The “Wait and See” Economy’s Moment of Truth, by Charles Hugh Smith

The economy was faltering before Covid-19 and virtually everything that’s been done in response to the outbreak is guaranteed over anything but the immediate short-term to make it that much worse. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

The “wait and see” economy is about to face its moment of truth, and one truth is the $1.8 trillion being passed out like candy is already spent.

The defining phrase of the U.S. economy for the past year is “wait and see”: every enterprise impacted by the pandemic that didn’t close immediately has been in “wait and see” mode, clinging on to the hope that once the pandemic ends then everything will roar back to life, bigger and better than before.

With the promise of herd immunity fast approaching, the moment of truth for “wait and see” is also fast approaching. The conventional view is that the trillions of dollars in stimulus kept business as usual alive and ready to soar back to the good old days. The almost $2 trillion injection of financial smack currently in progress will ignite the afterburners and the economy will rocket higher than anyone can imagine.

The problem with this rosy view is the economy was on fumes before the pandemic, as Gordon Long and I highlighted in our 53-minute presentation, The Coming Deflationary Tsunami. Interest rates had been falling for 40 years and there was little leeway for more of the magic of falling rates. The spending of the upper middle class had already rolled over as the awareness that the longest expansion in U.S. history was faltering seeped into financial decisions–and no wonder, since every trick in the book had been required to keep it alive: zero interest rates, quantitative easing galore, tax cuts, massive deficit spending and speculative bubbles in every asset class.

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