Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Will Gold Price Breakout? 3 Things to Watch… - Jordan_Roy_Byrne
2.China Invades Saudi Oil Realm: PetroDollar Kill - Jim_Willie_CB
3.Bitcoin Price Trend Forecast, Paypal FUD Fake Cryptocurrency Warning - Nadeem_Walayat
4.The Stock Market Trend is Your Friend ’til the Very End - Rambus_Chartology
5.This Isn’t Your Grandfather’s (1960s) Inflation Scare - F_F_Wiley
6.GDX Gold Mining Stocks Fundamentals - Zeal_LLC
7.US Housing Real Estate Market and Banking Pressures Are Building - Chris_Vermeulen
8.Return of Stock Market Volatility Amidst Political Chaos and Uncertain Economy - Buildadv
9.Can Bitcoin Price Rally Continue After Paypal Fake FUD Attack? - Nadeem_Walayat
10.Warning Economic Implosion on the Horizon - Chris_Vermeulen
Last 7 days
Is War "Hell" for the Stock Market? - 19th Apr 18
Palladium Bullion Surges 17% In 9 Days On Russian Supply Concerns - 19th Apr 18
Breadth Study Suggests that Stock Market Bottom is Already In - 19th Apr 18
Allegory Regarding Investment Decisions Made On Basis Of Government’s Income Statement, Balance Sheet - 19th Apr 18
Gold – A Unique Repeat of the 2007 and How to Profit - 19th Apr 18
Abbeydale Park Rise Cherry Tree's in Blossom - Sheffield Street Tree Protests - 19th Apr 18
The Stock Market “Turn of the Month Effect” Exists in 11 of 11 Countries - 18th Apr 18
Winter is Coming - Coming Storms Will Bring Out the Best and Worst in Humanity - 18th Apr 18
What Does it Take to Create Living Wage Jobs? - 18th Apr 18
Gold and Silver Buy Signals - 18th Apr 18
WINTER IS COMING - The Ongoing Fourth Turning Crisis Part2 - 18th Apr 18
A Stock Market Rally on Low Volume is NOT Bearish - 17th Apr 18
Three Gold Charts, One Big Gold Stocks Opportunity - 17th Apr 18
Crude Oil Price As Bullish as it Seems? - 17th Apr 18
A Good Time to Buy Facebook? - 17th Apr 18
THE Financial Crisis Acronym of 2008 is Sounding Another Alarm - 16th Apr 18
Bombs, Missiles and War – What to Expect Next from the Stock Market - 16th Apr 18
Global Debt Bubble Hits New All Time High – One Quadrillion Reasons To Buy Gold - 16th Apr 18
Will Bitcoin Ever Recover? - 16th Apr 18
Stock Market Futures Bounce, But Stopped at Trendline - 16th Apr 18
How To Profit As Oil Prices Explode - 16th Apr 18
Junior Mining Stocks are Close to Breaking Downtrend - 16th Apr 18
Look Inside a Caravan at UK Holiday Park for Summer 2018 - Hoseasons Cayton Bay Sea Side - 16th Apr 18
Stock Market More Weakness? How Much? - 15th Apr 18
Time for the Gold Bulls to Show their Mettle - 15th Apr 18
Trading Markets Amid Sound of Wars - 15th Apr 18
Sugar Commodity Buying Levels Analysis - 14th Apr 18
The Oil Trade May Be Coming Alive - 14th Apr 18
Big Cap US Stocks Fundamentals - 13th Apr 18
Jaguar Land Rover Cuts 1000 Jobs on Diesel Sales Slump, Long-term Discovery Sport Review - 13th Apr 18
Stock Market SPX May Tangle with the 50-day MA - 13th Apr 18
Longtanding Chinese War: Intrigue & Betrayal - 13th Apr 18
How I Own My Gold - 13th Apr 18
ISupply Energy Consumer Warning - Never Put Your Account Into Credit! - 13th Apr 18
SPX Resistance May Prompt A Massive Short Squeeze - 12th Apr 18
Stock Market High Volatility is Not Consistently Bearish for Stocks - 12th Apr 18

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Trading Lessons

Key Indicators of a New Great Depression II

Economics / Great Depression II Jun 04, 2010 - 02:24 AM GMT

By: John_Browne

Economics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleNeeraj Chaudhary writes: With the mainstream media focusing on the country's leveling unemployment rate, improving retail sales, and nascent housing recovery, one might think that the US government has successfully navigated the economy through recession and growth has returned. But I will argue that a look under the proverbial hood reveals a very different picture. I believe the data shows that the US economy is badly damaged, and a modern-day depression has begun. In fact, just as World War I was originally called The Great War (and was retroactively renamed after World War II), Peter Schiff has said that one day the world will refer to the 1929-41 era as Great Depression I, and the current period as Great Depression II.


For starters, look at unemployment. During Great Depression I, unemployment broke 25%. If government statistics are taken at face value, the current unemployment rate is 9.9%, but a closer look reveals that the broadest measure of unemployment is currently at 20% - and rising. So, today's numbers are in the same ballpark as the '30s even though the federal government is using unprecedented measures to keep the economy afloat. Remember, in Great Depression I, FDR never ran a deficit nearly as large as President Obama's. Moreover, the Federal Reserve of the 1930s still had a gold standard with which to contend, while today's Fed has increased the monetary base with impunity. Yet even with all that intervention, unemployment figures still indicate that we have entered depression territory.

