There are two subjects that the mainstream media seems specifically determined to avoid discussing these days when it comes to the economy – the first is the problem of falling global demand for goods and services; they absolutely refuse to acknowledge the fact that demand is going stagnant and will conjure all kinds of rationalizations to distract from the issue. The other subject is the debt bubble, the corporate debt bubble in particular.
These two factors alone guarantee a massive shock to the global economy and the US economy are built into the system, but I believe corporate debt is the key pillar of the false economy. It has been utilized time and time again to keep the Everything Bubble from completely deflating, however, the fundamentals are starting to catch up to the fantasy.
For example, in terms of stock markets, which are now meaningless as an indicator of the health of the real economy, corporate stock buybacks have been the single most vital mechanism for inflation. Corporations buy their own stocks, often using cash borrowed from each other and from the Federal Reserve, in order to reduce the number of shares on the market and artificially boost the value of the remaining shares. This process is essentially legal manipulation of equities, and to be sure, it has been effective so far at keeping markets elevated.
The problem is that these same corporations are taking on more and more debt through interest payments in order to maintain the facade. Over the period of a decade, corporate debt has skyrocketed back to levels not seen since 2007, just before the credit crisis. The official corporate debt load now stands at over $10 trillion, and that’s not even counting derivatives exposure.
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