Saturday, June 13, 2009
That’s because all drugs wear off eventually and we all know that with hard core drug addicts, like the politicians and central bankers of America, they usually won’t admit they have a problem until they do a face plant in public where everyone can see them. That face plant is coming… soon… I can see it.
Trillions in stimulus, phony “stress tests,” “Quantitative Easing (default/printing), suspension of common sense accounting with mark-to-fantasy, Money laundering through the banks; through AIG, through Chrysler, through GM, and others… lies upon lies, upon lies – and we have exactly WHAT to show for it?
Well, we have a ton more public debt, an equity market that is 40% higher than it was, a bond market that is 30% lower than it was, a dollar that is 11% lower than it was = less purchasing power, millions fewer with employment, and no new factories to speak of.
Picture by AZRainman
Oh, but we do have an Administration, who being high on the drug of the fiat power, dictates who will be CEO, who will get money from the sale of assets, and which businesses will survive and which will die. NO RULE OF LAW. It’s quite a TRIP, but like all drug induced highs, the feeling of power is an illusion, it is temporary.
Market forces will punish the addicts for their INDISCRETIONS, their LAWLESSNESS.
Picture by AZRainman
Capital in the hands of the sober will refuse to form when the rule of law is not followed – no new factories, no new jobs. Those who are thinking clearly will not finance the addict’s game with new debt – that will mean higher interest rates. And without real change the event horizon for the “events” that history shows follow these types of historic economic events is drawing near.
No, a bond and equity market face plant will be a GOOD THING. The addicts might then actually take the first step – acknowledge that THEY have a problem and that THEY are the problem. Only then will real and meaningful change be possible. It’s a sad process to watch, one that is unstoppable now in my opinion.
Of course, just like going into Iraq without an exit strategy, one must be careful about what comes after the fall. I know what I’d like to see, and I’m still CERTAIN the central bankers have a plan for what THEY want to see too. Those visions are absolutely different as my vision of the future does not include them AT ALL. Thus the PEOPLE, if they want to live FREE into the future, are going to have to ensure that the central bankers no longer rule the world. It’s going to be tough.
And how do I know this face plant is not too much farther away? Because this bear market rally is going to end like all overpriced bear market rallies do, on lower volume.
The government and their minions who are supporting the market are not as big as the market, they cannot possibly become the entire market, and like the little children they are will soon get the spanking they deserve.
How’s that for fundamental analysis? Did I mention the mathematically impossible numbers of DEBT? LOL, let’s look at the charts and focus on the volume…
Here is a daily view of the DOW over the past 6 months. Note that the volume is DIVERGING rapidly from price. Also note that I have a fresh sell signal on the daily stochastics and a lower high on the RSI despite rising price, another negative divergence:
Note, too, that the DOW has NOT made a new significant high. Also, the Transports have stubbornly refused to make a new short term high and have also failed, so far, at getting above the 200dma.
Here’s a weekly view of the DOW, you can see the declining volume very clearly. The weekly stochastic is very overbought, although the latest weekly candle does not look like a classic top candle despite the rapidly falling volume. Volume wins, however, it is what confirms price – OR NOT:
Next is the SPY daily, same basic picture:
Now let’s look at the financials in the XLF… again, falling volume, a sell signal on the stochastic and a divergent RSI:
Trumped up and manipulated bear market rally from start to finish. The drug addict may be able to stay in their chair a little longer, but the face plant is inevitable.
That’s it – all the charts I wanted to show! Falling volume diverging against rising prices – really all you need to know, it’s sending us a message.
Velvet Revolver- Messages
Friday, June 12, 2009
Keep in mind, however, that many of these charts are based upon data that is NOT COMPARABLE. Unemployment rate, for example, being one that is not even close to comparable. Still, overall a nice study in charts:
The Recession in Historical Context…
Stocks are down sharply this morning with the /ES just beneath but still close to the 935 pivot:
The next lower pivot is at 912 and the next higher is at 961. 955ish has capped the rally, yet support has moved up into the 925 area. A break beneath 912 would be required to start thinking about a trend change and that’s a distinct possibility as we are right in the middle of a Fibonacci turn window that began on June 9th and ends on June 17th.
I think it's very significant that the Transports got close but refused to make a new minor high yesterday. There is a DOW Theory non-confirmation in place in that the DOW has been making new short term highs but the Transports have not. Those types of non-confirmations can definately mark tops, so keep an eye on that.
Bonds are up slightly, remember that the long bond has reached long term support where I have mentioned that some basing action is likely. What happens in bonds over the next month or so will be important.
The dollar is up strongly overnight sending gold and other commodities down.
One of the reasons the dollar rose is that European Industrial Production PLUNGED by a record 21.6% year-over-year in April, much greater than forecast.
Data was also released this morning on import and export prices. The month over month numbers for May showed slight increases, but the year-over-year data showed that export prices DECLINED by 6.5% versus -6.8% last month, a slight uptick, but still a very sharp decline.
It is IMPORT prices that shows the greatest decline with yoy import prices DOWN 17.6%, which is much greater than last month’s -16.3%!! In other words price declines of imports is accelerating even with the global rally and positive seasonal influences. Minus 17.6%?! Yowzzaa! Sorry to those looking for signs of inflation in that data, you will not see it there.
Of course leave it to the media to spin inflation into those numbers!!! Oh yeah, gasoline went up on speculation… Here’s what Econoday has to say – sure wish I could find some realistic reporting! Oh yeah, that would mean there would be no need for this blog!
Import price data for May show early hints of inflation. Especially important are prices for non-petroleum imports which rose 0.2 percent to end a long string of declines. Pressure is appearing in ex-petroleum industrial supplies and, for a second month, in foods. Commodity prices have been on the rise in large part due to inflation hedging spurred by expectations of dollar-based inflation. Such expectations have also been a big factor behind the jump underway in crude oil, which in this report shows a long series of increases for petroleum imports including an 8.3 percent rise in May.
Overall rates show a 1.3 percent rise for imports following a 1.1 percent rise in April. Export prices also show pressure, up 0.6 percent in May on top of a 0.4 percent rise in April. Here again, commodity price pressures are to blame, this time in agricultural export prices which jumped 3.6 percent following a 3.7 percent rise in April.
A deflationary recession was the prior concern for policy makers which however, due to their stimulus efforts, may now switch over to the risk of an inflationary recession. Today's report will raise concerns over next week's much more closely watched producer and consumer price reports.
To whoever wrote that – DUDE, Import prices fell 17.6% year over year and it was a greater rate of fall than last month!! That is a HISTORIC collapse of prices!!! Stop with the damn “signs of inflation” already and wake the heck up!!!
Whew! The Economic Mass Psychosis is certainly a powerful thing to overcome.
Speaking of Mass Psychosis, the Consumer Sentiment readings come out a 9:55 Eastern.
