The Epocalypse is Different This Time, Yet Much as Predicted
Four years after the following lead-in article to my Epocalypse series was written, it is coming true before your eyes. Some of it came true right after it was written. Most is happening now. You can see the events it describes overtaking us in all the ways it laid out, and you can go back to the original to verify I haven’t changed it.
The following article is verbatim from my original lead-in to the Epocalypse series I wrote with just a few comments or updated words added in brackets so you can tell exactly what’s been changed — and an additional quote [also noted as additional in brackets]. The following is the second half of the original article — written in August of 2015 — that I quoted from as the basis for yesterday’s article, “The Return of the Epocalypse.”)
Why do I do it this way? So you can see how accurate the predictions of the original article about the Epocalypse were as we now enter recession again and you observe how that recession is actually playing out. Now, a flash from the past that’s nearly perfect for the present:
This time IS different
In the end, nothing is going to be safe — not even my bond funds — because everything is in such an overstressed state due to the fact that the entire “recovery” from the last global economic recession was built on the flawed ideas of the popular T.V. economists, fancy financiers and the politicians who copy them and serve their interests because many of them are owned by these people, and the rest just don’t have the capacity or desire to think outside of their party’s box [or outside of their Wall St. interests].
The central flaw in this group thinking is that economies can be built on ever-expanding holes of debt. One would think the error of such thinking would be self-evident — as it is hard to build anything structurally secure over an ever-expanding hole — but clearly it is not self-evident, for the world has stormed down that path to peril, hand-in-hand, singing gleefully all the way. The Fed and its fan dandies have engineered a recovery by digging out the biggest hole of debt the world has ever seen. And that’s one very good way you know this depression is going to be the worst the world has seen. Just look at the conglomerated size of all the national debt holes around the world.
The central bankers’ solution to building over an increasingly gaping maw of debt was to hang the entire economy from an ever-expanding balloon of money created out of thin, hot air. The problem with that is that the air only stays hot for as long as you continue fueling the fire that heats it, which they fueled by digging out more and more of the coal underneath it. You keep fueling the economy to keep it afloat, but you keep digging the hole deeper and wider that is the reason you have to fuel it and keep it afloat in the first place.
This is the point at which common sense should tap anyone on the shoulder and say, “Uh, what are you doing?” It would seem self-evident that you cannot superheat the money supply forever, and that the whole rigged economy will start to fall into the expanding hole as soon as the fuel gets turned off; but, then again, it would seem self-evident that you cannot create enduring prosperity out of ever-expanding debt.
Apparently it is not.
[In that we keep doing it, keep thinking it is working great, and then keep crashing back into our debt and then keep trying to inflate our way out of it by creating more money, which the Fed creates by buying up more debt. Now we are at the point where the government is having to issue debt faster than ever before (even before the coronavirus hit) just to keep the economy slogging along at 2% growth (considered pre-recessionary in the olden days), and the Federal Reserve has to keep soaking up all that debt by issuing new money, without which the financial system and the stock market start having troubles like the Repo Crisis and the 2018 stock crash.]
The Great Recession never ended
To understand why this new global economic collapse will be even worse than the Great Recession [many commentators who would never have spoken as I did in this article are now talking about this recession as being a “depression” because it is already breaking Great Depression records], you also have to understand that we are still in the Great Recession.
This is what the big, giant heads don’t get. What we are about to experience is merely how deep the Great Recession really is once all the props have failed. [We are still in it in the sense that we never resolved any of its causes. If the recession we sink back into is due largely to all the same causes, is it not in some fundamental sense a revisit of the same recession — coming back around to get us because we never dealt with it properly?]
As I have said from the start of this blog [eight-and-a-half years ago], the belly of the Great Recession has only been propped up temporarily.
[Here is what I wrote in my very first post created just for this blog back in October of 2011 when everyone was asking if we were already headed back into another recession or second dip of the same recession: (Posts on this blog prior to that date were articles and letters written earlier that I added after starting this blog but dated based on when they were written.)]
The U.S. government says the recession ended in June of 2009. The economic gurus of our time parrot this proclamation in complete belief, but how has that recession ended when the unemployment that it caused never improved for those who lost their jobs? How is it that the experts and government officials ALL say the recession that began in 2008 ended when none of the underlying causes of that recession have been corrected? How can we be going into a second recession when this thing that is happening to us right now was all caused by the thing that happened to us back then? How is it not just an extension of the same thing?
