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Posts Tagged ‘2017’

Last Friday, Brazilian unions ratcheted up the pressure on president Michel Temer Last Friday, Brazilian unions ratcheted up the pressure on president Michel Temer with a nationwide general strike that closed schools, disrupted transport networks and led to clashes with public security in several cities. Thirty-five million Brazilians took part in the strike out of 208 million. Now if only we could get US citizens so united against the massive corruption of both major political parties and the corrupt US government.

Demonstrators in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo blocked key roads with barricades of burning tires on. Riot police used teargas and percussion grenades to try to disperse the crowds and open the routes.

Brazilian media reported protests in 26 states and strikes by teachers, bus drivers, healthcare providers, oil industry workers and public servants.

As night fell on Friday, there were multiple clashes in central Rio between protesters, who set fire to a bus, and riot police, who fired dozens of rounds of tear gas.

The reason for the protests is simple. The corrupt Brazilian government wants to redistribute income from the 99 percent to the 1 percent by cutting pensions and new labor laws that weakened workers rights. This is called a policy of austerity, which is well known to be a failure at economic stimulus. Since austerity is a proven failure, there is no reason to attempt such a remedy of the economic downturn Brazil has fallen into.

According to the Guardian, “Many voters are furious that politicians are insisting on the need for cuts in benefits and public services even as evidence grows that they benefited personally from illegal kickbacks on overinflated contracts.”

Cutting pensions and benefits will only make the economic downturn worse, and this President Temer must know, otherwise he is ignorant, stupid or corrupt. Obviously, we’re looking at “corrupt.”

The Guardian went on, “Eight cabinet ministers have been implicated in the Lava Jato (Car Wash) investigation into corruption at the country’s two biggest companies, Petrobras and Odebrecht. Temer’s approval ratings have slipped into single digits, similar to the level of his predecessor, Rousseff, when she was impeached last year.”

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The latest in a long line of stock market bubbles is being fueled by record amounts of debt according to the New York Stock Exchange. This debt is called “buying on margin” (BOM). Notice the acronym of BOM, which is pretty close to bomb, and this current bubble is going to explode. Total BOM hit a record high of $528.2 billion in February 2017.

That’s more than half a trillion dollars being used to purchase corporate shares. That’s not a big problem when the market is going up, but it’s now late in the ball game. Our economic expansion is 94 months old, making it the third longest in US history. Statistical indications suggest that it isn’t going to challenge for the number two spot, and that it should peak within the next few months, and then we’ll hit a recession, which will be really bad.

February’s total BOM was $40 billion more than in December 2016. This increase is a sign of optimism or foolishness. People and institutions like hedge funds want to get in on the action while the stock markets are rising. This is probably a good thing to do early in a business expansion, but it’s extremely dangerous to investors and the economy to do this on this scale so late in an expansion.

Suppose you have have $10,000 to invest, so you purchase 100 shares of Home Depot at $100 per share. The market crashes, and the share price drops to $40. Now your investment is worth $4,000. That is not a good result, but your investment is still worth something, and can potentially recover if you hang on to it in the long run.

On the other hand, let’s say you borrow an additional $20,000 to buy another 200 Home Depot shares at $100 for a total of 300 shares and at a total cost of $30,000. The market crashes and the share price quickly drops to $40. Now your shares are worth $12,000 — but you owe your broker $20,000 (plus interest) for borrowing money to buy the stock. That broker calls in his loan. You are forced to sell your shares to get the funds, but at the lower price. You lose $18,000 on your investment. But your broker wants the rest of his $20,000 plus interest. That’s more than $8,000.

So your original $10,000 is wiped out, and you need to put up extra money to pay back your broker.

During most recessions, it’s much more difficult to get credit to pay your broker back, so you may both be out of luck, although you’ll likely be in court defending against him, her or it.

On a massive scale, that’s a recipe for absolute disaster for the whole economy.

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The Federal Reserve Bank is expected to raise interest rates tomorrow. It will most likely be a mild increase of 1/4 to 1/2 percent.

The US and world economies are heading for a recession worse than the last one, and it should begin by June 2017, give or take a few months. Then President Donald Trump will get the blame, as well as the Republican US senate and the Republican US House of Representatives.

