The Tangerine Tosser’s triple trade tiff – with China, the European Union, and the United States’ NAFTA partners (Canada and Mexico) – has the potential to spark an American and global economic meltdown. Classic signs of a coming collapse have been evident for some time: wage stagnation for the many alongside skyrocketing wealth for the ever more absurdly opulent few (three of whom now possessbetween them the same net worth as the poorest half of the U.S. populace); colossal accumulated corporate, government, student loan, and credit card debt; rampant surplus and “fictitious” capital devoted to speculative rather than productive investment; capitalist profits far beyond real economic growth; wildly unsustainable stock market values (artificially buoyed by debt and corporate buybacks); the deregulation of financial markets and institutions.
As the astute Goldman Sachs veteran and financial commentator Nomi Prins noted last January, “There will be a tipping point – when money coming in to furnish that debt, or available to borrow, simply won’t cover the interest payments. Then debt bubbles will pop, beginning with higher yielding bonds. Leverage is a patient enemy.”
The next financial “correction” could cut deeper than the last one, “the Great Recession.” That’s because, as Prins argues in her latest book Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World, “there is no Plan B” this time. Interest rates can’t fall any further.
Collusionwas written before Trump started making good on his protectionist promises, which could tighten the noose. The more immediate economic blowbacks are clear: the withering of foreign markets for U.S. agricultural exports (thanks to retaliatory foreign tariffs); rising prices (thanks to U.S. tariffs) for capital goods and intermediate inputs that U.S. producers purchase from foreign countries (China especially); the loss of U.S. jobs as corporations that make goods in the U.S. seek to circumvent retaliatory tariffs abroad by shifting production to foreign countries (Harley Davidson recently announced that it has decided to do precisely that).
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