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Friday, September 25, 2009

WAS THE ECONOMIC PANIC MANUFACTURED?

Here's one for the conspiracists out there; please pause from your studies of UFO's, Big Foot, the Loch Ness monster, Elvis, the JFK assassination and the Illuminati for a moment. I think we've got something MORE interesting for you, namely the cause of the current recession. I won't deny it doesn't exist, but some things just don't add up for me; for example:


  • National credit scores are not as bad as we think. If so many people have defaulted on loans, you would think our credit score would be much lower than it is. It isn't. As a matter of fact, the United States has a solid "B" rating.

  • All things considered, the stock market seems pretty resilient and is bouncing back faster than expected.

  • Inflation has been arrested and we are now experiencing deflation for the first time in several years, thereby lowering prices.

  • Worker productivity has soared this year and is now the highest in six years.
Originally, this recession was touted as the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930's (which lasted four to ten years depending on who you talk to). Economists though are telling us we are now emerging from the recession in the fourth quarter, which means it lasted less than two years, which makes me wonder if it was more of a "correction" than a "recession."

Admittedly, unemployment has risen, the real estate market is still recovering slowly, and we have infused cash into struggling companies, but my question is primarily concerned with HOW this recession was started. I'm sure the real estate bubble and risky loans helped trigger the recession, but I suspect it was blown out of proportion for political purposes. The fact that it occurred during a presidential election year is too much of a coincidence for me.

A recession during an election year is not without precedence. For example, let's not forget the 1992 recession which cost George H.W. Bush his second term as president. Keep in mind, his popularity during the first Iraqi war was very high, but in spite of his success, simple economics did him in. Unfortunately, Americans seem to have a short memory in this regards.

Let's assume for a moment that I am correct, that the recession was manufactured to appear bigger than it actually was; what does it mean? If I was forced out of a job or saw my company disintegrate in front of my eyes, I would be vexed. Or if it forced me to lose my house, retirement portfolio, to declare bankruptcy, or if it ultimately caused the death of a loved one, I would be more than just a little upset, I would be mad as hell. It is one thing to panic due to natural events, quite another to induce a stampede for personal gain. If this is true, you have to wonder who is calling the shots. If it turned out to be a group of politicians, the media, or both, I think they should be apprehended and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law or beyond, such as a good horsewhipping. Think about it, such a vicious plot would make Bernie Madoff's shenanigans seem like child's play.

So, come on all you conspiracists out there, let's get with the program. We have a hot topic right here in front of us. Wouldn't it be interesting if we could really catch someone with their hands in the cookie jar? It would be fun, but not without risk, as such power would inevitably be greater than anything we've seen before.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

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Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.