debtor in terms of debt to GDP, where the easy availability of local funding has dried up, requiring that nation to go to the international markets for funding as well.

The phrase "an awful lot of hogs at the trough" comes to mind.

My point is not just that these governments are broke and are about to get a lot more broke as interest rates rise on their many debts and financings, but rather that the global trend toward a resurgence in public demand for socialism in response to a worsening crisis is a certainty.

How could it be otherwise when for decades now the schooling of children has been delegated to functionaries of the state?

For evidence, look no further than the screen swipe here. It is a quote from an essay by a college student in the United States on role the government should play:

The writer of those words was a member of a Valencia University economics class. The professor, Jack Chandliss, asked the class to write an essay on what the American dream means to them, and what they want the federal government to do to help them achieve that dream. Out of 180 students participating, only about 10% wanted the government to leave them alone and not tax them too much, but a whopping 80% wanted the government to provide pretty much the whole dream thing wrapped in a tidy bow – including free college tuition and health care, jobs, even the down payment on their future homes, money for retirement and hard cash, taken in the form of taxes from rich people. Please take a moment to watch a worthwhile interview with the professor.

Pretty eye-opening, eh?

The point here is not complex, but it is important.

With the apparatus of state education over many years serving to bamboozle the populace into the hardened belief that government has a positive role to play in virtually all aspects of modern life, it should come to no surprise to anyone that, when push comes to shove, people are now trained to look to government to solve the problems – even when it was the government that created the problems in the first place.

Thus, confronted with the intractable mess they have made, these governments have to keep alive the mythology they have created about their omnipotence. Which is easier said than done, because with things now swirling fairly quickly around the drain, the mob is beginning to lose faith – and even patience.

Which puts these governments in a very tight spot, because the only way they can actually fix things is by doing exactly the opposite of what people have come to expect from their governments, which is always to do more. Put simply, the only hope now is that these governments begin to reduce their roles in their respective economies, and dramatically so. Concurrently, they have to encourage people in their aspirations to greater wealth, by lowering their taxes and unwinding the tangle of regulations they have created over the last half-century.

But if the governments actually tried to take these actions, the brainwashed masses would be positively befuddled then outraged, as it goes against everything they have been taught. Why, it would be like the Pope shuffling his way to the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica and informing the doting faithful that there isn't a god and never has been.

Riots would follow.

So it is that we find ourselves at a particularly interesting juncture in the historical record.

On the one hand you have a majority of the world's population who have been carefully schooled into believing that the institution of government holds the solution to all problems and is the source of succor to all who need it. (Even that subset of the populace who has lost confidence in their current government invariably believes as doctrine that the next and better government can change things for the better and lead the way to the shining castle on the hill.)

In this mix are the politicians and their functionaries, 99.99% of whom believe that, if for no other reason than their re-election prospects, they have to do something to meet the demands of the public.

Of course, under normal circumstances the "something" usually consists of making grand-sounding speeches and otherwise blowing smoke. Today that's just not going to cut it, for the simple reason that the crisis is real, it is spinning out of control, and it's not going to go away unless and until the markets are allowed to breathe again.

Which brings us full circle to the simple truth that the brainwashed public won't stand idly by while the politicians lower taxes and regulations on the profit makers or cut back state pensions and guarantees or otherwise reduce any of the many services the state has taken on itself to provide.

"Between a rock and a hard place" is an inadequate phrase to describe the situation.

Meanwhile, the mob has started to gather, their dark mutterings heard by the politicos who quickly don the red caps themselves, the better to be viewed as one with the people and join in expressing outrage against the capitalists who have been selected as fall guys in this unfolding drama.

When confronted by reporters about the fact that his 75% tax on high-income owners would raise nowhere enough revenue to offset France's towering debt and social obligations, Mssr. Hollande was heard to respond:

"It's not a question of return. It's a question of morality."

When coercion and theft are considered moral, anything is possible, and none of it good.

While I certainly can't say how this is all going to end, I'm pretty sure it's not going to end well.

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Gully Foyle's picture


Wow, the level of stupid in what you wrote is amazing.

Does someone feed you?

I can't imagine a person with your obvaious lack of intelligence having the ability to grab a freedom fry and shovel it between your drooling slackjawed lips

Sean7k's picture

Wow, the level of discernable intelligence in your response, coupled with your inability to respond to my assertion, yelled for effect is the trifecta of imbecility.

AnAnonymous's picture

the unproductive


Unproductive? Were slaves productive or not?

