Our current economic model is faulty and will lead us into the “Stagflation Trap”
Stage 1: Negative real interest rates. When the interest rate is adjusted for inflation, the resulting rate is negative. For instance, the bank pays you 1% and the inflation rate is 3% then the real interest rate is –2%. Your principal is losing 2% per year in purchasing power. This is hurting all of our elderly who are relying on their CD interest to make ends meet.
Stage 2: Disenchanted with negative real interest rates, people search out a store of value such as commodities. They attempt to protect themselves from this loss of principal they were experiencing in stage 1. Commodities are a volatile market and can create fear in the investor who is unsure about the direction of prices.
Stage 3: Rising inflationary pressures for consumers and businesses. Three years ago, the local burger joint sold a combo for $5.50. Today, it is $7.37 and with tax it totals $8.00. As prices increase, consumer awareness is sensitized and they respond.
Stage 4: Businesses and consumers are under pressure to reduce spending due to the inflationary squeeze.
Stage 5: Debt deflation due to banks tightening their lending policies due to loan losses and consumers deleverage their investments due to uncertainty.
Stage 6: Economy goes into a recession and unemployment rises.
Stage 7: Politicians and Central Banks intervene with bailouts, stimulus packages, and quantitative easing.
Stage 8: Inflationary pressures re-emerge but Central Banks are unable to raise interest rates to arrest higher inflation. Paul Volcker was able to fight inflation in the early 80’s by forcing real interest rates substantially above inflation rates.
Stage 9: Deflation of non-consuming assets such as housing occurs. Inflation of consumables such as food, water, energy, and clothing kicks in while personal income becomes stagnant (Stagflation).
Stage 10: In desperation, citizens give up liberties and freedoms in an attempt to recover their previous lifestyle. The fundamental of government change and power is transferred to the wealthy or anarchy rises up and chaos ensues.
The U.S. debt and unfunded liabilities are currently at $108 Trillion. Where is the financial point of no return? Soon!