In a busy but happy weekend, later this morning I leave to attend my daughter’s University of Washington graduation ceremony – that will be a pleasure! Then tomorrow I get to attend my son’s high school graduation – a two bagger!
So, I’ll not be around much the next couple of days, but I will check in when I can. I appreciate the posts while I’m gone, I think it’s great that some are willing to post and share information, that helps each other out and we all learn by sharing.
As far as the markets go… Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, come inside, come inside!
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Welcome Back My Friends, To The Show That Never Ends
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Household Wealth in U.S. Decreased by $1.3 Trillion
By Courtney Schlisserman
June 11 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. household wealth fell in the first quarter by $1.3 trillion, extending the biggest slump on record, as home and stock prices dropped.
Net worth for households and non-profit groups decreased to $50.4 trillion, the lowest level since 2004, from $51.7 trillion in the fourth quarter, according to the Federal Reserve’s Flow of Funds report today. The government began keeping quarterly records in 1952.
Americans are cutting back on spending as unemployment surges, home prices continue to drop and wealth evaporates, signaling any economic recovery will be slow to develop. The drop in net worth is one reason Americans are boosting savings, blunting the effect of the tax breaks and income supplements from the Obama administration’s stimulus plan.
“It’s going to be very difficult to have any recovery in consumer spending without jobs and incomes recovering first,” said Christopher Low, chief economist at FTN Financial in New York. “The probability of a debt-financed consumer spending binge like we saw in the last expansion is essentially nil.”
Retail sales rose in May for the first time in three months, an increase driven almost solely by U.S. shoppers returning to automobile showrooms seeking bargains and the rising cost of gasoline, a report today from the Commerce Department showed.
One positive aspect of today’s Fed report is that the decreases in net worth are starting to ease. Wealth dropped by a record $4.9 trillion in the last three months of 2008.
Americans have taken on less debt as the economic recession unfolds. While the jump in savings rate to 5.7 percent in April was helped by an increase in incomes linked to the fiscal stimulus plan, some economists are forecasting savings will continue to rise as consumers hold back on spending.
Real-estate-related household assets decreased by $551.1 billion, following a $974.5 billion decrease in the fourth quarter. Net worth related to corporate equities fell by $347.8 billion the first three months of this year.
Owners’ equity as a share of their total real-estate holdings decreased to 41.4 percent last quarter from 42.9 percent in the fourth quarter, today’s Fed report showed.
Consumer debt fell at a 1.1 percent annual pace following a 2 percent decrease in the fourth quarter that was the first drop on record.
Mortgage borrowing was unchanged from January through March, the first time in a year it didn’t fall, the Fed’s report showed. Stabilization in real-estate lending adds to evidence that the housing slump is easing.
Total borrowing by consumers, businesses and government agencies increased at an annual rate of 4.1 percent last quarter compared with a 6.2 percent gain the prior quarter. The gain was paced by a 23 percent surge in borrowing by the federal government, reflecting spending linked to the stimulus plan.
Business borrowing decreased at a 0.3 percent pace after rising 1.5 percent the prior quarter, the Fed said.
Borrowing by state and local governments increased at a 4.9 percent rate.
The economy contracted at a 5.7 percent annual pace in the first quarter and consumer spending rose at a 1.5 percent pace.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News this month forecast unemployment will climb to 10 percent by the end of the year and lowered their projections for consumer spending in the second half of the year to an average 1.1 percent annual pace. For all of 2009, purchases will drop 0.7 percent, the worst performance since 1974, according to the Bloomberg survey.
Never ending growth has come to an end. Here are some more charts to support that statement:
Let’s start with Total Revolving Credit Outstanding (credit cards). Here we see the first year-over-year (yoy) NEGATIVE growth:
Next is a chart showing Total Securitized Consumer Loans. Note that the dollar amount is falling. Remember that to have economic growth, each year must produce more credit than the year before:
Here’s Personal Savings in Billions of Dollars, suddenly the highest dollar amount since the late 50’s which is as far back as this chart has data:
And here’s the Personal Saving’s RATE:
Here’s Household Debt Outstanding yoy percent change… note that it just went negative for the first time ever on this chart since the early 50’s:
Here’s one that should be given more attention, Corporate Net Cash Flow, percent change yoy. NEGATIVE 20%, that is huge and cannot be sustained for long:
Look for bankruptcies, personal, corporate, and governmental to rise dramatically in the next year as those who have been hanging on waiting for "the turn around" to come. Me, I'm Comfortably Numb...
Pink Floyd, Comfortably Numb:
Fine example of statesmanship...
Thankfully Karl Denninger has written three very fine Tickers this morning and thus I will feed traffic to his site with my highest recommendation:
The Market Ticker…
His first Ticker, Congress MUST EXCISE The Bernanke CANCER, is spot on, but my additional take is that Bernanke may very well be sacrificed to get someone EVEN MORE sympathetic to the central bank, someone like Larry Summers, and THAT would be the worst thing that ever happened to America! Distractions like this also keep people's attention off of the banks which is where the real problems are - they are the puppet masters, not the other way around.
While I can’t stand Larry Kudlow and have refused to put his face on my site, here’s an important video on the subject and so I'll make an exception to my no Kudlow rule:
The most important aspect about this whole affair is that the rule of law is not being followed, and yet this panel only skirts around that issue. This is critical to understand, as it is the rule of law that allows capital to form.
Denniger’s third Ticker is spot on as well; Downturn Moderating? More LIES! Again, he is absolutely correct and his post will help give you insight into the lies being propagated by our own government and by the media. You will find a good example of this in the post that Point made in my daily Market Thread:
Another initial claims report, another slew of revisions to previous-week data. And, as an exta-added bonus, we have revisions to data from TWO weeks ago.
First, I'd like to give a warm "Green shoots shout-out" to the 19th-consecutive week of at least 600,000 initial claim filings. Congratulations, America - it's a Depression!
Now, to the main event. Remember how initial claims "fell" in last week's report, too? From 625k to 621k? Hmm? Well, this week, they revised the previous week's number to - you guessed it, 625k. So, we see that it really wasn't a fall at all. Imagine that!
The number of insured unemployed seasonally-adjusted rose to 6.816 million, substantially rising from a revised 6.757m, originally reported as 6.735 m. That number, too, was touted as "falling" last week from 6.750, but those darn revisions even took that number higher this week. So, we see that it really wasn't a fall at all. Imagine that!
The trend continues in the 4-week seasonally-adjusted moving average. Here, we see the number now stands at 6.750m. The previous week's number was revised upward, as well, from 6.687m to 6.693.
Moreover, the non-seasonally adjusted number of initial claims rose dramatically this week after several weeks of marked declines, rocketing from a revised 500k (originally reported as 496k) to 576k last week.