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

How are those Tibetan "patriotic volunteers" working out for you?


o2sd's picture

More productive than they were under the British. Oh, did you forget that the Tibetans were basically slaves under British rule?


TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

...and now they're slaves under Chinese citizenism rule.

Big improvement.


bahaar's picture

True.  Except Black/ Native American/Irish or their equivalent, Woman, Child, Indentured servant have more rights in America than anywhere else in the world.

Gully Foyle's picture


What the fuck! Are you drunk!?

donsluck's picture

No, he is correct, however twisted the reality. The USA is the best place to be a woman, for sure.

Gully Foyle's picture


The Best And Worst Countries For Women


At the top of the list, Iceland is ranked No. 1 for the third consecutive year. It is the top-ranked nation in women’s educational attainment and political representation. As one of the first countries to give women the right to vote in 1915, Iceland currently has 43% female parliament members and has had a female head of state for 18 of the past 50 years. Current Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir was appointed in 2009. With 81% of women in the workforce, Iceland also features one of the narrowest labor force participation gaps.


Nordic nations consistently rank at the top of the list. Norway (No. 2), Finland (No. 3), Sweden (No. 4) and Denmark (No. 7) have been featured in the top-10 every year since the report’s launch in 2006. All Nordic countries reached near 100% literacy for both sexes, feature near parity in all levels of education and return that investment in the workforce. The nations each have generous paid maternity and paternity leave policies. In Sweden, women are offered 480 days of maternity time.

At No. 17, the U.S. continues to improve in the rankings–up from No. 31 in 2009–but hasn’t yet climbed to a top-10 slot. Because GDP is not a factor in the index, countries are ranked based only on the equality of resource distribution rather than the amount of resources. Perhaps surprising to some, the Philippines (No. 8), Lesotho (No. 9) and South Africa (No. 14) beat out the wealthy nation.

The U.S. features low scores in women’s political representation, with just 17% of women in political clout positions and no female heads of state on record, and a continuing wage gap for similar work. The U.S. is ranked No. 68 in pay equality—despite laws in place to enforce equal pay for equal work. Zahidi says the wage disparity creates a significant downward pull on the nation’s standing.

BigJim's picture

It looks to me like that ranking is determined by which countries are the best if you're a woman and in the top 1%.

Meanwhile, I wonder how many Lesotho woman would rather live in the US? And vice versa?

If we're only looking at subsections of women, how about we look at agoraphobic women? I'll bet they LOVE living in places that burqa-wearing is mandatory!

Cathartes Aura's picture

good post Gully, you beat me to it.

and just to add; Iceland's elected Prime Minister is lesbian, openly gay.

name me ONE other nationstate where a lesbian would be elected head of state.

the high literacy rate is a clue - there is respect for humans inherent in every person I've ever met from Iceland.

they also value community - and are a small enough "state" to tend to their own.

Bjork: Declare Independence

Declare independence!
Don't let them do that to you!
Declare independence!
Don't let them do that to you!


Start your own currency!
Make your own stamp
Protect your language


Make your own flag!


Raise your own flag!

(video by Michael Gondry - amazing!!)

kekekekekekeke's picture

lol @ your downvotes, I can't believe how stupid these men are

kekekekekekeke's picture

why are you pontificating about where it is good to be a woman

you don't know shit


DosZap's picture

Unless you were Black, a Woman, A Native American, Irish, a Child or and Indentured servant. I forgot Poor and Working Class.

I am positive that those situations have been WAY more than adequately handled.


Oh regional Indian's picture

Are those your words assfire? They look really familiar, I just read them somewhere, I feel.

Anyways, all folks should read this:

It's all quite clear.


AssFire's picture

Of course they are not my words.. I am a product of the public school system with just enough brains to remember the old America.

Oh regional Indian's picture

That is a poor comback for plagiarism.

Write it or source it.


AssFire's picture

Oh regional you forgot the spam link I criticize when you criticized me.


 Write it then spam it. Seems to fit you.

The China/Inalienable Rights piece came to me in an e-mail; get over it.


Hohum's picture


Earth calling.  Growth as measured by GDP/total credit market debt has been in recession most of the past 40 years, at least in the West.  Central planning won't fix it, but why in the world do you think individual rights will?

AssFire's picture

There are far reaching benefits to keep the government at bay if the agencies are left powerless, usurped by your rights.  We will dissolve as a nation and then we will see the results of the different philosophies (Texas vs the Coasts).

