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Monday, December 10, 2018

Worry Less About Inflation and More About Recession

Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…


ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources



Attempting To Replace The Business Cycle With A Credit Cycle


Time to put your crash plans into action.


Now that the world’s central banking cartel is taking a long-overdue pause from printing money and handing it to the wealthy elite…

There's mounting evidence that the Age of American Exceptionalism is grinding to a halt.

Demographically, in the U.S. (as well as many other developed nations), the prospects of the younger generations are substantially less than those of the Baby Boomers. The same is true socioeconomically as well; the wealth gap between the 1% and everyone else continues to accelerate.

In their quest for power and glory (and accompanied by a dead-flat learning curve), the world’s central banks are now pursuing their third, largest, and most ill-considered attempt to defeat the business cycle by replacing it with a credit cycle.  The fact that the prior two credit cycles blew up spectacularly doesn't seem to be deterring them in the slightest.

A rather minor business cycle slowdown in 1994 was fought with a tidal wave of new credit under Greenspan. That ultimately resulted in the Dot Com Bubble crash of 2000, but the lesson went unlearned. 

Instead the Fed concluded that the idea was sound, but was simply not taken far enough. The elite cheerleading squad, captained by Paul Krugman, fully supported a doubling down, and the media unquestioningly went along with the program.

So Greenspan and Bernanke created the Housing Bubble 1.0 by offering the world’s credit markets a price of money so low it couldn't be refused.  Housing was the story, and the Fed supplied the credit.  As predicted by a scant few of us, that all blew up spectacularly in 2008. And no constructive lessons were drawn from that experience, either.

With the political aircover to "save the system" (from the problems that it created!), Bernanke, Yellen, Kuroda and Draghi then led the most aggressive, coordinated central bank bender in all of human history.

$Trillions and $trillions were printed up, and many times that amount were leveraged and loaned throughout the banking and speculative finance universes:


On the household level, the current recovery is also the weakest of the post-World War II era. It’s about to get worse.

Many have predicted a downturn since the beginning of last year.

Any rational person should be able to see that signs that the U.S. economy is slowing down are all around us.

The way that things wrapped up for the markets on Friday has many wondering what Monday will bring.  According to one key index, investors were dumping stocks so rapidly on the Nasdaq on Friday afternoon that it was officially considered to be “panic-like activity”

Selling on the Nasdaq reached panic-like proportions Friday afternoon with less than an hour left in regular trade, as the exchange’s Arms index rose. The Arms is a volume weighted breadth measure, that tends to rise when the broader market falls, as the intensity of the selling in declining stocks is usually greater than the intensity of buying in rising stocks. Levels above 2.000 are considered panic-like activity. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -3.05% was off 3% at 6,969. The number of advancing stocks compared against decliners was at 2,108 to 787, pushing the Arms index on the exchange to 2.068.

Stores are being closed at a record pace …

Mall and shopping center owners across the U.S. are preparing to be hit by more store closures, following a brutal year that included department store chains like Bon-Ton and Sears going bankrupt, Toys R Us liquidating and even Walmart shutting dozens of its club stores.

Now, a slew of specialty retailers like Gap and L Brands are getting serious about downsizing, which will leave more vacant storefronts within malls until landlords are able to replace tenants.

As a result of these store closings, large numbers of workers will be without jobs, vendors will not be receiving orders and mall owners will be without tenants.

General Motors just shut a bunch of factories and laid off 14,000 workers, and Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas is projecting that Ford will soon be laying off large numbers of employees

“We estimate a large portion of Ford’s restructuring actions will be focused on Ford Europe, a business we currently value at negative $7 billion,” Jonas wrote. “But we also expect a significant restructuring effort in North America, involving significant numbers of both salaried and hourly UAW and CAW workers.”

Ford’s 70,000 salaried employees have been told they face unspecified job losses by the middle of next year as the automaker works through an “organizational redesign” aimed at creating a white-collar workforce “designed for speed,” according to Karen Hampton, a spokeswoman.

“These actions will come largely outside of North America,” Hampton said of Ford’s restructuring. “All of this work is ongoing and publishing a job-reduction figure at this point would be pure speculation.”

Shifting gears, let’s talk about agriculture.

If farmers believed that the trade war was just temporary and that things would soon swing back in their favor, many of them would keep trying to hold on for as long as they possibly could.

