April 10, 2009
– Comments (20)
Economists in the latest Wall Street Journal forecasting survey expect the recession to end in September, though most say it won't be until the second half of 2010 that the economy recovers enough to bring down unemployment.
By December of this year, the economists on average expect the unemployment rate to reach 9.5%, up from the 8.5% reported for March.
September???? My guess is these are the same economists that forecasted last year we would not go into a recession while Alstrynomics was forecasting this would be the worst downturn since The Great Depression.
These idiots were just telling you that unemployment would peak at 8.5%. Now they upped their unemployment forecast to 9.5% from 8.5% in March??? No kidding Sherlock....we were at 8.5% in March...don't you think it is about time they raised forecasts???
Alstrynomics vs. Economics....it is not even close. Alstrynomics is predicting U6 unemployment to exceed 30% before the end of the year. On average it is about 16% right now and above 20% in a number of states.
The BIG problem right now is that there is not enough money in the system to pay back debt. Many families, businesses and municipalities are on the brink of bankruptcy. Infecting people with more debt will only exacerbate the sitution and deepen the depression for America as a whole.
People, Business and Municipalities borrowed TRILLIONS against inflated assets and incomes that have evaporated or are not currently worth close to what they paid for them....many of these borrowers have relatively little in the bank.....much of their savings and cash flow is being used to service debt and there is not much left for anything else.
Why do you think Mayor Bloomberg is freaking out right now??? He must make a choice...fire thousands of city workers or force NYC into Bankruptcy!!! This difficult choice is currently confronting tens of thousands of municipalities and businesses across America right now which could affect millions and millions of workers.
THE REAL DISTRESS HASN'T EVEN STARTED!!! Just wait for the bankruptcies to start kicking in to full gear as we move up the distress chain.
In the mean time, we have a bunch of idiots who think the best way to solve a crisis of too much debt suffocating cash flow is to infect the system with even more debt??? And we have "economists" saying this crisis will be over in September????
America and Americans are spending down what little savings they have left and running out of money fast. Banks are making it even more expensive to maintain existing debt as evidenced by BoA this past week raising rates on already strapped borrowers.
Just this past week, Moody's downgraded the debt of every municipality in America for the FIRST TIME EVER...something Alstrynomics has been warning you about for a long time.
If these Foolish economists survive in their jobs to September......expect a new ending date from these idiots and a few upward revisions in their unemployment forecasts.
Some of you may find the following videos interesting....these are interesting times indeed.
Well aside from your lack of understanding on how politics works in New York, I do agree that it has become unbearable to listen to economic forecasters anymore. MSNBC is the worse since they parade the most (but at least Erin is a babe albeit a ditz). Jim Cramer was so predictable. You will now see him banging his pots and pans and telling you to buy, buy, buy (but hedging himself so he can point to any scenario and say how he was right). And people will again be drawn in. This is simply a seasonal rebound (and one I did warn the shorts about).
The question still remains as to whether March 9 was the bottom or will there be a final crash come September-October with a lengthy rebuilding process. I would love it to have been the former, but am concerned it might be the latter.
We are going to see double digit unemployment. Your numbers, however, are just silly. There is no reason to expect 1 out of 3 workers to be out of a job. You will see consolidation continue and new innovations dealing with the changing times arising. And a recent local (New York) survey has shown that 40% of the people who lost jobs found new ones within 3 months. While that still means net losses, it does indicate that jobs can be found, and this before the Governmental and Fed stimulus start to really kick in.
The world as well needs to adapt and change since they can no longer keep their economies dependent on US consumption. And while the world pointed its finger at the US and blamed us for all the ills (and I was annoyed with Obama taking the blame at the G-7 meetings), tough luck to them when the US stopped buying their cheap to produce yet expensive crap.
While happy days are NOT here again, doomsday isn't either. So get out of your cave Alstry, stop eating canned spam, smell the blooming flowers, and be grateful that you have your health (presumeably).
Yeah I agree, although I think we may see the S&P lower than 666 this year, I don't think the US is headed for a financial meltdown.
Also yeah Erin is pretty cute..hahhaha
One simple question:
How are American citizens, businesses, and municipalities going to pay back over $40 Trillion in debt?????
Let me tell you a little secret, but please keep it between us....if every American drained every dime of savings and liquidated everything they owned, collectively there would not be enough money to pay back the debt.
