Nov. 19, 2008, 11:53 a.m. EST
30 reasons for Great Depression 2 by 2011
New-New Deal, bailouts, trillions in debt, antitax mindset spell disaster
By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch
ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. (MarketWatch) — By 2011? No recovery? No new bull? “Hey Paul, why do you keep talking about a bigger crash coming by 2011?” Readers ask that often. So here’s a sequel to my predictions of 2000 and 2004, with a look three years ahead:
First. Dot-com crash
We pinpointed the dot-com crash at its peak, in a March 20, 2000 column: “Next crash? Sorry, you won’t see it coming.” Bulls-eye: The dot-com bubble popped. The economy went into a 30-month recession. The stock market lost $8 trillion.
And today, over eight years later, the market is still roughly 40% below its 2000 peak.
Discussing the Great Depression
Dorothy Womble and William Hague survived the Great Depression. They share their stories of living during that time as children. (Nov. 14)
Factor in inflation and the average stock has lost well over 50% of its value. Stocks have proven to be a very big loser, a bad investment for Americans, thanks to Wall Street’s selfish greed, plus the complicity and naiveté of politicians, press and public.
Second. Subprime meltdown
We reported on warnings of another crash coming as early as 2004, wrote a sequel, also titled “Next crash? Sorry, you won’t see it coming.” Yes, we were early, but in good company. We wrote many more warning columns. Few listened.
Subsequent events, notably former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan’s admission of his failures in congressional testimony, prove that if he and other Reaganomic ideologues weren’t so myopic and intransigent about proving their free-market deregulation theories, they could have acted earlier and prevented today’s colossal mess. Instead, their ideology kept the bubble blowing, delayed the pop, making matters worse.
So once again, as history proves over and over, ideology trumps common sense, reality and the facts. Greed drives ideologues to blow bubbles. They pop. Crashes happen. The public is collateral damage.
Third. Megabubble cycles
We also detailed the broader, accelerating macroeconomic sweep of cycles last summer in columns like “20 reasons new megabubble pops in 2011.” We summarized a long list of major warnings from financial periodicals — Forbes, Fortune, the Wall Street Journal, Economist — and from the voices of Warren Buffett, Bill Gross, a sitting Fed governor and a former Commerce secretary. Multiple warnings “hiding in plain sight,” beginning with a Fed governor warning Greenspan in 2000 about subprime risk.
But the big shocker came from the new Treasury secretary two years before the meltdown: Bloomberg News reports that shortly after leaving Wall Street as Goldman Sachs’ CEO, Henry Paulson was at Camp David warning the president and his staff of “over-the-counter derivatives as an example of financial innovation that could, under certain circumstances, blow up in Wall Street’s face and affect the whole economy.”
Yes, they knew. And still both Paulson, a Wall Street insider, and Greenspan’s successor, Ben Bernanke, a Princeton scholar of the Great Depression, stayed trapped in denial and kept happy-talking the public for months after the meltdown began in mid-2007. Get it? While they could have put the brakes on this meltdown years ago, our leaders were prisoners of their distorted, inflexible views of conservative Reaganomics ideology.
As a result, once again the “best and the brightest” failed America and now they and their buddies in Washington and Corporate America are setting up the Crash of 2011.
Now it’s time for my 2008 update, a look into the future where things will get far worse during the next presidential term. And given human behavior, especially in the deep recesses of Wall Street’s “greed is good” DNA, it seems inevitable that no matter how well-intentioned the new president may be Wall Street and Washington’s 41,000 special-interest lobbyists will drive America into the Great Depression 2.
30 ‘leading edge’ indicators of the coming Great Depression 2
Every day there is more breaking news, proof Wall Street’s greed is already back to “business as usual” and in denial, grabbing more and more from the new “Bailouts-R-Us” bonanza of free taxpayer cash and credits, like two-year-olds in a toy store at Christmas — anything to boost earnings, profits and stock prices, and keep those bonuses and salaries flowing, anything to blow a new bubble.
