American Household Debt Surpasses $16 Trillion


Armstrong Economics Blog/USA Current Events Re-Posted Aug 8, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

American household has reached a new high, according to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Total household debt has surpassed $16 trillion for the first time in American history. Americans have taken on $2 trillion in additional debt since the pandemic. Aggregate household debt balances rose by $312 billion in Q2 2022 alone, marking a 2% increase from Q1.

Mortgages were the largest contributing factor to the post-pandemic uptick after rising by $207 billion to $11.39 trillion. Americans have been relying more on credit to make purchases amid inflation, and credit card balances have spiked by $46 billion last quarter. Non-housing balances saw the largest uptick since 2016 after increasing by $103 billion. Auto loans saw a $33 billion rise as the cost of autos remained at a high.

Delinquency on debt “increased modestly” in all categories. Around 95,000 people faced bankruptcy in Q2 2022, which is still near historic lows. Of the $758 billion in new mortgage debt accumulated in the last quarter, 65% is held by people with credit scores over 760. Outstanding student loan debt reached $1.59 trillion last quarter, 5% of which was delinquent.

People may be able to pay off their debt now, but as inflation and interest rates rise, that will become increasingly difficult. While mortgage debt is no cause for concern, the over-reliance on credit purchases will not help Americans lower debt. Inflation must come down for the people to maintain their quality of life.

President Trump CPAC Introduction Video


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on August 7, 2022 | sundance 

This was the introduction video for President Donald Trump before his CPAC speech. {Direct Rumble LinkEnjoy

Nature v Humans


Armstrong Economics Blog/Opinion Re-Posted Aug 7, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

Sorry, I took a break with the family and went to Yellowstone National Park. My father took me there 60 years ago and it was so spectacular. I always remembered being there as a kid. So I suppose it is a family tradition now knowing that probably my grandchildren will take their children there. So, while empires, nations, and city-states rise and fall throughout history, despite the climate zealots that blame everything on humans as if we are a plague that should be exterminated, nature endures.

Even the Bisen are not afraid of cars. If they decide to eat the grass on the side of the road and block traffic, they have the right of way. Yellowstone is off the grid. Cell phone reception is very spotty and if you stay at the famous Old Faithful Inn, there is no air conditioning or Wi-Fi. So prepare to ruff it. You are really disconnected from the world.

President Trump Keynote Address CPAC 2022 – 6:30pm Livestream


Posted originally on the conservative tree house August 6, 2022 | sundance 

President Trump will be delivering the final keynote address to the CPAC audience in Dallas, Texas today.  The anticipated start time is 6:30pm ET.

Livestream below {Direct Rumble Link}:

Geopolitical Nightmare


Armstrong Economics Blog/Geopolitical Re-Posted Aug 5, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

My mother died at 99. She had her wits about her til the end. Not everyone loses their mind. Henry Kissinger, I regard as the finest geopolitical analyst in history. That person in the Biden Administration who is the real president writing the scripts is only interested in climate change and the Great Reset. They pushed the sanctions against Russia, which have divided the world and ended the global economy. They are already preparing ways for us to eat bugs. Cricket powder is starting to show up in the food supply.

Meanwhile, there is absolutely no evidence that any sanction against a country has ever worked. Iran has been under sanctions for as long as I can remember. These morons are pushing the world into a serious geopolitical confrontation that will not end nicely. We have reached the 8.6-year turning point from the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution. This does not speak well for what we face in 2023. All I can say is I really hope the Democrats do not allow illegal aliens to vote. I fear that will spark a serious uprising, and then you will get a REAL insurrection — not a fake January 6th event to create publicity for the November 2022 election.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema Agrees to Senate Green New Deal Spending and Tax Proposal After Negotiating Minor Changes


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on August 5, 2022 | Sundance

Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema has announced her support for the senate climate change spending and tax proposal after some modifications to the new taxation.

To support the hedge fund donors, Senator Sinema insisted the carried interest loophole tax provision be removed and instead replaced with a corporate tax on stock buybacks.  Any time a corporation wants to buy back their own shares of stock, they will now pay the U.S. government a tax for doing so; at least that’s the ¹intent.

[¹Note: taxing shares of company stock will never work, because that’s exactly what shell companies were designed to avoid.  Set up a child shell company to purchase the stock and the parent company doesn’t pay taxes on the child’s purchase.  It’s a shell game]

Additionally, according to reports, there is some kind of agreement to modify the 15% corporate minimum tax.  Details unknown.  Bottom line, Senator Sinema now supports the $700 billion climate change spending and tax proposal.

