Waiting for the $1,400-Stimmie-Powered WTF Spike in March

Free money runs out, spending drops: that’s mantra now.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

The wave of $600-stimmies that went out starting in late December was apparently used up by January. And the new $1,400-stimmies didn’t arrive in February, and so consumer income and spending dropped.

Spending on durable goods dropped 7.8% in February from January, to seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.82 trillion, according the Bureau of Economic Analysis today. After January’s stunning 12% spike from the prior month and 22% spike from a year ago, February’s spending on durable goods was still up by 17.2% from February last year, the final month of the Good Times. So now everyone is counting on the big-fat new stimmies to turn this fiasco around:

Spending on nondurable goods – largely food and gasoline – fell by 3.2% in February compared to a year ago, to $3.2 trillion (seasonally adjusted annual rate), but was still up 6.1% from a year ago. This month-to-month decline, which is not adjusted for inflation, came despite a surge in gasoline prices:

Spending on services has gone nowhere for six months. In February, it remained flat compared to January, at $9.8 trillion and was still down 5.2% from a year ago.

During the Good Times, services accounted for 69% of total consumer spending. It’s the biggie and includes rents, mortgage interest payments, health care, education, insurance, travel bookings, subscriptions for cellphone, broadband, and streaming, electric utility services, haircuts, ballgames, movie theater tickets, gym memberships, etc.

The absence of a noticeable recovery over the past six months is in part due to the quagmire discretionary services are in, such as travel and vacation bookings, gym memberships, ballgames, concerts, movie theater tickets, etc.

Total consumer spending – given the weight of services – declined in February by 1.6% from January and by 0.6% from a year ago.

Where the heck are the stimmies in this stimulus-addled economy?

Income from wages and salaries in February was unchanged from January, and from a year ago, at $9.7 trillion (seasonally adjusted annual rate). OK, 10 million people still haven’t gotten their work back, and by a different measure, 19 million people are still receiving some form of unemployment benefits.

But the high-wage earners never lost their jobs; they switched to working from home, and at the high, there have been lots of increases in pay packages. Job losses were concentrated at the lower end of the income scale. All thrown into one bucket, the income increases at the much smaller number of high earners papered over the millions of people who still have no income from wages and salaries – that’s what this chart says:

Income from stimmies, unemployment insurance, and welfare benefits had spiked in January as the $600-stimmies arrived. But in February, there were no stimmies, and the January stimmie-spike unwound. We’re awaiting with feverish anticipation what this chart will look like for March and April, when the $1,400-stimmies arrive. It’s going to blow our socks off:

Waiting for a $1,400-stimmie WTF spike in March.

The two Pandemic Money Overshoots are a sight to behold, with stimulus and unemployment payments generating far more income during those two periods than was lost in wages and salaries, which in part explains the spike in spending on durable goods.

Total income – the above, plus income from rents, interest, dividends, pension payments, Social Security payments, farm income, etc. – in February fell 7.1% from January to $19.9 trillion (seasonally adjusted annual rate) and unwound the record spike in January. But it was still up 4.3% year-over-year. Now we’re waiting for a WTF spike in March and April, powered by the new $1,400-stimmies:

In addition to the stimmies…

This doesn’t enter into income, but it enters into cash flow: There has been a boom in cash-out refis of home mortgages as mortgage interest rates plunged to record lows. This cash-generating machine continued in February, though at a slightly slower pace as mortgage rates have surged.

Then there is lender extend-and-pretend. About 2.5 million of homeowners still don’t have to make mortgage payments because their mortgages are in forbearance, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. In addition, federal student loans were automatically entered into forbearance programs, and borrowers still don’t have to make loan payments. These programs have been re-re-extended. Extend-and-pretend used to be frowned upon by banking regulators, but now it rules.

Cash extracted from the home ATM and cash from not-paid for debt service can be and is being spent on other things. And so, this consumer economy has become depended not only on free money from stimmies, but also from the endless extend-and-pretend. And the stimmies in March and April should provide for a doozie for personal income and spending. You just cannot beat free money.

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  221 comments for “Waiting for the $1,400-Stimmie-Powered WTF Spike in March

  1. Bobber says:

    Tax refund checks could be another stimmy in April.

    • Joan of Arc says:

      The stimmy checks, extend and pretend, and home ATM withdrawals seem endless. Next week Biden could unveil his $3 trillion social care/infrastructure bill . That should power the stock and commodity markets through the summer. Look for a final stock market top in very late August like happened in 1929 and 1987 just before those two historic stock market crashes.

      • Absur Ditty says:

        I don’t care about stocks I just need the stimulus to pay for food and stuff I want. Things are getting real expensive! My rent just went up! I think we’re gonna need another stimulus. Next round I’m hoping to get a Mac!

      • You’re probably right. Stocks have been reduced to a single component. For 3T not sure how many bridges to nowhere they plan to build. In 1980 we spent the Soviets into a hole they couldn’t escape. This time we outspend the world. Yes even China. (China lacks endusers, and hasn’t institutional corruption at our level of sophistication). There should be a carrytrade in Euro dollars, bonds probably, recycled back into NYSE stocks.

    • Daniel says:

      In the old days there used to be the expression that « a penny saved is a penny earned. » That was when the Gold standard still existed, when money was real and when getting into debt was shameful… Ah, oh I long for that long gone era… But the clock is ticking and the mile high stack of debt will eventually collapse!

      • endeavor says:

        A penny given is a penny spent!

        • Shells says:

          My father used to say that a penny saved is more than a penny earned, because you don’t have to pay taxes on it!

      • Heinz says:

        Regrettably, a shiny penny is worthless now in what it can buy. People would not even stoop to pick one up.

        Dollar bill is well on its way to the same fate: useful only to wipe your *ss or as a kindling fire starter.

        So as we all know in our hearts and minds– debasement of US currency will continue apace with $trillions in money printing via MMT in real time.

      • swmnguy says:

        Nowadays I’d say “A penny converted into something useful is a penny earned.” And “something useful” would include eliminating debt, among other things economists count as “savings.” Sitting on a pile of pennies isn’t something I’d recommend, but not having debt and owning the things you need have never not been beneficial.

      • Chris Herbert says:

        You don’t long for that ‘long gone era’ because you never actually lived in it! It was austerity to the max, where the rich owned all the gold, and prices declined. Farmers went bankrupt. The Great Depression came about because of the gold standard.

        • BuySome says:

          The usual components of gambling…debt, excessive leveraging, margin buying, land speculation, etc….led to the depression. A lack of in-hand paper currency prevented people from buying and thus a lot of functional factories sat idle. Government buying of gold provided a cash injection where the public treasury recieved something in exchange. Once the gold was in the vault, re-valuing it upwards ensured the public debt was held in check. What’s the two headed Yowellin’ getting in exchange for paper pumping?

        • Nacho Libre says:

          “Great depression came about because of gold standard” – oh the gullible child, it came about because of the unrelenting credit expansion by the newly established Fed.

          Gold standard worked well for centuries and will work fine for centuries to come.

          But no, we need that sugar, we need that drug, we need that stimulus and we need it now!!

    • raxadian says:

      As a foreign I never understood this, why would the government give you back money? In most countries of the world if you overpay your taxes you just get the amount you paid extra discounted from your next taxes, that’s it. And that’s if they give any of the money back, sometimes is just lost forever.

      • Brant Lee says:

        Only in America. We can print what we need and plant endless money trees. No wonder they’re pouring in from the south, the Statue of Liberty should be relocated to El Paso.

        Taxes? None paid here unless you are a total idiot and fool. Pay in, get double back.

        It’s only going to continue to get better, Congress and the Fed have no other choice. Bring your new Ford F150 to the nearest food bank. Free curb service.

        • Depth Charge says:

          “It’s only going to continue to get better, Congress and the Fed have no other choice. Bring your new Ford F150 to the nearest food bank. Free curb service.”

          Yep. Lose job, get paid 4x what you were making. Buy brand new truck but get free food at food bank because you’re “poor.” It’s absolutely disgusting.

