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28 trillion reasons to have a Plan B

At the close of business on Monday March 1st, just a few days ago, the US national debt crossed $28 trillion for the first time in history.

To the penny, in fact, the national debt hit $28,004,376,276,999.35.

And bear in mind that figure doesn’t include the $1.9 trillion in ‘Covid stimulus’ that Uncle Sam is about to pass, let alone all the other deficit spending that they were already expecting for this current fiscal year.

So you can already see how the debt will quickly rocket past $30 trillion in no time at all.

It’s noteworthy that it took the United States more than two centuries to accumulate its first trillion dollars in debt– a milestone first reached on October 22, 1981.

In those two centuries (74,984 days, to be exact), the US fought two world wars, battled the Spanish Flu pandemic, dealt with the Great Depression, waged Cold War against the Soviet Union, fought the Civil War against itself, put a man on the moon, etc. before breaching $1 trillion in debt.

This most recent trillion of debt took a mere 152 days to accumulate.

Think about that: nearly 75,000 days for the first trillion, 152 days for the last trillion.

Even more startling, it was only September 2017 that the national debt first crossed the $20 trillion milestone.

So when the debt undoubtedly hits $30 trillion over the next few months, that means it will have grown $10 trillion in less than four years.

And there is absolutely no end in sight. The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve are both in lockstep fanaticism: no amount of debt is too much, no amount of money printing is too much.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Yellen’s LaLa Land Prediction Of Full Employment

Yellen’s LaLa Land Prediction Of Full Employment

Biden And Yellen Serve Destructive Recursion

While the trend of automating jobs is moving along full speed U.S. Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen recently said that the U.S. could achieve full employment recovery if President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 stimulus package is passed. “I would expect that if this package is passed, we would get back to full employment next year,” Yellen told host Jake Tapper on CNN‘s State of the UnionThis is a clear signal Biden’s need to urgently pass a COVID-19 relief package is being ramped higher. Yellen said, “We will get people back to work much sooner with this package.” She went on to claim,  “There’s absolutely no reason we should suffer through a long slow recovery.” According to the  Treasury Secretary, the President’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package could help the U.S. employment numbers recover at a faster pace. Yellen cited a report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which found that the unemployment rate would reach pre-pandemic levels in 2025 without the level stimulus proposed in Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

Some economists have voiced fear this relief plan will spur inflation. Even former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has raised concern Biden’s package would “flood the economy” and lead to high inflation. Yellen, however, as the former Federal Reserve chair brushed aside this issue saying she spent many years “worrying” about inflation and, “I can tell you we have the tools to deal with that risk” if it were to occur. Yellen pointed to the huge economic challenge and tremendous suffering facing the country, then indicated, “That’s the biggest risk.” Yellen’s words indicate we have clearly entered the area of “Destructive Recursion,” a term coined to refer to a system that keeps feeding power back into itself and is controlled by those who are destroying it.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Building A false Economy On Hope And Printing Money

Building A false Economy On Hope And Printing Money

False Economy’s End In Decay And Failure

This article is in response to a piece about how it looks like massive stimulus is finally upon us and the only question is how big it will be. It would be wise to remember this is all an experiment and could result in a false economy so rooted in unsustainable stimulus that it cannot survive yet alone flourish. A modern example of this is the implosion of the USSR in 1991. The impact of such a collapse is not limited to the economy but extends deep into the lives of a county’s citizens.When we look back over the wreckage brought upon certain sectors of our economy during the last year and the policies governments are now embracing we should feel a sense of dread and apprehension for the long-term health of our culture. Government overreach is in full swing and ripping away the strength and social power from all other institutions of social life. Not only are we seeing our civil liberties under attack, but the lock-downs have also been an economic disaster that has devastated most small and medium-sized businesses.

The December job numbers show America lost 140,000 jobs last month. The big issue here is that as small businesses close their doors forever, many of these jobs won’t be coming back. We need to couple this with the idea the minimum wage is likely to soon increase driving the forces of automation into overdrive which will further reduce job opportunities in the future. This translates into far higher government deficits going forward as many more Americans exit the workforce. It is difficult to argue that the government stepping into the role of our primary supporter does not reduce our incentive to work. This is especially true considering the level of support many Americans seek.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Next Wave Of Spending Will Not Bring Prosperity

The Next Wave Of Spending Will Not Bring Prosperity

We Are Starting A New Series Of Mistakes

The surprisingly bad job numbers recently released show America lost 140,000 jobs in December. A big part of the problem is that this is only one indicator of the carnage taking place in our economy. As small businesses close their doors forever, many of these jobs won’t be coming back. This translates into far higher deficits going forward as many more Americans exit the workforce. Adding to our dilemma is the answer to our problem being touted around includes giving substantial amounts of money to most Americans which reduces their incentive to get out and hustle to find work. This underlines the fact we should not confuse what some call “the latest economic rebound” with a “recovery.”After these numbers were released, Biden came out declaring his administration with its two newly elected Democrat Senators would hit the ground running.