And the non-seasonally adjusted insured unemployed number now sits at 6.127m. That's only up from 2.828m a year ago. Over a 100% increase over the span of a year. Mustard seeds, indeed.
We now return to our regularly-scheduled Prozac nation, already in progress.
Amazing, Point, thanks for sharing!
The Alan Parsons Project - Games People Play:
Futures are actually up a little this morning with the “greenshoots” crowd claiming to see new buds sprouting. Of course they keep looking at a few miniscule “reduced rate of fall” data and they are somehow blind to the elephant in the garden that is trampling the hell out of their “greenshoots!” That elephant is called DEBT, and I’ll get to that in a minute… meanwhile, here’s the overnight action in the DOW and S&P futures:
Keep in mind that whenever we’re talking “bonds” or “Treasuries,” what we’re really talking about, of course, is DEBT. This week alone the Fed had to convince “investors” to buy up $150 billion worth of OUR debt! That has now created a Historic CRASH of the bond market with TLT, the 20 year bond fund, losing almost 30% of its value. The ten year rose to 4% and that will take 30 year mortgages well over 6%. While that may not sound like much compared to historic rates, and it’s not, because we are so saturated with debt and have financed a huge portion of our debt with short term financing, resetting to higher rates will be very painful indeed. The more debt in the system, the more painful rising rates will be.
Today at 1:00 Eastern the 30 year bond auction will take place. Yesterday’s 10 year auction didn’t go so well. So, while the greenshoot crowd is pointing out what amounts to nothing I can see, we have crashing bond markets which are a HUGE, GIGANTIC WEED in our economic garden! Here’s a daily chart of the 10 year futures on the left, and long bond on the right since Christmas:
And here’s the same chart but an hourly showing the past couple of weeks worth of action:
So, while equities have been holding up, bonds have been crashing. One or the other, but not both!
So let’s look at some other economic data that our fine media is calling greenshoots…
Here’s what’s happened in retail sales in April according to Econoday:
Retail sales fell another 0.4 percent in April after dropping 1.3 percent the month before as consumers retrench due to rising unemployment and tighter credit. Declines in sales were broad based. Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales posted a 0.5 percent decline, after a 1.2 percent plunge in March. Looking ahead, however, we may see an autos-led rebound in May retail sales as unit new motor vehicles sales rose 6.4 percent to 9.91 million units annualized, according to auto manufacturers. Also, higher gasoline prices likely helped bump up overall retail sales for May. The big question is how did retail sales do outside of autos and gasoline-and the latest reports from department stores suggests a down month.
And initial unemployment claims fell to “only” 601,000. Heck, 300,000 would be BAD, 600k is horrid. Yet, amazingly this is spun into being somehow “good” because it appears the number has peaked. But, of course, when nobody in the entire country has a job, the number of new claims will fall to zero, I guess that will be a good thing! Meanwhile, continuing claims rose by 59,000 to 6.816 million!
Here’s how Econoday spun it positively:
Contraction in initial jobless claims slowed noticeably in the June 6 week, to 601,000 for a 24,000 dip (prior week revised 4,000 higher to 625,000). The improvement is clearly evident in the four-week average which fell 10,500 to 621,750 -- its lowest level since February. These results will confirm global expectations that U.S. payroll contraction has already peaked.
Job losses are slowing as are increases in the number of unemployed. Continuing claims, in data for the May 30 week, rose 59,000 to 6.816 million, another record and extending a string of weekly increases that go all the way back to the very beginning of the year. But the 59,000 rise is comparatively mild and follows and a rise of only 6,000 in the prior week that is the mildest rise of the year. The unemployment rate for insured workers is unchanged at 5.1 percent.
For an ailing patient, today's report is good news. But for holders of safe-haven securities the news, along with a stronger-than-expected retail sales report, point to higher interest rates and higher returns in other investments.
Clearly the numbers have leveled out, but the 600K area is absolutely horrid and nothing to cheer about. And they have been at this level for quite some time. The longer it stays in this area, the worse.
And since we’re no longer following the rule of law, as in lawless, capital will no longer want to form in our country to build factories and hire workers, so I would expect the employment picture to remain BAD for LONGER BECAUSE OF OUR GOVERNMENT’S ACTIONS.
You know, things like Bernanke’s latest memos showing that he absolutely was ready to remove Bank of America’s CEO had he not agreed, under pressure, to take in Merrill Lynch in the Fed’s shotgun wedding. Of course this is all stuff we know. What everyone is still missing, and that makes all of this a diversion, are the trillions upon trillions of leveraged toxic derivatives that have now accumulated at the big banks and are being hidden by the banks and our own government! Heck, even the accounting standards board (FASB) has been strong-armed in order to keep the toxic waste hidden from your view. Trust me, at some point they will see the light of day. When that day arrives, I hope you are ready, it will not be pretty!
The spring is wound very, very tightly in equities right now. We had a small change in the McClelland on Tuesday and then yesterday’s action did not produce the big move we’re looking for. That means the odds are high that there will be a big move today, direction not known by that oscillator.
In the daily and weekly timeframe stocks are WAY, WAY overbought by many measurements. But in the short term the stochastics indicate an overbought 10 minute, a mid-range 30 minute, and a 60 minute that has just exited oversold and is headed north. By those indications I might expect lower, then higher today, but anything is possible as none of them are up against extreme readings.
Right now we have the ying in stocks versus the yang in bonds. The bond market is the more powerful force, it influences capital flows and can cut off the life blood of the economy if it gets out of hand. Watch the bond market closely here. It is coming up on long term support, if it gets worse, then “bad things this way come,” as Yoda says!
Debt, our Beast of Burdon…
The Rolling Stones – Beast of Burdon:
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
That’s the California’s Comptroller’s official press release.
I’ll let that sink in a little…
Controller Releases May Cash Flow Figures
SACRAMENTO – State Controller John Chiang today released his monthly report detailing California’s cash balance, receipts and disbursements in May and through the first 11 months of the fiscal year. In May, revenue was $827 million below the latest projections found in the Governor’s May Budget Revision.
"Without immediate solutions from the Governor and Legislature, we are less than 50 days away from a meltdown of State government. This presents a terrible threat to California’s economy and to the State’s delivery of basic public services,” said Chiang. “A truly balanced budget is the only responsible way out of the worst cash crisis since the Great depression.”
Personal income taxes were $475 million below (-23.0%) estimates in the May Revision. Corporate taxes were down $84.4 million (-25.8%), and sales taxes fell by $109 million (-3.3%).
The Controller has met with Governor Schwarzenegger and Legislators in the past week to brief them on the State’s immediate cash problem. He also sent a letter to State leaders this morning with new cash projections – updated to reflect May actuals and final May Revision numbers from the Department of Finance – that continue to show the State exhausting all available cash by late July. The State is now projected to run $2.78 billion into the red on July 31.