Wall Street and community banks manufactured and injected America with MORE debt in the past eight years than the current net worth of Americans.....and now the banks are making it even more expensive to borrow money as we give them free money......interesting problem isn't it?
Americans, collectively, simply don't have the assets and money to pay back the banks........
And even if you individually have money and no debt....your city, county, or state likely is in need......as a citizen.....isn't it your duty to help out your country????
And this is what our President says theis morning????
"We feel confident that as we deal with problems in the banking system that we're also fixing the non-banking sector when it comes to auto and credit card loans," Obama added.
No Mr. President....you are being ill advised.
The problem with the banking sector is that they loaned out more money than Americans can afford or have the mathematical ability to pay back. If Americans were able to service their debt, there would be no problem with the banking sector.
Mr. President...the problem rests with the infected citizens, businesses, and municipalities and was caused by the banks by lending out more money than existed in the nation.
It really is not very complicated if you think about it. If you loan someone more money than they can afford to pay you back, and you encumber their assets as security.....pretty soon you own their assets after they spend the money you loaned them. Imagine if you did that to the majority of citizens, businesses and municipalities of a nation.
If we keep going down this path, and inevitably allowing more and more American citizens, businesses, and municipalities to fail....it will not be 1 out of 3 Americans unemployed, it will be 1 out of 2.
Can't we simply run the printing press? All it takes is pressing the red button and wallah, we can make that debt dissapear!
Bullwinkle, "For my next trick, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!"
Bullwinkle, "And presto!" Lion is pulled out hat. Scene ends, fade to black...
Because running the printing press will create hyperinflation against a backdrop of external wage contraint pressure from Asia.
In that environment.....American wages will be stagnant but the price of everything will skyrocket. It will only accellerate and deepen the depression.
Remember, by removing toxic debt off the bank's balance sheet....it does nothing to alleviate the borrowers responsibility to pay back the debt.
Why do you think more and more debt is becoming toxic everyday....because fewer and fewer can afford to service their debt.
As fewer and fewer businesses and municipalites can afford to service debt, expect more and more people to get fired from their jobs.
As more and more get fired, expect fewer and fewer people to be able to afford to service their debt.
One of the insights of Murray Rothbard was that economists in a free market would have a limited role and that most economists implicitly understand this. Therefore, they tend to favor any economic policy that will paint intervention in a positive light. Should the economy rebound, they can claim that government intervention saved the day, and justify their intellectual position. Should the rebound never materialize they can continue to push a pro-government solution with the backing of the State.
It's a win-win situation for the intellectual. It's a lose-lose for liberty and private citizens.
David in Qatar
RIP Murray Rothbard. 18 recs for the original post and comment #8
It is easy to get imotional over all this.
However, stand back from the USA domestic situation and look at the holistics of the international banking and finance sector.
Look any better?
What went wrong everywhere at the same time?
Consumers allowed to leverage beyond reason.
Banks allowed to leverage beyond reason.
Secondary markets of all sorts, operating without any regulation and without often any reason apart from rampant greed.
So how does this get sorted?
First - has anything like this ever happened before?
Yes - lets look at the late 80s and early nineties.
S&L - problem cleaned up by goverment intervention and tax payers money - why? Lack of government regulation allowed crooks to operate in this space and they had to be dealt with - think of it like the Bernnie Madoff scenario.
Is that a solution for todays problems? NO
Governments all over (G23) have agreed to allow their financial systems to recover and that regulations will be consistantly applied to all international markets.
Government in general requires to have a healthy "independent" finance sector. Consumer banks are at the heart of government.
These large scale banks must be allowed to earn their way out of the problem - they are not too big to fail - they are too important to government to be allowed to fail.
So with Wells Fargo coming out yesterday two weeks early with their good news and more to follow later this month the strategy is working. Margins at the moment are crazy high and mortgage refinancing is going to keep on going for quite a while.
So give it time - the world banking crisis will be over before you know it.
Does anyone even remember the S&L scandal - from this point in history it looks like a non event - but it wasn't at the time I can assure you.
So let the individual shareholders that are lucky enough to still have some cash have their chance once again to make money - fear is dead - long live the greed.
