Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Crude Oil and Water: How Climate Change is Threatening our Two Most Precious Commodities - Richard_Mills
2.The Potential $54 Trillion Cost Of The Fed's Planned Interest Rate Increases - Dan_Amerman
3.Best Cash ISA Savings for Rising UK Interest Rates and High Inflation - March 2018 - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Fed Interest Hikes, US Dollar, and Gold - Zeal_LLC
5.What Happens Next after February’s Stock Market Selloff - Troy_Bombardia
6.The 'Beast from the East' UK Extreme Snow Weather - Sheffield Day 2 - N_Walayat
7.Currencies Will Be ‘Flushed Down the Toilet’ Triggering a ‘Mad Rush into Gold’ - MoneyMetals
8.Significant Decline In Stocks On The Cards! -Enda_Glynn
9.Land Rover Discovery Sport Extreme Driving "Beast from the East" Snow Weather Test - N_Walayat
10.SILVER Large Specualtors Net Short Position 15 Year Anniversary - Clive_Maund
Last 7 days
Watch This Group Signal Stock Market Trend Changes - 22nd Mar 18
Stocks are Gapping Beneath the Trendline Support - 22nd Mar 18
Fed Action Casts Shadow on Bullish Case for Stocks - 22nd Mar 18
A Strong Economy and Weak Stock Market is Bullish for Stocks - 22nd Mar 18
Fed Raises US Interest Rates 25bp – Where Are We In The Stock Market Cycle? - 22nd Mar 18
Why Spotify Will Likely Surge During Its IPO - 22nd Mar 18
SY Police Arrest Woman for Blowing Trumpet at Sheffield Tree Felling Protest - 22nd Mar 18
Facebook: The Anti-Social Network Covert Data Gathering - 21st Mar 18
Additional Signs for Gold and Silver Amid Increasing FOMC Tension - 21st Mar 18
Credit Concerns In U.S. Growing As LIBOR OIS Surges to 2009 High - 21st Mar 18
Stock Markets Are Flat-to-lower Before the FOMC - 21st Mar 18
Will Powell’s Actions Pop Stock Market Perfection - 21st Mar 18
Economic Moral Hazards of the International Criminal Court - and Philippines Withdrawal - 21st Mar 18
Larry Kudlow vs. Vladimir Putin on Gold - 21st Mar 18
Trump Builds Economy and War Machine - 21st Mar 18
This Stock Market "Illusion" Can Destroy Once-Vibrant Portfolios - 21st Mar 18
Gold Short-term Pull Back in Progress - 20th Mar 18
Stocks Appear to be Under Pressure - 20th Mar 18
Time To Eliminate Your Wall Street Tax? - 20th Mar 18
The Beast from the East Snow, UK Roads Driving Car Accidents - 20th Mar 18
Can Bitcoin Price Rally Continue After Paypal Fake FUD Attack? - 19th Mar 18
2018 Reversal Dates for Gold, Silver and Gold Stocks - 19th Mar 18
This Tech Breakthrough Could Save The Electric Car Market - 19th Mar 18
Stocks Set to Open Lower, Should You Buy? - 19th Mar 18
The Wealth Machine That Rising Interest Rates Create Conflict With The National Debt - 19th Mar 18
Affiliate Marketing Tips and Network Recommendations - 19th Mar 18
Do Stocks Bull Market Tops Need Breadth Divergences? - 19th Mar 18
Doritos Instant £500 Win! Why Super Market Shelves are Empty - 19th Mar 18
Bonds, Inflation & the Market Amigos - 19th Mar 18
US Housing Real Estate Market and Banking Pressures Are Building - 19th Mar 18
Stock Market Bulls Last Stand? - 18th Mar 18
Putin Flip-Flops Like A Drunken Whore On Bitcoin Cryptocurrency Legalization - 18th Mar 18
How to Legally Manipulate Interest Rates - 18th Mar 18
Return of Stock Market Volatility Amidst Political Chaos and Uncertain Economy - 18th Mar 18
Bitcoin Price Trend Forecast, Paypal FUD Fake Cryptocurrency Warning - 17th Mar 18
Strong Earnings Growth is Bullish for Stocks - 17th Mar 18
The War on the Post Office - 17th Mar 18
GDX Gold Mining Stocks Fundamentals - 16th Mar 18
Nationalism, Not the Russians, got Trump Elected - 16th Mar 18
Has Bitcoin Bought It? - 16th Mar 18
Crude Oil Price – Who Wants the Triangle? - 16th Mar 18
PayPal Cease Trading Crypto Currency Bitcoin Warning Email Sophisticated Fake Scam? - 16th Mar 18
EUR/USD – Something Old, Something New and… Something Blue - 16th Mar 18

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Urgent Stock Market Message

4 Charts That Show How Trump Tax Cuts Will Trigger A Recession

Economics / Recession 2018 Dec 08, 2017 - 10:16 AM GMT

By: John_Mauldin


BY PATRICK WATSON : Not so long ago, I explained why tax cuts won’t stimulate the economy as much as Republicans think.