“We have agreed to remove the carried interest tax provision, protect advanced manufacturing, and boost our clean energy economy in the Senate’s budget reconciliation legislation,” Sinema said, signaling that she plans to vote to begin debate on the bill.  “Subject to the parliamentarian’s review, I’ll move forward,” she said.  (link)

The Inequality of the World Economy


Armstrong Economics Blog/Economics Re-Posted Aug 4, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

QUESTION: Mr. Armstrong; I have followed your comments on the future of inflation for the last five years at least since a friend attended your conference. I must say you have alone singlehandedly defeated every economic theory I have studied.

Since the start of this pandemic in 2020, most prominent neoliberal economic voices warned of the danger that the spending would create inflation. The U.S. spent more as a share of GDP than any major economy on this planet. There was a mix of direct payments to citizens, forgivable loans to small businesses, and then new pandemic-related federal spending. Yet the data showed inflation in the United Kingdom has hit nearly 10% and European inflation rates were higher. Every G7 nation had higher rates of inflation than the United States. This called into question that there was a possible disconnect between the rationale behind tightening U.S. monetary policy and the actual causes of ongoing inflation rises.

Your favorite economist, Larry Summers, from nearly the beginning of that fiscal response, warned this would trigger inflation. At first, he seemed correct. However, by the start of 2022, U.S. inflation did outpace the average for OECD nations. Yet here in 2022, inflation externally to the U.S. is now surpassing all U.S. levels, and the forecasts of the neoliberal economic thought are in open to doubt as to their outcome.

Your argument against the Quantity Theory of Money appears to be vindicated. Since the U.S. had printed much more money than other economies, then how was it possible that the U.S. would have the lowest inflation rates? The discussion in some circles has tried to explain that at first, the U.S. stimulus remained has been overshadowed by non-monetary factors such as shortages. That has been your expectation years in advance.

Now even wages have risen dramatically ever since the end of unemployment benefits to adjust for the rise in inflation. Yet employment has still not recovered for prime-age workers compared to 2019 levels.

I understand you are not interested in teaching at a university. Perhaps it is time for you to write a textbook to provide a better view of the complexity of the world economy. We are obviously in new territory.

Would you care to explain how inflation is significantly higher outside the United States despite the fact that the U.S. expanded its money supply greater than any other nation?

SK

ANSWER: I know this is a very complex question that most people, no fewer politicians, want to think about. Aside from COVID and the supply chain, Biden & the Green’s attack to end fossil fuels is just totally insane. The US was self-sufficient under Trump. Biden has done everything to undermine that and they have no idea what they are doing. They are making the US economy vulnerable. However, outside the USA, nations are NOT self-sufficient, and the further you move down the rank, the greater it is that their population is living hand to mouth.

Europe has no energy. This push by the Greens in Germany and Austria is just completely insane. Remove Putin in Russia, and you will get a hardline replacement who will see that this is the moment to take Europe, and Europe tried to invade Russia twice before. Cutting off the energy and the Greens have made Europe vulnerable, which the Neocons and NATO salivate over finally getting to use their toys.

Gasoline in Europe sells by the litre. One gallon = 3.7 liters. Since gasoline in Europe is about €2.07 Euros, now €7.82, which is now about $8.21 up to $10 a gallon compared to the US national average of $4.642.

The dramatically higher cost of energy in Europe is driving inflation substantially higher in Europe because it also filters over into the cost of transporting everything, right down to food. The inherent problem we always have is that we tend to judge everyone else by ourselves. The world is really different outside the United States. In Japan, the price of gasoline per gallon works out to ¥646.548. Japan, instead of taxing gasoline, the government subsidizes it by about ¥100 per gallon. Thus, the consumer pays about the same as an American.

The higher the fuel cost, the higher the inflation, at least until the Greens force everyone to ride bicycles, stop heating their homes in winter, and truckers revert back to horse and wagons.

While we have Klaus Schwab claiming inequality is a huge problem, and we need to return to his world of equality, he obviously never considered anyone outside of his own circle. The world is vast. Perhaps we should take all his wealth so he can be equal in wealth to a goat herder in Africa. I’m sure that would solve all the problems of the entire world.

When Will the Baby Formula Shortage End?


Armstrong Economics Blog/Gov’t Incompetence Re-Posted Aug 4, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

It has been about a month since Abbott Laboratories reopened its formula plant in Michigan, but the US is still in desperate need of baby formula. The plant ceased operations in February after certain formulas were recalled for containing bacteria after infants became sick. Abbott had a huge 40% stake in the formula market within the US. The production plant was supposed to resume operations in June but this was pushed back a month due to flooding in the area. Certain states saw out-of-stock rates near 60% in July, but the national average currently sits at 30%.

