The MSM did their usual spin job on the consumer credit data released earlier this week. They reported a 5.4% increase in consumer debt outstanding to an ALL-TIME high of $3.051 trillion. In the Orwellian doublethink world we currently inhabit, the consumer taking on more debt is seen as a constructive sign. Consumer debt has grown by 5.8% over the first nine months of 2013, after growing by 6.1% in 2012 and 4.1% in 2011.
Of course, buried at the bottom of the Federal Reserve press release and never mentioned on CNBC or the other dying legacy media outlets is the facts and details behind the all-time high in consumer credit. They count on the high probability the average math challenged American has no clue regarding the distinction between revolving and non-revolving credit or who controls the distribution of such credit. It is fascinating examining the historical data on the Federal Reserve website and realizing how far we’ve fallen as a society in the last 45 years.
Revolving credit is a fancy term for credit card debt. Imagine our society today without credit cards. That sounds outrageous to the debt addicted populace inhabiting our suburban wasteland and urban badlands. What is truly outrageous is the fact we have allowed ourselves to be duped into $846 billion of revolving credit card debt charging an average interest rate of 13% by Wall Street bankers who have used the American Dream of a better life as the bait to lure a dumbed down easily manipulated populace into believing that material possessions purchased with high interest debt represented advancement rather than servitude. Debt accumulation is seen as a badge of honor. Keeping up with the Joneses is all that matters. Our shallow culture has no notion about the concept of deferred gratification or saving to pay for your wants.
A shocking fact (to historically challenged government educated drones) revealed by the Federal Reserve data is that credit card debt did not exist prior to 1968. How could people live their lives without credit cards? It must have been a nightmare. You mean to tell me when people wanted new clothes, jewelry, a TV, or to eat out at a restaurant, they actually had to save up the cash to do so? What kind of barbaric system would make you live within your means? The Depression era adults had somehow survived for over two decades after WWII without buying cheap foreign crap they didn’t need with money they didn’t have using a piece of plastic with a Wall Street bank logo emblazoned on the front.
1968 marked a turning point for America. LBJ’s welfare/warfare state had begun the downward spiral of a once rational country. We chose guns and butter, with the bill being charged to the national credit card. It was fitting that Wall Street introduced the credit card in 1968.
- There were 200 million Americans in 1968 and $2 billion of credit card debt outstanding, or $10 per person.
- By 1980 there were 227 million Americans and $54 billion of credit card debt outstanding, or $238 per person.
- By 1990 there were 249 million Americans and $230 billion of credit card debt outstanding, or $924 per person.
- By 2000 there were 281 million Americans and $650 billion of credit card debt outstanding, $2,313 per person.
- By July of 2008 credit card debt outstanding peaked at $1.022 trillion and the population was 304 million, with credit card debt per person topping out at $3,361 per person.
Over the course of 40 years, the population of this country grew by 52%. Credit card debt grew by 51,000%. Credit card debt per person grew by 33,600%. This was a case of credit induced mass hysteria and it continues today. Have the American people benefitted from this enslavement in chains of debt? I’d venture to answer no. Who benefitted? The corporate fascist oligarchy of Wall Street banks, mega-corporations sourcing their crap from Chinese slave labor factories, and politicians in the back pockets of the bankers and corporate CEOs benefitted.
The evil oligarch scum grew too greedy and blew up the worldwide financial system in 2008. Since July 2008 credit card debt has declined by $175 billion, with the majority of the decrease from banks writing off bad debt and passing it along to the American taxpayer through their TARP bailout and 0% money from their puppet Bernanke. It bottomed out at $834 billion in April 2011 and has only grown by a miniscule $13 billion in the last 29 months, and only $1.7 billion in the last twelve months. The muppets have refused to cooperate by running up those credit cards. Not having jobs, paying 40% more for health insurance due to Obamacare, and real inflation exceeding 5% on the things they need to live, have caused some hesitation among the delusional masses. Even a government educated, math challenged, iGadget addicted moron realizes their credit card is the only thing standing between them and living in a cardboard box on a street corner.
Your owners have been forced to implement Plan B. The monster they have created is like a shark. The debt must keep growing or the monster will die. In 2008, the oligarchs were staring into the abyss. Their wealth, power and control were in grave jeopardy. Rather than accept the consequences of their actions like men and allowing the economy to return to normalcy, these weasels have doubled down by accelerating the debt production and dropping it from helicopters to subprime borrowers across the land, like unemployed construction workers named Gus getting a degree in liberal arts from the University of Phoenix while sitting in their basement in boxer shorts. The Federal Reserve Black Hawks are hovering over the inner cities dropping Bennie Bucks on the very same people they put in McMansions with no doc negative amortization subprime mortgages in 2005, so they can occupy Cadillac Escalades for a couple years before defaulting again. The appearance of normalcy is crucial to the evil oligarchs as they attempt to pillage the remaining loot in this country.
