We’re In a Whole New Ball-Game!

So Buckle-Up Real Tight!

Unprecedented Political and Financial Shocks, Spills and Booby-Traps Lie Dead Ahead.   

That’s Because America’s Decades-Long Folly Has Reached the Breaking Point Owing To—

      • Massive Fed Money-Printing;
      • Reckless Government/Business/Household Borrowing;
      • Unhinged Wall Street Speculation;
      • Corrupt Bipartisan Racketeering and Incumbency Protection Schemes in Washington;

Covid-19 Was Just the Pin That Shattered the Financial Fantasy and Sent 70 Million Americans Streaming to the Unemployment Offices.

  • At the Same Time, the Resulting Discombobulated “Mail-In” Election Shattered What Remained Of a Functioning Government In Washington.

    The Blame Has Many Financial Authors—Greenspan, Bernanke, Yellen, Powell…. Plus Wall Street Cheerleaders and Keynesian Economists All The Way.

    It Also Includes a Long-String of Elected Politicians Who Recklessly Courted Disaster—The Bush’s, Clinton, Obama, Trump, Pelosi, Schumer and Now After 47-Years On the Public Teat, Sleepy Joe Biden Too.

    The Desperate Money-Pumping by the Fed and Fiscal Incontinence of the Politicians Fueled False Prosperity on Main Street and Rampant Speculation and Immense Financial Bubbles on Wall Street.

    It Also Generated Hideous Windfalls to the 1.0%, 0.1% and Billionaires Who Own Most of the Stock—Even As Real Wages and Living Standards Stagnated In Flyover America

    Then Wanna Be Medical Dictators, Hysterical Media And Power Hungry Politicians Imposed Lockdown Nation…..Sending The US Economy Into The Tank And Unemployment Soaring

    Like Always, Main Street Has Been Left High & Dry, Ensnared In The Lies, Scams And Self-Serving Mendacity Of The Washington-Wall Street Axis

    But Contra Corner’s Got You Covered

    We Think They’re All Fools & Clowns…

    We Lay Out Exactly Why 5 Days Per Week…

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    Dear Reader,

    The botched mail-in election of 2020 was just the final straw. And the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns merely exposed a far more deadly disease: Namely, the poisonous brew of easy money, cheap debt, sweeping financialization and unbridled speculation that has been injected into the American economy by the Fed and Washington politicians over the last three decades.

    It has turned Wall Street into a dangerous gambling casino while leaving Main Street buried under mountainous debts, faltering investment in growth and productivity and the hand-to-mouth economics of spending more than you earn.

    It has also left the American economy exceedingly vulnerable to external shocks like the thundering blow of Lockdown Nation and the impending period of virtual partisan civil war.

    AMERICA’S HAND-TO-MOUTH ECONOMY

    America’s dangerous economic fragility stems in part from the fact that 80% of households have no appreciable rainy-day funds and businesses have piled their balance sheets sky high with debt and artificially extended their supply chains to the four corners of the earth in order to goose short-run profits and share prices.

    Needless to say, this unprecedented fragility became starkly evident after public health authorities essentially shut down normal commerce and economic function last spring. Workers were separated from their workplaces, consumers from the malls, diners from the restaurants, travelers from the airlines, hotels and resorts—with many more like and similar disruptions to the supply-side of the economy.

    In turn, these disruptions caused production and incomes to fall abruptly. And now shrunken household incomes and business cash flows are literally pulling the legs out from under the $82 trillion edifice of debt and speculation that has been piled atop the American economy.

    So both a renewed financial and economic crisis and an abrupt change of course lie dead ahead. The 30-year party of False Prosperity is over. And to boot, we now have a viciously partisan and progressive/woke government in Washington that has no clue about the impending fiscal and financial calamities.

    Accordingly, even if the Covid-19 hysteria eventually abates and the albatross of Lockdown Nation is lifted, the 2020s will be a decade when the chickens come home to roost.

