The world is facing another wide depression as experts say they are seeing worrying economic signs that have not been seen since 1932 as the world fell into the first Great Depression.
The latest numbers from the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported last week that the U.S. economy grew by a mere 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter, and grew only 2.1 percent in 2022. But the numbers also are sending alarm bells, according to The Heritage Foundation’s E. J. Antoni.
That’s because economic growth is slowing down. Even the areas which contributed positively to gross domestic product (GDP) are not necessarily signs of prosperity. For example, business investment grew at only 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter, but that was almost entirely inventory growth. Nonresidential investment, a key driver of future economic growth, was up just 0.7 percent.
Meanwhile, residential investment fell off a cliff, dropping 26.7 percent as consumers were unable to afford the combination of high home prices, high interest rates and falling real incomes. No wonder homeownership affordability has fallen to the lowest level in that metric’s history.
But the growth in inventories, which accounted for half the GDP growth in the fourth quarter, is not a good sign, either. It is the result of businesses being unable to sell off existing inventories at current prices. Liquidating that inventory at discounts will mean lower profits, a further drag on future growth.
Antoni explained it like this:
To see why, imagine your hours have been cut back at work. You’re now earning $100 less a week, so you decide to reduce your weekly spending by $105. Your budget then shows a net increase of $5 left over at the end of the week. Your earnings are like exports, your spending like imports and the overall change to your budget is like net exports.
So, even though you are worse off, just going by the change to your budget, you appear to be better off. That is exactly what happened with net exports in the GDP report.
But perhaps most troubling is the precipitous drop in real disposable income, which fell over $1 trillion in 2022.
For context, this is the second-largest percentage drop in real disposable income ever, behind only 1932, the worst year of the Great Depression. To keep up with inflation, consumers are depleting their savings and burning through the “stimulus” checks they received during 2020 and 2021. Credit card debt continues growing, while savings plummeted $1.6 trillion last year, falling below 2009 levels.
Antoni notes that the average American family has lost $6,000 on annual purchase power already.
And worse things are coming as the housing market lunges toward a massive downturn that is bound to hit sometime this year. That, too, will sap American families of their family wealth.
The world is being led down the primrose path the profligate, communist policies of the Biden administration.
Let’s hope we can avoid the next Great Depression that seems so imminent.
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