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A few words from Ranting Andy Hoffman on the “improved” economy:
Two months ago – just after the BLS published the first of two BOGUS NFP employment reports – my wife’s car lease expired. The Honda CRV is the most popular car brand in Colorado, so I figured the price of an identical lease – for the identical car – would be at least the same as it was in mid-2008. Fortunately, I was wrong, as our new lease price is 8% lower, despite the fact that the new model clearly has more bells and whistles.
Such a story cuts into the PROPAGANDA of economic “recovery,” another real-life example of how Main Street’s experience differs vastly from what the MSM tells you – let alone the PPT-supported stock market. And it’s not like you need to walk into a car dealer to figure this out, as EVIDENCE of such declines is EVERYWHERE. For example, remember that the U.S. government – best known for bureaucracy and socialism – still owns 30% of General Motors, in my view “the world’s worst company.”
I didn’t think the government could make GM worse, but they sure as heck did. The unions still rule this corporate corpse, the cars vastly underperform foreign competitors – to the point that Hyundai and Kia, once considered also-rans, have gained significant market share – and “channel stuffing” has surged to all-time highs. In other words, “Government Motors” is being ordered to ramp up production in a world where demand is declining, resulting in the deflationary situation I just experienced at Honda.
In fact, the chart is so appalling, so characteristic of a “rudderless ship,” that it needs to be seen to be believed.
Following my wife’s experience, let’s move on to mine. My car lease was set to expire next month, so at the same time my wife got her new car (mid-February), I called Acura and asked if I could re-lease a new TSX for the same price as my last lease. Given that I have been a long-time customer, and that my car had positive equity due to its low mileage, I thought it would be a slam dunk to re-lease at the same rate. To my utter befuddlement, I was told this was not possible, and thus, I would have to “pay up” for the same lease. I decided to simply wait until my lease expiration in May, as it simply lost priority in my already-cluttered mind.
This weekend, my Acura salesman called to say “some things are going on here,” and thus they were ready to deal. With my interest piqued, I went down to the dealership, where I was told business had been “extremely slow” for the past two months. Again, directly contradicting the “economic recovery” PROPAGANDA permeating the MSM. Thus, not only were they able to match my prior lease, but went 10% lower, and did so on a “Special Edition” model clearly more valuable than my current model.
These stories seem anecdotal, but are quite reflective of what the nation is dealing with today. It seemed like the perfect topic for my “Weekend Thoughts” section, and thus, has been immortalized.
Andy presents a valid viewpoint, but it is also possible that the fall in prices he refers to is the result of deflation – at least that is a position Richard Russell has hammered on for several years. Yes, it is possible to have deflation of prices but inflation due to currency debasement. In fact, Jim Sinclair preaches that the inflation we will shortly have to live with will not be the “typical” demand-driven version, but rather currency induced form of inflation, caused by the Fed’s QE-to-infinity policy. That said, there is little to be excited about in the economy, as witnessed in John Williams’ latest release.
Here is the latest from John Williams (Shadowstats):
SPECIAL COMMENTARY. No. 429: Consumer Liquidity Update, March Retail Sales
April 16th, 2012
– Gain in Inflation-Adjusted March Retail Sales Was Not Statistically Significant
– First-Quarter 2012 Consumer Income Increasingly Constrained
– Sustainable Economic Growth Is Not Possible Without Underlying Growth in Income and Credit