Thursday, February 5, 2009

Only TARP Recipients Should Worry About Deflation

The 'Helicopter Economics Investing Guide' is meant to help educate people on how to make profitable investing choices in the current economic environment. In addition to the term helicopter economics, we have also coined the term, helicopternomics, to describe the current monetary and fiscal policies of the U.S. government and to update the old-fashioned term wheelbarrow economics.

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Finally some minor logical restriction has been added to the historically wasteful TARP program. TARP is essentially welfare for Wall Street and companies receiving welfare should be forced to live like people who used to receive it, if they want the handouts. The $700 billion of taxpayer money was supposed to be used for lending, but nothing in the bill mandated that would happen. There aren't even records of where the money is going, although maintaining exorbitant executive salaries and bonuses is obviously one of destinations for the funds. President Obama has now restricted these salaries to a still generous $500,000 (the President of the U.S. is paid only $400,000). Stock options are allowed, but only once the U.S. is paid back the money it has given to these financial companies. This is only likely if major inflation reduces the debt (and your savings and retirement payments) to essentially nothing.

Anyone who reads this blog is well aware that we have been predicting just such an economic scenario for a long time. Central banks throughout the world are engaging in policies that will insure massive inflation is inevitable and they are covering their irresponsible policies by waving the threat of deflation flag. The Bank of England just cut rates to 1.0%, down from 1.5% (which was already the lowest since the late 1600s - yes, 1600s). The BOE has more than hinted that this is just another step on the way to ZIRP (zero interest rate policy), which now exists in the U.S. and Japan. It also stated that it WILL BE expanding the money supply (as if somehow they haven't already been doing this). Like the U.S. central bank, the BOE claims that it is worried about deflation, even though the official inflation rate in Britain is 3.1% (you may assume the actual rate is somewhat to a lot higher) and the pound is dropping precipitously, which is highly inflationary. Lower interest rates and increased money printing will only weaken the currency further. Yet the BOE is worried about deflation.

Central banks are taking the disastrous decisions to create inflation in a desperate attempt to prop up their collapsing economies. The true depth of the economic downturn is being hidden from the public by manipulation of the data and a compliant press that fails to question even the most absurd claims of the government statistical offices. As an example, the U.S. Labor Department released productivity figures for Q4 2008 today. Productivity (the amount of output per hour of work) was allegedly soaring at the end of last year. The claim is that the number of hours worked is dropping a lot faster than output. The alternative (and correct) explanation is that the government has lied about output and overstated it considerably. While there is a lot of evidence to support that U.S. GDP is being overstated, you will not see it in mainstream press coverage of the Productivity story... just an emphasis on the ridiculous headline numbers.

The press articles on Productivity are also being used to prop up the deflation bogeyman. One AP article (likely to be reprinted in hundreds of papers across the U.S.) stated, "The results underscore how the deepening recession has removed the threat of inflation". No AP, the results underscore the depth of lying that the U.S. government will engage in to hide the real economic story from the American public.

NEXT: U.S. Unemployment Rate Rises to 13.9%

Daryl Montgomery
Organizer,New York Investing meetup

This posting is editorial opinion. Like all other postings for this blog, there is no intention to endorse the purchase or sale of any security.

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