This article was written by Monty Pelerin and originally published at EconomicNoise.com
The US and world economies are frauds that are coming unraveled. The Greek bailout is the most recent example of “kick the can down the road” solutions. The US housing bubble was an attempt to cover up/recover from the dot-com bust. Now the US is in a financial bubble engineered to recover from the housing bubble debacle. Soon this bubble will burst. Only the date is unknown.
Two predictions can be made with reasonable confidence:
- The stock market is likely to be halved and that might be optimistic. Only the date is unknown.
- The economy will eventually resemble the Great Depression. Only the date is unknown.
Nothing is ever certain. An experienced CFO told me at the beginning of my career that “even the impossible has a 20% probability.” In deference to him and years of empirical evidence, I put the the above two events as virtually certain, i.e., an 80% probability.
The Current Problem
Phoenix Capital provided reasons to expect horrible outcomes:
- The REAL problem for the financial system is the bond bubble. In 2008 when the crisis hit it was $80 trillion. It has since grown to over $100 trillion.
- The derivatives market that uses this bond bubble as collateral is over $555 trillion in size.
- Many of the large multinational corporations, sovereign governments, and even municipalities have used derivatives to fake earnings and hide debt. NO ONE knows to what degree this has been the case, but given that 20% of corporate CFOs have admitted to faking earnings in the past, it’s likely a significant amount.
- Corporations today are more leveraged than they were in 2007. As Stanley Druckenmiller noted recently, in 2007 corporate bonds were $3.5 trillion… today they are $7 trillion: an amount equal to nearly 50% of US GDP.
- The Central Banks are now all leveraged at levels greater than or equal to where Lehman Brothers was when it imploded. The Fed is leveraged at 78 to 1. The ECB is leveraged at over 26 to 1. Lehman Brothers was leveraged at 30 to 1.
- The Central Banks have no idea how to exit their strategies. Fed minutes released from 2009 show Janet Yellen was worried about how to exit when the Fed’s balance sheet was $1.3 trillion (back in 2009). Today it’s over $4.5 trillion.
The cumulative effects of decades of interventions to mask economic weakness are harmful to the economy. Statistical manipulation and outright lies in government reporting of economic conditions suggest that times are becoming ever more desperate for the political class. There is not enough bailing wire in the world to hold this train wreck in check. Nor is there any way to solve the massive problems created over decades.
Mac Slavo believes we are already in a world-wide depression stating:
With stock markets in China having self destructed, Greece and Europe in another crisis, and corporate earnings for some of the world’s biggest corporations showing lackluster performance, it should be clear that the situation is rapidly deteriorating.
But for the last several years America has appeared to remain fairly insulated from overt crisis. We were told that a recovery had taken hold, jobs were returning and consumer confidence had reached new highs, propaganda which drove millions of investors back into stock markets and real estate. No one in the mainstream world, it seems, believes there’s anything to be concerned about.
Except there is.
Nassim Taleb described the problem:
Uncertainty should not bother you. We may not be able to forecast when a bridge will break, but we can identify which ones are faulty and poorly built. We can assess vulnerability. And today the financial bridges across the world are very vulnerable. Politicians prescribe ever larger doses of pain killer in the form of financial bailouts, which consists in curing debt with debt, like curing an addiction with an addiction, that is to say it is not a cure. This cycle will end, like it always does, spectacularly.
Each intervention has been bigger than the previous one. And they are needed more frequently. Bad times are here and have been despite what government says. Worse times lie ahead. Only the date is unknown.
Government is helpless at this point. Their cover-ups have made matters worse. When the unknown date arrives, America will likely look like some third-world country. Its political system may not survive.
Welcome to Venezuela with nuclear weapons.