A future of poverty and upheaval - Tucson Local Media: Voices

A future of poverty and upheaval

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Posted: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 11:00 pm | Updated: 1:34 pm, Mon Apr 18, 2011.

And so those very same silly sods, who claim to be professionals in the financial world, who never saw this thing, the current economic crisis, approaching, are now the ones who loudly proclaim that the worst is behind us and though the recovery will be difficult, an upswing has now at least begun.

There were, of course, a few sane voices out in the wilderness, often ridiculed or simply ignored by CNBC, who warned of an impending implosion. It is these voices we as a people should be paying more attention to, rather than those who have been bought by a system that was compromised decades ago when our great-grandparents were young and Woodrow Wilson was president.

And what do these lone voices still say today? Hold on for the ride of your life.

William Bonner, president and CEO of Agora Inc., and a regular contributor to www.dailyreckoning.com., along with Addison Wiggin, editorial director and publisher of the Daily Reckoning, published several books in the 1990s and current decade warning of this very situation. Bonner himself just recently asked in one of his columns "Can you really fix a debt-saturated economy by pouring on more debt?"

Is it really wise to borrow from our children and grandchildren, taking away financial well-being for future production, merely to consume today? Is it wise to pour gasoline on a debt-induced inferno merely to kick start a people to take on more debt when most are already struggling to service their current loans all the while holding their breath during each round of layoffs?

Peter D. Schiff, Robert R. Prechter, Jr., Dr. Martin D. Weiss, John R. Talbott, James R. Cook, Eamonn Fingleton and Warren Brussee are just a few who warned our bubble-induced economy was a fallacy. And a few of them are now saying very, serious structural damage has been inflicted, and that this is not even what one would call a deep recession. Schiff, Bonner, Wiggin and Weiss are not afraid to use the D word when describing what we are now going through. And Brussee, probably the scariest of these soothsayers, created, with a couple of co-workers, "a real-time computerized stock investment program to identify insider trading …. and in the process became aware of some dire problems in the economy."

Brussee was so floored and concerned by what he discovered that he wrote a book in the middle 2000s and had it published in 2005, the title "The Second Great Depression: Starting 2007, Ending 2020."

When the book came out this mid-decade, Brussee acknowledged his premise could be totally wrong, but having been crunching numbers for a living for several decades he was pretty sure we had pushed our way into a bottomless pit of debt, both as a people and as a government. The title of his book is telling in and of itself. Brussee had the year right since the meltdown began in the early days of August, 2007. And by December of that year we were officially in recession. Since then our government has managed to throw more than $2 trillion at the problem, some economists and financial whiz kids saying as much as $5 trillion and still counting.

When you pump this much liquidity, into an economy, you are bound to get a pop and a fizz. Even during the first Great Depression, stocks had several bull runs during the ugliest of bear markets.

The Japanese managed to keep their economy from totally tanking during the "lost decade of the '90s." But there is a major difference between Japan and the United States; they are a people who save, a government not encumbered by massive debt owed to foreign banks and individuals, and an economy geared more towards production and not service and consumption.

When our recession began in 2007, we were a people with negative savings and a national debt already approaching $9 trillion. We are a nation whose people and government are broke, and in the process managing military operations in more than 300 countries and fighting two wars.

Brussee wrote "the people likely to be hurt in the coming depression … will include large numbers of the middle class." We have reached our capacity for debt, especially the middle class. Many of the early wave Baby Boomers are now entering their early '60s and may very well need to postpone retirement because they are in too much debt. The economy driven by boomer spending is coming to an end since these very people suddenly need to save. And since real wages have not gone up in years, those generations that have followed will hardly be able to take up the mantle of gross, meaningless spending.

And our government is hardly in a position to continue filling in for the consumer since it too has reached debt capacity. The problem is there are those in government positions who just don't get it, yet. If we do not face facts and realize our own worse enemy is debt and our inability to save, and fail to start paying down debt, both personal and national, we could actually face the prospect of default. And then our future will be riddled with poverty, sorrow and social strains and upheaval never thought possible in America.

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