        • RightNYer says:

          “Yep. Lose job, get paid 4x what you were making. Buy brand new truck but get free food at food bank because you’re “poor.” It’s absolutely disgusting.”

          Depth, don’t forget the part about stiffing your poor schmuck of a landlord who owns a few modest rental units after 40 years of working for it.

          I’m so disgusted by this country at this point that I can’t even begin to articulate it.

        • w says:

          Definitely exists as a cameo of some Americans.But,what about the millions in states like WI and CA who were laid off or had to stay home to care for others and it took Months to get a determination on state medical and unemployment.Those people lived in terror not knowing how they would keep some shred of normalcy and stability for their families while battling the terror of not knowing if they would be akive in a month.Meanwhile,it took who knows how long to get a foodcard and these people had to rearrange their family’s schedules so an adult could watch home from school jr. While lining up at a foodbank.Meanwhile,their spouse/partner may Very Well have had hours reduced.Yep,hot tubs and Fun all around!! :-)

        • swmnguy says:

          If you were only earning 25% of what you’re now getting in stimulus/ relief /Unemployment, you were in extreme poverty. And you’re not going to be buying a $50,000 truck.

          The envy some people have of the impoverished is beyond weird into pathological. Anyone who has ever been truly poor, as opposed to merely temporarily broke, never talks this way. Because they know what they’re talking about.

        • Depth Charge says:

          “The envy some people have of the impoverished is beyond weird into pathological.”

          This is a strawman argument. In other words, useless rubbish.

        • Depth Charge says:

          “Depth, don’t forget the part about stiffing your poor schmuck of a landlord who owns a few modest rental units after 40 years of working for it.”

          Exactly. And it’s the CDC who played God and issued the edict under the guise of “preventing the spread of COVID” because the evicted would be supposedly be moving into more crowded residences which would actually enhance the spread.

          But to listen to politicians it has nothing to do with that. Now we hear “if we don’t extend the moratorium, millions of people will have no place to live,” nevermind the homelessness epidemic they don’t talk about which is entirely a result of the FED and politicians’ horrific economic policies. These scvmbags have screwed everything up.

      • Max Power says:

        Remember that once all the calculations have been performed on one’s individual Federal income tax return, nearly half of all US tax returns (representing more than half the population given that many people file joint returns) end up having no (or negative) income tax liability. As such, there’s no use in deferring the tax liability to subsequent years given that most people never actually end up paying any IRS tax.

        Now, with the child tax credit having been increases substantially, the percent of folks owing no income tax (or are owed back money from the Federal govt.) will likely rise dramatically.

        • Heinz says:

          Yup. So tired and abused tax donkeys like thee and me with unmitigated tax liabilities (and without cushy deductions for any spawn sired, mortgage interest claims, business expenses, and a multitude of others) pay income taxes through the nose to make up for all the freeloaders.

        • 728huey says:

          If you’re going g to complain about freeloaders, then maybe you should stop looking at unemployed hotel and movie theater workers and start looking at the major corporations and .01 percenters who have been legally able to dodge paying taxes thanks to that ill-advised tax cut rammed through Congress back in 2017.

        • RightNYer says:

          728huey, this is nonsense. The 2017 tax law did not change the tax “dodges” for corporations. It changed the rate from 35% to 21%. So the dodges were still there, the only difference is whether you paid 35% on the after “dodge” income or 21%.

          That’s not to say that the tax law was necessarily a good idea, but please don’t conflate the issues.

      • Winston says:

        Someone relatively well known in the investment or financial pundit community recently said, tongue in cheek, “Why bother to collect taxes at all?” Why he said that:

        2020 Federal tax receipts – $2.13 trillion
        2020 Federal spending – $6.55 trillion

        “COVID” relief bill – $1.9 trillion, nearly the entire tax receipts last.

        This country is so screwed…

      • SwissBrit says:

        Here in Switzerland it works similarly; we pay taxes over the year in advance of our yearly declaration, then once the declaration is finalised the tax authority tells you how much more you owe, or, in our case, how much extra we’ve paid in and so how much they’ll reimburse you.

        We always pay in more than requested, because not only is it better to get a refund of money you’ve already coped without, rather than having a nasty surprise un-budgeted bill to pay, but the extra you’ve paid in accrues interest which is currently higher than can be achieved in a bank account.

        Sometimes however, someone may have an extra tax bill to pay, whilst still awaiting a refund, but seeing as the two departments are separate, the credit cannot be counted against the outstanding amount, which can obviously cause frustration.

  2. Avraam Jack Dectis says:

    Wondering if anyone will calculate a GDP multiplier.

    The result might have implications.

    • Auldyin says:

      Gdp, as a number, is virtually bound to improve in response to increased money demand.
      Is it real, ie more volume, or is it nominal, ie higher prices for same volume? That is the the mega trillion $ question. It always seems benign at first but historically it always flips to prices in the end. Productivity increase per capita is the only real way to get honestly richer as a country overall. eg. Taiwan, China, Korea, ex-Japan, etc, etc. US used to be top dog for productivity but you seem to be getting the UK and EU habits of late.

    • Thomas Roberts says:

      Avraam Jack Dectis,

      Any GDP multiplier calculated, is likely to very suspicious and debatable. As many are now exiting their “hidey in the house” mode, that will shew the data.

  3. MonkeyBusiness says:

    Anyway according to Ray Dalio we are only halfway to a 1929 or 2000 type bubble, so stonks?

    • Willhouse says:

      Starting this September

    • Depth Charge says:

      When you pump this much phony money into the system, all bets are off.

      • MiTurn says:

        I agree DC. At the very least, high inflation.

      • edmondo says:

        Ummmm. The stimulus was less than a trillion dollars and you think that’s inflationary? Funny, when Trump passed a tax cut for billionaires that totaled $2.2 trillion NO ONE was worried about inflation. I wonder why?

  4. Micheal Engel says:

    1) Personal Income, All Sources : bull trap.
    2) Today SPX : bull trap.
    3) SPX 4K : bs.

  5. 2banana says:

    Hate to say it but quite a chunk of this stimulus free money is going into the casino of cryptocurrencies, NFTs and reddit stocks.

    It’s like free lotto tickets where everyone wins.

    Know a few folks personally that this is the plan.

    “And the stimmies in March and April should provide for a doozie for personal income and spending. You just cannot beat free money.:

    • Thomas Roberts says:

      Some, but probably only like 3 to 5% at the most. I would be shocked, if it was 10% or higher. Overpaying for food and general imported items, as well as electronics are probably the norm for the guys (some home improvement projects). Not as sure about the girls, will have to see if clothing stores see much of a rebound. Some for both genders will go towards paying down debt.

      • polecat says:

        Tis nothing to worry over …. sooner or later, EVERYONE below the 99.999%ers will be donning fashionable flour or potato sacks*!

        *to match their faux-wooden clogs …..

    • edmondo says:

      C’mon. Let’s get real. Do you really think anyone who made less than $80,000 last year is investing in NFT? Really?

      • Elton Wilson says:

        I have family that make about $40k and they are investing in NFTs, trying to make a quick buck. So that is someone…

  6. Depth Charge says:

    Absolutely sickening. Just beyond disgusting. The FED and politicians have destroyed the free market. The bailouts of 2008, and Obama’s failure to reign in Wall St. and hold bankers accountable (read PRISON) after the economic collapse, set the stage for where we are today. It has morphed into a system where the bigger the crisis, the more wealthy the “elites” get.

    The term “helicopter money” was bandied about under Bernanke’s tenure, but we never quite got there. We are firmly there, now. These clowns have decided that there can be no recession, that they are to print money and paper over every downturn so as to make it non-existent at the expense of an exploding national debt and FED balance sheet, all in an effort to protect asset prices so pigmen don’t lose. We are beyond “let them eat cake.”

    • RightNYer says:

      Now you know why I want the country to fail so something resembling the old America can be rebuilt in its place.

