Current Recession Is a Severe Credit Bust of Depression-Era Magnitude
There's a big difference between inventory-driven recessions and credit-driven recessions. An inventory recession is caused by a mismatch between supply and demand. It's the result of overcapacity and under-utilization which can only work itself out over time as inventories are pared back and demand builds. Credit-driven recessions are a different story altogether. They typically last twice as long as and can precipitate financial crises. The current recession is a severe credit bust of Depression-era magnitude.Full article.
The financial system has effectively melted down. The wholesale credit system (securitization) is frozen, the banking system is dysfunctional and insolvent, and consumer spending has tanked. The Fed's multi-trillion dollar lending facilities and monetary stimulus have kept the financial system from grinding to a halt, but the underlying problems still persist. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke has chosen to avoid the hard decisions and keep the price of toxic assets artificially high with the help of a $12.8 trillion liquidity backstop. That's why stocks have rallied for the last 4 months while conditions in the real economy have steadily deteriorated. Bernanke is using all the tools at his disposal to keep the market from clearing and prevent the mountain of debt that has built up over decades from being purged from the system. Unfortunately, as Ludwig von Mises said, "There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought on by credit expansion."