Beat the Establishment: A Campaign to Relaunch this Site in Time for the Second Great Recession to Prevent Bankster Bailout 2.0
If we don’t beat the establishment before the next downturn, we’re going to see the same bailouts and money printing we’ve seen before but on a deliriously insane level.
This is not me being a permabear. In fact, when the stock market didn’t plunge in the early summer as I predicted it would, I honored a bet I had been challenged to by a detractor who was understandably tired of permagloomers who are only right because they keep predicting a market crash until events finally turn their way.
Because I don’t do that sort of thing and because I believe strongly in the trends I lay out here, my promised I would apologize if I was wrong and put everything on the line by saying I might even stop writing this blog if I was wrong by much. Even though I still believed the market turn actually began on in the early summer with the breaking of the FAANG stocks (the market leaders) and even though I could have claimed “I only said ‘might,'” I gave the benefit of the doubt to the person I had bet against and stopped writing articles here or anywhere. The “might” was never intended as an escape clause, so I didn’t use it that way. It meant that it would depend on how far I was off. The last article here about how that turned out was titled “The End is Here. I Bet My Blog and Lost and Won.”
I noted that, while GDP rose (causing many to believe the economy was improving), I continued to believe the GDP bump and the market’s little rally were meaningless blips that would quickly give way. I also may have been the first anywhere to proclaim that the US housing market had peaked in May, as proof the economy was careening into a downturn. My one crow on a wire cawed at me for knowing nothing about real estate. (So, we’ll come back to that point in a moment.)
I noted also that automakers had all announced major terminations in their automobile lines, and that the retail apocalypse was continuing apace. All of these things were the exact industrial changes that I had been saying for well over a year would most likely be the first major cracks to show up in the economy. So, their appearance by midsummer satisfied the part of my bet that also said the economy would begin to break up seriously enough for everyone to start taking notice.
The largest point drop in the Dow’s history in January certainly satisfied another part of the predictions that had brought on my bet because I had said in that article back in the summer of seventeen that the stock market’s crash would likely take its first big leg down in January, 2018, followed by good sized bounce, followed by an even bigger and more definitive second leg down in “early summer.”
When the FAANG stocks (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google), which had led the market up throughout the entire recovery period, did break, I stated resolutely that the FAANGs were about to take the market down. However, the FAANGs decided to make a second run at a summit, which set my sole detractor into crowing about how his stocks would continue to rise to the far horizon because of the Almighty Trump. That all looks distant and faint in the rear-view mirror now!
I scoffed at my scoffer for thinking that bump would turn into proof of his notion that the stock market would rise beyond all the sunsets in the foreseeable future, but conceded with the following statement:
However, in numerous other respects my predictions as to what would dominate as the final word on 2018 were exactly on:
The spring article I was betting on contained most of those predictions while others I had written at the start of the year contained the rest. I summarized how it turned out with the following acclamation:
Because I got more than 90% of it right, I offered this proviso in my concession, should the only respect by which I lost (no clear stock market crash in early summer) turn out to be a mere technicality in timing:
After all, we are talking about timing the end of what has been, in the very least, the second-longest bull market in history. Some may say the longest. Two to three months is barely a rounding error on such a long-term event. Since everything else went exactly as I predicted right to the month, I think I can be excused if I say, “I’m not terminating seven years of work because of a rounding error when all the rest was right.”
And a rounding error it was.
How my bet was actually won
It turned out that second peak in the FAANG stock was indeed a mere blip. Since those heady days when Apple became the United States’ first trillion-dollar company, it has already lost a full third of its height! Since October 2nd, it has lost $364 billion in value and is still falling rapidly! Like Icarus, Apple had its fifteen minutes of glory in the trillion-dollar stratosphere and then fell back to earth. Collectively, the FAANGs have lost an entire Apple’s worth of value (over a trillion dollars) or about a quarter of their height since their August peak. The bigger they are, the harder they fall! It turns out that, if my crow bought and held the glittery FAANG stocks this year, he made nothing at all! And to think that during the summer, he was crowing about how rich and smart he was! He’s certainly fallen off his wire now, and his real estate is falling, too, whether he knows it yet or not.