Before the credit card was rolled out in 1968, there was non-revolving debt strictly related to auto loans made by banks and credit unions. The Federal government was nowhere to be found in the mix as banks and consumers made economic decisions based upon risk and reward. There were $110 billion of loans outstanding to a population of 200 million, or $550 per person. The Federal government stuck their nose into the free market with the creation of Sallie Mae in the 1970′s. But they were still a miniscule portion of total consumer debt at $115 billion in 2008, or only 11% of total consumer debt outstanding. The chart below from Zero Hedge reveals what has happened since the oligarchs crashed the financial system with their vampire squid blood sucking tentacles syphoning the lifeblood from the American middle class. Non-revolving debt has increased from $1.65 trillion in July 2008 to $2.2 trillion today, solely due to Obama and his minions doling out subprime auto and student loan debt to anyone that can scratch an X on a loan document.
If middle class consumers were unwilling to borrow and spend, the oligarchs were going to use their control over the government to dole out billions to subprime borrowers in a final, ultimately futile, attempt to keep this Ponzi scheme going for a while longer. The subprime game worked wonders in the final phase of the housing bubble. And now the losses will fall solely on the 50% of Americans who actually pay taxes. It wasn’t a mistake the Federal government took complete control of the student loan market in 2009. It isn’t a mistake the only TARP recipient the Feds have not attempted to disengage from happens to be the largest issuer of subprime auto loans in the world – Ally Financial (aka GMAC, Ditech, ResCap).
In 2008 there was $730 billion of student loan debt outstanding, of which the Federal government was responsible for $120 billion. Five short years later there is $1.2 trillion of student loan debt outstanding and the Federal government (aka YOU the taxpayer) is responsible for $716 billion. Using my top notch math skills, I’ve determined that student loan debt has risen by $470 billion, while Federal government issuance of student loan debt has expanded by $600 billion. The rational risk adverse lenders have reduced their exposure to the most subprime borrowers on earth, undergrads at the University of Phoenix and thousands of other “for profit” educational black holes across the country. Only an organization who didn’t care about getting repaid would lend billions to borrowers without a job, hope of a job, or intellectual ability to hold a job. A critical thinking person might wonder why student loan debt would rise by almost $500 billion in 5 years when college enrollment has grown by only 2 million. That comes to $250,000 per additional student.
The Federal government couldn’t possibly have distributed $500 billion to anyone with a pulse as a way to manipulate the national unemployment rate lower, because anyone in school is not considered unemployed. Do you think the $500 billion was spent on tuition and books? Or do you think those “students” used it to buy iGadgets, HDTVs, weed and Twitter stock? With default rates already at all-time highs and accelerating skyward and $146 billion of loans already in default, you don’t need a PhD from the University of Phoenix (where default rates exceed 30%) like Shaq to realize the American taxpayer is going to get it good and hard once again.
My personal observations during my daily trek through the slums of West Philly would befuddle someone who didn’t understand the oligarch scheme to create an artificial auto recovery by distributing auto loans to deadbeats, the SNAP army, and hip hop nitwits. As I maneuver quickly through the West Philly badlands in my four year old paid off compact car praying I don’t get caught in gang crossfire, I see an inordinate number of brand new BMWs, Mercedes, Lexus, Cadillacs, and Jaguars parked in front of $20,000 dilapidated fleapits that tend to collapse during heavy rain storms. The real unemployment rate in these garbage strewn, disintegrating neighborhoods exceeds 50%. The median household income is less than $20,000. Over 40% of the adult population hasn’t graduated high school and 63% of the population lives below the poverty level. These people put the ”sub” in subprime. How can anyone in this American version of third world Baghdad afford to drive a $40,000 vehicle? The answer is they can’t. But you the taxpayer, out of the goodness of your heart and without your knowledge, have loaned them the money so they can cruise around West Philly in Jay Z or Kanye style.
Bernanke’s ZIRP creates the environment for mal-investment and reckless lending. With the Federal government owned Ally Financial leading the charge, the miraculous auto sales recovery is nothing but a bad loan driven illusion. With the Federal government pushing subprime loans like a West Philly drug dealer, the Too Big To Trust Wall Street cabal have followed suit providing financing to deadbeats with FICO scores of 500, no job, but a nice smile. When you can borrow from the Fed at 0% and loan money to SNAP nation at 18%, with a Bernanke unspoken promise to bail them out when the inevitable defaults come as a complete shock, this is why you see thousands of luxury automobiles parked in the urban kill zones across America.
Zero Hedge documented the new subprime bubble in a story earlier this week. As auto dealers allow losers with sub-500 FICO scores to drive off their lots with new cars, ZH summarized the next taxpayer bailout:
“No Car, no FICO score, no problem. The NINJAs have once again taken over the subprime asylum.”