The reason the government says the recession ended is that they look at very limited measurements — essentially just GDP. I argue that, if we are in a recession that is defined by the same failures as the “last recession” then it is all one whole. It is one great recession, even it has multiple parts.
This is why I decided to start this blog. We are, in fact, in the same recession we started out with. That’s why some call it “The Great Recession….”
To make it easier for you, I’ll go along with those who call this “The Great Recession,” but I do so tongue in cheek. (“Oh, it’s a great one all right. Are you having fun yet?”) I’ll mix what I have to say with humor wherever I can … sort of like my mother used to take baby aspirins when I was ill and crush them up with raspberry jam to help them go down better.
Nevertheless, cutting straight to the truth when you cannot seem to find an objective view anywhere is the reason I decided to write this blog. I think we only deal effectively with things when we gain understanding of what we are going through and when we stop all denial about what is happening….
Just call me Knave Dave.“Great Recession or Great Depression?“
[Since that time back in 2011,] there has been no recovery, for recovery would require building a new and secure foundation to replace the one that crumbled out from under us, but we are resting on a patched version of the same flawed foundation that led to economic collapse in 2008 and 2009. [You cannot truly say you’ve restored a building when structurally it has all of its original flaws and you’ve just covered over them.]
The Paul Krugmans and other big-name economists of this world recommended that we solve a crisis that was fundamentally a debt-created problem by creating vastly greater debt, but we also solved a housing crisis by recreating a housing crisis. We’ve continued the same mortgage-backed securities built of low-quality mortgages. We’ve continued the trap of adjustable rate mortgages [though to a lesser degree], and we’ve managed to get housing prices right back to the stratosphere they were in before the last collapse. We have learned absolutely nothing.
All that the engineers at the Fed were really doing is keeping the old debt-driven dinosaur economy alive longer by using an air compressor to fill its lungs. So, look at where they have put us: housing debt is huge because they managed to stop the fall of housing prices, but people do have lower interest, so housing is not in as much peril directly as it was. That’s why I don’t think housing will go first this time.
Mortgage-backed securities are no more secure than they were last time around, but there are a lot more of them. In fact, the pile of junk is now about four times higher than it was.
[And now, after the coronacrisis hit, we can see what a mess those MBS are as the Fed has begun bailing them out again by vacuuming them up in wholesale quantities while asking the treasury to backstop all the bad debt that actually fails. As one article linked to in the housing section below notes, “The Federal Reserve just bought $250 billion of mortgage-backed securities in a bid to strengthen the markets. But the move caused a tsunami of margin calls across the mortgage banker industry. Some warned they could go bankrupt within days.“
This brings us into a state I’ve said in other articles we’d find ourselves in where the Fed’s old solutions now bring a whole new set of problems so the Fed cannot use those solutions because we are overloaded with that old Fed medicine already. Thus, the Fed backed out of its recent MBS bailout program almost as quickly as it began because it was leading to imminent bank failures. So, the Fed left the (possibly toxic) MBS in place because the cure proved worse than the ailment. This is what happens when you keep kicking the can down the road on all the issues you need to fix because you don’t want to bear the pain of dealing with your former financial profligacy, then the next fiery trial hits while you’re still surrounded by a tinder-dry pile of your own rubbish. That’s WHY I said the next recession will be much worse — hence, “the Epocalypse.”]
Banks seem to be solvent with reserves and assets, but those reserves immediately disappear as the value of the bank’s assets falls off a cliff when the stocks the banks are invested in fail and when housing prices fail all over again. To make it clear how much worse this will be, the banks that were too big to fail are now twice as big as they were when the Great Recession began.
[And we saw how those reserves failed to live up to the job they are tasked with during the Repo Crisis last fall, which became so bad the Fed was never able to resolve it. The Repo Crisis just grew each month until the even greater coronacrisis hit, and that gave the Fed all the justification that it needed to stop trying to solve the problem via temporary repo loans and launch into the greatest multiple-headed monstrosity of outright QE the world has ever seen … as I said it would wind up doing.]
Another reason you can be certain that the Great Recession Part Two will be worse than part one is that China is no longer in any condition to help drag the other sluggish economies of this world through the mud. China, in fact, has now become the first to fall. Its stock market already crashed to the point of being completely destroyed. [While that happened in 2015, we can see the China syndrome is even worse today with there being no chance China is in a position to help pull the world out of the Greater Recession we have now re-entered.]
It is a joke that the big, giant heads continue to talk of China as if it has a stock market. When you take all the failing stocks out of the market, ban all the major players from selling their own company’s stocks, ban short trading and imprison those who break your bans, and then pump up remaining stock prices with government purchases, that is NOT a market. That is a government controlled economy that is socializing all the companies that continue to be traded. That is communism back to its basic economic manipulation by the central planners.
But, hey, we should talk. What’s the difference between our Fed and a politburo? [Or China’s central economic planners?]
Talk about the “Chinese stock market” on the little screens that dot the United States reveals how foolish and ignorant about capitalism are the capitalists who manage the U.S. economy. All the big-name economists, financiers, stock brokers of this nation continue to refer to that twisted pile of rubble in China as a “stock market.”
The “stock” part is right in that a few stocks can still be bought and sold there, but we have become so inured to the sins of communism that we apparently mistake communism for a free market. After all, we wouldn’t want to be judgmental. The fact is that the only thing that can be bought and sold there is what the communist leaders decide can be bought and sold at a price that is manipulated by the communist leaders.
The end of China as a successful free market makes the pending global economic crash far worse than the last because there is no major economy left that can help restart the engines of those that fail.
And this situation happens just as all the governments of this world have exhausted their customary tricks of low interest rates and money printing only to find that we are right back in the maws of the Great Recession. Even if they try those old tricks again, they will be powerless because everyone is weary of them, and their failure to deliver true recovery will have become more apparent once this collapse unfolds.
[And, thus, we have seen that even the stock market failed to respond last month with even so much as a twitch to the Fed’s return to full-on QE and massive bailouts. For two weeks it continued crashing head over heal in spite of all the Fed’s greatest lifting efforts … until the government also joined in massive bailout programs.
Between the two entities, they have had to approve and begin more stimulus in one month than in the first year of Great Recession, and all they have to show for it from the stock market so far is what may likely be nothing more than a dead-bull bounce. In spite of the historically massive stimulus (even by Great Recession extremes), we remain far from any reasonable assurance Fed and government have delivered a new bull-market rally and not just a bull trap at the start of a long bear market. And, in terms of what they have been able to do to save the economy, all they have to show is GDP “growth” that JPMorgan just said may crash to -40%! (See “JPMorgan Predicts GDP Will Completely Crater.”) Now that’s a depression! It is, if it proves accurate, beyond anything even seen in the Great Depression!
In what step-by-step process will this global economic collapse unfold?
In the last global economic collapse, housing went down first, then the banks went down because of failing mortgages, and then the stock market went down because of failing banks on Wall Street. This time I expected the stock market would go down first, and you can now see that happening. It will pull the banks down with it now more than ever because the banks were deregulated and, so, became major players in the stock market with all the free money the Fed, which they own, was creating for them.
The reason I expected the first big foreshocks of this economic collapse would happen in the stock markets of this world is simple: I have been saying all along that the only reason stocks rose and appeared to lead the way out of the Great Recession is that stocks are where all the new money has been going — stock and bonds. The big, giant heads claimed there was no stock bubble, but it should have become obvious there was when 1) the market jolted at the end of quantitative easing, and 2) the market quakes every time the end of zero interest looks likely. How can that be anything other than proof that market values are built only on these unsustainable sources of free money?
It is inevitable, then, when the free money stops, the rise of the markets will stop. When investments stop rising, they start falling because money looks for someplace else to grow. Hence, bonds usually do better as stock markets crash. Capital does not just flee a crashing market; it flees a stagnant market because investors don’t like stagnation. If you stop the money pumps that are driving the market, stagnation is inevitable; so the prediction of a stock market crash is easy. Hopefully that little stone from my sling will hit the big, giant heads right between the eyes as people like you begin to ridicule them for being so stupid as to have completely (again) missed something so obvious.