Load up with all the "too important to fail" bank stocks you can; take your pick from any all over the world and you will triple your money in less than two years - you may be able to think about retiring again - that is if your lucky enough to have a good job to retire from!!
If you take on debt, the money is put in circulation.
It is impossible for everyone to be underwater at the same time.
So now it is 50% unemployment? It is difficult to take your comments seriously when you make such absurd predicitions. You, indeed, are the same as the people you are condemning.
You are right about what happened the last eight years: free flow of easy money, being lent over hyperinflated Real Estate prices to pretty much anyone with a pulse. And this is why you have seen the stock market tank in phenomenal fashion, because that bubble burst.
But that debt will eventually be dealt with in several ways. Much of it will simply be wiped clean mainly through bankruptcies or debtholder modifications. Rest of it will indeed be paid back, as you are seeing right now. Notice also how the US savings rate has gone UP and that credit card repayments have actually accelerated? Notice how WFC earnings crushed expectations this last quarter? That's all the refinancing that is going on lowering the cost of that debt by people who can afford it. And apparently there are still plenty responsible, working people paying their bills.
Also, inflation will help servicing this debt, but this will take longer to kick in in my opinion. Fed's exit strategy will have an important impact, but I submit changing demographics will have a strong impact as well. As the boomers retire, those jobs become available, but the generation behind the boomers is smaller. This would then make it an employee market putting pressure on higher wages not lower ones.
But, in the end, it is all surmise until the time has passed. You envision the world's end, I submit this Country is tough and resilient enough to endure, learn and continue to grow.
My predictions are not absurd...you just have a hard time living in reality. Go back and read my blogs for the past year.....you will see that they are some of the most accurate in anywhere on the internet and exclusively available on CAPS.
The reality is revenues are evaporating and expenses are exploding. If you were an attorney or expert financial analyst....actually you could be an idiot, and you would appreciate that such a combination compounds negatively upon each other....and economically speaking....together they are lethal if left unchecked.
And now the rate of decay is increasing. A number of my friends are surgeons.....it is never easy telling people or their families that a loved one has a serious illness.
Alstry is the doctor of Alstrynomics.........now I am telling you that America faces a serious economic infection called Toxic Borrower Syndrome manifesting into the FU virus. It is now spreading virally and reaching epidemic proportions. Soon you too will feel the symptoms.....I am confident of that....when you do.....please be prepared for the consequences.
Your government will be calling soon....be ready.
Something is missing from this debate, and from EVERY discussion I have seen about the economy thus far. The thing everyone is missing here is how much more systemic our society is today than it was the last time anything like this happened.
In the 30's, most food was grown locally and organically by small farmers. Now it's grown on huge factory farms with massive amounts of petro-chemicals and trucked cross country, or grown overseas and shipped here.
In the 30's, one fossil fuel calorie was expended to produce two food calories. Now it takes ten fossil fuel calories to make just one food calorie.
In the 30's, many people lived on farms where at least they could grow enough food to support themselves. Now we live in cities and suburbs and our gardens are full of decorative plants that we can't eat.
In the 30's, most food was kept cold with ice, now we are unbelievably dependent on fossil fuel based electricity.
In the 30's, people weren't so educated that they thought they didn't have to do any physical labor. Now, we feel that "hard work" is something done by people of the third world, we're entitled to sit in air conditioning and play on the internet.
In those days, there were Victory Gardens that helped people eat. Today the only gardens around are floral or are some sort of theme part.
Back then, people ate locally grown food that they cooked themselves that was healthy and largely free of all the junk that gets put in food today. They might not have had much, but they had their health. Now our grocery stores are filled with what Michael Pollan calls "edible food-like substances" that are destroying our health and forcing us into a dying healthcare system. The impoverished today don't even have their health, even if they are able to eat.
In those days, goods from China were luxury or novelty items. Now, our two economies are inextricably linked and our problems become their problems become our bigger problems become their bigger problems.
Then, the land wasn't so polluted that people had to fear eating food grown in soil full of heavy metals. Now our land is polluted with industrial wastes and our farm soils have been heavily damaged by petro-chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Then, many people had access to wells on their farms, instead of or in addition to running water. Now, there aren't any wells and for all we know the groundwater is full of toxins and chemical pollutants. If electricity goes out, we not only lose all the perishable food in our refrigerators and freezers, but we lose access to clean water as well.
