Look at the plethora of problems in my list of 2020 economic predictions, which are so severe and so likely to get even worse that it’s more difficult to imagine they won’t get worse than to believe they will. Some are so bad that just a few of them would plunge us into an abyss of social and financial catastrophes.
Here are my economic predictions for the remainder of 2020
This list of economic predictions is not hard to come up with. It is, however, the fact that it is so easy to predict these things this year that makes this year’s list so important.
I think most readers will agree with the likelihood of most predictions on this list. The point of the list, then, is to show by the aggregate of calamities that will wash over us how close to certain is a deep economic depression. (Most are problems central banks have zero capacity to resolve.)
This depression is something many people may not perceive until they widen their field of vision to see the full ocean of likely troubles that are nearly certain to pound the entire world in wave after wave for months or even years to come.
(Though I focus on the US, the same economics predictions are likely to apply all over the world with their own variations of local color.)
Many people are living right now in the delusional hope of a V-shaped recovery from the recent Coronacrisis lockdown. The list below shows why that is the most unlikely possibility imaginable.
During this time of economic crisis, most of the predictions listed below are current events that are almost certain to continue as the major trends of 2020 and are likely to even worsen, plunging us into the chaos of a deep economic collapse, worse than 2008:
- The social unrest of BLM will become even more widespread and intense.
- Additional social unrest over forced social distancing will reappear around the nation as distancing measures return.
- Social unrest over corporate bailouts is likely to begin as the Federal Reserve and government stack up mega bailouts for the rich (or as bailouts already given become known) via the insanely rich BlackRock, which has been given a monopoly on administering handouts for which only the wealthiest qualify.
- Tearing down of monuments and other acts of violence will certainly create backlash against BLM from those who value the monuments or just want the history of both sides preserved.
- So, social unrest will beget more social unrest.
- All the turmoil of a likely-to-be contested election with all the accusations of Russian tampering and other hacking (like what just happened to Trump’s Tulsa rally) will cause even more social unrest.
- All those social conflicts will negatively impact some local businesses already hurting badly from the COVID-19 lockdown because they will be unable to reopen due to the protests at a time when we cannot afford anything that causes further damage to business.
- Social distancing being ignored entirely by BLM protestors, will increase the spread of COVID-19 as will reopening, ending the stock market’s fantasy of a V-shaped recovery. (Even if the Coronacrisis is a trumped-up hoax as some say, the same scenario will give the hoax all kinds of new (and news) stories to grow on.)
- Travel and hospitality will certainly remain in deep depression as COVID-19 stages resurgences.
- Lack of travel assures a continued rise in bankruptcies in the oil and gas industry.
- Shutdowns of major summer events will depress local business and government revenue as will shutdowns of sports events and concerts.
- Local governments will be forced to downsize staffing quickly and cut back projects of all kinds due to hugely diminished tax revenue caused by all the troubles listed here, causing a new wave of job losses, not just in government but in companies that contract for government projects.
- Diminished policing will result in a huge crime wave across America. Some of that will result from police department defunding; some will be required in other ways by liberal governments seeking to placate protestors; and a lot will happen because police officers resign and no new people want to become police in the present atmosphere. This will be as damaging to Black communities as to White and will have a suppressive effect on economic activity.
- Business uncertainty due to the continuing trade wars and to additional COVID-19 border lockdowns, as well as inability of businesses to get parts across borders even for products produced and sold within the nation, will act like gravity on the hope of economic lift. (What a time to be doubling down on trade wars, but here we go already!)
- We all know the federal debt will keep growing at an exponential rate because of reduced taxes that were supposed to be paid for by a rise to 4% or better GDP growth. That’s now a distant dream when the best we will see is -10% GDP growth. Compounding the retreat in GDP and the resulting drop in tax revenues, we have increased government spending due to COVID-19 stimulus efforts. All of that will require the Federal Reserve to monetize the debt to the moon and back. At some point that will call into question the current US credit rating.
- So many bonds sliding toward junk because the weak business economy will force all kinds of already risky credit to become riskier and become downgraded.
- Forced offloading of that debt by institutions that are not allowed to carry junk bonds, will cause huge bond market problems and defaults by those who can no longer refinance by issuing new bonds. That will force the Fed to continue to soak up ever larger amounts of junkier debt, moving further down the junk spectrum, even as it also has to fund the federal government’s exploding debt plus the new exploding debts of local governments via new “special vehicles.”
