Americans are driving the US economy along with borrowed money. The question is how much longer can it last?
Consumer debt surged once again in December as Americans charged up their credit cards for the holidays. Total consumer credit grew by $22.1 billion in December, according to the latest data released by the Federal Reserve. That represents an annual growth rate of 6.3%. Total consumer debt now stands at a record $4.197 trillion.
Stock markets made new highs on Wednesday, but as Peter Schiff explained in his latest podcast, there are a lot of cracks under the surface. The markets are surging forward even as they overlook bad economic data and chilly political winds.
Last week, Keynesian extraordinaire Paul Krugman called for more fiscal stimulus in the form of a “government investment program.” Mike Maharrey poked fun of him in his Fun on Friday column. But while it might be amusing to crack jokes at the expense of Keynsians and their obsession with both fiscal and monetary stimulus, the policies they promote are actually quite pernicious.
In fact, the do the exact opposite of what they’re supposed to.
The Commerce Department released the first estimate of Q1 GDP growth on Friday. It came in higher than expected at 3.2%.
Somewhat surprisingly, the price of gold rose on the news and the dollar showed some weakness. The primary reason was presumably lower inflation. This means the Fed still has the excuse it needs to continue the Powell Pause.
There was also some data in the Commerce Department’s report that reveals shakiness in that growth number. In fact, Peter Schiff said he thinks this will likely be the strongest growth of the year.
Peter Schiff has been saying that despite the recent stock market rally and all of the optimism about an end to the trade war, a recession is a done deal. There is plenty of economic data to back up despite the recent economic growth. In his most recent podcast, Peter Schiff said that while the GDP number might look pretty good, the growth is unsustainable because it’s all built on debt.
As we reported last week, China is dumping US debt. China’s holdings of US Treasuries fell for the third consecutive month in August. The Chinese shed another $6 billion in US debt, dropping its total holdings to $1.165 trillion. Over the last year, China’s holdings of Treasury bonds fell by $37 billion year-on-year.
But China has debt problems of its own. Local Chinese governments have reportedly piled up about $5.8 billion in debt. An S&P analyst called Chinese debt “an iceberg with titanic credit risks.”
Peter Schiff recently appeared on RT to talk about the US and Chinese debt.
In fiscal 2018, the national debt expanded by more than $1 trillion. According to data released by the Treasury Department, it was the sixth-largest fiscal-year debt increase in the history of the United States. A combination of increased spending along with shrinking revenues continues to expand the federal deficit and balloon the national debt.
GOP apologists insist the revenue shortfalls caused by tax cuts are temporary and economic growth spurred by tax relief will eventually turn things around. Tax relief is great, but without substantive government relief in the form of spending cuts, the promised economic growth won’t likely materialize.
As Jim Rickards put it in a recent column, there’s a lot of “happy talk” coming out of Washington D.C.
To hear Donald Trump tell it, we might be in the midst of the greatest US economy in history. When the Q2 GDP number came in at 4.1%, the president called it “an economic turnaround of historic proportions.” Of course, Trump isn’t alone in his optimistic hyperbole. Politicians and pundits all across the mainstream keep telling us everything is great. They see growth from horizon to horizon. Employment is booming. Americans are spending.
The problem with all the happy talk is that it doesn’t have much to do with reality. The Trump economy looks pretty much like the Obama economy.
The second quarter GDP number released Friday came in at 4.1%. It represents the fastest rate of growth since 2014. President Trump called the number “amazing,” bragging that, “We’ve accomplished an economic turnaround of historic proportions.”
Peter Schiff wasn’t quite as impressed. In his latest podcast, he said this “peak GDP” is an aberration and it’s setting the stage for a major economic fail.
Your great grandchildren are broke.
They may not even be born yet, but they are still broke.
The government has spent us, our children, our grandchildren and even our great-grandchildren into a black hole of debt. The world is drowning in debt. At some point, somebody will have to pay for it – one way or another.