 “The price tag will be high,” Biden said of his planned package in Wilmington, Delaware. He promised to lay out his proposals before taking office on Jan. 20, he also stated, “It will be in the trillions of dollars.” 

The package Biden laid out only came in at 1.9 trillion dollars disappointing some of his followers. This is because it does not include a great deal of what he has promised. Missing were things like spending on infrastructure and forgiving student loans. This, however, is only the first of many packages that will be rolling through congress in an effort to halt the economy from unraveling. To see how devastating the pandemic and the lock-downs instituted to slow its advance have been on the economy we only need to look to cities such as New York where it has become obvious the effects will be long term. Recent revelations that many large and notable companies now intend to relocate to smaller cities in coming years will only exacerbate these problems.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Next Wave Of Spending Will Not Bring Prosperity

The Next Wave Of Spending Will Not Bring Prosperity

We Are Starting A New Series Of Mistakes

The surprisingly bad job numbers recently released show America lost 140,000 jobs in December. A big part of the problem is that this is only one indicator of the carnage taking place in our economy. As small businesses close their doors forever, many of these jobs won’t be coming back. This translates into far higher deficits going forward as many more Americans exit the workforce. Adding to our dilemma is the answer to our problem being touted around includes giving substantial amounts of money to most Americans which reduces their incentive to get out and hustle to find work. This underlines the fact we should not confuse what some call “the latest economic rebound” with a “recovery.”After these numbers were released, Biden came out declaring his administration with its two newly elected Democrat Senators would hit the ground running.

 “The price tag will be high,” Biden said of his planned package in Wilmington, Delaware. He promised to lay out his proposals before taking office on Jan. 20, he also stated, “It will be in the trillions of dollars.” 

The package Biden laid out only came in at 1.9 trillion dollars disappointing some of his followers. This is because it does not include a great deal of what he has promised. Missing were things like spending on infrastructure and forgiving student loans. This, however, is only the first of many packages that will be rolling through congress in an effort to halt the economy from unraveling. To see how devastating the pandemic and the lock-downs instituted to slow its advance have been on the economy we only need to look to cities such as New York where it has become obvious the effects will be long term. Recent revelations that many large and notable companies now intend to relocate to smaller cities in coming years will only exacerbate these problems.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

China’s Rapidly Expanding Credit Affects Global Markets

China’s Rapidly Expanding Credit Affects Global Markets

We again are seeing how rapidly expanding credit in China is spilling over into the global market. In reaction to its economy being slammed by covid-19, China like many countries has unleashed several massive stimulus programs to start things moving. Unfortunately for the Chinese people, they have also been dealing with other issues putting their system under stress. Not only is the trade war and a high level of political stress putting China to the test but it is in the midst of the worst flooding in decades and this is also adding to the pressure.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Chinese authorities have issued 4.75 trillion yuan ($683 billion) in local and national debt with most of that earmarked for infrastructure projects to boost construction. China is far from transparent and making it difficult to know what exactly is happening. This is also true when it comes to imports which are sometimes stored away rather than used. Speculation and projections of future use all play into this. Whether we are talking about grain prices, oil, or metal, China is a bigger user of commodities and the demand flowing from China affects prices. Factor into this the notion that China is big in projecting a positive narrative of economic growth and the spillover becomes clear.

An example of this can be seen as iron ore prices hit a six and a half year high on Thursday as the Chinese construction and manufacturing sector claims to be experienced levels of activity not seen for almost a decade. Fastmarkets MB reported that benchmark 62% Fe fines imported into Northern China were changing hands for $129.92 a tonne on Tuesday, up 2.1% on the day. That would be the highest level for the steel-making raw material since mid-January 2014 and put gains for 2020 to over 40%. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Money Supply Growth in May Again Surges to an All-Time High

MONEY SUPPLY GROWTH IN MAY AGAIN SURGES TO AN ALL-TIME HIGH

Money supply growth surged to another all-time high in May, following April’s all-time high that came in the wake of unprecedented quantitative easing, central bank asset purchases, and various stimulus packages.

