Artificially suppressed interest rates and low birth rates have their consequences. From Bill Blain at morningporridge.com:
“We may choose our paths, but we can’t choose the consequences that come with them.”
This morning: Consequences are unavoidable. Pension savers are crushed by interest rate repression and the changing demographics of Covid, while the deluge of debt fuelled by low rates does nothing for economic sustainability.
One of the things any investor must understand is that everything has consequences. There are always consequences. They are unavoidable. 13 years of monetary experimentation by central banks has profound consequences. For everybody.
A few days ago my colleague, Mike Hollings, CIO of Shard, and I put together a vlog on shifting market conditions. I’ve known Mike for decades, and we both agree it’s the consequences of the last 13 years of monetary distortion (since the beginning of the Global Financial Crisis that began in 2007) that present the greatest long-term challenges for markets. (You should be able to see some highlights of our chat in the latest Shard Lite-Bite video later today.)
One of the issues we covered was the effect of repressed interest rates on savings – and how challenging these will be to the expectations of current pension plans. Sure enough, bang on time, there are two stories in the market this morning that throw our concerns into stark reality.
They’re leaving the totalitarian states and headed towards the states that have preserved a vestige of freedom. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
A new report has found that Tennessee posted the largest net gain of U-Haul trucks than any other state in 2020, making it U-Haul’s top growth state for the first time.
Growth rates are determined by the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks entering a state versus leaving that state in a given year. U-Haul keeps tabs on more than two million one-way U-Haul truck customer transactions annually, allowing the company to observe migration trends, according to the report published by U-Haul.
“Tennessee’s influx of do-it-yourself movers during a turbulent year marked by the coronavirus pandemic means that a state other than Florida and Texas tops the growth rankings for the first time since 2015 when North Carolina led the way,” the report said.
Texas and Florida were the top two other destinations. For three consecutive years, Texas had the largest net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks before Florida displaced it for the number one spot last year.
Before the pandemic, Americans fled liberal-run states and metro areas because of high taxes to conservative states that were business-friendly, such as Texas and Florida. The pandemic certainly amplified the exodus.
Ohio, Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, and Georgia made up the rest of the top ten states with a net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks.
One reason the coronavirus is receiving so much attention and hysteria is because its disproportionately killing the baby boom generation, and everything that generation has done has received disproportionate attention. From the Zman at theburningplatform.com:
Major social events are often a lot like moving furniture around the house. Moving the bookcase from one side of the room to the other is a mundane task. What you find behind it, however, can be quite interesting. Sometimes you find something you searched high and low for at some point. Other times you find something that you never knew was missing. Maybe just moving things around a bit gives you a new perspective on your living space that leads to other changes in your environment.
That’s how big social events feel sometimes. The event itself is not as important as what it reveals. Maybe you find out your neighbor is a bit of kook, who quietly has been stocking the basement with dried food and ammunition. Maybe we learn that the local government is more useless than anyone imagined possible. The Chinese pandemic is one of those events that will be more important for what it reveals than for the impact of the virus itself, unless you die from it, of course.
For example, we are getting a glimpse of what the great Baby Boomer retirement is going to look like in the coming decade. If we execute all of the people, who like debating the precise dates of generational divisions, we can agree that the cohort in question is roughly those who came of age in the late 1960’s and the late 1970’s. Two waves of the post-war baby boom. Right now, the number of elderly people grows by an average of 2.8 percent annually. It will peak at about 80 million.
Once upon a time the US was not a profligate nation. In fact, its citizens saved and invested and didn’t borrow money. From Bill Bonner at bonnerandpartners.com:
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – Round us swirls a blinding dust of accusations… slurs… mad dogs… lost thoughts… and screwball ideas…
“You dog-faced pony soldier,” says a rattled Joe Biden to a student protester.
Senator Romney is a “pompous ass,” says the President of the United States.
The Trump Team’s budget for 2021 came out yesterday. The press said it planned to “slash the safety net.” The Democrats said it was “dead on arrival.” The Wall Street Journal had this comment:
The $4.8 trillion budget for fiscal 2021, released Monday, assumes that economic growth will be stronger than most forecasters project. To hit its targets, the budget excludes tax cuts the administration may propose later and includes spending cuts that are vague, unlikely to advance in Congress, or both.
“A lot of specific policies are meaningful, but the overall numbers are largely phony,” said Marc Goldwein, senior vice president at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a group that favors deficit reduction.
Posted in Business, Capitalism, Debt, demographics, Economy, Financial markets, Government, Money, Society, Trade
Tagged Federal deficits, Fiat debt, Trade deficits
At its present birth rate China cannot sustain the growth rates that have made it an economic powerhouse. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
China finally abandoned its controversial one-child policy in November 2013. But more than six years later, millions of Chinese couples are still unwilling to have a second child. And that’s a huge problem for the Communist Party, whose legitimacy in the eyes of the public depends on its ability to deliver on promises of unbridled growth and prosperity.
And who can blame them? Entrenched behaviors die hard, and after the government’s brutal treatment of citizens who defied its policy (which was initially imposed to ward off famine), we can sympathize with Chinese who simply believe that having two children isn’t in keeping with the fundamentals of patriotic socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Demographics can be destiny, and the demographics of the peoples responsible for much of Western Civilization portend a bleak future. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:
If Western elites were asked to name the greatest crisis facing mankind, climate change would win in a walk.