Scan these 30 “leading indicators.” Each problem has one or more possible solutions, but lacks unified political support. Time’s running out. We’re already at the edge. Add up the trillions in debt: Any collective solution will only compound our problems, because the cumulative debt will overwhelm us, make matters worse:
America’s credit rating may soon be downgraded below AAA
Fed refusal to disclose $2 trillion loans, now the new “shadow banking system”
Congress has no oversight of $700 billion, and Paulson’s Wall Street Trojan Horse
King Henry Paulson flip-flops on plan to buy toxic bank assets, confusing markets
Goldman, Morgan lost tens of billions, but planning over $13 billion in bonuses this year
AIG bails big banks out of $150 billion in credit swaps, protects shareholders before taxpayers
American Express joins Goldman, Morgan as bank holding firms, looking for Fed money
Treasury sneaks corporate tax credits into bailout giveaway, shifts costs to states
State revenues down, taxes and debt up; hiring, spending, borrowing add even more debt
State, municipal, corporate pensions lost hundreds of billions on derivative swaps
Hedge funds: 610 in 1990, almost 10,000 now. Returns down 15%, liquidations up
Consumer debt way up, now at $2.5 trillion; next area for credit meltdowns
Fed also plans to provide billions to $3.6 trillion money-market fund industry
Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are bleeding cash, want to tap taxpayer dollars
Washington manipulating data: War not $600 billion but estimates actually $3 trillion
Hidden costs of $700 billion bailout are likely $5 trillion; plus $1 trillion Street write-offs
Commodities down, resource exporters and currencies dropping, triggering a global meltdown
Big three automakers near bankruptcy; unions, workers, retirees will suffer
Corporate bond market, both junk and top-rated, slumps more than 25%
Retailers bankrupt: Circuit City, Sharper Image, Mervyns; mall sales in free fall
Unemployment heading toward 8% plus; more 1930’s photos of soup lines
Government policy is dictated by 42,000 myopic, highly paid, greedy lobbyists
China’s sees GDP growth drop, crates $586 billion stimulus; deflation is now global, hitting even Dubai
Despite global recession, U.S. trade deficit continues, now at $650 billion
The 800-pound gorillas: Social Security, Medicare with $60 trillion in unfunded liabilities
Now 46 million uninsured as medical, drug costs explode
New-New Deal: U.S. planning billions for infrastructure, adding to unsustainable debt
Outgoing leaders handicapping new administration with huge liabilities
The “antitaxes” message is a new bubble, a new version of the American dream offering a free lunch, no sacrifices, exposing us to more false promises
Will the next meltdown, the third of the 21st Century, trigger a second Great Depression? Or will the 2007-08 crisis simply morph into a painful extension of today’s mess to 2011 and beyond, with no new bull market, no economic recovery as our new president hopes?
Perhaps some of the first 29 problems may be solved separately, but collectively, after building on a failed ideology, they spell disaster. So listen closely to “leading indicator” No. 30:
At a recent Reuters Global Finance Summit former Goldman Sachs chairman John Whitehead was interviewed. He was also Ronald Reagan’s Deputy Secretary of State and a former chairman of the N.Y. Fed. He says America’s problems will take years and will burn trillions.
He sees “nothing but large increases in the deficit … I think it would be worse than the depression. … Before I go to sleep at night, I wonder if tomorrow is the day Moody’s and S&P will announce a downgrade of U.S. government bonds.” It’ll get worse because “the public is not prepared to increase taxes. Both parties were for reducing taxes, reducing income to government, and both parties favored a number of new programs, all very costly and all done by the government.”
Reuters concludes: “Whitehead said he is speaking out on this topic because he is concerned no lawmakers are against these new spending programs and none will stand up and call for higher taxes. ‘I just want to get people thinking about this, and to realize this is a road to disaster,’ said Whitehead. ‘I’ve always been a positive person and optimistic, but I don’t see a solution here.'”
We see the Great Depression 2. Why? Wall Street’s self-interested greed. They are their own worst enemy … and America’s too
The Depression Of 2011? 23 Economic Warning Signs From Financial Authorities All Over The Globe
Could the world economy be headed for a depression in 2011? As inconceivable as that may seem to a lot of people, the truth is that top economists and governmental authorities all over the globe say that the economic warning signs are there and that we need to start paying attention to them. The two primary ingredients for a depression are debt and fear, and the reality is that we have both of them in abundance in the financial world today. In response to the global financial meltdown of 2007 and 2008, governments around the world spent unprecedented amounts of money and got into a ton of debt. All of that spending did help bail out the global banking system, but now that an increasing number of governments around the world are in need of bailouts themselves, what is going to happen? We have already seen the fear that is generated when one small little nation like Greece even hints at defaulting. When it becomes apparent that quite a few governments around the globe cannot handle their debt burdens, what kind of shockwave is that going to send through financial markets?
The truth is that we are facing the greatest sovereign debt crisis in modern history. There is no way out of this financial mess that does not include a significant amount of economic pain.
When you add mountains of debt to paralyzing fear to strict austerity measures, what do you get?
What you get is deflationary pressure and financial markets that seize up.
Some of the top financial authorities in the world are warning us that unless something substantial is done, that is exactly what we are going to be seeing as 2010 turns into 2011.
Of course some governments around the world could try to put these economic problems off for a while by printing and borrowing even more money, but we all know by now that only makes the long-term problems even worse.
For now, however, it seems as though most governments are opting for the austerity measures that the IMF seems determined to cram down the throats of everyone.
So what will austerity measures mean for the global economy?
Think “stimulus” in reverse.
Yes, things are going to get messy.
It looks like there is going to be a great deal of economic fear and a great deal of economic pain in 2011 and the years beyond that.
So are we headed for “the depression of 2011”?
Well, let’s hear what some of the top financial experts in the world have to say….
#1) Economist Nouriel Roubini:
“We are still in the middle of this crisis and there is more trouble ahead of us, even if there is a recovery. During the great depression the economy contracted between 1929 and 1933, there was the beginning of a recovery, but then a second recession from 1937 to 1939. If you don’t address the issues, you risk having a double-dip recession and one which is at least as severe as the first one.”
