Moody’s Credit Rating has just issued a warning that, barring some sort of miracle, as US interest rates rise, and they are, as much as 22% of US corporations that are being kept alive borrowing at historically low interest, not only in shale oil but in construction and utilities, so-called “zombie” corporations, will face an avalanche of mass defaults on their debt. Moody’s writes that, “low interest rates and investor appetite for yield has pushed companies into issuing mounds of debt that offer comparatively low levels of protection for investors.” The Moody’s report goes on to state some alarming numbers: since 2009, the level of global non-financial junk-rated companies has soared by 58%, representing $3.7 trillion in outstanding debt, the highest ever. Some 40%, or $2 trillion, are rated B1 or lower. Since 2009, US corporate debt has increased by 49%, hitting a record total of $8.8 trillion. Much of that debt has been used to fund stock repurchases by the companies to boost their stock price, the main reason for the unprecedented Wall Street stock market bubble.
Fully 75% of federal spending is economically non-productive including military, debt service, social security. Unlike during the 1930s Great Depression when levels of Federal debt were almost nil, today the debt is 105% of GDP and rising. Spending on national economic infrastructure including the Tennessee Valley Authority and a network of federally-build dams and other infrastructure resulted in the great economic boom of the 1950s. Spending $1.5 trillion on a dysfunctional F-35 all-purpose fighter jet program won’t do it.
Into this precarious situation Washington is doing its very best to antagonize the very countries that it needs to finance these deficits and buy the US debt—China, Russia and even Japan. As financial investors demand more interest to invest in US debt, the higher rates will trigger the default avalanche Moody’s warns. This is the real backdrop to the dangerous US foreign policy actions of the recent period. No one in Washington seems to care and that’s the alarming fact.
Trump and his huge ego are crowing about how the economy is the ‘best ever’, with TRILLIONS in wealth added via higher stock prices, etc.
In reality, those who understand economics know that multiple negative tipping points have been triggered and huge debt bubbles will pop one by one. It is just a matter of WHEN those bubbles pop, not if.
Beware of the Pied Piper singing a happy tune of ever increasing financial joy and wealth while doing everything possible to destroy the foundations of democracy, freedom and economic stability.