World Economies: Stimulated Into Recession

jumping-frog-clip-art-hopping-frogDo you remember the science experiments you saw as a kid?  There are two that come to mind.  One is where the rats are stimulated via electrical impulses to do things?  Another is where the frog is dead, but when electricity is used to stimulate the muscles, the leg moves?

That’s where I see us economically today.

Financial websites are awash in conversations this week about all the recessionary signals we are seeing.  The Federal Reserve is meeting this week.  Expect nothing of significance.  From Zerohedge to the Wall Street Journal to David Stockman, Peter Schiff, and others, the headlines are ll the same

The Central Banks just do not get it.

There are many people who will also tell me that I just do not get it.  But I think I do.  And from local issues to international issues, there is a common thread that runs through them all.

Economic opportunities are drying up.  Sales are declining.  Profits are falling faster than than the leaves on the trees.  Central banks around the planet are trying not to panic but they are ready to.  They cannot get things moving forward whatsoever. Why is that?

If you step back for a moment, ask yourself what was the original point of all that the Central Banks hoped to accomplish with their policies?

Stimulate. They wanted to stimulate someone to do something today that they would not have had the money to do so until tomorrow.


QE programs have left the planet awash in money . Economies are receding anyway.

They wanted to generate demand.  Who is “they”?  It’s not just Central Banks.  It’s the Federal Government.  It’s State Government.  It’s Local Government.  How do they accomplish this stimulation?  They are raining easy money anywhere and everywhere.

Stimulate Stimulate Stimulate

But it’s not that simple.  They pulled demand from tomorrow into today.  Then they pulled demand from next month into this month.  And when that was exhausted, they pulled demand from next year into this year.

Everyone everywhere all stimulating and pulling future demand into today.

You get the picture.

And then BAM!  We hit the wall when we got to the future where that demand was from, and there was no demand left. There is no future demand to pull into today..  A vacuum exists. A really big vacuum.  And today that vacuum is like none we have ever seen.

That vacuum, which cannot be filled by magic, will have to be endured.  Unfortunately, they do not believe this to be the case.

There are ways to lessen that vacuum, but that will not happen either.

Reduce and eliminate rules and regulations.

Cut business taxes dramatically.

The Powers that Be will never let that happen.

They continue attempting to stimulate and show us that things are great.

Yet the economic numbers(which clearly have an upward bias) paint a very different picture.

I have a unique spreadsheet that calculates a weighted per share performance from companies that are followed by Valueline.

While we still have 56% of the companies reporting higher profits than 1 year ago, overall for all the companies, profits are now down 2.31% for the most recent quarter.  The same quarter last year was up 7.84%.

That’s a very large drop for an economy that is supposed to be gaining speed.  No wonder the Federal Reserve is afraid to raise interest rates even 1/4 of a point.

And so we wait….

We Said This Day Would Come

Recently, I was at a restaurant and ordered a salad.  Being Gluten-free, my options are generally limited.  $10 for a salad I could make at home for $3 was ok.  After all I was at the beach.

I asked to have some chicken added.  Informed they cannot do chicken, but they could do shrimp.shrimp

“How many would you like?”, Alex asked.

I could smell the ocean from where I sat. “Six is good”, I replied.

A few minutes later, Alex came back to the table, and said “Just wanted to give you the heads up that the shrimp are $3.50…..each”.

How does one keep a straight face with that sort of news?  Better yet, how does one not laugh hysterically?

How do I keep a straight face as my friends watch what I might say.

That’s the way I felt when I got home and opened my Blue Cross rate letter for 2016. They are careful not to place you current premium anywhere for the sake of comparison.hair_0

For the record, I have not made any progress towards my $5500 deductible for the current plan year-I have not been to the Doctor for any reasons.

That’s what makes it even more shocking.  My premium has gone from $273.31 to $497.01.

Yes, you read that correctly.


Here’s a calculator you can use as well.  Depressing, isn’t it?

Obamacare:  The Gift that keeps on taking.

We said this day would come.  We said rates would rise sharply. No one believed us.

And now here we are.

If you want to know what is killing this economy, look no further.

Blue Cross wants to collect nearly $2,111 from me for doing…..absolutely nothing.

Had Blue Cross been actually concerned about my health, they would have told me to sit down before opening that letter.

And if I were smart?

I’d still be at the beach. But I would get my own shrimp.

I am also changing to a Medical Cost Savings plan.

My monthly contributions will be LESS than the increase that BCBS is asking from me in 2016.

To be a bit more precise, it will be 40% less than what BCBS wants from me.

And my new deductible? $500.

With that kind of savings, I will be able to head to the beach sooner rather than later.

You should explore those sort of options as well.

After all, it is YOUR money.




Conflicts of Interest

As a Libertarian, I understand what it is like to be perceived as being against anything and everything. Those that try to characterize Libertarians in this manner often have a conflict of interest.

There are many conflicts of interest that we are surrounded with each and every day. The best way to address these issues is to be up front and acknowledge that “Yes, here is my conflict of interest, and this is how I will attempt to balance it with the issue”.

Instead, we see the denial of the conflict of interest through carefully worded statements. Statements that seem to give the sense that there is no conflict. But that does not eliminate the real conflict that exists. Continue reading

How The Federal Reserve’s Rate Policies Are Out Of Sync With Our Economic Reality

The Federal Reserve is the weakest of the links in the US economy.  Their timing is poor. They operate under two mandates and one works in direct opposition of the other.

Maintaining a stable money supply is one objective.  Full employment is another.  However, the Fed has a goal of 2% inflation and not 0% inflation, which is not stable, but inflationary.  Additionally the Fed includes data in calculations that are not inflation based on monetary policy, but rising and falling prices due to greater or lesser demand.

That leads us to their second objective: full employment.  When we get towards full employment, wages should rise and businesses compete for labor.  But as soon as this were to happen, the Fed will stomp on the brakes. Continue reading

Quantitative Easing and The Impact on Jobs: Disaster Looming Straight Ahead

If you have been following my work for some time, you know that I have expressed belief that there is a strong correlation between Corporate Profit Growth and job growth in the United States.
My research had shown that there was a very high correlation between those two numbers. The higher the profit growth year over year, then the higher the job growth 4-5 quarters later.

Have a look at the following data. We have higher job growth with profit at lower levels? What is wrong with this picture?

Profits Jobs
Sep-10 -29.11% 0.09%
Sep-11 32.94% 1.66%
Sep-12 6.55% 1.48%
Sep-13 11.77% 1.79%
Sep-14 1.10% 2.04%
Sep-15 1.89% 2.05%
Profit Growth % from previous year
Job Growth % 4 quarters ending date shown

At the time I discovered this relationship, the correlation was .91 or so. This would imply that 81% of job growth was related to profit growth. And as I have written and suggested to anyone that would listen, if you wanted more job growth, you enabled more profit growth in the business sector. Using the same time frames as before, I watched the correlation fall from .81 to .57, suggesting that only 32% of job growth was now due to profit growth. Disappointing to me to be sure, but it was still a positive correlation Continue reading