Tag Archives: recession

Ready For A Bout Of Stagflation, After The Next Depression, Like We’ve Never Seen Before

Money manager Michael Pento says don’t believe the Fed when it says “the economy is doing well.” It’s not. Pento explains, “As long as the stock market continues to go up, the Fed is going to continue to slowly raise interest rates. So, when the inevitable collapse occurs, and that’s what the Fed does, the Fed is in the business of lowering interest rates, creating asset bubbles, which pile up the level of debt, then raising rates and collapsing the economy. That’s their mantra. That’s their MO (modus operandi) and it has happened over and over again. The occurrences are going to be much more dire as we go through time. So, the Fed is trying to get bullets in the chamber. The Fed is going to raise rates slowly. The yield curve is going to invert. . . . We are going to have another catastrophe in the stock market and in the bond market and in the real estate market and in the global economy.”

With the latest GDP number now coming in at less than 1%, Pento says the Fed will be forced to reverse course soon when the economy tanks again. Pento contends, “They will have no choice, this is what they are going to do. They are going to do everything they can to rebuild the asset bubble, but it’s going to take a lot more than lowering interest rates and a little bit of QE. They’re going to have to have helicopter money, and I think that’s going to happen right after we enter this next depression. I don’t use hyperbole here either. I say depression because I look at the data. The data tells me the great recession that was headed towards a depression started in 2007 and ended in 2009. They were talking about not getting money out of the ATMs and massive bank defaults. That was going to make the Great depression in the 1930’s look like a Sunday picnic. That was caused by a Fed Funds rate at 1% for one year and a housing bubble. You look at the bubbles we have today, the national debt in 2008 was $10 trillion. It’s now $20 trillion. . . . You have the entire globe that has massively and exponentially raised its level of debt . . . and the level of asset bubbles. . . . Most of the metrics are at all-time record highs. The GDP has been artificially boosted by 100 months of 1% or lower Fed Funds rate. I think a depression is absolutely unavoidable. What did they fix? Absolutely nothing. They just made the economy exponentially more artificial and more dependent on free money.”

Pento predicted the bond market would ultimately collapse in his 2013 book titled “The Coming Bond Market Collapse.” He says the collapse has started and will get worse quickly. Pento is watching Europe and says, “When the European Central Bank (ECB) announces they are going to take the $60 billion a month of easing and take it to zero, you are going to see a bond market revolt. The free market, whatever is left of it, is going to aggressively start shorting bonds. You will see yields spike in Europe, which is going to drag up bond yields across the globe. That’s when this thing will all unravel and unravel very, very quickly.”

In closing, Pento predicts, “The stock market is a bubble. It’s going to fall at least 50% for starters and before The Fed gets to helicopter money. You better be ready.”

By Greg Hunter | USA Watch Dog

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How Will You Cope With A Lower Standard Of Living?

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The forces are mounting that will eventually overwhelm most Americans and send their standard of living to unknown depths. Americans that have only known the post WWII prosperity are ill equipped and educated to deal with depression level living. Easy credit and instant gratification have created a nation of whining, self absorbed, entitlement minded people with no moral or mental toughness.

Doug Casey believes we are headed for what he calls a super depression created by the ending of a debt super cycle. The bigger the debt cycle the bigger the depression that follows. That’s how reality works and most people are not prepared for reality.

When this depression, which has already started, gets momentum, it will overwhelm the plans of a society that is expecting to get things like social security, pensions and payouts from retirement plans they have paid into for many years. All of those things will disappear almost overnight and leave society gasping and stupefied over what to do. Their reactions will be to yell and scream and try to identify who to blame but the only person they should blame is the one in the mirror.

Many very smart people have raised the alarm and done their best to warn the sleeping public, but those slumbering masses have ignored the warnings and hit the snooze button one more time. The masses do not understand economics, do not want to understand economics and they will pay dearly for that ignorance in the coming days.

When the real unemployment rate becomes common knowledge as it increases substantially, people will be left to survive on what resources they have saved up outside the banking system that cannot be stolen by the politicians and bankers. That is a key point here. The assets you have outside the system that cannot be stolen from you with a few key strokes on some computer.

Those hoping for some miraculous event that will send the U.S. back to the days of manufacturing might and jobs for all will never see it happen. Those days are gone. The west line theory tells us our economy will slow down and become more modest as the shipping center of the world moves west to the next powerhouse region which is Asia. This is what history teaches us.

When people suddenly wake up one morning and they have no job, their retirement is gone and they need to care for their family, what will they do? When government services have collapsed and they suddenly realize they are now living in a third world country with few government services, what will they do? When the banks are closed and only a select few connected people have any type of money or access to goods, what will they do?

