As we reported last week, consumer debt continues to break records month after month. Americans owe over $4.3 trillion dollars in revolving debt (primarily credit cards), student loans and auto loans. When you factor in mortgages, the number climbs to $13.54 trillion. That figure was $869 billion higher than the previous peak of $12.68 trillion in the third quarter of 2008 (right before the crash) and 21.4% above the post-financial-crisis trough reached in the second quarter of 2013.
But many mainstream analysts downplay this surge in debt. And on the surface, the numbers do seem to indicate the risk isn’t as big as it was prior to the 2008 financial crisis. But as Wolf Richter explains, the averages conceal a different reality.
Jim Grant recently appeared on the Santelli Exchange on CNBC and the conversation quickly turned to this notion that “intellectuals” have the wherewithal to run the economy. Friday Gold Wrap host Mike Maharrey recently explained two very important economic principles that make it impossible for central planners to ever truly succeed. As he put it, they might be smart, but they aren’t smart enough to know they’re not smart enough. Nevertheless, this doesn’t seem to dampen the fatal conceit and hubris of central bankers who think they can micromanage a complex economy.
Grant put it another way. He called it the ignorance that knows not it’s ignorant.
Peter Schiff has been talking a lot about the prospects of a trade deal lately. His point: an end to the trade war isn’t going to heal America’s economic wounds. And those wounds? Well, they’re self-inflicted.
Peter appeared on RT again on Monday (March 4) to hammer home this point.
The stock market has rebounded nicely since those dark days of December leading many analysts to believe precipitous nosedive was nothing but a bull market correction. But Peter Schiff begs to differ. He’s been saying that the rally in stock since the Powell Pause is really a bear market correction. Furthermore, Peter says an upcoming recession is a done deal.
During the Orlando Money Show, Mark Skousen moderated a debate between Peter and Louis Navellier. The question was: were we witnessing a bull market correction or a bear market rally in the last three months?
The price of gold dropped last week and stock markets continued to rally. One of the driving factors was optimism that the trade war may be close to its end. As a CNBC report put it, “investors opted for riskier assets on hopes of a thaw in a trade dispute between the United States and China.”
But should the markets really be rallying on this trade deal? Is it going to be a great boon to the US economy? Peter Schiff doesn’t think so. He recently appeared on RT to talk it.
The US and China are reportedly getting closer to working out a trade deal. The Chinese have indicated they will import more US natural gas, semiconductors and soybeans. Peter Schiff recently appeared on RT to talk about it. He said that no matter what ultimately comes out of these trade negotiations, it’s not going to make America great again.
As we reported last week, a record 7 million Americans have fallen 90 days or more behind on their auto loan payments. That’s 1 million more than the previous peak in auto loan delinquencies in 2010. But as Wolf Street points out, there is a big difference between then and now.
Serious auto-loan delinquencies are now on par with Q2 2009 when millions of people had lost their jobs and when the economy was in free-fall. But today unemployment is low and the economy appears to be humming. What gives? “
In a recent interview with CNBC’s Rick Santelli, investment guru Jim Grant talked about the Fed’s sudden about-face when it comes to its balance sheet reduction program, as well as the phenomenon of negative interest rates. In short, Grant said the central banks have done us “no favors.”
All of a sudden, former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen sounds a little bit like Peter Schiff.
During an interview on CNBC, Yellen conceded that the next Fed move could be an interest rate cut.
Of course, it’s possible. If global growth really weakens and that spills over to the United States where financial conditions tighten more and we do see a weakening in the US economy, it’s certainly possible that the next move is a cut.”