Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Hussman - "When Paper Wealth Vanishes"

John Hussman wrote one of the best long economic or financial reads I've read in a while that is still accessible to the public this month. It is called "When Paper Wealth Vanishes". John Hussman is not a negative Nancy, perma-bear, but he is a regular guy who just looks around and sees insanity. He touches on the idea of this FED created wealth not being real and writes it in an approachable manner. It is worth the read.

The heart of this is that FED created problem of asset bubble wealth. If assets create rising cash flows or cash flow growth can be expected, then the underlying assets should be valued higher. The problem with our bubble economy is that the FED drops rates to zero, suppress UST rates and bring everything else down in parallel as the spreads remain in historical fashion AND people buy risky assets just for yield. It's phony though.

It's fictitious capital. Your neighbor sells their home for 50K more than expected, so magically everyone else's home should be worth more? You then take out a loan on the "increased wealth" you have. This just leads to a neighborhood of overindebted homeowners. Nothing is supporting that debt but the inflated valuation. That wealth is not real. A better signal would be someone renting a home in your neighborhood for much more than you previously thought. We transferred the bubble and greater fool behavior from companies in the '80s to stocks in the '90s to homes in the '00s. This is the FIRE economy.

This is why I call it a "bust out". This is a generation long LBO for a nation.


Anonymous said...

This is why the Bilderbers want a cashless society?

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

You can profit from it if you play it right.