June 21, 2012

EZ Cash Withdrawal


Joel Bowman
Reckoning today from Stavanger, Norway...

You were the last high, hi-i-i-i-igh, 
Hi-i-i-i-igh, hi-i-i-i-igh.

— The Dandy Warhols, "You Were The Last High" 

Do you hear that, Fellow Reckoner? The gears are beginning to grind. Growth is slowing. Manufacturing is slowing. China, Europe, the US...slowing, slowing, slowing...

Look what's coming across the wires. Here's Reuters:
Business activity across the euro zone shrank for a fifth straight month in June and Chinese manufacturing contracted, while weaker overseas demand slowed US factory growth, surveys showed on Thursday.

The data darkened the outlook for the world economy, adding to fears that Europe's debt crisis and slower growth in the United States and Asia would cause downturns around the globe.

But wait...didn't Bernanke yesterday commit to extending his Operation Twist program, under which the Fed swaps short-term bonds for longer-term ones to artificially suppress long-term interest rates. The distortion is designed to grease the gears, not gum them up. So what gives?
The problem with central planners "doing something" is that it quickly becomes a habit. The initial hit of EZ cash, for example, feels good. It gives a rush, puts a spring in the market's step. It brings forth demand, gooses the numbers, gives the appearance of a chatty, confident economy. Pretty soon, however, the market begins grinding its teeth, getting fidgety. The effect starts wearing off. 

So the planners rush back to the source of the manufactured euphoria. They inject another dose, hoping for the same buzz. The next time around is nice...but it's not quite the same as that first high. Something is missing. So they jack up the amount and try again. This time the reaction is even softer, duller. You see the pattern here (even if the planner junkies do not). Eventually, the economy is stumbling around like a strung-out meth head, lusting after the next high. But no matter how big the fix, how potent the mix, they can never regain the thrill and excitement of that first buzz.

Lookie here...the Feds have pumped trillions of stimulus dollars into the economy's wilting veins during the current and ongoing depression, including $4 trillion in direct, low-to-no interest loans to their buddies. And for what?

Here's the AP with more gloom, doom and inconvenient reality:
The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that sales of previously occupied homes dropped 1.5 percent in May from the previous month, raising fears that the housing market recovery is weakening. A separate survey showed manufacturing in the Philadelphia region contracted for the second straight month, providing more evidence that the economy is faltering.

Appetite for financial assets such as stocks was also dented by the results of a monthly HSBC survey which showed that manufacturing in China, the world's No. 2 economy, has continued to contract. China's growth has been a pillar of the global economy in recent years, so its slowdown has been of particular concern to investors.

In the 17-country eurozone, the equivalent manufacturing survey, called the purchasing managers' index, fell to 44.8 points in June from 45.1 the previous month. A number below 50 indicates contraction. A related survey on the services sector also showed declining activity, suggesting a drop in GDP in the second quarter.
Not one day has passed since The Bernank's renewed commitment to habitual recklessness, and markets are already blasé. Last we checked the Dow was down 150 points and on its way to steeper declines. But the planners have gone mad, Fellow Reckoner. Despite diminishing returns on their spending binges, they're doubling down on the dosage. It's only a matter of time before the poor fools O.D....

The other thing about rabid, dragon-chasing monetary junkies is that they won't hesitate to steal in order to get their fix. In today's guest column, The Sovereign Man's Simon Black shows you how the government is coming after your cash. Get ready for this... 


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