The next generation will look back at the current period with utter astonishment. The archives will be riddled with debates and all manner of euphemisms for what led to the collapse of the world’s first and last fiat reserve currency.
It is a process well underway. Take a look at two seemingly unrelated, though current, economic-financial trends: Food stamps and subprime.
The case of spending compared with risk. Food assistance is but a tiny tributary broken off from a massive river of denial.
Subprime represents the nadir of ‘risk-on’ fueled monetary euphoria. Spending that comes from money that does not exist. Why, when the next bubble bursts, they will need to step in even more.
Of course, it’s not exactly an efficient form of spending:
As The Daily Signal reports:
This year the U.S. Department of Agriculture misspent $2.4 billion on food stamps, according to a November report from the USDA Office of Inspector General.”
“Misspending” means the USDA gave a household either more or less food stamp benefits than it should have received. Historical data shows most misspending results in overpayments.(What’s even more incredible is the dollars misspent on food stamps equates to at least 10% of the dollar value of available above ground silver).
One of many potential triggers - enough white noise to agitate the Ponzi - is back. This can’t end well.
Why Everyone Is About To Rush Into Subprime Mortgage Debt (Again)
If there is one thing the investing public has 'learned' in the last few years, it is 'no matter how bad the fundamentals, if it's been working, buy more of it'. And so, it is with almost certain confidence that we should expect a resurgent flood of yield-chasing muppetry into no more egregious idiocy than the subprime-mortgage-debt market.
As Bloomberg reports, the subprime slime-backed securities that were created in the years before the financial crisis in 2008 (which marked the last time they were issued) have gained almost 12% this year, or six times more than junk-rated corporate debt, according to Barclays. As one money 'manager' proclaims, "a lot of the uncertainty around the asset class has been taken away." Indeed, home prices will never go down ever again, right?
Of course this time is different, right? Not so much…
Of course, we have some deflationary pressures.
Baby Boomers will start turning 70 at the rate of 10,000 a day for the next 18 years. The vast majority are massively under funded for retirement. This trend represents massive liabilities that cannot be paid for with growth that doesn't exist.
It is nearly impossible to manage official liabilities with current tax revenue. Annual deficits will explode, no matter how hard they try to hide the numbers.
How will the gap be met by money printing, to the point of no return? Once the world sees this for what it is - when the bond market begins to fall, all control be lost.
Once we pass the Rubicon.
The point where deficit spending is fully printed. Or the majority of government of spending is conjured. Then we see the final stages of collapse. It could happen fast.
We now have a triple bubble - housing, equities, and treasuries. And within the housing subprime is back with a vengeance. Within equities, a mini-subprime is even unfolding within the energy complex. And treasuries continue to outperform as the U.S. continues to be the cleanest dirty shirt.
Housing shows indications of slowing. Despite low interest rates, lending is for a tiny percentage of the market.
Financial repression encourages (forces) banks to seek out the shadows for interest arbitrage for another ‘good’ than the interests of yield-starved shareholders. And now that the final wave of hedge investment − cash only deals - have disappeared, down comes the price.
And a mini oil subprime crisis is sending waves resonating into the greater credit and derivative markets - pushing world producers closer to the edge. This is mirrored by the shadow derivative engine - always leaking its everlasting coolant, sustained on hope and the promise of endless credit.
Politically, too big to fail/too big to bail is a done deal. In the minds of most, the Fed’s intervention either worked or they didn't do enough.
The canaries are contained and have a low base from which to climb.