If anyone still doubts the economy and stock market are crashing, here is a real tell: look at how the present year has gone in light of the fact that this was a year of record-level corporate tax breaks and individual tax breaks, such as the estate-tax revisions that disproportionately benefit the top 1% of our society. Look at how it has gone during a record streak of foreign profit repatriation at these low tax rates, which fueled record stock buybacks and dividends. Look at where it has gone with the additional help of regulation roll backs everywhere.
Where has it gone? Nowhere! We saw a brief spike in stocks in January, which immediately started to evaporate at the end of January and was gone by February. We saw stock market struggle mightily to recover that lost spike, just as I said it would try. Though the US stock market finally hit a new high by a mere shave in the late summer, it started to plunge in October back almost to February’s low. The major indices dropped below all of their moving averages, widely regarded as a major sign that stocks are transitioning into a bear market.
November attempted a recovery, which quickly failed. At the start of December, we saw President Trump back away from this much-feared threat of greater tariffs, a move that investors thought would cause the market to boil over. Instead, the Dow surged 600 points the day after the “agreement,” only to fall nearly 800 points the next day! (Partly because the agreement sounded like more frosting than cake.) The autobot traders were, as this site has warned would happen, rolling over themselves in a downhill run, kicking the legs out from under their competitors on the way downhill. All major indices plunged by more than 3%. As Zero Hedge noted, “Since the 1950s there have been exactly 3 years with a 3% down day in December: 1987, 2000, and 2008.” (One cannot resist noting that those December dates followed the most notorious October crashes in history.) In fact, the period from October to the present has been the worst stock-market performance for this period since the October crash of 2008!
The Onion referred to this fall’s market charts as the “Everest/Mariana Trench pattern.”
Consider some of the recent highlights:
And credit markets look just as bad:
Yes, we saw the housing market hit a peak in May. Sales have gradually deteriorated around the country ever since. Now, even The Wall Street Journal claims the housing market has peaked. On in four homes across the nation are having to reduce prices as pending home sales revert back to where they were four years ago. (But you certainly read that first on this blog way back in the early summer when my sole detractor here said I didn’t understand anything about real estate.)
So, everything now clearly looks like the late-summer stock-market spike was nothing more than a flash of fool’s gold in the pan. It has clearly become a worried marketplace ever since.
In fact, 2018 stands as the worst year for assets across the board (if it ends where it stands right now) in almost half a century. Now how does that add up to anything but some seriously diminishing returns if you weigh results like that against some of the greatest tax stimulus efforts any nation has ever taken? We’ve returned to near-record federal deficits, due to tax breaks that do not appear to be expanding the economy at all coupled with massive spending increases; and, yet, we already see GDP declining the very quarter after it jumped up. GDP went for the 4s in the second quarter to the 3s in the third quarter, and is now projected by the Fed to end up in the 2s this quarter! Didn’t I say last summer that the 4 print for the second quarter would turn out to be an anomaly, driven by one-time tax repatriation and inventory stocking in prep for the Trump Tariffs and that the 3rd quarter would get some continued benefit from those same factors, though most of the overstocking to avoid tariffs would happen in the first half of the quarter. After that, I said GDP would drop some more. 2018 is ending up to be the year of mega-MAGA-stimulus that fully became a bridge to nowhere that same year.
And if you think things are getting ugly in the US, take a vacation from it all in France, or enjoy a little British Brexit brunch!
Having laid my blog down over the stock market as I said I would, pardon me for taking a victory lap when the market turned out to do everything I said it would this year, albeit with a little three-month delay in its newfound race to the bottom. (And note that I’ve been long and patient in waiting to assess this turn before claiming my victory, but we are now at the point where many normally bullish analysts agree that the bull is dying and for the very reasons that I said it would — and I did say fall would be by far worse than summer.)
Of course, we usually get a Santa-Clause rally from here to the end of the year as investors push back from their computers to start their vacations, confident they can count on Santa to deliver so they don’t have to watch their computers night and day. If the usual rally occurs, don’t sigh in relief because it may just make January all the rougher when Santa takes his well-earned Hawaiian vacation and investors’ egg-nog laced vision starts to see reality straight again. Rudolf and his gang will be bucking some swift headwinds, and I think Santa’s going to be flipping cartwheels in the snow as the wind knocks him off his feet. Yule-tide Investors may be closing the year with eyes as red as Rudolf’s nose from chasing between the egg nog and their computers on an hourly basis.