The growth rate has never been higher, with the 1970s the only period that comes close. It was expected that money supply growth would surge in recent months. This usually happens in the wake of the early months of a recession or financial crisis. The magnitude of the growth rate, however, was unexpected.

During May 2020, year-over-year (YOY) growth in the money supply was at 29.8 percent. That’s up from April’s rate of 21.3 percent, and up from May 2019’s rate of 2.15 percent. Historically, this is a very large surge in growth both month over month and year over year. It is also quite a reversal from the trend that only just ended in August of last year, when growth rates were nearly bottoming out around 2 percent. In August, the growth rate hit a 120-month low, falling to the lowest growth rates we’d seen since 2007.

tms1.png

tms

The money supply metric used here—the “true” or Rothbard-Salerno money supply measure (TMS)—is the metric developed by Murray Rothbard and Joseph Salerno, and is designed to provide a better measure of money supply fluctuations than M2. The Mises Institute now offers regular updates on this metric and its growth. This measure of the money supply differs from M2 in that it includes Treasury deposits at the Fed (and excludes short-time deposits, traveler’s checks, and retail money funds).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Game Over Spending

Game Over Spending

Second quarter 2020 came and went like a California wildfire.  The economic devastation caused by the government lockdowns was swift, the destruction immense, and the damage lasting.  But, nonetheless, in Q2, the major U.S. stock market indices rallied at a record pace.

The Dow booked its best quarter in 33 years.  The S&P 500 posted its best performance since 1998.  And the NASDAQ had its biggest increase since 1999…jumping 38.85 percent in just three months.

The economy, on the other hand, was severely scorched.  Decades of debt had built up like dead wood amongst a forest understory.  Then, at the worst possible time, government lockdown orders sparked a match and set it ablaze.

The results were predictable to everyone but the experts.  Supply chain disruptions followed by retail disruptions, followed by declining sales, followed by disappearing cash flow, followed by layoffs, followed by business closures, followed by shrinking tax receipts, followed by unserviceable public and private debt, followed by mass bankruptcies, followed by riots, followed by full societal breakdown.  The economic wildfire raged through so fast most people don’t comprehend what has happened.

The interim solutions from Washington, in concert with the Federal Reserve, have been to add more fuel.  That is, the solutions have centered around mega efforts to paper over the economic depression with massive amounts of fake money.

Money Printer Go BRRR

Mass corporate bailouts were just the beginning.  Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans were made to over 650,000 small businesses, including presidential candidate Kanye West’s clothing brand, Yeezy, and Grover Norquist’s anti-tax group, Americans for Tax Reform.

On top of that, the Fed began creating money from thin air for the purpose of buying individual corporate bonds.  As of June 28, the Fed’s bought $428 million worth of corporate bonds in 86 different companies.  These companies include Berkshire Hathaway Energy, McDonald’s, Southwest Airlines, CVS, AT&T, Boeing, Coca-Cola, Exxon Mobil, Ford, Walmart, United Health Group, Philip Morris International, and many, many more.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Seems Counter-Intuitive in This Crisis: Inflation Heats Up for Services Firms, and They’re Able to Pass it on via Higher Prices

Seems Counter-Intuitive in This Crisis: Inflation Heats Up for Services Firms, and They’re Able to Pass it on via Higher Prices

Even manufacturers, after months of crushed commodities prices, experience inflation and are able to pass it on. Stimulus money the government and the Fed have thrown around by the trillions.

It seems somewhat counter-intuitive in this crisis that companies in the services and non-manufacturing sectors – which dominate the US economy – would report higher input prices and higher sales prices. And there are now also smaller pricing pressures cropping up in the manufacturing sector.

“Inflationary pressure returned as both input prices and output charges rose for the first time since February, with both increasing at solid rates,” reported IHS Markit this morning in its Services Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for June.

PMIs are based on responses from executives about their own companies – if particular activities are higher, unchanged, or lower in the current month than they’d been in the prior month. No quantitative measures or dollar amounts are involved.

“Inflationary pressures intensified for the first time since February at the end of the second quarter, as both input prices and output charges increased,” IHS Markit added in its Services PMI.

“Companies registered a solid rise in cost burdens as some suppliers hiked prices following the resumption of operations at service providers. The rate of input price inflation was the fastest since February 2019,” it said.

“In response to higher input costs, firms partially passed on higher supplier prices to clients through greater selling prices. The increase was solid overall and the sharpest for 16 months,” it said.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Market Update: The Battle For Control

Market Update: The Battle For Control

Which side will prevail in the markets going forward? Reality or rescue?