The Republicans will blame the Federal Reserve. Blame the recession and its dire impacts on the effects of Reaganomics, which has been a long-term policy of redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent (I doubt Reagan intended it that way). That decreased the demand for goods and services on the part of the 99 percent, and has led to a series of bubble economies for the United States since the 1980s.

The result has been the weakest economic growth in US history under President George W. Bush. The job gains under Bush numbered less than 1.4 million jobs total, with declining real wage growth. Things have been quite a bit better under President Obama. However, the job growth numbers under Obama are far worse than any other president since and including Jimmy Carter, with the exception, of course, of Bush.

Carter had the best monthly job growth numbers of any president since 1976. See Why Did President Jimmy Carter Create More Jobs Per Year Than Any President Since Him? JohnHively.wordpress.com

The Fed and everybody else expect the current economic expansion to continue. That’s insane. All the indications and variables suggest we are on a crash course with a massive recession by June 2017. See The New Recession is Knocking at the Door, and It’s Going to Be Worse than the Last One–JohnHively.Wordpress.com

Only two US business expansions have lasted longer than 100 months. The third longest expansion began under President Ronald Reagan and lasted 92 months. Including this month, the current expansion is 91 months. That means by next June it will have lasted 98 months. Given the weaknesses of the current US economy, we most likely won’t make it much longer than June.

The Federal Reserve will likely raise interest rates tomorrow and hasten the coming of the next recession by a month or two.

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income-inequality

 

Originally published in September 2016.

The next recession will hit sometime during the next twelve months, most likely by June of 2017, give or take a month or two. It will be worse than the last one, and the impacts of it will last longer than the Great Recession of 2007-2009. The effects of that recession are still being felt. Median household income, for example, is still below what it was in 2007. That is one of the reasons why the next recession will be worse than the last.

99 percent of all US income growth from 2009 to 2014 went to the top 1 percent. They invest their money in the bond, stock and political markets. This does not create demand for goods and services. It destroys that demand by using financial and political leverage to export US jobs to low wage countries.

So all of this means that roughly 23 to 36 percent of all income produced in the United States has been stolen by the 1 percent, depending on whose figures you’re using. This inequality is destroying the demand for goods and services. Back in 1980, the 1 percent were able to steal only 8 percent of all US income. That’s why job and wage growth was much greater then than now.

Nowadays, the 99 percent earn roughly 62 to 77 percent of all income, down from 92 percent in 1980. This means demand for goods and services will be weak, much weaker, in fact, during the next recession than might be imagined.

The current economic expansion is the weakest in modern US history because of that lack of demand. It’s also been illegally contrived.

Home mortgage applications

The big banks withheld 3.4 million homes from the market by 2011. This is a violation of a variety of US laws, and is called a conspiracy in restraint of trade. As you can tell from the graph above, demand for home mortgages have been historically low compared to the last housing bubble, yet prices continue to bounce up because that 3.4 million homes represented more than 50 percent of the entire available housing stock, according to Bloomberg news. Click the following link for the Bloomberg report $382B Shadow Inventory Weighs on U.S. Housing-Bloomberg News.

This has driven home builders to construct more homes in the USA, and panicked people into purchasing overpriced homes that the banks illegally benefit from. This illegal housing bubble is what has powered this economy forward, and also to its doom.

The above suggests a few ominous things.

  1. The big banks can’t take many more houses off the market during and after the next recession, leaving them unable to create another housing bubble sufficient to power the next economic expansion forward.
  2. Earning 63 to 78 percent of total US income will not allow the 99 percent sufficient financial strength to power the US out of the recession.
  3. Instead, people who have borrowed against the rising value of their homes and used credit cards to sustain their standard of living will be trying to dig out of their debt.
  4. The value of housing will drop, as it always has done during recessions. This time the drop could be 30 to 50 percent in many areas. Maybe 60 percent.
  5. Deflation, caused by a lack of demand, will likely happen.
  6. Expect negative interest rates.
  7. The stock markets will fall more than they did last time. Expect major stock indices like the S&P 500 and the Dow to plummet 50 to 90 percent.
  8. The Federal Reserve will bail out the big banks and rich investors to the tune of tens of trillions of dollars, like during the last recession. But the Fed won’t bail out the 99 percent.
  9. The government must bail out the rich, or the 99 percent, but it can’t bail out both. The politicians will chose to bail out the rich, just like last time.
  10. Unemployment will be in double figures at some point, and perhaps for a long time.
  11. A political revolution will likely be forced into place at some point to replace the current corrupt government, and the corrupt politicians of the Republican and Democratic Parties.