      • Beyond the rubicoN says:

        How do you know its going to be something resembling the old America that gets built in its place?

        Something better then the old seems to be in need.

        • cas127 says:


          I’m in agreement with you but the possibility exists that the US has already failed and this…madness…is what has taken its place.

          Shortly to be followed by worse madness.

          In general, it is hard for a country to be much better than its government and America’s government has been awful for decades.

        • RightNYer says:

          Beyond the rubicoN, I don’t know. But we won’t know until we try. The America we had in the 50s was prosperous and stable. What we have today is not. I want that back.

          cas127, that’s an interesting point, but we still have the ILLUSION of prosperity. Once that collapses (and I think it will be soon), all bets are off.

          Ultimately, governments are a reflection of the people. The moral and cultural rot that has taken place within the American people is why we have the government we do.

        • Thomas Roberts says:

          You cannot just return to a previous state though, A country has alot of reasons, why that exact state was possible, there has to be actual coordinated effort to build a good new country. The most important step by far, is solving the ridiculous women movement, which has led to misery for everyone and is screwing up kids. And instead creating actual balanced gender roles.

        • Depth Charge says:

          “The America we had in the 50s was prosperous and stable. What we have today is not. I want that back.”

          Uh-oh, now ya’ done it. You’ll now be labeled a bigot who loves to oppress minorities and women, because that’s what the 50s represented, nothing more. No, we can’t talk about the prosperity and the fact that a single job would support a family quite comfortably. Nooooooooo, let’s talk about baaaaaaad whitey.

        • RightNYer says:

          Depth, sometimes the few who speak the truth start to feel like the crazy ones.

        • BuySome says:

          I agree and disagree with the conclusions. The ’50’s were great for many things, but were still a sidetrack brought on by WWII. There were some great ideas for a future direction layed out in the period of modernism of the 1930’s, but a stupid group of fanatics pushed everyone in a wrong direction. What came of that war era were inventions which have ultimately led us here. We need to sort through what we have available and dispose of the wrong parts while implementing what was useful for a future in which we must accomodate a big population. You don’t dump good bath water just because of a nasty baby.

    • SnotFroth says:

      Hear, hear

    • roddy6667 says:

      It’s not helicopter money any more. It’s B-52’s carpet bombing.

    • polecat says:

      Some serious detachment is in order …

  7. Swamp Creature says:

    I’m still waiting for my $1,200 stimulus check from Dec which I never got. Took the $1,200 credit on line 30 of my 1040 which I just sent in. It will take 6 weeks to process the return according to the IRS, because I used horse & buggy technology (manual pen & paper) to do my taxes. Never got the recent $2,800 stimulus either. I’m 0 for 2. Batting zero.

    • 2banana says:

      There are income limitations.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Swamp Creature,

      The IRS might tell you what the status is. Try this to find out. It works pretty well, I’m told:


      A concern is that someone else might have committed fraud at your expense. So you should check this out. If the IRS says that they sent you a check three weeks ago, you’ve got a problem. If it says it is still processing your stuff, you’re OK.

      • MCH says:

        Our government is pretty efficient at least 90% of the time, but that still leaves out about 30M people.


        See lying with numbers is easy, just use the right numbers.

      • Swamp Creature says:

        Here’s what I received from the IRS link Wolf so kindly provided:

        “The IRS will be issuing the third round of payments throughout 2021. If you didn’t receive one yet, it doesn’t mean you won’t. Keep in mind that that the third Economic Impact Payment is based on your 2020 tax return or if your 2020 tax return is not processed when determining your eligibility, your 2019 tax return”

        Translated into plain English. They will be using my 2020 information which contains my bank routing information, 6 weeks from March 13th 2021, when the return was received certified in Ugden Utah. The reason they can’t use the 2019 return is because I did not list my account information on that return, as I owed them money. I got my April EIP 1 payment promptly as they used info from 2018 return which had bank routing information. A lot of people might be in the same situation as this.

        • Anthony A. says:

          They have my bank info and the IRS website said they are sending me a check. Go figure….

    • VintageVNvet says:

      Ditto on the dec/jan $1200 SC, but just got the $2800 and GOING WEST,,, ASAP,,, with that amount just about exactly what it takes for a month or so of truck camping and a few ( better this time, thanks USA ) motels…
      Gonna have more fun in ’21, far shore!!
      And ditto also on the pen and paper,,, just don’t trust enough not to keep ”hard copy” of each and every communication with the GUV MINT, after being audited 3 ( Three ) times in the last 50 years, and ending up not paying an additional dime, in fact getting a refund one of those times.
      So we can hope the $1200 will be waiting when we return from seeing the Grands?
      And, meanwhile, where was that fave restaurant we were at at least once a month for the last few years???

      • Swamp Creature says:

        I heard from some knowledgable sources that pen and ink puts in a category that makes it much LESS likely to get audited. That’s because they have to manually enter all the information provided into their computers. When you submit your taxes electronically the return is audited automatically. The big little secret is the IRS already has all your information in their computers via 1009s and W2s etc. They’ve already done your taxes before you even submitted them!

    • w says:

      Swamp creature,me too regarding the snub and my son got snubbed,too.Didnt get new check,but just got other son’gubmnt check out of the mailbox.Still no new check for other son.Went on I.r.s. Site Again-useless merrygoround. Was talking to local cashier,here in IL about the snubs and her mother got snubbed as well.I didnt give gub my bank accnt.,security and all and snub son has no account,soooooooo.irs finally created an advocate position specific to these covd$ problems,do not know if it will help!! :-)

      • Swamp Creature says:

        Don’t ever waste you time calling the IRS. The people that answer the phone are working at call centers and are without the dumbest morons on the planet. Every time I’ve called them they’ve given me no useful information or the wrong information

  8. RickV says:

    Contrary to the tone of this post, its not all negative news out there. A story in the Christian Science Monitor titled “Its people being resourceful: Why business startups are booming” is a case in point. The government is attempting to support the economy until the hoped for end of the pandemic. It seems sensible to me.

    • Wolf Richter says:


      “Tone?” Will you have a look at the charts, please. And then read the article. By your comment, I guess that you are just reacting to the headline and are actually clueless about the data in the article.

      • RickV says:

        Your graphs and research, as always, are excellent. It’s your interpretation I disagree with. Unfortunately, you are starting to remind me of John Hussman, another great analyst, who has predicted an economic calamity since at least 2000. All I’m saying is you are missing some of the hopeful “green shoots”. Why not do a post with graphs on new business startups during the pandemic?

        • Wolf Richter says:


          “Why not do a post with graphs on new business startups during the pandemic?”

          This kind of bullshit assertion drives me nuts. Just because you didn’t read it doesn’t meant I didn’t write it. Including charts. This is one of the articles:


          I was on top of that topic four months before your CS Monitor. If you want current economic coverage and analysis, to go to WOLF STREET. If you want to lull your mind asleep, you go to CS Monitor.

          “…you are missing some of the hopeful “green shoots”.

          First, this article was about total US consumer SPENDING and INCOME, and what happens when stimulus payments arrive and then subside. That’s what this article was about.

          It wasn’t about some feel-good anecdotes about some people starting businesses – which is an entirely different topic.

          But I have said this many times, that there are many positive changes coming out of this crisis, including the shift to working from home, the surge of new small businesses, and the decline in rents in the most expensive cities that allows people to breathe and come up with new stuff, which I discussed in numerous separate articles. One topic per article. I discussed some of this probably most prominently here:


          OK, now back to the topic I was actually discussing. look at the charts. HUGE historic surges in spending on goods. I’ve been saying that for months. Handing out free money does have that effect.

          The “green shoots” — well, OK, taxpayer-money gets handed out by the trillions and some people spend it. There have been HUGE beneficiaries in this crisis – including China, Amazon, Walmart, anything having to do with ecommerce, streaming, the internet more broadly, among others. Billionaires were the hugest beneficiaries of all. Did your CS Monitor article explain that?