The State started the fiscal year with a $1.45 billion cash deficit, which grew to $19.8 billion on May 31, 2009. That deficit is being covered by a combination of Revenue Anticipation Notes (RANs) and internal borrowing from special funds. Borrowing from special funds is expected to provide enough cash to fund State operations through the end of the fiscal year on June 30.
Own muni-bonds? Wonder why the bond market has entered bubble stage seven?
Yeah, yeah… “nobody saw it coming.”
Stage Six – Financial Crisis/Panic:
A bubble requires many people who believe in a bright future, and so long as the euphoria continues, the bubble is sustained. Just as the euphoria takes hold of the outsiders, the insiders remember what’s real. They lose their faith and begin to sneak out the exit. They understand their segment, and they recognize that it has all gone too far. The savvy are long gone, while those who understand the possible outcome begin to slowly cash out. Typically, the insiders try to sneak away unnoticed, and sometimes they get away without notice. Whether the outsiders see the insiders leave or not, insider profit taking signals the beginning of the end (remember who has sold their rental properties?).
Stage seven – Revulsion/Lender of Last Resort:
Sometimes, panic of the insiders infects the outsiders. Other times, it is the end of cheap and easy credit or some unanticipated piece of news. But whatever it is, euphoria is replaced with revulsion. The building is on fire and everyone starts to run for the door. Outsiders start to sell, but there are no buyers. Panic sets in, prices start to tumble downwards, credit dries up, and losses start to accumulate.
Whatever you do, don’t listen to the “nuts” on the internet!!! By all means, listen to the Keynesian academic wonders who marveled at the Great Depression. Ever hear the saying, “What you focus on expands?”
Bernanke in Denial 2005-2007 (ht Leland):
Stupid is as stupid does. This is what eventually happens when you spend more than you take in. Death, taxes, and exponential math. If you don’t “feel” the depression now, you will soon… real soon.
Subpoena seeks names -- and lots more -- of Web posters…
Talk about crossing the line. This is it! At a minimum this type of police state action will suppress free speech and can lead to nowhere good.
In a nutshell some comments were made to one of THOMAS MITCHELL’s commentaries:
One person who signed himself "Louis D. Brandeis" called federal prosecutor Greg Damm, whose name is on the subpoena, "evil incarnate and everything that is against the American justice system."
"Christian Patriot" wrote a couple days later, "I suggest we go back to a gold and silver standard, which would immediately wipe out the national debt, not charge us interest for their toilet paper, or better yet, I'll trade you eggs for milk. Tax that if you will."
"Randall" wrote, "If it is legal tender, value of said legal tender it set by the gov and stamped on the face.
"Maybe the Government should be on trial."
Read them yourself at http://www.lvrj.com/news/46074037.html.
So, if THAT’S all that is required to get the U.S. Attorney issuing subpoenas, then blogging will die a rather sudden death! It’s one of the last bastions of free speech left, that’s why it’s so important to protect it!
The government, of course, can only be put on trial if it agrees to be. However, there is certainly nothing wrong with the American people pointing out government official’s ILLEGAL AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL actions – in fact it’s our DUTY!
How many times have I stated that Hank Paulson is a traitor to his country and HE BELONGS IN JAIL? This is not funny, that’s EXACTLY where he belongs! He is guilty of crimes against his own country, specifically FRAUD, and he should not be protected by the laws shielding government employees as he had malice in his intent and abused the powers of his office.
Should I be attacked by the U.S. Attorney’s office for saying so? Is this Communist China or America?
To me this subpoena is meant to harass and to intimidate. Heck, they probably WANT the word to be spread about this so that people will be AFRAID to comment on BLOGS and in the ONLINE MEDIA! Do not give in! The Constitution guarantees the freedom of speech, but at the same time do not be stupid and say something that can incriminate you personally. Yes, there are certain things that cannot be said in public… you must be careful to not make personal threats or to incite violence. And you certainly don’t want to discuss YOUR illegal activities in public. That does not, however, mean that we can’t talk about these subjects and we certainly should.
Many, many issues involved here, the U.S. Attorney’s office deserves the light of day on this one!
Here is a link to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Mission Statement:
U.S. Attorney’s Office Mission Statement…
Here is a link to their contact page if you would like to let them know that you do not appreciate such actions, mailing address and fax number is at the bottom of the page:
U.S. Attorney’s Office Contact Page…
The Obama appointed head of this office is Eric Holder, the U.S. Attorney General. Please direct your correspondence and displeasure with this situation to him!
And while we’re at it, here’s a link to the U.S. Attorney’s Office own page of LINKS:
U.S. Attorney’s Office LINKS…
Please note that the VERY TOP LINK IS TO THE PATRIOT ACT!!! And what happens when you click that link? You land on this page:
FISA 101: Why FISA Modernization Amendments Must Be Made Permanent
Are you kidding me? A GOVERNMENT AGENCY POLITICKING TO MAKE THE PATRIOT ACT PERMANENT!
Officials in our government are supposed to be NEUTRAL! They are NOT supposed to be lobbying for acts and laws that pretend to make you more “safe” yet rob you of your freedom and liberties, the very thing they claim to be protecting. What nonsense.
“Protect America Act…” “Patriot Act…” These are acts designed to control you and to profit the military industrial complex which is owned largely by guess who?
Folks, our liberties and freedoms are being subverted. You are being lied to and controlled.
Freedom and Security are tied together… those who pursue “security” SACRIFICE FREEDOM, while those who pursue FREEDOM will GAIN SECURITY!
This is a concept which our Founders, like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, understood thoroughly. The pursuit of “security” as is presently being followed will ABSOLUTELY make us 100% LESS SAFE as we have abandoned all fiscal discipline and sanity and have BANKRUPT our nation by doing so.
We spend more money on “national defense” than the rest of the entire world combined!!! Yet, we cannot sell all our debt and now must print money to buy our own debt! THAT IS DEFAULT!!! When one can no longer finance their operations, they are BANKRUPT! You have sacrificed your FREEDOM for “SECURITY” and are now a prisoner and a slave to our collective DEBT.
WAKE UP AMERICA, YOU ARE BEING ROBBED OF BOTH YOUR SECURITY AND YOUR FREEDOM!!!
Quotes by Thomas Jefferson:
“A society that will trade a little liberty for a little order will lose both, and deserve neither”
“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”
“The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.”
“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”
“If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions.”
“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny”
“That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.”
I am going to keep playing this tune until people GET IT. LISTEN TO THE WORDS OF PRESIDENT KENNEDY!
Styx – Suite Madame Blue (America Patriotic):
Chalmers Johnson – Keynesian Military Spending (6 minutes):
Chalmers Johnson – DECLINE of EMPIRES: The Signs of Decay (1:03):
You can see the parabolic rise and subsequent collapse that is continuing today. I expect prices to descend to that rising uptrend line and will most likely find support there, at least temporarily. Over time it will likely NOT maintain support as we are entering a new era, one defined by raising rates versus the old era, the last 30 years which were defined by falling rates.
