Reality Or Pixie-Dust?

So, the Fed has opted to abandon the real US economy for the Tinkerbell and pixie-dust delusions of the Wall Street markets by raising official interest rates overnight.

The move was not justified, being merely a face-saver after so many months of ‘will we, won’t we’ dithering.

This post inspired by: Federal Reserve announces first rise in US interest rates since 2006

Now we wait for the fallout.  No, not the immediate reaction of the markets.  Nothing can be read into anything that happens on that particular roller-coaster fun ride.  But what happens in the real economy over the next few months.  Even yesterday there were commenters questioning how long it would take the rate to fall back to zero again.

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It’s A Mystery

So, it’s a mystery.  Well, not really.  The more jobs, the more money is in the economy and the more inflation there should be.  It hasn’t happened.  What’s wrong?

This post inspired by: The Mystery of Missing Inflation Weighs on Fed Rate Move

bn-lr280_inflat_m_20151211170156Photo: Scott Eisen/Bloomberg News

 

It can only be the jobs figures, or more correctly what they hide.  And they are designed to hide the fact that the US economy, the real economy not the fictitious one manufactured for Wall Street’s benefit, is on the rocks.

So, I continue to predict, against most other sources anticipating the move, that the Fed will not raise interest rates tomorrow (US time).  In all honesty, they can’t take that risk.  The banks wouldn’t like it anyway, as they will lose their risk-free, do-nothing, profit money.

Third World Nation

The US will be a third world nation within the next nine years.

This is the prediction of Paul Craig Roberts in the article which inspired this post: US On Road To Third World — Paul Craig Roberts

I am going to break down this article into point format to make it easy to see why that is so, although the article is already well written and researched in itself.  As Roberts explains, he predicted back in early 2004 that this would come about within 20 years. This, his latest article shows how the prediction is progressing, with just nine years to go.  I think I have faithfully extracted all of the salient points made, but you could also give the original a read for yourself, if you want to know more.

1. US real household income has declined ranging from 17.1% for the lowest level to 4.8% for the highest level, since 2006.
2. Only the top 1% of income earners have seen an increase in that same period.
3. Those income declines are based on official figures. More realistic figures suggest that real incomes are now below what they were in the late 1960s – early 1970s.
4. During the so-called economic recovery since 2009 the US labour force has shrunk due to a sustained decline in participation rate.
5. In March 2015, more than 93 million Americans of working age were not in the labour force, a historical record.
6. The true US unemployment rate is currently 23%, not the 5.2% reported figure.
7. In 2014, 38% of all American workers made less than $20,000
8. In 2014, 51% of all American workers made less than $30,000
9. In 2014, 63% of all American workers made less than $40,000
10. In 2014, 72% of all American workers made less than $50,000.
11. The scarcity of jobs and the low pay are direct consequences of jobs offshoring.
12. The US economy is only creating lowly-paid part-time jobs, such as waitresses, bartenders, retail clerks, and ambulatory health care services.
13. Full-time jobs with benefits continue to shrink as a percentage of total jobs.
14. Half of all 25-year-olds cannot afford to form households and are living with parents.
15. The Finance industry is the only sector of the US economy that is growing.
16. Finance is not a productive activity. It is a looting activity.
17. The financial sector is a grave threat to the economy.
18. The absence of growth in consumer income means there is no demand growth to drive the economy.
19. Consumer indebtedness limits the ability to increase spending.
20. Lower consumer spending means limited appeal for new investment by businesses.
21. The economy simply cannot go anywhere, except down.
22. An economy that doesn’t make things does not innovate.
23. The economic and social infrastructure is collapsing
24. The family itself is collapsing.
25. The rule of law is collapsing.
26. The accountability of government is collapsing.
27. (Roberts doesn’t mention this but I am adding it anyway) The national physical infrastructure is also collapsing.
28. The prospect of no jobs means the demand for college education declines.
29. Becoming indebted by study only to find available employment cannot service student loans becomes a bad economic decision.
30. University administrations spend 75% of the university’s budget on themselves.
31. The prospects for good full time university teaching faculty with a career before them has collapsed.
32. The demand for university education will collapse and with it science and technology.
33. The rise of the neoconservative hubris of US world hegemony has resulted in 14 years of wars that have cost $6 trillion (and not a single positive outcome).

As Roberts says: “It is a reasonable conclusion that a social-political-economic system so incompetently run, already is a Third World country.”

I predict that the US has a lot further to sink into becoming a failed state, at war with and within itself, yet, and nine years seems to me to be a generous estimate for all this to come to pass.

…and the US is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg, under which floats all of western civilisation.