Make me return
With all of that said, another reason I stopped publishing articles on this blog was that the blog never made more than enough to cover its hosting and registration costs in all of those seven years. After I posted my last article, some devoted readers said they would gladly pay a subscription to keep the site running (or a donation). I’d rather go with donations than required subscriptions because the purpose of the site is to enlighten as many people as possible as to why the recovery is going to fail, when, and how badly it is going to fail so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes when that inevitable failure happens.
Others said they would volunteer some help. One particular reader, Kim Asadourian, has already stepped forward in a big way, saying she would help create an even better site by editing news links in a sidebar that will post the headlines of the day that best show the developing trends. I think she has a good eye for that, and I’ll work with her to make sure the article links posted really relate to the most important economic trends to keep an eye on. She has also offered to help with fundraising through her social contacts and with her own gift of support as the first and with some other campaign assistance. With this article, I’m checking to see if there are enough others who value this site at the level she does to bring it back to publishing.
It has done well for readership in the past, averaging about 20,000 unique readers each time an article is published and sometimes approaching 100,000. However, most people use ad blockers, and most of the rest don’t click on ads, so advertising at pennies per click brought in a mere trickle of revenue. It takes me, at least, a thousand hours a year to keep the articles coming and the site up and running, and that is a lot of time to donate for free for so many years. I can’t keep doing that. So, if we can get some more volunteer assistance (particularly of skilled IT help) and some donors to help me sustain this effort, we’ll relaunch.
The time is right to beat the establishment
The other thing I have been looking for, if I am going to relaunch the site is a time when people are ready to listen. Denial — an unwillingness to believe the Fed’s recovery plans cannot work or to believe nothing has been fixed even though it clearly has not — has been the biggest obstacle my articles have faced. People believe what they want to believe, and certainly don’t read what they don’t want to hear. They want to believe housing prices and stocks will rise forever and to believe that wealth can be created over caverns of debt. I identified that challenge right from the first post on this blog seven years ago with the following opening statement in October, 2011:
The mainstream media was and still is fully engaged in writing what most people want to hear because that is what sells, while denial prevents many people from ever returning to a blog like this or even looking at articles with titles that indicate a downturn. To make it a little more palatable for some to read things they don’t want to believe, I wrote that I would frequently lace the truth about our crumbling economic foundations with humor in order to help a heavy subject go down a little lighter:
That hasn’t been enough, though, to create the kind of popularity any publisher needs in order to stay in production, even a little one. The humorous approach when possible is why I don’t hesitate to lampoon widely regarded experts on this blog. You have to find the humor somewhere; so go with those who set themselves up for it with the bad ideas they foist upon all of the world. As I originally said on my “About” page,
Why would it be different for this blog now?
I believe people will become ready to listen only when it becomes evident the Fed’s recovery has failed and we re-enter the Great Recession people thought we just left. It was when the second World-Trade-Center tower got hit that the entire world instantly knew a world-changing act of terrorism was taking place. Before the second tower, nearly everyone thought the first crash was an accident. When banks and everything start going down for the second time, the entire world will know we have a problem that no one has resolved.
I am certain we are now experiencing the start of a second economic collapse that is happening in exactly the way I said the Fed’s recovery would fail and when I said its failure would start to become obvious. (While summer was my timing for the stock market’s crash, I said the overall economic crackup wouldn’t get serious until fall for reasons I’ll note below. Now clearly everyone is looking around and sounding a little troubled at this point.)
The name of the blog may no longer have as much currency, given that even I refer mockingly to much of the period during which I’ve been writing this blog as “The Great Recovery.” Most people think the Great Recession is behind us. Now we are even post-Great-Recovery. We are in the thick of what I am calling the Fed’s “Great Recovery Rewind,” a time in which the Federal Reserve pretends it can reel back all of the quantitative easing (QE; i.e., money printing) that created its illusion of stable recovery without undoing the recovery and sending the economy back into the same hole from which it emerged.
