And so the contagion spreads … first, Latvia’s economy (and government) collapses not that long ago, then Greece and Portugal’s ratings were cut by S&P yesterday, and now today, Spain was cut. And the question is, how much longer before we realize we’re a lot closer than we think to the same situation? Even more importantly is when will we realize that all the trillions in bailouts and stimulus bringing us to our knees in debt currently has done nothing to actually stimulate the economy (73% of economists agree to this effect, CNN Money)? And how much longer before politicians start feeling the effects of their poor decisions in the polls, as if the Scott Brown victory wasn’t enough of an indication? I wonder what this summer’s Town Hall’s are going to look like. To follow developments pertaining to this from a respected global economist, read Ambrose Evans-Pritchard at the Telegraph. History is in the making here.
Category: Economics Page 2 of 8
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read this. A Federal Reserve senior official, Thomas Hoenig, said this today: “I am confident that holding rates down at artificially low levels over extended periods encourages bubbles, because it encourages debt over equity and consumption over savings.” Whaa?? Someone in the Fed who actually understands the root cause of all of our economic woes and votes for policy against the system? I didn’t know such a person existed in the Fed. He is certainly in the minority, especially with the likes of former Fed Chief Alan Greenspan making remarks recently indicating he had little to do with any sort of macro-bubbles or creating any problems, a notion that Peter Schiff fiercely counters:
Nobel Prize winner of economics in the 20th century, Milton Friedman, explains in this old video why entitlement policies, while well-intentioned, are fundamentally flawed at their root. Really wish we would pay attention to even recent history, let alone distant. We’re a very short-sighted people.
Not pretty scenarios. Government spending has thrown free market mechanism’s into distortion and disarray. So it should shape up to be an interesting year.
There are various takes on how everything will pan out. The MSM (main-stream media) paints everything as a rosy picture: we’re coming out of the recession and things will only get better, we hear.
However, all of the realistic economists, the one’s who rightly predicted crashes in recent years, are predicting some hard events that will take place this year forward.
Copenhagen was a disaster. That much is agreed. But the truth about what actually happened is in danger of being lost amid the spin and inevitable mutual recriminations. The truth is this: China wrecked the talks, intentionally humiliated Barack Obama, and insisted on an awful “deal” so western leaders would walk away carrying the blame. How do I know this? Because I was in the room and saw it happen.
China’s strategy was simple: block the open negotiations for two weeks, and then ensure that the closed-door deal made it look as if the west had failed the world’s poor once again. And sure enough, the aid agencies, civil society movements and environmental groups all took the bait. The failure was “the inevitable result of rich countries refusing adequately and fairly to shoulder their overwhelming responsibility”, said Christian Aid. “Rich countries have bullied developing nations,” fumed Friends of the Earth International.
Copenhagen was much worse than just another bad deal, because it illustrated a profound shift in global geopolitics. This is fast becoming China’s century, yet its leadership has displayed that multilateral environmental governance is not only not a priority, but is viewed as a hindrance to the new superpower’s freedom of action.
All in all, China doesn’t give one rip what the West thinks or does, especially if what we are proposing threatens their dominance. Not only that, but they were even so bold as to exert the fact that the West has no control over what they do. This is all very concerning in light of the fact that China owns a great deal of our debt and has a large reserve of dollars they might be willing to dump if it goes down too much in value. Very interesting.
Two kinds of economists exist in the world: those who know first-hand the inner-workings of the economy and those who theorize about how they think it should work and implement policies that have the opposite effect intended. That is the story of the difference between the Austrian school of economics and Keynesianism. One view is real-world, the other is from an alternate universe (yeah, okay, that was a strawman :] ).
Bottomline: we are going to have to get back to producing and saving in this country and move away from consuming and spending (particularly money we don’t have) before things get better. It could be a long slog ahead.
Dubai is just a harbinger of things to come for sovereign debt – Jeremy Warner
These are the exact things Peter Schiff and Gerald Celente were warning about a while back. The issue with this surprise Dubai news is not that they may default on $80-90 billion in debt (the news that came out today). Rather, looking into the near future, this event may be a foreshadowing of things to come with the large industrialized nations. That’s why there was a global sell-off.
In 2007 to 2008, a financial crisis came upon the private sector. And so what did governments do? They bought up the debt amounting to trillions of dollars ($15.3 trillion to be exact). So now governments around the world hold an unsustainable amount of debt. Now what? Jeremy Warner explains it well here:
“The fear is that threatened default in this tiny desert kingdom is just a harginger of things to come for government debt markets as a whole. According to new estimates by Moody’s, the credit rating agency, the total stock of sovereign debt worldwide will have risen by nearly 50 per cent between 2007 and 2010 to $15.3 trillion. The great bulk of this increase comes not from irrelevant little states like Dubai, but from the big advanced economies – America, Europe, and Japan.”
“Up until now, markets have assumed that the ruinous fiscal cost of addressing the financial and economic crisis was probably just about affordable to the major economies. That view may be about to be challenged.”
These issues here (amongst others) are exactly why the government should stay out of the free market. Let the companies crash that need to crash. Get rid of the entire category of “too big to fail” and let the market do what it needs to do. Governments, when they intervene, wind up distorting and elongating what should have been a two year economic meltdown at max, only for some form of short-term economic gain. Now, governments are looking like they can’t pay the bills. Lo and behold: Keynesianism in action!
Now we’ll have to see if the rest of Celente’s predictions and forecasting comes true, which is that governments, as a response to not being able to pay debt bills, will have to raise taxes, which will then in response cause some form of a tax revolt among the people. You think the tea parties were crazy? Just wait and see if they try to do this.
The policy of the Fed and Treasury amounts to little more than obligating the public to defend the bondholders of mismanaged financial companies, and to absorb losses that should have been borne by irresponsible lenders. From my perspective, this is nothing short of an unconstitutional abuse of power, as the actions of the Fed (not to mention some of Geithner’s actions at the Treasury) ultimately have the effect of diverting public funds to reimburse private losses, even though spending is the specifically enumerated power of the Congress alone.
Needless to say, I emphatically support recent Congressional proposals to vastly rein in the power (both statutory and newly usurped) of the Federal Reserve.