Why Lessons From The First Great Depression Mean The Next Four Months Will Be Very Painful For Stockholders
by Tyler Durden
Scott Minerd, CIO of Guggenheim Partners, parses through the years of the Great Depression, and focuses on the pivotal 1936, which contained in it the seeds for the destruction of the period of relative economic growth and stability from 1932 to 1936, and resulted in a plunge in the economy in the second great recession of the Depressionary period: that of 1937 and 1938. While the first period saw “GNP grow at an annualized rate of 10 percent, the Dow rose approximately 20 percent per annum, and unemployment declined from as high as 25 percent in 1933 to as low as 11 percent in 1937” the second and much more dire phase of 1937-1938 . saw a unprecedented plunge in economic data: “national output declined by 5.4 percent, unemployment skyrocketed from 11 percent back to 20 percent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 49 percent, and four years of healthy price recovery receded into 3 percent annual deflation.” What precipitated the second collapse? “The short answer is that it was a confluence of factors, a perfect storm of monetary and fiscal policy mistakes” yet the immediate catalyst, if one can be defined was “the fiscal policy missteps of the Roosevelt Administration, who, in an effort to balance the budget after six years of deficits, implemented a series of tax increases in 1936 and 1937 that caused output, prices, and income to fall and sent unemployment skyrocketing.” We are currently faced with precisely the same juncture, and unfortunately for America, things now have a far lower probability of occurring “just as they should” in order for the country to emerge in one piece on the other side of the tunnel. Here is why.
First a question – what caused Rooselvelt to flip out and commence on a series of disastrous economic policies? Minerd explains: