Friday, September 16, 2011

The Economy

When credit creation can no longer be sustained, the markets must began to clear the excesses before the cycle can begin again. It is only then (and must be allowed to happen) that resources can be reallocated back towards more efficient uses. This is why all the efforts of Keynesian policies to stimulate growth in the economy have ultimately failed. Those fiscal and monetary policies, from TARP and QE to tax cuts, only delay the clearing process. Ultimately, that delay only potentially worsens the inevitable clearing process.

The clearing process is going to be very substantial. The economy is currently requiring roughly $4 of total credit market debt to create $1 of economic growth. A reversion to a structurally manageable level of debt would involve a nearly $30 Trillion reduction of total credit market debt. The economic drag from such a reduction will be dramatic while the clearing process occurs.

This is one of the primary reasons why economic growth will continue to run at lower levels going into the future. We will witness an economy plagued by more frequent recessionary spats, lower equity market returns, and a stagflationary environment as wages remain suppressed and the costs of living rise. However, only by clearing the excess can the personal savings return to levels that can promote productive investment, production and ultimately consumption.

The end game of three decades of excess is upon us, and we can't deny the weight of the balance sheet recession that is currently in play. As we have stated in the past — the medicine that the current administration is prescribing to the patient is a treatment for the common cold — in this case a normal business-cycle recession. The problem is that this patient is suffering from a cancer of debt, and, until we begin the proper treatment, the patient will continue to wither.

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