Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Election Forecast 2015 - Opinion Polls Trending Towards Conservative Outright Win - Nadeem_Walayat
2.UK Solar Eclipse - End Time Sign, Judgement Day, Doomsday! - Nadeem_Walayat
3.Gold And Silver - When Will Precious Metals Rally? Not In 2015 - Michael_Noonan
4.Preparing for the Next Stocks Bear Market - Forecast 2015-2016 - Gary_Savage
5.Is a Stock Market Crash Imminent? - David Eifrig
6.Gold Price Slumps as US Dollar Soars, What's Next? - Nadeem_Walayat
7.US Dollar Forex Pairs and Gold Chartology - Rambus_Chartology
8.Election Forecast 2015: The Day Labour Lost the General Election - Nadeem_Walayat
9.The ECB Should End QE Next Month - EconMatters
10.Silver Price Poised to Surge - Zeal_LLC
Last 5 days
Ashcroft Poll Forecasts Nick Clegg to Lose Sheffield Hallam, But Tories to Rescue Lib Dems - 2nd Apr 15
Is the U.S. Headed for a Recession? - 1st Apr 15
Did The Fed Just Admit to Deep Uncertainty About Our Financial Security In Retirement? - 1st Apr 15
Gold Price Flat In Quarter In Dollars But 5% Higher In Pounds - 1st Apr 15
Financial Market Extremes: Expect Consequences - 1st Apr 15
Iceland Ponders Radical Banking Plan to Eliminate Fractional Reserve Lending - 1st Apr 15
How Traded Options Can Power a 300%-Plus Gain on Twitter - 1st Apr 15
You Can’t Afford Not to Invest in This Latest Yesla Technology - 1st Apr 15
Election Forecast 2015 - Coalition Economic Recovery vs Labour Collapse - 1st Apr 15
Bitcoin Price Down Move Still in the Cards - 31st Mar 15
No Body Understands Debt - Living in a Free-Lunch World - 31st Mar 15
Will Gold Win Out Against the US Dollar? - 31st Mar 15
Middle East Balance of Power Matures - 31st Mar 15
Ed Miliband Debate Election 2015 Analysis - Labour Spending, Debt and Economic Collapse - 31st Mar 15
Gold and Misery, Strange Bedfellows - 31st Mar 15
Why are Interest Rates So Low? Ben Bernanke, Confused as Ever, Starts His Own Blog to Prove It - 31st Mar 15
Don’t Celebrate the U.S. Housing Market Recovery Yet - 30th Mar 15
A Middle East Nuclear Holocaust - 30th Mar 15
Peak Gold? – Goldman Sachs Research Warns of Peak Gold Production - 30th Mar 15
With Yemen Burning, Arab Spring II Is Underway - 30th Mar 15
No FED Bets From the BIS - 30th Mar 15
Election Forecast 2015 - Debates Boost Labour Into Opinion Polls Seats Lead - 30th Mar 15
Economic Recovery, Geopolitics and Detergents - 30th Mar 15
U.S. Dollar, Commodities and the Gold Miners GDXJ ETF Analysis - 30th Mar 15
Stock Market Short-term Downtrend - 30th Mar 15
David Cameron Election 2015 Debate Facts Check - Employment, Immigration, Debt & Deficit - 29th Mar 15
Stock Market About Ready to Crash! - 29th Mar 15
Reflections in a Golden Eye - Gold Market Rejection, Repatriation and Redemption - 28th Mar 15
Stock Market Inflection Point - 28th Mar 15
Gold And Silver - What Moved Price? Bab el-Mandeb And Uranus Square Pluto. What?! - 28th Mar 15
Stock Market Investment Parachutes; Do You Have Yours? - 28th Mar 15
Peak Gold Misunderstanding, is Gold About to Run Out? - 28th Mar 15
Deflation Watch: Key U.S. Economic Measures Turn South - 27th Mar 15
The Hard-Earned Truth About Recreational Real Estate - 27th Mar 15
Bitcoin Price Still in Important Territory - 27th Mar 15
Stocks Bear Market Conditions - Index Market Range Warning - 27th Mar 15
BEA Leaves Q4 2014 U.S. GDP Growth Essentially Unchanged at 2.22% - 27th Mar 15
Brazil Economy Victim of Vulgar Keynesianism - 27th Mar 15
Gold to Fuel Silver Price Upleg - 27th Mar 15
Gold and Silver Stocks Will Rise Again! - 27th Mar 15
Risk of ‘World War’ between NATO and Russia on Ukraine as Yemen Bombed - 27th Mar 15
FOMC Minutes Turned The Gold Tide - 27th Mar 15
Sheffield Hallam Election Battle 2015 - Lib Dems Go to War Whilst Labour Sleeps - 27th Mar 15
Gold Effect On Mining & Shale Wasteland - 27th Mar 15
How Stock Investors Should Play the 2016 Presidential Race - 26th Mar 15
MidEast Energy Alert: Why the Crisis in Yemen Could Get Ugly Very Fast - 26th Mar 15
Stock Market Downward Spiral of Dumbness - 26th Mar 15
The Monetary Approach Reigns Supreme - 26th Mar 15
Stock Market Large Gap Down, Despite the Algos' Push Back - 26th Mar 15
Crude Oil Surges, Gold price Spikes as Middle East Tensions Escalate - 26th Mar 15
The U.S. Housing Market Recovery Is Fabricated Optimism - 26th Mar 15
Why Yemen Is The Next Saudi-Iranian Battleground - 26th Mar 15
The Crude Oil Price Crash and China Economic Slow Down - 26th Mar 15
Global Financial Markets Are More Distorted Than Ever Before - 26th Mar 15
One More Stock Market Rally and Then a Huge Drop Expected - 26th Mar 15
Danger Will Robinson - Stock Market Crash Warning - 25th Mar 15
Learn the Basics of Corrective Elliott Waves - 25th Mar 15
Why CNBC Is Hazardous to Your Financial Health! - 25th Mar 15
Will Your Retirement Accounts Survive The Coming Tax Code "Revolution"? - 25th Mar 15
US Dollar - Americas Phoenix - 25th Mar 15
California’s Epic Drought: Only One Year of Water Left! - 25th Mar 15
What’s Wrong With Silver? - 25th Mar 15
SPX Futures Appear Weak. WTIC and Gold May Be at Max Retracement - 25th Mar 15
We’re at the Dawn of a “New Energy Age” - 25th Mar 15
A Very Weak U.S. Economic Recovery - 25th Mar 15
Zero UK CPI Inflation Rate Prompts Deflation Danger Propaganda For Fresh Money Printing - 25th Mar 15

