Will The Country Suffer Depression?

The markets go up…..the markets go down……a continuous yo-yo ride……

I know….very few Americans want to talk or learned about economics…..it is just all too hard.

We all have a fleeting knowledge of what happened in 1929, right?  But our minds are fresher in the events in 2008 when the markets dropped like a lead toilet in Lake Michigan.

But since that day the markets have steadily gone up and up and up……seemingly without any possibility of a return to the days of losing funds……but is there a possibility that we could see another loss of funds and value………..

A CIA analyst known for his dire economic predictions is speaking up again, warning that the next Great Depression may be right around the corner. Jim Rickards, a “financial threat and asymmetric warfare adviser” for the CIA, tells Money Morning that Americans should be preparing for a $100 trillion financial catastrophe. “Everybody knows we have a dangerous level of debt,” he says. “Everybody knows the Fed has recklessly printed trillions of dollars. … But all signs are now flashing bright red that our chickens are about to come home to roost.” Another reason for gloom: According to Rickards, the so-called Misery Index maintained by the Federal Reserve contains far worse data than most people believe.

The Misery Index adds the true unemployment rate with the true inflation rate, but Rickards contends that the Fed has altered the index’s calculations in order to hide the truth—that “the Misery Index has reached more dangerous levels than we saw prior to the Great Depression,” he says. “This is a signal of a complex system that’s about to collapse.” His prediction? A “70% stock market crash” followed by a 25-year depression, possibly sparked by a “major credit collapse” in China, he tells Reuters. His advice? Invest in “hard assets” like railroads, coal, wheat, or gold. Again, he’s not known for mild predictions:

Whatcha think?  Is this guy onto something or is he just giving Americans what they crave….a good dose of fear?

They Nationalized The Banks!

File this under the heading……Can’t Fix Stupid!

This is the cry from the right wing…..I read a bunch of these pieces of crap on Twitter today…..all were railing that the new “Volcker Rule” will, in essence, nationalize the banks and in turn bring down the whole economic system in the US….

For those with addled brains let me help with the definition of the term…….nationalization……it means the transfer of private assets  into public ownership……see how simple that was and has NOTHING to do with the new “Volcker Rule”………

Let me say here and now…If you believe that this will nationalize the banks then you are sadly mistaken…it will try to prevent the gambling by banks that caused the collapse in 2008…..I am guessing here but NO one wants to revisit the crippling effect that the banksters caused back then…..but do not take my word for it……

(Newser) – The FDIC and Federal Reserve both unanimously approved the long-debated Volcker Rule today, and three other regulatory agencies plan to before the day is out, making it official. The rule, named for and originally proposed by Paul Volcker, aims to ban proprietary trading, “or in plain English,” as the Washington Post puts it, “it removes the parts of banks that gamble and act like hedge funds, because those parts can blow up.” Or at least, that’s what it was supposed to do.

But big banks like JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs have been lobbying against the law for more than three years, Bloomberg points out, and their “lobbying efforts paid off” in easing some provisions. On the other hand, recent weeks have seen a charge from regulators favoring a tougher version, and they’ve scored points, too, the New York Times reports. Here’s what each side won:

The Tough Side:

  • When JPMorgan lost $6 billion on the London Whale trade, it said the position was a “hedge.” The rule still allows hedging, but banks will now have to name a specific, quantifiable risk that each such trade is hedging against.
  • Bonuses and compensation must be structured in a manner that doesn’t encourage “prohibited proprietary trading.”
  • Chief executives will have to personally “attest” every year that the bank has measures in place to comply with the rule.

The Not-So-Tough Side:

  • Banks have until July of 2015 to implement the rule, though they must make a “good faith effort” to do so before that.
  • Banks are still allowed to “make markets,” meaning to act as middle men for clients who want to buy and sell stock. Under this guise, banks could buy and hold a stock, arguing that a client might someday want to buy it. The rule mandates that banks buy only enough to meet the “reasonably expected near-term demands of clients,” but leaves it up to banks to decide what’s reasonable.
  • Banks can still make proprietary trades in bonds issued by governments.
  • Many banks tell the Wall Street Journal that they think they’re already in compliance with the law, while some business groups say they intend to challenge the rule in court. Reform advocates, meanwhile, are starting to call again for a return to Glass-Steagall.

There you have it….this is NO one’s idea of nationalization.  If possibly do then I suggest that you spend less time on World of Warcraft and more time educating yourself on the issues….