#2) Bank of England Governor Mervyn King:
“Dealing with a banking crisis was difficult enough, but at least there were public-sector balance sheets on to which the problems could be moved. Once you move into sovereign debt, there is no answer; there’s no backstop.”
#3) German Chancellor Angela Merkel:
“The current crisis facing the euro is the biggest test Europe has faced for decades, even since the Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957.”
#4) Paul Donovan, the Senior Economist at UBS:
“Now people are questioning if the euro will even exist in three years.”
#5) Michael Pento, Chief Economist at Delta Global Advisors:
“The crisis in Greece is going to spread to Spain and it’s going to be very difficult to deal with. They are bailing out debt with more debt and it isn’t sustainable. It’s a wonderful scenario for gold.”
“LEAP/E2020 believes that the global systemic crisis will experience a new tipping point from Spring 2010. Indeed, at that time, the public finances of the major Western countries are going to become unmanageable, as it will simultaneously become clear that new support measures for the economy are needed because of the failure of the various stimuli in 2009, and that the size of budget deficits preclude any significant new expenditures.”
#7) Telegraph Columnist Edmund Conway:
“Whatever yardstick you care to choose – share-price moves, the rates at which banks lend to each other, measures of volatility – we are now in a similar position to 2008.”
#8) Peter Morici, an Economics Professor at the University of Maryland:
“The next financial tsunami is emerging and will ripple to America.”
#9) Bob Chapman of the International Forecaster:
“The green shoots of recovery have now turned into poison ivy. The abyss has again been filled with more debt and more fiat currency. In the process the Fed and now the ECB have lost all credibility.”
#10) Telegraph Columnist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard:
“The M3 money supply in the United States is contracting at an accelerating rate that now matches the average decline seen from 1929 to 1933, despite near zero interest rates and the biggest fiscal blitz in history.”
#11) Professor Tim Congdon from International Monetary Research:
“The plunge in M3 has no precedent since the Great Depression. The dominant reason for this is that regulators across the world are pressing banks to raise capital asset ratios and to shrink their risk assets. This is why the US is not recovering properly.”
#12) Reuters Columnist Iliana Jonas:
“The default rate for commercial mortgages held by banks in the first quarter hit its highest level since at least 1992 and is expected to surpass that by year-end and peak in 2011, according to a study by Real Capital Analytics.”
#13) Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize-winning Economist:
“It’s not hard to see Japan-style deflation emerging if the economy stays weak.”
#14) Stan Humphries, Chief Economist for Zillow.com:
“Anyone expecting a robust rebound in the housing market … will be sorely disappointed.”
#15) Fox News:
“As the national debt clock ticked past the ignominious $13 trillion mark overnight, Congress pressed to pass a host of supplemental spending bills.”
“The U.S. government’s Aaa bond rating will come under pressure in the future unless additional measures are taken to reduce projected record budget deficits, according to Moody’s Investors Service Inc.”
#17) Peter Schiff:
“When creditors ultimately decide to curtail loans to America, U.S. interest rates will finally spike, and we will be confronted with even more difficult choices than those now facing Greece. Given the short maturity of our national debt, a jump in short-term rates would either result in default or massive austerity. If we choose neither, and opt to print money instead, the run-a-way inflation that will ensue will produce an even greater austerity than the one our leaders lacked the courage to impose. Those who believe rates will never rise as long as the Fed remains accommodative, or that inflation will not flare up as long as unemployment remains high, are just as foolish as those who assured us that the mortgage market was sound because national real estate prices could never fall.”
#18) The National League of Cities:
“City budget shortfalls will become more severe over the next two years as tax collections catch up with economic conditions. These will inevitably result in new rounds of layoffs, service cuts, and canceled projects and contracts.”
#19) Dan Domenech, Executive Director of the American Association of School Administrators:
“Faced with continued budgetary constraints, school leaders across the nation are forced to consider an unprecedented level of layoffs that would negatively impact economic recovery and deal a devastating blow to public education.”
#20) Mike Whitney:
“Without another boost of stimulus, the economy will lapse back into recession sometime by the end of 2010.”
#21) Kevin Giddis, Managing Director of Fixed Income at Morgan Keegan:
“There is big money making big bets that at a minimum we we’ll have a recession if not a depression that could last for years.”
#22) John P. Hussman, Ph.D.:
“In my estimation, there is still close to an 80% probability (Bayes’ Rule) that a second market plunge and economic downturn will unfold during the coming year. This is not certainty, but the evidence that we’ve observed in the equity market, labor market, and credit markets to-date is simply much more consistent with the recent advance being a component of a more drawn-out and painful deleveraging cycle.”
#23) Richard Russell, the Famous Author of the Dow Theory Letters:
“Do your friends a favor. Tell them to “batten down the hatches” because there’s a HARD RAIN coming. Tell them to get out of debt and sell anything they can sell (and don’t need) in order to get liquid. Tell them that Richard Russell says that by the end of this year they won’t recognize the country. They’ll retort, “How the dickens does Russell know — who told him?” Tell them the stock market told him.”