What is demoralizing to an unemployed person is not simply being let go, it is being unable to find a new job for an extended period of time. And this is where Great Depression II really rears its ugly head. According to the US federal government's own data, the median duration of unemployment is now over five months - and rising. This is the highest it's been since the BLS started compiling this statistic in 1965. As workers start to go this long without jobs, they eat into their savings. Eventually - and especially in a country with a savings rate as low as ours and debt as high as ours - they run out of cushion and hit the street. Formerly middle-class people have to make decisions never thought possible: do I eat in a shelter or go hungry in my home?

It's no surprise, then, that about 40 million people - or one out of every eight Americans - are receiving food stamps in Great Depression II. During the height of Great Depression I, the rate was just one out of thirty-five Americans. Even with the stimulus programs, Great Depression II is actually worse on this measure than Great Depression I - and the USDA estimates that the program could grow by another 50%. Soon, out of ten people you know, one may depend on federal assistance for daily survival.

Despite tax credits that have created a rush of purchases this spring, housing is in just as bad shape. During Great Depression I, home prices dropped some 15% from their pre-depression peak (achieved in 1925). In Great Depression II, housing is down at least 30% from the pre-depression peak (achieved in 2005), with some markets down more than 50%.

So, many of the people expected to keep making mortgage payments as they eat tuna fish to stay alive will be paying double their home's resale value. This is a tremendous incentive to walk away, with disastrous consequences for the country's social fabric in these trying times. Empty homes breed crime and vandalism, encouraging more to flee in a negative feedback loop. Moreover, the many 'walkaways' may create a class of Americans with ruined credit - right when many employers have started checking credit scores before hiring.

Even more worrisome, the present drop in home prices is against a backdrop of price inflation. In Great Depression I, our grandparents may have lost value in their home, but everyday goods (milk, diapers, automobiles, etc.) got cheaper at the same time. That made their savings 'cushion' deeper when they needed it most. Today, as home equity (now our main store of savings) declines, prices for consumer goods are rising. It's a tight squeeze indeed.

From jobs to food to the roofs over our heads, the current period of economic turmoil is at least as bad as the First Great Depression, whether or not the financial media wishes to acknowledge it. The main difference is that unlike in the '30s, the US dollar is now the world's fiat reserve currency, so we are able to push our problems overseas for awhile. The plight of the rural Chinese is really our plight - we are living lavishly on the wealth they create. Were they to quit this dastardly arrangement, the full effects of Great Depression II would be felt in America.

By contrast, in Great Depression I, the US was on the gold standard like everyone else, which forced us to live within our means. This, in turn, made it easier to recognize that the economy was in decline and changes had to be made.

Unfortunately, because of the responses of the Administration and the Federal Reserve, which I believe to be deeply misguided, I remain concerned that Great Depression II could develop into something far more devastating than its predecessor, something that other countries in the world have experienced but was thought impossible in the United States: a hyperinflationary depression. As bad as the current downturn has been, inflation would make it immeasurably worse. It would require an honest accounting of the problems we face today to avert the disaster we see coming tomorrow.

Neeraj Chaudhary is an Investment Consultant in the Los Angeles branch of Euro Pacific Capital. He shares Peter Schiff's views on the US dollar, the importance of the gold standard, and the rise of Asia as an economic power. He holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley.

By John Browne
Euro Pacific Capital
http://www.europac.net/

More importantly make sure to protect your wealth and preserve your purchasing power before it's too late. Discover the best way to buy gold at www.goldyoucanfold.com , download my free research report on the powerful case for investing in foreign equities available at www.researchreportone.com , and subscribe to my free, on-line investment newsletter at http://www.europac.net/newsletter/newsletter.asp

John Browne is the Senior Market Strategist for Euro Pacific Capital, Inc.  Mr. Brown is a distinguished former member of Britain's Parliament who served on the Treasury Select Committee, as Chairman of the Conservative Small Business Committee, and as a close associate of then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Among his many notable assignments, John served as a principal advisor to Mrs. Thatcher's government on issues related to the Soviet Union, and was the first to convince Thatcher of the growing stature of then Agriculture Minister Mikhail Gorbachev. As a partial result of Brown's advocacy, Thatcher famously pronounced that Gorbachev was a man the West "could do business with."  A graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Britain's version of West Point and retired British army major, John served as a pilot, parachutist, and communications specialist in the elite Grenadiers of the Royal Guard.

John_Browne Archive

© 2005-2018 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Comments

Mr. Noatak
05 Jun 10, 02:09
reply

My opinions only. A good discussion. This says what I have been pushing for a long time. Frankly, it could be summed up by saying "if the US gov did not have unlimited ability to print money, use creative accounting, buy its own bonds, count tax receipts two or even three times, etc., we would see how severe our situation actually is". When we wag our finger at foreign countries with debt, we forget to mention that much of their debt is INTERNAL and much of ours is EXTERNAL. I do not blame the current president or the previous president for this mess. The die was cast decades ago. The great US train ran out of fuel by the mid-70's and has been coasting ever since.


Post Comment

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

6 Critical Money Making Rules