by James the Wanderer, The Burning Platform:
Last year ended with a whimper on Wall Street. The S&P 500 was down 1% for the year, down 4% from its all-time high in May, and no higher than it was 13 months ago at the end of QE3. The Wall Street shysters and their mainstream media mouthpieces declare 2016 to be a rebound year, with stocks again delivering double digit returns. When haven’t they touted great future returns. They touted them in 2000 and 2007 too. No one earning their paycheck on Wall Street or on CNBC will point out the most obvious speculative bubble in history. John Hussman has been pointing it out for the last two years as the Fed created bubble has grown ever larger. Those still embracing the bubble will sit down to a banquet of consequences in 2016.
At the peak of every speculative bubble, there are always those who have persistently embraced the story that gave the bubble its impetus in the first place. As a result, the recent past always belongs to them, if only temporarily. Still, the future inevitably belongs to somebody else. By the completion of the market cycle, no less than half (and often all) of the preceding speculative advance is typically wiped out.
Hussman referenced the work of Reinhart & Rogoff when they produced their classic This Time is Different. Every boom and bust have the same qualities. The hubris and arrogance of financial “experts” and government apparatchiks makes them think they are smarter than those before them. They always declare this time to be different due to some new technology or reason why valuations don’t matter. The issuance of speculative debt and seeking of yield due to Federal Reserve suppression of interest rates always fuels the boom and acts as the fuse for the inevitable explosive bust.
In 2009, during the depths of the last crisis that followed such speculation, economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff detailed the perennial claim that feeds these episodes in their book, This Time is Different:
“Our immersion in the details of crises that have arisen over the past eight centuries and in data on them has led us to conclude that the most commonly repeated and most expensive investment advice ever given in the boom just before a financial crisis stems from the perception that ‘this time is different.’ That advice, that the old rules of valuation no longer apply, is usually followed up with vigor. Financial professionals and, all too often, government leaders explain that we are doing things better than before, we are smarter, and we have learned from past mistakes. Each time, society convinces itself that the current boom, unlike the many booms that preceded catastrophic collapses in the past, is built on sound fundamentals, structural reforms, technological innovation, and good policy.”
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