    As the next four years unfold, they may occasionally oxygenate and prop up Sleepy Joe in front of the Oval Office teleprompter to talk unity and hope. But the Kamala Harris/Progressive Left Regency will only massively exacerbate the crisis with a tsunami of new spending, borrowing, regulating, taxing and Nanny State meddling.

    NOW COME THE DUE BILLS

    And if you overlay on all that a renewed Biden-promised burst of Covid lockdowns and unconstitutional assaults on personal liberty, private property and business enterprise, the limits of kicking the cans of delay and denial down the road to tomorrow will be reached. America’s economic and political fantasies will soon be overtaken and crushed by its accumulated due bills.

    Bubbles will be burst. Speculators will get carried out on their shields. Easy money wealth will evaporate.

    That’s why you need to consider a subscription to David Stockman’s Contra Corner now.

    The price is just $1 per day to receive commentary and updates five-days per week on the unfolding political and financial crises looming ahead.

    Moreover, we approach these history-making events from the unique vantage point of having spent nearly a half century on both end of the Acela Corridor.

    That is, nearly twenty years in Washington as a Capitol Hill staffer, US Congressman and youngest Cabinet member of the twentieth century when we served as Ronald Reagan’s budget director and a principal architect of his original effort to Make America Great Again.

    And then another two decades on Wall Street in the investment banking and private equity business first at Salomon Brothers and later as one of the founding partners of the Blackstone Group and then our own fund.

    The decade of reckoning that lies ahead is rooted first and foremost in the fecklessly incurred mega-debts of the private and public sectors alike. Together they have soared to the staggering sum of $82 trillion.

    THE WAGES OF EASY MONEY: $82 TRILLION OF GROWTH-RETARDING DEBT

    That’s nearly 6X more than the $14 trillion outstanding three decades ago.

    Yet the proceeds from these massive borrowings were not used to invest and provide for tomorrow, but to live high on the hog today. After three decades of such artificial debt-fueled “prosperity”, the very warp and woof of American society has been deformed.

    As we indicated above, eighty percent of U.S. households live essentially hand-to-mouth. But that’s not because they are naturally imprudent; it’s because they have been incentivized to borrow and spend, while being punished for saving and setting aside for life’s unforeseen contingencies and setbacks.

    Likewise, the C-suites of corporate America have been rewarded for strip-mining their balance sheets and cash flows in order to pump money into Wall Street for stock buybacks and M&A.

    But this has caused investment in productive plant, equipment, technology and human resources to be shortchanged. Consequently, the growth capacity of the main street economy has been progressively eviscerated.

    And most especially, the public sector has been fiscally ruined.

    During the 33+ years since Alan Greenspan launched the present era of reckless and relentless monetization of the public debt in October 1987, there have been only four balanced budgets sandwiched between 29 years of sheer fiscal promiscuity.

    That has already taken the Federal debt from $3 trillion to nearly $28 trillion, and it’s now heading into the financial stratosphere.

    That because in the midst of the Covid-19 Hysteria, Washington has created coast-to-coast soup lines designed to bailout virtually every household and business in America.

    They have loaded the budget wagon with $4 trillion of Everything Bailouts already. Now Sleepy Joe wants to pile-on $1.9 trillion more.

    This means that last year’s (FY 2020) obscene $3.3 trillion Federal deficit will be duplicated again this year. The two-year add-on to the national debt, therefore, will total a staggering 33% of GDP—a level not seen since the dark days of WWII when the nation was fighting a global war for survival.

