It's a pun off of the word stagflation which was short for stagnant inflation. Stagpression is short for stagnant depression. It is the most accurate indicator of our economic situation today, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow...
We seem to be in a Depression. but we aren't.
The Housing market is recouping, jobs are consistently growing, energy costs have dropped, corporate profits are now at record, higher than just before the 1929 crash, and an all time record high stock market..We should be booming. But we aren't.
We still have too high of an unemployment both on and off the books, we still have depressed low wages, we have lost massive wealth within the middle class over this century so far, we have record high student loan debt, we have low consumer confidence.Hence, one class of America is booming. The other class is still in Depression mode. Hence we are in Stagpression....
It is easy to see why.
Compare Chart 1 and Chart !!.
Here is a chart showing the free cash flow of businesses......
Record highs. See? Record highs. We should be growing faster than China, we have so much investment money at our fingertips. But no.
Here is our investment track record...
(Thank you koosah for the charts.)
Ironically as we gave our businesses more and more money with lower taxes, less regulation, tax funded price supports, hand-tied their unions, and made free new technology at our taxpayers expense, despite all these perks and incentives, they invested less. So what are they doing with their money? Pick up any financial publication and read the headlines. They all will let you know.
Rather than invest in plants and equipment, businesses are primarily using their funds to repurchase their own stocks in order to boost management earnings and ward off hostile take-overs, pay dividends to stockholders, and accumulate large cash and bond holdings.
None of which help our economy. It is as if we work hard, buy their products, and they put that money into a mattress. Soon, we are going to run out of money. Fortunately the Fed has filled the gap by printing more and giving it to banks for free. It too, filters though the system, and when it gets to the top, it goes into the mattress.Instead of recycling money, we are letting the tap flow from our printing presses to the top echelon of our society... Now do you get it?
What is missing is a system that recycles the materials back into our economy so we have less money we need to print. If we were talking about paper, we would be saying we need to recycle paper to keep from cutting down more and more trees simply to fill up our landfills....We need a system to return that money to the bottom so it can rise again and again and again.
Here are the options that have been tried across our lifetimes..
2.Government set and regulated prices.
3.Lower tax rates.
4.Cash incentives from taxpayers to reinvest.
5.Pleas and entreaties from the Oval Office.
6.Higher marginal tax rates.
Only one of these has worked. Can you guess which one? If you guessed higher tax rates spur reinvestment you are absolutely correct.
Notice the rates of reinvestment climbing in each of these presidencies: Eisenhower, Kennedy-Johnson, Carter, Clinton each time Congress legislated higher marginal tax rates.
Also notice the drops under Nixon, Reagan, and George W. Bush as Republicans cut the taxes...The Bush Tax Cuts held through Obama's first term, and account for today's sluggish reinvestment. I can't wait to see 2013's numbers, for I expect to see real investment increase there as well, thanks to the Biden higher tax rates on the top half-percent. However those higher tax rates implemented at 2013's beginning, sent financiers scurrying and bargain empty-homes were bought up en masse by investors with cash which subsequently brought up the floor of the housing market (perhaps to our future peril). It also accounts for stocks becoming an receptacle of liquidity to hold cash,..explaining the record highs .... It appears those tax rates need to go higher.
So we have an opposite relationship: cutting taxes increases corporate profits which go elsewhere other than reinvestment back into the ecnomy.
Increasing taxes, cuts into the Free Cash Flow, and funnels some of that flow over to reinvestment projects.A very real example. In Delaware, we had 3 banks growing up which were institutions, their names carved last century in old stone buildings downtown, lasting for decades and then within a year or two, all disappeared, bought out, very close to each other. Bank of Delaware, Delaware Trust, and Wilmington Trust. are no more, now owned by other entities. Commerce Bank, which was neighboring New Jersey based, had the same fate.
Yet they had lasted for years post-New-Deal because prior to giant tax cuts, big buyers never had enough free money (or free regulations) to buy them out. Just think: job losses. In Delaware there are now 3 less bank presidents. 18 less VP bank officers, and who knows how many clerical workers are missing because the work goes to the owners headquarters, not located here.... One still wonders if our state could be better off, had our local MBNA not been snarfed up by an outside conglomerate, which itself was enveloped into Bank of America..
So giving more money to businesses and corporations in this case, actually cost us good jobs... and destroyed 3 long termed Delawarean corporations...
That was one example. Across this nation, in every city, every county, every state are millions more....
Raising the tax rates drives re-investment, cuts down on excessive cash. It is the only thing we know so far, that consistently works to drive re-investment. Everyone who insists on cuts and de-regulation, no matter how they spin it, is pursuing a policy that has been completely disproven by reality and fact and of course, recent history..
Are you better off than you were under Clinton? Your income level will probably determine your answer.....Because yes, some people are indeed, a lot better off. the 1%. Much better off! Likewise, those politicians running interference for the 1%; are also much better off.
If you find someone willing to raise taxes, stick to them like glue. They are the ones who will lead us back to prosperity.....Until then, economic stagpression will continue.... continuing through tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow....(at a) petty pace that creeps from day to day.... like a forest, quietly inching up to our castle's walls...