[We saw that happen with the two-year failure of the stock market described in my last article, and that was when the Fed was still maintaining QE but had merely stopped expanding it and then started to raise interest rates. Then we saw it play out in a bigger way when the Fed started actually trying to rewind its QE in 2018, giving us a market crash in 2018 right when I said it would hit (the day the Fed got up to full rewind speed) and the Repo Crisis in late 2019, also as predicted here. Both of those events were easy to predict many months ahead of when they began based on the Fed’s announced tightening schedules as cause and effect.]
Here’s what I think the next trigger will be for the main shock. When the market bounces back out of the present hole for the reasons just stated [its 2015 slump], the Fed — which foolishly believes it bounced back because of the success of the Fed-engineered recovery — will believe that an economy that can bounce back from this is clearly as strong as they think, so the Fed will raise interest rates in the fall. [Which it did right at the end of fall in 2015.]
That will be a disaster because it ends all the free money, assuring inevitable collapse of the hot-air-balloon-sized bubble. There are just too many economic fundamentals that are flawed in our debt-undermined economy and too many economic head winds for the next market plunge to be anything but a disaster. That crash will be harsh enough that several major banks will fail in several of the world’s economies, each having domino affects on other institutions.
We interrupt this program to bring you the banking failure that did and didn’t happen
[But those bank failures didn’t happen … or did they? If you think bank failures did not happen in 2016 after the article I’m quoting was written, let me give you serious pause: The Fed did raise rates, and the stock market did fall at the end of 2015 and start of 2016 exactly in the manner I said it would (to the DAY) in another article shortly after this one in what developed into the largest January drop in Dow history.
Banks got into such deep trouble by late February and March of 2016 that the Fed actually had to order them publicly not to foreclose on loans, lest they start a series of unfortunate events. Banks, in fact, reported their worst quarter since they crashed in the Great Financial Crisis (Great Recession). The Chinese stock market crashed, and oil crashed.
And then everything suddenly stopped going down. I don’t know why it stopped, but I do know the Fed held back-to-back, unscheduled, closed-door, emergency meetings for two days, with an emergency meeting between Fed Chair Yellen and President Obama and Vice President Biden in between those Fed meetings. Anticipated GDP growth was revised down to 0.1% — practically recessionary (but nothing compared to the -40% we may see next quarter) — and bank leaders from all over the world congregated in Washington, DC, all in the same week.
Just the Fed’s emergency meetings and its meeting with the president were the kind of rare sequence of events that has typically only happened when a major bank (or banks) is failing.
Things actually improved a little after that storm of meetings. We’ll probably never know what kind of rescue they all agreed to because of the Fed’s clandestine way of operating, often through proxies, without ever having to reveal what it has done; but we do know it had to be big to justify all those closed-door meetings that were not on the Fed’s schedule, which it referred to as “expedited meetings.” It was quite a whirlwind of events, and it’s worth reading all about it: “What in the World is Going on with Banks this Week? Emergency meetings, banker summits, crashing European banks, and the worst bank reports since the Great Recession.”
Now, however, we are in different times with the coronacrisis hitting the global economy like an asteroid or comet impact because of how all the nations of the world have chosen to respond to it, so there is a lot more pressure to move us back to such crisis, making it harder for secret meetings to save the day. Banking catastrophe was apparently averted in 2016, but this time is different. So, I believe the rest of this lead-in to the Epocalypse will now play out:]
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming
The uncertainty and regions of panic created from bank failures will dial consumers way back in their spending, causing manufacturers to dial back and leading to the return of high unemployment.
[It’s happening the other way around this time, but it is ALL happening! Consumers are dialing back spending because of the coronacrisis quarantine, and manufacturers are dialing back for the same reason, so unemployment is rising higher and faster than anytime in US history. That is clearly causing banking failures that are already being bailed out as quickly as possible by the Fed without us even knowing what banks their bailout programs are going to. That is to say, they would be failures if not for the massive bailouts.
We can deduct bank failures are developing because the Fed has told us it has resurrected ALL of its old bailout programs and has backed those actions with pledges by the US Treasury, and we can see the money pouring through the Fed’s rapidly expanding balance sheet. However, we have no idea what specific institutions are being bailed out. It’s inconceivable, though, that there would be no banks in that mix, since the Fed is all about banks. Anything else is secondary to the Fed’s purview.]