This is the reality that many people will face in the future and they have no idea how bad it can get. They refuse to contemplate the harsh reality they will be living in and take steps to mitigate the effects. To do so would be to acknowledge it could happen and they are taking personal responsibility. Personal responsibility is a dirty phrase in today’s entitlement society. To see some of the effects one only has to look at the collapse of society in Venezuela today to see what awaits.

When it happens it will all fall back to you to take responsibility for your family and take care of them for the duration. To do that you need to plan now for that eventuality and build up the resources you will need to provide food, shelter, clothing and security when the system fails to do it for you. You need to be Noah on his ark not the people watching as he floated away.

Having resources stored up is a must but it may not get you all the way through if the situation lasts for many years. That is why you need some type of plan to replace those resources as time goes by and have some way to generate some type of income or at least items to trade. Usable goods are for the short term and things like gold ,silver and production equipment are for the long term to help you get through the crisis with the least amount of pain.

Even with proper planning the days ahead will not be easy as the standard of living of society will fall substantially to levels only seen in failed third world countries or old pictures. The assets actually owned by people today is very small compared to how they live. They will default on their home loan, their car loan, and their credit card debt leaving them with very few real possessions and few ways to move what they have left even if they have some place to go. Ultimately these people will become the new serfs to the wealthy class that will take possession of anything of value. Feudalism will once again rule.

The lack of planning by society will make this a reality if it is allowed. What will you do when everything you have worked a lifetime for is suddenly taken away? Do you have a plan to keep what you have? Do you have a plan to make money when you cannot find a job? Do you have a way to take care of your family until things stabilize? Do you have a home you will not lose if the whole system breaks down? What will you do if electricity or fuel is too expensive to buy or not available to the general population? These are the questions you should be asking yourself now and you better have a good answer because your family will be asking them when the greater depression sets in.

by Tom Chatham | ZeroHedge

The Greater Depression: Comparing the 1930s and Today

Comparing the 1930s and Today

You’ve heard the axiom “History repeats itself.” It does, but never in exactly the same way. To apply the lessons of the past, we must understand the differences of the present.

During the American Revolution, the British came prepared to fight a successful war—but against a European army. Their formations, which gave them devastating firepower, and their red coats, which emphasized their numbers, proved the exact opposite of the tactics needed to fight a guerrilla war.

Before World War I, generals still saw the cavalry as the flower of their armies. Of course, the horse soldiers proved worse than useless in the trenches.

Before World War II, in anticipation of a German attack, the French built the “impenetrable” Maginot Line. History repeated itself and the attack came, but not in the way they expected. Their preparations were useless because the Germans didn’t attempt to penetrate it; they simply went around it, and France was defeated.

The generals don’t prepare for the last war out of perversity or stupidity, but rather because past experience is all they have to go by. Most of them simply don’t know how to interpret that experience. They are correct in preparing for another war but wrong in relying upon what worked in the last one.

Investors, unfortunately, seem to make the same mistakes in marshaling their resources as do the generals. If the last 30 years have been prosperous, they base their actions on more prosperity. Talk of a depression isn’t real to them because things are, in fact, so different from the 1930s. To most people, a depression means ’30s-style conditions, and since they don’t see that, they can’t imagine a depression. That’s because they know what the last depression was like, but they don’t know what one is. It’s hard to visualize something you don’t understand.

Some of them who are a bit more clever might see an end to prosperity and the start of a depression but—al­though they’re going to be a lot better off than most—they’re probably looking for this depression to be like the last one.

Although nobody can predict with absolute certainty what this depression will be like, you can be fairly well-assured it won’t be an instant replay of the last one. But just because things will be different doesn’t mean you have to be taken by surprise.

To define the likely differences between this depres­sion and the last one, it’s helpful to compare the situa­tion today to that in the early 1930s. The results aren’t very reassuring.

CORPORATE BANKRUPTCY

1930s

Banks, insurance companies, and big corporations went under on a major scale. Institutions suffered the consequences of past mistakes, and there was no financial safety net to catch them as they fell. Mistakes were liquidated and only the prepared and efficient survived.

Today

The world’s financial institutions are in even worse shape than the last time, but now business ethics have changed and everyone expects the government to “step in.” Laws are already in place that not only allow but require government inter­vention in many instances. This time, mistakes will be compounded, and the strong, productive, and ef­ficient will be forced to subsidize the weak, unproductive, and inefficient. It’s ironic that businesses were bankrupted in the last depression because the prices of their products fell too low; this time, it’ll be because they went too high.