In the last depression, people were not nearly so dependent on money to survive. To thrive, yes. Survive, no. Today we can't even feed ourselves or get clean drinking water without it because every single thing we need for mere and basic survival comes from someplace fairly far away.
In the 30s, poverty was bad. Now, it could easily mean people dying of starvation or thirst because we've become so "advanced" that we can't survive without the system fully functional, which it will not be if Alstry is even remotely correct. The system that has developed since the 30's depression is so much massively more complex than anything that has ever existed and is built upon such a poor and unsustainable foundation (oil) that I don't think it will take much to topple the entire system. If too many people lose their jobs, they stop buying all the extraneous bullshit being peddled at us by all the millions of strip malls that have become the bedrock of the American economy. If the strip malls all empty, cities no longer have tax revenue coming in. If the cities go bankrupt, we start losing services that our lives depend on, and this will spiral downwards as everything else is spiraling these days.
We have come to take the basic necessities of life for granted now, but our industries have established a precariously balanced system far too dependent on oil to sustain us if the dollar collapses. Our entire society has essentially become dependent on convenience stores, because without them we have no gas, and without gas we have no way to get food from where it's produced to where we live. Yet convenience stores are run by some of the most impoverished people in America, and will be hard hit by the coming turbulence. Will that result in catastrophic systemic failure? I hope not, but we'll see. That seems to depend on what happens to the dollar.
Also, and more importantly I believe, it seems that everyone on this site is missing the massively consequential fact that all the environmental damage is about to come crashing down on us as well. Not just global warming, but pollution, worldwide ecosystem destruction, over-consumption of the oceanic populations, invasive species, etc.
Those of you who are arguing that Alstry is wrong (or any of the doomsayers for that matter, on this site or elsewhere) and that things will soon go back to normal, are doing so while ignoring the fact that "normal" can not be sustained for more than 10 more years before massive global restructuring starts due to food shortages, water shortages, disease, climate change, ecosystem destruction, or global anger toward us for driving so far to our air conditioned offices while 1/2 to 3/4 of the world population is starving, dying from new diseases, or being forced out of their homelands due to oceans rising, drought, and areas becoming so hot as to be uninhabitable as a result of our over-consumption.
Even if we merely swovle through the next ten years in a recession or depression, if we don't make massive societal changes in our standard of living we will be swovling to our ultimate demise. Some of the environmental timebombs (please note that climate change is not the only environmental crisis we are facing) are only a decade in front of us at best, and none are more than 50 years away.
In other words, this economic crisis is not merely a bubble bursting.
I don't believe that it's mere coincidence that our economic system is in crisis at the same time so many other systems are in crisis mode. Advances in Systems Theory tell us that our world is much more connected than most people realize, and our wasteful decadence is turning out to have consequences much more far reaching than anyone foresaw.
The bottom line is that our growth economy is unsustainable--it depends on infinite growth, yet we live on a finite planet that we have already over-tapped. I believe that what we are witnessing is not just a recession or a depression, but the last bumpy stretch of a dead end road. But make no mistake, this system will fall within our lifetime if it isn't falling now.
That said, if the system does collapse and you're starting to get hungry, you can obtain food two ways. By learning to live harmoniously with the planet, your community, and the sun by sustainably growing your own, or through ugly, unsustainable violence. I for one, am taking this opportunity to learn to grow my own food organically and live in a sustainable balance with the local ecosystem that can sustain me. I think that beauty can still prevail, and that our planet is much more beautiful and valuable when it's green than the world of powerlines, shopping malls, and cookie cutter houses we have built upon it for unsustainable profit. If you choose to remain dependent on a broken system because you hope to keep living the unsustainable good life you have so far been enjoying, good luck to you. You're going to need it.
However, if the system does collapse and you are getting hungry, be advised that if you come to steal my food, a) I have also taken advantage of my Second Amendment right, and b) then we will both die--you won't be able to keep stealing enough to sustain yourself indefinitely. If our society collapses into a Hobbesian war of all against all, there will be more of you hungry than there will be of me growing food, and if you kill all of us in an attempt to get our food, you will kill yourself in the process because then no one will know how to grow food. But if you come to me willing to learn and work, I would love to teach and share what I've learned. I believe that the coming years can either be a time of extreme ugliness or a time of transition to a beautiful new way. I've already made the decision as to the way I would prefer.