          Here is the data on these green shoots, from the Federal Reserve:

          But the money isn’t free for taxpayers. All current and future taxpayers now have trillions of dollars more in debt to deal with. Much of the spending on goods went to China and other countries, but Americans are going to pay interest on this debt for all times to come. That’s the tradeoff. Did your CS Monitor article explain that?

          This crisis wasn’t like the Financial Crisis when consumers stopped buying stuff. This time, consumers binged on stuff that they COULD binge on (since they were blocked from vacations, restaurants, etc.), and much of that money went to manufacturers overseas.

          But as soon as the discretionary services sector is fully open (flights, hotels, cruises, international travel, etc.), spending will revert from goods to services. That is a key element that I also pointed out.

        • Depth Charge says:

          That was a KO, Wolf. No standing 8 count, no count period, just flat out on the canvas, unconscious.

        • Swamp Creature says:

          Here’s the scoreboard

          Wolf 100

          RickV 0

    • Swamp Creature says:

      This sounds like the same BS from Jerome P in his latest hearing.

  9. MCH says:

    Five words for you: “MORE WHERE THAT CAME FROM”

    As long as everyone turns a blind eye to the billions in extra pork larded over to every politician who enabled this.

    Almost feels like someone being force fed cocaine to get them addicted. Except everyone loves a little free money.

    • DawnsEarlyLight says:

      …’everyone turns a blind eye’…
      And what are you going to do about it? Pitchfork? Mob? Say No? Get real?

      • Depth Charge says:

        I don’t want to say how I think this is going to play out, heaven forbid people think I am planting seeds, wishing for bad things, etc. But I think these bankers and “elites” have overplayed their hands.

      • MCH says:

        Move to Canada… hahahaha. ?

        That or load up on guns and ammo, and go live in the woods. But that’s not very practical. Cause you know, I like running toilets and soft beds and electricity.

        • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

          Real patriots are NOT accepting this socialism.

          Send back your stimulus payments. Do not cash those checks!

          Have a spine and some integrity….say no to socialism!

        • MCH says:

          That’s why the move to Canada, cause at least, the socialism there is well regulated. Kinda like China.

          The problem with unregulated socialism is that you get end up rocking the boat too much.


        • Depth Charge says:

          “Real patriots are NOT accepting this socialism.”

          Kind of like Warren Buffet the lib who complains that taxes aren’t high enough. Do you think he’s offering more? Surely you jest….

        • RightNYer says:

          nodecent, what a silly post. The fact is, even people who don’t support this printing are seeing their OWN money and labor devalued by it, so by refusing it, they’re just putting themselves in a bad situation for no reason.

        • bob says:

          Ammo has been in very short supply and expensive For Months.

  10. Petunia says:

    We spent our stimulus check ahead of time last month(Feb) on furniture. So don’t expect a spike in March from our household, it’s gone.

    • MCH says:

      Not to worry, you will get another one, part of the next however many trillion that will be pumped in when wave 4 or 5… lost track on it… kicks in.

      We will get you addicted to cocaine of stimulus if it kills you.

      Hey, I made a funny, cocaine of stimulus, that’s exactly what cocaine does, right? Stimulate.

    • polecat says:

      Mine is going towards the domicile roofing fund … assuming material costs don’t go too stratospheric. At my age, just the job alone will be taxing enough!

  11. Cobalt Programmer says:

    Ok everyone.Lets har this out. How did everyone of you spent your stimmys or plan to?
    1. I put it into bank and use it toward my green card application. (Very difficult to explain)
    2. How you are planning to spend it?
    3. Since, the pandemic, i feel like I can get hold of money. Everything i earn is spent.
    4. I will recommend a permanent ban if you say the money is spent on bit coins or NFTs

    • Cobalt Programmer says:

      Can’t hold on to money…

    • Anthony A. says:

      I’m spending mine (and another $3,000) on my dental work that Medicare does not cover.

    • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

      I spent most of it on drugs, booze and prostitutes….the rest I just sort of wasted.

    • Double Bluff says:

      I bought real estate — 2 cemetery plots.

    • bungee says:

      bought gold, duh.

    • LD says:

      Close to zero debt now (other than a student loan)

    • Tom14 says:

      Extra old fashion on friday fish fry.
      Switched from queen to king prime rib
      On Saturdays.

    • Lisa says:

      I got the stimulus, all of it. I’m a money hoarder. Put it all in savings and have not changed my lifestyle habits at all. In fact, I spend less because I am not driving, eating out as often, and not paying for all my kids stuff they needed throughout the year. I made money. Not really. I figure with all the taxes I pay I just got my taxes back.

      • Depth Charge says:

        A woman after my own heart, Lisa. None of this stimuli and FED pumping has changed my habits. I continue to be a saver who only spends on absolute necessities. I don’t believe this whole sham. There’s no way to levitate an economy without household incomes supporting it, and they can’t just send money forever. Some day savers like you and I will be rewarded.

      • Swamp Creature says:

        Savers will not be rewarded. Savers are the ones being fleeced to pay for all this BS. I cannot take any risks now but if you are young and don’t start playing the game in the casino you’re a guaranteed loser.


    • Yancey Ward says:

      All $3200 of my stimulus goes to my youngest sister and her husband who had their first child last Spring. I don’t need the stimulus as I am retired and quite well off all things considered.

      For those advocating not taking it- that is the wrong approach. It is your and your children’s and your children’s children’s money. If you can’t think of anything worthwhile to do with it, then give it to charity or buy guns and ammo.

      • w says:

        Thats really nice and decent of you.My two older sisters threw my sons stuff/my stuff in a dumpster,kicked in our bedroom door twice,lied to police,stole my sick cat,and dragged us through guardianship,eviction,and estate court where I had to defend us and try to save childhood home.

    • KDMaz says:

      Stimulus? What stimulus? Just over the threshold so out of luck… But still on the hook for paying income taxes.

      Working from home in higher ed. That is a real plus but feel bad for the students – many just can’t learn that way.

      Oh, and no raises for the past two years. Next year is shaping up to be the same.

      All while still dealing with the inflation monster…

    • Petunia says:

      The nail salon is full of twelve year olds with iphones, getting $100 manicures. The stimulus money is probably increasing their standard of living and their expectations.

    • w says:

      Health supports,books,petfood,repaying personal loans,rent are the $pits.Probably suport some patriotic truthtellers since everyone is getting deplatformed,censored,demonetized.America or Russia,sometimes I feel like some beets and pieroghies would be good,da?! :-)

    • josap says:

      We are going to Cancun for a week of lounging on the beach. I will be eating all the seafood I can stuff in my tummy and seeing the ruins to work off the calories.

      • DawnsEarlyLight says:

        It’s a breeze climbing up the pyramid, but you will be doing some ‘butt dragging’ on the way down!

    • Lynn says:

      Repairs and parts for a gas generator & tools
      Paying off the small amount on my cc
      My dog’s medical expenses
      the rest if any goes in the gas tank

      I don’t anticipate buying much if anything new. I wonder if less people will be buying that many new things as some may have built up a little debt anticipating this one.

    • Elton Wilson says:

      Didn’t get one, but got some PPP money. Most of it went to my ex to pay off a nasty divorce.

  12. Gk says:

    Trying to understand… What do we derive or learn from this? Is it that this can’t continue? What should people with money invest in?

    • OutsideTheBox says:

      Rental property.

      But in a state with weak tenant laws.

      • Depth Charge says:

        Oh yeah. $1,400 is going to buy one helluva rental house. Pass the pipe, man…

        • OutsideTheBox says:


          “What should people with money
          invest in ? ”

          Rental property.

          Do try to keep up….paying attention is useful

        • Depth Charge says:

          “Rental property.”

          Because buying at the pinnacle peak of the biggest asset price bubble in history is such a great financial plan.

          Do try to keep up.

        • OutsideTheBox says:


          There are always deals…..even in this market.

          Just bought another one in excellent condition last month for way way way way under market…

          But you need you know what you are doing.

          Paying attention is very heplful
          in finding one.

