27 marzo 2015

¿Estamos mejor o peor que cuando empezó la crisis?

Ay qué duda más grande. Yo creo que estamos peor, pero la gente cree que estamos mejor, luego la gente tendrá más razón que yo, ¿o no es así el argumento?

10 Charts Which Show We Are Much Worse Off Than Just Before The Last Economic Crisis

If you believe that ignorance is bliss, you might not want to read this article.  I am going to dispel the notion that there has been any sort of "economic recovery", and I am going to show that we are much worse off than we were just prior to the last economic crisis.  If you go back to 2007, people were feeling really good about things.  Houses were being flipped like crazy, the stock market was booming and unemployment was relatively low.  But then the financial crisis of 2008 struck, and for a while it felt like the world was coming to an end.  Of course it didn't come to an end – it was just the first wave of our problems.  The waves that come next are going to be the ones that really wipe us out.  Unfortunately, because we have experienced a few years of relative stability, many Americans have become convinced that Barack Obama, Janet Yellen and the rest of the folks in Washington D.C. have fixed whatever problems caused the last crisis.  Even though all of the numbers are screaming otherwise, there are millions upon millions of people out there that truly believe that everything is going to be okay somehow.  We never seem to learn from the past, and when this next economic downturn strikes it is going to do an astonishing amount of damage because we are already in a significantly weakened state from the last one.
For each of the charts that I am about to share with you, I want you to focus on the last shaded gray bar on each chart which represents the last recession.  As you will see, our economic problems are significantly worse than they were just before the financial crisis of 2008.  That means that we are far less equipped to handle a major economic crisis than we were the last time.
#1 The National Debt
Just prior to the last recession, the U.S. national debt was a bit above 9 trillion dollars.  Since that time, it has nearly doubled.  So does that make us better off or worse off?  The answer, of course, is obvious.  And even though Barack Obama promises that "deficits are under control", more than a trillion dollars was added to the national debt in fiscal year 2014.  What we are doing to future generations by burdening them with so much debt is beyond criminal.  And so what does Barack Obama want to do now?  He wants to ramp up government spending and increase the debt even faster.  This is something that I covered in my previous article entitled "Barack Obama Says That What America Really Needs Is Lots More Debt".
#2 Total Debt
Over the past 40 years, the total amount of debt in the United States has skyrocketed to astronomical heights.  We have become a "buy now, pay later" society with devastating consequences.  Back in 1975, our total debt level was sitting at about 2.5 trillion dollars.  Just prior to the last recession, it was sitting at about 50 trillion dollars, and today we are rapidly closing in on 60 trillion dollars.
#3 The Velocity Of Money
When an economy is healthy, money tends to change hands and circulate through the system quite rapidly.  So it makes sense that the velocity of money fell dramatically during the last recession.  But why has it kept going down since then?
#4 The Homeownership Rate
Were you aware that the rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen to a 20 year low?  Traditionally, owning a home has been a sign that you belong to the middle class.  And the last recession was really rough on the middle class, so it makes sense that the rate of homeownership declined during that time frame.  But why has it continued to steadily decline ever since?
#5 The Employment Rate
Barack Obama loves to tell us how the unemployment rate is "going down".  But as I will explain later in this article, this decline is primarily based on accounting tricks.  Posted below is a chart of the civilian employment-population ratio.  Just prior to the last recession, approximately 63 percent of the working age population of the United States was employed.  During the recession, this ratio fell to below 59 percent and it stayed there for several years.  Just recently it has peeked back above 59 percent, but we are still very, very far from where we used to be, and now the next economic downturn is rapidly approaching.
#6 The Labor Force Participation Rate
So how can Obama get away with saying that the unemployment rate has gone down dramatically?  Well, each month the government takes thousands upon thousands of long-term unemployed workers and decides that they have been unemployed for so long that they no longer qualify as "part of the labor force".  As a result, the "labor force participation rate" has fallen substantially since the end of the last recession…
#7 The Inactivity Rate For Men In Their Prime Working Years
If things are "getting better", then why are so many men in their prime working years doing nothing at all?  Just prior to the last recession, the inactivity rate for men in their prime working years was about 9 percent.  Today it is just about 12 percent.