As the unemployment rate bounds back upward, the number of students coming out of college who cannot get work will worsen so that the already perilous student-loan bubble I’ve been warning about, will finally burst. The failure of so many more student loans will cause more banks to collapse if the burden of that is not shifted over to governments to absorb, but governments have absorbed about all they can in trying to bail out the last collapse. [And that is exactly why we’ve seen huge efforts by Democrats to make sure the bailouts cover this exploding problem.]
The more governments try to absorb now, the more their own credit ratings will drop. I think that all the major governments of this world are about at their limit for absorbing bad debts. [This part of the problem will take some time to play out because, as of yet, the US government hasn’t started issuing all the bonds necessary to cover its massive bailouts, but that will start in a few days. Same is true for other governments. As that load becomes more difficult to manage in terms of finding buyers, many governments will have their credit ratings reduced.]
The housing market will collapse again because people are much less prone to make big purchases like houses when they see unemployment quickly rising around them. (And because those who become unemployed are incapable of buying houses.) Those areas like British Columbia in Canada that have the most perilous overhang in housing prices and debt will experience this particular impact the worst. [As explained here, a significant number of the current lost jobs will not be coming back. As for housing, see today’s article: “Housing market has come to a crashing stop: 1/3 of tenants not paying rents, Great Park in Irvine drops to almost no sales, and SoCal housing collapses to 6-year lows” … and this one: “A $1.3 Trillion U.S. Housing Market Crash Is Imminent, and Inevitable” …. and this one: “The U.S. Housing Market Bubble Is Bursting as Sales Plunge” … and this one: “Here Comes The Next Crisis: Up To 30% Of All Mortgages Will Default In ‘Biggest Wave Of Delinquencies In History’” … and here: “By flooding the market with money, the Federal Reserve just accidentally pushed mortgage bankers to the brink of bankruptcy.” It’s happening! It is absolutely already happening.]
The return to failing mortgages will cause more banks to fail. This will mean the loss of a lot of retirement funds, the loss of jobs for bankers, and paralysis on the part of all other banks toward making loans. That will cause debt-driven economies everywhere in the world to experience credit failure (something debt-drive economies are highly vulnerable to), and so those economies will collapse!
As a result of much wider bank failures than last time, the currencies those banks collectively control, will also fail. (For that is all the Federal Reserve really is, is a collective.) That means utter financial collapse.
Such total financial failure will also mean that existing governments collapse, and citizens will enjoin each other toward heated battles over what kind of government should take the place of those governments that fall. During the indecision, anarchy will take over the streets of many of the largest cities of this world. Hostility will rise because trust in government drops and because people are angry that they were betrayed by the last “solutions” that solved nothing.
Still, the masses want an easy answer, so the majority will be able to be led by the right gleaming horse when it appears out of the rubble … and it will (but that’s further down the road and something for another article at a later time).
Discord means the governments of this world will take military action to secure their nations. Governments will try desperate economic measures to save their economies for a couple of years as all of this unfolds, and people will allow such desperate military measures in order to regain security, which is paramount to most people, even above their freedom. First, of course, governments will try amping up the money printing and the low-interest schemes they are used to (because all lack vision and have no new ideas). Because those solutions have already failed, they will not work even for the short term this time.
[We have already see parts of all of that start to play out in the streets, and we are only one month into the new crisis with its revived and truly great recession! We are hoping for better, but right now this is what we’re actually seeing as people fight in stores over limited supplies, and governments order police or military to impose quarantine with severe penalties. (See Time magazine’s, “In Singapore, Standing Too Close Can Now Get You 6 Months in Jail.” I reported on the early stages of military involvement in some countries at the end of the following article before the crisis even hit the US: “COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Economic Impact Sweeps Down on Global Economy Like a Fat Black Swan.“
Then it hit the US, as the rising hostility is evident here as around the world. Here are just a few headlines that pop up on the first page of a “shoppers fighting” search on Google due to coronavirus lines, sometimes just over toilet paper!:
This was just the first month, and I could have easily grabbed many more headlines from just in that month! I’ll leave that you; I just wanted to give a sample.
If people get desperate and agitated enough to fight over something as stupid as toilet paper while it can still be found, imagine how desperate they will become if shortages of food start to appear because supply lines aren’t working well enough to move enough food quickly enough into major metropolitan areas to feed the malling hordes.]
