That 70's show...
I'm going to try to condense my normal long rant to a quite a few talking points. I believe that we are already starting to see stagflation and the worst is yet to come.
First a definition of stagflation...
link What Does Stagflation Mean?
A condition of slow economic growth and relatively high unemployment - a time of stagnation - accompanied by a rise in prices, or inflation.
Investopedia explains Stagflation
Stagflation occurs when the economy isn't growing but prices are, which is not a good situation for a country to be in. This happened to a great extent during the 1970s, when world oil prices rose dramatically, fueling sharp inflation in developed countries. For these countries, including the U.S., stagnation increased the inflationary effects.
High unemployment? check
Slow growth? check
A rise in commoditie prices? check
Does the market seem to be trading sideways? check
Do we have unproductive money in the economy? check.
The only thing that we seem to be missing is a catalyst!
The catalyst in the 70's was the oil crisis.
I think we might see the same catalyst again and here's why...
First, oil has lagged other commodities because almost all of the positive earning reports are due more to decreased costs or accounting tricks (financials) than to an increase in revenues. Any signal in economic turn-around should drive up commodities, but oil is more consumer driven. Most oil is burned by people going to work and since we still aren't working, that is not happening yet.
Now if you're thinking that we should be safe as long as oil prices are kept low, the OPEC countries are thinking differently.
The OPEC countries are hurting more than any of us right now and they are starting to run out of reserves. Oil, although it's increased recently is still trading below the $80 a barrel mark that most countries base their economies on. Yes it traded above $140 a barrel about a year ago, but since then has traded $30 to $40 for quite a while. How do the OPEC countries get out of this mess?
The same way that they did in the 70's, by charging us massive amounts for oil.
I'm not saying it will happen, but if I were an OPEC czar, it would be what I would do.
Even if it doesn't happen, jobs will not be created without even more being pumped into the economy. This time it has to go directly to the consumer. Given the inflationary response to bogus economic news, how do you think we respond to real economic news?
I think our government made a terrible mistake. I think that some controlled deflation would have been a good thing for this country. It would have made recovery that much easier. Instead, we decided to inflate the bubble yet again.
Bubbles (even bubbles kept inside glass cases) have to pop. Our avoidance of popping this one just makes us add more money to the economy, inflate the bubble even more, and suffer a bigger pop later.
God help us all,