In short, most CEOs say they will use any tax savings for stock buybacks or dividends, not new hiring or expansion.

But what if, instead of little or no growth, this tax bill sets off an outright contraction?

Recession Is Already Overdue

The current economic expansion is now the third-longest since World War II. It’s also the weakest. Here’s a chart I showed last summer.

Source: BCA Research

The yellow line is the current recovery that began in 2009. Only the 1960s and 1990s growth periods went on longer—and both had much higher growth.

So, just by length of time, we’re already due or overdue for recession. Yes, the economy could improve further from here… but probably not for long.

Our Economy Has Reached Maximum Potential Output

In addition to GDP, economists track what is called “Potential GDP.” That’s how fast the economy is capable of growing, considering the number of available workers, productivity, and other factors.

If subsequent data confirms last quarter’s 3.3% growth of inflation-adjusted GDP, it will mark the first time the US economy achieved “maximum sustainable output” since 2007.

On the chart below, the gap between the gray line (potential GDP) and the red line (actual GDP) represents unused capacity.

Image: Washington Post

You can see we had a lot of it at the recession’s 2009 depth. The gap slowly shrank since then. Now it’s closed.

Great news, right? Yes, it is—but don’t celebrate just yet.

The End Is Near

Actual GDP can’t stay above potential GDP for long before bad things start happening. This chart proves it:

Image: Washington Post

We see here how GDP moved above and below its potential since the 1970s. Notice that each time the green line went above zero, a recession (the gray bars) began soon after.

“Soon” can vary, of course. GDP ran above potential for extended periods in the late 1990s and 2006–2007, but in both cases, intense downturns followed. Plus, the Fed wasn’t tightening as it is now—which suggests the current expansion is at least approaching its endpoint.

4% Growth Is Nonsense

The Trump administration and congressional Republicans disagree, saying their tax changes will stimulate years of economic growth and more than pay for themselves.

President Trump himself said last month he thought growth could reach 4% and even “quite a bit higher.”

I agree we may get a quarter or two of 4% real annualized growth. But will it continue for years? Probably not, unless potential GDP takes a big leap.

Here is the potential GDP chart above, extrapolating the future as it would look with 3–4% growth over the next decade.

Image: Washington Post

I’m sorry this chart is so tall, but that red triangle is necessary to project as much growth as the president anticipates and that Congress says will pay for the tax cuts. The smaller yellow fan below it is the less thrilling estimate of nonpartisan economists.

In either case, to do what the Republicans predict, GDP must grow above potential for years, unless potential GDP rises in a similarly spectacular fashion.

That’s not impossible: a major technology breakthrough might do it. But just as likely, a recession, natural disaster, war, or other shock could sharply reduce GDP. The projections above don’t account for that possibility.

Actual GDP can outpace potential GDP at the end of a cycle, but by definition, such growth is unsustainable. The inputs to higher production—available workers, productivity—can’t grow fast enough, so those booms end up going “boom.”

Recession Triggers

Here’s where we are:

  • GDP growth is running above potential, which also points to recession in the near future.
  • The Fed is tightening, soon to be joined by other central banks.
  • Treasury borrowing will likely increase in the next few years as deficits rise.
  • Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies look increasingly bubble-like.

All that is happening even if we get no surprises. War with North Korea, a NAFTA breakup, Chinese banking crisis, a hard Brexit—any of those could extinguish global growth.  

My main fear as we entered 2017 was that the Fed would tighten too much and too fast, pushing the economy into a deflationary recession. I still think that’s the most likely scenario.

With this tax bill passes in its current form, the recession may happen sooner and go deeper. The combined fiscal and monetary tightening could be the triggers.

However, first we might get a sugar-high inflationary rally, which could last a while. GDP ran above potential for four years in the late 1990s and for over a year in the housing craze.

Those were fun times while they lasted. Then the fun stopped.

One thing I’m positive won’t happen is another 10 years of uninterrupted 3% or 4% real GDP growth, as politicians so glibly promise.

That’s pure fantasy.

Free Report: The New Asset Class Helping Investors Earn 7% Yields in a 2.5% World

While the Fed may be raising interest rates, the reality is we still live in a low-yield world. This report will show you how to start earning market-beating yields in as little as 30 days... and simultaneously reduce your portfolio’s risk exposure.

Claim your free copy here.

John Mauldin Archive

© 2005-2018 - 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

6 Critical Money Making Rules