Someone with a 500 FICO score has defaulted on multiple debt obligations in the recent past. The issuance of hundreds of billions of subprime debt can give the appearance of economic growth for a short period of time, just like it did from 2004 through 2007. Then it all collapsed in a heap because the debt eventually must be repaid. Cash flow is required to service debt. Maybe the West Philly subprime Mercedes drivers can trade their SNAP cards for cash to make their car loan payments, since they don’t have jobs. Even the captured MSM is being forced to admit the truth.
While surging light-vehicle sales have been one of the bright spots in the U.S. economy, it’s increasingly being fueled by borrowers with imperfect credit. Such car buyers account for more than 27 percent of loans for new vehicles, the highest proportion since Experian Automotive started tracking the data in 2007. That compares with 25 percent last year and 18 percent in 2009, as lenders pulled back during the recession. Issuance of bonds linked to subprime auto loans soared to $17.2 billion this year, more than double the amount sold during the same period in 2010, according to Harris Trifon, a debt analyst at Deutsche Bank AG. The market for such debt, which peaked at about $20 billion in 2005, was dwarfed by the record $1.2 trillion in mortgage bonds sold that year.
When has packaging subprime loans, getting them rated AAA by a trustworthy ratings agency, and selling them to little old ladies and pension funds, ever caused a problem before? With subprime auto loan issuance accounting for 50% of all car loans and an average loan to value ratio of 114.5%, what could possibly go wrong? Think about that for one minute. The government and Wall Street banks are loaning deadbeats $33,000 of your money to buy a $30,000 car, despite the fact the high school dropout borrower doesn’t have a job and has a history of defaulting on their obligations.
Can you really blame the borrowers? For the second time in the last decade the rich folk have generously offered to let them experience the good life, with debt that is never expected to be repaid. The people in West Philly live in rat infested, rundown, leaky shacks waiting for the 1st of the month to get their EBT card recharged. They have nothing, so they have nothing to lose. When the MAN offered to loan them $300,000 in 2005 so they could buy their very own McMansion, what did they have to lose? They got to live in a fancy house for a few years until they were booted out by the bank and left in exactly the same spot they were before the MAN came along. These people don’t even know what a FICO score means.
Now the MAN has knocked on their hovel door again and offered to put them in a brand spanking new Cadillac Escalade with no money down, requiring no proof of employment, and no prospects of repaying the loan. Hallelujah, there is a God!!! They get to tool around West Philly for a year or two impressing their fellow SNAP recipients until the repo man shows up and absconds with their wheels. They will be left right where they were, hoofing it with their $200 Air Jordans. Anyone with an ounce of brains (eliminates Cramer & Bartiromo) can see this will end exactly as all easy money, Federal Reserve propagated, and government sanctioned scams end.
“Perhaps more than any other factor, easing credit has been the key to the U.S. auto recovery,” Adam Jonas, a New York-based analyst with Morgan Stanley, wrote in a note to investors last month. The rise of subprime lending back to record levels, the lengthening of loan terms and increasing credit losses are some of factors that lead Jonas to say there are “serious warning signs” for automaker’s ability to maintain pricing discipline.
In the last year 99% of all consumer debt issued was doled out by government drones, with no interest in getting repaid, to subprime deadbeats, with no interest in repaying. It’s a match made in subprime heaven with your tax dollars. As an Ivy League educated Wall Street banker CEO once said:
“When the music stops, in terms of liquidity, things will be complicated. But as long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance. We’re still dancing.”
Chuck “Doing the Boogie Woogie” Prince – FORMER CEO of Citicorp – July 2007
You see it is always about liquidity, also known as Bernanke Bucks or QEternity. Without Bernanke and his Federal Reserve sycophants printing $2.8 billion of new money every single day, shoveling it into the grubby hands of his Wall Street bank bosses and a corrupt fetid festering pustule of a government running trillion dollar deficits and showering your money on loafers and welfare queens, this subprime final solution would not be possible. This is an exact replay of the subprime mortgage debacle, except the oligarchs have cut out the middleman. Holding the American people hostage for the $700 billion TARP bailout proved to be messy, with 90% of Americans against the ”Save a Corrupt Criminal Banker” scheme. This time, there will not be a vote in Congress when the hundreds of billions in subprime student loans and subprime auto loans go bad and become the responsibility of the few remaining American taxpayers. What’s another few hundred billion among friends when our annual deficits soar past $1 trillion, our national debt approaches $20 trillion, and our unfunded entitlement liabilities exceed $200 trillion?
When the music stopped in 2008, Chuck Prince bopped away with a $40 million severance package and you were left to sweep the confetti off the floors, pick up the empty champagne bottles and caviar plates, scrub the vomitorium, and pay for all the damages that occurred during the sordid subprime orgy of greed, lust, gluttony, envy and sloth. Somehow the distracted, techno-narcissistic, easily duped zombies have been lured into the subprime web of deceit again. We have only ourselves to blame as the corporate fascist oligarchs implement their final solution for the American middle class and our once proud nation – a bullet to the back of the head.
Jim Quinn blogs at The Burning Platform.