          But it’s so much easier to sneer isn’t it ?

        • DawnsEarlyLight says:

          How much is rent on a SF sidewalk corner going for these days?

        • Depth Charge says:

          “Just bought another one in excellent condition last month for way way way way under market…”

          Rookie. There’s no such thing as “under market.” That IS the market.

        • OutsideTheBox says:

          There’s that sneer again !

          So far that’s seems to be your entire contribution.

          Try again

        • JK says:

          Got me my Stimmie! Yeehaa! Bought me an ounce of the gold stuff. Yeah, had to add a little extra my own, but it’s the real deal!

        • JK says:

          Lol! That’s usually an earnest payment. Maybe there is a shack in the bayou of Louisiana made from corrugated steel, a studio that you can pick up. Watch the neighbors, the alligators. They can sort of be a salty bunch.

      • Beardawg says:

        Missouri, specifically Kansas City. You can still get fixer uppers for $25K, put in about $25K to update and get $1300+/- in monthly rent. Wolf’s archive articles bear this out. If renters start playing games, eviction judgment is approx 4-6 weeks later, sheriff locks them out and you put their S*** to the curb – no requirement to hold/store it.

      • Swamp Creature says:

        If you’re buying rental property to make a buck I got bad news for you. You’re too late. The majority of people making money in rental property, and the only people that should be doing this are those that bought a long time ago and have either paid off their mortgages or own the property free and clear. The downside risk of owning a leveraged rental property outweighs any potential gain at this point.

        • OutsideTheBox says:


          Wrong again.

          But to be fair let me give you a hint…..cash flow and profiability.

          Of course it does take slightly more work than parking a pile in bank CDs.

        • RightNYer says:

          No OutsideTheBox, he’s not “wrong again.”

          Look at the housing market in most areas. The prices have increased at a rate so far exceeding the rate at which rents increased that most people are getting a 2-3% cap rate, if they’re lucky.

          If you are lucky enough to have a renter that covers your mortgage, taxes, and insurance, it’ll be just barely. And all it takes is one roof replacement, one boiler failure, or one deadbeat tenant to wipe out a year or more worth of “profits.”

          And that’s assuming you know what you’re doing with regard to minor repairs. I know many amateur landlords who have gotten bitten in the butt, not realizing that every leaky faucet or busted outlet was a $200 minimum bill.

          Being a landlord profitably is more about “work,” but also about timing. And if you buy at the wrong time, you can be really screwed.

        • OutsideTheBox says:


          Thanks for a reasoned argument.

          I completely disagree with your conclusions.

          You DO make the appreciation money at the buy. And yes there are regions right now where you lose it all at the buy.

          But this is a great big country and there are many many many places to buy rental property where you realize appreciation, cash flow and profitabilty.

          Major repairs impact profitability negatively for a short time but cash flow remains the same and appreciation is enhanced.

          There are many skilled handymen who are available to maintain a property at well below that mythical $200 repair example. I have a rolodex stuffed with names.

          Plus tax advantages, depreciation and much more.

          I worked out my profitability for 2020 at 18% . Lower than usual but I replaced a roof and had HVAC replacements.

          So no…..critics say you can’t make money as a landlord. They are wrong as well.

        • Depth Charge says:

          We’ve got a liar here, folks!

        • OutsideTheBox says:


          Did you just out yourself ?

    • bb says:

      Invest in their health,animal shelters/sanctuaries,patriotic,noncensoring co.s or sites,foodbanks,community gardens,decent farmland,Food hoard,survival stuff.

  13. David Hall says:

    It is like kicking the can down the road. I paid off my debts and hope to stay out of debt.

    There is a shortage of rental cars in some places.

  14. Jack says:

    The WTF of giving away your freedom for


    This is what happens when you take a Man’s ability to earn a quid,

    This is the promise of all benign SOCIALIST CULTS.

    You remove his dignity, and achieve “ NADA”!

    It’s worrisome how many still believe that (OUR EVOLUTION) is at risk from a WTF VIRUS!

    I can’t help but shaking my head and laugh, a worrisome laugh.

    The assault on our values, our very being is being perpetrated by our government/s to a large extent without repercussion for the perpetrators!!!

    Think of it this way , IF, our F($&@(G PRIMATE ANCESTORS didn’t venture down from that tree that he/she was hanging on to for safety, we would’ve been still hanging in the trees maybe?!

    Yes, some got eaten by cyber tooth, died of exposure,starvation,viruses ( that we ended up incorporating into our DNA! But we came out okay, heck we managed to obliterate our foes small and large ( with NO GOVERNMENT HELP) ,I might add!!

    What are we doing now?

    To be honest I’ve given up on Europe!

    The Western societies regression, is compounded with Huge threats emerging to the INDIVIDUAL SPIRIT that lead our species in the past to where we are now.

    That spirit is being assaulted and subdued on a massive scale!

  15. Matt says:

    Wolf, what do you think about NFT? Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet for $2.9 million. I would like to sell my first tweet for $5 million :-). Looking for a bidding war. LOL

    • Anthony A. says:

      I’ve never tweeted so I can sell my ability to do a “first one” for anybody that pays me $3 Mil (please no checks or BTC). Nothing like the ownership with proof for a *virgin* tweet! It’s almost like an original Babe Ruth card still in the wrapper!

      • Panamabob says:

        Wolf, you are the only buoy in the sea of madness and disinformation that we have been floating in the the last ten years. You are a guide on a long strange trip through rough waters revealing a path to a true vision of reality. It’s not a pretty picture compared to what the masses are viewing, but very refreshing since it is a clear look.

    • BuySome says:

      Quayle was President? Someone slip me a four-year Mickey??

    • Yancey Ward says:

      I offered my soul for sell via an NFT, but there was only one bid from some guy who began by singing, “Please let me introduce myself.”

      • VintageVNvet says:

        LOL,,, last time I heard those lyrics, live, were at a little ”concert” near a pass on the 580 in ’69 ;;; minutes later, a kid came up above the crowd with a very big and bright pistol and was killed by some angelic types…
        Very scary day, starting with those angels driving around the perimeter to the top of the crowd, and then just straight down to the stage over anyone who didn’t move fast enough,
        after watching the stabbing from, like 20 feet,,, ran to my ”scooter” and got the heck out of there AFAP…

        • Yancey Ward says:

          Were your hands clenched in fists of rage?

        • BuySome says:

          A very odd historical twist when you consider Altamont Pass was the original final (1873) link of Old Abe’s ocean-to-ocean transcontinental rail system. [Think about assassins, real and alleged, and the song gets more interesting.] The event not only put a final cap on the ’60’s, but was in the Centenial year from the 1869 spiking ceremony. Oddly enough, the Central Pacific’s Jupiter used at the jubilee ended it’s last known days in mine service close to where the final Indian skirmishes occured in the southwest. Perhaps it’s presence got their blood boiling. Coincidental sh*t happens in the oddest ways.

  16. WES says:

    What scares me about Wolf’s graphs is it is hiding the fact that about 30 million Americans have lost their jobs and these job losses are likely permanent!

    Government benefits will need to be permanently extended if they want to be re-elected. Oh I forgot there are not likely to be any free elections in the future, so no worries then.

    • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

      Tell us WES! Why will be there no more free elections in the USA?

      • RightNYer says:

        You know why. Because the American people have been replaced from the outside.

        • bb says:

          Leonardo satellite,crooked judges,whored out election officials,fake mailin ballots,dead people voting,unsigned,illegal ballots,lost ballots found in a ditch,shredded ballots,any and all Possible vote machine hacks.Last election was a farce wrapped in a lie with a stinking pile of excrement on top.

      • Chuck C says:

        The reason is: HR 1

      • Petunia says:

        Because the last one wasn’t.

        • OutsideTheBox says:


          Prove it

        • Depth Charge says:

          “Prove it”

          You wouldn’t believe it if it slapped you upside the head.

        • OutsideTheBox says:


          Another believer in that which can’t be proven.

