When Lakshman Achuthan of Economic Cycle Research Institure (ECRI) signaled a recession warning in September of 2011 and then reaffirmed a recession call in July of 2012 many were skeptical. It now appears that 95% of the population would agree with Mr. Achuthan.
The 5% who might not agree are the top 5% of the economy, those of the very wealthy and connected among us who buy gold coins and such, they might answer that we are obviously in a recovery. However, if you are among the vast 95% of the economy then things are more problematic, a lot more problematic.
In an address given by Federal Reserve Govenor, Sarah B. Raskin, she observed that the lower income levels have not benefited as much from the so called recovery due to having the wealth of that strata of society tied up in housing to whom falling prices come as a more devastating blow.
Unemployment is an aspect that has an additional impact on those further away from the most well to do. This is because the lower income crowd have a tougher time getting a job that pays the same as the one they just lost.
Add to this the lesson history has taught us that a very easy monetary policy, as we have had, increases the difference in income by rewarding speculators and punishing savers. So even though the S&P has advanced almost 150 % since the March 2009 lows, it has benefited those most heavily into stocks.
In a series of charts, by Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com, we see the sharply skewed recovery in perspective. He uses a handful of measurements to demonstrate that, in spite of the advance in gross domestic product and other data points, the recovery has not soaked through the economy.
Smith laments, “Things are falling apart—that is obvious. But why are they falling apart? The reasons are complex and global. Our economy and society have structural problems that cannot be solved by adding debt to debt. We are becoming poorer, not just from financial over-reach, but from fundamental forces that are not easy to identify or understand.”
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