    WHY THE NATION’S FISCAL MALIGNANCY GOES UNATTENDED

    Still, the nation’s political system has studiously ignored this obvious fiscal malignancy. And the last two elections have only made it worse, putting presidents in the Oval Office with no mandate to lead and enormous incentives to borrow and spend in order to be reelected:

    • Trump stumbled into office on just 80,000 votes in three states—Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin—and promptly raised the public debt by an average of $1.9 trillion per annum during his four years. That was nearly double the already prodigious $1.1 trillion per year of new debt added by Obama;
    • And now Joe Biden, who has slithered into office on an even narrower margin of 44,000 disputed votes in three states (Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin), has wasted no time cranking up the spending dials to even more grotesque levels;

    This fiscal nightmare is happening, of course, because the Fed and other central banks have removed the sting of massive US Treasury borrowing. We are referring to rising interest rates and the “crowding out” of private investment that occurs when huge deficits are financed honestly in the bond markets out of scarce private savings.

    Instead, by monetizing trillions of public debt with credits snatched from thin digital air, the Fed has caused the nation’s elected politicians to succumb to the latest version of free lunch economics.

    This has permitted, in turn, national governance to degenerate into bitter partisan warfare that has festered so long that it now threatens the very future of constitutional government.

    And now a 2020 election, embroiled in controversy because the state and local election apparatus was not up to the task of processing the election night tsunami of 65 million mail-in ballots, has drastically aggravated the peril.

    Rather than facing tough policy choices, the Dems have retreated into identity politics and sanctimonious racialist moralizing. Prior to the election they had already abandoned virtuous pursuit of the public good for cheap virtue signaling to their base; and now they threaten to govern by abusing the immense power of the state to punish Trumpite foes and ostracize the UnWoke.

    Likewise, the GOP has prioritized building border walls and keeping people out of America’s historic melting pot on the fear they might not vote Republican. But in feeding red meat about border security and law & order to their political base, they’ve abandoned the GOP’s real job—functioning as watchdog of the treasury and guardian of sound money.

    AMERICA’S FOREVER WARS ARE BLEEDING THE TREASURY DRY

    Beyond the water’s edge, the bipartisan duopoly has immersed itself in the projects of Empire and pretensions to be the world’s indispensable nation and global gendarme. So doing, it has actually undermined homeland security while saddling the nation with trillions of debt to fund Forever Wars that are illegal, immoral and pointless.

    To his credit, the Donald didn’t start any new wars, yet every one of the wars he inherited—-from Afghanistan to north Africa—- continue with no end in sight. At the same time, the defense budget has been fecklessly cranked-up by 30% to an absurd $750 billion per annum—3X more than China, 11X more than Russia and 40X more than Iran.

    And now Sleepy Joe has re-assembled the Dem War Caucus to man the national security machinery, thereby validating Biden’s record of support for every war teed up by American presidents since he entered the Senate way back in 1973.

    In any event, the Federal Leviathan—including its national security branch—has never been bigger, fatter and more wasteful than what the Donald left behind.

    Even before the massive explosion of Covid-19 spending, the Donald has increased Federal spending in constant dollars (2019 $) by $180 billion per year during his term to date. That compares to—

    • $120 billion per year under George Bush the Younger,
    • $80 billion under Obama, and
    • $40 billion per year under Clinton.

    So the Donald didn’t bring about anything that resembles MAGA. Trump only made the inherited trend of soaring debts and diminishing growth measurably worse with four years of his four-pronged assault on sound economics:

    • Trade Wars.
    • Border Wars.
    • Fiscal Debauchery.
    • Easy Money attacks on the Fed.

    These were never the route to MAGA. They were the path to bigger government in Washington, dangerous bubbles on Wall Street and diminished prosperity, opportunity and liberty on Main Street.

    And now the Dems—who never pretended that deficits matter—have taken all three branches of government. The final eruption of the nation’s fiscal bacchanalia is only months away.

    Accordingly, it is now way too late for a stick save from either political party or any state institution bivouacked in the Imperial City. And that especially includes the madcap money printers at the Federal Reserve.

    The fact is, the engines of free market capitalism have been corroded and paralyzed by three decades of bad money and bad policy. And the 2020s are now guaranteed to make it four.

    THE SIMALACRUM OF POST-2008 RECOVERY:TEN MALEFIC TRENDS

    What has passed for “recovery” since the Great Recession has been only a temporary debt-fostered reprieve.

