Consumer confidence indices have collapsed to levels not seen in years or even decades. Yet the toughest creature out there that no one has yet been able to beat down struck again. Consumer spending increased at an annual rate of 2.4% during the third quarter, though the mood has become outright morose since.
The ugly numbers speak volumes on how the Fed’s policies hurt the real economy. But those policies enable Congress and the White House to run up ruinous budget deficits that make those of the Eurozone look benign.
That’s inflation—not jobs, wages, or GDP.
“A shame that we can’t see Japan because of the marine layer” is an old joke in San Francisco. The premise that the fog over the Pacific keeps you from seeing Japan is just as false as the premise that running up huge deficits and printing trillions of dollars can create a healthy economy. Yet, that’s the line propagated by the status-quo media and its economists.
Deflation phobia broke out again. Fed governor Bullard grumbled about inflation expectations being too low and threatened to print more money, while deflationistas paint the Japanese “deflation spiral” as sheer horror. So here is my experience with that horror.
Alas, in one category, deflation has hounded us for 10 years.
The FOMC’s often and clearly stated policy of creating sufficient inflation has been effective: up 36% from January 2000. But there are victims: the middle class and ultimately the economy.
The economy is going back to hell, but stock markets are surging. Nothing new. It always ends in tears. But this time, the Fed’s money-printing strategy will make things only worse. Today’s horrid numbers show us why.
Trillionaire. Just the sound of it! It’s beautiful, Ben. But without your help, we’ll never get there. So, at your meeting next week, think about us. Because the way you make trillionaires is by printing money.
Consumer confidence fell off a cliff and hit levels not seen since April 2009, and yet, consumers spent with abandon and made up the difference by piling on debt, at least for now. What gives?
We want you to prop up the stock market. Everybody knows it’s a Ponzi scheme that will collapse without your support. You don’t want us to end up like Bernie Madoff’s clients. No, Ben, we love Ponzi schemes. We get in early and get out before they collapse. That’s why we’re rich. The bad thing is that they sometimes collapse before we can get out. But you’ve bailed us out twice in the last couple of years….
Awful economic data and corporate announcements confirm: orders are plummeting, the dreaded inventory correction is here, and a recession is now guaranteed. In our already miserable economy, this is going to be a rough ride. Fasten your seatbelt.