          Believe in proof…..it might save you in a court of law.

          By the way your sneer reeks of desperation.

          Try again.

        • Petunia says:


          Proof is what get when you have the expectation of justice. I have no such expectation.

    • yxd0018 says:

      from which data point do you think those lost jobs are permanent? Especially many of them are service-related.

    • Depth Charge says:

      What people are either forgetting about or not acknowledging is the fact that the PPP loans to businesses are responsible for companies not axing a bunch more people. They are forgivable loans as long as you use the money for payroll. Once all the money is gone, the ax will fall for many. This isn’t over by a long shot.

  17. Free Rent. Free Money. Free Drugs.
    Get Out of Jail Free.

    What could go wrong ?!

    • MiTurn says:

      Forgot “free border pass.”

      • Anthony A. says:

        I hope we get free dental work pretty soon too!

        • Bet says:

          funny story , I had a root canal because of infected tooth. Insurance paid half so I still forked up about 800.00. Well the root canal failed and I had to have the tooth extracted. Price for the extraction? 75.00! WTH. I guess the insurance companies would like us to lose all of our teeth, we would be cheaper for them. Less costly than , you know , provide decent dental care and avoid rotten teeth , and the health issues that come with.

        • Me:
          > > Free Rent. Free Money. Free Drugs.
          > > Get Out of Jail Free. What could go wrong ?!

          Anthony A. replied:
          > I hope we get free dental work pretty soon too!

          Communism -always- fails because
          no one cares about stuff they don’t own.

          At its peak, 1990, the GDP of the USSR was 1/3 of the US;
          but, now, the same area is at 1/16 of the US.

          Only idiots vote.
          At first, everyone wants “it” ( free stuff ).
          Decades Later, they realize that life doesn’t work that way.

          Feed the pigeons & you just get more of them.
          Reward Virtue. Punish Vice.

        • Petunia says:


          Just an observation on my part. People in countries with universal healthcare have the worst teeth.

    • Cyclops says:

      Free Pass might get you in trouble!

  18. Hobagg says:

    Just heard news report …. vehicles flying off the lots…. stimulus helping says car man…. creditors willing to increase risk due to stimulus coming folks’ way (please don’t say “stimmies”—look how dependent the dipsheets already are on these STIMULI). WHERE MY STIMMY

    inventory down 33%; vehicles waiting for service sitting days waiting for parts (chineze computers stuck at sea?). chevy leaving some systems off new pickup trucks—–will be more reliable, 4 sure.

    relative bought Chevy this week. i haven’t told him it’s made in K0REA. “like a rock” – lmfao. (3 cylinders).
    friend wants another honda. honda made in alabama. ‘MERICA. GET THE FKN HONDA.

  19. Tom says:

    My wife and I made just barely over the stimulus cutoff. We should have gotten something from the first two stimulus rounds, and we have two kids, but we got nothing. I’m glad it’s there for people in dire straits but it sucks to see what looks like hyperinflation in the pipeline while we work our asses off for the same pay. We’ve saved for years to build a house this spring and now we can’t get lumber. Almost anything we can get is badly delayed and skyrocketing in price.

    • Depth Charge says:

      Bad time to be building. Where are you living in the meantime? I’d delay construction if it were me.

  20. YuShan says:

    Argentina is on the brink of another sovereign default. The precious one was just a year ago.

    Their exchange rate is now 91 pesos for a US$. When I was there in end 2015, a US$ bought 15 pesos. Their central bank policy rate is now 38% and their official rate of inflation runs at 41%.

    And yes, these guys have their own printing press so they can print their own money so they should be fine, according to Magic Money Tree logic. Unfortunately they took it a little bit too far.

    Can’t happen here?

    Watch and learn.

    • MiTurn says:

      Good analogy. It will happen, and when it does it will bring down the world economy.

    • Depth Charge says:

      No, we’re the reserve currency so we can print to infinity. Jerome Weimar Boy Powell said so.

    • Nat says:

      No. MMT says it matters what your debts are denominated in. You need both: 1. a printing press and 2. the vast majority of your debts must be denominated in what your printing press prints. Argentina’s biggest debts are all USD or Euros, so the MMT claims don’t apply, and even MMT people would agree hyper inflation is possible in Argentina as a result.

      • Wolf Richter says:


        Concerning Argentina, what you’re reciting is the typical MMT troll BS.

        This is what happened: Years ago, and always, Argentina BLEW UP its own currency by using MMT, printing pesos, which created inflation of 20% to 50%, which is what MMT invariably accomplishes.

        And AFTER it blew up its own currency, it could no longer borrow in its own currency at reasonable rates. It can still borrow in pesos but at something like 40% interest rates. No one wants this crap. That’s precisely what MMT accomplishes.

        So it HAS TO borrow in foreign currency to get the lower rates. And then it defaults on this foreign currency debt because it continues to ruin its own currency with MMT, which makes foreign currency debt impossible to service.

        MMT trolls consistently disregard the many examples of countries that have practiced MMT. Money printing by central banks today is a terrible thing, but MMT is far worse.

  21. Anthony says:

    All markets, in all countries, always go up and down and up and down.

    I guess after all this foolishness, the man(or woman) who has no debt with his house paid off, may end up being king of the hill, even if he doesn’t have much income……………. The air is good in debt free land…………..

    • SnotFroth says:

      Your debt of taxes is never repaid and that’s something that worries me.

      • Depth Charge says:

        When you own a house, you’re easy pickin’s for the tax man – just a sitting duck they will milk to their heart’s content.

        • OutsideTheBox says:


          Really ???

          My property tax is less than 2% of my income.

          That contribution to the public good is miniscule.

  22. YuShan says:

    All sanity has gone out of the window. They will just keep doing this till it breaks. It scares the sh!t out of me.

  23. Realist says:

    Someday in a far future someone will be awarded a Nobel Prize for a paper on what is now playing out.

    I wonder who the real loosers will be, the ones that are trying to manage their economy in a sane way or those that do the opposite ?

    Isn’t it so that the Chinese use to say “May you live in interesting times” when they really want to curse somebody ?

    • SnotFroth says:

      “May you live in interesting times”

      Purely for the sake of pedantry I looked it up and Wikipedia says:

      “Despite being so common in English as to be known as the “Chinese curse”, the saying is apocryphal, and no actual Chinese source has ever been produced. The most likely connection to Chinese culture may be deduced from analysis of the late-19th-century speeches of Joseph Chamberlain, probably erroneously transmitted and revised through his son Austen Chamberlain.”

    • Depth Charge says:

      “Someday in a far future someone will be awarded a Nobel Prize for a paper on what is now playing out.”

      One day in the far future, Jerome Powell will be looked upon as one of the biggest idiots to ever run a central bank, loudly proclaiming that he was “going to let inflation run hot” as he was destroying a country, ignoring all the warning signs and driving the ship at full throttle straight into an iceberg.

      • AlexW says:

        “History does not repeat, it rhymes…”
        (Mark Twain…?)

        Historical Rhymes

        Present Perceptions

        Yellen said she doesn’t believe another financial crisis will occur “in our lifetimes.”

        “Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? … Probably that would be going too far. But I do think we’re much safer, and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes, and I don’t believe it will be,” Yellen said.

        Sound Familiar?

        Past Perceptions.

        “We will not have any more crashes in our time.” – John Maynard Keynes (1927)

        “There will be no interruption of our permanent prosperity.” – Myron E. Forbes, President, Pierce Arrow Motor Car Co. (January 12, 1928)

        “There is no cause to worry. The high tide of prosperity will continue.” – Andrew W. Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury. (September 1929)

        “There may be a recession in stock prices, but not anything in the nature of a crash.” – Irving Fisher, Leading U.S. Economist, New York Times (Sept. 5, 1929)

        I believe most of here are thinking that we are at, or rapidly approaching, a historical point parallel to the end of the 1920s.

        I believe it is much worse, closer to the scale of the breakdown and fall of the Soviet Union, with our corporate elite, its subservient political parties, the corporate media and economy being potentially just as, “unrecoverable,” as was the shattered soviet.