#8 Real Median Household Income
Not only is a smaller percentage of Americans employed today than compared to just prior to the last recession, the quality of our jobs has gone down as well.  This is one of the factors which has resulted in a stunning decline of real median household income.
I have shared these next numbers before, but they bear repeating.  In America today, most Americans do not make enough to support a middle class lifestyle on a single salary.  The following figures come directly from the Social Security Administration
-39 percent of American workers make less than $20,000 a year.
-52 percent of American workers make less than $30,000 a year.
-63 percent of American workers make less than $40,000 a year.
-72 percent of American workers make less than $50,000 a year.
We all know people that are working part-time jobs because that is all that they can find in this economy.  As the quality of our jobs continues to deteriorate, the numbers above are going to become even more dismal.
#9 Inflation
Even as our incomes have stagnated, the cost of living just continues to rise steadily.  For example, the cost of food and beverages has gone up nearly 50 percent just since the year 2000.
#10 Government Dependence
As the middle class shrinks and the number of Americans that cannot independently take care of themselves soars, dependence on the government is reaching unprecedented heights.  For instance, the federal government is now spending about twice as much on food stamps as it was just prior to the last recession.  How in the world can anyone dare to call this an "economic recovery"?
So you tell me – are things "getting better" or are they getting worse?
To me, it is crystal clear that we are in much worse condition than we were just prior to the last economic crisis.
PD1: Todos hablan de lo mismo: vivimos una burbuja de bonos:

Global fund managers warn of a bond bubble

A growing number of professional investors are warning that bonds are overvalued as fears grow that a fixed income bubble will collapse in a disorderly sell-off.
Four out of five fund managers said bonds were overvalued in a survey of 300 global managers by CFA UK. Corporate bonds are more overvalued than ever before, while government bonds are the most overvalued asset class, the group said.
The group, which represents 11,000 investment professionals, says their valuations index, which has been running for three years, is in effect flashing red over the high valuations of bonds.
Brad Crombie, head of fixed income at Aberdeen Asset Management, said: "You only know you're in a bubble when it pops. But this market could pop. There is more tension and anxiety over valuations than for a long while."
John Stopford, head of multi-assets at Investec, said: "There could be a bubble as investors have loaded up on high yield and corporate bonds. If we do see a reverse in the market, there could be price dislocation and a messy unwind."
In the past six years, low interest rates and central bank quantitative easing have spurred a desperate search for yield. This has encouraged investors to buy investment grade, high yield and emerging market bonds to supplement their treasuries and gilts.
But bond trading volumes have not expanded as fast as the funds' bond holdings — new capital rules have made it more expensive for banks to keep large trading books and the new US Volcker rule has barred American banks from trading out their own accounts, known as proprietary trading.
As a result investment managers fear that bond markets could seize up if falling prices or a financial crisis prompt investors to pull their money out of bond funds. Without the banks to act as backstops, there may not be enough institutions prepared to buy bonds when the funds have to sell.
The stakes have also risen for the fixed income markets because the US Federal Reserve is expected to increase interest rates this year for the first time since 2006. Investors say the move will spark volatility and could cause a mass rush to the exits, even though the monetary tightening has been well flagged.
Last week, the Fed dropped its pledge to be "patient" over lifting rates and Janet Yellen, the Fed chairwoman, said that the majority of the members of the Federal Open Market Committee were expecting rates to rise this year.
However, some investors said worries over a bond bubble and big sell off are overdone because rising interest rates would confirm that the US economy is on the mend, which would be positive for corporates and their bonds.
Big asset management groups, such as BlackRock, Vanguard and Pimco, which have billions of dollars of bonds on their books, said they are relatively sanguine about the threat to the bond markets.
They said a growing economy and improving corporate earnings should benefit the investment grade and high yield bond markets as it should pave the way to lower company defaults and improved company performance.
Will Goodhart, chief executive of CFA UK, said the biggest concern could be the prospect of a long period of low returns for pension funds and insurance companies, rather than a rush to the exits from retail investors.