The seismic shifts in the market that we have been feeling this year are the beginning of the breakup of the Fed’s recovery. This emerging crisis, is just now beginning to scare people, and it will grow to make my core message more important than ever. Hopefully, the Fed’s failure to create a sustainable recovery will discredit the Fed entirely and will prove the government has done nothing to correct the problems. When the stock answers all give way, maybe people will be ready to listen to a voice that has consistently said via this blog how the economy would fail again, why it would fail and when it would fail.
Going bigger picture with “Beat the Establishment” campaign to preserve and improve the site
Underneath all of my writing about a fake recovery that would never be sustainable, one primary motivation has driven me — beating the establishment in its wishes to create endless economic cycles that exclusively benefit and shield the rich at the expense of the entire nation. The entire globe is plunging deeper into debt at a rapidly accelerating speed, even as the Fed raises interest on all that debt, and we have clearly entered a period of diminishing returns for all future economic stimulus efforts. Another cycle of the same will not succeed this time, but it may be a long time in failing because they’ll greatly amp up the scale, even though the scale last time was beyond anything seen in history. When it does fail, it will be even more calamitous. So, we need to end these cycles with the closure of this one.
I hope some more readers will volunteer some skilled support so this site can do better than just continue. It can become more effective by increasing engagement. I also need my regular readers, who don’t suffer from denial or they wouldn’t be regular, to provide some financial support (consider it like a subscription to a magazine) because popularity isn’t likely to do the job. If this small campaign succeeds, you’ll be contributing to something bigger than a blog. You’ll be contributing to an effort to beat the establishment.
I’m looking for volunteers who have a driving desire like I do to make sure that, WHENEVER this economy fully tanks, we do not repeat bank bailouts and we do not bailout corporations that ultimately close their factories anyway, which is all we got for bailing out GM. I hope the site will inspire a “Beat the Establishment” movement . I don’t even fully know what that will come to mean because we’ll discover it together as people volunteer a small amount of their time and their ability.
I’m not looking to incite anarchists or to beat the establishment in a destructive way. Those methods leave a nation destitute and hurt all people. However, the trickle-down nonsense needs to end. Serving the rich before everyone else in the hope that wealth will trickle down in the form of marginally better jobs has failed. The idea of saving social security on the backs of those who gave to it all their lives under the promise their moneywould be there for them needs to be stopped in its tracks. (There are other ways that no one is talking about, but I’ll save that for another time if the blog continues.) The bailouts need to never be repeated. The truly greedy need to go to prison next time around. I want to stir up enough resolve to make all of that happen, but I’m under no illusion about my own ability to be that persuasive without support.
I simply hope this site will become a central place to fuel such resolve in many. When the false hope of Trumphoria gives way to the sickening realization that the financial establishment is still fully in control of allfinancial/economic departments of government and that the establishment has truly been blessed more than it has ever experienced by the Republicans’ last round of tax cuts, maybe people will listen to blogs such as this.
I FULLY understand why millions voted for Trump, but his plans as enacted are not going to save the US any more than all the Republicans or all the Democrats who passed through the White House and the halls of congress before him. Those plans are already crumbling into dust. That’s what this fall has been all about. A return to the largest deficits the world has ever known is not going to create enduring prosperity. Of course, you can have a good time on the company credit card if you never pay down the balance, but not forever. The time to pay the piper for that kind of excess arrived this fall. Living in good times now at the expense of people to come is irresponsible and immoral.
This has always been a blog that pays no respect to either Democrats or Republicans. They are the establishment parties. If they had any answers that worked for the middle class, we would not be in this mess in the first place because each party has had its shot at being in control of all branches of government. Each party has presided over the creation of a massive pile of government debt. Each party has no intention of ever balancing the budget. They are not even Keynesians, for they do not seek to pay debt down through surpluses when they claim the economy is doing quite fine, thank you. You have merely a choice between the Welfare Party of the Warfare Party as to what things they are determined to buy on credit.