John_Coltrane's picture

I believe you misunderstand what Assfire was trying to promote.  My take on his comments is that the twin pillors  of freedom and personal responsibility (no scrapgoating-look in the mirror first when you have a problem) is the basis of all success and indeed happiness.  Individuals, seeking their own best interests, are the engine which drive the world and every scientific and technologial achievement demonstate this truth.   Statists lack competence and ability and thus blame others for their plight and seek to impose their desires for more "stuff" through the state.   They thus create new "rights" (e.g. educational and medical subsidies) which are not functions of government.  These subsidies, like the FEDs price fixing of the value of the $ via interest rates, distort the economy and act like a friction on economic productivity.  Nearly the entire financial sector is a huge frictional drag on the economy enabled only through government bailouts and intervention.  We need a lot more creative destruction and failure of the incompetents, whether individuals or corporations.

Hohum's picture

That's fine, but it's not going to make GDP/total credit market debt positive.  I could be wrong, but the proponents of "freedom" haven't really fleshed out how glorious prosperity will occur to the benefit of most.  I can anticipate the response:  who cares about the incompetent fuckers?  It's a glib answer, and if some here feel that way they really ought to pull a Midas Mulligan and form a commune, without the communal rules of course.

q99x2's picture

The individual has the capacity to be moral.

smb12321's picture

Studies have concluded that the average Chinese IQ is slightly higher than the West.  But the catch...he Chinese view themselves as a collective, both currently and historically.  Thus, while the IQ is elevated, the bell curve is flattened.  There are many fewer "idiots" but also no small band of truly inventive geniuses in the sense of Edison, Einstein, Bell or Maxwell.   Many old Chinese "inventions" were accidental, not by the scientific method of trial and error.

Robert Reich said the greatest battle in the future will not be between socialism and capitalism (he considers that definitely settled) but between liberal, democratic capitalism and authoritarian capitalism.  I, too, doubt China's world role but for historical reasons - each time she has tried to operate beyond her borders, the will to venture vanishes.  Oh, and China still has 300 million living on less than a dollar a day.   

Sean7k's picture

I call bullshit.

These tests vary by culture and exposure to specific social education. The test originally tested for the ability to succeed in college. It is a narrow gauge of intelligence. 

BigJim's picture

 Thus, while the IQ is elevated, the bell curve is flattened.  There are many fewer "idiots" but also no small band of truly inventive geniuses

That would be the case if their bell curve were steeper, not flatter.

brodix's picture

"Conversely, the deeper the muck of regulation, mandates, taxes, subsidies and other bureaucratic meddling, the slower we humans are in following our natural instincts until the point that progress is slowed or even stopped."

Well Gosh! Speedboats are more maneuverable than ocean liners. Whoda thunk it!

amadeusb4's picture

"You can see this ignorance in the popular demand for even more, not less, meddling in the affairs of humankind." WTF?? I understand that this is a site about business and finance but why with this ideological screaching lately??? We should just let the vampire squid have its way and jeopardize the welfare of billions of people so that already wealthy individuals can become even wealthier?'s picture

The Vampire Squid thrives on regulation. If you'd pay closer attention to the ideological screeching you'd know that.

amadeusb4's picture

No, the vampire squid thrives on DEregulation, where this is not the removal of existing rules but rather the changing of them to their benefit. So more deregulation and this "free market" garbage = greater autonomy for the vampire squid. That's one of the reasons that Ron Paul is such a failure because he advocates the removal of government to the benefit of corporations and not the people. I'm all for dismantling the cage I'm in but there should be a plan for the lions that are salivating at me on the other side before I do so.'s picture

No. If there had been deregulation then you or I could open an honest bank and compete with the Squid. But there was no deregulation. We are barred from entry to the market due to regulation.

donsluck's picture

Wrong-o Crockett. Just for kicks, get on your state website that lists State regs for banks (banks are regulated by the States). California has such a website, and you will see that 80% of banking regs have been rescinded.'s picture

You're missing the point entirely. Suppose all the banking laws were rescinded except one and that one law said that JP Morgan owned all Americans. Would you consider that to be "deregulation?"

It's not the number of the laws that's important, it's the effect of those laws. The banks own the Fed and government regulations give the Fed a monopoly on the creation of money. The game is rigged at the highest levels in the most efficient way possible. You are owned. If there had been true deregulation you could not be owned unless you had voluntarily put yourself on the auction block.

LawsofPhysics's picture

You are an idiot. What happened to Glass-Stegall?  Gone - deregulation moron.  What we have now is fascism.

