Stanford-trained economist John Hussman on the economy’s persistent weakness:
Instead, the true wealth of a nation is embodied in its capacity to produce, as measured by the stock of real investment (productive capital, stored resources, infrastructure, knowledge) it has accumulated as a result of prior saving.
. . .
One of the hallmarks of the bubble period since the late-1990’s is that the growth rate of real U.S. gross domestic investment has slowed to less than one-quarter of the rate it enjoyed in the preceding half-century.
. . .
Over the past 16 years, U.S. real gross domestic investment has crawled at a growth rate of just 1.0% annually, compared with a growth rate of 4.6% annually over the preceding half-century. There’s your trouble.
. . . The path forward:
Simply put, the only thing QE really does is to distort the financial side of the economy, enabling and encouraging yield-seeking speculation and massive sectoral imbalances that we observe as wealth disparities and bizarrely distorted securities markets. The proper course of economic policy is to expand productive investment at every level of the economy through the action of Congress (including infrastructure investment, corporate investment tax incentives, workforce development credits, and other measures ideally tied to the creation of new jobs). The Federal Reserve is not a source of prosperity. It is the single most dangerous and unregulated risk factor in the U.S. economy. We should have learned that during the yield-seeking mortgage bubble and the collapse that followed. We have not, so we now face the equivalent prospect again.