Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Searching for Green Shoots No. 1

I am basically a 'green shoots' skeptic, meaning that I believe all the blather we hear in the -- *ahem* -- media and from our -- cough, cough -- public representatives about economic recovery being just around the corner is a bunch of hokum. Why? Because we pulled forward trillions of dollars of future earnings to pay for our apparently prosperous lifestyles as a society, betting on the expectation that those future earnings would grow exponentially ad-infinitum (a mathematical practical impossibility (Check out Chris Martenson's crash course for a primer). What's worse, the whole flipping planet got in on the act, borrowing trillions in the present and betting that unending future prosperity or future growth toward prosperity would pay for the luxuries and wasteful spending of the present. Now, the real future is here and we ain't nearly as prosperous as we hoped we'd be, as a result huge sections of the global political-economy are under enormous stress, past debts will need to be paid off or written off, and that process is well underway right now.

But, so what? Who care what I think. Let's have some data. After all, those green shoots just might be out there, we are just not paying attention to them.

Today, the United States commerce department released preliminary estimates of imports and exports for April, 2009. Let's take a look at all of the monthly estimates for US imports and exports going back to 1992.

See the [dot] bomb bubble? Nice little bit of trade growth there, eh? But --oh Mommy! -- how about that housing bubble? Now that drove a nice little trade boom for the Good Ol' US of A, now didn't it? And that little bit of chimeric macro-economic activity has been crashing spectacularly since last summer! No upturn seen in these data!

Of course, Lawrence Summers, President Obama's Rasputin-like economic adviser, has been promising "green shoots" since February. Let's take a closer look at the same data to see if we can detect those green shoots! [zooming in on the recent boom-bust cycle]

Yup, sure enough, in February this year the crash reversed a bit and there was a little uptick in trade activity, particularly with exports of goods and services. A little 'green shoot' in support of Larry's little propaganda campaign. Since then? Down the slide we go! Wheee!

I want my 'green shoots!'

Can I get a witness!

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