I am all for 100 % deregulation, so long as you have 100% transparency.  Can't have it both ways fucknut.  Unless you prosecute fraud (know the difference between laws and regulation) the system is doomed.  What we have now is banks and paper-pushers buying the CONgress so they can commit any crime they want.  The fact that you cannot recognize this tells me you are a fucking moron (or a paper-pusher).

At the end of the day, the sooner this shit pile collapses, the sooner compensation will return to people who are actually worth a shit.  Fuck the paper-pushers.'s picture

You are confused. If the government uses regulations to force all Americans to use the bankers' money but then selectively lightens the regulation on those bankers to give them even more power over you how can you call that deregulation?

If you believe that there are no regualtions on your economic endeavors then may I suggest that you attempt to transact business in the marketplace with others on a strictly voluntary basis with no regard for existing regulations? You will find out very quickly that you have not been deregulated.

As for fraud, the most egregious examples of fraud have been perpetrated through government regulation. TARP was an act of government regulation of the economy. There is no way that regular folks would have forked over a trillion bucks to the banks in a free market. Wise up.

BigJim's picture

Sorry LoP, CA is right. The banks derive their power via regulation that mandates their issue as legal tender. That is the key regulation that sustains the ponzi. get rid of that and market discipline would finally come to bear.

Yes, Glass-Steagal hindered the banks' ability to create more money. So removing that legislation sped up the process of debasement. But the underlying problem is that our laws enable the banks to pass off m2/m3/m4 money as if it were cold hard cash.

lotsoffun's picture

the 'regulation' is false.  it is another hoax.  it's pages and pages of hoax 'regulation' to put people to sleep.

there is some minor regulation in there to keep montag and pals from milking the fed and fdic down completely again, it's a sort of balance to keep them(tbtf) in big bonus but begging them to be nice and not walk on the poor people at fed and fdic (who will lose their jobs and heads first before somebody like lloyd, jamie, montag does) while they are trying to enable the same people.  it's sick and perverse and it's as expected because it's all sick and perverse little people.

the regulations are trying to strike some kind of balance get the robbers not to rob to the point where it all comes down.

it is going to be a lot of fun to see the end game.

oh.  anybody seen jonnie corzine lately?


AnAnonymous's picture

If there had been deregulation then you or I could open an honest bank and compete with the Squid.


Really? But the corporations do compete. Competition is and has always been about eliminating the concurrence.

You are no longer part of the competition? You want to turn tables to re enter competition? Too bad for you, at this little game too, corporations outcompete you.

Muppet Pimp's picture

Did yuo even raed the atricle?

Sean7k's picture

Those lions are toothless without the police power of the state. It is regulation, written by the bankers that own the government, that allows a set of corporatists to run ramshod over us all. De-regulation has strings that tie the hands of all but the Elites.

AnAnonymous's picture

Made me laugh. US citizens have this ability to claim something is not when something is.

Competition is a quantifying process. To quantify, you need one rule.

The corporations are toothless without the police power of the state? Nope. The State is toothless against the power of corporations.

Removing the State wont remove corporations. Corporations are the products of middle class societies.

Corn1945's picture

This isn't a really difficult conversation, but we keep having it anyway.

The government is doing nothing to stop the "vampire squid." In fact, it is aiding and abetting said squid.

Why do I want to give that same government more authority when it is actively screwing me over?

The bottom line is this: There is a small but growing number of people who realize that the main problem isn't really the "vampire squid," it's the Federal Reserve and government that encourages and empowers the squid. 

Sean7k's picture

And without said government and FED they would not have the power to control markets. If you want to confiscate the weapons of the Elites, you merely have to eliminate legal tender laws and the police power of the state.

AnAnonymous's picture

The elite? But in US citizenism, the middle class is the King class.

mjk0259's picture

Chinese government does more for the middle class then US govt. Albeit so they can steal more without getting shot. US ruling class not worried about getting shot.

AnAnonymous's picture

Chinese government does more for the middle class than the US government?

Waoo, you must have a very relative way to assess things to end with such a conclusion.

That the chinese government would like to mimick the US government when it comes to middle class, likely.

But once again, they are peanuts compared to US of A government.

The oil, the wars, the robbery, the fed toying with inflation on world scale and much more... US government is the best caretaker of middle class

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Good example here of Chinese citizenism stealth blobbing.


LawsofPhysics's picture

Wake the fuck up, the vampire squid, the Federal Reserve, and the Government (and all of its regulators) are one and the same.  No way this gets fixed without killing them all and starting over.