Tag Archives: Great Depression

Will the Federal Reserve Make Trump a New Herbert Hoover? Is the US Economy Primed for a 1929-Style Shock? by F. William Engdahl

The US has so much debt that even a minor economic perturbation can cause an cataclysm. From F. William Engdahl at lewrockwell.com:

In recent months US President Trump has pointed repeatedly to his role in making the American economy the “best ever.” But behind the extreme highs of the stock market and the official government unemployment data, the US economy is primed for a 1929-style shock, a financial Tsunami that is more influenced by independent Fed actions than by anything that the White House has done since January 2017. At this point the parallels between one-time Republican President Herbert Hoover who presided over the great stock crash and economic depression that was created then by the Fed policies, and Trump in 2019 are looking ominously similar. It underscores that the real power lies with those who control our money, not elected politicians.

Despite proclamations to the contrary, the true state of the US economy is getting more precarious by the day. The Fed policies of Quantitative Easing and Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) implemented after the 2008 crash, contrary to claims, did little to directly rebuild the real US economy. Instead it funneled trillions to the very banks responsible for the 2007-8 real estate bubble. That “cheap money” in turn flowed to speculative high-return investment around the world. It created speculative bubbles in emerging market debt in countries like Turkey, Argentina, Brazil and even China. It created huge investment in high-risk debt, so called junk bonds, in the US corporate sector in areas like shale oil ventures or companies like Tesla. The Trump campaign promise of rebuilding America’s decaying infrastructure has gone nowhere and a divided Congress is not about to unite for the good of the nation at this point. The real indicator of the health of the real economy where real people struggle to make ends meet lies in the record levels of debt.

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An Inflationary Depression, by Alasdair Macleod

The current times bears some ominous parallels to the 1929-1932 period. From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:

Financial markets are ignoring bearish developments in international trade, which coincide with the end of a long expansionary phase for credit. Both empirical evidence from the one occasion these conditions existed in the past and reasoned theory suggest the consequences of this collective folly will be enormous, undermining both financial asset values and fiat currencies.

The last time this coincidence occurred was 1929-32, leading into the great depression, when prices for commodities and output prices for consumer goods fell heavily. With unsound money and a central banking determination to maintain prices, depression conditions will be concealed by monetary expansion, but still exist, nonetheless.

Introduction

The unfortunate souls who are beholden to macroeconomics will read this article’s headline as a contradiction, because they regard inflation as a stimulant and a depression as the consequence of deflation, the opposite of inflation.

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Hitler’s Economics, by LLewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.

Socialists disown Hitler although Socialist is in the Nazi name (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers’ Party). Keynesians disown Hitler although many of his economic policies are straight from Keynes’ playbook. From Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. at mises.org:

hitler.PNG

[Originally published August 02, 2003.]

For today’s generation, Hitler is the most hated man in history, and his regime the archetype of political evil. This view does not extend to his economic policies, however. Far from it. They are embraced by governments all around the world. The Glenview State Bank of Chicago, for example, recently praised Hitler’s economics in its monthly newsletter. In doing so, the bank discovered the hazards of praising Keynesian policies in the wrong context.

The issue of the newsletter (July 2003) is not online, but the content can be discerned via the letter of protest from the Anti-Defamation League. “Regardless of the economic arguments” the letter said, “Hitler’s economic policies cannot be divorced from his great policies of virulent anti-Semitism, racism and genocide.… Analyzing his actions through any other lens severely misses the point.”

The same could be said about all forms of central planning. It is wrong to attempt to examine the economic policies of any leviathan state apart from the political violence that characterizes all central planning, whether in Germany, the Soviet Union, or the United States. The controversy highlights the ways in which the connection between violence and central planning is still not understood, not even by the ADL. The tendency of economists to admire Hitler’s economic program is a case in point.

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The Depression Playbook, by Jeff Thomas

The economic and financial situation before the Great Depression is not comparable to the current economic and financial situation today. The world is far more indebted today, which means the impending catastrophe will be far worse. From Jeff Thomas at internationalman.com:

A crash is coming, and it may be terrific…The vicious circle will get in full swing and the result will be a serious business depression. There may be a stampede for selling which will exceed anything that the Stock Exchange has ever witnessed…Wise are those investors who now get out of debt.

Roger Babson, September, 1929

In the run-up to the 1929 crash, which heralded in the Great Depression, many pundits claimed that the new highs in the market signified that the business cycle had been “repealed.”

Stocks had never enjoyed such a bull market before, and this led many to believe that “the sky’s the limit.” All over the US, people put all the money they could find into stocks. Then, wanting to buy more, they bought on margin. Then, wanting still more, they borrowed privately to buy on margin—a double-dip into debt.

In essence, this meant that a large portion of the extreme bull market was the result of stock investments that were made with money that didn’t exist—a mere “promise” to somehow pay, with nothing to back that promise up.

This, of course, is the very essence of a bubble. And, sooner or later, bubbles pop.

After the crash, the pundits that had driven the market ever-upward were all but speechless, saying only, “No one could have predicted this.”