Personally, I do not think that this piece of legislation goes far enough to prevent banks from doing the gambling that they have come accustomed to in the past……they are still allowed to gamble and that will cause yet more economic problems in the future…..

Is There Compassionate Capitalism?

Okay sports fans, I have laid off the subject of economics for long enough……when someone mentions economics all eyes glaze over and the people get a far away look in their eye……here goes….

I have had many exchanges with people about capitalism…..I think it could be more compassionate toward the worker/consumer……I understand that profit is everything to these people….but there has to be a line that should NOT be crossed…kinda like the red line in the sand thingy…….

I can imagine that not many of my conserv friends will have anything good to say about labor……of course they would be talking about unions….while I would be talking about the work it takes to produce the service or item…..you may demonize labor all you want but without it there would have been NO middle class to destroy……..

We may argue that point later….today I want to ask if anyone see a problem with these couple of stories…..

(Newser) – An Ohio Walmart store wants to make sure its workers can enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner—so it’s asking them to give each other enough food to do so. The Canton store has set up bins in an employee-only area under a sign that reads, “Please donate food items here so Associates in Need can enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner.” One employee, apparently not appreciating this generous holiday effort, snapped a photo and sent it to the labor group OUR Walmart, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

The photo has sparked outrage, but Walmart isn’t denying its legitimacy. A spokesman for the chain said it was a store-level program, but that the larger corporation applauded. “This is part of the company’s culture to rally around associates and take care of them,” a spokesman for the chain said. At least one worker at the Canton store agreed, saying the drive had helped her in the past. But the associate who shot the picture called it a “demoralizing” and “kind of depressing” admission that the company understands workers are struggling, but won’t expend its own resources to help.

Really?  A food drive for the people you employ?  And no one sees the problem here?

Embedded image permalink

Let’s move on to Macky D…….

Newser) – More handy financial advice from McDonald’s, which recently suggested its workers might want to get second jobs: The chain’s McResource tip website says readers can make money in a pinch by selling “unwanted possessions on eBay or Craigslist.” The advice comes in a section on “Digging Out From Holiday Debt,” ThinkProgress reports. A separate suggestion from the site on how to “avoid hunger & stretch food budget”: “Breaking food into pieces often results in eating less and still feeling full.” This comes shortly after it emerged that McDonald’s was advising workers to get on food stamps, the Wire notes.

CNNMoney, meanwhile, compares the budgets of real McDonald’s workers to the sample budget the company recently issued. The differences are drastic; for instance, food is reportedly the top monthly cost for most workers CNNMoney interviewed, and it doesn’t appear at all on the sample budget. (Meanwhile, Mickey Dee’s isn’t the only corporation getting kicked for hamfisted efforts at helping workers.)

I can only say one thing….Are You kidding me?

Sorry….I can understand why some think that capitalism cares about NOTHING but profit…..they feel they have NO responsibility to the society that made them money……IMO that is sadly ALL wrong!

Let’s Talk Middle Class

I have written enough about Syria, Cruz, scandals, NSA, and shootings…..so let me change subjects for awhile…..change to economics.   Okay this is where I turn my back on the class and some give me the finger, others act out choking and still others just roll their eyes and drift off…….yeah, economics is not a subject that many willing write about or talk about……and that is why I am here!

Let us begin with a look at some economic data…….

As Congress prepares for yet another fiscal showdown, new data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau should be a wake-up call that it is time to move away from a wrong-headed austerity agenda and pivot to a focus on creating jobs, boosting wages, and investing in family economic security.

The new data on poverty and income show that despite economic growth, there was no statistically significant improvement in the poverty rate or median household income in 2012.

Behind these topline numbers are data that contain real warning signs for American families and the overall economy if Congress continues down its current path.

Here are three things you need to know about the new data and how they affect the budget and policy choices before us:

  1. Income inequality has widened since the end of the Great Recession.
  2. Our safety net is working overtime to compensate for rising income inequality and the proliferation of low-wage work.
  3. High poverty rates among young children of color have long-term implications for our economic competitiveness.

And all that data is pointing to the Middle Class slowly disappearing….even if one does not want to admit it…..just look at any income data you like…..you can chart what is happening to the Middle Class.

The Middle Class?  We could make a case that the Middle Class was an accident….that it was never intended to be a characteristic of capitalism……….