Folks, your government has already DEFAULTED on its debts, that’s what “quantitative easing” is. When one can no longer sell their debts they resort to buying up their own issued debt with fake and newly printed money. This is what national default looks and feels like for a country that is the world’s reserve currency.
The 10 year just hit a new high today as well – interest rates on fixed rate mortgages are skyrocketing. Get a clue America, you have been sold out.
To learn more, please read:
Bond Market Hide & Seek – A Domed House & 3 Peaks...
Interest Rate Update…
Interest Rates and Equities Diverging…
A Tale of Two Depressions…
Sales – Still More Economic Cliff Diving…
Fed Would Be Shut Down If It Were Audited, Expert Says
The Federal Reserve's balance sheet is so out of whack that the central bank would be shut down if subjected to a conventional audit, Jim Grant, editor of Grant's Interest Rate Observer, told CNBC.
With $45 billion in capital and $2.1 trillion in assets, the central bank would not withstand the scrutiny normally afforded other institutions, Grant said in a live interview.
"If the Fed examiners were set upon the Fed's own documents—unlabeled documents—to pass judgment on the Fed's capacity to survive the difficulties it faces in credit, it would shut this institution down," he said. "The Fed is undercapitalized in a way that Citicorp is undercapitalized."
Grant said he would support legislation currently making its way through Congress calling for an audit of the Fed.
Moreover, he criticized the way the Fed has managed the financial crisis, saying the central bank's target rate should not be around zero.
"I think zero is the wrong rate for almost any economy," Grant said, adding the Fed has "embarked on a vast experiment in moral hazard. Interest rates are the traffic signals in a market economy, and everything's green. ... You have to wonder whether these interest rates are the right clearing rate or rather they are the imposition of a central bank."
Amid a disparity between analysts predicting there will be no rate hikes soon and the fed funds futures indicating tightening by the end of the year, Grant said he thinks the Fed indeed will begin raising rates as inflation creeps into the picture.
Fed funds futures have fully priced in as much as a half-point rise in the target rate from its current range of zero to 0.25 percent.
"If the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when there's too much unanimity of opinion, then one begins to worry about this," he said. "The Fed proverbially has been late."
Ron Paul debates Stephen Baldwin on Legalizing Marijuana on CNN Larry King 03/13/2009:
We need way more of this in public. While I don't necessarily agree with Peter on all his premises, he is LARGELY correct and in pointing out what the Obama (central banker) Administration is doing is telling the absolute truth! Bravo Peter, way to get the word out there! (And you have to admit Stewart is good at making this stuff funny!)
Peter Schiff on the Daily Show
Futures are up sharply this morning with the /ES just above the 950 level:
Yesterday’s action produced the third “spinner” in a row which actually looks like a bullish pennant on several of the indices. The targets of those pennants are pretty high, the one on the SPX is worth about 40 points, but the one that’s most interesting is on the Transports.
I haven’t talked about DOW theory lately, but when the DOW recently made a new minor high (about 20 days ago), the Transports did not. That set up the possibility of a non-confirmation of DOW theory. It looks like today we’ll get that confirmation, so don’t be surprised when you hear the bullish comments later. Neither the “Industrials” nor the Transports have made new significant highs.
Yesterday’s action netted a very small movement in the McClelland Oscillator, so I expect today’s price action to be big – and the futures are indicating that the direction will be up. I would not get in the way of it if you are short, even though there are unresolved negative divergences in the market and most historical breadth indicators are at least one standard deviation above the norm.
So yesterday the Supreme Court decided not to hear the bondholders and is going to allow Chrysler and Fiat to proceed outside of the rule of law. Guarantee you that this Obama Central Banker Administration was behind that, 100%. NO RULE OF LAW. We truly are becoming Zimbabwe.
So people in the equity markets, for now, see that the government is still willing to do anything and everything to launder money and get it into the hands of those who mistakenly hold way too much debt. This action subverts the bankruptcy process, the laws that are on the books, and the long term result will be that it will drive capital out of the country. They can print dollars and more dollars, but the holders of capital will not build factories in the U.S. and hire American workers, they will take their money and go elsewhere. As if they weren’t already, and that is a real problem for sustaining any REAL growth or even maintaining the level of economic activity we have.
Meanwhile we issue more and more debt… $150+ billion of it this week alone! That’s $7.8 TRILLION annualized. And how is the bond market responding? NEW LOWS on the long end, the collapse of the bond market continues and interest rates are going up.
And what effect does that have?
According to Econoday it has the following effect on MBA Purchase Applications:
Interest rates are soaring, offsetting low home prices and buyer incentives and making for little change in MBA's purchase index which came in at 270.7 in the June 5 week. High rates have been turning back the refinance index which fell once again, down 12 percent to 2,605.7. The average 30-year fixed mortgage jumped 32 basis points to 5.57 percent. High interest rates, the result of investor concern over inflation, threaten to scuttle the housing recovery. Next week will see the housing market index on Monday and housing starts on Tuesday.
But management at Home Depot is smoking the greenshoots that are clearly fertilized not with the natural gas based products they sell but with the more natural variety of fertilizer that comes from the bulls… that would be bullshit.
Since their sales the past couple of months momentarily stopped cliff diving, they took the liberty to raise their forecast. But get this… the previous forecast was for a decrease of 7% in ’09 and now they are saying level to -7%! Ha, ha, that’s really pinning it down, a 7% range! Now that spring is coming to an end and interest rates are rising my money would be betting they finish the year much closer to down 7 than to level. Stock way up pre-market.
And today we learn that both imports and exports CONTRACTED further in the month of April. This is a direct DIVERGENCE FROM THE EQUITY MARKETS which climbed nearly 10% that month. Here’s what Econoday says about International trade for April – the actual trade balance came in at $-29.2 billion:
The U.S. trade deficit in April worsened as exports fell faster than imports. However, there is a glimmer of hope in the import detail. The overall U.S. trade gap grew to $29.2 billion from a revised $28.5 billion deficit the prior month. The April deficit was worse than the market forecast for a $28.5 billion shortfall. Indeed, worldwide demand contracted further as exports fell 2.3 percent while imports slipped 1.4 percent. The widening in the trade gap was seen in both petroleum and nonpetroleum components. The petroleum deficit widened to $15.0 billion from $14.5 billion in March. Meanwhile, the goods excluding petroleum gap grew to $23.9 billion in April from $23.2 billion the month before.
The fall in exports was led by a $1.3 billion drop in industrial supplies, followed by a $1.2 billion decrease in capital goods excluding autos. Consumer goods exports slipped $0.5 billion while the foods, feeds & beverages component rose $0.3 billion.
