Yesterday, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan was the keynote speaker at KPMG’s 2014 Insurance Industry Conference Tuesday, where he answered questions such as 1) where the economy is going, 2) why, and 3) when (if ever) is it likely to improve. The answers, as reported by Property Casualty 360, are:1) nowhere fast, 2) because nobody is willing to invest, and 3) eventually, but nobody can tell when. He listed 9 specific reasons why the “economy stinks”, although surprisingly, nowhere did he mention the fact that the current and future economic disaster is all a direct result of his ruinous reign at helm of the Fed where as a result of his “great moderation” and the Fed’s catastrophic monetary policies conceived mostly under Greenspan himself, the economy is now perpetually stuck in a boom-bust cycle, and where every time a bubble bursts another has to replace it or else the entire western way of life will be gone in a heartbeat.
So without further ado, here are, in reverse order, Greenspan’s 9 reasons why the S&P 500 is at an all time high the economy is a complete disaster (thanks to the Fed).
9. Lack of confidence.
The U. S. economy is in a state of extraordinary change, Greenspan said, the likes of which he has never seen before. The most interesting thing about the current recession and recovery, he said, is that in the 10 recoveries we saw since WWII, every one except the current one was led by construction, essentially. This recovery is so sluggish because construction is, as Greenspan so delicately put it, ‘dead in the water.’ The reason why construction is so dead is due, in part, to excess capacity built up before the economy crashed in 2008. But more importantly, businesses and households across the board are so skeptical of the future, they’re not willing to invest in it. Nobody is putting money into longer-lived assets, and until they do, the economy won’t really return to form.
Case in point: in the early 1990s, the amount of liquid cash assets companies were willing to invest in illiquid, long-term assets was way higher than it is now. You also see this in the yield spread in 5-year U. S. Treasury notes versus 30-year U. S. Treasury bonds, which is the widest in U. S. history. Why? Because people are far more willing to invest on a 5-year return than a 30-year one. That speaks to the depth of the worry people have in the future. And that kills growth.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/10/2014.