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

US Economy Still on Life Support

Is the U.S. Economy Heading for Stagflation?

Economics / Stagflation Jun 08, 2009 - 04:14 AM GMT

By: Gerard_Jackson

Economics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleIrrespective of how Obama's media supporters try to spin it the unemployment situation is grave and still deteriorating. This was not supposed to happen. According to his economic advisors the situation would be disastrous unless congress rushed through Obama's stimulus package. Dr. Christine Romer -- one of Obama's chief economic advisors -- predicted unemployment would hit 8.8 per cent unless swift action was undertaken.


Well it was, yet the official unemployment rate now stands at 9.4 per cent and it could exceed 10 per cent. (It would be 16.4 per cent if those workers who have either given up seeking work or have taken a part-time job as a substitute for full-time work were included in the unemployment figures). And its not getting any better. During April and May manufacturing alone shed 310,000 jobs. The chart below was produced by the blogger Innocent Bystander and reveals just how way out Obama's economic advisors' predictions are.

So much for his vaunted claim to have saved 150,000 jobs. None of this should really surprise us. The economic models that Obama's advisors use are worthless. The people who failed to predict the crisis are the same ones who claimed to be able to accurately predict the rate of unemployment at any point between now and the first quarter of 2014. Like all Keynesians Romer has no genuine idea as to how the economy works. And all the time Romer spends pondering her model unemployment rises along with spending and an unsustainable deficit.