Imports dropped largely on $0.9 billion less in capital goods excluding autos. Industrial supplies imports fell $0.7 billion despite a $1.0 billion jump in the crude oil subcomponent. The auto component and the foods, feeds & beverages component edged down marginally. The good news, ironically, is that consumer goods imports rose $0.4 billion after a $0.6 billion gain in March. While demand for capital goods and manufacturing inputs is down, the higher import levels for consumer goods suggests that businesses believe that the consumer sector will be rebounding in coming months.
Today's report is not good news for equities as traders will likely focus on the drop in exports which will add to weakness in manufacturing. But the silver lining that many will likely miss was another gain in imports of consumer goods. In currency markets, the wider gap should weigh on the dollar. On the release, interest rates firmed.
No, we cannot continue to produce nothing and buy foreign goods with printed phony money forever. The day of reckoning is here. Printing will not forestall for a minute the inevitable outcome. To the contrary, it will hasten it.
This rally off the lows has been and still is SICK, SICK. No meaningful correction STILL. That is not normal, nor is it healthy. The further equities run from here, the worse the bond market gets, the higher interest rates go. Those buying into this rally are in for a world-class historical lesson – when the levee breaks…
Led Zeppelin – When the Levee Breaks:
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
No, not Redbull cliff diving... that’s supposed to be RedBOOK cliff diving! I swear good help is so hard to find (please click on your favorite sponsor when exiting this site, thank you!).
This morning’s Redbook and ICSC data got my curiosity up so off I went to the Fed to look for some sales data. There you can find all types of data, except of course, whatever it is that would make the most sense for them to chart, like the Redbook and ICSC data! They chart all types of other data though, like tobacco tax collections for every state, fuel taxes, gaming taxes, entertainment taxes, etc. And I did find a few interesting charts in regards to sales… let’s take a look.
We’ll start with the big picture Total Retail Sales presented in Year-Over-Year (yoy) percent change:
That chart only goes back to 1992, but you can see that since that time nothing comes close to the precipitous drop off in retail sales that is occurring now. Just yesterday I listened to a commentator completely deny that this recession was worse than other recent recessions, and he is just plain old incompetent or lying or most likely both. Oh, and there may also be a bit of being bought and paid-for in there too, so all three!
And for confirmation of the big picture sales trend, let’s examine yoy % change in Final Sales:
Note that chart goes all the way back to the end of WWII! It has NEVER been negative until now!!
Keeping with the big picture, if you are not selling things, what happens to your inventory? It goes UP! So let’s look at the chart of inventory to sales ratio:
Note the rise here. I’m certain it’s historic too, but the data only goes back to ’92. Note the “greenshoot” at the end, lol.
Now let’s take a look at Real Retail and Food Service sales:
There you can see that sales more than doubled since 1992 and the climb was uninterrupted until now. If you could zoom this back in time, I am certain that this curve would be the same parabolic ascent and collapse I’ve been noting in debt and all the other post WWII economic charts.
Here’s the same chart in yoy % change:
Now that’s cliff diving, aka parabolic collapse!
Okay, let’s look at Ecommerce in regards to retail sales:
While that curl at the end may not look THAT dramatic, note the broken uptrend, and also note that the growth has completely stopped. That becomes quite evident when we view the data on a yoy % change basis:
Notice that for the first time in history, Ecommerce is not only not growing, but it has gone NEGATIVE. Where is that in the mainstream media? Does the NDX reflect this data, or is it diverging from reality? The CNBS and Yahoo crowd need to go toke on some greenshoots, look over both charts, and maybe it’ll come to them – maybe.
Here’s a lovely chart of autos & light truck sales going back to 1975:
Note that in terms of raw units sold we are now back to the future in 1982!
SELLOUT! (please remember to click on some ads as you exit this site)
And if you think that this recession is not worse than the one in 1980/’82, let’s take a look at the same data for light vehicle sales in terms of yoy % change:
Look at that greenshoot! And it took that greenshoot just to get back to the rate of fall in 1980! Falling at 30 to 40%?? Of course that rate is not sustainable for long. But why would that type of free fall occur to begin with?
For that we go directly to the underlying CREDIT chart for total automobile credit outstanding:
Students who have Spent some Time with the Good Dr. Bartlett will instantly recognize that parabolic DEBT chart.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the bank… the FED (private central bankers) decided that even though this chart goes back to WWII, that it was evidently no longer necessary to report this data and thus this series was discontinued right at the peak of the tech bubble. I am CERTAIN that had this data been continued, this chart would reflect an even greater rise and now a parabolic collapse.
But I think there’s enough evidence right here to dispel any notion of “green shoots.” Credit grew with the backing of the shadow banking system in an exponential manner and that’s why all the economic charts became shaped like a parabola. Those exponential math moves ALWAYS collapse under their own weight as never ending growth is simply a fantasy of Keynesian morons and central bankers. The Keynesian morons can be forgiven for being stupid and not understanding math, while the central bankers know the math all too well and take full advantage.
Greenshoots or cliff diving? I let the charts decide, how ‘bout you?
Velvet Revolver, Fall to Pieces:
Economic Cliff Diving Classics…
Economic Cliff Diving - By the Charts…
Venture Investments and Corporate Profits Cliff Dive…
The Redbook is a weekly measure of sales at chain stores, discounters, and department stores.
Here’s what Econoday says about the move:
Redbook reports a colossal plunge in same-store sales for the June 6 week, down 4.4 percent year-on-year and down 4.3 percent compared to the full month of May. The 4.4 percent plunge is not comparable to anything Redbook has been posting this cycle. And the magnitude of the week-to-week change in the year-on-year rate, to -4.4 percent vs. +0.1 percent in the May 30 week, is also unprecedented. The removal of Wal-Mart from Redbook's sample may be behind the movement (Wal-Mart's gone into hiding) as is no doubt year-on-year comparison problems with last year's tax rebates. The latter factor, however, doesn't explain the -4.3 percent comparison with the full month of May. The text is very mild, citing cooler weather for the decline as well as the stimulus checks. It will be interesting to see Redbook's report next week. The Commerce Department will post May retail sales on Thursday in a report, which if surprising, that will move global markets in an instant.
LOL, like the term “colossal plunge!” That’s because a move like that is HISTORIC in nature.
The ICSC also made a large move in the downward direction with a -.8% showing. The ICSC measures same store sales at the large department stores.
Let’s see, could the fact that several of the major credit card companies are raising interest rates and capping lines of credit have anything to do with it? And what about a bond market collapse, could that have anything to do with that chain of events?
You bet! That’s exactly what happened during the Great Depression. Stocks fall because the overall credit bubble bursts… money flees to the “safety” of bonds and the dollar. Then the government steps in to “save the day.” But monetizing the debt and moving it onto the public balance sheet creates revulsion from the debt and interest rates rise because all the debt is still there and has now congregated largely in one place.