PD2: PORTUGAL'S DEBT-TO-GDP RATIO WAS 130.2% IN 2014. PORTUGAL'S 2014 BUDGET DEFICIT WAS 4.5% OF GDP. En España la deuda es del 98% del PIB y el déficit rondó el 5,8% en 2014, unas décimas más del 5,5% permitido… Si no se podía gastar más de lo que se ingresaba… toma ya!!! España gasta, cada hora, 6 millones de € más de los que ingresa. MIL MILLONES DE PESETAS. CADA HORA. Pensadlo cuando oigáis "austericidio".
PD3: El coste de las pensiones para 2015 es de 131.000 mill. €. El déficit de 2014 deja el Fondo Reserva en 41.000 mill. € (era 66.000 en 2011). Es urgente un sistema viable y poner medidas de austeridad en todo lo público… Ah, que eso no genera votos…
PD4: ¿Qué se ha conseguido con tanto QE? Se han inyectado 11.000.000 millones de dólares (11 trillones) y ¿qué se ha conseguido a cambio?
Eleven trillion dollars: that's how much of so-called Quantitative Easing the world's central banks have done since the 2008 crisis. To put that in perspective, with eleven trillion dollars you could pay off pretty much all U.S. household debt – all mortgages, all car and student loans, credit cards – you name it.
So what did the global economy get for $11,000,000,000,000 in QE?
Following a post-recession pop, we got collapsing world trade growth, and that's even with prices falling over the past three to four years.
Why is this happening?
It's not because this time around things are different. To the contrary, the song remains the same.
For a long time, nearly four decades, growth has been getting progressively weaker during each recovery from recession. Of course, the U.S. is a major contributor to world trade and QE, but its trend of weaker growth is present in all major developed economies.
There are two key drivers behind this declining trend: demographics and lower productivity growth. Yes, it's true that we've seen pretty good U.S. jobs growth recently, but that comes with productivity growth slamming down to zero.
Japan, with its "lost decades," is at the leading edge of this long-term trend. But make no mistake, Europe, and as we see, even the U.S., are not far behind. Knowing this, will a trillion or so of more QE from the ECB make the trends in these charts turn and go the other way?
No hace mucho un empresario español me dijo que las cosas le iban bien. Es el propietario de una pyme, es suya, no tiene socios; en la empresa trabajan él, su esposa y quince empleados más. En los años del 'España va bien' le fue de maravilla; luego cayó a un pozo más negro que la antracita; ahora está contento: 'Este Enero ha sido mucho mejor que el del año pasado', me dijo. ¿Qué ha hecho para llegar a donde está?. Esto:
Hasta Mayo del 2010 fue trampeando con un zapato y una alpargata, tirando de ahorros, cubriendo gastos malamente, y siempre esperando que 'mañana las cosas fuesen mejor', pero cuando las cosas se pusieron rematadamente mal a partir de Mayo del 2010 empezó a actuar.
De entrada echó a la calle a la mitad de la plantilla, redujo pluses y complementos a la mayoría de los trabajadores y congeló salarios; con eso ya redujo los costes de forma apreciable.
A continuación empezó a seleccionar clientes y al 35% les dijo que su cultura empresarial y la de ellos no eran compatibles, evidentemente eran clientes problemáticos sobre todo en el apartado de pagos. Dejó de trabajar con ellos y punto.
Lo que vino después fue dar una orientación radicalmente diferente al destino de sus ventas: de estar mayoritariamente volcado en el mercado español pasó a vender en Europa, en economías potentes, el 85% de lo que fabricaba con unas condiciones económicas muy claras: primeras operaciones: 50% por adelantado y 50% a la entrega del pedido; cuando ya existe confianza mutua: 50% a la firma del pedido con descuento del 3% y el resto a 60 días, pero ofrece un descuento adicional del 3% si el pago es contra entrega de material.
Prácticamente se autofinancia, y su nivel de endeudamiento es muy bajo y lo está reduciendo a marchas forzadas.