The Trump Tax Cuts did nothing economically but finance a bigger stock bubble with repatriated money. If the new tax laws were not intended solely to put money in the pockets of the rich, they would have required that the tax savings on all those repatriated profits be plowed back into companies in the form of capital improvements, market research and development, etc. Stock buybacks do not build stronger companies for the future. They just rocket wealthy CEOs and board members to obscene levels of wealth. That wealth stays pooled within stocks and bonds and other financial assets with almost none trickling down. Under the buyback plan, the smart money often uses company money to buy themselves out, leaving a shell of a company behind in the hands of this Ponzi schemes final tier of mom-and-pop buyers. Buybacks do not create a strengthened and positioned for the future. These are reasons they used to be illegal until deregulation undermined our financial safeguards.
Undermining your nation with a cavern of debt does not make America great again. Ultimately, it assures America’s collapse. This fall is already evidence that we are not making America great again, and I’ve maintained from the start of this blog that the Fed’s recovery effort would only make America weaker. The rally has broken, and the profits are now being lost, while the nation is far deeper in debt as interest is on a path of serious rising, whether the Fed raises its target rates or not.
The failure of these schemes is becoming evident quickly, given how ugly the market turned in October along with the closing of numerous automobile factories and the WSJ’s pronouncement that the housing market peaked in May and is in decline. Even a large number of the permabulls are now proclaiming a recession may begin as soon as 2019, and the first inversion of bond yields that just happened is a bellwether for that turning.
Think about what will happen in 2019 when the buybacks that lifted the market for almost a decade end because the Fed’s easy money is being pulled back and the repatriation of foreign profits ends on January 1. With interest rising rapidly, easy credit is already over. Even though the Fed just hinted it might dial back its interest-rate increases, there has been no talk of slowing the Great Recovery Rewind of its balance sheet, which is the real driver of interest rate increases. The Fed bought bonds on that balance sheet in the first place for the primary reason of driving down mortgage rates and other long-term interest rates. How can reversing that not have an equal and opposite effect? We are already seeing that it is. As far as I’m concerned, all the Fed is doing with its rising interest targets is just keeping its stated policy in line with what the market is already pricing in due to the Fed’s Great Rewind of its balance sheet.
Consider the closure of several automobile manufactories and the economic knock-on effect of that to all the businesses that supply those factories and to all the additional people laid off and due to the fact that all those people will be spending less at other businesses in their communities. Consider the economic impact of slowing housing, which has for decades been our nation’s main economic driver because houses are loaded with all kinds goods that go into their construction.
We’ll be starting 2019 with all the things that usually stimulate the economy either in full reverse or failing to deliver and with many sectors of the economy, as listed above, already starting to crumble around us. Tariffs, if they worsen, are merely a dollop of sour cream on top of that cocktail of rotting shrimp.
Here is where volunteers can help beat the establishment:
This blog is about not letting another recovery plan like the last one happen again. If you support it, you’re doing something to try to stop it from happening again. If a few volunteers and a solid number of financial supporters want to help the site continue, I’ll help it continue.
I’ve never asked for any help here, but readers commented on my closing article that the site’s continuance was important to them. They believed the articles serve an important purpose in our civilization. If you believe that, here are ways I can think of that you can help carry out that mission: (You may have your own idea of how you can help, which may be even better. These are just the things that come to my mind.)
If the mission is important, as readers said when I stopped writing, then there is no reason I should be the only one carrying it out. I was blessed by those who have said something on the order of, “David, please keep writing; your site has value;” but it is necessary to give your time or financial support just as you want me to give mine if that is to continue. I have spent well over a thousand hours every year on this site for the better part of a decade without any personal profit. So, I feel I’ve done my part as far as giving for free; now it is going to take others stepping up in a significant way to join with me if it’s worth the effort of continuing to get the message out.
Together, we can, at least, give our best to Beat the Establishment — to cut them off at the pass before the next bailouts are proposed at the next full downturn. If we wait until the downturn to press that message, we’ll never get momentum built up in time to resist the next bailouts. One person doing that here isn’t going to get very far either; but I’m willing to keep playing my part if enough others are willing to join in and play their part.
The future is in your hands — at least, here and perhaps far beyond, depending on what synergy emerges from our conversations and action. So, here is the donation site I set up at readers’ request where you can do your part to beat the establishment.
Beat the establishment before it beats you … again.
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