The banks don’t want to lend to debt saturated consumers and they shouldn’t. Of course they are saturated twice now, once with their own debt and secondly with government debt courtesy of the very banks who now are pulling lines of credit!
It’s a giant circle of interrelated parts. The sequence of events is very predictable, but our Government just can’t do the right thing. That’s because they are beholden to central banker and corporate money! We must create a system where corporate money does not influence politics. That’s the way it was supposed to work, from the beginning…
Emerson, Lake & Palmer – From the Beginning:
That’s a lot of sixes and nines, eh Seth?
Futures are flat today, the dollar is down a little, bonds are up a little and gold is rising. Here’s the overnight /YM and /ES futures:
It has me laughing that just yesterday I read that the U.S. is asking the Europeans to “toughen up” their “stress test.” It just doesn’t get funnier than that!
Oh wait, yes it does. This morning our own Congressional Oversight Panel is asking for a “stress test” “do over” because they finally see that the unemployment rate has already risen beyond their worst case scenario, LOL.
What a joke. I like Warren, but I don’t think she realizes she’s just a player in a central banker game.
But wait, there’s more! So we’re going to let 10 of the “healthy” (Nate says still insolvent) banks repay the TARP. Remember that when they borrowed that money they had to trade toxic waste debt to the Fed in exchange for cash. Now the media is finally catching on to the fact that the banks will be buying that debt back from the Fed for LESS THAN the Fed paid for them and thus the final joke is on you and me. That is called money laundering, and yes, it was an inside job.
Let’s talk about Bonds a little. Once again, here’s the two year chart of TLT:
Note that support has now given way and the next support I see is down around the 86 or 87 area – not too much farther. That’s a key support area to watch as going beneath it would break a 30 year rising trend. I think that will happen, but it is going to take a while.
But the size and power of that collapse is larger than anything in history, it’s even larger on a percentage basis than the collapse of bonds during the Great Depression. And it happened at almost the exact same time in the sequence of events! During the depression equities collapsed and about a year and a half later bonds collapsed. Here we are. If you’re waiting for the headline that reads, “BOND MARKET COLLAPSES,” don’t hold your breath, it already has.
And I would say to those Keynesian morons who wish to stimulate to create never ending growth that the collapse of the bond market occurred precisely BECAUSE of their actions. Look at that chart… does that look like a “normalizing of interest rates” to you?
And look at this one month chart of SHY, the one to three year bond fund:
Does that look like “normalization” to you? Uh, huh.
The Keynesian fools running the world wouldn’t know a parabolic curve if one bit them in the ass. They certainly wouldn’t recognize a parabolic collapse.
Doors – When the Music’s Over:
Monday, June 8, 2009
Armstrong points out that Caesar was faced with a debt crisis yet did not have the “monetary tools” that we have today. Thus he was forced to come up with a solution that would work and be most fair to all parties involved. He may have paid the ultimate price for that action as Armstrong points out many of the politicians of that time period were also some of the largest creditors who suffered from his ruling.
And I’d like to point out that yet another person has stated that government and the private economy need to be separated, or as Armstrong puts it, “we need a divorce!” No kidding, I believe we need an Amendment that separates corporations and their money from State.
I understand that Martin is looking tired and stressed lately. He missed his daughter’s wedding and that is evidently taking an emotional toll. He wanted to point out that one of Sonia Sotomayor’s few real rulings was to keep him imprisoned despite having already served far more time than the maximum for the crime of which he was being accused.
Bad karma’s a bitch, welcome to Washington Sonia, have a nice trip?
Here’s your evening reading, enjoy the unique perspective of history…
To PRINT, click “more,” then “print.” You can also click "more" then "save document" to open in YOUR .pdf viewer where you can either save or print.
The first article nicely summarizes Doug Nolan’s latest thinking on bubble dynamics:
“...the responsibility lies more generally with a deeply flawed monetary policy regime – a regime hopelessly locked in interest-rate manipulation and inflationism…At some point the inflationists should accept the reality that they are a big part of the problem – and not the solution. Is that what the bond market is beginning to tell us?”
“…We’re witnessing the same analytical errors today that were made in the post-tech bubble analysis: the willingness to inflate an even greater bubble for the cause of mitigating the pain from the so-called deflationary risks associated with a bursting of THE bubble. And with each reflation comes a heightened governmental role in both the markets and real economy – to the point where Washington is essentially backstopping the financial and economic systems.”
The second article centers around “the Coppock Indicator” which has a very good track record and just issued a buy signal. Paul does a great job of explaining the indicator and then contrasts it against Martin Armstrong.
Very informative, good charts, and cleverly written, I enjoyed reading it and think you will too. Hopefully Paul will keep sharing his work with us… Thanks for sharing Paul!
You can reach him at: email@example.com
To print, click “more” and then “print.” If your browser does not support that, then click “more” then “save” and you can then download and print as a normal .pdf…
The Biggest Victim of the Debt Crisis
by Martin D. Weiss, Ph.D.
Just as we’ve been warning, the United States Treasury is the next and largest victim of this great debt crisis.
Right now, the Treasury’s finances are collapsing … its bond prices plunging … its interest rates surging.
Indeed, the Treasury’s financial crisis looms so large, it could wreck more havoc on the economy and deliver more pain to average Americans than the subprime mortgage disaster, the housing bust, the banking crisis, and the collapse of General Motors put together…
It could create a rising tide of interest rates that wipes out the effects of any stimulus, undermines any recovery, and sabotages any new bailouts…
But unlike GM, Fannie Mae, Citigroup, AIG, and the many others that the U.S. Treasury has bailed out in recent months, there is no institution on the planet big or rich enough to bail out the U.S. Treasury itself.
Further, unlike all prior episodes in this great debt crisis, the Treasury’s financial troubles cannot be covered up, papered over, or kicked down the road like an empty tin can.
Already, Treasury bond prices are crashing, and doing so with greater speed that at any time in history.
Already, interest rates, which automatically go up when bond prices fall, are surging, with the rate on 10-year U.S. Treasuries nearly DOUBLING in a half year — the most dramatic surge during any recession since the founding of the Republic.
And already, the interest rates on 30-year fixed mortgages, auto loans, commercial loans, and other debt are going through the roof.
This Is a Game Changer!
If you’re not paying attention to this new phase of the debt crisis, you’re making a grave error. And if you’re not taking swift action to protect yourself, you’re taking your financial life in your hands.
In this issue, I’ll show why it’s going to get worse, why the Federal Reserve is powerless to stop it, how it will impact each major sector of the economy, and what you must do immediately to protect yourself and your family from the inevitable fallout.
Why This Is Just the Beginning of the Treasury’s Crisis.