But instead, farm bankruptcies are surging …

A total of 84 farms in the upper Midwest filed for bankruptcy between July 2017 and June 2018, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. That’s more than double the number of Chapter 12 filings during the same period in 2013 and 2014 in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana.

Farms that produce corn, soybeans, milk, and beef were all suffering due to low global demand and low prices before the trade war, and some economists, some say our trade war is  exacerbating the weaknesses in the American economy…while others indicate Trump’s policy is long overdue as China has been screwing America for decades & it appears China may finally be capitulating. China has retaliated against the tariffs by slapping billions of dollars worth of tariffs on United States agriculture exports in response to Trump’s tariffs on Chinese products. Other countries, including Canada, have also added duties to US agriculture products in response to Trump’s tariffs on all imported steel and aluminum. The new NAFTA agreement may soon balance things out and smooth imbalances.

Disposable income after inflation is up 23% since December 2007. In the expansion of the 1990s, it grew over 40%.

And so it goes with many other economic measures. Homeowner equity… corporate profits… even the S&P 500 adjusted for inflation is weaker than it was during the booms of the 1980s and ’90s.


The attThe following numbers come from Zero Hedge

§ Global Systemically Important Banks are down 30% from 52-week highs.

§ US Financials down 14.5% from 52-week highs.

§ Goldman Sachs is down 33% from 52-week highs.

We haven’t seen anything like this since 2008, and we will want to watch the “too big to fail” banks very carefully during the weeks ahead.

Every single asset class is doing poorly right now, and as Zero Hedge has noted, that means that “there’s nowhere to run”…

The inability of any single asset class to escape the dismal black hole supergravity of devastating losses in a brutal post-BTFD catharsis that has mutated into an equal-opportunity rout, crushing returns across all assets, has left investors reeling, shellshocked and paralyzed, and dreading what may come tomorrow let alone next year when both the US economy and corporate earnings are expected to see their supercharged recent growth rates come crashing back down to earth.

Such a uniform underperformance by all assets is unique in history, because when “something falls, something else gains. Amid the financial catastrophe of 2008, Treasuries rallied. In 1974, commodities were a bright spot. In 2002, it was REITs.” Yet, in 2018, there’s nowhere to run.

Meanwhile, the FAANG stocks have been getting monkey-hammered as well.

By the end of the day on Tuesday, those stocks had combined to lose more than 140 billion dollars in market value

§ Facebook fell 2.2 percent, losing $7.6 billion in implied market value

§ Amazon fell 5.9 percent, losing $50.8 billion in implied market value

§ Apple fell 4.4 percent, losing $38.5 billion in implied market value

§ Netflix fell 5.2 percent, losing $6.5 billion in implied market value

§ Alphabet fell 4.8 percent, losing $37.5 billion in implied market value

That would be enough money to buy McDonald’s.

Stocks closed well off their session lows last Thursday after news broke that the Federal Reserve could tighten monetary policy at a slower pace than previously expected-The Wall Street Journal Reported that the central bank is considering whether to signal a wait-and-see approach to rate hikes at its upcoming meeting this month. The report said Fed officials do not know what their next move on rates will be after December.

This just shows the immense power that the Federal Reserve possesses.

[Like Ron Paul, I believe in free markets, and it annoys me that we have an unelected, unaccountable panel of central bankers setting our interest rates for us.  As I have said in the past we need to shut down the Federal Reserve and return to a system where interest rates are determined by the marketplace.]

 Consumer credit is really starting to tighten up.  The following numbers come from Business Insider

Rejection rates for credit-card applicants came in at 20.8% in the October survey, up from 14.4% a year ago, while the rejection rate for credit-limit increases ticked up to 31.7%, compared with 24.9% a year ago.

Meanwhile, the proportion of respondents who had an account shut down by a lender reached its highest level since the Fed launched the “Credit Access Survey” in 2013. In October, 7.2% of surveyed consumers reported having an account involuntarily shut down in the previous 12 months, up from 5.7% last year and 4.2% in 2016.

The reason why rejection rates and account shutdowns are soaring is because credit card debt delinquency rates have been rising.

More Americans are getting behind on their credit card payments, and this is spooking a lot of financial institutions.  But if consumer credit really tightens up, that is going to cause economic activity to slow even further.

