-- Published: Sunday, 12 February 2017 | Print | Disqus
By David Haggith
While I haven’t had the privilege of divine revelation, I do try to look at the forces that are in play that have the power to move nations economically. Two dominant countervailing forces right now are those who have George Soros nearly in tears — who make up the anti-global revolution — and then all the globalists like Soros who are panicking that their new world order is being shredded accompanied by all the raging anarchists that Soros can sponsor as his mercenaries.
There is some certainty here: globalists will not give up after decades of massaging and manipulating and cajoling the world in their pluralistic, globalist direction and so will wage battles everywhere they find people or candidates resisting their agenda. At the same time, those who are sick of globalism have risen up in Brexit and with Trump as their champion, and are not about to lie back down. So, conflict is certain for several years to come. That was an easy prediction for me to make earlier, and we’re seeing it play out daily now that Trump is in 0ffice as president.
Internal conflict tends to get in the way of commerce and so is likely to have economic impact. Within this milieu of daily conflict we have an economic structure in the US (and similarly in most of the rest of the world) that is so riddled with flaws that have not been fixed (and have even been made far worse) that it’s collapse is inevitable even without conflict knocking up against it.
A list of economic flaws that are too big not to fail
Banks that were too big to fail are now much bigger than they were in 2008 and 2009. While banks may be a little more solvent at the moment, if failure comes, the risk to the overall economy is far worse than in 2008 and 2009.
Banksters who destroyed the global economy were almost all rewarded with much larger bonuses, instead of thrown in jail, so they remain at large to wreck things again and even are enticed to strike again because it all worked out so well the first time; but we don’t know where and at what time their corruption will cause their failure. What we do know, is that corruption drifts that way.
Bailing out banks created exactly the “moral hazard” that many people warned about in 2009. As a result, one thing we do know is that bailed-out banks continued their derivative investments that caused many of the 2008 and 2009 failures. In fact, they increased their involvement in this perilous and poorly understood area of investment to such new heights that the number of derivatives in 2009 looks like an large city seen from earth-orbiting altitude — a mere spot compared to all that can be seen now.
Goldman Sachs, the most evil of all the companies that helped cause the global economic collapse, now has three high-level positions in the Trump administration, versus the one that it had in the Obama admin. It, in essence now oversees the whole US financial system — the Fed, the National Economic Council, and the Treasury.
Thanks to the revoking of Glass-Steagall, Banks are still allowed to invest in risky assets like stocks, and the Federal Reserve has even talked about investing directly in stocks as its next recovery plan, even though the revoking of Glass-Steagall played a major role in setting the US up for the Great Recession.
Trump plans to roll back Dodd-Frank (Glass-Steagall’s half-hearted replacement). That means there will be no correction to this serious economic aberration for a long time. Because the Fed can print infinite amounts of money at its own discretion and give it to banks or maybe even start investing it directly, there is no legal limit to how much the Fed and its member bank’s can manipulate the stock market … so long as the keep overall inflation (which doesn’t count stocks) and jobs under control. So, for economic recovery, we’re returning to the old tricks of banking deregulation to loosen up credit; we’ve all seen how beautifully banks policed themselves, as Alan Greenspan assured us they would.
Likewise, we are returning to trickle-down economics, and are about to trump it up higher than under Reagan or GW Bush. We’ve had many years of trickle-down economics over the past thirty years, and clearly it has diminished the middle class and shifted wealth to the top one percent to where our market economy is now weaker because it was a well-off middle class that constituted that market. We’ve learned nothing!
The erosion of the middle class — the chasm that has widened between the rich and all the rest — is leading us into class warfare. So, while we have a cultural war starting between liberals and conservatives, immigrants and natives, and a simultaneous political-economic war between globalists and nationalists, we also have an economic war starting between the rich and the poor. So many different, major, overlapping divisions creating conflict assure growing civil unrest for a long time to come with no clear path out. It looks more like an angry mob than a major battle between two factions.
The national debt, which was completely absurd at $10,000,000,000,000 by the end of the Bush administration, has now doubled to $20,000,000,000,000, thanks to the Obama administration create a tough starting position for the next round of “recovery.”
Trump’s infrastructure stimulus plan and military buildup are, so far, estimated to add somewhere between $5 trillion and $10 trillion to that debt over a decade. That means we’ll likely continue Obama’s $1 trillion annual deficit. Thus, we fully plan to continue the immoral game of spending all of the next generation’s money to buy the things we need, build up our military and to fund our generous welfare to immigrants and other nations. We’ve learned nothing! We’re at a bad starting position, and our answer is to make it worse for everyone ahead.
