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“Did the Feds Destroy the
by Bill Bonner
“We’re still reeling from
yesterday’s discovery — that the economy has actually been
backtracking since 1989. How do we know? We just took the feds’ GDP
growth numbers and adjusted them for inflation, as the Bureau of
Labor Statistics would have done under the Reagan administration.
That helps explain why…
3,000 years after the invention
of real money…
240 years after James Watt
invented the steam engine…
and 30 years after Al Gore
‘invented’ the internet…
in the most advanced economy the
world has ever seen…with 15,000 full-time economists…24,000
practicing psychiatrists…and 70,000 newly minted engineers leaving
its universities every year… the typical family in America
doesn’t even have $500 to cover an emergency. And the typical
‘head of the house’ earns less today in ‘real’ (inflation-adjusted)
terms than he did in 1973.
We’ve already seen how the feds’
EZ money perverted the financial system, the economy, and our
political system. What did it do to the family?
A time before economists:
The US economy grew rapidly from the founding of the
Republic through the 19th century and into the 20th century. With
no central bank. No interest-rate policy. No economists on the
payroll. No counter-cyclical stimulus. No nothing. Then, the foxy
economists made their dens in the warm and fuzzy burrows of
Washington and Wall Street.
In 1913, the Federal Reserve
System was set up as a stealth central bank. In the 1930s,
economists working for the Roosevelt administration managed to
stretch out a depression (they usually lasted only a few months)
over an entire decade. Then, in 1971, the Nixon administration did
away with the old, reliable, gold-backed dollar and put in a new,
ersatz, credit-based greenback in its place. In 1978, the
Humphrey-Hawkins Act charged the Fed with maintaining full
employment, as well as steady growth and a stable currency.
From then on…economic growth
slowed. The more they pumped the heart…and turned up the juice to
the defibrillators…the more the financial fantasy economy boomed.
And the more the real economy slumped. ‘Don’t fight the Fed’ was
the motto on Wall Street. The ‘Greenspan put’…the ‘Bernanke
put’…and now the ‘Yellen put’…were the surest gambles on the
street. In other words, the fix was in.
Simpleton effort: But
we’re suspicious of all statistics — even those we doctor up
ourselves. You should be, too. Instead, as Yankees legend Yogi
Berra once said, you can see a lot by looking. And when we look, we
see an economy that looks suspiciously dead. Recall that economists
can’t measure quality. So instead, they focus on quantity. They can
turn up the dial on their numbers — but they have no idea if anyone
is really better off as a result. And in their simpleton effort to
get bigger numbers, they’ve distorted and damaged our entire
society — our economy, our government…even our families.
Just look around… Malls where
people shop on credit. Houses bought on credit, never actually
owned…always refinanced. Cars financed for 84 months at 0%
interest. Meals consumed in fast-food restaurants (the whole
industry was largely a product of credit money; keep reading) paid
for with credit. Students in college…only because credit makes it
easier to go to university than to find a decent job. And no
wonder. The decent jobs — the ‘breadwinner’ jobs — are hard to
find. About 80% of workers have full-time jobs. And only half earn
more than $30,000 a year.
Why? Because the cheap credit
system made it easy to move the good jobs somewhere else…and made
it hard to create better jobs at home. New jobs come with new
businesses. But the percentage of new businesses less than a year
old…and the percentage of the workforce that works for them…are
only about half of what they were in 1980.
Why? The new money system rewards
the established insiders. It punishes upstart, job-creating
competitors. Crony industries are protected by thousands of
regulations that increase the cost of entry. And the cronies in the
financial business control the flow of credit, too. It’s easy to
get money if you’re a big business. It can be very difficult if
economy: In the old days, business start-ups would be
financed from savings — often from friends and families. But today,
who’s got savings? Who needs them when you’ve got unlimited credit
on tap? And as the breadwinner jobs went, so went the breadwinners.
In post-1970s households, husband and wife won the bread. Families
needed two paychecks, not just one. You may ask, ‘What’s the
problem? People decided for themselves…women preferred to work.’
Yes, but they didn’t decide in a vacuum. They decided in the wind
tunnel of flying credit…and soaring prices. Salaries stagnated in
the ‘70s. What were women to do?
Today, you can get any food you
want at the supermarket — already prepared for you. Or you can go
out to any one of dozens of different fast-food or family eateries.
All very convenient. You may say, ‘Well, consumers have spoken.
That’s what they want.’ But with husband and wife working, what
choice did they have?
They got the convenience of
eating out. But they gave up something that economists couldn’t
measure — the pleasure of preparing and eating home-cooked
meals…the stability of having someone who was at home and focused
on the family full-time…someone who was not part of the
credit-fueled, work-a-day economy. The quality of family life
changed. For the better? Hard to say. Fast-food restaurant income
went up. GDP went up. More burger-flippers were hired. Economists
looked upon their work like God gazing at the world he had just
created. ‘It was good,’ they said.”
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