Saturday, January 22, 2011

US On-The-Rocks Economy; Where to Go From Here?

McMillion's been around for a few years. Has his Ph.D., contributed to Harvard Business Review. Here he sets the table for the debate.

...But in the first U.S. economic lost decade since the 1930s, there are still 3.2 million fewer private sector jobs than there were 10-years ago, including one-third fewer manufacturing jobs. There is less private investment and less real per-capita net worth. Income inequality is at the highest level since the 1930s, and the median real annual income of men with a college degree is less than it was for men with four years of college in 1966.

That's not all.

Household debts almost doubled from $7.2 trillion in 2000 to $14 trillion in 2010. At the same time, government debt more than doubled from $5.7 trillion to $14.0 trillion.

This combined private and public increase of over $15 trillion in debt for the decade compares with an increase of just $4.8 trillion in nominal Gross Domestic Product. That is, over the past decade the United States borrowed $3 for every $1 of growth in output. Since 1980, the United States has borrowed over $2 for each $1 of GDP growth.

As a percent of GDP, household and government debt peaked at an unprecedented 138 percent at the end of World War II but fell steadily to 76 percent in 1975 before skyrocketing after 1981. Since then, debt soared to 170 percent of GDP in 2008. At the start of 2011, debt is at 187 percent of GDP and is still rising rapidly.

In other words, the problem began during the Reagan years and for practical purposes hasn't ever stopped growing since. (Yah, I know about Clinton and his reduced deficit thing. It worked very well unless you count Social Security obligations.)

McMillion doesn't much care for the moneytraders:

Since 2000, U.S. demand for goods and services has exceeded production by $6.2 trillion. This is far more than all GDP growth. Foreign-made imports and foreign borrowing made up the difference. It is wildly wrong to assume that U.S. demand drives U.S. production and jobs. However, Wall Street traders and importers make so much money from global arbitrage that, for all the hype about "globalization," they have made serious discussion of global commerce the new "third rail" of economic policy -- touch it and you die of a thousand smears.

You need not be too bright to notice that a lot of US capital is invested outside the US--in factories which do not employ US nationals.

The clear, simple fact is that production, jobs, income and tax revenues lost to trade deficits have devastated the U.S. economy to the point where it may already be too late to fully recover. U.S. jobs and businesses lost to net imports do not move automatically to higher wage, more productive employment. In fact, they generally don't get re-employed at all except through massive new borrowing by households and government. Even with unprecedented borrowing, most re-employment moves down sharply to far less productive, lower wage employment that does not face imports and cannot export.

Not exactly "optimistic," is he?

First Mexico (which is no longer a 'hot-spot'), now PRChina:

...just since 2000, the U.S. manufacturing trade deficit -- and their production, jobs, incomes and tax revenues -- with China now exceeds $2 trillion, including virtually every advanced industry except semiconductors and aircraft, which China is now targeting


In 2010 and in most recent years, the United States suffered a net deficit in global commerce for technology goods and services. That is, earnings from technology -- including from intellectual property -- no longer pay for any portion of the soaring U.S. trade bill for autos, computers, cell phones, apparel or oil

...China's total current account surpluses totaled over $2 trillion for the decade. It amassed over $2.5 trillion in global manufacturing surpluses led by $850 billion in global net exports of machinery, computers and parts. Along with its global earnings on interest and investments, China's war chest of foreign currency, now rising at over $90 million each hour, totals an astonishing $2.85 trillion. From global oil, gas and iron ore reserves to key patents and expertise -- including political and public relations expertise -- it seems there is now little that China's aggressive governing authorities cannot build or buy.

But hey!!! We get to keep the pandas for another 5 years.


1 comment:

Beer, Bicycles and the VRWC said...

I expect my economic life to be quite hard until I die.

That sucks. Thanks sprogs.