It's 3:00 A.M. my time. That's how it is for us serious bloggers.
Guided by a psychotic sense of impending doom, I was up scouring the media for the latest "gerry rigged" figures due out this economic week.
Small wonder that government workers compile such data. Real compilation and truthful reporting is hard work and as the blog name implies, there simply ain't no such thing.
Now I like a lot of doom and gloom just like the next guy, but when I saw 500 rental ads go up on Craig's List in just one day here in Boise, I paused.
You see my mother thinks it's because so many people have bought and purchased cheap real estate on the come. I just smile. That ain't the truth. But you see, only true morons argue with their moms.
The truth is, and the numbers support this, that real unemployment is north of 17%. Banks simply aren't lending freely and I damn sure don't know how you qualify for a 8000.00 dollar tax credit when you are disqualified because you owned a house in the last three years, you lost your house, and now you need a job.
There are a couple of other problems. The consumer price index, or CPI is due out this week. That figure has been "gerry rigged" by Helicopter Pilot Ben Bernanke and the Fed. You see Ben is a bright guy. He figured out that deflation prolonged the Great Depression. We had this arcane idea back in 1929 that in order to print a worthless paper dollar that we should have enough gold in reserve to back it up. Every dollar in circulation could only be printed when we acquired enough excess gold to print more.
Therefore we suffered through huge deflation. People holding a lot of debt and finding out that there was only a limited supply of dollars got their ass kicked. Too few dollars chasing too much debt. Dollar values skyrocketed. The rich or elite, debt free, made out like robber barons.
That idea, the gold standard, was a very good one. But then the bankers and FDR figured out that they could print a lot more money and make a lot more money if we just got off that ridiculous gold standard. That and they were getting sick of all that doom and gloom dust bowl crap. After all, they weren't getting any younger and you can't get re-elected 4 times if you can't figure out a solution to a little problem like a Great Depression. And so they printed. And thus began the declining value of the dollar, unabated more or less...and then...
Fast forward to the fall of 2008. From September to December, the U.S. was deflating rapidly. You can find a supporting chart at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which I have taken the liberty of pasting here.
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual HALF1 HALF2
1999 0.2 0.0 0.1 0.7 0.1 0.0 0.4 0.2 0.4 0.2 0.2 0.2
2000 0.3 0.4 0.6 -0.1 0.2 0.6 0.3 0.0 0.5 0.2 0.2 0.2
2001 0.6 0.2 0.1 0.2 0.5 0.2 -0.2 0.0 0.4 -0.3 -0.1 -0.1
2002 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2
2003 0.4 0.5 0.2 -0.4 -0.2 0.1 0.3 0.4 0.3 -0.1 0.1 0.3
2004 0.4 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.4 0.4 0.1 0.1 0.3 0.5 0.5 0.0
2005 0.1 0.3 0.4 0.4 -0.2 0.1 0.6 0.7 1.4 0.3 -0.4 -0.1
2006 0.6 0.1 0.2 0.5 0.3 0.2 0.5 0.4 -0.4 -0.4 0.2 0.5
2007 0.1 0.4 0.5 0.3 0.4 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.4 1.0 0.3
2008 0.4 0.2 0.4 0.2 0.5 0.9 0.7 0.0 0.0 -0.8 -1.7 -0.8
2009 0.3 0.4 -0.1 0.0 0.1 0.7 0.0
Check out those last five months of '08-squished in here due to my complete ineptness at o dark thirty.
To stop this rapid deflation and impending depression, the boys started dropping money from helicopters. Loans, stimulus packages, tax credits, cash for clunkers, student grants and loans. There is one major problem with that.
We got robbed again. You see, when they print and dump all that fiat currency, it dilutes the value of your existing dollars. And thus our currency trades at all time lows with a real value of about 3 cents. That's right, 3 cents. And that big economic rebound that the media keeps talking about? Well folks it ain't materializing. Because 20% of this country's population is out of work and you can't drive a consumer based rebound with 1/5 of your labor pool watching Oprah and eating generic potato chips.
Now you can cheer lead all you want. Call yourself an optimist or worse yet, a Democrat. The cold hard truth is that our economy sucks so bad that Helicopter Ben is printing and dropping all the fiat he can and it is barely holding off deflation. Ben's trick bag is just about empty and his new buddy is going to ask him for additional help.
So hang in there doom and gloomers. The day of reckoning draws near. Next time Barack asks for another political quick fix, Ben may just shrug his shoulders and say...
"Have you seen the apartments and houses for rent on Craig's List in Boise?"