Some commentators see a light at the end of the tunnel. They refer to the fact that though the Institute for Supply Management's PMI shows that manufacturing is still contracting it has nevertheless risen by 2.7 over the April figure. I still have my doubts. The Obama administration is the most financially irresponsible one in US history. His outrageous spending and borrowing will lead to ever rising taxes (John Taylor estimates that balancing the budget, even in 10 years time, would require a permanent 60 per cent tax increase) the ramifications of which must inevitable bear down on economic recovery.

There are two forces at work here: the monetary one and the spending one. Since last September there has been a massive and unprecedented monetary expansion during which the monetary base doubled. That Bernanke has created an inflationary time bomb has not eluded the markets. Yields on 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds have been rising and the 30-year fixed mortgage rate exceeded its three-month peak when it hit 5.64 on 7 June. It seems pretty clear that the markets are factoring in an inflation premium.

So industry will find itself facing rising interest rates in the middle of recession due to the Fed's desperate monetary policy. That's the anvil so to speak. The hammer will be the need to compete against the government for funding, adding even more pressure to rates. To top it off massive taxes are waiting in the wings, including an Obama strike against capital gains. Industry will indeed have much to thank Bernanke and Obama for.

All of this helps explain why the economy is not responding as expected in response to the Fed's monetary policy. And monetary policy is what needs to looked at. In any case, the idea that government spending from borrowings stimulates economic recovery is nonsense, as the Great Depression proves. There is also another factor that most commentators ignore.

A number of readers have pointed out to me that the "productivity of debt" seems to be falling, meaning that it requires more and more debt to get a given amount of GDP. This phenomenon is no mystery to the Austrians. Time and time again they pointed out that so-called pump-priming would require ever more injections of money to stimulate economic recovery in order to overcome the accumulated malinvestments that were not liquidated in previous recessions. What we need to consider is whether the point has now been reached where the size of the monetary injection needed to stimulate recovery is now so large that it results in stagflation.

It used to be that recessions were accompanied by falling prices. Because of this few people realised that though prices in general fell consumer prices rose relative to producer prices. In other words, capital goods suffered the greatest price declines. Now that central banks inflate to prevent price declines we can find ourselves in a situation where consumer prices are rising faster than producer prices even as a large pool of unemployed emerges. This is stagflation.

The logic of this line of thought leads to the conclusion that a stagflationary trend would be reflected in a weak demand for labour. As the money supply increases unemployment still rises followed eventually by accelerating inflation. What this means is that a point is reached where the level of unemployment rises for each consecutive recession and where bringing it down requires greater amounts of monetary injections. The following table is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The left hand side of the chart is the percentage of unemployed and the bottom is the period 1990 to 2009. Note that in 1992 unemployment peaked at 7.8 per cent. The next recession saw unemployment peak at 6.3 in 2003. (I believe that by cutting the capital gains tax by 33 per cent and the tax rate on corporate dividends by more than 50 per cent President Bush reversed the rise in unemployment). The current recession has the official unemployment rate at 9.4 per cent and rising. This is very worrying

Inflation works its black magic by widening firms' price margins thereby causing them to expand output. Considering the present monetary situation and Obama and the congressional Democrats' destructive tax, energy, regulatory, borrowing and spending policies I cannot see where a widening of price margins -- if they do occur -- can bring about a sustained recovery.

People do not seem to realise that the other term for economic growth is capital accumulation. There is absolutely nothing in Obama's economic program that will cause the capital structure to expand. On the contrary, everything points to a contraction. This means that real wages and living standards would have to fall.

By Gerard Jackson
BrookesNews.Com

Gerard Jackson is Brookes' economics editor.

Copyright © 2009 Gerard Jackson

Gerard Jackson Archive

© 2005-2015 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Free Report - Financial Markets 2014