Sunday, April 4, 2010

Memory Lane

Greetings good citizen,

Once again it is not particularly surprising to witness certain pundits starting to hedge their bets because the steady drumbeat of positive reports, even if they’re fabricated, makes them look, er, ‘foolish’.

I’ve been predicting bloodshed for more than two years now and the only thing I’ve proven so far is that I’m not psychic! That said, just because we haven’t witnessed ‘Helter Skelter’ yet doesn’t by any stretch of the imagination mean that it ain’t going to happen!

All of the ‘ingredients’ have only recently entered ‘the pot’ (with millions exhausting their unemployment benefits over the past couple of months…with no more ‘extensions’ in the pipe, it’s finally put up or shut up time.)

So, while Mr. Panzer throws in the towel, I’m ready to make another ‘prediction’, once again involving rioting on a national scale over…you guessed it…jobs (or the decided lack thereof.)

But I digress good citizen, tonight’s offering centers on the question of whether or not the powers that be are on the verge of delivering ‘financial salvation’ to a world that desperately needs it…

Mr. Panzer (to his credit) doesn’t think so.

Not Gone Away

It's hard being a bear these days. In fact, what I'm experiencing right now reminds me of the frustration and pain I felt back in 2007, when clueless Pollyannas were enchanting the masses (and the media) with talk of a never-ending Goldilocks economy and the wonderful job that policymakers were doing to keep things on an even keel. [Those were the days good citizen! That said, I have to side with Mr. Panzer and question what planet the pundits were reporting from, because it sure as hell wasn’t here!]

In the end, my belief that reckless borrowing, speculation, and risk-taking, myriad unsustainable imbalances, and mindless complacency would end badly helped me survive the onslaught of propaganda, lies, and delusion. [I sincerely wish that just once somebody had the courage to call this phenomenon what it really was, ‘mis-direction’ intended to distract the populous from the effects of our economy being sold out from under us!]

Of course, just because I was right before doesn't mean I will be this time around. In fact, after the nightmare of the past few years, I hope I am wrong. Unfortunately, I think the odds of a happy ending are remote. For one thing, many of the problems that caused the crisis to begin with have not gone away. [Bizarrely, the problems that got the most attention are precisely the ones that never should have been addressed, while the ‘root cause’ of the crisis has been totally ignored!]

In "A Strong First Quarter in Stocks, But Investors Shouldn't Ignore the Dark Clouds," the Washington Post discusses one of them.

While acknowledging the improvement in the economy and excesses rung out from the financial system, [bearish] analysts argue that at its core, the same old problems loom: Individual debt, corporate debt, government debt.

David Levy of the Jerome Levy Forecasting Center said that even though upturns in the post-World War II period have lasted for several years, that won't be the case this time.

"Unsustained debt -- that's really what's different this time," he said.

For example, he pointed to household debt that, while recently improved, exceeds income. According to Federal Reserve statistics, the financial sector, which includes companies and government-sponsored enterprises, still has outstanding debt that is 119 percent the size of the gross domestic product. In 1990, that ratio was 46 percent.

"What this means is the private sector cannot function the way it normally does," Levy said. "This is a tremendous difference from any other cycle we've had since the 1930s. The idea we're going to jump-start the economy, and then it'll kind of kick in and drive itself -- that doesn't work here. . . Next year is very much a question mark in my mind."

Hmmn, what do you suppose they mean by ‘unsustained debt’? If they were talking about ‘unsustainable debt’, we would know precisely what they are talking about.

Fortunately, the paragraph that follows gives us a hint that they indeed mean ‘unsustainable debt’ because they point to the fact that borrowing has exceeded earnings both in the public and private sectors over the past several years!

What most people SHOULD find alarming is this was happening at the same time the ‘Pollyanna’s’ were hailing ‘the great moderation’ as the new paradigm for the new millennium.

Why the (bought and paid for) corporate media failed to disclose that our economic output was mostly debt, nobody is saying. We can ask what our Congress was doing while the ginned up war provided cover for the looting of the nation’s treasury or is that…er, another ‘mystery’?

Stop for a second good citizen and look back over the past twenty years, tell me what you see?

Does it feel like you’ve been ‘trapped’ on the ‘crazy train’? Honestly good citizen, the decision making process couldn’t have been more disastrous if they were not in fact trying to fuck things up!

And they succeeded, oh yes they did!

Case in point good citizen, over the past twenty years have you alternately cursed your employer while thanking your lucky stars that you’ve held on to you job?

Most of us have been constantly ‘reminded’ how ‘fortunate’ we are to be employed by the very same people who cut our paychecks. Isn’t that a fact good citizen?

Most of us have (and still do) fear for our job, especially if you’re over 40. Look around you good citizen, there are EXTREMELY few people who are over fifty and still at their original employer (or still working for their first handful of employers…meaning their ‘employer count’ is less than five.)

Churn has become so prevalent in the workforce that over 70% of us have next to zero saved for retirement…which, by no small coincidence, is no longer your employer’s problem, it’s yours!

Now financial planners are saying you will be in trouble if you have less than TWO MILLION dollars set aside for the what, ten to fifteen years you have remaining after you retire?

Wonder what its going to be like for those of us who are…roughly $2 million dollars short of that $2 million? [Do you know what you have to be earning in order to be able to lay that much money aside? It’s a hell of a lot more than the average ‘paycheck peasant’ makes!]

I’m going to guess the ‘army’ of Granny and Grampy is going to be pretty damn big, do you think they will dare mess with us?

Why do you suppose conservative pundits are telling their ‘flocks’ to stockpile food?

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


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