We have been waiting for a long time for the largest financial bubble in American history to burst, and now it is starting to happen.  It is being called “the Everything Bubble”, and as it implodes we are going to see things happen that we have never seen before.

When historians look back on this time of history someday, the crisis of 2008 will be just a footnote compared to what is coming.

Despite deregulation many are nervous that Democrats will screw things up when they return to power in January and international markets are already experiencing problems and challenges as I wrote about two issues ago which make investors nervous…no doubt our FED will give the markets even more jitters by increasing rates even more which the markets do not want [President Trump has blasted as bad news for the economy].  Of course, this seems to be what the international cartels desire.

And now economic conditions are deteriorating once again nationally, and things are about to get a much tougher for everyone.

Yours for a brighter season,

Bruce ‘the Poor Man!’


Final Notes…

The pension crisis has been building for years now. It’s without a doubt one of the biggest, looming disasters in the world today.

These pools of capital, responsible for paying out retirement benefits, are terribly underfunded. So anyone depending on a pension in their retirement years should seriously consider a Plan B – and sooner rather than later.

We aren’t alone in sounding the alarm on pensions.

The World Economic Forum reported that in 2015, worldwide pensions were underfunded by $70 TRILLION. That is larger than the top 20 economies in the world, combined.

In the US alone, federal, state, and local government pensions are $7 trillion short on the funding they need to pay what they have promised.

And none of this includes Social Security’s almost $50 trillion of unfunded obligations.

And the private sector isn’t in great shape, either. US corporate pensions are a combined $553 billion in the hole. And one quarter of those funds are expected to go broke within a decade.

Parting thoughtthe government/banker system is wide open devaluing the dollar with the unlimited printing of money. This is economic war, pure and simple and Americans don't seem to care one way or the other. 

When the money printers print bales of paper money, the dollars already in circulation become worthless. Anybody should understand this debauching of the currency translates to widespread impoverishment. Those who have now will soon be have nots. No politician or government bureaucrat will reveal this to the American people. 

The only possible reason for public ignorance is the government juggling the cost of the living index… and massive dumbing down by the public indoctrination system also known as government schools. 


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While it is focused on the devastating impact an EMP hit would have on the military, it appears to support a congressional warning that up to 90 percent of the population on the East Coast would die in a year of an attack that would dismantle or interfere with electricity, transportation, food processing, and healthcare.

The Treasury Department issues bonds and sells them to the Fed. The Fed creates the dollars and buys the bonds. Insiders collect their swag, the government pays off corporations and voters, and those new dollars devalue existing dollars. Prices rise and the circus rolls down the road toward debt-ruin.

The game works until confidence in the currency and/or the Fed breaks. That confidence has not broken yet, but it will.

What's mind-boggling about this is that Canada Post is a Crown Corporation owned by the government. Yet ANOTHER crown corporation, the Canada Mint, SELLS Silver, Gold, Platinum, Palladium Bullion (i.e. non-manufactured precious metals) and quite often Canadians can actually BUY that bullion... at Canada Post Offices!

14 Frugal Food-Rescuing Tips from Grandma 
These timeless ideas still have value today.

How to Prepare for a Natural Disaster…


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Larry said...

I don't have the same grasp of economics as you do but it seems to boil down to what we've all known for years-the government and the FED [the source of our money problems] spend more than they take in via their international follies and we get stuck with the bill so they continually dilute the value of the dollar and we have less purchasing power - inflation which is why a fricking new truck cost $50K & we can only afford to lease them vs. own them now and why more Americans can't really afford a home nowadays. Do I have that right?

Frank said...

As always you manage to assemble a host of useful content!

Dave said...

All of this along with your previous post about the shrinking number of firms which own everything food related [I still like your description: the Washington-Wall Street Cartel] and how it affects consumers has been long doing the same to banking, and media [seems Att&T along with the Disney cartel own everything] drugs, etc. which ultimately mean less choice and options for everyone - AKA: means cartels are pulling the purse strings for everything and that means consumers are squeezed at both ends...Fewer jobs and fewer spending choices. In the end, we have zero control over local, national or international finances especially with any kind of say-so over government oversight on spending as they [government] ignores its electorate on most everything and only give credence to their corporate handlers.