As a final note, it should be pointed out that very few news sources have reported the housing conspiracy. No politician of note has mentioned it to my knowledge. This suggests something ominous, and this is only a suggestion.

It is possible the CEOs of the big banks gathered together, either in person or electronically, with Republican Party, Democratic Party and Federal Reserve officials, to conspire to engineer this housing bubble in order to power this historically weak economic expansion, and to make certain they wouldn’t face federal charges in doing so.

Now this is just a suspicion, so don’t get all heated up. But since the government has made it a point not to do enforce US laws against drug money laundering and other criminal activities on the part of the bankers, it might also be reasonable to assume this housing bubble has been created with a nod and a wink from the politically powerful.

When this recession begins, there will be virtually nothing to power us out of it except a political revolution of some kind. We’ll need a new FDR. Are you listening Senator Warren?

 

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Franklin Roosevelt

The next recession is unfolding, and it’s going to be the worst one since the Great Depression. I’ve been watching this historically weak US economic expansion unravel since November 2015. See https://johnhively.wordpress.com/2015/11/06/the-coming-recession-and-us-senator-elizabeth-warrens-seniors-and-veterans-emergency-benefits-act-save-benefits-act/. We will officially go into recession somewhere between late this year and June 2017.

Nothing can stop it. Not declining gasoline and oil prices, not falling interest rates.

The corrupt US government has passed legislation over the decades that have redistributed massive amounts of income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent. The 1 percent currently steal over 37 percent of all income produced in the US compared to 8 percent in 1980. See https://johnhively.wordpress.com/2015/12/29/new-study-the-middle-class-is-losing-ground-as-wall-street-senators-ron-wyden-mitch-mcconnell-orrin-hatch-and-others-continue-to-use-the-federal-government-and-the-federal-reserve-to-redistribute/. Now the 99 percent can’t purchase enough goods and services to keep the economy and the financial markets chugging along. The economy is set to collapse upon itself. However, there is even worse news.

Sometime between the November elections of 2016 and whenever the new president is inaugurated Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden will introduce the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) into committee. This is the largest income and political power redistribution scam in world history. The TPP is falsely marketed as a trade agreement, but it has virtually nothing to do with trade.

President Obama, ever the servant of Wall Street executives, has already signed this scam without a single word of debate in the halls of one of the most corrupt political bodies in the world–the US congress. So the TPP becomes law, unconstitutionally at that, if it passes through the US House and the US Senate.

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The TPP will only make matters worse for the 99 percent as this recession swings into full gear. The TPP will redistribute trillions of dollars of income from the 99 to the 1 percent on a yearly basis, as well as steal their state and local voting rights in many cases.

Here’s how bad this coming recession will be without the TPP:

* Effective interest rates will sink into negative levels, like in Europe.
* The nation will flirt with deflation, and possibly fall into it, because trillions of dollars have been redistributed from the 99 to the 1 percent, so demand for goods and services will be weaker than at any time since the Great Depression.
* Instead of 48 million Americans on food stamps, like during the current so-called economic expansion, 60 to 90 million Americans will be on food stamps.
* Unemployment will hit 10 to 18 percent, and will stay above 10 percent for years.
* Mortgage defaults will hit record levels.
* Home prices will decline 20 to 60 percent, and maybe more.
* On average, stocks will lose 20 to 60 percent of their values, and maybe more.
* We’re still feeling the impact of the last recession, and so too will we feel the impacts of this recession for years and years unless….
* Anticipate a possible political revolution as grassroots insurgents take over both major political parties. Think Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren for the Democratic Party, and who knows for the Republican Party?
* Anticipate possible violence as the police and military crack down on protesters.
* Anticipate a US political and economic rejuvenation after many years of hard struggle. People like Wyden, one of the principal architects of this recession, will be a historical footnote.

This Depression will be worldwide.

Imagine what this recession will be like with the TPP.

Now, if we can just stop Wyden and the TPP in congress, that will make our task of a restored America for everyone much easier in the long run. And it will be in the long run that we win.

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