I'd trust this guy with my net worth and the keys to my house. Brilliant economist, always spot-on in my experience. And this March 2006 report is one of his best:
A copy of the annual Economic Report of the President arrived at my desk the other day, replete with a giant bald eagle on the cover and formatted, incredibly enough in OVERSIZED print – fit for an aging boomer population. My compliments to the chef, at least for the exterior garnishments. The verbiage however, was another story.
It’s not so much that the report was a compilation of untruths or even half-truths. It’s just that it failed to tell the truth, the whole truth, and most definitely nothing but the truth. Although submitted by ex-CEA Chairman and newly christened Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, it was as if it had been written by Dick Cheney, a man who not only cannot shoot straight but seems to have difficulty talking straight as well.
If there were WMD in our economic future, you’d be hard pressed to find them here. Mild innuendos about global and demographic challenges yes, but nothing that couldn’t or wouldn’t be overcome with good old American ingenuity, hard work, and a fawning foreign investment public nearly trampling each other to get their hands on attractive U.S. "investments."
Nowhere to be found was the catchy phrase à la Tennessee Williams referring to the "kindness of strangers" or a suggestion of "living on borrowed time." Our 700 billion dollar current account deficit, in fact, could and might continue "indefinitely" as long as we use the capital inflows in ways that promote future growth, the report intoned.
Ah, but that, it seems to me, was the critical rub. Have we, can we, will we use capital to foster future growth or must we earmark it for future liabilities that have been under-reserved? Have we borrowed from the future to pay for today’s party and will our future creditors allow us to pay it back on our own terms with low yields and a strong dollar? While the gang that couldn’t shoot (or talk) straight expressed few doubts, I as you can probably tell, have mine. Let me summarize a few of the pertinent chapters of this year’s report to help you make up your own mind
Here's his conclusion. Run folks. Run for the hills. And get your money out of dollars and out of the US market. Tilt.
Instead, our solutions more likely will pursue an easier trail, characterized by currency devaluation, the inflating away of long-term pension liabilities, and the payment of rising healthcare expenses via higher personal and corporate taxes. Investment markets in the United States will not ultimately prosper under such an increasingly odorous environment. It is only sensible, therefore, to diversify globally. Sorry for the straight talk folks, but don’t you think it’s about time?
February 28, 2006
Posted by blogger at 2/28/2006