Corporate debt has also increased to stratospheric levels, and that debt was a big part of what was keeping stock prices rising as companies created market demand for their own shares by buying them back, which also reduces supply to drive up prices.
The stock market, which I believe is already a bubble, is ballooning in speculation of Trump’s grand credit card (not because earnings have greatly improved, for those calculations look more jury-rigged than ever).
Housing prices are back up to the same insane levels they reached in 2007 in most of the US, which could only be supported by loose terms of credit back then. The move back up to those prices has mostly been accomplished by resorting again to looser terms of credit. So, we’re back in a housing bubble because real wages are no better now than they were then. (We learned nothing!)
Banks continued to issue adjustable-rate mortgages, which we experienced as being safe when home values are rising, but devastating time bombs if home values fall so that people cannot refinance their way out of them when the interest increase hits.
Home values have just started declining in several key markets, particularly at the top end, meaning some of those adjustable-rate mortgages bombs may be nearing their final ticks.
Interest on all of that debt (housing, corporate, government) remains at historically low levels, but started rising at an historically rapid rate in the last few months, even without the Fed moving its targets, due in part to anticipation of the financing Trump will have to do to carry out his infrastructure plans.
That’s just domestically. Internationally, two of the oldest and largest banks in Europe keep teetering on the edge of collapse. All of Italy’s banks are structurally unsound because they continue to carry the bad debt from the 2008-2009 financial collapse because they cannot afford to write it off. Greece is still walking the fine edge of bankruptcy. Spain, Portugal and Ireland look marginal at best.
Trends determine ends
These are all problems that are major trends. They are also all structural economic flaws that existed prior to 2007 and that contributed to the economic collapse that started in 2007 and became known by 2008 as the Great Recession. Nothing (or, at best, very little) has been done about them. Nothing is even being talked about being done about them in any serious way. Therefore, nothing is going to be done about them. In fact, all of these flaws are worse today than they were in 2008!
That means they will continue to grow until they erupt in turmoil again. Exactly when I’m not as certain because the election changed things. Trumps stimulus plans on the national credit are so huge they are bound to create some temporary lift. So for the very short term Trump’s policies may boost the economy, but mid-term and longer, Trump and his cabinetful of bankster-barons are not going to be able to stop these numerous trends from crushing us. Trump has expressed no plans to solve any of these overwhelming structural flaws that are trending against us, some of which are past solving (like the national debt). It is questionable he and his cabinet even recognize many of these problems or believe they are important. So, the situation toward the latter part of this year looks worse socially and, in years to come, looks much worse financially and socially.
That is because, ultimately, Trumps short-term stimulus will make some of the items on this list worse. Huge tax breaks for the rich will give some temporary economic boost if they ever make it through congress, but they will also create much greater economic disparity as the cost. That means more political conflict as the gap between the rich and the poor widens more quickly than we’ve ever seen before. The boost, if it happens, will also come at the cost of much more national debt. If interest continues to rise, as it is doing now, that debt will not just be unpayable (as it already is) but will become unserviceable. So, the lon-term economic damage will be significant as it has been after all previous periods of trickle-down economics, marching us toward more debt and stagnation under the service of that debt, because service of the debt soaks up so much of our economic fuel.
The cabinetful of bankster-barons will not likely start putting banksters in jail. They will even less likely break up banks that are too big to fail. They will not put the Fed out of business or the nation back onto the gold standard. They will not likely put Hillary in jail. None of that is going to happen. Or, at least, very little of it.
As it turns out, the first major wave of the Epocalypse that I predicted for 2016 turned out to be political — a revolt against the establishment — rather than economic. Now, the counter-revolution has begun as liberals start fighting back. While I certainly don’t want the non-globalists to back down, you can be certain the globalist establishment isn’t about to back down either. Efforts will intensify on both sides as the pressures above continue to build unabated, making 2017 a year of intensifying battles while the economic time bomb keeps ticking away because no one is paying attention to these structural flaws. We’re too busy fighting over other things.
If anyone doesn’t think this is the Epocalypse, that’s only because they started thinking too certainly that it would happen in a particular way and didn’t note the caveats I gave along the way that said the exact order of events is unpredictable — that an election year could change the timing — but economic failure is assured, and the timing would not be long delayed.
My next article will look at the possibilities of when economic collapse will happen by examining the forces in the upcoming year (the headwinds) that are either certain or very likely to add pressure to this top-heavy structure with crumbling foundation.
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