- The stock market, being utterly dependent on the Fed continuing to print money while also utterly dependent on COVID-19 keeping its head down, will go down hard again, likely this summer and probably again in the fourth quarter. I predict it will ultimately fall lower than its nadir in March.
- That will cause more wealth evaporation, leading to more natural economic tightening across the financial and business spectrum.
- The second wave of COVID-19 will be worse than the first when the fall flu season hits or maybe even this summer, given that the hottest rise in cases is happening in our hottest states. That makes it obvious that climate temperature does nothing to slow the spread.
- Some major banks and other financial institutions in Europe, such as Deutsche Bank, and in other nations will crash. US institutions will get pulled down by their associations.
- Many businesses will never reopen even though the economy has been reopened legally. Many others that do re-open will close for good before long because partial reopening is not enough to sustain them and, in some cases, may even cause them to lose more money than if they stayed closed. (Already, as I predicted prior to the opening would happen all across America, I see restaurants in my own area that did not reopen, and I’ve talked to people in restaurants that did reopen who say they are not even able to fill their reduced 50% capacity under social distancing rules because they can’t get enough customers to return. Restaurants are slim-margin business, so many will fail.) And that is even if the Coronacrisis doesn’t have a resurgence.
- More shopping malls that were already marginal will close forever after reopening because of the number of businesses that do not return or that fail during the partial reopening.
- That, in turn, will have a knock-on effect for other surrounding businesses that now experience less traffic.
- Due to the continuing sweep of all the problems listed above, we are in for a deep, longterm jobs depression.
- That means housing and commercial real-estate will crash again as longterm unemployment and business losses result in mortgage defaults.
- The resulting deep slowdown in construction will mean even more job losses.
- That means some US banks will crash (or have to be bailed out by the Fed) (though maybe not until 2021) due to all the loan problems caused by all of the above, resulting in even more job losses.
- Add to all of these near certainties, the growing possibilities of more international wars that we already see rising in risk — North Korea v. South Korea, North Korea v. the US, Israel v. Iran, Israel v. the Palestinians over annexation of parts of the West Bank, Saudi Arabia v. Yemen, China v. Taiwan, China v. Nepal, China v. the US, India v. Pakistan. Many of these conflicts seem to have intensified over the past year, and that’s just a short list of currently rising or continuing international conflicts.
- Civil wars within various nations are more likely because of the rising economic troubles and social strife listed here as well as continued growing strife due to immigration pressures that developed under globalization.
- I won’t predict the US dollar will collapse, BUT … this is the FIRST year in which I’ve ever said that is a reasonable possibility. Until now, it lay dimly in the future. Nations are angry over how the dollar has been repeatedly weaponized by the US via sanctions. So, I am certain the indomitable dollar will finally start to experience struggles of its own due to all the problems listed here, which will result in the Federal Reserve being less able to manage the financial chaos nationally and internationally, and due to competition from new central bank digital currencies this year, maybe, but especially next.
- Add to all of that the normal economic crises from major exogenous events, such as earthquakes, volcanism, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts, pestilence, wildfires, and, oh, an asteroid or two. The difference this year is that those big catastrophes will be hitting badly crippled economies and stressed societies wherever they hit in this world. (We cannot know what will hit or whether the number of such events will be lighter or heavier than other years because these are black-swan events — things we know CAN happen but have no knowledge of the specific likelihood of any particular event in a particular area in any given year. What we do know is that nations struggling under an economic crisis and an emergency health crisis will be less able to manage those events when they hit. Organizations like FEMA will be stretched way beyond their capacities.)
That’s a long list of finger-in-the-wind economic predictions. I’m not saying all of them will be dominant trends this year, and I can’t say when or in what order each one will happen; but I am certain 80% or more of my 2020 economic predictions will play out as stated above, and that is more than enough to assure the deep economic depression I’ve named “The Epocalyse.”
I invite you to offer your own social or economic predictions for 2020 (whether as additions or subtractions to the list above) that you see as highly likely to develop (good or bad) in the comments below so that we benefit from each others’ observations and insights.