Editorials in conservative papers run on the benefits of spending to revitalize the economy. "It's like taking a mortgage to create jobs", (WSJ) we were told. "Just look at the Dow Jones average-it's at an all time high!" "The economy is strong," the president tells us every chance he gets. "In current dollars, the economy is more than a third larger than six years ago, with gross domestic product, or annual output of goods and services, exceeding $13 trillion. Joblessness still is low at 4.7 percent. Inflation is under control." (WSJ)
This is what the Wall Street Journal, or the president, will never tell you.
Inflation is under control because of Globalization. According to China, Inc, by Ted C. Fishman "China has a workforce of 300 million employees that will work for one dollar a day and no benefits (that equals the total US population). Not only this, but also it produces 325,000 engineers each year, five times what the US produces. When Motorola came to China to set up a factory to produce cell phone parts, China admitted them into their market in exchange for the expertise. Within years, Chinese manufacturers were making the phones for a fraction of the cost. The biggest conundrum for American and other foreign large corporations is this: miss the Chinese market, or risk transferring the technology to China, creating their own worst competition."
"The good news is that you can walk into nearly any retail store, examine price tags and labels, and it is clear that China saves consumers enormous amounts of money. This is the main reason inflation is under control." Continues Ted Fishman.
The dollar fell almost to its all time low against the Euro last Friday, November 24, 2006. According to the FT Editorial on November 28, 2006, "this fall is a direct result of our deficit. While the Eurozone is in recovery and their Central Bank is expected to continue increasing rates, the Fed is puzzled and has paused their rate increases."
"The US, meanwhile, may be able to cope with a fall in the dollar. Its debts are denominated in its own currency, and while rising import prices could push up inflation, foreign firms tend to price to keep their share of the US market. But if the dollar falls further, the economy will have to rebalance towards exports and away from consumption. That is a necessary process. But the worry is whether America's exporters, battered by years of foreign competition, would be able to do so quickly. If they cannot, the US could suffer a recession while it adjusts." According to the Same Financial Times article on November 28.2006.
"The yield curve for US Treasury bonds has been inverted for a while - and the inversion has deepened over the past month as stocks have continued to rally. Ten-year Treasuries last week yielded 18 basis points less than two-year Treasuries - a strong signal that the market expects a recession and a clear indication that the Fed may have to lower interest rates in the near future to prevent a crash in the economy." According to John Authers of the Financial Times (November 27, 2006)
On November 27, 2005, the dollar weakness was considered a key factor in pushing gold to $641.75 a troy ounce, a near three-month high, before it eased back to $639.10, up 0.2 per cent on the day.
What else are conservative newspapers hiding from the American Public?
"First, The Dow Jones Average (which they prefer to reference as the entire economy) is only 30 stocks. For that reason, several indices are more closely watched, notably the S&P 500, maintained by Standard & Poor's, the rating agency. The more consistent data for the S&P 500, which is still 9 per cent below its level of January 14 2000, make it much easier to use for the purpose of analysis." Chicago Tribune October 4, 2006.
The Tribune adds, "What about the fact that average income is growing? That's true enough, but misleading. Average income increased overall solely because incomes at the very top exploded. For 80 percent of workers, incomes actually declined on an inflation-adjusted basis since November 2001. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes: 'this is the only time income for most workers declined during any four-year-long economic recovery, going back 40 years.'"
Consider what the economist Robert J Samuelson is saying about The Worrying Housing Bust: "If home prices drop too much, the damage to consumer confidence and spending won't be easily offset. The danger: a 2007 recession."
Finally, Americans are in debt. Housing speculation led many Americans to buy homes with interest only mortgages. As the housing market bursts, foreclosures are going to be rampant and will further bring down the housing market.
This is what I'm doing to protect myself from what I feel is an impending recession. I suggest you talk to your financial advisor to see how you should best diversify your assets.
1. Buy real estate only if you plan to live in it (better than paying rent), and only if you are in it for more than five years.
2. Invest in foreign currencies The yen is considered to be depreciated against the dollar.
3. Set aside investments in Gold.
4. Stay heavily in bonds, as the markets crash, interest rates will fall and the bond value will rise.
5. If you buy stocks, invest in foreign companies (British and Australian banks are attractive). The economies of the region are strong plus they pay their dividends in their local currencies and these will increase as the dollar falls.