U.S. GDP and the Global Economic Slowdown

By Dr. Jack Rasmus
February 19, 2013

This is the introduction of an excellent report by Dr. Jack Rasmus that reviews the GDP for the last 15 months, the full report is at JackRasmus.com.

Economic data reported in recent week’s show the global economy is slowing rapidly across all segments. Nearly the entire European Union, including its core economies of Germany, France, and the United Kingdom are all now clearly mired in recession. The Euro southern periphery is in a bona fide depression. Japan has entered its third recession since 2008. China, India, and Brazilian growth rates have fallen by half. And the US in the fourth quarter 2012 has come to a virtual economic standstill, the second time in two years in which a quarterly GDP recorded virtually no growth.

One consequence of the now clearly emerging new crisis is the global economy finds itself on a ‘tipping point’ and on the verge of a renewed ‘currency war’ that was temporarily averted in 2010-11. Competitive currency devaluations are a sure sign of a qualitatively deteriorated economic state of affairs. During the global depression of the 1930s ‘devaluation by fiat’ played a key role in deepening and ensuring the duration of the depression. In 2010-11 the then incipient drift toward currency war took the form of driving down wages to gain a cost advantage for export sales. Today the driver is global quantitative easing, QE, policies that have been implemented and are intensifying by central banks around the world, from the US Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, the European Central Bank, Bank of China, and most recently, the Bank of Japan.

Capitalist policy makers globally have bought into the false idea that monetary policy—i.e. injecting massive amounts of liquidity into their respective banking systems—will stimulate recovery. Historically this has never worked, and it has not been working as well since 2008. Injecting money into banks, shadow banks, and speculators have resulted only in creating incipient bubbles in the stock markets, junk bond markets, and other financial securities. The real economies have benefited little if any from this form of stimulus.

Believing QE is the answer to recovery, the same policy makers have opted for a severe contractionary fiscal policy in the form of ‘austerity’ programs—massive cuts in public spending, mass layoffs and privatization in the public sector, and tax hikes on the middle class to offset the anticipated inflationary effects of the QE and money stimulus—inflation which has not appeared as deflationary forces continue to grow as the real economies of their countries continue to slow and stagnate. The dual strategy of capitalist politicians across the globe—of QE and money injections into the banks and financial system combined with austerity for the rest—has clearly failed and will continue to fail even more visibly.

Meantime, the global economy continues inexorably to slow, drifting toward the ‘double dip’ recession this writer has predicted on various occasions in the recent past, in my 2010 and 2012 published books (Epic Recession: Prelude to Global Depression, 2010, and Obama’s Economy: Recovery for the Few, 2012) and numerous articles in ‘Z’ magazine and elsewhere.

The locus of the debate on the near-term economic future in the US economy is now concentrated on whether the recent 4th quarter US GDP , which fell to -0.1%, is just an aberration and will be reversed in the first half of 2013 or whether it is a harbinger of a further slowdown. This writer’s view is that it is the latter, as has been predicted in a series of analyses of US GDP over the past five quarters, from the last quarter of 2011 through the last quarter of 2012’s recent GDP data.

Data now coming in for the US show that consumer spending on the holidays was noticeably weak except for auto sales driven by discounts. It is now weaker in 2013, as payroll taxes have risen, health insurance companies are gouging households with premium increases of 10-20%, gasoline prices are rising rapidly once more, and real disposable household income for 80% of families continues to decline. On the business spending side, business inventory accumulation is slowing rapidly, small business confidence is falling, forecasts of business operating revenue show a major slowing, productivity is collapsing, and export sales will decline as the currency war drives up the value of the US dollar in global markets. The remaining ‘engine’ of GDP, government spending, is also in reverse as the debates on ‘fiscal cliff: Parts 2 and 3’ and federal spending cuts continue and the states and cities continue to reduce spending and raise taxes. Nevertheless, polyannish mainstream economists continue to predict a rapid recovery from the 4th quarter GDP collapse into 2013—as they have erroneously for four years now.

What follows is this writer’s analyses of the details of GDP results for the past 15 months, that were published on his blog, jackrasmus.com, and other public blogs. The reports are in reverse chronological order, with the latest 4th Quarter 2012 US GDP first, followed by consecutive past quarters, concluding with the analysis of the 4th quarter 2011 GDP.

Readers interested should continue to follow the blog, jackrasmus.com, for regular updates on the US and global economy, as well as the writer’s weekly radio show, ‘Alternative Visions’, on the Progressive Radio Network, 2pm eastern time, out of New York. Announcements of forthcoming articles, blog entries and shows on the US and global economy are provided via the writer’s twitter account at #drjackrasmus.

Full review of last 15 months is available at JackRasmus.com

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  1. Pingback: More Austerity as a “Solution” to Austerity? | The Real Agenda

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