Friday, May 02, 2008

US Economy a "House of Cards"

Finally, the Swiss-Cheese and House of Cards known as our "Economy" is starting to emerge from the shadows, though ever so slowly and quite reluctantly, as the Federal Reserve takes drastic measures to maintain the secret: our "economy" is crap! It's smoke and mirrors! It's vapor! It's garbage!

We live in a country where the majority of "growth" in our GDP is driven by military spending, other government spending, "paper gains" (on things like homes - which are finally unraveling), and constant consumption of cheap foreign imports (aka, "retail sales"). And, if that wasn't good enough, this "growth" is all funded by debt-spending (personal and government especially). As for exports and their contribution to the GDP, the bulk of what we export makes us appear more like a 3rd world country than anything: i.e., low-price raw materials that other countries will turn into value-added goods and sell back to us.

Aside from those at the very top of the economic ladder, nobody has any CASH, as the personal *average* savings rate is not .2% (yes, two-tenths of one percent; meaning that for every thousand bucks someone makes, they save TWO!). So, a person making $50,000/year is saving a whopping $100 (if they are lucky). And, what is that same average person's credit-card debt (oh, something like $6,000!) Unreal!

I'm convinced the economy is rotten at the core. Those with mega-wealth are accumulating it faster than ever (thanks to Mr. Bush's lovely tax cut for the rich - especially Capital Gains tax reductions that disproportionately favor the super rich,... which include, gee,... most of our political and business leaders be it Democrats or Republicans alike). The rest of those participating in this economy, whether considered "middle class" or otherwise, are simply doing their part in this mass transfer of wealth to the top of the pyramid-scheme by consuming and spending continually, and much to often via debt-spending.

Now, to keep this screwed up machine (our economy) running, the Federal Reserve is taking unprecedented steps to maintain liquidity throughout the system. Someone has to soak up all that debt, and it seems the Fed has no problem with that. Just watch the daily headlines, and read how the Fed is expanding its debt sucking sponge (oh, I mean, expanding the credit offered to banks) as detailed in stories like today's Bloomberg report on the Federal Reserve steps to Jolt Credit Market further.

All these "experts" and "economist" try to convince us of how great this Federal Reserve intervention is. Well, I challenge that wisdom and declare this all to indicate one thing: how desperate the Fed is to preserve the perception that this economy is healthy when even a cursory exam can produce many, many reasons to believe otherwise. I'm also convinced that the few that run this country (politicians, corporations, and the lobbyists that interconnect them all) will drive this country over a cliff so long as they first have found a way to suck every last bit of blood (i.e., money) out of the country for their personal fortunes along the way.

I say *personal* fortunes even though I used *corporations* in my list just a minute ago, since the only ones at corporations making tons and tons of cash are those overpaid few occupying the upper echelon of corporate management (trust me, they ALWAYS get their overly large "cut" even if a company is going bankrupt! They always "win" personally, even if you, the average stockholder loses your shirt). Just look at the statistics on where CEO / executive pay has gone in contrast to the average working person! That says a lot about things.

Don't count on politicians coming to the rescue. Keep in mind, two of the three Presidential candidates (Senator Hillary Clinton and Sen. John McCain) have familial wealth in the 10's, if not 100's, of millions of dollars. They are making out like bandits in this "economy" of ours. In fact, most of our elected officials in Congress are millionaires, yet they are supposed to some how represent us, the average American? Don't count on it.

My bottom line statement with regards to an analysis of the fundamentals of this economy remain the same no matter what: the United States "economy" is a pile of rotten Swiss Cheese - full of holes and the mice are eating what is left. The Federal Reserve is doing their best to keep us all from smelling the rot or seeing the mice, but the fact is, barring some dramatic change, the secret is soon going to be known by the masses.