I'm writing in the first person singular today because I think today was very important. Stocks just don't go down as consistently as they have over the past few weeks unless there's a problem, and there are lots of them.
I'm not going to link to anything, but I am going to shoot my mouth off a bit about where we all are in the larger scheme of things, because, while small things matter, the big picture matters more.
The global economy is in its death throes. We've had zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) from the Fed for three-and-a-half years, and it's simply not working. The federal government is a chain around the necks of the citizenry and the media is largely complicit in shading the truth.
The US taxpayer has bailed out the TBTF banks and, culminating with JPM CEO Jaime Dimon's mea culpa last Thursday night, we find that these same banks are even bigger than before and still making risky bets with other people's money. For its part, the federal government can't collect enough taxes and still borrows 40% of every dollar it spends. Social Security and Medicare are bankrupt already, and, with millions of baby boomers retiring, the money will not be there for anybody under the ago of say, 60, right now.
Americans are awakening to the nightmare that is a leaderless, stagnating economy, brought about by the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on any nation, that of the sub-prime mortgage and consequent banking crisis of 2008. It took years for the criminals on Wall Street to skewer the American public and not a one has been prosecuted. Getting back to Mr Dimon, the most perverse, sociopathic criminal there is - who smiles at you while slowly jutting a knife between your ribs - while some of his subordinates have taken the axe for the $2 billion "London Whale" blunder, he's still CEO and in charge. Seriously, in another, saner place and time, he'd already have met his maker.
In the visage of Mr. Dimon lies much of the problem. The aristocratic, oligarchical mindset shared by the Wall Steet masters of the universe and their lackeys in the capitol, provides them with an aura of invincibility, inevitability and smug self-assuredness, while the truth is that most of them have never worked an honest day's work, steal and murder with impunity by their various market actions and bear no responsibility, guilt or shame.
Meanwhile, the bulk of the world's population lives day-to-day, wondering what miracles of stupidity these monsters will bring down upon them. Income disparity has never been higher in America; it gets worse by the day and the oligarchs, from their thrones of power on Wall Street and in Washington could give a damn. All they care about is their money and their power. The power to tax, to control, to cheat, to set prices, to ruin smaller competitors, to lie bold-faced to the American public and to have either the unmitigated gall to retain their positions or, worse yet, to run for election or re-election.
Nearly four years into this global crisis (that's what the IMF is now calling it), conditions are not getting any better. The empirical data says it is getting worse and will get even more dire as the year progresses. Unskilled and low-skilled workers cannot find reliable jobs. The self-employed must fight every day just to keep the doors open or the wheels spinning. Never has just getting by been so difficult for so many in the private sector.
I've said for years that the only things keeping this economy going are the government transfers: welfare checks, food stamps, disability payments, retirement checks, medicare payments and the like. There is no growth in the general economy, while in the public sector, despite some layoffs, employees are receiving their annual pay increases without a hitch as the government casually takes a portion of their pay and says it's going into their retirement funds, when, in fact, these funds are underfunded and will fail like the rest of the programmed, social-based government economy. Many of these public sector employees who expect benefits will get less than they paid in. Eventually, all will get nothing.
Europe is a complete basket case. The Euro is dead as a currency, an idea the supra-governmental EU magistrates are only now beginning to comprehend. When Greece departs, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, and probably Belgiu will depart in short order. The world's economy will be smashed to pieces, governments have fallen and will continue to fall, eventually reaching the United States, the final battleground for fairness, decency, honesty and civil rights. It will come sooner than most expect, and the majority of people will be unprepared, just as they were unprepared for the current setbacks delivered by the centrally-planned failure machine in Washington and on Wall Street.
Realistically, there's little hope for the immediate future except complete destruction of the economy and a reset of priorities from the bottom up. In time, people will no longer look to government, to Washington, to solve their problems. Matters must and will be taken into one's own hands and out of those of the corrupt conspiracy of criminality that extends from Beijing to London to Washington and to Berlin.
The end is not here. Not yet. But it certainly is coming and it's going to be brutal for many. Prices have begun to fall on all manner of commodities. Deflation, the one, true, unstoppable market force, will prove to be the end of the Federal Reserve and the all banking nightmares and false facades. The American public, and the general public of the rest of the world, cannot afford to have its wealth stolen by feudalistic lords disguised as nice guys like Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, just to name a few.
Today's headlines were rife with departures of top executives, scandals and defections. The icons are beginning to tumble at a more rapid pace. The rats are jumping off the ship, not one by one, but in bunches now, as collapse - in the inner power circles - is seen as inevitable.
The emperors of the power and political structures have no clothes and nowhere to hide.
When the history books are written, they will note that the second Great Depression began in 2008, and, through various means of both government intervention and inaction, worsened in 2012.
There is now no doubt.
Dow 12,695.35, -125.25 (0.98%)
NASDAQ 2,902.58, -31.24 (1.06%)
S&P 500 1,338.35, -15.04 (1.11%)
NYSE Composite 7,705.45, -110.44 (1.41%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,691,608,250
NYSE Volume 3,688,124,000
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 1105-4571
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 65-204 (WOW! Screaming red!)
WTI crude oil: 94.78, -1.35
Gold: 1,561.00, -23.00
Silver: 28.35, -0.54