Thursday, May 14, 2009

It's The End Of The World As We Know It...

...And I feel fine?

Actually, I don't know about you, but I have an ever-growing sinking feeling that this house of cards we've built up around us is about to come tumbling down! As I sit here drinking my early morning coffee and musing over the latest round of disappointing headlines, I'm beginning to see that despite all the vain attempts by the Federal Reserve to plug their finger in the levee, there are just too many holes and cracks to even think about stopping the floodwaters now.

I find all this talk of the "green shoots" of recovery a little insulting, it's kind of like the emperor's new clothes - everybody is too afraid to tell the mighty emperor that he is in fact naked, and those magnificent garments are just a figment of his overactive imagination! I have no idea how we managed to have such a great rally during March and April, I figure that many people decided that "it couldn't really get much worse" and just jumped in regardless! The bank stress tests were little more than a sick joke and a waste of tax payers money, even the so called "worst case scenario" that they incorporated is a better state of the economy than what is actually happening in reality right now!! I'm sure that makes sense to someone somewhere, but it seems like a another cover-up to me. I've just about had enough of all the smoke and mirrors, let's just bring the facts out into the light and deal with them.

So, moving on. Retail figures anyone? Er...yeah, they're less than pretty. With consumer spending continuing to drop, we should be expecting another round of corporate losses, missed earnings, and falling stock prices. Add into that the continuing increase in unemployment figures, which are not going to improve anytime soon in the light of continued corporate bankruptcies and cost cutting exercises and you will soon realize that we're in for even lower consumer spending and a fresh wave of home foreclosures and credit card defaults. In fact, while the stock market was putting in a huge rally during March and April, the number of home foreclosures surged to a record high according to RealtyTrac. If it was the bursting of the housing bubble that got us into this mess, then I find it hard to imagine getting out of the mess without a significant improvement in the real estate sector and I don't see this happening for a few years yet. Yes, I did really say YEARS. I don't subscribe to the permanent mantra of "we should expect to see recovery in ...insert time 2 quarters away..." That's just not realistic. The huge wave of mortgage losses and loan defaults that we will continue to see is going to finally expose many banks as being little more than bankrupt shell corporations. The government cannot save them all, and really shouldn't try.

Actually, given the huge shortfall in the funds needed to pay Social Security and Medicare to the millions of baby boomers retiring this year, I wonder in the Federal Reserve should really be trying to save any company, period. I think the latest estimate for the shortfall is somewhere north of $50 trillion which dwarfs many other economic issues right now. We already know that the Chinese and Japanese have taken on just about as much US debt as they are likely to, so the Federal Reserve can't just keep on running the printing presses without decimating the US dollar which is only going to harm the country further. We've already started to see the beginnings of the unraveling of the dollar, and I'm sure there is much worse to come.

So where do we go from here? Down.

Disclosure - At the time of writing the author held shares in ProShares Ultrashort 20+ Year Treasury ETF (TBT) and Direxion Financial Bear 3X ETF (FAZ).

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