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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Next President (Regardless R or D) Will Preside over the Weakest Demand Growth In American History

Despite the US population more than doubling since Eisenhower took office in 1953, the growth rate peaked under Reagan (total) and Clinton (as a %), and has been decelerating since (below).

However, the make-up of that growth (above) has dramatically reversed itself.  Regardless the president for the next two terms, 80% of the growth will come from 65+yr/olds vs. a maximum (during Clinton's term) of 85% coming from the working age population.

Below, the reversing make-up of growth from the peak under Clinton to the upcoming bottom under the next President (particularly in the second term).  And all these numbers assume continued current levels of immigration...if that slows, these numbers will be even more skewed.

Below, the growth of the 65+yr/old population per growth among 25-64yr/old working age population.  The ratio peaked in Clinton's second term with 0.12 new 65+yr/olds per new working age adult (one 65+yr/old per 10 new working age adults).  Conversely, the second term for a perspective president Clinton or Trump will bottom out at 7.3 new 65+yr/olds per every 1 new working age adult.

By the way, since a minor FFR increase during President Eisenhower's term, Federal Funds Rates have been raised during every Democrats presidency and lowered during every Republicans term (on a net basis).  Interesting that the Federal Reserve has acted to slow economic activity during all Democrats terms and goosed activity during all Republicans terms.  This may be as much to do with the make-up of Congress and general economic cycle timing as the presidents party affiliation, but I'm simply noting R's have been in office when the interest rate tailwinds have blown...and D's faced interest rate headwinds.  The chart below shows the changing FFR's and Federal debt per presidency. 

Republicans - Eisenhower through Bush Jr. all had significant demographic tailwinds...however, all Republicans since Eisenhower (Nixon / Ford, Reagan, Bush, and Bush Jr.) undertook significant increases in new federal debt while simultaneously benefitting from large Federal Reserve interest cuts during their terms.  None of the Republicans followed Eisenhower's conservative balanced budget.
Democrats - Like the Republicans, all Democrats (until Obama) had demographic tailwinds...unlike the R's, all D's have seen federal funds rate increases over the duration of their terms.  Lastly, until Obama's debt explosion, post WWII Democrats had undertaken lower increases in new federal debt than the Republicans.  However, Obama's administration has undertaken nearly 50% of all federal debt ever issued in American history and Johnson's creation of the unified budget has created similar trillions of underfunded obligations.

The demographic gale force winds coming over the next two terms are almost sure to be combatted with negative interest rates and massive debt increases.  Fewer buyers and more sellers will be offset with greater QE, NIRP, and yet to be named like monetization schemes.


And below, the collapse of the growth among US 25-64yr/old population beginning in '07, the ramping 65+yr/old population growth, and the simultaneous collapse of the OASDI Social Security surplus.  The SS surplus peaked in '07 at +$200 billion/yr and fell 90% by 2012 as working age population growth fell 75%.    This is only exacerbated by the ramping 65+yr/old population and accelerating payouts on these unfunded obligations.  However, as the chart below shows, these trends will worsen significantly over the next presidents term.  Social Security will see no surplus, will buy no net US Treasury debt, and force the Treasury to issue large scale new Treasury debt simply to payout the unfunded liabilities.  Two implications, 1) annual federal deficits will be hundreds of billions larger due to the increased necessary issuance and 2), all debt issued should theoretically be issued as public marketable debt...unless strange sources within the IntraGovernmental "other" category continue to their recent ramp buying regardless the source (detailed HERE).  Since the end of QE in late 2014, there has been a surge in issuance and collapse in identifiable buyers...and this has resulted in record low yields?!?  This action in the Treasury market is contrary to free market dictates...and leads to one to conclude this is plainly not a "free-market".  Detailed HERE.

The next decade will be the worst economically yet for the US...with the most minimal working age population growth (slowest population increases feeding through in the least increases in demand), interest rates already zeroed out, massive over-indebtedness, overcapacities, and the fastest growth in 65+ demands for unfunded obligations.  Not to mention 65+yr/olds are effectively sellers of all things including their pensions, their 401k's, their downsizing homes, etc. etc.  Nearly all the cards have been played...just as the situation gets serious.


Unfortunately (fortunately?) for the US, the advanced and developing world are much worse off (below).  The peak growth in the combined working age population (15-64yr/olds) among OECD, China, Brazil, and Russia has collapsed.  Declining buyers vs. surging sellers among these nations are plain to see.  These nations make up almost 3/4's of all global demand.  Their combined working age populations will shrink every year from here on (surely for decades and perhaps far longer).  Global demand for nearly everything is set to suffer.

America and the globe face an imminent collapse in demand that even central banks, NIRP, and monetization schemes won't likely be able to paper over any longer.  A systemic collapse is likely dead ahead...and I'm quite sure Hillary will do nothing but pour gasoline on the fire...whether Trump will make any moves to mitigate this likely disaster is the only wildcard.  My only hope is that America and the globe need a restructuring (bankruptcy) and Trump is honestly the king of bankruptcy...perhaps he'll take the highly unpopular actions to restore some balance to the system (but I won't hold my breath).

5 comments:

  1. This is a fantastic collection of data that starkly laws out the parameters of the demographic crash. I believe that the only way to mitigate some of the problem is for GOV to issue debt-free currency. The FED is holding over $4 trillion in Treasury debt that will never be repaid. ZIRP can only support this tower of debt for so long.

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  2. I think you meant "(Regardless R or D or L)."

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    1. Actually - I should say "Regardless D- or D+)...there is no fiscal conservative R this time around.

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  3. I just became aware of your great website. I don't agree with everything but your arguments and stats are pretty compelling. Question -- WHAT'S THE SOLUTION? Assuming we all have the gumption to face our problems. (I apologize if you've addressed this in previous posts.

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    1. Anon - thanks. There are answers and they are mostly painful as the current imbalances would be resolved. The typical resolution would be the elimination of massive overcapacity and a general depression until a balance is restored. But this time is a bit special thanks to technology, demographics, debt, and quite a few more special situations that general economics never considered. Still thinking out my "if I were king" actions...maybe someday I'll throw it out there for general ridicule...lol.

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