It’s a sign of Edward McClelland’s age that he remembers the middle class. He grew up in an automaking town in the 1970s, where even high school dropouts could get jobs that would support a family and a mortgage payment. Everyone assumed this was capitalism’s triumphant endpoint, that it “had produced the worker’s paradise to which Communism unsuccessfully aspired,” McClelland writes at Salon. Now, that prosperity looks like a “historical fluke,” a brief denial of normal economic trends made possible because the US emerged from World War II with its manufacturing base unharmed. “For the majority of human history … there have been two classes; aristocracy and peasantry,” McClelland observes. Left unfettered, capitalism will tend to reinforce that trend, “concentrating wealth in the ownership class.” This drift “can only be arrested by an activist government that chooses to step in as a referee.” But the US has been on a 40-year deregulation kick, running through Democratic and Republican administrations alike. The result: “The greatest disparity between the top earners and the middle earners in nearly a century.” Click for McClelland’s full column.

The US is starting to look a lot like the UK…….that is if you start in a certain strata of the economy you and your will never leave that strata…….in other words there will be two classes……the aristocracy and the peasantry……….once you are in one you will forever remain there with little chance of mobility…….

GOP Math Is Just Plain Wrong!

Now that I have the Syrian stuff out of my system I will return to righting the wrongs put forth by the lunatics on the Right…..and now I bet you think this will be some rambling about the IRS or the DOJ and AP…..SURPRISE!  I will those for lesser minds!

Later this year the circus will return to the budget and the deficit and there is something you need to know………

This is an economic post….I give warning because when it is talked about too many people glaze over and move on…..why?  They get all their info from BS sources……but to pretend that one knows all about politics without a knowledge of economics is just plain stupid…..and there are those that will not let facts change their position.

If you are smart enough to turn on your TV then you know all about the budget deficit and the debate around the issue…….if you are paying attention then you have heard all the flap about the debt as percent of GDP….how this is killing jobs and bankrupting the country……right?  But there is a problem with this rhetoric……with all this choking debt the nation’s GDP is still rising, slowly but rising, 2.5% for the 1st quarter of 2013….now if the toilet math of the GOP were correct would not the GDP be dropping?

Well the GOP talking point that debt is 90% of GDP and economic growth will cease and may even start to decline…….they got this information from a report by two economists, Reinhart and Rogoff……..a good piece was written and cited on any given day but Repubs time after time…….the problem is…..it is WRONG!

Yes I said WRONG!  Not mistaken but outright WRONG!

I will bet you think since you believe me a liberal that I will go about quoting economists like Krugman…..am I right?

Well, just like the Reinhart/Rogoff paper, you and your friends in the conserv movement…..would be WRONG!  Yes, I emphasized the word WRONG!


………….the most recent period of 2000-2009, which in almost all cases will be the most relevant set of experiences with respect to current policy debates, average GDP growth when public debt is above 90 percent of GDP is higher than when the public debt/GDP ratio  is between 60 and 90 percent.    The findings in our paper are clearly not consistent with the notion that we consistently observe a sharp fall-off in economic growth when the public debt/GDP ratio exceeds 90 percent.   As for the misconceptions concerning causality, I encourage people to read the contribution by my professor Arin Dube. His treatment of the topic is highly readable and offers strong evidence that causality runs from slow growth to high debt.

There is not one word in our paper which suggests that a high level of government indebtedness is never a problem.  It would be absurd to think that governments never have to worry about their level of indebtedness.  The aim of our paper was much more narrowly focused.  We show that, contrary to R&R, there is no definitive threshold for the public debt/GDP ratio, beyond which countries will invariably suffer a major decline in GDP growth. The implication for policy is that, under particular circumstances, public debt can play a key role in overcoming a recession. The current historical moment, with historically high rates of mass unemployment in both the U.S. and Europe   and with interest rates on U.S. Treasury bonds at historic lows,   is precisely the set of circumstances under which we would expect public borrowing to have large positive effects, with comparably fewer costs. Moreover, it is precisely the set of circumstances under which we expect austerity to have substantial negative effects.

Click here to read Herndon’s full paper >

But do not take my word for this……..the PhD candidate’s findings are linked above……read it and decide……..I will also post this article in full in a latter post today….read it……

I realize that the mindless regurgitation on the right will not read this or embrace it….and most likely will not understand anything that is not boiled down to a slogan….I would like to believe that Conservs are not idiots just misinformed…..I said I would like to believe it….but I have seen nothing about them that would lead me to think better of them…..