As more data pours in showing the severe and worsening contraction of the global economy due to the impact of covid-19, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the only thing propping up today’s financial markets is the $trillions in rescue stimulus promised by governments across the globe.

Bloomberg estimates that flood to be in the range of $8 trillion — and counting.

Will it be enough?

Time will tell. But, for now, it has been enough to keep the markets elevated. As reported last week, the FAANG stock complex is back at an all-time high.

Here at PeakProsperity.com, we’ve long been critical of central banks’ upward influence on the financial markets, which prior to covid-19, distorted asset prices far higher than fundamentals justified and created accelerating inequity between the rich and the rest of society.

Those issues are now exacerbated by the abovementioned new $8 trillion, though there’s an important twist this time. The problems the central planners are trying to address aren’t easily solved by simply forcing liquidity into the system.

The world is experiencing one of the worst demand shocks in history. In America, more than 26 million workers have lost their jobs over just the past 5 weeks:

US new jobless claims

Bankruptcies tend to follow layoff by three to six months, so we can expect to see a tsunami of business failures over the next two quarters.

Supporting this prediction, we can already see the massive drop in demand US businesses are experiencing the initial April Purchasing Manager Index:

US PMI

The charts for Japan and the Eurozone look the same or worse.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…ir latest perspective.

JPM, ECB Hint At Arrival Of “Helicopter Money” In Europe Following Next “Significant Downturn”

JPM, ECB Hint At Arrival Of “Helicopter Money” In Europe Following Next “Significant Downturn”

Moments ago, ECB governing council member and Bank of Italy governor Ignazio Visco had some very troubling comments.

He said that while helicopter money is not currently part of the discussion in the Governing Council that “no policy tool within our mandate can or should be dismissed a priori.” The reason for this startling admission is “the importance of expectations of low inflation in determining wage outcomes, and thus giving rise to second- round effects, may be increasing.”

He cited Italy’s recently signed collective contracts where “it was agreed that parts of future pay rises will be revised downwards in the event that the inflation rate falls short of current forecasts” adding that a “a generalized adoption of this type of contract would significantly decrease the rate of growth of wages and this would in turn be reflected in the dynamics of consumer prices.”

He went on to defend existing monetary policy which has so far only resulted in savings hoarding, ongoing deflation and a slammed banking sector, saying that “Regarding Italy, the effects are estimated to be somewhat stronger: absent the monetary impulse, the Italian recession would have ended only in 2017; inflation would have remained negative for the whole three-year period.”

But back to helicopter money: Visco also said that: “such an extreme measure would undoubtedly be subject to operational and legal constraints.

Is the ECB really this cloase to helicopter money? It appears so, because as he notes “the redistributive implications and the close ties with fiscal policy would all make it very complex, all the more so in the euro area given its institutional framework.” He concluded that a discussion on the measure “is noteworthy, not much per se, but because it underlines the concern that monetary policy is left to act in isolation.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Benn Steil: Why Is Paul Krugman Still Calling For Fiscal Stimulus?

Nobel economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is fond of mocking his critics for being ideologues rather than economists. In contrast, Krugman’s own policy prescriptions, he assures us, are based wholly on soundeconomic science.

Case in point is the theory of liquidity traps, which goes back to Keynes. An economy is said to be in a liquidity trap when the central bank is powerless to stimulate economic growth because the public demand for liquidity has become limitless. This could happen when interest rates have been driven down to zero, a situation in which people may prefer holding cash to consuming or investing.

Krugman has argued that the rules of the policy game are different in a liquidity trap. In normal times, when short-term interest rates are positive, governments can and should rely on monetary policy – cutting rates – to stimulate economic activity if output is running below capacity. There is no need for extra government spending to substitute for deficient private demand – what we call fiscal stimulus. The private sector can do the job on its own with an appropriate level of interest rates. But if rates are at zero, and need to go lower, the central bank is out of ammunition. The government must step in with higher spending, even if it means running large budget deficits.

While in no way disproving the theory, recent years have shown, however, to Krugman’s admitted surprise, that the so-called zero lower bound on rates is not, in fact, a lower bound. Central banks in Europe and Japan have experimented with negative rates and have found that they have thus far not driven banks to hoard cash in vaults (as a means to avoid paying the central bank to hold their balances). So the lower bound is actually somewhere below zero.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Canada due for debt crisis and recession, economist argues

Canada due for debt crisis and recession, economist argues

Credit growth has to stop at some point, and then economy shrinks, argues Steve Keen

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has just delivered a budget that will put Canada deeper in debt. A Forbes columnist argues that puts Canada on track for a credit crisis.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has just delivered a budget that will put Canada deeper in debt. A Forbes columnist argues that puts Canada on track for a credit crisis. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

An economist writing for Forbes magazine has tapped Canada as one of seven countries in the world that are due for a debt crisis and an ensuing recession in the next one to three years.

The trigger will be too much credit, with companies and individuals discouraged from borrowing because their debt is too high and banks then balk at lending, said Steve Keen, head of the school of economics, politics and history at Kingston University London.

A critic of conventional economics, he argues that economists failed to anticipate the global financial crisis of 2008 because they ignored the phenomenon of banks lending too much money.

That’s the situation Canada is approaching now, along with China, Australia, Sweden, Hong Kong, Korea and Norway, he writes in “The seven countries most vulnerable to a debt crisis.”

“Timing precisely when these countries will have their recessions is not possible, because it depends on when the private sector’s willingness to borrow from the banks — and the banking sector’s willingness to lend — stops,” he writes.

Government stimulus programs and programs to support first-time home buyers can postpone the pain, he argues, but credit cannot keep growing at such a rapid rate, unless GDP is growing more rapidly.

Soon to be ‘walking wounded’

“When it arrives, these countries — many of which appeared to avoid the worst of the crisis in 2008 — will join the world’s long list of walking wounded economies,” Keen says.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Deficit Spending is Not the Answer

The Growing Chorus for Fiscal Stimulus

Central bankers and monetary adherents the world over are united in the common grouse that fiscal policy is lacking.  Grander programs of direct stimulation are needed, they grumble.  Monetary policy alone won’t cut the mustard, they gripe.

1-global debtGlobal debt-to-GDP ratios (excl. financial debt). Obviously, it is not enough. More debt is needed, so we may “stimulate” ourselves back to prosperity.

Hardly a week goes by where the monetary side of the house isn’t heaving grievances at the fiscal side of the house.  The government spenders aren’t doing their part to boost the GDP, proclaim the money printers.  Greater outlays and ‘structural reforms’ are needed to spur aggregate demand, they moan.

For example, last month, just prior to the G20 gala, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) asserted that “Getting back to healthy and inclusive growth calls for urgent policy response, drawing on monetary, fiscal, and structural policies working together.”

The OECD report also stated that “The case for structural reforms, combined with supporting demand policies, remains strong to sustainably lift productivity and the job creation.”

4295203312_1ec36291bc_bThe Chateau de la Muette in Paris – this magnificent building that once housed members of France’s nobility nowadays ironically serves as the headquarters of the socialistic central planning bureaucracy known as the OECD. This parasitic carbuncle is high up on the list of globalist institutions that must be considered an extreme threat to economic freedom and progress.     Photo via oecd.org

Several weeks later, on March 10, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi offered a similar refrain.  At the ECB press conference Draghi remarked that “all [Eurozone] countries should strive for a more growth-friendly composition of fiscal policies.

Then, wouldn’t you know it, former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke also added his alto vocals to the chorus.  Last week, in his Brookings Institution blog, he wrote:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Krugman Goes To Japan, Scolds Abe For Worrying About Quadrillion Yen Debt Pile, Leaves

Krugman Goes To Japan, Scolds Abe For Worrying About Quadrillion Yen Debt Pile, Leaves 

Much like BoJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda, Paul Krugman thinks that the key for Japan when it comes to overcoming decades of deflation is a positive outlook.

“Japan needs to reach a point where everyone believes that it has pulled out of deflation. And then if that can be believed, then it may be able to stay out of trouble thereafter,” he told an audience in Tokyo last September.

That rather ridiculous pronouncement is reminiscent of something Kuroda said last summer: “I trust that many of you are familiar with the story of Peter Pan, in which it says, ‘the moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.’ Yes, what we need is a positive attitude and conviction.”

In other words, Krugman and Kuroda believe that Japan can wish its way out of deflation. Krugman’s comments in Tokyo came around 10 months after he visited Japan in 2014. On that trip, he’s said to have helped convince PM Shinzo Abe to delay a planned sales tax hike. “That nailed Abe’s decision — Krugman was Krugman, he was so powerful,” Japanese economist Etsuro Honda said, recounting a meeting between the economist and the premier.

Well, 16 months has passed since that fateful visit and virtually nothing has changed in Japan. In fact, the Japanese have since taken a further plunge down the Keynesian rabbit hole by taking interest rates negative and not only is inflation still languishing at essentially zero, stocks are some 20% off their highs and this month the yen actually hit its highest levels since Kuroda announced the second round of QE two Octobers ago.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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