If the system doesn't collapse this year, at least I'll be living in a way not nearly as destructive as before.
Alstry, aside from your asinine nonsequiturs, you are darn right I am calling you out on your 30-50 % unemployment prediction. You are no different than the people you are condemning. You make a million bold predictions, and should any one of them show any accuracy you tout how you were right all along. You sound like Jim Cramer. We already know what caused this mess. The issue is how to DEAL with it, not stand on a soap box crying the world is coming to an end which is all you do now. Keep spamming the blogs saying the same old thing. People listening to you should just put a gun to their heads I suppose and put themselves out of their misery.
We can rehash over and over the reasons why we are in the current mess, or we can try to figure out how to get out of it. Some, like that clown Peter Schiff just wants it all to collapse and see what arises out of the ashes. Fortunately, those in power are taking a different approach. Will the interventions work or simply prolong the agony time will only tell. But I am telling you now 1 out of every 2 people will not be unemployed and to even suggest that possiblity is flat out stupid.
therebuilder, I am not going to dispute many things you said. The ever expanding population is certainly doing more harm to the ecology than anything. I certainly won't blame mankind for "global warming" since that had nothing to do with us, but pollution yes, deforestation yes, depletion of our oceans yes.
The face of the planet today is very much different than it was millions of years ago, and will be very much different a million years from now. Much of it is simply beyond our control. We can't influence continental shifting or volcanic activity, or solar flares, or meteor impacts. We can, however, control population explosion, which I personally view as the biggest danger. But, unfortunately, I don't see this coming into check.
Perhaps global warming is our fault, perhaps it isn't. I tend to think it is, but I guess that's just because I trust scientists more than Rush or oil company spokespeople. Still, even if it's not, which I will grant as a possibility, CO2 IS a greenhouse gas and we produce a LOT of it. I really don't think it matters that CO2 has historically only risen after periods of warming, it still has the potential to warm the climate now. Continuing to pump massive amounts of it into the atmosphere because "it's never caused warming before" is just reckless and ignorant. Maybe it is just the sun, or whatever other reasons might also explain it. Whatever, that wasn't my point.
My point was that all the talk about the economy going back to normal is talk in the wrong direction. If humans are to have any sort of future on this planet, our economy needs to self destruct and start from scratch with some sort of model that is actually sustainable for that very population reason you bring up. We can't keep going like this with as many people are consuming as much as we are. But capitalism needs population expansion, because it needs ever more people to buy the ever more products needed to make ever more profits which are of course needed to sustain ever more people who .... ad infinitum.
So, don't get me wrong--I'm not blaming humans for any of the problems that either you or I listed, not even just "mankind" (though we men are certianly more responsible than women). Rather, I blame Capitalism, which is actually why I'm optimistic about those things improving. Humans can't get any of the problems into check because they're all systemic and have a life of their own, but systemic collapse will allow us to create something better. We can't control the system, the system just has to die for anything to improve.
But in order for the future to be better, we have to let go of the things and ways that got us into this mess in the first place. Suburbs, chemistry, the modern education system as it exists so closely tied to the military-industrial complex, nation-states, globalism, and money. I believe we have to re-learn how to live in small, local self-sufficient communities. It's the only solution I can see, and I've got my fingers crossed. It might not be realistic, but it can't be unless we work for it. So I am.
Well global warming is basically the result of the declining glacier coverage, which was reflecting sunrays. With the retreat of the same (speculation that solar flare activity caused the start) more of the sunrays are absorbed into the oceans and causing a warming effect. This warming started happening about 15,000 years ago, well before mankind had any impact on the ecology. While we may not be alive when this happens, it is a distinct possibility that the North Atlantic current may eventually "turn off" as a result of the increasing of the melting around Greenland and North pole, hence throwing us back into another ice age. Science, not Rush.
I don't think we have to relearn how to live in small, local self-sufficient communities at all. If anything you will see a greater growth around central cities simply because the world population is growing exponentially. So the real financial lesson to derive from all this is that land is still the best investment to make. It is finite and more and more people will compete over it Just stay away from the coastal areas as a long term investment since odds are it will be underwater before that next ice age begins.
word to comment #8