The White House secured 17 Operation Fly Formula missions and imported enough powder to make 61 million bottles. The Defense Production Act was revoked to remove some tariffs, but this was a temporary fix. US consumers need enough formula for 65 million bottles per week. Experts now believe that the shortage will last into the fall months.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) failed to act in a prompt manner. Some of the red tape and regulations are to blame. FDA Commissioner Robert Califf testified in July, displacing blame from the FDA, and saying that they simply did not know. “No law requires manufacturers of these products to notify FDA when they become aware of a circumstance that could lead to a shortage of these products. Without this information, the Agency may have little or no insight as to when a major shortage may occur, preventing us from taking potential mitigation efforts until a crisis becomes apparent,” Califf said. He believed that formula availability to normalize in up to eight weeks.

An investigation shows that the FDA was first notified of formula contamination in December 2021. In fact, 128 complaints were filed between December 2021 and March 2022. The FDA certainly was aware of the contamination before they took action. The White House also took too long to respond as Biden did not invoke the Defense Production Act until May 2022, when 40% of formula was unavailable. This issue should have been solved months ago but persists due to government incompetence.

Arizona Enters Day Three Still Counting Ballots


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on August 4, 2022 | sundance 

According to election officials in Maricopa County, Arizona, they will provide further updates on their ballot counting efforts on Thursday after 7pm.  The election was Tuesday.   Apparently, in Arizona it takes several days to count election ballots or something, and we are not supposed to think this is odd. [LINK]

As of the latest update from Arizona in the Republican primary for Governor: Kari Lake has 303,860 votes (46.25%), and Karrin Taylor-Robson has 291,843 votes (44.42%).

[LINK] Kari Lake is leading by 12,017 votes.

[Source Link]

According to Maricopa County election officials they have counted 715,941 ballots

According to the Arizona Secretary of State office, they are reporting 698,981 votes for governor were cast in Maricopa County [402,023(R), 296,958(D)]

There are 16,968 more ballots reported from Maricopa County than votes cast for governor as reported by the Secretary of State.

Did 16,968 voters in Maricopa County cast ballots without voting for governor?

It all seems odd.

[Data Source]

402,023(R) + 296,958(D) = Total: 698,981 votes

Three days, or more, to count ballots.

Suspicous Cat remains, well, you know….

BMW Warns Investors of Lower Production Forecast, Incoming Factory Orders Declining


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on August 3, 2022 | sundance 

Whenever we are discussing the intentionally managed decline of the western countries, it is important to remember the closely connected relationship between multinational corporations and the political leaders of those nations.  Specifically, their public-private connections as they run through the World Economic Forum assembly.

An intentionally managed decline of western economic activity should have a direct impact on the private corporations within those economies.  If the politicians are collectively going to stop energy development, raise energy prices (inflation), then use monetary policy to shrink the economy down to the level of energy available, we would normally think corporations were going to make less money.

That preceding paragraph is not controversial.  It simply explains exactly what is happening; that is the situation.  However, for some weird reason the system that evaluates corporate wealth is not responding negatively to the reality of the situation.

Traditionally, we would think destroying the economy would be against the interests of the multinational corporations who benefit from economic expansion.  However, in the era of subsidized and controlled economic management, I’m not so sure the corporations are stakeholders in economic growth.  Something is profoundly disconnected, or else the corporations would be raising hell with the politicians.

BERLIN, Aug 3 (Reuters) – BMW (BMWG.DE) lowered its output forecast and warned of a highly volatile second half on Wednesday, pinpointing supplies of energy in Europe and chips worldwide as the two crucial factors to the carmaker hitting full-year earnings targets.

New incoming orders were beginning to fall but order books remained filled for the next few months, chief executive Oliver Zipse said. (read more)

All of the basic indicators point in one direction.

Energy prices are squeezing consumers and paychecks. Energy driven inflation is high.  Rising housing costs, food costs, gasoline costs and energy costs have hit the consumer hard.  Credit card balances have jumped.  Consumer sales on non-essential items have dropped.  Factory activity around the world (Asia and Eurozone) is slowing or has stopped.  Durable goods inventories have climbed everywhere, without customers to purchase them.  All of these facets are happening exactly as we would expect.

However, the value of the companies negatively impacted by everything above, is not dropping at the same rate of the financial impact each company is incurring.  It’s as if the entire financial system is pretending that things are not as bad as they are.  This announcement from BMW is a good example of that.

Consider another example.  According to the employment data, and even accepting the data is skewed, somewhere around 3.9 million jobs restarted or were created in the first six months of this year.  Yet, despite that job growth the GDP declined -1.6% in the first quarter and -0.9% in the second.

How does an economy add almost 4 million jobs while simultaneously shrinking?

Either people are (1) less productive, or (2) working less hours, or (3) holding multiple jobs…. or a combination of the three.

Trying to filter through the economic noise to see beyond the horizon is becoming more difficult.

So, let’s bring this conversation down to Main Street.  What do you see around you?  What’s going on economically in your community?

Do you see lots of people in stores and shopping malls?

Do you see a lot of new purchases being made?

How are your family, friends and the people in your community being affected by this economy?