Why It’s Going to Get a Heck of a Lot Worse This Year.
And Why It Could Continue for Years Beyond 2009.
It’s widely known that America’s federal deficit is out of control.
But so many dire deficit warnings have been issued so often, they now fall mostly on deaf ears. Wall Street pundits roll their eyes. Washington politicians laugh at those who would cry “wolf.”
What they don’t realize is that this time, due to a series of devastating facts they’ve chosen to ignore, the day of reckoning is here:
Fact #1. Sheer size. According to the government’s official estimate, the federal deficit for fiscal year 2009 will be $1.84 trillion, or 13.4 percent of GDP!*
It is the worst deficit in U.S. history.
It means the deficit has now exploded to a level which is so far beyond the range of anything we’ve experienced before, it’s impossible to imagine any scenario in which it does not have a devastating impact.
Fact #2. The actual deficit could be much larger. The administration’s $1.84 trillion deficit forecast presupposes a dramatic turnaround in the economy, which, by definition, is virtually impossible with the government running trillion-dollar deficits!
How can the administration possibly predict an economic turnaround when its own Treasury Department is sucking nearly $2 trillion in funds out of credit markets — the same credit markets that derailed the economy late last year?
Similarly, how can the government predict a turnaround when its own borrowing frenzy is already driving up mortgage rates and undermining real estate, the one sector that’s most responsible for the economy’s decline in the first place?
Fact #3. No end in sight. Since the United States declared its independence nearly 233 years ago, the only time the federal deficit approached or exceeded 10 percent of GDP was during major wars — the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. But in each case, the deficit financing began promptly — and ended promptly — with the war.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case this time. Although the U.S. is fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, their cost represents only a small fraction of the budget shortfall. Even if the Iraqi and Afghan wars could be ended tomorrow, America’s great budget crisis would still be just beginning.
Fact #4. Today’s deficits are far worse than those of the Great Depression. America’s first big, multi-year peacetime deficits came in the 1930s. Tax revenues plunged with the sinking economy. And in the years that ensued, government expenditures — mostly for a series of programs to bail out the economy — went through the roof.
But even with a 90 percent collapse in the stock market in 1929-32 and even after three years of double-digit GDP declines that make today’s look mild by comparison, the federal deficit in 1933 was just 3.27 percent of GDP, less than one-fourth of what’s projected for this year.
And subsequently, even when the U.S. government embarked on the most ambitious stimulus and bailout programs of its 150-year history, the biggest single deficit — in 1936 — was 4.76 percent of GDP, only about one-third the size of today’s.
Fact #5. Structural deficits. Our nation’s second encounter with giant peacetime deficits was in the 1980s, but with a big difference: This time, there was no Great Depression. This time, the government’s fiscal woes were mostly structural — deeply ingrained in the bloated size of government and in our society’s dependence on government for much of its sustenance.
And even then, the federal deficit never rose to more than 5.63 percent of GDP, less than HALF its size today.
The big difference today: Our current structural deficits are far larger than in the 1980s because the government is now liable for $65 trillion in future payments for Social Security, Medicare, government pension benefits, and other obligations that are now kicking in at a quickening pace.
Fact #6. Massive new commitments. Beyond the $1.84 trillion of red ink projected for 2009 and beyond the trillions more in future obligations, the U.S. government has just assumed responsibility for nearly $14 trillion in new loans, commitments, and guarantees to bail out brokers, banks, insurers, auto makers, and the broader economy.
If just one of these suffers greater-than-expected losses, we could see wave after wave of new demands on the government to honor its guarantees, bloating the deficit far further.
Why the Federal Reserve Can’t
Stop Treasury Bonds from Falling
I can assure you, it’s not for lack of trying.
In a massive attempt to boost Treasury bond prices launched March 25, the Fed has now bought $145.5 billion in Treasury notes and bonds, the most ever in such a short period of time. But despite all the Fed’s buying, T-bond prices have continued to plunge and interest rates have continued to surge.
Plus, in an even larger effort to support mortgage prices — and to suppress mortgage rates — the Fed has poured a whopping $507 billion into direct purchases of mortgage-backed securities (MBSs). But again, even after spending more than a half trillion dollars to bid them up, mortgage prices have still collapsed and rates have still surged.
In sum, the U.S. Federal Reserve has failed to stop this new phase of the crisis, and one of the key reasons is obvious:
To buy bonds, the Fed must print money. But the more it prints, the more it fans inflation fears and the more it chases away bond investors, who realize they’ll be paid back in cheaper dollars.
Some pundits seem to think the Fed can simply print all the money it wants to finance the massive deficits. But in the real world, it doesn’t work that way.
The reason: As I explained last week, the government has not one, but TWO debt problems simultaneously:A. The NEW debt problem: Massive Treasury borrowings of close to $2 trillion just to fill the gaping holes in the current federal budget.The problem: If just 10 percent of those are dumped on the market, it would trigger the sale of $1.45 trillion worth, easily overwhelming the Fed’s purchases.
B. The OLD debt problem: $14.5 trillion in Treasury securities, government agency securities, and MBSs outstanding.
The dilemma: The main reasons investors sell — fear of inflation and damage to the U.S. government’s credit — are, themselves, fueled by the Fed’s money printing and bond buying.
End result: The more the Fed buys bonds, the more it risks triggering massive investor selling.
So if you’re counting on the Federal Reserve to bail out the U.S. Treasury Department, forget it.
In the government’s grand balance sheet, printing money does nothing more than shift debts from one government account to another. It does not create wealth. It certainly does not stop bond prices from plunging and interest rates from surging.
Never underestimate the impact of surging rates — especially with near double-digit official unemployment and the worst debt crisis since the Great Depression.
Rising rates in this environment will be pure poison for:- The nation’s insurance companies loaded with long-term corporate and government bonds.
- The nation’s banks counting on low interest rates to raise funds for close to nothing.
- Utilities that must continually borrow huge amounts of long-term money to finance their massive investments in power plants and facilities.
- Home prices that can only fall when available credit in the nation is hogged by Uncle Sam’s massive borrowing and when mortgage rates rise.
- You! Stocks, long-term bonds, and virtually all types of real estate properties are extremely vulnerable to surging interest rates.
Good luck and God bless!
* The 13.4 percent of GDP assumes the following: Deficit — the $1.84 trillion projected by the administration; GDP — the 3.3 percent GDP decline proposed by the banking regulators in their bank stress tests. However, the actual deficit in that scenario could be larger.
While I don’t like debt to GDP comparisons, that chart is historic in nature. But it’s even worse when you compare debt to income! The income of the United States Government is CRASHING while at the same time here expenses are rocketing.
The collective Economic Mass-Psychosis has also reached a bubble peak and that bubble is about to be pricked. Those who believe that deficit spending will cure a massive debt problem are simply delusional.