By Brandon Smith
Source: Investment Watch
The signs are already present and obvious, but the overall economic picture probably won’t be acknowledged in the mainstream until the situation becomes much worse (as if it’s not bad enough). It’s a problem that arises at the onset of every historic financial crisis – Mainstream economists and commentators lie to the public about the chances of recovery, constantly giving false reassurances and lulling people back to sleep. Even now with price inflation pummeling the average consumer they tell us that there is nothing to worry about. The Federal Reserve’s “soft landing” is on the way.
I remember in 2007 right before the epic derivatives collapse when media pundits were applauding the US housing market and predicting even greater highs in sales and in valuations. I had only been writing economic analysis for about a year, but I remember thinking that the overt display of optimism felt like compensation for something. It seemed as if they were trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the public in the hopes that if people just believed hard enough that all was well then the fantasy could be manifested into reality. Unfortunately, that’s not how economics works.
Supply and demand, debt and deficit, money velocity and inflation; these things cannot be ignored. If the system is out of balance, collapse will set its ugly foot down somewhere and there’s nothing anyone including central banks can do about it. In fact, there are times when they deliberately ENGINEER collapse.
This is the situation we are currently in today as 2022 comes to a close. The Fed is in the midst of a rather aggressive rate hike program in a “fight” against the stagflationary crisis that they created through years of fiat stimulus measures. The problem is that the higher interest rates are not bringing prices down, nor are they really slowing stock market speculation. Easy money has been too entrenched for far too long, which means a hard landing is the most likely scenario.
In the early 2000s the Fed had been engaged in artificially low interest rates which inflated the housing and derivatives bubble. In 2004, they shifted into a tightening process. Rates in 2004 were at 1% and by 2006 they rose to over 5%. This is when cracks began to appear in the credit structure, with 4.5% – 5.5% being the magic cutoff point before debt became too expensive for the system to continue the charade. By 2007/2008 the nation witnessed an exponential implosion of credit, setting off the biggest money printing bonanza in US history in order to save the banking sector, at least for a time.
Since nothing was actually fixed by the Fed back then, I will continue to use the 5% funds rate as a marker for when we will see another major contraction. The difference this time is that the central bank does not have the option to flood the economy with more fiat, at least not without immediately triggering a larger stagflationary spiral. I am also operating on the premise that the Fed WANTS a crash at this time.
As I noted in my article ‘The Fed Is Taking The Punch Bowl Away – But The Inflation Crisis Will Continue To Grow’, published in May:
“Mainstream financial commentators want to believe the Fed will capitulate because they desperately want the party in stock markets to continue, but the party is over. Sure, there will be moments when the markets rally based on nothing more than a word or two from a Fed official planting false hopes, but this will become rare. Ultimately, the Fed has taken away the punch bowl and it’s not coming back. They have the perfect excuse to kill the economy and kill markets in the form of a stagflationary disaster THEY CAUSED. Why would they reverse course now?”