    Likewise, the soaring stock market, which peaked at truly insane levels notwithstanding the Covid-Lockdown disaster on main street, reflects the greatest monetary deformation in history, not the rational discounting of a beneficent future.

    Accordingly, ten malefic trends will dominate national life during the long night of reckoning which lies ahead.

    These impending outbreaks of “payback” are listed below. They will be the target of our daily analysis, research, chart-talks and commentary on Contra Corner.

    To be sure, other publications cover some of these topics and trends incisively and in depth.

    But in all modesty, we have very few peers when it comes to Contra Corner’s comprehensive scope of coverage and consistent, integrated diagnosis as to how it all fits together and what it means for the fraught path ahead.

    • The spectacular failure of Keynesian central banking;
    • A prolonged, painful reversal of the three-decade long hyper-inflation of financial asset prices that has resulted in the Everything Bubble;
    • The violent implosion of America’s fiscal accounts, accentuated by $6 trillion of Covid Bailouts;
    • An intensified central bank war on savers, fixed income retirees and holders of cash;
    •  Peak Debt-induced suffocation of domestic economic growth;
    • Ferocious global economic headwinds arising from the demise of the Red Ponzi;
    • An outbreak of unprecedented partisan acrimony rendering Washington completely dysfunctional and imperiling America’s very constitutional foundation;
    • The lapse of Imperial Washington into belligerence, retreat and failure all around the planet;
    • The Baby Boom retirement tsunami, which will cause entitlement spending to soar and generational conflict to erupt like never before; and
    • A virulent outbreak of class warfare and redistributionist political conflict unprecedented in American history owing to a stagnating economic pie and the ascension of the Progressive Left to near monopoly political power in Washington.

    Moreover, there is a powerful reason to keep abreast of these TEN MALEFIC TRENDS.

    To wit, these baleful developments are not just possibilities. They are well-nigh certainties!

    And they are ultimately rooted in a common cause.

    IT ALL STARTED AT THE FED IN OCTOBER 1987

    Namely, the three-decade long explosion of debt, speculation and financialization that was initiated in October 1987 when Alan Greenspan bailed out Wall Street gamblers and launched what has become a toxic worldwide regime of Keynesian central banking.

    Consequently, America’s current $82 trillion mountain of public and private debt has become contagious.

    On a worldwide basis, total debt outstanding now totals $270 trillion or a staggering 3X global GDP of $85 trillion. It now constitutes the greatest barrier to continued growth, prosperity and financial stability in all of economic history.

    Even more crucially, these Brobdingnagian figures did not materialize during the last three decades because everyday people suddenly lost their senses and became addicted to unsustainable levels of debt, leverage and financial speculation.

    To the contrary, the people here and abroad were misled, induced and baited into burying themselves under crushing debts by agents of the state—especially its central banking branch.

    The tools of deceit were falsified interest rates, artificially inflated asset prices and a hoary theory that debt-fueled “stimulus” injections by the state can create a permanent increase in economic growth and societal wealth.

    No, they can’t!

    These mountains of debt can temporarily goose GDP, of course, because GDP accounting is inherently incomplete: It views the economy as simply a matter of sequential flows—quarter after quarter, year upon year– without regard to balance sheets and the accumulated carry cost of debt over time.

    Moreover, this Keynesian blindness to balance sheets and their systematic impairment has gotten far more consequential since Greenspan launched a wholly new form of monetary central planning in October 1987.

    Under the latter, the price of debt has been deeply and systematically falsified by the central banks, thereby providing a powerful artificial incentive to borrow and a misleading signal to debtors about its longer-run implications.

    Balance sheets have been deeply impaired for households and governments especially because they do not borrow in order to acquire productive assets capable of defraying the accumulating cost of carry. Instead, all the added debt went into living high on the hog today.

    Nor has the private business sector escaped the damage caused by deep repression of interest rates.