UNEMPLOYMENT

1930s

If a man lost his job, he had to find another one as quickly as possible simply to keep from going hungry. A lot of other men in the same position competed desperately for what work was available, and an employer could hire those same men for much lower wages and expect them to work harder than what was the case before the depression. As a result, the men could get jobs and the employer could stay in business.

Today

The average man first has months of unemployment insurance; after that, he can go on welfare if he can’t find “suitable work.” Instead of taking whatever work is available, especially if it means that a white collar worker has to get his hands dirty, many will go on welfare. This will decrease the production of new wealth and delay the recovery. The worker no longer has to worry about some entrepreneur exploiting (i.e., employing) him at what he considers an unfair wage because the minimum wage laws, among others, precludes that possibility today. As a result, men stay unemployed and employers will go out of business.

WELFARE

1930s

If hard times really put a man down and out, he had little recourse but to rely on his family, friends, or local social and church group. There was quite a bit of opprobrium attached to that, and it was only a last resort. The breadlines set up by various government bodies were largely cosmetic measures to soothe the more terror-prone among the voting populace. People made do because they had to, and that meant radically reducing their standards of living and taking any job available at any wage. There were very, very few people on welfare during the last depression.

Today

It’s hard to say how those who are still working are going to support those who aren’t in this depression. Even in the U.S., 50% of the country is already on some form of welfare. But food stamps, aid to fami­lies with dependent children, Social Security, and local programs are already collapsing in prosperous times. And when the tidal wave hits, they’ll be totally overwhelmed. There aren’t going to be any breadlines because people who would be standing in them are going to be shopping in local supermarkets just like people who earned their money. Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of it is that people in general have come to think that these programs can just magically make wealth appear, and they expect them to be there, while a whole class of people have grown up never learning to survive without them. It’s ironic, yet predictable, that the programs that were supposed to help those who “need” them will serve to devastate those very people.

REGULATIONS

1930s

Most economies have been fairly heavily regulated since the early 1900s, and those regulations caused distortions that added to the severity of the last depression. Rather than allow the economy to liquidate, in the case of the U.S., the Roosevelt regime added many, many more regulations—fixing prices, wages, and the manner of doing business in a static form. It was largely because of these regulations that the depression lingered on until the end of World War II, which “saved” the economy only through its massive reinflation of the currency. Had the government abolished most controls then in existence, instead of creating new ones, the depression would have been less severe and much shorter.

Today

The scores of new agencies set up since the last depression have created far more severe distortions in the ways people relate than those of 80 years ago; the potential adjustment needed is proportionately greater. Unless government restrictions and controls on wages, working conditions, energy consumption, safety, and such are removed, a dramatic economic turnaround during the Greater Depression will be impossible.

TAXES

1930s

The income tax was new to the U.S. in 1913, and by 1929, although it took a maximum 23.1% bite, that was only at the $1 million level. The average family’s income then was $2,335, and that put average families in the 1/10th of 1 percent bracket. And there was still no Social Security tax, no state income tax, no sales tax, and no estate tax. Furthermore, most people in the country didn’t even pay the income tax because they earned less than the legal minimum or they didn’t bother filing. The government, therefore, had immense untapped sources of revenue to draw upon to fund its schemes to “cure” the depression. Roosevelt was able to raise the average income tax from 1.35% to 16.56% during his tenure—an increase of 1,100%.

Today

Everyone now pays an income tax in addition to all the other taxes. In most Western countries, the total of direct and indirect taxes is over 50%. For that reason, it seems unlikely that direct taxes will go much higher. But inflation is constantly driving everyone into higher brackets and will have the same effect. A person has had to increase his or her income faster than inflation to compensate for taxes. Whatever taxes a man does pay will reduce his standard of living by just that much, and it’s reasonable to expect tax evasion and the underground economy to boom in response. That will cushion the severity of the depression somewhat while it serves to help change the philosophical orientation of society.

PRICES

1930s

Prices dropped radically because billions of dollars of inflationary currency were wiped out through the stock market crash, bond defaults, and bank failures. The government, however, somehow equated the high prices of the inflationary ’20s with prosperity and attempted to prevent a fall in prices by such things as slaughtering livestock, dumping milk in the gutter, and enacting price supports. Since the collapse wiped out money faster than it could be created, the government felt the destruction of real wealth was a more effective way to raise prices. In other words, if you can’t increase the supply of money, decrease the supply of goods.

Nonetheless, the 1930s depression was a deflationary collapse, a time when currency became worth more and prices dropped. This is probably the most confusing thing to most Americans since they assume—as a result of that experience—that “depression” means “deflation.” It’s also perhaps the biggest single difference between this depression and the last one.

Today

Prices could drop, as they did the last time, but the amount of power the government now has over the economy is far greater than what was the case 80 years ago. Instead of letting the economy cleanse itself by allowing the financial markets to collapse, governments will probably bail out insolvent banks, create mortgages wholesale to prop up real estate, and central banks will buy bonds to keep their prices from plummeting. All of these actions mean that the total money supply will grow enormously. Trillions will be created to avoid deflation. If you find men selling apples on street corners, it won’t be for 5 cents apiece, but $5 apiece. But there won’t be a lot of apple sellers because of welfare, nor will there be a lot of apples because of price controls.

Consumer prices will probably skyrocket as a result, and the country will have an inflationary depression. Unlike the 1930s, when people who held dollars were king, by the end of the Greater Depression, people with dollars will be wiped out.

THE SOCIETY

1930s

The world was largely rural or small-town. Communications were slow, but people tended to trust the media. The government exercised considerable moral suasion, and people tended to support it. The business of the country was business, as Calvin Coolidge said, and men who created wealth were esteemed. All told, if you were going to have a depression, it was a rather stable environment for it; despite that, however, there were still plenty of riots, marches, and general disorder.

Today

The country is now urban and suburban, and although communications are rapid, there’s little interpersonal contact. The media are suspect. The government is seen more as an adversary or an imperial ruler than an arbitrator accepted by a consensus of concerned citizens. Businessmen are viewed as unscrupulous predators who take advantage of anyone weak enough to be exploited.

A major financial smashup in today’s atmosphere could do a lot more than wipe out a few naives in the stock market and unemploy some workers, as occurred in the ’30s; some sectors of society are now time bombs. It’s hard to say, for instance, what third- and fourth-generation welfare recipients are going to do when the going gets really tough.

THE WAY PEOPLE WORK

1930s

Relatively slow transportation and communication localized economic conditions. The U.S. itself was somewhat insulated from the rest of the world, and parts of the U.S. were fairly self-contained. Workers were mostly involved in basic agriculture and industry, creating widgets and other tangible items. There wasn’t a great deal of specialization, and that made it easier for someone to move laterally from one occupation into the next, without extensive retraining, since people were more able to produce the basics of life on their own. Most women never joined the workforce, and the wife in a marriage acted as a “backup” system should the husband lose his job.

Today

The whole world is interdependent, and a war in the Middle East or a revolution in Africa can have a direct and immediate effect on a barber in Chicago or Krakow. Since the whole economy is centrally controlled from Washington, a mistake there can be a national disaster. People generally aren’t in a position to roll with the punches as more than half the people in the country belong to what is known as the “service economy.” That means, in most cases, they’re better equipped to shuffle papers than make widgets. Even “necessary” services are often terminated when times get hard. Specialization is part of what an advanced industrial economy is all about, but if the economic order changes radically, it can prove a liability.

THE FINANCIAL MARKETS

1930s

The last depression is identified with the collapse of the stock market, which lost over 90% of its value from 1929 to 1933. A secure bond was the best possible investment as interest rates dropped radically. Commodities plummeted, reducing millions of farmers to near subsistence levels. Since most real estate was owned outright and taxes were low, a drop in price didn’t make a lot of difference unless you had to sell. Land prices plummeted, but since people bought it to use, not unload to a greater fool, they didn’t usually have to sell.

Today

This time, stocks—and especially commodities—are likely to explode on the upside as people panic into them to get out of depreciating dollars in general and bonds in particular. Real estate will be—next to bonds—the most devastated single area of the economy because no one will lend money long term. And real estate is built on the mortgage market, which will vanish.

Everybody who invests in this depression thinking that it will turn out like the last one will be very unhappy with the results. Being aware of the differences between the last depression and this one makes it a lot easier to position yourself to minimize losses and maximize profits.

So much for the differences. The crucial, obvious, and most important similarity, however, is that most people’s standard of living will fall dramatically.

The Greater Depression has started. Most people don’t know it because they can neither confront the thought nor understand the differences between this one and the last.

As a climax approaches, many of the things that you’ve built your life around in the past are going to change and change radically. The ability to adjust to new conditions is the sign of a psychologically healthy person.

Look for the opportunity side of the crisis. The Chinese symbol for “crisis” is a combination of two other symbols—one for danger and one for opportunity.

The dangers that society will face in the years ahead are regrettable, but there’s no point in allowing anxiety, frustration, or apathy to overcome you. Face the future with courage, curiosity, and optimism rather than fear. You can be a winner, and if you plan carefully, you will be. The great period of change will give you a chance to regain control of your destiny. And that in itself is the single most important thing in life. This depression can give you that opportunity; it’s one of the many ways the Greater Depression can be a very good thing for both you as an individual and society as a whole.