Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Happy days are here again?

Well, the Dow Jones Industrial Average says so.

The stock market hit a record high today, thereby erasing, theoretically, all those paper losses from the Great Recession.

It did this in spite of that "huge" tax hike affecting those making more than $450,000 a year that was supposed to cripple the economy.

And the sequester? The markets pay no attention to it.

Don't we all feel better now?

Actually, it's hard to cheer such wonderful news since the jobless rate is 7.9 percent nationally and about 10.5 percent in Bend.

Gas prices are at seasonal highs.

Fifty million Americans are on food stamps.

And while the Dow is at an all-time high, you can be sure that most working citizens' retirement plans haven't rebounded nearly as well.

Plus, tomorrow the market will tank, at least for a day.

The real issue goes much deeper than what happens on Wall Street.

As the economy contracted during the Great Recession, corporations realized, yet again, that they can make the same amount of money or more by employing less workers than before, particularly in the U.S.

Wall Streeters love this. The last people they want to see make any money are those Americans who actually produce something. The more the common worker makes, the less they rake in, or so they think.

Besides, why pay an American far more than what a worker makes in China or Mexico.

This trend of producing more with less workers has been going on for years, ever since the dawn of the Industrial Age.

As technology improves, workers become displaced.

Through much of the Industrial Age, the conventional order was disrupted and old jobs were lost forever. But, new opportunities blossomed and new employment emerged, even flourished.

But, the past few recessions have spawned so-called "jobless recoveries."

The Great Recession will produce the greatest jobless recovery so far.

Most Americans have done, and will do, without. But, many more will whip out the charge cards to keep cable TV and the smartphones or buy new tattoos or pay basic medical bills.

Either way, household debt should escalate once again.

Yet this time, there will be fewer jobs available to pay down that debt, let alone to contribute to that retirement portfolio laden with stocks.

One of things the Great Recession revealed is that the emperor has no clothes.

Of course, we have no emperor and never had one, but the analogy is that the American economy is so threadbare after all these jobless recoveries that all those clothes imported from China can't cover it.

Not even close.

It seems the good folks on Wall Street are the last to know that fact.

Someday they will find out that we don't have much of an economy out here in the hinterlands and, when they do, well, we may get a real crash on Wall Street.


  1. This rally is not based on reality, it's based on hopium and POMO injections from the FED. I think we'll be pretty damn close to DOW 14.5K end of day on Friday. Friday is a pretty big day POMO wise and me thinks 14.5 is within reach. We'll have to see how today and tomorrow go to be sure 14.5 on Friday.

    I think overall, 15K is not out of the question...and that's not a good thing. This will not end well.

  2. Nope, not enough for 14.5 today. That's ok, I'm confident we're dumb enough to buy into 14.5+

    -GDP Growth: Then +2.5%; Now +1.6%
    -Regular Gas Price: Then $2.75; Now $3.73
    -Americans Unemployed (in Labor Force): Then 6.7 million; Now 13.2 million
    -Americans On Food Stamps: Then 26.9 million; Now 47.69 million
    -Size of Fed's Balance Sheet: Then $0.89 trillion; Now $3.01 trillion
    -US Debt as a Percentage of GDP: Then ~38%; Now 74.2%
    -US Deficit (LTM): Then $97 billion; Now $975.6 billion
    -Total US Debt Oustanding: Then $9.008 trillion; Now $16.43 trillion