    That’s because the cost of benchmark debt (i.e. the 10-year U.S. Treasury note) is really the master “cap rate” or valuation multiple for the entire financial system.

    Artificial and sustained repression of cap rates, therefore, results in proportionately higher asset prices and increased price/earnings multiples—meaning that cheaper debt and richer share prices are one of the most toxic consequences of Keynesian central banking.

    It provides powerful incentives to the corporate C-suites to borrow at sub-economic costs and to use the proceeds to fund stock buybacks, thereby increasing per share earnings and goosing the value of top executives’ own ample stock options.

    Likewise, cheap debt causes a huge distortion in the M&A market. Acquisitions are made to look “accretive” not because the make business sense or because there are true, sustainable synergies, but because they carry cost of purchase debt is so low.

    Needless to say, these forms of financial engineering redistribute financial wealth to the top 1% and 10% of households.

    The latter own 42% and 85% of the stock market, respectively, and they have gained mightily since Greenspan initiated the present era of Keynesian central banking in the late 1980s

     

    At the end of the day, the relentless and ever deepening financial repression—especially during the decade since the financial crisis— has generated precious little gain in national output and jobs beyond what capitalism does on its own.

    For example, even before the Covid lockdowns and the GDP crash in Q2 2020, manufacturing output was still 2% below pre-crisis levels of November 2007. And total industrial production had crept just 4% higher over 12 years.

    Moreover, even the huge one-time inflation of financial asset prices on Wall Street didn’t embody sustainable real wealth because it was primarily based on multiple expansions, not earnings growth.

    THE REAL INFLATION: SOARING FINANICAL ASSET PRICES

    Exactly 31-years ago in early 1989, for instance, the S&P 500 index stood at 295 where it represented 12X earnings of $25 per share.

    At the same PE multiple today, the index would weigh in at just 1600 or less than half of the 3800 level where it now sits precariously in the nose-bleed section of history.

    Indeed, at today’s lunatic levels, it would take the typical S&P 500 stock 41 years to earn back its price in cumulative net income at current earnings rates.

    Stated differently, 63% of the S&P 500 gain since 1989 is owing to PE multiple expansions, not earnings growth, and it materialized during a three decade interlude when the long-term growth capacity of the US economy was being ground to the vanishing point.

    That is, PE multiples should have been falling, not soaring to today’s bubblicious levels.

    Indeed, this “bad money” regime of the Keynesian central bankers has now finally taken itself hostage.

    The central bankers have fostered such massive and egregious bubbles that they are literally terrified by the prospect of another stock market meltdown like those of 2000-2002 and 2008-2009.

    In turn, the latter would bring a renewed bout of desperate restructurings, layoffs and asset liquidations in the C-suites and a new round of recession on main street.

    THE FED’S DESPERATE HAIL MARY

    So the Fed has simply launched a Hail Mary which is so transparent and incendiary that it will surely catalyze the final blow-off top early in the 2020s.

    After it had distorted, falsified and inflated financial asset prices beyond all recognition—the Fed dithered and delayed shrinking its balance sheet, thereby putting the lie to Bernanke’s solemn pledge that after the unusual and exigent conditions of the financial crisis had passed they would reduce the Fed’s massive trove of Treasury and GSE debt to pre-crisis levels.

    It didn’t. After a tepid 15% balance sheet retrenchment through August 2019, the Fed actually turned tail and ran in the face of bitter attacks from the White House and unrelenting pressure from the bully boys and crybabies of Wall Street.

    And now the last bit of sanity in the Eccles Building has vanished. From a low of $3.76 trillion on August 28, 2019, the Fed has already pumped another $3.6 trillion into the bond pits. That represents a staggering $2.5 trillion annualized rate of balance sheet expansion.

    That’s money printing on steroids.

    It is also the great monetary match. Stated differently, the repo ruckus last September was the warning bell that the 30-year era of Bubble Finance was fixing to blow.