Thus did Time magazine pass over every world leader to name a Swedish teenage climate activist, Greta Thunberg, its person of the year.
On New Year’s Day, the headline over yet another story in The Washington Post admonished us anew: “A Lost Decade for Climate Action: We Can’t Afford A Repeat, Scientists Warn.”
“By the final year of the decade,” said the Post, “the planet had surpassed its 2010 temperature record five times.
“Hurricanes devastated New Jersey and Puerto Rico, and floods damaged the Midwest and Bangladesh. Southern Africa was gripped by a deadly drought. Australia and the Amazon are ablaze.”
On it went, echoing the endless reports on the perils of climate change to the planet we all inhabit.
Yet, from the inaction of the carbon-emitting countries like India, China, Russia and the USA, the gravity with which Western elites view the crisis is not shared by the peoples for whom they profess to speak.
Posted in Collapse, Culture, Debt, demographics, Economy, Environment, Governments, History, Immigration, Politics
Tagged Europe, Japan, Population
Demographic charts say deleveraging, deflation, and depression are in our future. Read ’em and weep. From Chris Hamilton at econimica.blogspot.com:
First, chart of the century…literally. For those engrossed in the current and engulfing repo fiasco, QE, and monetization…it is helpful to pull back and clarify what it is that is causing the existing economic and financial system to fail? It was, is, and will be a Ponzi to its last day and Ponzi’s fail for lack of new suckers. In this case, those willing and able to undertake new credit (debt) that enlarges the money supply in our fractional reserve system. The chart below shows the global annual growth of the 20 to 65 year-olds versus 65+ year-olds (both excluding Africa). 20 to 65 year-olds world over utilize credit (debt) while 65+ year-olds extinguish debt (deleverage). So long as the growth of those levering up outstripped those deleveraging, the system could continue. But as you’ll note, in 2008, the entire global system shuddered as accelerating growth of potential workers ceased and began decelerating…while the growth of non-workers accelerated. By about 2024, the annual growth of non-workers (deleveragers) will overtake annual growth of potential workers (debtors). Those rapidly extinguishing debt in old age will outnumber those undertaking the new debt. Those in retirement or in death offloading assets will outnumber those buying those assets. The non-technical name for this is a “shit-show” and this is why central banks, federal governments, and ultra wealthy are aligning ever tighter to save themselves.
We might not have a central bank after the younger generations discover what the Fed has done to them. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:
Eventually the younger generations will connect all the economic injustices implicit in ‘OK Boomer’ with the Fed.
Much of the cluelessness and economic inequality behind the OK Boomermeme is the result of Federal Reserve policies that have favored those who already own the assets (Boomers) that the Fed has relentlessly pumped higher, to the extreme disadvantage of younger generations who were not given the opportunity to buy assets cheap and ride the Fed wave higher.
OK Fed: you’ve destroyed price discovery, driven housing out of reach of all but the wealthy and hollowed out the economy, all the while patting yourselves on the back for being so smart and fabulous.
OK Fed: you’ve waged generational war without even acknowledging how disastrous your policies have been for younger generations. You’ve bloated the paper wealth of everyone old enough to have bought a home 20, 30 or 40 years ago and who’s had a Corporate America or government job who’s seen their 401K or pension soar because “the Fed has our back” and Fed policies have inflated one bubble in stocks and bonds after another for 25 years.
US life expectancies have declined for three straight years. Why? From Robert Bridge at strategic-culture.org:
Following decades of increased life expectancy rates, Americans have been dying earlier for three consecutive years since 2014, turning the elusive quest for the ‘American Dream’ into a real-life nightmare for many. Corporate America must accept some portion of the blame for the looming disaster.
Something is killing Americans and researchers have yet to find the culprit. But we can risk some intuitive guesses.
According to researchers from the Center on Society and Health, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, American life expectancy has not kept pace with that of other wealthy countries and is now in fact decreasing.
Posted in Collapse, demographics, Economy, Government, Labor, Law, Media, Medicine, Politics
Tagged jobs, Life expectancies, opioids
If population is to be controlled, let’s start with the population of globalists. From Brandon Smith at alt-market.com:
Eugenics and population control are long time hobbies of the financial elites. In the early 1900’s, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Carnegie Institute were deeply involved in promoting Eugenics laws in the US. These laws led to the forced sterilization of over 60,000 American citizens in states like California and thousands of rejected marriage licenses. The Eugenics programs in the US were only a beta test though, as the Rockefellers then transferred their programs over to Germany under Hitler and the Third Reich in the 1930’s, where a true widespread eugenics-based population control program was introduced.
The targets of population reduction were based on ethnic background, but also “mental intelligence” and economic status. The Carnegie Institute even established a “Eugenics Records Office” called Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory in 1904, which collected genetic data on millions of Americans and their families with the intent of controlling their numbers and erasing certain traits from the US population. The Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory still exists today and presents itself as a kind of philanthropic endeavor to help humanity.
Posted in Civil Liberties, Crime, demographics, Energy, Environment, Governments, History, Morality, Politics
Tagged Climate Change, Club of Rome, Eugenics, Population control, Renewable energy