        Unless we have a really big war…

        I do hope Yellen is correct, and they manage to keep this mess together until after I fold my final hand… Our past history of mass immigration forming a brutal corporate elite (The Robber Barons, fathers of our present corporate state..), breaking our democratic republic, draining the land, draining the economy, led to a series of events I see reforming even more powerfully today than during the span of time that drove this last set of disasters, beween 1880 & 1939.
        We all know what happened back then.

        I see a global, “Dust Bowl” forming rapidly. I see a contemporary organization of our era’s, “Allies & Axis” powers (you pick ’em) for the next big war, like the last. I see freak behaviors that put the, “roaring 20’s,” to shame, and make it blush.
        But, our corporate leadership had killed immigration in ’24, while today our corporate state has and will continue feeding the flames of all economic and social policies (in all aspects!) destructive to American Middle Class wealth (our nation’s earned, middle-class demand has already been destroyed by these policies, replaced by, “debt,” as Obama saved the corporate elite, and the grandkids of the Robber Barons who run it.
        They are going to push unrestricted greed and self interest ’til this baby blows! I limit my behaviors to others based on the principals in our Bill of Rights, and the mutual obligations to protect my fellow CITIZENS personal freedoms (even if I do not like or believe in their practices) .

        That’s so pre-1880s… I guess I am an, “Old Fashioned,” American radical.

        Wolf: Yet another insightful, informative article, followed by the same character & quality of commentary.

        • BuySome says:

          You forgot one…”Prosperity is just around the corner.”- Shirley Temple, repeating the crap that all were being told. Now there’s tens of millions of little mopheads chanting those lines. Meanwhile, some guy is looking for work carrying a sign that reads “Eat at Joe’s”. Only they don’t post that opening on the net.

    • Swamp Creature says:

      I can see sometime in the near future those who played by the rules in this chaotic period of time will be considered “Suckers”. Actually, I’m already hearing some of this now. Comments like “You were a sucker for paying off your school loans”. Just wait for the government to forgive your debt or reduce it dramatically. “Borrow the max on your house and pay it back in depreciated, devalued dollars” Rick Edelman, that shill on WMAL here in DC put out this BS on his last show. Refinance on your house, take the cash out and play the casino stock market, promoted on Network Capitol Funding’s radio show. The list goes on.

  24. yxd0018 says:

    With long term rate goes to zero or sub-zero, old valuation can stretch further. Don’t bet against the Fed and pressing machine.

    • Old school says:

      That’s true, but few will leave the party before clock strikes midnight and will wish they had left at ten til 12:00.

  25. CRV says:

    Looking at the first graph, consumer spending increased 36% from 2008 to now. Where did all the $$$ come from?
    Is it because:
    – the population grew 36%? (think not)
    – production grew 36%? (probably not)
    – wages/incomes grew 36%? (definitely not)

    Or … are they just ‘printed’ and exported in return for goods? (must be it)

    Those who received the $$$ in the end are holding the problems.

    Don’t worry about the debt created by the stimuli. That debt is a foreigners problem. That debt will never be paid. It simply can’t be done.

  26. Wendy says:

    I think it is important to avoid a situation where people become dependent on increasing doses of stimulus over time. First $600, then $1400, then what next? $2500? We have already seen that Modern Monetary Theory works, and there is no risk of inflation, so let’s stop the silliness, and just give out a single stimulus payment of $100,000, then end the program before any unanticipated bad consequences happen. Just one and done, if you will.

  27. MiTurn says:

    ” And so, this consumer economy has become depended not only on free money from stimmies, but also from the endless extend-and-pretend. ”

    Pure debt that can only be repaid with taxation and belt-tightening.
    Yeah, that’ll happen…

  28. Micheal Engel says:

    1) In 1875 Rothchild transferred overnight 4,000,000 Sterling to Disraeli to sealed GB purchase of the Suez canal from Egypt Ismail Pasha, along with France.
    2) The Suez canal issues and the new US stimulus might jump start SPX to a new all time high.
    3) SPX closed > Mar 16 red doji open, but < Mar 16 high.
    4) Mar 4 low is A. // Mar 16 is B. // Mar 25 low is C :
    5) If on Mon SPX gap higher, or have a hinge higher, potential targets :
    6) C + AB+ .
    7) C + 2x AB +.

  29. Micheal Engel says:

    1) China ports in every ocean is part of China silk road.
    2) China competing ports help gov to subdue the militant stevedores. They are spy centers.
    3) Chinese mines portfolio of rare minerals in foreign countries are targets of the unions to enrich themselves and travel all over the world. China don’t care , because it’s all about power.
    4) Bean counters admire China silk road, but generals and admirals
    don’t care. China silk road is spread too thin without protection.

  30. DanS86 says:

    Bought a mew Miele C3 Marin vacuum with forthcoming stimi check. Tax shelters and stimulus checks…life is sweet until.

  31. In addition, federal student loans were automatically entered into forbearance programs, and borrowers still don’t have to make loan payments.

  32. flashlight joe says:


    Did you delete my comment to Realist about war propaganda? If so, can you tell me why?

    flashlight joe

    • Wolf Richter says:

      War mongering and references to Hitler and his machinery are not allowed here. This article was about consumer spending and income.

      Realist’s comment had none of those elements.

      Guideline #9

      • flashlight joe says:

        I don’t see how explaining war propaganda to everyone is “war mongering” when they are asking about what is going on. Nor do I see why a mention of “hitler” is offensive. But It is your site and I respect that.

        This is my last comment.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          There was no war being discussed here. YOU tried to drag war propaganda and Hitler into the discussions. People just love warmongering and comparing everything and everyone to Hitler. Not happening here.

      • ElbowWilham says:

        Hey Wolf, since you are talking about comments, I was just curious how the moderation works. Every comment I make goes to moderation queue, while I see other posts being made after me post right away. I don’t comment that much, like many others here. Just curious how that works, Thanks.

        • Wolf Richter says:


          I don’t remember the context, but you must have made some comments that seriously violated the guidelines in some way. I now took you off that list.

          That said, some commenters get blocked by the anti-spam system that I don’t control — for example, if the comments get routed through a server somewhere that is known for sending out spam. There is nothing on my side to trigger that. Sometimes that issue goes away on its own, and sometimes it doesn’t.

  33. DRDJ says:

    My 20 year old college student granddaughter is home on spring break. no trip to Florida. Yesterday she asked me to help her set up a brokerage account with her stimulus money. My conversation with her led me to think that this was a common topic of conversation on campus.

    • DawnsEarlyLight says:

      If she is a dependent, then it is not her stimulus money. Her qualifying for the stimulus only increases the total amount of money received to those of which she is a dependent. Of course, I have no objection of her receiving the stimulus money.

  34. Heinz says:

    This article is first I have seen that lays out succinctly how a totally dysfunctional economy like present-day US is being kept on life support (that is, not flat-lining yet) through massive artificial stimulus (e.g. money handouts or radical interventions in conventional debt obligations like student debt, and mortgage/rent forbearance, not to mention .gov transfer payments like welfare and unemployment.

    Of course we all know deep down it all ends in tears eventually. And as usual it is nameless peons that will fare the worst when this plays out.

    Nowadays, I just try to act distantly amused and laugh at this folly– keeps me from going nuts from a mental hygiene standpoint.

  35. Crush the Peasants! says:

    Welfare queens. You know what I means.

    • OutsideTheBox says:

      No…..We don’t.

      By writing intentionally with a supposed dialect you are opening youself to reproach.

      Please clarify.

  36. Dobs says:

    “Income from stimmies, unemployment insurance, and welfare benefits had spiked in January as the $600-stimmies arrived.”

    Does this mean US GDP will not spike as “free services such as charitable donations of professional services” are not included in GDP calculations?

  37. Yancey Ward says:

    The recognition will start to set in by late Summer at the latest. The stimulus will have to keep being repeated in growing amounts just to stay on the already degraded GDP trend.