However, it was predicted by those who understood market bubbles. Roger Babson, in particular, made the statement above to the Annual Business Conference in Massachusetts on 5th September, 1929. At that time, he was vilified by Wall Street for making such an obviously false proclamation, yet, after the crash, he was again vilified for having brought on the crash with his statement.

Neither was true and no lesson was learned by those who created the crash. Yet, it was the logical conclusion to the buildup of events. In fact, there could have been no other outcome… and the same is true today.

The $20 trillion debt that the US government has created is far beyond anything the world has ever seen and, in fact, it exceeds the total of all other countries combined.

To continue reading: The Depression Playbook

Over The Last 10 Years The U.S. Economy Has Grown At EXACTLY The Same Rate As It Did During The 1930s, by Michael Snyder

They called the 1930s the Great Depression. Who knows what they’ll call the last 10 years, but it’s managed to only match the Great Depression’s economic growth rate. That’s according to the government’s dubious statistics. From Michael Snyder at theeconomiccollapseblog.com:

Even though I write about our ongoing long-term economic collapse every day, I didn’t realize that things were this bad.  In this article, I am going to show you that the average rate of growth for the U.S. economy over the past 10 years is exactly equal to the average rate that the U.S. economy grew during the 1930s.  Perhaps this fact shouldn’t be that surprising, because we already knew that Barack Obama was the only president in the entire history of the United States not to have a single year when the economy grew by at least 3 percent.  Of course the mainstream media continues to push the perception that the U.S. economy is in “recovery mode”, but the truth is that this current era has far more in common with the Great Depression than it does with times of great economic prosperity.

Earlier today I came across an article about President Trump’s new budget from Fox News, and in this article the author makes a startling claim…

The hard fact is that the past decade’s $10 trillion in deficit spending has produced the worst economic growth as measured by Gross Domestic Product in our nation’s history.  You read that right, in the past decade our nation’s economy grew slower than even during the Great Depression. This stagnant, new normal, low-growth economy is leaving millions of working age people behind who have given up even trying to participate, and has led to a malaise where many doubt that the American dream is attainable.

When I first read that, I thought that this claim could not possibly be true.  But I was curious, and so I looked up the numbers for myself.

What I found was absolutely astounding.

The following are U.S. GDP growth rates for every year during the 1930s

1930: -8.5%
1931: -6.4%
1932: -12.9%
1933: -1.3%
1934: 10.8%
1935: 8.9%
1936: 12.9%
1937: 5.1%
1938: -3.3%
1939: 8.0%

When you average all of those years together, you get an average rate of economic growth of 1.33 percent.

That is really bad, but it is the kind of number that one would expect from “the Great Depression”.

So then I looked up the numbers for the last ten years

2007: 1.8%
2008: -0.3%
2009: -2.8%
2010: 2.5%
2011: 1.6%
2012: 2.2%
2013: 1.7%
2014: 2.4%
2015: 2.6%
2016: 1.6%

When you average these years together, you get an average rate of economic growth of 1.33 percent.

To continue reading: Over The Last 10 Years The U.S. Economy Has Grown At EXACTLY The Same Rate As It Did During The 1930s

Comparing the 1930s and Today, Parts 1 and 2, Doug Casey

Those who think the coming depression will be an exact repeat of the Great Depression are likely to be quite surprised. From Doug Casey at caseyresearch.com (Part 1):

You’ve heard the axiom “History repeats itself.” It does, but never in exactly the same way. To apply the lessons of the past, we must understand the differences of the present.

During the American Revolution, the British came prepared to fight a successful war—but against a European army. Their formations, which gave them devastating firepower, and their red coats, which emphasized their numbers, proved the exact opposite of the tactics needed to fight a guerrilla war.

Before World War I, generals still saw the cavalry as the flower of their armies. Of course, the horse soldiers proved worse than useless in the trenches.

Before World War II, in anticipation of a German attack, the French built the “impenetrable” Maginot Line. History repeated itself and the attack came, but not in the way they expected. Their preparations were useless because the Germans didn’t attempt to penetrate it; they simply went around it, and France was defeated.

The generals don’t prepare for the last war out of perversity or stupidity, but rather because past experience is all they have to go by. Most of them simply don’t know how to interpret that experience. They are correct in preparing for another war but wrong in relying upon what worked in the last one.

Investors, unfortunately, seem to make the same mistakes in marshaling their resources as do the generals. If the last 30 years have been prosperous, they base their actions on more prosperity. Talk of a depression isn’t real to them because things are, in fact, so different from the 1930s. To most people, a depression means ’30s-style conditions, and since they don’t see that, they can’t imagine a depression. That’s because they know what the last depression was like, but they don’t know what one is. It’s hard to visualize something you don’t understand.

To continue reading: Comparing the 1930s and Today, Part 1

And the link to: Comparing the 1930s and Today, Part 2

 

She Said That? 2/21/16

Coming soon for a return engagement: The Great Depression. From Amity Shlaes (born 1960), American author, newspaper and magazine columnist, and currently the chair of the board of trustees of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation, The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression (2007):

The big question about the American depression is not whether war with Germany and Japan ended it. It is why the Depression lasted until that war. From 1929 to 1940, from Hoover to Roosevelt, government intervention helped to make the Depression Great.