Este empresario ha salido de su crisis, pero veamos el nuevo decorado en el que se mueve. Se ha hecho mucho más pequeño de lo que era, por lo que ha reducido radicalmente la población activa que ocupaba, y ni en sueños se plantea crecer más y ocupar a más trabajadores, de hecho hay pedidos de buenos clientes que está rechazando por no poder cumplir plazos de entrega: para él la seriedad es sagrada. Sus trabajadores, los que le quedan, tienen sus remuneraciones totales congeladas desde hace cinco años y no se plantea cuando las va a aumentar; evidentemente, ellos, sus empleados, no le han hecho la más mínima sugerencia de revisarlas.
¿Ven lo que ha pasado?. Esta empresa ha superado la crisis (él mismo siempre dice 'de momento': aún no ha superado el miedo) pero desde la oferta genera mucho menos PIB que antes y su política ha llevado a que genere mucho menos desde la demanda. Ha ganado en eficiencia, pero su peso en la economía ha caído, y ni se plantea que vuelva a aumentar.
Pienso que este puede ser el prototipo de la 'recuperación española'; una recuperación sesgada por actividades y zonas, a la baja, no creadora de empleo, con menores ingresos pero seguros, con menores gastos por consumos y menores salarios pagados a menos trabajadores. Una recuperación que contribuya al creciente desempleo estructural que se está instalando en España y en una enquistada precariedad de ingresos. Y en un canje de facturación por seguridad.
El Señor Presidente del Gobierno estaría satisfecho con esta empresa: para ella sí 'la crisis ya es historia'. Aunque en el último estudio sobre el Clima Social de España publicado el pasado 8 de Febrero más de 8 de cada 10 españoles crean que la situación económica del reino es mala.
Tras cuatro años de devaluación interna, España es más vulnerable que en 2008 a una crisis internacional. Sigue habiendo tanto por ahcer que te desespera ver a los políticos dedicados a hacer política… ¿No deberían hacer otra cosa más productiva? Seguro, pero eso no da votos y tal…
PD6: A raíz de lo ocurrido en el siniestro del avión en los Alpes, te copio esto que me ha gustado y te recuerdo que más que pasarte horas con el morbo del accidente, se pueden emplear en rezar por los muertos inocentes y sus familias:
Sí, en el mundo hay tragedias todos los días y a todas horas. La globalización nos las acerca más que nunca; las conocemos al instante. Y todos nos preguntamos muchas veces dónde está Dios, por qué no evita las muertes de los inocentes, los millones de niños abortados o esclavizados, las mujeres maltratadas…
Seguro que no quieres que te responda con un confuso tratado teológico sobre el sentido del dolor. Pero quizá te ayude, como me ayudó a mí, el recuerdo de una pintura de Brueghel el Viejo que se conserva en Viena. Se titula "Jesús con la Cruz a cuestas". Lo curioso de este cuadro es que uno tarda en descubrir dónde está Jesús. Sólo ve una larga y abigarrada procesión de gentes de todas las edades y clases sociales. Hay una mujer que grita dando a luz, un hombre asaltado por bandidos, algún moribundo… En definitiva, un retablo terrible de sufrimientos de todo tipo.  También aparece Jesús, desde luego; pero como un personaje más de la escena, con su dolor a cuestas en forma de cruz.
Yo creo entender lo que pretendía transmitirnos el artista con este cuadro. Cuando preguntamos al Señor por el sentido del dolor, aparentemente calla, pero toma su cruz y se pone a nuestro lado en silencio. Y, desde que murió por nosotros, todo hombre o mujer que sufre, quiera o no quiera, tendrá siempre como compañero de sufrimiento al mismo Dios Encarnado.
Habrá quien no lo entienda, quien blasfeme o exija a Dios que dé la cara y hable más claro. A mí me resulta evidente que, si Dios no existiera, entonces sí que este mundo sería absurdo, un sinsentido en el que cualquier violencia sería lícita. Pero por fortuna hay un Dios, un Juicio y una vida Eterna, y ese Jesús que nos acompaña con la Cruz a cuestas nos señala el camino.