    I don’t know what happens then, but there are no good outcomes.

  38. The worst outcome would be a depression with money. RE needs oversupply to keep the market liquid. The class divide will be mobility. The uber wealthy have private aircraft. If a climate change extreme storm pops up on radar you jet to safety while the lumpen sit in traffic. High income consumers will get perked a lot. Rodeo Drive rules, take it home see if you like it. Low income buyers pick up the unwanted stuff at the swap meet for pennies on the dollar. No need to steal. All your needs met, but the rotting stench of materialism as a god, weighs heavy. As soon as some beatnik taps his drum and recites a poem, they give them a million dollars. Old fashioned potlatch, format your hard drive and your bitcoin password.

  39. MonkeyBusiness says:

    The fractional reserve banking requires a growing amount of money to feed its hunger.

  40. Micheal Engel says:

    1) Dental surgeons and ortho love candida hotel in the gums, because when the sugar level jump, people make appointments for dental implants.
    2) The FAANG distribution Pulse Modulation might declare a new ceasefire
    if SPX jump, to form a big hump. The next FAANG distribution pulse will start a from a higher level.
    3) In recession co cut dividends, buyback, capex, fat….
    4) If SPX next hump, or dbl humps, jump to either :
    a) 3,984 b) 4,114 c) 4,244 d) 4,374
    and make a round trip south to pierce the cloud, on the right, in the thin part, the next correction might start a recession.

  41. Lisa_Hooker says:

    I spent my check on some rainbows and a unicorn. I shall need another check in May, June at the latest. You would not believe how much unicorns eat.

    • DawnsEarlyLight says:

      About two boxes of Skittles a day?

    • Yort says:

      LOL…but unicorns fart methane, and might soon be outlawed with cows, right? Plus I heard unicorn steaks are tough and gamey tasting…yucky!

      Fun party fact –> Cows belch out methane…yet methane farts carries a stronger fear factor…more evil and devious sounding with an idealogical hint of sulfur and brimestone…HA

  42. Micheal Engel says:

    1) NDX monthly : a shooting star and a hanging man at the top.
    They usually cancel each other.
    2) NDX monthly line chart : the last 4 dots : Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar, didn’t
    move. They formed a straight line.

  43. Cashboy says:

    I am in the UK and have been getting US$2,200 a month furlough.
    In the older days, I would never have accepted it.
    The way I see the attitude of people with “I am entitled to it” and the way I see our government squandering the money, I am content to grab it and have been using it to buy physical gold in Thailand.

  44. Brad Tifman says:

    They impose fiat money and fiat-debt on the us and our government, and a draconian tax of incomes to serve a “national fiat-debt.” Their grift-machine.

    They use their grift-machine to steal our good government, gold, economic opportunities, societies, minds, civility, peace, and now our Liberty.

    Now they treat us as their farm animals: Outfitted as they like us, let come and go on their whim, fed only when, where, and what they see fit to, and held to their farm by fear of their dog they call virus.

  45. Micheal Engel says:

    1) It’s 1AM in Egypt. Ever Given day #5.
    2) When the moon shine Ever Given rise in the tide.
    3) Ever Given propellers and rudder move the ship back and force.
    4) Ever Given Japanese owner Shei Kisen Kaisha, the Japanese insurance
    co and Egypt will face millions of dollars in lawsuits. They are blaming each other.
    5) There are about 200-250 ships stuck north of Ever Given and 200-250 south of it.
    6) About 50 ships cross the Suez canal daily. From oil tankers, to
    perishable goods… to military ships.
    7) The German 10Y gap up in Feb, pumping muscles for six weeks, preparing for the next jump to above (-)0.20% due to the rising inflation.
    8) Germany pray for zero. Europe troubles are well > zero.
    9) Germany, France, Italy… Turkey cv19 death toll and hospitalization are rising to Nov level, in the last 24 hrs.
    10) Europe and Japan have their own troubles. NZ, Australia, Singapore and Taiwan, free of cv19 troubles, have other type of troubles ==> China.

  46. DR DOOM says:

    F”um and feed em’ oats. If the saps in the productive world keep shoving stuff in our gullet for fiat debt that’s worthless then that’s what we need to do. F’um and feed em’ oats and print, print , print , Brrrrrrrrrrrrr , print some more and spend,spend,spend. Dow 100k and $500k Btc is around the corner.

  47. Hernando says:

    I got my 5600 dollars in my bank account…. I can’t wait to go out and spend it on… nothing. I don’t need anything. I’ll just put it into savings and watch it lose 4% to inflation this year.. yay.

    • Bought stuff I need, potting soil, power tools to replace broken and worn out things. Then put aside money for car regs and weed abatement. Cost of living goes up and Cola’s go flat. Fed’s gimme is an inflation rebate for all the dirt they have done.

  48. Yort says:

    After reading through all the posts, I’d just summarize that the universe guarantees nothing, so just accept what “is”, hope for the best, plan for the worse, enjoy life in-between. Basically as long as a six-mile wide asteroid does not strike, we will survive…

    Sure much higher and longer duration “inflationary shock of some type” is a decently high probability event, yet plenty of time to prepare and even thrive if/when the paradigm shifts.

    Martin Wolf recently wrote an article “The return of the inflation spectre” at the Financial Times, the last few paragraphs below summarizes future inflation risks elegantly:

    Per Martin Wofl:

    These risks could also interact with the structural threats laid out by Goodhart and Manoj Pradhan in The Great Demographic Reversal. The economic regime that began in the 1980s is, they argue, coming to an end, with rising protectionism and rapid ageing in all the important economies, including China.

    As labour forces shrink, this book suggests, the number of consumers will rise relative to the number of producers, thereby raising prices. Fiscal pressure will rise inexorably, as the population ages. If governments have to choose between inflation and fiscal tightening, they will choose the former. Finally, if interest rates rise too high for comfort, governments will force central banks to lower them.

    Ultimately, then, these pressures would end in another era of high inflation. Some will note, against this view, that this is not how things have ended up in Japan, where decades of easy money has failed to ignite inflation.

    Maybe, that will now happen in the world as a whole: we will all end up Japanese. Certainly, history never repeats exactly.

    The stagflation of the 1970s, especially the squeeze on profits and stock market collapse, were due to features of the economies of that time, especially the political strength of labour. So, things may play out quite differently this time.

    Inflation has not come back. It may never do so. But the political and shifts we are seeing today, after Covid, together with the longer-term changes in the world economy, have raised the chances of an inflationary shock of some kind. Investors must take this possibility into account.

    • Bobber says:

      In Japan, there is a much higher degree of moderation and consistency, and there is a strong belief in nationalism and shared-sacrifice. The US, on the other hand, prefers a dog-eat-dog environment where people gloat – I’m rich, and you are not. For this reason, I don’t think the experiences of the two countries will be similar.

      I must say, however, I am surprised at the way the US population has accepted (so far) a high degree of socialism through monetary policy. The government now has a huge say in whether you can buy a home, what size home you can buy and where you can buy, where your kids are educated, who gets hired and promoted at work, what your products cost, and how much of a retirement nest egg you must live on. It goes way beyond a safety net, and into the realm of “control”. Trust could dissolve quickly if the government fails to maintain the current elevated living standards for the bulk of the population.

  49. Copernicus says:

    The real issue is going to when workers go back to work and take a pay cut.
    This isn’t merely fiscal tightening.
    It is a humiliation.
    Nothing says you are worthless like you are worth less when you work.
    When circumstances manufacture 30 million deeply humiliated people who knows what will happen.
    It is most likely that the $600 a week number was picked out of the air with indifference. Assigning 10% of the country to worthlessness indifferently is uncommon.

  50. John Galt says:


    Mr Engel seems to be a bit of a regular poster here, always depositing some colorful gibberish every 6 or 8 posts. . .is there some secret code, or something I’m missing here? I feel left out of his club, and would love to know more about these wonderful, cranial meanderings.

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