Blog Archives

The Hour Is Getting Late

So here we are in Year 11 of the longest economic expansion/ stock market bubble in recent history, and by any measure, the hour is getting late, to quote Mr. Dylan:

So let us not talk falsely now
the hour is getting late
Bob Dylan, “All Along the Watchtower”

The question is: what would happen if we stop talking falsely? What would happen if we started talking about end-of-cycle rumblings, extreme disconnects between stocks and the real economy, the fact that “the Fed is the market” for 11 years running, that diminishing returns are setting in, as the Fed had to panic-print $400 billion in a few weeks to keep this sucker from going down, and that trees don’t grow to the troposphere, no matter how much the Fed fertilizes them?

When do we stop talking falsely about expansions that never end, and stock melt-ups that never end? Just as there is a beginning, there is always an ending, and yet here we are in Year Eleven, talking as if the expansion and the stock market bubble can keep going another eleven years because “the Fed has our backs.”

Take a quick glance at the chart below of the Fed balance sheet and tell me this is just the usual plain-vanilla, ho-hum, nothing out of the ordinary Year 11 of a “recovery” that will run to 15 years and then 20 years and then 50 years–as long as the Fed panic-prints, there’s no end in sight.

So after 9 years of “recovery,” the Fed finally starts reducing its balance sheet, peeling off about $700 billion over the course of 18 months.

Nice–only $3 trillion more to dump to return to the pre-crisis asset levels of less than $800 billion. In other words, the Fed’s “normalization” was a travesty of a mockery of a sham, a pathetically modest reduction that barely made a dent in its bloated balance sheet.

Knock a couple trillion off and we’ll be impressed with your “normalization.”

(more…)

Tagged with: , , , ,

What’s Been Normalized? Nothing Good or Positive

When the initially extraordinary fades into the unremarkable background of everyday life, we say it’s been normalized. Put another way, we quickly habituate to new conditions, and rationalize our ready acceptance of what was previously unacceptable.

Technology offers many examples of extraordinary advances quickly becoming normalized as we habituate to new devices and behaviors, but my focus today is on policies and cultural norms that were radical departures from accepted norms at their introduction but which are now accepted as “normal.”

This normalization of extreme policies conceals the often equally extreme unintended consequences of the new policies and norms.

Let’s start with two examples which have unleashed unintended consequences that have completely distorted markets: allowing pharmaceutical companies to advertise directly to “consumers” and allowing corporations to buy back their own shares. Each of these activities had been banned for self-evident reasons, yet were allowed in the neoliberal rush to deregulate industries without regard for the long-term consequences.

Now Big Pharma dominates advertising in late-night TV and various print publications, directing “consumers” to “ask their doctor about”…. The ads all feature a comical parody of disclosure, with a fast-talking voice talent listing all the horrific side-effects as quickly as possible in the hopes “consumers” won’t hear the real-world consequences of the oh-so-pricey med being promoted.

I’ve long mocked this Big Pharma profiteering via my parody ads for imaginary meds such as Delusionol:

(more…)

Tagged with: , ,

Here’s Why the Market Could Crash–Not in Two Years, But Now

Markets crash not from “bad news” but from the exhaustion of temporary stability.

Yesterday I made the case for a Financial Singularity that will never allow stocks to crash. We can summarize this view as: the market and the economy are not systems, they are carefully controlled monocultures. There are no inputs that can’t be controlled, and as a result the stock market is completely controllable.

Today I make the case for a crushing stock market crash that isn’t just possible or likely–it’s absolutely inevitable. 

(more…)

Tagged with: , , , , ,

The Coming Crash Is Simply the Normalization of a Mispriced Market

The correlation between the Fed’s monetary heroin production and the stock market will break down as the market normalizes. In the spirit of calling things what they are, longtime correspondent Harun I. explains that market crashes are simply distorted/mispriced economies attempting to normalize. Here’s Harun’s commentary: (more…)

Tagged with: , , , , ,