    But the fools in the Eccles Building, blindly fixated on enforcing their interest rate pegs, effectively got out a gasoline hose and fueled what is now the blow-off top.

    And that will pave the way for the Turbulent Twenties, and for the unfolding of all the baleful factors listed above.

    Federal Reserve Balance Sheet:

    There has rarely been such a fraught moment in American history.

    During the Turbulent Twenties ahead we are heading for the double whammy of a political/constitutional crisis and a thundering financial breakdown at the same time.

    Indeed, this perfect storm will gravely impact the personal liberty and economic welfare of every American citizen—so you need to understand what’s coming down the pike and how it will impact Washington and Wall Street alike.

    You also need to understand that America has been left high and dry and has now been delivered into the hands of the original Dem Big Government Party.

    NO BOOM, NO MAGA

    Despite all the Donald’s bombast over the last four years, there has been no Trump boom, whatsoever—even if the Donald was right during the 2016 campaign. That’s when he castigated Washington’s failed economic policies and labeled the faux prosperity of 2016 as a big fat ugly bubble that was fixing to implode on the American people.

    Still, just because Donald Trump targeted the symptoms correctly that doesn’t mean he had a plan to fix the American economy or the skills and know-how to move the turgid, essentially paralyzed, machinery of the Federal government constructively forward.

    Indeed, the actual outcome of the last four years leaves little doubt—especially when you recognize that the Donald panicked on March 12, 2020 and opened the door to the Lockdown disaster brought on by Dr. Fauci and the Virus Patrol of Federal health bureaucrats and power-hungry Blue State mayors and governors.

    Needless to say, the Donald didn’t fire Dr. Fauci or Scarf lady Birx or Dr. Redfield at the CDC or any of the other White House advisors who brought on the economic disaster of 2020.

    The Donald broke it and ended-up owing it: A miserly four-year growth rate of real GDP which barely averaged 1.0% per annum—the worst growth rate during any presidential term in modern history.

    At Contra Corner, we saw all of this coming from day one of the Trump era. We insisted all along that the mainstream media has the whole story wrong.

    The Donald was never remotely the force of nature he’s been made to seem by the Trump-obsessed journalists and talking heads.

    To the contrary, he proved to be actually a political flyweight, megalomaniacal incompetent and bile-ridden bully who stumbled into the Oval Office against all odds; and then initially lucked-out a second time by riding high on the final three-year crest of a deeply impaired and unsustainable economic recovery and monumental stock market bubble.

    And here is where experience comes in. Since starting in Washington as a legislative assistant in 1970, we have seen every business cycle and President up close and personal.

    So we knew that the Donald committed the most egregious rookie mistake in the history of the American presidency.

    That is, he insouciantly embraced a financial bubble that was destined to crash and took ownership of a struggling, geriatric business cycle expansion that had “recession ahead” written all over its forehead.

    After all, the Donald was sworn in during month #90 of what was already the third longest business expansion in American history. It is now month #139 and the US economy has just undergone the deepest recession since the 1930s.

    Accordingly, we think the Donald will mainly be remembered neither as the restorer of MAGA nor as the statesman who rescued America from a day of reckoning that has been building for more than three decades.

    Instead, the Donald is destined to be remembered as the Great Disrupter. His lasting contribution will be that he rambunctiously discredited the handiwork of Imperial Washington, but left the edifice of unsustainable debt, speculation and monetary debasement standing taller than ever.

    That is to say, it is the self-serving consensus of the bipartisan ruling class in favor of permanent war, unchained entitlements, fiscal incontinence, unsustainable debt-fueled household spending, rampant corporate financial engineering and Keynesian monetary repression and “wealth effects” based central banking that lies at the roots of our current economic malaise. And all of that economic and financial poison remains in place.

    As to the “Washington Swamp” the Donald vowed to drain, it should never be forgotten that its deep-end lies on the Pentagon side of the Potomac. Yet the Donald has fed the military/industrial- surveillance complex like never before, thereby defeating his own stated goal.