The reason currencies will collapse is that the only value of money comes from trust. (See “What Gives Money Its Value?“) National currencies will lose the trust of their citizens because those currencies have already been manipulated to death, and are already in the throes of currency wars. Alternate electronic currencies will battle for significance as a solution. These are actually far less secure than the government-bankster-controlled currencies. So, I would expect, at least, one of those big-name electronic currencies to fail spectacularly, bringing losses to millions, or expect that one of them will prove to be hugely corrupted. This will demand a government currency solution.
Banks and governments want a currency they can directly control anyway. Their turf is enormously threatened by alternative currencies because controlling the currency has been the major money-maker for all of the major banks that own the Federal Reserve. It is ultimately those banks that decide to create new currency and give it to themselves. Banks already want a cashless solution because cash is awkward and costs more money to process. Governments also want a cashless financial system because cash cannot be controlled, other than for its overall value; it can’t be easily tracked; so, it cannot be easily policed or easily taxed.
[This became significant enough since I wrote this article back in 2015 that it became the main theme of my special Patron Posts throughout last year, the next one of which will be coming shortly, by the way, for those who are patrons at or above the $5 level of support.]
Thus, the governments and banks, being the cronies they already are, will do the only thing that makes sense to them: they will create a single global currency because the problem is a global problem. (I am now, of course, getting far down the road.) That can’t happen, though, until the public is scared to death from the economic peril that increases daily and political upheaval that goes along with it because people like the freedom and anonymity that come with cash. Given enough insecurity, however, the public will embrace any solution, even a global cashless solution. Plus, many will like the simplicity of a global cashless form of money.
[While I wouldn’t normally think the time for that rollout is quite here, and I don’t suppose it will happen in one fell swoop, it COULD. Look at how quickly we’ve just seen all the nations in the world change their cultures, add police security, and limit normal human freedoms, and how readily we are all going along with it because we believe it might be necessary for our health security.
If all the nations of the world (meaning the citizens too, not just the governments) will choose to collapse their economies and lose their jobs and social freedoms in total trust of their governments over a virus that we have no experience with, imagine how quickly we’ll yield to the loss of civil liberties and to changes in currency under the any serious threat.]
But all of that is speculation about a more distant future trend. The immediate horizon is one of global economic collapse. [We’re there! The distance was largely covered in the four-and-a-half years since I wrote this.] Learn to live with increasing volatility. To do that you’re going to need something much greater for personal security than cash.
And now to our Easter message since you are prohibited from making your annual trek to church:
To feel secure, your faith will have to be in something much greater than the economy, much richer and more meaningful than cash and more enduring than 401k’s because all of those are certainly going to let you down. When the world around you begins to shake and fall apart everywhere, you need something substantially secure to hang on to.
There is a resurrection promised out of death and a return promised out of apocalypse. And THE Apocalypse (The actual Greek title of the Book of Revelation) talks a lot about times that look like these we are now entering. Strange and creative, historic and futuristic, figurative and factual, surreal and swirling in mystery like a combination of Dali and Van Gogh dreams in style, yet all its own, it’s actually a revelation of hope.
It doesn’t predict bad things to scare people into good behavior or into faith. It predicts the darkest of times that are going to happen so that when they actually do happen, those who have faith will have confidence in the book’s hope. Because the prophet saw those dark times coming accurately, you can have confidence all the promises of resurrection and peace on earth that his revelation also says will emerge out of those times are as real as the hard times you find yourself facing. That is the power of the book!
How would you have confidence during the worst of times that someone was right about the coming best of times — a promised new age on earth — if he wasn’t exactly right about the hard times you find yourself facing? Surely no one could have seen a time like the present coming a couple of decades ago, much less a couple of millennia! A time of universal diseases around the globe, a single (seemingly digital) global economic system, in a time of suppression of basic human rights under national governments all working together.
Whether THIS is THAT “apocalypse” or not; THE APOCALYPSE is a book written for all apocalyptic times, all the little ones as well as the ultimate one. After all, it defined the theme with its own name, which doesn’t mean “holocaust” or “end of the earth.” It means a “revelation” — something revealed, such as the beautiful time for the faithful that follows an extremely harsh global transition. (Though I might recommend one of the Gospels of the New Testament for an easer introduction to the Easter theme that The Apocalypse is all about!)
I’ll leave that quest to you.