Must read of today, from Market Ticker - Karl Denninger, July 14, 2009
"...if Congress paid attention to the basic economic facts we'd be having a very different discussion in terms of political activity related to the economy as well.
Let's take the basics: We had a $14 trillion economic (GDP) in 2008, of which 70% is consumer spending. The rest is government and exports.
The consumer has spent two decades pulling forward demand via credit - that is, through the chimera of extracting home equity and charging up the credit cards. After the 1981 recession this really started to accelerate; prior to that point most Americans lived largely off their paychecks, rather than pulling out the "magic plastic card" any time they wanted to buy something. Checks were common as was good old-fashioned cash.
In 1981, US GDP was $3.1 trillion dollars.
In 1992 it was $6.3 trillion, a double.
In 2005 it was $12.4 trillion dollars, another double.
Doubling in roughly 12-13 years. Not bad, right?
Let's look at it a different way, this time in "current" (not inflation-adjusted, since GDP isn't) dollars.
In 1981 the per-capita income in the US was $8,476.
In 1992 it was $14,847, a 75% gain.
In 2005 it was $25,036, a 69% gain.
Its not really that subtle, is it?
GDP slightly more than doubled in each of those above periods, but per-capita income lagged, and the lag rate is increasing.
How's that possible, since consumer spending is 70% of GDP?
We haven't been spending income - that is, human productivity. We're pulling forward demand to the tune of 25-30% of income through the use of credit and as we have continued to do it we have started to pay interest on interest; ergo, the amount of debt being taken on has exploded in an exponential spiral!
The following graph makes clear "how we did it":
The mathematics are very simple and that this is not the central focus of the discussion in this economic mess is a criminal act of intentional misdirection by our government and media.
Today everyone wants to talk about "CIT" and their impending failure. Nobody is talking about why they're about to fail, why subprime blew up, why ALT-A and OptionARMs are and will blow up.
Steve Forbes is yammering about how "we must restart securitization" instead of putting forward the truth about the matter: we have hit the wall because we have spent twenty years pulling forward demand via more and more debt load; the current economic mess is a consequence of what happens when you start to pay interest on interest - debt levels spiral upward until you hit the wall of debt service requirements .vs. income - a mathematical fact that is staring all of these commentators square in the face and cannot be refuted.
The gap between "as reported" consumption as a part of GDP and per-capita income is impossible to ignore and cumulatively, since 1981, is close to 40%.
40% X 70% of GDP = 28% GDP contraction, and this assumes that the debt and its service requirement is simply wiped out - that is, it is discharged in bankruptcy.
But nobody is willing to talk about forcing all this unsustainable debt to be discharged in bankruptcy and re-basing the economy to a sustainable level - to return to a time when most of our GDP is in fact a function of human production (wages earned) instead of cheating by charging up the credit card, intending to pay by HELOCing the money out of your house!
This is the math folks. It is the math that nobody wants to debate or discuss. It is what CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, ABC, CBS, NBC and Congress and President Obama all refuse to put on the table, despite the fact that it is staring us in the face.
Notice that nowhere up above is there any complex derivation, differential equations or calculus. There is in fact no math contained in any of this that an ordinary fifth-grader cannot handle and understand.
How is it that we have 300 million Americans with over 250 million of them able to understand the above, but we still refuse to sit down as a nation and address the facts?
How do we "get the economy growing again" when the math is crystal-clear and obvious: Per-capita income is up 2.95 times from 1981 to 2005, but GDP was up 4.0 times over the same period, a gap of 30%, or almost exactly the GDP contraction up above that I have, for more than two years, cited as what must happen to bring the economy back into equilibrium with incomes, ignoring debt service requirements added since 1981.
I am called a "doom and gloomer", "Debbie Downer" and other similar names, and pish-poshed away by many in the mainstream media and sell-side analytical folks who claim that "there's a new bull market just around the corner!" The metalheads all claim that we'll "inflate it away", never mind that attempting to do so just makes the math above worse, not better.
There is only one way to re-base the economy and get it to grow on a sustainable basis: Consumption must be paid for by current income and some fraction of current income must in addition be put into capital formation.
There are only two ways to get there:
We can withdraw all of the political support for the lying that has allowed this debt to accumulate in the first place, calling it what it is: accounting fraud. This will in turn force massive bankruptcies to take place among both individuals and financial firms. Once that process is complete we will have cleared the excessive debt from the system and the economy can then grow organically as a consequence of productivity gains and production, with those who were imprudent appropriately punished by the free market, and those who were prudent rewarded by it.
We can continue to allow those who made imprudent loans to lie about the value of these "assets". There will be no sustainable economic growth so long as the excess debt load remains. There is a high probability that at some point we will enter a "death-spiral" where interest expense exceeds excess income at which point we will literally suffer an economic collapse, and there is absolutely no way to determine exactly where the "tipping point" is. A foreign creditor could trigger such a collapse at any time were they to withdraw their support of Treasuries, for example, either as a consequence of a choice or an economic crisis at home that forces them to stop buying.
Those are the only two choices folks..." Read all here
I would add a third choice: increase the real income of the poorest half of the population and keep to increase it with the GDP. There are many ways to do it, and they just require a political decision. That would be the only effective way to increase consumption and growth in a sustainable way. Easy: just give money to the poor. Why nobody along the political spectrum thought about it?
Jul 14, 2009
The article describes technical principles of remote manipulation of human brain functioning and the threat to democracy which means the fact that the existence of such technologies is classified. Here
A record 33.8 million people received food stamps in April, up 20 percent from a year earlier, as unemployment surged toward a 26-year high, government figures show. Spending also jumped, as the average benefit rose. It was the fifth straight month of record participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and up 1.8 percent from the prior month. Total spending was $4.5 billion, up 19 percent from the previous all-time high reached in March, the USDA said. The government is boosting food aid in response to a jobless rate that rose to 9.5 percent in June from 9.4 percent in May. An additional $20 billion over five years was authorized for nutrition assistance in the $787 billion stimulus bill Congress passed in February. Note the food stamp record is for April. Expect to see new records for May, June, July, and August as well, in line with rising unemployment numbers. Given that unemployment numbers are likely to keep rising for a year, there is an opportunity to set 17 consecutive records. Let's hope it does not come to that. Mike "Mish" Shedlock
More: Video: America on $195 a Week
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