    That is, America’s desperately needed pivot to fiscal and national security sanity was stopped cold by Trump’s mindless $175 billion per year boost to an already vastly excessive and waste-ridden national defense budget.

    And now that crucial pivot has been further blocked by a reckless economic and political war against Iran that will do exactly nothing to further the security and safety of the American homeland.

    At the end of the day, however, the Donald’s primary legacy will be a thoroughly paralyzed government in Washington and one rent with vicious partisan strife like at no time since the Civil War.

    As the 2020s unfold, therefore, Sleepy Joe’s Washington will prove to be utterly incapable of stopping the twin fiscal menace of the Warfare State and Welfare State—a monster that the Donald has made immeasurably worse.

    All told, the result will be a guaranteed $20 trillion explosion of the Federal debt over the next decade on top of the existing $28 trillion. By 2030, the public debt will be pushing 200% of GDP.

    CRUNCH TIME ON BOTH ENDS OF THE ACELA CORRIDOR

    Stated differently, crunch time is coming to Washington and Wall Street alike in the decade ahead.

    The stock market is heading not only for another 60% correction (toward 1600 on the S&P 500), but also a long L-shaped bottom rather than a quick V-shaped rebound which occurred after 2009.

    To be sure, we do not know exactly when the brown stuff will hit the fan. But we do know that Washington’s Empire abroad and phony prosperity at home are terminally failing and that the sell-by date draws near.

    We also know that whatever comes next, it won’t be Biden’s Build Back Better nonsense. Not by a long shot.

    Indeed, once upon a time the prospect of $48 trillion of public debt—even a decade down the road— was literally unfathomable.

    In fact, in one of our favorite remembrances from our White House days, we recall telling President Reagan in the photo below that America was on the verge of having a $1 trillion national debt.

    That was in January 1981, and at the time crossing the $1 trillion mark was almost a nightmarish prospect.

    But President Reagan was not intimidated. He properly insisted that this looming Rubicon was emblematic of the mess he had inherited, and that under his watch the nation’s soaring public debt would finally be stopped cold.

    1/30/1981 President Reagan and David Stockman meeting on the economy in the Oval Office

    Alas, it wasn’t. By the time he left office, the national debt was pushing $3 trillion, and it was off to the races from there.

    When Bill Clinton packed his bags to leave the White House the public debt was $5.7 trillion, and then soared to $10.7 trillion by the end of George W. Bush’s two terms, stood at $19.9 trillion when Obama moved on and has nearly hit $28 trillion on the Donald’s watch.

    But here’s the thing. If the Gipper couldn’t stop the Washington deficit and debt brigades, there is not a snowball’s chance in the hot place that the current bickering crop of politicians from both parties ever will.

    In truth, unlike all of the Gipper’s successors, who relentlessly added to the debt during their turn at the helm but at least gave lip service to the notion of fiscal rectitude, the Donald just flat-out didn’t care and took the GOP with him into fiscal fantasy-land.

    What this means is that America is now fast drifting toward the Debtberg. It is only a matter of time before the impending collision shatters the faux prosperity and wanton complacency that prevails on both Wall Street and in Washington.

    Still, it is not too late to get prepared.

    Each and every day of the week, Contra Corner will endeavor to explain:

    • how we got here in detailed and rich historical context;
    • why Washington’s contretemps and political food fights are only accelerating the arrival of the next crisis; and
    • where the unfolding payback shocks of the Turbulent Twenties may take us next.

    As we said at the beginning, $1 per day is a bargain for the unique angle we bring to the table after four decades at the intersection of Wall Street and both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

    In all humility, we don’t think you can afford to go without Contra Corner any longer as we plunge into the truly perilous times ahead.

    So we hope to be sending you David Stockman’s Contra Corner on a daily basis very soon.

     

    Best regards,

    David A. Stockman